Author: Charles Frank

Our 7-year-old, who is tapering off Prozac, is upset and irritable Is that a symptom of withdrawal?

how to ween off prozac

These issues may cause some people to want to stop treatment with fluoxetine. A person who is pregnant or thinks that they might be should speak with a doctor to determine whether fluoxetine is right for them. Research on animals has shown that the drug can have adverse effects on the fetus.

There have not been enough studies on humans to be certain how the drug might affect a developing baby. Some research indicates that withdrawal, or discontinuation, symptoms are common, affecting more than half of those who stop taking antidepressants. If people around you realize that you’re discontinuing antidepressants and may occasionally be irritable or tearful, they’ll be less likely to take it personally. A close friend or family member may also be able to recognize signs of recurring depression that you might not perceive. Trying to quit Prozac can be surprisingly easy, and more comfortable than you may have thought possible. We have been successfully assisting clients toward their goals of improving natural mental health for nearly a decade and a half now.

how to ween off prozac

Discontinuation symptoms appear within a few days or weeks of stopping antidepressants, whereas returning depressive symptoms develop after some weeks and tend to come on gradually. Going off an antidepressant usually involves reducing your dose in increments, allowing two to six weeks between dose reductions. Your clinician can instruct you in tapering your dose and prescribe the appropriate dosage pills for making the change. The schedule will depend on which antidepressant you’re taking, how long you’ve been on it, your current dose, and any symptoms you had during previous medication changes. It’s also a good idea to keep a “mood calendar” on which you record your mood (on a scale of one to 10) on a daily basis.

When a person decides that they are ready to discontinue Prozac, a doctor will likely recommend gradually reducing, or tapering, their dosage. Tapering usually lasts 4 weeks, but a doctor may suggest tapering the medication over 6–8 weeks to reduce the risk or severity of symptoms. See your doctor if you get severe withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking antidepressants. Alternative approaches can be used, such as reintroducing another antidepressant from the same group and reducing the dose more slowly, or stopping completely and managing your symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms usually come on within 5 days of stopping the medicine and generally last 1 to 2 weeks.

How long do fluoxetine withdrawal symptoms last?

However, a person should only do this under the guidance of a doctor. Antidepressants with a longer half-life, such as Prozac, are less likely to cause problems on discontinuation. The term half-life refers to how quickly the amount of a drug in the body reduces by half. Any decision to taper off or withdraw from medications should be done in consultation with a physician who is familiar with the use of these medications, in this instance preferably a child psychiatrist.

The long duration of Prozac withdrawal symptoms may also increase the likelihood of the person mistaking them for returning symptoms. As fluoxetine has a longer half-life than other antidepressants, it may take longer for a person to develop withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may also last longer, although they do not tend to be severe. Symptoms that people commonly experience when stopping Prozac include irritability, nightmares, and vomiting. For this reason, a person who feels ready to discontinue the drug should discuss this with their doctor, who may recommend gradually lowering their dosage. I’d recommend that you have a mental health professional assess what might be prompting your son’s discomfort, and whether continuing on Prozac is necessary.

Doctors and professional organizations often say that antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are self-limiting and typically resolve within a couple of weeks. To help distinguish between withdrawal symptoms and a return of depressive symptoms, it is important to consider when the symptoms first occurred and how they developed. Fewer than 20% of people on antidepressants undergo psychotherapy, although it’s often important in recovering from depression and avoiding recurrence. In a meta-analysis of controlled studies, investigators at Harvard Medical School and other universities found that people who undergo psychotherapy while discontinuing an antidepressant are less likely to have a relapse. If you’re doing well on antidepressants and not complaining of too many side effects, many physicians will renew the prescription indefinitely — figuring that it offers a hedge against a relapse of depression.

how to ween off prozac

Some people have severe withdrawal symptoms that last for several months or more. One of the studies in the review found that out of 95 people who abruptly stopped taking fluoxetine, 67% experienced withdrawal symptoms. Doctors do not recommend stopping antidepressant use abruptly because it may lead to more severe symptoms.

What to know about fluoxetine withdrawal

Prozac is unique among antidepressants because its withdrawal symptoms typically don’t appear for several weeks. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a double-edged sword because Prozac withdrawal symptoms also tend to last longer—about two months. Discontinuing an antidepressant can increase the risk of relapse, or the return of symptoms, for anxiety and depression.

  1. Your clinician can instruct you in tapering your dose and prescribe the appropriate dosage pills for making the change.
  2. Our clients are given a program designed to help meet their individual goals, which gives the client getting off Prozac a comprehensive and well-planned route to accomplish the task safely and as comfortably as possible.
  3. A-Clinics offer, among other things, outpatient clinic services, substitution treatment and detoxification.
  4. To help distinguish between withdrawal symptoms and a return of depressive symptoms, it is important to consider when the symptoms first occurred and how they developed.

Several treatments and self-care practices may help those who wish to stop taking fluoxetine to do so safely and in a way that minimizes discomfort. But a plan can be drawn up and adhered to with the clear caveat that some flexibility and alertness might be needed for slowing the pace at times. We urge you to get a trusted medical professional to help devise your plan and provide oversight as you go through the process safely. Realize that you are juggling a number of factors, so taking time off work for a month or more, or at least reducing your work schedule may be helpful if that is possible. Sometimes there are multiple issues going on concurrent with a medication taper, and these may contribute to protracted withdrawal which is quite difficult to negotiate through without professional help. When quitting Prozac, there is a risk that symptoms of major depression will return.

Prozac Discontinuation Syndrome

Trying to wean off Prozac without such preparation, planning and medical oversight can be daunting and unpredictable. We understand the challenges facing our clients and we have helped thousands of clients to reach their goals by designing programs that fit their unique history and profile. To ensure success we offer the tools needed to mitigate the discomforts that often accompany trying to quit Prozac and other medications. At Alternative to Meds Center, Prozac titration, also known as Fluoxetine tapering, is only part of the overall picture.

Stopping fluoxetine (Prozac), a type of antidepressant, can cause some people to experience withdrawal symptoms. Prozac tapering may be less nightmarish than you might think when supported by a team that understands the possible complexities. You should choose a team that is well-equipped to help you navigate safely and comfortably back to natural mental health. More than 40% of people who have a depressive episode will go on to have at least one more episode in their lifetime. Maintenance treatment is essentially a long-term treatment designed to prevent relapse. It can include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

How to go off antidepressants

They generally begin between 1.5 to 10 days after a decrease in dosage or discontinuation of the drug. The Discontinuation-Emergent Signs and Symptoms Scale, or DESS, is a checklist you can use to evaluate your symptoms and their severity. A doctor may consider tapering the dosage of Prozac to help avoid or reduce withdrawal. People can also try using self-care strategies, such as exercising, getting regular sleep, and having a healthy diet, to help minimize potential symptoms. A person should talk with their doctor if Prozac withdrawal symptoms are severe, concerning, disabling, or last longer than a few weeks.

When to see a doctor

A 2019 review of existing research reports that 56% of people experience withdrawal effects when stopping various antidepressants. Let her or him know about any physical or emotional symptoms that could be related to discontinuation. If the symptoms are mild, you’ll probably be reassured that they’re just temporary, the result of the medication clearing your system. If you’re taking an SSRI with a short half-life, switching to a longer-acting drug, like fluoxetine, may help.