Stopping sertraline after 4 weeks...

Edited , 9 users are following.


I was prescribed sertraline one a day, 50 mg, about a month ago. I had one terrible panic attack before that which lead me to go see the doctor where we discussed ADs and if I'd been on them before (which was true, about 4 years ago I took citalopram but only for a month and decided it wasn't for me - I was great since then.)

I decided I'd try the sertraline. The first week I was so sick I could barely get off the couch. That weekend I was taken to the ER due to the left side of my body going completely numb. They did some scans, the usual, I seemed fine so they deemed it just an out of control panic attack and told me to keep taking the sertraline and sent me on my way. I tried to persevere but things didn't improve. I was becoming so sick that my anxiety increased, even worse than I've ever felt in my life. I was reassured that "this is possibly just a side effect."

The pharmacist told me to stop taking it, but the ER doctor and my GP told me to continue the meds. I also took up therapy about a week ago for the first time and my therapist was not sure if the medication was what I really needed but did not tell me to stop.

I just had my check up a few days ago with my GP - and discussed how horrible I've felt. I've lost 20 lbs. My anxiety has never been so bad in my life. The past few weeks I've had more panic attacks than I ever had. I am a 22 year old female. My doctor added 7.5mg twice a day of Buspar alongside of the sertraline to see if that would help. I took it once and was up all night as sick as I was before I started.

I was so miserable and upset that I decided I will just not take medication. I think my anxiety has always been situational. I have lost a lot of people this year. I want to try to go with the therapy instead of medicine as I've never really needed it in my life... and my doctor doesn't have any idea either. It is very upsetting.

Today I took half a pill of the 50mg (25). I am to take it like this for 4 days then stop. Does anyone have any advice, is this a good way to take it without getting too much withdrawal or how long it may take before it is removed from my body?

I have tried to find answers online but nothing to my situation as I can only find stories of those who have been on this medication for years... I know 4 weeks is not a long time but as much as I have suffered this month I am worried. Aside from sleeping all day today and having some of the side effects I had to begin with I feel less anxiety but since I am here I would say that I'm as pessimistic as ever. I just want to be free from this.

Thanks for reading. sorry for my english

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm just finished week 5 weeks with no change except more panic attacks and heightened anxiety but I'm sticking with it as I can't take the anxiety / depression anymore and need to properly try this

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    • Posted

      I am sorry, I hope the best for you. It may work out! Don't let me deter you, everyone is different. smile I hope that in the end it ends up helping you and alleviates the anxiety/depression that you feel!

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  • Posted

    Hiya Soji,

    I'm so sorry to hear how you're feeling.

    I think, from what you've said, sertraline isn't for you.

    If you're still having problems or more importantly those problems have increased since taking the meds, I'd say stop.

    One question; did the citalopram give you serious side effects?

    It appears that they worked.

    I was told by my GP that it takes about 9 days for the meds to settle. She did say that I may have a hard time of it for those 9 days. Which I very much did.

    Panic attacks, extreme paranoia, withdrawal, eating disorders (literally eating anything and everything).

    But I've stuck with it for just over a month. The side effects have subsided to a large extent.

    What I'm trying to say is that you get side effects from any meds and if I was having the problems you appear to be having, after a month of taking them, I would deffinately have a serious word with my doc. So much so that if the doc wasn't prepared to look at alternative meds I would be seeking a change of GP.

    Your councillor/therapist appears to be recommending coming off sertraline. The er doc recommends the same.

    Its a no brained really.

    You're 22. Still very young, but state your case to your GP. Don't let this situation get worse.

    Look after yourself Soji.


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    • Posted

      Hello! Thank you for your comment to me! I stopped taking citalopram because it ended up giving me suicidal thoughts. After I stopped, I was fine for about 3-4 years... always had anxiety, but it had always been manageable. Only recently did I decide to try an AD again when one week I had a string of panic attacks so it was awful. I think it may not be for me, or perhaps not Sertraline, at least. smile The doctors I have seen do not agree with each other so it has been very confusing since I can't get an answer on whether or not I should continue or discontinue since some think I should give it longer to work while the other think 4 weeks was enough to tell by now. Though, I've seen it can take up to 12 weeks or more, quite a while for somebody like me who feels 4 has been more than enough! I ended up making my own decision in the end, so I am hoping that maybe a different medicine - or none at all - is in my cards. I just want to come off it without withdrawal, as I have been so incredibly ill this month and cannot afford to be out another month as I was. sad

      I am so glad the side effects have warn off for you. That is so great! I wish it had been a little easier for me - because I don't doubt this medicine can really help people! I've heard good things about Sertraline which is why I went with it. I think Sertraline and I just did not get along, unfortunately. I will be trying to stay positive.

      I hope the best for you as well! Take care!

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    • Posted

      i know its years down the line but thankyou for your reply to this post - i am tapering off after 3 weeks of hell and worried about withdrawal so to know you did ok guves me hope. im on day 2 of half a 50mg tablet and will take them for two mkre days then stop

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  • Posted

    Hey, I was thinking of doing the same after 2 weeks but I couldn't find any info on cominh off these either other than people who had been on long term.

    I have been on them now for 3 weeks and still want to stop and taking them.

    Let me know how it goes if you do smile

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    • Posted

      Hiya Mich,

      I'm sticking with them for a while longer. I do have concerns regarding my side effects. Some aspects of my thoughts and feelings have changed. Some better, some worse.

      If you're committed to coming off them, do it early.

      I don't mean just stop. Have a word with your doc. Explain your concerns. They do listen, but sometimes doctors are more medicationists than medical practitioners. They like to push certain meds!?

      Three/four weeks should be enough time to evaluate the success of a med.

      Give it some thought and good luck.


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    • Posted

      Hi! Yes, it was difficult for me to find anything as well. Currently, I am taking half of the 50 mg for 4 days and then stopping. It is what my GP advised to do in order to come off them. Not sure if I had been long enough on it to get terrible withdrawal but I would rather be safe than sorry considering how ill I have been! Last night I was feeling quite low after the half dose, but no where near as anxious as I felt these past few weeks on the full dose. I was much less ill as I had been too. No nausea, no dizziness, no headaches, no panic attacks. It is likely a lower dose could have been all I needed, but I would still like to come off them and try to see what therapy does for me since I have never been big on medication. I think the thought of it makes me too nervous as I am. Today, I feel great so far. Nothing like I have in the past 30 days. smile I take it at 7 PM usually, and if I am to feel anything its a couple hours later but not as agonizing as I thought it would be.

      I agree with russengland. If you'd like to come off them it may be best to do so early instead of months later. It can take up to 12 weeks from what I have been told for SSRIs to get the full effect for anxiety. I tried to wait it out and it did not bode well for me. It only made me much more incredibly ill. I have wasted a month of my life in bed from the side effects. sad Please do speak with your doctor before making any decisions to ensure you can come off them painlessly! Although 3-4 weeks isn't long to be on an SSRI it's still better safe than sorry so you don't end up getting anymore side effects from withdrawal or etc. My doctors didn't help me decide what was right for me so in the end, I made my own decision. I'm try to listen to my body from now on and be kind to myself. smile I do believe Sertraline can help people so long as their bodies can adjust to it properly! I think Sertraline and I did not get along and that's okay! We're just not a good mix, doesn't mean the medicine itself is bad.

      I hope the best for you! Be well and take care!

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    • Posted

      Hi, I know you posted this a few months ago but I am going through EXACTLY what you have described and have been on 50mg Sertraline for 6 weeks tomorrow. I want to reduce and come off them so I am going to cut the tablet in half tonight and start taking 25mg (not sure how long for!?) until I can stop taking them completely. I just wanted to know how you are feeling now? Did all the horribl side effects/sysmptoms go away after you stopped Sertraline? Thanks, Amanda :-)
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    • Posted

      Hi there! I hope I haven't reached you too late.

      It is three months later and I feel wonderful. Yes, those side effects completely went away. smile When I was coming off, I took half a tablet for four days, then I stopped completely. At first, I was anxious and worried, but that had just been my nerves. I would not say that or blame what I had experienced on withdrawal as we tend to worry about happening. If anything, I just needed to learn how to keep myself calm in the event of a symptom of anxiety instead of freaking out as I had done before. Eventually, I was able to bring myself down from such a sensitized state.

      I do still battle with anxiety, but no where near what I was when I posted this thread here. It did not completely go away, but I'm a lot happier this way, as now when it comes, I can cope with it and it will not go into a full fledged panic attack. Out of 10, with 10 being extremely anxious, I would say these days I find myself at a 2 or 3. If I begin to feel a symptom of anxiety, I just go about my day instead of feeding into it or checking how I feel every five minutes (which was a terrible habit of mine!)

      I know you posted a month ago, so I hope this message finds you well and that you're happy and healthy!

      Take care!

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  • Edited

    I just wanted to thank you for posting this. I, too, was having increased anxiety, bad insomnia, have lost 11 pounds, and felt SO miserable on the 50mg of sertraline. I was on them for 3 weeks as well, and my psychiatrist and PCP both said that I could stop, and wouldn't have any issues. My PCP, and even family, kept telling me that I was doing it to myself and making it worse, when I knew it was the med this entire time. I was so nauseated too. I did a Google search, just to see others' experiences, and yours came up. I'm so happy that it validated my experience, because I really did think that I was exacerbating my symptoms and that it wasn't the medication. I have xanax, if I have another panic attack, but I don't want to take meds anymore, after this experience.

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  • Posted


    I am so glad I found your post! I have been on sertralin 25mg for hypoventalting and anxiety as I worked for the nhs during the covid pandemic and then caught it myself and ended up in hospital with a serve asthma attack. I was released but didn't realise i was hypoventalting with the stress of it all. I ended up unable to breathe and an inpatient in hospital as my blood gases were not good also being treated for my asthma. I have been on them for 2 and a half weeks, the first 2 weeks were fine intact i felt a little better, even though eating was hardest! but then I started having the worse side effects I was hallucinating, jittery I couldnt rest I had insomnia it was hell. the GP said to stop it straight away and start taking another antidepressant! i asked her wouldnt I get double side effects she said no as I had only been on them 2.5 weeks on a low dose! didn't feel like a low dose to me. she said i could take Diazepam to help the side effects from the new medication but i have decided im not taking it. I have just come off the sertralin I felt extremely dizzy to the point of nearly falling on just my first day of not taking it, however, it may be my anxiety and hypoventalting. so I'm sticking with just not taking it. I do feel trapped im dammed if I do and dammed if I dont! but I been trying to meditate and use mindfulness.

    I do know 10 other people on sertralin and it has changed their lives for the better, i just couldnt cope with it

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  • Posted

    oh my goodness I could have wrote this myself!!! Every single thing you described I had even down to the one sided numbness! I had to quit the medication it was absolutely horrendous

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