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pigstiq: Introduction and request for help kicking Pristiq!


pigstiq

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Hello,

I'll try to make this as compact as possible.

 

Personal

I have been on anti-depressants for ~ 6 years now. [ come to think of it, it may be longer than 6 years I will have to do some research on that, maybe my doctor can tell me next visit ]

I started due to severe depression. Stopped going to work, laid in bed for days/weeks/months. Hopelessness, zero motivation, crying, head throbbing pain, etc, etc, etc...

I feel they have numbed my very being by lessening my emotions, clouding my ambitions, allowing me to be content with mediocrity, stifles my creativity, and more.

Although I do feel they have "helped" to progress me out of a depressive state, I feel they are not the solution to the real issues in my life.

Over these years I have developed as an individual and sought insight and tools for surviving life.

I feel I now have the tools I need to overcome my problems that originally led me down a spiral of depression.

I want my REAL life back.

 

Lifestyle

I am currently living very low stress, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.

University student - Stress goes up when assignments are due, and exams time. But I am able to cope.

No girlfriend, although I am trying to get out there as I feel this is an important factor in emotional and mental stability.

Walk dog daily at the local park, allowing for easy social interaction and good book end and regularity to my day.

Healthy eating, Primal blueprint style eating: Meat, fruit, veg, no added sugar ( occasional fortnightly chocolatey treats ), no grains, supplemental vitamins, fish oil, protein shake.

Exercise, Cycling 5 times a week low intensity > 1-hour sessions, 1 sprint session, 1 weights session.

Unemployed, surviving off government student payments. Although I am seeking casual employment ( somewhere easy like retail or delivery driver )

 

Drug history

Cymbalta

( prescribed due to severe depression, stopped working, laid in bed for days/weeks/months )

- 3 years - I forget the dosage, but I think it was above the initial 'normal' dosage prescribed.

Pristiq

( prescribed due to issues with anxiety outweighing straight up depression )

- 100mg 1 year ( no memories of anything wrong transitioning straight from Cymbalta to Pristiq 100)

- 150mg 1 year ( upped dose due to severe anxiety resulting in quitting internship, inability to attend University properly )

- 100mg 3 months ( travelling really well, although still don't like what i am missing from taking drugs to become a 'functional zombie'

 

Removing dependence

Originally I was thinking just get the drug out of my system as quickly as possible.

BUT I now know that the drug is not really the problem.

The problem is that my body has been altered so much that removing the mechanism (Pristiq) for my body to function in this altered state will be devastating and can have long lasting effects for years.

So there goes my plan on not having to take Pristiq during next school semester... :mellow:

I did, however, start the cold turkey process and after experiencing withdrawal symptoms, nothing I haven't experienced from missing a dose, I decided to do a little research on other people's experience with dropping Pristiq. I took 100mg after 10mins reading of other people's experiences and why you should taper, and definitely not go cold turkey especially on Pristiq. :o

I read a few posts about why tapering is important and have decided this is the route I will take. :D

 

Tapering

I need help on a plan on how to taper off Pristiq.

I will be seeing my doctor about this soon. But I feel I need a plan to go to her with, otherwise she will simply use the "manufacturers recommended process" which, from what I have read, is BS.

She is quite open, and I feel I need to include her in this to ensure a smooth process.

I am scared to transition to another drug, as some posts have mentioned Effexor may be easier to taper off than Pristiq due to issues with cutting/crushing of Pristiq's time release capsule to small doses.

I will continue reading the forums, but I see the consensus is 90% of current dose until your taking a minuscule amount.

I've been on em 6 years what's another year or so as long as I can do it. -_-

 

Questions

1) I stopped Pristiq cold turkey for 2 days, 2 doses of 100mg. After reading this forum, I took 1 does, 100mg, as I now feel cold turkey to be a bad idea. Can I start tapering immediately, tomorow morning, or should I wait and stabilise at 100mg again? If so how long should I wait to start tapering?

2) Is cutting 100mg into 90mg an appropriate method? Or should I be using the smallest pill sizes available to create a tapered dose? ie 50mg + 25mg + 0.6*25mg = 90mg -> 50mg + 25mg + 0.24*25mg = 81mg

3) Is going from the smallest does I can get, may only be 50mg in Australia, to another drug ( eg: Effexor ) the most successful method?

4) It will take me 200 days to get to 50mg doing currentDose-90% every 4 weeks. How do I know If I can increase the interval rate?

5) Tapering to 50 or even 25mg makes sense, sizeable chunks are being taken out each interval, what is the method for less than 25mg?

6) Should I keep a journal post on this forum on my progress and methods used???

 

 

Final thoughts

I feel a bit frustrated that I am able to drop from 150 to 100mg so easily, no real effects immediately, and zero effects after 1 week. But dropping to 50 mg will take ~ 200 days. Is the thinking that there is such a profound effect from the smallest dose of Pristiq, I think I read 25mg over a short period will affect 80% of serotonin receptors, that the relation is exponential therefore reducing large doses is easy but as the dose gets smaller the effects are relatively greater.

 

Well, it's been over an hour since I popped the little bastard of a pill, and just starting to feel a little better physically, but a little frustrated about the thought of how long this process is going to take :angry:

Oh well, if this is the way it has to be done. <_<

Also, a little relieved that I have other people who have experience to help me with this. :D

 

I'll do some more reading on the forums, but any links to research papers on withdrawal effects, cold turkey vs standard practice vs tapering method, would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the help! :D  :D

Edited by scallywag
tags

Although they did help, they are not the answer!

2005-2010   Marijuana             Self medicated, peer pressured, preferred to alcohol. ( Definitely some bad effects as I was addicted, I began smoking daily, but hard to say if this increased anxiety and depression or masked it )

2010              Cymbalta 60mg  Depression, stopped work, laid on bed for months. ( Got me out of bed and started the mental health healing process ) [ weight gain, muted ambitions ]

2014              Pristiq 100mg     Anxiety, trouble entering new places particularly University classes. ( Got me to do more work, more brain function, less worried about interactions ) [ sweating, elevated heart rate ]

2015              Pristiq 150mg     Anxiety, still having a sketchy record of attending University. ( Got me to University almost every day, no longer felt anxious about bad social interactions from rumination ) [ same as 100mg  ]

2016 Jan                                     Got really serious about exercise and diet because of the mental health benefits I felt. Dropped added sugar and grains from mid-late 2016 after reading "The primal blueprint" [ occasional sugary treat binges =p ]

2016 Sep      Pristiq 100mg     Felt less need for a drug. I know what I need to do to be mentally healthy, I just need to do it!

2016 Dec12 Pristiq 90mg

Daily supplements: fish oil 8g, hemp protein 60g, vital greens multivitamin 10g

My Intro & Updates

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi pigstiq and welcome to SA,

 

Very creative name.  It looks like you may have already been doing some reading around the site.  There is a wealth of information here.  I'm going to give you links to check out, which may answer some of the questions you have asked.  You can then ask questions  which haven't been answered here in your Intro/Update topic and journal your progress.  I am also in Australia and taking Pristiq.  I've had my tablets compounded.

 

To search the site I use google and type in survivingantidepressants.org + topic.

 

To start with it will be helpful if you would Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Please include details for the last 12-18 months of  all drugs, dates, doses and discontinuations & reinstatements.  If you can't remember dates, please write it as "early March" or "mid-August".  Please provide a summary of any drugs prior to that which can just be listed with start and stop years.  Please include all prescription, non-prescription drugs and supplements you are currently taking.  Please remember to update whenever you make a change so it remains current.

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

 

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

 

This one in particular may help you to understand why it is easier to get off the higher doses:

 

Why taper paper: dose-occupancy curves

 

These helped me to understand SA's tapering recommendations and have helped me to remain patient during my taper:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

If it were me I'd be holding at your current dose for at least 2 or 3 weeks, which will hopefully set you up for a reasonably uneventful taper.  Fresh, another Australian member, has also has been tapering Pristiq.  The link to my topic is in my signature.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment

Thanks for the reply. :D

 

I'll check out those links and do some more research on this. Thanks for directing me to some good resources :lol:

 

I'll also sort out my signature soon.

Although they did help, they are not the answer!

2005-2010   Marijuana             Self medicated, peer pressured, preferred to alcohol. ( Definitely some bad effects as I was addicted, I began smoking daily, but hard to say if this increased anxiety and depression or masked it )

2010              Cymbalta 60mg  Depression, stopped work, laid on bed for months. ( Got me out of bed and started the mental health healing process ) [ weight gain, muted ambitions ]

2014              Pristiq 100mg     Anxiety, trouble entering new places particularly University classes. ( Got me to do more work, more brain function, less worried about interactions ) [ sweating, elevated heart rate ]

2015              Pristiq 150mg     Anxiety, still having a sketchy record of attending University. ( Got me to University almost every day, no longer felt anxious about bad social interactions from rumination ) [ same as 100mg  ]

2016 Jan                                     Got really serious about exercise and diet because of the mental health benefits I felt. Dropped added sugar and grains from mid-late 2016 after reading "The primal blueprint" [ occasional sugary treat binges =p ]

2016 Sep      Pristiq 100mg     Felt less need for a drug. I know what I need to do to be mentally healthy, I just need to do it!

2016 Dec12 Pristiq 90mg

Daily supplements: fish oil 8g, hemp protein 60g, vital greens multivitamin 10g

My Intro & Updates

Link to comment

Seeing Doctor
I am booked in at the start of January for a doctor's appointment.
I can and will try to get an earlier appointment by calling first thing each morning.
Will go to her with this plan as I believe this is the best method to ensure success and eliminate complications.

Notes
Cutting up Pristiq can be problematic due to the time release matrix being damaged, particularly when taking small chunks.
Can switch from Pristiq to Effexor, or similar close cousin of Pristiq, when I have reached 50mg or below to increase the ability to take small doses without disturbing the absorption method of the drug.
Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. This is more exact if needed.

Assumptions
This is the plan assuming very minor or no symptoms occur. I am assuming this due to me still being young, eating healthy and exercising regularly which I think should help the healing process.
However, if symptoms occur I will have to taper by a smaller increment or increase the interval time and update this plan.

Plan

Starting tomorrow morning, Monday 12DEC2016.

start at -10% every 4 weeks

week number : mg dose

1 - 4     : 90
5 - 8     : 81      ( Evaluate. If very minor or no symptoms: decrease interval to every 3 weeks. )
9 - 11   : 72.9
12 - 15 : 65.6
16 - 18 : 59      (
Evaluate. If still very minor or no symptoms: decrease interval to every 1 week. )
19        : 53.1
20        : 47.8
21        : 43     ( continue 29 more intervals until ~ 2mg then stop )

50        : 2
 

Any critique or comments are welcomed.
Thanks :D
 

Although they did help, they are not the answer!

2005-2010   Marijuana             Self medicated, peer pressured, preferred to alcohol. ( Definitely some bad effects as I was addicted, I began smoking daily, but hard to say if this increased anxiety and depression or masked it )

2010              Cymbalta 60mg  Depression, stopped work, laid on bed for months. ( Got me out of bed and started the mental health healing process ) [ weight gain, muted ambitions ]

2014              Pristiq 100mg     Anxiety, trouble entering new places particularly University classes. ( Got me to do more work, more brain function, less worried about interactions ) [ sweating, elevated heart rate ]

2015              Pristiq 150mg     Anxiety, still having a sketchy record of attending University. ( Got me to University almost every day, no longer felt anxious about bad social interactions from rumination ) [ same as 100mg  ]

2016 Jan                                     Got really serious about exercise and diet because of the mental health benefits I felt. Dropped added sugar and grains from mid-late 2016 after reading "The primal blueprint" [ occasional sugary treat binges =p ]

2016 Sep      Pristiq 100mg     Felt less need for a drug. I know what I need to do to be mentally healthy, I just need to do it!

2016 Dec12 Pristiq 90mg

Daily supplements: fish oil 8g, hemp protein 60g, vital greens multivitamin 10g

My Intro & Updates

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi again,

 

Looks like you have been lots of research, which is great.

 

Baroquep has switched from Pristiq to Effexor.  There is no definite cross-over equivalency in dose but you can see some of our discussion in Post #31 baroquep: Pristiq Taper Help - Advice Needed

 

Ktp is another member who switched to Effexor ktp-weaning-from-4yrs-50mg-pristiq

 

I can understand you wanting to have some sort of plan to proceed with but the important things needed when tapering are patience, listening to your body and throwing out the calendar.  Your idea of assessing a drop every 4 weeks and then trialling every 3 weeks is okay, but dropping 10% every week may destabilise you.  Many members have found that once they destabilise it can be very hard to regain stability.  It is more sensible to go slower and do it the better way.  It takes about 4 days for the dose change to become steady in the blood and several more for it to register in the brain.  Symptoms may arise 2 weeks after a drop in dose which is why SA recommends holding for 3-4 weeks between drops.

 

Also, once you get lower than 20mg you may find that reducing by 2mg every drop may become too much as the 10% is to be calculated on the previous dose, not the starting dose.  Some members find that the lower they get they need to go slower than 10%.

 

Since lowering my dose I have started feeling my feelings more and being able to laugh and joke, which I hadn't realised I hadn't been doing since I had started on Pristiq.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment

Thanks for the reply and the links too.

I really love getting some input, and keeping my ambitious, maybe unrealistic, goals in check. :P

 

Overly ambitious

I completely accept that this may take longer than I like, and I may need to slow down the process a lot, 1 week drops may not ever be viable.

You are right and maybe I shouldn't think I can get to 1 week intervals especially at the lower doses as the effects are more profound.

I do accept I may need longer than 3-4 weeks.

 

Why the plan

I feel I need a complete plan in place to envision the process and the end goal. It's a way I set my goals in stone to ensure I follow through with them.

I also feel I need to choose one plan and stick with it. That plan can change completely as needed but one plan and only one plan.

This prevents me from procrastinating on worst case vs best case and what if that, what if this, or in 3 months I'll have exams and need to be stable at a dose, etc etc. too many variables! :wacko:

 

Mindset

Regardless of the time frame to completion, 1 year or 3 years, I feel confident and positive on my future.

 

thanks,

I'll keep this post updated and keep researching

:D :D

Although they did help, they are not the answer!

2005-2010   Marijuana             Self medicated, peer pressured, preferred to alcohol. ( Definitely some bad effects as I was addicted, I began smoking daily, but hard to say if this increased anxiety and depression or masked it )

2010              Cymbalta 60mg  Depression, stopped work, laid on bed for months. ( Got me out of bed and started the mental health healing process ) [ weight gain, muted ambitions ]

2014              Pristiq 100mg     Anxiety, trouble entering new places particularly University classes. ( Got me to do more work, more brain function, less worried about interactions ) [ sweating, elevated heart rate ]

2015              Pristiq 150mg     Anxiety, still having a sketchy record of attending University. ( Got me to University almost every day, no longer felt anxious about bad social interactions from rumination ) [ same as 100mg  ]

2016 Jan                                     Got really serious about exercise and diet because of the mental health benefits I felt. Dropped added sugar and grains from mid-late 2016 after reading "The primal blueprint" [ occasional sugary treat binges =p ]

2016 Sep      Pristiq 100mg     Felt less need for a drug. I know what I need to do to be mentally healthy, I just need to do it!

2016 Dec12 Pristiq 90mg

Daily supplements: fish oil 8g, hemp protein 60g, vital greens multivitamin 10g

My Intro & Updates

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm really pleased to read you last post and your explanation.  The main thing is to Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 

Also take into account if a stressful event happens or you get a cold or other bug that you may be a good ideo to hold longer until things have settled.  Many of us held until after Christmas last year because we find the time of year can cause anxiety.

 

The only supplements that SA recommends are Magnesium  and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  If you do start anything new, try a small amount and only 1 at a time.  Some people find B vitamins activating.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Pigstiq, welcome to SA.  You will find a lot of excellent information on this site to safely taper off of these drugs.  While I'm still relatively new, and just started my journey off of Pristine/Effexor, if you have any questions, I am more than happy to help where I can.  Wishing you a safe and uneventful landing off of antidepressants.

BaroqueP

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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