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Coming off citalopram

(21 Posts)
Puffinity Tue 26-Apr-16 22:33:18

Has anyone (successfully) done this? I've been on it for several years (was on prozac and then venlafaxine before this) and think I was on 20 at one point but can't really remember - I am now on 10. I get really annoying side-effects (no sex drive) so desperately want to come off it. I went to see my GP and got the same line I got a few years ago from a different GP (in a different country) - 'Take 10 one day, 5 the other for a week, then cut back further the following week.' I am assuming that anyone who has ever tried to come off antidepressants knows it is not that easy, and you need to take waaaay more time. Yesterday I took 5 and I got really tense, the same feeling I get when I forget to take a pill - a really tight jaw and tenseness in my arms. It lasted halfway through today, even though I took 10 this morning. My plan is to do 5-10-10-5-10-10 for as long as it takes for the withdrawal to subside and to then switch to 5-10-5-10. Haven't thought about what to do beyond that then.

I read a really good article about coming off antidepressants a while ago (unfortunately not in English), which made two really interesting points. Firstly, withdrawal symptoms are often hard to distinguish from the symptoms that made you take the pills in the first place, so feeling anxious/ jittery/ scared etc might not necessarily mean that your symptoms are returning. Secondly, the amount you reduce your dosage by needs to get smaller and smaller (so going from 20 to 15 is fine, but is a smaller step than going from 15 to 10, for example) - you might have to be on a really low (and officially clinically insignificant) dose for a long time before you stop taking the pills entirely, as going from 5 to zero means going cold turkey and is therefore definitely not the same as going from 10 to 5.

I know this is a long post, I was just curious to hear other people's opinions and thought I'd share what I knew about it, in the hope it helps. Look forward to hearing from you.

MingZillas Tue 26-Apr-16 22:38:38

Hi yes I've come off it before and then when I got pnd went back on it again.

Currently coming off it again. The trick is to reduce the dose by 2.5mg every month. You don't get any withdrawal symptoms or anything.

I was given the same shitty advice by gp many years ago about taking 10mg then 5 etc and you just go into withdrawal and think you're depressed again.

Best of luck, you can do it. I'm starting on 17.5mg tomorrow, down from 35mg smile

Eveninties Tue 26-Apr-16 22:42:18

No advice I'm afraid. Interested to know what people say though. I've recently cut down from 20mg to 10mg and I am more anxious and stressed but I do occasionally have a slight interest in sex now. This is a big improvement. I would like to come off then and hopefully get my sex drive back but scared in case my anxiety gets worse.

MingZillas Tue 26-Apr-16 22:49:48

Eveninties - 20mg to 10mg is too much of a jump. Please try reducing your dose by 2.5mg every month. I promise you this works. I read it in a book called Coming off Antidepressants and I have come stopped citalopram in the past before I had dd.

You have to break your tablets up. Ask for 10mg tablets and break them into 4 so you have 2.5mg doses.

Puffinity Tue 26-Apr-16 22:53:51

Hi Ming! Thanks for your advice! It's really encouraging to hear that people have done it! I had been thinking that alternating doses each day was maybe not the best idea, as it is too much of a change on the days with a lower dose otherwise. Stupid practical question: how do you cut the pills up? My 10mg pills are quite small and don't have a dividing line. I can cut them in half quite easily but beyond that it would be quite difficult to be precise I think, and I wouldn't want to be taking 6mg one day and 9 the other for example.

Pointless question: why are GPs so fuckinguseless with this? So many people are on this stuff and so many get crappy side effects, and anyway, wouldn't it be in the public interest for people not to be taking medication long-term? sigh...

Puffinity Tue 26-Apr-16 22:55:16

Forgot to mention: it's a bit of a reality check for me that this will take at least four months sad but good to know it takes at least a month on each dose to do it.

MingZillas Tue 26-Apr-16 23:01:20

No problem at all, I'm just happy I can tell a positive tale smile

Gp's definitely are not in the know about how to come off it! I remember feeling conned that there was a medical professional advising me how to stop the ad's ( which in itself is a big and scary decision to make!) then it all got screwed up as the advice was wrong! I felt like such a failure.

Don't worry about the dose - just break your 10mg pill in half then break it in half again. When you look at each piece, if it really is very uneven just chuck it in the loo and start again with a new tablet.

Good luck you'll be fine. I know what you mean about them killing your libido as well.

soimpressed Tue 26-Apr-16 23:07:43

I agree with others about breaking the tablets up and allowing a couple of weeks at each stage (or longer if you don't feel good). Even doing this, I had terrible withdrawal symptoms for over 2 weeks when I completely came off - very dizzy and light headed.

Eveninties Tue 26-Apr-16 23:16:29

Hiya ming! I said recently but actually it's been nearly 5 months now since I halved my dose. Moods still all over the place but worth it, I think, to have the slightest sexual interest back. I've been on 20mg on and off for 6 years- off during two pregnancies- and I can't remember what an orgasm feels like! Don't know when I should start cutting down? When I do I'll definitely do as you suggest this time.

Puffinity Tue 26-Apr-16 23:17:38

soimpressed But you pulled through I take it? Well done! If not, absolutely no shame in it! These pills are really strong and work on our minds, which makes it extra hard I think (I used to smoke and while it was a bitch to quit it doesn't mess with your head in the same way). I think your withdrawal at the end is what the article I read was about: the last bit is the hardest. 5 to 2.5 is a 50% reduction, but 2.5 to 0 is a 100% reduction and will give you cold turkey, even though in both cases you have reduced by 2.5mg. Apparently it's been in the news again (abroad that is), hopefully this is the beginning of a change in thinking.

Ming Will read that book when I get my e-reader, so excited, thanks!

Really loving the support on here! The ADs=weakness thinking is so ingrained in me (although I know it's stupid) so it is really nice to know there are others feeling the same way!

Eveninties Tue 26-Apr-16 23:20:47

Also a month after I reduced my dose I miscarried, so not sure whether my moods are medication dose related or hormone related.

Puffinity Tue 26-Apr-16 23:39:59

Even So sorry to hear that! flowers

Eveninties Tue 26-Apr-16 23:48:50

Thanks puff. All fine now just fed up with these crazy mood swings! Glad to know now to reduce by 2.5mg at a time- sounds a lot less scary than cold turkey after 5mg like gp suggested!

MingZillas Wed 27-Apr-16 05:29:27

Eveninities I'm so sorry to hear of your mc too sad

I had a mc before I had dd, I think sadly a lot of pregnancies can go this way particularly in the early stages.

You'll definitely know when you're ready to come off the tablets again. I still feel depressed actually even though I'm coming off them! However I'm a deep and constant thinker/analyser/worrier and know it's my home situation why I'm sad and that whatever dose I'm on won't make a difference!

Puffinity don't feel weak at all for needing the ad's. I think more people are on them than would admit to in general conversation, and I think it can make you who you are going through depression even though it's a right fucker flowers

Lolimax Wed 27-Apr-16 06:10:54

After 3 years on 20mgs I went cold turkey. I know it's against every medical advice going. I'm 12 days in and I'm doing ok. A little bit tearful and weird dreams but fine apart from that. I have propanolol so I'm taking that to stem the worst. I'm actually feeling better already.
I know I've probably got worse to come but fingers crossed. I really don't think it was doing anything for me.

cleopatraseyebrows Wed 27-Apr-16 18:02:57

The companies that make these drugs don't know how to get off them.... ever read the information leaflet? It says "do not stop taking this medication suddenly" but that's it.
That's because they never actually did trials on getting off these antidepressants. Bizarre, isn't it?
Take as long as you need, I know someone who took a full year to wean off 10mgs.

Stripes1985 Wed 27-Apr-16 21:10:44

I've never tried to come off it so no advice on that front but I take Citalopram in liquid form, measured by the drop, so 30mg is 12 drops, you could switch to drops so it's easier to reduce the dosage by a drop at a time rather than cutting up tablets?

Puffinity Wed 27-Apr-16 22:09:10

Ming was the book you read called Coming off Psychiatric Drugs: Successful withdrawal from neuroleptics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, Ritalin and tranquilizers by Peter Lehmann? Is it worth buying? My local library doesn't have it.

MingZillas Thu 28-Apr-16 13:48:16

Puffinity no it was by Joseph Glenmullen and is called Coming off Antidepressants. I bought a copy on Amazon when it was cheap but I've had a look and it's expensive now. I lent my copy to a friend who I no longer see or I would have posted you mine. I hope you can get a copy at your library.

Aleash Sat 30-Apr-16 13:45:34

I went from 20mgs alternative days. Then stopped. I had flu like symptoms, brain shock, waves of mixed emotions, full of energy and the tired. Angry and up for an argument. So decided to go back on the and take the advice of a Forumn here And reduce by 2.5mgs.

Puffinity Sun 01-May-16 18:19:24

Thank you for your really kind offer Ming. There is so much on the internet which GPs would do well to read, FFS, I'm going to try to manage without the book.

I decided to take your advice and reduce by 2.5. Today is the fourth day I'm on 7.5 mg and I am definitely experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I have a really tense/ tight jaw and mouth (which isn't mentioned anywhere, but which is the same I got when I started on citalopram), had an extremely vivid dream last night and have been extremely pissed off with DP twice for absolutely no reason today already, in between feeling super affectionate towards him, and cried earlier because I was upset about him having to deal with me being like this. It probably doesn't help that I had quite a bit to drink last night and am a bit premenstrual, which always makes me really impatient and irritable.

Anyone else willing to use this as a support thread for coming off ADs?

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