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How Is Pristiq For Reducing Anxiety/social Phobia/ocd/general Mania?


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#1 jessm

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 12:47 AM

I've been on 10+ different antidepressants, antipsychotics and other meds over the past ~9 years or so, mostly to combat social anxiety and depression. Pretty much every med with "fatigue" as a side effect turned me into a zombie and any med with "weight gain" as a side effect made me balloon up like a beached whale...I seem to be hypersensitive to the side effects of all these meds but numb to their actual benefits. I'm currently on Vyvanse and Wellbutrin, my first two stimulant meds, and they've improved my energy and focus enormously but unfortunately I seem to be hypersensitive to the side effects of these two as well...except instead of fatigue it's a feeling of being way too wired and on-edge and instead of constant apathy/feeling like a zombie I'm now constantly anxious and am almost always a bundle of nerves. My anxiety has always been pretty bad but it's gone through the roof since starting these meds; *any* human contact is now a major struggle which I avoid at all cost and as a result I've become extremely isolated which in turn I believe has helped other manic symptoms and behaviors develop as well. In addition, I've developed an extreme case of OCD since starting these meds, a condition which was pretty much nonexistent beforehand.

The good news is these are the only 2 medications that have ever actually helped me in any way and I no longer suffer from the constant fatigue and lack of focus I had for so many years...but I'm not sure it's worth the side effects. So instead of quitting these meds, suffering the withdrawals and going back to square one again, I'm looking for a third medication that will balance things out and bring the anxiety, social avoidance, tension, mania and OCD down to a manageable level while at the same time maintaining the high level of focus and energy I've become accustomed to from the Vyvanse/Wellbutrin. Which brings me to Pristiq. After telling my doctor all this, that was her recommendation. She seemed to think it would give me the balance I'm looking for...but I'm not so sure. And here's why:

I was on Effexor XR about 6 years ago to awful results. Pristiq's high similarity to Effexor is the first red flag I see that makes me wary of this medication. Also, nothing I've read has actually said this is a medication designed to treat anxiety, OCD, mania or anything similar...just depression, and while my depression is not cured by any means, it's the anxiety that's the real issue for me at this point in my life...in addition, I've noticed that one of the side effects of Pristiq actually *is* anxiety, so that's red flag number two. In doing a little more research into Pristiq, I've found that it sounds quite similar to the Vyvanse/Wellbutrin in some ways...it seems to be stimulating (although not necessarily a stimulant) and the reviews I've read from people who have taken it often mention things like irritability, increased stress, insomnia and weight loss...which are all things I experienced when starting both the Wellbutrin and the Vyvanse, so that's red flag number three. Red flag number four is that this med acts as a norepinephrine inhibitor; something that both the Wellbutrin and the Vyvanse do as well. It seems to me that with three medications all elevating levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter associated with anxiety when at high levels, that this combination would just make the anxiety/mania/OCD worse instead of better. Red flag number five is that I checked the three drugs for interactions on an Interactions Checker ...which doesn't sound good.

However, I'm not a doctor and I can't claim to know that much about pharmacology aside from the snippets of information I've gathered online, so my worries may well be baseless. So that's why I'm coming here; to find people who have either been on Pristiq or know more about it than I do, and ask what the real story is. Is combining Wellbutrin, Vyvanse and Pristiq a bad idea? How likely is Pristiq to eliminate anxiety/OCD/mania? How likely is it to CAUSE anxiety/OCD/mania? Are my five "red flag" concerns legitimate or am I just worrying too much?
Thanks for reading; any and all help would be much appreciated.

P.S.
anyone who could recommend an alternative to Pristiq that would lower anxiety/OCD/mania but also not lower focus and or have sedating/mind-numbing side effects...thanks again!

Edited by lindahurt, 30 June 2011 - 01:08 AM.


#2 Rypdx27

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 07:48 AM

I think you are definitely finding some important questions. The main reason I wanted to reply was to say that while I understand Pristiq is similar to Effexor, it may still be worth a try...perhaps it has just the difference from Effexor that would allow it get to the source of your social anxiety better than Effexor did. I took Effexor for social phobia that had gotten to be severe like yours, and was lucky enough to have very good results. I know these meds all work differently for people, especially if other meds are in the mix...my brother has gone through a list of meds like you have, in his battle against generalized anxiety and insomnia, but any feasible option for a new med is always worth trying if it's safe to do so. But, first things first, you are perceptive enough to see potential problems, so I'd take the list you have here of red flags, and say to your doctor and/or pharmacist, "I need some answers before I get into this medication." Hopefully one or both of those people will have the willingness to do research of their own if they can't clarify things for you right away.

Best of luck to you :)

#3 timka2

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 09:19 AM

Hi
this is my firts post but relevent....I have been on many different meds for about 25 years and have moved to Pristiqe about 5 months ago
I find that if I dont take them every day I know about it and so does everyone else. by this I mean they seem to be just doing the job of keeping me level headded and not snappy/angry/fed up etc etc
I started on 50 mg now on 100mg.
If I miss a dose the angisity seems to increase ten fold even though it is said that the effects take a while to"take effect" and a while for the effects of the meds to wane however one day without them and it is hell
Side effects seem to be minimal compared to others except fo sex of rather wanting or needing it less of it
hungry ..no not really so apetite is less
Pristiqe seems to suit me at the moment but only just. it seems less effective than other meds I have tried and seem to be a back to "normal" sot of thing i. e. after having something more "feeling numbing" med that has taken all the "edges off". still I have some real down days and cant wait to have the next dose the next day so I guess they are addictive for me.
hope tis helps ..timka

#4 jessm

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Posted 08 July 2011 - 09:45 PM

Thanks for the responses;
I'm not unwilling to try the Pristiq, I'm just hesitant due to the "red flags" I mentioned in my original post. (By the way, the fifth red flag was serotonin syndrome -- a possible interaction between the three meds that can apparently be fatal).

The main reason I wanted to reply was to say that while I understand Pristiq is similar to Effexor, it may still be worth a try...perhaps it has just the difference from Effexor that would allow it get to the source of your social anxiety better than Effexor did. I took Effexor for social phobia that had gotten to be severe like yours, and was lucky enough to have very good results.


I'd be interested to know more about how the Effexor helped your social phobia; how long did it take before you started seeing results? And were you on any other medications at the time?

Another thing I forgot to include in my original post was that I found that many of the testimonials from people who have been on this drug mentioned having the same side effects during the first few weeks of usage, namely bad nausea, insomnia, nightmares and agitation/irritability. I've found that, after 10+ medications, "possible" side effects from medication mean "guaranteed" side effects for me, so I'm not crazy about undergoing weeks of nausea, insomnia et al. when I have such a bad history in that department. In addition I've read that getting off of this medication can be quite a chore due to the severe withdrawal symptoms, so I don't want to put myself through these things unless I have good reason to think it will be worth it and will work...and right now I don't have that.

Also, I'm curious as to what Pristiq's actual mechanism of action is that would make it beneficial in reducing anxiety, mania and similar conditions...I understand that it increases the levels of serotonin (good) and norepinephrine (potentially not good) but that's about as much as I've been able to find in terms of how it functions. :huh:

#5 ginafelice03

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 12:11 PM

Hi all. This is my first post here also. I've been on Pristiq for about a year. I've never heard of Vyvanse (sp.?) so I can't speak on that. I'm on Wellbutrin, 300mg., Pristiq, 100mg. and xanax 1mg. for sleep. I tried Effexor once and had a horrible reaction. I felt awful, more depressed and super slowed down. I didn't know Pristiq was similar in any way until I read it here. Anyway, I had no side effects from Pristiq. The first pill I took in the evening (stared at 50mg.) was great. It relaxed me and put me right to sleep. It had that strong effect for a long time. Not so much anymore. As far as my depression, it stopped the crying jags, but I am still experiencing breakthrough depressions and sometimes mild anxiety. I switched fro Lexapro (a huge weight-gainer)to Pristiq because I wanted something I wouldn't gain weight on and that's Pristiq. I think it does not have enough of the SSRI to completely treat depression/anxiety, but it has enough to take severe and incapacitating depression and make you functional (in my opinion). I still have moods of highs and lows, so I may be bipolar, though I've been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I feel sometimes great and hopeful, like anything is possible. Then sometimes just hopeless, listless, and very numb for the most part. So....I know I don't have the perfect treatment but Pristiq is doing it's job without the side effects like nausea, stomach distress, weight gain (I have all that when starting on Lexapro). Hope that helps. Another thing is Pristiq doesn't come in generic and it's expensive even with insurance. About $60 a month. I missed 2 days of pills when I ran out and the side effects are immediate and terrible. I had "brain bounce" a feeling of spaciness and like you are falling and anxiety. I felt like an addict rushing to the pharmacy and I immediately opened the bag in the store and took my dose. It took several hours to feel back to normal. One thing I like is it helps you sleep good at night and helps anxiety also.

#6 ginafelice03

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 12:14 PM

Just a quick add on. I would try it at 50mg. You should feel how it works immediately. It will either be great or horrible in my opinion. For me it was great in that it knocked me out at first and I could finally sleep.:)




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