Withdrawal From Stelazine

Comments Submitted Says:

I have been on stelaine for 25 years with short breaks but I am trying to stop it and getting nasty withdrawal effects. I have reduced from 7mg to 3mg daily but have headaches anxiety and sense of unreality. I fell perfectly rational and know it is not the ill ness returning. I am seeking advice from someone who has managed to get of this drug or for any tips. I am planning to cut down 1mg per month but am already apprehensive about this.

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Verwon Says:

Stelazine contains the active ingredient Trifluoperazine, this is most commonly used as an antipsychotic medication.

What you are experiencing is a very common effect from try to stop any type of medication that you have been on for a prolonged period. You may also experience rebound symptoms.

You have been on this medication for a very long period of time, it is probably unwise to try and stop by yourself, have you spoken to your doctor about an effective means to get off of it?


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Maureenh Says:

I have spoke to my doctor and psychiatrist. They just told me to reduce by one mg a month but didnt offer any other support

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Buster Says:

I was on strong doses of stelazine for a few yrs, up to 100mg per day, but I've now been successfully off of it for about 6 yrs now. The solution was a tricky one. Every time I'd try to cut back my mind's imbalance came back. The smallest dose tab of Stelazine is one mg, but it was not possible to cut back in one mg increments, even over an extended period of time. Fortunately Stelazine stays in the body for a week or two so if I took 5mg one day and then 4mg the next day it would average out ok and in effect it would be as if it was 4.5 mg per day. I had to keep track on my calendar because keeping track of it all got complicated. Every 3 months I did a decrease of amount. After I was down to 5 mg per day I had to get into get into the fractional average amounts per day after that. Then I went to 4.5 mg per day for 3 months, then 4.0 mg per day for 3 months, then 3 2/3 per day for 3 months, then 3 1/3 per day for 3 months, then 3 per day for 3 months, then 2 3/4 per day for 3 months, then 2 1/2 per day for 3 months, then 2 1/4 per day for 3 months, then 2 per day for 3 months, then 1 4/5 per day for 3 months, then 1 3/5 per day for 3 months, then 1 2/5 per day for 3 months, then 1 1/5 per day for 3 months, then 1 per day for three months, then 5/6 per day for 3 months, then 4/6 per day for 3 months....etc, you can see the pattern. The increments I cut down every 3 months had to get smaller as I got closer and closer to zero. This is because the mind has to adjust to increasingly subtle layers of conciousness opening up as dosage decreases. In the end it worked. Learning about yoga meditation and the philosophy behind it helped too. I had to keep marking my calendar every day to keep track. If you have questions let me know.

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cindy Says:

i have been on stelazine for anxiety,hearing voices for the past 3 yrs now. I am generally on the 2mg but sometimes my psychiatrist would increase the dosage and give me 5mg. I have been doing quite well over the yrs but i lack the zeal to socialize. I have tried getting off this medication twice but every time i do so after one week of getting off it i get very dizzy and i find myself going back on it. I really would like to have a baby and i would like to get off it as i don't know if i take it while i am pregnant what effect it will have on my baby. My doctor says it is a relatively safe drug to take although it cannot be taken during the first 3 months of pregnancy. I know i can go through with this but i don't want to get sick again in the middle of pregancy. I want to have a health baby. How do i go about doing this can anyone share some advice?

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Buster Says:

Cindy, hi. See my previous email about how to decrease doses. In addition if the mind is going in a bad direction immediately switch what you're thinking about to something else. Anytime you hear voices do not pay attention to them even if it seems like some of it makes sense. Just totally disregard any of those type voices. If you wake up in the middle of the night because of some dream don't try to figure anything about the dream. Just immediately forget what was in the dream and switch the mind to something else. There are alternative medications to stelazine but I'm not sure which are safest for pregnancy. Always go forward positively and never look back to the past.

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Buster Says:

Cindy, after I posted a reply I reread your post again and I realized I forgot something. You are concerned that if you plan on going off the stelazine for 3 months to have the baby you might get sick again. This is true unfortunately. You would. Stelazine doses have to be decreased very slowly over a long time or else the mind cannot adjust fast enough to the change to stay stable. See my other post which shows the decrease rate which worked for me. Never cold turkey go from 3mg per day to zero per day. It can't work. If you see my decrease schedule I used and then decrease according to that every 2 months eventually you'd be off of it. But you have to keep the mind in a good space the whole time too.

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cindy Says:

HI Buster, thanks for your reply. I am determined to get off the stelazine in order to have my baby. I take the 2mg and i have started staying without it for four days. I felt fine but just a little anxious. I went to my doctor and asked for advice on the best way to stop it and he said go ahead and just stop since i am only taking the 2mg. But i am going to take the 1mg maybe for 1 month and then every other day or two days and then stop and see how it goes. Am i going about it the right way Buster please share your advice.

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Buster Says:

Cindy, quite a few times I had tried to go off Stelazine and was unsuccessful. I'd get down to 5 mg then go to 4 mg and then try 3 and somwhere in there it would get messed up again. The weird anxiety. From my experience a person can never get off Stelazine by slowly reducing in 1 mg increments simply because it's too fast for the mind to adjust to. That is why I came up with the solution that worked, it was approved by my Dr. too. I told him I wanted to reduce in fraction-of-a-mg increments but they don't make Stelazine in fraction-of-a-mg increments and he told me that since Stelazine stays in the body for a long time so for example if I did 5 mg one day and then did 4 mg the next day it would average out and in effect I was taking 4.5 mg per day. I came up with the theory that the closer I got to zero mg the smaller I had to make the fractions of my decreases. It worked. I came up with the correct fractions decrease schedule. Every 2 months I did a decrease. The decrease schedule was like this: 5mg per day for 2 months, then 4.5 mg per day for 2 months, then 4 for 2 months, then 3 and two thirds mg for 2 months, then 3 and one third mg for 2 months, then 3 mg for 2 months, then 2 and three-fourths mg for 2 months, then 2 and a half mg for 2 months, then 2 and one-fourth mg for 2 months, then 2 mg for 2 months, then 1 and four-fifths mg for 2 months, then 1 and three-fifths for 2 months, then 1 and two-fifths for 2 months, then 1 and one-fifth for 2 months, then 1 for 2 months, then five-sixth's mg for 2 months, then four-sixth's for 2 months, then three-sixth's for 2 months, then two-sixths for 2 months, then one-sixths for 2 months, and then I was off of it.

I know it was long to type this out. But, bottom line is....the closer you get to zero mg's per day the smaller the cut-down amount must be because Stelazine operates on the subtle layers of mind and too rapid a change in the subtle layers of mind is what causes "craziness" so more caution is needed so things don't get worse. That is it actually. It was due to the fact that you had some change in the subtle layers of mind that happened to fast that got you into the situation to begin with. Same thing happened with me so I know.

I wish you well in whatever you choose but I've told you what works. Show this post to your Dr. and discuss it if you want and see what he says. My Dr. knew my plan and approved it.

Many other people have tried to decrease Stelazine the way you're trying and to my knowledge none of them have ever been successful. Ask your Dr. if he knows of anyone who was successful in decreasing like what you described.

Wishes of wellness to you,


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cindy Says:

thanks for sharing this relevant information with me Buster and i will definately discuss it with my Doctor. I will print a copy and show it to him to hear what he says. I do hope i can be like u someday free and clear of Stelazine living a normal life and don't have to worry about taking those medications. And it is true when i was ill its like i felt i was going crazy and i really do not want to have a relapse so i am going to take every precaution. Thank u once again and we will catch up soon. Take care.

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William D Says:

Stelazine has been discontinued by the manufacturers and
will very soon be unavailable. What would be an alternate
drug for a person taking 13mg Stelazine for over 20 years?

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Buster Says:

There are generic tablets that are the same thing as Stelazine but they're not name brand and they're cheaper. Ask your doctor to prescribe them. He also knows what the alternative things are.

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William D Says:

Does anybody know what the name of the generic alternative to Stelazine is?

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Eddie Bennett Says:

Hi Buster,
How do you take a fraction of a mg of Stelazine, do you cut up the tablet?
Do you recommend making the reduction every 2 months or 3 months?
Thanks for your help.
Eddie B.

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Buster Says:

Ah, that is the tricky part....the fraction of the mg. My doctor and I discussed this. He told me that Stelazine stays in the body a fairly long time so that if I took
5 mg one day then took
4 mg the next day then
5 mg the next day then
4 mg the next day and so forth that in effect I was taking 4.5mg's per day.
So, that is how. As you can imagine it gets trickier as the fractions get smaller so I had my calendar on the wall and I was marking it daily as I went along to ensure I did not goof up on my calculations. I know it is awkward and people who made the meds probably didn't think they'd ever need to make fraction-of-a-mg doses but then again they really don't since Stelazine stays in the body a long time.
Now, if you were down to 3 and one-third mg's that would mean you'd take
3 mg one day then
3 mg the next day then
4 mg the next day
so that over the course of that 3-day period you will have taken a total of 3+3+4=10 mg's and
10/3=3 1/3

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Feetfried Says:

There are absolutely no withdrawal effects from such a low dose of a crappy medication like stelezine. Get over it.

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cindy Says:

hi buster how are u doing. have not been online in a long time. well i am expecting and i am off the stelazine it has been 1 month now. i don't really have any bad withdrawal symptoms, except sometimes i get really breathless, that has always been a problem whenever i try to get off it. i am hoping that this will go away and i don't have to go back on it. so i am hoping that my baby will be healthy and well as the last time i saw my psychiatrist he told me he does not think that i need the stelazine anymore so i am confident i will do well and also my baby.

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Buster Says:

Cindy, I'm doing fine but was wondering about you. If the mind starts going off in the wrong direction just switch the mind to something else like what to buy at the grocery store or something. Sometimes I do some breathing exercises as part of my yoga. I inhale deep and hold it for a few seconds and also I do those where I exhale and hold the breath out for about 8 seconds. This gives the mind the complete awareness of the full-in and full-out breath. Sometimes my breath seems to stop too but it does not bother me at all when it does. Scuba divers need to be able to hold their breath for a really long time to get certified I think. Sometimes when I go for a fast run and then slow down I get completely breathless and can't breathe so I keep walking ahead slowing and turn around clockwise slowly while I'm walking (not sure why that part helps) and let my mind vegetate without thinking about anything except maintaining and within a few seconds I'm back to normal again.
Cindy, wishing you the best with all that's going on.

Eddie, who is another poster in this thread, I'm realising that I did not completely answer one of your questions. It was every 2 months that I went to the next level in the particular increments I described.

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cindy Says:

thanks buster i am hoping for the best as well. the doc did say to me that i should try the breathing exercises and it does help so thanks for that infor. All the best. i will keep you posted soon. take care.

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Deb Says:

During pregnancy I used CHLORPROMAZINE instead of Stelazine. After pregnancy I returned to Stelazine.

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bob Says:

i have been on 1mg stelzine for twenty years.i had lots of headaches i thought this due my neck problems.have been of them for week now and headaches have gone so beware

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