Off Lexapro, on to Zoloft

Psychiatrist appointment today. She started off with asking if I had heard anything from ASC, where the referral to DBT was sent off a couple of months ago. Reported to her that yes I received a call from the F Hospital Psych Triage, who informed me that the DBT coordinator would be in touch, but I’ve yet to hear anything further. “Do you think you could give them a call to follow it up?” Dr T asked me. “Umm…yeah…mmm…I guess so…” She picked up on my obvious reluctance and questioned as to whether it was attributed to my anxiety. I confirmed that it was. “Alright, I’ll give them a call,” she said. I breathed an internal sigh of relief. That’s one less anxiety provoking phone call I have to make…

At some point during the appointment, she made a call to the ASC to follow up the referral. I am somewhat in awe of people who are able to just pick up the phone, make a call, no qualms about it. Unfortunately the DBT coordinator did not pick up, so Dr T left a message. It is unknown to me at this point whether or not a return phone call was made.

Dr T and I spent a while discussing my anxiety. Apparently the SSRIs work better for anxiety at a higher dose. Because I’ve been on Lexapro for a while now, she’s decided to change my medication to Zoloft instead. Just when I thought the Lexapro was working too…! On my depression that is. Admittedly, it’s not doing much to alleviate the anxiety I experience. “The usual starting dose is 50mg so don’t worry that it’s more than 10mg [of Lexapro] because they have different dosages,” Dr T told me. Well duh, I do work in a pharmacy, and I was a pharmacy student for a year and a half. She informed me that she does it [medication changing] pretty quickly and I am to start off with 50mg daily and go up by 50mg per week until I’m at 200mg. If I experience adverse effects, I’m to wait two weeks before increasing my dose. That means if I do get adverse effects, I’m going to be sick for at least a month. Gee that’ll be fun…

She wrote all the instructions down on a piece of paper, and though she didn’t discuss if with me, I assumed her advice on stopping the Lexapro would be written down. Upon exiting the consulting room, I glanced at the sheet, and all I saw was this:

Stop Lexapro.

Err. Okay. The rest was dedicated to starting the Zoloft. I thought a medication free interval was required in switching from one antidepressant to another, but apparently not. From what I understand, I took my 10mg of Lexapro this morning, and I’m to start straight away on 50mg of Zoloft the following morning.

A referral letter was obtained from Dr T, or rather, Dr T’s secretary who typed it for her, to give to the psychologist I am seeing. Written is;

Dear R,

RE: Behind the Façade, [My address]
Dob: 1/11/1991

I would be grateful if you would consider seeing BtF under the Medicare arrangements for the requisite 12 sessions. BtF has a history of anxiety and depression and would benefit from psychological input.

Yours sincerely,

Dr T

Twelve sessions. Sighs. Like that’s going to cure me…

12 thoughts on “Off Lexapro, on to Zoloft

  1. I’ve switched SSRIs in the past without a break between them, so it’s not unknown. Hope the new stuff works for you and you don’t get too many horrible side effects.

  2. I totally agree with your last paragraph. Personally I couldn’t have resisted correcting both issues, especially your surname. Before I changed my name last January, people were always spelling my surname incorrectly – it didn’t change the pronunciation, but it drove me up the walls nevertheless. Is it really that difficult for people writing professional correspondences to check their bloody work?

    Anyway, I too have switched SSRIs without a break – several times, in fact. First it was Fluoxetine to Mirtazapine, then it was Mirtazapine to Citalopram, and finally it was Citalopram to Venlafaxine (an SNRI, but meh). I’m dubious as to whether anything I’ve taken other than the Fluxoetine was actually any use, but I never experienced any particular side effects from switching without a break.

    Really hoping that the Sertraline works out for you, and that the DBT people get in touch soon.

    Take care and hugs xxx

  3. Ugh i feel your frustration! People spell my name wrong ALL THE TIME (its unusual spelling for a common name) and I ALWAYS correct it.. i cant help myself… i’ve even group emailed people at work a lesson on how to spell my name before now! Its upsetting how people just assume its ok not to bother with learning someones name!

    *breath* hope you find Zoloft better….. our consultants switch meds here there and everywhere so I aumme they dont really worry about having a medication break between SSRI’s.

    And as for the DBT… dont judge it before you start it… we run DBT on our unit, and it can be really beneficial if used correctly… unfortunately most people get bored and give up as it is very monotomous in the beginning!


  4. No, 12 sessions won’t cure you but it may give you some techniques to help manage your condition more effectively. although I tend to scoff at the thought of a 12 session cure-all I’ve started to look at it as something more like physiotherapy for the brain instead.

    I hope the medication change works for you. Good luck.

  5. Feel you on the spelling and punctuation thing. I dont know if i would have been able to exist! Bad spelling and grammar is a real bug bear of mine!

    Hope the new meds work for you!

  6. Having just started Zoloft myself i am not finding the side effects too bad. I am incredibly sensitive to SSRI’s, hence the fact that my mood went sky high but has come down slightly now, apart from a couple of headaches and an upset stomach for a couple of days it’s not been too bad. I know everyone reacts differently so this may not be the case for you but here’s hoping that any side effects you do get are mild.

  7. I also hate my surname being spelled wrong. My maiden name surname was a really unusual spelling, so it always got spelt wrong and my surname now I am married can be spelt three ways but at least I went from 10 letters to four. I understand what you mean about the 12 sessions but they don’t tell you that if the psych really feels you need more you can get an extra six sessions. So 18 all up over the year. As for DBT, I agree with partofbeingsane, that DBT can help really well if you practise and it is hard until you understand the concepts and that can take a while. Having done DBT for a year in group, then six months with a psychologist and then in hospital more recently, I do understand how to apply it now, whereas the first time I felt like I had been tilted on my head. Don’t give up on it yet. I hope the new meds help.

  8. Hey there. I may start doing DBT soon as well, as both my p-doc and therapist think it would be beneficial. I’m scared because it’s administered in a group setting. I guess it may help with my emotions, which are out of control right now, but I don’t know how helpful it will be with my social anxiety .. whatever, I should just do it.

    Anyway, I hope things go well with Zoloft. Oh and the spelling and grammar issues would bother me as well.

  9. Hi! I just did the exact same swap of my meds from Lexapro to Zoloft – just one to the other and had no issues at all, and it seems the Zoloft has been much more effective so far than the lexapro for me (which seemed to do nothing other than keep me awake all night).
    The issue with switching anti-depressants is when you are switching from an SSRI to an MAOI/TCA or vice versa as they act on different pathways and you get serotonin overload (been there done that thanks to a less than knowledgeable training doctor!).

    Hang in there and hope that you get some relief soon with the Sertraline.

    Oh and one more thing, as a fellow countryperson, I think that a psychiatrist can repeatedly refer you to the psycholgist under medicare for 12 sessions at a time without the same limits imposed by when GP’s refer you so hopefully you will be able to keep going for longer than just the 12.

  10. Hey lovely,
    It’s generally between drug classes that the break needs to be had, ESPECIALLY in the MAOIs. Just be careful and make sure that you’re keeping a watch on your symptoms; especially if implusivity and suicidality increase. Seek help immediately.

    In saying that – I’m going from Cipramil to Zoloft and it’s very slow and I’ve been quite sick coming off the Cipramil. But I’m also incredibly sensitive to drugs and have crap liver function for my age, etc. so that’s not really all that surprising.

    Look after you.

  11. Hi love

    dont worry about not having an interval between meds, its not neccessary for switching between a lot of the SSRI’s, and is more important if you are switching to a different type, like an MAO or an SNRI. though saying that i have always experienced withdrawel from whatever i have been taking-and its hard to tell if its withdrawel or side effects of the new drug. So try to just sit it out if you do have any not so nice side effects, it should all settle down. The absolute worst was when i swapped from sertraline to trazadone, and i swear after 2 days i didnt know what my name was, what day it was, anything. sorry, i was actually trying to be reassuring, really not am I!!! A friend of mine has taken Zoloft for a while now, and finds it very helpful. but she does notice effects if she misses a dose, so be careful 🙂

    take care


  12. I’m doing the opposite. I’ve just stopped taking Zoloft after six years and have started Lexapro just this week. I have also been taking 250 micrograms of Xanax at night for the last year for insomnia and panic attacks. I put on 15kg with the Zoloft- admittedly I also didn’t exercise much and was up all night drinking and eating. I know…not a good recipe. The reason that I have changed my meds is because my psychiatrist of six weeks (just gp all this time) thinks I’ve become resistant to the drug and it’s effectiveness has worn off. After an hour appointment he actually wrote the wrong first name on the script and I had to go back into his office and get it changed- beat that one. I suppose doctors are only human and can fuck up sometimes too. I’m just glad it wasn’t surgery. I’ve only been on Lexapro 7 days and every afternoon I am so so tired that I need a nap. Zoloft didn’t have that effect- if anything I was sweeping and moping all night and hypo. I hope the drowsiness isn’t a huge side effect and judging by other comments it may be.

    With regard to Zoloft- do not forget to take it. I would notice that if I forgot to take it after an hour or so I’d feel impulsive and explode after a whole day even worse. The Zoloft also fucked- excuse the pun my sex life and I wouldn’t care if I’d ever have sex again. Lexapro is supposed to be in that department- how ironic I’m now separated. At least my sense of humour has returned hopefully by my libido! Merry Christmas.

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