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twirlie - Please help me - bad advice and Pristiq withdrawal. I am desperate.


twirlie

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I need help. I am struggling and need some reassurance that what my second doctor has done is right.

 

About 6 weeks ago I went to the Doctor and told her I was ready to get off of antidepressants. I was feeling good and also suffering some side effects such as memory loss, lack of libido and anger. I had been on Pristiq 100mg for 3 years and Lexapro 20mg for 7 years before that. I am in a new area and did not have a good relationship with this Doctor. She was very brisk and said the first week I should drop to 50mg Pristiq and then stop. There would be some uncomfortable withdrawal effects for a couple of weeks, but it would be okay after that.

 

I did that and for about 3 weeks suffered the horrendous effects it seems many people get such as shaking, back pain,  sweating, insomnia, depression, rage and nightmares. It was awful, but I was counting down the 2 weeks thinking it would get better. At around week 4 the physical symptoms were gone, but I was hit by the most intense anxiety and despair that I have ever experienced. This continues today. I went to a different Doctor who put me on Lovan 20 (fluoxetine) as she said it would be much easier to taper off of when I was ready. It has now been 9 days on Lovan and I still feel so desperate and anxious. She said the Lovan will take 2 weeks to work, but shouldn't I have felt something by now? I still can't stop crying.

 

I was also given valium 2mg, which I hate taking, because I wanted to be off meds, but I have no choice because i feel so bad. Yesterday the valium didn't work (I took 3 tablets). I cried all day and called Lifeline twice. The only relief comes at night. I am not sure why this is happening now as night used to be my worst time, but around 8pm is when things feel better (and when my husband is home).

 

I need constant company to feel better, but my husband is at work and I think I am ruining his life. He is so wonderful, but really stressed at work and I am adding to it hugely.

 

I am now wondering if the answer would have been to go back on Pristiq rather than a different med, but now I suppose it is too late to do that. I don't have confidence in my Doctors and I have been to 4 now. The latest one is very kind and says this should work in 2 weeks, but what if it doesn't?

 

Please can anyone help? I am so desperate and afraid of how to get through today. I have a counselling appointment, but my mind is so all over the place I don't know if it will help much. It is as if I am not myself anymore.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

The high anxiety you're experiencing is typical of antidepressant withdrawal, so please try to keep in mind that this is a symptom, not a reaction to any real threat.

 

Pristiq is a very difficult drug to taper, largely due to it being time-released and just about impossible to taper slowly since it only comes in two dosages. Your new doctor seems to have a good grip on how these drugs work and that they need to be tapered off, not just stopped.  If she's willing to go along with a slow taper off of Lovan, she's ahead of a lot of doctors.

 

It may take two weeks or even more for the Lovan to take effect. Pristiq is a different sort of antidepressant than Lovan, so in a way, you're starting all over. I doubt that nine days is long enough for you to feel any effects, so hang in there. If you still feel awful after two to three weeks have passed, give your doctor a call.

 

I'm sorry that you have to be in such misery.  You might find it comforting to read the stories other Pristiq victims have posted.

 

Welcome to the forum, twirly. You'll find lots of good information and friendly 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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Twirlie,

 

Welcome to the forum (from one Aussie to another).  It is very difficult to get good help.  Not a lot of Drs know much about withdraw or stopping antidepressants.   Your Dr is right that Lovan is easier to withdraw off than pristiq.   However, given they have different mechanisms the switch can be very difficult in its own right.

 

Like Jemima, I would suggest waiting.  I know its difficult.   The fact that you have some relief is a good sign.   

 

Many of our members find that fish oil and magnesium help destabalised nervous systems.  But go easy, start with low doses.  sometimes people become very sensitive to all kinds of stuff when in withdrawal.  

 

Are you taking any other supplements/medication at the moment?

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Hello Jemima and Dalsaan,

 

Thank you both so much for replying. I found it very comforting to hear that the Lovan would probably not have started working properly yet. I got the feeling that these feelings could go on forever, but if I can count down to 2 or 3 weeks it will seem better.

 

I'm not taking any other medication at the moment. In the first 3 weeks when I was experiencing a lot of physical withdrawal symptoms I was taking several supplements such as Omega 3 and B vitamins and did have some success with magnesium (so thanks for reminding me to try it again). When the despair hit I stopped taking everything apart from the Lovan and a multivitamin.

 

Today I tried a day without valium to see how I went and even though I had a terrible start (when I wrote my original post) things were better without it. My head was clearer and I had enough energy to plan a couple of activities to distract me from my anxiety. I had my first psychologist appointment and although I was in floods of tears through the whole thing it was helpful. The psychologist said we need to treat the next 2 weeks as a crisis and I need to plan lots of distractions, but break them down into small chunks.

 

I am unsure whether these terrible feelings are all withdrawal or whether this is a very mentally unstable me showing itself. I wanted to come off of antidepressants for so many reasons, but one is so that I could consider having a baby in a year or so. I still plan to taper off of Lovan once I am stable (the slowest taper possible), but I am now very scared of what will happen. I guess I just have to take one day at a time.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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It's been a bad start to the day today with extreme anxiety, but also a kind of numb feeling, which I think is from the new antidepressant. I have a friend arriving at 10am, which is in 40 minutes and I am just trying to stay busy until then. The time seems to stretch out at the moment. I feel very tired and nauseous and again I think that is from the new antidepressant. I feel like a failure because of not being able to get off of the antidepressants. I know I need to take one day at a time, but I keep thinking what it will be like if I try to get off again and what if this extreme anxiety and depression comes back. I am so scared, especially of putting my husband through any more. Watching me suffer is really hard on him, especially as I am so clingy and only seem to find relief when I am with him.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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I feel a bit better then when I posted this morning. I was able to have a nice day with my friend and now it is only 2 hours until my husband gets home. Due to the messed up way I was instructed to quit Pristiq I just need to hope that the Lovan will start working soon rather than focussing beyond that to when I quit these drugs for good.

 

Does anyone have any advice on how long I should stay on Lovan to stabilise before I begin a very slow tapering process?

 

I feel like I need some time to recover inbetween (and I think my husband needs a break too). One Doctor said I should be on it for 1 month before beginning to taper off and another said 3 months. I am leaning towards 3 months or should I wait longer? Does anyone have any advice on this?

 

I want to be sure that I am taking it through any Pristiq withdrawals so that I can start afresh when beginning to taper off of Lovan and try to do things right this time.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Twirlie, I've just read through your posts and am sorry that you are in this situation. 

I am glad that you are feeling a little better, that is good to hear and a step in the right direction.

 

Listen to your body and hold until you have felt comfortable for a good couple of months before

starting to taper the Lovan. 

We experience windows and waves when in withdrawal, windows are good days and waves are

bad ones. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/

It would be easy to mistake a window as a sign that you are ready to start tapering, so just hold

a while to be sure your brain and nervous system are truly stable. 

**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 for your reply mammaP. I really appreciate it. Right now it is morning so I am in a ball of anxiety, but I am trying to remember that this gets better later in the day. I am lucky my husband is on study leave today and then it is a long weekend, so even though he will be studying he will be here in the house and that makes me feel so much better. The task I have set myself is not to get in the way of his studying as I am prone to doing.

 

I scared myself this morning. I searched for "I quit antidepressants successfully" on Google because I just needed to know it was possible and came up with a horrible article by a Doctor who said that it really wasn't possible and even after a year of feeling good withdrawal symptoms can come on and disable a person. He also said going back on antidepressants sometimes doesn't help and that is what I am waiting for right now. I am feeling better in the evening though so surely that is a sign that the Lovan is beginning to work.

 

I am now scared that I have caused myself brain damage by trying to quit Pristiq cold turkey for those 4 weeks and what if I do further damage by trying to come off of Lovan? But I am 31 and would like to start a family in the next couple of years and I don't want to cause harm to a baby by being on antidepressants. More than that I do not want to wreck my marriage by trying to stop antidepressants unsuccesfully again. It is so confusing.

 

I agree with you mammaP about giving myself a comfortable couple of months on Lovan before beginning a taper. That makes sense to me and I appreciate your input. I have a Doctor's appointment in half an hour so will discuss this with her too. I am lucky I have finally found an understanding Doctor (unlike the first one who got me into this hell in the first place). The only thing is she is heavily pregnant so I will need to see someone else whilst she is on maternity leave.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm glad you quit taking the Valium. It's a highly addictive drug, but some people need it or something like it to get through antidepressant withdrawal.  Then, after the AD is tapered off, they have to taper the Valium or other benzodiazepine, and that can be even more difficult.

 

You haven't caused yourself any permanent brain damage. Antidepressants do change the physical structure of some areas of the brain, but as the dosage is decreased, the brain begins to re-grow itself back to normalcy.  We recommend a slow taper so that the brain can do this at its own pace without causing severe discomfort.

 

I couldn't find the article you mentioned, but that doctor has it all wrong. The only reason a person could not get off antidepressants would be if they died before they could finish a slow taper.  Yes, some people do have a short period of withdrawal symptoms coming back after quitting the drug one way or another, but it doesn't last and it doesn't happen to everybody.

 

You might want to read our topic on successful recoveries here: Recovery Success Stories. One of those stories is mine, so I know what I'm talking about. I still feel depressed and/or anxious from time to time, but I had those problems before I ever took an A/D. If anything, those spells have gotten milder and I suspect that's because I had to learn to live with withdrawal neuro-emotions.  You can read about those here:  Neuro-emotions . There--now you have plenty to do when you need to keep busy.

 

Hang in there, girl.

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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Thank you for your reply Jemima. I found it very comforting.

This morning has been really hard. I feel so nauseous from the Lovan that I can barely eat anything. My appetite was zapped from day 1 taking them and now I am on day 12 and feeling terrible. I agree Jemima that it was a good thing to stop taking the valium. I don't feel any worse without it and my head is a little clearer.

Today I am very anxious, I am thinking about death a lot (not suicide just death) and am finding it very hard to pull myself up. All I can think of is everything hard infront of me, not anything good.

My husband is home thank goodness, but needs to study in the other room so I am trying not to bother him. I feel a bit like a zombie. I feel very tired, which I think is another side effect from the Lovan.

I think I will take some ginger tablets to try and help with the nausea and maybe some magnesium to help with the anxiety as suggested earlier in this thread.

I am trying to set myself really small tasks. My next task is to have a shower and its seems so overwhelming.

I just want the Lovan to begin working so that I can be stable and just feel a bit normal. My libido (which came back when I quit Pristiq) has been totally ruined again and I can no longer listen to music because it irritates me so much (I began to enjoy it when I quit Pristiq).

Does anyone know roughly how long it takes for side effects to go away after you start a new antidepressant? I know some (like the lack of libido) hang around, but the nausea should be temporary. I am just hoping it goes soon.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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I just called the medical centre to ask about the side effects and my Doctor wasn't there today. I spoke to another Doctor who was very disinterested. He said side effects are different for everyone. I know this is true, but I just felt he couldn't care less.

 

I asked him when I could expect some relief and he said he wasn't sure. He then said to give it 2 more days so I guess I will make an appointment with my Doctor for Tuesday and see what she says.

 

I did just take the magnesium and feel a tiny bit calmer as if my brain is getting a bit of a massage. It would probably help if I eat something, but trying to think if something I can stomach is tricky.

 

I'm not sure what is side effects and what is Pristiq withdrawal. I just really want things to get at least a little better soon. I am reading through the neuro emotions thread now.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi twirlie,

I just read through your thread.  I'm sorry you were taken off pristiq so fast and have had to go through this frightening experience.  How are you feeling now? 

 

From what you have written, it sounds like you are having some withdrawal symptoms, and also some side effects from prozac.  The fact that your symptoms are changing slightly, I think is a good sign that you may be starting to adjust to the different medication.  Being able to sleep is a very positive sign.  If you feel like sleeping and resting, do that, it will be helpful.

 

I think its worth trying stabilize on prozac because its a much easier medication to taper from and seems to cause less withdrawal symptoms in the long run.  So unless you are getting obviously worse, if I were you, I would try and hold out to to see if your nervous system is able to settle down with a little more time.

 

Something which concerns me is that I think you may be going back to your doctor early next week.  Even though it sounds like your current doctor knows a little more about tapering antidepressants than most, there is still the possibility that another drug may be suggested or added.

 

If it were me and  I decided that the prozac wasn't going to work, my first choice would be trying to reinstate pristiq, rather than adding another new drug.  But as I already wrote, I would try and give the prozac a little more time if you can.  Most people are able to stabilize after a switch to prozac eventually.

 

Also check out the windows and waves topic, withdrawal symptoms and start up side effects tend to occur and decrease in a pattern, if you can recognize a pattern in your symptoms, it can provide some evidence that they are starting to reduce.

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful non-drug ideas to help manage symptoms as you wait for them to subside.

 

I hope you start to feel better soon, please post as often as you want so we can offer support through this difficult time.

 

Petu.

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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  • Administrator

Welcome, twirlie.

 

In case you decide Prozac isn't for you, you may wish to consider trying Effexor instead. It is a close relative of Pristiq and somewhat easier to taper. Please read this topic Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

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 Peto and Altostrata. I have had a very bad day so far. The main problem is nausea. It combines with the anxiety into a big ball of yuck in my stomach. This morning I was sobbing, hunched over, unsure what to do. It is now day 13 of taking the prozac and the side effects are definitely worse including tiredness. In the end I made myself a hot water bottle, cancelled my morning plans and went back to bed. I just got up about an hour ago and it is 12.30pm. I felt better for about 5 minutes and then the nausea hit again. I took some ginger tablets and made another hot water bottle.

 

I wonder if it is worse because I am on my period? The nausea is at the stage where I can't cope with it much longer. Yesterday I managed around 500 calories total (mostly in the evening) and so far I have not been able to eat anything today.

 

I made plans to see my mother in law tonight, because my husband will be out and I need the company. I don't want to cancel so I will have to dose up on ginger and take my hot water bottle. I am not sure if it is too soon to tell if Prozac is just not for me. I feel as if I am going crazy and that I am losing myself. Do you really think I should wait another week on Prozac? I am losing weight rapidly and not sure whether to go back and ask to go on Effexor or Pristiq. Is it too late for those to work for me?

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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Or maybe the Doctor could prescribe me something stronger to help with the nausea? Do you know of anything that works?

 

Maybe then I could give the prozac more of a chance to work. It is now 2.30pm and I am still struggling. I took magnesium, which gave me relief for about 30 minutes, but also made me even more tired. Last night I felt better at about 8pm, so fingers crossed the same will happen again.

 

I am leaving for David's Mum's house in 30 minutes and quite concerned about how I will cope, but at least I won't be on my own.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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You may be able to hang in there with the Prozac.

I was trying to remain on 4mg for about five months and did not realize that I probably never stabilized on that dose. Back on 20mg now after intractable insomnia for about a month. Waiting & praying now... I just wanted to offer you hope.????

On SSRI's/SNRI's for @ 25 years, first Prozac 18 years

Took Pristiq last 3 years, had increase in severe migraines

Started tapering Pristiq 100 mg every other day, was ok

Tried Topamax for 2 weeks, but side effects intolerable

Continued taper, able to tolerate 100mg every 4th day

At 6 weeks cut 100mg tab to 50mg & had bad reaction

Only taking 25mg sumatriptan or 0.5mg Ativan as needed

4 weeks later withdrawal worse, where do I go from here?

Stabilizing on 4mg Prozac, NO triptans, NO Ativan

3.6mg hold since June 18

 

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Thank you Fireball, I really appreciate your comment. I am struggling this morning. It is a public holiday and the medical centre is only open for 2 hours in the morning. My Doctor isn't working today. The nausea is so bad I am not sure whether to take the Prozac this morning. I'm sweating, I'm shaking, I'm a mess.

 

Can anyone advise me whether to continue? I need help. I don't know what to do.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Administrator

That sounds like side effects from the fluoxetine. It could be worse because of the time in your cycle.

 

You can take an anti-nausea drug if you wish, I don't know how this would effect you.

 

It could be the substitution of Prozac isn't going to work, or that 20mg is too high a dose.

 

I would try 10mg for the time being. You can open a 20mg capsule and pour half out, then close the capsule.

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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Thanks Alto. I will try 10mg today.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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This is so horrible - the nausea, sweating,  the diarrhea and shaking and a very dizzy head.

 

If I want to stop taking prozac and try something else how does it work? Should I just stop since it has only been 2 weeks and immediately try something else? Does there need to be a gap between the 2 meds?

 

Is it better to try Pristiq or Effexor again rather than something new?

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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I have just got back from the hospital. The whole day I was writhing around in bed from awful nausea and an incredibly dizzy head. I had fleeting suicidal thoughts with battled with the fact I love my husband so much. They did tests on my blood pressure, temperature and a blood test, which showed everything was fine. It is hard to believe when I am so hot I'm sweating, but a relief to know that physically things are okay. I felt like I was going to die earlier today when my head was so confused and dizzy..

 

It is now 11.30pm so I have the relief I have had every night since taking the prozac, but still only managed some bread to eat.

 

The mental health team at the hospital took a long time talking to me. After speaking to the psychiatrist they said i should stop the Lovan and let it wash out of my system for a week or so, before starting something else. Everyone seems to agree the Lovan (prozac) did not agree with me. I don't know what they will suggest I go onto. To help me cope with coming off of the prozac they have prescribed short-term Seroquel for nighttime, which I am really afraid of taking.

 

The good thing is that the acute mental health team will be checking on me each day and if things get worse I can go into the psychiatric ward, but I know that will be quite a horrible place to be.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome, twirlie.

 

In case you decide Prozac isn't for you, you may wish to consider trying Effexor instead. It is a close relative of Pristiq and somewhat easier to taper. Please read this topic Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

 

Hello Twirlie,

 

I'm very sorry you are feeling so unwell. Most of us have felt pretty much the same: as if the world was ending and something dreadful, beyond description was about to happen.

 

It is natural to expect that medical professionals would know how to help us in those situation but sadly, more often than not they don't know and cause us even worse suffering. That's why we had to educate ourselves and take things into our own hands. I would personally be very scared to go to a psychiatric ward because I don't see it as a safe place it should be but rather a place where I would be forced to reliquish all control over my wellbeing ;( Maybe that's not the case but that's what I personally think (based on many bitter experiences). 

 

In your situation it's hard to tell what would work but I would personally follow Alto's hunches: reinstate a very similar drug that's a bit easier to taper. Doctors will also be guessing but I would say here Alto's guess would be better than theirs. They might not mind your proposal becasue as I said they don't have a clue either.

 

You will make it. We all survive. It's very hard but we make it.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Just got back from the Doctor. I have an anti nausea medication now which I really, really hope starts to work soon. I have another appointment tomorrow and she said she would be recommending taking Pristiq again and when I asked about Effexor she said that would be fine too.

 

So it seems she is agreeing with Alto here about getting me back on it. I am very worried that it will not work now that I have been off it for so long, but for today I just need to get through this nausea.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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Bubble I really appreciate your comment. Everyone who has read this and commented has made a difference to me. I agree with you about the psychiatric ward. I think it would be a very stressful place. The only reason I would go is if I really feel I would harm myself here. I was beginning to feel that way yesterday, but today I feel a bit better being off of the Lovan. The nausea has been bad today, but definitely a bit better than yesterday.

The Lovan did help with the anxiety. It just started helping in the last few days (also when it started making me really sick). It is still in my system so I am okay right now apart from the sickness.

The Doctor at the hospital said that I should be off of Lovan for 1 week before going on anything else. My GP says I can go on Effexor tomorrow. I am a bit confused and also afraid of withdrawing in the future. Will it be as bad as what I have experienced this time?

I'm guessing if I don't go on anything now that the anxiety and depression will come back full force.

I am not sure if I will ever be at the stage where I can consider having a baby?

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm glad I could do a little something to ease things for you a bit. 

 

I think you have a very good chance of the reinstatement to work. I myself reinstated after 40 days (similar to your situation now) and it worked! I CT-ed 2 drugs at once ;(

 

What you should look for upon reinstatement is relief of symptoms rather than their removal. I for instance felt relief almost instantly. But if you just feel that things are getting worse, it is enough.

 

The half-life of fluoxetine and its active metabolite norfluoxetine is respectively 2 to 4 days and 7 to 15 days, more extended than other SSRIs (approximately 1 day). - that's why it's good to wait.

 

I firmly believe you will be fine. I would personally go for Effexor because it is (much) easier to taper and get a small dose. What you will have to be most careful about now is the dose you choose to reinstate. Doctors often make a mistake here by advising the full "therapeutic" dose. This is too much for the central nervous system which has already made adjustments to functioning without the drug. The previous dose is then too much. Therefore we prefer to start with the lowest possible dose and updose if necessary. If you get Effexor that comes in beads that could be only 5 beads. 

 

I'm also in the same situation as you when it comes to having a baby. I'm 37 and have a long way to taper. But I just tell myself that I (most probably) will but that I shouldn't worry about this too much now. There are some prior issues that need to be addressed. 

 

Hang in there. Things will get better soon.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I forgot to mention about the future tapers. We'll cross that bridge once we get there ;) This is also one of the symptoms of withdrawal: being scared by everything: past and future.

 

But now when we know all the valuable information about proper tapering that has been gathered here, there is no reason to go through those awfully painful and disturbing experiences. With controlled tapers which follow the pace of our nervous system we can safely come off the drugs while maintaining a good quality of life. 

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I agree with Bubble that you may not need as high a dose of Effexor as they will prescribe for you, but I suspect you'll need more than five beads. This is an Alto question, let's see what she thinks about what dose range would be best for you at this point given the history you've had so far.

 

Please keep us posted.

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

 

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

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Thank you Bubble and Rhi. I am going back to the doctor in an hour so I'm pretty nervous about what she will prescribe. When we spoke about Effexor yesterday she seemed to think it would come in a tablet. I mentioned the capsules to her, but she wasn't sure.

 

After a couple of hours of relief last night I woke up this morning with the horrible nausea and anxiety again. It is a tiring process.

 

I have messaged Alto to see what her opinion is on the dosage. Bubble - was your opinion that I should wait 1 week until starting the Effexor?

 

They currently have me on half a Seroquel (12.5mg) in the evening whilst the Lovan gets out of my system and I don't know whether that is making a positive difference or if it is just making me tired. What are your thoughts on this?

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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I just got back from the GP. She looked up the Lovan and now agrees that I need to wait 1 week before going on anything else. So now I am just on 12.5mg Seroquel at night for 10 days and I have Maxilon for nausea. I haven't tried it yet. I took a Stemzine tablet this morning which hasn't helped that much so I need to wait for that to get out of my system before taking the Maxilon. I should be able to take it at about 3pm today.

 

My next appointment is with the hospital psychiatrist on Tuesday 14th. That will be one week since I stopped taking the Lovan. I am worried about how  to get through this week. My husband has the week off work to help me which is a lot of pressure on him. I just have to keep thinking I will get through this and things will get better.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Administrator

It's impossible to tell what might work, and at what dosage. When your nervous system has been upset by withdrawal syndrome and then adverse effects of fluoxetine, it might be very sensitive to ANY drug or even supplements.

 

I would start with a very low dose in trying anything. including a benzo, sleeping drug, or Seroquel.

 

Read these topics carefully:

Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

An educated guess (from Stephen Stahl) estimates 50 mg Pristiq "may be close to 75 mg venlafaxine." If I were you, I'd try perhaps 5mg Effexor to start. That would be perhaps 5 beads from an Effexor XR capsule. (Brand-name Effexor XR comes as beads within capsules.)

 

Do not be surprised if any psychiatrist you talk to, including the hospital psychiatrist, knows nothing about withdrawal syndrome, reinstatement, or tapering -- or even adverse effects of psychiatric drugs. Few do. That is why this site exists.

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. I really appreciate your answer to my query and now I have a better idea of what to ask the Psychiatrist for.

 

My nausea has eased a lot this afternoon and I have not had to take the anti-nausea drug. Still can't eat much, but so happy to have a few hours of relief.

 

I agree with you about the hospital. When I was in there the other day they said Pristiq withdrawal should only last 4 weeks and that I should be over it by now, which as we know is far from the truth. At least they are being helpful in other ways. They have given me details of a free grief counselling service at a local hospital, which I think will be very useful.

 

I will now go and have a read through the links provided. I already read through the Pristiq one when I realised my Doctor had given me terrible advice to quit cold turkey, but will refresh my memory now.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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The evenings are such a relief to me at the moment. I have had a window from 4pm until now (11.33pm) when I feel really good! I know this is probably because the prozac is still in my system, but the nausea is finally fading. I also know that every other day I have felt okay from about 8pm and then horrible again in the morning, but what a relief to feel normal for a short time. I just wanted to make note of it so that when I feel bad tomorrow I can remind myself that not every moment is bad.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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I made a mistake last night. I thought because I was feeling so good I would take Valerian to help me sleep instead of Seroquel. It did help me fall asleep, but I woke up wide awake after an hour and could not fall back to sleep. I ended up taking a quarter or a Seroquel tablet as well which did help me sleep (only about 6mg). This morning the nausea and extreme anxiety is back with a vengeance. This is all really hard to deal with.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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Today was a really good day. I woke up with the nausea and anxiety, but I had a psychologist appointment at 9am which was really helpful. I seem to havre really lucked out and got a good one. The rest of the day got better from there. The nausea was less, I have managed to eat over 1000 calories so far and I was even able to go body boarding which was very good for my mental state!

 

Can anyone tell me is this good mood from being on the 12.5mg of Seroquel at night? I would not like to get addicted to another drug. I am only meant to be on it during the lovan wash out period and it is helping me sleep, but it would be a shame to become reliant and then have to withdraw from a different medication.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I think that it is possible the good mood is related to discontinuing the lovan. Many people feel 

great straight after stopping a med then withdrawal kicks in later.  

If 6mg of seroquel helped you to sleep maybe you could use that instead of the 12.5? In effect 

you would be tapering off it before becoming dependant. 

 

I'm glad that you had a good day, whatever is in store when you taper remember today as a 

reminder of how life will be once you have stabilised. 

**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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Thanks for your input mammaP. Today the anxiety kicked in hard in the morning, but I was able to distract myself most of the day with a friend's visit and going body boarding with my husband and now it is almost 10pm and I am enjoying the evening relief that I have had ever since I started the Lovan (I still get the relief even though I'm not on it anymore).

 

Last night I tried taking 6.25mg (a quarter of a Seroquel 25mg tablet) and I felt so tired I thought I would fall asleep instantly, but 1 hour later I was still tossing and turning and my brain was not relaxing at all. I ended up getting up and taking the other quarter and that sent me to sleep, but I did feel disappointed in myself as it seems I have already become tolerant of the 6.25mg and need to take 12.5mg to fall asleep.

Lexapro 20mg - April 2004 - Jan 2012 Pristiq 50mg Jan 2012 - Dec 2012 Pristiq 100mg Dec 2012 - 19/8/14

Told Doctor I felt well and due to some side effects would like to stop Pristiq. Also would like to consider pregnancy and want to do it safely.

Pristiq 50mg 20/8/14 - 27/8/14 (bad advice from a Doctor to drop down so fast and then stop) Stopped Pristiq cold turkey 28/8/14

Suffered 4 weeks of terrible withdrawals before I could take the anxiety and despair no more. Went to a different Doctor.

23/9/14 Lovan 20 to stabilise me before I start super slow withdrawal from this. Valium 2mg 3 times a day or when needed.

1/10/14 Valium failed to work. Decided to stop it as it makes me too groggy. Feel slightly better without it.

6/10/14 On day 14 of taking Lovan I was experiencing such bad side effects that I could not continue. Ended up in hospital.
7/10/14 Prescribed 12.5mg Seroquel for night during wash out period. Restarted Lexapro 5mg 2 weeks later. Upped to Lexapro 10mg.

June 15 - Feeling good. Began to taper very slowly from Lexapro over 1 year. Final dose 2.5mg every 2 days (messed with head a bit).

4/7/15 - Stopped Lexapro. 2 good weeks. Thought I had done it. All went wrong on 18/7/16. Major anxiety and panic. Cannot function. Despair.

 

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