Dumping Paxil

Well, I got sick and tired of the constant stomach pain on Paxil and weird interactions with other meds so I’m trying to get off of it after 6 months and maybe move back to either Cipramil (low dose and hopefully avoid the neck pain) or Lexapro. I went from 2.5 mg to about 1 mg now and have been here for about 8-9 days. All last week I felt better than I have in months in terms of mood and energy levels but now the ugly stuff is hitting. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin and everything is just too hard to do. Mornings are black and bleak.

I’m throwing in 25 mg of 5HTP as of tonight to ease through this. Has anyone on the board gone through Paxil withdrawal? It’s supposedly the worst one of the SSRIs to get free of because of its high affinity for serotonin receptors (some 100x higher than Zoloft; which might explain why I got a jolt on such a small amount). Probably like getting off heroin or crack… so I’m bracing for a fun ride.

Scott :shock:

Good luck Scott. You’ve really been through the mill on these various med trials. Good idea to use the 5HTP. I’ve used it with good results in the past, not for withdrawal, just for bad times. It’s a useful addition to our arsenal .


Paxil is the same as Aropax, yes? I went slowly off that years ago with no problems. But this from a person who accidentally went straight from 75mg of Prothiaden to 225mg…

Good luck Scott,

The stomach side effects on these SSRIs are no fun. I spent half of last night feeling sick as a dog
and so cold. Put a cardy on top of a nightie, bedsocks, duvet and throw which was doubled and couldnt stop shivering. Hubby said all I needed was a woolley hat and I could stand in for the old woman on “ello ello”. Best part is, I hadnt had any of the stuff yesterday so even on a low dose, its still in my system.

Like you, considering the cipramel again, but would have to start on an even lower dose than last time. Can I get the pill cut to that small a piece, I wonder. Did you get any of the nausea on the cipramel? I never stayed on it long enough to find out last time since I got the migraine from hell immediately on taking it.


Sorry to hear you are having such a rough go of getting off such a teeny dose of Paxil… ugh!!!
What symptoms are you trying to tame with the SSRI’s? Can you add in the Cipramil to ease the withdrawal effects?
Hang in my friend…

Thanks Brenda – I definitely feel much perkier and upbeat this morning already. Had 25 mg at 6 pm last night. Last time I used 5htp it worked well for mood but had 2 side effects that caused me to drop it: sore gut after a couple of weeks and huge tiredness by about 3 pm. So I’m on just 25 mg and taking it at 6 pm instead of the morning. Hoping I get wiped out with tiredness at midnight and wake refreshed. Will wait and see what it does to my stomach.

Vic - Paxil and Aro are the same: paroxetine. Good to hear you went off easily.

Christine - I had no stomach issues with Cipramil so perhaps you’ll be good too. It’s the damned neck pain/ headaches that is a real bummer.

Lisa - yup, just nuts that 2.5 mg to 1 mg is tough going for me. I never need much to get an effect from any med. I am trying to just feel better day-by-day with the SSRIs. Without any meds, migraine sucks the life out of me over time. This comorbid depression/ anxiety thing really seems to be true. When I had Cip in my system I could push myself much more before MAV would wipe me out – travel, going out, energy to do everything, exercise didn’t hit me so hard, confidence was better. Too bad it caused such miserbale neck and head pain and myalgia all the time. Headaches from showers were much worse and that was a daily problem. Weight gain and mojo were also a hassle but something I could deal with. I really don’t want to go there again with Cip.


Interesting about the 5HTP Scott. It’s about the only med/supplement I’ve ever had that I’ve not had a negative reaction to and I’m usually SUPER, SUPER sensitive. And I took 100mg per day mid morning with some carbohydrate, an apple in my case, as I was told it works better that way. Reading how little you took and what reaction you had, I just cannot believe I got away with taking that much and benefited by it.

I know St John’s Wort, in much the same bracket as 5HTP, has helped you in the past but when I took a very small quantity of that it wiped me out, made me much more dizzy and spaced out and was altogether a miserable experience. Just goes to show once more how individual we all are.

Good luck again with it all


Hi Brenda,

Are you still using 5HTP now? Initially I took 100 mg too over a year ago but by day 3 I was so wired and hyped it was crazy – like I’d had 50 cups of coffee. Did it mess with your stomach?

I too had a bad experience on one type of SJW (Kira) but was fine on another (at first). Very strange.


No, I’m not taking it at the moment, but I have a jar in the cupboard just in case! It didn’t affect my stomach at all, not in the slightest, nor did it make me tired. Are you taking it with carbohydrate only? I can’t remember why you had to avoid proteins with it but I know that’s what I was told. It was Kira SJW I took as well. I researched heavily and that was supposed to be the best - not for me it wasn’t! The experience really shook me. Never again!


hey Scott
what do you think about a low dose neurontin in addition to the Cip? The neurontin might help with the overly sensitised nerves that cause that scalp/neck pain?
The SE profile is meant to be low, so it might be worth a shot??
For me, I have found 25mg of 5htp to be a wonderful addition to my Cymbalta. Sleeping better, mood elevated…dizziness a little better too. I’m very happy with it, so much so that
I hope to taper off Cymbalta and see i I can do the natural approach.

I’m having some strange results. I took a second dose of 5htp last night again but only about 10-15 mg and within 30 min some wicked neck pain and then headache started. I went to bed like that. I then woke at about 3 am with my heart pounding at a modrate level and thoughts racing and sore gut. I knocked back some valium and then spent the next few hours in and out of sleep having all sorts of bad dreams. This morning (my birthday – this better ease off today just once) I don’t feel good at all damn this.

Lisa – 5htp never caused headache or neck pain like this before nor did it cause the morning agitation (I was not on an SSRI last time I used this). No doubt it’s reacting with the Paxil even though I’m only on about 1-1.5 mg. Paxil is proving to be VERY uncomforatble and difficult to get off of. I’m really surprised about the neck pain from 5htp. Last year when I used this stuff there were no headaches (at least I don’t think so … but need to recheck my diary). Do you think it’s not possible to cross something like this with an SSRI? i thought I could use it to ease withdrawal.


Hi Scott,
I was worried when you said you were mixing them, I wouldnt.
Happy Birthday matie, and hope things settle soon.
sorry you were sick on the Bday. what a nightmare! :frowning:

Hi Scott,
Happy Birthday :slight_smile: I am so sorry to hear you are feeling so crappy. Although I am not overly familiar nor prescribe 5-HTP for my patients, I do know from others on the forum that they have found very good success with it. That being said, using 5-HTP with SSRI’s (or other anti-depressants) has the potential to have an additive effect and I would be careful. I am not sure how to explain the neck pain or the increased headaches except that maybe you are actually increasing the level of SSRI in your blood??? Hope you feel better and keep us posted.

All the best,

Thanks Jennie and Lisa,

Correction: I just checked my diary last year when I was on 5htp and I report a ton of severe headaches (from neck pain). Perhaps this stuff is not for me. I am going to try taking it under the tongue as some report (sublingual) and see if it makes any difference. Maybe it’s the sudden spike in serotonin from it that triggers the pain? No idea.

I’m going to have a go with Neurontin next. I need something to switch these nerves off. I’m so sensitised it’s stupid. :roll:


Well, I’ve been Paxil free now for about 4 days having scraped Paxil dust off the pills over the last few weeks and I’m now sitting here at work trembling. I feel shell-shocked. Sleep has gone down the drain over the last 3 nights getting by on about 4 solid hours and then 3-4 hours of tossing and turning. Valium is the only crutch at the moment. Things are looking mighty surreal but I suppose I should expect that without proper sleep, withdrawal, and migraine cooking in the background. Still no nasty dizziness creeping in touch wood but I am a hair’s width away from anxiety crashing in.

Not sure if I will tough this out with valium and see if I come out the other side, add in a low-dose of lex (2 mg to start) or do the neurontin this week. The latter is probably a bad plan while feeling this unstable. It would be nice to have a really good SSRI washout and not complicate things with an unknown med like neurontin.

Another weird thing that started yesterday morning was lower back pain. No particular reason. Just woke up and it’s like there’s a nail down there. Withdrawal?

Scott :shock:

Hi Scott,
I am really sorry to hear about your suffering and difficulty with the paxil withdrawal. My vote would be to add the lexapro and even if lexapro doesn’t work out, it actually might make your whole SSRI withdrawal experience a little smoother.
Just a thought?
Hope you feel better soon…lisa

Thanks Lisa,

I think if this gets much worse and my sleep continues to suffer I will have to do just that.

Interestingly, I ran into an old friend of mine who was told in Brazil she has Meneire’s many years ago. Everything she has told me seems much more like MAV although the two could intersect as well (she never gets headaches but that doesn’t rule out migraine of course). Anyway, guess what med they put her on for the anxiety and depression when she fell apart a year ago? Lexapro. She only takes 5 mg and it mostly cleaned it all up and the attacks with only occasional relapses when she gets super stressed out (fat kid hits the pool). She’s still convinced it’s Meniere’s though and drowns herself in diuretics which don’t do anything for her apart from stresing out her kidneys.

Anyhow, I’ve gone off on a tangent there but this dizzy junk is everywhere.


Well, MAV has whipped my backside again. I gave up tonight … I’m done. I’m about 5 weeks out from stopping Paxil and it’s just not doable for me without some sort of serotonin enhancement in my body. The drop into MAV hell has followed pretty much the same trajectory as it did in 2007 when I was 5 weeks out from quitting Cipramil. The final nail in the coffin for me is intense visual vertigo and heavy squeezing head pain that goes on and on and on for days. This is not going to budge no matter how much valium I pour down my throat. I can see this clearly.

I wanted to have a crack at wellbutrin but I’m thinking more about Lexapro starting tomorrow morning. Not a happy camper about an SSRI but I can’t see any other fix for the moment and no other SSRI that will fit any better.

Kelley – I might take your advice, start Lex and then see if neurontin can prevent the increased pain.


Good luck Scott. Hope you find some relief. That visual vertigo is a killer.


I dont understand this illness. I have gone the last 3 years with decreased symptoms on the whole, only realized that now, when they have come back like they used to be. Two full blown vertigo attacks in the last two weeks, in between the dizzy and squeezed temples heads, cant speak to someone in the street kind. I used to get this all the time, and only realized now, how good it has been the last 3 years. What has caused this to come back.
Only thing is trying the Lyrica for a week, cypramil couple of days, cymbalta 3 days and sanomigran 3 days (hardly long enough you would think to cause all this on withdrawing from it, but maybe they changed something)
Only other difference, is buying a laptop and using reading glasses as opposed to using the desktop through the big TV and using distance glasses.

Maybe these drugs have more effect than we realize and take longer to get out of the system, but this isnt fun, I agree :frowning: