Long term use of anti depressants

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I have been taking Prozac for well over 10 years. It just become a way of life.

My life is so much better now and I am as happy as I have ever been

Twice I have approached my GP to ask about stopping Prozac, aware that it needs to be gradual. The first time he shrugged and said it was up to me. I did try but after a few weeks started to panic and went back on them again.

The second time a different GP told me it was no different to a diabetic taking insulin. I needed anti depressants and to just carry on with them

I really feel with support (and after reading the article in today's Telegraph) I could be Prozac free. Why are there no support groups attached to GP surgeries?

I just wondered if anyone else feels similar or has experienced this. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.



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  • Posted

    These days I tend to just tell the gp what I want done. I dont think lot of GP's do not have a very good understanding above the basics of antidepresants.

    Anyway if you want to get drug free you can. Slow and steady. Good news is as prozac has a very long half life you can come off it very slowly. Maybe start by reducing it by 1 tablet every 3rd day. So if you take 3 a day now start with day 1- 3 tablets, day2 - 3 tablets and day 3 - 2 tablets and repeat. Give it at leats a week or more or however long it takes to feel fine in yourself. Then reduce it again to missing 1 tablet every 2 days for a week or so. Then when you feel fine drop it again so that your missing 1 tablet each day. Then when you feel fine for a week start the process again and reduce 1 every 3rd day.

    Take your time. If it takes you 3, 6, or 12 months thats ok. whats 12 months after taking them for 10 years? Bottom line is your brain needs to adjust to each dose reduction before moving on to the next. How long it takes varies a lot. Take your time, listen to your instincts and remember slow and steady. I got mine down to one tablet every other day before stopping but I know others who went to 1 tablet twice a week for a while before stopping.

    One word I will say is that prozac can numb a lot of emotons so when you reduce each dose you may experiance new or hightened emotions and thats normal. Just wait for them to settle down (and they will) before reducing your dose again. This may take a few days or several weeks so dont worry if it takes a while. I was on my final low dose for a few months before I stopped fully.

    It could also be that you may need to continue on a low dose for quite some time but at least by trying you can see what the lowest dose you can get away with is.


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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for that Tony. That is the most constructive and supportive help I've had ever.

      I only take one a day so I will start off by missing one day a week. I had read that there was a liquid Prozac to make reduction easier but my GP said it was too expensive.

      Thanks again

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    • Posted

      I was on Effexor and it did numb my emotions, although I did not realise it.  When I stopped it I was surprised by all the emotions I had, and it was a good feeling. 

      I took 10 months to withdraw from Effexor.  That was 18 months ago and I am doing well drug free.  Hurrah!!  You give sound advice. 

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    • Posted

      Then you're spot on then. Drop one a week as planned and wait until you have felt fine for a week. Once you have a whole week of feeling normal drop another one and repeat.

      Also you can break open the tablets and sprinkle half the powder out if droping one tablet a time is to much and you need to drop by half a tablet at a time instead.

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  • Posted


    I think its a brilliant idea to come off the Prozac in the way that Tony has described.

    Ten years ago you most likely had a very different life and mindset that you have now, your brain will have adapted and grown enourmously and if you come of them very gradually your brain will return to its normal equilibrium and you will be happy without them. You might even find that you have more energy and enjoy life more without them.

    good luck

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  • Posted

    I was on anti depressants for 30 years and thought I would have to take them for the rest of my life.

    When I went for a yearly review of my medication, the doctor I saw suggested I see how I do without medication.  That was 18 months ago and I am doing fine.  Before when I stopped, depression always came back with a few months, but this time I feel I will never have to take anti depressants again.  All thanks to a doctor.

    It took me 10 months to slowly withdraw from Effexor, but I had no withdrawals at all.  I have not read the article you mention.  If you feel you want to try stopping your Prozac, then it is your decision.  Do it slowly and you will be OK.  Honestly, like you, I thought I would have to take them for the rest of my life.  I am doing well for an old lady, but I know how scary it can be thinking how will you cope without anti depressants.  I hope you make the right decision.

    I will look up that article if I can.  I asked at my doctors about support groups too.  Depression Alliance run support groups and I used to go to those locally.  See if there is a group in your area.  It is nice to talk to people who understand.

    I will support you through withdrawal if that is what you want to do.  I live in the south of England.

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    • Posted

      When I read these responses I started to cry. Not depression I hasten to add, more a 'at last, someone gets it'.

      I have nothing against anti depressants but I feel they have done their job. I did need them, now I don't think I do.

      When I've tried to stop in the past, I've given in when something maybe has made me stressed or unhappy which is all part of life's pattern and not depression. I suppose I panic.

      Thank you all and i will take up the offer of support

      Best wishes

      Barbara x

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