Tapering strips

The reduction or discontinuation of psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or anxiolytics can cause physical and psychological withdrawal and rebound symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may be so severe that patients are unable to continue reducing the dose, regardless of the medication’s efficacy.
In 2010, the Tapering Project was started to address these problems through the development of tapered doses of medication provided in strip packaging: tapering strips.

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    An observational study about the use of tapering medication

    An observational study published in the journal Psychosis shows that antidepressant withdrawal symptoms can be minimised or avoided by using prepackaged medication in tapering strips

    Peter Groot and Jim van Os

    Antidepressant users who have come to the end of treatment and wish to stop can suffer withdrawal symptoms, even when following their doctor’s advice. In some cases, these withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that they prevent the user from stopping their medication. This can often be problematic for the patient and can result in unnecessary prescriptions, additional cost for health services and potential long-term health issues.

    Tapering medication makes safe withdrawal possible by utilising pills of small dosages to make much smaller dosage reductions than can be achieved using standard registered dosages. This approach makes tapering easy for the antidepressant user and the doctor. The study shows that more patients are successful using tapering strips when compared to those who had tried to reduce using other methods and allows patients who have previously tried and failed to withdraw the opportunity to succeed in coming off their antidepressant medication.

    Read more
    Peter GrootAn observational study about the use of tapering medication

Project Tapering

Tapering strips allow patients to regulate the tempo of their dose reduction over time and enable them to taper more gradually, conveniently and safely than is possible using currently available standard medication, thereby preventing withdrawal symptoms.

What

In a tapering strip, medication is packaged in a roll or strip of small daily pouches. Each pouch is numbered and has the same or slightly lower dose than the package before it.

How

Strips come in series covering 28 days and patients can use one or more strips to regulate the tempo of their dose reduction over time. Dose and day information printed on each pouch allow patients to precisely record and monitor the progress of their reduction.

For whom?

Tapering strips are developed for medication in cases where doing so improves the medical care available and meets an unmet need. See the list with available tapering strips.

Experience with tapering strips

In this video Claire shares her experience using tapering strips to come off valium.

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