Sertraline

Hi guys,

Has anyone got experience in coming off Sertraline?

I have been on it for 1.5 years now, mainly on 50mg but for the past 4 months on 75mg.

I am ashamed to admit that I accidentally ran out nearly two weeks ago and although the prescription is ready to be picked up now, I am considering to take my chances.

I know, a lot of you would recommend not to go cold turkey, especially not without medical advice and generally I agree (having worked in mental health myself for years). Yet, I feel stronger mentally, even now after two weeks, and hence am thinking I might be half way there with the withdrawal effects (bad temper, very tired, night sweats).

Does anyone have an idea of how long it takes till the left-over Sertraline is out of your system and the withdrawal symptoms will ease off? I feel like I'm coming out the other side slowly.

Thanks guys.

Yours truly,

Christine

12 Replies

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  • I was on them but only for a short while ! I was taking 50mg and had to go from one a day to half a day then to half every other day ect ect !!! Was told not to just stop had to do it properly

    Because it could of made me worse !!! So did wot iI was told and all was fine.....I didn't do to well on them anyway. Hope that helps u a bit ?! X

  • Well I'm back on mine again arm but I did what you're rethinking about doing and stop taking them but I wouldn't advise it. As ATM you feel fine but you have meds in your system and I stopped taking mine I felt ok for about a week n then dipped right down low after that so had to go backstop so if I were you I'd do it gradually. Ur ask your go and see what he suggests. Xxx

  • Hi Stacey83,

    Thanks for your reply. I would generally advise anyone else to cut down slowly, myself. That's the thing - it's easy to tell someone else, yet when it's yourself it can sometimes be so very tempting. As far as my insight goes I guess it's me wanting to be in control of my own life again - without need meds as a crutch. Does that make sense? I presume that most of us on here would like to be able to cope without meds. It's about feeling strong. Still, I am completely aware that at the same time it IS being strong as well to admit to oneself the need of meds. That takes courage , too. For me it was the very last straw that made me admit just that and finally accept Sertraline. I have suffered from anxiety just over four years now - could have done a degree in that time! :)

    You mentioned that you didn't do too well on Sertraline yourself - to be honest, I have never been entirely convinced myself of how much it actually affected me. Also, the brands I am given at the pharmacy keeps changing and so does the effect. Apparently there has been a national supply issue with Sertraline since Christmas.

    Thanks again, hun.

    Christine31

  • Hi Littlesofty,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I will definitely keep a close eye on how I'm changing over time and if I get worse, although reluctantly (my hurt pride...), I would pick up that prescription and head straight back to the pharmacy. At the moment I am also trying to change my diet to a more balanced one which apparently can have an impact.

    Basically, I think my main worry is that I might be stuck on meds for the rest of my life, especially if I stay on them for much longer. Probably not true, but you know that mind-thing where you think you'll never get out of this state..

    Thank you very much again.

    Christine31

  • I totally know wot u mean I was the same thinking I don't won't to take meds but sum times u just have to. Yeah I did OK on them for a while but then got side affects so that's why I had to come off them I did think there were really helping for about a month but then went out the window !!!!!!! Were all get there one day ! The sooner the better for me though lol but I wouldn't just stop if I was u maybe go bk to ya doc and see wot they think about u stooping ?hope it all works out either way for u :-) x

  • Hi I too have been on sertraline twice I am at present on 150ml I managed last time on 100ml I weened off the 100ml very easily no probs at all I reduced to 50 ml for a month then stopped I was absolutely fine . unfortunately I have PTSD and have had anxiety depression for years and years the sertraline has helped me and I don't like to be on medication of any sort but I guess I know I need it for now anyway , but I would suggest you see the doc about coming off the tablets it's always good to have the advice and support from him/her and whatever you decide to do I wish you well and send my love and support . xxx Penny

  • Hi Penny,

    Thank you very much for your comment and my apologies for the late reply.

    I am sorry to hear you are still suffering from PTSD and I appreciate your recommendation to seek medical supervision. I am still off Sertraline and am feeling a lot better - especially my irritability has decreased. I still have to face the reason for my anxiety on a daily basis, but somehow I am feeling at least the same as on Sertraline, if not even a little better. I just feel more like me again.

    What I found interesting about your comment was that you mentioned 'anxiety depression'. I hadn't heard of that term myself until about a year ago and the symbiotic relationship of the two made a lot of sense to me. I do have a slight element of same myself but at least I understand its place now, rather than seeing it as just another thing to cope with.

    Thank you very much again and I wish you well, hun.

    God bless,Christine

  • Hi Christine.

    I done the same sort of thing as you. On a different drug. 'CITALOPRAM' basically it is virtually the same a 'SERTRALINE'. They are both from the SSRI family and work on the serotonin producing area of the brain.

    My experience:-

    I ran out of Citalopram and went a few days without it and did not see any difference. I decided to leave it a little longer. By the second week I noticed a mild change, when I moved my head it was almost if my eyes were moving slower than my head. I thought 'Hey, I can deal with that'. Anyway, as the weeks went by obviously the levels of the drug in my system were declining, I was noticing more changes but still was sticking to my guns of cold turkey in retrospect. By say month three I was really short tempered and the slightest thing would annoy me and get me all flustered etc.

    I had the same experiences as you. Hot flushing, severe sweating, feeling low and irritable. I just hung on to the fact I will beat these symptoms and then go back to being me. By month five. OMG. My partner was on the verge of leaving. I was a totally mess. Basically to summarise, my anxiety had returned in with vengeance. I am still getting through the bought of anxiety.

    This was from January this year. I had to go back on the Citalopram in May. That was the five months. It was a living hell. Believe me, it wrecked my sleeping pattern, I went without sleep for 5 plus days and nights at a time. Sleep has improved slightly, but still for instance. I went to bed around 12.30am this morning and took ages to fall a sleep and was awake from 4am.

    So in my experience, do not take it for granted that things will be ok. I found out the hard way and it was months later. This experience has robbed me of six months of my life. Please Christine. If you really want to come of Sertraline. Do it under the close supervision of your GP.

    At times and fairy recently. I have felt suicidal as a result. I have now been taking the Citalopram for about 6 weeks and I think I am on the right track again.

    The phrase that sprigs to mind is 'I HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK' I am still on the journey back

    All my love thought and best wishes xxxx

  • Hi Helpmebirmingham,

    Thank you very much for your comment and my apologies for the late reply.

    You comment gives an incredibly detailed insight into how difficult it can be to come off medication - thank you for sharing that. I am sorry you had such a tough experience, it really does sound like a nightmare.

    I can empathise with the effects something like this can have on a relationship and I am only too aware of how many relationships break under the immense strain of a constant condition such as anxiety. In my case this is based more on the continuous pressure of feeling anxious and paranoid rather than coming off meds. My most painful part of this experience are the times when my boyfriend didn't even want to hear about my feelings any more and started having a go at me for being unreasonable and saying that he didn't even see "what the f***ing problem is". Those are the moments I ask myself, if he can't be there fore me when I'm down in the gutter and need him the most - then why am I with him? Isn't that why we want to be with someone, to share and support each other?? Just waiting for better times won't make me forget how he was when I needed him.

    Yet, he has admitted that he doesn't always know what to do or say, but that he is trying...

    Anyway, as a quick update - I am still off Sertraline and a lot better, at least as good as I was on them. Just more myself again. Fingers crossed.

    Thanks so much again. I hope your journey back to stability continues and you will feel more settled soon. Hang on in there, hun.

    God bless,

    Christine

  • Hi there everyone, the question that springs to my mind is, why would you stop taking them? I would willingly take them for the rest of my life rather than run the risk of ever getting as low as i was between October of last year until March. this year! Its just a no brainer for me, this is the only meds i take so i understand if others are taking a few different meds, for other ailments.

    hugs to all

    Ruby

  • Hi Ruby,

    Thanks for your comment and apologies for my late reply.

    I suppose my slight aversion to long-term meds is based on my experience of working in mental health for a few years. I have seen the side effects and necessity of increasing long-term meds first hand, often meaning that additional meds were needed to counteract the side effects. I never wanted Sertraline to be a long-term solution for me.

    Having said that, there absolutely is a time and place for taking medication and I do not want to talk anyone out of taking them! They can be an absolute lifeline. And in your case it sounds like they might just be the right thing to help you through what you are going through. And I have met others who have said they would happily take their meds for the rest of their lives if it meant staying stable and in control.

    Once again, thanks for your comment and I never meant to oppose the importance of medication.

    God bless,

    Christine

  • Hi everyone,

    Thank you all so much for your comments and thoughts.

    I am still off Sertraline and a lot better by now. I feel about the same off it as I used to feel on it, though perhaps even a bit better and more me again.

    The biggest improvement since starting this blog has been my improvement in mood and being a lot less irritable.

    Thank you all very much and let's not give up hope for recovery! :)

    God bless,

    Christine

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