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Hi everyone!

I stumbled across this forum when googling 'getting off Pristiq' and found the tapering pristiq post. Browsing around the last couple hours has been very helpful and calming. I'm happy to have found somewhere with people possibly experiencing similar situations like I am and to also get some support/help outside of my doctors.

I've dealt with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder II for years and years. Ever since I was a kid. As a kid I used negative coping mechanisms to counter what I was feeling but as I got older it stopped 'helping' my feelings and began to make them worse. I first saw a psychiatrist in 2008 and was prescribed lexapro. I took it for a week and then threw the rest out. I said I could keep doing it without meds or any help (but with some counseling help of course. I can't do that alone)

2010 at 21 years old I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer) and had surgery/treatment for that. Since losing all functioning thyroid cells, I have to take Synthroid for-ev-er. These last years I've been able to really understand my body and know the difference between a depressive episode or if my thyroid levels are not optimal. And it's been a long bumpy road.

This year though has been one of the worst I've experienced mentally and it led me to seek out counseling help and when I still wasn't having any improvement with CBT decided to finally try meds. My psychologist suggested a family medicine doc and I ran to her. First was prescribed lexapro and took it for a month. It made me incredibly groggy and foggy brained during the day, even with taking it at night. So my doc abruptly stopped that and had me start Pristiq 50mg that same day. I had a week of rockiness mainly with emotions and agitation. Trouble sleeping. Upset stomach. But most subsided by week 2.
By the time the 4th week of being on pristiq rolled around I noticed my anxiety was getting way out of control and gradually getting worse. I had my first panic attack in YEARS after one month on pristiq. Follow up with my doc and she adds on Buspar and suggests I see a new doctor (my bad for seeing a family medicine to manage meds when I should have seen a psychiatrist first. But anywho...)
Finally get in with a good psych but by now it's been 3 months on pristiq. First evaluation and everything, she tells me that Pristiq (or effexor) would be one of the last meds she would prescribe me just based on my personal symptoms/issues. So I left that appointment feeling great and accomplished! Finally going to get on track... I go back to her the next week for the medication plan and she tells me to half my 50mg pristiq pills and come back the next week. She added trazadone 75mg at night for sleep (which really has been helping in that area for me) and kept buspar the same (15mg twice daily and as needed).

Holy Toledo, by day three of the half dose I was ready to crawl out of my skin. Was shaky, headaches, upset stomach, very anxious and emotional (my poor boyfriend), almost chill like body aches. I was so ready to be off pristiq I was scared to call the doc and tell her how I was feeling, so I stuck it out. Saw her last week for the follow up and told her how I was doing, she decided to keep me at the half dose of pristiq for 2 more weeks then come back (I see her next week). She mentioned possibly trying Zoloft but will have a more concrete plan when I see her next.

I feel pretty defeated right now. I'm on almost 3 weeks now on the half dose of pristiq and just all around feeling poopy. Emotionally and physically. My mood has gotten way worse, depression symptoms are very strong right now and having trouble even working.

I'm so glad I came across the post I did today, because I am going to call and see if she'll call in the 25mg pristiq. After reading that halving the extended release pills isn't recommended MAYBE getting the 25mg will help for now.

So that's my shortened/long story. I would love to be referenced to some posts that might help since I haven't totally learned my way around yet, or even just some encouragement!

Just keep telling myself this is only temporary right now

Edited by scallywag
highlighted drug info

3-25-2016 started Lexapro
Felt groggy and foggy on Lexapro 10mg

4-22-16 Doctor removed Lexapro and added 50mg pristiq (same day transition, no taper)
Experienced mild withdrawal symptoms.
May 2016 After one month on pristiq anxiety and mania got increasingly uncontrollable. Insomnia increased.
5-25-16 Doc started Buspar 15mg twice daily and as needed.
Switched to new doctor (psychiatrist) to manage meds and after 3 months on pristiq am getting off it.
6-23-16 New doc cut pristiq dose in half to 25mg and added Trazadone 25mg

Experienced fairly moderate/strong withdraw symptoms 
6-30-16 New doc upped Trazadone 75mg (started at 25mg then 50 and now 75) for sleep.
 

Appointment 7-14-16 to hear the new med plan from psychiatrist

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Forgot to include...she mentioned wanting to cross taper next week. Keep pristiq at 25mg and slowly add in a new med.

anyone experience this? Good results and easier transition? Or still have withdraw symptoms?

 

Thanks!

3-25-2016 started Lexapro
Felt groggy and foggy on Lexapro 10mg

4-22-16 Doctor removed Lexapro and added 50mg pristiq (same day transition, no taper)
Experienced mild withdrawal symptoms.
May 2016 After one month on pristiq anxiety and mania got increasingly uncontrollable. Insomnia increased.
5-25-16 Doc started Buspar 15mg twice daily and as needed.
Switched to new doctor (psychiatrist) to manage meds and after 3 months on pristiq am getting off it.
6-23-16 New doc cut pristiq dose in half to 25mg and added Trazadone 25mg

Experienced fairly moderate/strong withdraw symptoms 
6-30-16 New doc upped Trazadone 75mg (started at 25mg then 50 and now 75) for sleep.
 

Appointment 7-14-16 to hear the new med plan from psychiatrist

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Schlammer, welcome to SA. Your psychiatrist really doesn't know what to do for you, and is probably searching the drug bibles produced by big pharma to see what to give you next.  There are major interactions between the drugs she has already prescribed, and adding more in will increase those.

 

Can you add some dates to your signature for us? When you started and stopped /changed recently? (Thank you for filling it out, it is a great help when we get details in a sig)  It would also help to know your symptom pattern, when symptoms occur in relation to when  you take the drugs.  Do any get better, or worse after a dose?

 

 When she halved the 50mg pristiq she also gave you trazodone and things got much worse, it could be reaction to trazodone or withdrawal, or even a reaction between them. 

When we have the extra info it will help us to see the best way forward for you. As for changing to lexapro, you already had adverse effects to lexapro which is also SSRI so would likely have the same reaction to zoloft. Your nervous system is struggling with all the changes and adding another drug in our experience here will cause more problems.  Also  can you  go to drugs.com and put all your drugs into the interactions checker then copy and paste the reults here in your thread. I think you will have some major interactions with the 3 drugs you are taking. You could also look at the information sheet with the drugs and see what the side effects are for trazodone. I was shocked when I did both those things and discovered how toxic my drug load was!

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thanks for the welcome and some insight mammaP!

 

Can you add some dates to your signature for us? When you started and stopped /changed recently? (Thank you for filling it out, it is a great help when we get details in a sig) 

 

I added dates to my signature. A lot of this seems to have happened so fast and after reading your reply and looking at the dates it looks like there hasn't been a lot of room for my body to really adjust to one thing before it's changed or something added.

 

 

 

 

  It would also help to know your symptom pattern, when symptoms occur in relation to when  you take the drugs.  Do any get better, or worse after a dose?

 

Before deciding to try medication my depression symptoms were very strong, haven't been in this deep of a depression episode since about 2009. And knowing that my thyroid levels were optimal and life stressors weren't too bad (plus my thoughts and the way I felt about myself) I knew it was another slump. 

Starting the Lexapro I didn't notice anything different for the first two weeks. But after that my depression gradually got worse. By the end of the fourth week before the Doc removed it I couldn't even leave the house. I had an extremely hard time concentrating at work (before not an issue) and was nodding off at my desk. My sleep was also getting worse (trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. when I would sleep it was not restful). But there seemed to be no negative affect on my anxiety, it's usually a moderately mild hum all the time.

Immediately changing over to Pristiq  the next day my anxiousness got worse and mania was through the roof. I chocked it up to just coming off the Lexapro and the Pristiq not taking affect yet. This stayed at red alert for almost a week. Sleep got worse. Very anxious. Emotional and crying easily. Emotional/anger outbursts. I'm honestly not sure how my depression was the first month on Pristiq because the volume was turned up so high on anxiety/insomnia I just constantly felt in a state of panic.

By week 3-4 on Pristiq the agitation toned down but my anxiety levels were still high and I wasn't sleeping more than 2-3 hours at a time. Panic attack 1 happened in a situation that was no different, not new, not overwhelming, and no trigger. It was made worse because I hadn't had one in such a long time.

It was then that I had a follow up with the old doc and told her about my anxiety and she added Buspar. Since taking it I saw no difference in my anxiety or any "sleepiness" after taking a pill like what I had read about before taking it. For a month I was on Pristiq and Buspar. Anxiety still high and not sleeping. Still having a hard time concentrating at work (lack of sleep not helping). 

Then seeing the psych, we go through the evaluation and i'm not surprised with what she tells me because it's what I've been hearing for years. And of course right now I test high on all the "exams" for depression and anxiety. 

When she added on trazadone I started at 25mg for 3 nights and halved the Pristiq dose the day after starting Trazadone. Day 2-3 I notice how bad I'm feeling, shaky, headaches, chills, loss of appetite, emotional and withdrawn. After night three I upped the trazadone to 50mg. At this point I saw my sleep improve. I would fall asleep and maybe wake up a couple times, but I'd sleep better than I was at least.

Upped trazadone per psych to 75mg on 6-30-16

Since adding the trazadone and being on 25mg pristiq (6-23-16) I still don't feel right. I feel very agitated, emotional, emotionally eating, swollen (probably from eating more), spacy and foggy, sad and down, very depressed mood and "everything is wrong and I'm the problem" 

So I'm not really sure what is causing it. If it's the pristiq or adding the trazadone (my guess would be the trazadone after thinking about all this typing of symptoms and timeline HA)

 

 

 Also  can you  go to drugs.com and put all your drugs into the interactions checker then copy and paste the reults here in your thread. I think you will have some major interactions with the 3 drugs you are taking. You could also look at the information sheet with the drugs and see what the side effects are for trazodone. I was shocked when I did both those things and discovered how toxic my drug load was!

 

So I'm pretty surprised, I get the same "Major" interaction description for all three of these. This one was just for buspar and trazadone, but the same was on all of them:

 

"Using busPIRone together with traZODone can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may result in coma and even death. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms while taking the medications. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Your doctor may already be aware of the risks, but has determined that this is the best course of treatment for you and has taken appropriate precautions and is monitoring you closely for any potential complications. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor."

 

And doing some searching now (I hadn't really done any research over any meds before this, so I'm totally new to all this. I figured the docs would know whats best for me <_< ) I didn't realize that ALL these meds in some way affect serotonin levels. Total newbie here, but that doesn't sound like a good thing to overload everything like this? 

 

The new psych mentioned in the last appointment that if my anxiety is still high after our new "med change" next week that she would add phenobarbital as an as needed med. I should probably do some research on that before my next appt because I don't really want a bunch of meds thrown at me. I just want to not feel like this anymore...

3-25-2016 started Lexapro
Felt groggy and foggy on Lexapro 10mg

4-22-16 Doctor removed Lexapro and added 50mg pristiq (same day transition, no taper)
Experienced mild withdrawal symptoms.
May 2016 After one month on pristiq anxiety and mania got increasingly uncontrollable. Insomnia increased.
5-25-16 Doc started Buspar 15mg twice daily and as needed.
Switched to new doctor (psychiatrist) to manage meds and after 3 months on pristiq am getting off it.
6-23-16 New doc cut pristiq dose in half to 25mg and added Trazadone 25mg

Experienced fairly moderate/strong withdraw symptoms 
6-30-16 New doc upped Trazadone 75mg (started at 25mg then 50 and now 75) for sleep.
 

Appointment 7-14-16 to hear the new med plan from psychiatrist

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Lots of us here have been prescribed multiple drugs by psychiatrists who don't have a clue. They are taught by the drug companies and consult their literature to see what to prescribe next.  So on your next visit she is going to add zoloft and phenobarbital to trazodone, pristiq and buspar! 

 

When do you take the drugs and when are the side effects worse? You can often tell what is causing the problem by writing down how you feel at times during the day.  I have an appointments diary that has time slots and fill in symptoms and when they start, also  when I take doses.  It helps to know if it is withdrawal or side effects. If you feel better shortly after a dose then it is withdrawal, and if you feel worse after a dose it could be side effects. 

 

Don't change anything else for now, but keep the journal or just notes on paper so you can see a pattern emerging. We can help you to find the best way forward when we know what is causing the symptoms. Often we feel we have to so SOMETHING, when the best thing to do is nothing so we can stabilise our sensitive nervous system, then work on reducing the drugs very very slowly.  

 

While working on reducing it is good to find what caused the state that led us to take these drugs and find ways to deal with it. Often it is diet and a change in lifestyle that is needed, sometimes it is a deficiency in certain vitamins,  or gut problems. It isn't always emotional problems but they can also be worked through without drugs. 

We recommend magnesium and fish oil, both are excellent in withdrawal and when suffering the toxic effects of drugs. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/?view=findpost&p=100596&hl=magnesium

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/?view=findpost&p=66695&hl=%2Bfish+%2Boil

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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