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  1. Conner

    Conner: Help

    #1 Help. I was on lexapro 8 years. Tapered off lexapro onto Effexor in sept 2021. Couldn’t handle it. Stopped taking after 5 days. Started Zoloft. Lasted 30 days. Side effects were bad. Tapered off to pristiq. Lasted 10 days and my psychiatrist said to just stop. I was trying to give my body a break so I could start a new med. 8 days later I went back to lexapro. Took it tonight. I’ve been having slight confusion lately, mental fog, poor concentration and not in touch with reality. I’ve always had panic attacks but what I experienced was not. My brain started to get warm and I almost wanted to pass out following extreme confusion with my heart/pulse racing incredibly fast. It’s like my brain was shutting down. I was so scared thinking i was having a brain aneurysm, stroke or seizure. I called 911. Went to hospital where I got a ct scan of my head. They ruled out a tumor, stroke or seizure: they didn’t check my blood sugar or run blood work. This happened at 10pm tonight. Got back home almost 2AM and went to bed extremely scared. I woke up an hour later in state of confusion to this happening again. The docs say it’s from the meds. I’m so scared I can’t sleep bc I don’t want it to happen again. I feel like it’s more than this and I’m actually going to die from whatever this is. It’s like my brain is broke. I was perfectly fine a few months ago. Idk why the docs couldn’t find an answer to what I was experiencing. I’m so scared this is something else. I’m 34, male, good health.. active
  2. Original topic title: I survived Generalized anxiety disorder to a very intense degree as well as Major depressive disorder in a very short amount of time, I basically dropped Pregabalin, and clonazepam Now I only have to drop Pristiq( please help me Hey How is this community? I was researching and I found you all. I hope you all are well and doing great. I suffered from Anxiety since I was around 18 years and it would come and go in waves. I never really resorted to Psychotropic drugs. Most of the time my anxiety would spotaneously resolve. I would always stay very active with exercise and swimming and sports. I always had great family and friend support and my disorder never got out of hand. I had bouts of recreational drug use and abuse during my college years but never was an addict( I used MDMA and cocaine). However even with my anxiety disorder I never took this SSRI/SNRI garbage and I suffered from anxiety for 13 years. Essentially it is Garbage. It might help to a degree with anxiety or depression. But I see the damage it does to the beautiful human body. My anxiety got out of control starting last year and it kept getting more intense. I never dealt with anxiety at this level. It was something surreal. I was just suprised. I always had anxiety. But this was something out of this world. The anxiety kept getting more intense, the spiraling thoughts, then the anxiety took over my body, mind and soul. I was rendered incapacitated. I started to develop depression and also suicidal thoughts. I never dealt with something of this magnitude. It was truly out of this world. I had to take some time from work. I developed a plan to recover. I read self help books. I had family support. I started to exercise intensively and I got on Psychotropic drugs. This took place this year the worst of it from february 2022 to May 2022. I am essentially recovered now August 2022. Lyrica, Clonazepam and Pristiq. My dosage of Lyrica was 400 mg a day at one point. Eventually I developed a tolerance to the Lyrica and dropped it ; I tapered it and I got off it without a problem. I also had this weird intuition in my gut. Its very unusual. Its something related to God or a higher power for certain( I am a Christian). Something just told me to drop the Lyrica and I tapered it over a week or two and got off without an issue. I also have a strong brain body connection. I have dealt with anxiety. I also do not always view my anxiety as a bad thing. Even though its force is overwhelming at times I learned to rest in it and accept it and allow the energy to pass. Anxiety is a form of energy. Thanks to God, a higher power or whatever miracle. I survived GAD and Major depressive disorder very rapidly this year probably over 2-3 months. It was very intense but I survived. I now continue to experience anxiety but instead of intense fear, its just amplified energy. My panic attacks dissapeared. I had panic attacks, phobias, and agoraphobia I Survived. Anyways now I just have one beast to conquer. I put my faith in this community to help. I know I can survive this too. This a mere part of the process. I have not been on the SNRI for a long time. I wish I never started. Since February to now August I gained roughly 20 pounds So I only have been on pristiq for 6 months . I went from a nice basically good looking 30 year old male who was 6'2 very fit and 215 pounds to a 30 year old male who now has 235-240 pounds. This was all due to the pristiq and lyrica and I am happy I dropped Lyrica. On saturday 8.6.2022 I dropped my Pristiq from 100 mg to 75 mg. So far the withdrawal has not been too intense. I only have been on Pristiq for 6 months. I kind of want to do a faster taper. Any advice? I have confidence in God, myself, my body, my mind that I will drop this ****. I want to do it safely but if possible a bit quickier. The intuition in my body or some kind of force told me start this now. Now is the time. Now you will get off this crap. I think my Body can do this. I know I can. I am staying positive. The power within. All of us have it. I know some of your journeys have been long. So has mine with anxiety, it has been 13 years of dealing with it. I mostly stuck to exercise and supplements and family and friend support to deal with it and always was successful. This year I started to take this Pristiq crap and maybe it helped maybe it didn't. I think time did. According to most research Depressive episodes and anxiety episode last a year and dissolve naturally. I am standing now at Pristiq 75 mg. I am on clonazepam .25 mg plan on dropping it over the next 2 weeks. Basically have no benzo withdrawal or any issues with that and a high level of discipline and know I will drop it. What is the best and safest way to taper Pristiq 75 mg? with the least amount of damage done? I dropped to this dose on Saturday from 100 mg. Basically I am taking one 25 mg extended release tablet and one 50 mg extended release tablet. I have been on Pristiq only 6 months. It was a terrible choice. I will never go on any SSRI or SNRI after this. I also do not like the feeling I lived till 30 years old something without pills( supplements okay) but its just crap. They also lie. Pristiq is addictive. They made the chemical like that on purpose. The side effects are horrendous and I am having a doubt in my mind if it truly helps anxiety. It just numbs you out. Maybe helpful to a degree but its just B/S.
  3. Hi all, found this forum via google searches many a night on how to cope with withdrawals! Like many others on here and I am sure everywhere in the world, I started on on anti-depressant and it just spiraled into larger and larger doses then multiple meds and meds on top of that for side affects. So a general summary was that I went to the Dr around 14 years ago for depression. I was put on Cymbalta 30mg straight off the bat. The side affects were unpleasant but I don't recall specifics of what they were, just that I did NOT like how they made me feel and I stopped them cold turkey. Withdrawals for several months of course, though fairly mild with major brainzaps being the one I most remember. Somewhere along the way I then went onto Mirtazapine. 15, 30 and then up to 45mg over a short period of time, maybe a year or so ramping up? Basically a result of going to the Dr, saying that I wasn't feeling the best on these meds, so they just increased them. I stayed on 45mg for probably 5 years or thereabouts. During that time my personality changed a lot (on retrospection I see how much). I became anxious, paranoid, ALWAYS tired, I started having panic attacks, grumpy, short temper making me snap at people for little, and isolated myself a lot. This went on for years. Each time the Dr would just tell me 'its not a magic pill' and leave it at that. Along the way my marriage fell apart and I moved to a new city. To 'cope' with the enormous increase in anxiety and stress, Dr gave me Olanzapine.... I took maybe 3 doses ever, as that stuff turned me into a zombie. I found a new doctor who I discussed how I felt on Mirtazapine and was switched over to Effexor XR. Ramped up from 37.5 to 150mg in the space of a few months. Generally felt 'good' but then noticed side affects that were persistent, sexual side affects galore, my BP sky rocketed, and hey look my anxiety was still very much around and panic attacks were a semi frequent occurrence. Dr's response was to switch to Paxil - which resulted in a heightened state of anxiety and rolling panic for days until I stopped them completely. Went back onto Effexor, despite the side affects and stabilized. Mirtazipine was then added to the Effexor for 'californian rocket fuel' - still anxious, still having panic attacks.. My BP was now concerning my Dr so was given a Blood Pressure pill, which then became two sets of BP meds, then three. My Blood Pressure still stayed high. Propranolol was added on top to reduce the heart rate and stress on my heart in general. This year was the hardest, I was referred to a psychiatrist, who every 6 weeks would get me to start a different drug. So I went from Effexor to Pristiq 50, then 100mg, Pristiq + Mirt, then onto Pristiq plus Seroquel at night (which made my anger turn into rage), then over to Luvox and some Respiradone and Valium to 'help' with the panic. Luvox basically kept me in a state of permanent nausea for 5 or 6 weeks - the dose was also increased to 100mg. So I spent around 4 months going through a cycle of drug withdrawal and startup over and over. I couldn't cope with being nauseous and feeling awful ALL the time anymore. At which point I had my next appointment with my Psychiatrist who just told me to 'just take half a dose for a few days and then stop them'. I asked that just ceasing any and all anti-depressants after FOURTEEN YEARS on them sounds very dangerous, she just shrugged. So I cancelled any future appointments with that practice, and after much research decided to cross taper from Luvox over to 15mg Mirtazapine and taper down from there. I chose Mirtazapine for several reasons - one was it stopped that permanent nausea everyday from the Luvox immediately, two it was a med my brain and body knew well and would tolerate almost immediately (which it did) and three i knew precisely what I would feel and how it would change me. After around 4 weeks of brainzaps and mild gastro issues as my body cleaned the last of the mix of drugs out of my body, I started to work my way down on Mirtazapine. Have currently gone from 15 > 7.5 > 3.75 with 6 or so weeks between drops. I most recently dropped to 1.875 and will stay here until I stabalise again. So far the steps down have been very mild and tolerable (brain zaps for a day or two then fine), so my body is tolerating the 50% drops ok. 10% is recommended here, but so far for me personally its been ok dropping at 50% each time and stabilizing. The only noticeable (and expected) WD would be insomnia. My sleep quality has really tanked. Though interestingly enough despite low doses of Mirt meant to INCREASE your sleepyness, it has had little affect at all. So thats where I am currently at. Down to 1.875, and taking supplements like Vit C, Fish Oil and Vit B in the mornings and the small dose of Mirt at night. From here, I may need to look at a compounding chemist to begin tapering more slowly on the lower dosages, as cutting a tablet into 8th's is getting very difficult, even with a pill cutter. So the methods of diluting in liquids or a compound chemist will be the plan for the taper slow down (if needed) from here and my goal of being drug free hopefully within the year the final target.
  4. Hi All, Firstly thanks for the excellent site and taking the time to review my post. History is long, so in the interest of time, 20 yrs on SSRI's (i've tried virtually all but had most luck with prozac and lexapro) with a 4 month bout of Remeron (awful w/d not helped by cross taper) and benzo's on/off for 8 years or so. Benzo: I've successfully switched from .5mg of clonazepam/day to 10mg valium and i'm now at 2mg per day. A bit more about this below. SSRI: Was on 20 mg for celexa for the last several months but completely zombified so decided it's finally time to be done with this sh1t I dropped relatively quickly per docs orders with really no impact down to 5mg celexa completely stopping the celexa and valium on May 1. Started 10 mg prozac only May 1, by May 4 really awful DR with anxiety, inability to focus, sleeplesness, headaches. Reinstated 1-2 mg valium which helped a little bit. Yesterday i tested the waters and dropped the prozac down to 5 mg to see if agitation was from that which resulted in bad anxiety, chills,and shaking. Took the other 5 g prozac and an additional 1mg valium which helped a bit. Today slightly better back at 10mg prozac and 2mg valium in the morning. I have a pdoc appointment tomorrow and really don't know what to do and not sure i trust his opinion frankly but do believe he will be fine with what i recommend. I consider these the following my options: 1.) Reinstate celexa at last dose (5mg?), drop prozac entirely after a week or 2, and keep valium, then micro taper off at 10% per 3 weeks or so. 2.) Hold steady on prozac and valium for awhile (how long?) then micro taper 3.) Something else? Any thoughts are much appreciated and i apologize for any incoherence in this post but just got back from work trip and wanted to get this out there for the educated folks to review asap. Many thanks for any input and your time!!! methuselah
  5. Hey guys, My past medications: these were most recent, from the age of 15 onward: - Pristiq - 100 mg - Abilify - 15 mg - Fluoxetine - 20 mg - L-methyl folate (supplement) - Adderrall XR (in morning) - forget dosage - Adderrall , 2 throughout day - forget dosage When I was 10, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety due to an unstable home life at my Mom’s. I was diagnosed with anxiety and began taking Fluoxetine after an initial meeting with a psychologist followed by a psychiatrist. At age 15, I attempted suicide and was admitted to a teen unit at a local hospital. There, I was placed on many of the medications that would later be incredibly difficult to discontinue. By age 20, I had erectile dysfunction, weighed ≈285 pounds at 6’, couldn’t concentrate on anything, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, had severely limited vision in both eyes, slept 12 hours per night, had a constant feeling of emptiness, and had an overall feeling of not being present in my life (just kind of floating around). On March 12th, 2020 (yes, at the beginning of the pandemic), I stopped everything Cold Turkey. It probably wasn’t the smartest move, but I’m so glad I did it. I went through about 4 months of what I can only describe as hell. Vomiting, diarrhea, alternating between sleeping for 12 hours and 3 hours per night, and a rollercoaster of emotions I’d never felt before. I’m currently 185 pounds, diabetes free, updated my license yesterday to remove my vision restriction (my vision corrected), have a pretty good running/ weightlifting habit / Nutrition approach going, I just finished 2 years at a local Community College with a 3.2 overall GPA in a transfer program to a B.S. in Chemistry, and life is fantastic. Everything works well, I’m feeling real, genuine emotions for the first time in my life, and I’m thrilled to be alive. The only drawback from this whole discontinuation process is that I now can’t stay in bed for more than 6-7 hours. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, getting the vision restriction from my license removed yesterday prompted me to speak about my story (I guess you could call it a personal milestone). I’m still navigating the whole relationship, being human, and experiencing emotions part of everything but I can say that for once in my life, I’m very happy. Feel free to ask me anything. Thanks everyone, Connor
  6. Hi Everyone, I'm pleased to find this forum, but I am sorry that it is for the reason it is. It is amazing how many people are suffering from AD WD, and the symptoms and length of time it can take. I found this site from searching withdrawal symptoms, because today is my 10th day at my lower dose and I have been feeling worse today than at any time since I halved my dosage. Recently I became absolutely miserable about my aches and pains, which were stopping me from doing things around the house and causing sleep problems. I started wondering about them and then remembered that I had had to go off Prozac (about 20 years ago) when I got muscle weakness. St John's Wort also caused similar but not as bad muscle weakness so I stopped that too. I started researching AD symptoms and made (what seems to be) the connection that I have Serotonin Syndrome so I made the decision to reduce my Pristiq from 100 mg to 50 mg. The doctor suggested alternating between 100 & 50 for 2 months, but because the aches and pains are debilitating I decided to see how I went going straight to 50. After a couple of days I did get mild zapping / electric shock sensations, and also headaches for several days at the end of the 1st week. I slept a lot over the first 3 days (and was able to sleep at night). Then I had several nights where I had trouble sleeping. Last night I slept through for the first time. I had several days where I had an upset stomach which I had thought was a tummy bug but I now realise it is possibly from the withdrawal. At this time, I am feeling achy (a bit like the flu), different from being on the higher dose. This surpised me because I had been going well. Thinking back, the first few days I wasn't drinking coffee. Then I started having coffee in the morning again and yesterday I had one at breakfast and then another at lunchtime. What I have read on this site confirms my suspicion that it may be the cause of me not feeling as good as I had so no more coffee for me. Yesterday I decided that I need to started taking more care of my nutrition (I haven't had much of an appetite lately), and what I have read here confirms this. I am taking one day at a time, and I am not making any decision yet as to whether I will go off the Pristiq completely or stay on the 50 mg. At the end of last year I completed a free Government funded online workshop (I'm in Australia) which I found very helpful. Even though I had previously seen a psychologist, had done a lot of reading of books and internet articles and "knew" CBT (which I have nicknamed Change Bad Thinking) I found that doing the workshop (which was over 8 weeks) was very helpful because it was practising the CBT, instead of just knowing it. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best as you deal with whatever you are going through. Unfortunately, that is the hard part. We have to go through it ourselves. Thankfully, though, others can support us. Take care everyone. ChessieCat
  7. Overall question i have is:Are these side effects of this new med desvenlafaxine xr(brand name pristiq)25mg or is it withdrawal from my old one paxil 20 mg that I have been on for 30 years ?? And i need help. Thinking of going back on the paxil 20 mg and forget the pristiq. History and introduction of me:all started in 1992 having difficulty coping, little things would set me off, or crying. (Looking back now, think it was postpartum depression had baby April 1991)Dr. Prescribed Prozac 20 mg. Worked great in the really helped my mood, however, felt like having out of body experience, like I was up in the air looking down at myself and watching me do whatever, ie: work and had extreme muscle weakness. Was on about 1 month. Dr switched me to zoloft 20 mg, not good from the start extreme headaches. Dr stopped that after a week and prescribed paxil 20 Mg once a day and have been on ever since. So have been on for 30 years. It has worked well for me, mood stabilized. Did have weight gain with and no matter what I do unable to lose the weight. 15 years ago Also tried low dose wellbutrin to it smoking. Had extreme heart palpitations ( i have since quit smoking) 10 yrs ago, Didn't know anything about tapering and went cold turkey off pax. Did not take 2 weeks and Didn't go well. Ended up with flu like symptoms that wouldn't go Away, and ringing in tears. Started back on 20 mg and was better again. 5 years ago tried tapering 10% every 4 weeks. By 8th week flu like symptoms back felt like crap, ringing in ears. Started back on 20 mg paxil every day and all good again. 4 years ago. GP Dr. Had me to genesis testing to see what meds would be good fit for me.. paxil was not on the list( I think since I have been on this med for so long it squed the results for that med.. any thoughts on this) anyways. Gp prescribed on 7/29/2022 desvenlafaxine xr(brand name pristq)25mg once a day. Do a direct switch from the paxil 20 mg i was taking to 25mg desvenlafaxine. First day no noticeable side effects. Day 2 and forward( 07/31/2022 thru 8/8/2022) you know how your head feels congested when have a cold..that's how my ears feel. Loose stools, not diarrhea, but mushy like, excessive sweating, waking up soaking wet from a night's sleep, and occurring sporadically throughout day out of no where. EXTREME FLUShing(does not occur when excessively sweating. Dizzy, muscle heaviness. Lack of appetite(i have lost 3 lbs but not the way i would like to loose the weight) drinking lots of water. Also my liver and kidney numbers are slightly elevated prior to this switch. Is the 25mg of desvenlafaxine even equivalent to 20 mg paxil? Any direction would be most appreciated. Thank you
  8. A little back story in 2019 I got into a car accident and it completely changed my life. I can't remember if I hit my head or something inside my brain triggered something. I had extreme anxiety and didnt leave my house for three months, that is when i first put on my first medication Prestiq and Busbar. They worked for about a year and then it stopped throughout the years I have been on so many different medications. I feel like this year was completely different. This was my last year of college and I couldn't get through the day without an anxiety attack or feeling like I was going to faint. my doctor decided to put me on Quetiapine, Gabapentin, Busbar, Zoloft, and then take Hydroxzyne as needed for the panic attacks. None of these really worked and I was suffering everyday pushing myself during student teaching. I made it through and graduated but feel like I lost myself a little bit. I feel like being on five medications at once damaged me or something but how am I supposed to know that? I am supposed to trust my doctor to help me. A couple of weeks after graduation I noticed my anxiety became full on even more than before and I started to feel disconnected or out of it all the time every single day. That is when I decided to switch doctors. I decided to go to a different doctor and I got off of four of the medications so now I am just on Zoloft. She decided to put me on Lamictal because she thought I needed a mood stabilizer. That lasted about three weeks and I said no it's not working I want to get off of all the medication. I am off of Lamictal and just on 50 mg of Zoloft. I have come off of Zoloft before switching to another medication but I haven't not been on any medications in four years. I am scared that I have done so much damage to myself already and that my body or mind won't heal. The only struggle that I am having is the disassociation. That is something that goes on all day every single day of my life for about a couple of months now. I can't even leave the house most days and now I am looking for an online job for now because it is becoming difficult. I am only 25 but I just feel like this is taking away parts of my life that I should be enjoying. I am trying to stay positive by eating healthy and clean, working out, doing yoga, pushing myself to go out every day ( even though most days I can't), taking vitamins, trying superfoods, and communicating with my family, friends and therapist. Some things that I have been experiencing are: -Feeling out of it -Lack of energy -Headaches/Dizziness -Sadness I feel that the only symptom that is holding me back is being out of it or disconnected. It is holding me back from doing a lot of the things that I want to be doing. If i wasn't feeling that all of the time I feel like I could "function" better and push myself more. Next week I go to 25 mg of Zoloft. Hopefully this is the start of my own success story!
  9. Pens

    Pens

    i’ve been on antidepressants for approximately 10 years doctor put me on different kinds. Just want to be off of them. Recently I was put on mirtazapine to help get off of Pristiq and now I am experiencing with drawl symptoms from tapering down on the mirtazapine. I am withdrawing from mirtazapine at present I would like to be part of a support group to help me get through And to learn if there’s anything I can change i.e. diet to help lessen the symptoms of withdrawal.
  10. Hello everyone, From what I read so far on this site, I believe I finally found what I am looking for. Administrators: many thanks for maintaining such a great and well organized forum. My story with generalized anxiety started in 2012 after a period of stressful events in my life. 1 year after constant suffering, I started taking an SSRI (lexapro) 10 mg. I felt better with no side effects, but after a year, anxiety came back strong, dose increased to 20 mg for 4 years. I was doing fairly fine until moving to a new country. Dose increased to 30 mg. Felt ok till the passing of my father in March 2021. Started to feel constant suffocating anxiety which lasted for 3 months. Decided to switch to a new medication. Started on 50 mg pristiq while tapering down lexapro to 10 mg. Stayed in this combination for 4 months. Was starting to feel ok. Anxiety then came back strong. Removed lexapro completely and switched to 100 mg pristiq. For the past two months, I alternate between feeling good for one week to feeling horrible the next. My worse symptom is a horrible morning anxiety that wakes me up like a jolt. I feel down on those days ( not sure if its anxiety or depression ). I certainly worry about getting depressed all the time. My psychiatrist wants to increase my dose to 150 mg pristiq. I am sick and tired of this trial and error process and want to feel better. Now, I am contemplating coming off all medications and need your help. My main concerns are the morning anxiety and the down feeling. I am not sure whether they are from coming off the lexapro, or the new drug not working. What will happen if I completely come off all SSRi? Thanks, Moe79
  11. WARNING. This is very long and took me hours to write. I didnt know what to include. I figured more information was more information so.. Here it all is. If anyone has advice on what i should cut please do advise! TLDR is i accidentally went cold turkey off 2.5 1x week Escitalopram, have been treating it all wrong with propanolol, thc and cbd. Countless mood and physical symptoms. Believe I have kindled and made going back on impossible. Scared to wait this out incase of psychosis. Scared to reinstate. Terrified of everything and tired and unable to sleep. Okay, I dont know what to write here, so ill give a small summary background and history I took from my summary for applying for the board. My mental health and my lack of steady GP has made finding dates VERY hard and I went through a lot of patchy on off med periods so its a little unclear, sorry. I did my best to match referrals and old receipts for rough dating. History- Depression and suicidality 2003~2013. 2013, suddenly panic attacks and anxiety, went to psych, was prescribed Sertraline, unsure dose. 2013~ 2016 Sertraline - Felt no better & hated side effects so CT. Didn't notice WD. Tried Desvenfalaxine, then Fluoxetine. No improvement on depression within months like I wanted, side effects too horrible. CT off both. Tried Escitalopram, helped panic attacks. CT off all and no WD noticed. During these years I was bad, very depressed, barely left bed, would hold jobs for months and then drop. Mostly same since 2003. 2016~2019 Mental Health crisis around August 2016 led to being in and out of ER, decided reinstate medication. 40mg Escitalopram initially followed by addition of Wellbutrin, 75 up to 150mg. Escitalopram reduced to 20mg sometime btwn August 2016 and Feb 2017, then down to 10mg by July 2017. All unsupervised tapers, doctors saw my doses changing and were unphased. No WD experienced. Stabilized. Struggled with depression and anxiety, but no panic. No suicidality. 2019-2020 Started to be lax with occasionally not taking meds. Stopped Zyban cold turkey during 2020 or 2019 due to night sweats, feeling stable and feeling like it affected my memory. Ocasional forgetting to take escitalopram for a few days. Mostly stable Escitalopram at 10mg. 2020-2022 Minor depression but the best i had been, even before meds. Have not had suicidal feelings in 6 years, no panic attacks. I spent years slowly working up a reward system for myself to encourage myself to do things like shower daily, cook and eat real food. During this time none of that is an effort and I begin adding to things. I institute a cleaning schedule with WEEKLY house cleaning. I cook. I eat regularly. I exercise on and off. I feel stable and HAPPY for the first time ever. Even my hard days pale in comparison and instead of not leaving bed or eating for 30hrs my worst times are a week where my chores are a bit lax. I get a job by CHOICE. But I begin to notice through this two things - I went on Escitalopram to manage panic attacks and now im only having mild anxiety... But I have TERRIBLE emotional blunting. I can't laugh, I can‘t cry. Bad things will happen and I can feel it like a pressure under the surface. I even listen to sad things to TRY and cry and nothing. I begin to try and taper. To be honest I think I tried CT and the brainzaps put me off. Over 2020 maybe, but mostly 2021, I Taper unsupervised down to 5mg daily... then every other day I try and push it and only take meds when noticing brainzaps. I DO NOT KNOW that means withdrawal or that i am essentially entering withdrawal every few weeks. Noticing 5 is still producing annoying blunting I go down to taking 2.5 1-2x week by late 2021, only when I have brainzaps. I told doctors about this and nobody said anything, nobody said not to do this! During 2020~2021 I start to, in retrospect, have what was probably withdrawal symptoms. My Anxiety has waves and days or weeks of being moderately bad in a way I've never experienced. I latch on to certain almost intrusive worries and struggle with them a lot. I begin to obsess about finances, my weight, healthy food, calories etc. It only gets as bad as mild crying on some intermittent days tho. Its draining but liveable. This makes me more encouraged to try and not take Escitalopram as I have never found it helpful for my general anxiety and rumination and would like to find something not blunting. November through January I feel my best ever. I start a new job and have a week in January this year where I take 5mg because im struggling with anxiety, then went back down to 2.5 “as needed” Mild brain zaps in February, twice I have days where i feel derealized and dizzy, but hours later i have a migraine so unsure if withdrawal or symptons of migraine. Start to feel mildly depressed early March - My contract at my Job is up and its the first job I have managed 2 days a week at without burning out. The depression feels rational though, im worrying about ever having real money or holding down a full time job, since my “best” I still cant handle it. This still feels like my depression. I try and stick to the 2.5 because it wards off brainzaps, but i dont feel emotionally blunted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WD AND CURRENT ISSUES START HERE. 17/03 2022 Sudden HARD crash. I feel.. weird.Dizzy, so dizzy i feel like im falling over. Spacey, nauseous. I take my 2.5 but it does not improve. First panic attack in 6 years on the 19th. On 20th Tried reinstate at 5mg, just in a prayer for stability, not knowing what is happening. Maybe mild help at most. I wake up having a panic attack at 4am the 21st and cant calm down. derealization, nausea.. I see the GP on the 21st, he says my dosage was so low as to be pretty much nonexistant and taking the meds again wont give relief. I feel like im going insane because I can feel calm mentally and start having panic attacks out of nowhere. I stil feel okay emotionally but this is eating at me. Put on propanolol every 4 hrs as needed, when i first take it and the physical symptoms calm down I feel INSTANT relief and cry. 21st-But, for the first time ever I have insomnia- Ive always fallen asleep at like 2-4am and awake at 10-12, but during depression usually I am a sleep for 16hrs straight type. Im having migraine headaches, i cant keep food down. Im mixing antiemetics and propnaolol. I feel SO DIZZY i lay in bed all night feeling like im falling. I take a maxalt and manage an hour and a half sleep for the first time in two days. 22ng I begin to suspect withdrawal now. Net says 3wks so I decide to try and hold. I distract myself by cleaning, I start having hot and cold flushes. Laying in bed gives me panic attacks. I get dizzy and scared of more panic attacks and not sleeping ever again, followed by heart pounding and shaking and hot and cold flushes back to back for hours. I take two temazepam i found that expired in 2019 and feel no better, sleep an hour or so. 23rd. Messaging my mum everyday, she wants me to try CBD and THC. I get an appointment. Im starting to feel less panicky per day, only random attacks rather than back to back all day, seemingly untriggered, sudden chills and heart pounding. Except if I lay down, then I always panic. I try the couch and the floor, i try breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. I go buy Restavit. I emotionally collapse. I barely remember this so here is what I sent my mother> “ Last night was ***** at first. Hysterical crying on the floor, felt like I was dying, [partner] even went searching for valium bc i was so ***** but found none. Went to bed early and was exhausted but still could not pass out for an hour of panic(continous chills and feeling like i had been dunked in cold water and shaking and chest felt tight etc). Took the sedatives and still could not, got up and paced around for a bit which felt SO funny bc I was dizzy and struggling to walk but if I stopped I panicked so I was just stumbling back and forth around the kitchen. I went back to bed and eventually somewhere between 5am and 9am passed out and then slept until frickin 6pm. Beginning to suspect its some weird delayed onset ssri discontinuation syndrome. It kinda FEELS physically like getting brainzaps does. The fact its random out of nowhere, no trigger, cant calm myself mwntally, comes in waves, so much worse at night. I feel a lot better today. Not even taken a single beta blocker. Chest has been a bit tight all day and struggling a bit with feeling like nothing is real. Starting to have scalp crawling tingles now so hopefully not gonna be a repeat of last night.”. Prescribed THc and CBD oils. The next few days are a fog and I dont message my mum so Im unsure what happened. I know my panic attacks started to not happen I know they stopped around saturday the 26th so I stop taking propanolol. I know my insomnia sucked. I took restavit a few times during this, it helped twice and didnt twice. I started to feel okay and even good on sunday and monday. My anxiety was a 4~5 on this day from the 7~10 it had been. By 29th of March I begin my THC and CBD and am not feeling good. I take my CBD to no effect. The THC makes me feel GOOD. Not euphoric but the closest to how i felt emotionally and anxiety wise for the first time since this started. But dont even manage the 4hrs of sleep ive gotten the last few days. I think this is a BAD idea bc I start to feel BAD on the 30th and panicky again. I dont remember this week well. I have no messages during this time. I take CBD 0.125ml at 100mg per ml on 29, 30th, 31st and 0.25 on the first. Nothing, maybe minorly more anxiety. THC is a 10thc15cbd per ml mix. I take 0.25ml 29, 30th at 7:44pm AND 144 am And take a restavit and STILL can not fall asleep and feel nothing on the 30th. I try 0.5 on the first, I actually do sleep. I take 0.5 on the 02 and cant sleep at all again. I feel focused and calm and awake so I drop them both. I convince myself all the other websites are right and look to the 7th as a day all will resolve. On and off dizzyness and constant insomnia this week, falling asleep for barely 4 hrs most nights. Tummy and appetite issuesstill but no panic. My mood effects start coming in this week. I flip between total fog inability to engage with or enjoy anything zoned out on the couch for hours exhausted and existing, to crying spells of hours out of nowhere. But I can eat without nausea most days and I can do some cooking, i manage to cook two meals for mt partner. I start to notice fluey symptoms~ body aches and post nasal drip and cough. On the 6th I start thinking about giving up on holding. I cant stop sobbing hystericallt all day. take some thc at 0.25 ml and despite barely any effects on 0.5 I feel kinda high. My mood and appetite feel really good and I have mild warm and fuzzies. I crash though and cant sleep and after the come down im shaky "my nervous system is so fried. went to bed at 4, fell asleep at 1030am. slept from then till 11:40, then 12:25 to 1:30 then 1:40 to 4:30. maybe 4 and a half hours total. I feel wide awake but also tired the whole time and cant tell if im falling asleep. Im scared of benzos as a solution tho" Im beginning to be scared of how im effecting my partner and his mood and sleep as my only support. I had two good days again that week and went out one day. I am struggling emotionally more and more. I cant be alone or I spiral. I sit in my partners room on the floor while I scroll, being in a room with someone helps. I take restavit for the fifth time in two weeks on the 7th. Ive had mixed results and groggyness 12hrs later but im desperate so I take 50mg. I SLEEP. The next few days I take 25mg, I wake up every two to four hours but I manage 6 hours. Even if I take restavit at midnight I dont fall asleep till 8 am most days but SLEEP IS SWEET RELIEF. Still anhedonic and weepy. Dont manage chores this week. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Which brings us to the last few days. A fresh hell. Im struggling. Not distracting myself. Thoughts start to get worse. 10th i cry and obsess till bed time about how I will be stuck like this forever. I get stuck on the idea that even if I go back on my meds I can only work 2 days a week. I get stuck on obsessing about money. All the therapists in my area are 100~800$. How will I ever get therapy and get better. How will I ever get on disability with no proper history. 11th is my worst day yet. I cry about that some more. I cry about being stuck like this. About a two year possible taper. About why am i having WD symptoms. About fear of waiting this out and it not getting better. Fear of going back on and kindling happening bc I ***** myself up with the once a week bullsh*t. And then having to go through this anyway. About a two year taper of no emotions. About not having sleep at all without restavit no matter what I do. I take 0.25 mg of thc in the afternoon. I feel euphoric and quite high. Then I feel BAD about that. What if i have to get high every day to cope? My boyfriend has addiction history, this is wrong to do around him. Etc. I cry a LOT FOR HOURS. I finally calm down for a few hours. I have an existenstial crisis about turning 30 and only having worked part time jobs and my mental health and having not ever lived. About finally feeling like I was coping enough to keep my emotions and house i order and now this. Im inconsolable for hours and cry till mt partner falls asleep. I dont sleep. I have intrusive thoughts. I feel suicidal for the firsy time in years. I consider going to the ER, second time i consider that recently. I take THC at 1030, hoping for a nap or at least relief for a few hours. BAD BAD BAD. When it kicks in, despite being the same dose i couldnt feel two weeks ago or was happy on yesterday I start.. hallucinating, I guess? Its all the symptoms of tripping on LSD. Letters on my keyboard mildly glow, words wiggle, afterimagea when I blink. I PANIC. THC ISNT MEANT TO DO THIS. I start to shake, like intense shivering, can barely type to my partner. He comes home from work for lunch. I worry that ive induced psychosis. we talk about the hospital. Im having paranoia now, that i've induced psychosis, that if I go in theyll put me on benzos, that im never going to be okay again. I cant eat. I feel like throwing up. My stomach is bad. Hours later I calm down. I feel fragile as glass. I keep crying on and off. Im actually stable enough by 10pm to enjoy playing some games with mt partner for the first time ina week. But I cry a lot. I apply here. I read a lot. Food tastes bad still. No appetite. Feel exhausted but wired. I take half a restavit. I spend hours writing this. I argue with my mum about whether to reinstate or whether ive made things too bad for that. Ive been awake 30 hours now. Im going to take another half a restavit. I know I shouldnt. I know how much I have done wrong. I know Ill be groggy till 4pm tomorrow. I know Im in a very bad place. The panic attacks are gone, I still get mild dizzyness on and off. I still get chills. But mostly my emotions are now a mess. I have never cried this much in my life. I feel like i have no control over my thoughts and emotions. I spiral and ruminate and feel depressed the last few days. My mum wants me to go to an inpatient hospital, or talk to the ER. I am afraid of being put on benzos by someone who doesnt understand. My boyfriend wants me to hold for two more weeks, since its changing so rapidly and i have new symptoms every day and ive passed the headaches and panic attacks. I am very scared. I dont know what to do. Taking two years to taper down and having to suffer withdrawals anyway sounds like hell. The risk of kindling and the fact I didnt feel better with the 2.5 or 5 the first week scares me so much. I dont know if im more afraid of living like this for much longer in the hope it will resolve, or of trying to go on meds and that kindling and being even WORSE, or of years of suffering when i might resolve in a few more weeks when i have already made it through almost four weeks of hell. I am scared though. And this week I am suffering. And I need advice. I know I wrote a lot. Im sorry. Ive been so scared and nobody around me understands and all want me to find help from a doctor and i am so afraid the doctors will make it worse. The THC sure did and the advice to not reinstate might have.
  12. anyone going through this ....... i have been on Lexapro for almost 18 years, went up to 40 mg 5 years ago felt better for a while and it hit me again head pressure( brain is not working right, lack of concentration} feels like my eyes are lagging, weakness, blurry vision, nausea, eyes tightness. Did brain, neck, lumbar, mris, ct scans with angio, all kinds of blood work , hospital visits almost every 3 mnths. no answer , started the withdrawal process about 17 weeks ago, not fun at all, daily disorientation, dizzy, balance issues, no appetite, lightheaded, agitation, crying spells, insomia, no doctor seem to figure out why. went down to 15 mg M, W, F, S AND 20 MG T, TH, SAT, FOR 3 WEEKS SYMPTOMS NEVER WENT AWAY, talked to the doctor yesterday we agreed to take a 10 mg at night and 10mg in the morning . hope it will help.. hope i am making the right decision. the symptoms are horrible.
  13. Hi, ive recently been taken off Effexor which I was on for 2 months, I was then on pristiq for 25 days. 3 months in total. I have had a really tough year trialling meds that didn’t help but made everything worse. My psyc told me to stop pristiq cold turkey due to my rapid decline in mental state. the first 6 days where hell with zaps and vertigo and migraines. I still feel dizzy at times and my cognitive function feels like it’s lagging. Now day 10 I have woken with what I thought was a UTI. I went to the doctor and I don’t have a UTI. Upon research based on symptoms I’m concerned it’s Cystitis as my bladder feels like it’s on fire and or possible PGAD. are there any success stories where this naturally corrects itself and this is another withdrawal symptom. Naturally the body and nerves will take time to heal? advise and help needed- I mentally feel so good putting all meds in the bin but feeling very overwhelmed physically thank you in advance x
  14. Hello, I am 39 years old female who used to be on Celexa for 10 years and switched over to Pristiq about 2 years ago. I had anxiety and rarely any panic attacks. - 2007 Celexa 20mg - 2012 Celxexa increased to 40mg - 2017 Celexa decreased to 20mg - 2018 (April) Switched to Pristiq 50mg - 2018 (September) Increased to 100mg of Pristiq - 2020 July Decreased Pristiq to 75mg Currently on Pristiq on 25mg. The reason how I switched to different med was when I asked my doctor I wanted to come off the celexa after 10 years since I was getting better he told me to reduce the typical way by cutting my dosage 40mg to 20mg. And after that I started having panic attacks, which I know now it is actually or could be withdrawal reaction. It wasn't like the typical panic attacks where I thought I was going to die or something it was more of sudden adrenaline rush which doctor said it was panic disorder. This was right after having a second child with c-section. I would wake up with panic attacks and nervousness (high increase in my cortisol) and doctor just kept telling me it is panic disorder and tried to give sedative on top of what I was taking and I refused. After finding another doctor, he witched me to Pristiq but my panic attack like or the adrenaline rush was still around. It has been such crazy and scary time of my life thinking that I was dealing with constant panic disorder. But I never gave up and searched and searched and did all the work up with my health condition. I was healthy as ever but still had these random rush. I used to have hot flashes like feeling, jittery sensation, of course night mares or vivid dreams you name it all kinds of feelings and sensation. And I made a promise to myself to stop this medication which was given to stop my panic attacks but it never really helped. All they wanted to do was add more meds and sedative and I am so grateful I never took anything else. I started Pristiq 100mg until this past July 202 and I manually have cut it down to 75 to 50 to 25mg now. (Which I found out I wasn't supposed to since my medication is extended pill) I was able to tolerate the symptoms and made it this far. \ I have been using meditation, breathing, and cutting sugar to deal with my anxiety. I also have learned panic attacks are nothing to be afraid of and not to react to it. I am reading about neuroplasticity and teaching myself our brain can heal which has been so helpful to deal with my sensation. But one thing I am curious about is these sudden adrenaline rush I get before bed or sometimes randomly caused by antidepressant withdrawal? How common is this? Thank you for reading my long story and I am so good at writing so I apologies in advance.
  15. ADMIN NOTE 10 09 17 Lilu wants everyone to know: "Please disregard my initial posts, since my knowledge about the subject of withdrawal was very limited and often wrong. Please follow the administrators' knowledge and advice to properly taper your medication." I would like to know if anyone else has experienced while on Pristiq: I take 50 mg of Pristiq every morning at around 8 am. But despite sleeping for 8 or 9 hours a night, I wake up feeling tired and sleepy with a heavy brain fog that pretty much lasts all day. It does seem to lift at around 3 pm when I find myself suddenly feeling more clear and awake. Sometimes though the sleepiness (somnolence) last all day and I feel like I just can't think clearly. It's as if I'm always slightly buzzed or sedated. Recently I found out that Pristiq reaches it's peak concentration level after 7.5 hours. So I will try to take it at night, and see if I will feel more awake and fog-free in the morning. Also, I guess I should mention that when I forget to take a dose of Pristiq, I start to feel extremely drowsy, just as if I have taken a sedative.
  16. Hi all! My name is Barry - and I am a 40 something software engineer from Michigan. My therapeutic journey started around 2004/2005, after trying a variety of drug cocktails - paxil, pamelor, nopramin, effexor, with no success, I found a great psychiatrist who put me on a sample new drug he had recently received that had very promising results in clinical trials. The combination was 10mg of Abilify and 50mg of Pristiq [a somewhat derivative of effexor]. This combination was the miracle I needed to make it through the next 15 years of my life. Fast forward 15 years to today. I went from around 168lbs to my current weight of nearly 240. The research I have done leads me to believe that abilify has been the culprit for this weight gain; with advice to taper off. I have currently tapered down from 10mg of abilify to around 4.5-5mg daily. It has been a gradual effort, after discovering that 2.5mg increments were too much for my mind to tolerate. Instead, I tapered down 1mg every 4-6 weeks; and today I feel no different than I did when I was on the 10mg dose. I went to 4mg probably a bit too quickly after arriving at 5mg, and it made me irritable and intolerant of various stimuli around me - so I went back up to 5mg and have stayed there for around 6-7 weeks now. Has anyone had similar experiences? I hope that I can lose/shed some of these pounds I have picked up. I read that typically you want to allow a month of taper time for each year on the drug. Given that I was on around 14-15 years, I figure its going to take me a year to get off of it. It seems that it is more fickle at the last 4-5mg. Is it harder to taper the last 5 mg than it is the first 5 if you were on a 10mg dose? Does anyone know if the metabolism I had will return in some fashion to allow me to shed some weight? I have tried diets, exercising, cutting out various foods that were not the best, with no clear results - leading to obvious feelings of disappointment and such. Thanks for reading, and look forward to hearing everyone else's stories! -barry
  17. goitalone

    goitalone

    Firstly, a huge thank you to all those responsible for creating, maintaining and helping on this site. THANK YOU. There is great comfort in knowing there is a warm and understanding support system of those in various stages of withdrawal. In 2003 in my early 30s, I was proscribed Sertraline (25mg) by my GP for an anxiety/panic attack related to a stressful event in my personal life. While an anxious child, it had never been suggested to me to see a therapist or consider any type of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drug (AD). Even after been given the AD, it was not recommended that I see a therapist. I stayed on 25mg until 2005 when work-related stress required me to increase my dosage to 50 mg. The work stress was quickly resolved (a couple of months), I reduced back to 25mg until 2012 when work-related stress again required me to increase my dose back to 50mg. The work-related stress was quickly resolved (a couple of months) and I moved back down to 25mg. In 2017, a work-related stressful event sent me into a tailspin and I had a breakdown. I met with a psychiatrist and my Sertraline was increased from 25mg to 100mg over a short period of time. The work-related event was protracted and after a few months I switched psychiatrists and the new psychiatrist switched me to 50mg of Pristiq and ultimately increased my dose to 150mg after I showed little improvement. In addition to Pristiq the psychiatrist put me on Gabapentin (300mg) to help me sleep and Deplin (15mg) to assist in the effectiveness of the AD. In late 2018, I changed jobs and, given that the work related stress was no longer an issue, in April 2019, I began a slow taper down from 150mg of Pristiq to 12.5mg in June 2020. At the same time, I started on 20mg of Prozac (2 weeks later stopping Pristiq entirely) to help bridge with the ultimate goal of tapering off an AD with a longer half life. I don't recall when I stopped Gabapentin, but sometime between April 2019 and June 2020, I tapered off Gabapentin entirely. In November, I began a month long taper of Deplin, reducing about 25% of the original amount each week. Today (12/9/2020) is my first day not taking any Deplin. Anyway, I am on this journey alongside you all. I have had a lot of challenges along the way, lots of questions too. I am happy to share my experiences and want to provide support wherever I can be of help. Best, goitalone (meaning without ADs)
  18. Posting this success story is long overdue. I am pleased to say that I am fully recovered. I was mostly recovered at around 18-24 months but still suffered the odd niggling wave. I have been entirely symptom free for over 2 years now. I have so much respect for the people on here, giving support to those who are suffering. Thank you. I don't come on here much but I do check in. I'm open to PMs, especially if I can help anyone suffering during and after a reaction.
  19. I've been taking Pristiq 100mg (plus 5mg Somit to sleep and 100mg Activigil to wake up) for the past 3 years more or less. I've been trying to quit Pristiq for many months due to HORRIBLE withdrawals whenever I forgot even one pill. I got to down the dose to Pristiq 50mg after enduring two weeks of those horrible withrawals and then they were gone, luckily. Now I'm trying to figure out my next step. There's no Pristiq 25mg where I am from. My psych told me to switch to venlafaxine 75mg three days ago, not the XR, the regular. It has such a short half life that I'm having horrible symptoms as well, even though I'm taking 37,5mg in the morning and 37,5mg in the afternoon. I'm trying to figure out if this is the best way to quit Pristiq. She says I should stay with venlafaxine and taper down from it. I'm worried about feeling awful. I can't function. Should I stay with the venlafaxine or switch back to Pristiq 50mg and figure out something else? Should I bridge with Prozac form Pristiq? Should I stay with venlafaxine and THEN bridge with Prozac? Should I just taper down from venlafaxine? By the way, thank you all for describing so accurately all the discontinuations sympotms of the Pristq- the brain zaps, the headaches, the dizziness, the confusion. What has this done to us? I want out.
  20. leoxx

    leoxx: Pristq

    I've been taking 50mg Pristiq for about 3 or so years I think. I've had acid reflux issues with SSRI use that seem to get worse over time. It got bad enough that I wanted to go off the Pristiq. I consulted my doctor about this, but she wanted me to get in with a primary care doctor first to have my acid reflux checked. I don't currently have a PCP and with covid, it's a lot of hassle, so after a couple of months of more acid reflux, I decided to "taper" of the Pristiq. It's worth mentioning that I also take generic wellbutrin and adderall to deal with autism. Pristiq was a medicine we had tacked on to the Wellbutrin to even me out. First starting at 25mg and then moving up to 50mg. I didn't think much of it since, at the time, it didn't seem like a high dose. I cut my 50mg pills roughly in half and took a half each day for 4 days. The first 4 days were pretty okay. After that I got dizzy spells (what people call the zaps). I expected this since I down dosed so quickly. I toughed it out for about a week and then dizziness went away. So at that point I thought I was done. I've been going through a lot of life stresses lately and my mood started to tank pretty bad. I thought it was all the stress, but I'm pretty sure now that it's withdrawal. I was pretty much crippled with sensory overload, anxiety, panic, and depression. My appetite was gone and I was force-feeding myself, but I couldn't eat much. I was in extremely rough shape and desperate for help. I live alone and dealing with that emotional distress was too hard to do alone. I spent significant amounts of time on the phone with my folks. They were packing to move to the neighboring state (Colorado), otherwise I would have gone to stay with them (I thought I was having Autistic Burnout). They eventually moved and I wasn't getting any better. With them gone, my local support network was basically 0. My therapist was working overtime with me (for free) because she was so concerned about me. It got to the point where I didn't want to be around my apartment (long story, but I felt it antagonized me from the neighbor noise), so I looked at checking my into a residential treatment facility. Long story short, my insurance wouldn't cover it because I wasn't actively suicidal (thoughts, but no intention, despite the hell I was going through). I broke down sobbing on the phone with my Dad. I was desperate and didn't know what to do. I asked him if I could stay with them at their new place. He talked it over with my Mom and said sure. It was very difficult for me, but I bought a next day flight to Denver. I had insane panic attacks that night about the flight (I've almost never flown). I called a crisis center just to have someone to talk to so I didn't feel so alone. I couldn't sleep at all. I'm a day sleeper generally, so flying at noon made me sleep deprived. I don't know how i got through the whole process and flew out here to Denver, but I did. I was actually doing pretty okay at first. I was overdid it though and towards the evening I just crawled up next to my mom on her bed and sobbed. My stomach started getting really achy that night, which was more intense than it has been before. I wasn't thinking clearly. I wanted to go into the doctor but insurance would only cover ER out of state. Anyway, eventually I talked things over with a nurse practitioner over the phone and she basically told me the ER was unnecessary unless I was in extreme pain and to try some pepto and check in with an in-network doc online. I went to bed. I slept for over 16 hours straight. I was exhausted. That evening I had more panic and crying. I realized then, now that virtually all my stressors from home were gone, that this whole ordeal was very similar to the Xanax withdrawal I was going through about 3.5 years ago. I did some googling and found this site. I read through the entire page on tapering off Pristiq and pretty much any other information I could find and realized how bad the Pristiq withdrawal really is. I explained this to my folks and it made a lot more sense to them. Despite all this, since it's been I think close to 3 weeks since I first tapered, I thought I'd try to see this through to the end. Well, in addition to some anxiety and crying tonight (it seems to be getting better), my stomach is hell right now. It's been cramping to the max. I was even dry heaving earlier. This is all new. I've also been unable to sleep more than about 6 broken hours in the last 24. The other motivation is that I didn't bring the Pristiq with me to Denver, only my other meds. If i were to taper now, I'd either have to find a pharmacy that would tide me over here and pay out of pocket or go home with a costly plane flight and go back in the 50mg until I can get hold of my doctor. That said, I was hoping to stay here through Thanksgiving and really don't want to go back to the noise, stress, and loneliness of that apartment. I know withdrawal times can vary and the best course is to generally taper down. But having been through so much and knowing that Pristiq is very hard to taper off of, I almost feel it might be more convenient and less painful in the long run to just stay the course. My question is, how much longer do you think it will take for my CNS to get back to some sense of homeostasis where I can function better? So far my mood has been much better, except for some hiccups during the night where I get dysphoric. The real bear right now is my stomach. Will I be out of the woods soon?
  21. Hi everyone- not sure if this is the correct way to do it but I wanted to introduce myself. I've been relying on stories and advice here as I taper (with help from my doctor) desvenlafaxine, and now feel ready to engage in this community myself. I've also been experiencing quite a lot of ups and downs emotionally (windows and waves?) and am wondering if I've gone off my meds too quickly. Currently looking at options for reinstating low does venlafaxine or fluoxetine (see below for tapering- I used the fluoxetine method for weaning). Feeling hopeful that having a space away from my doc, with people who actually get it, will help! Ruth tapering schedule: Jan 26: reduced the pristiq dose to 25mg Feb 2: after 1 week on pristiq 25mg, started fluoxetine 10mg and continued pristiq Feb 9: after 1 week on step 2, stopped pristiq, and continued fluoxetine for an additional 3 weeks March 3: Last day on fluoxetine April 8th: 5 weeks off all meds, 8 weeks off pristiq
  22. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (If you've just quit Pristiq and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to reinstate a LOWER dose of Effexor XR, such as 37.5mg, to start. This may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms and avoid a kindling reaction.) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  23. Hi. I’m new here. Trying to get off generic of elavil. I used a generic for 5 years for sleep. Then the generic changed to a different company. At this time I was trying to reduce the amount. I had no idea it would be this difficult. I went off it. When I realized I was getting withdrawal, I reinstated. It’s been almost a month and it doesn’t help me for sleep. Helps me for pain! Then I tried upping the dose, adding some other drug, which I didn’t want to do. I never stuck to one plan. Just wondering if i will stabilize? I have very bad insomnia because of this. I really don’t know what do
  24. Hi all, I am currently 4 months removed from any pharmaceuticals after a lengthy 6-7 month withdrawal from Pristiq, then a relatively quick taper of Buspar/Buspirone (1 month). I spent half of my life (starting at age 22) on anti-depressants such as Lexapro, Zoloft, and most recently (the last 12 years) Pristiq. I was on 100 mg of Pristiq for most of that stretch. Around the end of 2020, my psychiatrist added Buspirone to help with anxiety...which did help. I later discovered that an SNRI, according to my psychiatrist, can cause anxiety in some people. If true, I was certainly one of those people. During this entire 22 year ordeal, my depression and anxiety was fairly under control, but I was absolutely crippled with daily insomnia and unending sexual side-effects. Starting around February of 2021, I started taking a new approach to self-care, my health, and I finally enrolled in proper counseling first time in my life to address to root cause of my depression and anxiety. In addition, the book Breaking the Patterns of Depress by Dr. Michael Yapko was a huge help. I worked with both my psychiatrist and my primary care physician to slowly taper down Pristiq (which wasn't too bad until I hit the lowest possible dose of 25mg). I started the the final taper of Pristiq in October 2021...and it was brutal. What actually carried me through, personally, was a temporary increase in Buspirone (recommended by my primary care doc), which seemed to ease my anxiety and help with some of the discontinuation symptoms of dizziness and brain-zaps. Finally, in November of 2021, I completed my taper of Buspirone. Although I've had peaks and valley's during this recovery, I feel the best mentally...in the history of me! I was never a heavy drinker, but I have completely stopped drinking alcohol to give myself the best chance at this recovery...and I also exercise daily for the first time in my life. Although the sexual side effects are around 50% better (praying this continues to improve) my insomnia continues to be absolutely debilitating. My main question: Even though it's been 4 months since my last dose, could my brain/system still be recovering from the 2 decades of SNRI/SSRI use? I can't seem to find a consistent answer online, nor through my doctors. Thank you!
  25. Hello, this is my introduction. I am a long time Effexor user, age 38 male. It never was completely effective and I struggled with side effects, so I ended up cycling off and on periodically for the last 10 or so years. For the last two years, I have been using Pristiq instead, and don't feel I need it, but I have not been able to stay off. Even after tapering to where I am off it with no short term withrdawal, I will get bad symptoms of withdrawal (characteristic headache and dizziness) returning about 6 weeks after. I just restarted 25mg Pristiq and am hoping to successfully get off. I have a lot of questions, including whether I should switch back to Effexor just for the ability to count the time release balls and taper that way. I would like to post in the tapering forum. Thanks you.
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