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Vanessa: Pristiq withdrawals and pregnant..help


Vanessa

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Here is the quick of it..been on antidepressants for 10+ years, even managed to wean of Paxil without dying. Changed to Effexor 75 mg and used for many years, starting having night sweats and sleep disturbances about 1 1/2 years ago and GP recommended I switch to Pristiq 50mg. I have been mentally and physically doing well the last 4-5 years, exercising, yoga, mediation and eating healthy has made a huge difference in my over all well being. I should have weaned off the medication a long time ago but every time I wanted too I remembered the Paxil nightmare so I just kept taking a small dose.

 

2 weeks ago I found out that I was pregnant and that Pristiq is category C and not safe. My idiot doctor suggested 50 mg every second day for a week and then stopping. Of course I lost my mind and spent 20 minutes educating him on the ignorance of GPs and weaning/withdrawal. He referred me to a very well known psychiatrist for assistanance. In the mean time I am panicking because the 1st trimester of pregnancy is crucial to development. So I started cutting my pills in half, did this for 1 week, then in quarters for another week. Found out after the fact that I wasn't supoose to be cutting the pills because of the time release coating. I finally get in to see the psychiatrist and he at least understands the difficulty of weaning. He suggests coming off the medication completely since I'm in such a good frame of mind and am already down to 1/4 of a tablet per day. He assures me that I can come back and get a small dose of something safe if this doesn't work.

 

I have been off Pristiq since Friday and I am miserable, yesterday was the worse day. Massive headaches, dizziness (vertigo), flu symptoms, emotional, crying, irritable, you name it I felt it. Emotionally more stable today but still very dizzy, not sleepin well, and tired. I know that my symptoms are being compounded by my pregnancy so lucky me, NOT. I'm going to see a naturopath to see if they help support the withdrawals.

 

What do I do?? Do I go back to the psych and get a small dose of something to make it easier even though I'm scared to take meds while pregnant!! Or do I suck it up in hopes that it will just get better?? Please help anyone

 

 

Thank you in advance for your support

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I am new here so I can't offer advice, but I can absolutely empathize. I am currently in a state that I can't function (work, hold conversations, drive, write, think... NOTHING). I can't imagine feeling anything like this and having to add the pregnancy component to my list of concerns. That being said - it sounds like you are handling yourself extremely well. I am hoping good things for you. xo

Diagnosis: Anxiety, Situational Depression 

March 2016: So debilitated that had to leave my home/job/life to move in with my parents. Hopeless. 

July 2015: Reinstated 2.5mg to 5mg Prozac - Got worse so stopped the reinstated Prozac

Middle of February 2015: Prozac 20mg every other day for one week and discontinued on February 18th or 19th 

Beg of February 2015: Stopped Pristiq, continued on 20mg Prozac for 2 weeks 

End of January 2015: Use Prozac to wean off of Pristiq (Added 20mg of Prozac to the 50mg Pristiq - took both for 1 week)

January 2015: Decide to stop Pristiq due to negative side effects 

Beg of November 2014: Switch from Zoloft to Pristiq 50mg

August 2014: Reinstate Zoloft 100mg

March-June 2014: Weaned off of Zoloft 100mg 

January 2012: Begin Zoloft 100mg (6 month period at the end of 2012 where I discontinued the Zoloft - reinstated for situational depression) 

2008-May 2011: Cymbalta and Topamax for Migraines -- May 2011: Weaned off of Cymbalta and Topamax

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Vanessa , welcome to the site.  I'm so sorry about your predicament.

 

I would go to the Introductions section and do a search for Pregnant/pregnancy.    I know it's an issue for a bunch of women on here , but I can't think of

any names.

There is a thread called Pregnancy and Withdrawal in "Symptoms and Self Care"

 

One of the moderators is sure to be along with some more concrete advice for you.

 

Glad you found your way here.

 

Best wishes ,  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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Vanessa and welcome to SA,

 

I'm sorry you are feeling so bad. This is indeed a difficult situation but as Jaclyn said, you are handling it very well. We have a few members as Fresh mentioned who found themselves in a situation similar to yours. Here is one thread that I managed to remember: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7800-pregnog-stopping-escitalopram-in-early-pregnancy-help/.

 

Pregnog wrote to dr. Healy (one of the very few doctors that understands withdrawal and she shared the reply with us:

 

This is an extraordinarily difficult dilemma.  Its impossible for me to advise you without knowing a lot more about you etc and this isn't possible at the moment.
 
All I can tell you is this.  Withdrawal difficulties of the kind you had before are real and can be terrible - but they might not be so bad if you are pregnant - you have a different body now to the one you had when you tried before.
 
There is a real risk of harm - and this is the critical period for heart defects and things like that - from 2 to about 10 weeks - so the earlier you stop if you are going to stop the better.
 
There is some benefit to stopping anyway even if you do it more slowly in that other problems such as how quickly the baby develops after being born are less likely if you aren't on the meds through the whole pregnancy.
 
Its all complex.  You could remain on treatment the whole way through and your baby would be absolutely fine.  You could stop and their could be problems.  All things being equal, it looks like there is a better chance of things being okay if you stop.  
 
But this is easy for me to say and much more difficult for you to do. I would check with your partner, parents and friends.
 
I then replied and clarified a few things, and asked specifically if there was any harm to me or the baby that could be caused by withdrawal, stopping suddenly, and the symptoms this can cause, and he said no 'If you can handle any withdrawal effects, there is no harm to the baby to just stop - and all things being equal would be better'.
 
Maybe you coudl also try and get in touch with dr. Healy regarding your particular situation. The way I understood is that avoiding drugs in the first trimester is advisable, if at all possible given the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It sounds reasonable to introduce a small amount of the original drug or in case of Pristiq better Prozac if withdrawal becomes too much and not even pregnancy hormones are able to counteract it. I would advise you check the dose with experienced people here because doctors are not aware that even very tiny doses can help especialyl if one has been off drugs for some time.
 
I hope this helps. I'm glad you have found us and I hope the support and knowledge gathered here will help you on your journey. What would help us to give you more accurate sugegstions and advice is if you could put your drug history in your signature. The instructions are here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/
 
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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I am new here so I can't offer advice, but I can absolutely empathize. I am currently in a state that I can't function (work, hold conversations, drive, write, think... NOTHING). I can't imagine feeling anything like this and having to add the pregnancy component to my list of concerns. That being said - it sounds like you are handling yourself extremely well. I am hoping good things for you. xo

Thank you for your support

Link to comment

Hello Vanessa and welcome to SA,

 

I'm sorry you are feeling so bad. This is indeed a difficult situation but as Jaclyn said, you are handling it very well. We have a few members as Fresh mentioned who found themselves in a situation similar to yours. Here is one thread that I managed to remember: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7800-pregnog-stopping-escitalopram-in-early-pregnancy-help/.

 

Pregnog wrote to dr. Healy (one of the very few doctors that understands withdrawal and she shared the reply with us:

 

This is an extraordinarily difficult dilemma.  Its impossible for me to advise you without knowing a lot more about you etc and this isn't possible at the moment.

 

All I can tell you is this.  Withdrawal difficulties of the kind you had before are real and can be terrible - but they might not be so bad if you are pregnant - you have a different body now to the one you had when you tried before.

 

There is a real risk of harm - and this is the critical period for heart defects and things like that - from 2 to about 10 weeks - so the earlier you stop if you are going to stop the better.

 

There is some benefit to stopping anyway even if you do it more slowly in that other problems such as how quickly the baby develops after being born are less likely if you aren't on the meds through the whole pregnancy.

 

Its all complex.  You could remain on treatment the whole way through and your baby would be absolutely fine.  You could stop and their could be problems.  All things being equal, it looks like there is a better chance of things being okay if you stop.  

 

But this is easy for me to say and much more difficult for you to do. I would check with your partner, parents and friends.

 

I then replied and clarified a few things, and asked specifically if there was any harm to me or the baby that could be caused by withdrawal, stopping suddenly, and the symptoms this can cause, and he said no 'If you can handle any withdrawal effects, there is no harm to the baby to just stop - and all things being equal would be better'.

 

Maybe you coudl also try and get in touch with dr. Healy regarding your particular situation. The way I understood is that avoiding drugs in the first trimester is advisable, if at all possible given the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It sounds reasonable to introduce a small amount of the original drug or in case of Pristiq better Prozac if withdrawal becomes too much and not even pregnancy hormones are able to counteract it. I would advise you check the dose with experienced people here because doctors are not aware that even very tiny doses can help especialyl if one has been off drugs for some time.

 

I hope this helps. I'm glad you have found us and I hope the support and knowledge gathered here will help you on your journey. What would help us to give you more accurate sugegstions and advice is if you could put your drug history in your signature. The instructions are here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Best,

Bubble

This group and all its information is really helping to keep me positive. Still having symptoms but it's bearable

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Vanessa, welcome to SA. I'm glad that you found us, there is lots of info and support here. As Bubble said if things get too hard to cope with it is possible that a tiny dose of prozac could help but it would be much safer if you can ride it out. Hopefully both you and baby will be just fine.

 

Congratulations.  :wub:

**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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  • Moderator

I've never been pregnant (full term), nor have I tried it on antidepressants.  The risk to your baby is significant.

 

It is my understanding, from reading around SA, that at some point, your Mommy hormones will kick in, and you won't suffer so much from withdrawal until after the baby is born.  That's still a critical time, as you will probably want to breast feed - but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it?

 

Pristiq can be tricky, but people have survived it.

 

You are already well on the way with your yoga, meditation, and eating well.  There are many non-drug suggestions for coping in this forum.  Non Drug Techniques to Cope with Emotional Symptoms

 

Additionally, it may help you to consider taking magnesium and fish oil Magnesium, and Omega-3 fish oil.  Both of these are brain food, and the magnesium is an essential mineral in 300+ neurotransmitter & chemical cascades in your brain and body.

 

Welcome!  Please post your progress in here, for support, and for a journal of your experience.

"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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http://kellybroganmd.com/article/stop-madness-coming-psych-meds/. This is a blog post from kellybroganmd.com. She specializes in women's health, especially peripartum issues. She makes some suggestions for natural treatment of WD symptoms, and our symptoms forum is full of them. 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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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Mentor

Wish you all the best,  Was on ADs   gave up quickly one pregnancy, baby was fine.   However, seriously, these drugs do great harm.  Get heart checked specifically at first scan.  Then breathe a sigh of relief xx

 

I been there done that...

Beware, for me anyway, I can only talk about personal experience.  I was happy about being pregnant, went CT, no problems.  Happy hormones kick in.  Lay and relax until they do!

 

BEWARE, WHEN BUB BORN, HAPPY HORMONES WEAR OFF, at about 6 weeks of age, and WD  hit.  Not badly, but they hit, be ready.   And anyhow

 

congratulations!  bet you are thrilled... xx

 

Keep us all posted.......

1992 Dothiepin 375mg 8 weeks, exhaustion/depression.  Serotonin syndrome, oh yes!  seizures . Fell pregnant, 3rd baby, Nitrous Oxide, 3 weeks mental hospital pp psychosis. zoloft tegretol.

Feb 1996 ct tegretol, tapered Zoloft 8 weeks. as (unexpectedly)  pregnant. Steven died after 3 days.(Zolft HLHS baby).  98 had run in with Paxil, 2 tablets, 3 weeks taper, survived.
2005..menopause? exhausted again. Zyprexa, mad in three days, fallout....  Seroquel, Effexor, tegretol,   and 8 years of self destruction. Failed taper.
Damn 1/4 valium... nuts again! .fallout, zoloft 100mg  seroquol 400mg mirtazapine 45 mg  tegretol 400mg.  Mid 14 3 month taper. Nov 14 CRASH.
Mid 15 ....   75mg  seroquel,  3 x 1800mg SJW  2 week window end of December followed by 6 week wave
5/2 68mg seroquel, 2.5 x 1800mg SJW::::20/2 61mg seroquel, 2.5 x  SJW::: 26/2 54mg seroquel, 2 x SJW::::21/3 43mg seroquel, 1 x 2700SJW :::: 23/4 36mg seroquel 1 x 1800 SJW
15/5 33mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::   28/5 30mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::;  18/6 25mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::::, 11/7 21mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::, 26/7 18mg seroquel 1/2 SJW:::, 9/8 12mg seroquel :::, 16/8 6mg seroquel ;;;;, 12/9 0 jump.

23/9  3mg.....,  27/9 0mg.  Reinstated, 6mg, then 12mg.............  LIGHTBULB MOMENT,  I have  MTHFR 2x mutations.  CFS and issues with MOULD in my home. So I left home, and working 150km away during week, loving it.

Oh was hard, panic attacks first week, gone now, along with the mould issues.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Vanessa.

 

Very sorry that you've had to face the dilemma of pregnancy and antidepressants.

 

For your information, here is our Pristiq tapering topic Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

 

As you can see, Effexor is very closely related to Pristiq. Although Effexor, like all antidepressants, has questionable effects on a fetus, if the withdrawal symptoms become too intense you might be able to take a few beads of Effexor XR for a short while to "redo" the tail end of your taper. This could get you over the rough spots with lower risk to the baby -- adverse effects are dosage-related.

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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