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Old 08-08-2018, 10:17 AM #1
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Default Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Hi--I've told my story before on this forum, but as a reminder, I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for 17 years for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. I decided to taper off, with the blessing of my pdoc. My depression and anxiety returned, and I had to not only increase the Zoloft to 200mg but add 1mg of Abilify (plus Konopin as needed). It's been a year and a half since the episode began and a year since starting Abilify. I'm feeling quite a bit better--I hardly ever take the Klonopin, and my pdoc said I can try doing without the Abilify. I just went 16 days at only 0.5mg of Abilify, but I'm feeling anxious and depressed again and bumped back up to 1mg. I'm so frustrated with the whole situation. I'm worried that I'll never feel like myself again and come off the Abilify. I'm pissed at my pdoc for not warning me that the Zoloft might not work as well if I came off it. I'm working my *** off trying to recover: I'm in weekly therapy, I run just about every day (3-6 miles), and I meditate almost daily. I've kept working at a stressful job throughout all of this, continued playing soccer and seeing my friends, watched my brother undergo surgery, radiation, and chemo for stomach cancer, and my wife and I are still--after more than 5 years--trying to start a family. I don't know why I'm posting other than to get the feeling of discouragement off my chest.

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Old 08-08-2018, 06:59 PM #2
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

When you are ready try 1/2 a 1 mg pill plus 1 half of the half pill left for a total dose of 0.75 mg. See if you can stay at this dose for three weeks and then decrease to just 0.5 mg or a half pill. Good luck! It can be done and you can do it!
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Old 08-08-2018, 07:06 PM #3
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Good idea. Thank you for the suggestion and encouragement.
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:20 PM #4
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Agree with Deejay to take a little less. It can take weeks for a new med to kick in so waiting at least four weeks before reducing is ideal.
When I was tapering I found the 10% method best (so instead of 1mg take .9mg) but with only 1mg that might be very hard.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:02 AM #5
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catgotmytongue View Post
Agree with Deejay to take a little less. It can take weeks for a new med to kick in so waiting at least four weeks before reducing is ideal.
When I was tapering I found the 10% method best (so instead of 1mg take .9mg) but with only 1mg that might be very hard.
Could tapering from 1mg to 0.5 cause a significant increase in depression and anxiety symptoms? It seems like such a small dose. On the other hand, I can't think of anything that happened in the past couple of weeks that would make me feel more depressed and anxious. I had therapy last night, and I couldn't come up with any other reasons for how I'm feeling.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:21 AM #6
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

are there any compounding pharmacies near you? they often whip up liquid suspensions, custom compound very small doses, etc. I don't know how insurance coverage plays into the equation.

i read on a "holistic psychiatrist"'s blog that the atypicals can be hard to taper because they go all over the brain, whereas the older drugs were more D2 blockers. anyway...she wrote about crossing over to another tranquilizer and then tapering off that, kind of like how shrinks will switch people on xanax over to valium and taper off that.

i take abilify daily, higher dose than you. i was on an even higher dose. taking a lot of b-vitamins and antioxidants helped me get down to a lower (and therefore safer) maintenance dose, but...it still wasn't the easiest thing ever.

good luck.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:27 AM #7
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Quote:
Originally Posted by still_crazy View Post
are there any compounding pharmacies near you? they often whip up liquid suspensions, custom compound very small doses, etc. I don't know how insurance coverage plays into the equation.

i read on a "holistic psychiatrist"'s blog that the atypicals can be hard to taper because they go all over the brain, whereas the older drugs were more D2 blockers. anyway...she wrote about crossing over to another tranquilizer and then tapering off that, kind of like how shrinks will switch people on xanax over to valium and taper off that.

i take abilify daily, higher dose than you. i was on an even higher dose. taking a lot of b-vitamins and antioxidants helped me get down to a lower (and therefore safer) maintenance dose, but...it still wasn't the easiest thing ever.

good luck.
If you don't mind me asking, how long have you been taking Abilify, and how concerned are you about side effects, especially over the long term?
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:04 PM #8
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Ordinarily, i wouldn't think that such a small dose could make a difference one way or another, but for you right now this seems to be the case. One of my other thoughts would be that your antidepressant spooning out on you. Maybe that is worth a call to the,psychiatrist.
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:19 PM #9
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deejay14 View Post
Ordinarily, i wouldn't think that such a small dose could make a difference one way or another, but for you right now this seems to be the case. One of my other thoughts would be that your antidepressant spooning out on you. Maybe that is worth a call to the,psychiatrist.
I've spoken to my psychiatrist but he doesn't think the Zoloft is pooping out because I was on it for more than 15 years without any problems at all. It was only when I tapered down from 150mg to 50mg a day that my depression and anxiety recurred, and then when I reinstated the Zoloft, my depression and anxiety did improve, just not as much or as quickly as before. My guess is that during the 2 years that I tapered off the Zoloft, my depression was gathering a head of steam on a biological level. I asked about switching meds, but my psychiatrist said there is a risk that a different drug won't work as well, and since I did respond to the reinstated Zoloft, it made more sense to augment. As for what's happening right now, I suppose the Zoloft could be pooping out, but it seems more likely that reducing from 1mg to 0.5mg of Abilify is the culprit. It does surprise me that such a small dose could make a difference, but apparently it's a powerful medication, and I did reduce my dose by 50%.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:08 PM #10
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Default Re: Frustrated trying to discontinue Abilify

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcoleap View Post
Good idea. Thank you for the suggestion and encouragement.
I'm really glad Deejay14 gave you a helpful suggestion. I wish you my best in getting off Abilify I can't take the med due to my diabetes. On Celexa.
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