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Paxil and Withdrawal FAQ-Updated 4/2008 *** READ ONLY *** The net's best Frequently Asked Questions and answers on all things Paxil and Paxil Withdrawal. NEW MEMBERS SHOULD START HERE

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Old 12-13-2004, 12:40 PM   #1
Ariella
 
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Withdrawal techniques

This section will discuss different ways for you to withdraw from Paxil. Although different techniques will offer different durations and intensities in withdrawal symptoms, the symptoms themselves are diverse, but can run a similar pattern with each wean. More information on them can be found in the Withdrawal symptoms section of this FAQ.

We're featuring the Gradual Reduction method and an overview of the Buffer method ,since they are the two most widely recommended by doctors.


NEVER QUIT TAKING PAXIL OUTRIGHT. The "cold turkey" method is the cruelest approach and carries great risks to your health. Nobody in the medical community encourages this approach. Paxil's manufacturer GSK also advises against it. Just don't do it.

*** The risk to your health from quitting outright doesn't arise solely from a total cessation, but also a cessation that does not include at least a gradual reduction of dose levels over a period of several months. So, if you're on 20mg and you go down to 0mg in a month's time, you're withdrawing too quickly. ***
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Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002

Last edited by scotty : 04-05-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:04 AM   #2
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What is the Gradual Reduction method?

A gradual reduction is where a lower dose is maintained for a period of time, followed by a drop and another maintenance period.

Some have done 5mg drops, while others tried 2.5mg drops or lower. In our experience, those are too high a dose change and much smaller steps are encouraged. What we have found is that weaning by 10% of your previous dose every 3-6 weeks minimizes the withdrawal symptoms and allows you to function while weaning. We have a spreadsheet to help you determine the dosage reductions easily. Liquid paxil(yes, there is liquid paxil) will be required to accomplish this type of weaning.
This timeline is not carved in stone. Listen to your body and adjust according to symptom severity.
__________________
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002

Last edited by scotty : 04-05-2008 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:13 AM   #3
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What are the advantages of the GR method?

  1. Withdrawal symptoms are easier to tolerate since their severity is reduced.
  2. Your personal boundaries can endure this experience more often since you get to grow and change more slowly.
  3. Highest success rate.
  4. The rate of descent in dosage can be tailored to your preferences.
  5. You get to notice more about yourself and how you grow, having more time to look.
  6. It gives you time to explore new therapies and discover safer ways to manage your health before you really must. If Paxil was your only coping mechanism, don't hang yourself by doing nothing else but quiting it.
__________________
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:20 AM   #4
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What are the disadvantages of the GR method?

  1. Requires greater personal focus/faith. Since withdrawing gradually makes the process take longer, you're going to spend more time having to sit in this phase of change. It can be exhausting.
  2. Keeps Paxil in your system for a longer period of time.
  3. More expensive. You'll have to maintain a supply of the drug, and also buy a pill cutter.
  4. Health goals feel harder to reach because results are not immediate.
__________________
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:43 AM   #5
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What otherh pro/con considerations are there with the GR method?

You're going to have to discover YOUR balance point. Altering your weaning amount or the time in between weans should be based on how you respond to that wean. If you find that you have alot of withdrawal symptoms, try decreasing the amount that you wean by, or leave more time in between weans.

Withdrawal is not a linear experience. You'll go through periods of progress, and suddenly find yourself having some really bad days that contradict the previous ones. By withdrawing slowly, you'll get to experience a gentle change of good days outnumbering the bad. Considering how easy it is to overreact to withdrawal symptoms in this adventure, you may not make it easy on yourself to see the progress you actually HAVE made, when using the GR method.

With GR, Paxil stays in your system longer. People have a growing belief that Paxil can cause permanent damage. Others believe it's the withdrawal experience itself in all its intensity that over stress the body and causes permanent damage (which indirectly points the finger at Paxil). Admitting that the body does continuously heal itself, you have a triangle shaped room to stand in when looking at these probabilities. Until science catches up with your experience, you'll have to use your preference to decide what you'd like to believe. Our suggestion is that you have faith in your body's ability to heal, and have faith that even if Paxil stays in your system longer, the body will find it easier to adjust to the continued presence of something it has some familiarity with, instead of shocking it outright by abruptly removing Paxil from its daily reality.

At paxilprogress you'll meet people who seem to have little residual impact from having withdrawn from Paxil years ago, and you'll also meet people who seem to continue to be affected by symptoms that began during withdrawal and persist to this day.

Finally, when you reduce your Paxil doses gradually, you give yourself the time to discover new ways to deal with the person that you are, without it. It's unfair to yank Paxil out of reality when you have nothing else to cushion you after the fact. If you did find other therapies useful, you wouldn't be on Paxil, so perhaps you haven't finished searching. Always remember that who you are changes all the time, so the solutions you found before Paxil are a reflection of you who were then, and not the wiser and more experienced person you are now. Look again at means that seemed to fail before, because they may not now. The teacher appears when the student is ready.

Despite all this, it works. If you just want to look at what will get you off Paxil, the GR method has the highest success rate. People seem to fare better in terms of comfort during withdrawal, and they tend to stay off of Paxil longer afterwards. You know, it can take several attempts before you're successful. Each perceived failure is a win, because you will have gained even more experience from the previous attempt, which makes the next one that much clearer. You'll constantly move from a point of ignorance and surprise, to one of knowledge and recognition. Besides, the more you fail, the more you remove the possibility that you spend time doing what doesn't work.
__________________
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002

Last edited by scotty : 04-05-2008 at 09:27 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:33 AM   #6
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What is the Buffer or Conversion technique?

The Buffer or Conversion technique is when someone on Paxil switches to Prozac, to benefit from its longer half-life. Since half-life plays a role in withdawal symptom severity, it's believed that if a drug is naturally exiting your system more slowly, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms are lessened.

It differs from the gradual reduction method in that you are less in direct control of the reduction.

A reasonable protocol for buffering/conversion put forth by Dr. David Healy can be found here:
http://www.benzo.org.uk/healy.htm .

While this is a commonly used method by some doctors, we have found few that have had success with it. Switching from one SSRI to another opens up the Pandora's Box of symptoms that are hard to differentiate. You have to balance the withdrawal symptoms with the start up symptoms(and possible adverse reaction) from a second drug. In our experience it's best to wean from the drug that you are currently taking.
__________________
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002

Last edited by Katesmom : 04-05-2008 at 08:51 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:00 AM   #7
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With B/C, what withdrawal symptoms can occur and when?

With so little anecdotal content in our forum based on this approach, we're hard pressed to give you as detailed a map as with the GR method. However, SSRIs are SSRIs, and symptoms tend to appear after patterns of time.

So, with that in mind, we feel confident in saying that you should add a 2 week latency for time sensitive withdrawal symptoms to appear. Therefore, if you were just becoming Paxil free, are no longer taking doses, and Zaps occured between the first 1 and 13th day, then with Prozac it may take until the 3rd week to the end of a month to realize an equivalent potential for zaps.

Dr. David Healy suggests that waiting a week to notice if there are severe enough withdrawal symptoms to decide to try a further reduction. We believe since that just makes the half-life cut, and that it takes a couple days to a week for symptoms to pop up in their most noticeable poignancy, that it's more realistic to wait 2 weeks before deciding to continue instead.

You know, with Paxil we recommend you wait a MONTH before you decide to reduce further because there are symptoms which don't appear until 3 weeks to a month's time. Since Prozac is basically the same SSRI, but with a longer half life, that means you could add two weeks time to whatever Paxil withdrawal evaluation period, and have a good space to breathe with fewer suprises. So a month's wait after a Paxil dose change, would become 6 weeks wait with Prozac.
__________________
Panic attacks started Dec/1996
Zoloft summer 1998 (quit CT after a few days - bad reaction)
10mg Paxil fall 1998 / 20mg Paxil winter 1999
10mg September 2000 / 5mg October 2000 / FREE November 2000
Intense Withdrawal symptoms well into 2001
Withdrawal symptoms freedom by 2002
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