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runningerins reducing Pristiq


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I have been weaning off of 50mg of Prestiq for about 5 days now. I actually feel pretty great! The brain zaps are still there, but very mildly. I was told by my doctor not to wean off by cutting Prestiq because it is a time released capsule, so I have been taking one every other day and then next week it will be one every two days...etc ...etc. I was put on Prestiq for depression and panic attacks.


The first full day off of Prestiq I had strong brain zaps toward the evening, but generally felt pretty good. The next day was a challenge! I had very strange dreams the first night without taking the drug and felt HORRIBLE the next day. By horrible I mean depressed and frustrated. Many hours later...I started to feel a little better, but it was still an uncomfortable feeling. This eventually subsides if you can get through it.


It is now my fifth day and I feel really good. The brain zaps become milder, almost unnoticeable and I have very fleeting moments where I feel a little down. 


A change in lifestyle has definitely helped! I exercise every day. Nothing huge. I walk my dog for about a mile, but I can see a change in energy and outlook since the regimen started. I also juice every day and take vitamin supplements  ( C, B12, Niacin, Biotin, fish oil) 


I haven't had a panic attack in a very long time and through therapy I've learned how to have more control when and if they do happen. The depression part happens in moments, but they go away. Prestiq only put me in a "middle ground" area, where I felt just okay about everything. Not too excited and not too sad; no panic attacks. I felt very flat. I also gained a TON of weight, which made me feel.....DEPRESSED! My doctor switched me out from Lexapro to Prestiq because the Lexapro made me feel like a zombie. 


Here's to not feeling flat!!!!

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  • Administrator

Welcome, runningerins.


I moved your post here to start your Intro topic to discuss your own taper.


I certainly wish you well with your tapering method, but we think skipping doses is a high-risk way to taper. Having brain zaps is not a good sign.


See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/


Please read this topic about tapering Pristiq http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/

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 totally appreciate that! I do, however, think I feel a little safer following my doctor's instructions. I also know from other doctors as well as nurses that cutting or crushing a time released pill is definitely "high-risk". Weaning off of this drug certainly isn't comfortable no matter how you do it. Depending on the dosage, time length on the drug, tolerance to the drug etc. etc, all of those things will produce different affects with different people. 

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  • Administrator

There is no easy way to taper off Pristiq. It's true, you need to choose between bad options.


Let me say, however, that alternating doses is one of the worst. I wish you well with it. You may be one of those people who can tolerate 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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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm on my 3rd week of tapering off of prestiq and I feel pretty great. The first week I did one pill every other day. The second and third week, one pill every other two days. I am now in the week where I take one pill every three days. Brain zaps fade the further you get into the tapering. They still reoccur, but they are much less substantial if there at all. I do have some nausea, but it's nothing that is unbearable. I feel WONDERFUL compared to what I felt like on this drug. I've wondered for a long time when I would feel good again and actually enjoy things and I'm no longer wishing that for myself. I have a desire to do more and be more active; enjoy things. However, along with the tapering I have made some serious lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, which I feel are contributing to the results. I am still continuing with juicing and walking at least a mile almost every day. I have lost 10 pounds in three weeks. I gained SO much weight very rapidly on Prestiq and my blood pressure went up to unhealthy levels. 


I think going through a few brain zaps to get off of this drug is worth all of these results. Learning coping techniques for anxiety attacks and what an anxiety attack actually is has helped me fend them off and I can't remember the last time I've had one. Depression is alleviated greatly. I have also relied greatly on my personal relationship with God and have been working at continually developing that. I can't remember the last time I felt this good. This isn't for everyone, but WOW. What a difference.

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Glad to hear your feeling better. BTW, I was on Pristiq a few years ago. the psychiatrist said no problem in cutting the pills. I did that when I tirade up on the dosage and when I weaned off.


Be careful how you wean off. Do some good reading on this site. Some people get off these drugs thinking there home free only two have the real w/d hit 4-6 weeks later. I read somewhere that our brains can only handle a 10% reduction in these drugs per month. So, when people go off quickly, their brains still expect a certain percentage of the drug to still be in the brain. That's when the w/d hits hard and fast.


You may be lucky and be able to wean off as quick as you are. I hope you do. Just be aware if you suddenly feel terrible a few weeks or a month after you stop, that W/D could be the reason.

Current meds-


Paxil 20mgs since 6-8-13. Have tried to wean off twice this year. Back in March, was down to 12.5mgs dropping 2.5mgs per month. Went back to 17.5 and held there till stabilized a few weeks later. Then dropped to 15-16mgs and had bad anxiety/insomnia. Went back up to 20mg's in two stages. I've been on Paxil since 2009, before that was Prozac.


Busbar- 10mg's since 10-12 Just bumped up to 15mgs today on way to 20mgs.


Ambien- Stopped C/T 14 days ago. off/on use for past couple of years. Usually 5mg's and occasional 10mgs


Levothyroxine- Had half my thyroid removed. Take the smallest dose.


Soma- Take as needed. The past couple of weeks, it's been 1-2 a day to relieve anxiety tension


Ativan- Take as needed. The past couple of months, it's been taken 5 out of 7 days. Usually .5 to 1mg.

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