How to Taper: Step-by-Step Recommendation
How to Taper Off Prozac, Sarafem, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Effexor and other Psychiatric Medication
Quitting psychiatric medication must be done by tapering off, very slowly. Step by step instructions found on this page.
Click the text below that applies to you situation:
- Currently using medication and have not reduced the dosage yet
- Currently using medication and have already started to taper
- You have already quit taking medication but are suffering from side effects
- Currently taking medication, having side effects but do not want to quit taking the medication
Currently using medication and have not reduced the dosage yet
Inform your doctor you wish to discontinue the medication
Begin replenishing the intracellular glutathione levels in the body. Immunocal is the only product we recommend for this step. This needs to be done before you begin to taper.
a) Begin by increasing intracellular levels of glutathione for at least one full week before beginning the taper. Longer if necessary. I have received information from a physician that he is having people stay at this step for 8 weeks before tapering. Each individual is different. I do not feel that an arbitrary amount of time on this step is warranted. What has shown to be the most effective is staying on this step for at least one full week or until most of your side effects are gone or nearly gone AND YOU FEEL VERY STABLE. You should not begin to taper off the medication until all or nearly all of your current side effects are gone. Getting yourself very stable before tapering is critical. If you are getting the “electrical zap” feeling at this time, do not begin to taper until these have decreased to a tolerable level. Usually takes about two weeks after supplementing your cells with glutathione. It can’t be stressed enough; this is the most important step of your taper. Time spent on this level reduces the withdrawal side effects when you begin the taper and tends to reduce the overall time of the taper.
After you feel stable as noted above, begin by reducing your medication by no more than 10% for the next 7 days. Do not skip days or rotate dosages you are taking. Example, one day take 50 mg and the next 25 mg and the next 50 mg again. The idea here is to have a gradual and smooth reduction of the medication. If you reduce the medication from 50 mg a day to 45 mg a day, take 45 mg a day, every day for the entire 7 days. Do not proceed to step 4 unless you are feeling very stable.
The ideal reduction from this point on is no more than 10 % of the medication every 7 days. As in number 3 above, do not reduce the medication further unless you are feeling very stable. In the mini trials I ran, most everyone wanted to get off the medication quickly. The reduction was generally by 20 % at this step. I do not recommend that big of a reduction in the medication. Some people can reduce the medication by 20 % and do fine. However, there is an equal amount of people that need to only reduce the medication by no more than 10 % a week. I do understand the urge to get off the medication as quickly as possible but not having side effects while you do is more important in the end.
As much as I might ask people to keep in touch with me through this process, the majorities do not. There are times when it is good to increase the amount of supplement you take with this method. There is also a time when starting a vitamin/mineral supplement is helpful. Click here to read general guidelines when to adjust the supplement and when to include a vitamin/mineral supplement.
Currently using medication and have already started to taper
A couple of things need to be decided by you if you have already started to taper before starting this method. If you are stable where you are at, move to step 2 above. Take the supplement for at least 7 full days before continuing your taper. Immunocal is the only product we recommend for this step.
If you are having side effects, use the steps below.
Getting stable before continuing the taper is vital. It usually takes 4 business days for the supplement to arrive. You need to decide what is best for you at this time.
a) You can tough it out at the current dosage you are at and wait for the supplement or
b) Increase the dosage of your medication back to the level where you were last doing better.
Increasing the dosage is much like tapering. It should be done gradually. Don’t worry if you need to increase the dosage to help with the withdrawal side effects. You can always reduce it once again at the right time. All has not been lost.
Do the same as step 2 above. Get stable before continuing on the taper.
You have already quit taking medication but are suffering from side effects
It is not uncommon to hear from people that have tapered off or quit cold turkey from their medication, without taking this supplement, have life altering side effects.
Start increasing the intracellular levels of glutathione quickly. Immunocal is the only product we recommend for this step.
If you have only been off the medication for 3 weeks or less, you should consider going back on the medication at a low dose and then tapering off slowly.
Weigh the current side effects you are having and your ability to function in life. If you feel you can hold on, most people begin to feel relief quickly with the increase of glutathione.
How much supplementation should you take?
If you fall in either of these two categories:
Currently using medication and have not reduced the dosage yet.
Currently using medication and have already started to taper.
Your first day, take ˝ of a package only. Take the supplement in the morning, at least 2 hours apart from your medication.
Day 2 and beyond, take 1 full packet each day. Take ˝ package in the morning and the other ˝ package around 3 PM. Once again, at least 2 hours apart from your medication.
You have already quit taking medication but are suffering from side effects,
Day one take ˝ package in the morning.
Day two, take one full package. ˝ package in the morning and ˝ package in the afternoon.
Day five, take one full package in the morning and one full package as close to 3 PM as you can.
If after 1 full week of 2 packages a day, if your side effects have not greatly diminished, begin taking 3 packages each day. Morning, noontime and around 5 PM are recommended.
Currently taking medication, having side effects but do not want to quit taking the medication
Begin supplementing with Immunocal. Start by taking 1 teaspoon a day for 3 days.
Day 4, begin taking 1 teaspoon at 9 AM and 1 teaspoon at 3 PM.
Day 7, start taking 3 teaspoons (1/2 packet) at 9 AM and 3 teaspoons (1/2 packet) at 3 PM daily.
If you still have side effects from your medications after 14 days: Start taking 1 full packet at 9 AM and 1 full packet at 3 PM daily.