I'm almost at the end of my taper off Olanzapine/Zyprexa. I'm so happy to have made it. I wanted to let others know that it is do-able. The key, I feel, is going slow.
I originally was started on 10 mg of Zyprexa. I took it down to 5 mgs within 2 weeks and quit cold turkey at 8 weeks. Big mistake. I experienced a crashing depression that lasted about 3 months and then psychotic features were coming back that I think was a direct result of going cold turkey and not staying on the medication long enough for my thoughts to clear.
This time, I started tapering from 5 mgs in June 2015 Yes, I've taken 2.5 years to get here. Today, I am at .625 every 3 days. I cut a 5 mg tablet into 8 pieces. I just realized the other night that I am only taking 1 1/4 tablet PER MONTH!!! I can't believe it! I'm probably to a point now that I could stop but I want to keep pushing my days out. I want to do .625 everyt 4th day, 5th day and keep going until I am taking this tiny crumb once a week. That's when I plan to stop.
I have had only one problem and that was when I went under 2.5 mg/day, I experienced some depression. I was determined to press onward and felt it was just a withdrawal symptom. It passed in abou t 12 weeks and since then, I've been doing very well.
My sleep is not what it was before Zyprexa BUT I usually sleep a solid four hours before waking up having to go to the restroom and when I lay back down, I go right back to sleep for another 3/4 hours. I certainly do not feel sleep deprived.
I just want others to know that you can have a pretty good taper on Olanzapine...just go slow. I stayed at least 3 months, if not more, at my drops. I never dropped until I felt absolutely good at any one dosage. I also was honest with myself about going back on Olanzapine if the need ever arose. My husband and I were also on the same page about what symptoms were tolerable and which were not and would mean a return to the medication.
Tapering an antipsychotic is a journey, not a race. Go slow...let your body adjusts slowly between drops...and absolutely do not feel bad if you have to take a little more from time to time. A few times along this taper, I had to take a larger piece or went back up on my dose for a week or two. It was all about me feeling good through this taper, not a race to get off.
I will update as I drop further. I wasn't planning on telling my story. I think a lot of us with positive tapers don't post them on the internet as we are busy getting on with life. I believe that's why there are more scary stories. People are afraid or suffering and they get on the internet looking for help.
I decided to post my story at several places because I see so many that do have bad experiences tapering. Again, it is my firm belief that the slower the taper, the easier the taper.
I tapered going from 5 mgs to 2.5 mgs to 2.5 mgs every other day. Then, I went to 1.25 mg every day. Then, to .625 every day to .625 every other day to .625 every third day. Remember that I stayed at each drop at least 3 -4 months and stayed at my 2nd drop for about 8 months! I took me that long to feel really comfortable there. This is the KEY....slowly reducing, staying at those dosages for many months, listening to your body instead of forcing your body
Good luck to all who are tapering