Getting off zoloft? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-12-2013, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been taking zoloft and breastfeeding since my baby was about 2 months old, and she's now just turned 1. I've been on 50 mg, and it helps a bit, although I still have more anxiety than I should. It's mostly health anxiety, worrying about the kids, worrying about chemicals, and I have this pronounced fear of cancer..or cancer-causing things.


I have gained a lot of weight and started looking into the possibility of getting off the zoloft, because I think it's making my appetite go crazy. Anyways while I was looking into that, I came upon an article that really made me nervous.


It says that zoloft damages dna. I don't know whether to believe this, whether it's reputable, or what to think. All I know is that I started hot-flashing when I read it, and I immediately regretted taking it, I felt guilty for not finding this out before exposing myself and my baby to it, and how on earth do I stop taking this, cold turkey!? 


I've read about the brain zaps that can happen, and I don't want them to happen to the baby. I always pictured myself weaning down off this, but dna damage causes cancer, and that's too scary for me to continue it. I want to throw it in the trash. 


So my question is... has anyone heard of this before? And does it seem reasonable or not to quit zoloft right now, cold turkey? I'm really scared of withdrawing, but I cannot accept the risk of damage to my baby!

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#2 of 7 Old 05-13-2013, 01:50 PM
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I'm sorry that you are having to make such a hard decision. I do not know the answer but hoping someone see's your post and replies. It is good your are thinking about you and your baby's health.

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#3 of 7 Old 06-20-2013, 10:25 PM
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This is a tough article for me to read too, as I've just started a very necessary first-time SSRI (Celexa) myself.  My educational background is in research, and I've read a lot today about SSRIs and breastfeeding.  This study, like all others, relies on VERY small sample sizes (there were only 10 people on zoloft, and 5 were male) and in this case the data were not focused on breastfeeding mothers.  To put sample size in perspective, in educational research we consider samples less than 30 to be case studies; real "significance" isn't really obtainable, let alone generalizable.  But medicine is different, so we have to take their findings for what they are.  It bothers me a great deal that there aren't larger more appropriate studies, but these drugs weren't developed with BF in mind.  What I have found is that regarding zoloft in BF moms/infants, some studies (again, with very small samples) find evidence of zoloft passing through breast milk, most find that serotonin reuptake is NOT affected in the infant, though trace amounts (really, very small) of the SSRI are apparent.  It's still considered one of the safest choice for BF mothers/infants. 


I've been nursing for almost two years, and I can't believe the difference in my mood and demeanor with my kids in just two days.  Personally, I feel the benefit for us outweighs the risk, though in all honesty my daughter will hopefully wean in the next few months and I'll have less to worry about.


That said, I've also found some info on that high quality omega-3 oils can have a wonderful antidepressive effect, and I would encourage you to read more about it.  Mercola recommends krill oil, as it balances antioxidants (which help eliminate cancer-causing free radicals) with omega-3 fatty acids.   I believe you could safely take it along with the zoloft, and see whether you feel any improvement in the anxiety you still feel; maybe it would help your anxiety over the cancer issue too.  You could potentially switch from taking an SSRI to taking krill oil, if the effect is strong enough to help you.  Only one way to find out, right?  


It might be hard to find a good source though - I haven't gotten that far in my own research.  Mercola of course wants you to buy his brand, lol, and I know some people find him less credible for that reason; but his information typically aligns with what I've read elsewhere.


Quitting an SSRI cold turkey isn't usually good for you - but you can wean off gradually with your doctor's help, and maybe try some more natural remedies (I wonder if St John's Wart would have the same DNA effects as an SSRI?).  I've been down that path too - vitamin D, lots of the B vitamins, omega (though not krill or SJW) - I still need the extra support :(  At least for now, the SSRI is doing much more than I could do on my own, and far less expensive.  


I am NOT an expert in this, I've learned a lot in a very short time - but I hope this helps!  


As for me, I logged on tonight to ask whether anyone has taken zoloft while nursing an older baby (mine is almost 2) and noticed side effects.  I am noticing some side effects in her currently (I am taking citalopram/Celexa), she is more irritable and is having trouble falling asleep at night - but she is also growth spurting and teething, so it's very hard to tell what the cause is!  Like you, I want to blame the new meds, but it's only been a couple days.  I also don't like the reports I'm reading about cardio complications with Celexa.  My inclination is to have my doc run an ECG and compare it to a recent (healthy) one I've had, to see whether anything has changed.  But it would be just as well to switch to one without that complication.  


Having a love/hate relationship with SSRIs right now!  Good luck to you Mama!

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#4 of 7 Old 06-25-2013, 09:02 AM
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I weaned gradually off Zoloft, after a bad experience weaning from Paxil more than 10 years ago. My doctor said it wasn't necessary with Zoloft, but it made me feel better about it.

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#5 of 7 Old 06-26-2013, 10:46 AM
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The problem is not your meds, the problem is your obsession with cancer.  You need professional help for this fear you have of cancer.  Whatever is causing this obsession to steer you to take a study this obscurely written instead of trusting your doctors is what concerns me. 

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#6 of 7 Old 08-23-2013, 01:04 PM
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Yes its possible to get off zoloft. I have taken Zoloft 4 times for postpartum depression and Got off of it 3 times.  I am in the process of weaning now from zoloft. Here is what I have found to make the process more  smooth


1. Wean VERY VERY SLOWLY. I am taking my dosage down every 4 weeks. For example: I am down to 1/2 pill, then weeks later change it to 2/3 of 1/2 pill and son on, until Im only taking a tiny sliver of zoloft




These are safe for breastfeeding, I am breastfeeding also


2. Take PLUSEPA fish oil with zoloft ... I take 6 per day. Some poeple take 2.


3. Take Magnesium  NATURAL CALM brand  1 tsp 3x day dissolved in water


4. Garden of Life B complex


5. Garden of Life B12  1 per day


6. High Quality Multivitamin (I take Garden of Life FAMILY) 4 per day




1. there will be a month or more as your body gradually gets used to not having Zoloft anymore:


                A. Liddell (brand) Letting Go Spray worked well for me if I had any worry or symptoms. It helped me to relax and not worry so much

                B. Continue taking above supplements


 If you need extra Support......... Mountain Meadow Herbs Blues Buster is for nursing/expectant moms to help emotions and depression  1/4 tsp 3-4 x day

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#7 of 7 Old 08-25-2013, 03:59 PM
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When I weaned off Zoloft my nurse-midwife prescribed 2 weeks of Prozac because she said Prozac has a much longer half-life than Zoloft.  It made such a difference. I have weaned off Zoloft cold turkey before and it was awful. Brain zaps, fog, feeling miserable.   Overlapping it with the Prozac made it like nothing.  That would be something to ask your doctor about. 

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