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  1. 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
  2. angielynn78ii Over the last 10 years I’ve been on antidepressants. At different stages I was on Pristiq, Celexa, Cymbalta, Viibryd and Prozac. I was also on Lamictal and Klonopin. I am proud to say that I am currently free of all prescription medications. I took my last dose of Prozac 27 days ago. I’m surviving but I look forward to thriving. I could say so much and really want to share more but currently I just don’t have the energy or clarity. I will write again when able.
  3. Hi there, I am new here. Been on different anti-depressants since 1995. Recently had been on Prestiq 100 mg and Abilify 10 mg. Due to procrastination, finances and major stress, depression and an addiction I ran out of the Abilify and only had 4 Prestiq left before I finally made a Dr appointment and paid 150.00 cash self-pay to see my long-time Dr. Due to very low income and no insurance he switched me from Prestiq to Prozac 40 mg which is much cheaper (Fluoxetine). First Prozac was 1/12/17...he said it will help but not prevent all the Prestiq withdrawals. I still feel the loss of the Prestiq with dizziness, brain zaps, major fatigue, unstable, confused and fearful. Is this normal? How long will it last? If you have been on Prozac did it work for you and are there any side effects like fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, etc)? Next month (Feb 2017) I am hoping to have health insurance again and can switch meds if need be but wanna give this Prozac a chance to work (how long does it take to start working?). Thanks for any feedback you can offer!
  4. Well, i started to take antidepressants at 2017 for very strong anxiety, hard depression, panick attacks and insomnia. Im seventeen now. They tried some triciclics antidepressants first, and just as Fluoxetine they didnt seem to do anything, so the doctor prescribed me Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) increasing the dose until 150mg at 2019 and asked me to quit school. At some point things started to fade away, and i coudnt even notice the changes, i was a zombie. So, i started feeling so numb and empty without even remember how does it felt to feel something, and i decided i had to quit those strong medicines... its important to notice that since 2017 i took more than 20 different types of sleeping medicines prescribed by the doctor at different periods and none of them seemed to work... and some other antidepressants in a very short trial, lets say a week or less... I decided to quit medications at December 2019, so i asked the doctor for help. He asked me for a 15 days tapering, and it was a disaester... he said he thought i couldnt live without medications, so i searched for another five doctors, with my family spending a lot of money... but all they did was trying to change the antidepressant or persist that 15 days of tapering was enough. At april of 2020 i was almost desperate... so, i thought my only option would be facing the cold turkey and i did a Prozac bridge trial for 2 days with 10mg hopíng it could make things less worst. Its been two months without any meds or specialist doctors help. Its been like hell... im having intense gastrointestinal reflux since, felling very weird in ways im not able to describe, having some crazy episodes of blood preassure fall and anxiety during the day, feeling very oscilating and numb... but still better than with the meds. Here in Brazil, doctors dont think antidepressants withdraw exists, family thinks my symptons are just another type of crisis and also dont know what to do. Im insecure to a point where i rather die than putting another of those pills in my mouth It feels like waking up from a coma... but also like hell. iv been reading a lot in this forum for help, but i feel so tired, and knowing that it can last several more months or even years at this mood, i dont know if i will have enough forces to keep enduring it... im tired, and things are tought, The antidepressants never solved any of my problems, but they destroyed my life. I want my life back, i really wanna have forces to endure it
  5. Mikefeelworst Hi everyone, I am Mike. I just joined here. I am 18 years old. I got diagnosed depression and anxiety one year ago. And I spent one year on Pristiq. When I get better, my doctor decreased it to 25mg, I remember that I spent two months on it. Then I came off it. The nightmare is begin. At the first few days I started insomnia, don't want to eat, those symptoms are not terrible. After that I starting to become a zombie.Everyday is getting worse. Emotion numb, mind blank,. So I know that I have to take it again. So I starting again on last month 1st and added zoloft on 28th until now. Now, I am still emotion numb and my brain is very bad. Few days ago I just met my doctor, I told him I 'lost emotion experience' he don't believe me. He said those symptoms is impossible to happen on me. My family don't believe me too they think that I really want to sick wtf. They think I am just depression , anxiety and think too much. I think that I have got schizophrenia negative after withdrawal. I am so scare now. My mind is blank and I scare that I will develop Intellectual disability. And I am worry that I can't take care myself in the future. I don't know is that the side effect or something. Anyone experienced exactly the same thing like me? I don't want my life end in here.
  6. I am in my mid-thirties, and I've been on some form of antidepressant since adolescence. As a socially awkward, bullied young person in the throes of puberty, I hit a wall of apathy and sadness sometime in my sophomore year of high school. I no longer had the drive to make the Dean's List or pursue the activities I once enjoyed. This is when a pivotal conversation with my primary care provider occurred. He rolled toward me on a medical stool, pointing at printed charts illustrating neurotransmitters and a faulty brain chemistry. I think I was prescribed Zoloft, but I don't recall the details. I do remember that my parents remarked on the difference the medication made in my mood, and truth be told I was thankful at that time that I'd found the help I needed. Throughout college and into my twenties, my doctor adjusted my medication(s) several times. These adjustments usually corresponded with various hardships and bumps in the road inherent to living a human life. But I was fully bought into the idea that my brain was unbalanced, and feeling "okay" was just a matter of finding the right med or mix of meds to temper the discomfort. In my late twenties, I fought hard to get sober, recognizing that alcohol was causing far more harm than good in my life. Around the same time, I was prescribed Ambien for sleep (as needed). In the true fashion of an alcoholic, "as needed" soon became "every night." A couple years later, for reasons unknown to me or unremembered, my doctor prescribed Temazepam for my nightly sleep regimen to replace the Ambien. I had no understanding of benzodiazepines, their risks, or the withdrawals often associated with quitting them. I remained on a cocktail of Pristiq/Wellbutrin for depression paired with Temazepam to slow my brain at night for nearly five years. Honestly, I didn't think much of it. I trusted my doctor, and had no reason not to. I moved to a new city in 2016, started a new career, and felt in many ways that I was hitting my stride. In 2019, my then girlfriend suggested that I try and see what things might be like if I tapered off of the medication. Herself a trained therapist, she was particularly concerned that I relied on something to sleep every night. I agreed, and thought I'd like to see if these drugs were really necessary anymore. I was sober, I certainly wasn't depressed, and I had a good support system in place. In partnership with a new doctor and with my therapist on board, I made a plan to taper off of the medication. First the Wellbutrin, which we dropped over the course of a month or so. Then the Pristiq, which we tapered down over the course of a couple months. Then, snowed in on a November day and down to my last 30mg dose of Temazepam I thought, "I'll just stop taking this and be done with these meds completely." During the antidepressant tapering process, I was a bit more irritable and had some trouble focusing, but I was mostly functional. The symptoms were mild to moderate. Even in the immediate days and weeks after dropping the Temazepam, I felt okay. I slept fine, and I was mostly just excited to no longer be chained to a monthly sack of prescription refills to fix my "broken" brain. Fast forward to just after Christmas 2019. Some challenges in my relationship were giving me anxiety, but it was anxiety like I'd never felt before. And the strength of the anxiety was entirely disproportionate to the reality of the situation. It wan't long before I wasn't sleeping. Soon, I felt unsafe spending nights alone, fearing for my own safety. Thoughts of suicide cycled through my brain with regularity. A couple of weeks passed, and even basic tasks became insurmountable. I was in a near constant state of fight-or-flight. One Sunday evening I opened up my laptop to try and catch up on some things at work that I'd fallen behind on, and I couldn't focus my eyes to read an email. Panic began to set in, and I dialed my physician and then my therapist to try and make sense of what was happening. At the time, I placed much of the blame on my relationship, but I see now that I was in acute drug withdrawal. I fought my way through a haze of psychiatric evaluations, doctor's visits, emergency therapy appointments, the dissolution of my relationship, and a car accident (in which thankfully nobody was hurt). Eventually, at my own insistence, I found my way back to the original three medications I'd been taking, thinking that would be my best shot at finding some sense of stability. It's only been in the last month or so that I've felt some degree of what I would call stability, and I'm operating at about 75% of the mental capacity I once was, trying to pick up the pieces of my life and make sense of everything that happened. That search to make sense of everything is what led me here. I know that I do not want to be on a cocktail of medication for the rest of my life. I don't want to medicate my feelings or rely on a drug to fall asleep or live detached from my emotional experience. But I also know that right now, the right thing to do is to wait. I have to wait until my nervous system stabilizes and I can set up the proper plan and support system (the latter of which is made more complicated by the global pandemic we're all experiencing). If you have any advice for how I should go about tapering these medications based on my history, current dosage, and the experience described above, I am all ears. I look forward to actively participating in this withdrawal process alongside all of you, even if I need to wait a bit before I set out again. Much love.
  7. I'm a 25 year old female. I began taking Wellbutrin 75 mg in February 2019. I realized that my anxiety increased significantly, so my doctor suggested adding on another medication. I began Pristiq 25 mg at the end of November 2019. It made me calm down, but lowered sex drive. Could get turned on but not masturbate. In late December 2019 I developed Serotonin Syndrome, because I used St. Johns Wort along with these medications and accidentally took two Pristiq one day. I couldn't feel or think. I was almost catatonic. I was numb from my face to my feet. My ****** included and I didn't even find anyone attractive. No interest in sex. Emotionally, I couldn't feel much, but cry sometimes out of fear. I couldn't remember things or focus. I couldn't feel when I had to pee or poop. My doctor wanted me to wean off the Pristiq. She told me to take my pill every three days for two weeks. I began doing that Tuesday January 6th. I saw minor improvements throughout the week and the Sunday January 12th, it seemed as though it all lifted. I felt like me again. I could laugh and cry. I felt desire for love and a relationship again. I could masturbate and orgasm and they were intense. I was so relieved and happy that I only had one more week of taking Pristiq. I was happy that I felt like a person again. I took my Pristiq the next day, Monday, January 13th. I was weary about it, but figured I should wean myself off it one more week like the doctor instructed. I heard the withdrawals were brutal anyways. I felt great Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday it slowly went downhill. I could still masturbate and orgasm until Wednesday evening. My ****** became dry. I couldn't get turned on. My head felt heavy and my forehead became numb. I didn't feel like myself. Again. I can display very few emotions, except to cry sometimes. I don't care about anything and feel detached. Today, I could *****************, but I don't feel anything. I felt a little more like myself in the morning, was able to cry during a tv show and feel slight sensation when someone kissed. I But now going into the evening, I am losing these feelings again. I spoke with the doctor and she told me to stop taking the Pristiq. So the last one I took was on the 13th. Is this normal? The beginning of PSSD? (I know it's early, but this is odd) Anyone experience anything similar? Any support while I go through this would be wonderful. I will keep everyone updated on my progress if they are interested. I have a comprehensive list of my symptoms and medications I was taking up to this point included. Untitled 3.pdf
  8. Hi group, may I introduce myself? I have had social anxiety and energy depression since childhood. I’ve been on Effexor since 1996 (24yrs!). This last month, I braved a medication review and the psych Nurse Practitioner added 2mg Abilify to boost my mood. The first pill took away all my body pains in an amazing wave... in a couple days I had more energy and less procrastination... but on day 11, I had shooting head and chest pains, scary blood pressure of 155/86 and heart rate of 100. My vision had zigzags in it. Of course I stopped taking it and called the Psych NP office. She told me that there was No Way a baby dose of 2mg could have caused the cardiac issue, and I should see primary care physician. I knew that Abilify has a long 4 day half-life (6day for some people) so I decided to wait and flush it out for 2 weeks. I drank hibiscus tea and went off caffeine and took some blood pressure meds as needed. The pains largely persisted. The psych NP then suggested I switch to Effexor’s potent daughter, desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). There would be a reduction in milligrams from 150 to 50mg but the overall effectiveness was supposed to be equivalent with less side effects (possibly not as likely to raise blood pressure). Since brand Effexor has become SO expensive and generic doesn’t work well for me - I agreed to try the des-venlafaxine. On the 3rd day I took a day nap and cried a little. On the 4th day I was wild with anxiety about my chest pains and sobbed when my physician let me come in for an EKG. The MD encouraged me to keep going on the Pristiq for 2 weeks, and keep working with the psych NP. The MD also made me feel more secure since the EKG and her other checks were OK. I was just freaking out, basically. So... The baby dose of Abilify caused a strong seratonin reaction in me, and dropping Effexor for its daughter caused a strong withdrawal reaction in me. I didn’t know what to think until I found this site, SA.org. What a giant help to get real information for once! Yes, SSRI and SSNRI’s have very, very strong effects on the body. I think I’m going to hold steady for a while, scared from these 2 bad experiences (btw I am being referred to a cardiologist). But I know now about NMT 10% dose tapering and that it is OK to remove the beads in Effexor, and OK to repackage in gelatin capsules...for when I am ready to try tapering. But is it worth trying Pristiq? Is it worth the hard shaky effort and strain to my relationship to go off Effexor??? My memory is shot and my blood pressure is high. But will they get better?
  9. 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 all, just found this site and was looking for some advice on tapering off antipsychotic's. It all started about 11 months ago when I was prescribed saphris for depression by my pdoc to augment pristiq, (I know I should have known better). All was fine until about three months in when I started slowly developing anhedonia, just a complete lack of interest in life, it messed up my endocrine system, and destroyed my short term memory. Having successfully quit seroquel cold turkey in the past I thought saphris would be a breeze.... Boy was I wrong, only managed to make it there days in before the overwhelming anxiety (which I've never had before)and insomnia drove me back onto it. After three failed attempts to taper off(lowest dose is 5mg and couldn't cut sublingual wafers any lower), my pdoc suggested switching to 10mg zyprexa for two weeks then stopping that cold turkey, well that was a mess again, had anxiety from hell and insomnia. Again we tried switching over to seroquel which failed.So now I'm back on zyprexa (with a whole new set of side effects)with the plan of tapering off at a rate of -1.25mg every two weeks, currently I'm down to 7.5mg with moderate anxiety, intermittent insomnia and an insatiable appetite. Just wondering if this is too aggressive a taper, I only have tablets available so I'm just relying on cutting them into quarters. Just want off this pharmaceutical merry go round, feel as though I've been lobotomized.
  11. Hello Everyone I am new here. This is my first ever post to a form of any kind. I am currently tapering off Pristiq 10 percent per month under the care of my specialist. I was prescribed Pristiq in July/August of 2010 by my GP. Over the years, I have made several failed attempts at stopping the Pristiq as I found the process just too difficult while trying to balance the responsibilities of my career. I resigned from my position in 2016 and have been tapering since November 2016. So far so good, but it has been a long, emotional and isolating process. I still have some struggle every time I reduce my dosage, and it would be great to have the support of others who understand what I am going through. I also hope my journey can be of help to someone else.
  12. I've been on 50mg Pristiq 4 years, want to wean. I got stressed out after a fainting episode and near-death smoking wakup call, had anxiety attacks, ate xanax for a couple weeks while pristiq kicked in (i quit smoking cold turkey while i was still crazy with anxiety, no ciggies 4 years now yay!) now I want to stop Pristiq - libido and clear vision would be nice. my doctor is getting fired, expressed zero interest in weaning me. found your forum via google search; i'm hoping to find the magic method of getting off this stuff and share the experience.
  13. Hi, After reading many many posts, I'm more confused than ever ... I just obtained a prescription to have Pristiq compounded and reduced by 10% of current dose each month in hopes of getting off this beast. After reading some of the posts, it appears that it may not be a good idea to compound this drug because of the extended release properties of the 50mg pill. Is there anyone on this site that has had success tapering off of this drug using a compound pharmacy to do a 10% taper per month? I"m now nervous to get the prescription filled after reading some of the posts. I contacted the compound pharmacy (Guardian Drugs in Toronto, Canada) and they have the same reservations about crushing the extended release tablets as they tell me, that while they can do it, they don't know exactly how the compounded drug with react in my system. In compounding it, the drug will most likely be weaker (by exactly how much they can't say with any accuracy) and therefore she cannot say with any certainty whether or not it will cause withdrawal symptoms which I am desperate to avoid. Tried to taper off about five years ago (second or third try) by cutting the pill and reducing it gradually and had such bad withdrawal symptoms, I thought I was going to go mad so back on the stupid drug I went. The compounding pharmacy offered to call my family doctor and suggest to her that I switch to Effexor (75mg) which she said is equivalent to 50mg of Pristiq. She said that Effexor is much easier to come off of and much easier to compound. She said it didn't sound like my family doctor has much experience with coming off antidepressants (don't think my doctor is alone on this point). She also suggested reducing the Effexor by 5% each month rather than 10% to help avoid withdrawal altogether. She said it is better to taper very gradually and to take as long as possible to get off these drugs. Even a year or more sounded reasonable to her. So I guess my questions are (1) is it feasible/best approach to switch to Effexor to taper or am I just switching to a different beast even more difficult to get off of? (2) should I just get the Pristiq compounded and hope for the best ... ? (3) better suggestions/experience than the above two points? I would really like to get off of Pristiq, have been on anti-depressants far too long and never able to get off of them properly because of the horrific withdrawal symptoms so basically I've been held hostage by a little pill and would like my life back. Tired of feeling flat and not having any real emotions and don't want to Stepford Wife/Walking Dead it anymore. I've been taking 50mg of Pristiq for about 7 years and prior to that was on Effexor extended release 37.5 x 2 for about the same amount of time. Any suggestions from people with experience getting off these drugs would be most welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for reading.
  14. Thankful to have come upon this forum and I’m thankful for all those contributing their time, experience, help, and care to so many. I just wish I would have found this a very long time ago. I consider myself an educated, intelligent woman. That I have been duped for so long could easily lead me to take it out on myself. I imagine it’s something I’ve known for a long time, but the “professionals” kept telling me that the recurrence of severe depression/anxiety after stopping the meds was just proof that I needed them, forever, and after so many failures, I believed them. I am about to turn 59 and have been on antidepressants for over 30 years. I will add a timeline to my signature very soon. My most-immediate issue involves the past 9 months and I was needing your help to try and decide what to do next. My next appointment with my psychiatrist is in mid-February. I’ve only seen him once before, but it was obvious he didn’t believe in slow tapers, although he did acknowledge withdrawals. In April, 2019, after being on Effexor for about 20 years, my then psychiatric nurse practitioner decided that I must be bipolar 2 since the medication was no longer working. She tried to convince me, even though I had never experienced hypomania. What transpired after that was a nightmare. I made a big mistake trusting her. Here’s the timeline of these past 9 or 10 months in a nutshell: April, 2019: Effexor 37.5 (had been on that dose for 2 years, but on Effexor for about 20) April 11, 2019 Latuda 20mg added to Effexor. April 22, 2019 Latuda increased to 40mg. Terrible panic (hadn’t had a panic attack in 20 years), terrible nausea, doom and gloom, facial ticks, etc. May 14, 2019: Latuda reduced back to 20mg. Still on Effexor 37.5. Panic and doom and gloom continue. May 27, 2019: Latuda reduced to 10 mg for 3 days then ct (per dr’s orders). Continue on Effexor 37.5. June 10, 2019: Rexulti added. Started w .5 mg a few days then increased to 1mg. June 5, 2019: Rexulti reduced to .5mg. July 1-24, 2019. Rexulti reduced to .25mg over couple of weeks then off. July 24, 2019: New psych had me CT off Effexor. When I brought up the idea of tapering it slower, she laughed, saying I was on almost 0 already. I should have trusted my gut, but didn’t. Within two weeks, I was in a crippling depression with lots of anxiety/panic and suicidal to an extreme. I can’t recall ever being this depressed, or that it was even possible to feel this bad. September 9, 2019, began Viibryd (low dose, not sure mg) via original psych NP. CT per dr’s orders on September 19 due to side effects. September 23, 2019, began Trintellix. Terrible nausea, pain. CT per dr’s orders on September 27. September 28, 2019, began 10mg Prozac. Helped calm the depression, but made me very anxious. Legs shaking up and down, inner agitation (not anger) October 24, 2019: Saw a new NP at the clinic of a new-to-me psychiatrist since I couldn’t get in with him until the end of December. She had me do a rapid taper of Prozac while starting on Pristiq 25mg for 10 days, then 50mg after that. Began having tinnitus, muscle pains, headache, neck pains, but depression and anxiety much better. December 26, 2019: Saw new psychiatrist. He wanted me to stop Pristiq (because of the side effects) by skipping it every other day for a week then switch to Cymbalta. I declined, knowing that my cns was already in an uproar. He then lowered my Pristiq down to 25mg. Without him knowing, I thought maybe cutting my pills to gradually lower to 25mg would be better. I took 25mg + 1/8th of a 50 (6.25) in the morning then another 6.25 12 hours later. I did this for 3 or 4 days but couldn’t take the side effects (stomach pain, tremors, flu, headache, etc). Decided cutting the tabs wasn’t going to work. Began just taking the 25mg tablet after those 3 or 4 days. Symptoms improved immediately. Have been on this dose since. So, here I am now. The Pristiq 25mg is feeling like it’s too much, but, then again, I don’t know if it’s the Pristiq or withdrawals from all the other junk my body has been fed the past 8-9 months. It’s really not too bad, though. I have tinnitus, muscle pains in my upper body and arms, some mild restlessness, itchy eyelids, and I feel kind of drugged. I really expected to feel worse. I’m a poor metabolizer of serotonin (SLC6A4), poor metabolizer at CYP2D6, plus I have slow motility of my intestines due to surgery for a small bowel obstruction 7 years ago (caused by adhesions). Small dosages go a long way in my body. The other huge factor is this medicine is causing high blood pressure (162+/82+) and I just had open-heart surgery 1.5 years ago to repair a rare congenital birth defect. I cannot afford to have anything messing with my heart. I’ve been off all heart medications since 3 months after surgery. The psych and NP new all of this information. I had even checked with my cardiologist to make sure Pristiq was ok (before taking the first dose). He said it should be, stating that only a small % had issues with it. I need to get off of Pristiq and AD’s in general. I just don’t know what to do. I want to have a plan thought out before my next appointment mid-February (or sooner, if you think it’s needed). After spending a lot of time reading this forum, I believe my three best options are: Stay on Pristiq and taper down using compounded dosages. The problem is that I live in the middle of nowhere, rural community, and have tried to find a compounding pharmacy in my state who will compound Pristiq. So far, I haven’t found one who would agree to do it. I’ve used the compounding pharmacy finder link here in SA. I have not heard back from everyone, though. My body does not tolerate the cut pills. The main drawback to this option is my blood pressure. I think the reason Effexor didn’t affect my BP much was because at the low dose, the norepinephrine didn’t kick in. But, with the Pristiq, it must kick in at the lower dosage. This is my theory, anyway. Switch to Effexor. I like this option solely because it would be easier to taper, in my opinion. It would also be better for my heart, unless I had a bad reaction switching back. That’s the main disadvantage of this option...not knowing if I’ll have a bad reaction getting back on the Effexor after being off 5+ months. My hope would be that the Pristiq is close enough to Effexor and my CNS wouldn’t be too angry. Do nothing and stay on the Pristiq 25mg for a few months, waiting for things to calm down. Again, the main disadvantage is the unknown. I’m not sure I can stand this dose for too much longer. It just feels like too much. My fear is that if I stay on this dose it will wreak more havoc on my system. Then again, maybe what I’m feeling is withdrawals. Also, if I stay at this dose, chances are that my BP will remain high. I can go on BP medicine, but that’s another can of worms. What would you recommend? I’ll admit that I’m very scared. I know that, all-in-all, I’ve been pretty lucky these past few months. I also know it could go south at any moment. Thank you for taking the time to read this and sharing your expertise. Note: I also take Ambien 10mg nightly, clonazepam .125mg nightly, omeprazol 20mg daily (but in process of reducing to Pepcid otc), Synthroid 125 mcg and Premarin .625 daily (long story). Also 1000 vitamin D3. After reading this forum, I know I need to address the ambien, clonazepam, and acid reducers, at some point. Was taking B complex, a multi-vitamin, and fish oil for years before these past 9 months. Can no longer take them due to side effects. Tried taking a very small amount of b12 and a very small amount of magnesium glycinate. Both gave me a bit of anxiety so stopped taking them.
  15. 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.
  16. ADMIN NOTE moved initial posts from Mission of Surviving Antidepressants Hello. What do you exactly mean "if the symptoms are from and adverse or paradoxical reaction to medication, the medication has to be gradually withdrawn for recovery."? Is three to four months of gradual withdrawel enough? Thats what I did.
  17. Luvtoride

    Luvtoride

    I've been antidepressants close to 30 years. I've tried prozac, paxil, zoloft, wellbutrin, most of the SSRI meds. I have no record of the dates and doses. I'm on Pristiq now and have been for over 5 years. I take 100mg/day. I really feel this is no longer helping me and want to discontinue the drug.
  18. Hey everyone, this is my story. About 13 or so years ago when I was 13-14 (I'm now 27) I had my very first panic attack which terrified me so bad that literally the next day I was at the doctors begging for meds, I did this because I didn't know any better and I wanted the anxiety GONE... I had health anxiety and every little pain, ache, sensation or feeling whatever it was, had me convinced I had a terminal illness and that I was dying which lead me to the panic attack after weeks of worrying about it, I should also mention I'm not sure where the worry came from because prior to that I was fine.. So I started on 50mg of Pristiq and back then I thought it would work like a benzo and relieve symptoms straight away but honestly it made my anxiety worse, I felt weird on it, for some reason death was on my mind more than ever like I would be down about the thought of me dying one day, my family dying,all these weird thoughts that I never had before and not what a typical13 -14 year old would have.. I stayed on it and for about 2 weeks I was absolutely bed ridden with intense anxiety, I could barely leave my room to pee, finally the tablet kicked in because I woke up 1 day nearly a few weeks in and my anxiety was almost completely gone, not to mention I felt a lot happier than before to, my life was back on track and I even got myself a part time job for after school at a fast food place, life was pretty great I mean I did notice I felt like I was in a dream kind of world but I didn't look to much into it, the anxiety was still there but not as intense, I found myself always getting reassurance which kind of worked but at the time I didn't realise that's such a bad thing to do and makes it worse, fast forward a few years later I was still on Pristiq 50mg, working and attending school, life felt like it use to, as I got older a pattern developed, out of know where an intrusive thought would come in my head which by the way happened a lot but normally I could disregard, however every so often the thought would be to complex and it would consume me, literally to the point where I would be bed ridden exactly like I was when it first started, this led to me having a dosage increased to 100 mg and being introduced to Zyprexa to help manage anxiety and sleep, at first I only stayed on the Zyprexa a couple weeks and never had it again as it made me to drowsy, fast forward to recently where I stopped Pristiq 100mg cold turkey purely because I couldn't afford it one week and my attitude was "I feel normal anyways I'm cured from anxiety" that lasted 6months lol, I should mention that withdrawal for the first few days was hard but I got through it but keep in mind, I was regularly attending the gym so that helped a lot and back then I never knew about withdrawal symptoms I thought it was like a week and then it's out your system, and honestly for a while in that 6 month period I actually did feel better off them because I appreciated life a lot more as I didn't feel as emotionally numb, a nice sunny day made me feel joy like never before it was so alien how magnified my feelings became, anyways after 6 months of course the health anxiety was back as well as weird physical symptoms I never had before, tingling and tightness in my head like a rubber band being squeezed, bowel and tummy issues, intense intrusive thoughts ect... Anyways I ended up back on pristiq but it wasn't like being on them before it felt different, I hated it and got hit with intense suicidal thoughts which lead me back on Zyprexa as well as pristiq, that lasted about a year until I cold turkeyed both the Zyprexa was first to go which was so hard to do omg man 😕 a few months later I cold turkeyed pristiq, if anyone out there is considering for the love of god don't cold turkey!!!! it's been a year to this day since I had a pristiq and a few months longer since Zyprexa, in the last year I've felt: depersonalisation/derealisation, intense head pressures and pains, vision problems, bowel problems to the point I had a colonoscopy to make sure I didn't have bowel cancer, I had a CTscan on my head to make sure it's not a tumour putting me through this hell, extreme anger and depression, extreme sleep problems, sex drives gone downhill a bit, I'm paranoid like it honestly feels like I'm in fight or flight 24/7.. The worse anxiety I've ever felt, the hardest symptoms I've had to deal with and this is what has lead me to join this group, I don't know if I'm hallucinating, but it feels like I can see my own thoughts in my head clearer than the real world in front of me.. I know it sounds strange, I feel trapped in my own mind I can easily ruminate over my intrusive thoughts and visualise them more than I can pay attention to the real world and I hate it will this nightmare ever end?Have I done PERMANENT damage? Sometimes the head pain hurts a lot I feel like I'm seconds from dying from the pain, like it's getting worse I constantly ask myself if I should go back on the meds and taper off but it's been so long plus I hate the meds I want nothing to do with them, any advice would be great I'm sorry for the novel
  19. Hello. I am twenty years old and had been on antidepressants since I was ten. From then on through my teenage years, all I knew was I needed to take my medicine . Once I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, my pediatrician referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist then put me on respiradone and strattera. I don't remember if I had any behavior problems or not, but my neurologist told me I would have to be on medicine for the rest of my life. I stayed on those two meds until I got into high school. My first two years of high school, I couldn't stop crying. I cried day and night. My neurologist put me on celexa. When that didn't work, my neurologist told me he could no longer help me and referred me to a psychiatrist. I saw the new psychiatrist my junior year of high school who told me I had depression and anxiety that needed to be treated. I was taken off respiradone and strattera and put on pristiq and adderall. When pristiq wouldn't work, I was switched back to celexa. So it went on, switching back and forth between antidepressants. There were so many different ones I can't remember many of them. Every time I asked my psychiatrist if the next time it would work, he assured me it would. There was no chance to talk when I saw my psychiatrist. It would result in a new prescription every time. During my senior year, I helplessly slept through every class, sometimes falling out on the floor asleep. I had a good school counselor who allowed me to pass because she knew it was the medicine and I got plenty of sleep. I also cried uncontrollably almost every day in front of everyone and it was very humiliating as I would stir up a lot of attention. My senior pictures of me showed a person with a puffed up and swollen face. I was switched to lexapro again and stayed on it my whole first year of college. Then the crying returned. During my second year, I was switched to Abilify for depression. I still trusted my psychiatrist as he again promised me it would work. Out of all my experiences with antidepressants, there is nothing that could ever have compared to this. As soon as I took the first dose of Abilify, my brain signaled to me something was very, very wrong. I began receiving no sleep. My psychiatrist put me on trazadone for that, but when I took it, my body fell completely limp, my heartbeat slowed down to almost nothing, and I went numb while my body shut itself down. I stopped it after two nights. Meanwhile, with abilify, I began spending all my time obsessing over things I would normally never touch. I believed I was an alien hybrid sent from outer space to save the planet. I also believed the human race are all aliens in disguise. Then I started going mad. I didn't want to be a human anymore. I wanted to be a supernatural creature with otherworldly capabilities. This was all extremely terrifying to me, but I couldn't stop myself. I lost my common sense as I believed these nonsensical theories. My mind was overpowering me with racing thoughts such as these listed. I couldn't think clearly. I was almost always in a state of rage. Reasoning had left me. For reasons I do not remember, I stopped Abilify by myself cold turkey. My psychiatrist had told me before that I never needed to worry about tapering because the antidepressants I took were all in the same family. He never mentioned stopping completely. Withdrawal symptoms didn't show up until a week later. My psychiatrist told me they would last 15 days. They were relatively minor, and I didn't worry much about them. However, nothing could have ever prepared me for the horror I underwent next. Every horror I could have never imagined bestowed me over the course of a month. I received no sleep. I was very lucky if I got one hour. The nights soon got from bad to worse. I developed REM sleep disorder. I was unable to tell the difference between being awake and asleep. As my mind was drifting, I jumped up in the air, screamed, swung at the air, and thrashed violently all over. In addition, my head would suddenly snap up and I would shout melancholy indistinguishable language and suck in sharp breaths. I was aware of everything, but I had no control over it, and it was very disturbing to me. Then came the uncontrollable muscle movements. My lips drew up on the sides, my mouth gaped open, my lips puckered and pouted, my teeth bared, my tongue stuck out, my neck extended, my eyes bulged, my eyebrows rose and lowered, my hands flapped, my arms swung, my knees jerked, my head jerked side to side, and my fingers extended. Shouts, grunts, moans, and gasps escaped my mouth. Several weeks went by as more horrendous symptoms appeared. Every day I was a zombie. I could only do basic human activities. I had no awareness of the passage of time. At night while drifting off, a dark shadowy presence swept over me. I was aware of where I was in real time while drifting, but I sensed a sudden danger. I jumped up alert every time. I heard a voice I believed to be God's telling me why I was like this and what I needed to do. It spoke to me relentlessly for days. When this occurred, an otherworldly and overwhelming sense of peace filled my every being. But it was always soon replaced by a terror so surreal I could not function. During this time, I could "see" my brain and I believed I was in control of what I allowed to be let in. After four days of this, I ordered the voice to "Get out!" It did and did not come back. Right after this, a veil suddenly covered my mind and I was disengaged from reality. I had no sense of where I was and I had no connection with my parents. I was always mad, crying most of the time, and my head was always jerking. I saw my psychiatrist for the last time two months ago. The doctor who had been nice to me all this time suddenly turned mean. He told me he refused to see me unless I got on medicine. By this time, I had found this site and many other websites about withdrawal. I knew I wanted to try living a better life and I was not backing down. I never took the newly prescribed anti psychotic he prescribed me. A week later, my parents, exasperated with how I was doing and on their last straw, called my psychiatrist. My dad told the psychiatrist I had read on the internet how long the withdrawal really is and the doctor spoke with me on the phone. My psychiatrist told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was describing were "all in my head" because the medicine would already be out of my system now six weeks later. He told me I needed to get on medicine right now because "I needed help". He told me my quality of life was not as good without the medicine. I was in another rage episode by this time, and unlike me, I confronted him. I said "Well why are a lot of these the same symptoms I experienced during the so-called withdrawal time?" He said he didn't know and preceded to ask me was I on drugs. I was in disbelief that anyone would ask such a thing. I have not spoken to that psychiatrist since. I am dealing currently with a lot of physical and mental symptoms but none I would describe as severe as that horrible nightmare of a month. (That month just happened to be timed perfectly with my Christmas break.) My mouth, head, and fingers jerk, but never as exaggerated as they were the first month. I dealt with extremely numb fingers, feet, and ankles up until two weeks ago. My ankles at times felt like they were hanging by a single nail. My feet, bluish-green, were so numb and swollen I had no feeling and shooting pains shot up my legs. I was extremely dizzy for so long. My gp told me I have low blood pressure. I started having panic attacks. Anxiety crept over me for no apparent reason. I cried a lot. I felt hopeless. I am dealing with apathy, anhedonia, akathisia, and cognitive problems. My memory has not been well during this whole time. I am not aware; I'm just wherever I am. I have lost perception of sight, hearing, and touch. I do things I'm supposed to do because I know that's what I've always done. I cannot connect feelings to memories; I have to rely on pictures and journals from over the years. I had to look back in my journal to refresh my memory of this whole experience which I happened to write down. I have been disconnected with myself...it was worse in the beginning. I would look at pictures of myself and couldn't connect that it was me. The whole first month of withdrawal my face was so puffed up I thought my skin would fall off. Sometimes things look bigger or smaller than they appear. My thinking ability is limited. I went to my gp again three weeks ago and I was low on vitamin D. I am currently on iron medicine, vitamin d supplements, allergy medicine, and multivitamins. Although the numbness has gone away, I am extremely faint and have weak tremors every day. At night I'm miserably exhausted. My heart is always beating fast and hard. I get chills and my body tenses up. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about any of this. I cold-turkeyed Abilify four months ago. I have managed to keep my grades up in college since then and so far have maintained a perfect attendance. Some days are harder than others, but I try to count my blessings as I've heard stories far worse than my own. I am only beginning to understand what I am dealing with. The last thing I would want is to ever take another antidepressant and hinder this process. I feel like I have a real sense of myself now and I feel more in control. I have no idea how long this will last or if it will ever go away but I try to maintain a positive attitude about it as things slowly get better. I have faced the fact that I can't change my past but I can certainly shape my future. I apologize for the long story. It is difficult to get my thoughts together.
  20. Hi, this is my first post here, (your case is similar to mine - mod note: moved from Shaesurf's topic), my doctor recommended to me to stop cold turkey after six months and a half using Pristiq (before that I used Sertraline and I had a unbearable delayed withdrawal three months after I stop it cold turkey by medical recommendation, and the doctor didn't saw it as withdrawaw symptoms), and I on my own decided to cut the pills and I tapered for 8 weeks (54 days), that way: first week 3/4, second and third weeks 1/2, fourth week 3/8, fifth and sixth weeks 1/4, seventh week 1/8 and the eighth and last week 1/16. And then I started meditating (I went to a 10 day vipassana meditation retreat the day I stopped), and I had just a little bit of anxiety after the retreat and a hang-out like discomfort sometimes when I wake up but that's it. Tomorrow it will be one month since I stopped it and I'm doing fine so far. I take magnesium supplement, Lugol's iodine solution at 5%, and eat only raw vegan food.
  21. I want to know how to detox from all the psychiatric drugs that I took in order to make possible for my body not to need to take them anymore and to eliminate all the side effects that the psych drugs gave me. This is all the drugs that I took from psychiatrists: when I was 16 years old I took first paxil and rivotril (clonazepam) for a year and then only epival er (valproate semisodium) for a year and Then when I got 21 I took paxil and rivotril for 6 months. I changed to a 2nd psychiatrist he gave me symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine) I was with him for 4 months, then I went with a 3rd shrink that gave me lamictal and abilify for 6 months so then I changed with a 4th doctor which was a "neurologist" who gave me strattera for ADD and told me to go with his partner who is another psychiatrist (5th doctor) who added me sertraline, topamax (topiramate), olanzapine, lamictal, and because of the tachycardia that were produce by this drugs he added inderalici for my tachycardia. So after 7 months with this doctor I went with a 6th doctor that gave me paxil, rivotril, lithium and for my ADD he gave me methylphenidate (commercial name is tradea LP which is similar to Concerta). After 6 months with this doctor I changed to a 7th doctor that gave me sertraline in a very high dose and with this I decided to stop taking that pill a was taking but in a one day span it caused me to have a psychosis that made my father send male nurses to kidnapped and locked into a clinic (like hospitalization), in which the skrink that trated me was the one that treated me when I was 16 and he injected me haldol and gave pills more haldol, biperiden, triazolam and risperdal. I LIVED HELL WITH THESE DRUGS. Then the shrink after he saw that I recover reality, I was super depressed so he gave me citalpram but it didn't work so he gave me paxil and lithium. Then I started coming off meds and now I just take one quarter of a lithium pill every day in the morning. My actual side effects that I want to eliminate are: anxiety, very strong heart palpitaions or beats/beating that cause bad breathing and chest pain, difficulty to take decisions, nausea, extreme itching in my face, head, chest and back, buzz in the ears, difficulty to focus or concentrate, bad short-term memory, and wanting to pee all the time. Thank you very much.
  22. I've followed the Facebook page for this group for a bit now and thought I would add my own experience with antidepressants. So, I've been on antidepressants of and on (but mostly on) for about 21 years. The couple times over the years I got off of drugs like Paxil, Celexa, and Lexapro was by doing it the (wrong) way my doctor said to. The Ole' skip a day then every two days then voila! your done. I did that a couple times and I seemed to be good. But within 6 months, I was right back on something else. I mainly suffer from anxiety/panic and luckily don't suffer from depression; however, a year and a half ago I had my first case of depression which hit like a ton of bricks. Luckily for me, it was gone within a couple days. Phew! About 10 years ago, while on Paxil, I felt like a lot of anxiety was creeping in once again. I told my doctor at the time who was an internal medicine doctor this, and she said, "oh, you need to try this newer drug called Pristiq! It's an SNRI, not an SSRI." Without thinking anything of it, I was put on 50mgs of Pristiq-which was the lowest dose, at the time and off I went. I don't remember having any trouble what so ever making the switch. Fast forward to the summer of 2017-new doctor and I was feeling great - all things considered. I decided I wanted off. And I wanted off because I was starting to hear more and more people were being forced off their Pristiq and other antidepressants because the insurance company's didn't want to pay for them anymore AND I had watched people the prior Fall get hit by a hurricane in which many were forced into withdrawal because they couldn't get their refills because of damage to businesses/pharmacy's, etc. I didn't ever want to be "forced" off my medication for any reason and then have to endure possible side effects. So, in May of 2017, I began my journey that would (little did I know it) begin a two year struggle to get off antidepressants! I did the common thing at the beginning by telling my doctor that I was feeling good and was ready to jump off of my Pristiq. She agreed and said the usual...since I was on the lowest dose already, and the pills were extremely difficult to cut in half, skip a day for the next 2 weeks, then skip two days for the following 2 weeks, then stop. So the first two weeks were a bit unnerving and difficult but I powered through! Then came the second two weeks of skipping two days. After just the first try I was a mess! A complete mess! I had major anxiety, headaches, brain zaps, dizziness, the usual. I started pouring over the internet to find help because I knew there had to be another way! I started educating myself after finding a Facebook group that spoke of withdrawing off of Pristiq and learned a lot! I called my doctor's office and told them I needed to see her ASAP! because I was really struggling. Luckily, she got me in that same day. I told her how awful my experience was to get off this drug and she agreed that Pristiq is tricky to get off of. She said she doesn't really ever prescribe it but knows of docs that do, but mainly for menopausal symptoms! Since I came to her as a new patient back in 2011 and was already on the drug, she kept me in refills. So, at this point I told HER what I wanted to happen. Because I learned that there was now a 25mg pill which she had no idea of, I wanted her to prescribe this to me to help get me off. Then I told her that if that worked ok for me, I would then like to start compounding the drug down using a compounding pharmacy. I really had to educate her on the fact that this drug needed to be tapered off very slowly to have the best chance of getting off. She said she had never heard of that being done but was willing to work with me to get me off safely. And I had to commend her for that because I have since read and heard of many whose doctors refuse to help them in this manner get off their antidepressants. So I picked up my 25mg prescription from the pharmacy, headed home, and continued researching. I stayed on the 25's for 1 month which is when she wanted me to return to let her know how I was doing. I'll be honest here, it wasn't super easy. But, it was manageable. At my next appointment with my doctor, I came with compounding pharmacy info in hand and told her to call in a script for 15mg's to last a month with one refill in case I felt I needed to continue longer. My plan was to stay on that dose til ALL side effects were gone and to not jump down in dose until then. So, I completed the next month with the 15's and at that following appointment told her I was still doing ok, and that I'd like a new script for 12 mgs compounded. She obliged. Another month with that dose and still hung in there. The next month I asked for a 9 mg dose to be compounded. Did that for about 1 week and BAM! The side effects were so bad, I just couldn't handle it. I went back into her office right away and told her that the jump from 12 to 9 was too difficult and that I was going to refill the 12's but now I needed to taper off 1 mg per month! The lower I got in dosage, the higher my anxiety was, however, I was determined to get off this stuff. At 3mgs, I jumped completely off. Unfortunately, at that point in my life, I had some major family stuff going on which only contributed to my anxiety! I was off completely for 16 days. During that time, and because of what was going on in my life, the anxiety and panic left me in a state of not wanting to leave my house. It was really hard. I made an appointment to see my doctor again as I was starting to feel desperate. I didn't want to feel this way anymore. NOTE During this time of tapering, I learned a lot about helpful supplements to aid me as I tapered - ones for brain health and helping the inflammation that occurs in our brains as a result of taking these meds. I also cut out most sugar/gluten in my diet as both cause inflammation and can contribute to anxiety/depression. I also sought out a Naturapathic doctor in my area who ran extensive blood work to look for any deficientcy's that could contribute to how I was feeling. That's another thread that I can speak about in the future!!! (Magnesium L-Threonate/Glycinate/Citrate is your friend!!! Along with a high EPA fish oil, and Turmeric/curcumin supplementation!) So while sitting in my doctor's office feeling major anxiety, I caved. I told her I didn't want to feel like this anymore and that I was willing to try a low dose SSRI to see if it would help. I tried Zoloft first but had an allergic reaction to it 13 days in (it didn't make me feel good anyway) so I stopped that and switched right over to 10mgs of Paxil. I have to be honest...it did help. Within 24 hours I could feel my anxiety lessening. However, now I felt like a failure. I failed at getting off of antidepressants. I ended up staying on Paxil for a year. Then, because of some side effects that I can only attribute to the Paxil, decided I needed to get off this and NOW. I broke the 10's in half and for two and a half weeks, I took 5mgs. I have now been antidepressant free for almost 2 weeks and I feel GREAT! The only thing I have experienced is a slight tingling around my mouth and ever so slight anxiety but it feels more like an adrenaline rush; like when someone scares you and you jump. Granted, I know it hasn't been that long, but what a difference I feel now from what I felt a year ago. I still have a little stress in my life - but who doesn't ?? I've continued with my supplements and eating the best that I can and I believe that it has completely helped me get through the hardest parts. Looking back, I don't know how anyone could ever get off these drugs without doing some kind of taper! And, over the last year and a half, I have tried to help hundreds get off Pristiq. I am a contributor/moderator/admin in a facebook group that does just that! We help others see that the safest way off this drug is a slow taper. Many people learn the hard way, like most of us. But then we see that success is "slow and steady wins the race!" There is hope on the other side! We need to educate people and the medical community that the drug manufacturer's way is not a good way! I mean, why would they want us off their drugs anyway? They would stand to lose billions of dollars. They are setting us up for failure so we need to stand up and prove them wrong. Thank you for allowing me to share my story...
  23. Hi, I'm new to the group and will start with a brief history of medications I started taking prozac at 17, didn't take it long. 2 years later, I overdosed on quite a bit of expired prozac. Yeah, not the ideal way to go out. I experienced seizures for 4 weeks after this. I was then put on several medications including: zyprexa, and later: abilify, wellbutrin, respiridol, tegeretal, and several others. I hated them so eventually stopped. Fast forward 13 years, I was recently prescribed pristiq. I was taking 50 mg for almost 2 months and realized it wasn't helping so I just stopped taking it cold turkey. I didn't think it would be a big deal since i wasn't taking it long. Well i was wrong. Its been horrible, its been a little over a week since stopping and ice experienced Weeping, crying spells for nothing. Screaming and yelling, extreme mood swings and extreme anger, and some others id rather not say now. On a positive note...today has been much much better... Anyway, sooooo that's where im at. I do firmly believe these medications have added to or posdibly even caused more problems
  24. I came across this forum in the recent New Yorker article and I’m excited to connect with others going through similar experiences. I’ve been dealing with this in isolation for far too long. JAN 2019 Over the years, I’ve been put on an increasingly complex regime - see signature. At the start of the year as I understand it, the mainstays were Wellbutrin + Pristiq, augmented by Latuda. Plus Adderall to combat daytime lethargy. I wasn’t satisfied: 1) I don’t like being on so many meds. I felt a personal stigma, plus I’m scientifically trained. Surely this was too many variables in terms of optimizing further. 2) I was still suffering from evening lethargy, basically crashing out around 8-9pm which was impacting my relationship and family. 5mg Adderall and a coffee at 7pm, and I could still pass out an hour later. WHERE I AM NOW: STREAMLINING MY REGIME This year, I’m working to simplify the regime with my psych. Immediate goals - taper Pristiq, stop Latuda. 2019 goal - reduce to two or three meds. To taper the Pristiq, we added 10mg Prozac. We also added Abilify to replace the Latuda, which I hope to discontinue soon. So I went from 4 meds to 6, hoping this makes sense. The Pristiq tapering has been a real journey - The hardest phase was when I was taking 50mg every 2 days, then every 3 days. - Thanks to this forum, I read that that was a bad idea (the rollercoaster certainly felt like one), and we switched to 25mg daily. Thats where I am now. - The switch from 50 mg every 3 days -> 25mg daily surprised me by being the hardest transition in terms of depressive symptoms. This was combined with a foot injury which meant I couldn’t exercise much. When it rains, it pours! Would love to hear your thoughts on any of the above. Stay strong.
  25. Hi, I am new to this group. I am trying for a baby in a few months and seeing my specialist today to come off my antidepressants, as they are unsafe for pregnancy. I am on 100mg Pristiq and assume he will taper me off. Has anyone had experiences with tapering off Pristiq and what to expect? Thanks for having me here 😊
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