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Penny: Pristiq, celiac sprue, withdrawal


Penny

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Dear fellow travelers,

 

I have been taking 25 mgs of Pristiq for 3 years, cutting the pills in half. For a few months a year ago, I took 50 mgs., but soon developed high blood pressure and pre-diabetes, so I cut back to 25 mgs. This drug seems to cause physiological problems, or so it seems to me. I suspect that it may trigger autoimmune disorders in some people.

 

This summer I was diagnosed with celiac sprue. Since Pristiq has gluten in it, I need to get off of the drug. I have several questions for anyone who's reading this and would like to respond:

 

1) has anyone else developed celiac while taking Pristiq?

2) might the method of opening up the pill be part of the problem?

3) have any of you developed other autoimmune disorders while taking this drug?

 

and finally

 

4) how do I get off of this !@#$!@#%#$% medication? How long will it take? Two weeks? A month? Two months? I stopped four days ago, and am somewhat non-functional. Withdrawal is like a psychedelic trip--not uninteresting, but terribly hard to function normally. Tapering options appear to be limited. I'm more worried about the autoimmune problems than the depression right now, so I need to be done with Pristiq and to see whether the other problems improve. Any responses to any of these questions will be very welcome.

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  • Administrator

Hello, Penny, welcome. I moved your introductory post here as your Intro topic. This is your topic to track your progress and ask questions about your particular situation.

 

Pristiq is a !@#$!@#%#$% to go off. Since you're cutting up the tablet, effectively you're taking a super-charged Effexor. Pristiq was coated to be absorbed further down the digestive tract; it wasn't intended to hit the stomach. This indeed can upset your digestive system.

 

Here's a topic about tapering off Pristiq http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/

 

We have a number of topics about non-irritating diets in our Symptoms forum, see SCD/GAPS/Paleo Diets Also see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/604-important-topics-about-symptoms-including-sleep-problems/ -- there are links to food topics at the bottom.

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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  • Administrator

Hi Penny

 

I have celiac disease and I am tapering off of regular Effexor. I had my pharmacist check all of my medications for gluten after I was diagnosed.

 

As Alto pointed out with the link she provided, you might be better off switching to Effexor and tapering off it rather than trying a rapid taper off of Pristiq. I would really encourage you to consider that over a rushed taper off of Pristiq.

 

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac's I had never heard of it. After I was diagnosed I did a lot of research on it and from what I've read, traumatic events can cause the disease to show itself. In my situation I was in a terribly stressful job. Looking back I do believe that I had symptoms of the disease that were chronically associated with something else all along.

 

I also have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is also an autoimmune disease. I have a friend who has vitiligo, Hashimoto's and Celiac Disease. From what I've read, it is not uncommon for someone with one autoimmune disease to have several.

 

Welcome to the forum - you'll find lots of support here.

 

Love and light,

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Hi Penny.

 

I tapered off of Pristiq over approximately 8 months, ending over a year ago. I did not know about this forum and did a very sloppy taper, cutting up the pills. I got through the taper with anxiety/morning panics, but not brain zaps that I had when I missed a dose of Effexor in the past. However, I *crashed* to the other extreme in protracted withdrawal last winter.

 

* You mention that you've been cutting the pills for the entire 3 years you've been taking. I believe I also cut the pills while I was on it. I don't know how that might effect the taper since we weren't getting effects of matrix coating prior to tapering. That's a question for Alto!

 

I have severe autoimmune diseases, including Autoimmune Brain Disease (white matter lesions). SS/NRIs have been implicated in autoimmune disease though it's difficult to prove causation.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2758-ssri-antidepressants-may-also-effect-human-immune-system/page__fromsearch__1

 

I have Polyendocrine Deficiency Syndrome 2 (Addison's/adrenal failure, Hashimotos, Premature Ovarian Failure, vitiligo, Sjogrens, Raynaud's). I take hydrocortisone to supress the overactive immune system as well as replace adrenal hormone.

 

I understand your concern about autoimmune disease. Karma and Alto can best advise on tapering, but my feeling is to proceed cautiously. If autoimmunity has been triggered, I don't believe a faster taper will benefit you and will likely disrupt your system more.

 

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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  • Administrator

* You mention that you've been cutting the pills for the entire 3 years you've been taking. I believe I also cut the pills while I was on it. I don't know how that might effect the taper since we weren't getting effects of matrix coating prior to tapering. That's a question for Alto!

My guess is your system gets accustomed to the hit and short half-life of cut-up Pristiq but it can still do bad things in your stomach.

 

It seems to me Penny might 1) continue to cut up Pristiq, using a digital scale to weigh fragments 2) powder Pristiq, weigh doses with digital scale or 3) switch to regular Effexor, which has about the same half-life, weigh tablets or powder with a digital scale, or make a liquid from the tablets.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

my understanding of celiac is that it is autoimmune related, but there is also a genetic factor to it as well - perhaps we need some kind of stressor to bring it on. Maybe the pristiq withdrawal was such a stressor.

 

I think that cutting up pristiq is pretty tricky and destroying the outer coating can render the extended release ineffective - that could cause you to be having too many spikes and dips in your dose. If i were you i would consider changing over to effexor XR capsules so you can open the capsule, count or weigh the beads and do a more systematic reduction. (that is what i do)

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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my understanding of celiac is that it is autoimmune related, but there is also a genetic factor to it as well - perhaps we need some kind of stressor to bring it on. Maybe the pristiq withdrawal was such a stressor.

 

Autoimmunity is definitely genetic and environmental, from what i understand. I first had antibodies show up a few years after starting Zoloft/SSRIs but also have genetic component. My husband tested positive for thyroid antibodies after starting Zoloft also.

 

However, as I research more about autoimmunity, I find myself asking "what DOES NOT have autoimmune component?" and "what role does pharma have in all of the recognition and determination of *autoimmune*?" Most articles say that it is rare, but then go on to list diabetes, thyroiditis, and approximately 100 diseases that are not uncommon (including schizophrenia, BTW). If the general population was tested for antibodies, what percentage would be positive? It seems that a large percentage of people I know have autoimmune something!

 

Thought you might find this article of interest. It discusses autoinflammation v. autoimmunity and how the concept evolved.

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030297#pmed-0030297-g001

"The autoimmunity paradigm has dominated immunology for so long that our concepts of many disorders, including Crohn disease, have been moulded to fit the prevailing dogma."

 

¡Call me skeptical! ;)

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

"The autoimmunity paradigm has dominated immunology for so long that our concepts of many disorders, including Crohn disease, have been moulded to fit the prevailing dogma."

 

¡Call me skeptical! ;)

 

Call me skeptical too.. I've been wondering about this for some time. :mellow:

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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Peggy,

Just to clarify my previous comment... I believe autoimmunity is real but the diagnostic criteria are being blurred. Feels eerily similar to the expansion of psychiatric diagnoses and awareness/acceptance campaigns. Many diseases are being pushed to fit under the AI umbrella and, if I had to guess.. I'd say it's related to the emerging and VERY lucrative market of biologic medicines (drugs end in "-ibab", Humira is one).

 

Sorry to derail your thread. Just wanted to clarify.

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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