Mirtazapine withdrawal 70+ days later?!

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Hi all,

After a sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression last year, I spent the following month in a vicious cycle, waking every morning with anxiety and dread, lasting most the day, before calming down on the night. This was on and off until I started taking mirtazapine. At first I was stlil getting episodes but gradually over 4 months the episodes dissapeared. I think the drug was working? 

Anyway since I felt 100% again I decided to taper from 15mg to 7.5mg this year. I felt some anxiety for around a day but that went. I settled on 7.5mg for about 3 weeks. I then had another anxiety episode that lasted a week. This subsided then I tapered down to around 3mg. I stayed on this dose for around a week before completely withdrawing. So my total time on Mirtazapine was around 6 months. I had some stomach pains when stopping completely but no anxiety.

3 weeks after stopping the drug, I had another sudden onset of anxiety, this lasted for 3 weeks! I then recovered and spent another 3 weeks feeling great. So that takes us to here. Since friday last week I've been experiencing a return of all my symptoms. Waking up early with extreme anxiety, random crying spells, confusion and a general feeling of being 'broken'. Not to mention a very disrupted and somewhat twisted sleep.

Every time my anxiety hits its always from something that upsets me. Whether it be reading about the death of someone i know about, or something mental health related that reminds me of how ill i was. There is almost always a trigger. This then sends me crashing back down and within 1 day im back to fully blown anxiety and panic.

I don't feel as bad as I was before when I took mirtazapine, but it seems im back to being very sensitive about anything i read or hear. Could I still be experiencing withdrawal? I really dont want to reinstate my dose but my recovery is all over the place at the moment.

 

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  • Posted

    In a word "yes"

    Mirtazapine is renowned for its windows and waves.  Withdrawal process can be lengthy depending on various factors and your own genetic make up.  Even tapering this drug at the recommended 10% reduction per month, patients will experience withdrawal side effects.

    if you feel you can ride this out then persevere.  This is a nasty drug that is difficult to withdraw from, I know.  I took 15mg for 5 months and it took me 10 months to be completely free from withdrawal side effects after stopping.  And like you, I experienced weeks at a time when I thought I was finished with the side effects, only for some to return again and again.  

    I wish you well with your recovery 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Christine, hearing stuff like this is more powerful than anything I have in my coping toolbox right now.

      It looks like you had the same dose and similar course length to me. Everything I read suggests people like us can withdraw alot quicker! Clearly not the case.

      I've been so naive throughout this withdrawal process. I've already had one major wave since stopping, but because the symptoms completely disappeared (minus a few heart palpitations), I became ignorant to my self care. Just went back to my usual ways doing what I wanted, until being triggered by a little offensive comment from someone..

      How did you get through the 10 months?!

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    • Posted

      Hi Christine, I've just come off 30mg of mirtazapine, was on it for 14 weeks. Started tapering down to 15mg and stopped altogether nearly 3 weeks. How long before you start feeling better? Every day seems to be getting better. I just want rid of this horrible drug! 

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    • Posted

      Do not be fooled by what the so-called professionals say about how quickly "people like us "can  withdraw from this drug.  They really know nothing very much about antidepressants and have no support mechanism for patients when withdrawing as they refuse to accept there are withdrawals.  I have researched long and hard, contacting professors of Psychiatry, and even reported this drug to the Medical Healthcare and Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

      The worst of my withdrawals were relentless insomnia which I was left to struggle with completely alone.  The lower doses are generally used as sleeping aids.  Think about it.  We are told to take them in the evening or before bedtime, whereas many other ADs are taken at various times of the day.

      Many people suggested getting out and walking in the daylight, I would take Zopiclone when I was desperate.  Saw a counsellor and went on a mindfulness course.  I can honestly say it was one of the most difficult things I have experienced.  Most of the side effects disappeared within 10 weeks but the insomnia was truly horrific.  There were many occasions when I would be awake the entire night.  And that would be after only managing 3 or 4 hours the night before.  During this battle, I saw my GP surgery 4 times and they were not at all sympathetic.  One doctor wrote me a prescription for yet another antidepressant - AMITRIPTYLINE!!!!!    Which I can admit has the same dreadful side effects as mirtazapine and is mirtazapine in all but name. I refused it and often cried behind my sunglasses whilst out walking. I will never take another drug without doing my own research but most importantly, I will NEVER take another AD. Many of these drugs have been trialled  for as little as six weeks and any compromising results are simply not published.  Even worse, they are given out for breast cancer, strokes, menopause and sciatic nerve pain without a thought to how people will ever cope when attempting to stop.

      Sorry for the rant here but it is just my experience.  I certainly don't want to scare people

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  • Posted

    Last night was my first time I halved my dose (7mg to 3.5mg) in starting to get off mirtazapine completely 

    PCP said 3.5 mg for 1 week then 3.5mg every other night then nothing at all.

    PCP said for the next 2 months I might feel some of my old complaints the brain has to re-adjust to not having the drug in my system.

    Hopefully he is right and it’s 2 months and done!!!!!

    I don’t want to go back on mirtazapine again couldn’t take the weight gain.

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