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Eleriangirl: Introduction and Pristiq Discontinuation


Eleriangirl

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Forgive me in advance if my introduction gets long-winded.  I am currently in the middle of discontinuation from Pristiq and I've definitely seen better days!
I'm 34 years old and never had a history of depression or anything else.  Actually, I think I've only had to see a doctor a handful of times in my adult life. Here's a summary of my story - hope I can think straight enough to get this down without confusing everyone!
 
On Christmas Day, 2012, after all of the opening of gifts with kiddos, I went back to bed for a nap. Woke up gasping for air and feeling faint, so I started to panic. This was the first time I've ever called 9-1-1 and I was terrified! Luckily I had family present to help with kids, etc while I went through the ordeal.  The ER said it was anxiety and sent me home to follow up with my regular doctor.
 
I saw the regular doctor and explained that I had been suffering a cough and shortness of breath. He said that I was depressed and handed me a prescription for 50mg Zoloft and insisted I would feel better in a couple of days.  I had no idea what I was getting into and perhaps I was too trusting.  I didn't feel depressed at all, but decided to give it a try.  Within a week, I had severe side effects ranging from vertigo to an intense burning rash. I also discovered what panic attacks and hot flashes were for the first time in my life.  I switched to another doctor who told me to continue taking this medicine and that these effects would fade.  After another week of the torture, I told him I was not going to take it anymore and he gave me an every other day taper schedule.  I went cold turkey. I was so desperate to get the stuff out of my body and figured since it had only been two weeks, I'd be fine.  I was miserable for weeks following and the vertigo never let up.  The doctor gave me Vybriid and after two days of that, I was done. 
 
The intense feelings I was having since the Zoloft put me into moderate depression. I felt hopeless and confused as to what was "wrong with me". I started seeing a neurologist for the tingles/numbing in my left side and saw an ENT for the dizziness and vertigo.  The neurologist ran a whole slew of tests and everything came back perfect other than some mild arthritis in my spine.  The ENT discovered that my sinuses were blocked and my entire sinus cavities were full of infection and polyps.  He stated that this had probably been festering for a very long time and he had never seen a sinus CT look so severe.  He also stated that was I was feeling on Christmas Day was probably a result of the infection and the anxiety stemmed from not knowing what was wrong. After three rounds (including one 30 day round of doxicycline which my stomach still hasn't recovered from) of antibiotics with no relief, we opted for surgery.  The shortness of breath, dizziness, vertigo, etc ALL disappeared after the surgery.  The ENT thinks that the infection had affected the vestibular nerve and caused damage.  I now attend vestibular therapy where I'm working on balance issues (it's improved slightly thankfully).
 
Okay, backing up a little.  I found a therapist and a psychiatrist to help me figure out what was going on before knowing I needed surgery.  I was diagnosed with moderate depression and mild anxiety and they told me they thought it was temporary and not something that I would have to deal with forever.  I had the DNA testing done to find out which antidepressants would be most effective for me.  The psychiatrist prescribed 50mg Pristiq.  I did not taper up, just started them up. I had some very mild side effects in the first week, but they faded and all I was left with was extreme exhaustion and some moderate anxiety (although luckily no panic attacks).  The first two weeks were actually really great other than needing a nap during the day for at least an hour or two.
 
After the surgery though, something changed.  I was 9 weeks into Pristiq and suddenly started getting bursts of adrenaline and felt edgy all day.  My stomach was constantly in knots and my jaw clenched. No amount of relaxation techniques helped!  I've also always had very low BP and heart rate and both were very high for me.  I went back to the psychiatrist and she stated that we should switch off Pristiq.  She instructed me to take 10mg of Prozac (my choice) and the Pristiq 50mg daily for one week and then just drop the Pristiq. 
 
Taking both was fine and the week went by fast. I dropped the Pristiq and had 3 wonderful days.  I felt a little weird like my brain was turned to Jell-o, but otherwise pretty great.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Flu-like symptoms (no fever),  Horrible and strange dreams, feeling more off balance than usual, massive headaches, and insane amounts of anxiety.
The dreams have let up and the flu-like symptoms are slowly letting up thankfully.  It has now been three weeks since I stopped Pristiq and my head STILL feels like it's Jell-o and I can't think clearly.  I also have quite a bit of unexplained anxiety.  It comes and goes at random while watching TV or when I'm headed to bed for the night.  I can't seem to nail down any trigger, it just comes in waves.
 
The psychiatrist increased me to 20mg of Prozac, but after 3 days of that, I'm not sure I can handle it.  It makes me SO ill to my stomach and brings the flu feelings back.  My pharmacist just realized what was done and couldn't believe I was told to go off Pristiq without any taper EVEN with the help of Prozac.  She says that our bodies process the two medications differently and that the Prozac will not help with the Pristiq withdrawals although it may help me from sinking into another depression from feeling like poop all the time.  I'm going back to the psychiatrist today and I'm not sure what she will want to do next.  I'm still miserable and my head hurts.  I really don't know how to muster up the strength to keep a routine while dealing with this and I have SO much respect to those of you who have been dealing with these things for months and years. You must be incredibly strong people!
 
I've found a lot of encouragement on this forum over the last few days and think I am learning a bit more about the science behind what's happening to my body right now.  I have really been considering reinstating the Pristiq and opting for a slower taper with the help of Prozac, but I'm not sure if it's too late for me. 
 
I've discovered that I must be incredibly sensitive to these antidepressants as I have not found many stories of people suffering this much after such a short time. 
 
Anyhow, I apologize for rambling.  It's been a horribly long 7 months and I'm just hoping to see the light at the end of this soon! I'm remaining strong for my children and husband (bless them all for putting up with all of this so far and taking care of me)!  Thanks in advance to anyone who reads through all of this and/or can offer any advice!
Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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Hi Eleriangirl...

For what it's worth, I also was put on numerous medications and could not tolerate them either, and the Pristiq nightmare is real.  I am so glad that youare belssed with support of family, and I know that there are so many people who will help you here.  I read this forum for months before I had the strength and presence of mind to even post anything, and for a long time reading the stories and help here were the only things that kept me from tossing in the towel.  I now sincerely wish I wouldn't have cold turkey-ed off of the Pristiq, but I couldn't get any help until I was off it for more than two months, so I was terrified to even try reinstating and prolonging the black hole of despair.  I can tell you that now I had a window of almost two days and it was just so great to see a glimmer of hope.  Be strong, and there are so many knowledgeable people here it is amazing.

Pristiq August 2012 till April 2012.  

Quit cold turkey.  Severe withdrawal, suffered through till June. Wellbutrin 150 mg  2 weeks,  and Klonopin .5 as needed, with target of no meds as soon as stable.

Tapered Wellbutrin over 4-5 week period.

Last Wellbutrin (17mg) Aug 9

now taking only the occasional Klonopin, having adverse reactions.

.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Eleriangirl,

 

Here's our topic on tapering off of Pristiq:

 

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

 

Your pharmacist sounds as if he or she is more knowledgeable than the GP or psychiatrist!  Whatever the doctor recommended today, I hope the pharmacist will give it a through review and advise you accordingly.

 

When you have the time and energy, please put your psychiatric drug history in the signature area of your profile, like so:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Welcome to the forum.  You'll find lots of solid information and friendly, gentle support here.

 

 

 

 

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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TrishF - Thank you for the welcome! I had actually been lurking and reading a lot for a week or so before finally sitting down and signing up.
I must admit it's comforting to know that I'm not alone! My family has been very supportive, but none of them have ever experienced anything like this and I think my poor husband has his things ready to run me to the ER at any given moment.
 
Jemima - I've read through that post numerous times over the last week! :) I have ONE Pristiq pill left up in the cupboard and the Pdoc will not prescribe more, so I don't think reinstatement and tapering will be an option.  The pdoc says I will heal, it will just take time.
I'm almost certain the pharmacist had a "WOW" look on her face when I told her about the Pristiq. She couldn't believe it. But at the same time, the Pristiq sent my normal 50's BPM to a resting BPM of 110, so I understand her urgency to get me off of it.  It is nice to not feel like my heart is beating out of my chest for a change, hehe.
 
I'm doing my best not to be angry at the doctors who initially got me into this mess. I'm not sure how a severe sinus infection translated into depression, but what's done is done and boy have I learned a lot!
 
I'm going to keep reading through these forums as this seems like the most informative place.  I've seen many websites with people suffering, but this seemed to focus more on getting through it and that is definitely what I need right now.
 
Again, I can't even imagine the strength one must have to suffer this for extended time. It's been three weeks and some days I feel like my body is foreign to me. It's not cooperating with my plans for speedy healing! I am thankful for the brief windows when I feel almost normal and hope they will happen more often in the coming weeks.
Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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I've seen this so many times and it really grinds my gears. People go to the doctor with symptoms like anxiety or fatigue, and instead of doing a thorough workup to rule out any physical cause, they assume it's psychological and give them ADs or benzos.  I've seen studies that show that this happens more often to women than to men-- I guess because we're so "emotional."

 

Clearly what was wrong with you was a severe sinus infection causing difficulty breathing. Difficulty breathing itself can cause panic and adrenaline rush and anxiety, as anyone with asthma will tell you. But did they bother to work you up for a physical cause?

 

GRRRRRrrrrrr...grinding of my gears...

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I was put on celexa for anxiety - it turned out to be very bad asthma...i TOLD the drs it wasnt anxiety that I was having problems with my breathing, but no, they knew better

damaged by citalopram - severe suffering for 3 years now...no improvement

 

akathsiia, pgad, dp/dr, terror, and so SO many more daily

 

severly disabled and lost everything

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They ran a full blood workup and found out that I had sub clinical hypothyroid as well as the infection, but didn't notify me until 3 weeks post-appointment and I was already at the mercy of Zoloft at the time. The doctor insisted there was nothing to do to treat the thyroid as it wasn't "severe" enough. They sent antibiotics to the pharmacy for the infection, but at that point it was too late.

I feel like I was duped into this mess and the original doctor stole these last 7 months from me. I'm working through this frustration with my therapist, but really, NO doctor should prescribe these medications unless they are a psychiatrist in my opinion.  When I first saw the psychiatrist, they asked me about tests to rule out anything else before even talking to me about medications. At that point, I needed something as I had hit rock bottom. The vertigo was unbearable and I could barely function. I was terrified and felt like something bad was wrong with me.Looking back now, I can see how it was all linked to that first antidepressant. I KNOW they work for some people, but I feel like I should have never been put on them to begin with.

At least now I know that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency (after my own insistence on the hormone tests) and I had this nasty infection which is now healing. My face still feels like it was hit with a 2x4, but at least I can breathe again and only certain movements trigger the vertigo.

 

I tried insisting over and over that I wasn't depressed in the beginning and the doctors just kept wanting to try more antidepressants. I had no idea the initial pills I took would turn my world upside down!

 

As for now - this morning I have a vestibular therapy appointment (they will have me exercise, so that's good) and I'm dealing with my typical morning symptoms. I'm a little shaky, nauseous, anxious, and know that this will be around for a couple of hours. I took a .25 dose of Xanax to take the edge off. Usually the anxiety is replaced with exhaustion by lunch-time.Family arrives tomorrow for the holiday and I'm just hoping I can be functional enough to get through the week. While I'm nervous about having people here while I'm like this, I'm hoping the distraction will help to some degree.

 

I HAVE to get through this. My kids need their Mom to not be sick all the time. I am thankful for the Prozac as it is probably what is keeping me from losing it while going through this mess getting off the Pristiq. I am taking the Xanax to get by lately, but I'm actually terrified of becoming dependent on that too!  I've been taking a half of a pill once or twice in the morning and luckily don't seem to need it after that.

 

I find myself talking myself up numerous times a day with "Everything will be okay. I will heal and feel normal again. I can get through this."

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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I find myself talking myself up numerous times a day with "Everything will be okay. I will heal and feel normal again. I can get through this."

 

 

This is a greta thing to do, self calming, I also do this all day, every day, and have for the past year....I also repeat emails from people who have healed, and recovery stories, it does help.

 

Im so sorry to read about what you have been through and relate to you as a mother, it adds anohter level of pain when you have kids who need you, and you need them, and you need YOU, its very difficult, thats for sure.

 

You must be careful with the xanax though, 0.25 may not sound like alot but Im not sure if 1mg xanax is 20 or 40 mg valium, so you are potentially taking 10/20mg valium if you take 0.5 through the morning....how long have you been taking it for honey? and is it 0.25 or 0.5 that you take? maybe someone could clarify if its 20 or 40mg valium in 1mg xanax.... If you really feel you must have it then try not to take it more than twice per week, to avoid getting into more trouble, benzo withdrawal can be very challenging also.

damaged by citalopram - severe suffering for 3 years now...no improvement

 

akathsiia, pgad, dp/dr, terror, and so SO many more daily

 

severly disabled and lost everything

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hmmm, I have been trying to find the xanax/valium equiv and it could be the 0.5 is 5mg valium, but I dont know, and i guess its not relevant, anyway.

 

Rhi is the benzo expert!!

damaged by citalopram - severe suffering for 3 years now...no improvement

 

akathsiia, pgad, dp/dr, terror, and so SO many more daily

 

severly disabled and lost everything

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I was originally prescribed .5mg Xanax every 6 hours and the doctor told me to take it like clockwork to avoid the intense anxiety with the Pristiq startup. I tried one .5mg pill and pretty much conked out for hours. From then on, I only took a half every time and was taking them roughly 4 hours apart.  That was almost 1.5mg of Xanax on most days! I have since managed to get down to just the .5 total per day by taking out one dose roughly ever 3-4 weeks. Now I take the one .25mg first thing in the morning and then the second only if I need it later.  They tried Valium and Ativan, but both seemed to have no effect after the first couple of weeks (and Ativan gave me blurred vision).  Xanax has been the only thing that helps so far.  I'm doing breathing exercises and other things to calm myself, but when it's anxiety due to the discontinuation, I can't seem to get rid of it without the help of the Xanax. :(

 

I want to get off them as well, but I'm trying to stick to one battle at a time. The Pristiq first, then Xanax, then Prozac, and ultimately I'd like to quit smoking too! (Although I smoke maybe 10 a day, I still want to get off them after all these sinus troubles.)

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • Moderator Emeritus

hmmm, I have been trying to find the xanax/valium equiv and it could be the 0.5 is 5mg valium, but I dont know, and i guess its not relevant, anyway.

 

Rhi is the benzo expert!!

The equivalence for xanax to diazepam is 20 to one.  Iggy, you can check benzo half lives out here.  Eleria, don't get panicky about being on xanax, but be conservative as benzos need tapering too.

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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ahhh, all the charts show different doses, yes I agree with skyler, certainly dont worry about it for now, you can address it when you feel ready to.

damaged by citalopram - severe suffering for 3 years now...no improvement

 

akathsiia, pgad, dp/dr, terror, and so SO many more daily

 

severly disabled and lost everything

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

hmmm, I have been trying to find the xanax/valium equiv and it could be the 0.5 is 5mg valium, but I dont know, and i guess its not relevant, anyway.

 

Rhi is the benzo expert!!

The equivalence for xanax to diazepam is 20 to one.  Iggy, you can check benzo half lives out here.  Eleria, don't get panicky about being on xanax, but be conservative as benzos need tapering too.

 

It would probably be better for you to take the same doses at the same times regularly, since you're taking it daily, than to take it irregularly. Taking Xanax the way you are can cause anxiety and panic attacks.

 

Please read up about interdose withdrawal. Xanax levels in the blood peak out in less than two hours and then drop, and when they go low people can get withdrawal anxiety and panic symptoms.  The way around this is to take multiple evenly spaced doses throughout the day, to keep plasma levels smooth.

 

Just something to think about, maybe read up about on a benzo board...

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Wow, what a week.  Two trips to the ER and two trips back to Pdoc trying to find some answers. I have been SO incredibly sick.  I barely managed to walk down to the end of the street to watch fireworks with my kids and family. I was hurting so badly from the hips down that I could barely get myself to the restroom without help. Along with that came this sensation as though someone was squeezing my lungs. I couldn't take any deeps breaths and this further increased my already insane amount of anxiety.

After going back to the Pdoc, we discussed the chain of events that led to where I am.  She is suggesting that I may not be able to take any medications which affect serotonin and that regardless of what my genetics say about my liver, something in my body does not like these meds at all.  I had been trying the 20mg Prozac to alleviate symptoms from the withdrawal, but that had an opposite effect.  I knew it was too much and we agreed for now to drop down to 5mg after a few days back at 10mg.  Not that I'm a fan of bouncing around doses, but I truly believe the medication is making things worse, NOT better.  I did not want to be med-free just yet as I fear that the small amount of Prozac is actually helping me to be strong through this.  I mean, I feel like I need at least something to help. It's been seven months and I'm exhausted and feel like I'm in a constant battle to get better. (I feel a little bad saying this as I know some of you have been suffering for years!)

 

I am going to visit my therapist today and I want to work through some of my anger and frustration from all of this mess.  I have realized based on how I feel now coming off the Pristiq that I probably never recovered from the Zoloft.  Not only was I allergic to it and continued to take it, but I also quit cold turkey.  After much research and these lovely forums, I honestly feel like I never recovered from that.  Throwing more SSRI/SNRI drugs at the problem surely didn't help any either.  I just can't believe how ONE bad diagnosis could take so much from me.  I feel like seven months have been "stolen" and I will never get them back.  Hopefully my therapist can help me work through some of these frustrations as I'm still feeling the brunt of the withdrawals.

 

My current symptoms are:

Extreme morning anxiety from the moment I wake up at exactly 7:03am on the dot (no alarm).  This lasts until around 11am-12pm and my .25mg Xanax barely even takes the edge off of it. By lunchtime, it calms down significantly.

Headaches, and not the "normal" sort of headaches I'm used too.  This is a very weird sort of electric pain sensation headache. It lasts for hours if not all day and it's every day.

Constant buzzing sensation in my feet and sometimes slightly in my hands.

Stomach in knots the entire day - no amount of breathing exercises or meditation takes this away.

Jaw clenching - I stop myself when I catch it during the day, but I still wake up daily with a very sore jaw.  My husband says I'm grinding my teeth which I have never done until these meds.

I cannot drive and therefore feel "trapped" at home. My balance is off and driving or being in a car makes me feel like I'm on a tilt-a-whirl at the fair.

Random crying jags that last about five minutes or so. I actually believe this may just be normal as I am so terribly frustrated at the lack of control I have over my body right now.

 

Anyhow, I just wanted to update and vent a little.  The fact is, I should have never been placed on these drugs in the first place. I'm just thankful that my current doctor does not feel the need to throw more meds at the problem. I believe she wants to wait and see how I do as long as I don't slip back into depression.

 

I'm trying to stay strong, but goodness this is the hardest thing in my life I've ever gone through. (And I was hit by a car as a pedestrian, had numerous surgeries, and in the hospital for over a year - I know pain!)

 

Added note: I'm back up to 1mg Xanax per day. I can't seem to manage to function without that.  I'm taking divided doses at equal times throughout the day.  When it comes time to make a drop, I will be sure to read about the benzo information more before attempting the taper.

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • Administrator

So sorry that you're going through this, Eleriangirl.

 

Yes, some people do not get along with serotonergics at all. I'm glad your pdoc has shown some understanding of this. Does she know anything about tapering?

 

The morning anxiety pattern is typical of withdrawal syndrome. Have you tried darkening your bedroom? Reducing light stimulation in the morning can 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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Thank you Alto.  My husband has offered to cover the two windows to reduce light in the morning, so I may take him up on that today.

My Pdoc is wonderful and does know a lot about tapering.  Her concern with the Pristiq was my blood pressure and heart rate and she knew it would be hard, but I had to stop instead of tapering.  She thought the Prozac would help alleviate some of the symptoms, but alas it's only seemed to make things worse. (Although depression and mood swings aren't a big problem, so I have a feeling it IS helping a little.)

 

I was honestly very nervous about my appointment yesterday.  I keep expecting the doctors to tell me that it's all in my head and that discontinuation can't last that long (based on history and most internet posts), but she truly seems to understand what I'm going through and she even stated that she thought I was doing a wonderful job at handling everything despite how miserable I am.

 

My hope is not to be med free right now, but at least to be at a manageable point. I really hope the low dose of Prozac can help me get through this!  If it doesn't improve in a week or two, I will probably have to drop that as well.

I fully intend to educate myself from here on out and be respectful of the trauma my body has been through.  Now if I can just find patience and learn to accept this healing process.  I've read the thread on acceptance, but goodness, it's easier said than done!

 

I hope I'm not rambling too much.  I'm still waiting for the morning anxiety to pass!

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • Administrator

Yes, it's very difficult. You have a good attitude about it.

 

If you feel you can recommend your pdoc, please add her contact info to http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v

 

This can help a lot of other people.

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

 

 

Added note: I'm back up to 1mg Xanax per day. I can't seem to manage to function without that.  I'm taking divided doses at equal times throughout the day.  When it comes time to make a drop, I will be sure to read about the benzo information more before attempting the taper.

 

Don't worry about the Xanax now. Sounds like you're covering the interdose withdrawal problem. That's the main thing, make sure it's not actually contributing to your symptoms. You can taper off it later when you're well. You will need to taper, of course.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The last couple of weeks have been rough...

I believe I was still recovering from being bumped up to the 20mg dose of Prozac. The nausea has subsided and the morning anxiety is nothing like it was before.  I'm posting to update symptoms and hopefully help myself to see my progress as it isn't easy day to day. My husband says he notices a lot of improvements, but I just don't see it.

 

My current symptoms are:

Mild morning anxiety. I try to go back to sleep by doing some relaxation techniques, but the only thing that fixes this is my morning dose of .25mg Xanax.
Mild headache that lasts all day long primarily behind my eyes.
A weird sort of scalp tenderness in two specific spots. Almost as though my hair has been pulled back in a tight ponytail, and the feeling you get when you take your hair down after.
Stomach issues. I don't have problems going to the restroom, but my stomach is making a lot of noises ALL day.  I feel almost like I ate too much even when I haven't eaten at all.
Jaw clenching. I'm apparently still doing this as when I wake up, my jaw is sore.  My husband said that I am no longer grinding my teeth at night though, so maybe that's progress.
My balance is improving, but I still feel sort of "off center" a lot. It's hard to explain. I know I'm seeing things properly and have been able to take morning walks with my husband, but I just feel this weird sort of off balance feeling.
I have moments where I feel this intense urge to cry. This comes on for absolutely no reason at very random times. It feels like my body has this intense urge to cry, but then I can't.
Incredibly tense muscles in my neck and around my shoulders.  I keep thinking it's the way I'm sleeping, but I've tried various things (including tips from physical therapist) with no relief.
Fatigue. I have these urges to get out and do something, like go shopping or go to the park, etc, but my body doesn't seem to want to cooperate.  I walk for 10 minutes and feel like I'm going to fall over from exhaustion.
 
I have still been taking the 5mg Prozac, but my Pdoc believes I may not be able to take any serotonergic drugs. (Which would probably explain a lot about why I have bad reactions to things like Imitrex, etc as well.)
I may have to cut down on the Prozac soon if all of these symptoms don't subside.  The Pdoc also wants me to have bloodwork done to check my liver in case that is the problem.
 
I received the results back from my ENT yesterday and apparently ALL of my thyroid levels are well within normal range. I think a part of me is in disbelief that the first experience with SSRI's (Zoloft) could have caused all of this misery. I've seen it many times throughout these forums, but I just have this intense feeling like something is WRONG with my body.  I've been researching a bit and pretty much the only physical things left to rule out are Lyme, Celiac, and possibly my liver function.
 
If all of those tests come back alright, I'm guessing this is all due to a bad chain reaction of events that started with the Zoloft.  I was HIGHLY allergic to it and was told to continue taking it, then stopped cold turkey, did the same with Vybriid, then tried Pristiq for 9 weeks and had to quit that and bridge to the Prozac (which turned out to be too high of a dose even at 10mg). Basically, I'm thinking if it's nothing physical, then it's the fact I've put my body through an intense amount of neurological distress and pain.
 
I feel horrible about it.  Did I do this to myself by blindly following the advice of my doctors?  And now I'm crying again as I write this!  I just don't know how or when I will start feeling better and I am so terribly frustrated by it.  I don't know what else to do other than to keep ruling out other things and keep trying to function well enough to keep doing my job.  I have managed to keep my job through this since I work from home.  I can work randomly throughout the day and take as many breaks as I need as long as I put in the time and get the job done. (I really am so fortunate to have my boss and my work arrangement right now.)
 
I am afraid of the long term effects of feeling this way.  I can't support my family on disability and I am currently the sole earner and we live in a house that we can't even afford right now and yet we can't afford to move as we've used whatever we've had to save for my medical tests, etc.  My husband has been trying to find a job, but it seems I get a "wave" and he's not comfortable with the idea of leaving me alone.  I know he's still trying to find a job, but the market isn't really friendly for him right now.
 
I just have to say to those long-term sufferers, I have so much respect for you! I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread.  My husband and children are the reasons that I've remained as strong as I have, but goodness, I just want to feel better so that I can stop being the household "patient"!
 
I keep re-reading the thread on acceptance.  I'm trying to accept that this is the medications, but have such a difficult time with that.  I've always been a "facts" person, so maybe that's part of my problem right now.  I'm sitting here praying my therapist gets her report into my insurance company quickly so that I can resume sessions.  She has been the biggest help in dealing with all this stress and I always feel better when I leave her office!
 
Anyhow, I apologize for rambling.  I just needed to vent a little I guess and see if anyone else thinks all of this is normal for what I've been through meds-wise.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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A little update and a few questions for the more experienced people:

 

I'll ask my questions first in the hopes that someone will have experience with them.

My worst symptom by far is this very strange feeling in my head/brain.  There are random moments during the day when it feels very heavy and I almost feel like I'm going to fall over. It comes and goes, although yesterday evening it was pretty persistent even up until I fell asleep. It is very hard to describe what it feels like exactly, but it almost feels as though I'm hanging upside down.  Sometimes it lasts for a few seconds, and others it lasts for minutes.  About 2.5 weeks ago, I reduced from 20mg Prozac down to 5mg due to adverse reactions, so I'm wondering if it has anything to do with that OR if this is even normal at all for withdrawal.  I have had CT/MRI with and without contrast on my brain/head/spine/abdomen, so I'm not worried about tumors or anything like that. (Also, no signs of MS.)

 

I finally found a new (much better) GP and he is going through "tiers" of tests to ensure that nothing else is contributing to all of this.  He told me that he believes I may have something similar to only ONE other patient he's ever seen.  Apparently it's something to do with how the liver processes the medications I've been taking (and Pristiq wouldn't have been affected by this).  He doesn't think there is anything wrong with my liver, just that it cannot tolerate these types of medications.  He's going to be running more tests to confirm.

 

I also went to see an Osteopath yesterday. I asked friends and family to help me locate one that does the muscle manipulation.  My insurance covers this (but not massage) and I desperately wanted help with my jaw clenching as I believe it's causing havoc in my neck/shoulders/upper back. I'm quite sore today, but truly believe this will help in the long run.  They are all about ensuring the muscles are balanced throughout the body in order to promote healing within.  I'm a firm believer in their methods as I have experience with this after being hit by a car as a child. The only muscles that really hurt when he adjusted them were the ones that link my jaw together.  I almost jumped off the table! My husband said everything looked fine and then he saw my hands clench the table, so he knew it wasn't pleasant, lol.  My jaw felt very relaxed afterwards (I haven't been able to relax it for weeks), and although it's sore now, it will heal and I'll go for another treatment in two weeks.

 

The GP is doing a celiac panel to rule that out and I'm not sure where he will want to go from there.  He said that he enjoys a good challenge and seems positive in searching for anything that could be contributing to this mess.

He did however suggest that this could ALL just be my body adjusting/healing and it may just take time.  I really want him to test for Lyme, but he wants to check a little at a time so that I'm not spending too much on lab work.  He's sort of narrowing things down.

 

Right now I believe the "funky" head stuff is my worst symptom and not knowing what it is or if it's normal makes me anxious.  I really wish more doctors were familiar with discontinuation.

 

My daughter has been bugging me for days to take her to the dollar store so that she can spend the money she earned doing random helpful things around the house.  I just haven't been able to make myself do it - I barely get to my doctor appointments. My husband hasn't learned how to drive a stick shift yet, and I haven't felt well enough to teach him, argh. (He immigrated here last fall and he's used to using public transportation, but our taxi's are super expensive here!)

 

Anyhow, I still have mild anxiety in the morning that does not last long at all after I get up (so that's improvement at least!), but this weird feeling in my head is just driving me insane.  Can anyone tell me if you've felt something similar or perhaps have a better way to describe it?  All of my vitals check out fine, so I'm really not sure.

 

Thanks in advance for any insight!

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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What a mess for a sinus infection! Last night I was reading the book Gia recommended, CFS Unravelled. Obviously you don't have CFS, but it explains how one stress like the infection can cascade into a disasster when another stressor like a serious drug reaction is piled on. Your situation is not the focus of the book, but it might give you some ideas...if you can read in your "spare" time.

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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That's exactly what seems to have happened here. The antidepressants were just the beginning of the "perfect storm" and one thing after another just piles on.  I'm going to look up that book! Thanks Meimeiquest. :)

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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This is what I have observed about the head thing. It happens to everyone, but it is so distressing that we can't even remember we've been told it's normal. There are no words to describe it, but I know exactly what you mean. And I don't have it anymore, and some day you won't either. but it's hard not knowing if a day's symptoms are the crest and will mostly improve, or if they mark the beginning of things getting much worse...Or just normal windows and waves. As far as your med doses, I don't have the wisdom to advise you...hopefully someone will weigh in soon.

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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Meimei, thank you for responding regarding the head stuff.  I've read it a million times, but it seems like I am having trouble accepting that it will be around for a bit.  It's incredibly frustrating.

I believe I am riding out a bit of a wave at the moment.  My morning anxiety is barely noticeable, but it seems other things are creeping up and I'm wondering if this is due to the large drop in Prozac 23 days ago.  I know it takes a long time to build up, so maybe it also took a long time for the brunt of that reduction to hit me as well.  I went to the Pdoc yesterday and on all the scales they have, I scored as having no issues with anxiety/depression.  This is good news! My brain still feels like it's in a fog, but I have moments when I almost feel like me.  My husband pointed out that I've been making jokes at him lately and he sees more of the "old me" coming through.

I really wish I could see it too.  I KNOW there has been a ton of improvement, but it's so darn hard to focus on that when my head feels like it's in a constant funk.

 

Today I woke up and started working early in the morning to get a report finished. Then a wave of anxiety hit out of nowhere (no trigger) - one like I haven't experienced in a long time. I tried deep breathing, distraction, telling it to "bring it on!" and other things, but it did not settle down.  I ended up caving and taking another .25mg of Xanax and that helped quite a bit.  Even though it helped, I feel like I'm being stalked by anxiety all day today, like it's waiting to come up and bite me!  I asked my therapist today for further tips on how to deal with this type of thing.  She asked me to talk to myself about it - ie. So what if I get a panic attack? Yes it's scary, but it passes, and it won't kill me.  This kind of acceptance has made my anxiety a non-issue for the last week. I'd feel the wave coming, acknowledge it, and it would fade almost immediately.  Today was a different story entirely.  It appears I can't control it on my own for today, so I'm hoping tomorrow will be better!

 

I have managed to get a lot of errands done in the last week and finally got my drivers license renewed which involved lots of lines and waiting around. A lot of what I'm feeling, I can plug through, but I make sure to get these things done in the morning as my symptoms seem to get worse as the day goes on.  I'm not sure if it's the Prozac drop or the Pristiq still affecting me, but I hope it passes soon.

 

Yesterday I fell asleep at 4pm and my husband woke me up at 11pm to take my meds, then I fell back to sleep and woke up at 6am.  I'm hoping there's some sort of healing happening in this process as I just feel like it's wasted time! I almost did it again today, fell asleep at 4pm, but luckily woke up at 7pm and am making myself stay awake until later.

 

Anyhow, just wanted to note a little of what's going on. It helps me to go back and read some of my previous entries as it is proof that some things are improving! (Even if it's not as quickly as I'd like  <_< )

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, it's been exactly 56 days since my last Pristiq and 34 days since I dropped from 20mg Prozac to 5mg.  There are many days now that I wish I could have tolerated these meds long enough to have done a slow taper.

I have a lot of random free floating anxiety, but I believe it's improving some.  I've gotten into the habit of saying "Oh, there you are! I see you, you're just anxiety from discontinuing medications. Now can I please finish my work?"

Believe it or not, that actually works "most" of the time. I acknowledge it, and then dismiss it. Other than the anxiety, the only big symptom I still have is the funky feeling in my head. This feeling was extreme upon ending Pristiq and it comes and goes now.  There are moments during the day when I don't feel it at all and then moments when it comes back in full force and hangs around for a few hours.  I'm hoping this means I'm starting to heal...

 

I've been trying to get out of the house more, which is difficult. Even going grocery shopping is almost unbearable.  I think it has to do with stimulation with noise, lights, sound, etc. I get overwhelmed and just want to run out to my car.  Yesterday my husband and I went to the larger grocery store and I managed to make it through though!  I would get that buzzing off-balance sort of feeling in my head for a few seconds at a time every few minutes. I'm really beginning to wonder if it's the discontinuation, or the anxiety from the discontinuation.

 

My husband says he's been seeing more glimpses of the "real" me, so I am trying to focus on that as progress. He said while on the meds, I never yelled at other cars while driving, and now I'm back to yelling "You idiot!" when someone cuts me off in traffic, lol.  I don't have road rage, just road irritation! :)

 

I am still on a total of 1mg Xanax per day broken up into every five hours, and I have more time between my last dose and my morning dose. I am having issues with my vision being slightly out of focus. I can read, but it's just enough to be annoying and I find myself straining my eyes a lot.  I am going to talk to my pdoc at my appointment on Monday and see if there's any way to get my next prescription as a liquid form so that I can start the grueling task of tapering it.  I think it may be contributing to my brain fog and vision and really want to at least start getting off of it.

 

I haven't been grinding my teeth at night lately, but am still clenching my jaw when I sleep. I wake up and my jaw is stiff and pops when I try to chew breakfast.  I believe this may be a side effect of still taking the low dose of Prozac as it isn't as severe as it was before.  I decided last week to go get a massage for the first time in my life.  My neck and upper back are just one giant knot!  Well, it turns out that requesting a deep tissue massage on the first go was probably a bad idea. I felt sick like I had the flu for a full day after and I am still super sore. Lesson learned though!  I am going back to my Osteopath on Wednesday for another muscle manipulation, so I hope that further helps my neck and jaw.

 

I am having difficulty breathing sometimes, as though something heavy is on my chest.  I am attributing this to the anxiety as well and I'm trying not to focus on it.  It's difficult when I feel the strong urge to yawn and I can't though!

 

Overall, I have to say there have been some improvements.  Now if I could just get off of the couch and do normal things without feeling like the life has been sucked out of me. I am SO exhausted.  It's a little weird because my mind is saying "I'm feeling pretty good, let's go shopping!" and then as I walk to the bedroom to get dressed, my body says "I don't think so." I'm drained and just walking to another room in the house wipes me out.  It could have something to do with the fact that I've done very little activity in the last eight months because I've felt too crappy.  I'm trying to walk at least a couple of days a week, but when it's already in the 90's first thing in the morning, I cringe at the thought! The heat really seems to make my symptoms more severe and it adds in nausea to the mix.  As long as I stay in cooler temperatures, I tolerate things much better.

 

Also, I wanted to add that after the horrible massage (my own fault), the Epsom salt baths have really helped!  I've been taking one every day for the last few days and definitely notice some improvement in my aches and pains both from the massage and the discontinuation.

 

Anyhow, I just wanted to give an update since it's been a little while since my last one.  I hope all of you are well and seeing some progress!  I am so thankful for the moments of clarity/normalcy as rare as they are right now.

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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So, after visiting the therapist and the Pdoc on Monday, I am apparently going to come off of the Prozac and begin the grueling task of tapering the Xanax. She wanted to taper the Prozac due to my previous experiences, but she didn't seem to want to prescribe the liquid Prozac. She wants me to take a 5mg portion every three days for two weeks, then 5mg once per week for another two weeks. Due to the long half life, she feels this will be sufficient.

 

I decided to give it a shot and went the last two days without the Prozac and then took one this morning.  Yesterday, the funky feeling in my head was around all day (normal comes on randomly a few seconds at a time throughout the day). I took the Prozac this morning and now I am dealing with nausea and general flu-like symptoms without a fever.  Basically, I feel like poop at the moment.  I am going to see my Osteopath today for more muscle manipulation around the jaw, so hopefully at least that will help a little.  I want to start the Xanax taper process, but I'm not sure I can do that at the same time I'm dealing with the SSRI discontinuation!

 

I'm going to need to research how to make my own Xanax liquid as there isn't one available from the pharmacy. I missed a dose of Xanax about a week ago and boy did I feel it the next day. Even a .25mg skip turned me into an anxious mess.

 

I am truly frustrated at the lack of knowledge the doctors have in regards to this stuff.  I feel like I've been a lab rat for the last 8 months.  I AM happy that I will be off the meds, but I'm just praying for the strength to get through these awful side effects.  On the plus side, my therapist spent our entire session asking me various questions. Like, how I feel about this and that and other random things. At the end of the session, she stated that from a cognitive standpoint, I am completely normal in my thinking. I am not thinking irrationally and there aren't signs of depression. I think that is a result of the tools she's taught me as well as the reduction of meds.  The Pdoc has stated that I should not under any circumstances take a medication that affects serotonin again.

 

My neurologist has been suggesting some more natural treatments like valerian, etc for getting through this.  I picked up a bottle of Inositol, but I haven't taken it yet. I'm going to speak to the osteopath about it first.

 

I'm just feeling like a mess right now. Headache, nausea, aches, mild anxiety, and the feeling as though there's an elephant sitting on my chest.  I'm really hoping to see another "window" soon as this is definitely an awful wave.

 

I have plenty of Prozac left, so if anyone has suggestions as to how I can reduce, etc, I'd appreciate it.  I believe I saw something about making my own liquid, but I'm not sure which "tools" I need or where to start.  I will probably spend this afternoon trying to figure that out because it's quite obvious this skipping days thing isn't going to go very well and I really need to keep my job!

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • Administrator

If I were you, I'd insist on a prescription for Prozac liquid. Your doctor's tapering schedule makes no sense at all.

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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  • 4 months later...

I'm looking for a little encouragement during this phase.  The doctor discontinued my Prozac entirely on October 27th (she let me wait until my daughter went back to her Dad's).  It has been a roller coaster 10 weeks so far.  She pulled me off of the 5mg Prozac as I wasn't stabilizing and I was getting more ill by the day.  She stated that I would never again be able to take another SSRI/SNRI.  I'm still taking 1mg of Xanax per day spread out in 4 doses.At the 5-6 week mark, everything hit me pretty hard.  I was nauseated all day and had random panic attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere.  I had three wonderful days that were symptom free after that and then it hit me again (which stinks because I had my hopes up!)Fast forward to now - I still have this weird vibrating sort of feeling in my head, and at times it feels like my brain is just swishing around up there.  I still experience a dizzy spell any time I move my eyes too quickly.  I am having at least one anxiety attack a day.  The anxiety attack shows it's coming with a wave of skin-burning-feeling and then my heart races and I get dizzy.  I can control/bring it down within about 5 minutes, but it is still very distressing!My therapist believes there is no reason to continue seeing me.  She cannot lie to my insurance company to get more approved visits and I cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket.  She said there's no reason to see her and that I should take that as good news!  My psychiatrist now only wants to see me every 6 weeks as she believes this is all withdrawal related and will pass with time.  She tells me it will pass and asks that I take care of myself until it does.I feel like I'm burnt out.  It's been one heck of a year with this mess and I was really hoping to start the new one off well!I guess my question would be if this could still be withdrawal? My mind races with ideas that there could actually be an underlying issue, but every doctor tells me that isn't the case. I'm just frustrated and want to get past this.  I am so very grateful that I can at least control the anxiety attacks and force myself to do my daily activities that need done.  I also managed to survive Christmas with 20 people in my house!I'm not letting it stop me, but boy this is a wild ride... :(

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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Wild ride is right! Your symptoms still sound exactly like withdrawal. Sounds like you've got some tough little neurotransmitters there who don't want to be messed with-- good for them!

 

The only things I can think of are mild walking, very clean eating, and a positive attitude, which you seem to have.

 

Keep us posted!

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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Thanks Meimei! I'm hanging on, just getting frustrated sometimes. I get glimpses of feeling normal, so I'm hoping that means I can fully recover!

And for Alto - I tried switching to liquid Prozac and lasted about four days before becoming so ill that I couldn't function. :( The pdoc thinks that my body didn't like the change in generic brands. She pulled me off completely because she thought that my body was producing an inflammatory response to the meds and that the abrupt discontinuation would be safer than continuing to taper.

Next up will be the Xanax taper, but I want to be well before I fight that battle. I know I'm dependent because if I miss even ONE .25 dose, the next day I suffer crippling anxiety.

I'm hanging in there, but should post/read here more as it always seems to help!

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • Administrator

Yes, it does sound like you have withdrawal syndrome. It's good that you've had some windows and symptoms seem to be getter milder.

 

Some people have a bad reaction to the switch to liquid Prozac. I'm sorry you had this problem.

 

A very small amount of Prozac, perhaps 1mg, might help your symptoms. If you want to try this, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

 

I would not try tapering Xanax until the Prozac withdrawal symptoms go away.

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've been considering taking a very small dose, even if just a crumble to see if it helps.  I actually became desperate and made my own "cranzac" with crumbles of the pills when it was obvious that my body didn't like the liquid, but the crumbles kept sticking to the glass so I wasn't getting an accurate dose.  It wasn't bad other than tasting so awful! I'm going to try to ride this out another week or two and if there's still no improvement, I will try a very small dose.  I have a limited amount to work with and a doctor who will not prescribe anything other than Xanax now.I'm glad to hear others think this is withdrawal syndrome, it's comforting!  Mood-wise I've been fine other than two ridiculous outbursts of anger at about the five week mark. Other than that, I've been in good spirits, just miserable!We just found out yesterday that our family dog has heartworms, so I'm sure the stress of that isn't helping me any (and did I mention I had 20 people in my house?!)  I won't be touching the Xanax for some time - I believe it's my saving grace right now.  I'm going to want some good months before I try to muster strength for another withdrawal!

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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I did a rather crazy thing, but it felt like it worked okay. I wanted to take 1mg doses of a 25mg tablet. So I got empty capsules, smashed the tablet and eyeballed it into 25 capsules. I think that might be a bit easier and more accurate than crumbling off a bit each day. But maybe that is working well too.

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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I could try that. At this point, I haven't had even a crumble in 10 weeks. I was hoping I would be able to just trek through it, but beginning to feel discouraged. I have no idea how people make it through years of this!

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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  • Administrator

People have used crumbs as needed to get over the humps.

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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  • 2 months later...

I've survived the brunt of withdrawals from the antidepressants, but still have waves on occasion. Overall doing okay other than wonky blood work that has me going to a specialist now.

I have a new adventure in front of me now though! I've been slowly tapering xanax and am down to around .85mg/day.

Yesterday we found out that I am pregnant! We are so happy, but nervous due to having multiple miscarriages and both of my children were high risk pregnancies. Anyhow, we went to psych doc today as I'm almost out of the xanax. They are wanting me off asap, fast taper. She has me off in three days.

She wants someone with me full time for the brunt of it, and I'm terrified at the moment. I think things will be alright, and I know this needs to be done due to my high risk history. I hope it's bearable and the worst passes quickly!

Was just hoping for some positive energy to help me get through this.

Thanks for reading. :)

Jan - Zoloft 50mg (no titrating, cold turkey, severe allergic reaction)

Feb - Vybriid 10mg (Only lasted 3 days on this stuff)

Mar - Amitriptyline 10mg (Landed me in the ER with some serious Tachycardia, stopped at two weeks)

Apr-June - Pristiq 50mg (9 weeks)

June 10 - Started Prozac 10mg

June 16 - Last dose of Pristiq 50mg with no taper

June 26 - Prozac increased to 20mg to help with discontinuation with a plan to taper down once stabilized.

July 1 - Pdoc concluded that while the discontinuation is unpleasant, it will not last forever and there was no need to change the dose of Prozac back down to 10mg. She confirmed that this reaction is not common, but is definitely a result of the Pristiq discontinuation and not a return of depression. (Guess that's good news!)

July 4 - Back up to 1mg Xanax per day at .25mg every 6 hours

July 8 - Drop to Prozac 5mg


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