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  1. Hello everybody, First of all, sorry for my poor English. I'll try to write short but correct sentences, so you can understand my case. I'm 21 years old and currently I'm studying Medicine. In 2013 I started psychological treatment for social anxiety (only psychotherapy, without medication). I'm positive that this helped me a lot, but the psychologist thought that I wasn't improving fast enough, so he prescribed me Escitalopram 5 mg/day. I didn't notice any improvement or adverse effect while taking this drug. The summer of 2014, before I started College, was the worst phase of my life. I didn't want to get out of my bedroom, and I only wanted to die. That fall, I visited a psychiatrist for the first time, and he prescribed me Desvenlafaxine 100 mg a day. This drug completely killed my mind. I felt numb, dizzy, emotionally flattened, I had severe memory problems... When the College semester ended (I failed 3 subjects), I withdraw the drug with the help of the psychiatrist. Several months later, I felt better, but I had the feeling that the drug had left some type of "residual damage" in me...I wasn't the same person than I was one year ago, and the memory problems were there. I committed the great mistake of asking another psychiatrist for advice: I wanted to know if the Desvenlafaxine was the culprit of the symptoms I was suffering. The new psychiatrist told me that I was suffering from anxiety and obsessive-like behavior, so he gave me Duloxetine (60 mg/day during the first 3 months, 30 mg/day later) & Alprazolam (0.125 mg. 3 times a day during the 3 first months, once a day later). This time, I got better results than the year before. I felt better, I even obtained A+ in two subjects. When the summer came, I decided to withdraw the drug with the help of my doctor. I suffered a considerable withdrawal syndrome (dizziness,photophobia,tinnitus,swinging mood...It was horrible!). When the College course started, I felt really anxious, I could barely study, so I started taking the Duloxetine & Alprazolam again. However, this time the medication didn't helped anything. I felt worse everyday, so I decided to leave the College for a while and search a good psychotherapist. I found one who is helping me a lot, she encouraged me to withdraw these horrible drugs, so I'm "clean" since December, 2016. I'm going to summarize my drug history and the withdrawal symptoms I'm having: Medication history · March 2014-October 2014: Escitalopram 5 mg/day. · October 2014-July 2015: Desvenlafaxine 100mg/day. · October 2015-July 2016: Duloxetine (Cymbalta) 30 mg/day & Alprazolam (0.125 mg/day). · October 2016-November 2016: Duloxetine (Cymbalta) 30 mg/day & Alprazolam (0.125 mg/day). · 2 and a half months "clean" (since the end of November until today) My withdrawal symptoms · I don't feel anything, I don't enjoy anything in life, my mood is completely flat. I don't enjoy things that I used to enjoy, I have to think "hey, you used to enjoy doing this, so you should be having a good time", but I don't have the "natural" and "automatic" feeling of enjoy. · My memory is not sharp anymore, I have problems remembering what I've done yesterday or some days ago, I have to do great efforts in order to remember things. · I feel mentally slow, I have enormous concentration problems, I feel absolutely useless. That's the summary of my situation. I can't talk about it with anybody (my fathers don't understand what's happening, my girlfriend and friends don't notice any problem and my psychotherapist, although she think I was medicated without reasons and she thinks the two psychiatrists committed malpractice, says that these drugs don't cause any permanent damage and that I mustn't get obsessed with all these symptoms. So, my last hope is this community, while I expect to find people with knowledge of the topic. Is this "damage" permanent? Will I recover my old self? I'm terrified just now, and the idea of not being myself anymore is scaring me a lot...I don't want to live like this, and if this situation don't revert, I'll have to take radical measures. Thank you very much for your time, I hope you can help me with your experiences and knowledge. Best wishes, dav267
  2. Hi there! I am a 30-year-old spitball who's always been extroverted and outgoing, just with a lot of anxiety. About 5 years ago, I experienced a sudden onset of depression for the first time. I've always been anxious, but never depressed so this was new and very scary for me. I had dark thoughts, was questioning what life meant and why any of us should care, etc. I scared myself so bad, I moved home to my parents for two weeks (they live in the same city, 20 min away) because I did not want to be alone with my thoughts. At this time, I started seeing a therapist who referred to me a psychiatrist. One session with the psychiatrist in, she decided I should go on 100mg Pristiq. For the next few years, that's what I took and I felt 100% back to normal. I felt so good, in fact, that I decided I want to cut my daily intake in half to 50mg. I did that, and the weaning was pretty rough. I'm lucky in that I didn't experience "zaps" or "flu-like" symptoms. It was moreso heightened anxiety and constant crying fits, when there was nothing to cry about! I finally came out on the other side and have been on 50mg for the past few years. Now, to current day. As someone who never had a history of legitimate depression and who is in a very different spot in her life now than she was 5 years ago, I've decided I want to get off of Pristiq. Just reading the horror stories about how hard it is to get off it is pushing me to get off of it. This is a scarily strong drug that I don't want in my system anymore. If I go through this tapering and realize I do need some sort of antidepressant down the road, that's fine. But I don't want it to be Pristiq. So starting in July, I began a tapering schedule that is going like this: July-August: 50, 50, 25 (so 25 every third day for a month) August-September: 50, 25, 25 (so 50 every third day for a month) September-October: 25, every day for month October-November: 25 every OTHER day for a month November-December: 25 every third day of the week *I also just started taking 15mg of Deplin 6 days ago to help curb withdrawal side effects and take .5mg of Ativan up to 3x a day if needed The first month was fine. But this second month is turning out to be incredibly hard. For the last two weeks, my anxiety has been elevated immensely. I wake up every day with a pit in my stomach. I've been having dark thoughts. I find it hard to concentrate and am overwhelmed incredibly easily. I am also extremely irritable. This weekend was the worst. Total panic attack and crying breakdown. And today I couldn't go into work. I just want to sleep. This is not me. It never has been. I am a relatively happy, excited, alive person and am struggling very much with this process. I am scared I'll never come out of it, that it doesn't get better, and I will turn into a shell of myself. I just wish I knew when to expect a turnaround. At what point in this tapering does it get better??? I don't want Pristiq to "win"; that is, I don't want to get back on it. Any advice, suggestions, comments, are welcome. Thank you.
  3. Nate

    Nate: Pristiq

    Hi everyone, I take 50mg/day of Pristiq and am looking into eventually tapering off. I've read about switching to Effexor, tapering by going a day without it in a certain time frame reducing more, etc. Just looking at ways to do this and advice. I've been taking it regularly for about 7 years I think and it's kept me stable and generally in a good place. But some side effects like excess sweating and difficulty losing weight are getting me to research different ways to come off of it
  4. Hi all, I could really use anyone's experience or advice here as i'm in a very fragile mental state. My history I was diagnosed with OCD and severe anxiety in 2011. I was put on SSRI's and they did eliminate my symptoms but it also resulted in several other symptoms such as chronic fatigue and motivation and emotional blunting. I tried cycling through the SSRI's (see history below) to see if I could do better but none of them ended up removing the side effects. In the past I had tried tapering off the antidepressants (usually over the course of a month with no success, I used to get severe brain zaps and anxiety). My history of SSRI/SNRI's are below: 2011-2013 (Lexapro 20mg)2013-2014 (Sertraline 200mg, Prozac 20mg, Luvox 50mg, cycled through with help of psychiatrist, stopped due to other side effects such as sleep issues or anxiety)2014-2016 (Lexapro 20mg then Prozac 20mg)2017 June (Pristiq 50mg)2017 June - Now (Not medicated) My Journey Getting of SSRI/SNRI I have been on SSRI's and SNRI's for a total of 7 years when I decided to go see a wholistic doctor who said he could help me get off anti-depressants using high dose vitamins (Pfieffer technique) (I can provide doses of the vitamins if interested, some of the doses are very high Vitamin b6 250mg, Zinc 75mg etc.) I started the vitamins in May 2017 and was able to slowly stop Pristiq. It did help blocking the withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps). After stopping (and still taking the vitamins) I still felt the effects of the anti depressants (emotional numbing, no sex drive) but I also had no anxiety and no suicidal thoughts (I was unhappy but stable). The anti depressant effects had persisted after I stopped taking them. I thought all was fixed and I had to wait months for the negative side effects to reverse (no sex drive, fatigue). The event that triggered severe symptoms and relapse In July, I went overseas and had several very stressful events (breaking up with girlfriend, anxiety of being in a new country, a death in the family) and it is as if my brain delayed the withdrawal symptoms. It changed me. I now have severe general anxiety and depression (including suicidal thoughts and intense feelings of loneliness). The main symptom that is worrying me is a constant feeling that my perception is restricted/blurred and constantly feel disoriented, it is as if i'm feeling drunk all day and it is hard to process anything, people will talk to me and sometimes nothing registers. This is really worrying me (has anyone heard of anything like this? Is it withdrawal?) It is very hard to get through a day of work. It is okay in the morning and gets progressively worse as the day goes on. I'm not getting brain zaps so i'm not sure if it is withdrawal symptoms but I'm very worried right now. The only thing I can think of is to go back on 10mg Lexapro to see if the anxiety/depression and disorientation disappear. I have tried Omega 3 and it has not resolved the disorientation, I am already taking high dose Magnesium as well. Can anyone provide any information regarding these symptoms and if they have experienced it before? (Especially the drunk and disoriented feeling)? Has anyone had a stressful life event completely change the symptoms they were feeling? I don't know what to do. Thank you, LogicalScout from Sydney
  5. Hi everyone. I've been debating whether I should do this or not but I think it's best. So I had been taking pristiq 50mg since May 2014 when I was diagnosed with PTSD and I took it because well it numbed everything out. I was pretty naive and only now after much closure and comfort I've realised I do not need this medication in my life at all. My doctor well he basically told me take it once every two days and then once every three days and then once every four days and then completely stop. This process lasted about two weeks or just over that. I'm now ten days off of pristiq and well it's not easy. There's a lot of brain fog and confusion. I can't think too much it overwhelms me and I am constantly dizzy and have a persistent headache. The brain zaps are no joke. I tried eating healthy but I just want to vomit. I take stemetil for the nausea. It helps a little. I also take fish oil for some added effect i read about online. All I want to know is when will the brain zaps end ? It really is taking a toll on me. I'm not myself and that gets to me the most.
  6. Im New to this forum. For many years I took 100-150mg sertaline and the only side effect was weight gain. My depression was moderated but not completely gone. Got a New doctor who recommended Pristiq. I've been taking 50mg for about 6 months. It was going fine. Suddenly I'm noticing frequent headaches, trouble remembering and nausea. Also increased anxiety. I'm not functioning and can barely get to the grocery store. I live alone and am scared. I've read about the symptoms of withdrawal and I seem to have all of them, except I have not changed my dose or time of day (night) that I take it. Has anyone else had this happen? I can't get in touch with my doc until 4 days from now.
  7. HELP ME PLEASE!! I am now 46. I was on 100mg Pristiq for 4 years. The tapering instructions I was given was reduce to 50mg for 2 weeks, then 50mg eod for 2 weeks then 50 every third day for 2 weeks. When i finished the taper course I had awful withdrawal; diarrhea, sleep problems, restless leg & crawling skin at night, rage (probably mostly due to the issues keeping me from sleeping.) I have been off Pristiq for 18 months now and one symptom has not gone away - diarrhea (daily). No pain or cramps or urgency/racing to the bathroom, just diarrhea every time i do go. I've read symptoms can sometimes last "longer than 18 months". How much longer? *** My question is .... at this point do i keep waiting it out, or should i get back on pristiq 50mg and add in Effexor to taper down in a much slower and more tolerable way?*** Or at 18 months off, are there other ways to boost seratonin and/or dopamine, like supplements, food, etc? I hate turning to the internet for medical advise- I know I'm not qualified to find my own cures but my doctor and now the GI I've been referred to have both dismissed (without 2 seconds of consideration) the connection to Pristiq, In fact the GI after the initial visit is all ready to call it IBS, meaning we don't know why you have diarrhea and we're not going to look any further into it - here's some Immodium you can take for the rest of your life. I don't think either of the doctors are aware of discontinuation syndrome coming to light now and I bet there will be class action suits down the line if there aren't already, I'm scheduled for a colonoscopy next week. I'm mortified that I have to do this, and that I have to waste money on this. Thoughts from any doctors, pharmacists or psychiatrists here? Pleeeeeaaase, and thank you. Vanessa
  8. Hi there, I am new here. Been on different anti-depressants since 1995. Recently had been on Prestiq 100 mg and Abilify 10 mg. Due to procrastination, finances and major stress, depression and an addiction I ran out of the Abilify and only had 4 Prestiq left before I finally made a Dr appointment and paid 150.00 cash self-pay to see my long-time Dr. Due to very low income and no insurance he switched me from Prestiq to Prozac 40 mg which is much cheaper (Fluoxetine). First Prozac was 1/12/17...he said it will help but not prevent all the Prestiq withdrawals. I still feel the loss of the Prestiq with dizziness, brain zaps, major fatigue, unstable, confused and fearful. Is this normal? How long will it last? If you have been on Prozac did it work for you and are there any side effects like fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, etc)? Next month (Feb 2017) I am hoping to have health insurance again and can switch meds if need be but wanna give this Prozac a chance to work (how long does it take to start working?). Thanks for any feedback you can offer!
  9. I've never joined a forum before but I am not sure where else to turn. I am 26 years old and feel like I have dementia. I can barely remember things, skills that I have possessed for years seem foreign to me, I can barely concentrate at work and I can't read a book / retain information to save my life. I wasn't always like this but it seems like whenever I build up a tolerance to whatever meds I am on or try to get off of them completely this is what happens to my brain. I was once off of antidepressants for 9 months about 2 years ago and experienced the same thing. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and got back on. This time I have been off for 5 months and am struggling deeply. I am wondering if my brain is irreversibly damaged by these drugs and if I'll ever be the same. I wish I had never started down this path. The first 3 years of being on meds were great and then I built up a tolerance. Since then it's been a good year here, 2 bad years there, that kind of pattern until now. I have vowed never to go back to antidepressants that clearly have altered the chemistry of my brain. I don't know how to function without them. I get headaches regularly from stress and can barely function at work. I am not living with my parents anymore so taking too much time off work isn't really an option. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced similar symptoms and more so recovery from these symptoms post antidepressants. Maybe it takes over a year, maybe longer? Is there more I can be doing? Engaging in activities that I enjoy and exercising helps my mood but not these strange dementia symptoms. I have an appointment with a Neurologist in about 2 1/2 months. Not really sure what else I can be doing until then. Not sure if there is more that could be done to speed up this healing process or give me the ability to focus better. Any feedback would be much appreciated.
  10. Hello, I'm Chad. I'm 28, male. History: My current diagnosis' are major depressive disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder. I'm on disability, no longer go to college or work. I've been on anti-depressants since 2001 starting with Zoloft. In 2009, returned to a psychiatrist for re-evaluation, switched to various other anti-depressants, finally settling on Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) at 100mg. Also was put on benzodiazepines, with 3 slow taper attempts, I've always ended up reinstating. I've battled addiction with strong painkillers but for me, nothing could compare to the horrors of benzo withdrawal and I was hospitalized at the end of my last taper attempt for making an attempt on my life only to be put back on 4mg of clonazepam inside the facility. I've been on this dosage ever since and have not considered any further taper attempts since. Why Pristiq to Paxil: My quality of life is at a minimum. I'm not suffering from any withdrawal but I'm also not getting any better. Things are incredibly dark for me. I can't imagine anyone else who could hate themselves more than I do. I have a fear of death but also a fear of putting my family in any similar situation that I'm in now if I were to end my own life. That may be the only thing I respect about myself, the willingness to endure in the most harrowing times. Pristiq isn't working anymore so why should I be on it? The first action I took was adding mood stabilizers/anti-psychotics to my cocktail but I didn't tolerate any of them well whatsoever. The one I was on the longest with Abilify and I ended up with frightening hand tremors where my psychiatrist at the time called me and told me to stop immediately (cold turkey) and I was put on a drug called Congentin. The tremors went away but I guess that fear was that I could have been developing a potentially permanent side effect called tardive dyskinesia. It also caused weight gain. The other option was to speak to electro-convulsive therapy specialist. I denied twice. MAOIs were ruled out for their dangerous side effect but to be honest, I would have tried an MAOI before ECT. I did try to switch to another SNRI at one point, it was called Cymbalta. Another terrifying experience that I could not handle. Instead of trying to switch to Cymbalta again, I asked my doctor about switching back to an SSRI and asked if that could even work and his reply was something along the lines of "of course..." so I he suggested Prozac or Paxil as I've never tried either and I chose Paxil. The schedule he gave me was: Week 1- 20mg of Paxil w/ 100mg of Pristiq (my normal dosage) Week 2 - 20mg of Paxil w/ 50mg of Pristiq Week 3 - 20mg of Paxil w/ no Pristiq It's rapid and I cannot make cuts with this drug, I cannot dissolve this drug, there is a lower dose of 25mg but for whatever reason, he did not add that to the schedule and changing doses is also a financial issue right now. He only had samples of 50mgs and he gave me those for week 2. I am going to follow this schedule and try to document (journal) it here as coherently as I possibly can. I've also ordered a supplement called Phenibut that could ease anxiety as I feel tolerant to 4mg of clonazepam. I've decided to try the lowest dose and only once a week. I currently live with my mother as I cannot afford housing on disability. She is aware of the situation. Neither of know what could possibly happen but I do know that it could be similar to/ or worse than the transition to Cymbalta that I tried about 5 years ago. I'm terrified but the only place I have to drive to is my next doctor's appt. which is in mid February. The one symptom that worries me most is brain zaps/shocks. I experience them if I miss even a day of Pristiq and they are debilitating, you're not able to do much. So this is day 1. I've taken my first 20mg of Paxil about an hour ago. Please feel free to add your input, comments and I could absolutely use any support or encouragement to get through this. My main goal is to be off all medications one day but unfortunately, it's not such an easy path. I don't know if it's a possibility to do it and live normally either.
  11. I started Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) in August 2014 after yet another tearful visit with my GP. I think he was at a loss to help me after many other discussions, investigations (thyroid, iron, GI, immune), treatment with CBT etc. I was very anxious, especially on waking in the morning and having suicidal thoughts most evenings before falling asleep. I agreed to try an antidepressant and we picked Pristiq almost at random. I initially tried to take it in the morning but the nausea, dizziness and other side effects made me switch to bedtime dosing. In some ways I am equivocal about coming off it, and am considering a switch to Valdoxan (agomelatine) as I feel that I need a safety net giving my genes and current circumstances. Overall in fact, I suspect that most of my mental health problems are a combination of genes (anxious mother, depressive father), long term treatment with corticosteroids for an autoimmune condition (mania/suicidal thoughts at high doses, depression during and after the taper) and general high pressure academic and work environments over the years. N.B I was not on steroid therapy when I commenced the Pristiq. The main driver I have for ceasing Pristiq is the almost paralytic exhausted I am suffering, along with restless legs, that are affecting I assume my sleep but are also manifesting in waves during the day and impeding my ability to work and study. My memory has also been seriously affected, and as a result, so too has my ability digest and retain complex new information and to produce work of a high level. I am also having to work very hard to hide this impediment from my colleagues and supervisor. Further, it has meant a reduction in social life and a huge mental barrier to maintaining an exercise regime which is an important part of my life and recovery. This fatigue is actually the biggest issue I have currently as the psychosocial factors present 2 years ago have long since resolved. Much of that by hard work on my part with mindfulness meditation, changes to nutrition and exercise and moving overseas to take up new opportunities away from some of the old triggers and family dramas. Pristiq is not licensed in the UK and when it was suggested that I switch to venlafaxine XR I discovered that restless legs and REM sleep suppression were listed as side effects for this parent formulation and therefore assume potential for this to also be induced by its metabolite desvenlafaxine. I have now been referred for sleep study as the usual investigations (iron deficiency anaemia, etc,) have drawn a blank. But given what I know, it has been an easy decision not to remain on either drug long term. I also strongly suspect that they would ask me to cease taking them before assessing me for other conditions e.g apnoea, narcolepsy etc. Having read the tips for Tapering here on the forum, dug through some of the literature and emailed Pfizer multiple times to no avail I have formulated my strategy as follows. Initially I plan to try taking Pristiq in the morning to assist my sleep to be as refreshing as possible. I can only hope that the side effects (nausea, dizziness) were due to the induction period and will not be present now. Then I will switch to Effexor instant release and taper slowly over 4 months. For the first week I I will alternate days between 50mg Pristiq and 112.5mg (3 x 37.5mg) Effexor, in 8hr divided doses until I am confident that they are equivalent dose wise. My current GP suggested 75mg only, but the pharmacokinetic data indicates that desvenlafaxine is only 55% (half conjugated, half not), so I want to start higher. Once I am confident that this won't be too dramatic a dose change I will stick with Effexor only and taper from there. As soon as I hit 75mg daily dose I will drop the night time dose and consider introducing agomelatine as I have heard good things about it for anxiety and know that there is no discontinuation effect. I will take the second half of the taper as slowly as possible but I really need to get on top of the sleep problems and fatigue as soon as I can, without compromising my mental health or inducing hideous withdrawal. Hopefully as I lower the dose the symptoms of restless legs and crushing fatigue will also recede. If not, I may introduce agomelatine earlier as it has good sleep induction and maintenance properties that could assist. The only other thing I am taking is magnesium as I noticed a reduction in the restless legs after using Epsom salts in the bath and supplementation, again, shows promise for managing anxiety. Tonight is the first night I will skip Pristiq and take the next dose in the morning. I have only missed an evening dose once before and by midday the effects were already noticeable. I hope taking it with breakfast will give a seamless switch. Wish me luck. GPK. Edit. I am also slowly ruining my expensive adolescent orthodontic work with Pristiq induced bruxism. Another good reason to cease.
  12. Hi all. I'm 31 years old and have been on SSRI's and SNRI's for half of my life. After a big diet change and supplementation, I began weening off of Pristiq 50mg due to it being too strong. I have managed to make it down to 6.25 mg that I take every other day. My doctor is of no help as she believes meds are the only way but I can't very well be on Pristiq while trying to get pregnant. My big reason for coming to this site was for advice on kicking off the last 6.25mg. Is it down low enough that I just stop? After I'm done with the Pristiq, Restoril will be my next hurdle.
  13. Hello, I'll try to make this as compact as possible. Personal I have been on anti-depressants for ~ 6 years now. [ come to think of it, it may be longer than 6 years I will have to do some research on that, maybe my doctor can tell me next visit ] I started due to severe depression. Stopped going to work, laid in bed for days/weeks/months. Hopelessness, zero motivation, crying, head throbbing pain, etc, etc, etc... I feel they have numbed my very being by lessening my emotions, clouding my ambitions, allowing me to be content with mediocrity, stifles my creativity, and more. Although I do feel they have "helped" to progress me out of a depressive state, I feel they are not the solution to the real issues in my life. Over these years I have developed as an individual and sought insight and tools for surviving life. I feel I now have the tools I need to overcome my problems that originally led me down a spiral of depression. I want my REAL life back. Lifestyle I am currently living very low stress, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. University student - Stress goes up when assignments are due, and exams time. But I am able to cope. No girlfriend, although I am trying to get out there as I feel this is an important factor in emotional and mental stability. Walk dog daily at the local park, allowing for easy social interaction and good book end and regularity to my day. Healthy eating, Primal blueprint style eating: Meat, fruit, veg, no added sugar ( occasional fortnightly chocolatey treats ), no grains, supplemental vitamins, fish oil, protein shake. Exercise, Cycling 5 times a week low intensity > 1-hour sessions, 1 sprint session, 1 weights session. Unemployed, surviving off government student payments. Although I am seeking casual employment ( somewhere easy like retail or delivery driver ) Drug history Cymbalta ( prescribed due to severe depression, stopped working, laid in bed for days/weeks/months ) - 3 years - I forget the dosage, but I think it was above the initial 'normal' dosage prescribed. Pristiq ( prescribed due to issues with anxiety outweighing straight up depression ) - 100mg 1 year ( no memories of anything wrong transitioning straight from Cymbalta to Pristiq 100) - 150mg 1 year ( upped dose due to severe anxiety resulting in quitting internship, inability to attend University properly ) - 100mg 3 months ( travelling really well, although still don't like what i am missing from taking drugs to become a 'functional zombie' Removing dependence Originally I was thinking just get the drug out of my system as quickly as possible. BUT I now know that the drug is not really the problem. The problem is that my body has been altered so much that removing the mechanism (Pristiq) for my body to function in this altered state will be devastating and can have long lasting effects for years. So there goes my plan on not having to take Pristiq during next school semester... I did, however, start the cold turkey process and after experiencing withdrawal symptoms, nothing I haven't experienced from missing a dose, I decided to do a little research on other people's experience with dropping Pristiq. I took 100mg after 10mins reading of other people's experiences and why you should taper, and definitely not go cold turkey especially on Pristiq. I read a few posts about why tapering is important and have decided this is the route I will take. Tapering I need help on a plan on how to taper off Pristiq. I will be seeing my doctor about this soon. But I feel I need a plan to go to her with, otherwise she will simply use the "manufacturers recommended process" which, from what I have read, is BS. She is quite open, and I feel I need to include her in this to ensure a smooth process. I am scared to transition to another drug, as some posts have mentioned Effexor may be easier to taper off than Pristiq due to issues with cutting/crushing of Pristiq's time release capsule to small doses. I will continue reading the forums, but I see the consensus is 90% of current dose until your taking a minuscule amount. I've been on em 6 years what's another year or so as long as I can do it. Questions 1) I stopped Pristiq cold turkey for 2 days, 2 doses of 100mg. After reading this forum, I took 1 does, 100mg, as I now feel cold turkey to be a bad idea. Can I start tapering immediately, tomorow morning, or should I wait and stabilise at 100mg again? If so how long should I wait to start tapering? 2) Is cutting 100mg into 90mg an appropriate method? Or should I be using the smallest pill sizes available to create a tapered dose? ie 50mg + 25mg + 0.6*25mg = 90mg -> 50mg + 25mg + 0.24*25mg = 81mg 3) Is going from the smallest does I can get, may only be 50mg in Australia, to another drug ( eg: Effexor ) the most successful method? 4) It will take me 200 days to get to 50mg doing currentDose-90% every 4 weeks. How do I know If I can increase the interval rate? 5) Tapering to 50 or even 25mg makes sense, sizeable chunks are being taken out each interval, what is the method for less than 25mg? 6) Should I keep a journal post on this forum on my progress and methods used??? Final thoughts I feel a bit frustrated that I am able to drop from 150 to 100mg so easily, no real effects immediately, and zero effects after 1 week. But dropping to 50 mg will take ~ 200 days. Is the thinking that there is such a profound effect from the smallest dose of Pristiq, I think I read 25mg over a short period will affect 80% of serotonin receptors, that the relation is exponential therefore reducing large doses is easy but as the dose gets smaller the effects are relatively greater. Well, it's been over an hour since I popped the little bastard of a pill, and just starting to feel a little better physically, but a little frustrated about the thought of how long this process is going to take Oh well, if this is the way it has to be done. Also, a little relieved that I have other people who have experience to help me with this. I'll do some more reading on the forums, but any links to research papers on withdrawal effects, cold turkey vs standard practice vs tapering method, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help!
  14. Hello. My husband (of 26 years) has dealt with depression since he was 18. He is 50. For the last 8 years, he was on 100 mg Pristiq and 150 mg Wellbutrin and doing pretty well. (Tried many other things and quit for various reasons.) Only really bad side effect was nightmares. Insurance quit covering Pristiq so he switched to Effexor for four months, first 150 mg then 75 mg. No problem making the switch, but sexual side effects were very bad and he felt a little "fuzzy." So when we got the insurance company to agree to cover Pristiq (long battle), he switched back to 100 mg Pristiq. That was three days ago. He's about to lose it -- off-the-wall angry, tearful, shaking, insomnia. Sexual side effects of Effexor are completely gone, which is great, but doesn't mean much compared with everything else. Why is this happening -- is it Effexor withdrawal or Pristiq side effects? What should his next step be? Would LOVE some immediate help!
  15. I would like to ask for help on how to get off this drug and not have to many issues.I am in protracted withdrawal from benzo and have come off many other psycho drugs. The doctors in western Australia seem clueless about it all but really happy to write scripts though. I would appreciate all advice and help.
  16. Hi from Oz, I recently got real fed up with the amount of tablets I was taking. I looked at them and thought... Which one is the least needed... Mirtazapine was my choice. I've been on 15mcg nightly for well over a year now and it was given to help with my elevated anxiety and crap sleep. I'm also on pristiq many years now. Well, 3 weeks ago, I stopped it cold turkey... Felt fine, felt great, no worries whatsoever. About one week later I started itching like mad, I thought... Bug bites, scabies, bed bugs, fleas. I would feel the itch, scratch it and bang, big itchy mozzie like lumps would form. I got tested for scabies, all clear, cleaned all my linen, vacuumed, even did my hair for head lice. All clear. Two visits to doc, no conclusion except topical steroid base cream and oral anti histamine to stop the UNBELIEVABLE insane itch. I am riddled with hives! Just this morning my daughter asked me about my meds and said maybe it's withdrawal? So here I am, itching like the devil himself is torturing me and decided that I can't go on anymore, the creams ain't cutting it, I went back on the Mirtazapine tonight! Who else itched and scratched and scratched, I can't handle it anymore! Every doorjamb has my dna all over it from my backscratching
  17. Hi Everyone, I'm new here so thought I'd introduce myself. I've been on the mental health journey since 2007, offically diagnosed with Major Depression. I've never really had any formal triggers that get me down and naturally the symptoms of depression I battle with are usually more physical, but can be thought related too (tired, poor memory, poor concentration, can't be bothered with anything, guilt etc.). I was started on Lexapro in 2011 at 10mg and then increased a few months later to 20mg, I don't remember building up gradually or any side effects of the bump up in dose. In 2014 I checked myself into hospital and was commenced on Pristiq 25mg. I remember tapering off Lexapro over a weekend and starting Prisitq on the monday. While in hospital, for 6/7 weeks I was gradually brought up to 200mg Pristiq, as well as being started on lithium (450mg then 900mg) and Euthyrox (100mcg) to help speed up metabolism and body processes. Once discharged my meds were still tweaked to 300mg Pristiq (+900 lithium, 100 euthyrox) and I have been on them from mid 2014 until recently August 2016. I'm now going to be changing from Pristiq to Effexor. Initial plan is taper 300mg --> 200mg Pristiq over the weekend then commence 300mg Effexor next week. So far I'm just experiencing low grade headache (not going away with sleep, water or paracetamol), lethargy and fuzzy vision. In the past when having accidentally missed a dose of meds or run out, I've experienced headaches, nausea, lethargy, poor vision, need to keep moving (??), electric shock type feelings under my skin and in my brain. I usually just try to sleep until its over or can get some meds. I wonder if anyone else has changed from Pristiq--> Effexor and what worked from them in regards to the swap and limiting withdrawal/new drug ill feelings? Look forward to getting to know some of you
  18. I f have been on Pristiq now for over four years, 2 x 100mq a day. I am finding i am suffering from serious mood swings, (and i am talking serious!!!). MY whole life I have been a very calm rational person butthese days I can seem to go clean off at something or sombody for very little reason. Has anyone heard if this is a long term side effect of the drug?
  19. I need help. I am struggling and need some reassurance that what my second doctor has done is right. About 6 weeks ago I went to the Doctor and told her I was ready to get off of antidepressants. I was feeling good and also suffering some side effects such as memory loss, lack of libido and anger. I had been on Pristiq 100mg for 3 years and Lexapro 20mg for 7 years before that. I am in a new area and did not have a good relationship with this Doctor. She was very brisk and said the first week I should drop to 50mg Pristiq and then stop. There would be some uncomfortable withdrawal effects for a couple of weeks, but it would be okay after that. I did that and for about 3 weeks suffered the horrendous effects it seems many people get such as shaking, back pain, sweating, insomnia, depression, rage and nightmares. It was awful, but I was counting down the 2 weeks thinking it would get better. At around week 4 the physical symptoms were gone, but I was hit by the most intense anxiety and despair that I have ever experienced. This continues today. I went to a different Doctor who put me on Lovan 20 (fluoxetine) as she said it would be much easier to taper off of when I was ready. It has now been 9 days on Lovan and I still feel so desperate and anxious. She said the Lovan will take 2 weeks to work, but shouldn't I have felt something by now? I still can't stop crying. I was also given valium 2mg, which I hate taking, because I wanted to be off meds, but I have no choice because i feel so bad. Yesterday the valium didn't work (I took 3 tablets). I cried all day and called Lifeline twice. The only relief comes at night. I am not sure why this is happening now as night used to be my worst time, but around 8pm is when things feel better (and when my husband is home). I need constant company to feel better, but my husband is at work and I think I am ruining his life. He is so wonderful, but really stressed at work and I am adding to it hugely. I am now wondering if the answer would have been to go back on Pristiq rather than a different med, but now I suppose it is too late to do that. I don't have confidence in my Doctors and I have been to 4 now. The latest one is very kind and says this should work in 2 weeks, but what if it doesn't? Please can anyone help? I am so desperate and afraid of how to get through today. I have a counselling appointment, but my mind is so all over the place I don't know if it will help much. It is as if I am not myself anymore.
  20. Hi everyone! I stumbled across this forum when googling 'getting off Pristiq' and found the tapering pristiq post. Browsing around the last couple hours has been very helpful and calming. I'm happy to have found somewhere with people possibly experiencing similar situations like I am and to also get some support/help outside of my doctors. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder II for years and years. Ever since I was a kid. As a kid I used negative coping mechanisms to counter what I was feeling but as I got older it stopped 'helping' my feelings and began to make them worse. I first saw a psychiatrist in 2008 and was prescribed lexapro. I took it for a week and then threw the rest out. I said I could keep doing it without meds or any help (but with some counseling help of course. I can't do that alone) 2010 at 21 years old I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer) and had surgery/treatment for that. Since losing all functioning thyroid cells, I have to take Synthroid for-ev-er. These last years I've been able to really understand my body and know the difference between a depressive episode or if my thyroid levels are not optimal. And it's been a long bumpy road. This year though has been one of the worst I've experienced mentally and it led me to seek out counseling help and when I still wasn't having any improvement with CBT decided to finally try meds. My psychologist suggested a family medicine doc and I ran to her. First was prescribed lexapro and took it for a month. It made me incredibly groggy and foggy brained during the day, even with taking it at night. So my doc abruptly stopped that and had me start Pristiq 50mg that same day. I had a week of rockiness mainly with emotions and agitation. Trouble sleeping. Upset stomach. But most subsided by week 2. By the time the 4th week of being on pristiq rolled around I noticed my anxiety was getting way out of control and gradually getting worse. I had my first panic attack in YEARS after one month on pristiq. Follow up with my doc and she adds on Buspar and suggests I see a new doctor (my bad for seeing a family medicine to manage meds when I should have seen a psychiatrist first. But anywho...) Finally get in with a good psych but by now it's been 3 months on pristiq. First evaluation and everything, she tells me that Pristiq (or effexor) would be one of the last meds she would prescribe me just based on my personal symptoms/issues. So I left that appointment feeling great and accomplished! Finally going to get on track... I go back to her the next week for the medication plan and she tells me to half my 50mg pristiq pills and come back the next week. She added trazadone 75mg at night for sleep (which really has been helping in that area for me) and kept buspar the same (15mg twice daily and as needed). Holy Toledo, by day three of the half dose I was ready to crawl out of my skin. Was shaky, headaches, upset stomach, very anxious and emotional (my poor boyfriend), almost chill like body aches. I was so ready to be off pristiq I was scared to call the doc and tell her how I was feeling, so I stuck it out. Saw her last week for the follow up and told her how I was doing, she decided to keep me at the half dose of pristiq for 2 more weeks then come back (I see her next week). She mentioned possibly trying Zoloft but will have a more concrete plan when I see her next. I feel pretty defeated right now. I'm on almost 3 weeks now on the half dose of pristiq and just all around feeling poopy. Emotionally and physically. My mood has gotten way worse, depression symptoms are very strong right now and having trouble even working. I'm so glad I came across the post I did today, because I am going to call and see if she'll call in the 25mg pristiq. After reading that halving the extended release pills isn't recommended MAYBE getting the 25mg will help for now. So that's my shortened/long story. I would love to be referenced to some posts that might help since I haven't totally learned my way around yet, or even just some encouragement! Just keep telling myself this is only temporary right now
  21. Hello All- Thank you in advance for any tips or support you can provide. I found this forum by accident, and am really struggling. By way of introduction: I am currently 27 years old, and was misdiagnosed in my adolescent years, sending me into a dreadful spiral of reliance on antidepressants and psychoactive drugs for over 10 years. About two years ago I found a wonderful doctor who saw that these were unnecessary and has been guiding me through the process of tapering off of ALL Medication. I have already been able to completely go off of Lamictal (originally 300mg), though it took me a year, and am now in the final stages of tapering off of 100mg Pristiq (has been an ongoing process since this past summer 2015). As of yesterday, I was taking (roughly since they're tough to cut without crumbling) 6 mg of Pristiq and since I cannot really cut them any smaller, today is Day 1 of being at 0 dosage. My doctor was transparent with me in that this may get messy, and it is difficult to predict how anyone will react to this final cut. All along with the cuts I have experienced: extreme anxiety (subsides as my body adjusts) Depersonalization or feeling totally light-headed and "stupid" Headaches Terrible stomach upset I am so fearful of this last cut because I know it will be the worst....yet I know that the positives of my doing so will outweigh whatever costs I need to incur to get there. Does anyone have any insight for folks who have been on high doses of Pristiq for 8+ years and may give me an idea of what to expect? I feel that's the worst part- not knowing what to expect. Many of these posts involve folks who have been on for just a few years, so I am curious as to how the long-term dependence will manifest itself for a case like mine. I am grateful for any words of wisdom you can provide. Thank you!! KimT1717
  22. I'm new to the forum and desperately needing support to come off of Pristiq. I guess just reassurance I can do this without losing my mind and my hubby. Dr. Casually suggested dosing every other day but didn't feel using any other meds would help. She did say to take it slow but that's about it. The every other day regimen has already got me angry, anxious, sweating, and several severe headaches. Please tell me it gets better.
  23. I am a 20 (almost 21) year old female, Pristiq was introduced to me at age 18. I was prescribed Pristiq to relieve me from panic attacks which I would have each and every day. My panic attacks quickly lead to me becoming severely depressed, and after attempting therapy (CBT) I had a doctor get me started on these. At first, 50mg which was increased to 100mg after having my symptoms worsen on the 50mg. Honestly, after two weeks I felt very good. Almost too good. The panic attacks had completely disappeared, I felt more confident, I (for the first time in a year or so) felt fine being alone. Almost two years had passed and a new doctor came into my life. He could see I was well and had been for quite some time now, so suggested I start cutting back. I cut back from 100mg-50mg with absolutely no struggle/side effects. Four weeks ago, I simply ran out and decided in that moment I would see if I could quit; cold turkey. No such luck. Everything 18 year old me used to struggle with came straight back to haunt me: the panic attacks, the self hate, insomnia, the list goes on. I gave up and went and got my fix! Three weeks ago, I decided to get my act together and get off it completely (and the RIGHT way this time) feeling like its a good time to do this as I'm in a stable condition and feel like there's no better time to end the Pristiq chapter in my life while I have a supportive partner/family around me in the Christmas break. My fabulous doctor wrote down a plan for me. An eating plan, exercise plan and simply just things to keep me occupied whilst cutting back. As most of you may know, 50mg is the lowest dose, some of you cut it in half/quarter etc, my doctor said he had a previous patient who successfully rid herself of this drug by having one day on, one day off for week one, one day on, two days off for week two etc, etc. this is the method I have taken on. Week one (one day on, one day off): This week was hard after the first few days, when it started being drained from my system more and more. It was a struggle to get through 48 hours without taking it. The thing I most get effected from is the 'brain zaps', every time I moved my eyes side to side or even moved my head slightly, that zapping sensation would fill my head. That feeling agitates me to a level of extreme anxiety, simply just because I know it's not a feeling which is 'normal'. I was moody and sleep deprived most of this week, but once day seven hit, I felt much better. Week two (one day on, two days off etc) Wow. I can go 36 hours EASILY without taking Pristiq. I feel as though I could just stop it completely right now. I feel fantastic. SO MUCH MORE ENERGISED! I haven't felt this energy for years. It's almost like I forgot what it's like to feel 'normal' without medication, but all those feelings are returning. I didn't expect to feel so well, so quick. A lot of this could be the eating plan my doctor put me on, as well as having a high dose of magnesium added to my diet. I'm also exercising a lot more than I usually would have. Either way, I feel fantastic. Week three (one day on, three days off) I'm writing this part on day one after having three days off. I don't know if it's relevant to the Pristiq or simply just my body clock being all kinds of messed up from the Christmas/New Years buzz, but I haven't slept for almost 40 hours. I don't feel sleepy, I feel quite alright. I'm not feeling any of my regular side effects (nausea, brain buzz, headaches, agitation), in fact I feel fantastic for someone who has had no sleep. I would love to hear if anyone else has tried this technique, and has had similar or completely different results. I personally am finding this a lot easier than I anticipated and would love to help out anyone going through the same journey as I know how tricky it can be at times! If anyone's interested in my progress, I'll keep at this forum. Warm regards, Hannah.
  24. Good afternoon and thank you for taking some time to read this. First of all, sorry for my low English level. I will try to explain my case as clearly as I can. Last year, I was diagnosed with depression. My psychiatrist prescribed me Pristiq 100 mg (one pill a day). I finished the treatment in July, 2015. However, since the middle of the treatment until now, I notice this subjective side effects: -Memory problems, I have to make much effort to remember anything. -I used to have a clear mind, since I took Pristiq, my mind is slow and I lost my esase of expression. (Is this that some people call "brain fog"?) -Subjective feeling of intelligence loss. -Great difficulty for reasoning. -Loss of interest and illusion for all. -And many others... I'm very worried because I stopped taking the medication 5 months ago, but the symptoms continue, and sometimes, I think that they get worse. If someone has taken this medication and is suffering similar symptoms, please post it in this topic. Are this effects permanent or they go over time? Help, please!
  25. I cannot wait to get off of Pristiq. It was prescribed to me after five years of not being on any medication. I had some events that would naturally cause depression: the end of a relationship, the loss of a job due to budget cuts, and a few other dramatic circumstances. I was put on Pristiq because my history with SSRIs was extensive and found to be largely ineffective. The med would stop working, I'd be raised to the maximum dose, then bridge over to a lower dosage of a new one. I blatantly asked the doctor what the withdrawal symptoms would be when I was ready to come off of Pristiq 50 mg, as my brother has struggled with Benzo withdrawal. He dismissed this by saying "this is a different class drug" and for some reason, when I did my own research, I didn't see all the horror stories I am seeing now. At first Pristiq was fine- I felt my mood was more even overall, although PMDD still crashed me a little bit every month. In December, I noticed that I was having bouts of confusion and severe light-headedness. When I told my doctor of this, he dismissed it by saying it was anxiety from the stress of the holidays. I tolerated the continuing and intensifying side effects, thinking that what I was experiencing was just the way my brain worked now. When I started hallucinating and seeing the ground roll under my feet, I knew this was not my brain... This was my brain on Pristiq. When I realized it was the med causing the weird sensations I was feeling, I told my friends of it. Ones who had done acid in the past said it sounded to them like I was tripping. And so Mystiq was born... And it was a terrible realization. Hallucinating daily and being completely confused when driving concerned me- I was a risk to myself and others. Two weeks ago, I emailed my doc and said I wanted to taper ASAP. In the meantime, I started to take Pristiq (I'm on 50 mg) every other day. I stopped hallucinating almost immediately. I don't feel great, but I feel way better than I did on full dosage. I saw my doctor (and I don't think he will remain so for long) yesterday and I will be starting on the 25 mg dosage tomorrow. I'm nervous about the withdrawals from this big taper. I am starting chelated magnesium and methyl-guard which I hope will help. I also have antivert for dizziness. I've never had brain zaps in the past so here's hoping for that to continue! Just by skipping doses I have had huge disturbances in my sleep, but that has been gradually improving. I can't wait to get off of this terrible drug! It has been helpful to read all of the advice from Alto and to hear the stories of so many others coming off this brain-mucker. Good luck to all. We will persevere!! ????Pheonix????
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