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worry girl

How Long Do Pristiq Withdrawl Symptoms Last

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I am grateful to have found this site as I am currently withdrawing from Pristiq. Quick background, suffered my first "real" bout of depression over the summer & went to see a local doc who prescribed me Pristiq. I had never been on an antidepressant before, and almost quit taking it within the 1st week due to the brutal side effects I experienced (mostly extreme nausea & insomnia worse than I'd ever had!). Needless to say - I toughed it out & did notice an improvement in my mood. Unfortunately, after the first few months, I didn't really feel like it was working for me and I was very tired, and having issues with shortness of breath, extreme sweating & a bounding pulse every time that I so much as walked across the room. I saw a new doctor who ran my blood work, only to find that in the 5 months of taking Pristiq, not only had my blood pressure risen (from 100/70 to 140/85), but my cholesterol & triglycerides also were elevated. I had never had a problem with any of these issues prior to Pristiq. So - the doc recommended a slow taper. Pushing back my dose by a few hours each day, then going to every 36 hours, finally to every other day. I did that for about 2 weeks with minimal side effects. I then decided to try to cold turkey it and lasted about 3 days before the dizziness & overall nasty feelings got the best of me and I cut up one of my pills (I know - were not supposed to!), but I took a 1/4 pill and it seemed to help. I have now been Pristiq free for 7 days... and it has not been fun! Everyday I keep hoping I'll wake up and the "dizziness/brain zaps" will be gone. That has yet to subside & it seems to be exacerbated by lack of sleep. I have noticed a decrease in the severity at different times during the day, but for the most part - by the end of the day I feel awful! I have tried everything that I have read about to help decrease symptoms (benedryl, cold medicine, fish oil), but haven't really noticed much of a difference. I'm praying that things start to get better over the next few days as I am returning to school on Tuesday & really need to have my full concentration back! While I believe that antidepressants benefit some people, after this whole experience - I can say that I will never go this route again! I've found that weekly therapy has helped far more than this "magic" pill. The side effects, negative effects on my health, and these God-awful withdrawal symptoms simply are not worth it for me. I will continue to follow this post & add my progress as I go. I'm thankful to have found a group of people who understand what I'm going through. I hope all of us will begin to feel better soon!

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Hi all,

I am so freaked out and PO right now at my doctor... 3 months ago I went to the Dr cuz I was very tired and just generally did not have any energy. I thought I was having thyroid issues... ( I have never had a history of depression.. and I work 3 12 hour night shifts a week..) anyway the Dr convinced me that I was depressed... He prescribed Pristiq the first week of taking the medication I was very irritable shakes and felt agitated.. I also got very sick the same time with H1N1 so I just kept taking the medication because the doctor told me to... So now I have been on the medication for three months.. I have gained about 15 pounds.. I sleep all the time and when I am not sleeping that is all i feel like doing.. I have no sex drive or sensation in that area.. which my husband does not like.. I just want off of this medications...Oh yeah it is also expensive..the doctor gave me two months of free pills.. I stopped taking it two days ago and my head is throbbing and had no idea about the side effects of this medication I just trusted my Dr... I am so glad I found this forum from the looks of it I guess i will feel pretty bad for the next couple days.. I learned a really good lesson from this experience. I don't trust my MD.

Edited by iowa
bashing

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Guest iowa

It is never a good idea to stop taking an anti-depressant without a doctor's supervision as they can help you get off it safely with less side effects.

If you are able to see a psychiatrist, they are better for recommending a medication. They have more training, education and experience in diagnosing psychiatric illnesses and prescribing medications.

iowa

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So I am on day 6 of cold turkey withdraw from Pristiq. I had taken effexor for 7 years for anxiety disorder, but it slowly stopped working. A new doctor prescribed Pristiq. I was on 50mg of Pristiq for 3 months with no results so Dr. increased to 100mg. Within 2 weeks of the increase I got up out of bed and passed out. I was diagnosed with a blood pressure problem and put on beta blockers. My cardiologist was truly baffled by how all of the sudden i could develop this BP problem. I wouldn't be surprised if Pristiq was to blame. The combination of the pristiq and the beta blockers put me into a horrible no reason to live depression. My psych had the great idea to go cold turkey off of the pristiq since it wasn't working anyway.

Day 1 - got my "medicine headache" which is the headache that reminded you to take the medicine when you forget it. I am sure you all know what I mean.

Day 2 - I felt like i was on a boat allllllllllll day. Horrible dizzy and nauseous. Barely wanted to leave my house. Fleeting thoughts of not wanting to live (I have never had problems with depression until I started on Pristiq)

Day 3 - Dizziness and nauseousness worse than the day before. I ended up in the hospital because my blood pressure bottomed out. The hospital staff treated me like a mental patient. They said I came off agitated. You're D*** right I was agitated! I was told by my psych that I would have no trouble coming off the Pristiq cold turkey. I felt like a drug addict who needed another fix; reality is that I am an attorney who has made it through 7 years of school who was withdrawing off of a drug dr's had been prescribing me.

Day 4 - still dizzy and nauseous. If I wanted to feel this sick I would have jumped on a cruise during a hurricane. Light and sound have started to bother me more and more. A lot of irrational thinking (tough when I am typically a very rational thinker). Feeling very anxious - like I could just stop breathing.

Day 5 - Feeling a little less dizzy and nauseous. If I move my eyes around too quick I get a wash of severe dizziness. My new withdraw symptom is anger. I have an extremely short fuse and find myself flipping out over the littlest things. I can function a little bit today. I got on the computer and made a few phone calls. Still feeling very anxious.

Day 6 - felt normal for about the first 1/2 hour I was awake. Then the dizziness and nauseousness set back in. It is not nearly as bad as before. I have a lot of anxiety, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel...

I am hoping day 7 brings some relief. I cannot wait to be off of this crap. It has been 7 years without really feeling anything. I look back on what has been over 1/3 of my life and I realize I was just getting by. I had no "highs" no real "lows", just a lot of existing in the middle. I am going to try and avoid getting back on medication at all costs. I want my life back!!!! My fear as that I will have my life back with the debilitating anxiety that got me on medication to begin with. Anybody out there who was being treated for Anxiety been through this and stayed medication free???

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Tomorrow will be day 11 pristiq free for me... yesterday was the first day where I had a long period of no dizziness/zaps. Today I felt kind of "foggy" for the better part of the morning & afternoon, and- the dizziness & zaps returned tonight. I'm hoping that the extended periods of being symptom free are an indication that the end is near... I hope so anyway! Hope you get to feeling better soon Dizzy :)

Edited by cabogirl

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Hi all,

I am so freaked out and PO right now at my doctor... 3 months ago I went to the Dr cuz I was very tired and just generally did not have any energy. I thought I was having thyroid issues... ( I have never had a history of depression.. and I work 3 12 hour night shifts a week..) anyway the Dr convinced me that I was depressed... He prescribed Pristiq the first week of taking the medication I was very irritable shakes and felt agitated.. I also got very sick the same time with H1N1 so I just kept taking the medication because the doctor told me to... So now I have been on the medication for three months.. I have gained about 15 pounds.. I sleep all the time and when I am not sleeping that is all i feel like doing.. I have no sex drive or sensation in that area.. which my husband does not like.. I just want off of this medications...Oh yeah it is also expensive..the doctor gave me two months of free pills.. I stopped taking it two days ago and my head is throbbing and had no idea about the side effects of this medication I just trusted my Dr... I am so glad I found this forum from the looks of it I guess i will feel pretty bad for the next couple days.. I learned a really good lesson from this experience. I don't trust my MD.

Last Sunday after talking to my MD i decided it would be best to tapper off of the medication... I have been taking 50 mg every other day.. The days that I take the medication I wake up with a severe headache ( I have never had headaches in my life) It feels like a load of bricks are setting on my head.. If I get up to fast I feel like I could fall down.. I am also very agitated and have been crying alot lately.. I feel like crying right now.. On the mornings that I dont take the medication I almost feel normal, I am still tearful but my body feels normal..Next week I will start taking it every three days.. The sad part of this whole thing is that I really do think I might be depressed, or atleast I am right now... This whole experience has scared me..

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When you quit taking Pristiq, how do you know which symptoms are caused by discontinuing the medication and which symptoms are caused by the underlying condition (in my case, Depression) for which Pristiq was prescribed?

Last summer, my husband and I went without health insurance for a few months. We had just moved to a new state, neither of us had found jobs yet, and we also lacked doctors in the new state. I tried to ration out my last bottle of Pristiq in the manner that is often described on this site: take it once every other day for a week, then once every three days for a week, and so on until, eventually, I ran out. My symptoms were similar to those that many of you describe. I felt dizzy, nauseous, suffered bowel problems, and felt like I was in a fog. I also sweated a great deal more than is normal for me. I could not control my emotions, gave in to a number of crying jags, and lacked the ability to control my sleep schedule. I describe it to others as feeling as though I am actually on drugs when I go off of them. Some of the symptoms, like the dizziness and the bowel problems, gradually disappeared. Others, like the feeling of being in a fog and the erratic sleep schedule, remained until concerned family members pressured me to find a psychiatrist and get back on my medication. with this as my experience, I find it likely that at least some of the symptoms that people attribute to tapering or quitting Pristiq may be due to the underlying condition.

Currently, my pharmacy has trouble getting my prescription. For this reason, I am sometimes obliged to go a day or two without my meds. When this happens, I usually experience nausea, bowel irritation, and trouble concentrating (the "foggy" feeling that I mentioned earlier). According to my mother (but, curiously, not to my husband), she can tell within a day or two that something isn't quite right. She says the expression on my face changes, that my body language and movements change, and that it feels to her as though she is speaking with a completely different person. Some of these symptoms sound like discontinuation symptoms, but the mood changes that my mother notices sound like symptoms of the Depression for which I am being treated.

Has anyone else noticed a return of the symptoms that sent you to the doctor to the first place, as I have, or are your symptoms all new since coming off of the meds? Given my experience, I find it difficult to determine where one problem (the discontinuation) ends and another (the underlying condition) begins.

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My experience has been that these are ALL new symptoms. I have not had a return of my depression, but I am still experiencing dizziness, zaps, tiredness... some nausea. The vivid, frightening dreams have decreased - thank God! The only symptom that is similar to what I experienced before Pristiq is insomnia. I'm hoping this overall flu-like, crappy feeling goes away soon!

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Hi Everyone. Into Week 2 of Pristiq withdrawal and did it slowly and with LOTS and LOTS of water. If we had a water shortage before - it's even worse now as I feel like I have drunk half of the city's supply.

My only question for those who have come off the medication - did anyone else experience really sore joints and muscles? Am a fairly active guy - run, swim , light weights - but the thought of doing any of that of late has not been priority - as I am moving like an old man (I don't consider 46 old thank you...)

The dreams are slowly abating too - but they still zap you ...

For those considering reducing / stopping meds - please consult your medical advisors - these things are not "lollies" and shouldn't be mucked around with.

Good luck to everyone. Any comments about the muscle soreness and their experiences of coming off Pristiq completely would be appreciated.

Hello, so thankful I found your post. I am post 7 days stopping Pristiq (50mg) cold turkey. My doctor gave no tapering plan, reasoning 50mg is the lowest dose and the pills cannot be cut.

My question is this: Has the soreness in your joints and muscules ceased? I am feeling muscle soreness, overall achiness, and fatigue. I am scared to death. When can I expect this to stop??? I certainly hope you are feeling better. Oh, also! I am very thirsty! Were you thirsty as well or simply drinking lots of water to flush the med out of your system?

Is anyone else experiencing this?

Thank you SO much!

ElleEmma

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Ok, this is my 2nd post on this board. My first was just to say hello.

Like many of you here I have decided to discontinue Pristiq. This is a decision that me and my hubby decided together. I have not found a Doc in years that has been able to help me so I give...

Oddly enough it was my gyno and not a PDoc that put me on this medication. I went to him for my yearly and to ask him about the possibility of a hormonal connection to the way I had been feeling and he put me on a AD med. In the beginning it seemed to help with possible PMDD symptoms but after a year I feel worse and not better.

Lets see today is Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. I began this "journey" on Monday, Feb 22 by taking my usual dose of 50mg that night and thought I would try the every other day thing to start with so skipped Tuesday ended up with vertigo and dizziness by noon on Wed. Took my dose Wed night and of course began feeling better.

Then I read somewhere that the every other day thing is like putting your mind and body on a really bad roller-coaster ride. So, therefore, I made the decision to go cold turkey, here it is Saturday and I have not taken any meds.

So far I have experienced major dizziness and vertigo and now my eyes are unable to focus if I turn my head too quickly. It is like have constant motion sickness. I am having what feels like muscle spasms in my head with the occasional electrical zaps. My temper is a little short but I am trying to keep that in check. Not having any nightmares, hope I don't. As strange as it may sound Benadryl seems to help a little with the withdrawal. I seem to have an intolerance to loud/sudden noises, it causes my "brain spasm" thing. I do take 10 mg Ambien and 1mg Ativan to help me sleep, it takes time but it does eventually allow me to fall asleep.

I really don't know what the proper protocol for this kind of thing is. I went from one PDoc that said I had bipolar depression to her replacement that said I mainly had ADHD with some depression so he put me on a totally different type of meds. Bad mistake....Haven't seen a PDoc since then. Disgusted with the whole ordeal. I have gotten to where I don't trus any Doc that wants to muck around with my mind. I need something but I just can't seem to find out what. Frustrating and disheartening but I will keep going.

I have read that some ppl have the "discontinuation syndrome" for 7 days to some who it took 14 days to some poor souls who are still fighting and struggling. I agree with what another poster somewhere in here attributed success/lack of symptoms, not to will power or determination but to metabolic make-up and I totally agree.

If it matters I will track my symptoms and post anything new and "interesting" that may happen. Everyone on here who is trying to do this don't give up, it has got to get better just keep going.

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I am husband looking for help for my wife. We just found out friday that she is pregnant and so she quit pristiq cold turkey. First - is this even possible or could this be two false positives due to the pristiq? She had her normal period the whole time she's been on it, so when she was two months past due we thought it was strange. Second, she is having a hard time dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal: extreme nausea, fatique, cold sweats, irritability, etc. I saw some posted on here that cold medicines have helped, but with her being pregnant we are afraid to take anything.

I am considering taking some time off of work to help her through this as we have a 2 1/2 year old to take care of to and she is having a rough time (even though she doesn't want me to take time off work). What can be done - lots of water it looks like, any thing else?

Has anyone else had experience with pristiq and pregnancy?

Thanks.

J.

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Hey guys..

I have been reading up on these forums the past week or so. I have been on Pritiq since Oct 2008 and have recently lost my health insurance because I have changed jobs. Right before my insurance ran out I worked with my dr to get me a three month prescription of pristiq...well now I am at the end of that line. Finding this site has given me hope but also caused me frustration. I'm glad that I am not the only one who feels like complete crap when I don't take this medicine...but from the looks of it I will be going through quite a bit of hell as I have been on this particular medicine for a quite a bit longer and a higher dose (200mg) than most that have mentioned on here before.

Bottom line....I don't have a week or two to be completely useless or dead to the world. And that's exactly how I feel when I go more than 2 days without taking this medicine. Like a month or so ago I cut down my dosage from 200 to 100mg just to stretch it out. And yesterday I took my last 100mg pill. I also, luckily, found a sample pack of 50mg pills that my dr gave me a long time ago. So I took one of those tonight and have no idea how exactly I plan on using the remaining 6 pills. I've noticed so many changes since I decreased the dosage. I knew that I was going to be more tired and obviously feeling more depressed but I can't get out of flippin bed! And I have been one of the unfortunate ones that experiences the brain zaps if I go more than 24 hours without taking this medicine.

I know someone mentioned earlier about whether these are new symptoms coming about from stopping pristiq or if they are old symptoms that maybe led to the beginning of the medication. For me...the being tired and depression that I am feeling since I have been tapering off the medication is most definitely old symptoms coming back. I won't deny that. But not being able to function....lying in bed all day long, hot and cold flashes, dizziness and light headed spells, nausea, headaches, sensitivity to light and noises, and muscle aches were not!

It all kinda sucks...not having insurance and all. Has anyone tried any natural remedies to help with the withdraws? Like...5HTP, St Johns Wort, or anything else? I know that there is a product called Amoryn that incorporates all of them into one and essentially it is a natural "SSNRI." I was thinking about getting some and trying to see if that may help at all?

I am still kinda upset at the fact that the FDA would approve a drug that causes someone to be so sick when they try to come off of it...

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Hi,

thought i'd post my story here too, just to add another voice and also as an exercise to help me keep track.

I've been on pristiq since oct 2008 (19 mos). I've been on various anti-depressants for about 3 years. This was my second go-round with this particular psycopharm. About 10 years ago we tried 6 mos of SSRIs and others and both decided it wasnt making a difference and my on & off depression wasnt really getting in the way of my life.

THis time there were lots of circumstnces but still after about a year of different things, not much difference. It was by chance that things turned around the week I started to take pristiq and at that point I didnt want to change anything. Here I am 19 mos later feeling stable enough to try and wean off.

After reading everyone else's experience I realize mine isnt so bad. I had always noticed dizzyness if i forgot to take it the night before. Dizzy is not really the right word - disequalibrium? its yukky

took my last 50mg pill 2/22 monday

tuesday - 1/2 pill

weds - forgot to take my pill at night so thursday morn i thought i'd go cold turkey but by noon on thursday i couldnt do it - took 1/2

fri - 1/2 pill

then i thought i'd take a 1/4 pill at 12 hour intervals, just enough to stave off the dizzy

sat - i took a 1/4 at 11am then again at around 6pm, got an awful headache - at work on sat (i'm a nurse, 12 hour shifts)

took my last 1/4 pill sunday 2/28 - another work day

monday - no dizzy

tuesday - dizzy, a little weepy. D***, i'm supposed to work tomorrow but i may call in, i just wanna plow through this last bit. how long can this dizzy possibly last?

i was surprised with the half life being 11 hours since i got through the first day ok, that the dizzy cropped up agin the 2nd day

D*** D*** D***

i'll let you know

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Hello, I'm new here. I was doing a search on 'pristiq withdrawal' and found this site. It's answered a lot of my questions, and I wanted to share my experience.

My boyfriend stopped taking Pristiq about 2 -3 weeks ago. He was taking 50 mg. a day for about 5 months. He complained he was depressed but he wasn't sure the drugs were helping. And so he didn't t want to continue with the drugs or expensive doctor appointments. When he was ready to stop them, he took them every other day to taper off over a two week period. He seemed okay for the next couple of weeks. Then it hit him. Looks like delayed withdrawal symptoms. For the last five days now, he's been miserable... sweating, chills, stiff neck, fatigue, nausea, diarrea, extremelly irritable, anxiety, no appetite, depressed, headache, cannot concentrate, body aches and itchy skin. He said he took this stuff before about a year ago (before we started dating) and that when he stopped there was no problem. Not this time.

I just thought I'd let others know about his delayed reaction. It's very serious.

FYI -- He was not prescribed these things by a psychiatrist, but rather a family-type doctor that had Pristiq samples on hand. I wish these family doctors would not take it upon themselves to dish out heavy-duty brain altering drugs like candy and would refer their depressed patients to a real psychiatrist.

Good luck to everyone and thanks to those that posted with your experiences.

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Figured I would give a little update from my post a couple days ago....I am so very thankful to have found 4 more of my 50mg pills in another sample pack. Little recap: Mon 3/1 I took 100mg, dropped down to 50mg on 3/2, took another 50mg on 3/3, and today I tried to delay taking the 50mg pill again...but I couldn't make it past 30 hours without feeling completely awful...so I took 50mg again tonight about 6 hours ago. I am finally starting to feel somewhat relief from the symptoms since taking it. I am at work right now and seriously wasn't thinking I was going to make it through my shift here at the hospital. I think I may take the 50mg again tmrw and then cut it in half starting after that with the remaining pills I have left...that and keep praying to my Lord that this gets easier....

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Hello! Very interesting stuff here.

I have been weaning off of the Pristiq for about two weeks now. The PD said there would be headaches and nausea, but she didn't mention the dizziness (woohoo! a little like the spins, but you're sober.) or oh geez the brain farts. Someone mentioned mistyping - I've been doing that all over the place. And I can't remember a dang thing. So I googled pristiq withdrawal and found you guys talking about all of this and more. So glad to know I'm not the only one like this.

One of the things that my PD recommended and that I'm trying is taking Benadryl. Go fig. It does seem to help with the nausea and the lightheadedness. I am taking Pristiq every other day - I had about 15 pills left and she said that should work. On the days I don't take it, I pop a Benadryl after I've eaten in the morning and if I feel weird, then another one later in the day. After a bit my body has gotten used to it so I don't feel super sleepy when I take it.

Hopefully this will help someone, I know everyone's body is different and may react differently to all this. Good luck!

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Another update for anyone wondering...

After tapering down to 50mg on 03/02 I continued to take that dose everyday until yesterday, 03/09. It was a little rough the first couple days but my body adjusted to the smaller dose by 03/5 and I felt great. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II, though, and AD can induce hypomania when taken alone (like I am doing at this time) so that could contribute to my feeling wonderful. As far as physical symptoms...I didn't experience anymore withdrawl symptoms until I lowered my dose to 25mg yesterday, 03/09. Now I am feeling all the regular withdrawl symptoms but they are alll VERY mild at this time, thankfully! I'll keep you guys posted. I am hoping it doesn't get much worse than this...

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I started taking Pristiq about a year ago for depression. I have only been on 50mg the entire time, as my doc told me that was the max. Out of nowhere, I began to get panic and anxiety attacks. So I contacted my doc, and she decided it would be best for me to get off Pristiq and onto 200mg of Zoloft. She advised me it would be OK to just do the switch. That was last week Friday.

Saturday I felt OK.

Sunday I felt OK all day until I was driving home and had an unbelievable urge to drive into oncoming traffic.

Monday I took my kids to school, came home and slept. Woke up around noon, crying uncontrollably. Cried all that day. My husband called my doc who said I was clearly out of control and to call the local mental hospital to see if I needed to be admitted. He called them, I answered all their questions, and then went back to bed. They called me back and said I was going through withdrawal from being taken off Pristiq and to take 25mg of Benadryl as needed. I slept and cried for the rest of the night. I barely ate anything that day.

Tuesday I had an irrational fear of my vehicle and had to have others take my kids to school. I missed work. Crying over, I got flu like symptoms and felt very outside myself. Still no real food.

Wednesday still afraid of my car, missed work and taking kids to school. Still flu like symptoms and detached feelings. Still no real food.

I do have to say here the Benadryl has to have stopped the brain zaps I normally get, or the 200mg of Zoloft did it. Either way, no brain zaps.

Thursday, not so afraid of my car, but not enough to use it. Missed work and taking kids to school. Flu like symptoms lingering, headaches, and nauseous. Still no real food. Just not hungry.

Today is Friday. I had off of work today, so I guess I'm lucky I didn't have to call in. Still feel lethargic, groggy, dry heaving, no appetite. Called a Psychiatrist, who advised me to come see them on March 23, and said 200mg of Zoloft is way too high and to cut it back to 100mg till I see him. I also left the house for the first time in a week. No panic attacks, someone else drove. Just feel very weak from lack of food and too much sleep.

I have pretty much lost a week of my life to this drug. I work tomorrow, whether I want to or not, and just needed to post this in the hopes that any person being told to go cold turkey off Pristiq IGNORES THAT and weans themselves.

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Hey everyone, I am both encouraged and outraged by many of the things I have read. (Encouraged because I am not alone, and much of the information I have discovered has been insightful and helpful. Thanks everyone for your openness. Outraged because I know I, and many of you, do not want to experience side effects and symptoms from something that was supposedly supposed to be helpful. I am also very sorry to all of you who have had less than pleasant experiences with therapists/counselors and various Doctors...) Nevertheless, I am so grateful I came across this message board site.

I am in the process of tapering off Pristiq. I don't know that I ever really had a time that I enjoyed or benefitted from this medication. On 50mg I felt like I wasn't taking anything at all. (I couldn't decide if this was a good or bad thing. Good: I wasn't having side effects. Bad: I felt like the medication was pointless.) When increased to 100mg I felt like I was back to where I started, if not worse, as far as depression, withdrawal, and irritability was concerned. (I will say though, that my anxiety seemed to be slightly more under control on 100mg of Pristiq. However, that did not outweigh the other feelings/effects I was experiencing.)

I had a checkup with my doctor (which I have actually been EXTREMELY pleased with and trust him with my health to a HIGH degree) about how I was feeling with 100mg of Pristiq. I felt emotional, discouraged, and frustrated explaining to him how I felt about Pristiq. It was a mutual decision for us to decide for me to taper off. One of the last things he told me was that he certainly did not want any of his patients to be on a medication that wasn't deemed "necessary." I liked that he wasn't pushing me to take something to "fix me." Medications are far from magical - I have learned first hand.

I have become interested in natural and organic supplements to help balance my moods, my health, my well-being. Overall, I am indeed a healthy person. I can honestly say, from experience, diet and exercise play a huge role in one's overall well-being. As of now, I cannot YET recommend any natural or organic supplements to help you all, because I am not quite there yet. I am still doing research and still tapering off Pristiq. I do have a dear friend who is older and wiser than me who recommended Sam-e to me. She had terrible experiences with AD's and after tapering off, did her own research and began taking Sam-e. She is very pleased. I can speak for her, but I cannot speak for myself, for I have not tried this yet.

As far as exercise, my routine is 30 minutes of cardio every other day, the other day upper body weights and 10 min. on the bike. (I have knee injuries and cannot do leg weights...) I rest a couple of days during the week. Different exercise routines work for different people, and I would encourage you to talk to a professional about what workout routine/habits are best for you. And let me tell you, exercise has absolutely made an immeasurably, wonderful difference in my moods and with my depression and anxiety. It's easier to make myself exercise when I'm anxious because I'm all worked up. As many of you would understand, it's harder to exercise when feeling depressed. I have found though, that once I got up and got going, my mood shifted, and I was able to conquer some good exercise. I ended up feeling much better once I was done! (Side note: I have some OCD tendencies and have found myself OVER exercising in the past... That is what led to the knee injuries I will now always have... Please be careful. You've probably heard it said, "Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.")

As far as diet: Nutrition is KEY! Health is so important... It's amazing the changes you will feel overall by eating right (and letting yourself enjoy something "bad for you" from time to time ;) ) I'm a college student, and in one of the biology classes I am currently taking, we have scientifically broken down the body's process of breaking down food, absorbing nutrition, etc. I strongly encourage you to eat right and gain counsel from a professional who can help you get/stay healthy so you can apply these principles and practice these habits yourself. (By "diet" I do not necessary mean weight loss or gain! Although that may be what is needed for some.) Eating healthy doesn't have to mean surviving on wheat bran and organic leaves. Do some research, talk to people, find out what is BEST for YOU! Be careful not to be brainwashed by any diet or health fads/cults though. There are some weirdo diet and health freaks out there. =p

Back to tapering off the Pristiq: I mentioned I was taking 100mg. My doctor gave me 14 50mg tablets for the tapering off process. For one week I took one 50mg pill each day. At the end of that week, I began taking one 50mg tablet every other day. I have been fortunate to not have any stomach trouble. The trouble I have had has been these "rushes." I think that may be what some of you are calling "zaps," which that word more accurately describes the feelings, in my opinion. They are so strange. One day, while I was running, I experiences these "rushes" or "zaps" and thought I was going to pass out or fall off the treadmill. That is dangerous and quite scary...

In the course of the past few days I have experiences these "rushes/zaps" quite frequently! Sometimes I feel like I'm going to pass out. If I'm walking, I slow down, feeling like I've zoned out for a second. The room kind-of spins, and I feel tingly and numb throughout my face/head and neck. The feeling isn't necessarily "bad" or "good", but it is quite frustrating because there's not really anything I know of to do about it. I feel hindered: like I shouldn't drive or run, for fear of experiences these "rushes/zaps" and putting myself and/or others in danger!

Another side effect has been strangely vivid dreams. Sometimes the dreams have been so real that... Well here's an example: I have had dreams involving my fiance' or dear friends of mine... upon waking the next morning I sometimes felt frustrated with these people if they angered me in the dreams or worried about these people depending on the situations in the dreams... They have at times affected me for a few DAYS because they seemed! so! real! I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but it's amazing how much dreams have had a role to play in my life since taking AD medication(s).

Another side effect has been my irrational thinking and thin level of patience and irritability... Whew. (I had this while taking the medication, but it's started to get better as I'm tapering off.) I was in denial that the medication was doing those things to me. To be honest, I wasn't even completely aware of how I was being. My family brought it up quite often, but I defended myself, and we got into heated disputes... After reading some of yall's posts, I feel like I'm reading about myself sometimes, like I'm able to have an outside look on myself. I have indeed been irritable and irrational while taking Pristiq and have felt frustrated and confused about "Is this ME or the MEDICINE?!"

I have about ten days to go before I'm completely off Pristiq. Because those "rushes/zaps" got worse, I decided to Google side effects, and that's how I ended up on this discussion board. The point of my post was two-fold: to benefit anyone who might read it and to help me vent. (I hope that second part doesn't come across as selfish.) I feel like many of you will understand what I am going through, as I have understood what many of you are going through as well. This is a frustrating process at times. I encourage each of you to not give up and to be diligent in your pursuit of overall well-being.

I can't wait to be done with this stuff and to find a more natural way to handle my depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Upon doing research and speaking to some professionals about AD's and other various medications, I haven't yet become completely against them because I don't want to shake my finger at those who feel like a medication of this type is doing them wonders. (And maybe it is! If so, I'm quite happy that you have found something to help you in a difficult time/amidst difficult circumstances.) I do, however, feel like the FDA and medical researchers have not done enough LONG TERM studies on these medications. It's quite frightening to me how over-medicated and over-diagnosed our society is. I know these feelings and difficulties are REAL. I myself have/do experience them! However, I have seen the downside and am learning more, more, more, and MORE about other downsides pertaining to these medications and diagnoses... The fact that I feel like I'm being electrocuted every few minutes as a side effect to a medication is very unsettling. What's going on inside my brain, inside my body? I'd like to know, and I can't say that I feel SAFE taking medications of this kind.

I am seeing a professional therapist, and wow, I love her - she is incredibly helpful, incredibly wise, incredibly insightful, non-judgmental, patient... I could go on. I have only been seeing this particular therapist for a few weeks, but I look forward to yielding the results of her counsel with each meeting. I know therapists can be expensive. Search, search, search for one who accepts your insurance. Contacting a local church for some connections might not be a bad idea! The woman I saw particularly, her cost was a "donation" and could even be deducted from your taxes. She was wonderful and has been a long-term blessing in my life.

Blessings to all of you during this journey! Stay strong and press on. :shocked:

Edited by Lindsay

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That sounds a lot like me! I was on 50mg of Prestiq for about 4 months. It was good at first until I started feeling...odd. I wanted off it! I took one every other day for about 2 weeks and then stopped Monday, 3/15. (that was the 3rd day with no pill)

I ran out a few weeks ago on a Friday and went Sat and Sun without...Sunday was the WORST day of my life! I resumed taking it for mine and my husband's sanity!

Anyway, the every other day weeks were okay, not nearly as bad as two days without! I had times of feeling very confused, odd thoughts and dreams, nausea, fatigue...atleast not sucidal like that horrible Sunday!

Okay, today makes the 6th day with no pill...I am still confused at times, nausea and stomach ache (like a stomach virus), on and off bad head aches, itching all over, I will go from extremely hyper to sluggish in minutes, paranoid, weird thoughts(the dreams have gotten better). I am just now beginning to feel like myself again...I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel!!!

I know some need them, but I feel like most (like me) can work through this! I was not depressed when I was given all those samples. Yes, I have been on samples the whole time! Anyway, I was having anxiety attacks because of something going on at work. Dr. said something like xanax(what I asked for) was habbit forming...uh...what would you call Prestiq?!?! I have NEVER went through anything like this!

I wish you all the BEST OF LUCK! Be strong and you will make it through.

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Hello MrsDuncan,

I am very sorry you are going through such a rough time. Getting off cold turkey from an AD have a great chance of giving real bad side effects like you are experiencing. That is why you should tapper off gradually but that was your decision to stop suddenly.

I went off effexor before but gradually. Veeeery slowly and had very little side effects. I went back on because my anxiety was still bad.

Although I respect your view on medications, please restrain your comments to others as you said yourself you didnt REALLY needed them but many people DO need them.

I agree also that ADs and even benzos (although those are usually more controlled) are easily prescribed but people that decide to take an AD in general do it because they have found no other ways to help them get better. There is heart wrenching stories about people suffering from an anxiety disorder or depression.

I am not talking about your everyday anxiety or having the blues. Its totally different. Please, do your research before throwing judgment like that.

And believe me, unless you've been in those people shoes, you have no idea what it is like to have a MI.

Hope you get better soon

:shocked:

Joyce

Edited by Lindsay

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What a pity no one looks outside of this particular forum or any other med forum and views the information that is posted for members.

Everyone of us are either different in the many ways we react to medications or similar in some ways as well.

If you go into the Posting,Asking and Sharing Forum, you will glean much knowledge from your peers as well as articles.

But I will not have any member bashing Pharmaceutical Companies nor telling others not to take a particular medication such as Effexor or Pristiq, Mrs Duncan85, that helps other members just because it does not help YOU!

~Lindsay

*Harm Reduction Guide To Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs*

This 40-page guide gathers the best information we've come across and the most valuable lessons we've learned about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication. Includes information on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, withdrawal, support for people staying on their

medications, a detailed Resource section, and much more.

The guide was written by Freedom Center co-founder and Icarus Project staff Will Hall, with a 14-member health professional Advisory Board comprised of medical doctors, nurses, psychologists and acupuncturists

providing research guidance. More than 20 other collaborators from the survivor movement were involved in developing and editing. The guide has photographs and art throughout, and a beautiful original cover painting

by Ashley McNamara.

Based in "harm reduction" philosophy, the guide emphasizes personal choice and weighing risks and benefits for each individual. It offers non-judgmental support to people continuing to take medication or lowering their dosage, as well as people exploring coming off. The risks associated with psychiatric medication are discussed along with risks of emotional distress and mental health crisis. Years of advocacy at the Freedom Center and Icarus Project have proven the effectiveness of this approach, which is neither pro-medication nor anti-medication, but

instead provides accurate information and offers choices and alternatives.

HEALTH PROFESSIONAL ADVISORS

While not co-authors, these health care professionals advised the development of this guide and reviewed it for its usefulness:

Alexander Bingham, PsyD Full Spectrum

Patrick Bracken, MD University of Central Lancashire

David Cohen, PhD

Daniel Fisher, MD National Empowerment Center

Peter Lehmann

Bruce Levine, PhD

Bradley Lewis, MD New York University

Rufus May, PhD Bradford, UK

Renee Mendez, RN Windhorse Associates

Joanna Moncrieff, MD University College London

Matthew Morrissey, MA Full Spectrum

Catherine Penney, RN

Maxine Radcliffe, RN Action Medics

Judith Schreiber, LCSW Soteria Associates

Claudia Sperber Licensed Acupuncturist

Peter Stastny, MD INTAR

Philip Thomas, MD University of Bradford

Barbara Weinberg Licensed Acupuncturist

CREDITS

Thanks again to everyone involved in making this guide happen, and be on the lookout for upcoming publications!

Written by Will Hall.

Published by the Icarus Project and the Freedom Center.

Thanks to Amy Bookbinder, Dave Burns, Oryx Cohen, Mary Kate Connor, Marc Dinacola, Dianne Dragon, Sascha DuBrul, Empties, Vikki Gilbert, Chaya Grossberg, Richard Gilluly, Molly

Hardison, Gail Hornstein, Mollie Hurter, Jonah, Krista MacKinnon, Ashley McNamara, Alex Samets, Seven, Bonfire Madigan Shive, Jessica Max Stein, Terramuggus, and many other collaborators

and allies.

Cover art: Ashley McNamara. Art design: Carrie Bergman.

Contributing artists: Fly, Gheena, Miss Led, Ashley McNamara, Erik Ruin, Janice Sorensen, and Bec Young.

You may also wish to read:

theroadback albeit please consult with your physician before taking any major steps on your own.

Information supplied on Depression Forums should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for medical advice from a health professional or doctor.

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Please first consult with your Physician before any discontinuation!

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Hey everyone, I am both encouraged and outraged by many of the things I have read. (Encouraged because I am not alone, and much of the information I have discovered has been insightful and helpful. Thanks everyone for your openness. Outraged because I know I, and many of you, do not want to experience side effects and symptoms from something that was supposedly supposed to be helpful. I am also very sorry to all of you who have had less than pleasant experiences with therapists/counselors and various Doctors...) Nevertheless, I am so grateful I came across this message board site.

Glad that you could make it and I hope you feel better EmARL, real soon..in fact I know that you will...It is good that you do not go off any medication cold turkey.

Please know that most of your post is helpful to members. Everyone is different on these medications though....either going on or off of them and no one is exactly the same as you or I..

Telling your story is great. Telling members what they should do or not do is not so great. Suggestions are good. :shocked: This is why we are a peer to peer website.

The FDA if you would read our latest headline under "Last Visit" is keeping up with all medications and tapering off meds and used Depression Forums as an example from a Cymbalta Topic. which is now in Med News

At DF we help one another.

Take good care of yourself. Read all you can on these forums as there is some wonderful information you can glean from.

~Lindsay, Forum Super Administrator

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Hey everyone, I am both encouraged and outraged by many of the things I have read. (Encouraged because I am not alone, and much of the information I have discovered has been insightful and helpful. Thanks everyone for your openness. Outraged because I know I, and many of you, do not want to experience side effects and symptoms from something that was supposedly supposed to be helpful. I am also very sorry to all of you who have had less than pleasant experiences with therapists/counselors and various Doctors...) Nevertheless, I am so grateful I came across this message board site.

Glad that you could make it and I hope you feel better EmARL, real soon..in fact I know that you will...It is good that you do not go off any medication cold turkey.

Please know that most of your post is helpful to members. Everyone is different on these medications though....either going on or off of them and no one is exactly the same as you or I..

Telling your story is great. Telling members what they should do or not do is not so great. Suggestions are good. :shocked: This is why we are a peer to peer website.

The FDA if you would read our latest headline under "Last Visit" is keeping up with all medications and tapering off meds and used Depression Forums as an example from a Cymbalta Topic. which is now in Med News

At DF we help one another.

Take good care of yourself. Read all you can on these forums as there is some wonderful information you can glean from.

~Lindsay, Forum Super Administrator

UPDATE:

I certainly am doing better now! Thanks for the well wishes! I hope I did not come across as BLACK or WHITE as far as do "this" or do "that." This is a grey area for me in some ways. I have my own opinions, have done research, met and talked with professionals, and have even gained personal experience. Nevertheless, I am not an expert in this area. I have been personally affected by depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. I personally did not have good experiences with the medications I have tried: Lexapro and Pristiq. My doctor has had patients have the more positive experiences with those two medications. i just happened to not be one of those people.

I agree completely that major decisions like starting or stopping medications should not be decided upon by individuals only upon reading a depression board forum, although this has indeed been very helpful.

Thanks for the link you posted above, Lindsay!

Blessings and health to everyone!

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Here is my update from my 1st post here on Feb. 27, 2010.

I am now on my 33rd day with no Pristiq whatsoever! I feel better right now than I have in the last couple of years. I still will randomly have the side effect of sudden dizziness and my eyes still kind of play tricks on me but other than that I am doing pretty good. Last week I had some REALLY bad days because it was my first menstrual cycle without Pristiq and I had PMS on steroids :shocked: I couldn't stand to be around myself, let-alone anyone else so I stayed in the bedroom all day and took a.5mg Xanax 2x that day to keep from ripping peoples heads off. But all better now.

I will write what seemed to help me but I do seem to have a really funky metabolism and things seem to work a tad different on me than they do other people. So here you go:

On Feb. 25, 2010 I began taking an herbal supplement called Estrotone, one gel cap 2x a day. Sorry guys, this is a female herbal supplement so don't know how much it'd help you all. A side note, it has no Hormones or Estrogen so don't let the name fool you. I also added 200mg of SAM-e 2x a day.

I took 10mg Ambien and 1mg Ativan at night to help with sleep. I still do have to take this (I have always had sleep issues.)

Started walking outside on 2/26/2010, this really helped A LOT. Took my mp3 player, walked at a comfortable pace and just enjoyed the beauty of outside. Benadry did seem to help with the brain spasms/zaps and helped with the hyper-vigilance I seemed to have with the SSRI discontinuation syndrome.

On March 4, 2010, I added in 50mg of 5-HTP 1x a day in the late afternoon. I did learn that 200mg of SAM-e in late afternoon contributes to sleeplessness

The 5-HTP seemed to help tremendously with the brain zaps (spasms) at this point still however, I did not like loud sounds/sudden noises. Still had vertigo with dizziness, but that was getting better. Still was crying easily if something was sad so stayed away from sad stuff....

For the most-part though most SSRI discontinuation symptoms have ceased. Have learned that it seems that I can no longer take the SAM-e supplement, it seems to increase my irritability and short-temper so it's gone bye-bye. I have increased my 5-HTP dose to 1 50mg tablet 2x a day, one at about noon and the other about an hour or so before I go to bed.

Now precaution: the 5-HTP is a natural serotoin booster so DO NOT take it if you take any meds that effect your serotonin level as you could have that Serotonin overdose syndrome thing (can't remember the name) so do research before you decide to try it. I did a lot of reading about this before I decided to take it. I would recommend starting with a 50mg dose 1x a day. Some it can make sleepy if you take it during the day so you might have to play with time of day to start with and see what works for you.

Good luck to all those out there trying to get off this horrible stuff. It can be difficult and trying but don't give up! You can do it but make sure to let the people around you know that you are doing it so if you act funky & weird they will now what is going on and try and help you through it. God Bless.

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