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ChessieCat

ChessieCat: so I'm not the only one (Pristiq / desvenlafaxine)

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Lakelander82

Hey Chessie, just noticed we are neck and neck in the race! :-D

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ChessieCat

Hi Lakelander

 

Yes we are!!!  But we have to remember to run our own race and not be trying to compete otherwise we may trip ourselves up and end up way behind.

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SkyBlue

Hi Chessie! I'm glad that reinstating magnesium is helping with the anxiety. I will talk about magnesium to anyone who might listen to me, both here and in person! ! ! ! 

 

I wanted to say that I love your signature quote: you *have* come a long way! ! ! ! Keep it up! 

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ChessieCat

Hi SkyBlue,

 

Thanks for dropping by.

 

Yes, I am sure the magnesium makes a difference.  I only take 1/2 tablet morning and night (bottle says magnesium citrate 927mg per tablet).  Last week I also got my lower leg cramps when walking which coincided with not taking as much magnesium.  This week I did the same walk and the cramps were hardly there.

 

I have tried fish oil a couple of times.  The first time was at the same time as starting magnesium a while ago and I felt like my lower back muscles became weak.  Of course because I had started both together I didn't know which was causing it and actually thought it was the magnesium.  I have since tried the fish oil again and had the same feeling so I went off them and the feeling went.  I can't say for sure that the fish oil caused it but I am loathe to test it again.

 

As for my signature quote, it is very easy to focus on what we still need to do and not realise what we have achieved.

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grandmaD

It seems like the supplements are different for everyone!  Wouldn't it be great if one thing fixed EVERYTHING!  I tried Epsom salt baths, sometimes work, sometimes not, so not sure if did anything.  I bought magnesium chloride crystals because someone raved about them in the bath.  First time I was absolutely exhausted and so I slept better and thought they worked, but perhaps it was just the exhaustion.  The next  time I tried them i couldn't get to sleep and was awake for 4 hours that night with high anxiety and strong palpitations.  The next thing, however, before I write them off, is that the water may have been too hot.  Have you heard of this, if the water is too hot, causing these symptoms?   I will wait at least a week before trying again!

 

I have started introducing fish oil again for the upteenth time.  I began with 1/4 tsp once a week and upped it to twice a week and then 3 times and so on and now I take it almost daily, but still only 1/4tsp.  Sort of like up-tapering!  I think we have to do this with many things we have become sensitive to.

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ChessieCat

Hi grandmaD.  Thanks for stopping by.  I imagine that having the water too hot could be a shock to your system.

 

UPDATE:

 

Today is Day 4 of my most recent drop.  From 30mg to 28mg.  I did 2 weeks at 31mg and 4 weeks at 30mg.  I've been a big foggy headed and tired and have also noticed a slight increase in ear pressure.  My plan is to drop 2mg every 4 weeks, 28mg 26mg & 24mg, and then reduce every 4 weeks by only 1mg drops.

 

I'm very thankful for my compounded capsules, and he remembered to do them different colours this time!!!

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ChessieCat

Recording this here for my own information.

 

Had temperature and mild chills last night.  Possibly a bug.

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ChessieCat

Fairly certain it's a bug as I've had a bit of an upset stomach over the last couple of days.

 

Just found this here pfizerpro.com

 

On discontinuation, adverse events, some of which may be serious, have been reported with PRISTIQ and other SSRIs and SNRIs. Abrupt discontinuation of PRISTIQ has been associated with the appearance of new symptoms. Patients should be monitored for symptoms when discontinuing treatment. A gradual reduction in dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible.

 

But they cover themselves with the "whenever possible".  Grrrrrrrrr!!!

 

And this:

 

Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including PRISTIQ. Discontinuation of PRISTIQ should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia.

 

Hyponatremia is low sodium level in the blood.  I have been experiencing muscle weakness, spasms, cramps which are all signs of low sodium.  I was sweating a lot when on higher doses.  And have sweated a lot this summer.  I am also a big water drinker.  Might have found the reason for these particular issues.

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ChessieCat

Dropped to 26mg on 31st March.  On the same day life got busy and that continued for a week, both physically and emotionally (excitement).  Became very tired and didn't cope well by the end of that week and did a lot of sleeping over the next two days.  Was convinced that today was Saturday when it was actually Sunday.  Feeling like I'm back to normal today although after going out for a nice long drive I am pleasantly tired.  Because of the busy week I have no idea whether I experienced any withdrawal symptoms although I did feel a bit of anxiety first thing this morning.

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bhasski

Hi Chessie,

I also have all these symptoms of muscle spasms and twitches here and there. Sometimes back of calves, back of shoulder, lower back muscles ... those places twitch intermittently which I never noticed before.

 

I have read about hypoantremia and have been on oxcarbazepine ( trileptal) along with paxil for more than a year. I know both cause low sodium levels especially trileptal... But right now I am.curious what can cure it ?

 

If you tried sth and it helped you then please help.

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ChessieCat

Well out of curiosity I did a comparison of my tapering and what I found out is a bit disappointing.

If I had done a 10% taper with 4 weeks holds, and assuming I had no issues, I would be down to 11mg by now, which is 1/2 what I am currently taking.  Oh well, I didn't know about 10% tapering back then and I am thankful that I did find out before I began having major issues which couldn't be reined in and that I am feeling much better than I was when I was on a higher dose.

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ChessieCat

UPDATE:  Down to 20mg today.  1/5 of original dose.  Opening capsule so that if there is any interdose withdrawal it will be during my sleep.

 

Still notice a slight increase in anxiety after making a reduction but on the whole I'm doing reasonably well.  I'm able to listen to talks and watch videos but find reading a bit difficult.  I've also found that a word game I was playing 3-6 months ago is harder.  You are presented with 26 letters and have to make 3 words.  I've also found that I'm better able to multitask whereas previously I was only able to do one thing at a time and it usually took my full concentration.  It also seems like I don't lose my words or train of thought as much as I used to when talking to people.

 

I'm not feeling the need to sleep during the day now.  Early last year I was needing a 2 hour sleep, whereas now I only occasionally nod off if I'm watching TV.  During the night if I wake up the feeling like want to jump out of my skin rarely occurs and when it does I'm able to cope with it.  It's nice to be feeling emotions again.  I haven't experienced any bouts of depression, more just periods of being down.  I'm still finding it difficult to get motivated to do things around the house but previously there would be a feeling of dread with it.

 

Tapering graph to December 2018 April 2019:

 

666331064_TaperApr2019.png.aa4fe62848a1e20b2d0642bb7fe09275.png

 

Edited by ChessieCat
updated graph

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bubble

It is great to read about all this improvements following this slow and steady taper. I am sure other things will start getting better as you further decrease your dose.

 

I also prefer to look at how much less drug I am taking as opposed to how much I still have to taper... That way we are keeping the glass half full ;)

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ChessieCat

Hi bubble,

 

Thanks for stopping by.  The funny thing was that I had only planned to record where I was up to with my dose. Then I started thinking about how I was feeling compared to how I had been.  All of a sudden I realised where and by how much I had improved.  I think because it has been very gradual that I hadn't noticed the improvements.

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baroquep

Hi ChessieCat, good to hear that things are going so well with you. Wanted to thank you for your support over the last 10 months, don't think I could have done it without your encouragement.  You gave me excellent advice to properly withdrawal from these drugs (even when I thought I knew better) and I am forever thankful.  Will soon be at 50% of my original dose and couldn't be happier.  Know it is going to take me a long time to finish tapering and thankfully realize that this is a long process that requires extraordinary patience.  Thanks again.  

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ChessieCat

Hi baroquep, I'm pleased to hear that you are doing well too (I've been keeping up with your intro topic).  And you are very welcome.  That's what this site is all about, information and support.

 

Since my last update I've realised that I no longer feel dread about getting up in a morning.  I'm not sure whether it can be attributed to wearing a sleep mask or if it would have happened anyway.  I really don't care.  It's just nice not to be feeling that way anymore.

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baroquep

Hi ChessieCat, yes, for sure, the emotional symptoms are very hard to monitor compared to the physical symptoms.  And I've found there can be a very fine line between sanity and craziness, unfortunately, lol.  

Can relate to kitty problems for sure, after my cat Cookie died in January, Percy didn't stop searching for her and was crying all the time ... he already had a tendency to knock things off of high places just for the hell of it so I was at least used to that, the constant meowing not so much ... it was driving me nuts.  Decided to get a kitten last week so he would have a companion and while his constant meowing has stopped, introducing a nine-week-old kitten to a seven-year-old cat, certainly has its own challenges to say the least, but it seems like he is coming around.  

 

Think your daughter is a very wise woman, we really need to learn how to check in with ourselves as a general rule.  Withdrawing off of these drugs is no easy feat and not for the faint of heart.  I think the light went on for me when I read a post on this site where a woman mentioned that she didn't make a cut unless she was feeling joy and that was the first time that I'd considered that our emotional state is a big part of this.

Hope you are feeling a little better soon and don't worry about venting, we need to indulge every now and again to stay healthy :)

 

 

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ChessieCat

Thanks baroquep, I have considered getting a new companion but I'm planning on a dog to do therapy pet nursing home visits and not planning on another kitty.  I'm not ready to get another dog yet for varios reasons.  Glad to hear that you have a new friend.

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ChessieCat

Felt really stupid this morning.  Poor Aimee (18 year old kitty cat) was driving me nuts again so I thought I'd wind up a ticking clock to see if that might help her to settle down.  I wound it up a bit and then started to listen to see how loud it was, then I remembered that she's deaf so wouldn't be able to hear it anyway.  What made it even funnier, and made me feel even stupider was that about 1 year or so ago I was looking online and found heartbeat toys and had been going to buy one for her, so it's taken me a long time to wake up to the the fact that it would be useless.  Very thankful that I didn't spend the money on something which wouldn't have helped.

 

I'm not sure whether I can put it down to withdrawal or not, although I usually work something like this out a lot sooner, so maybe I can.

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brassmonkey

I don't think we can attribute your cat being deaf to your WD.  Unless it was caused by your playing heavy metal music at full volume while it slept on top of the speakers. LOL :wacko:

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Happy2Heal
1 hour ago, brassmonkey said:

I don't think we can attribute your cat being deaf to your WD.  Unless it was caused by your playing heavy metal music at full volume while it slept on top of the speakers. LOL :wacko:

 

 

hahaha you are too funny Brass

 

you know of course that she meant the length of time it took for her to remember that the cat is deaf and realize that something that makes noise will not help....:D

 

 

Chessie, I've had so many similar things happen, where I caught myself not being able to connect things up as well as I felt I should,

but while WD can sometimes be a factor, I think  just having a lot on your mind, or being distracted, etc, at any time (that is, not during a WD) can make it hard for us to think/remember as quickly as we do at other times.

 

I was convinced, a few years back, that I must have early alzheimers, my memory and concentration were so poor.

I even went and got tested and discovered that it was just anxiety and having a lot of things on my mind that was messing up my memory. When I am calm and have cleared my mind, my memory is actually pretty darn good. 

 

 

anyway, was just reading thru your thread and wanted to drop by and say hi and wish you all the best, when I saw Toms funny post.

 

heavy metal?!?! seriously, "everyone knows"  cats prefer Classic Rock n Roll!! hahahaha

 

 

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brassmonkey

"heavy metal?!?! seriously, "everyone knows"  cats prefer Classic Rock n Roll!! hahahaha"

 

To an extent H2H.  But just look at the band Death Tongue.

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ChessieCat

Yes, very funny Brass!  However I did learn drums for 5 years ;)

 

And thanks for your thoughts H2H.  It is nice to know that others also have similar problems.  My girlfriends and I find the same thing when we chat.  It reminds me of when the children were babies how talking with other mothers made you feel better.

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ChessieCat

Just updating here so I have for my own record.

 

I haven't been sleeping as long as I was previously.  It's now been at least 1 1/2 weeks and I haven't had any daytime naps to catch up.  Not sure if it is related to withdrawal.

 

 

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ChessieCat

UPDATE:  Sleep has improved, however in the last few days I've been experiencing sore and heavy arms not long after getting up in a morning and feeling extremely irritable.  I've just realised that it is probably cortisol surges and the sore arms may be the adrenaline.  I'll try some extra magnesium and see if that helps.

 

Just as well I've only got the cat as a house mate.  I've been yelling at her the last few mornings.

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ChessieCat

Well I'm a bit excited.  I've just been to the chemist to drop in my next lot of Pristiq tablets for compounding and after 7 weeks on 20mg I will recommence tapering in a few days.

 

My plan is to reduce by 1mg with 3 week holds until I reach 13mg.  From 13mg to 10mg inclusive I will reduce by 1mg with 4 week holds.

 

Once I get to 10mg I will reduce by 0.5mg with 3 week holds.  From 6mg to 5mg inclusive I will reduce by 0.5mg with 4 week holds.

 

I suppose after 5mg I will need to get 0.25mg capsules made up, but that's a way off yet so not worrying about that until later.

 

Obviously if I start getting symptoms I will need to hold for longer, but it's nice having a plan to start with.

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ChessieCat

Today I reduced to 19mg Pristiq.  Woohoo!!!

 

I no longer care about the fact that I won't be off Pristiq by my 60th birthday in November.  The fact that I am only experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms and feel so much more like my old self from pre AD years (25+ years) and have reduced my AD by 80mg is what matters to me.  And considering that 3 weeks after reducing from 100mg to 50mg  (end of 2015) I was unable to type, and then after updosing, thanks to the suggestion I got when I joined SA, about 4 hours later my foggy head started clearing and I was able to type again, I am over the moon.

 

The only prescription drug I take is blood pressure medication which I have recently halved (it had been doubled because my blood pressure rose with the serotonin toxicity from 100mg Pristiq) and vitamin supplements.  I take magnesium which I have found takes the edge of my anxiety.  I'm going to add in fish oil soon.  I have occasionally taken an antihistamine for hay fever.  Occasionally take paracetamol and ibuprofen for headaches and body pains.

 

When I started tapering I changed to decaffeinated coffee.  A month or so ago I ran out and started drinking "real" coffee but it did seem to make a difference so I've gone back to decaffeinated.

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baroquep

and a big WooHoo from me!!!  80mg lighter ... amazing and congratulations!!!    

Edited by baroquep

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ChessieCat

Thanks baroquep, it is exciting.  Once I got over the first few hiccups, it's actually gone quite quickly.  I think having my volunteer work 3 days per week helps, as well as going out for day trip adventures in my car.

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Survivor1

Hello CC,

 

I haven't checked in in a while, but great news!  I am sure the rest of the tapering will go well.  All the best.

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ChessieCat

Thanks Survivor.  Dosage wise it's great but I've still got a long way to go.  I just need to do as I tell others to do and throw out the calendar and stay patient ;)

 

As far as how long it will take to get off I've used the Tapering Calculator and I'm going to be at 1mg around November 2019 so I'll most probably be still going well into 2020.  But after the shock of realising that, I've got to look on the bright side and remember how much better I am feeling compared to how I had been.  And here I was when I started tapering hoping to be off by my 60th birthday this November.  That ain't gonna happen. :P   It could have been so much worse if I hadn't found SA - I'd probably still believing the lie about needing them for life. :angry:

 

But I'm on the right track, even though it's a slow journey and may have speed humps,  pot holes, detours, reduce speed and stop signs, I'll get there eventually.  Knowledge definitely is power.

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peng

Nice to see you doing well, Cat!

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brassmonkey

Hi CC--  Glad to heat that you're on track with everything.  It can be frustrating to figure out how long things are going to take, but it's so worth taking your time to do it right.  I initially thought it would take about three years.  Ended up being five and a half, with an uneventful taper.  The nice thing is that the WDnormal level continues to rise the entire time, so life improves as you go along.  You'll be just about the same age I was when I hit the big "0".  It's a wonderful birthday present.

 

((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

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ChessieCat

Thanks Peng.

 

Hi Brass, I appreciate your wisdom.

 

When I think about how I was feeling on a higher dose of Pristiq even just a year ago, the numbness I felt for so many years of my life being on an AD and what I now believe might have been poop out of Citalopram when I had a massive breakdown in October 2011 brought on by about 5 major life issues within a very short period of time I realise that there has been a massive improvement.  I did an 8 week online CBT/mindfulness course at the beginning of 2015.  What I learned from that, together with non drug coping techniques I've gained from here have definitely helped.

 

My initial goal was only to reduce my Pristiq to 50mg because of serotonin toxicity.  I am now at 19mg and know that getting off completely is achievable.  I think being disappointed about the length of time to get off is just part and parcel of this horrid experience.  However acknowledging that disappointment is also part of it and so is the letting go.  It's important to remember/be reminded of and appreciate the benefits that have been and will be gained.

 

So ... onwards and downwards for a few more years.

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Gridley

This is very helpful, ChessieCat.  I am working to deal with the discouragement about the length of time it will take.  Once I get off the Lexapro, I have the Lorazepam and the Imipramine to go.  But what is, is.  One day at a time.

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ChessieCat
9 hours ago, Gridley said:

But what is, is.

 

Yep, and get angry, disappointed or whatever about it is not going to change that.  This is why I think it is so important to recognise and acknowledge how far we have actually come.  And for you, you are managing to get off the Lexapro so you will be able to get off the others too.  We just need to remember to turn the negative around and put a positive spin on it.  The brain does better when it is focussing on the positive.

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