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Coming off citalopram/SSRIs - anyone want to join me?

(66 Posts)
Arcadia Tue 10-Dec-13 11:55:47

This will be embarrassing if I get no takers but here goes!

I have been hugely helped by this board since I had my DD (now 4), I have some lovely people and find it the 'safest' place on mumsnet which can get a bit brutal elsewhere!

To cut a long story short I have been on citalopram for almost exactly a year. I had some issues that all came together and a lot of those external issues have now resolved itself. I have however had problems with anxiety all my life on and off but not taken medication before now.

After some fairly minor side effects I settled on the 20mg and it has been great to be able to cope with stuffs and have an even mood but now feel ready to start coming off.

After doing some reading am planning on doing it from January taking about three months over it. Am also seeing GP tomorrow but have heard they tend to be a bit less cautious so to do it slower than they advise.

Anyone else looking forward to coming off in the new year to be off them by the spring/summer when hopefully our moods will hold up?!

Also any advice from those who have gone through it gratefully received.

Arcadia Tue 10-Dec-13 11:56:48

Sorry for typos, bloomin iPad!

VulvaVoom Wed 11-Dec-13 15:25:32

Arcadia, didn't want to ignore your post. I'm also on 20mg of Citalopram and have been for 4 months but I think I definitely need to stay on them at the moment as I can be very up and down, Good luck though smile

HoopHopes Wed 11-Dec-13 16:10:20

Hi, not coming off meds ( as came off when pregnant), but I agree coming off slower worked for me. Spring a good time to do it as well - it worked for me. If you can get down to half the dose and be stable it can help. My dh helped me - I was on capsules and did it a complicated way by reducing amount in them for many reasons. But the last ten days he gave me empty capsules without telling me so when I took my last one he told me, so I did not react to it and think I could not do it - as had already done it!!!

Hope you have good chat with dr. If they want you to do it quicker just tell them how you want to try it.

Arcadia Wed 11-Dec-13 21:07:10

Thanks vulvavoom they do say that you really feel the benefit after a few months so good idea to keep taking them. I have really enjoyed a year without my usual ups and downs and less worrying about things!

Hoophopes I don't know whether to start coming off in the spring rather than January which is a pretty miserable time! Maybe that would be a better idea rather than straight after Christmas.

Had to cancel the Doctor's appointment today which was annoying, I got held up at work, work is so stressful at the moment! I can't see that doctor who has supported me throughout until jan now but have realised I will need to pop in and see one of the others as am running out again.

WellHello Wed 11-Dec-13 21:25:36

Well what do you know, I came on here tonight to discuss exactly the same thing, I decided to decrease my dose several days ago, and eventually rid them from my life smile
Of course, they have been a massive help for over a year due to hurrendous pnd. But I feel Im ready to come off. Have read all about the withdrawal symptoms and have decided to carry on with the usual 20mg for another week, then bite the tablets in half and have 10mg for say, a month, then brave coming off completely. I gather this can be fairly hurrendous too but rather that than more months of zero sex drive and flat emotionless days.
I came off them for 2 weeks earlier in the year and mistook a terribly low and angry day for being the return of my horrid depression rather than a withdrawal symptom, so started taking them again sad wish i hadnt! I feel when you reach the point where you no longer need them, they can do more harm than good. I dont even know who I am anymore!! Moody? Mellow? No idea!!
Whoops I've rambled but Im well up for this challenge as you can tell!

Arcadia Wed 11-Dec-13 21:34:35

Hi wellhello good to hear from you!

Sounds like we are in a similar position. One of my motivations is sex too, just isn't the same, and I have difficulty experiencing a normal range of emotions (actually that sentence is weirdly unemotional!). I am a bit robotic at times whereas usually am a drama queen! I am starting to even miss the downs a bit. Everything feels brighter than when I was depressed but also a bit bland now.

I will be interested to hear how you get on with it if you start a bit before me, though tempted to start soon as I have two weeks off work over Christmas. The good news is that citalopram is supposed to be one with a longer half life so it naturally tapers off in your system more than some of the other ADs so not as bad to come off.

How about alternating 10mg and 20mg for a week or two then go to ten for a couple of weeks? I might try that.

A friend yesterday advised me to go cold turkey and get it over in a couple of weeks but she does like a drama so not sure if good advice! smile

clio51 Wed 11-Dec-13 21:45:20

I personally wouldn't do 10mg then 20mg as your brain won't know what it's up to not to mention your serotonin levels.

Personally I would not ever go cold turkey, yes it's quicker but it doesn't necessarily been you won't have any symptoms after a few weeks(sorry)
Especially as you have a 4 years old to look after it will be hard as one of the main symptoms is flu like! Just trying to sight you up for what it will be like. Do you have somebody to help with dd and house/shopping/cooking etc

Arcadia Wed 11-Dec-13 21:51:20

I am not on my own clio51 but my life is pretty full on. Work is full on, my child is full on, lots of social stuff coming up for Christmas, just moved house and lots to sort out here. DP is good but gets grumpy at times and suffers a bit from SAD. No one else to really help my friends will drop stuff to help me out but can't help day to day and all have their own responsibilities.

Is it quite bad coming off then?

WellHello Wed 11-Dec-13 21:59:49

Hello smile

Yes indeed, being robotic was like a holiday for my mind at one time but now it just feels rubbish and wrong!
Well I have previously been taking my 20mg tablet every other day but just read that makes mood swings worse, and I tell you what it sure has.
Yesterday I spent most of the morning dancing with my daughter then went on to clean and tidy the house from top to bottom in high spirits - perhaps "too" high, i actually thought - then today i have felt like a heavy lump of lard, tired, fed up, snappy and tearful. Yesterday took a tablet, today did not. In light of this discovery I would also urge you not to change your amounts too frequently or give your body a shock with cold turkey, looking after yourself let alone your little one would be very very hard :/
Ive also been reading that Omega 3 fish oil high in EPA is like a tonic for a stressed and weary brain, so am planning on taking these perhaps when I lower the citalopram dose, have a read up about it if youre interested?
(Have also read it can affect a nackered libido positively!!)

WellHello Wed 11-Dec-13 22:01:33

... the withdrawal symptoms have been likened to how bad you feel before you started taking them :/

Hello! I am doing this. smile

Three months of 20mg/10mg every other day. I started on Sunday. GP suggested going v slowly.

clio51 Wed 11-Dec-13 22:07:38

I havnt but know 2 PEEP who have one went back on it again the other is 4 weeks in and still feeling flat, headaches,aches just generally not to good going to give it another two weeks he is taking 5htp now to see if that helps.

But everybody is different, but take it really slowly don't drop by 10mg far to much. Get some 10mg and say drop to 15mg ie 1 1/2 tablets and see how you feel if you notice a big difference in yourself go back up. Try another time.
If you have a lot going on over Xmas I would personally leave it as they say when your relax calm to decrease.

DrHolmes Wed 11-Dec-13 22:07:40

I came off it by myself a few years ago. I was only on it for a year and think it was 20mg. I first tried cold turkey...did not work, was terrible. Got horrendous "head flutters" just do not even go there. I did lower to half then half of that then gradually every other day. Only took me a month. Good luck smile

I have failed once. blush

kotinka Wed 11-Dec-13 22:20:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kotinka Wed 11-Dec-13 22:22:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I don't understand how you can stop taking it and still be ok IYKWIM. I was scared to go on it and now I am scared to come off it.

kotinka Wed 11-Dec-13 22:29:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sorry kotinka yes-I was asking you. But if you aren't taking the tablets that make you feel better how does it work that you get back to normal?

123rd Wed 11-Dec-13 22:58:44

Hi everyone.exactly the same situation for me. Been on citrolpram 20mgs a day for a year now. My dr has been great and suggested staying on till the spring then going to see her to talk about coming off them. I feel a bloody site better then I did a year ago but think spring would be a better time to think about. And yes to wanting my sexdrive back!!!

JourneyThroughLife Wed 11-Dec-13 23:17:00

I did this but a few years back. I had been on citalopram for a year, the doctor wanted me to start cutting down by alternating the tablets (ie. a tablet every other day). I had done a lot of reading and undestood that I must go very slowly otherwise my symptoms would return. I decided not to follow my doctor's advice and do it far, far more slowly than he suggested.

I carried on taking tablets ever day, but every day I cut a tiny sliver of tablet off. I took a long time to progress to having 2/3rds of a tablet and then half a tablet. I began to save the pieces I'd cut off so that when I cut down even further I'd still have some tablet left to keep me going.

Over time I reduced further and further until it was only a tiny sliver I was actually taking each day; by then I began to realise there was little effect...eventually I felt I could stop. I still think this was the best way to do it and the safest for my body and my sanity. All in all it took me about 6 months but I would do the same again if I was ever back on the tablets.

kotinka Wed 11-Dec-13 23:21:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WellHello Wed 11-Dec-13 23:47:34

Its so great to hear about people gradually becoming more "themselves" and battling through to get there.
Journey what a great way to decrease your dosage, I may well do the same now.

clio51 Wed 11-Dec-13 23:54:32

Defo take your time! The slower the better imo less se

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