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RayGirl: Trying to quit Pristiq - by switching to venlafaxine?


RayGirl

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I've been taking Pristiq 100mg (plus 5mg Somit to sleep and 100mg Activigil to wake up) for the past 3 years more or less. I've been trying to quit Pristiq for many months due to HORRIBLE withdrawals whenever I forgot even one pill. I got to down the dose to Pristiq 50mg after enduring two weeks of those horrible withrawals and then they were gone, luckily.

Now I'm trying to figure out my next step. There's no Pristiq 25mg where I am from. My psych told me to switch to venlafaxine 75mg three days ago, not the XR, the regular. It has such a short half life that I'm having horrible symptoms as well, even though I'm taking 37,5mg in the morning and 37,5mg in the afternoon. I'm trying to figure out if this is the best way to quit Pristiq. She says I should stay with venlafaxine and taper down from it. I'm worried about feeling awful. I can't function. Should I stay with the venlafaxine or switch back to Pristiq 50mg and figure out something else? Should I bridge with Prozac form Pristiq? Should I stay with venlafaxine and THEN bridge with Prozac? Should I just taper down from venlafaxine?

 

By the way, thank you all for describing so accurately all the discontinuations sympotms of the Pristq- the brain zaps, the headaches, the dizziness, the confusion. What has this done to us? I want out. 

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to RayGirl: Trying to quit Pristiq - by switching to venlafaxine?
  • Administrator

Welcome, RayGirl.

 

We would call Somit zolpidem, the sleep drug, and Activigil modafinil.

 

How long were you taking 50mg Pristiq?

 

Since you've made the switch to venlafaxine, what are your symptoms? Do they follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

As you've already made this change, I would stick with venlafaxine for now. We may be able to adjust it, the dosage might be too low or too high to substitute for 50mg Pristiq. See these topics for background

 

Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

I would make another switch to Prozac only if we find the Effexor is not going to work.

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature

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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Thank you so much for your reply Altostrata!

 

I added my signature, hope it helps. I took 100mg Pristiq for about two years and a half, and then 50mg Pristiq for 3 months. 

Don't know if it helps but I'm an almost 27 year old female.

 

Right now I'm in my 9th day having switched from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg venlafaxine (brand Elafax) (regular release, NOT xr), and I feel really bad. What happens is: I wake up with chills or tingling and feeling like I can't move, I take 1/2 a pill (so 37,5mg), and wait for a while and I'm ok. Then after midday I start feeling bad again, and I take another 1/2 pill. But if I wait a bit I start having chills and feeling bad and just down, lacking motivation, very tired, and unfocused. I feel better when I take the 2nd half but then at nighttime I have all the symptoms again.

TODAY was the first day that I tried something different: I took 1/2 in the morning, and then after midday I took 1/4, and early evening I took another 1/4, hoping to distribute the drug. But it doesn't seem to be working. 

 

I hate the way I lack strenght when I wake up (i loved working in the mornings), the lack of motivation, the chills, the unfocused feeling. I want to know if there's something I can do. Should i go back to pristiq and try something else? should i try something else with venlafaxine? should i switch to prozac? Idk. Help :(

 

Thank you so so so much again for your kindness.

 

 

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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  • Administrator

You will need to take the immediate-release Effexor 12 hours apart.

 

It could be that 75mg per day is not enough to compensate for 50mg Pristiq. Can you take 112.5mg total per day in two doses per day?

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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1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

You will need to take the immediate-release Effexor 12 hours apart.

 

You mean taking 37.5mg in the morning 8am And then 37.5 mg at 8pm? What about the chills and the tiredness and weird syndromes that will happen after midday? Around 7 hours after the first dose.

I’ll try taking it as you say, but am wondering what’s gonna happen in the middle.

 

 

1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

t could be that 75mg per day is not enough to compensate for 50mg Pristiq. Can you take 112.5mg total per day in two doses per day?

 

Yea, I thought about maybe it not being enough, but given that I’m about to enter my 10th day with it, shouldnt I take it as a reduction or somethingg? So i wont hve to taper Effexor from larger doses?

 

Or mYbe I could try to take 112.5 in two doses per day. 

 

In any case What i want is to be able to feel well at night or when i wake up and not get withdrawals in the middle of the day or morning, as if all effects from the drugs were gone.

 

so my two options would be:

1) to take 37.7mg 8am + 37,7mg 8pm (75mg total)

or

2) to take 112.5mg total divided in two.

 

which one is better? Which one will fix the fact that five-six hours aftar i take a dose i feel withdrawals?

 

thank you again!!! You have no idea how important it is to be able to think this with someoen else. Thank you for your kindness in this dispair

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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Ok so I took 37.5mg at 7.30am and it’s currently 5.30pm and so far so good. I’ll wait till 7.30pm to take the other 37.5. Let’s hope I stay this stable tomorrow as well! 

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

Hello. I managed to get as low as 75mg of venlafaxine about two years ago. And I've been in that dose ever since (taking 37,5mg in the morning, and 37,5mg at night). But I really really really want off, I clinically don't need them anymore, I haven't for a long long time, the only reason I'm taking them is because of the AWFUL withdrawals.

So- talking with my psychiatrist we arranged I'd send the 75mg pills to the lab to compound into doses of 28mg so I'd take 28mg in the morning and 28mg at night, lowering my total dose by 25% - (total 56mg)

I took my first 28mg last night, and then my first morning 28mg today. I already have symptoms: body tremors, a bit of headache, and slightly unfocused vision. It is a very different feeling from two years ago when I had to switch medications and lower my dose by 50% and I had brain zaps and IDK it was totally awful. Luckily last time those awful symptoms went away after 10 days or so and then it was all normal for 2 years. Until now that I decided to start tapering off again, of course.

But still- it has not been a full day and I already have these tremors and unfocused vision and headache, I can manage to go about my day although a bit slower and not totally focused, and because of all I read here I'm so scared that those symptoms may mean I'm doing something too aggressive for my nervous system, and I read that the ideal lowering would be by 10%. 

My questions: 

Do you think those symptoms are enough to be scared that lowering 25% may do damage medium-long term?

Should I keep trying with this dose a couple more days before OR should I go right back to 37,5mg per take (total 75mg) and then send again to lab to compound to lower my dose by 10 or 15%?

Or maybe these are mild symptoms that won't damage too much if I wait for them to go away in a week? (I'm guessing they will go away in a week-10 days or so because of all the other medications I quit before). 

Or do you think lowering from total 75mg to 56mg is not that bad?

 

Anyway, I know this questions may not have an absolute answer, but I want to know if I should continue with this dose or change back or what to do. I've been feeling so well this past two years and I want to take care of myself and quit this awful thing! It's truly the worst.

 

Thank you everyone! Reading this forum back then and now has been life saving.

 

 

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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Hello. I managed to get as low as 75mg of venlafaxine about two years ago. And I've been in that dose ever since (taking 37,5mg in the morning, and 37,5mg at night). But I really really really want off, I clinically don't need them anymore, I haven't for a long long time, the only reason I'm taking them is because of the AWFUL withdrawals.

So- talking with my psychiatrist we arranged I'd send the 75mg pills to the lab to compound into doses of 28mg so I'd take 28mg in the morning and 28mg at night, lowering my total dose by 25% - (total 56mg)

I took my first 28mg last night, and then my first morning 28mg today. I already have symptoms: body tremors, a bit of headache, and slightly unfocused vision. It is a very different feeling from two years ago when I had to switch medications and lower my dose by 50% and I had brain zaps and IDK it was totally awful. Luckily last time those awful symptoms went away after 10 days or so and then it was all normal for 2 years. Until now that I decided to start tapering off again, of course.

But still- it has not been a full day and I already have these tremors and unfocused vision and headache, I can manage to go about my day although a bit slower and not totally focused, and because of all I read here I'm so scared that those symptoms may mean I'm doing something too aggressive for my nervous system, and I read that the ideal lowering would be by 10%. 

My questions: 

Do you think those symptoms are enough to be scared that lowering 25% may do damage medium-long term?

Should I keep trying with this dose a couple more days before OR should I go right back to 37,5mg per take (total 75mg) and then send again to lab to compound to lower my dose by 10 or 15%?

Or maybe these are mild symptoms that won't damage too much if I wait for them to go away in a week? (I'm guessing they will go away in a week-10 days or so because of all the other medications I quit before). 

Or do you think lowering from total 75mg to 56mg is not that bad?

 

Anyway, I know this questions may not have an absolute answer, but I want to know if I should continue with this dose or change back or what to do. I've been feeling so well this past two years and I want to take care of myself and quit this awful thing! It's truly the worst.

 

Thank you everyone! Reading this forum back then and now has been life saving

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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  • Administrator

@RayGirl, I moved your new posts here.

 

As you know from Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine), we do not recommend decreases as large as 25%, especially if you've had difficulty with withdrawal before.

 

I am sorry you did not share this information with your psychiatrist. You have made too big a decrease and brought about withdrawal symptoms again. If I were you, I'd go back to 37.5mg twice a day and let the symptoms settle down.

 

When you are free of withdrawal symptoms, you might try taking 37.5mg in the morning and 28mg in the evening, that would be a daily dosage decrease of 12.5% -- but that might be too much, because you've already upset your nervous system. You might have to reduce by even less than 10%, such as 5% per month.

 

Please note we are peer counselors, and monitoring your taper is what you pay your psychiatrist for. Now that I've given you this information, I highly recommend you explain it to your psychiatrist. We don't get paid for this.

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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Thank you SO much for your reply again.

I told my psychiatrist all about the info of this forum which is why I sent the pills to the lab to compound (she didn't have that in mind as a thing before, it's not common in my country). She wanted me to take the pills one day on, one day off, and I remembered what I read here to NEVER do that, so I told her NO. And then she wanted me to cut to half but we compromised on sending it to compound lowering the dose 25%. I let myself be convinced by her that it was the right dose :( 

I think I will have to change psychiatrist. I don't know if in my country there is someone else who knows about WD and tapering, but I'll search. 

 

Anyway. I had this symptoms after taking only a night and a morning dose of the 25% lowered. So it was literally only for a day that I lowered it.

If I go back to my full dose now, maybe I can wait a couple weeks and then lower the dose by 10%? 

 

I know this is not official medical advice but it literally saved my life before and it allows me to go to my psychiatrist with more information and it allows me to say no to bad practices. 

Before 2015- took several drugs such as sertraline, wellbutrin, fluoxetine, and quit all of them easily, didn't know about Withdrawal syndrome.

2015-2018- 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), 5mg Somit (zolpidem), 100mg Activigil (modafinil).

Jul 2018- Went down from 100mg to 50mg Pristiq overnight (felt LOTS of withdrawal), continued with 5mg Somit + 100mg Activigil.

Oct 2018- Switched overnight from 50mg Pristiq to 75mg Elafax (venlafaxine) - (felt very very bad withdrawal for about 10-15 days)

 

2020- Managed to quit modafinil and zolpidem entirely!!! So happy about this! I tapered off with no problem and no withdrawal.

 

June 2021- Trying to taper off venlafaxine--> went from 75mg (37,5 in the morning, 37,5 at night) to 56mg (28mg in the morning, 28mg at night). Symptoms: chills, unfocused vision, headache. 

 

 

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  • Administrator

Thanks for your kind words.

 

51 minutes ago, RayGirl said:

If I go back to my full dose now, maybe I can wait a couple weeks and then lower the dose by 10%? 

 

 

It probably will take more than a couple of weeks for you to stabilize, perhaps more than a couple of months. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

You might work with the same psychiatrist, who seems willing to write prescriptions for compounded drugs. You should let her know you got severe withdrawal symptoms following her advice.

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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