Coming OFF Citalopram...what's the best timescale?

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hi all,

I'd be interested to hear other peoples experiences of coming off Citalopram, and indeed staying SSRI free.

In my case, I only took them for exactly 1 MONTH (20mg per day), but it was certainly the worst month of my life so far!

I know thats only a short time compared to a lot of you, but I was having that many side-effects, and to severe levels, even my Doctor agreed (along with a Hospital Crisis-Team) that I should withdraw from them.

However, they both said I could come off them in a week or two, no problem. I was very sceptical after reading a lot of peoples experiences on here. Plus, I was told not to worry about side-effects in the first place, and that couldn't have been more wrong.

So, I asked if I could come off them slowly, seeing as they had such a bad affect on me, I didn't want similar withdrawal problems. Now I am into my 16th day on 10mg. I am a little more generally anxious than I was on 20mg, which I expected, but mostly suffering headaches, panic-attacks each day etc, and feeling quite spaced-out at times. Also a lot of nausea. But at least I can sleep and there are small periods where I feel better than usual.

Has anybody else reduced in this way, maybe then going to 5mg before off them completely? My Doc says as I was only on 20mg for a month there is no need but I didn't want to risk it.

Now I'm just taking lots of propranolol, plus 2mgs of Diazepam whenever required, which I know isn't good at all, something else I'll have to wean myself off!

Anyway, as I say I'd like to hear other peoples experiences. Thanks for reading my novel!

Andy MC x

2 likes, 17 replies

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Andy I've replied to a number of people on this site. Withdrawal should be slow. When you get to 5mg they should be every day for a week then 6 days, 5 days etc. Propranolol should be withdrawn from slowly as well.  I took Citalalopram and Propranalol over a year ago now and although the withdrawal process might be a little long winded it's worth it. Withdrawal can't be rushed, believe me.
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  • Posted

    Hi Andy..doctors know nothing of withdrwal.SSRI 's are the new benzos.

    i have been off citalopram since 1st October and I still get withdwawal symptoms.

    I reduced slowly over a year from 40 mg ..yes I did do 5 mg ..but I still feel the effects of the drug

    the diazepam will help ..dont worry just make it as and when

    As you took such a small dose I would think you could now reduce to 5 mg..but it's up to you 

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    • Posted

      Thanks for that Pat,

      Sorry to hear you are still having problems so long after getting off them. Can I ask you how long you were on them for in the first place? And what kind of things are you still experiencing?

      It amazes me how unconcerned the Doctors seem to be about this.

      Thanks again, keep in touch

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    • Posted

      I was on them4 years after trying other SSRI's..so you are not alone in being on AD's for a long time..my husband is on Mirtazapine and will be for life..

      I still get anxious especially as soon as I open my eyes in the mornings..ism also irritable..though these feelings come in waves....if you take it slowly you should be ok 

      ask if you need anything 

      pat 😃😃

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    • Posted

      That's how I am, very first thing of a morning, weird isn't it?

      I too have been on others, but years ago. I was on Seroxat for a long time (they got a really bad rap and my Doctor would not prescribe them to me this time) and they gave me NO problems at all back in my 20s, they actually started working after 10 days!!!

      Thanks so much for your advice Pat, keep well and keep in touch

      Andy MC

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  • Posted

    People coming off antidepressants and the suffering it causes is a whole new issue itself, something which doctors are more or less ignorant of, and the pharma companies turn a blind eye to.

    Since you were on for only a month, maybe tapering off no more than 5mg every 2 weeks would be a good idea. Monitor yourself how you feel at the end of every 2 week period, and if you feel you're still not right then maintain that dose for another week or so.

    As Pat says, SSRI's are the new benzos.....be very careful......

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply

      It seems to me a sizeable minority have a real hard time on these, and the powers that be are unconcerned?

      Your advice about '2week periods' is something I was thinking myself, cheers for that I reckon thats exactly what I'll do

       

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    • Posted

      I think with doctors it's more a case of mistaking the withdrawal symptoms as a regression to your depressed state, and then advising you to go back to antidepressants to address that.

      As for pharma companies, who knows really? A more suitable business model for them is to keep patients on them for as long as possible; therefore the greatly pronounced side effects after withdrawal. Here's something you may find useful.

      http://cepuk.org/unrecognised-facts/withdrawal-can-be-disabling/

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  • Posted

    ssris aint the new benzos trust me i know , i was on 40 mg cit 3 weeks ago and felt horrible im now down to ten after 2 weeks of 20mg and yeah ive had some side effects but nothing major esp compared to a benzo withdrawal . id just go for it ,its not easy but if you have a year to wait then do the tiny taper. ps doc gave me the reduction timescale .
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  • Posted

    I've been on a 20mg daily dose for as long as I can remember! I started reducing my dose before December and have been completely off it for for about ten days now. Unfortunately the withdrawal symptoms have kicked in now and I have a permanent headache, constant brain zaps and zero energy! I am going to start taking a quarter dose every 48hrs for a week to ease these side effects.
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  • Posted

    Hi there Andy

    I have been on citalopram for over 3yrs. I started decreasing my medication this year Feb 15. I was on 40mg a day. For one month I decreased to 35mg and 2months I decreased to 30mg. This week I am celebrating my 25mg decrease. The only bother is cutting the tablets up.

    I am not getting many side effects. I would say that I am getting flushed and sweaty. Which I had as a symptom of getting on the medication. I am having spaced out moments. Again, this was one of my symptoms getting on them.

    Andy if you feel you have the coping tools to get off the meds then do it slowly and with loads of support. My own decision was made after taking a course through my CPN. It was to build my coping skills and looking out for triggers. I was a strong minded person before the meds. Now I am building my way back to being that person again.   

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  • Posted

    This is an old feed but I'd like to comment for anyone reading this info. I am currently weaning off of citalopram.  I was on and off of it for 10 years and the last 8 years was at 40 mg.  I was able to slowly wean myself off to 20 mg last year and went down to 15 mg last month which has been utter hell.  I have had non stop anxiety and now depression which i didn't really have issues with before.  I finally sought the help of naturopathic physician who is helping wean off the remainder 15mg.  Currently he had me stop the weaning in order to stabilize my anxiety and depression. He has me on 5htp, GABA, Ashwagandha and other vitamins.  I have to say the 5htp, GABA and Ashwagandha have made a big difference.  My mood has stabilized once again. I feel like myself again.  

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    • Posted

      Marey - thanks for the info.  I recently tested the waters by reducing my 10mg dose by 13% [8.7mg] and the next day I had light random headaches, upset stomach, and what felt like random agitation.   

      I may look into going to a naturopathic physician to help taper off the drug [for anxiety] as I want to it be as withdrawal free as possible and won't cause me to take time off work biggrin and allow me to use a more natural method of helping with anxiety.

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    • Posted

      I hope your tapering off goes well.  You may be interested in the books the naturopathic doctor I'm treating with wrote. He's written 6 books.  In the one I'm reading, he specifically addresses anxiety and how to treat it naturally without SSRI's.  "Put Anxiety behind You" by Dr. Peter Bongiorno.  Great book. It's very informative and discusses how he uses amino's to treat his patients with anxiety. Also discusses what kinds of foods naturally help combat anxiety.  He personally suffered with anxiety while he was going through med school, which to me means a lot because he understands how crippling it can be. He's not just dishing out advice without really understanding it.  Again I hope for you a ton of success!  

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    • Posted

      Thanks!  I haven't [officially notified my doctor] started tapering process yet as I'd like to see what my doctor suggests.

      I actually did try a few natural methods / OTC supplements before Citalopram and they just didn't have that "instant" fix that I needed at the time frown

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