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Simaaaah: Pristiq withdrawal


Simaaaah

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Hi everyone. I've been debating whether I should do this or not but I think it's best. So I had been taking pristiq 50mg since May 2014 when I was diagnosed with PTSD and I took it because well it numbed everything out. I was pretty naive and only now after much closure and comfort I've realised I do not need this medication in my life at all. My doctor well he basically told me take it once every two days and then once every three days and then once every four days and then completely stop. This process lasted about two weeks or just over that. I'm now ten days off of pristiq and well it's not easy. There's a lot of brain fog and confusion. I can't think too much it overwhelms me and I am constantly dizzy and have a persistent headache. The brain zaps are no joke. I tried eating healthy but I just want to vomit. I take stemetil for the nausea. It helps a little. I also take fish oil for some added effect i read about online. All I want to know is when will the brain zaps end ? It really is taking a toll on me. I'm not myself and that gets to me the most. 

History 

pristiq 50mg 

since may 2014 

withdrawal process began june 2017. 

Suffered from PTSD. 

 

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  • KarenB changed the title to Simaaaah: Pristiq withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Simaaaah - Welcome to SA,

 

Sorry things are so rough right now.  Sadly your doctor gave you a poor tapering method.  Alternating doses is actually a very harsh way to reduce your amount.  They say it's like playing ping-pong with your brain - ouch!  Your Central Nervous System can get really destabilised- which you are now experiencing in the form of all those symptoms. 

 

The troublesome thing with psychiatric drugs is that you can't just flush their effects out of your system.  They change the way your brain works, and that takes much longer to heal.  Suddenly stopping the drug puts your brain and Central Nervous System into shock.  It's like yanking a trellis out of a garden instead of gently untangling the plants and slowly removing the wood – it’s too much trauma for the plants/your brain.  (For the source of that simile, plus further discussion, see http://survivinganti...el-your-brain/)

 

Please put your drug and/or withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages for the last year or two so we can see your situation easily whenever you post and help you more accurately.  (Please use this format for dates: 12 October 2016)  Thanks. 

 

It's good you posted here so quickly, as it gives you more options for getting stabilised sooner.  Reinstatement would likely be the smoothest path.  We have a thread that discusses it here: reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/  The idea is that once you are stable again you could taper off according to our 10% monthly guide.  We recommend a gentle taper, reducing by no more than 10% of your current dose each month.  This allows your brain time to adjust as you go, and lessens any withdrawal.  

 

tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine

 

Withdrawals can last for months or years, depending on the individual and how they either tapered or CT'd.  There is also the possibility that they will get worse before they get better.  I say this not to alarm you but to be sure you've got all the facts before you make a decision. 

 

Many people find Fish oil and Magnesium useful during withdrawal.   

Non-Drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

Melt into your own life

 

Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions.

 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

 

Edited by KarenB

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Hi Karen the thing is I did read about so many ways to taper off this medication. And the one I was going to go with was cutting the medication but sadly that would've altered the time release format and made my body absorb it all at once. I'm not looking to go back on this medication at all. This isn't me being stubborn I have a real fear of never coming off of it. I do feel my days are getting easier though. And another thing I find that assists me is my will. I am absolutely determined to rid my life of this drug. The worst decision I've made in my life. I know the tapering wasn't the smartest but I knew that secretly and I still did it. So I don't know. I'm sort of in a limbo here. I don't want these effects to be so bad but I don't want to retake the medication. Is it as if I've gone cold turkey ? 

 

History

pristiq 50mg. May 2014! Withdrawal process since mid June 2017 

History 

pristiq 50mg 

since may 2014 

withdrawal process began june 2017. 

Suffered from PTSD. 

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

It's just so hard to tell how you're going to go.  The things in your favour are the fact that you've only been on one drug, and only done one withdrawal process.  It seems that our Central Nervous Systems do cope better if it's the first time they've been mucked around (although this isn't always true). 

 

One thing not in your favour is the fact that you alternated doses to reduce, so you're more destabilsed than you needed to be.  A two week taper is pretty much a cold-turkey. 

 

Your fear of going back on in order to stabilise is in fact very common.  Very few people ever wants to - cause it feels like such a backwards step, I guess.  However, it's often the fastest and smoothest way off. 

 

So far, so unhelpful?  It's a tough decision, I know.  The fact that you feel your days are getting easier is a good sign.  I think keeping good daily symptom notes would really benefit you.  That way we can monitor what's happening.  If the good days turn out to be a window, and are followed by bad days, then you might like to reassess. 

 

If you follow this link you can write an actual signature that will appear on all your posts:  Please put your drug and/or withdrawal history in your signature

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Simaaaah -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA) ... from me too!

 

 

We have a member who is an Aussie tapering Pristiq. She's working with a compounding pharmacist to achieve 10% reductions in dose. You might find it helpful to read her introduction topic:

ChessieCat: So I'm not the only one.

 

 

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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Hey Simaaah

 

the brain zaps when you withdraw from these meds seem to last around 3-4 weeks for many of us.  when I quit Zoloft and zyprexa cold turkey in early 2014, I had about 3 weeks of brain zaps.  this was after the first week or two of nausea and projectile vomiting and insomnia.  the brain zaps and nausea usually don't stay too long, but then you are left with poor sleep, which does often stick around and make life miserable.  hopefully, insomnia/sleep deprivation won't be bad for you because it does exacerbate the brain fog and short term memory problems that a lot of us deal with in wd.

 

poetjester

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone

 

just an update, i believe it has been a month since my last dose of pristiq and i am doing much better. the only issue i have is lightheadedness and the occasional brain zaps. the rest is much better. I am a bit more tired than usual, my sleep pattern is improving. In this time, ive managed to move into a new place with my husband and i am slowly getting back into the routine of uni. However, my partner still thinks i am depressed. I dont agree because well i feel happier in general. I doing my best to not take any type of medication for anything unless it is vital. I never want to go back to a medication like this. I think my biggest accomplishment was taking the first steps into coming off this medication. I was scared, like beyond scared but it got easier as each day progressed and i am thankful i had my siblings and husband and mom by my side. my dad is another story, he thinks i was stupid to take it in the first place. I still persevered and i did it. I am extremely proud of myself. The little symptoms i am experiencing will slowly ease, that i am sure of. 

History 

pristiq 50mg 

since may 2014 

withdrawal process began june 2017. 

Suffered from PTSD. 

 

Link to comment

Thanks for the update

Simaah i am concerned for you as wdl can be delayed a month or three.

(imo wdl can even be delayed for more than a year.)

Why does your partner think you are still depressed. By the way depression is a wdl symptom. Wdl mimics many psychological distresses....the whole gammit.

Are you having crying spells ? If so that is also a classic wdl symptom.

It is good you have family support at this time.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

This list is worth looking at.  It's surprising what symptoms you can have and not realise they are caused by withdrawal.  I had an upset tummy whwn I tried to halve my dose and thought I had a stomach bug.  I feel sure now that it was a WD symptom.

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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