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ShadowKat: Pristiq taper and wondering what to do next.


ShadowKat

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Hi all. I'm 31 years old and have been on SSRI's and SNRI's for half of my life. After a big diet change and supplementation, I began weening off of Pristiq 50mg due to it being too strong. I have managed to make it down to 6.25 mg that I take every other day. My doctor is of no help as she believes meds are the only way but I can't very well be on Pristiq while trying to get pregnant. My big reason for coming to this site was for advice on kicking off the last 6.25mg. Is it down low enough that I just stop? After I'm done with the Pristiq, Restoril will be my next hurdle.  

Prozac for a year(ish) when I was 16. Changed to Welbutrin and Lexapro when I was 17. Stopped cold turkey when I was 21. At 23, I started Pristiq 50mg and stayed on it until I was 28. Came off cold turkey due to insurance change and no help from my doctor. Got back on Pristiq

50mg at 29 and stayed on for 2 years. Began weening in March '16. Went down to 25mg, then 12.5mg, then 6.25mg. Currently holding at 6.25mg every other day (Aug '16)

Fully off of Pristiq (Sept '16)

Began taking generic Zoloft at 12.5mg Oct '16. Tried 25mg but felt awful and went back to 12.5mg. Stopped completely mid-Nov '16

 

Restoril 30mg for at least 10 years until at March '16.

Went down to 22.5mg (Aug '16)

Taking 15mg (Sept '16 - present)

Supplements in use: probiotic, omega, magnesium, multivitamin, passionflower and l-tryptophan 

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Hello ShadowKat.  I'm glad you found us before you went too much further with your tapering. Unfortunately, you have been going faster than we advise here. We recommend a gentle taper of no more than 10% per month, with the 10 % calculated on the last dosage. The amount of decrease is proportionate to the dosage and keeps getting smaller.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Thank you for filling in your signature. It helps us to see your situation more easily. It seems you did a rapid taper Pristiq from  50mg to 6.25 mg, in 4 months. Was that alternating doses ?  Often doctors recommend tapering that way but it's a little like playing ping pong with your brain and we advise a steady daily dose to keep your CNS stable. We can decide on the dose later depending on your symptoms.

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/

 

6.25 mg is still a sizable dose and it becomes even more important to go slowly as you get lower. This link helps to explain that:

Why taper? Paper demonstrates importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

It would be wise to taper all the way down to zero. Some have had problems stepping off even at 1 mg.

 

Are you experiencing any withdrawal symptoms at this time?

 

You mentioned that you were taking supplements. If you wouldn't mind listing those as well ( perhaps in your signature) it would be helpful. We find magnesium and fish oil beneficial for most people in withdrawal. Often certain other supplements can be too stimulating and hinder recovery.

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

These links will give you an overview of withdrawal:

What is withdrawal syndrome?

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery/

 

This is your thread to journal progress and ask questions. I've given you a lot of information so have a read and then come back with any questions you may have. We can help you taper off the Pristiq and then the Restoril slowly and safely. You will find a lot of support and information here.

Welcome to S.A.

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Hi there. I am also tapering pristiq, evil monster isn't it. I'm currently at 11mg. Where are you based? If in Australia I can put you in touch with a pharmacy that compounds pristiq with a slow time release added. I get them down in various doses such as 5mg, 2mg and 1mg. They can do them as small as you like. I have been weaning 1 mg at a time holding between 2 and up to 8 weeks between holds. After speaking with ann blake tracy I'm going to start stepping down in smaller amounts more frequently.

<p>Various benzos 4 months for insomnia prior to Effexor 37.5mg may 2014 for two weeks, Mirtazapine 30mg june 2014 - feb 2015.Pristiq 50 mg Feb 2015. six weeks later attempted coming off with a six week taper. ten days off and it got ugly. Tapering now using compounded pristiq with slow release agent. 37.5 mg 3 weeks, 30 mg 6 weeks, 25mg 4.5 weeks, 20mg for 6 weeks, 17.5 mgs 7 weeks, 20 mg 8 weeks, 19 mg 3 weeks, 18 mg 3 weeks, 17 mg 3 weeks, 16 mg 3 weeks, 15mg 2 weeks, 14mg 2 weeks, 13 mgs 2 weeks, 12 mgs 6 weeks, 11mg 3 weeks, 10.5mg 2 weeks, 10 mg 3.5 weeks. 9mg 4 weeks. Jumped at 8mg currently 16 months free

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Thanks for the fast responses. It's not so much that I wanted to come down that fast but I was having a lot of problems with the higher doses and my body kept handling the reductions extremely well, which I believe is a direct result of my diet change and supplements. I am using omega 3s and magnesium as well as 5HTP and one called Nerve that contains thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folic acid, d-biotin, zinc and copper. Presently, the only withdrawal symptoms I deal with are aggitation, mild diarrhea, and mild brain zaps. Due to the fact that I cut my 25mg tablets into quarters I'm not sure if I'm able to reduce the 6.25 into smaller doses and I'm not sure if my insurance would pay a compounding pharmacy to do it. I'll have to look into it. They have given me a lot of trouble lately trying to cut costs.

Prozac for a year(ish) when I was 16. Changed to Welbutrin and Lexapro when I was 17. Stopped cold turkey when I was 21. At 23, I started Pristiq 50mg and stayed on it until I was 28. Came off cold turkey due to insurance change and no help from my doctor. Got back on Pristiq

50mg at 29 and stayed on for 2 years. Began weening in March '16. Went down to 25mg, then 12.5mg, then 6.25mg. Currently holding at 6.25mg every other day (Aug '16)

Fully off of Pristiq (Sept '16)

Began taking generic Zoloft at 12.5mg Oct '16. Tried 25mg but felt awful and went back to 12.5mg. Stopped completely mid-Nov '16

 

Restoril 30mg for at least 10 years until at March '16.

Went down to 22.5mg (Aug '16)

Taking 15mg (Sept '16 - present)

Supplements in use: probiotic, omega, magnesium, multivitamin, passionflower and l-tryptophan 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, ShadowKat.

 

If you're having those withdrawal symptoms, if I were you, I would hold on further reductions for a good while, maybe a couple of months, to let your system settle down.

 

Please read the links AliG provided. You may wish to switch to Effexor. That is explained in Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello all. It's been a couple of months and although the Pristiq weaning is over and was successful, I now face a different challenge. I was put on Zoloft 25mg for mild depression but I started out taking 12.5 and worked my way up. When I got to 25mg, I felt horrible and after a week, I dropped back to 12.5. I am now completely off of it and this time period spans about 6 weeks. I'm having insomnia agitation/anger as my main withdrawal symptoms and they are last longer than I thought they would for being on it for such a short amount of time. Does anyone have any experience or advice in this matter?

Prozac for a year(ish) when I was 16. Changed to Welbutrin and Lexapro when I was 17. Stopped cold turkey when I was 21. At 23, I started Pristiq 50mg and stayed on it until I was 28. Came off cold turkey due to insurance change and no help from my doctor. Got back on Pristiq

50mg at 29 and stayed on for 2 years. Began weening in March '16. Went down to 25mg, then 12.5mg, then 6.25mg. Currently holding at 6.25mg every other day (Aug '16)

Fully off of Pristiq (Sept '16)

Began taking generic Zoloft at 12.5mg Oct '16. Tried 25mg but felt awful and went back to 12.5mg. Stopped completely mid-Nov '16

 

Restoril 30mg for at least 10 years until at March '16.

Went down to 22.5mg (Aug '16)

Taking 15mg (Sept '16 - present)

Supplements in use: probiotic, omega, magnesium, multivitamin, passionflower and l-tryptophan 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Kat, It's probably not so much that you were on Zoloft for only a short period of time, but that you were in withdrawal from Pristiq when you started and stopped taking Zoloft.
 
In all likelihood you came off Pristiq too rapidly for YOUR CNS (central nervous system) and the symptoms of depression you experienced were likely withdrawal symptoms, not a recurrence of a condition requiring medication with Zoloft.  Your symptoms now probably result from the same source -- the continued instability of your CNS.
 
It can take weeks or months for your nervous system to settle down after a fast taper or cold turkey, let alone 2 fast tapers.
 
Some people find magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids helpful during withdrawal. Pick one or the other and start with a small dose. You can read more about them in the discussions at these 2 links:
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)
Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker  

 

Here are links to discussions about dealing with anger as a symptom:
Coping with irritability, anger and rage
Managing anger

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Although I understand where you are coming from, I think I miscommunicated some dates. I was done with the Pristiq withdrawal, that I'm aware of, by the end of August. I wasn't put on Zoloft until the 20th of October, every thing that I mentioned above has happened since then, and I honestly can't remember how long I've been off of Zoloft. I know I was on 12.5 to begin with for about 2 weeks, upped it to 25 for about a week before I couldn't take the side effects anymore and went back to 12.5 for a week before stopping. I can see the quick changes in dosage being a major factor, one that I had not considered before. But is the Pristiq still really causing trouble even after being done with it for 6 weeks at the time I started Zoloft, and now another 6 weeks later?

 

Also, thank you for the supplement suggestions. I'm happy to know I'm already taking the appropriate ones for this situation.

Prozac for a year(ish) when I was 16. Changed to Welbutrin and Lexapro when I was 17. Stopped cold turkey when I was 21. At 23, I started Pristiq 50mg and stayed on it until I was 28. Came off cold turkey due to insurance change and no help from my doctor. Got back on Pristiq

50mg at 29 and stayed on for 2 years. Began weening in March '16. Went down to 25mg, then 12.5mg, then 6.25mg. Currently holding at 6.25mg every other day (Aug '16)

Fully off of Pristiq (Sept '16)

Began taking generic Zoloft at 12.5mg Oct '16. Tried 25mg but felt awful and went back to 12.5mg. Stopped completely mid-Nov '16

 

Restoril 30mg for at least 10 years until at March '16.

Went down to 22.5mg (Aug '16)

Taking 15mg (Sept '16 - present)

Supplements in use: probiotic, omega, magnesium, multivitamin, passionflower and l-tryptophan 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

The psychiatric, medical and pharmaceutical establishments believe that discontinuation symptoms occur for a brief period 4-8 weeks after the last dose. Have a look around this forum -- there are 99 pages of introduction topics as evidence of REALITY that is in opposition to that belief. There are other sites with similar stories from people who have suffered long after doctors tell them they should be better.

 

Some people are sensitive to SSRI/SNRI medications; some become sensitive to them after taking them; others still become sensitive to them after a rapid discontinuation. Only time and testing a medication will tell whether the sensitization is short-term or longer lasting. You would be wise to make sure that any medical professional knows about your reaction to Zoloft and to consider avoiding this class of drugs altogether.

 

In all likelihood here is what happened:

  • Your fast taper off Pristiq destabilized your CNS, possibly sensitizing you to SSRI/SNRI medication.
  • You experienced symptoms some of which resolved in a relatively short time frame, others continued at a tolerable level.
  • New symptoms, what you refer to as "depression," arose after the acute period, you consulted a doctor.
  • The doctor diagnosed this as the return of an endogenous condition and prescribed Zoloft to "treat" "depression."
  • The Zoloft caused your destabilized CNS to react strongly with new symptoms.
Here are links to descriptions of this process by other people who may word this in a way that works for you better than how I have:

One theory of anti-depressant withdrawal syndrome

How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"

Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

 

By all means, believe what you want. Your symptoms are an indication that you are experiencing a sensitized CNS from SSRI discontinuation, aka "withdrawal syndrome."

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Very interesting. I'm not sure what I believe, since my primary doc is obviously not a psychiatrist and my former psychiatric nurse is an idiot. Hence why I came to this site. I've never experienced this before and my faith in medical professional opinion has dwindled.  

Prozac for a year(ish) when I was 16. Changed to Welbutrin and Lexapro when I was 17. Stopped cold turkey when I was 21. At 23, I started Pristiq 50mg and stayed on it until I was 28. Came off cold turkey due to insurance change and no help from my doctor. Got back on Pristiq

50mg at 29 and stayed on for 2 years. Began weening in March '16. Went down to 25mg, then 12.5mg, then 6.25mg. Currently holding at 6.25mg every other day (Aug '16)

Fully off of Pristiq (Sept '16)

Began taking generic Zoloft at 12.5mg Oct '16. Tried 25mg but felt awful and went back to 12.5mg. Stopped completely mid-Nov '16

 

Restoril 30mg for at least 10 years until at March '16.

Went down to 22.5mg (Aug '16)

Taking 15mg (Sept '16 - present)

Supplements in use: probiotic, omega, magnesium, multivitamin, passionflower and l-tryptophan 

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I have read you thread, it does sound very typical of snri withdrawal popping up weeks later and patients being told its "emergence of symptoms" but for me, they wernt ever symptoms before! So, obviously treatment related.

 

I wish you well finding what works.

 

I wonder why start zoloft if trying for children?

Currently on 50mg Fluvoxamine. Reading more before the next attempt at tapering.

 

Started Lexapro 04, have been mostly on med combinations since for 12 years.

May 2015 - zeldox 80 - 100mg, fluvoxamine 200mg, dexamphetamine 10mg

Lorazepam and clonazepam on and off for over a decade. Heavily sedated with antipsychotics - mostly Zyprexa and seroquel. Many hospitalisations. Many types of therapy, last being 7 years of psychodynamic that only figured out my pain was real.

Pain meds - Lyrica 150mg palexia 100mg - discontinued eary 2016

Done ok so far but cant drop the last antidepressant without physical illness.

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Oh we aren't trying at this very moment. We are looking at next year, and I decided to use this year to work on getting off my meds. Life hit us hard several times over this year, hence my thinking that I was having a resurgence of depression.

 

All of this is new information to me. I've always been aware that depression can resurge during the weaning and withdrawal period but I've never noticed it all the other times I came off of meds. This has been eye-opening.

Prozac for a year(ish) when I was 16. Changed to Welbutrin and Lexapro when I was 17. Stopped cold turkey when I was 21. At 23, I started Pristiq 50mg and stayed on it until I was 28. Came off cold turkey due to insurance change and no help from my doctor. Got back on Pristiq

50mg at 29 and stayed on for 2 years. Began weening in March '16. Went down to 25mg, then 12.5mg, then 6.25mg. Currently holding at 6.25mg every other day (Aug '16)

Fully off of Pristiq (Sept '16)

Began taking generic Zoloft at 12.5mg Oct '16. Tried 25mg but felt awful and went back to 12.5mg. Stopped completely mid-Nov '16

 

Restoril 30mg for at least 10 years until at March '16.

Went down to 22.5mg (Aug '16)

Taking 15mg (Sept '16 - present)

Supplements in use: probiotic, omega, magnesium, multivitamin, passionflower and l-tryptophan 

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