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cyndijoh

cyndijoh off Pristiq for almost 2 months

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cyndijoh
HI I just wanted to introduce myself and say thanks for the website here at Surviving Antidepressants. I am a 47 year old female who was put on Pristiq(50 mg) three years ago for anxiety attacks - the only medication I've ever tried) and it was tough to get on it, after about a month the side effects went away and so did the anxiety attacks, was wonderful, but I just felt drugged all the time., I am under the care of a wonderful psychologist that has helped me so much in therapy and coping mechanisms and I was ready for a go to get off of Pristiq. So at the beginning of August he sent me to a psychiatrist to work on weaning. I was told to take 1/2 a pristiq for three days and she put me on zoloft, then 1/4 pristiq and more zoloft. I tried that and was so sick, she told me I must not be taking enough zoloft and increased my dosage to 100 mg. Wow after two days I thought I was losing my mind, she immediately told me to quit the zoloft, which thankfully most of the symptoms went away, and to take 1/4 of the pristiq again. I did that two days and I was just miserable, was like trying to get on pristiq all over again, so I just quit cold turkey :). (that was four days ago.......I can deal with just about anything if I know there is an end to this dizziness, pressure in my head and feeling like I'm not really here mentally (don't know how else to explain it). I take large quantities of fish oil, haven't tried benedryl and because I am too dizzy to drive and get some. So I would love to hear from anyone that has survived this whole Pristiq withdrawal and can pass some encouragement my way :) LOL. I am tough but this is getting to me!! My kids are tired of me being so irritable. I know I'm doing the right thing, I just wish I knew or could see, the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks all, Cyndi :D:)

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Altostrata

Welcome, Cyndi.

 

If you read Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) , you may have noticed there's no good way to go off Pristiq.

 

It sounds like the psychiatrist tried to used Zoloft as a "bridge" (a bridge isn't a bad idea; Prozac might have been better) but unfortunately, it didn't work and you have withdrawal from Pristiq.

 

Often people can relieve withdrawal symptoms by taking a small amount of the antidepressant. Since you've had bad reactions from Pristiq from the beginning, that doesn't seem like something you can do.

 

How about taking a small amount of regular Effexor? It's Pristiq's older sibling. Regular Effexor comes in liquid form so you can taper off it after stabilizing on a small amount, perhaps 25mg (a full dose is 150mg), for a few weeks.

 

This would save a lot of wear and tear on your nervous system.

 

(Regular Effexor is taken more than once a day. You might be able to do this, too, if it helps withdrawal symptoms.)

 

Do you think you could talk to the psychiatrist about getting a prescription for liquid Effexor?

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cyndijoh

thanks for the welcome :)

 

My psychiatrist is on vacation all this week so I am going to tough it out and see if I start feeling better.

I just talked to a friend who has been through all of this and she wants me to change the tape in my head :) and keep telling myself "this will pass".

If I could just believe that I would feel so much better.

 

I just want to be done with meds :) so I will stick this week out and hopefully will start feeling better soon, this dizziness is yucky!

 

I did not want to do the Efexor because of weight gain which she said would happen,

anyway, thanks for the link,going to go look at it now :)

CJ

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alexjuice

I survived Effexor withdrawal which I began in late 2009 and concluded in early 2010. I've Effexor-free for 2.5 years.

 

I took a whole bunch of other drugs which cloud up my case a bit. In fact, I tried pristiq briefly as well, but it did not agree with me.

 

Firstly, there's a lot of great information throughout the site, so I'd recommend you look around.

 

Secondly, I didn't experience the dizziness you are having to cope with. I did feel out of my mind, I could not sleep, I couldn't tolerate other medications, I couldn't even tolerate caffeine.

 

There is a definite light at the end of the tunnel. This is something people recover from in time. It's key to treat yourself delicately. Toughing it out, like cold turkey, tends to produce poorer outcomes.

 

In my case, I was very spun out and easily injured, slow to heal. I tried to take up weight lifting during my insomnia and injured myself, mysteriously. I've had a tough time with this. I learned that other people with my condition are treated with a drug called Cymbalta which is not too dissimilar from Pristiq (or Effexor).

 

In other words, now is not a good time for you to take up weight lifting.

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Alex

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cyndijoh

LOL Alex, believe it or not the day I stopped the Pristiq I joined the YMCA and my three sons and I were over there once, I was determined to start on some mega exercise routine that would make me feel better :), when the dizziness set in, there went my plans, however, I've been so irritable that my husband has been taking the boys every evening just to get away from miserable me :). That pristiq gave me a ton of energy, one reason I liked it so much when I was on it, and now everyone is in shock that I've don't nothing but lay around the past few days! Yes the key is to treat yourself delicately, I agree :), thanks again, CJ

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Altostrata

cyndi, any doctor can write the prescription.

 

If your symptoms get worse, you may wish to try this. Withdrawal symptoms can last for a very long time.

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cyndijoh

Thanks again Alex, had a really rough night last night, no sleep and horrible anxiety, so I think I will hang on another day and on Monday call my regular MD and get in to see him who started me on the Pristiq in the first place, see if he can offer some wisdom or something to help me through this. Have a great day, Cyndi

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cyndijoh

Thank you for the link! I decided this early this morning after my above post:

 

If you are suffering from significant withdrawal symptoms, the standard of care included in all psychiatric drug package inserts is to reinstate a partial dose of the medication and taper more slowly.

 

I have a high tolerance for pain, etc.....but this has been a bit much, and I can't even function (couldn't even function), so started back on just 1/4 of a Pristiq, that is what my psychiatrist told me to be doing anyway, I just thought I could tough it out, wrong!! Still not feeling the greatest but at least I don't have some really "not my usual thoughts" or that awful dizziness, that is scary to say the least!

 

Thanks for all the links and advice, I am feeling more like myself this evening and will keep it at 1/4 of a pill in the morning until by psychiatrist gets back into town and then ask her what to do, I believe she wants to taper me very slowly on this, as in months :(. I just want it out of my system, patience, patience :). I just am pretty much down on myself that I couldn't do this like I thought I would be able to.

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Altostrata

See Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

 

The problem with Pristiq is that there is no way to taper slowly. Even cutting up the tablets is iffy, as they have an extended-release coating that's destroyed. For some people, immediate release of Pristiq is going to cause problems.

 

Fortunately, you seem to be okay with a quarter of a tablet. Going below that is difficult unless you crush the pill and measure out dosage with a digital scale. Or, a compounding pharmacy can do this for you and put it into gelatin capsules (you'll need a prescription for this).

 

Otherwise, it seems substituting Effexor, which is a close relative SNRI, might work. Switching to another SSRI doesn't seem likely because the switch to Zoloft failed.

 

PLEASE phone the FDA and the manufacturer to complain! The FDA should not have allowed Pristiq to go on the market with no way to taper it.

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cyndijoh

PLEASE phone the FDA and the manufacturer to complain! The FDA should not have allowed Pristiq to go on the market with no way to taper it.

 

 

I copied their phone numbers down yesterday and plan on doing this today!!

Cyndi :)

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cyndijoh

Hi, is there a thread on this board somewhere on tapering off Pristiq? Or on Pristiq?

I am 1 1/2 to almost 2 months off of pristiq....

was on it for four years- 50 mg. and my insurance would no longer pay for it plus I didn't like the side effects, so at first I tried cold turkey, started hallucinating on day 4 and then we tried tapering, cutting one in half for a few weeks, I was still just sick, nausea and horrible dizziness, so psychiatrist put me on effexor for two weeks, which gave me constant headaches, so then we did the Prozac for 10 days and then nothing. I did the prozac for three days because I was so wired I couldn't sleep on the stuff...I was finally free from the dizziness and horrible anxiety. For a month a felt great except I had ether great days or awful days, no in-between, I was either happy or terrible sad. That is settling down now but now my anxiety is returning :(. Last week I had my first anxiety attack (the reason I started on the Pristiq to begin with) and then I had this terrible sensation that I had to harm myself and put myself out of my misery and that has NEVER happened to me before, it was awful. I shook and cried for almost a week, was weak, dizzy and could hardly eat. So I called my psychiatrist and was told to start the Pristiq again, so I did, I took a 50 mg one and about 5 hours later I was so dizzy I couldn't' stand up then I basically hugged the toilet for 72 hours it made me so sick..... I really thought I was going crazy, didn't take any more that's for sure....yesterday I was making dinner and all the symptoms just disappeared and I felt great, like nothing had ever happened and no anxiety, etc. So this evening the fuzziness in my head is returning and so is low grade anxiety. Is this withdrwals still from the Pristiq.....hanging in there, will it all just finally go away. this is so discouraging :(. I am on St. John's Wort now and triazadone to sleep at night (which I've been on for years). In my heart I don't want to be on anti-depressants! Just these anxiety attacks shake me up big time. Any advice would be appreciated......I think my psychiatrist is getting tired of me, her main goal is meds and mine is just getting to the underlying cause of anxiety naturally. I need some encouragement that I am not going crazy and some hope from others who have been through this and telling me it does get better :). Thanks :)

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peggy

Hi cyndijoh and welcome!

 

I am sure you will find help and support here

 

Sounds like you are suffering withdrawal effects from a too fast taper from pristiq. Quite often the nervous system becomes oversensitive after a rapid withdrawal. You may find reinstating a smaller dose of pristiq and then planning a slower taper will help to relieve your symptoms. You can find some tips for tapering off pristiq here tips for tapering pristiq

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Altostrata

cyndi, I merged your new topic with your existing topic.

 

helena is having a similar experience off Pristiq here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3147-helena-off-pristiq-for-over-2-months-still-not-feeling-right/

 

You can find other people trying to go off Pristiq by using Search in the upper right corner of this page.

 

If you're still having withdrawal symptoms, please consider at least reinstating a small amount of Pristiq's sibling Effexor.

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tezza

Hi,

 

Welcome to the forum! It will get better.

 

Tezza

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cyndijoh

Thanks for combining my threads :). I knew I had another one on here and couldn't find it. Thanks for great information. I guess I need to know that even if we taper too quickly that we will still manage this ok and come out on the other side........need a good old fashioned dose of hope :). I will ask about the effexor but I'm afraid of everything now and really just think I will tough it out, until the next bad day happens, LOL. Then I'm flipping out. :) Thanks again

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cyndijoh

by the way I just read this and this is very helpful

 

"You have bipolar disorder."

Possibly under influence of the drug companies to deny the difficulty of withdrawal, some psychiatrists have applied a convoluted, misguided logic to explain antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, calling it an "unmasking" of bipolar disorder.

 

Withdrawal symptoms are not bipolar disorder of any variety, not bipolar II, bipolar III, or bipolar R2D2. (See How to Recognize a Bad Psychiatrist by Dr. David M. Allen.)

 

Agitation, akathisia, insomnia, mania, hypomania etc. that you've never had before are well-known withdrawal symptoms that your doctor may attribute to bipolar disorder. This is incorrect. They are adverse effects of medication.

 

Withdrawal symptoms come in waves, usually several times a day but possibly lasting several days. A misinformed doctor might call this "bipolar cycling."

 

If your doctor diagnoses your withdrawal symptoms as bipolar disorder (or another severe psychiatric disorder), most likely the prescription with be for an atypical antipsychotic (Zyprexa, Abilify, Seroquel). These drugs do not resolve withdrawal syndrome, have serious side effects, and over time cause a degradation in general health (stroke, cardiac problems, diabetes).

 

 

You know the last time I was in to see my psychiatrist, she told me that I could have a bipolar disorder ....I was so upset by the time I left her office....I have some peace of mind now since I found the above in the information :). I'm under the care of all these people I thought I could trust......it's really kind of scary.

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shriraj

this is insane....evryone is having wave and window it doesnt mean one hav bipolar ...stupid doctors

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Altostrata

They'll diagnose a ham sandwich with bipolar disorder. It's the "Miscellaneous" of psychiatry.

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cyndijoh

thanks for the laugh :) LOL, that is the truth, I just got off the phone with my psychiatrist who tells me I have severe anxiety and I need to be back on Pristiq and that she wants me to cut it up and take pieces every day and build it up in my system again.........I am getting mad enough that my anxiety is feeling better :). It seriously it, maybe I should get angry more often, LOL

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Altostrata

Any chance of getting an Effexor prescription from her?

 

You really need to find another doctor.

 

The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this:

 

Discontinuation of Treatment with Pristiq

Discontinuation symptoms have been systematically and prospectively evaluated in patients treated with Pristiq during clinical studies in Major Depressive Disorder. Abrupt discontinuation or dose reduction has been associated with the appearance of new symptoms that include dizziness, nausea, headache, irritability, insomnia, diarrhea, anxiety, fatigue, abnormal dreams, and hyperhidrosis. In general, discontinuation events occurred more frequently with longer duration of therapy.

 

During marketing of SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), and SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesia, such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, hypomania, tinnitus, and seizures. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.

 

Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with Pristiq. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose, but at a more gradual rate.....

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