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lucy81799 lucy81799

Almost at the end of Olanzapine/Zyprexa!

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.  idea

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 bodyexclaim

Good luck to all who are tapering lol

19 Replies

  • apu91247 apu91247 lucy81799

    By using other days you are making your central nervous system per surviving antidepressants site we should reduce slow and stay on same dose continuously.

    • lucy81799 lucy81799 apu91247

      I do not agree with SurvivingAntidepressants that their way is the only way.  I am now 2 weeks out from my last dose, took 2.5 years to taper and seem to be doing quite well.  No insomnia, no ill effects.  Please keep their depressing views off of other websites where we attempt to remain positive.  I tried to be a member there and the whining and constantly scanning for side effects, and the suppression of free speech is too much to bear there. Good luck to you.

  • zuzana17 zuzana17 lucy81799

    Hi Lucy,

    When tapering down any withdrawals? such as anxiety, anxious? if yes, how long does it last?

    About week ago I finished my 1.5olanzapine and having bit of difficult time, but I think it's getting maybe better.


  • j.t.42067 j.t.42067 lucy81799

    thanks lucy. i have found that tapering slowly is the key too. it took me a year to get from 20 milligrams to 1.25 milligrams i will probably do the same as you when i feel ready to drop to .625. once a day to every other day to every second day to every third day until i get a week. thank for your story it is really encouraging

    • lucy81799 lucy81799 j.t.42067

      Hi j.t.

      I took my last dose on Feb 22.  I seem to be doing great and am sleeping like a rock smile  This is do-able...the key is slow.

      I did exactly as I wanted...I realized about a week ago that I had not taken it in almost a week.  I decided then and there to just keep going.  I will report back here every once in a while to let folks know how it's going.

  • melvin11 melvin11 lucy81799

    I feel like awarding you a gold star for such a magnificently constructed and informative contribution. As I don't possess such a thing, please accept my sincere gratitude; thank you.

    Personally  I am down at 1 crumb before bedtime. As much as I wish to take  nothing, past experience dictates that I could go " high" ( I am diagnosed as late developing bi polar; something I absolutely refute). Olanzapine depresses me and when I stop it's like uncorking the genie's bottle.

    One question I have for you though: how do you cut a pill into 8? My pill cutter cuts the 15mg in two ok but further cuts usually end up with shrapnel and powder.

    I will re read your story many times for the hope and inspiration within.

    Best wishes, Mel

    My shrink put me on 15. Mg in December 2016, and basically I think she has moved on and forgotten me. (The guy who took her job said we would look into reducing in the future - that was 12 December 2017.

    • lucy81799 lucy81799 melvin11

      Hi, Melvin,

      Your words really touched me.  I am so happy that I gave one person hope.

      It was hard to cut that pill into 8 pieces.  They were NOT even by any stretch of the imagination.  I just hoped that it would all even out in my system.  I used a pill cutter and just cut to the best of my ability.  

      I was late developing bi-polar, too!  Age 56 when it happened!  I refuse to take this as a life sentence, either.  I know what I did to get there and I am not going back there again.

      I have never felt as unmotivated, zombie-like and joyless as I did on Olanzapine.  I'm glad it was there for me when I needed it and if I ever need it again, I will have to go back on it.  I believe it is too dangerous to stay on all the time or for life.

      Best wishes to you, Melvin!  Remember...go slow.  Live your life and try not to think about the taper much.  Just let it happen smile

  • lucy81799 lucy81799

    Hi Everybody smile

    I wanted to report that I am off Olanzapine/Zyprexa as of Feb 22, 2018.  

    So far, so good!  I am sleeping like a baby...absolutely NO sleep problems!  No anxiety.  I have struggled with melancholy on and off all my life and I am still doing that but it's not deep depression.  I'm just the same pessimist I've always been LOL

    My emotions are back.  I can cry again!  I could not cry while on Olanzapine until I got down to very low doses.  It really numbed my emotions.

    I will try and report back here every so often and update as to how I'm doing.  I am so happy to be off.  It was a long road but worth the extra effort to go slow.

    • melvin11 melvin11 lucy81799

      Hi Lucy

      Well done and congratulations on getting yourself clean!  My psychiatrist laughed when I used that expression but I honestly believe my body is not clean while taking the misery pill.

      My experiences seem to exactly mirror yours. 

      I had a breakdown, followed by 6 months of anxiety when I could not sleep. This led me into the arms of the mental health department.

      Not only do I not agree with the diagnosis of late developing bi polar; but also I now feel completely over it.  I still take a tiny crumb of Olanzapine before bed but doubt whether this could have much effect: once I have cut it up I take the smallest piece and roll it in my fingers till it’s about half the size of a peppercorn.

      I did make two changes to get myself well. Since January 1 I have stopped skipping lunch and generally not eating well - I now have my “5 a day” by and large.

      I have also gone back to sleeping au naturelle ( I no longer wake up feeling sweaty wearing pyjamas).

      Since January 1 my sleep has been heavenly; I almost never need to get up for the rest room during the night. When I was poorly I sometimes had to get up as many as 6/7 times for a tinkle.

      I guess that was pure anxiety, but could never understand where all the urine was coming from.

      Also these days I am very busy.

      I don’t have any time for introspection and worry. I honestly feel well and that I am over my problems.

      So to summarise I may mirror you exactly. For now I suppose I will have to keep on with my daily crumb but one day I will be clean again and I thank you once more for providing the hope and inspiration to achieve that end.

      Warm hug x

    • lucy81799 lucy81799 melvin11

      melvin, I knew when I was ready to drop during my taper and I also knew when I was ready to jump.  I believe you will, too.  Try not to overthink things and just let it happen when you feel you are ready.  The dose you are taking right now is not a therapeutic dose so it may not be hard for you when you are ready to drop again.

      Best wishes!

  • Trinah76 Trinah76 lucy81799

    Hi Lucy,

    Congratulations on your success and perseverance! My son has been on Olanzapine for about 6 months. When he left the hospital they had him on 30mgs day and I knew that was way too much. He also was taking 15 mgs if remeron. Immediately under Dr's care we reduced to 10mgs, 1 month, then 5mgs a month later and now 2.5 mgs with 7.5 remeron. He has gained over 50 lbs in this short time. He was very then before and it has been a drastic change. The reductions have been successful and I'm wanting to continue because the weight gain and sleep are overwhelming. I'm just so afraid of him returning to the difficult place he was in prior to us finding a stable place.

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