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jrolli drugs/herbs that support Pristiq withdrawal


jrolli

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I am 65 healthy otherwise grateful to be alive until yesterday. I did the "correct" 1 month taper off 50mg Pristiq and found it tolerable and doable and was hopeful. Yesterday was the 2nd full day of no Pristiq and I have nearly all the withdrawal symptoms and will list in a minute. What other supportive herbs/drugs might be helpful? Your forum is the best, addressing facts and not just whiners. I have read mention of benedryl, prozac, restarting Pristiq--but what about herbals or klonopin for short haul?

 

HX: I lived with undiagnosed severe sleep apnea (I am not obese) from 2 airway surguries in 1970s from congenital cleft palate. Sleep deprivation was severe and was only treated for "depression". Started 20mg Prozac in 1990 and after 2 starts/tapers--realized that I had significant akathisia symptoms all that time--even tho I reported them. Started Pristiq ~14 months ago after trialing several others. So I developed high blood pressure, more akathesia, insomnia and psychiatrist put me on Lisinopril, Cogentin and Ambien (adding that "I would be on it for the rest of my life). BUT discovered bruxism/akathisia has caused a broken molar and very significant gum dysplasia--even tho I took Cogentin q4hrs for the pain. With the addition of the bruxism gum dysplasia, I said enough to Pristiq only because I have been working to get the sleep apnea WNL with surgery, custom mask for CPAP and things that no one should have to deal with. I continue to be hopeful that having controlled Sleep Apnea WNL would allow me off the antidepressants.

 

My s/s now include flu-like, out of body, ugly impatience, yelling at dog and people, anger, HA, and the really strange ones--typing problems, vision blurriness. Frankly starting yesterday I can identify with the rage of mass murders. I am resilient and will get through this, but would appreciate helps from anybody.

 

My psychiatrist in Austin was said to be best, so I have paid $150 q30min out of pocket--but she is uncharted for Pristiq withdrawal. I can do this--BUT I need some help. This is my first post anywhere. Thanks.

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Hi Jroilli,

 

Welcome to the forum from someone who also has sleep apnea.

 

For tapering Pristiq, here is the thread you want to read:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/

 

Unfortunately, I have been unable to adjust to stay asleep on the pap machine for various reasons. But during the rare times I even had partial success, my mood was fantastic. It was like seeing the world in color vs. black and white as someone said to me.

 

So if you adapt to pap therapy and please don't get discouraged by my situation, I would say your chances are very good this will help you get off the ADs. And remember, I got of 4 meds with undiagnosed apnea simply by tapering slowly. So that is another reason why your prognosis is good in my opinion.

 

I would be careful about trying herb/supplements for withdrawal. Most people find that fish oil and magnesium are the most helpful ones. With whatever you chose to take, start slow and go low.

 

By the way, I was given the message I would be on meds for life. It must be standard boiler plate language in psychiatry :rolleyes: You are about to once again prove this is BS.

 

Again, welcome.

 

CS

 

I am 65 healthy otherwise grateful to be alive until yesterday. I did the "correct" 1 month taper off 50mg Pristiq and found it tolerable and doable and was hopeful. Yesterday was the 2nd full day of no Pristiq and I have nearly all the withdrawal symptoms and will list in a minute. What other supportive herbs/drugs might be helpful? Your forum is the best, addressing facts and not just whiners. I have read mention of benedryl, prozac, restarting Pristiq--but what about herbals or klonopin for short haul?

 

HX: I lived with undiagnosed severe sleep apnea (I am not obese) from 2 airway surguries in 1970s from congenital cleft palate. Sleep deprivation was severe and was only treated for "depression". Started 20mg Prozac in 1990 and after 2 starts/tapers--realized that I had significant akathisia symptoms all that time--even tho I reported them. Started Pristiq ~14 months ago after trialing several others. So I developed high blood pressure, more akathesia, insomnia and psychiatrist put me on Lisinopril, Cogentin and Ambien (adding that "I would be on it for the rest of my life). BUT discovered bruxism/akathisia has caused a broken molar and very significant gum dysplasia--even tho I took Cogentin q4hrs for the pain. With the addition of the bruxism gum dysplasia, I said enough to Pristiq only because I have been working to get the sleep apnea WNL with surgery, custom mask for CPAP and things that no one should have to deal with. I continue to be hopeful that having controlled Sleep Apnea WNL would allow me off the antidepressants.

 

My s/s now include flu-like, out of body, ugly impatience, yelling at dog and people, anger, HA, and the really strange ones--typing problems, vision blurriness. Frankly starting yesterday I can identify with the rage of mass murders. I am resilient and will get through this, but would appreciate helps from anybody.

 

My psychiatrist in Austin was said to be best, so I have paid $150 q30min out of pocket--but she is uncharted for Pristiq withdrawal. I can do this--BUT I need some help. This is my first post anywhere. Thanks.

 

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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  • Administrator

Welcome, jrolli. I moved your first post here as your Intro topic.

 

How did you taper off Pristiq? Did you cut up the pills?

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

Welcome to the forum, jrolli.

 

Herbs and supplements, with the exceptions of good quality fish oil and magnesium, usually aggravate withdrawal symptoms and using Klonopin or another benzodiazepine to counteract withdrawal symptoms is pouring gasoline on the fire. Klonopin is one of the strongest and most addictive drugs on the market and regular use for more than one to two weeks is asking for trouble. From what I've read on this forum, benzos are even harder to taper from than antidepressants.

 

Cold turkey or a fast taper are the very worst ways to go off an antidepressant, and your one month taper qualifies as "too fast". I hope you'll consider reinstating, possibly with Effexor (which is easier to measure out in small doses and very similar to Pristiq) and save yourself a lot of anguish. For most people, withdrawal syndrome from a too fast taper can last months to years.

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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Dear CS,

Perhaps you know, but I wish to thank you so much for your kind words, and words of encouragement. Yes I've looked all over this Pristiq withdrawal discussion site, and believed my psychiatrist and most sites condone a month taper. Yours is the first to recommend Effexor assist or face months of continued anguish. Being only 2 days clean following a month of tapers, I have been ugly to every person I have spoken to in person or on the phone as I feel physically awful plus added rageful, all uncharacteristic and nearly uncontrollable. At this rate, there would be few of the fewest connections that I have left. Sad.

 

Even offering an explanation of detoxifying Pristiq is misunderstood and discounted.

 

Feeling isolated, your kind words are valued more that you imagine. Yes I am believing that working to get my sleep apnea treatments within the rhelm of normal can give me the most success possible of getting off the antidepressants. Once I have enough success getting off the Pristiq, I will go after getting off the Ambien, and the high blood pressure medication and surgically go to get the gum dysplasia repaired.

 

Even tho I expect an aloof response from my psychiatrist--I can only throw more $ at her and ask for a different type of taper. It is my life after all. Thanks

Take care.

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  • Administrator

Any doctor can prescribe Pristiq or Effexor. If you don't like working with your psychiatrist, perhaps you have a GP you could work with.

 

Very few of them know anything about tapering or withdrawal syndrome, so seeing a specialist doesn't really help.

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 personal experience with a too-fast taper involved taking three and a half months to get off of 10 mg. Lexapro, which is the rough equivalent of 50 mg. Pristiq. Within a month I was in withdrawal hell and was almost completely disabled for the first three months. (Please note that I followed my doctor's advice with regard to tapering). The next three months weren't a lot better and the following six months were filled with days when neuro-emotions took over and I experienced frequent episodes of anxiety and depression for no reason at all. It's only within the past month or so that I feel almost normal, and even now I find that I am easily upset and can tear up over minor things or even thoughts. My journey so far has lasted fifteen months.

 

I get cold chills when anyone indicates they want to "tough out" withdrawal because of my own very bad experience.

 

If I were you, I would immediately go back on Pristiq at the last dose previous to when you quit. After waiting a week or so you may or may not want to go any higher, but give it a bit of time because reinstatement, even when successful, doesn't necessarily work immediately. If you're still really uncomfortable after a week or so, increase the dose to your second last dose prior to quitting, and so on. Once you're stabilized for a month or more with few or no withdrawal symptoms, then you can switch to Effexor (or whatever slow withdrawal method you choose to use) and begin tapering very slowly. Tapering this way should give you few to no symptoms and you'll be able to carry on with your life.

 

Reinstatement should be done within in a month at the very most. Waiting any longer than that makes going back on the drug more and more risky.

 

I hope I haven't scared you half to death, but I was in the state you're currently in for several months straight, and then off and on for several more months, and I just hate to see anyone put themselves through that.

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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Welcome jrolli

 

Ditto all the above suggestions.

As one who has used a CPAP FOR 15 years I would pray that if you can just get that working properly, good sleep might really help your symptoms rather than adding new meds/supplements to your already taxed body. I too am tapering with effexor from pristiq.

 

Good luck on your journey

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  • 2 weeks later...

I so considered all your replies as heartfelt and helpful. My status is good after 4 days of 20mg Prozac. After 1 month taper from 50mg Pristiq, I experienced 3 days of awful withdrawal physical symptoms and irritability followed by 3 more days that started to lighten each day. I told my psychiatrist that I had better information for a colonscopy! humph. Still resilient, I am going 2 more weeks to test out life after antidepressants--hoping that that can sort out the sleep deprivation from 40 years of undiagnosed sleep apnea. Glad that my brain got turned around because I was willing to do the 2 month withdrawal and wish I would have caught it first. Blessings to all!

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I don't quite understand your plan. Are you going to take Prozac 20mg for 2 weeks and then stop it, beginning life with no anti-depressant?

 

I started CPAP for severe sleep apnea in August. What a wonderful change! But it hasn't protected me from withdrawal symptoms. I think you have to rebuild your neuroreceptors, whether you are breathing well at night or not. I was told by the sleep people that the biggest problem that sleep apnea causes is excessive production of adrenaline, a little bit with each event. When I had my adrenal hormones checked in 2009 my adrenaline level was 2-3 times normal--it would have been nice if the dr. had understood the meaning of that. Normalizing your adrenaline will be a great help as your sympathetic nervous system can be quite disturbed both by AD therapy and AD withdrawal. But there's still those pesky neurotransmitters...

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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Silver Star, I have ALWAYS wondered about cortisol level, and will research adrenaline and sleep deprivation. I really thought that cortisol and adrenaline were measured as only spot checks and difficult to assign meaning to, but I am curious. So what did you learn, and do differently? after getting your high levels of adrenaline confirmed? What speciality medical doctor have you pursued diagnosis and treatment through?

 

I also have diagnosed PTSD (as an Army Nurse in Vietnam and some childhood sexual abuse--it all gets cumulative)--so actually I have a Bronze Star. Retrospectively I experienced anxiety symptoms for years, and never had enough body awareness to name it as anxiety. I have had akathesia from all antidepressants, becoming obvious with the Pristiq and was put on Cogentin almost every 4 hours. Parallel to that, troubling palpations developed (that checked out ok from a cardiology workup), and the psychiatrist started me on Ambien Zolpedium 10mg so I could sleep through the palpitations :(; my memory and irritability rapidly decline with bad sleep--so needing the Zolpedium was an effective but reluctant stop gap--and I will need to detox off the Zolpedium after the dust settles.

 

About the Pristiq and Prozac, sorry that I was attempting to be too brief in my explanations: I had trailed Cymbalta and Abilify at different times last year and only had a headache when tapering off, therefore my psychiatrist said she did not think I would have big side effects tapering off the Pristiq. Actually going 2 weeks down from 50mg to half a tablet, and another 2 weeks to 1/4 tablet (knowing all the caveats about the enteric coating and inexact science of cutting tablets) mostly only gave me headache. It was a full 24 hrs off any Pristiq that blossomed the awful flu-like symptoms/irritability/dissociation which lasted 3 days, markedly improving each day until day 6 when I saw the psychiatrist who gave me 4 days of Prozac, which did the trick. Collaboratively with the MD, I am just self-observing for 2 weeks before we do anything.

I am very encouraged at this point by my clarity, motivation/energy--still cautious about irritability, short term memory and reading comprehension, but I am so very adamantly curious what life could be with my sleep apnea best controlled (AHI 0-3 with CPAP and custom $4000.00 mask)? The sequalae of all my life irritability has been a phenomenal workaholic drive that has gotten me through, and that at 66 I really have some friendly people, but no real friends--as my greatest lament.

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea was barely recognized in the 1990s and I could not access much data about the delirious effects on executive functioning, irritability memory as life disruptions, until after 2010--which was the year I finally receive some redemptive affirmation and started to make progress to get my structural sleep apnea better treated. Life is such a journey. Hopefully, psychiatry and sleep medicine will make some connections in the future. Glad to hear that CPAP is successfully treating your sleep apnea and that you are feeling better. I am currently 1 week without any antidepressants (which isn't much and a huge achievement simultaneously) and in 2005 followed the same hunch and was off antidepressants for 6 months--but my sleep apnea was just starting treatment but not well controlled then. I see this all like a controlled chronic illness that has ups and downs. I am actually quite thrilled to be able to pursue the possibilities. Good to hear from you.

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Wow, you have quite a story. Thank you for your service to our country and the toll it has taken. The cumulative weight of the sorrows on this forum is staggering to me.

 

My testing was done by a holistic doctor, but didn't accomplish much. He missed the big diagnosis, the sleep apnea. I think regulating the hormones means getting to the bottom of what is moving them out of balance in the first place. The dr's idea was an expensive powder that truly tasted like vomit. You might like the thread on neuroplasticity in the Symptoms section. The Facebook page Beyond Meds has an article today from an MD that you might also find interesting. Battery dying so I will run...

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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