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Pristiq/Effexor Withdrawal - How Long Does It Last??

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Ugh!! I was taking 50 mg Pristiq for about 7 weeks for anxiety/depression. I was feeling dizzy while on it, so I decided to taper off Pristiq. I tapered for about 1 1/2 weeks (one pill every other day, then 1 every two days).

It has now been 2 weeks since taking my last pill. I am extremely dizzy, foggy, head-achey, irritable/angry and have extreme exhaustion. It feels like it's not getting better. How long can I expect this to last?? I have heard it could last 2-3 weeks. Can anyone share how long it took them before withdrawal symptoms subsided?

Thanks for your help!!

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Hi zugora,

It will take a bit longer for the withdrawal effects of Pristiq to wear off. Make sure you are not withdrawing too quickly as well.

Everyone is going to be different with withdrawal side effects, but give it another month at least.

Does your Doctor know you are tapering off?

Best Wishes

Jim Bow

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Hi, I read your post and I wanted to share what I am going through. I am also going through withdrawal symptoms from Effexor. I ran out of my meds, had to leave town and forgot to pick up my new refill meds. A relative picked it up and is now shipping it to me. Yes, it has been 2 weeks for me as well and I hope this gets over quickly because I am very tired of it!

The one thing we have in common is the extreme exhaustion. I sleep a lot and get tired quickly, needing naps. I do not have the mood problems, possibly because I also take Prozac and Buspirone. My doctor had warned me never to taper off on my own because it is extremely dangerous. I hope you are in touch with your doctor about your situation.

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Hi, I read your post and I wanted to share what I am going through. I am also going through withdrawal symptoms from Effexor. I ran out of my meds, had to leave town and forgot to pick up my new refill meds. A relative picked it up and is now shipping it to me. Yes, it has been 2 weeks for me as well and I hope this gets over quickly because I am very tired of it!

The one thing we have in common is the extreme exhaustion. I sleep a lot and get tired quickly, needing naps. I do not have the mood problems, possibly because I also take Prozac and Buspirone. My doctor had warned me never to taper off on my own because it is extremely dangerous. I hope you are in touch with your doctor about your situation.

Thanks, Joy and Jim Bow. This puts me at some ease! Joy, I'm sorry you are experiencing this, too, but it's good we can support one another and share experiences. My GP knew that I was tapering and this was the method he suggested (1 every other day for a week, then 1 every two days for a week, and so on). I only tapered for 2 weeks because I was doing ok then. I have to say the exhaustion and irritable mood has been better the last day or two, but I'm still incredibly dizzy. I actually haven't experienced much depression/anxiety at all since tapering and being off of it. Cross fingers. I just wish this dizziness would go away. BTW, when I followed up with my GP this week, he said Pristiq withdrawal symptoms normally last a week after the last pill. I think he doesn't know what he is talking about... :veryangry: Anyone else with similar withdrawal symptoms?

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I am 4 days off Pristiq in switching over to Wellbutrin. I am dizzy, had what I think is what people refer to as "brain zaps" that are progressively worse, crying jags, irritibility & anger flare ups bordering on rage that are also progressively worse, gastorintestinal issues & overall feeling - out of it. I am NOT usually like this. I truly thought this morning I was going to have to be hospitalized for my own safety. The doc I go to told me if things got worse to call - I did - he prescribed 3 wks of Prozac for me to take while not taking the Pristiq but taking the Wellbutrin. I was on Pristiq for a little over a year - never thought it worked that well - anyway - this is all new to me. The drug companies can frame the symptoms as "discontinuation symdrome" but the fact is there IS a body dependecy on these drugs which means, to me anyway, this is withdrawl. I took the first dose of Prozac at noon. Am so hoping this will help - if not, I really don't know. I'm not a wus by any means but this is the hardest thing - physically, I've ever experienced. I don't know how people are stopping these meds cold turkey & functioning. I don't even want to drive because the humming/dizziness/p***** off/ etc. comes & goes so rapidly I feel almost out of control or something. I feel for you all.

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Hi zugora and Phoenix1,

Well I am afraid that Doctors are not on these meds, so they cannot be sure how long it will take any individual to taper off , and everyone will be different it their response.

So just hang on in there both of you, it will ease off in time, and the side effects will diminish slowly.

Best Wishes

Jim Bow

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Hi zugora and Phoenix1,

Well I am afraid that Doctors are not on these meds, so they cannot be sure how long it will take any individual to taper off , and everyone will be different it their response.

So just hang on in there both of you, it will ease off in time, and the side effects will diminish slowly.

Best Wishes

Jim Bow

Thanks. I guess I just wish I could get some reassurance (or other testimonials from others) that what I'm experiencing is from coming off of Pristiq. I believe it is, but I'm also experiencing some hypo-thyroid-type symptoms and my doctor tells me that any withdrawal symptoms should only last a week. This is what I know: when I started Pristiq, I was very dizzy. Week by week, dizziness lessened, but yet by Week 7, I was still experiencing dizziness, but only in the evening. At the point, I decided to wean off of it. Once I started tapering, dizziness got worse, and now that I'm totally off of it (17 days now), I am still very dizzy, light-headed, and very tired. Would really love to hear from others if they had a similar experience. I just feel very afraid that it won't go away.

:verysad3:

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hi zugora,

you dont need to be afraid that it wont pass. It will, just give it time. It took about 2 months for me until all the withdrawal effects were gone. The brain zaps were the worst!!! I hope you found a way to deal with it a bit. Just be patient, it will get better.

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hi zugora,

you dont need to be afraid that it wont pass. It will, just give it time. It took about 2 months for me until all the withdrawal effects were gone. The brain zaps were the worst!!! I hope you found a way to deal with it a bit. Just be patient, it will get better.

Thanks Illusion. The support is helpful. I feel that is what I need is some sort of support group for Effexor/Pristiq withdrawal. It's been 3 weeks. Still very dizzy, extremely exhausted, and very emotional. The exhaustion is so bad that I feel like I've been hit with a truck. After 3 weeks, I don't even think I have seen any improvement. Ugh! :tear2:

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Good news! It's been 3 weeks and still experiencing dizziness, fatigue, out-of-sorts...However, last night I took Dramamine and 5-HTP and I feel MUCH better today! Definitely less dizzy and more like myself! I will continue to take 5-HTP for a while and will assess the dizziness day-by-day and take Dramamine as needed. Not sure which one is really helping, but I plan to take both for a little while until things get better.

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Did anyone experience worsening exhaustion, dizziness, and muscle aches towards the late afternoon/evening as you were going through Effexor/Pristiq withdrawal? I'm on week 4, and I'm wondering if this is still from the withdrawal period or if this is something else. I may be dealing with thyroid issues as well, so the symptoms could be confusing. Thank you for any feedback that you might have.

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Hi zugora,

For me, I typically got worsening dizziness and such later in the day, but it seemed quite often associated with movement for me (ie, standing up, walking, moving head etc)

It seemed to peak in the late afternoon.

Hircon

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Hello,I am new here and woul;d like to share my story. I was Pristiq 50 mg for over a year for depression. I found that it raised my anxiety to a very uncomfortable level.My dr told me the easiest way to get off pristiq is cold turkey but with a low dose of prozac to help.I am on day 2 without Pristiq.I am very dizzy and a little nausaus,How long do these symptoms stay and are they going to get worse before they get better,I have three children to take care of and of I turn my head even just a little I get so dizzy I have to sit. I got off of Paxil 5 years ago and it was much worse.I really think the prozac is helping and would suggest to anyone getting off pristiq to try using a low dose of prozac!!!!!I just want to feel like myself again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Hi allyh1980, and welcome to DF! :welcomeani:

Some people can come off medications by cross-tapering (what you're describing, taking another med and stopping the other) fairly successfully.

Pristiq/Effexor does tend to cause some severe dizziness, especially with movement, though.

My personal experience was that symptoms were bad for about 3 weeks, then slowly got better for the next 2 weeks or so after that... but that was by reducing then stopping my effexor dose with no other medication.

A lot of other people I have seen have had 1-6 weeks of symptoms, so that is probably what you're looking at.

The dizziness is terrible!

Best wishes

Hircon

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I've just found this site and I'd like to thank everyone for their info, experiences, and inspiration.

I'm in the midst of Pristiq withdrawl (original dosage 100 MG in the morning for last 9 months+, tapered to 50 MG) along with Celexa withdrawl (15 MG X 3 per day at night) due to possible Serotonin Syndrome or Spinal Headache (had nerve block at Cervical level on 8/4). I'd also like to let everyone know that my MD (a Pharmacologist) has saved my life, I trust him implicitly, and he has been working with me through this horrifying experience. We met 4 years ago when he helped me with a toxic reaction to Lyrica. He methodically worked out a schedule of what to take, what not to take, what days I might experience what, etc.

I did not have an opportunity to taper off of the Celexa and I've had weeks of severe headaches, excessive sweating, turning bright red, insomnia, nausea, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and, worst of all, a complete loss of self (there is a term for this, but I'm too confused to remember it). Celexa withdrawl and reduction in Pristiq have alternated between "an express elevator to the bottom floor" and falling slowly downhill in terms of quality of life and functioning. I read up on several of the websites and blogs and prepared myself for what to expect. NOTHING could have prepared me for what is happening. After discussing the length of this withdrawl with my MD, we decided to stop taking any Pristiq. The dizziness is extreme. When I stand up I feel as if I am falling into the walls, furniture, anything in the room. I still have the sweats, but they have slowed. The turning bright red has eased. My cognitive skills are gone, but they left during the Celexa episode. During the past few days I've become so irritable that I can't stand myself. I cannot function at all in the am and I've become nocturnal and I've tried several things to try to adjust my internal clock. This withdrawl process is going to take time (I wish I knew how much time) and I've still got enough brain working to understand this, but I'm in emotional free fall. I should also note that I've sufferred from Depression (diagnosed and treated) for more than 25 years.

On one of the blogs I did find one suggestion that has worked for ME (Starbucks Energy Drink with Guarana, Ginseng, and B Vitamins). This is not a plug!

Prior to my last nerve block, I had a quality of life. This has been an awful summer owing to Fibromyalgia and pharmaceutical withdrawl. I know I will get through this and I try to remind myself of this, but sometimes it is very difficult. I am still here because of my Mother, my husband, and my two dogs.

The best advice I have to give to anyone is be an informed patient and be kind to yourself. Do your homework and prepare for each medical visit. Take a list of questions. If you don't like the answer(s), keep asking until you are comfortable. I do not believe any doctor can predict how long it takes for any one person to go through withdrawl. I also know that there are a lot of doctors who are in the pockets of "big Pharma", but I am very fortunate to have found one who is not.

Hope something in this message helps someone.

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I've just found this site and I'd like to thank everyone for their info, experiences, and inspiration.

I'm in the midst of Pristiq withdrawl (original dosage 100 MG in the morning for last 9 months+, tapered to 50 MG) along with Celexa withdrawl (15 MG X 3 per day at night) due to possible Serotonin Syndrome or Spinal Headache (had nerve block at Cervical level on 8/4). I'd also like to let everyone know that my MD (a Pharmacologist) has saved my life, I trust him implicitly, and he has been working with me through this horrifying experience. We met 4 years ago when he helped me with a toxic reaction to Lyrica. He methodically worked out a schedule of what to take, what not to take, what days I might experience what, etc.

I did not have an opportunity to taper off of the Celexa and I've had weeks of severe headaches, excessive sweating, turning bright red, insomnia, nausea, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and, worst of all, a complete loss of self (there is a term for this, but I'm too confused to remember it). Celexa withdrawl and reduction in Pristiq have alternated between "an express elevator to the bottom floor" and falling slowly downhill in terms of quality of life and functioning. I read up on several of the websites and blogs and prepared myself for what to expect. NOTHING could have prepared me for what is happening. After discussing the length of this withdrawl with my MD, we decided to stop taking any Pristiq. The dizziness is extreme. When I stand up I feel as if I am falling into the walls, furniture, anything in the room. I still have the sweats, but they have slowed. The turning bright red has eased. My cognitive skills are gone, but they left during the Celexa episode. During the past few days I've become so irritable that I can't stand myself. I cannot function at all in the am and I've become nocturnal and I've tried several things to try to adjust my internal clock. This withdrawl process is going to take time (I wish I knew how much time) and I've still got enough brain working to understand this, but I'm in emotional free fall. I should also note that I've sufferred from Depression (diagnosed and treated) for more than 25 years.

On one of the blogs I did find one suggestion that has worked for ME (Starbucks Energy Drink with Guarana, Ginseng, and B Vitamins). This is not a plug!

Prior to my last nerve block, I had a quality of life. This has been an awful summer owing to Fibromyalgia and pharmaceutical withdrawl. I know I will get through this and I try to remind myself of this, but sometimes it is very difficult. I am still here because of my Mother, my husband, and my two dogs.

The best advice I have to give to anyone is be an informed patient and be kind to yourself. Do your homework and prepare for each medical visit. Take a list of questions. If you don't like the answer(s), keep asking until you are comfortable. I do not believe any doctor can predict how long it takes for any one person to go through withdrawl. I also know that there are a lot of doctors who are in the pockets of "big Pharma", but I am very fortunate to have found one who is not.

Hope something in this message helps someone.

I did not experience any withdrawal symptoms from Effexor, even though I was used to feeling miserable if I missed a dose. I was cross-tapering onto Zoloft while withdrawing from Effexor AND wellbutrin. One caveat though, in the midst of this I ran out of xanax (which I was taking everyday) and had a full-blown seizure. So while I do recommend the cross-taper method, one must be very careful to follow doc's instructions. I have also heard of a great many people being helped by taking antihistamines like benadryl or dramamine during withdrawal, but I cannot recommend these techniques as I am not a doctor and do not give medical advice, however they are ideas you may run past your doc, perhaps he will agree to have you try them if he sees no harm in it.

-WS

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I was on Pristiq 50 mg for about 2 months and just quit about a month ago. I did it cold turkey and I don't recommend that to anyone but I was so desperate to get off them because i had such a nasty time on it.

Whilst on the med I had dizziness, jittery/nervy, tight muscles/cramps, loss of appetite/couldn't enjoy food, blurred vision, dry eyes, brain fog, constipation, dry mouth, exhaustion (to the point where I had to sleep in my lunch break to get thru a work day), edginess, felt like my brain was burning at the back of my skull, difficulty breathing and I was slurring my speech. I had severe night sweats up to 4 times a night and wake up cold and clammy.

So anyway, a month ago I was given time off work because I just couldn't function... and I thought perfect time to quit the meds. I should also mention that my doc was aware that I was going to cease the medication and, considering the awful time I had on them (and that they were doing me more harm than good) supported my decision and recommended that I start tapering off by taking one every other day. What really cemented my decision to go off them was the breathing difficulties (which couldn't be attributed to anything else that I knew of).

So for educational purposes, this is what happened to me when I quit the meds suddenly.

The initial intention was to just to take one tablet every other day but I didn't feel so bad the next day so I just didn't take any more after that. The third day was when it struck me. I noticed the bad stuff first, before I realised that good things were going on in my body too as I was detoxing.

The bad:

-Headaches were extreme 'brain crunching headaches' - probably worse than the headaches I had when on the meds

-Dizziness worsened and I nearly fell in the shower once, feeling 'tipsy' and lightheaded

-Irritability and mood swings (oh I was great fun to be around!) and just being generally annoying and stupid

-Crying spells and just feeling like a 'nothing' person

The good:

-Within 2 days I noticed my night sweats dropped in frequency to about 1 - 2 times a night and by about week 2 they had just about subsided altogether

-My brain fog lifted within about a week to 10 days

-I started to have enough energy to start exercising again (and forced myself to start running to 'sweat the drugs out')

-Within a week I felt I didn't need to keep napping as often

The ugly:

-Feeling very depressed

-Feeling guilty and anxious

-wanting to harm myself (and worse)

Luckily I had family support around me and was able to get through it. The only thing remaining now is the odd flash of dizziness (usually in the afternoons) which only lasts a few seconds.

I'd say for me it's mostly over (the withdrawal) so in my case, it took about 3 - 4 weeks.

Edited by angel_9

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Just wanted to give an update on the Pristiq withdrawal. It's been 6 weeks since I stopped Pristiq after only taking the medication 7 weeks (and tapering 2 weeks), and I can finally say that I'm no longer dizzy! I started to feel more human around Week 4 or 5. At this point, I am still an emotional roller-coaster though, my menstrual cycle is really screwed up (one every 2 weeks), and my dry eyes are worse now. But thank goodness the dizziness went away!! Hopefully the hormonal imbalance will straighten itself out, too.

While on Pristiq, I always had some degree of dizziness which is what let me to get off the medication. Thanks again for everyone's support and hang in there for those who going through this exact same thing! One day at a time and try to stay distracted.

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I am on day 4 (I think) for quitting Pristiq cold turkey. It was a miracle drug when I first started i (50mg). But when I found out my daughter (who'd never been in any trouble a day in her life) was now a illegal drug addict, I immediately doubled my dose to 100mg, but no difference. I've gained 20 lbs. I've had crazy, vivid dreams since I got on it - but unless it's a bad dream, it was no bother. My daughter has been to rehab twice and has been clean for a month and a 1/2. I know this battle is far from over, but I also feel like Pristiq isn't helping anymore and I want to quit. I also feel like part of the depression I feel THESE days is because I'm the biggest I've ever been. I'm single and if any of you are single and overweight (not horribly, but I'm a good size 16) and I might as well weigh 500 lbs for the way men treat me.

ANYway (sorry, VERY hard to focus right now!!!), as I said I'm on day 4 of not taking Pristiq and I'm neck deep in withdrawals right now. It is the most beautiful day of the year outside and I cannot go out and enjoy it. The primary reason I wanted to post on this though is to let you know that Dramamine, or any form of it, helps a LOT with the dizzines. Don't get me wrong. You will still feel like crap, but you might be able to at least get out of bed. If you can get the "less drowsy" version, it's definitely better if you're forced to go to work through this.

Tomorrow I get to work from home, which is good. I'm hoping and praying that I'll be ok enough on Tuesday to work,that with the help of my Dramamine, I'll be able to get through it.

Here's a brief synopsis of what I've been doing to quit. I first have been trying to taper - one every other day is absolutely no problem for me. But the best I could stretch it to was one every 2 and a 1/2 days. Beyond that it was unbearable. I was nervous about trying the Dramamine for fear of being painfully tired at work. But now that I've finally sucked it up and tried it, I'm still feeling very bad, but I'm able to sit up and move around. The exhaustion is definitely there.

  • The last time I took Pristiq (again, I'm very foggy, so I'm pretty sure this is right) was Thursday around 5pm
  • Friday - no problems at all, but the 1st day is never a problem
  • Saturday - no problems until I started to experience my usual 2 1/2 day dizziness starting aroun 10pm. Decided to start the Dramamine regime (a friend of mine mentioned this). I was up very late, but mostly it was my own fault because all of these good movies kept coming on. Went to bed around 4 am Sunday morning
  • Sunday - woke up around 9 am with mild dizziness. Oh and by the way, I hadn't showered since that Friday because I just didn't have the energy! I took another Dramamine and decided it was too early to get up. Went back to sleep until 2:30pm! I pulled myself into the shower, and actually felt really good. But within 30 min. of being awake and up, the hardcore withdrawals set in. Immediately took a Dramamine (you can take them once every 4 hours as needed). I needed to run a couple of errands. Halfway to my first one, I realized how crazy it was for me to be driving due to dizziness, confusion, sensitivity to light (I find myself constantly squinting) and more. But by the time I reached my first destination (only about 3 miles from my house) the Dramamine kicked in and while I still had some notable fogginess, I was feeling much better (comparatively). The seasick feeling was about 99% gone.

The other symptoms are all still there. Oddly enough I've had an insatiable urge for pickles and moreso pickle juice - of which I have indulged, and am sure I will pay for tomorrow. I guess my body is craving sodium. I've drank almost and entire jar. But the Dramamine has greatly assisted with the most debilitating symptom - the seasick, dizziness. I can turn my head and eyes without feeling I'm going to barf.

This is definitely going to be a tough week, and I'm actually going to try to work through it, so wish me luck. I'll try to remember to continue to post my progress. A different forum said the worst of the symptoms lasst about 7 days. Man, I hope so. I do hope my Dramamine tip will help the rest of you getting off of Pristiq or any other SSRI that causes these symptoms.

Now, this computer is blinding me, so I'm going to lay down for a while.

TWarden (Tx)

PS: I would really love it if people would explain better what they mean by a "brain zap." :)

Edited by twarden1

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