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amarchand should I taper off Pristiq or Ativan first?


amarchand

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Currently on 50mg Pristiq (went down from 100mg 2 months ago) and take 0.5mg-1mg of Ativan a day for 2.5 years. I'm also stuck on codeine for back pain 30-45mg a day.

 

I'm starting to feel a little crazy lately and want to go without these pills! My mind feels like mush and I can't find my words when talking to people and often get confused. I'm 35.

 

My doctor is uninformed about these issues and I'm an old hat with getting off antidepressants (although harder as I age) but ativan will be a new withdrawal.

 

Happy to take it slow but as my doc says to just half dose for 1 week then stop I decided to come here and ask for opinions!:)

 

So should I taper ativan or pristiq first or both together?

 

Thanks so much

Amanda:)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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This is a general answer. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2207-taking-multiple-psych-drugs-which-drug-to-taper-first/

 

Probably would be advisable to read all the pinned ( you will see they are marked differently) threads at the beginning of each forum.

 

Good luck!

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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  • Administrator

Welcome, amarchand.

 

I have moved your topic to our Introductions forum to start your Intro topic. You can track your progress here by keeping sort of a journal.

 

I know you've seen our topic on multiple drugs so you know, if you're not suffering serious adverse effects from the benzo, to go off the more activating drug first. That would be Pristiq.

 

Here's our 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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Hello, I hope I'm doing this right and in the right place...apologies if not.

 

I'm currently on 50mg of pristiq and .5mg-1mg+ a day of Ativan. I recently went down from 100mg pristiq.

 

This is the 4th time for withdrawing off of ADs but will be the first for benzos. The last time I came off pristiq I switched to effexor and reduced by beads and it took 5 months and was horrible. Seems to be harder as I get older. I'm 35 now.

 

I had a clinical breakdown and was hospitalized nearly 3 years ago and was sedated for two weeks with all sorts of things. I was on serequil (spell?), Avanza (which had me shoveling sugar into me like a crazy woman) valium, paxil and ativan. Came off serequil, Avanza, valium and was switched from paxil to pristiq due to 20kg weight gain.

 

After 2 years I came off pristiq by switching to effexor.

 

I was good for about 9 months but then hit a rough patch and was convinced by all around me to go back on ADs so I didn't have another breakdown...should not have listened to them!

 

Lately I feel like I'm losing my marbles. I get angry and stressed very easily, I can't seem to find my words when in a conversation and I just stop mid sentence and stare like a loon and then blush terribly! I get dizzy a lot and wake up with bad headaches or migrains EVERYDAY! My poor kids...

 

I have no energy so I load up on pain killers I have for my headaches and back pain to get me through the day...which I know can cause headaches and eats your stomach!

 

I've never withdrawled by entering my progress on a forum so hoping that I can receive help and encouragement as I go and offer other people who are going through the same thing hope once I've come out the other side.

 

Would like anyone's thoughts on my pristiq to effexor being a good idea or not too or just cut the pristiq?

 

Edit: I have read the tapering off pristiq thread and it's so overwhelming I'm at odds at what to do. I'm not sure if I had an adverse reaction to effexor as the hole thing was horrible! Felt like a total zombie and had all the typical withdrawal he'll symptoms but isn't that just the norm? Going from 100mg to 50mg was about a week of he'll then I was okish...never tried to go off pristiq without switching as it seems so dicey. Have read mogfish's posts and I might try that?

 

Thanks for reading

Amanda :)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Amanda,

I joined your two intro topics together, its one introduction/update thread per member.  You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want.

 

I don't have any personal experience of pristiq, or tapering off it, so I can't comment on that, but I know we do have several members who are, hopefully they will be able to offer some support.

 

Welcome to SA, I'm glad you found us.

 

Petunia.

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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Day one today of Pristiq taper. I've decided to go the Mogfish method and have halved the tablet and am taking the large half in morning and smaller half at 4. Will see how I travel with this to know when to go the next drop.

 

Even though it's day one I'm surprised I was not at all effected by only having half this morning! If I miss my pill usually for an hour later then normal I get dizzy and withdrawal like symptoms (always carry spares with me for this reason!)

 

I'm feeling really optimistic this time. I usually just gear myself up and prepare those around me that I'm going to be really sick for the next however long!

 

Going to take it really slow!

 

A :)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Amanda ,   I'm excited for you that you're starting your taper from an informed , supported place.   This should be a lot smoother than your previous

attempts.

I'll have to check out "The Mogfish Method" , thanks.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

 

p.s.  Is that Gold Coast , Queensland?

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Amanda, welcome to the forum. Please keep us posted on your Pristiq taper, and as you find over time what does and does not seem to work well for you, consider posting in the Pristiq thread as well. I have no experience with tapering Pristiq myself but I know it's very challenging for people because of the form it comes in. So any successes you have, or any notable failures, if you can add that to the body of knowledge of the group, that would be great. (Not immediate results, because you can't really tell right away, but over months, as you find how things work for you.)

 

Also: yay for slow! I always recommend going extra slow at first (which is the last thing people feel like doing, at first!) so that you can really figure out how your body is going to respond to tapering. Smaller cuts at first, longer breaks between cuts so you can watch the whole withdrawal symptom pattern come on, unfold, and resolve itself, before cutting again.

 

It's well worth investing the time up front to learn your body's patterns. Your body is the expert on withdrawal. And once you know what to expect you can tweak your taper to deal with the normal ups and downs of life and its stresses. It's actually possible to taper without a lot of suffering, if you take your time and learn what your body needs.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

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

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

 

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

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Fresh: Thanks for your reply, yes I'm from Gold Coast Australia :)

 

Rhiannon: Thank you I appreciate your encouragement:) I'll definitely update as I go.

 

A:)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Amarchand!  

 

Yet another Queenslander!  We are trying to get a SE QLD social meetup, which, if it works, could turn into a support group of sorts.  You can see my contact details on the Aussie thread:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6284-australia-members-please-check-in-here/

 

But I understand the need for anonymity, if that's what you choose.

 

Important while you are withdrawing, to support yourself.  Magnesium supports your neurotransmitter cascade, for at least 43 neurotransmitters (off the top of my head).  Get a good quality magnesium, to start at the same time each day.  In the evening, it can help with sleep.  Magnesium

 

Additionally, fish oil can smooth the firing of neurons, and make withdrawal a bit easier:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

If you have had crashes in the past, "breakdowns" and suffered from wild moods or painful akithesia, it is important that you put some support mechanisms in place to catch you if you fall.  This can be social support - friends and family, or nutritional support (you may become sensitive to certain foods as you withdraw), meditation, yoga, exercise, sunlight.

 

Personally, I take a simple, 10 minute walk daily in the sun to stabilise my mood.  Even when I can't exercise, I can crawl out of the door and walk around the block in the sun.  This boosts vitamin D as well as resetting my melatonin to help me sleep.

 

Here are some suggestions of non-drug means of coping with symptoms, to help you get through this:

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Welcome to SA!  I send you my wish for a smooth, clean taper (which you can have, if you take it s-l-o-w-l-y)!

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

So glad you found your way here Amanda.   Hope to see you in the Australia room.

I've just started tapering pristiq from 50mg too , so we can travel together  :blush:.

 

Please see the thread in the "In The Media"  section on Dr Yolande Lucire.    She's our aussie expert , and will liase with you (email , Skype , phone)

at any time if you want that  - just say you're on this site.

 

Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Wow thanks guys! Great to have fellow Australians supporting each other ;)

 

Jancarol: Thanks for all the great tips! I take flaxseed oil tabs and a multi daily but not regularly magnesium (do have some though and will start taking at night). Ps I love the s-l-o-w-l-y!! Haha we all want to come off them yesterday!

 

I hope that by going slower this time my mind will adjust better and I won't feel the need to jump back on them when something pops up! Definitely will not be listening to well meaning family members who keep telling me that just as a heart patient needs heart pills I will always need antidepressants...nice:/

 

Fresh: Yay for travelling through it together! Will be visiting the Aussie page, thanks.

 

Xx

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator

Hey Amarchand, I think the ratio is something like 10 to 1.  10 flax seed capsules = 1 fish oil capsule.  It does provide DHA for your brain, after converting in your body.  Women convert ALA to DHA a little more efficiently than men.

 

But if you are vegan, and will not take the fish on principle, I understand.

 

Ah.  The family members.  You turn your back, and they loop their fingers around their ears because what you are saying is HERESY!  "We know better" - I'm reminded of a Genesis lyric, Entangled (from "Trick of the Tail")
 

"Well, if we can help you we will,

Soon as you're tired and ill.
With your consent
We can experiment further still."

 

It also becomes an issue if you are talking to doctors.  They don't respect or appreciate "things you found on the net."  They feel like the internet has made their job harder, as people become "experts" in things using questionable sites. 

 

But this is not a questionable site.  It is evidence based, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cases documented that have achieved improvement or success from these methods.

 

There is a thread called "friends and family" here - I can't find it right now, that talks about how to educate your friends and family.

 

It may be important to educate your close family, so that they can support you.  

 

Here are two suggestions:  Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry

 

and a new one, which is Aussie based:  http://moodmaster.net/

 

There are short videos on both of them showing the dangers of psych drugs and the risks and consequences of them, as well as the difficulties coming off of them.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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Thanks Jancarol, not a vegan just take due to wearing contacts and having it suggested by optometrist for dry eyes. Thought it was as good as fish oil! Will be changing now so thanks :)

 

My doctors pretty cool, he knows me well enough now and I just asks me what I want to do, haha. I go in and say, oh I'm tapering off pristiq and he's pleased as funny enough he advised against it but my mum made me feel I would have a breakdown again (and do I want to put my kids through that again etc...) so he said it was up to me. He is constantly trying to get me to come off Ativan but never bullies me or says he won't re-scrip etc...

Some of the stories I hear on here about doctors is freightning, forcing better to go cold turkey? Crazy!

 

So far still not feeling any change, just really restless legs!

 

A :)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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Update on taper: Still not feeling the typical withdrawals I'm used to although yesterday I woke with cluster panic attacks and all day I was very down. I do not cry much but found I felt like and would tear up at nothing all day until I got home and had a real cry...about nothing! Usually I would have taken a full Ativan to relax me but I figured that I need to start learning how to deal with strong emotions without pills! I reasoned in my head what I was feeling was ok and to process it all and look at the facts. I started to feel more 'normal', watched a movie and spent time with my kids.

 

I think you get so used to reaching for pills when you feel any emotion that you forget that emotions are needed to get through day to day life! I feel this is a revelation that will help me in my journey.

 

A xx

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update: Going well, still no withdrawel symptoms (total miracle!).

 

I'm taking the small half in morning and a bigger half cut in two at 4pm. Going to attempt another drop in a week. Going to go the bigger half in two (slightly more then a quarter) in the morning and again in the afternoon.

 

X

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Good to hear amarchand.    On March1 , did you actually decrease from 50mg , or just split it in two?

 

How much are you planning to go down to?

 

I went from 50 to 45 and have had a month of various symptoms , but settled now.

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Administrator

What do you mean by cluster panic attacks. amarchand? Have you had these before?

 

I would take that as a sign to hold on tapering for a bit.

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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Hi Fresh: sorry I probably didn't explain very well! What I did was half the 50mg pill which always give me 1 large half and 1 smaller half. I started taking the big half in the morning and cutting in half another big half (large quater) in the afternoon. So around 40mg (hard to know exactly as so crumbly when cut), I then went to taking the small half in morning and still large quater in afternoon (4pm), this makes it around 35mg. Sorry hope that makes sense?:)

 

Hi Alto: I get these cluster panic attacks whenever withdrawing. They start like normal and when I think I have got control over myself and I'm hit with another and so on for sometimes hours at a time. Its really frightening and have to take a couple of Ativan to get through it (which I want to stop too). How long do you suggest staying at 35mg? Thanks:)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You are tapering very quickly with big drops.  In general, drops should be no more than 10% of current dose and wait at least 3 weeks until stable before dropping again.  If I'm reading this right, it looks like you've gone from 50mg to 35mg (30% drop) in less than a month.  If you take it more slowly, you'll be less likely to be hit with panic attacks and feel like you need Ativan.

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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Thanks songbird, it's easy to go too quickly! I'll be more mindful of the drops now:)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You might want to go back to taking the big quarters in the afternoon amarchand  (I love your name , sound very French).

So it will be like a tiny updose.

 

I bought an electronic digital scale for $30 on ebay which is easy to use.   It gets trickier to break tablets as the dose

gets lower.

There is a thread called "Tips For Tapering Pristiq" that you should read , all sorts of useful info.

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Thanks Fresh! Yes I think that's a good idea.

Ps. My husband is French :)

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • 1 month later...

Update on taper: Been doing really great, down to half (25mg) of pristiq which I take 12.5mg morning and 12.5mg at night. Still not a lot of withdrawal symptoms, only slight head zaps in the morning before I take first dose. Have had one anxiety attack in the last 4 week's which I'll take as a win????

 

X

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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  • 5 months later...

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile!

 

Last update I was down to 25mg (12.5 more and 12.5 in arvo)

 

In the last 5 months I've reduced about every month or when I've felt 'stable' again. I follow the Mogfish method and found its worked well for me.

 

I'm now completely off pristq and feeling quite good.

 

Interesting and sanity saving thing I stumbled upon was that my migraine medication I was prescribed a month before stopping completely (Maxalt) took all withdrawal symptoms away when I took it. So I started taking 5mg of Maxalt a day in my final weeks and my symptoms disappeared. Not sure if it just a me thing or whether it's worth looking into or not but it was a life saver for me.

 

Thanks

Amanda x

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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Wonderful to hear you're feeling so good Amanda . . . I hadn't heard of Maxalt but reading that it reduces

sensitivity to light and sounds and pain makes it sound perfect for withdrawal!

 

Are you still taking any Ativan or codeine for back pain?

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Hello Amanda. I've read through your thread and got worried about what I read so felt like I had to jump in. 

 

Hello, I hope I'm doing this right and in the right place...apologies if not.

I'm currently on 50mg of pristiq and .5mg-1mg+ a day of Ativan. I recently went down from 100mg pristiq.

This is the 4th time for withdrawing off of ADs but will be the first for benzos. The last time I came off pristiq I switched to effexor and reduced by beads and it took 5 months and was horrible. Seems to be harder as I get older. I'm 35 now.

I had a clinical breakdown and was hospitalized nearly 3 years ago and was sedated for two weeks with all sorts of things. I was on serequil (spell?), Avanza (which had me shoveling sugar into me like a crazy woman) valium, paxil and ativan. Came off serequil, Avanza, valium and was switched from paxil to pristiq due to 20kg weight gain.

After 2 years I came off pristiq by switching to effexor.

I was good for about 9 months but then hit a rough patch and was convinced by all around me to go back on ADs so I didn't have another breakdown...should not have listened to them!

 

I'm actually worried about the way you came off Pristiq and fear your history I put in bold might repeat. What did you do different this time?

 

I'm sorry that you never filled in your signature so that everybody who is posting to your thread could see that your drug history is more complex than (just) coming off Pristiq and ativan as the title of your thread indicates. Could you please do it now? http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Did you make the connection that what you called clinical breakdown was most likely the result of two abrupt discontinuation of psychotropic drugs you were taking as well as hitting a rough patch after what seems yet another abrupt discontinuation (you mention at least 4 of those). Successful tapering is not about coming off drugs but regrowing a new brain and this takes time. After years on drugs which seems to be your case 7 months is not enough time for that process to happen.

 

As you have yourself seen the worst of withdrawal in most cases doesn't happen immediately upon discontinuation. Our brain is fighting hard to maintain stability. It can take months before it finally breaks down. Slow tapering protects it from that kind of scenario.

 

The idea behind tapering is that we don't have to replace one drug with the other, or more of them and embark on a drug merry-go-around.

 

In case you start feeling unwell, it would be better to reinstate a small amount of the drug sooner than later to help your struggling CNS.  

 

Best,

Bubble

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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Thanks Fresh,

 

Yes still on Ativan, will start to taper off that next. Completely off codeine too which is good.

 

xx

About to start withdrawal from Pristiq 50mg and once off that will go off of Ativan.

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Interesting and sanity saving thing I stumbled upon was that my migraine medication I was prescribed a month before stopping completely (Maxalt) took all withdrawal symptoms away when I took it. So I started taking 5mg of Maxalt a day in my final weeks and my symptoms disappeared. Not sure if it just a me thing or whether it's worth looking into or not but it was a life saver for me.

 

Thanks

Amanda x

Hi Amanda,

 

Maxalt is a serotonin agonist - i would suspect that this is one reason why it took your withdrawal symptoms away - possibly you swapped the witch for the b*tch as they say!

 

I researched Maxalt awhile ago as i became suspicious of it... my very good friend suffers terrible migraines and she started taking Maxalt - fast forward 3 or 4 years and she has to take it daily - she refuses to listen to me when i say it is probably the medication causing her headaches...

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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