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Crazy: Pristiq Withdrawls


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I am at my wits end right now. I quit taking pristiq cold turkey last week because I had a Dr appt 2 days after I ran out of meds. I was wanting to be switched to Wellbutrin instead of pristiq so I could quit smoking. I figured why fill the pristiq prescription if I would only need 2 pills. So, I started having withdraw symptoms the first day that I missed my pill. Just nauseous and a little dizzy. Enough to remind me that I didn't take my pill. Then as the days went on it kept getting worse. I have been having such extreme panic attacks where I feel like I am outside of my body looking at myself dead. I don't know if it is just an extreme panic attack or hallucination or what. I get to the point where I cry uncontrollably and shake non stop. I have foggy brain and cannot concentrate. I also have no concept of time right now. I took 50 mg of Pristiq for about 3 years. Before that I took Celexa, effexor, Lexapro, Paxil. I just want to be done with all of these meds and I would love to get some feedback from others to help me through this. I have been contemplating going to the ER to get some help when the attacks get so bad. My Dr put me on 100 mgs of Ativan to help with the panic attacks but she thinks I will probably be over the withdrawls within the next day or two. I am hoping she is right but, not sure I see it happening that quick

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  • Administrator

Your doctor is not informed. You need to reinstate your Pristiq and taper off slowly. Some people can go off of the drugs cold turkey and have no problem, but based on the experience you are already having, it does not appear that you are one of those people.


It appears that the majority of us "just want off" these drugs, but not many of us who post on these forums are able to do that without a slow taper.


Alto will be around shortly to provide you with some more specific suggestions, but if I were you I would reinstate to your original dose and wait a month or two until all of your symptoms subside and then start a slow taper at not more than a 10% reduction at at time. Decrement a month at a time, if you don't have symptoms, you can try 3 weeks in between decrements and if you don't have symptoms with that you can go to 2 weeks between decrements ... you only have one central nervous system and it cannot be replaced. Be kind to yourself.


Love and light


2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg; 12/17 - 75mg; 8/17 - 45 mg; 10/16 40 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 ; 10/16 40mg;

1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor

I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Administrator

Hi, Crazy, thanks for joining us.


I agree with Karma, you are having a severe withdrawal reaction and if I were you, I'd reinstate Pristiq immediately.


Take Ativan as little as possible. Benzos incur physical dependency and can be very difficult to go off.


We have a topic about tapering Pristiq here. There aren't too many options. We're still trying to find out if a compounding pharmacy can make extended-release capsules of smaller dosages.


The other option is to switch to Prozac, stabilize, and taper from that, but sometimes the switch doesn't work.


The last is skipping doses, but this can bring on terrible withdrawal syndrome. Since you're experiencing severe symptoms already, you should be very gentle with your nervous system and not do anything dramatic to it for a long time.


Can you get your doctor to immediately phone in a refill of Pristiq for you?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thank you for your replies. I am waiting for the Dr office to open today so I can go in and see if she will be able to put me back on the poison or something similar to help with this. I thought if I got past the worst of it I would be ok. But, it is not getting any better at all. I had severe abdominal pain a few years ago where I was put on a high dose of percocet every 4 hrs for 6 months to deal with the pain. After I finally had surgery I just quit that cold turkey and it sucked. But, I made it through the withdraws and just quit taking it. The withdraw from pristiq is way harder to deal with. I am half tempted to go to the ER and see if they can help calm me down. But, chances are they will just commit me to a mental hospital. Lol. I just want all of this toxic medicine out of my body and to be able to go on with life again. I appreciate all of your suggestions and I will let you know what the Dr and I figure out.

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Crazy, I cold-turkied 50mg Pristiq almost 3 years ago and I am still dealing with the fallout from it today.


Your doctor is absolutely 100% wrong to say that you'll "probably be over the withdrawals in a day or two."


Did she really prescribe 100 mg Ativan or is that a typo? 100 mg of Ativan is an insanely high dose, I've never heard of anyone taking that much. Sounds extremely dangerous. And, as Alto pointed out, it's only setting you up for another, equally horrific drug dependency.


You need to get back on the Pristiq ASAP, get fully stabilized, and then proceed with a slooooow taper.


Personally, I would recommend asking for Effexor (non-time-released) instead to make the taper easier, since Pristiq is only available in sustained-release form.


I would not recommend going directly to Prozac, because it takes so long -- usually weeks -- to build up in your system and start working; in the meantime you'll remain in full-bore withdrawal from the Pristiq.


Please let us know what the doctor tells you. I am worried for you.



2009-2011: tapered off Trazodone, Namenda, Lamictal, Dextroamphetamine, Zyprexa; cold-turkeyed Pristiq; reduced Lexapro dose 50%.
On clonazepam since 2004, 0.5 - 1.0 mg daily PRN. Three failed (too rapid) partial tapers, 2010 - 2011.
Dec. 2011 - March 2013: Tapered off 0.5 mg clonazepam (Klonopin)

August 2013: Switched to liquid escitalopram (Lexapro) and began tapering from 10 mg.

January 2014: 4.5 mg escitalopram

March 2014: One year off benzos

May 2014: 3.0 mg escitalopram

June 2014: severe depression, updosed to 4.0 mg

Sept 1, 2014: 2.7 mg

Dec 7, 2014: Can't get below 2.5 mg without unbearable symptoms. Doing an extended hold (I hope)


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I am sorry. I was wrong with the ativan dosage. She started me on .50 mg once every 6-8 hrs. Yesterday she increased it to .10 every eight hours. Today they had me take .10 mg every 4 hours. I really hope that is not too much to be taking. It is helping a bit with some of the symptoms. It has decreased my uncontrollable crying and lessened the panic attacks. They are still there but I am able to control them better now. I did just pick up another bottle of pristiq and took a full one today by the advise of my Dr. Now, I am wondering if it is going to take a really long time to stabilize me. I can't even stand straight and I am very off balance. Not to mention the vomiting and diarrhea. I hope I can get better soon because this is debilitating

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  • Administrator

Usually reinstatement helps very quickly. Please let us know how you're doing.


Try not to take an Ativan if you can help it. You should feel better soon and be able to skip it.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I took a 50 mg pill of Pristiq yesterday and again today. I cannot believe the difference it has made. I feel almost normal again. I am a little nauseous still and light headed. A bit panicky as well. I have had to take only 2 ativan today due to panic attacks. I am going to reinstate my regular dose until I am back to feeling "normal" and then decide if I want to wean off pristiq and not take anything at all. Or, if there is a better drug out there for me to take to manage my depression and anxiety better. Thank you for all of your support.

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