What is the difference between a quick taper and a gradual taper of antidepressants?
A quick taper often means halving the dose, then quartering the dose, then stopping the antidepressant. It involves using commercially available tablets, perhaps split in half or taken every second day. For many patients, this technique is not much more comfortable than going ‘cold turkey’ (stopping in one day).
For most antidepressants, dosing every other day can cause the drug level to go up and down in your body, leading to withdrawal symptoms.
A gradual taper, which is the method we use at Outro, means slowly lowering your dose, allowing time for the brain and body to adjust to a new level of the drug. We follow a hyperbolic tapering method -- which means the size of the reductions become smaller as the dose lowers.
This involves using customized doses of the antidepressant that are not widely available, but need to be made up by a compounding pharmacist. The rate is determined by how you respond to the reductions, and often takes a number of months, according to your comfort level.