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hatepristiq: Successful weaning off Pristiq?


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Hello all. I've read several of the discussions about tapering off of Pristiq. I want to know if there is anyone out there that will post who has SUCCESSFULLY weaned off of Pristiq, and if they will share their experience and how they did it. I have been slowly tapering down the Pristiq for almost three months. I began just by waiting as long as I possible could inbetween doses before noticing withdrawl symptoms. The only symptom I have that is really bothersome is the brain zaps. They're just plain mean. :angry: As the weeks went by, I slowly went down on my dose. As said before on this site, there is not a lower dose of Pristiq other than 50mg. Though it is not recommended, after two weeks of waiting as long as I could between my dose ((1)50mg tab per day) I cut the pill in half, and did the same thing. I let my body tell me when it was time to take it again. Eventually it became longer and longer between doses. I did this for about three weeks. I was to the point where I could wait around 48 hours between doses before I started getting the unbearable brain zaps. This week I began cutting the pill in quarters and am currently allowing my body time to do the same thing..adjust. My plan is, once my body adjusts to taper down to 1/4 tab every other day, then 1/4 tab every two days, then 1/4 tab every three days, then none. I hope that this will help my body deal with the withdrawl symptoms. Mentally and emotionally I have done just fine. I have a very positive outlook on this. I want to rid my body of this horrible medication. I was never told how hard it would be to get off of it. I suppose this is because doctors expect patients be on these types of medications for the remainder of their lives. I might note to any of you reading this, that I have been taking Pristiq for about 3 years. I know one of the medication side effects is weight loss, but I have had just the opposite...despite eating MUCH healthier than I did before getting on this medication, I have gained about 20lbs. I have also had a raised heart rate since being on this medication. Any of you looking for information before getting on Pristiq, please be forewarned about the withdrawl symptoms if you ever plan on discontinuing this medication. I look forward to everyone's comments. Thanks! HatePristiq

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Hi HP,

I tapered off of Pristiq (100mg) over 8 months after 18 years on SS/NRIs and many other drugs for depression. I'm still on a benzo and trazodone that likely cushioned my taper. I didn't get brain zaps and didn't realize that my early morning wakenings with panic, DP/DR, anxiety, insomnia, restless legs, etc., were classic w/d. I feel fortunate that I haven't had the disabling physical w/d as many have but I'm far from off of psych drugs. I am facing many life issues that were dulled by drugs over the years.

Others will offer specific advice on your taper plan. Stabilizing your nervous system is paramount, so keeping a steady, daily dose is very important.

I didn't know about this site or the importance of careful tapering while i was in the process. I likely wouldn't be dealing with the protracted w/d if I had handled things differently during the taper. You are already a big step ahead in finding your way here.


Welcome to the group.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Thank you for your post Barbannamated. It is uplifting to me that you shared your story. I am glad to see that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Best wishes to you!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You might want to take a look at the advice under the 'Tapering' topic. Skipping doses isn't the best way to withdraw for most people.


I was on Pristiq 50 mg. for four months, thanks to a really inept psychiatrist, and it was a hellish experience. My personal doctor switched me to Lexapro 10 mg. and that hasn't been any picnic either, but I undersand the withdrawal isn't quite so bad. I took Lexapro for about a year before tapering off over four months (too fast). My last dose was December 14, 2011 and I'm just now starting to have some days when I feel almost normal.


Keep up the good attitude, though. I was devastated when I realized what was happening to me and that didn't help at all.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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Hi HP....


I never took Pristiq. Over the years I have read about going to a Compounding Pharmacy to have the Pristiq made into smaller doses. Originally I read that about Efexor and now Cymbalta.


More members will come along to help you out... Alto is very knowledgeble.


Take care

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/


Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)


Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Hi Hatepristiq,


I also hate Pristiq!

I have been on it since November last year. I went from 100mg to 45mg with compounded Pristiq

and will continue to taper down at a slow pace.

This drug has made me feel horrible. Dizzy, anxious, tired, depressed, bruxism, heart palpitations.

Good luck in your journey!


2009 Efexor 75mg tapered twice

November 2011 Pristiq 50 mg

January 2012 Pristiq 100 mg, became very dizzy and anxious with a lot negative thinking! Ear aches, eye pain, headaches, bruxism, night sweats.

Currently on 30 mg of compounded Pristiq

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  • Administrator

Hello, hp, welcome to our community.


I moved your introductory post here because it describes your situation. Please consider this topic a way to track your journey off Pristiq.


Many people have successfully tapered off Pristiq, as well as other antidepressants. The people who come to this site have had problems, either because they tapered too fast or are very sensitive to reductions in dosage.


Brain zaps are a sign that the way you are reducing your dosage is causing a lot of wear and tear on your nervous system.


The nervous system thrives on stability. A slow, gradual taper is best. The way you've been doing it, the amount of medication in your bloodstream has been going up and down. This is a good way to touch off severe withdrawal symptoms.


Cutting up the tablets is a good way to taper Pristiq. See Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)


Yes, it's a crime Pristiq is not available in dosages that enable tapering. You might give Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, a call and make a strong complaint: (800) 438-1985

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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Hello everyone and thank you for your replies. It is comforting to know I am not alone and also comforting to converse with people who understand. One thing I think I forgot to mention in my original post is that I do not wish to bridge Pristiq with any other medications, nor go off of Pristiq to get on another anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication. Alto, thank you for the link to weaning off Pristiq.

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  • Administrator

You may be able to successfully wean off Pristiq without switching to another drug. Just do it carefully.


Completely support your desire not to take another antidepressant!

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 weeks later...

Good morning everyone. I just thought I would drop in and give an update on my withdrawl from Pristiq. I am very proud to say that my last dose of Pristiq was at 6:30AM Easter Sunday. With a determined and positive mindset, I have done what I initially thought was impossible. Daisy, just hang in there. Listen to your body. Although I did experience discontinuation symptoms, the most disturbing being the brain zaps, I believe I was able to tone it down by just listening to my body. I began to decrease my dosage in February. For the first two weeks, I would just wait as long as I could between doses before the brain zaps came. After that, I halved my pills and did the same thing for approximately two and a half weeks. Once my body had adjusted to the lower dosage, I quartered the pills, and did the same thing. I was eventually able to get down to 1/4 pill every 48 hours relatativly comfortably and decided that it was time. My last 1/4 pill was on Sunday April 8th. I will tell you that Wednesday was my worst day, but it was tolerable. I did experience brain zaps, however they were not as intense as they were if I had missed a dose. It honestly has been no picnic, but the reward of knowing I DID THIS and that I am on the road to a happier and healthier me has been my light at the end of the tunnel. Along with the brain zaps, I too had problems with "noise" and sounds and my feelings got hurt very easily. Everything made me want to cry...but I was able to realize that it was just the withdrawls and that everything was going to be ok soon. Today is the 9th day without Pristiq. I do still have very very slight brain zaps, but they are better every day. I feel great. I might add that the manufacturer of Pristiq does not recommend cutting pills, but there are no other tapering instructions. I do suggest you talk to your MD, but also remember...MD's are people just like you and I. They make mistakes, and do not know everything. You must listen you your own body and do what is best for you. Keep your head up and look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

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  • Administrator

Hello, hatepristiq, good to see you again.


I moved your post here because it updates your situation. I put a note to Daisy in her topic.


Yes, cutting up tablets is just about the only way to taper Pristiq. See Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)


Your taper schedule was faster than we recommend, and we don't recommend irregularly taking doses at any stage, but some people can tolerate an irregular taper. It's not for everybody!


Listening to one's body is excellent advice. I'm very glad you're doing well.

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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Hi hatepritiq,


Thank you for your encouraging words. :)


I am so glad that you are doing so well :D


Love and Peace, Daisy

Effexor XL 2009-2012. CT 150mg Effexor XR  2012, Effexor XR  75mg  2012  then rapid taper to 0, Reinstated Effexor XR 13mg then updosed to 20mg, Tapered to 18mg Effexor XR 4/9/12, Off Effexor XL ?Reinstated  Effexor XL 150 mgs  August  2012, Crashed in November 2012, Prozac 40 mgs 2012 to Feb 2018, Buspar 60  mgs 2012-stopped 2015, Remeron 7.5 mgs as needed for sleep-stopped Feb 2017, Prozac 50 mgs Feb 2018 to March 2018, Lexapro 5 mgs March 18 2018 to May 17th 2018, Lexapro 2.5 mgs  May 18th to May 26th 2018, Prozac 10 mgs May 15th 2018, Prozac 5 mgs May 19th 2018 to current day May 28th 2018,  Xanax 0.25 mgs to 0.5 mgs daily for over 15 years. Increased Xanax to 1.5 mgs Sept 2012, Tapered Xanax to 0 mgs  May 2013.Reinstated Xanax Feb 2017 at 0.125 mgs as needed, Gradual increase of Xanax to 1.5 mgs daily till May 22nd 2018, Xanax 1.25 mgs daily. Holding


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Glad to hear that you've been so lucky with the taper and are doing so well!


Keep us posted!



Years:150mg Wellbutrin (to concentrate) 20-30 mg Celexa (rumination).

CT 8/2011 during a pregnancy attempt under MD orders. (Idiot!!!) Pregnancy hormones allowed it.

Felt great with 6 mg of melatonin per night to sleep plus preggo hormones-didn't last:(

Best time of my life. Botched IVF in Dec 2011.Stress.

Bone chilling exhaustion and told to go back on celexa and wellbutrin.

4/9/2012 Back on celexa wb for some relief, wb gave me heart palps so dropped and only need 6.6 mg celexa and 1/4 melatonin pill...IMPROVEMENT because my doses are much lower!

REMEMBER to get your thyroid and hormones checked/out of whack ones can appear LIKE MOOD DISORDERS!!

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  • 4 years later...

Hello HP, This is the quickest tapering story I have ever come across. It seems to be over 4 years now. I really pray and wish you have been having a great life without Pristiq. Can you please update me on how you have been doing. I am going to start tapering my desvenlafaxine dose of 50X2 mg soon. Any inputs from you on your current well being will help. Thank you.

2003-2007    Paroxetene 25mg  +++++++  2007-2008    Escitalopram 10mg


Mid 2008, wanted to get away from medicines. Doc did a quick taper from 10mg to 5mg and stopped in a short time. Within 2 weeks from stopping I had severe TINNITUS, forcing me to get back to meds. But TINNITUS persists to this day. Doctor shied away saying this had nothing to do with meds.


2009-2011    Combination of Escitalopram 10mg + Clonazepam 0.5 mg  ++++++  2011-2015    Paroxetene 25mg + Clonazepam 0.25mg

Feb 2015      Desvenlafaxine 50mg, reduced Paroxetene to 12.5mg, Clonazepam 0.25mg

Apr 2015       Desvenlafaxine 50mg, twice daily, stopped Paroxetene, continued Clonazepam 0.25mg

Sep 2015      Desvenlafaxine 50mg, twice daily, Started very slow tapering of Clonazepam .25mg on my own.

Feb 2016   6th month of tapering and on 1/16th of 0.25. Clonazepam-free from April 2016. Currently Desvenlafaxine 50-0-50mg

Started Ayurveda medication Medha Kwath, Medha Vati, Ashwashila in June 2016. Had some breaks but continuing.

Planning to start tapering Desvenlafaxine in a couple weeks from now (Signed Sep 11,2016)

Jan 26,2017 Started Desvenlafaxine tapering. Betacap 40mg nightly. Dropped 1/4th of 25mg every 4-6 weeks from the 50mg night dosage. Stopped Ayurveda. Currently at 50-0-25 mg (tapered from 50-0-50) for over 8 weeks now (July 19,2017)

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