Citalopram weaning

Posted , 11 users are following.

I am super proud of myself! I have been no tablets since Saturday after weaning off them for a month.

So just to kinda put those at ease that are in the same boat the symptoms I've been experiencing are

- dizziness

- brain 'zaps'

- bowel upsets

- nausea

- headache/migraine

The first time my dose was halved, I had all of the symptoms and they were moderate. They took about a week to subside. Second time when I was taking 10mg every other day I barely noticed any symptoms. This time I have had all but headaches and they are crazy intense! I feel like I'm floating half the time and my stomach is all over the place! I'm looking forward to the symptoms passing. I just want to thank the people who replied to my last post. And to give words of encouragement to those weaning/thinking about it.

I feel a lot better once the symptoms settle. I've been slightly irritable but I am feel positive!

For those that have successfully sent through this process, were the side effects worse when you stopped the tablet completely? How long did they last?

1 like, 27 replies

Report / Delete

27 Replies

  • Posted

    I had been taking 20mg for about 2 years and stopped cold turkey 2 months ago. At first the withdrawal symptoms were terrible, dizziness and mild brain zaps.

    All of the advice that i read advised me not to go cold turkey but for me i felt that i would be ok. I was fortunate enough to be able to take 4 weeks off of work and had a good support structure.

    The withdrawal symptoms tapered off about 1 month into withdrawl. 

    The worst issue is that every now and again I plunge into a deep depressive feeing which would leave me feeling really down and depressed. This would last anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, thankfully that is now slowly passing. I realise that I am slightly more irritable and snap at people sometimes but am sure that this is just my brain adjusting to not being on the drugs. My brain seems to be adjusting to not being on the drugs and I am slowing healing ( my emotions have been all over the place but that is now tapering off0

    Overall after 9-10 weeks I feel as though I have turned the corner and am feeling better and stronger every day.

    Try to be strong and patient, don't give yourself a hard time and look after yourself, eat well, take supplements, exercise and rest well.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Withdrawing from these type of meds should be done over many months - 4 weeks is quite rapid.  You may find the withdrawal effects you're experiencing may linger around for quite some time, plus coming off meds too quick risks the symptoms of anxiety / depression returning.  Withdrawing slower is kinder to the body and is not such a shock to it either.  Also you may find you either don't have many withdrawal effects when coming off rapidly or that the symptoms aren't as bad as you thought ........ don't be fooled, because I've read how many people suddenly get delayed reaction and find themselves hit by severe withdrawal weeks / months after plus find themselves struggling again with anxiety / depression.

    I took these meds for about 16 years intending to stay on for life, but curiosity got the better of me and decided to test the waters.  I withdrew years ago taking about 6 months in the process - it was still too quick.  Even after I'd finished the meds I continued to suffer withdrawal symptoms for around 5 months.  I was successful though and stayed off meds for a year but sadly family illness took its toll on me and I returned to meds for a while and eventually withdrew again 2 years ago.  That second time I spent a whole year coming off by 5mg / 2 months each reduction and that way I had no withdrawal at all and have been meds free for over a year now.

    Now I'm off meds I will say that occasionally I'll get a brain zap ... only when I'm over tired.  Its fleeting .... but I recognise it.  This is 2 years being off meds and when I had no withdrawal at all.

    I agree with Lois - something I was told by my GP too - yes you can stay on these meds for life 'IF' you need to.  If they're helping you then there is no reason why anyone shouldn't do so.  ?Some people have low serotonin levels naturally and this can have a detrimental effect on your total well being.  You do not become dependent on them - no more than you would if you had to take other lifelong meds i.e. for epilepsy, diabetes, heart problems etc etc.  SSRI meds for a particular problems just as SSRI's are.

    I suffered with anxiety for 16 years, and because of that length of time I sure wouldn't jeopardise my health by doing a rapid withdrawal and risk plunging myself back into that hell I endured.

    These meds sure were my miracle when I needed them and would return to them if ever I felt I needed to. 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I agree with you on weaning too fast! By the time I had looked into it after getting quite strong side effects, I was half way through the weaning and thought it would be okay. This time after cutting the tablet out entirely I'm feeling pretty awful. It's been a week since myast tablet and every time I switch my focus from one thing or another I get dizzy. How do you know you're having a brain zap? Does it feel like your brain is kinda shaking? I get that all the time and it's driving me a little loopy.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      You can reinstate a small (5mg) amount of your meds if needed and gradually wean in another small amount after about 1-2 weeks and stay there until things settle down.  When all feels well then wean by tiny amounts.

      Brain zaps to me were fleeting and reminded me of when a moth flies into one of those blue bug zapper on the wall and goes bzzzzz ..... that's how my head felt.  Also like a short circuit.  It was a bit like a shake and it only lasted seconds.

      Nothing bad is happening when it happens.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi, thx for the update and recap! I am ready to start reducing from 20mg after a year of taking Cit. Somewhat nervous as I remember well the Hell I went thru when I started. Do not want a repeat of that!

    If you don't mind..what was your taper schedule? Also how is your appetite? Are you able to eat okay? I lost far too much weight starting these pills.

    THX Shane

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I would definitely recommend a longer weaning schedule. My doctor told me I would be okay with dropping to 10mg every day for 2 weeks and then 10mg every other day for 2 weeks and then quit taking them all together. The first cut of my dose was fairly tough, I had a huge migraine and felt so nauseous I almost threw up. The second barely even bothered me. This time however is twice as bad as when I halved the dose. I am dizzy almost constantly. Walking and doing things just makes it tougher. I continously need to nap. (I'm having to nap when my 11month old does) and I'm still so lethargic. What I assume are brain zaps make me feel like I'm constantly drunk and unsteady on my feet and my stomach had been incredibly unsettled! I would definitely recommend a much longer time! Especially if you had a hard time adjusting to them in the first place.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Took me a year.  Reducing 2.5 mg alt days for fortnight and so on until 1.25 mg at the end

      Very slowly

      However I am back on them again 2 yrs later

      I still get anxiety. 

      I have to manage it

      My new gp said same thing Re quick reduction like yours but oh no. 

      He’s never done it himself 

      And am staying on it as am not ready and may never be to be honest 

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I have been on and off Celexa many times over a 15 year period. I noticed increased energy when coming off of it but don't know if that is a manic aspect re appearing or the result of discontinuation. I found that my previous condition would re appear and require a resumption of treatment within approx 9 months. I may have to be on these for the rest of my life but at a low dose the side effects seem minimal. By all means try getting off of them just be alert to the possibility of a rapid return of symptoms and medical supervision should be part of it. If you have to remain on them for the rest of your life it shouldn't be the end of the world.

    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up