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Geodon (Ziprasidone) Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration

Geodon (Ziprasidone) is an atypical antipsychotic drug that was developed to treat schizophrenia. It is also used to help control acute mania and treat mixed states among individuals with bipolar disorder. In some cases this drug is prescribed as an off-label treatment for depression, anxiety, autism, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and aggression. The drug comes in oral (pill) form as well as an injection (intramuscular) form.

It works primarily on the dopamine and serotonin receptors, but also has a fair effect on adrenergic and histamine receptors. It should be noted that it can inhibit the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, but not dopamine. It is thought that Geodon works well for treating positive symptoms of schizophrenia (e.g. hallucinations) because it acts as a D2 dopamine receptor antagonist as well as a blockade at the 5-HT2A receptor.

It is thought that the effects the drug has on serotonin receptors also may reduce negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Although this is a drug that may work well for many people, there often comes a time when an individual wants to withdraw from the medication. Reasons for withdrawal include: a desire for “natural” functioning, unbearable side effects, and/or minimal benefit from taking the drug.

Factors that influence Geodon withdrawal

Below are various factors that influence a person’s withdrawal from Geodon. These factors include: time span over which the person took the drug, dosage, how quickly the person tapered from the drug, and other individual factors such as: environment, social support, etc.

1. Time Span

How long did you take Geodon? In general, the longer you took this medication, the more difficult it will be to withdraw. People that have taken this drug for years may experience severe symptoms at even slight reductions in dosage. In cases of people who haven’t been on the drug for a long term, the withdrawal symptoms may be relatively minimal.

2. Dosage (20 mg to 100 mg)

Most people taking Geodon for schizophrenia will start out at an initial dose of 20 mg twice daily. Over time, a person may gradually titrate their dosage upwards until they have successfully managed their symptoms. In most cases, people will be taking anywhere from 20 mg to 80 mg, twice daily. However, in some cases, people end up taking up to 100 mg twice per day.

There is no clinical evidence in support of dosages that exceed 80 mg twice per day. In reference to withdrawal, the greater the dose that you take, the tougher it’s going to be to withdraw. When you titrate upwards to a relatively high dose, your body becomes accustomed to receiving high quantities of the drug. When withdrawing from a high dosage, the withdrawal symptoms are usually more severe than quitting from a lower dose.

3. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

It is never recommended to quit an antipsychotic drug “cold turkey.” If you quit cold turkey, it is thought that the acute withdrawal symptoms will be increasingly severe. Additionally, cold turkey withdrawals may lead to a protracted or post-acute withdrawal (i.e. experiencing symptoms for months after your last dose).

It is always recommended to work closely with your psychiatrist or someone knowledgeable in recognizing withdrawal symptoms from this medication. To reduce the severity of withdrawal, your tapering period should be based on the amount of time you have been on the drug as well as your current dosage. The slower the taper, the easier it is for your body and brain to gradually readjust to functioning without the drug.

Most people that have come off of the drug gradually reduce their dose by 20 mg every 2 weeks. If you try this method and are noticing that the withdrawal effects are too difficult to cope with, you could taper by 10 mg every 2 weeks or 20 mg every month. Go at a rate that you feel is slow enough to reduce symptoms.

4. Individual Factors

There are also individual factors that will play a role towards influencing your withdrawal. These factors include things like: whether you take other medications, whether you are transitioning to a new drug, your sleep patterns, environmental stressors, dietary and exercise habits, etc.

It should also be noted that some individuals have an easier time coping with withdrawals than others. One person may have a low sensitivity to withdrawal symptoms, while another person may feel as if each day of withdrawal is pure hell.

Geodon Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below is a list of withdrawal symptoms that people experience upon discontinuation of Geodon. Keep in mind that you may not experience all of these symptoms and that the severity of symptoms differs based on the individual. Some people will experience more severe symptoms and more overall symptoms than others when they quit the drug.

  • Anxiety: During withdrawal, the anxiety that you experience may be overwhelming. In order to reduce overwhelming sensations of anxiety, it is important to taper slowly. You will need to be prepared to deal with some anxious thinking so do your best to realize that it will eventually reduce as weeks and months pass.
  • Chills: Many individuals report feeling “chills,” cold sensations, and shivering when they discontinue. These can be uncomfortable, but the symptoms are a result of your body detoxifying itself from the drug that you were taking.
  • Concentration problems: Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty concentrating on work-related tasks during the first few weeks of withdrawal. You may experience major brain fog and when accompanied by other withdrawal sensations, it can be very difficult to even think, let alone work for 8 hours.
  • Confusion: Many people experience a combination of brain fog and memory deficits upon withdrawal that leads them to feel “confused.” If you experience confusion, it should improve over the next few months.
  • Crying spells: If you become severely depressed when you stop taking this medication, you may end up having periods of crying spells. This surge in depressed emotion that leads to crying is usually a sign of abnormally low levels of various neurotransmitters.
  • Depression: You may fall into a deep depression when you initially quit taking this drug. The depression is a result of your brain trying to regulate neurotransmitters without the influence of Geodon. As time passes, your brain will restore normative activity and your mood should improve.
  • Dizziness: If you feel dizzy during withdrawal, you are certainly not alone. This is perhaps the most common symptom for people to experience when withdrawing from any psychiatric drug. The dizziness should gradually improve, but may be severe in the first few weeks of withdrawal.
  • Fatigue: If you feel especially lethargic, tired, and low energy, this is a result of withdrawal fatigue. You may feel as though you lack the energy it takes to get out of bed in the morning. If you push yourself though and keep doing what you can, your energy levels should consistently improve.
  • Flu-like symptoms: The combination of hot flashes, cold chills, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and nausea can make withdrawal feel similar to the flu.
  • Headache: It is extremely common to have headaches during the initial few weeks of which you withdraw. In order to reduce headaches, be sure to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, practice relaxation exercises, and consider over-the-counter headache relief.
  • Hot flashes: Some have reported experiencing hot flashes during the first week or two of withdrawing. These shouldn’t last longer than a month.
  • Insomnia: People have reported extreme periods of insomnia upon discontinuation from this medication. Therefore to minimize insomnia as much as possible, it is important to taper very slowly. To reduce insomnia consider melatonin, exercise, and/or relaxation techniques.
  • Memory problems: It is common to experience memory problems upon discontinuation from an antipsychotic drug. You may experience difficulties with both short-term and long-term memory retrieval. These should gradually improve over time, so don’t panic if they don’t immediately improve.
  • Mood swings: Withdrawing from any psychiatric drug can lead a person to experience mood swings. They may be difficult to deal with at times because your brain is highly sensitive and neurotransmitter levels are trying to restore themselves. One minute you may feel highly anxious, the next tired and depressed. Do your best to put up with these swings and they should gradually improve throughout your withdrawal.
  • Muscle weakness: If you experience muscle weakness, aches, and cramps, these are very normal. It may take some time for your body to regain energy and strength after your withdrawal. Any muscle weakness should improve within a few months.
  • Nausea: Feeling intense nausea is common during the first few weeks of withdrawal. In many cases the nausea is so severe that it leads to vomiting.
  • Palpitations: If you notice changes in heart rhythm, these are known as palpitations. You may experience sensations of abnormal heartbeats and/or pounding in your chest.
  • Panic attacks: Another fairly common symptom upon withdrawal is that of panic attacks. Your arousal level may be higher than normal and you may experience intense anxiety. This anxiety may lead to panic attacks if you are unable to relax. These will not be permanent if you had not experienced them before the medication, but they may take awhile to go away.
  • Psychosis: It has been documented that withdrawing from antipsychotics can cause psychosis. This means that you may experience hallucinations (e.g. hearing voices) and delusions as a result of chemical changes in the brain that occur during withdrawal. If you do not have schizophrenia, it is probably just a withdrawal symptom. If you have schizophrenia, this may signify a relapse.
  • Restlessness: You may feel unable to sit still and extra restless during the discontinuation process. Consider utilizing relaxation techniques to help lower arousal and increase calmness.
  • Shaking: Other people have experienced the “shakes” and/or tremors during withdrawal.
  • Sleep changes: Most people experience some sort of changes in their sleep quality and/or patterns when coming off of this drug. You may experience nightmares, poor sleep quality, and/or inability to stay asleep. This should improve as time continues to pass.
  • Suicidal thinking: This is a very normal symptom to experience during withdrawal from any psychiatric medication. Feeling depressed and suicidal after using a medication for a long period of time is because your neurotransmitter levels have been altered by the drug. They will need some time to recover. Consider seeking a professional psychotherapist for emotional support if you feel suicidal.
  • Sweating: Having sweats is thought to be a natural byproduct of your body going through detoxification. You may notice that you sweat more than normal throughout the day or while you sleep.
  • Vomiting: Most people that report vomiting usually have to deal with it for about a week. This is typically only a symptom that occurs during the acute stage of withdrawal.
  • Weight loss: If you experienced weight gain while taking Geodon, you should lose the weight that you packed on while taking it. Although many experts consider it “weight neutral” the fact is that some individuals gain a fair amount of weight while taking it.

Geodon Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

Most people report that their symptoms resulting from Geodon withdrawal last up to several months. It should be noted that if you were on Geodon for a very short duration and/or were taking a relatively low dose, you may experience less severe and persistent symptoms. Individuals that quit taking this drug “cold turkey” or those who tapered too quickly are thought to have a longer lasting withdrawal.

Those who have been taking this antipsychotic for an extended period of time may report that their discontinuation symptoms last up to 6 months. I recommend keeping documentation of symptoms upon withdrawal and reevaluating them every 3 months (i.e. 90 days). By giving yourself 3 months to reevaluate, you are giving your brain and body time to slowly readjust back to homeostatic functioning.

Many people require longer than 3 months to experience full recovery from withdrawal. As mentioned, you may not recover at the same rate as other people based on individual factors. One individual reported that in his experience it took a full 5 months for him to feel 90% better (in his subjective estimation). If you have gone through Geodon withdrawal and/or are currently going through with discontinuation, feel free to share your experience – you may really help someone else.

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{ 63 comments… add one }
  • Brenda October 28, 2014, 2:10 pm

    I have been on Geodon for 8 years. I now live in Ecuador and there is no Geodon. I have 6 months supply. I tried coming off before I left and went for a week with very little sleep. I plan to try again. I was unable to get an anti-anxiety medication because of a history of suicide attempt. I have found some over the counter sleeping pills that work for me. If anyone has any suggestions of what else I can do please let me know. Thank you.

  • mary December 16, 2014, 12:43 pm

    After researching withdrawal symptom from these psychotic drugs I am so frightened because I want to help my daughter get off her medications. I realize I can’t do it by myself but from what I read most doctors are not helpful in knowing exactly what to do. I must find a good one and I will know whether or not he is qualified by how much reduction he will suggest. I read one article about a man who shaved his pill with a file very slowly.

    It seems like it will take a long long time but I can’t put her through the pain that you all have described to me. She has so many things going on from taking these drugs I just want her to be her old self. She should never have been prescribed these drugs I know now. It is too long a story to tell here. I just don’t know what to do. I will keep reading these comments and see if there might be some light coming for me. It is wonderful that this information is available.

    • Amy A. February 5, 2016, 11:49 pm

      I have been on Geodon for approximately 6 months. I thought this drug was fine for my bipolar disorder and the doctor said it wouldn’t make me gain weight. So I tried it and 3 months after taking it my life has been turned upside down! Even though there is no proof of it, I developed focal seizures. Trying to convince my doctor that I believe this drug was the cause is a joke.

      But, who knows your body better than you. My doctor took me off Effexor which I was on for 5 years. The withdrawal symptoms were horrible. My neurologist increased my carbamazepine to help with the seizures. So I thought everything was good but my symptoms of having seizures didn’t disappear. So, my psychiatrist decreased my Geodon 80mg to 40mg at my request.

      I feel like weaning myself off the remaining dosage without the knowledge of my doctor because he reluctantly decreased my dose in the first place. I have to admit I’m scared to go off of Geodon because of the withdrawal symptoms. However, I believe my seizures will stop! Very confused on what to do but want my life to go back to seizure free!

      • Marsha S April 29, 2016, 4:50 am

        You don’t have to go from 40 to 20 to 0. You can open the capsule and if you don’t have a scale you can try to maybe dividing the powder into 8 parts which is approximately 5 mgs per part. Then take 35 mgs and reduce by 5 mgs per month.

        You can get gelatin capsules size 00 from Amazon to put the powder in because the original capsule usually breaks. You can pour the powder onto a folded piece of paper. I bought waxed paper squares from Amazon. This may reduce withdrawal symptoms.

  • Helen Stuart January 27, 2015, 11:42 pm

    I am currently undergoing Geodon withdrawal. My doc cut me down from 120 mg a day to 80 to start with, (she’s not the psychiatrist who started me on it, I should never have been prescribed this either) I am going to go down to 60 mg tonight. I used to take it twice a day, she took it down to once right away. DO NOT go cold turkey. Do what your doc says. I didn’t feel all the withdrawal symptoms at first, it took me awhile, but now I’m having a HELL of a lot of trouble sleeping, even with 2 mg klonopin, but it’s not the end of the world.

    The thing you, or your daughter needs the most is an understanding friend available day and night and hobbies she enjoys. I am really depressed about my career and my losses in life, (I’m 50) and yes I’m sore as hell, and tired, but watching funny shows and painting pictures and trying to think I must have a place in this world keeps me going. Your daughter does, and you do, and you do too, girl in Brazil. Concentrate on the beautiful things in life, drink tea with stevia and eat ice pops and HUG. And DO NOT go cold turkey. This too shall pass. My prayers are with you. Love, Helen.

    • London Wolfe July 3, 2016, 5:51 pm

      You are an awesome person!

    • Wanda Harris September 17, 2016, 3:28 pm

      So helpful! I have been on Geodon 60 mg for 2 months and am having horrible muscle pain and spasms, nausea, shaking constantly, and feeling like on the verge of a panic attack all day long. I just made the the connection of my symptoms to the drug. Am afraid of withdrawal making it worse but must get of this med. Am doing 30 mg for a week and then 15 mg for a week and see how I do.

  • Rachel March 20, 2015, 9:46 am

    I have been forced to go cold turkey as my doctor will not refill my prescription. I just missed one dose so far. My throat feels tight, my muscles week, I feel shaky all over, and I did not sleep at all last night. I have been taking geodon for many years. I used to take 80 mg twice per day and now I am at 40 mg twice per day… if I make it through this I will never go back on it. And, now I feel like I am going to vomit.

  • Rebecca March 23, 2015, 8:30 pm

    Geodon has been a good drug for me for over 12 years, but side effects require that I go off it. I am trying to switch to Latuda, but am really sick from what I believe is withdrawals from Geodon. I plan to get off it and stay off it! I basically couldn’t work right now I am so sick. Fortunately I am currently off work and will work with my psych doc to get through it. It is very difficult but am hoping my hair will grow back in once off Geodon.

  • DJ April 9, 2015, 7:23 pm

    I’m experiencing horrible withdrawals right now and having to deal with them while I’m at work. :( It’s absolutely terrible, and I was on a low dose. I had to come off quickly because no matter what time I took it it made me too drugged feeling to drive some mornings, and I was late to work a lot. It’s a horrible feeling having to choose between your job and your mental stability but I guess on the positive side the bad side effects that I’d been dealing with hopefully will go away too. Although, at the moment truthfully right now I’d rather be dealing with side effects than with withdrawal, and especially with having to be in public and working while doing so. :(

    I’m having terrible anxiety, erratic sleep with mostly insomnia, fatigue, nausea, chills, flu-like symptoms, and HORRIBLE paranoid thoughts. I feel like everyone is out to get me and I have a huge project coming up next week that’s already making my stomach hurt just thinking about working and interacting with the team I’m on. This type of project makes everyone irritable to begin with and I know my feelings of anxiety and paranoia already existing as a result of the withdrawal are going to lead to the whole experience being a thousand times worse, my not delivering well, and everyone thinking less of me as a result. :(

    • Squishy72 February 11, 2016, 7:02 pm

      I hope all turns out well. Praying for you!

  • Barry Wimmer April 17, 2015, 10:51 am

    Our daughter has been on geodon for about 1 month, but was starting to experience bad side effects. She also epilepsy medication. We were advised by a psychiatrist and her neurologist to raper her off the geodon. She was taking 40 mg once daily and is now taking 20 mg daily. The side effects of withdrawal have been heightened anxiety, panic attacks, nervous energy and some confusion. We too feel that she not have put on this medication.

  • crufflergal April 30, 2015, 11:34 am

    I have been on Ziprasidone for 12.5 yrs. I was put on it due to head trauma in an accident that created severe insomnia. I have been wanting to get off this drug for 4 or 5 yrs now. All my previous Dr’s refused to taper me down so I could off of it. I don’t have any bipolar or other mental health issues. Just insomnia. Well I finally moved out of state and got a new doctor. He knows my history of the accident and all the injuries.

    I’ve gone from 60mgs at night to 40mg. This is my 5th night and the withdrawals have kicked in big time. I can’t keep anything down. One minute I’m hot and the other I’m cold. I had the tremors earlier but they are gone but my stomach is really bad. I’ve been up and down out of bed all night long. It’s like I have the flu and everything hurts. The reason I’m getting off of this toxic drug is that it quit working completely as a sleep aid.

    Right now I’m taking AdvilPM and melatonin plus the 40mg. Going through these side effects is totally worth it. Once I’m done tapering off my body and brain will be free and will feel much better. Don’t quit cold turkey for the folks who want to go that route.

    • Ben April 23, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Thanks for what you’re saying – I believe it IS worth it, and reading stuff like this is encouraging.

  • David May 3, 2015, 11:49 pm

    I have been on Geodon for 9 years. I went from 40 mg to 20 mg with some difficulty. I am unable to drop from 20 mg to 0 because of severe insomnia. I tried last year and had to give up after 10 days and about 15 hours sleep total. Is there a way to get a smaller dose or a tablet form so that I can taper more gradually?

    • jennifer December 23, 2015, 11:40 pm

      What mg per pill are you taking? If it’s the capsule then you can open it and mix it with a teaspoon of jelly or something similar and take about half or 3/4 of it and slowly reduce by what you can tolerate. I plan on doing this when I reach the 20mg capsule, hope this helps.

      • David February 4, 2016, 7:26 pm

        Thank you for your reply. It would be nice if that were not the only option (this method is very imprecise), and they manufactured Geodon in smaller doses, in tablets, so that they can be split. I hope this method works for you. I’m having difficulty finding clinical studies that I can show to my current psychiatrist so that he can help me with this. He doesn’t believe withdrawal is possible.

        • Jeff K July 14, 2016, 9:49 pm

          It would be nice if psychiatrists would read these comments, and realize that withdrawal symptoms are rather common. It is sad that they don’t seem to care about their patients’ physical health. They seem to only care about their mental health.

          • David September 14, 2016, 1:01 am

            Referring to it as needing to taper the dose, rather than withdrawal, works better. That’s what worked for me. A compounding pharmacy will honor whatever dose a prescription is made out for by a psychiatrist. I went down to 15 mg in August, and 10 mg this month. The plan is to go down to 5 in October, and be off in November. Obviously I have to watch for symptoms, but so far so good.

  • sheri May 25, 2015, 3:00 pm

    Hello…I was on geodon 180 mg a day. In Aug I missed my doctor’s appointment and when I called to reschedule it took 6 weeks to get in so…after being on geodon for 8 years I quit cold turkey! It is now May and I’m still not feeling at my best. This has been a horrible experience I do not recommend anyone to do as I did! I have been so sick that I swore I was dying! None of my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong!

    The medical doctors wouldn’t even listen to me they said I was psychotic! I finally just stopped going and took it day by day. Severe stomach pains with horrible flu like symptoms and nothing helps! Bones ache feels like their bruised. I have been living with a heating pad for months. Feeling stroke symptoms. The medical doctors wouldn’t do anything for me because I wasn’t running a fever and the psychologists didn’t think withdrawals would last so long!

  • nadin June 11, 2015, 12:29 pm

    I was prescribed Geodon for my “treatment resistant depression” so off-label use and I regret ever agreeing to take it. I had an episode where I missed two doses and ended up in the ED with severe epigastric pain that was not relieved by IV morphine or dilaudid. Fifteen minutes after taking my Geodon the pain was gone. Since then I have been slowly weaning off and am down to 20 mg/day. I am taking zaleplon as a sleep aid as I wasn’t able to sleep without the Geodon and it seems to help.

    • Maureen April 21, 2016, 1:47 pm

      What is epigastric pain? It sounds like a GI issue. The Geodon I took last year (March 2014 – August 2015) caused me severe GI problems. I would eat, whether at home or out, and 80% of the time the food would regurgitate. It’s so embarrassing! I also did not gain weight, probably due to so little food reaching my stomach.

      I got terrible heart burn, my blood sugars all went up, cholesterol went up, sex drive was eliminated. I went off it and all these problems reversed. I recently went back on Geodon because I ran out of Klonopin and Geodon eliminates Klonopin withdrawal. Well this time, in 2 months I gained 25 pounds!

      I finally got more clonapin so I am not going from 40 to 20 and for 10mg I just empty the powder in a small bowl. I take 1/2 the powder and just put it on my tongue (it tastes fine) and leave 10mg in the bowl for the next day. This is strange. Last August when I went off Geodon when on 80 to 120 MG per day I had no issues stopping almost cold turkey.

      I tried to do the same thing only taking 40Mg for 3 months and I felt horrible. A doctor told me an individual reacts to medications differently at different points in life.

  • Leslie June 15, 2015, 8:32 pm

    I only took the generic (ziprasidone) for a month, but was up to 60mg twice a day. I was put on it as an adjunct med for depression. The grogginess and insomnia were too much with it, so I decreased my dose to 20mg twice a day. That obviously wasn’t slow enough because I am sweating, shaking, and very anxious. I’m increasing the dose to 40mg twice a day for a week, then will try to step down to 20mg twice a day after that. I usually don’t have problems with withdrawals from meds. I can come off high doses of effexor with only headaches (when switching to a new med). This ziprasidone withdrawal is no joke though. Ugh.

    • Susy August 9, 2015, 1:16 pm

      I was only on Geodon for just over a month. I was taking 70mg per day. After feeling so awful from it, I decided to read some reviews on it. Once I saw how bad it was, and I should never have been prescribed this in the first place, I decided since I have been on it for such a short period and lower dose that I would go cold turkey. Its been 5 days and I have had almost no sleep, bouts of crying for the slightest things, severe stomach pain, hot flashes, and just generally not feeling myself.

      I’ve tried taking klonopin at night to help sleep but it doesn’t work. I know that cold turkey isn’t the way to go, but I did not want to put one more dose of this drug in my body. I guess I will have to continue dealing with the withdrawals. I am not bipolar or schizophrenic. I am considered to be treatment resistant for depression and I also have adult ADHD. I am really upset that my doc put me on this drug. I’m grateful that I read all the terrible things about it before I had been on it for a long period of time. Even after only one month, the withdrawals are terrible!

  • Amber August 14, 2015, 11:28 am

    To be honest this was the worst medication to ever be on, I’ve been on it since I was 12, so about 9 years. I would do anything to get off these. I only take 40 MG and I can function fine on 20Mg too but I cant go lower then that. I would like to be a teacher someday but the way they make me drowsy and make me sleep I cant do a job that requires a lot of hours. Some nights I forget to take them and those nights make me feel like I am dying: rapid Heart Rate, Crying, Gastritis, Shaking uncontrollably, Mood swings, hot and cold flashes, Lethargic, sweats, nausea, paranoia, insomnia, fatigue, Muscle weakness, nightmares (if I can get any sleep). To anyone out these trying this please try to find healthier solutions.

  • Mike bush August 26, 2015, 6:40 pm

    After being on 160 MG a day for a month, so restless, jaw clenched, leg muscles squirming and antsy, could barely stay seated at times, I decided to start tapering off. Anxiety, insomnia, hopeless feelings, jaw clenching improving, but still irksome. I went to 80 MG for eight days, then 40 for two weeks. Just guessing, don’t have a doctors input. Not sure what to do now. I would not take this medication again.

  • Leeann September 9, 2015, 2:58 pm

    I’ve been taking Geodon 80 mg for 5 years and and am stopping taking it due to side effects; gastro issues, elevated A1C level, sleepwalking and sleep-eating. I went from 80 mg to 60 mg for a month and have now come down to 40 mg which I’ll stay at for 2 weeks then I’ll go to 20 mg for two weeks, then none. My psychiatrist is helping me taper down.

    The worst side effects I’ve had so far are muscle spasm and ache, neuropathic pain in the shoulders and neck, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. I started taking Gabapentin for the body and nerve pain with Baclofen, a muscle relaxer at night, which have both helped a lot. I’ve also been taking a low dose of valium at bed time with the muscle relaxant and it’s helped me be able to get to sleep.

    I’ll tell it to you straight that the first 3-5 days after tapering down a dose are intense but I’ve been able to get through it. I do have some fear about going to none but am going to trust in my body that it can get back to homeostatic functioning with time. The benefits of coming medicine outweigh the side effects for me but it was great medicine at helping me get to where I could live a stable and happy life.

    I hope I don’t have a relapse of depression, paranoid/ delusional thinking and agitation which were present before I started taking this med. I know I was in a different place 5 years ago than I am now and think that will really make a difference.

  • Robyn September 14, 2015, 3:00 am

    My doctor has finally written a prescription to taper me off of my bipolar medication. I am unsure if my diagnosis was correct. My symptoms of mania occurred in 2005 after a sexual assault in a foreign country, involved only speaking the foreign language when I returned even though nobody here spoke it, and then when I did finally speak English, it was very quickly and in rhyme, with strange religious thoughts and profound meaning in everyday things, walking around singing and rhyming to myself without sleep.

    Those symptoms occurred only shortly after the attack. A decade later, I am now seeing a therapist and tapering off of all my medicine, but I wonder if it is too quickly. I only have four days left of a reduced dosage. I feel lucky not to be experiencing a lot of these symptoms, and my experience is a bit different. I expected to have sleeping problems, and bought melatonin in case I needed it, but most of the time I do not. I do still wake up too early sometimes, but am sleeping better than expected.

    My doctor had said that a lack of sleep could cause symptoms of mania. I have not had mania, but I cried twice within the last few days. However, they were not long crying spells and were influenced by talking about what had happened a decade ago on one occasion, and feeling lonely while listening to a sad song on the other. I am hopeful that I am healed and will not relapse or ever need this medicine again. The main issue I’m having is a strange feeling in my belly and feeling like I need to burp.

    I can’t tell if I’m hungry or full, but I just want to crunch on something and have the feeling go away. I just feel different and hope to find a new normal soon. I was wanting to know how long this feeling would last, but I think my experience is different than most, and I am thankful it is not worse. I have not been very productive these last few days, stuck in an OCD loop, but that may be unrelated and manageable without medication.

  • Kevin September 14, 2015, 7:40 pm

    I have been on Geodon for about 2 months now and have been experiencing mild headaches on and off throughout the day. I started at 80mg per day for about 3 weeks, then tapering down to 40mg after about another 3 weeks. My long term memory has been impacted primarily. I find myself needing to write things down more often to remember.

    • Ben April 23, 2016, 6:27 pm

      Same here, I’ve only been on for about 2 months. But it sounds like your effects from cutting the dose in half have been rather mild. I hope it’s as mild for me.

  • Jodi Keener December 12, 2015, 11:01 pm

    I took my last Geodon last Wednesday. It is now Saturday and I am not doing good at all. I have the hot flashes, cold chills, severe nausea, rapid heartbeat, confusion, memory issues. I took 80 mg twice a day for 5 years. I taped down by 20 mg every 2 weeks and I personally believe that was too fast for me.

    I hated being on it, I don’t think it did much and if I missed a dose by just an hour or so I was having severe withdrawal symptoms. I needed to get off this medication. I was no where near prepared enough for all of this. I have anxiety anyway but the anxiety I have experienced since stopping Geodon has been unbearable. I feel like I am either dying, going crazy or both. My pulse stays around 100 all the time.

    I feel like I am going to vomit at any moment. I have read in the article above that these symptoms can last for months. OH HELL NO!! I will be in a padded cell if I have to put up with this much longer. I know it says it depends on how long you took it, the dose, and on the person, but this is pure hell.

    • Stillsick June 26, 2016, 6:21 pm

      Similar to me, 5 yrs at 80mg (mostly). Never previously had any psychotic tendencies, but 20mg drop from 80 mg to 60mg had me in the psych ward with psychotic thoughts. Took months to get off and it was still far too fast. 7 months since my last dose and I am still very nauseous, major gastro issues and just sick overall. Hell doesn’t describe it.

      • Marsha S July 29, 2016, 10:52 pm

        Eight months off. Still have some GI problems, still some crying, but overall very relieved to be off geodon. 17 months off antidepressants. 2 to go. The past twenty years of poly-drugging should never have happened. It was hashimotos thyroiditis undiagnosed that started the drug merry go round.

        If you know anyone contemplating psychiatric drugs due to depression and anxiety, please tell them to get to an endocrinologist and also get their vitamins and minerals checked. My life was destroyed by psychiatric drugs. Be careful. Especially since the Murphy bill came into play.

  • melinda December 23, 2015, 8:20 pm

    I went off Geodon on October 1, 2015. I had been on it for over 8 years on a dose as high as 120mg twice a day. I had been taking 60mg in the morning and 120mg at night before I began to taper down. When I finally stopped taking it, I was violently ill for a week. I had to stay in bed with my eyes closed because every time I opened them I threw up. I was constantly dizzy. Gradually, over a three week period, this eased up. I also stopped taking Lamictal at the same time, so I probably didn’t do myself any favors.

    I was weak and sleepy for the first month without these meds. Then, I got the weirdest symptoms ever. First, I broke out in cold sores all around my mouth and in my nose. Then my joints began aching horribly. They had been extremely sore as I tapered off, then had improved and now were terrible again. I began itching all over. I got shingles on my foot and in my scalp. My arms and legs itch all the time. Sometimes hives or redness will appear (anywhere from 20 minutes to several days) and then disappear.

    I went on an anti-inflammitory diet but that didn’t seem to help. Oatmeal baths offer some relief and even though I don’t like to take it, I’ve been taking aspirin for the joint pain and it takes the edge off. I went to the doctor yesterday and made the mistake of telling them I’d discontinued my anti-psychotics. They attributed my itching and joint pain to psychosis and encouraged me to get back on my meds.

    I can assure you, I am not making this up. I have blisters on my left lower eyelid that the doctor seems to think are psychosomatic. I believe my immune system took a beating when I got off Geodon and Lamictal and the herpes virus has been manifesting in a variety of ways, attacking my joints and making me itch and develop shingles. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

    • Jeff July 15, 2016, 11:06 am

      This is so sad, that medical doctors often ignore the physical problems of people they assume are mentally ill. And psychaitrists do the same thing. My advice to people seeking mental health treatment is to try cognitive behavioral therapy alone first, and avoid taking any psych drugs, if possible. If I had it to do over, I would have never even sought help at all. It turned my life upside down, and now I am worse off because of it. But at least I’m no longer on any psych meds, and the withdrawls did eventually end. So, there is hope. It can be done, but it takes time.

  • jennifer December 23, 2015, 11:30 pm

    I have been on geodon for almost 2 years, it’s prescribed for schizophrenia, I had to go about a week without it due to unexplained pancreatitis on 2 different occasions the withdrawal was horrible, terrible insomnia headaches hot flashes sweating mild visual hallucinations shaking vomiting nauseous. I was finally able to sleep for short periods after passing out from exhaustion after almost 4 days without sleep.

    I was so tired I was going crossed eyed I couldn’t see the TV, I was surprised I didn’t have bad hallucinations all I had was the wall look like it was breathing but other than that nothing, I’m at a different place then I was 3 years ago, I know what to do when I have symptoms. I actually want to try slowly tapering. My current Dr is changing my meds for no reason she took me off of seroquel and changed me from lexapro to brintellix, but I couldn’t stand the side effects so now I go without it.

    I’m now down from 4 meds to 2 which are geodon and neurontin. I can live without the neurontin, but it’s the geodon that I have a hard time without. I used to be on 80mg a day and now I’m at 160mg a day I can reduce it by half no problem, but anything more and I have problems.

  • April January 13, 2016, 11:32 pm

    I have been taking geodon for two months. 80 mg. It was doing something to my heart that the doctor noticed on EKG. He is tapering me off. Last night I wad to drop down to 40mg. I woke up today with nausea, horrible acid reflux, increased salivation, headaches, and body pain off and on.

  • Marsha S February 27, 2016, 12:54 am

    I was on geodon for approximately 12 years. This drug took my life away. In my fourth and final attempt to taper off geodon I had to stop taking it at 40 mgs. I developed tardive dyskinesia. My withdrawal symptoms are what have been described above.

    I am 2 months off as of February 23. The flu symptoms come every afternoon. Tylenol helps. Waking up with panic occurs off and on. Mostly I sleep well. I will never take an antipsychotic again for the rest of my life. If you are taking an antipsychotic make it a priority to taper off. Don’t end up like me with tardive dyskinesia.

    • Ben April 23, 2016, 6:31 pm

      Thank you for sharing. You’re the first comment I’ve read here about the tardive dyskinesia or whatever. I was most concerned about this effect of getting off. I’m hoping to get off.

      • Marsha S April 26, 2016, 6:27 pm

        You should be okay. You have only been taking it for two months. You are in a position to taper slowly. Listen to your body. If you have trouble slow down and hold until you feel stable. Then maybe taper at a more gradual rate. You will make it. You will be fine.

  • Bill March 7, 2016, 5:16 pm

    I was on geodon for about a year. 80mg a day. I been tapering down to just 20mg a day. Tapering from 80 to 40 a day was rough. The 40mg a day to 20 a day was even rougher. I would get the shakes, headache and diarrhea, sick to my stomach. However though logging what I ate and drank and correlating that to when I felt good vs bad I discovered that when I ate sugar I felt better.

    So I ran an experiment and soon as I started to feel bad I would drink have a soda and low and behold I felt better. My shakes went away etc. after reading on geodon further it can cause hypoglycemia. Once I figured that out all of my geodon withdrawals have become very manageable (the insomnia is still a pain) but I have been stable on 20mg for about 4 days. I plan on stopping later this week as I have some time off work.

    • Cynthia March 10, 2016, 10:33 am

      My P-Doc dropped me from 80 twice a day to 40 twice a day to 40 once a day to 20 once a day but left me on each dose for 30 days. Even so, I had insomnia immediately after each reduction. I just finished the last dose of 20 mg. I still have vivid dreams which are sometimes disturbing. It was hard to go through a 3 month withdrawal program, but worth it to avoid most of the symptoms people describe here.

  • Angela March 24, 2016, 11:19 am

    Has anyone withdrawn from Geodon cold turkey after overdosing on it due to sleep walking/eating and it causing delirium and anticholinergic syndrome? If so, now that it’s the 5th day off Geodon completely, what should she do? She’s seeing her psych NP today. She’s having symptoms of headache, mild nervous stomach, fatigue, brain fog and anxiety but, otherwise, feels okay, i.e., she’s no longer hypomanic which the 240 mg. of Geodon prescribed caused.

    She’s still on a therapeutic dose of lithium for the first time in her life, which is successfully stabilizing her bipolar II disorder. She’s seeing her psych NP today for the 1st time since being discharged from the medical unit in the hospital where she was treated and monitored for the delirium, anticholinergic syndrome and bradycardia (low heart rate; less than 50 bpm, monitoring her QT intervals) due to the unintentional Geodon overdose.

    Having been off Geodon completely for 5 days, should she stay on it and continue to use Advil for the headache and hydroxyzine for the anxiety (which she’s not used much because the fatigue’s causing her to sleep a lot) or resume Geodon and taper off gradually? Would appreciate your opinions because we don’t know what to expect from her psych NP who’s insisted that she stay on 240 mg. of Geodon until she overdosed a 2nd time and, even then, directed her to take it responsibly even though I’ve been reporting consistently that Geodon impairs her and, so, she can’t take it responsibly independently.

  • Kimberly morton April 9, 2016, 9:55 pm

    I was put on Geodon 2 years ago, 80 mg, it is the worse drug I have ever been put on. The doctor added it to my antidepressant and told me it was a mood stabilizer. At 48 with menopause I felt it was ok. I have gained over 40 pounds, it made me actually sleep walk and eat at night, my cravings for sweets was crazy.

    It took my life away, it made me not want to do anything… I completely like overnight lost my sex drive, all I did was lay on the couch every day, it was a chore to get up and do anything, even take a shower. I told my doctor in January I wanted off this crap! He tapered me down to 20 mg, and then took it every other day and then quit.

    I took an extra Ativan for a month to help with the withdrawals. I then went through the withdrawal of coming off the extra Ativan a day. It has been 3 months since I’ve quit taking Geodon, I am still not back to myself… I’ve read it can take up to 6 months before I feel better, and I have not lost the weight I’ve gained. I would never recommend this drug to anyone, I feel like it took my life away!

  • Dean April 16, 2016, 3:16 am

    Ok so I’ve been on this medication for well over a year now and I’ve been slowly tapering off of it but tonight I stopped taking my last capsule and I am telling you, this is absolute hell. My intestines feel like they are melting, my jaw is clenched very tight, my muscles are all knotted up, I’m shaking, I’m sweating, I’m puking, I’m disoriented, confused and I can’t sleep. This is the worst medication I’ve ever been prescribed and even though it worked for me it has completely fried my brain.

    • Marsha S April 28, 2016, 2:06 am

      I know it was the same for me. I am nearly five months out from my last geodon capsule and I can truly say I am much much better. My brain functions have mostly returned and I can again function and interact with society again. I was on the maximum dose for about twelve years. I have jaw clenching too. But my movement disorder is slowly improving. Take heart. It does get better.

  • Britta Young April 19, 2016, 2:25 am

    I have been taking geodon for about 6 months, and have been trying to taper off of it for the last three weeks. After tapering to the smallest dosage I could, I stopped cold turkey. After I stopped taking it, the following symptoms occurred: Excessive tiredness and sleeping, cold/flu like symptoms, hunger, overall state of confusion for the first 48 hours or so.

    It’s day four being off of it and the only remaining symptom is fatigue, but it is getting better through time. I recommend drinking a lot of water and resting as much as possible.

  • Ben April 23, 2016, 6:54 pm

    I’m grateful to all the people who posted on here. It helps me at least know that I can get OFF this Geodon, as long as I’m willing to go through some serious discomforts. I tried to talk to my doctor about getting off Geodon but he wouldn’t listen. I think the only solution is to get a new doctor. I’m relocating in order to work in the union, so I’m worried about how I’m going to get on medical insurance in this new state, because I’ll need to fill Geodon scrips until I can taper off.

    No way would I try it cold turkey, due to a strong fear of getting uncontrollable facial tics or something. I’ve experienced withdrawals from methadone and so I think I can handle some of the stuff described but I don’t know how the two things compare. I know when I tried to go from 80 mg twice a day to 80 mg once a day, I felt just slightly crazy, slightly anxious like I was GOING to have a panic attack.

    That’s the thing, though: Geodon causes anxiety attacks, it seems. Geodon has taken my sex drive as well. This is disturbing to me because of course you want to live life fully. Also, I feel too tired a couple hours after taking this crap, which worries me because I have a job coming up where I may be working 10 to 12 hour shifts at a time.

    I’m diagnosed schizoaffective disorder but all that happens is that I start having auditory hallucinations. I’d rather endure that than be on Geodon, really. My symptoms are mild and I actually felt like I had a LIFE at least. NOW I lack interest in writing OR reading. I just veg in front of the TV. I was on Zyprexa but it gave me gynecomastia and so the doc switched me to Geodon.

    Damn, I wish I’d known what Geodon would be like. When I said I had lack of sex drive, the doctor talked about a possible tumor on my pituitary gland, rather than accept that I had none of those problems BEFORE taking Geodon. What? Do they get a kickback for prescribing so many clients to Geodon per month or something?

    Why would he assume so drastic a thing as a TUMOR before he’d look towards Geodon as the culprit. I’m telling you, these psych doctors CAN BE – not all just some – dangerous individuals. So when I talked about getting off, he didn’t want to hear it, told me the chances of the voices coming back would be high. I don’t care, I want my life back.

    • Marsha S April 29, 2016, 4:08 am

      You know, there are a lot of voice hearers out there. And they just live their lives. Once you listen to your body and taper accordingly you can avoid most of the withdrawal symptoms. When I had to stop at 40 mgs the first month was mostly panic even with anti anxiety drugs and gabapentin. But the next two months were the most difficult.

      But I got through it. No more panic. Some days I have fatigue and muscle aches and some anxiety about what this drug took from me but I don’t dwell on it because I know I am getting my life back again. Everything will eventually return. It will be that way for you too.

  • Randy April 29, 2016, 1:19 pm

    Background: Male, 47 y/o, smoker, sober alcoholic. I have read all of the posts here and can relate to several. I was prescribed Geodon, Olanzapine and Seroquel a little over a year ago because at the time I really felt I needed these medications. My psychiatrist told me that my problems stem from abusing alcohol and now that I’m sober we worked together in tapering off.

    I had no real problem getting off the Olanzapine and Seroquel as I was cutting the smallest dose tablets into quarters. The Geodon (Zeldox) is another matter entirely. I was taking 160mg Geodon daily, 80mg with breakfast and 80mg with dinner. The doctor told me to cut out the breakfast dose entirely.

    I questioned this 50% reduction thinking it was too fast and he said simply that I don’t need the medication and to prepare for withdrawal. That was just over two weeks ago and the withdrawal has been nasty: Chills, tingling skin around my hands feet and lips, pounding heart, and sometimes a feeling of inner restlessness.

    I thought I would never stabilize on this regimen but it’s starting to get better. I’m actually quite grateful that my withdrawal symptoms have been physical and not mental. When I told the psychiatrist about my withdrawal experience he took me seriously and prescribed a quantity of 300, 20mg capsules and told me to use these at my own pace to taper off making sure I’m stable before dropping to the next lower dose.

    I believe it is possible to taper off but to do it safely – we really ought to get the green light from our health care professional.

  • Susan May 3, 2016, 1:22 am

    I have been on geodon 80mg daily for two years. Tried to go off cold turkey and thought I was going to die. Nausea, vomiting, hot flashes and shaking. Is this dangerous? Can’t get doctor to wean me off so have to do it cold turkey. Can someone please help me?

    • Marsha S May 3, 2016, 4:35 am

      If you taper too fast or cold turkey you risk developing post acute withdrawal syndrome which can be very dangerous. Perhaps you need to find a new doctor who is willing to work with you. Being prepared with a safe taper plan and displaying a calm confident demeanor goes a long way in convincing a doctor to help you along. Do you need help with a plan and how to calculate and measure your dose?

    • Randy May 3, 2016, 1:32 pm

      I would not advise you quit Geodon cold turkey as you’ll intensify the withdrawal effects. You’ve already experienced the pain of cold turkey and I believe it can be dangerous. Is there a reason why your doctor is unwilling to wean you off? Perhaps you could seek a second opinion from a different doctor who may be willing to gradually taper you off Geodon. Hope this helps, Randy

  • Marsha S May 29, 2016, 3:21 am

    I have been off geodon for six months now. By the fifth month off I was stable. But since my CNS took such a hit from having to stop at 40 mgs it is making it difficult to taper off the other drugs I am on. Also the tardive dyskinesia has mostly resolved. But I am finally off the geodon.

  • Kimberly morton May 31, 2016, 6:47 pm

    It has been 5 months since I came off off the Geodon, by following my doctors directions and having him taper me off, I came off of it in one month. Every month off of it, I seem to feel a little better. One thing I noticed was that the 2 years on it, I quit having dreams. My dreams finally started coming back at night thank God.

    This medication should of never been prescribed to me in the first place. I was told it was a mood stabilizer to make my antidepressant work better. I honestly believe this medication should be for extreme bipolar or schizophrenic extreme cases… This medication was horrible it took my life away from me I would never recommend it to anyone.

    I’m just grateful that every day I’m getting a little bit more of me back again. If a medicine is strong enough to make your dreams stop, no wonder it made everything in me want to stop. It basically made me a zombie on the couch. The weight gain was horrible and still has not come off. It completely made me lose my sex drive.

    That is just now coming back. It made me do sleepwalk eating and I craved sweets. All of that has finally stopped now.

  • Lisa June 11, 2016, 3:39 am

    I was on 160mgs for only 6 weeks when I started getting scary suicidal thoughts and weight gain. Quit cold turkey and have never been so sick in my life!! THIS MED SHOULD ONLY BE PRESCRIBED FOR EXTREME SCHIZOPHRENIC AND BIPOLAR PATIENTS!! Not just depression! This has been hell, I won’t ever take this evil med again, ended up in ER night anxiety was so bad, had to have IV Ativan!!! Klonopin is helping a lot!!!

  • Sarah June 24, 2016, 7:09 pm

    I just started my withdrawal last night. I’m very foggy and I have the chills. My job is at stake. I believe I was having focal seizures on this drug. I also had the shakes which gave me lots of patient complaints which landed me where I am now. On a leave of absence. And a nice big write up several now – in my file. This is a drug from hell. I should’ve never started it. I have severe anxiety and panic attacks. I just need to get back to work without patient complaints

  • Camille September 5, 2016, 12:06 am

    Had to go off of Geodon because the tremors were unbearable and I could not function. I was on 40mgs twice a day and then weaned to once a day. I was on it for about three months. My doc just took me off cold turkey and I asked him if we should taper down and he said no. I actually got relief from going off of it even though it was cold turkey. Its been one week and I’m just going through depression on insomnia. Should I be worried about other after effects?

    • Randy October 1, 2016, 8:27 pm

      I wouldn’t be worried. A majority of people can come off Geodon without discontinuation syndrome.

  • Marsha Seaton September 14, 2016, 10:25 pm

    I have been off geodon for nearly 10 months now. Also finished tapering off stomach acid blockers. How is everyone doing who got off geodon and stayed off antipsychotic drugs? I am curious as to all of you above who have given your experience have fared as the months or years have passed.

  • David October 14, 2016, 4:13 am

    I have been on 240 mg of geodon per day for 9 years. I went from 200 pounds to 315 pounds. Other then the weight gain its worked wonders and has reduced my hallucinations greatly. I still hear whispers and see shadows. But that’s about it.

    Geodon has worked wonderfully for me. I am on several other medications for depression and anxiety. One problem that has developed is that I am prediabetic. I have schizoaffective disorder. I have a great psychiatrist and he really does care. I wish everyone the best.

  • Cindy S November 17, 2016, 8:59 pm

    My psychiatrist starting weaning me off of Geodon about 3 months ago. I had been on 160 mg for most of 7 years. The reduction from 160 to 140 mg went well, then it was a while before the reduction from 140 mg to 120 mg. Three weeks after that last reduction I was reduced to 100 mg and almost immediately (at 100 mg) started to first experience what my psychiatrist and I believe are Geodon withdrawal symptoms.

    It started with the following symptoms: headache, upset stomach, lack of appetite, heartburn/indigestion, periods of heavy sweating, and some anxiety. Then I slowly started to feel depressed. This was over the course of about 7 days. After 6.5 days of feeling unwell and suspecting Geodon withdrawal I called my psychiatrist. He agreed that perhaps I should go back up to 120 mg (60 mg/60 mg).

    I hope I will start feeling better soon because I’m supposed to go away on a vacation. I’m thinking that perhaps after/if I feel better for a couple of weeks on the 120 mg again that I will try to reduce back down to 100 mg (40 mg/60 mg) if my psychiatrist agrees. I think that this certainly tells me (and my psychiatrist) that the continued reduction in my Geodon dose must go very slowly.

    While reducing the Geodon, I’m also on another antipsychotic (Seroquel XR) and an anticonvulsant mood stabilizer (Tegretol XR).

    • Randy November 21, 2016, 11:42 am

      I am also discontinuing Geodon and when I dropped from 20mg to 10mg (opening the capsule) I experienced severe stomach cramping and jaw muscle pain. After going through this for ten days I increased my dosage back to 20mg and within two days I felt fine.

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