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Mogfish: successful taper directly off Pristiq using cutting up method

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mogfish

I would firstly like to say a big thank you to Alto and the other members of this site for the invaluable information and support I have received over the past 18 months whilst withdrawing directly from pristiq.

 

I have been on and off antidepressants for the best part of 16 years with little success with treating my "depression". About 4 years ago I was put on Pristiq after another failed attempt to be free of antidepressant medication. I had a very obvious pattern to my mental and physical health whilst being put on and pulled off sometimes cold turkey from various antidepressants but mostly within the SSRI or SNRI family of meds. But it was only since finding this site and relating to stories on here which then prompted me to get hold of my medical records,  that the pattern become blatantly obvious to me. I only wish the doctors treating me could have seen the pattern which was staring them in the face.Time and time again i reported feeling worse on the medications, reporting anxiety, bouts of rage, flushing, shaking, insomnia, sugar cravings and a blood pressure that whilst on 50mg of pristiq required 3 different types of blood pressure medication at once to keep it under control. I am 40 years old, not particularly overweight  so found this to be very alarming. 

 

I must also add here that I had a severe reaction to effexor several years ago which is why crossing over to effexor was not an option for me

 

About 18 months ago after coming through a difficult relationship breakup for which my doctor wanted to increase my Pristiq  to 100mg (which I refused) I decided that the antidepressants were not helping me and probably never did so i wanted off them. My Doctor reluctantly agreed to decrease the dose with a view to cessation at some stage. My doctor was a firm believer that I would need to be on antidepressants for the rest of my life but knew me to be a stubborn patient that would do it my way anyway so she agreed for me to try.

I briefly tried my doctors way which we have all heard before of a ridiculously fast taper or one tablet every second day to only end up feeling out of control and miserable which is when I decided to "DR GOOGLE" :) which led me to this site. So after reading the info on here and with a bit of determination and a pill cutter, I began my Pristiq taper back in February 2013.

The method I used this time around was to cut the tablets up.

At first I took a half in the morning then a quarter late in the afternoon. I would often end up with a big half and a little half when cutting the pills up so I would take the big halves for a about 2 months then swap to the little halves therefore giving me a smallish dose reduction. I held on each reduction for about 6 to eight weeks and sometimes longer depending on how I was feeling.

To try to simply summarise my dosing method which took about 14 months in total…...

*Big half  in morning quarter in early evening (around 4pm) 

*Small half in morning and quarter in evening

*Small half in morning then 1/8 in evening

*big half in morning and evening dose dropped

*small half in morning

*big quarter in morning

*small quarter in morning

*Big eighth in morning

*small eighth in morning

* a nibble of the already tiny tablet  :))

then i forgot to take a nibble for a few days as I got busy so decided to see how I would go. unfortunately I experienced mild but concerning withdrawal symptoms including "brain zaps" so with advice from Alto I reinstated a tiny nibble exactly one month and one day later.This seemed to do the trick for me and when I attempted to jump off again I was able to do so without any head shocks. I actually stopped the pristiq completely the day before i went in for spinal surgery so I had a rough few weeks with pain and feeling teary all the time but this time around I didn't have the head shocks so persisted with discontinuation. I also wasn't sure if the emotional issues were due to the anaesthetic, pain medications and having way too much time on my hands as i was off work to recuperate.

I must also mention that I took fish oil and magnesium and had regular saunas to aid the process but was taking these before tapering anyway so they were not new to my system.

 

I can say now that I am the happiest I have been in a very very long time. I am just over 2 months into a loving and healthy relationship with a man who knows what I have been through and although he doesn't really "understand" as such, he has been very supportive of me and he is a funny bugger so we laugh and laugh when we are together which has been wonderful medicine. 

 

I must also add a side effect I have noticed since being pristiq free and that is a , small but noticeable weight loss (probably about 4kg in the first month). I have not been eating differently in fact have been a little naughtier than usual with going out for dinner a little too often and my boyfriend does love his chocolate which it would be unsociable to let him eat it on his own ;) but I no longer crave sugary and fatty foods at night like I used to for years and years whilst on various antidepressants.

 

I am now 3 months and 2 weeks Pristiq free and although I have had an episode  a few weeks ago ( the magic 3 month mark!!) of feeling teary and itchy ( my scalp would get very itchy during certain stages of my taper.) I have come through all that and am feeling certain that I have beaten this horrible drug once and for all. So again I will say F@#K YOU PRISTIQ. I WIN :)))

 

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mogfish

Just to edit something I wrote incorrectly in my previous post…..I actually reinstated a crumb of Pristiq 2 and a half weeks after completely stopping not one month and one day as I mistakingly posted earlier today. :)

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WinningThrough

This is brilliant, Mogfish. Well done you! Great about the new relationship!

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Altostrata

Yay, Mogfish! So happy for you. Thank you for that excellent detail about your taper, this will help a lot of people.

 

Please do visit us from time to time and let us know how you are doing.

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dalsaan

Good on you Mogfish.   I loved your little cherrio to Prisitiq (very Australian ;) and yes - YOU WIN)   Enjoy your new life and the laughs.

 

Take care

 

D

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Rhiannon

Yes--YOU WIN!

 

Way to go!

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Jemima

Thank you for posting this inspiring story, Mogfish, and may your successes go on and on!

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Fireball2014

Congratulations, Mogfish! I am so very happy for you! Please continue to let us know how it's going. Your an inspiration to me. And I want you to know that as a fellow nurse I am giving patients a "heads up" about all med side effects & interactions, etc. Our in hospital pharmacy just caught a major interaction for a patient before discharge. Doctors are not checking meds out carefully. Well, I pray I will be a success story like you! Enjoy life!

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Nikki

Very happy to read your story and that your life is good and  you are doing well.

 

Great news:)

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mogfish

Thank you everyone for your support and encouraging words.

 

I am doing really well. Yes i still have the odd moment where I feel angry and or irritable which is out of context to the situation but these are few and far between. I still have nights where I struggle to get to sleep or I wake around 3 or 4 AM and can't get back to sleep but again these tend to happen occasionally and only last for a few days then pass. This is when I tend to get cranky easily also which I imagine sleep deprivation would lead to crankiness in  people not dealing with antidepressant withdrawal. When I have these periods, I no longer get anxious or concerned but just tell myself it is all part of the process and it will pass. I actually think this helps for the "waves" to pass quicker.

 

Every year I go to Bali by myself and do a fasting detox retreat and i will be heading there again in September which I am really looking forward to. I did do a fast last year whilst in the middle of my pristiq taper and I was actually quite unwell and in hindsight fasting whilst tapering was not a good idea but I just didn't connect the two at the time. this time I will be more mindful.

 

I am working more than I have done in a long time, I am still dating my beautiful man, my daughter is healthy and happy and life is good.

 

It really is possible to come through anti depressant withdrawal and live a normal healthy life. Antidepressants were wrong for me, and I believe prescribed inappropriately and as a consequence I suffered needlessly for many many years and the people closest to me especially my daughter were affected also.

In saying that, I do believe that in some cases they may be beneficial but certainly not in the abundance  that they are prescribed in todays world.

Whats done is done though as it has been done to all of you who now find yourselves suffering and looking for answers, solutions and hope. There is hope though and the suffering you are all experiencing will pass in time. Hang in there everyone, please hang in there.

I will continue to check in and update my progress and offer support just as many of you provided me with advice and support when needed.

 

Alto, you should be so proud of yourself for what you have created here. I honestly believe that this site has given me my life back and for that I am eternally grateful.

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Altostrata

Thank you so much, mogfish. You are paying it forward with your success story.

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dalsaan

Great to hear about your life off meds and your reflections on the experience

 

D

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Athena

Bravo Mogfish!!

 

I'm so very happy for you. Your courage has rewarded you.

 

Thank you again for posting on my thread. I will read attentively your thread, as it seems I have some of the same symptoms you had: missing the words, VERY itchy (especially scalp too), etc

 

Enjoy the good times! :)

 

Athena

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mogfish

I actually started writing this post on another members intro but decided it was better to put in my success story....Alto and Administrators, if this post is inappropriate then please feel free to delete it and I will completely understand :)

 

I can imagine how difficult and confusing it must be for everyone on here when the Doctor is often telling them to do one thing and the administrators and other members on the forum offer other suggestions and advice from research and personal experience.

 

I have seen it so many times where a member reaches a point of desperation whilst in withdrawal , goes to their GP, psychiatrist or psychiatric hospital and as a result are commenced on multiple drugs or put back on a high dose of antidepressant and are right back where they started from and sometimes worse!! 

I imagine because of legal reasons, the administrators including the very very knowledgable Alto are not allowed to come out and say " this is what you need to do, so instead they offer suggestions or say what might work, but from experience I can tell you that they "KNOW" what they are talking about but they have to be careful how they word themselves and as the disclaimer says, this is not medical advice and to discuss medical care with a knowledgable medical practitioner......

well as you know, I have successfully got off these crappy tablets after more than 15 years of hell being on them and I kept my medical practitioner far far away from me throughout the process!!! The odd time I mentioned my progress when attending for other issues I received absolutely no support but was just told I was uneccesarily drawing out withdrawal........considering my 15 years of failed attempts to come off antidepressants using the methods my Doctor advised I am so very very happy that I followed the advice from this site and followed my gut instinct and listened to my body because here I am now drug free and happy!!

 

I kept my taper very private and only told my daughter of what I was doing for the majority of my withdrawal process. I did let my parents know when I was close to finishing as they had in fact noticed a positive difference in me and said that I seemed calmer and happier and i did want their support for myself and my daughter should the last part of the taper be hard ( which it was)

 

I'm not saying this was necesarily a good idea but I think it actually had some advantages in that I had no loved ones worrying about me and insisting I get medical intervention when I went through a bad patch. (I had many many lengthy discussions with my daughter about what was happening with me and what might happen and she knew it was ok to tell my parents if she was really worried about me.)

 

I can only imagine how hard it must be for those of you going through withdrawal that have well meaning loved ones who have to watch the pain and suffering you experience and want it to stop as much as you do. i sometimes wonder if I had of told my family if they would have encouraged me to reinstate or "get some help" and if I had of done that would I be here today now more than 6 months Pristiq free and feeling pretty damn good!! :)

 

 

I wonder how many of the prescribers of these drugs have been on them themselves and if so did they successfully get off them using the tapering method that they advise patients to use????? 

 

I will say it again, I am not anti the medical profession but from my own experience in both my work and personal life, these drugs are waaay over prescribed and quite frankly they are not understood by the very people who prescribe them.

 

I wish for you all the recovery that you are hoping for and that you all deserve. Believe in yourselves,listen to your body and  follow your gut instincts as they will serve you well.

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mammaP

Brilliant post Mogfish, I am so glad that the slow taper worked for you.  :)

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Mjau

Thank you for sharing your story Mogfish! It is so inspiring! I've just started the journey myself, after 17 years on ADs. I have decided now that once and for all I want to be free. I love what you say - listen to your body and follow your gut instinct - because that's exactly what this is about! :)

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Pushinthroughket

Congratulations Mogfish you must be so proud of yourself. I have found your story to be a glimmer of hope in what is about to be a possibly scary process. 

 

I am wondering how your concentration was whilst tapering- were you able to attend work and social (in my case study too) as 'normal?'

 

18 is such a long time, I am 100% willing to put the effort in, I am strong enough now, but I am still apprehensive and want to prepare myself as much as possible.

 

All the best I hope life stays positive for you :)

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Huggy

Awesome work Mogfish and congratulations! I am just starting a Pristiq taper from 100mg after 3 years of taking them. It is really heartening to hear a real live Pristiq taper success story!

My taper plan is pretty similar to yours (I am cutting pills) but it sounds like I am still planning to go too fast. I might amend the plan to include 1/8 tablets to get closer to actual 10% dose reductions rather than doing it in 12.5mg (quarter tablet) increments. I've also given myself leeway to speed up dose reductions, having read this and a couple of other posts it really is smarter to go slower.

Cheers,

 

Huggy

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Athena

Mogfish, do you still have any symptoms left? Do you still have difficulty "finding your words" and feel the "foggy brain" feeling?

Thank you!

Athena

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mogfish

Hi MammaP, Mjau,Athena, pushingthrough and huggy,

apologies for the delayed response. I thought i had responded a little while back but looks like it didn't go to post.

 

MammaP, as always, thank you for your words of encouragement. You are a gem of a person xo

 

Mjau, thank you for your kind words and all the best with your taper.

 

Pushingthrough, my concentration was not at its best whilst tapering and at times still a little cloudy even now but perhaps that  is more stress related than withdrawal. I was able to work throughout the process although being a "casual worker" where I can choose my hours to a point was a big help but I will say that for many months now I have worked more hours than what I was able to do for a long time and now I am off the Pristiq I am sooooo much less tired than what I was whilst on it.

 

Huggy, all the best with your taper and the best advice I have for you is to go slow and listen to your body. It is normal to feel "out of sorts", grumpy etc but  if it gets too much or you experience those dreaded brain zaps then slow down and reinstate if needed. I promise you that a slow and steady taper will give you the best results and your body and gut instincts will let you know when it is time to attempt another cut or to slow down and hold at a current dose. We all want off these horrible drugs and I too was tempted to rush just to be done with the whole tapering experience but am so glad that I didn't

I must add here that the rate I tapered at suited me but it may be way too fast for others.

 

Athena, I will say that yes I probably do still have symptoms left. I still have little tolerance for stress and still have the occasional bouts of anger but they come now not out of the blue as they used to but more when I have been experiencing stress for a little while. I have had the odd night terror on and off where I wake up screaming ( I did this a couple of times in a matter of weeks but haven't had any for a few weeks now so not sure of its relation to antidepressant use/withdrawal) I'm going through a very stressful time at the moment with health issues, family issues, and relationship issues so that may have something to do with the extra symptoms I am experiencing. The head itching that I experienced throughout my taper on and off is back at the moment but is not debilitating, just annoying.

 

I don't think I have trouble finding my words anymore which is a good thing.

 

I must say though that despite the stresses I am going through at the moment, I think I am coping fairly well and anxiety although occasionally still there is nothing like it was when I was taking pristiq.

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eiledon20

Great success story. Thank you.

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Athena

Thank you Mogfish!

I wish you the best and that your stressful situations become easier.

 

Athena

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eiledon20

Quote:

"I can only imagine how hard it must be for those of you going through withdrawal that have well meaning loved ones who have to watch the pain and suffering you experience and want it to stop as much as you do. i sometimes wonder if I had of told my family if they would have encouraged me to reinstate or "get some help" and if I had of done that would I be here today now more than 6 months Pristiq free and feeling pretty damn good!! :)"

 

 

This hits a spot in my heart.

 

I hope im doing the right thing....

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Fresh

Hi Mogfish ,  I've been thinking of you and wondering how things have been in the past 12 months?

 

Most people seem to experience waves after stopping , even though the overall trajectory is upwards.

 

I hope yours have resolved quickly , but am curious to hear more of your journey.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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mogfish

Hi Fresh and my fellow SA buddies.....Warning, this is a looooong post !!

 

I have been debating for several months whether or not i should update my progress but now is probably a good time to update as I have made it through the other side of quite possibly the worst 12 months of my life. 

 

In January of last year (2015), I broke up with my boyfriend who I cared for very deeply. I was initially sad but ok but after a few weeks I developed horrible anxiety type symptoms which at the time was an extreme pounding heart and inability to sleep and very restless.

Although my heart pounded it was of normal speed just very very strong to the point where it became very uncomfortable.

 

I went to my GP and I remember at the time her saying to me that people with anxiety often radiate a look of terror and desperation and I don't have that look and she thought perhaps it was something else. She gave me a script for Isoptin which is a cardiac medication  although this did very little for the pounding heart..

 

My memory of this time is a little blurry with the details but around the same time, I had a check up on my kidneys as I had a rare kidney disorder called nutcracker syndrome which is entrapment of the left renal vein as well as a few other abnormalities that came about to compensate for the blockages.

I also had a chronic large blood clot in the same area. My latest ultrasound showed a greater than 60% stenosis in the area  but my kidney specialist said that the scan was probably wrong as it is highly unlikely that someone of my age (40 at the time) would develop stenosis so quickly as it didin't show up on previous scans although the other abnormalities have shown up consistently for years..........bear with me with all the details as they are relevant as to what happened later...........

 

Anyway, weeks past with the pounding heart and poor sleep and then the true anxiety kicked in with poor appetite, restlessness,  a sense of panic and a deep deep sadness. I was basically a mess. My parents were very concerned about my mental well being and I was terrified about what was happening to me.

 

I ended up going to a "retreat' type place in Queensland that supposedly specialised in mental health and post surgery recovery. ( I had had the spinal surgery 9 months before and still had some minor issues and was getting conflicting information as to what I could and couldn't do) This place worked with both a naturopath and a doctor as well as an exercise physiologist and a accupunturist and they supposedly understood antidepressant withdrawal. They also promised to get to the bottom of all my physical issues also  so I thought it would be perfect for me......HUGE MISTAKE!!!

 

It was a 4 week program. The good thing was that in the first few days they found that I had extremely high aldosterone levels which would explain some of my symptoms. Aldosterone is a hormone that balances fluid in the body and it is secreted from the adrenal glands. Elevated aldosterone is often a symptom of  adrenal tumours,  or renal artery stenosis which had shown up on my scans only months before.

After going over my previous scans and with the elevated aldosterone levels,the doctor in Queensland told me that I would need to have my kidney removed!!!!  I was very distressed with this news and asked that I have further testing in Queensland but they told me to leave it for now and get my mental health sorted out as that was the main concern for me being there. 

 

At the beginning of the program I was put on multiple supplements including very high doses of GABA ( I was taking 2 scoops up to 5 times a day!!!)  and a supplement called Proxan which is a mix of 5HTP and SAME. I kept on asking if I should be taking these supplements as my nervous system was still unstable from antidepressant withdrawal. i was told to just go with the program and that I was asking too many questions and was being resistant!! I was also put on a high fat, and extremely low carb diet with virtually no grains and definitely no sugar including fruit.

 

I literally did not sleep for more than 1-2 hours a night for 11 nights!!!! I was beside myself and was having extreme thoughts of suicide, I was desperately depressed, very emotionally labile and at times volatile, I was very paranoid and I was mildly hallucinating also...I say mildly as although I could see faces in the walls etc, I knew that they were not actually there. I was having night sweats, tingling limbs and face especially around the mouth. I asked again if i should be taking all the supplements and questioned specifically the GABA and Proxan and again was told to go with the program and to not be resistant .

 

During all this time I was having at least 3 hours of psychotherapy a day, and was not allowed to exercise as they were concerned about my blood pressure that was through the roof and my renal artery stenosis. 

 

After 11 days I thought to myself F#@K this! I think it is the stuff that I am taking so I stopped taking the GABA and reduced the Proxan to one a day......and that night I slept!!! was only about 4 or 5 hours but I got the sleep I needed so desperately. I thought about going home but the cost of the program was very very expensive and I felt that I would be letting my daughter, myself and my parents down and wasting money if I gave in and left......

 

Late in the third week during one of my accupuncture treatments ( a positive part of the program) I told the accupunturist how bad I was feeling and she said I was on way too many supplements and although the program was good for some people she did not believe it was good for everyone. Hooray!!! someone was finally listening. She had also only found out that day that I was not being allowed any exercise other than a morning walk and could understand better why I was so pissed off!! lol.....part of the program was supposed to be for yoga, personal training and all sorts of other enjoyable activities. Considering the amount of money I paid for this program I did ask why I was not doing any enjoyable activities to balance out all the psychotherapy and I was told that I had FOMO ( fear of missing out) That was pretty much the final straw for me so after 3 weeks of hell I left the program but had to sign a release form saying i would not talk about the program....that in itself is a little odd i think.....

 

When I got home I followed up with kidney specialist and had further testing which showed that my adrenal glands were normal and my kidney veins had no blockages, stenosis or clots!!!! Basically a  bit of a medical miracle. Although my nursing brain is baffled as were my doctors, I wonder if the intensive accupuncture I was receiving actually somehow reversed the problem???

 

Despite the scans being clear, my aldosterone levels remained high and symptoms persisted with pounding heart, early morning waking, depressed, angry actually I was having completely out of control rages and sadly these were mostly towards my beautiful daughter and Mum. My daughter moved in with my parents as I got so bad there were episodes where I was physically  violent towards her :((

 

The kidney specialist put the elevated levels down to anxiety and couldn't explain the sudden disappearance of my long standing kidney abnormalities.

My GP continued to monitor me and wanted to put me back on an antidepressant but the melatonin one called Valdoxan or Agomelatine. She knew that i would say no, which I did but at the time I was so unwell and deeply deeply depressed and angry I can completely understand why she felt that she had to offer me other options. I have to commend her as she listened to me, and allowed me total input into my health. She encouraged me to see a naturopath and supported me every step of the way. I think this has been an eye opening experience for her too as to the potential for antidepressants to cause long standing issues. 

 

I will add that at this time I actually looked the picture of health. I had lost over 10kg, my skin looked healthy and my body was strong from all the yoga but I still felt like **** inside .

 

 I agreed to see a psychologist and visited a naturopath for guidance and she also told me that the amount of supplements I had been put on was ridiculous and that supplementing with GABA, SAME and 5 HTP can actually be quite dangerous for some.This naturopath did suggest that I get my gut health right so I took glutamine and probiotics for about a month. I also reintroduced good carbs including spelt breads and pasta and fruits back into my diet and I actually think this made a huge difference to my mental well being. I think part of my angry state was actually  being HANGRY for carbs! lol

 

So basically from february last year till a few months ago, I was an absolute mess. I still don't know what caused it but I think it was a combination of a few things.......delayed withdrawal, heart break, stress, post surgery issues, and I think the stay in Queensland completely tipped me over the edge. I also believe that my kidney issues had something to do with the elevated aldosterone levels although the kidney specialist was unable to give any answers other than just telling me I had anxiety and told me to go back on antidepressants. I did also get prescribed a diuretic called aldactone which inhibits aldosterone. I also started taking inositol around the same time and that's when the heart pounding finally began to subside. I no longer take the aldactone but I continue to take inositol as required.

 

I have actually been ok for the past few months. I sold my home in august which was stressful, I moved into my parents house early december as I havent had success buying a new home. My dad was diagnosed with  lung cancer in December and had surgery just before Christmas which was successful in removing the cancer, but he had other complications resulting in a 3 week hospital stay. he's at home now and is weak, deconditioned, a little bit vague and very very demanding!! but I'm coping with it all.

2015 has been a **** of a year and i was glad to see the back of it but I'm going into 2016 hopeful.

 

I still take supplement but ones that I have researched extensively. I take B6, magnesium, Vitamin C,probiotics and Ashwaghanda every single day. This combination has been a god send for me. I also take Vitamin D, and fish oil sporadically. My diet has been pretty good and although I indulge in treats and even a beer or wine on occasion I maintain a diet high in fresh and often organic salads and vegetables, good quality meat and fish and plenty of good fats. I still do yoga twice a week and living close to the water now  I am blessed to be able to go for frequent walks a long the beach which I find to be very calming and therapeutic.

 

I'm no longer angry all the time and I no longer have rages. :))

 

I sleep peacefully most nights and can even have the odd short nanna nap during the day which was not possible for me a few months back. I am still sad at times but I think much of that is because I am a little lonely. I still get an intermittent itchy scalp and I have the very occasional night terror but these are very very rare now and a lot less intense.

 

If you have read this far, please don't be disheartened by what has happened to me as my situation was very unique as all of ours are but I had other factors coming into play ie dodgy kidneys! But despite the year from hell, I have come out the other side just as I believe everyone on here will too in time.

 

wishing you all good health and a little piece of joy in each and every day :)

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goodwill

Hello MogFish,

I hope you are continuing to do well now.

I signed into this forum after reading your success story on withdrawing from Desvenlafaxine. I was searching for one like that and was very glad to have found your post last night. Well, I signed in today and read your last post just now. I must say it was very overwhelming for me as I have begun to wonder if your dry cut approach of the medicine was correct. I was planning to do the same. Did you have any second thoughts about it, thinking back?

Would you have done it any differently? All the same, with no lower doses available in the market there are not many choices left for us!

 

In a few weeks from now, I plan to start tapering Desvenlafaxine 50mg (which Iam taking twice daily) and I am sure I would like to be in touch with you! This is my first post here and I am starting another thread with my history and to record my taper journey, the link to which I will come right back and update here.

 

I do hope you would be around for any interactions.

Good luck!

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mogfish

Hi Goodwill.I'm so sorry that you were overwhelmed by my story. Please remember that I had other medical issues as well as a broken heart that came in to play when I had my break down. I also had a very stressful few months leading up to that time where I really wasn't taking care of myself.

Now that I am on the other side I look back and think it was the break through rather than break down that I had to have. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and yes there are probably things I would have done differently such as not being so complacent with the whole process and thinking that once I was off the pristiq everything would be OK and it would be fine to have late nights, eat crap food and drink too much....oh and smoke cigarettes again and even pot on occasion.

 

I started out doing all the right things but then I got complacent. So that's what I would do differently. I would still cut up the tablets as I really had no other option. Perhaps I should have gone slower but I listened to what my body was telling me at the time and I coped really well with the tapering process and I definitely had less issues than many others. ..but you see that is another piece of advice I will offer you....Don't compare your journey with others. Some will have an easier journey than you and some will be harder but although everyone's journey will have similarities, everyone's journey is still different. Just make sure your main focus is on what is happening to you, not what others are going through.

Please also have a look at Aluas thread. She is tapering from pristiq using a compounding pharmacy which might be a viable option for you?

I wish you all the best goodwill and yes I will support you on your journey

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goodwill

Nice to hear back from you MogFish. You have given some good tips there, thanks!

 

 

I also started taking inositol around the same time and that's when the heart pounding finally began to subside. I no longer take the aldactone but I continue to take inositol as required.

 

 

I know exactly what heart pounding you are talking about. Elsewhere you have noted that it's not the heart rate but the force of the heart beat. Bang on! This is something I also have ever since my last withdrawal attempt 7 years before and specifically when I try to nap in the day time. Even if I do manage to get some shut-eye, the pounding aggravates further and many a times I wake up with a headache. It is a very sickly thing. But the docs have never understood what I am even talking about. Surprisingly now when I am in the end of tapering K, I see the pounding has come down to a great extent, yet not altogether gone.

So how is the pounding now for you?

 

I did look into the compounding option and got a pharmacy that agreed to do it. They were okay with taking bulk order for a single dose like 20mg but not something like 45mg,40,35 et al. Wonder how it works in other places though. It certainly looked to be a pricey affair. But that's when I saw your success story!! I also got to know about the 25mg being available here, so I plan to stick to dry cutting. Maybe when I get too close to end of taper I can think of compounding for like 10 or 5 mg.

 

Thank you so much for being around and offering to support me through the journey. It means a lot really.

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mogfish

Hi again Goodwill!

 

It sound like we are experiencing very similar with regards to the heart pounding. I too was unable to nap during the day and was also quite restless and irritable when the pounding was at it's worst. I have just had a recent but only moderate bout of it again which started about 3 weeks ago. I can actually track it's progress and symptoms now as it tends to start with waking up early in the morning feeling unsettled, progressing to feeling a little bit restless during the day and night with tossing and turning, then the heart pounding kicks in and full blown insomnia.

For me, it seems that elevated aldosterone levels bring about these symptoms but the reason for the elevated levels is unclear and may possibly be just due to stress. With my last episode, I took aldactone for a few days and the symptoms subsided but i was going away on a relaxing health retreat so thought that if the pounding was caused by stress/anxiety then surely it would go away whilst I was away in total relaxation...not so unfortunately, as the symptoms worsened so I started on aldactone about a week ago and the symptoms have pretty much all gone away now apart from the mildest of heart pounding at bed time but I am actually able to fall asleep and stay asleep easily. I do still take about 2g of Inositol on occasion as well as magnesium, activated b6, probiotics, ashwaghanda ( absolutely love this stuff) and vitamin c every day which for me is a great mix. 

 

It's fantastic that you have the 25 mg tablets available to you.  25 mg Pristiq should make your taper a little easier as I imagine for several months you will still be taking a whole 50mg, a whole 25mg and then tapering the remaining 25mg.

Perhaps you would only need 10mg and 5mg or even just 5mg compounded tablets to start anyway eg 50mg tab + 25mg tab + 5mg compounded x3 = 90mg = first 10% taper,

then when you are ready you could drop by 5mg tablet each time  until you get down to just the 50mg tablet then re asses and go from there with 25mg tablet + compounded tablets. This would for the most part be going slower than the 10% taper recommended but I would imagine that slower is better when it comes to getting off this horrible drug and you could do it with only needing the one 5mg dose compounded right down till 45mg which would be over the half way mark!! Yay!!

Whatever you decide to do Goodwill, just know that you are heard,supported and understood and I will be quietly cheering for you :)

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goodwill

Thank you Mogfish. I am sorry for the delayed reply. I had other things needing my attention and just could not get back to you although this was prying in my mind all the while. You gave me a brilliant suggestion to taper by using compounded 10 and 5 mg meds. I had not thought about compounding after I decided to go with dry cuts the way you did and after I got to know that 25mg was available. I have now thought of going with the 10/5mg meds and also spoke to a compounding pharmacy. It works out to be okay costwise when I approached them a second time. (earlier they had told me a rough estimate that was humongous)

 

I am thinking of a taper schedule like this:

 

95 mg - 50-25-10-10

90 mg - 50-25-10-5

85 mg - 50-25-10

80 mg - 50-20-10

75 mg - 50-25 etc..

 

This is less than 10% reduction. Each dose would be for a couple of weeks or going slower or faster as the body demands.

 

Once I reach 45mg, I can no longer go with 5 mg reductions, so then I would go in for 2.5mg, 1mg and so on as I progress to lower doses.

I think this way the taper would go for more than 1.5 years. But I'll get an idea if I can speeden up when I really start doing it.

 

Only catch here is with the compounding pharmacy telling me that they would have to dispatch a minimum of 300 capsules at one go of any dose that I order and that the expiry period would be just 6 months. With a combination of 10 and 5 mg I may not really use up all of them within the 6 month period and I might have about 50% or more that would be past expiry date at the end of 6 months and would need to order fresh batches for later use.

Thats something to think about.. but I have time to decide as I am still in the last few weeks of K .. And then some resting period before the Pristiq taper.

 

Quote

<<<<Whatever you decide to do Goodwill, just know that you are heard,supported and understood and I will be quietly cheering for you :)>>>

 

Thank you Mogfish! So sweet of you to say that!!!

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mogfish

Hi again Goodwill!

 

Take as long as you need to reply, there is no rush and I'm sure you will get back to me when you can.

 

Sounds like a good tapering schedule and remember that you could always just get 5mg compounded tablets dispensed. It would mean you are taking a few more tablets each day to get the required dose but perhaps cheaper and less waste with the 6 month expiry as 300 tablets would probably work out to be a little over 6 months supply anyway.

 

All the best with your remaining taper from the clonazepam and enjoy your rest in between. 

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goodwill

Hi Mogfish : glad to be writing to you after quite sometime. How is it going with you? I quite hope you are still happy to be free from Pristiq. Are you taking any other supplements or meds?

 

I wanted to update you that its 5 months since I got rid of Klonopin (0.25 mg). I am doing okay except for the earlier withdrawal symptoms like pounding heart and tinnitus which have been there ever since my first withdrawal attempt of Escitalopram. No new symptoms developed. I still have to get rid of Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq for you) 50mg-0-50mg. As suggested by you and others I gave myself quite sometime after stopping Klonopin (in the first week of April). I started Ayurveda medicines after consulting an Ayurveda doctor here. Its been a couple of months that I started taking them. They are meant to act as supportive medicines when I start tapering Desvenlafaxine. I met the Ayurveda doc yesterday and she advised me to continue for 2 more weeks and then start the Desvenlafaxine tapering.

In fact she told me I could drop the 50mg night tablet, but I am very skeptical about that. Her point is that since I am having Ayurveda to support, I can choose to take the bold jump. Then I told her about the availability of 25mg doses and she gave me that as a second option - that is, if not drop 50mg night dose as a whole, go with the 25mg dose for the night instead. I was still not happy and I told her that I would like to use the safest approach of going with the compounded doses, for which I am yet to seek a prescription from my psychiatrist and approach the pharmacy to give me 5mg capsules. That way (as I told you in an earlier post) I will drop by less than 10% every two weeks (95,90,85,80...) until reaching 50mg. And then request the pharmacy to give me 2.5mg capsules so that I continue to drop by less than 10% of the remaining 50mg. I know this is a long and tedious and pricey route, but this would be least risky and I will have the satisfaction of having done it right even if something goes wrong.

 

But then I am also tending to think greedy about dropping by 25mg as the doc says and then another 25mg so I will only have the morning 50mg dose. And go to the compounding pharmacy at this stage. Dry cutting like you did is another option that tempts me. Please let me know what you think is a wise way to go. I will ofcourse do my thinking no matter.. but want your thoughts. Thanks again.

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mogfish

Hi Goodwill!

glad to hear that you are doing well.

I'm actually doing really well for the most part. I still have a very low tolerance for stress but I no longer have any physical symptoms and have not had heart pounding for several months now. My sleep is great 90% of the time but do get occasional bouts of insomnia and am currently having some sleep disturbances for past week or so where I have been waking between 2.30 and 4.30 am and have difficulty getting back to sleep. I don't believe this to be withdrawal though, but rather a stress response as I am currently doing some renovations on a house before I move into it in 2 weeks time so I am preparing for a big move which we all know can be both stressful and exciting. 

 

Overall I would say that my sleep is the best it has been for as long as I can remember, and I'm going back 18 years or so. I now average about 8 hours sleep a night and most days I wake before my alarm. My body clock seems to be working really well for the most part and I rarely suffer from fatigue.

 

I take quite a number of supplements actually.

 

I currently take on an almost daily basis

 

Pure Activated B6 30mg 4 days per week alternating with an activated Multi B vitamin the other 3 days to make sure I get all the B vitamins

Vitamin C 3000mg daily (1500mg morning and night)  Immune system and adrenal support )

Vitamin D 5000mg 3 to 4 times per week

Vitamin E daily

A high dose probiotic daily

Krill Oil

Evening Primrose oil daily ( hormone support as I'm a 42 year old female)

Ashwaghanda ( adaptogen and stress reduction) but I know longer take this every day.

I also put a teaspoon of inositol powder in my smoothies some mornings but I actually do this more for the sweetness :)

 

Every night before bed I take

 

Magnesium

Zinc piccolate

Niacin 3000mg...the flushing kind ( It took me a few months to build up to this dose but I fall asleep very easily after taking it and my cholesterol is perfect)

 

I tend to have a supplement break every weekend or so where I have a couple of days off everything except the vitamin C and probiotic. There is no real science behind this except that if the levels are getting too high, a few days off will give my body time to excrete them naturally.

 

The only medication I take is a blood thinning medication as I have had multiple blood clots in the past. 

 

The reason why I take so many individual vitamins instead of a multi is because this way I can control exactly what I'm getting as I have found that most muli's a full of added stuff that I don't want. I get all my vitamins online at iherb as they are priced very well and really good quality.

 

It was trial and error for me to find what worked for me and desperation when my heart was pounding for so many months. I believe it was the introduction of high dose vitamin C, and ashwaghanda that actually stopped the heart pounding. 

 

I introduced all my supplements one by one so I would know if something was not ok for me.

 

As for your Pristiq taper, only you will know what is the best method for you. If your gut is telling you to go slowly with compounded pills and you can afford that then go for it. The 25mg tabs will make life so much easier for you and you do have the option of cutting up a 25mg for a few of your cuts

                eg 50mg, 25mg, and a half 25mg for a reduction of 12.5mg which is slightly over a 10% reduction for your first cut.

 

I know for me, i was able to make fairly big reductions in the first half of my taper but everybody is different and to be honest, I wish  I had of gone slower towards the end and even got compounding done for the last 10 or so mgs so i could have controlled the dosing more as cutting can be a little hit and miss especially at the smaller doses. Remember also, I was only dealing with a single drug and your scenario may be a little more complex.

 

You have heard it before but I will say it again Goodwill. listen to your body, be patient with yourself and the process. Only you will know what is best for you. i look forward to hearing of your success

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goodwill

I am so very happy to know you are doing great, Mogfish. You sound happy, God bless dear!!!!

Gives me so much hope and inspiration. I feel fatigued, drowsy, muscular pain in the body and what not. I hope one fine day I will be out of this killer drug and restore some lost health.

 

Congratulations on your new home, you must be all excited to move and settle in.

 

I am also taking Ashwagandha (Ashwashila from a brand named Patanjali here in India).

Medhavati is another tablet from the same brand. Both of these seem to be helping me with the pounding heart somewhat.

But I probably have some more time to go before I can see more effect from these, because I do get the unpleasant pounding during naps or early morning.

 

I am also wondering how it would be to file the tablet to get the desired approximate size . Of course since it cant be done radially, we need to remember how much we are filing each time so as to maintain the same approximate dose. Have you ever tried filing?

And another thing is, does the time release work without being disturbed when we cut up.

I once tried soaking up a single tablet in water for a whole 24 hour and saw that it remains like a round gel for a long time, giving me the idea that it is gets released into the blood stream really really slow. So, what happens to it when we cut - hopefully its not released in a rush? I need to experiment this sometime. But did you make any observations on these lines?

 

I am more confident about the taper that I am going to start sooner, as I have a big sis to fall back on whenever in need. Thank you Mogfish.

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overit

Hi mogfish did you have any sweating, panic or anything like that?

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ChessieCat

Hi there,

 

The staff at SA are wondering how you are.  We'd love to hear how you are doing now.   Would you mind dropping by and giving an update?

 

Thanks.

CC

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