Paxil Withdrawal and my doctor's gone AWOL

For the past week, I have been without my meds. As some of your are probably aware, I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was diagnosed when I was 18, and since then, I have been on Paxil to treat it. (I’m 24 now). I only take about sixty miligrams a day-I believe that’s fairly low, isn’t it?

Well, for some reason, my doctor hasn’t sent my refill to the pharmacy. No matter, I thought it would just take a day or so. In the past, at times, he wanted an appointment to check up on me, before writing me my scrip.

But now, despite repeated messages sent through his answering service, despite telling them it was an emergency, he has not sent in my scrip to the pharmacy. Luckily, they were able to give me three pills (I take forty milligram pills and cut one in half to make sixty), so I cut those in half, and have been taking a half each day to cut the edge off of the withdrawal symptoms. I’m cranky, my head hearts, I want to sleep all the time but I’m also jittery and nervous, mood swings and I’m about as cordial as a rattlesnake with the shits.

This has not been a good year for me-I’m unemployed and the job hunt so far hasn’t been very successfull, especially because of all the god forsaken snow that has kept me home a lot because the roads have been so bad. My family is also hurting as well.

But I don’t need this. My GOD, I don’t need this. I can’t go to another doctor right now-I’m uninsuranced and I’m lucky beyond belief that my meds are covered by my father’s insurance.

Fuck this shit. I’m not good for anything right now. How am I supposed to hunt a job if I’m going through mood swings as bad as I am?

(I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m whining, but dammit, they tell you not to quit your meds cold turkey when you DON’T want to take them anymore. For someone who is still on them, and not supposed to quit, this is very bad).

Right there with you, Guinastasia. I’m at four weeks without my Guaifenesin, and now I’ve got the arthritis of a ninety-year-old. No fun at all. At least I’m in college and don’t have a job to worry about.

A case of Paxil Vobiscum?

Oh I am sorry, Guin - I do NOT mean to sound so flippant. You’re so right - the advice is not to stop them cold turkey, so I can’t imagine what your medic is up to.

But, I know nothing of the USA helath system, so I can only offere sympathy and hope this situation is fixed PDQ.


Is your doctor associated with a clinic ? Go there and explain the situation to the nurse or receptionist. If the docs out of town or missing, there should be someone covering for him.

Since you are OCD, have you tried Luvox instead of Paxil? Paxil is a relatively generic brainspark inhibitor, class = mild. I admit that I’m only going on accumulated anecdotal data here, but all the OCD folks I know who have found a chemical that they like have praised Luvox. (not sure of spelling).

And yeah, if you are gonna detox, it should be done slowly and ideally with some non-absent person available to you as you do so.

I have no idea what you can do if you can’t afford a new doctor and this one won’t give you a refill. I’d assume 5htp might cut down the withdrawl effects, but that might give you serotonin syndrome.

Guinastasia, Paxil withdrawal with a slow taper can be dreadful (I withdrew from 40mg over a period of weeks and hated it), but forced withdrawal from 60mg to zero sounds truly barbaric. I second the idea of showing up at the doc’s clinic or office. If you can’t get there, keep calling (and have the pharmacist call too, if you can). Ask for the name of the person you talked to and ask for her/him each time you call back.

I can’t understand why they would just leave you hanging like that. As a last resort perhaps you could try a walk-in clinic. It would cost some money but would probably be more reasonable than finding a new doctor. Best of luck.

I feel your pain. No, really. I’m on a much lower dose of Paxil (20mg) and I’ve had the experience of going without it. Not fun. Your doctor should not have left you in the lurch. Paxil is infamous for its truly awful withdrawal. Go somewhere. The hospital, a clinic, wherever, and get enough to get you through until your prescription is renewed.

You might get some luck at the pharmacy as well, if you go to them and explain the situation, they may well give you some of your refill upfront so that you can avoid withdrwal symptoms. I have come off Paxil and it was for me a very unpleasant experience. I’ve had Walgreen pharmacy give me 7 doses up front, when my refill ran out (my mistake I thought I had one more refill) and they contacted my doctor for a new refill request, which I could pick up a few days later.
Also Paxil is known to commonly have bad withdrawl symptoms, I would susspect your doctor is breaking medical ethics if he/she makes you go directly cold turkey off this medication. As a last rseort, “beg steel or borrow” the tablets you need to take until you can get a new prescription sorted out, and “beg steel or borrow” the money you need to get that new prescription.
Good luck.

P.S. with Paxil and any other drug that needs a slow ramp down in dosage when you come off it, try to ensure you allways have at least a weeks worth of spare tablets, so get the refills early as possible, this means that if your source for the drug is removed, you can still ramp down your dose by cutting the remaining tablets in half, and some into quaters and allowing yourself to ramp down.

Guin, you don’t have a job, and you can’t job-hunt in your current state. So you should go to your doctor’s office and hold a sit-in until someone explains personally to you why you can’t have your goddamned meds. This is horrible.

Go to a different doctor. This one obviously isn’t meeting your needs.

One good thing: Maybe you can have some orgasms while you’re off your meds. Remember those?

Wow, sounds horrible. I happened to read an article about Paxil withdrawal yesterday in Glamour, and it sounds really bad (especially for a drug that was supposed to be non-habit forming!) WTF - It’s regular office hours, right? Can you get ahold of any live person there and explain what is happening?

As soon as I get a chance to haul ass over to his office. To be even MORE of a loser, I don’t drive. How shitty is that.

You’re right-there’s no way I can job hunt in this stage. I spent about an hour sobbing in the shower earlier. This is getting me so pissed.

The reason I haven’t thought about a new doctor is because this is so not like my doctor. He’s always been VERY concerned and very considerate and he’s a great guy. So there has to be something going on. It’s puzzling.

Oh, man, Guin, I feel so bad for you. I was forced into cold turkey withdrawal last year and I wanted to die. The side effects were so bad, I was freaking on a regular basis, I had been laid off from work and I was getting ready to take finals at school. I kept telling myself that things were going to change, and they did, for the worse! It took a while, so I wouldn’t wish that on… well, very many people. I hope things work out for you soon.

Sounds like you have a textbook case. Seriously, look into it.

I had a doctor pull the same thing, but I was on a high dosage of Xanax (Alprazolam) I wound up in an emergency room. This is the same wonderfuck Christian who first prescribed bible verses for my suicidal depression.

Hang in there. You are never alone.

Go to the Emergency Room at your local hospital. Tell them the truth…they’ll help you out…even if only temporarily…until your doc returns.

Good luck!!!

Oh, no, Guin. That’s awful. Get to emergency, quick!

Well, I have partial good news-no doctor yet, BUT, the pharmicist is going to fill my prescription until we can get ahold of him. My mother knows her-she goes to our church and her daughter and my sister used to be really good friends.

She said it happens occassionally with psychiatrists-they keep odd hours, or whatever.

Who knows?

I’m going to ease myself back on…

Thanks everyone!

I went through Paxil withdrawal too and it sucked. I cannot believe they lost that lawsuit and can still say it’s non-addictive. Do they use a different definition of addictive than I do?

I’ve got a kid with OCD and Luvox was a truly evil drug for him. It really did a number on him. If Paxil’s working, then there’s no reason to change just for the sake of change.
I’m glad you’ve found a way around it in the short term. Sometimes I wonder just what planet psychiatrists come from. I had one refuse to play around with any more meds for P the Elder late last year. Ummmm, so WTF am I supposed to do for a kid with OCD, anxiety and ADD? Changed doctors and he’s properly medicated now and life is so much easier for him but I couldn’t believe it when the psychiatrist said just go home and get on with life. What life?