Benefits of Quitting Paxil and How to Dose a Paxil Taper
1. You will feel less anxious and worried all the time, starting within a week or two after quitting Paxil.
2. You’ll be more relaxed if you quit Paxil, less likely to feel tense, edgy, tired, stressed out, irritable or unhappy most of the time.
3. If you are female, quitting Paxil can bring back your menstrual cycle.
4. You may have more energy and find that you are able to do things you could not do while taking Paxil.
5. You will save money by quitting Paxil since the dose you were taking is probably higher than it should be anyway.
6. You will decrease your risk of serious withdrawal effects since smaller doses are easier to taper than larger ones.
7. Quitting Paxil makes it more likely that you will eventually be able to quit other antidepressants too.
8. Your sense of smell and taste may improve and you will be less likely to become ill.
9. If you are in psychotherapy, quitting Paxil can make psychotherapy more effective.
10. You will feel better about yourself once you stop using Paxil since it causes sexual dysfunction and other problems, such as weight gain.
11. You will be less likely to commit suicide if you stop taking Paxil.
12. If you are male, stopping Paxil can help restore your sex life and make it more enjoyable.
13. You may find that the personality and behavior changes that occurred while you were taking Paxil reverse themselves.
14. You will be more likely to stop using other drugs, both legal and illegal.
15. Quitting Paxil can help you feel better about yourself and increase your self-esteem.
16. You will be able to make decisions and think in a clear manner if you quit Paxil.
17. If you are pregnant, quitting Paxil may reduce the risk of birth defects and other problems in children born to women who take Paxil during pregnancy.
18. You will be less likely to become addicted to Paxil if you stop taking it.
19. If you are male, quitting Paxil may improve the quality of your erections and make them easier to obtain.
20. If you quit Paxil abruptly, you will be less likely to experience withdrawal effects
How to dose a Paxil taper:
It usually takes 30 days to get off Paxil – which is about 4-5 months for the drug to be out of your system. For people who have been on it for years, this might take longer. You can always cut your pill in half if you want.
This will cause a little more stress on your body because it takes longer to feel the effects now, but you have to weigh that against how much suffering you will go through from withdrawals.
So far, I recommend cutting your pill in half. Try not to take the full 10mg (half of 20 mg pill) if you can help it. If you can’t, then try your best. You should be free from any withdrawals by day 4-5 at the latest!
So- Smaller doses mean fewer withdrawal symptoms, but it also means that the drug takes longer to have an effect, which is what you are trying just because you are sick of being on them. So basically, it’s your choice. The only thing I can say is to do what you think will be best for you. Try not to get tempted to take the full 10mg dose every time you take your pill.
Stopping and restarting antidepressants:
Sometimes stopping antidepressant medication can be therapeutic- that is, it makes you feel better. This may happen if the antidepressant was helping but then stopped working or caused side effects.
If these symptoms are bothersome enough for you to go back on an AD after being able to withdrawal from one, this would suggest that your original antidepressant may not be the correct one for you. If you try to restart the same AD, it isn’t likely to work as well as before.
If your initial SSRI antidepressant caused severe side effects or withdrawal symptoms, such as SEVERE mood swings and suicidal thoughts, then these symptoms should improve after stopping the medication.
If your original antidepressant caused only mild side effects, it may not be worth restarting that particular one. This is because of inter-individual variation in the rate at which people metabolize drugs, i.e. how quickly or slowly they break them down inside their bodies.
If you have tried to stop an antidepressant once before, you may find that the same symptoms come back again when you try it a second time. After stopping an antidepressant, if your original symptoms return at their pre-treatment level within 2-3 weeks, STOP TAKING THE MEDICATION AGAIN after that time.
Then try to taper off slowly again. If you experience 3 or more severe depressive episodes in a row, then you may benefit from staying on the antidepressant rather than trying to stop it.
When quitting antidepressants:
1) Gradually lower your dosage over time. 2) Be sure to see your doctor regularly and don’t make changes to your prescription by yourself. 3) If you experience severe side effects when tapering off, seek help from a professional.
How to taper off antidepressants:
When withdrawing or trying to stop an antidepressant medication, it is best to cut pills in half instead of stopping “cold turkey” (stopping suddenly). When cutting pills, it is best to do so at even intervals throughout the day rather than just stopping them all at once.
An effective taper schedule for most ADs involves cutting pills in half for a certain number of days and then switching to every other day as you get lower and lower on your medication. After you have switched to every other-day dosing, the dose should be tapered by 5-10% every 2-4 weeks.
Tapered dosing means decreasing the number of doses each day (rather than reducing the dosage) until you are no longer taking medications. An example of a taper schedule that can reduce withdrawal symptoms is as follows:
Cut pills in half for a certain number of days
Switch to every other day as you get lower on your medication
5-10% reduction in dose each 2-4 weeks until no longer taking any medication.
It is possible to taper off antidepressants more rapidly than these guidelines suggest, especially if the antidepressant has a short half-life and you experience withdrawal symptoms. There is limited research or clinical experience about this, so it should only be done if you have been on the antidepressant long enough to feel a moderate level of withdrawal symptoms when tapering down it slow and carefully. Do not do this if you have been on AD for a few months or less – your body may not have had time to adapt to it.
The following are the general guidelines for taper schedule:
A medication with a short half-life, or one that you have been on for a short time, is one that has an active half-life of fewer than 24 hours. It is possible to taper off these drugs more rapidly if you wish by cutting the dosage in half every 3-5 days or so until you taper down to nothing.
A medication with a long half-life, one that you have been on for some time, is one that has an active half-life of more than 24 hours. For these medications, it is best to taper off by halving your dose every 2-3 weeks or so. Some people may prefer to do this more slowly, such as once a month or even in steps of 5% (if they started at 100%) and then 5% again.
A long half-life medication that is metabolized by the liver can be tapered down more quickly if you have a healthy liver. It is best to taper off medications like these by cutting the dose in half every 3 days or so instead of 2-3 weeks.
A medication with a very long half-life, one that you have been on for many years, is one that has an active half-life of more than 2 weeks. It is probably best to taper off these kinds of drugs by cutting 5% from your dose once a month or every three months.
A medication that is a combination of the above categories (long, short, metabolized by the liver, etc.) should be tapered as one would normally do with a long half-life drug. The only exception is that if you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to cut your dose in half until they go away.
Stopping cold turkey:
It is not recommended to stop taking antidepressants suddenly without speaking with a doctor or experienced medical professional. This can cause extreme side effects that can last weeks, months, or years for certain drugs and dosages.
If you wish to stop taking antidepressants and you do not have a doctor in your area with experience doing this, please seek out a doctor who is willing to help.
If you are considering quitting antidepressant medication “cold turkey,” then it is best that you talk to your doctor or find an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) who has experience with tapering and stopping antidepressants.
They should be able to guide you through the process of stopping your medication safely, or reduce it slowly enough that withdrawal symptoms are not experienced to a high degree.