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Citalopram withdrawal advice please.

(26 Posts)
nobodysfool Fri 18-Aug-17 21:18:53

My mum was on a low 10mg dose about a year ago. She has recently seen her GP And asked to come off of them. I have just come home from holiday to find her quite unwell. She has been very dizzy, massively tired , feels like her brain is being shaken and electric shocks in her fingers. Yesterday she saw the nurse at the doctors who is doing a blood test on Wed and did an ECG there and then Mum asked if it could be to do with coming off the citalopram and was dismissed . I have asked her when she started feeling rough and it is around the date she came off citalopram . Having done a quick search I have read you shouldn't just stop taking them as your body can react badly. Her GP didn't tell her this and cancelled her repeat prescription. Do these sound like the symptoms you can get? If so how long do they last ? Any advice?

feathermucker Fri 18-Aug-17 21:24:00

I don't have anything particularly helpful to say, I'm afraid, but im.a long term user of Citalopram and know that the withdrawal can be horrific.....it certainly has been for me when I've been off them.

Even at 10mg, it should be done gradually.

highinthesky Fri 18-Aug-17 21:25:23

How long ago did DM stop the citalopram?

dementedma Fri 18-Aug-17 21:26:37

I have been on and off Citalopram several times. Coming off the low dose has never been too bad for me. Feel a bit crap but nothing like you describe

nobodysfool Fri 18-Aug-17 21:27:50

Highinthesky - about 3 weeks ago.

Pinkgeek Fri 18-Aug-17 21:28:04

10mg is the lowest dose and when I've withdrawn in the past from 20mg I end taking 10mg every other day for 2 weeks so that may have been better than stopping immediately.
However, I am not medically trained so I may be talking rubbish!

kittybiscuits Fri 18-Aug-17 21:31:46

She was ill-advised if told to stop it immediately. It needs phased withdrawal. I would see a different GP to consider whether after 3 weeks it's better to stick with cold turkey or reintroduce a gradual withdrawal (probably the former TBH). But yes those symptoms could definitely be related.

Crispmonster1 Fri 18-Aug-17 21:33:03

Your meant to take a lower and lower dose. From 10mg go to 10mg one day and then 5mg the next for a few days then drop from 10mg to 5mg then skip a day etc. It should be done very slowly so your brain can take over.

highinthesky Fri 18-Aug-17 21:33:04

In that case I would leave it be, after 3 weeks there is little point in trying to manage the side effects DM is experiencing by tapering the dose. Withdrawal side effects such as those you describe are usually self-limiting and DM should be over the worst of it now, or within a couple of weeks.

Just keep an eye on her for now and provide reassurance. Ask her to seek advice from her pharmacist if she is still concerned.

Violetcharlotte Fri 18-Aug-17 21:42:39

I take citalopram and I'm attempting to come off if very slowly. I've reduced from 20mg to 10mg to 5mg over the last year. If I miss a dose I get very dizzy, anxious and have problems sleeping. My GP has advised to reduce to 1 every 2 days, then 1 every 3 days, etc. Not quite brace enough yet.

Eryri1981 Fri 18-Aug-17 22:07:38

I was on 10mg citalopram for about 9 months when I decided I was ready to come off it. I had a horrendous time with increased anxiety and vivid dreams and nightmares, to the point that I was exhausted waking so many times a night. I had to come of it in tiny increments and it took a further 9 months in the end.

I bought a pill cutter and cut the pills into halves and quarters (very fiddly), and IIRC I think i did a 7.5 mg then back on 10mg for 6 days,
1 day 7.5mg 5 days 10mg,
1 day 7.5mg 4 days 10 mg
1 day 7.5mg 3 days 10mg
1 day 7.5mg 2 days 10mg
1day 7.5mg 1 day 10mg
2 days 7.5mg 1 day 10 mg
3 days 7.5mg 1 day 10 mg
etc. until I was on dose of 7.5mg, and then I would stay at that dose for as long as I needed until I was happy I had no withdrawal symptoms, then started again dropping from 7.5mg to 5mg ; 5mg to 2.5mg; and finally 2.5mg to nothing.

It felt like it took forever, but a few times I took it too fast and the dreams/nightmares were horrendous (I did have a pet brown bear called Bruno, turned out he was a she and had a baby bear). The dream world could be quite amusing if it wasn't so exhausting!!!

I think it is possible to get citalopram in liquid form to make incremental dose reduction easier, don't know how easy it would be to persuade a GP to prescribe this though.

Orangebird69 Fri 18-Aug-17 22:12:49

I went from 40mg a day to nothing. It was awful. The dizziness was dreadful. But I'd moved away from my original Dr and didn't want to go through another Dr to get another prescription... it was a good couple of weeks before it calmed down. Agree your mum was ill advised - I think you're supposed to go down to a daily low rise then down again to every other day etc. Go back to the drs. Cold turkey is not good. flowers

nobodysfool Fri 18-Aug-17 23:15:29

Thank you all for your replies .
Wish our GP's were open over the weekend. I'll call first thing Monday.

nobodysfool Sat 19-Aug-17 20:54:10

Mums had an awful day. Head zapping and dizzy as hell . She is very confused and getting incredibly upset. I feel useless . Roll on Monday when the doctors are open.

CaptWentworth Sat 19-Aug-17 20:58:11

Reading your last post, I would phone 111. I think she needs to see a doctor before Monday.

HundredMilesAnHour Sat 19-Aug-17 21:03:58

I went cold turkey from 40mg to nothing (like a previous poster). It was hell on earth and gave me an understanding of why drug addicts find it so difficult to stay clean as the withdrawal is so bad. But I stuck it out and two weeks later, I felt great and was back to my pre-medicated normal self. But I am not a fan of anti-depressants and have only ever taken them for the minimum time that I can get away with.

soimpressed Sat 19-Aug-17 21:04:28

I felt terrible when I came off even though I did it really gradually. It took around two weeks before I felt well again.

Violetcharlotte Sat 19-Aug-17 21:06:44

OP maybe speak to the pharmacist? They should be able to advise.

sunglassally Sat 19-Aug-17 21:13:09

Hope you all don't mind me asking this.

Why do people want to come off a drug that is helping so much, esp with the unpleasant reactions to withdrawal.

I ask because a friend is doing this and is not a well woman at the moment. She thinks it's because she is menopausal, but said that withdrawing from Citalopram will enable her to take HRT. is this right.

I do not want to be the harridan telling her to stay on the anti D meds, she was such a different person on them, but now..... sadly not.

Violetcharlotte Sat 19-Aug-17 21:21:07

I want to come off them as I've been on them for 4 years now and on and off for 10 year before that. I'm on a v low dose now (5mg), but I decided I wanted to come off them as I was feeling fine, but not really 'feeling' things if you get what I mean? They sort of mask everything.

Now I'm on the low dose though I do feel things and often get real lows (although not as extreme as before I was taking them at all) so I'm scared to stop taking them completely.

I don't think I'll ever be in a place where I can cope without them unless I can get the right help to deal with the unresolved issue I have.

HundredMilesAnHour Sat 19-Aug-17 21:22:18

Why do people want to come off a drug that is helping so much, esp with the unpleasant reactions to withdrawal.

For me it was because I only see anti-depressants as a short-medium term solution that enables you to get to a better mental position where you can take other steps to manage depression (such as CBT, exercise, change jobs/lifetstyle etc). As soon as I felt well enough/had some of my mojo back,I wanted to get off them as I was aware how sh*t the anti-depressants made my actual body feel.

I appreciate that for some people they take anti-depressants long term (I have family members who have been taking 10mg of citalopram every day for over a decade) but that isn't for me. I wanted off as soon as I was ready. That was 5 years ago and I haven't had any further episodes of depression. Despite working in a very stressful job/environment, CBT really gave me the tools to manage my feelings/reactions and I haven't looked back since.

Violetcharlotte Sat 19-Aug-17 21:25:41

Hundred hope you don't mind me asking, but were you offered CBT on the NHS or was it private?

HundredMilesAnHour Sat 19-Aug-17 22:15:47

My CBT was private. I was very lucky and had really good private health insurance through my employer and they covered it all. It changed my life and I realise how lucky I am/was.

I have a friend who has been on a waiting list for NHS CBT for 8 months so far and is still waiting (this is in Tower Hamlets)

antwaki Sat 19-Aug-17 23:14:53

I really feel for your mum, that GP has given incorrect advice. There is plenty of info re tapering off any anti depressants and doctors should be more careful. This symptoms are exactly what I experienced. I now do every other day at slightly lower dose, then lower dose for few weeks, then every other day at lower dose again until at 5mg and then use liquid citalopram till only using 1 or 2 mg every other day and then stop. It feels grim if done with no taper and the head zaps are a thing - scary and very uncomfortable. If I were your mum I'd be making a complaint after she feels better. Probably after 3 weeks it would make her feel as bad to resume any dose now so may as well just wait it out. Longest I felt really unwell after just stopping and not tapering was about a month. Feel cross and sad for the totally unnecessary suffering this careless care has given you both. angry

nobodysfool Sun 20-Aug-17 03:39:47

It's 3.30 am and I have jut called 111 and explained what's been going on. They have said that without speaking to my mum they can't make an assessment and send her to an OOH

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