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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 21-Jan-14 09:02:00

I haven't had a very encouraging start with cutting the dose. I am feeling a bit odd; a bit 'unreal' at times (not particularly unpleasant though), a bit irritable and quite mood swingy. I didn't think I would have any symptoms from taking 10mg every three days as I have missed the odd dose completely before without any ill effect. I also woke at 2am feeling a bit panicky last night, which hasn't happened for ages.
Hard to know if it is psychological?
Anyway I am definitely going to take it slowly.

NatashaGurdin Mon 20-Jan-14 07:54:40

I think I'm still the same Arcadia. I am due to see my GP for a medication review around about February time so will discuss the way forward then, hopefully the weather will be improving so my SAD won't be getting me down when I am trying to move forward.

Arcadia Fri 17-Jan-14 20:34:46

Spoke to my GP and am now going to start cutting down, am starting by taking 10mg every three days, with 20mg on the other days, until it work down to alternate days, then do 10mg on two days and 20mg every three days, until I am down to 10 and so on.

I wanted to do 15s but when I got the 10mg tablets they are tiny and I can't really cut them in half.

It sounds silly but I am looking forward to having a good cry soon!

How is everyone else doing?

NatashaGurdin Sun 05-Jan-14 00:28:46

I think I know what you mean about positive feelings Arcadia, when I was on the higher dose I felt more 'flat' so I suppose more normal feelings are coming back on the lower dose. I suppose the current feelings of 'flatness' are perhaps due to the SAD because of the weather and lack of sunlight then which will hopefully change when there is more sunlight! This was originally why I was taking St John's Wort and it worked for quite a while but then the miscarriage, ill health and everything at work happened and I suppose it just wasn't enough and I needed something a bit stronger to cope. Still don't seem to be able to cry though but I think previous posters have mentioned this symptom so perhaps it is not an uncommon one.

Arcadia Fri 03-Jan-14 12:54:40

I don't know about the damping down. I still get positive feelings. When bad things happen I am just able to think 'oh well' and let it go, after initially feeling pissed off. I think I am more like a 'normal' person on citalopram than I am usually, in that I react to things a bit less strongly.

I just feel an urge to get myself off them now because the things that were stressing me out when I went on them are no longer issues, my life is a lot more settled now. However I now worry about my ability to deal with stress without them which is silly because I managed to do so for 38 years, and through some much rougher times than when I went on them.

Am just putting a bit of a 'plan' in place for the next few months to ensure I stay on good form.

NatashaGurdin Thu 02-Jan-14 22:49:27

Thank you Arcadia.

I think it might be the winter because I do suffer with SAD when the days are dull and dark.

Well I did think that 47 was a bit young! I don't think I've even entered the perimenopause yet as I don't have any other symptoms apart from the libido one and my periods are still as regular as they always have been. I think I will have to ask my GP when I see him for my review as I think he mentioned there was a hormone test they could do. I suppose it could be low iron levels which I've had in the past and perhaps the Citalopram is just the 'icing on the cake' as it were contributing to but not causing this symptom.

I wonder if Citalopram is so effective at treating the symptoms it damps everything down to the extent that all 'normal' feeling goes like the sedatives that are sometimes referred to as 'chemical coshs'.

I've never sought help/advice from an online group before but it seems that a lot of posters have remarkably similar symptoms with this drug so it seems that even if we feel alone when dealing with it we aren't actually.

Arcadia Thu 02-Jan-14 22:21:58

Well done maudpringle so you have suffered no ill effects yet
that's great!

Hi natasha sorry to hear what you have been through. Getting down to 10mg is a real achievement. I am feeling tired and 'woolly' and don't Know if that is winter or the citalopram.

I am not an expert but don't think your libido should be dropping due to age at 47!

maudpringle Thu 02-Jan-14 17:30:48

Have been taking 15 mg down from 20mg since christmas day.
Not a massive reduction I admit but I dont appear to be having any side effects and as pp have mentioned, slowly is the best way.
Happy New Year to you all wine

NatashaGurdin Wed 01-Jan-14 23:28:51

I am currently on 10 Citalopram having come down from 40 in the past two years, I think I've been on 10 for the last 4 - 6 months and I'm trying to decide if I should come off it completely. I'm due to see my GP for a review in February.

I'm thinking about coming off of it as I feel that even such a small dose is somehow dulling my feelings although on the other hand it could also be SAD because of the dark days. My GP thinks I have an anxious personality rather than an anxiety disorder as such and at first it really helped, is it a sign that you no longer need it if you feel it is holding you back?

It took me a long time to admit that I needed something stronger than the St Johns Wort I was taking (with my GP's knowledge) but I wonder if these things are finite?

I lost my job (I worked for a local authority) because the way I was treated by them over an RSI injury and a miscarriage caused a breakdown. I think they wanted to get rid of me without paying redundancy as I had been there a long time and they thought that I wouldn't protest because I was ill and the reason I think this is that I was prepared to take them to an industrial tribunal but at the 11th hour they offered a settlement which I accepted on the advice of my solicitor as it was very close to what I would have got in redundancy (I also got some equipment that was purchased for my RSI and a reference).

The other reason I am thinking of coming off it is that my libido is non existent and I would like to regain that if possible although it is possible that it is my age that is affecting that! (I'm 47). I thought that coming down to 10 might help this but it seems it hasn't.

I need to seriously look for work and I wondered if coming off it might help me focus my mind on that as well, I just feel as though my mind is full of cotton wool at the moment.

violator Sun 29-Dec-13 20:25:17

working9while5 I feel the same.
Since first being prescribed an SSRI in October 2011 I've done a huge amount of reading and research into them and I never, ever want to take one again. In fact I know now that the antid hindered me and gave me horrific side effects that GPs just don't know about.
After all, nobody knows how they work! Serotonin is mostly created in the gut, not the brain.

Anyway, I was so scared of withdrawal, given my awful reaction to starting them, that I began cutting 10mgs Escitalopram in half way back in July.
Cut the 5mgs in half in September and since the start of December have been cutting a 2.5mg in half. I'm taking a sliver at the moment!

I found going from 10 to 5 a bit tough for a few days, my mood plummeted. It did settled within a week or so.

Now the mood is fine but I feel queasy a lot, like pregnancy nausea. Very vivid dreams too.

I need and want to stop completely but a little afraid of what will happen. I do know though that it'll be just withdrawal symptoms and won't confuse it with a resurgence of depression or anxiety.

working9while5 Sun 29-Dec-13 19:20:00

I am reading 'Cracked: Why Psychiatry Does More Harm Than Good' and I think I will never take them again tbh unless suicidal. The more I've looked into it and reflected I don't think they are half the wonder drug I once believed. I am glad they are there to take the edge off especially for anyone in torment but when I look back over the whole course of my depression right back to teen years when I wandered the streets with pills in my pockets and sporadically overdosed on pain meds I'm just not sure ADs actually made an appreciable difference that wasn't just about flattening the intensity. ...

I sort of regret taking them when ds2 was so little because I felt so little.. before he was born I was in torment but I could feel. I have found it such a relief to have real feelings of proper love and fun again even though I hurt and worry more too. I don't know if it was like this for anyone else but I just wouldn't want to experience that emotional blunting again unless I was afraid for my life. Very relieved to be off.

Arcadia Sun 29-Dec-13 16:36:07

madasa it sounds like your GP was a bit gung-ho about it. That is why I think, better to speak to those who have done it / are doing it. I once had a GP swear to me that zopiclone was completely non- addictive hmm.

I am a bit impatient to start the cutting down now but really feel I should speak to my GP first just to do it properly, even though I probably won't take her advice re dosage for reasons given above!

Welldone Dorrisbuttons that is a big achievement. Great to have some sun too, I have managed to get out for a good walk nearly every day over Christmas.

That sounds good Manic sounds like you are generally run down rather than side effects. I usually get like that by Christmas time but seem to avoided it this year.

ManicMinor Sat 28-Dec-13 18:24:37

(MangerMinor here, have reverted to non-Xmas name!) - Well I'm now two weeks on from reducing from 20mg to 10mg, and I'm finally feeling better, not so tired and the dizziness has passed. I've been under the weather with mouth ulcers and sore throat, but pretty sure that's a separate thing. Hope you've all been managing ok.

Orangeanddemons Fri 27-Dec-13 18:52:34

I feel much better on a reduced dose too

working9while5 Fri 27-Dec-13 12:29:46

I came off 100mg sertraline from July to Sept this year, last pill 21st Sept.

Did 75mg for three weeks, then 50 for about six, then 25mg until eventually stopping. The bit on 25mg and after was a little tough but that was also because I had just started back to work.

Feel much better off them if totally honest.

DorisButtons Fri 27-Dec-13 12:18:28

Thank you Arcadia Day 14 and the symptoms have lessened significantly thank goodness! I've told my husband if I ever need to go back on AD's to remind me NOT citalopram. I can well believe your friend had a good reaction to CT - I came off effexor easier than this stuff - we all deal with it differently.

Mentally I'm doing well, in fact as I type the sunshine is streaming through the windows so all is good in the world. smile

madasa Fri 27-Dec-13 10:45:31

I'm glad you started this thread op. I am on 40 mg and trying to come off them. I tried a few months ago but too quickly (GPs advice) I went from 40 to 30 one month and was ok but when I went from 30 to 20 the next month it was horrendous.

So now I am doing it my way. I have a pill cutter and am reducing by 5mg a month. Have been on 35mg for about 2 weeks and so far so good.

Hopefully this could be a good place for us all to get and give support whilst coming off this drug.

It did save my life but I just want to be free of it now,

Arcadia Fri 27-Dec-13 09:31:14

Thanks perspective and orangeanddemons it is good to hear from people who have been through it and come out the other side!

varya that sounds really difficult, has your GP not suggested an alternative?

doris one of my friend advocated cold turkey (having done it herself) but that is very brave! Hope the symptoms wear off soon.

I had a good Christmas, although some of the usual family tensions. Now need to get the house sorted for the family descending today!

DorisButtons Wed 25-Dec-13 16:40:53

Day 12 of cold turkey and I feel miserable and am having a horrible withdrawal. I've got brain shivers, cramps in my lower calves, I'm tired all the time but bouts of insomnia too, my balance and coordination are off.

I feel "relatively happy" though - I just need this to pass.

I'm so angry with myself for getting pushed into taking citalopram. I had a horrible withdrawal back in 2005 but of course my brain wasn't working a few months ago so I said "oh yes, lovely thak you" rather than "tbh, I could wean myself off crack cocaine easier".

Have some weed, have some booze. It's the brain shivers which upset me the most I think. <sigh>

How's everyone else doing?

Varya Wed 25-Dec-13 12:03:17

On 40 mg Citalopram and my GP told me to come off it after Christmas, but I think an alternative needs to be provided as I am unable to process what has gone on in my life without an antidepressant.

Orangeanddemons Wed 25-Dec-13 12:02:30

I'm weaning off paroxetine. Down from 20 to alternate 5 and 10's ATM. Feel transformed! Have motivation, energy, enthusiasm!

Even the eating is returning to normal. The stuff made me eat my head off!

perspective Wed 25-Dec-13 11:50:33

Happy Christmas to all you brave ladies. I had a lot of support this time last year when I was depressed and on Citalopram. I wanted to come on to share that I recently completely stopped. Had a few wobbles, worries on some bad days, but you know what? It's fine. And good to have normal feelings back.

Persevere, slowly as you need to. I reduced by 2.5mg per fortnight, had some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, some anxiety, sleep problems but they soon passed.

Citalopram saved my life I'm convinced, but I'm pleased to be off and coping.

Good luck to you all and Merry Christmas!

Sparklingbrook Tue 24-Dec-13 11:49:58

YY I want to FEEL 2014 properly. smile But that's probably the scary bit.

maudpringle Tue 24-Dec-13 11:26:40

Thank yousmile
Exactly the same here!
No lows but no highs either.
Sometimes it is nice to really FEEL something.
Have a lovely Christmas all.

Sparklingbrook Tue 24-Dec-13 11:14:47

Arcadia, I am glad you said that. I have not cried since I started on them in July 2011. Tears have welled up a bit, but no proper crying. At all.

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