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leox: Pristq


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I've been taking 50mg Pristiq for about 3 or so years I think. I've had acid reflux issues with SSRI use that seem to get worse over time. It got bad enough that I wanted to go off the Pristiq. I consulted my doctor about this, but she wanted me to get in with a primary care doctor first to have my acid reflux checked.

 

I don't currently have a PCP and with covid, it's a lot of hassle, so after a couple of months of more acid reflux, I decided to "taper" of the Pristiq.

 

It's worth mentioning that I also take generic wellbutrin and adderall to deal with autism.

 

Pristiq was a medicine we had tacked on to the Wellbutrin to even me out. First starting at 25mg and then moving up to 50mg. I didn't think much of it since, at the time, it didn't seem like a high dose. I cut my 50mg pills roughly in half and took a half each day for 4 days.

 

The first 4 days were pretty okay. After that I got dizzy spells (what people call the zaps). I expected this since I down dosed so quickly. I toughed it out for about a week and then dizziness went away. So at that point I thought I was done.

 

I've been going through a lot of life stresses lately and my mood started to tank pretty bad. I thought it was all the stress, but I'm pretty sure now that it's withdrawal.

 

I was pretty much crippled with sensory overload, anxiety, panic, and depression. My appetite was gone and I was force-feeding myself, but I couldn't eat much. I was in extremely rough shape and desperate for help. I live alone and dealing with that emotional distress was too hard to do alone. I spent significant amounts of time on the phone with my folks. They were packing to move to the neighboring state (Colorado), otherwise I would have gone to stay with them (I thought I was having Autistic Burnout).

 

They eventually moved and I wasn't getting any better. With them gone, my local support network was basically 0. My therapist was working overtime with me (for free) because she was so concerned about me. It got to the point where I didn't want to be around my apartment (long story, but I felt it antagonized me from the neighbor noise), so I looked at checking my into a residential treatment facility. Long story short, my insurance wouldn't cover it because I wasn't actively suicidal (thoughts, but no intention, despite the hell I was going through).

 

I broke down sobbing on the phone with my Dad. I was desperate and didn't know what to do. I asked him if I could stay with them at their new place. He talked it over with my Mom and said sure. It was very difficult for me, but I bought a next day flight to Denver. I had insane panic attacks that night about the flight (I've almost never flown). I called a crisis center just to have someone to talk to so I didn't feel so alone. I couldn't sleep at all.

 

I'm a day sleeper generally, so flying at noon made me sleep deprived. I don't know how i got through the whole process and flew out here to Denver, but I did. I was actually doing pretty okay at first. I was overdid it though and towards the evening I just crawled up next to my mom on her bed and sobbed. My stomach started getting really achy that night, which was more intense than it has been before. I wasn't thinking clearly. I wanted to go into the doctor but insurance would only cover ER out of state. Anyway, eventually I talked things over with a nurse practitioner over the phone and she basically told me the ER was unnecessary unless I was in extreme pain and to try some pepto and check in with an in-network doc online.

 

I went to bed. I slept for over 16 hours straight. I was exhausted. That evening I had more panic and crying. I realized then, now that virtually all my stressors from home were gone, that this whole ordeal was very similar to the Xanax withdrawal I was going through about 3.5 years ago.

 

I did some googling and found this site. I read through the entire page on tapering off Pristiq and pretty much any other information I could find and realized how bad the Pristiq withdrawal really is. I explained this to my folks and it made a lot more sense to them. Despite all this, since it's been I think close to 3 weeks since I first tapered, I thought I'd try to see this through to the end.

 

Well, in addition to some anxiety and crying tonight (it seems to be getting better), my stomach is hell right now. It's been cramping to the max. I was even dry heaving earlier. This is all new. I've also been unable to sleep more than about 6 broken hours in the last 24.

 

The other motivation is that I didn't bring the Pristiq with me to Denver, only my other meds. If i were to taper now, I'd either have to find a pharmacy that would tide me over here and pay out of pocket or go home with a costly plane flight and go back in the 50mg until I can get hold of my doctor. That said, I was hoping to stay here through Thanksgiving and really don't want to go back to the noise, stress, and loneliness of that apartment.

 

I know withdrawal times can vary and the best course is to generally taper down. But having been through so much and knowing that Pristiq is very hard to taper off of, I almost feel it might be more convenient and less painful in the long run to just stay the course. My question is, how much longer do you think it will take for my CNS to get back to some sense of homeostasis where I can function better? So far my mood has been much better, except for some hiccups during the night where I get dysphoric. The real bear right now is my stomach. Will I be out of the woods soon?

 

Pristiq: 50mg 1/day. Started mid 2016 after switching from Cymbalta, which I had switched to for 7 months after taking Effexor. Stopped late October 2020. 

 

Tappered at roughly 25mg of Pristiq (cut ER tablet in half) for 4 days. Cold turkey since. Have had various withdrawal symptoms since, the worst being dysphoria, anxiety, depression, and stomach cramping. As of 11/23/2020, 30 days in, still having significant symptoms intermittently each day.

 

Generic Wellbutrin: 300mg 1/day. Started in 2015, I think. Put on this after taking Paxil.

 

Generic Adderall: 10mg 2-3/day. Started sometime early 2020.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to leox: Pristq

Just an update. It's the weekend and I couldn't reach my doctor for a consult. I opted to ask the local pharmacist his thoughts. He said he wouldn't go back on and to get some Dramamine for any nausea and such. Said I should be out f the woods soon.

 

Stomach cramping is intense. Dramamine helps some, but not so much with the cramping. Mood has been better. Nervous system is beginning to get back to normal.

 

Have had insomnia. I do eventually crash, but usually for 2-4 hours before waking.

 

Overall I'm getting better. I definitely don't advocate cold turkey as this has been a nightmare. Having supportive people makes a huge difference.

 

Pristiq: 50mg 1/day. Started mid 2016 after switching from Cymbalta, which I had switched to for 7 months after taking Effexor. Stopped late October 2020. 

 

Tappered at roughly 25mg of Pristiq (cut ER tablet in half) for 4 days. Cold turkey since. Have had various withdrawal symptoms since, the worst being dysphoria, anxiety, depression, and stomach cramping. As of 11/23/2020, 30 days in, still having significant symptoms intermittently each day.

 

Generic Wellbutrin: 300mg 1/day. Started in 2015, I think. Put on this after taking Paxil.

 

Generic Adderall: 10mg 2-3/day. Started sometime early 2020.

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Leox.

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  Please include dates of your cutting the 50mg Pristiq in half and when you stopped it altogether.  Also include the Wellbutrin and what type of Wellbutrin you're taking, as well as the Adderall.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

We don't recommend cold turkey of psychiatric drugs, which can present some long-lasting withdrawal symptoms.  The percentages of people who suffer significant withdrawal is a subject of debate. Some say a significant majority, some a large majority.  Recent findings indicate it's almost 50/50.  Generally doctors (and apparently the pharmacist you talked with) don't believe in significant withdrawal, but information is slowly surfacing about the prevalence and severity of withdrawal.

 

Cosci, 2020, Acute and Persistent Withdrawal Syndromes Following Discontinuation of Psychotropic Medications

UK's NICE health guidelines now caution about severe and ...

It is for this reason, to avoid a severe withdrawal, that we recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks. 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

For your reference, this link is specifically about tapering Pristiq.  

 

Tips for tapering off desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)

 

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020 Begin 6-week Ativan-Valium crossover.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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I took some time to compile a little more detailed outline of my withdrawal, including a day by day. I didn't become aware that this was withdrawal until a few days ago, so the details from before then are a little more general and approximate in time. Some of the earlier days might overlap as my memory has been iffy with everything going on. It's been at least 3 weeks, if not 4.

 

-----

 

Generic Pristiq: 50mg 1/day. Started mid 2016 after switching from Cymbalta, which I had switched to for 7 months after taking Effexor. Stopped late October 2020. 

 

Tappered at roughly 25mg of Pristiq (cut ER tablet in half) for 4 days. Cold turkey since.

Days1-4 tapering: normal

Day 5: Stopped taper, still normal

Days 6~13: "Brain zaps". Slight dizziness when moving head quickly.

Days 14-24: Zaps stopped. Extreme dysphoria, depression, and anxiety, worsening daily. Stomach cramps, diarrhea, appetite loss. Cold and hot sweats. Irritability and increased sensitivity to environment. Anhedonia.

Day 25: Began staying with my folks to stabilize and get the support I need. Did not sleep (not related to withdrawal). Some relief in the day, but dysphoria, anxiety, panic, and crying in the evening. Stomach cramping very bad and not much appetite. Eventually crashed and slept. Stopped the Adderall to give my CNS a break and to avoid anxiety.

Day 26: Exhausted. Slept for roughly 16 hours. Was up at night. Mood was anxious and lonely. Touchy stomach, some cramping. No appetite.

Day 27: Very upset stomach. Lots of cramping. Dry heaving from cramping at night. Heartburn. Dysphoria, anxiety and crying in evening. Insomnia at night. Got 2 hours of sleep. Nights seem worse.

Day 28: Fatigued. Mood was okayish; not good, but not really negative. Appetite returning. Still felt edgy, especially in evening, but was okay.

Day 29: Slept well. Mellow morning, but then good mood. Felt more myself. Appetite normal. Slightly irritable in the afternoon/evening. Slight anxiety in late evening.

Day 30: Fell asleep pretty quickly, but woke up after a couple of hours with an extreme buzzing sound in my ear. Not sure if dream, hallucination, or sensory sensitivity triggering off tinnitus; leaning towards sensory. Also was having extreme dysphoria, panic and anxiety, and depression. Hot and cold sweats. Crying. Took me 3 hours to calm down enough to go back to sleep. Woke up in the morning with fatigue. Was still dysphoric and anxious. Felt worn out. Mood improved a bit towards afternoon. Consulted my doctor. She originally suggested a 25mg taper and was concerned at the length of time for my withdrawal. Ultimately we agreed to stay off the Pristiq and she prescribed me 5mg Buspirone 1-3/day as needed for the anxiety and dysphoria. She said if I really needed, I could even double up on the dose. Took one in the afternoon. Helped calm my nerves. Feeling a little down in the evening.

Day 31: Slept in the early evening. Woke up and began feeling anxious shortly after. Some dysphoria, but manageable. Took 5mg Buspirone. Anxiety decreased. Hope the rest of my day goes better. Things seem better during the day.

Pristiq: 50mg 1/day. Started mid 2016 after switching from Cymbalta, which I had switched to for 7 months after taking Effexor. Stopped late October 2020. 

 

Tappered at roughly 25mg of Pristiq (cut ER tablet in half) for 4 days. Cold turkey since. Have had various withdrawal symptoms since, the worst being dysphoria, anxiety, depression, and stomach cramping. As of 11/23/2020, 30 days in, still having significant symptoms intermittently each day.

 

Generic Wellbutrin: 300mg 1/day. Started in 2015, I think. Put on this after taking Paxil.

 

Generic Adderall: 10mg 2-3/day. Started sometime early 2020.

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Day 31 (addendum): Midday I felt restless. I had a lot of nervous energy. This lessened in the evening.

 

Day 32: Woke up at 4am after 4-5 hours of sleep with dysphoria, anxiety, and shaking. Took 5mg buspirone and slept for about another hour. Was awakened by some noise in the kitchen (unimportant what). Was sweating quite a bit. Took Dramamine and went back to sleep for another couple of hours. Woke up with anxiety and shakiness, but dysphoria mostly subsided. Spells are still bad but seem to be improving a little bit each day. I just want this to end.

Pristiq: 50mg 1/day. Started mid 2016 after switching from Cymbalta, which I had switched to for 7 months after taking Effexor. Stopped late October 2020. 

 

Tappered at roughly 25mg of Pristiq (cut ER tablet in half) for 4 days. Cold turkey since. Have had various withdrawal symptoms since, the worst being dysphoria, anxiety, depression, and stomach cramping. As of 11/23/2020, 30 days in, still having significant symptoms intermittently each day.

 

Generic Wellbutrin: 300mg 1/day. Started in 2015, I think. Put on this after taking Paxil.

 

Generic Adderall: 10mg 2-3/day. Started sometime early 2020.

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