Friday, February 24, 2012

Weaning off Savella and a New Doctor Found

I've completed the first two weeks at the first stage of lower dose of Savella for my weaning off: one tablet per day.  Yesterday, I started the next and final stage: a half tablet per day for 14 more days.  I took a few more half-tabs with me to work, just in case any crazy discontinuation symptoms occurred, but I was fine.

I have done a bit of research on discontinuing SNRIs and learned that some have longer half-lives than others.  Pristiq (similar to Effexor), which I quit taking last July, when I started on Savella and suffered lots of terrible withdrawal symptoms, has a short half-life.  Some people suffer withdrawals if they miss a dose of some SNRIs because they have such short half-lives.  My initial research led me to believe that maybe Savella (milnacipran) had a longer half-life than Pristiq, thus it isn't causing many discontinuation symptoms for me.  However, it seems it's got a very short half-life, but things are more complex than that, based on what this study indicates.  Gee, I sure wish someone who'd gone to medical school could have briefed me on some of this!

I actually feel better now that I'm getting off this evil drug.  I'm sleeping most or all of the night, though I still get very tired for much of the afternoon and evening.  My nasal bleeding is greatly reduced and I've even had days of no blood at all!  YAY!  I'm also only dealing with pretty tame pain levels (for me) so I'm smiling a lot more.  I even turned my frown upside down at work.

I created and ordered this magnet to indicate my mood to my coworkers. 

My heart rate still seems high sometimes, but I haven't measured my pulse officially quite yet.  I assume my blood pressure is at or near normal levels again, but I won't know until I get it tested at the follow-up appointment with my general doctor.  Headaches have been largely absent as well, which I'm thrilled about. I still have symptoms, of course, but they're not absolutely miserable lately, and it seems to match up with the lower Savella doses.

I'm hoping this is all a positive sign that I'll be better off SNRIs than on. Maybe it's a matter of getting used to the everyday Fibromyalgia symptoms and learning to avoid the flare triggers. Maybe regular Fibro without a bunch of additional medicinal side effects feels good by comparison. It's been almost exactly four years now since my official diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and I have learned a lot about what my body is telling me... and I am still learning to listen to what it's saying.

In addition to the above good news, I also decided on my next fibro doctor to try, based on a recommendation.  My appointment is set and I'm going to see if she's a good fit for me.  This doctor's office is actually farther away than I was hoping, especially since I expect to be going there frequently for regular follow-ups, but I've heard good things.  Also, the many other possible local doctors I started to do research on had reviews that were scaring me about some of the same problems I'm trying to escape.  Picking my next doctor was turning out to be a major project.  I'm also racing to beat my expiring prescriptions, since I fired my last doctor.  I don't know if he'll refill them but we'll find out, I guess.

Anyway, the same person who recommended the doctor I'm seeing soon also recommended a wonderful gastroenterologist to me last year, so I'm hoping for the best.  I'll be sure to report to you all on how my first appointment goes.

Hope things are going well for you all!