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Nancy, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 746
Experience:  ABD for a PhD in Psychology, Psychotherapist for over 20 years
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I am currently taking Prozac 20mg one day and 40 mg the

Customer Question

I am currently taking Prozac 20mg one day and 40 mg the next. At night I take 2 MG Zanax & 25 MG amitriptyline to sleep. I have fibromyalga. I am worried that I will never get off these drugs and they will alter my brain activity and chemistry. Is that likely? I think my real question is am I addicted to these drugs and what can be done to get off them?

I have been on Zanax to sleep for 25 years, starting with .05 MG. The Prozac and amitriptyline were added about 10 years ago.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Nancy replied 8 years ago.


I am glad you wrote.

I am also really surprised that a Psychiatrist of all people would tell you to just stop one medication and start another - that is not typically done for the exact reason you mentioned.

These medications will not cause any long term problems - people stay on them for their lifetime. These medications fix brain problems, not create them -- so don't worry about that.

Of all the medications you mentioned, Xanax is the only medication that has addictive properties. That will cause a different kind of withdrawal - you have to go off that slowly when you do go off.

The other medications will produce side-effects if you withdraw from them too quickly, but those will jsut be side-effects - they are not classic "withdrawal" like with Xanax.

If you want to get off Prozac and get on Lexapro (which I agree, you should) just do it slowly. Doctors usually take people down 2-5 mgs per week holding when they first experience symptoms - but I am unsure how you could do it on the variable doses you're on... you can either ask your doctor for a plan to do that, or ask your pharmacist.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Why is Lexapro better than Prozac?
Expert:  Nancy replied 8 years ago.

Lexapro is safer and more effective. It is a newer medication - the older medications have more side-effects, and are less tolerated.

Newer medication more specifically target the neurotransmitters we want to effect change in without disrupting anything else.


Nancy and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Nancy, how do I gradually go off Prozac? Can I cut my dose to 20 MG daily, then 20 MG everyother day and add Lexapro?
Expert:  Nancy replied 8 years ago.

Because your situation is so unique (20 one day, 40 the next and so on) I won't venture a guess as to how you can best do that. Talk to your doctor about it - tell him that you had side-effects from withdrawing and want to avoid that - then ask how to go about it.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help! I was beginning to feel like a drug addict nut case!
Expert:  Nancy replied 8 years ago.

You are welcome. I know how you feel... getting off some meds is horrible!

Let me know if I can ever help again!

Best of luck,

Nancy :-)