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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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????
  11. Hi everyone, I am new here. I joined because I am looking for support & guidance to wean off Pristiq. I have been on this med for 4 years & simply don't feel I need it anymore. The problem is, I take the lowest dosage available & was advised to not split them in half because they are time release tablets. My doc suggested that I start by taking one every other day but I experienced terrible dizziness when I tried that. I seriously hate the control this med has over me! Anyone have any tips/advise for me? Thanks!!
  12. Hello, I have been following this forum since I (regretibly) stopped taking Pristiq because I was trying to lower my costs and started taking Cymbalta. I recently (June 23rd) went to my Primary Dr who out me on Pristiq, and discussed options with him. We talked about Cymbalta, he made it sound like a good alternative to Pristiq and again, I was looking to save money and find a generic SNRI. The last 4 days have been miserable, he told me to stop taking Pristiq (even when I suggested lowering from 100 to 50mg first) and start Cymbalta, 30mg. I am at the point where I just want to go back on Pristiq, saving some money is not worth this feeling. I called Dr and was told I would have to set appt to see him again to go back on Pristiq, which I do have prescription for and refills. I just moved to another state and flying back there is not an option. And considering the way I was taken off one and put on the other, he will simply tell me the same thing. Has anyone had experience with starting an AD then switching back to your initial AD without any issues? Any advice would be appreciated, considering my Dr. wont even discus this with a simple phone call! Thank you in advance!! Echo
  13. Hi, I'm new here. I took lexapro for 10 months and decided (with GP help) to switch to pristiq because I was always tired and wanted to get energy back. I tapered off lexapro 20mg quickly (<1 week) because I was impatient. Now on pristiq was good for 3 days now hell. Nauseous within 30 mins of taking it, often vomiting, spinning head, it wears off about 4 hours too quickly and I feel like I get withdrawals (nausea, headache, head spinning, panic, paranoia, horrible visual images, nightmares. Have had to have 3 days off work. I want to stop pristiq. I've only been on it 2 weeks, 50mg daily. My doc doesn't believe my symptoms, thinks I've got a virus. After only 2 weeks any ideas on how to taper? Should I transition back to lexapro? If so how? Thanks
  14. Hi all, The time has come for me to discontinue Pristiq. This site has been an excellent source of information whilst I've been researching way's to come off of Pristiq safely/possible hiccoughs. I thought it was only fair that I would contribute my experience as well Some pertinent information: I'm a 24 y.o Male, prescribed 50mg Pristiq in late 2011 to help control anxiety/variable mood. Prior to this I was occasionally using Benzos (10mg Diazepam) to help control heightened anxiety - on reflection the Benzos were probably causing/contributing to variable mood, at the time however my doctor didn't mention this and prescribed Pristiq. I saw excellent results once the Pristiq started to kick in, boundless energy (mental functioning above average with only 5-6 hours sleep), significant weight loss and a stable mood. These effects started to wear off after 6 or so months. Increased my dose to 100mg on suggestion of doctor in mid 2012 in an attempt to control resurging anxiety coupled with some depression - most likely related to juggling 5 challenging univeristy courses with some tough personal circumstances. I saw an improvement in mood/functioning and didn't notice an increase in side effects at the time aside from it becoming nearly impossible to orgasm from intercourse alone (apologies if this is too much information). Unfortunately I didn't see anything like the weightloss or stimulant effects I had when starting on 50mg. Since being on the 100mg dose I've noticed I get brain zaps much sooner after missing a dose than I had on 50mg. Slowly but surely putting weight back on - currently back to where I was prior ot starting Pristiq in 2011. Successfuly completed university at the end of 2013. Spent a month travelling before starting a job in February 2014. Began relationship with my current partner in April 2014. The fourth dot point is there to qualify my choice to discontinue medication - things have a changed a lot for me over the past 12 months. I feel like I am in a much safer, more stable place than I have been for the past few years. For completeness I should also mention that the sexual side effects of Pristiq (Delayed orgasm) are also becoming problematic now I'm in a long term relationship and providing a bit of an extra push to go through the withdrawal process, though they are by no means the only reason I'm choosing to do so. My taper plan: Having read through tips for tapering off of Pristiq along with a suite of posts on this site and others I've decided to taper by cutting tablets. I considered a switch to a more easily tapered drug like prozac or effexor but ultimately decided against it, mostly because I didn't want to risk new and exciting side effects from those drugs in addition to Pristiq discontinuation syndrome. I still have reservations about cutting tablets given the warnings on the packet about it but I feel like I don't have a choice in the matter given that 50mg is the next and only lower dose. I intend to taper by 12.5mg (1/4 of a 50mg tablet) at a time, though I might look for ways to slow this down towards the end of the taper. I have been on an 87.5mg dose for 6 days now and intend to maintain this for another 3 weeks before dropping to 75mg. If I'm still relatively side effect free after 3 weeks on 75mg I'll drop down to 62.5mg, if that is succesful then I will try and maintain a 2 week interval between drops from 62.5mg to 0. Really depends on how I'm feeling after each taper though. My discontinuation effects have been reasonably mild so far. I'm taking 3/4 of a tablet with breakfast and a whole 50mg tablet at 3pm. My rationale is that if I am seeing dose dumping due to split tablets it's better that I get a big desvenfelaxine kick in the morning, by taking 50mg in the afternoon I know I will have some slow release Pristiq in my system to get me throught the evening/night before I take my next dose. Once I get down to 37.5mg I will try and spread the three quarter tablets across the day - one quarter morning afternoon and night. I would like to taper by 10% at a time as suggested by this site but it just isn't feasible with this particular medication. How to succesfully cut tablets into quarters: *Please note that this goes directly against explicit advise from the manufacturer of Pristiq - attempt to divide tablets at your own risk.* Pristiq tablets are notoriously difficult to divide accurately. The best way I've found so far is to cut a groove through the coating and 1/3 of the way into the tablet with an exacto knife before completing the split with a butter knife (I suspect a pill cutter would be a better option than a butter knife but I don't currently have one). I do this on a nylon cutting board while holding the tablet on either side with my fingers. Though still not a perfect split it is usually very close, certainly close enough to not make a difference at the high dose I'm taking - this might become more problematic at the end of my taper. Side effects/discontinuation effects: On the couple of days that I've been late with the afternoon dose I've noticed mild brain zaps and what feels like slightly delayed inertia when moving. It's difficult to fully describe but I liken it to my brain and balance lagging half a second behind the physical movement of my body. For the most part this has abated after taking the 50mg tablet . Today (6th day of my taper) is the first day I've had noticeable discontinuation effects all day. After consulting dr. google I've self diagnosed mild Mania (whether this is accurate or not I'm not qualified to say). I had a restless sleep and woke up at 3am full of energy. After an hour I crashed and went back to sleep. When I awoke again at 7am I was in a black mood - extremely irritable but not lacking motivation. This continued for a couple of hours before I was hit with Euphoria. It felt like switching on a light, within the space of 30 seconds I went from being pissed off at everyone and everyone to randomly singing and dancing around the house as I was doing housework. It's now 3pm and I've felt relatively normal for the last couple of hours, aside from some mild dizziness and brain zaps despite having already taken my afternoon dose of Pristiq. General Comments: It is probably worth noting that I think on balance Pristiq was the right medication for me. It did what it said on the packet with acceptable levels of negative side effects (and the added bonus of some beneficial ones). That said, I find it incredibly frustrating that pfizer don't offer a 25mg tablet or liquid dose that would allow me to taper my dose easily and safely. Thanks for reading if you've managed to get this far, I tried to make it as logical and easy to read as possible but it's still ended up ebing a lot of text. I'll post progress updates as I go Cheers, Huggy
  15. Hi all, Bit of a long read- thanks if you read til the end- Where to start, part of me wants to cry just beginning. I wont as I am trying very hard to be positive these days. I am about to attempt to come off Pristiq (the devil drug) for the third time in 3.5 years. I have a long complex mental health history and apparently suffer from Post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder- I am 23 and have had underlying depression from these things since approximately 5 years old. Although having these diagnoses', I never wanted to try anti depressants. In 2011, however, I was taken to the gp after being told I was causing too much heartache on my then partner. The Gp put me on 50mg of pristiq and after 2 weeks of no change (duh I have a mental past and need psychology not pills) I was then put on 100mg of Pristiq. Since then I have attempted to come off pristiq by halving the dosage then halving the 50mg dose and taking prozac and a low dose tranquilizer- experienced severe side effects- anxiety, confusion of both mind and body, aggression, headaches, dizziness,sweats, nausea, numbness of the face (left side in particular,) increased depression and the feeling of the room moving in and out. After this I went back to 100mg then tried a few months later to taper (50mg for first week again) substituting the prozac and tranq for valium at night thereafter, however after 2 weeks the same adverse reactions was put back to 100mg. Since then I have tried multiple other psychiatrists asking to discontinue Pristiq, however none were willing to do so, all of which told me I needed to be more 'mentally stable' before coming off the meds. Last year I experienced an incident which turned me back into a child and I have had to rebuild my entire life in one year-however the depression, anxiety, extreme aggression and agitation plus an included physical disability (now finally gone) has meant I have lost my job, my study plans, my animals wont come near me when I start to tear up as they are now scared of me (which is devastating for me as I was studying vet nursing and animal law) and finally, two days ago my partner of 2 years asked for a break, told me she has kissed someone else a few months ago and isn't sure if she can be with me anymore after how I made her feel through my aggression- I honestly believe the pristiq increased my anger levels. I have towered over my poor partner while she has been crying in a ball, SCREAMING at her telling her everything thats wrong with her and the whole world. And some I don't even remember. I spent an entire year tearing her down into nothing! I still love my partner(although an hurting about her kiss with someone else- she was going through a hard time, I was being so depressed I was entirely focused on myself- I actually said the words, I'm the one with depression, you're not allowed to cry) Thats not who I am- I truly believe its the damn pristiq ! I am a kind hearted girl who wants to change and save the world from all injustices, I try to live a life of compassion never cruelty- and I turned into a monster- I turned into who hurt me- I have had enough of this drug-I am finally living a life of positive thinking but this drug is underlying and if I don't take it at the same time every day I get dizzy, confused and cannot feel parts of my face (generally the left side.) After a recent recommendation I though I was going to get admitted to hospital to come off the drug, however I found out today this is not possible. So while my partner and I need time and space, I am in a relatively good frame of mine, I think its the time to come off the awful Pristiq! After reading everyone's topics on this forum I am so scared at how long it is going to take ! My heart is racing thinking about it. Sorry for the long intro I am lost and scared but staying hopeful regardless. I want the real me back
  16. Hey I don't have any major issues, just have a mind that never stops thinking and problems sleeping. I'm thinking about only taking Prestiq on Friday and Saturday nights, I know it's an everyday medication but all the info I have read points to this not really being tried before but nothing says it's not worth trying. Apart from the general the medication isn't ment to be taken like that what other thoughts do you have? Thanks Dato
  17. Thank you for the "tapering Pristiq" topic and the extensive information and updates and also the many links to gain more info. After reading this I have formulated a plan for attempting a wean off my current high dose of 100mg Pristiq which I take in addition to Welbutrin 300mg. (For those unaware that is a &@$*#% ton of SNRI on board!!) My exact plan was to start by transitioning my body to taking multiple smaller doses of the 100mg cut up without changing the dose then to begin the taper VERY SLOWLY I am currently at 75mg taken as three doses of 25mg (three pieces of a tablet I carefully quarter with a pill cutter). I have set a timer on my phone to remind me to take my dose. I cannot express enough the importance of not missing doses during this process. I am currently having symptoms. I am frequently nauseated, irritable and tired. I have an almost constant headache, light sensitivity and rarely "brain zaps" especially early in the morning because I am farthest from my last dose at that time. I am doing this without informing EVERYONE in my life so naturally my greatest fear with this process is not having the support I need. I know I will have bad days and irritability and it will get much worse before it gets better. I know that I may get to a point where I just want to go back and feel what has been "normal" for the past 14 years. I have tried to be proactive in this endeavor by enlisting my sister as my accountability person. (Geez it sounds like I'm am addict when I say that). I have informed her of my plan and my goals. I talk to her frequently and vent to her about my symptoms (I can't whine to everyone) She reminds me of my "why" for doing this so I don't lose sight of the goal. I am also keeping a journal to log my progress and help me manage the internal monologue that can sometimes be very negative when I don't feel well. Most importantly I am taking it extremely slow. Even though I want this process over NOW I know I cannot take away from my brain what it has been used to for such a LONG TIME. (You did read above when I said 14 years) I will post later about my experiences with various anti-depressants in another post. Here's to success and being medication-free (eventually)
  18. I was on 50mgs of Pristiq for 6 years and because I am trying to get pregnant I wanted to come off. I had a great experience on it, I had such bad anxiety I couldn't leave the house. Plus bouts of depression. It helped me greatly. BUT getting off it has been really hard. My dr gave me 10mgs of prozac to help ween. So for 10 days I took prozac while taking pristiq every other day. Two days off I had REALLY bad withdrawal. Very dizzy, verdigo, brain spaciness... its hard to explain really. But it was bad. I couldn't work or do much. So my dr put me back on prozac for 5 days and that helped A LOT. I was back to normal. Then something strange happened I was fine for about 10 days (off of everything) and the withdrawal came back full force. So I took only one 10 mgs of Prozac and within 20 mins I was fine until another 10 days went by and its back again. It was so bad today I had to leave work. I am not really sure what to do, I want to be off everything. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
  19. I've been using pristiq since 2007(ish) and had been on Effexor prior to that for about 3 years. I've got a new insurance company and since they are slowpokes getting my "authorization" complete. I've been without Pristiq since this past Sunday. Not too long, but I feel crazy. I'm floating outside of my body, can't wake up and generally just want to be by myself in the bed all day. Impossible when I have to work. Does anyone have any suggestions for getting thru this? There are no samples available at the Dr. The Pharmacy wants to charge me $25 for 3 pills. My entire copay is $35 for 30. A friend has offered some Abilify for the interim. Does anyone know if that would help? Or would that just make it worse? Last night, I had an additional 0.25 Xanax, but that just knocks me out. I'm still cranky and weird and have the craziest dreams. Thanks for any suggestions!
  20. Hi. I could really use some advice and I was hoping this would be the best place to ask for it. I've been on Pristiq for four months now. I started with 50 and after one month of that my doctor put me on 100 mg. I have since moved to Europe, where desvenlafaxine is not approved, and because of this have to discontinue this medication. Ive consulted my doctor prior to departure to Europe, and he gave me 2 sample packs of 50 mg pills to taper with when im starting to run out. I dont have those anymore because my girlfriend mistook them for her birth control pills and packed them when she went back to Canada. So right now, i have twenty-seven 100mg pills left, and somehow have to ween myself off of this drug which i know has terrible withdrawal symptoms. Can anyone give me any advice as to how to proceed now?
  21. I'm a mature adult - now 69 years young. Started with Strattera several years ago when I had focus problems in writing grant applications for a new nonprofit (see missrubyskids.org). I was very happy for awhile; the irritable bowel I'd had forever vanished, I could do a public presentation without melting down, and I was able to focus like a laser. There was a side effect - loss of libido - but that was not a problem as hubby was no longer interested. However, when I tried to stop the med cold turkey a couple of years later as I was no longer writing grants. the fallout was awful. After just one week I had mood swings, digestive upsets, scrambled brain, etc. My family practice doctor put me on 50mg Pristiq about two years ago. Again, I was happy. No digestive upsets as with Strattera - caused by dumping? - and I felt normal. But I began reading that SSRIs might contribute to alzheimers so now I'm determined to get off this med.
  22. Hi all, I'm new and have been reading the forums for a couple of months and I have to say everything I have read so far has given me hope and a new found attitude towards my health and well-being. I'm ready to take control and be accountable for what I do and do not do to my body. I have always trusted in doctors and medical professionals; it gets instilled in many of us from a young age that if you're sick, the doctor will help. Unfortunately for me, and probably many others, it was like a "blind faith" and I never thought to question my doctor's opinion and trusted he/she knew what they were prescribing; that they had taken the risks and/or side-effects into consideration before they scribbled away on their pad and had me tottering off to the pharmacy. I realise now that this is, sadly, not true of the medical professionals that I have trusted with my care. I lived at home until I was 21. My childhood had a rocky start with my father abusing (beating) myself and my siblings. It went on for years. I was about 5 by the time I told my mother, and 6 by the time he had gone to prison. I had good support, my mother took me to a child psychologist to talk about what had happened and I think I dealt ok with it. I often had nightmares, or imagined things had turned out differently and I would work myself up and cry, but I didn't feel truly sad or depressed about it; it was what it was. I think the hardest part for me came a lot later, years later. When I was at uni and out in the real world, dealing with real relationships and people and stress and responsibility. My family never talked about what had happened with my father, we all knew it had happened, but whenever any conversation came close to the subject, someone steered it away. We just, never talked about it. All this time I still had, on occasion, fantasies about what had happened, what might happen, and eventually I had convinced myself that it hadn't happened. No one wanted to talk about it, so maybe it didn't really happen the way I remembered. Maybe I made it all up? Did I ruin my family by making it all up? So many maybes and no way to sort them out. My self-esteem was never great. I was very shy and had a lot of problems talking to people. Add to this my conviction that my childhood hadn't happened the way I thought it had, that I had made it all up, and you get me 10 years ago: low self-esteem, self-doubt, guilt. I guess this wasn't so bad on its own, a lot of people suffer from these things; they aren't pleasant, but they aren't the end of the world. The real problems started when I began a romantic relationship. I had dated guys before, but I saw this as my first adult relationship. It all went well at first, but I had massive, MASSIVE, blinkers on (hindsight huh!). In short, he was manipulative and emotionally abusive. I knew the entire time I was with him (4 years) that he wasn't good for me, that I deserved better, but my bags of low self-esteem, self-doubt and guilt convinced me that it was better to be in a relationship than be alone. When I was still living at home and going to uni, we had a big bust up which sent me into a guilt and shame spiral, even though he was the one that did something wrong, he manipulated me into thinking it was my fault. My friend found me at my desk, head down, exhausted. She suggested I talk to a doctor and I did. He prescribed me Zoloft and I didn't sleep for two weeks. That was my first contact with anti depressants, and after not sleeping for two weeks (not literally of course, I'm sure I fell asleep at some point each night, it just didn't feel like it) I was a zombie. I chucked those pills away, not thinking about the consequences of going cold turkey. I figured it was fine because it had only been two weeks, and they're just "happy pills", right?! What could go wrong. I was ill. I felt like I had a really bad flu and was in bed for a few days until my body adjusted. I didn't realise I was having withdrawal symptoms, I didn't know there was such a thing, my doctor had said nothing about it. I got over it after a few days and didn't think of it again. My boyfriend planned to move states, back to his home-town, and me being me, I followed. Things were ok for a while, but he wore me down slowly. I let him. I didn't stand up for myself and one day I was standing in the shower crying and I didn't know why. He told me there was something wrong with me and that I had to go to the doctor. So I did. The doctor I found was quite good. We talked about how I was feeling, what my options were, how he normally deals (medically) with these issues, and we decided to start me on St John's Wort. He told me of the risks involved and that I had to be careful taking it. I took it for about 6 months, but didn't notice any significant improvement, so I went back to the doctor again, but because it was a Saturday and I was desperate, I had to make do with the on-call doctor. My first impression of him was horrible. He was rude and arrogant, and made me feel like I was wasting his time by "being a little bit sad". He was completely flippant about how I was feeling that it made me feel worse. Nevertheless, he prescribed me 20mg Cipramil (Citalopram) and said I should talk to the clinical psychologist that worked at the practice. I left feeling like s**t. I went to the pharmacy, got the prescription filled and drove to the beach. I sat in my car and watched the waves crash against the sand. I pulled a pill from the box and just stared at it in my hand for the longest time. Eventually I just shoved it in my mouth and swallowed. And that was the start. I was on 20mg Cipramil for a few years as well as seeing the clinical psychologist which helped a bit, but I don't think I really, truly had a grip on what was wrong with me, so I was just "going through the motions", thinking I was getting better. I ended up finally standing up for myself and getting out of that relationship. I met my current (wonderful) partner, who is now my fiancé a few months later. Things were great, I felt great, but I still hadn't dealt with my initial problems, and when work became stressful, I unravelled. I went back to the doctor, yet another new one (same practice though), and she had me fill out a quick form about how I felt and then gave me a few sample boxes of 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) and sent me on my way. There was no talk about the drug itself or possible side effects, and at the time I was still naive enough to not question. When I got my prescription filled, there was no information leaflet in the box - there still isn't today (Oct 2013) - and I didn't think to research it. I started taking the Pristiq and after a few weeks I felt ok. I didn't feel like laying in bed all day, I wasn't crying at the drop of a hat, I was better able to manage the work stress. Overall I felt better than I had in months. I continued taking the drug and at subsequent doctor visits I would get a new prescription. I remember asking about when to come off the drug, and my doctor said I had to be on it for at least a year if not more. I don't remember if she offered any reasoning behind this length of time, but me being me again, I blindly accepted it as truth. I eventually switched to another doctor within the practice after my current one left, and although she is nice, my first appointment with her didn't fill me with confidence. All I took from that first appointment was yet another prescription and the advice to get some exercise and read "the good book". I don't know which book she was referring to, I can only assume she meant the Bible. I'm not a religious person, and while I didn't take offence, I was pretty angry and baffled by the suggestion and that the Bible would "cure" my depression, like it was a misunderstanding or that a lack of religion was the cause of my depression. (Now that I think back on it, I'm getting offended by it.....calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...rainbows and puppy dogs...). Anyway, over the last two years, every time I have had an appointment with this doctor, I have had to correct her case history of my prescriptions. She is constantly under the impression that I have only been taking Pristiq for a "couple of months". I find this pretty annoying, but I'm not a confrontational person, so I don't say anything other than to correct her. She wrote me a prescription for 50mg Pristiq about a year or so ago and said that I could start taking this when I felt better. I was really apprehensive as I was still going through stress and I hadn't sorted out or dealt with my underlying feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, etc. So I kept going. It wasn't until my fiancé and I had a rough patch that started in late 2012 and ended just recently that I realised I needed to get a handle on things. I was just drifting through life, not really engaging and as I thought more and more about it, I realised that I was a zombie, a robot, and it was really, really difficult to remember things. Even now, I can't remember most of the conversations I've had with people over the last few months, it's like the words reached my ears, and I engaged with them, but there's no record of it. Sometimes I will have just spoken with someone and have no idea what it is they said; I remember the context, but not the actual words. It's pretty scary. It's like there is a warm fuzzy blanket over my brain. During our rough patch, I was seeing my psychologist and a counsellor. The counsellor really, really helped. My psychologist has helped a great deal too, but I found the counsellor to be a much better resource for me. She helped me to figure out and really focus on how I was feeling, which has led me to where I am today. Once I started feeling better and more in control, with the help of the psych, counsellor and my wonderful fiancé, I decided that I no longer wanted to take antidepressants. If I am going to be stressed, or sad, or frightened or anxious I want to face it and deal with it. I don't want to put a warm, fuzzy blanket over the difficult feelings anymore, because they're still there, they haven't gone away. I want to talk about things, really talk, really understand, really deal, and be here, for real. I got my prescription for 50mg pristiq filled and started taking it. I think it was a Sunday. I felt fine all week until Friday night. It was raining and our electric gate becomes dodgy in the rain. We ordered pizza for tea and after about an hour I picked up my phone, which I had left on silent and there were 3 missed calls from the delivery driver, saying he couldn't open the gate to deliver our pizza. I managed to call the company and get him to come back, and by that time it was fairly terrible pizza. In rushed the guilt - I had missed the calls because my phone was on silent, it's my fault the pizza was terrible, what must my fiancé think, I can't even get a pizza delivered...and on and on down the irrational road my brain skipped. I Iay on the couch and cried over pizza. My fiancé didn't know what to do. It was a fairly quick episode and I went on watching TV, not thinking much of it. The next day I couldn't focus on one thing for more than 10 - 30 seconds. Literally. I was fidgetting, picking things up to put them away, only to abandon them somewhere between where I picked them up and where I got distracted with something else. I picked up 4 books to read, only to put them down again, I started to get my old knitting project out, put it back, cross-stitch project out, put it back, start a computer game, quit, start another, quit. It drove my fiancé crazy. Eventually I settled on watching some TV and calmed down. The next day (Sunday) we talked and I decided to go back up to 100mg. It was only then that I realised that the headache that had been in the background all week was getting worse. I went to the chemist and they gave me the strongest over-the-counter pain killers (1000mg paracetamol and 12.5mg codeine I think), and I took them for a week before the headache went away. I started researching coming off antidepressants and found a new term: antidepressant withdrawal. What I had gone through the last week was a real thing and I wasn't the only one suffering. I read more and found the 10% taper method in these forums and read associated links and materials and finally had a good idea about how I needed to do this. I went back to the doctor and told her that I had gone down to 50mg and had suffered headaches, fidgetting, and mood swings and that I wanted to come down slower. All she heard was "mood swings" and told me that it meant I had to be on the higher dose. After all the reading I had done, I finally realised that even though she was a doctor, she didn't really know how to deal with depression or the medication she had been prescribing me. But I knew what I wanted, I wanted out. So I managed to convince her that I was ok and still wanted to come down, and that my crying episode was just because I felt crappy having had a headache all week. She then told me that I should cut the 50mg tablet in half and take 75mg. I know there have been some success stories posted here where people have done this (cutting Pristiq tablets), but at this point, I felt she was reaching at straws; uninformed. I didn't want to be an experiment anymore, "try this, see how you go". If I was going to try anything, it would be my way. I mentioned the compounding pharmacy I had found and asked if that would be a better way to go. She just said they wouldn't be able to make my medication for years to come because it isn't a publicly available formula. I had already done some research and suggested that they could just crush the 100mg tablets and make me a dose of 90mg instead. She waved me away, saying "no no". This was my last attempt, so I accepted her prescription and went to the compounding pharmacy the next day. They were a little skeptical at first too: "oh yes I've been there too honey, it's not nice, but you're doctor knows what they're doing", "you should be fine with this dose". But I was insistent that I was tapering in 10% doses. They spoke to the pharmacist and it was all agreed and my 90mg tablets were ready to pick up a few days later. It's gone very well so far, I have been taking the 90mg for a month now. I have had 3 "brain zaps" so far, which have been in the evening, and not too serious or unpleasant - I was disoriented for a couple seconds and my brain felt kind of heavy (if such a thing is possible!). I have ordered my next batch at 80mg which should be ready this week. I'm feeling so good at being in control!
  23. snriwithdrawal

    Pristiq / SNRI withdrawal

    This is only my personal experience with Pristiq and should not be construed as medical advice. I am a 40-something married female, two young children and working full-time, who decided to start Pristiq (I used to work for company that makes the product). I thought due to the nor-epinephrine component I thought it would give me a little more energy and make me a little more happy. It made me a little sluggish and tired, not to mention just feeling like I was in a fog. The other noticeable side effects included constipation, nausea, decreased sexual interest, etc, The nausea and constipation was ridiculous. After approximately four weeks of Pristiq, I decided to discontinue the drug. I did quite a bit of research including this website. What a great resource this site is! I am now 7 1/2 days post my last dose. I only did 1 day of tapering which consisted of waiting until the 36th hour past the previous dose (1 1/2 days later). Which I know was not the preferred way to go about this. There are truly no good answers to discontinuing Pristiq. The last dose was on a Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday were my worst days. I continued to go to work, etc. The withdrawal nausea was bad. That Wednesday (3 days post the previous dose) felt like a moderate-severe college hangover. This past Friday, the vertigo was tough. Each day thereafter I felt a little better. Today is week since the last dose. I feel probably 90% like my old self (which is a good thing :-) ). Honestly, I would have to say that due to the lack of a smaller dose, e.g. 25 mg for tapering, Pristiq will always be a no go for me. As an example, Effexor XR has a 1/2 dose (37.5 mg) which is useful for tapering and was the 2nd generation of Effexor (Pristiq is the active metabolite of Effexor XR). The product life-cycle was 1st Effexor then Effexor XR then Pristiq. If I need a SNRI in the future, Effexor will be my choice due to the tapering option. To reiterate, this is only my personal experience with Pristiq and should not be construed as medical advice. These are just my two cents on the issue.
  24. Hello, I am new to this forum and it looks like a great resource. I have been on various antidepressants since 1991 and unfortunately never tried to stop taking the meds. I tried to withdrawal from Effexor a few years ago and i didnt consider it a serious attempt because i went back after 2 weeks. I decided to try to go off meds (Pristiq) 3 months ago and I underestimated the way i would feel. I began tapering steps. 1. 50mg/day every day-- balance affected, lightheadedness 2. 50mg/every second day --3 weeks later-- irritability, morning anxiety added 3. 50mg/every third day -- 4 weeks later -- anxiety is all day, low appetite added--lost 12 lbs over next six weeks 4. 50mg/every fourth day--3 weeks later-- same anxiety but balance and lightheadedness lessening 5. tried to go to 50mg/every 5th day --- was so irritable by the fifth day, i decided to stay at every 4th day. I'm hoping that i can continue to taper but at a slower rate and maybe the anxiety will lessen or hopefully go away. I didnt count on these symptoms when i decided to go off Pristiq. I am afraid that Pristiq covered up the anxiety i have in my brain but I didnt feel like this before i started taking these drugs a long time ago so i am hoping its just a withdrawal symptom. Not sure if taking antidepressants over many years leaves your brain unable to manufacture the chemicals i need to lessen anxiety and depression, and if so, what can be done to help my brain make these chemicals? Ron
  25. Hi everybody! First post here. I have been on Pristiq for about 4 years. At first it was 50mg per day then a little less than 2 years ago I was increased to 100mg a day. (in there somewhere I was on klonopin for less than a year at the same time. quit that mess cold turkey with some pretty brutal withdrawals) 3-4 months ago I tapered myself down to 50mg a day. Last week my doctor advised me that I could start to ween off completely by taking half a pill every other day. This morning should have been my half a pill day but I didn't feel horrible and I am very excited to be off this medication so I didn't take it. I've got a tiny bit of dizziness but only when I'm moving around. No bad brain zaps yet. I am weepy though. Crying over weird things, remembering things from the past and crying over them, etc. I don't feel nearly as bad as I did when I stopped the klonopin so now I'm wondering- do I just not take anymore and let my body ride it out? Or am I kidding myself and by this time tomorrow I will be a complete mess of a human if I don't take my half a pill because my body hasnt caught up? Sorry if none of this makes sense. Thanks in advance for any insights.
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