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Fluoxetine Tapering

This entry was posted in Antidepressant on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Fluoxetine tapering doesn’t have to be another destructive experience. Fluoxetine (Prozac) is typically prescribed without thoughtful investigation of life factors, use of lab testing, or any discussion of natural alternatives prior to the prescription. Patients are also left in the dark about the difficulties involving fluoxetine tapering, weaning, and titration. We are experts at tapering meds.

Concurrently, we have helped many clients with powerful natural remedies for depression that may be used in place of mood-altering drugs. They offer a healthy way to reclaim your life.

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Alternative to Meds has expertise acquired more than 17 years of helping clients through tapering and withdrawal of antidepressants. We have published evidence clearly demonstrating that more than three-quarters of our clients tapering off fluoxetine or other drugs do better by tapering off them and replacing prescription drugs with a holistic lifestyle and other non-toxic choices to authentically and truly improve their health.
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Fluoxetine Tapering and Weaning Information

The following information is provided for those who find themselves looking for fluoxetine tapering help. Trying to quit fluoxetine on one’s own might seem like a daunting process. And, most would agree it is best done with compassionate and informed guidance. Alternative to Meds Center is a premier inpatient facility that uses methods and protocols based on documented research and holistic principles. We give our clients the opportunity of getting off fluoxetine or other prescription drugs safely and as comfortably as possible. In programming, we select from the most advantageous range of treatments possible to help our clients achieve improved natural mental health. This can enable authentic improvements in health, without the need to rely solely on prescription drugs. Drugs can only temporarily mask someone’s unwanted symptoms, and commonly, do more harm than good.

At Alternative to Meds Center, we are not overly concerned with labels. Our approach is to focus more on helping the client relieve symptoms that sometimes can be traced to fixable root causes. Concurrently, we help our clients regain their health with a well-administered, gradual fluoxetine tapering treatment program and have been doing so with great success for well over a decade and a half now. Stopping fluoxetine can be mild and tolerable when properly and compassionately administered.

Guidelines for fluoxetine tapering include:
  • Preparation is key. Arrange an inpatient program if possible, or find a prescriber you trust to help you at home.
  • Rearrange your personal and work schedule to allow adequate rest and recovery time.
  • Gradual dose reduction:  ask your prescriber to assist with accurately cutting the pills, and designing a tapering schedule to follow.
  • Modify the diet:  go organic as much as possible, and omit sugar, caffeine, processed foods, and refined carbs. Include generous amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, and adequate daily protein.
  • Expect withdrawals to emerge around the half-life point, that is 3 to 6 days from the last cut.
  • Allow sufficient time for changes to settle out before the next dose adjustment.
  • Supplementation to support neurochemistry may help ease withdrawals, especially if deficiencies are present. Ask your physician about specifically recommended supplementation.

Getting at the Root of the Problem is Key in Fluoxetine Tapering

While we do offer the safest and gentlest antidepressant tapering programs that we know of anywhere, the aims of the program extend well beyond simply helping a client to quit fluoxetine. The larger picture also includes helping our clients to acquire the tools and knowledge that will allow them to reach better levels of self-care. Once they begin to achieve these milestones, they can continue on a path of wellness that continues on well after they leave the program.

fluoxetine weaningWe attribute our success to the fact that our focus is on moving towards what we call natural mental health. That is, finding and correcting root causes, which enables the re-stabilization of injured or dysfunctional neurochemistry, and rebuilding a functioning healthy microbiome. These goals really provide the foundation for the many other segments of the program. These treatments may provide great relief while getting off fluoxetine. Safe and gentle removal of accumulations of toxins from the body is achieved through non-invasive and gentle cleansing treatments. We also focus on replenishing the gut/flora with a clean, natural, and very delicious, mostly organic diet. Another very valuable piece of the process of stopping fluoxetine safely and gently is natural neurotransmitter replacement, using targeted nutritional support, and testing to gauge and confirm results. All of these types of treatments blended together can provide a path for how to get off fluoxetine with success.

The Better Approach to Weaning Off Fluoxetine

Some observers feel that the modern Western approach to addressing depression has been suffering from a critical lack of tools for quite some time. You are likely familiar with the “golden hammer” concept that comes from the old saying; “when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” In the case of Western medicine, the “golden hammer” describes the over-prescription of antidepressant medications.

But all is not lost. Many researchers are confirming that many new tools are effective for reducing or eliminating symptoms such as depression, and that may in some cases entirely eliminate the need for medication.2 If one can test and vigorously look for root causes, perhaps this can open the door to improving health and attaining better natural mental health so that symptoms like depression, anxiety, etc., can be corrected and reduced or eliminated through non-drug methods.

Dangers of Misdiagnoses of Mental Illness

Meanwhile, the DSM has been seemingly reshuffling the same deck of cards. But could there be a few “Aces” missing? Because for decades now we have seen only minor changes yet overlooking some of the most exciting developments in diagnoses that are available today. Beyond a small paragraph here or there that cautions against mistaking an undiscovered physical condition for a mental illness, a patient presenting with fatigue, lethargy, sad disposition, or lack of energy is still pretty well guaranteed to end up on antidepressants after only a 5- or 10-minute interview. Equally tragic is the recently widowed woman or man who lost a good job who will still be diagnosed with a mental disorder and prescribed antidepressants, based on the DSM V and its “bereavement exclusion” diagnostic criteria for MDD and other depressive disorders.1

The pills-as-a-quick-fix pattern could be considered quite a one-dimensional approach (or we could just call it the golden hammer approach) which, tragically, leaves a patient with 2 problems unsolved. One is how to get off the antidepressants once you start taking them, and the other is how do you then get rid of the symptoms that initiated the prescription in the first place? Would counseling of an appropriate nature be worth considering as part of a wider treatment plan? Could a toxic burden in the body be responsible, at least in part, for a person’s lingering symptoms? Could vitamin or mineral deficiencies have been overlooked? There are many ways to help reach these important mental health goals. This is really our motivation to try and help each of our clients reach their health/mental health goals.

New Tools — Better Results For Our Clients

So, despite the shifting sands of time and the sometimes fuzzy lens of the diagnostician, it could possibly be that other types of treatment might have been more appropriate or effective. If only these had been looked into more carefully prior to starting a patient on a prescription of fluoxetine or other drugs. Researchers have published some very enlightening findings showing how accumulations of toxins, a compromised gut, certain vitamin deficiencies, absence of a clean natural diet, lack of sunlight, and numerous other factors can directly and significantly be linked to episodes of depression.2 However, these diagnostic tools have been slow to gain traction in the broader public and professional awareness, and unfortunately still tend to be overlooked. As a result, most patients are still not tested nor treated for the presence of these possible root causes prior to prescribing medication.

new, holistic tools to get off drugsAs time goes forward, we at Alternative to Meds Center hope that this trend towards non-drug-based treatments could really catch fire. It could result in fewer numbers of people getting trapped on medication, and without help for tapering from fluoxetine or other drugs. Because these drugs don’t seem to be helping as much as was hoped in the long run.

Alternative to Meds Center has helped many clients achieve a safe and gradual withdrawal from fluoxetine, administered in a compassionate, nurturing inpatient setting with expert medical and clinical oversight. But other segments of our program address root causes in order to reduce or eliminate the patient’s lingering symptoms. Perhaps this opportunity could fit your or your loved one’s current situation. And if so, we invite you to become more acquainted with our safe and gradual fluoxetine tapering treatments. Withdrawal from fluoxetine does not have to be arduous and uncomfortable.

Do Physicians Understand How to Get Off Fluoxetine Safely?

Trying to quit fluoxetine on your own may not be as easy or as simple as one might wish. Physicians are largely more familiar with prescribing antidepressants than helping you to get off fluoxetine or other medications. In general, tapering off medications comfortably is not well understood, and sometimes even brushed off as some minor inconvenience.5,6 Despite their long years of medical school, doctors aren’t adequately trained on how to prevent the intolerable reactions to withdrawal from fluoxetine. Sometimes symptoms that emerge during fluoxetine tapering can be entirely misdiagnosed and incorrectly interpreted when a physician is not familiar with the subject.7

So when speaking to the prescribing doctor, you may have discovered less than a satisfactory level of help offered to you for stopping fluoxetine. This can be especially frustrating for those who have been trying to quit fluoxetine several times in the past, without success. Do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion and be discerning about choosing who you enlist to help with your health. No single physician can know everything, especially if it lies outside their field of expertise.

Physician Training Will Assist Around the World with Fluoxetine Tapering

As a happy side note, we acknowledge that there are physicians in other parts of the world as well as in the US who are beginning to realize there has been a gap in their training and ability to respond to the needs of patients who are or who have been trying to quit fluoxetine. A very heartening recent clinical research project has been underway in the UK where a number of psychiatric researchers are aiming to enlighten their psychiatric peers on the true facts about withdrawal from fluoxetine and other antidepressants. Their paper strongly opposes the too-fast approach that is still commonly used in fluoxetine tapering.3

At Alternative to Meds Center, we are quite inclined to agree and have held training sessions for outside medical doctors who were keen to learn more about proper tapering methods.

What About Avoiding Long-Term Side Effects Linked to Fluoxetine?

Some people who have been on antidepressants for many years (6 or more) have been found beginning to suffer from long-term effects that can be quite intolerable. The best way and the safest way to relieve this predicament is to begin a reduction and eventual fluoxetine cessation. But the process must be done judiciously and with adequate support. A slow and gentle fluoxetine tapering program was recommended. That approach was found most effective in solving the problem of long-term adverse effects of fluoxetine.4

Overall, the best way to avoid or prevent long-term adverse effects is getting off fluoxetine, and sooner is probably better than later in this regard. Concurrently, along with the fluoxetine tapering process, truly effective diagnostic tools like testing can be utilized to find out what was causing or at least contributing to the depression, insomnia, tiredness, etc., without relying on more drugs for temporary relief. Stopping fluoxetine can have many positive health benefits when done properly, gently, and safely.

Find Out More About Fluoxetine Tapering at Alternative to Meds Center

Would you like to find out more? We would be happy to speak to you or your loved one. Please contact us at Alternative to Meds Center to find out much more about the exciting details of the various protocols (e.g., metabolic testing, neurotoxin removal, neurotransmitter rehabilitation, orthomolecular medicine, and many, many more remedies) that our clients can utilize during comfortable fluoxetine tapering, while at the same time, make great improvements to their overall natural mental health.

1. Zisook S, Corruble E, Duan N, Iglewicz A, Karam EG, Lanouette N, Lebowitz B, Pies R, Reynolds C, Seay K, Katherine Shear M, Simon N, Young IT. The bereavement exclusion and DSM-5. Depress Anxiety. 2012 May;29(5):425-43. doi: 10.1002/da.21927. Epub 2012 Apr 11. Erratum in: Depress Anxiety. 2012 Jul;29(7):665. Lanuoette, Nicole [corrected to Lanouette, Nicole]. PMID: 22495967. [cited 2022 July 18]

2. Genuis SJ. Toxic causes of mental illness are overlooked. Neurotoxicology. 2008 Nov;29(6):1147-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Jun 24. PMID: 18621076. [cited 2022 July 18]

3. Michael Horowitz, Ph.D. & Prof David Taylor, Ph.D. “Tapering of SSRI Treatment to Mitigate Withdrawal Symptoms” [March 2019] The Lancet Psychiatry [cited 2022 July 18]

4. Buchman N, Strous RD, Baruch Y. Side effects of long-term treatment with fluoxetine. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2002 Jan-Feb;25(1):55-7. doi: 10.1097/00002826-200201000-00010. PMID: 11852298. [cited 2022 July 18]

5. Haddad P. The SSRI discontinuation syndrome. J Psychopharmacol. 1998;12(3):305-13. doi: 10.1177/026988119801200311. PMID: 10958258. [cited 2022 July 18]

6. Gabriel M, Sharma V. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. CMAJ. 2017 May 29;189(21):E747. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.160991. PMID: 28554948; PMCID: PMC5449237. [cited 2022 July 18]

7. Haddad PM, Qureshi M. Misdiagnosis of antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2000 Dec;102(6):466-7; discussion 467-8. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.102006466.x. PMID: 11142438. [cited 2022 July 18]

8. Neale G, Hogan H, Sevdalis N. Misdiagnosis: analysis based on case record review with proposals aimed to improve diagnostic processes. Clin Med (Lond). 2011 Aug;11(4):317-21. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.11-4-317. PMID: 21853823; PMCID: PMC5873736. [cited 2022 July 18]

Originally Published Nov 2, 2019 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Fluoxetine Tapering
Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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