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TheyKickYouWhenYourDown: Pristiq hell


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Hello ~

I have been through the ringer the past few months with this lovely antidepressant they call Pristiq! Ive been on it for over a year.... then I had a medical scare which threw me into a depression all while being on this drug. I was concerned about my depression so I talked to a Dr and they increased my dose to 100mg from 50mg in May. I was also put on Risperdal (whole other nightmare) that didn't happen until about a week of being on my higher dose I lost it! I mean admitted myself to my local hospital because I was feeling very depressed and suicidal. I never in my life had any feelings of suicide or depression like I was feeling after the increase in the meds.


While in the hospital they added a antipsychotic because that will make it all better. WRONG - I started having major anxiety attacks and then was put on Ativan 1mg (add that to the cocktail) this was my life for a few months until I realized after much weight gain and loss of period I starting thinking these meds are not working for me.


So my Dr takes me off the Risperdal cold turkey (WHOA) that was a nightmare - pure hell - I go back and he suggests I take a few weeks off work.... Umm ok So now I'm experiencing high high anxiety with intense fear all the time. 1 week off and I checked myself into a Healing Center in a whole other state (about 3 weeks) while there they lowered my Pristiq down to 50mg which helped a little but I had started having these horrible feelings of detachment or depersonalization.... (which is why I went to the center) these feelings scared the crap out of me!


I'm a mother of 2 kids and I was not able to function right and all anyone would say was oh its the depression/anxiety... I returned home the beginning of this month from the Healing Center (didn't help much really but make me miss my kids) Now I'm unable to work because of the high anxiety and depersonalization feelings I have since I stopped the Prisitq.


It has been a little over 2 weeks completely off Prisitiq now. I have had so many side effects: nausea, fatigue, anxiety, depression, depersonalization, brain fog, flu like symptoms, headaches, brain waves kinda like shocks, crying spells, insomnia..... those are the main ones really. I'm a very sensitive person to medications and this whole thing has made me question Dr's a lot and get really upset because they just want to keep medicating you and if your having side effects they will just medicate you for those and before you know it you have no control over your life and then you are stuck feeling like you can't even get off the medications. Does it get better? I mean it has to right? 


Edited by ChessieCat
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to TheyKickYouWhenYourDown: Pristiq hell
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Hi and welcome to SA,


Yes, you sure have been put through the wringer.


Q:  What was the original reason your were prescribed Pristiq?


So that we have your full drug history please create a drug signature.  Please keep it simple NO diagnoses or symptoms

  • for the last 2 years:  details of dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • for older than 2 years:  just a summary of years and drugs


What you are experiencing are withdrawal symptoms from going off Pristiq too quickly.  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist


My own experience with Pristiq:  I reduced from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg and for 3 weeks experienced extreme cog fog.  Even walking required my full attention.  At the end of 3 weeks I was unable to type and being a professional typist for 40+ years I knew something was wrong.  Thankfully I had joined SA a few days before I couldn't type and they had suggested taking extra Pristiq.  About 4 hours after taking extra I was able to type again and the brain fog was clearing.  After stabilising I commenced tapering following SA's protocol and I am now down to 7mg.  I only experience mild withdrawal symptoms.


The only known way to reduce withdrawal symptoms is to take some of the drug which you have stopped.  Please read Post #1 of this topic:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


If you only have 50mg tablets you could cut a tablet in half and take approximately 25mg.  Unfortunately the tablets are difficult to cut evenly but you could do that for a few days until you can get 25mg tablets.  I hope they are available where you are.  We can't get them in Australia and I have to get my tablets compounded.  Consistency and accuracy are important but to start with you need to get some Pristiq into your system.  Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)


I suggest you read these topics before seeing your doctor:


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


And these might help you understand what is happening:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Brain Remodelling

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.


Edited by ChessieCat


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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