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Jnthnslo: Withdrawal after only 4 doses?


Jnthnslo

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Hello everyone, 

 

I found this site after searching for an explanation of what may be going on with me. 

 

I (30 M) have always dealt with issues with anxiety and in the past have tried my best to stay off medication. A few months ago my physician recommended I do a genetic test to determine good anxiety medication options for me and I was prescribed Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) at a starter dose of 25 mg. While taking the medication gave me slight headaches and a little bit of insomnia, I had mild side effects until I began to feel some emotional blunting and sexual side effects. After only 4 days of taking the lowest dose possible I decided to stop. My physician did not recommend any tappering since I was already at the lowest dose for a short time. After about 2 days of stopping the medicine I noticed that the emotional blunting became a lot worse. I am no longer able to cry, get excited, or feel sad. After so long of being anxious I can't even force myself to have a panic attack even if I wanted to. Initially I thought it would pass in a day or two but it has been almost two weeks.  The strange thing about it for me is that it will come in periods.  I can wake up in the morning and feel nothing and then the next day feel some feelings (though mild and not normal) only to have the emotionless, dizziness, and depersonalization come back. It has now been almost two weeks and it hasn't stopped. Today I sat in my car watching the saddest videos I could find and I was able to get slightly teary eyed trying really hard but I definitely could not cry.... This has been so concerning ( in a rational kind of way, again I can't feel panic anymore) that I took myself to the ER where they did General blood tests to rule out other health issues. I saw an emergency psychiatrist and it was very concerning to me when he suggested that it could be all in my head or a return of my anxiety. I have dealt with anxiety all my life and am very familiar with it. This is definitely different because I don't feel anxious just very concerned and a little hopeless that I'm forever stuck like this. It is hard because I feel like no one understands and believes me. 

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 9 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 8 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 7 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 6 2021 

 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Jnthnslo: Withdrawal after only 4 doses?
  • Moderator

Welcome to the forum! I'm glad you found us and decided to post. It is very hard to not be understood and told it is all in your head. I hope you spend some time on this site learning more and realizing that you are indeed in the process of recovering from taking Pristiq. This can take time.

 

Is Pristiq the only drug you took? Are you taking anything now? It would be very helpful for us if you could create a drug history in your signature like this one. Signatures generally look like this: 

 

Example:

2001–2002 paroxetine 
2003  citalopram 
2004  paroxetine
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to 2016 Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg

 

I have found that learning as much as possible about the effects these drugs can have (although scary) is also very helpful, so you know you're not imagining things and get educated on how to move forward in a way that doesn't make it worse. I also went through emotional blunting among other symptoms after a few days on an "antidepressant" and then quitting. It took a few months to feel normal again, but I did!

 

I would start by learning more about withdrawal syndrome and "the windows and waves pattern" of stabilization:

 

Thanks for posting and happy you found us : )

Edited by Kiasofia

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Kiasofia some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

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Yes. The Pristiq was the only drug that I was taking and the only anxiety medication I had much experience with. 

 

The best I could explain how I am feeling is almost zombie like where emotions are not coming to me. I haven't been able to force myself to be anxious. I recently went to a theme park with my family and I didn't feel excited, happy, nervous...nothing at all. 

 

Initially I was feeling the dizziness, confusion, lack of focus, depersonalization, and headaches but most of that are now gone. Now I'm primarily struggling with short term memory issues and what is most concerning and frightening, loss of emotion. 

 

I do believe I am experiencing the waves of it as there are moments that are a lot worse than others. Oddly the best judge of what window/wave I am in has been sexual function. It has gone in and out. When I'm in a wave I don't feel completely normal but I'm able feel slight emotion.  The waves of it make me feel hopeful that my emotions are not completely gone forever. I also woke up from a nightmare which is basically anxiety during sleep so I'm hopeful that means I still have the capacity to feel anxious and emotional.  

 

At this point I could almost handle not being normal again, I just want at least some emotion back so I don't feel like this. It is such a hard thing to describe but it is just a major feeling that sometimes is off.

 

Also, I have taken advice of omega-3 and magnesium supplements starting out at a low dose. I've also added probiotics to my diet to see if that will help. 

 

I gather that the only major thing I can do is to wait it out and see if I eventually heal from this. I will try to maintain hope and keep trying to live my life as normally as possible.  I truly feel for everyone else struggling with this awful effect and send out my best regards to everyone. 

 

 

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 9 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 8 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 7 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 6 2021 

 

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @Jnthnslo

 

Some people have significant adverse reactions to antidepressants within a few doses. They aren't on the drugs long enough to be at risk for withdrawal, yet when they stop the drugs, they have symptoms that are very much like withdrawal symptoms, which resolve very gradually over months, as withdrawal syndrome does -- but apparently over a shorter span than full-blown withdrawal syndrome.

 

Typically, these symptoms come in waves. 

 

Emotional anesthesia off the drug is a common withdrawal symptom and also common in people who have had outsized adverse reactions to only a few doses.

 

It sounds like you are one of those people -- you simply do not get along well with serotonergics. You can find other cases by looking for the tag "immediate adr".

 

See Adverse reactions to an antidepressant within a few doses -- how long for recovery?

 

Please be patient and hang in there, let your nervous system gradually go back to factory settings. This may be a good time to learn self-soothing techniques. You might find these topics helpful:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system

 

Music for self-care: calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

Ways to cope with daily anxiety

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals 

 

Shame, guilt, regret, and self-criticism

 

Many people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see

 

https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you. Please let us know how you’re doing.

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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I thought I'd give another update for those experiencing similar issues of immediate adr. 

 

On the positive,  things have definitely been improving.  The waves and windows have been widening. The prior two days I had a slight return in emotions without the headaches and "out of it feeling". 

 

Unfortunately this morning I woke up to another wave where I'm back to feeling emotionless. The return of the wave and emotional blunting was also accompanied by a return of gastrointestinal issues. It is odd just how in sync the physical and emotional symptoms are.  

 

Overall I'm remaining pretty optimistic. Even with a return in the wave, it does not seem to have the same intensity of those in the past.  

 

I'll keep posting and updating hopefully with news of even longer waves and windows.  

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 9 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 8 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 7 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 6 2021 

 

 

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  • Moderator

Thanks for the update @Jnthnslo

Know that after any wave there will be a window. It's a very good sign that you are able to remain optimistic despite the wave! Wishing you continued healing❤️

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Kiasofia some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another update:

 

I am continuing with my recovery struggle. Honestly, not a lot has changed over the past few weeks. Again, I've had two or three day periods of feeling not completely normal but decent only to be right back in it.

 

There are tiny glimpses of return of some emotions. For example, this morning my heart rate was up from feeling somewhat anxious which was normal before but hasn't happened since my anxiety completely went away from the medicine.

 

Sleep has been frustrating. Some nights when I'm in a window I sleep just fine but during waves it is almost like there is a complete mental block preventing me from sleeping. I will be tired and right when I try to sleep this brain block strikes and I get super restless. Melatonin doesn't seem to help. The only thing that has been effective is distraction and just riding it out.

 

The worst periods are when the emotional numbing becomes extreme. I think it is brought on by stress but during these states it is as if I have no feelings at all. I feel like I could do anything and not react which is scary for me. The only reaction I do feel in these situations is extreme irritability and anger. I'm not normally an angry person so it is very new.

 

The sexual function problems go in and out where some days I'm back to normal and others nothing is working.

 

Overall it seems like I still haven't stabilized and are having clear waves and windows. Since I only took four doses I was hoping I would be one of the lucky ones that recovered quickly but it looks like I'm in for the long haul. I'm trying to be hopeful that I'll be somewhat myself again because I'm not sure I can handle living this way forever. 

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 9 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 8 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 7 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 6 2021 

 

 

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  • Moderator

I'm sorry not a lot has changed. I wish there was a way of knowing exactly when it will get better, but it will. This will not be forever, but can likely take a few months at least. Hang in there❤️

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Kiasofia some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey everyone,

 

I just wanted to do a quick symptom check & see if anyone else experienced this scary feeling. If not I may need to see a neurologist.

 

So, in the morning when I first wake up I am getting this sensation in my brain that makes it seem like I have no motivation to open my eyes or move my muscles. Like they are frozen and just won't work. I can physically feel the sensation in my head that's not allowing me to move. I will lay there for a few minutes and eventually can will myself to move but the movements seem stiff like things don't want to move. I have that delayed movement for an hour or so after I awake up and eventually it goes away but this has been happening almost every morning. 

 

I think the technical term is morning akinesia. It almost feels like I'm developing Parkinsons disease caused from a lack of dopamine.  I did read that SSRIs are capable of causing drug-induced Parkinsons. It's so freaky though. Any ideas?

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 9 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 8 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 7 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 6 2021 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's called sleep paralysis.  I experience it sometimes, and actually had it happen the other morning.  It's been quite a while since I had it.  It used to happen quite often.  It can feel a bit scary, but once I knew what it was I would try to stay calm and just breathe steadily until it passed.

 

Here is a good article about it:

 

https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleep-paralysis/ 

 

A member posted about it here:

 

 

 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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I've have something similar happen to me before where when I wake up, I can't move for maybe up to 20 seconds.  It only happens if I fall asleep on my back, and happens rarely.  I've always known it as Sleep Paralysis: https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-disorders/more-sleep-disorders/sleep-paralysis/

 

I experienced it separately from being in WD, and is why I now sleep on my side or front.  The hallucinations are quite disturbing.

 

The article says its rare that it last more than a few minutes, but also that it may be linked to sleep deprivation.

2013 - Jan 4, 2021 - Sertraline 50mg 

Jan 2021 - Venlafaxine 75 mg (1/4)

Feb 2021 - Venlafaxine 75 mg

Mar 2021 - Venlafaxine 75mg

April 2021 - Venlafaxine 75mg, Amitriptyline 2mg (4/20), Clonazepam 2mg

May 2021 - Venlafaxine 75mg (5/16 - 0mg), Amitriptyline (5/1 - 1mg, 5/16 - 0mg), Clonazepam 2mg

Aug 2021 - Sertraline 25 mg (re 8/20), Clonazepam 2mg 

Sep 2021 - Sertraline 50 mg (up 9/3), Clonazepam ( 9/29 - 1mg), Diazepam ( 9/29 - 2.5mg)

Oct 2021 - Sertraline 50 mg, Clonazepam (10/14 - 0.9, 10/24 - 1mg), Trazodone ( 10/03 - 50mg, 10/17 - 25mg, 10/21 - 12.5 mg), Mirtazapine (10/17 - 15mg), Diazepam ( 10/6 - 1.25 mg, 10/14 - 0mg)

Nov 2021 : Jan 2022 - Sertraline 50 mg, Clonazepam 1mg, Trazodone 12.5 mg, Mirtazapine 15mg

 

Supplements: 1/2 Multivitamin, Fish Oil 2x per day, Magnesium Chelate 280mg,

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  • 1 month later...

Just here providing another update on my progress after an immediate adverse reaction.

 

Back towards the end of November things got really bad for me. It was almost like I wasn't able to feel anything emotionally at all. Even anxiety was not existent for me. I was having extreme brain fog and experiencing dementia like symptoms. Each morning if felt almost impossible to get up like my brain was physically not letting my body move. I was having problems explaining my issues to my family and was getting pretty hopeless. On Thanksgiving day I ended up admitting myself to a psychiatric facility because I was feeling suicidal. While in the hospital I had no luck explaining my symptoms to the providers. The psychiatrist was trying to convince me that I was very depressed and that's why I was experiencing all these issues. Wanting me to be put on another antidepressant. I fought back and forth but they were adamant that a few doses of Pristiq could not cause my issues. Spending a week in the hospital I realized that I was on my own. That the medical community was never going to believe me. Luckily, although my family does not understand what is happening they have been helpful in supporting me day to day and helping me do things I no longer feel I am able. 

 

Fast forward to now, things have stabilized a lot for me. Sleep is improving, I am feeling more optimistic that although it may take a long time, that I will heal. I haven't had any strong windows that help out with the anhedonia but I do get windows where the brain fog and headaches mostly subside. Sleep is improving a whole lot. During my first several weeks sleep was almost impossible and was probably what contributed most to my hospitalization. Sexual function has also been coming back in a wave and window pattern.

 

What's New: Recently have had days where I get extremely tired. From the moment I wake up to the end of the day I am yawning and can't stay awake.

 

Waves and Windows: Intense migraines (especially at temples), brain fog, sexual disfunction. Spasms in legs

 

What's improved greatly: sleep, feeling helpless and suicidal

 

Pretty much constant: anhedonia (although not as intense) and a feeling in my brain that something is physically absent. Almost a constant strange sensation in the head. 

 

Overall, I'm feeling stable again. I'm trying my best to not think about my condition constantly. I'm completely sure that what I am experiencing is not psychological, but at the same time the more I think about it the worse I feel. I'm doing my best to take care of myself. Lots of rest, long baths, meditation, audiobooks, spending time with my family (even though I really just want to be by myself most of the time).

 

Sometimes I wonder how I can possibly spend months or even years in this state of being but I see those on this site that paved the way. Survivors that suffered for years and years but fought and won. This is where I'm pulling my strength to keep going.

 

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 9 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 8 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 7 2021

Pristiq 25 mg - Oct 6 2021 

 

 

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Great to hear that things are improving for you and you're feeling stable!  Don't worry, you'll get there!  Its a long journey, but keep taking care of yourself and taking things day by day and you'll make it!

 

I had nearly the same thing happen to me in 2009 with the regular non XR Effexor.  Taken for 4 days then months of terrible WD symptoms with my family/friends taking care of me.  I was 29 at the time.  I got through it and you will too!  Hang in there!

2013 - Jan 4, 2021 - Sertraline 50mg 

Jan 2021 - Venlafaxine 75 mg (1/4)

Feb 2021 - Venlafaxine 75 mg

Mar 2021 - Venlafaxine 75mg

April 2021 - Venlafaxine 75mg, Amitriptyline 2mg (4/20), Clonazepam 2mg

May 2021 - Venlafaxine 75mg (5/16 - 0mg), Amitriptyline (5/1 - 1mg, 5/16 - 0mg), Clonazepam 2mg

Aug 2021 - Sertraline 25 mg (re 8/20), Clonazepam 2mg 

Sep 2021 - Sertraline 50 mg (up 9/3), Clonazepam ( 9/29 - 1mg), Diazepam ( 9/29 - 2.5mg)

Oct 2021 - Sertraline 50 mg, Clonazepam (10/14 - 0.9, 10/24 - 1mg), Trazodone ( 10/03 - 50mg, 10/17 - 25mg, 10/21 - 12.5 mg), Mirtazapine (10/17 - 15mg), Diazepam ( 10/6 - 1.25 mg, 10/14 - 0mg)

Nov 2021 : Jan 2022 - Sertraline 50 mg, Clonazepam 1mg, Trazodone 12.5 mg, Mirtazapine 15mg

 

Supplements: 1/2 Multivitamin, Fish Oil 2x per day, Magnesium Chelate 280mg,

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  • Moderator

It takes a lot of strength to maintain sanity and not end up on more drugs when dealing with medical professionals who refuse to understand what is happening. You are on your own in that sense, but with this forum you are not literally on your own! We are here❤️

 

I'm glad you made it through and are able to sleep and feeling stable. I'm relieved your family can help, even if they can't understand. I'm not sure it's possible for anyone who hasn't been through this themselves to truly understand. Keep taking one day at a time.

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Kiasofia some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

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