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Suffering from olanzapine withdrawal

I was prescribed 2.5mg of Olanzapine as a migraine cycle breaker.  I suffer from chronic migraines and my neurologist went through a number of different meds.  I was on this for one month.  She told me this wasn't a long term medication for migraines and switched me to a course of anti-seizure medication (Zonisamide) on a migraine preventative.  I have no history of depression/anxiety/etc.  My last does was on 12/12.  I started sleeping less and on 12/26 begin having major anxiety, sweating, shaky, racing thoughts, severe insomnia and lethargy.  My doc wanted to put me back on 2.5 mg for two weeks then one every other day for two more weeks.  I was terrified of going back on only to suffer through all of this again.  She then suggested Seroquel but after reading reviews was afraid to go back through the same thing.  I'm averaging 1.5 to 2 hrs of sleep per night most nights with a little better sleep thrown in every few days.  I talked to my GP and she suggested that I'm very senstitive to what I now know are anti psychotics and gave me 10mg prozac to deal with the anxiety and klonopin to help me sleep.  The klonopin helped a bit but last night I was up again at 1:30am.  After reading many blogs and forums I know that she should not have had me quit cold turkey and I'm suffering from withdrawal.  I'm 26 days in now and am wondering when this is going to get better?  It's too late to go back in time to taper the meds and am just trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Any advice and support would be appreciated!

30 Replies

  • karogers karogers heather24624

    Hello there

    Oh Dear I can so relate to your suffering from having been on Olanzapine and it makes me incredibly angry!

    I was on it for 1 year and strongly questioned the psychiatrist why I was put on such a drug and truly felt what I was experiencing was side affects of this horrid drug The only plus was I slept really well. Anyway I wasn't being listened to so in the end I just went off cold turkey but that caused absolute havoc mentally and physically I managed to ride it out but after 6 months I still can be quite shaky at times and my sleep is an absolute nightmare Its so broken and full of bad dreams. I really want to challenge these Doctors who prescribe these wicked drugs. They have no idea!

    Anyway I hope yr symptoms will ease and take extra good care of yourself by including regular physical activity healthy diet and a few quality natural supplements



    • karogers karogers heather24624

      HI Heather

      As I did suggest in my first reply to take some quality supplements as that's what I chose to do along with a healthy diet. I consulted with a clinical nutritionist and now regularly take a high quality multi vitamin and a high dose vitamin C. Any good pharmacy or health food/herbalist shop will b able to advise you and lots of physical activity has also helped me heaps. I bought a bike and pretty much bike everywhere now.

      Wishing you improved health!


    • heather24624 heather24624 karogers

      Right now I i dont have much of an appetite so ive been eating nutrigrain bars, yogurt, granola and trying to keep in Gatorade and water.  I was a big coffee drinker and have gone completely off of it.  I leave in the eastern US and the cold is ridiculous right now excercising outdoors is tough.

      I’m going to try vitamin C and also a multi vitamin.  What dose do you take?  I have zero energy and just want to lay in bed - hoping it will pass!

  • MtViewCatherine MtViewCatherine heather24624

    OMG, What a nightmare! Sounds like the “cure” is worse than the disease.  I take turmeric for migraines. Takes the edge off.

    • heather24624 heather24624 MtViewCatherine

      I’ve had chronic migraines for ten years but this niggtmare with Olanzapine has turned me off from meds.  I’m taking B2 and CoQ-10 in the morning and magnesium at night for them.  Next thing is Botox which my insurance won’t cover.  I’m so disappointed that my neurologist put me on this medicine after reading how horrible it is to quit.  I just want the nightmare to end and to feel better.  Earlier my vision was blurry and I felt lost.  I’m thinking maybe dehydration from bit eating or drinking much so now I’m on Gatorade.

    • MtViewCatherine MtViewCatherine heather24624

      I’ll try the CoQ10 and B2. Ive not heard of B2.

      I’ve done Botox. I feel it was very harmful and likely contributed to my migraines. I could feel it when it started to wear off a few months later, and it caused horrible pain. I suspect it also contributes to thyroid disease.

      You aren’t missing anything. You dodged another bullet by avoiding the Botox.

    • karogers karogers MtViewCatherine

      HI there I just noticed your comment!

      You hit the nail on the head when saying "the cure is worse than the disease"!

      I was way worse when put on Olanzapine! It altered my true self completely. The Doctors wouldn't listen when I questioned that what I was experiencing could well be the drugs side affects. In the end I took matters into my own hands and went off cold turkey. Not the best way to go about it as I had severe withdrawals for many months but now I've never been better. The only lingering problem I have is poor sleep!

    • heather24624 heather24624 MtViewCatherine

      B2 is riboflavin - not the easiest to find in stores so I have to order it.  I’m also going to an acupuncturist and using Chinese herbs twice a day.  Today I haven’t had any burning/sweating - just a little anxiety but am so tired with no energy.  I’m praying that I’m on the upswing.  I know this withdrawal has waves of good and bad.  I just keep thinking that it can’t last forever!

  • mnm22 mnm22 heather24624

    I took olanzapine for two years and I have tried to quit it numerous times. I can’t even remember how many times I tried to quit but now I am finally without any withdrawal symptoms. It has been 3 months after my last intake. I meticulously cut down using a pill cutter. Sadly even if you cut down little by little, with olanzapine it’s not really possibly to have any withdrawal symptoms. I personally suffered a lot during the last two months of withdrawal because of flu like symptoms and I also caught flu at the same time. But now I’m free!  I have more energy and my life is more balanced. So hang in there!! You can do it!! 

    • heather24624 heather24624 mnm22

      I’m so glad to hear that you are Withdrawal symptom free now.  This is honestly the hardest thing that I’ve gone through and can understand why people have to go back on.  The anxiety has lessened some and I’m feeling the flu like symptoms along with insomnia.  I wish I could go back in time to taper down the drug but am sticking it out now.  I can’t wait to have some energy and feel like myself again!

    • mnm22 mnm22 heather24624

      It was really hard because my pre existing condition- chronic pain has gotten worse with withdrawal symptoms. anyway, try to relax and have lots of hope. When pain got too severe I took some Advil (ibuprofen) that really helped as I had migraines very often. Stay positive!! The pain will be over soon and you will be totally free! It’s worth it! Cheers! 

    • karogers karogers heather24624


      I can totally relate to everything you hve/are experiencing.

      The withdrawal effects are horrendous and linger on for quite some time. After 6 months I've never felt better but still have the problem with insomnia.

      It's a painful journey alright!

    • heather24624 heather24624 karogers

      Right now I just don't have the energy or willpower to do anything... everything seems like it takes so much effort.  I'm so tired but unable to sleep.  I know that it's partly a waiting game until my brain resets and things go back to normal.  How long did it take before you starting having more energy or interest in life? 

      My GP has said that since I was only on the medication for one month that there's no perminant damage which I find reassuring.

    • bridget46879 bridget46879 mnm22

      Hi, and congrats to you!  I am now 4 and a half months off zyprexa and I was taking them for nearly 2 years, last down was 2.5mg.  I slow tapered until 1.25mg and then off from there.  I went through withdrawals: anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, feeling terrible, hang over feeling, hot and cold, irritable, insomnia, diarheoa, nausea, light, touch and sound sensitivity, skin crawling. Doctor is aware of discontinuation however they have not been part of this process, partly because I have not been to see them.  I have taken ibuprofen for headaches and when feeling unwell, codeine was better.  i take magnesium for sleep but still not sleeping as well as pre-meds. But I am committed to remaining abstinent from olanzapine.  Good diet and exercise has been a saviour!  You are worth it!

  • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

    I have also heard Magnesium helps.

    • heather24624 heather24624 kate85501

      Hi Kate,

      I'm also 5 weeks off of zyprexa and still feeling withdrawal effects.  The days are getting better though overall.  The burning and sweating is mostly gone, but the insomnia, lethargy, depression anxiety, lack of appetite and tremors are still there.  I've heard that the withdrawal is more severe if you go cold turkey vs tapering but am not sure if it lasts a longer period of time.  I know that I keep hoping for the day that I feel normal again.  Yesterday was a good morning, but today not so much.  I was able to get the kids off to school and then tried to rest only to lay there with my head racing.

      It definitely helps to know that you're not alone and people have been able to get off the drug and eventually feel better. I do take magnesium and melatonin (doctor recommended) in the evening and take Vitamin C, B2 and CoQ10 in the morning.  Most of the supplements are for my chronic migraines which is what actually got me on olanzapine in the first place.  How are you feeling?

    • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

      hi Heather,

      Thank you for your reply.  Yes, you're right it certainly helps that you're not alone. My insomnia has really been affecting my livelihood.  It seems every other day the insomnia is really bad now, whereas before it would be every day for over a month.  How much magnesium and melatonin do you take in a day if I may ask?  I really hope that I feel normal again..  it really is causing me to lack happiness and feel like I'm in depression.

      Thanks for your reply.

    • heather24624 heather24624 kate85501

      I take 500mg of Magnesium and the doctor has suggested 10mg of melatonin.  I have 3mg capsules now so I take 3.  I still have to play around with the timing though.  I've heard  that it can take a few hours for melatonin to kick in so I try to take it a couple of hours before bedtime.  I'm not sure of a good dose of magnesium to help promote sleep... I've been taking it for a number of months to help with my migraines.  Are you on any other medication now?

    • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

      At this time, no I am not on any other medication.  My psych changed me from zyprexa after taking it two months (10 mg) to abilify.   I was taking abilify for 3 weeks 10 mg until I decided I didn't want to be on these drugs anymore and cut pills in half 5 mg for 4 days and then stopped cold turkey.

      The worst of the symptoms has been the insomnia.


  • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

    I can relate with everything you are experiencing Heather.  How are you doing now?  I'm 7 weeks off, cold turkey and I also refuse to get back on this drug and plan to stick it out.  I hope you are feeling better.

  • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

    Also, I am also taking 10 mg melatonin.  How long do you plan to take melatonin for?

    • heather24624 heather24624 kate85501

      Hi Kate,

      Each day seems to be an improvement.  The tremors, sweating, lethargy and major anxiety are mostly gone.  I was just at my follow up GP visit yesterday.  A week ago I was tapered off of the prozac that was supposed to help with some of the withdrawal.  The doctor and I agree that it was probably making me worse.  I started experiencing stomach issues after taking it for a few weeks.  She also told me to stop taking the klonopin which was helping me sleep as the plan is to stop using any medication.  I had been taking .5mg per night for a few weeks.  I'm a little worried about having some type of withdrawal from both of those meds and will end up starting this horrible cycle all over again.  I'm not sure anything can compare to the olanzapine though.  I've read that with olanzapine, a lot of what we are feeling isn't from the drug withdrawal itself but from the brain and central nervous system trying to rebuild and repair itself.

      Last night's sleep was pretty good getting a straight six hours without waking so I'm not sure how long I'll take melatonin.  I'd like to get a couple of good sleep weeks under my belt and then will reduce it slowly (like I should have done with olanzapine smile

      How are you feeling?

    • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

      Thanks for the prompt reply.  As a fellow stopped cold turkey zyprexa (for me off 10 mg), I would say that my withdrawal has been average at best.  The anxiety and panic attacks seem to be getting much better and almost non existent (knock on wood) but the insomnia for me is still pretty bad.  I have adopted some daily exercise in the morning and am trying my best to eat healthy.  I also have added some supplements to my daily routine which seems to be helping me (ie. magnesium, vitamin c, multi vitamin, fiber, omega 3).  I purchased a book called "How to get off psychoactive drugs safely" and purchased a taper package for anti-psychotics which I plan to implement when it arrives.

      I don't want to overdo it with the supplements but at this point, I'm doing everything possible the natural way without having to get on any psych medicine.  I just don't trust psychiatrists, naturally, and after reading all the horror stories on forums as this one I trust them even less.  I strongly feel that most, if not all, are in their profession for the money, and not to help patients.

      I hope you will have success being off all the psych medications and thank you for your contributions to the threads.  They are certainly helping people like me.  Please continue to share your progress from time to time.  I will check back often.

      My very best to you and love

    • heather24624 heather24624 kate85501

      I'm also trying not to overdo the supplements.  I was only taking olanzapine before this all started and now I'm up to 7 different pills throughout the day.  Can you tell me what the taper package is that you've purchased?

      Has your sleep improved at all?  Last night I was able to sleep from 11pm to 5:30am but I am getting help from magnesium, melatonin and I'm now tapering the klonopin.  My doctor prescribed Ambien to help with sleep since most of the other withdrawal symptoms have really diminished so I took 1/2 a pill and I think that's what kept me asleep.  I don't want to overuse the ambien though as I've heard that it can be hard to get off of sleeping pills and I really want to end up drug free.  I've been trying alternative medicine (acupuncture and chinese herbs) to treat my chronic migraines instead of things like an anti-psychotic or anti-depressant.

    • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

      hi Heather,

      the antipsychotic taper package I purchased was from neuro genetic solutions.  This is the description from the website:

      This package matches what The Road Back Program recommends for their antipsychotic medication taper program.

      Package includes: 1 bottle JNK Formula Complete

      1 bottle Neuro Day

      1 bottle Neuro Night

      1 bottles Omega 3 Supreme TG 1

      Paperback book How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely

      The Neuro Night bottle provides a 60 day supply; all other bottles will provide a 30 day supply when taken as directed.

      Item #: Antipsychotic1Package ContainsHow to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely

      Neuro Day

      Neuro Night

      Omega 3 Supreme TG

      JNK Formula Complete NEW ADVANCED

      My sleep has not improved very much yet.  I am trying to stay away from too much melatonin which is what helped and also from ambien which I heard is highly addictive and difficult to stop.

      I will try the alternative medicine route (acupuncture and chinese herbs) as I've heard good things about them.  I applaud your effort to stay away from anti psychotics and anti depressants.  This is the choice I am making as well.  I've seen first hand and read too many horror stories about them.  I suppose for those who say that it helps them and plan on being on AP or AD for life it may be a different story but this is certainly not my goal or plan for my life.

      My best wishes and hope for you Heather.  Write any time and I will try to reply promptly.  Hopefully, something I say or provide can serve as encouragement or have some value to you in your journey.


  • heather24624 heather24624

    I just wanted to post an update on where I am today.  As a quick recap, I was given olanzapine at 2.5mg per day for one month to help with my chronic migraines.  The doctor switched my medicine at my follow up appointment without mentioning any discontinuation could occur.  At day 14 I started having horrible withdrawal over the holiday season.  So, of course no one was really in the office.  I got an appointment with a GP because the neurologist wanted to put me back on olanzapine and then suggested seroquel.  I was terrified to do either.  The neurologist prescribed prozac to help with withdrawal and klonopin for anxiety and to help me sleep.  I have since tapered off of prozac (I was on a low dose of 10mg) and am now tapering off of klonopin.  Unfortunately I've read some terrible things about klonopin withdrawal.  My doc said that I should just stop taking it but because of what happened with olazapine, I'm doing my own tapering so I don't end up back at square one.  I really don't think that I could handle another 8 weeks of symptoms after finally starting to feel better!  I'm happy to report that the sweating, tremors, burning of chest, arms and hands, nausea and major anxiety are gone.  I still have some moments of anxiety and definitely still have insomnia.

    I wanted to mention that I visited my neurologist a few days ago and I went into detail about how horrible all of the symptoms were and that I'm still not at 100%.  She told me that I was in a very rare category of people and she'd never seen anything like what I've experienced.  That they hand this med out like candy and others don't seem to have a problem.   I'm happy to have found this forum and know that I'm not alone in this battle!  

    • kate85501 kate85501 heather24624

      Heather, my supplements from neuro genetic solutions just arrived.  I have read through the book which is chock full of valuable information and explanation on how to get off and recover from the anti psychotic zyprexa.  I have an odd sense of hope that even though I stopped cold turkey 2 months ago (which is strongly discouraged due to the severe withdrawal symptoms), that by taking these supplements and following the plan I will be hopefully 100% cured from zyprexa withdrawal.

      I will post an update from time to time to let you know how it goes.  The plan seems very easy to follow and encouraging for those trying to taper off antipsychotics and anti depressants and benzodiazepenes and the like.  There is a taper schedule and valuable information for many psychiatric drugs in there.

      warm regards and sincerely,

      your friend and ally


    • heather24624 heather24624 kate85501

      Hi Kate!

      Yes, please let me know how things are going.  Has your sleep improved at all?  I’ve installed an app on my phone that’s supposed to track my sleep and used it for the first time last night.  I’ve also been trying meditation techniques to help me get to sleep a little faster. 

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