How to Wean Off of Doxepin

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There are several kinds of antidepressants on the market, none of which should be stopped cold turkey in most cases.
There are several kinds of antidepressants on the market, none of which should be stopped cold turkey in most cases. (Image: medication image by Tom Oliveira from Fotolia.com)

Doxepin is a tricyclic antidepressant medication that is used to increase certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, in order to lift your mood. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, when some individuals take tricyclic antidepressants such as doxepin, they prove ineffective or become dangerous for the patient to continue treatment. In such situations, the treatment must be stopped. There are several steps to weaning off of an antidepressant, and it must be done very carefully so that you do not suffer any harmful effects.

Let your doctor know that you wish to wean off of doxepin. This will allow you and your doctor to come up with a plan to gradually cut down on your doses of the drug. He will let you know what symptoms you may experience during this time and how to handle them. Never go cold turkey. This will send your system into shock, possibly causing extremely harmful effects to your body. It is best to cut down on your doses over time.

Consider hiring a therapist when you start your initial weaning, and/or making a support system of family and friends that can come and check on you daily if you live alone. Consider this your insurance policy. Try only taking half of your original prescription dose for a month. Again, speak with your doctor to make sure this is safe for you. Continue this for one month. This will give your body time to adjust to the lack of doxepin in your system.

Keep a journal of your emotions, both for your benefit and your doctor's. This will let your doctor know and understand where you are so that she may determine whether you can continue weaning or if a different medication is needed.

Develop a healthy diet and exercise regimen. This will help your body to naturally balance the mood-lifting chemicals, making the transition much easier. You can even consider adding daily vitamin supplements to your diet.

Cut your lowered dose of doxepin in half, then taking only one-fourth of the original prescription dose. Speak with your doctor before doing so to ensure that you are medically ready to take this step. Continue the dosage for two weeks, or as long as your doctor dictates. Keep up with your journal.

Continue with this regimen until you are no longer on doxepin. You may discover certain triggers that make you feel depressed, and it is important to find ways to bring yourself back up out of that depression to remain off of medication. You may discover relief in journaling, art, music, cooking or exercising. These things are important, so write them down and share them with your doctor and/or therapist.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never try to wean of doxepin if you are going through major changes in your life, or if it is a time of high stress for you. Plan ahead and take your time. You can also try some centering exercises to get yourself in the right frame of mind, such as practicing mindful meditation, or yoga.

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