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Vdoll: trying to withdraw from Pristiq


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Hello all. I need help and I am very scared. I have been on Pristiq 50mg for just about 5 years and I find it nearly impossible to get off of this medication. Several times I have tried to skip a dose of Pristiq but it makes me incredibly confused, empty, anxious, and irriatble. Mostly VERY confused. It is so hard to describe. I have been obsessively reading about what to do but I am so unsure. Some people are saying to take the Pristiq every other day to start the weaning process but I've tried that and cant seem to get through it. Some people are saying to cut the tablets up but I've also read that doing that can give you serotonin syndrome. I am a generally happy person and know that it is time to get off of this medication. But how? How does one go through this agonizing withdrawal and still maintain their life without completely losing it? I feel like I am going to be STUCK forever because being "happy" on the medication is so much easier then "dealing with the withdrawals." 


This is all so hard for me because I no longer have insurance ( I am on a plan to receive free Pristiq for a year [what happenes when the year is over?) and don't have the financial resources to see a psychiatrist. I am also a recovering addict with two years clean but still feel completely trapped by this chemical dependency I have to Pristiq. If anybody out there has advice for me I'd very much appreciate it. 


Thanks for reading.



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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Vdoll,


Welcome to the forum.  I moved your post here where it will get a better response.  You can use this thread as your own journal to keep us updated on how you are doing.


I'm sorry you are going through a difficult time, but now you have found this site, you will be able to taper from your medication safely and have some support.


Please don't skip doses, this will cause horrible symptoms, as you have found.  Here is our link for safely tapering off Pristiq:




Other members will be along soon to offer more support.


When you are feeling up to it, it would be helpful if you put your medication and withdrawal history in your signature, instructions here:




You will find a lot of good information and friendly support here, so have a look around.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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I'm fairly new here as well...listen to the advice given on this site it is very helpful..the day I started here I figured was going to be my last day period...all from WD symptoms...so glad you found the site. Keep searching the forums you will find the answers here.

You can get off the meds with help from the people here... Keep us posted

Celebrex. 200 mg. jan 2012

Nerve blocks in neck over 6/7 months 3ccs at a time every 2 weeks

Gabapentin300 mg apr 2012

Lyrica 75 mg. sept 2012

Co topiramate 25 mg apr 2013

Apo trimip 25 mg June 2013

Eltroxin. Apr 2013

Cymbalta apr 2013 60 mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the forum, Vdoll. Please do check out the links that Petu posted.  Pristiq is a horrible drug to quit in large part because it wasn't designed for tapering off. You'll find all the details in the "Tips for Tapering Pristiq" topic.  Whatever you do, don't try the every other day method. That's almost certain to cause severe withdrawal symptoms.


I'm glad that you found us before attempting a taper on your own.

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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  • 5 months later...



Over a six week period I slowly weened myself off of this medication. Even though a lot of people said NOT to break up these pills I found that it was my only option. I used a pill cutter to cut off aproximatly 20% of the pill per week. The taper itself wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. As the dose got lower I became increasingly nauseous and experienced brain zaps. What I really struggled with was being OFF PRISTIQ completely. For an entire week my nausea and brain zaps were terrible. On day 2 of NO PRISTIQ I also developed a fever and had bad body aches (if felt like I had the flu). This lasted for about a week. I also used dramamine and ibuprofen to help with my withdrawal symptoms. I knew that if I just waited it out that it would pass; and it did. By day 8 with NO PRISTIQ I was feeling a lot better. I was able to goto the gym and not fall over when I got out of work. I am only on day 10 but I feel so happy and relieved that I am free. I honestly thought that I would be on this medication for the rest of my life. I just want everyone out there to know that it is POSSIBLE and that you can do it. Throughout this process I have been jogging and doing yoga. It really helps. Now for the first time in over 5 years I can go on vacation or sleep over a friends house without having to take a pill. 


It is possible! 

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  • Administrator

That's excellent news, vdoll.


How long have you been off Pristiq?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Administrator

Please keep in touch and let us know how you're doing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Vdoll, congratulations!


It's not unusual after a fast taper for people to feel better for a while and then to have a "relapse" of symptoms at some point in the future, often around three to six months out. This may or may not happen to you--hopefully it won't. But if it does, you may be tempted to think your "disease" has returned. It hasn't; this is just delayed withdrawal, which is actually quite common.


If that happens, you can get support here for dealing with the symptoms (there's a lot of great information in the Symptoms and Self-Care section) and you can probably ride it out.


I'm not trying to make you worry--this may not happen to you at all. I just want you to know that if it does, you aren't suffering from a disease that has recurred, you're experiencing another aspect of AD withdrawal that is fairly typical, and you can get through it and stay off meds if you want.

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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