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Has Anyone Used Zoloft To Help Wean?


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#1 sandinafh

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 10:55 AM

I recently visited a psychiatrist who is helping me to get off my Cymbalta so I can get pregnant. (I am 43 and have been on it for more than 10 years). I am currently on 20mg of Cymbalta and the plan is for me to start taking a very low dose of the Zoloft for a few days, stop the Cymbalta, and then stop the Zoloft about a week later. Has anyone tried this method or something similar?

 

Thanks!

Sandina


#2 Carleeta

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 12:08 PM

Sandi.....Welcome

 

Here you will meet wonderful members who are very caring, loving, thoughtful, and quite knowledgeable in coming of cymbalta.  To answer your first question concerning anyone tried coming off cymbalta with the use of Zoloft is yes.  Although, I do not suggest the method your psychiatrist suggested.  There is a very successful method and it will be explained more when Fishinghat pops in sometime today, as well as others popping in.  As I mentioned earlier the members here are eager to help in any way they can along with sharing their experiences.  Please keep us all informed after you hear back from others very soon.  Best of luck to you Sandi....


#3 fishinghat

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 01:30 PM

Hi Sandi
 
I am glad you stopped by. Your dr has a good idea but the wrong method. First of all we normally recommend bead counting. This is where you open the capsule (usually 300 or so beads inside) and remove 2 or 3 beads more each day. This provides for a slow and more controlled withdrawal. Do not underestimate Cymbalta withdrawal. It can be severe and last anywhere from 3 to 12 months and even more. For many of us (including me) it is so severe it was necessary to change over to an ssri and then wean off of it over time. Lexapro, Zoloft, and Prozac are the substitutes of choice for most drs. BUT while your dr was on the right tract with the Zoloft, the timing was way off. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for the Zoloft to fully kick in. It can take up to a year to wean off Zoloft but the withdrawal is less severe than Cymbalta (typically). The good news is that you are only on 20 mg Cymbalta. I am thinking he will put you on around 50 mg of Zoloft to ease the Cymbalta withdrawal (that is the minimum therapeutic dose) which may be enough to successfully stop the 20 mg of the C. But to cold turkey stop the Zoloft after just one week is a little aggressive to me. I would taper off over a 2 or 3 month period.

 

Just a note. I now you are planning on becoming pregnant so I must assume you are wanting this too go quickly. The worse case senerio is to go ahead with the Zoloft. A low dose may not be enough for the withdrawal and you may have to go up on it a little.

 

May I ask, what was your original dose of Cymbalta and how long did it take you to taper down to 20 mg?


#4 sandinafh

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 02:03 PM

Thanks to both of you for your fast reply! I was originally prescribed Cymbalta in 2005 at 30mg, which I stayed on for about a year. At one point I went up to 60mg but I quickly went back down to 30. I think I have been doing the 20mg for more than 5 years now. 

 

I appreciate your input and suggestions - I am very nervous about taking two meds (Cymbalta and Zoloft) together.

 

I am going to try and make sure I get plenty of sleep, lots of exercise, lots of water and I'll be taking a daily dose of Omegas via fish oil. I will let you know how it goes!


#5 fishinghat

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 02:18 PM

Taking the two together runs the risk of a serious condition called serotonin syndrome BUT your dose is low on the Cymbalta and the Zoloft dose won't be very high either with the Cymbalta ending promptly. This is well within the 'cross over' transitions that drs use to change from one AD to another. You should be OK. The first sign of this condition is a high fever so you would be aware of it immediately if it occurred. Normal cross-over is a 3 to 4 week period phasing in one and out with another.


#6 sandinafh

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 02:23 PM

Thanks, that does help! I am so glad to have this community for support.


#7 fishinghat

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 03:25 PM

By the way. just across the border from you in Missouri. Welcome.


#8 sandinafh

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 01:25 PM

So I took my first Zoloft yesterday. By the way, I had it wrong... I am prescribed a HALF of a 50mg Zoloft which I am supposed to take in conjunction with the Cymbalta for 3 days, then stop the Cymbalta, then continue the 25mg Zoloft for 12 more days or so. 

 

I have such bad anxiety about taking any kind of new prescriptions that it was hard for me to tell if it was the Zoloft affecting me or just... me! I was so anxious about it I didn't take my Cymbalta last night as per usual. Now I am in a tizzy about what to do today - do I keep taking the Zoloft and then take my Cymbalta for 3 more days with it, or should I just see what happens if I don't take any more Cymbalta at all and just finish out the Zoloft?

 

I did call my dr to see if he can get a formulary to make me a 10mg Cymbalta. I feel like I would rather just taper down off the Cymbalta versus mess with all this back and forth, multi-drug business. It makes me nervous!


#9 fishinghat

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 04:17 PM

Stick with the plan the dr gave you. It should be fine and is a typical cross-over for such a small dose. Three days with Cymbalta and Zoloft 25 mg) and then sto the Cymbalta and then continue the Zoloft for 12 more days. This is not a bad plan. By the way, if you change your mind, you can make a 20 mg Cymbalta into a 10 mg by pouring out half the beads. For now stick with the drs plan. It should be OK.


#10 sandinafh

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 05:11 PM

Thanks I really appreciate the reassurance  :D


#11 sandinafh

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 11:28 AM

Hello everyone - I'm checking in to update you on my status. I am thrilled to report that one week ago today was the last time I took Cymbalta. I started taking 25mg of Zoloft two days before stopping it, and I've continued the Zoloft at 25mg every day since then. I was "wobbly" for a couple of days - the second day my head felt really fuzzy and disconnected. I had some symptoms like diarrhea and some very mild anxiety, but every day I wake up feeling stronger, happier and... well, BETTER! I have dreaded Cymbalta withdrawal for so long and put it off for so long, and I hate to jinx myself, but I honestly feel great. I know it's only been a week, but I would think that if I was going to feel bad I would have felt it by now.

 

I give God all the praise and glory for my smooth transition and deliverance from Cymbalta. I am so very confident now that I will be able to continue to reduce my dosage of Zoloft and be FREE from these drugs at last! Thank you Jesus! 


#12 fishinghat

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 12:41 PM

Fantastic Sandi. I too will thank God for your great step forward. If at some time you feel like coming off the Zoloft that would be great. The nerves affected by the ADs take month to fully heal so enjoy your new found stability and maybe a year from now you can start tweaking that back as well. Please keep us posted on your progress.


#13 gail

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Posted 31 May 2016 - 03:42 PM

Hi Sandy,

Thanks for updating, I appreciate this. Zoloft 25 is a low dose,and it could do the trick!

Thank God you were only on 20mg of cymbalta. Pretty lucky here! So is this new baby to come!

Do keep us posted. I hope you do well on this low dosage for a while, as I don't think this would hurt the new baby. See you!

#14 sandinafh

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:16 AM

Hi there - checking in. It has now been 4 weeks since I took my last Cymbalta. I have been taking 25mg of Zoloft daily since then. I was doing so great - felt free and no major side affects other than not-so-pleasant trips to the bathroom. Last Thursday I started feeling kind of icky. I can only describe it as a general sense of malaise. I was better Friday and then this weekend the old panic disorder sensations started to set back in. I started to feel very uncomfortably anxious, but not in a panic attack sort of way. Last night I did 20 minutes of cardio and it did help me to feel better. Then throughout the night last night I felt like I was vibrating almost, I had nightmares, and this morning I had to force myself to go in to work. 

 

I've been through all this before I went on Cymbalta, so it's not new, it's just been a long time since I had to deal with it. I keep telling myself this is only temporary, but there's a part of me (the scared part) that is wondering what if it isn't? What if this is just how I feel off of Cymbalta?  :(

 

Can anyone give me any advice if this gets better or not?

 

Thanks!

Sandina


#15 fishinghat

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:50 AM

Glad to hear from you Sandina,

 

Sseveral things come to mind. First, 4 to 6 weeks for Zoloft to kick in so you may get some more relief from it BUT on the other hand any the side effects may start showing around this time. It may be that you are at the point where the Cymbalta withdrawal is nearing its peak in which case it should wane with time. You can either wait patiently to see if it fades, increase the Zoloft to see if the effects get worse (then Zoloft is causing the problem) or maybe get better (the symptoms would get better if it is Cymbalta withdrawal).


#16 fishinghat

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 10:52 AM

By the way, I used Zoloft and didn't have these issues but was on a larger dose BUT everyone reacts differently to ssri/snri.


#17 sandinafh

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 03:06 PM

Hello again. Yesterday was not a good day. By 4pm I had to leave work and come home. I was feeling very anxious (put not like a panic attack) and experiencing that fuzzy, "de-personalization" feeling really bad. I called my doctor and he said that he didn't think that was a symptom of the Cymbalta withdrawal. He recommended either going back on the Cymbalta or upping the Zoloft to the full 50mg. I really don't want to go back on Cymbalta if I can avoid it so I opted for higher Zoloft. 

 

After taking an additional 25mg of the Zoloft last night, I started to feel better. I didn't go in to work, but I was fine today until just a couple of hours ago when I started feeling that fuzzy, buzzing-head depersonalization feeling again. I am so frustrated and scared at this point. I just want to feel balanced again. 

 

Do you think I should "even out" quickly by staying on this higher dose of Zoloft? Am I feeling this way because the Cymbalta is finally leaving my system? My doctor did speculate that perhaps the small dose of Zoloft to mask the withdrawal symptoms actually prolonged them. Any advice?

 

Thanks,

Sandina


#18 fishinghat

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 04:49 PM

Hi Sandina

 

I would say that this is just some of the Cymbalta withdrawal 'getting past' the Zoloft. Now whether or not you can handle that level of discomfort or not is up to you. Remember that the further up you go on Zoloft the more Zoloft withdrawal you will have later (although that is better than Cymbalta withdrawal). Personally I would stay on the 25 mg and every few days when It gets to much take one 50 mg capsule so I can get a little breather.


#19 FiveNotions

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 05:08 PM

Sandi, I'm with FH on the approach to take ...

 

Go easy on yourself ... give yourself permission to feel crappy ... it's okay, it's part of the process ... get lots of rest and relaxation, and (if you can) take some time off from work as needed ... your brain and body need time and rest to adjust to the changing doses of the drug(s) ... you're doing great, you're getting into the dosing down process ... just hang in there !

 

Are you taking the basic supplements we recommend? (Omega 3, multi vitamin, B complex, and chelated magnesium) ... also, drinking lots of fluids ... water, juices, herb tea (try to stay away from caffeine) ...

 

Keep us posted, you can do this !   :)


#20 sandinafh

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Posted 21 June 2016 - 05:36 PM

Thanks fishinghat and FiveNotions... I certainly appreciate the reassurance and advice! I am going to stick with the 50mg Zoloft until I've evened out more, and then try and cut back on that. 

 

I have been drinking LOTS of water, which is hard for me since I usually don't. No coffee or caffiene and yes, I have been taking a multi-vitamin, a B-complex and doing 20 minutes on my exercise bike every night, which really helps. I do need to get some Omega 3 (just ran out of my fish oil) and I'll look into the magnesium!

 

Thanks and bless you!

Sandina


#21 sandinafh

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 03:55 PM

My brain feels like there's a straw shoved into the middle of it, and at the other end there's someone sucking on it like when you try to suck the last bit of liquid from a glass of ice.  :blink: http://www.hark.com/...bottom-pe583701


#22 FiveNotions

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 04:44 PM

HAHAHAHA ... not laughing at you, Sandi ... laughing at that sound ... and wishing I'd thought of that description back when the straw was shoved into the middle of my brain !    :P


#23 sandinafh

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 11:45 AM

Okay so I'm officially checking in to report that I'm feeling 99% better than I was. I had a rough week last week, but I have been exercising, taking Omega 3's, drinking lots of water and taking a B complex on top of my multivitamin. There was a point last week that I thought I was going to have to go to a mental hospital, the depersonalization was so bad. But I made it through. I kept telling myself I paid good money in college for drugs to make me feel that way.... just pretend you're high and try to enjoy it (yeah right!). I still have the occasional anxiety or brain fog moments, but over all I feel great.

 

So I am Cymbalta free as of May 26th, and I'm quite happy being on 50mg of Zoloft for now. I feel like that will be MUCH easier to wean off of once I'm stable.

 

I want to thank you all so much for this forum, for your help and advice, and for your support. You truly got me through some tough times. Discontinuing Cymbalta was one of my greatest fears!

 

God Bless You, 

Sandina


#24 FiveNotions

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 03:32 PM

oh, how wonderful, Sandina, CONGRATULATIONS !!!   :)

 

You've got so much to live for ... once you're off the zoloft, you'll be drug-free, and ready to welcome your baby into your new life !


#25 Carleeta

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 06:56 PM

Congratulations.  You are now cymbalta free and seem to be handling your withdrawal symptoms very well.  We are always happy to hear the success stories.  Please come back and share your progress with us...... :)





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