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JoCameron I'm in hell - Pristiq withdrawal


JoCameron

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It is with much relief that I find this forum. Thank you so much for letting me join.

 

My history with antidepressants started approximately 12yrs ago when I was was put on Paxil. After taking that for 2yrs I was then swapped over to Zoloft which saw me through the next 8yrs. I was then sent to a psychiatrist who decided that a relatively new and better drug called Pristiq was the one for me. She started me on 50mg and then upped the dose to 100mg. Admittedly for some time I felt great but as with all the other drugs they seem to lose their effectiveness eventually. 

 

It is my own wish that I end my relationship with antidepressants. I don't want the dependancy on them anymore and feel that the time is right for me with begin withdrawing. I have tried to withdraw before without much success and found myself back on them fairly quickly. This time I have been determined but the side effects are overwhelming.

 

To begin with I have been cutting tablets which seems to be a no no, but as pointed out on this forum, with only two dosages there doesn't seem to be many options to the consumer. I started by alternating 100mg one day and 50mg the next. Whilst there were some side effects I felt able to deal with them and I continued with this for 3 weeks. Over a period of another 3 weeks I dropped down to 50mg per day. Still going ok - side effects such as brain snaps, dizziness, lethargy and nausea starting to become more prevalent.  I then took the same approach by taking 50mg one day 25mg the next weaning myself down to 25mg per day. From here my life has turned on its head. I am currently trying to take 25mg one day and nothing the next resulting in brain snaps that render me unable to see properly, dizziness, tears, nausea, irritability, moodiness. It feels like hell on wheels and I'm quite beside myself. Some days I can't manage to stay at work. I don't know what to do and which direction to turn. Would love some advice, am feeling so desperate.

13yrs ago - Paxil for 2yrs.

Zoloft 100mg for 8 yrs

Pristiq 100mg for 2yrs

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Jo, I'm glad that you joined us, maybe we can help to get things stabilised again for you. 

Pristiq is very tricky to taper as you have discovered, because of the way it is manufactured.

 

It is never a good thing to alternate doses, the nervous system gets destabilised and the 

symptoms can be horrendous as you have discovered.  Are your pills 100 or 50mg?

As you were feeling withdrawal symptoms at 50mg I would suggest around 75mg  to 

try and stabilise, but you need to take it every day. When you have stabilised you can begin

a slow and safe taper.  The topics for tapering pristiq 

 

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

 

We recommend tapering no more than 10% of the current dose every 4-6 weeks. Topic on tapering 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

You will get through this and should feel better quite quickly. 

 

Thank you for posting your meds in your sig, it is very helpful. It would be good if you could include any other

meds, over the counter ones including supplements, as there can be interactions between many of them and

it can help us to see if that is happening. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thank you so much for your advice. I will keep in touch to let you know how I go. You asked about my pills? They are 100mg. The only other thing I am taking at the moment is B6 for menopausal symptoms. I don't tend to take anything else much at all. Thanks again for this forum, so helpful.

13yrs ago - Paxil for 2yrs.

Zoloft 100mg for 8 yrs

Pristiq 100mg for 2yrs

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Jo--

 

Since you've been taking less than 50 mg for a while, it might be sufficient to reinstate at 50.  

 

The most important thing, as mammaP says, is to take the same dose every day consistently at the same time every day.  So whatever dose you choose now, commit to it and stick with it.

 

You've tapered too fast (tapering while already having withdrawal symptoms is a sign you're going too fast) and doing the alternating doses thing is also destabilizing, so it's going to take a while to stabilize your CNS. Even with reinstating and holding, you're going to have some withdrawal symptoms for a while, and some better days and some worse ones. Don't be alarmed, that's normal.

 

Keep a daily journal of your dose, the time you took it, and your symptoms that day. Rank your symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. Symptoms will come and go and wax and wane, that's normal, but over a period of several weeks (and eventually months as you taper) you'll be able to look at your journal and see what is typical for you.  You will see the patterns emerge over time.

 

Your own body is the expert on withdrawal and as you listen to it, it will tell you how fast you can taper.

 

Meanwhile, while you're holding at the same dose and getting stable, you can use that time to read the thread on tapering Pristiq. It's a tricky one to taper, and I think people have tried several different approaches. As you read through it and think about it, you can figure out how you want to approach your own taper, and get prepared, so that when you're feeling stable again you'll have a plan for tapering that will minimize symptoms and maximize success.

 

With the history you describe above, I think you have every reason to expect success, but it's going to require a much slower tapering process than you have probably been planning. You've been taking these meds for over ten years, so they've remodeled your brain, and it needs time to repair and remodel itself back to a normal baseline state. So you probably need to allow over a year to get all the way off and allow your brain to repair and remodel itself. I think 18 months to two years would be a safe and reasonable time frame. 

 

However, your body is the ultimate expert. Listen carefully to it. We're all different.

 

I've seen and worked with hundreds of people over the years, and given the history you describe, as long as you're patient and cautious, you have every reason to expect success. I'm glad you're here. Best of luck to you!

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Oh, I just noticed that it sounds like you're cutting 100 mg tablets. I seem to recall that cutting Pristiq tablets is problematic and can intensify your symptoms. I'm not very familiar with Pristiq and my browser's being sluggish so I can't look it up right now--does it come in a 50 mg tablet?

 

If so, see if you can get some of those ASAP and use those instead of cutting tablets.

 

And read through the Pristiq topic thread and see what other people have done regarding the difficulties with cutting tablets. I think a lot of people transition to Effexor, which is chemically closely related to Pristiq. Seems like some folks have found ways to taper straight off the Pristiq too. I think it's pretty extensively discussed in that thread.

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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  • Administrator

Welcome, JoCameron.

 

Please read the Pristiq tapering topic, mammaP posted the link for you.

 

You might want to confer with Dr. Rob Purssey http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/?p=47108

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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