How long does mirtazapine withdrawal last?

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “How long does mirtazapine withdrawal last?”. Mirtazapine is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health conditions. 

However, not everyone can tolerate this antidepressant that well. Some people have to discontinue using it to get rid of the unwanted effects caused by this antidepressant. 

How long does mirtazapine withdrawal last?

Mirtazapine Withdrawal lasts for about 4 to 8 weeks. Different factors affect the duration of your withdrawal symptoms. One of these factors include the half-life of the drug. Drugs with longer half lives produce withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time. Half life of mirtazapine is 20-40 hours. 

Most people experience the first symptoms of withdrawal within one to three days after their last dose. Even if you taper off, you may still experience some symptoms. 

During days four to five, the symptoms may become more intense, depending on the dose you were on and the duration of your therapy. Some people experience dizziness, nausea, shakiness and fever. 

Your symptoms will gradually start to fade away in a week or two. It, too, depends on how your body reacts to this withdrawal. It is extremely important to follow your taper schedule vigilantly. 

It may take longer than you think it should, but it’s important to go slowly, so your brain has enough time to adjust the doses. Within a few weeks, it will be safe to stop using your med. Don’t mess up your taper schedule, if you wish to prevent discontinuation syndrome.

What causes mirtazapine withdrawal? 

There are some common causes of mirtazapine withdrawal. These include:

Allergic reaction to mirtazapine 

Mirtazapine may cause sudden allergic reactions in various individuals. Allergic reactions are usually associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 

Make sure you immediately report to your healthcare provider if you observe any allergic reaction after taking mirtazapine or any other medication.

Side effects 

Mirtazapine is associated with a number of side effects, which range from mild to severe. Mild side effects usually begin to subside when your body gets adjusted to the medication. However, some people suffer from severe side effects which require the discontinuation of the treatment. 

Antidepressants usually start to work within 4 to 6 weeks of treatment. These meds are supposed to be taken daily for several months, according to the severity of your mental health condition. 

Some conditions require years and years of treatment, but is it possible if your antidepressant doesn’t suit you? No. It is impossible to live with a medicine that you can’t tolerate well. 

This is exactly why antidepressants are often switched a couple of times to finally end up with the one which works the best for you. Mirtazapine may become difficult for some people and they can’t continue the med for a long period of time. 

The most common side effects of mirtazapine include:

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Anxiety 
  • Agitation 
  • Confusion 
  • Gain of appetite
  • Weight gain 
  • Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea/Constipation 

Mirtazapine is also associated with some serious side effects, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Convulsions 
  • QT prolongation 
  • Pain and tightness in chest
  • Arrhythmia 
  • Flu like symptoms 

Inadequate therapeutic response 

Mirtazapine may not work well for every individual out there. Several studies have reported that mirtazapine may not produce any beneficial effects in some individuals and it doesn’t help relieve the symptoms of their mental health related problems. 

If you continue to take your antidepressant but it does show any sign of relief from your symptoms, it clearly indicates that the drug is not the right choice for you and it can not help to treat your symptoms in the long run. 

Drug interactions 

Mirtazapine may be discontinued because of its ability to interact with other prescription medications. The chance of drug interactions is more common in people who are taking medications daily for the treatment of different chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, asthma etc. 

Such meds may interfere with mirtazapine in one way or another and may cause therapeutic failure. This is when the doctor prescribes another antidepressant, usually from a different class, to prevent such drug interactions and all the complications associated with them. 

Drug interactions should be an important consideration before taking two or more medicines together. Yes, drugs in combination are often used to achieve better therapeutic response but this is not the case with every interaction. 

Some drugs are highly incompatible with one another. They often cancel out each other’s effects or antagonise them. Some drugs are so incompatible that they end up changing the entire chemical composition of one another. 

Some interfere with metabolism or bioavailability (the rate and extent at which the active drug moiety enters systemic circulation/blood). This can lead to drug accumulation in different parts of the body. 

It is always advised to inform your healthcare provider of any medicine you take before getting a new prescription. Your doctor will make sure not to prescribe any such drug which might interfere with those you are already taking. 

How bad can mirtazapine withdrawal get? 

Mirtazapine withdrawal can get pretty bad and may affect some people more than the others. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Emotional stress
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Intrusive thoughts

These symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the dose. This is why it is recommended to never stop your mirtazapine abruptly because these withdrawal symptoms may become much worse than the side effects your antidepressant was giving you. 

Mirtazapine alters the amounts of excitatory chemicals in your brain, both serotonin and norepinephrine. Now, if you take away such meds rapidly, the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine reduces. 

This results in the receptors craving these excitatory neurotransmitters as they have been receiving them for quite a while now, and you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

This deficiency is responsible for producing withdrawal symptoms. In order to prevent such a situation, your healthcare provider simply just reduces the dose of your antidepressant. 

It enables you to start taking medicine in lesser quantities without completely depriving your receptors of serotonin. Half of the dose keeps decreasing gradually over the period of 7 to 8 days. 

After spending a week or two, the med is on its lowest possible dose and now it is considered safe for you to stop using it. 

Unfortunately, a lot of people choose to take the process into their own hands and either try and reduce the dose themselves gradually or stop it all together.

Now this is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Never stop or start any sort of medication on your own. There are medications, called over-the-counter meds, which can be taken without prescription.

But meds, like antidepressants, antipsychotics, CNS stimulants etc, which affect your brain, your cognition, memory, feelings, decision making abilities, how could you possibly think of starting or withdrawing such meds on your own? It is something for you to think about.

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the time taken by mirtazapine withdrawal to last. Make sure you properly follow your healthcare provider’s taper schedule. It is also important to make sure you are stopping this antidepressant for the right reasons. 

You can learn to deal with these symptoms by looking for ways to counteract them. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, exercise 3 to 4 times a week and have a good, balanced diet. 

FAQs: how long does mirtazapine withdrawal last 

How long does it take to feel normal after stopping mirtazapine?

Mirtazapine stays in your system for around 4-8 days. This antidepressant has a half life of about 20-40 hours. It means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. The remaining amount is further reduced to half in the next 20-40 hours. 

This process keeps on going until the drug is completely washed out from your body and it can take upto 4-8 days for the process to happen. However, this time duration can vary from person to person. 

What are the side effects of coming off mirtazapine?

Mirtazapine Withdrawal can get pretty bad and may affect some people more than the others. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nightmares
  • Excessive dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Emotional stress
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Intrusive thoughts

These symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the dose. This is why it is recommended to never stop your mirtazapine abruptly because these withdrawal symptoms may become much worse than the side effects your antidepressant was giving you. 

Is mirtazapine difficult to come off?

Yes, mirtazapine withdrawal can be hard. mirtazapine alters the amounts of excitatory chemicals in your brain, both serotonin and norepinephrine. 

Now, if you take away such meds rapidly, the availability of serotonin and norepinephrine reduces. This results in the receptors craving these excitatory neurotransmitters as they have been receiving them for quite a while now, and you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

This deficiency is responsible for producing withdrawal symptoms. In order to prevent such a situation, your healthcare provider simply just reduces the dose of your antidepressant.

Can’t sleep after coming off mirtazapine?

Insomnia associated with mirtazapine withdrawal usually begins to subside within a few weeks as your body adjusts to the absence of this antidepressant. This time period can vary from person to person and some people may take months to fall asleep peacefully again. 

This withdrawal symptom is found more prominent in people who were at higher doses for a longer duration of time. Several experts believe that insomnia following the mirtazapine withdrawal is simply because of the mechanism of action of this antidepressant. 

How long does it take for mirtazapine to leave your system?

Mirtazapine is a long acting antidepressant with a half life of about 20-40 hours. It means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. The remaining amount is further reduced to half in the next  20-40 hours. This process keeps on ongoing until the drug is completely washed out from your body. 

What is the best way to come off mirtazapine?

The three best ways to come off mirtazapine successfully include:

  • Follow proper taper schedule
  • Learn to deal with withdrawal symptoms 
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes

References 

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