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Tips for tapering off Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

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ewallac6

 

 

After reading this thread all the way through and multiple articles on the subject, I spoke with my physician and started tapering off my Pristiq in March 2013.  It was not fun and I had to keep reminding myself that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  
 
My doctor told me to split the pills in half for two weeks and I should be fine.  That was not at all accurate.  I ended up splitting the pills to quarters (not easy) so taper even moreso than the doctor suggested.  I have a feeling that this doctor has never been through this before.  I added a weekly therapy session that I'm still attending, which helped me learn to flex that part of my brain that regulated emotion.
 
I never understood "brain zaps" before now. Basically, for those who haven't felt them yet and are afraid, they are very short moments are vertigo that can come and go in rapid fire succession.  They can be mild to a point of being able to ignore them or severe, which are the ones that made me need to stay home.  They lasted for months, coming and going in fequency and severity.  The last severe episode I had happened moments after I prayed to God for relief.  There were a couple of months of very mild "echoes" of brain zaps - I call them my reminders never to take Pristiq again - and I can't remember when the last one happened.
 
Add to that dry mouth and some insomnia.  I also did a detox to help flush it out, which may have helped.
 
All the while, I kept telling myself that there is an end to it.  And I did I make it to the other side.  
 
I feel amazing.  You CAN get off this terrible drug with patience and knowledge!  It's a temporary thing that will be over.  

 

 

Hey Ewa, how are you doing?

So, were you successful with cutting the 50 mg Pristiq pills? I'm reluctant to doing it.

Did you distributed the cuts all over the day or did you just take it all together?

Thanks.

 

 

Hi, starriol.

 

I cut the pills in half and took the half at the same time as always.  When it came time to quarter them, I continued to take the quarter of a pill at the usual time.

 

I can't say that this method was "right", because I had awful side effects from coming off of it, but what choice did I have?  There is no prescribed method for tapering and no other method provided.  It got to point, while I was on them, that I would have to call in sick to work if I forgot to take the medication.  I needed them out of my life and they are gone now

 

The side effects lasted for up to (maybe) 3 months after I started reducing my dosage and to varying degrees of severity.  The worst side effects occurred during those first few weeks.  I haven't had a brain zap or dizzy spell in a while.

 

It was hard, but every time I'd feel a brain zap, feel nauseated or have a sleepless night, it would remind me why I needed to get off those pills.  

 

I've read it over and over again here - Pristiq should NEVER be prescribed.  If my original physician had just done a little more work, they would have found the issue and fixed the problem and not just the symptom.  (In my case, my testosterone level was extremely low.  Now, I take testosterone treatment and I don't struggle with depression & anxiety.)

 

I hope this helps.  Best of luck,

EW

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starriol

Thanks to both for your thorough responses.

I've been doing quite fine after 5 days jumping from 100 to 50 mgs, today in particular I felt great all day, except at the afternoon... I think the cause is that I took too much caffeine. Normally, I'm quite sensitive to it, clearly now more tan ever.

Last two times I tried lowering the dosage, I was already feeling much worse.

So I'll bet on that I'll keep getting better and avoid raising the dosage unless I start feeling really low.

If all's good, I'll hold 50 mgs and then I'll start cutting the pills and lowering gradually.

 

It's amazing how much more awake I feel now. I love it, can't wait to be finally off this double edge sword.


Sept 2012 to present day - 30 to 50 mgs of Ritalin

Nov 2012 to nov 2013 - 100 mgs desvenlafaxine (pristiq)

Dec 2012 to apr 2013 - 1 mg clonazepam

Apr 2013 to aug 2013 - from 1 mg to 0 mg clonazepam

Nov 01 to present day - 50 mgs desvenlafaxine (pristiq)

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kjasdkk

Just want to report back that I am doing okay, not great, but not horrible. Since 25/10/13 I have been taking the Pristiq later and later gradually, (i.e Day 1: 3 hours later, 2: 6 hours later, 3: 9 Hours later, 4:12 hours later, repeat this a few days and by now am taking every second day). Previously when I missed a dose by by 12 hours (i.e. forgetting to take it in the morning and realising and taking it at night), I did get mild brain zaps and definite spike in anxiety.

 

I couldn't get any bridging AD and aren't trying the supplements like Tryptophan. So I suppose going by Altostrata's account that alternating days is likely to worsen 'discontinuation syndrome', I may be one of the lucky ones for who this works. I will add also that I'm particularly more aware of my body and mood right now, (am using a sort of mood diary for the iPhone called iMoodJournal which is quite useful).

 

Good luck to all!

Edited by KarenB
fixed text

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Petunia

Thank you for the update Kjasdkk

 

Its not a good idea to taper by taking medication on alternate days. Please start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum so we can get to know you and provide better support.

 

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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Cryptopsy

Hey guys. I was prescribed 50 mg of Pristiq about 9 months ago however it made me extremely irritable and angry so my doctor advised me to cut it in half and take 25 mg. I have been taking the 25mg for around 7 months after I was advised by my doctor in an attempt to reduce the extreme anger and irritability. I have read on numerous signs that it is not recommended to cut it in half because it removes the time release coating and allows a much higher dose to be absorbed in a much quicker time. I am extremely paranoid because I've been allowing a much higher dose to be absorbed in a much quicker time for about 7 months that I've done permanent damage to my body and this damage will become more apparent after I've stopped taken it. I am extremely worried that the damage will effect my sex drive after taking it. Because there is no line on where to cut it I have probably been cutting it at all sorts of different doses and I'm worried about how this will affect me.

Edited by KarenB
fixed text

Began taking 50 mg of Zoloft for 6 months before tapering down to 25 mg for 3 months. Changed to 50 mg of Pristiq for 3 months, after 3 months was was put onto 50 mg of Clomipramine before gradually progressing to 200 mg as well as being instructed to cut the Pristiq in half and take it with the Clomipramine.

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Altostrata

Hi, Cryptopsy.

 

Cutting up Pristiq more or less transforms it into immediate-release Effexor. If you haven't suffered any ill consequences from taking a half-tablet, please don't worry about it.

 

In fact, you may wish to substitute immediate-release Effexor for your taper. It's easier to titrate than Pristiq. Please read this entire topic from the beginning.


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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Cryptopsy

Hi, Cryptopsy.

 

Cutting up Pristiq more or less transforms it into immediate-release Effexor. If you haven't suffered any ill consequences from taking a half-tablet, please don't worry about it.

 

In fact, you may wish to substitute immediate-release Effexor for your taper. It's easier to titrate than Pristiq. Please read this entire topic from the beginning.

 

Thanks for the reply Altostrata. I think there may be a side effect from cutting the Pristiq in half and I think it has become more apparent since I had a bad experience smoking weed. Because cutting it up causes it to release immediately and in a higher dose, wouldn't that mean it would wear off more quickly? Because in the afternoon after taking it I find that I suffer from dissociation and depersonalization. Maybe those two symptoms can be attributed to the Pristiq wearing off and triggering withdrawal symptoms?


Began taking 50 mg of Zoloft for 6 months before tapering down to 25 mg for 3 months. Changed to 50 mg of Pristiq for 3 months, after 3 months was was put onto 50 mg of Clomipramine before gradually progressing to 200 mg as well as being instructed to cut the Pristiq in half and take it with the Clomipramine.

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Altostrata

I don't know, Cryptopsy. That may be an adverse effect. It doesn't sound like 25mg Pristiq is doing you any good. I might switch to regular Effexor, take 2-3 times a day, and wean off the Effexor.

 

See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/


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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mogfish

The following method is how I weaned off Pristiq 50mg with very few side effects and minimal if any "head shocks/ brain zaps.


The following method is something that I came up with after reading the information tips on this site but is in no way backed by medical professionals it is simply what has been very effective for me so far although I am only Day 5 completely pristiq free. 


 


I weaned off from 50 mg to zero in approximately 11 months.


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


To try to simply summarise my dosing method……….


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


*Small half in morning and quarter in evening


*Small half in morning then 1/8 in evening


*big half in morning and evening dose dropped


*small half in morning


*big quarter in morning


*small quarter in morning


*Big eighth in morning


*small eighth in morning


* a nibble of the already tiny tablet  :)


* then i "jumped off" or completely stopped the medication 5 days ago and so far so good.


 


I hope that makes sense??


 


I also incorporated Fish oil, magnesium( at night) and vitamin B supplements in the hope that they would help with the weaning process  although I am aware that some people are sensitive to supplements but for me I found that they were a great help.


 


 


 


 



have been on and off antidepressants for 16 years since becoming pregnant with my now 15 year old daughter.
Was put on effexor several years ago and experienced horrible side effects(shakes, vomiting, sweats, chills) about a week into commencing them.
Stopped effexor cold turkey and commenced on cipramil which I stayed on a low dose for many years until I weaned myself off.
A few years ago I was advised to go back on antidepressants and put on Pristiq. Started on 50 mg but experienced insomnia and irritability so halved the dose to 25mg which I tolerated well but didn't do a lot to help with the "depression" so eventually increased dose to 50mg which I was on for about 3 years 
I felt I was ready  to come off the antidepressants so began to wean off them.The method I have used was to cut the tablets up.

At first I took a half in the morning then a quarter late in the afternoon. I would often end up with a big half and a little half when cutting the pills up so I would take the big halves for a about 2 months then swap to the little halves therefore giving me a smallish dose reduction. I held on each reduction for about 6 to eight weeks and sometimes longer depending on how I was feeling.
To try to simply summarise my dosing method……….
*Big half  in morning quarter in early evening (around 4pm) 
*Small half in morning and quarter in evening
*Small half in morning then 1/8 in evening
*big half in morning and evening dose dropped
*small half in morning
*big quarter in morning
*small quarter in morning
*Big eighth in morning
*small eighth in morning
* a nibble of the already tiny tablet :))
This method has proved to be successful for me thus far and as of June 2014 I am more than 2 months completely Pristiq free

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Altostrata

Thanks, mogfish. I think that's just about the best you can do in tapering directly off Pristiq, without crushing the tablets and weighing the powder.


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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Carlos
I am very happy to read that so many people give to the community to help overcome this misconception that we always give our doctors a good medication out of our stomachs. When is apparently common view that psychiatrists prescribe drugs before trying to solve the underlying problem with therapy.

Well , my doctor prescribe me 50mg Pristiq (in that time owner Wyeth) with a diagnosis of minor depressive disorder in the first session when I was 27 years old.

I have taken these pills for four years and actually I felt an improvement in my quality of life , so I tried to stop taking them with the help of my doctor , but every time I check it tells me : why if you 're okay? this is a drug you must take all your life, like you have diabetes ...

I have read this forum in st google and finding it really contains very useful information that not even my psychiatrist I could have explained in 15 minutes.

I'm starting  has left the drug myself with the help of internet and the forum , taking the most logical instructions and with less risk .
The reasons are clear: drug dependence , the monthly cost but primarily attact the root cause naturally.

First i replace 50 mg Pristiq ( desvenlafaxine ) in my country U$ 75 by an alternative to EFFEXOR XR ( venlafaxine ) U$ 30, both extended release
.

 

I've been taking this medication two weeks and I'll be telling you about the progress.
 

In several forums I read that as the tablet could not break to decrease intake by recommending the laboratory itself and not exisitir Pristiq less grams, the patient should go on the pill progressively with more hour time difference, ie, increasing 4 hours day until you finish the whole box.
The worst mistake!

So far I've had some bad symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, dizziness, insomnia and feeling of electric shocks in my head.
All this happened from misapply instructions ...

 

From today, I will begin to decrease 10% of the venlafaxine dose every 3 weeks. My new pills are granulated and coated, so it is much easier to reduce the dose now.

Greetings from Chile.
 

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Valerie

HERE'S HOW I GOT OFF PRISTIQ: 

I was on Pristiq for four years. I never had any real depression symptoms, rather a lack of energy and I was ultimately diagnosed with hypothyroid. Prior to my diagnosis, however, a doctor had put me on Pristiq saying that it could help with my low energy levels. Pristiq never helped me with energy since my problem was actually undiagnosed thyroid (very common btw). After my thryroid diagnosis, I wanted so badly to be off Pristiq because it was a useless medication for me. 

I tried for THREE YEARS to get off Pristiq and failed each time because I couldn't handle the intense withdrawal symptoms. I lurked in this forum and many others and I tried all kinds of methods for getting off of Pristiq. Nothing worked and I felt doomed that I'd be on the drug for the rest of my life. 

Eventually I DID get off of Pristiq and want to share how I did it in the hopes to help other people trying to come off of it. 

This method took me almost 6 months start to finish but overall it was not difficult and finally WORKED after so many miserable failed attempts. What was good about this method was that I did not experience any extreme discomfort. Also, as a side note, I feel so much better off the drug and didn’t realize that it was stifling my emotions and happiness until after I was off it. 

Here are the steps I took: 

-For about 6 weeks, I alternated 1 50 mg tablet with 1/2 tablet (I split it with a pill cutter). No noticeable withdrawal symptoms during this time unless I went beyond 24 hours between doses. 

-Next, I took 1/2 tablet every day for another 6 weeks. Again, no noticeable withdrawal symptoms during this time unless I went beyond 24 hours between doses. 

-Then, I alternated 1/2 tablet with 1/4 tablet for about 6 weeks. 

-After that, I took 1/4 tablet every day for about 4 weeks. My original plan was to carry on with 1/4 tablet for 6 weeks total and then alternate 1/4 tablet with 1/8 tablet and so forth. I got somewhat impatient at this point though and thought I'd rework my plan and stop to see if I could get through. My kids were going to be away for the weekend and I felt motivated to just see if I could kick it over the weekend, with the back up plan that if by Sunday I was feeling badly, I’d just go back on the 1/4 tablet and carry on with the original plan. 

-I took the last 1/4 tablet on a Thursday. 

-Surprisingly, withdrawal symptoms did not set in until Saturday. Symptoms were mostly brain zaps, but also dizziness, feeling a bit unsteady when walking, mild stomach cramps and brain fog/inability to think clearly. 

-When the withdrawal symptoms came on, I got in bed to wait out the "storm" and loaded up on everything I researched to boost serotonin: 
-800 mg of fish oil every few hours - I believe that would be a hefty dose regularly, but I figured no biggie since I would only be taking that amount during withdrawal symptoms. 
-1 tablet Zyrtec - I read that antihistamines can help reduce the brain zaps. (Benadryl might be a good choice if one desired to get sleepy and rest more deeply.) 
-Lots of water 
-A ton of raw green leafies – romaine, spinach and baby greens. 
-85% cacao Dark Chocolate 
-Grass Fed, Free Range Beef 
-Magnesium Glycinate tablets 
-Calcium Citrate tablets 
-Vitamin D tablets 
-Note some things I didn’t try but that could possibly help include: flaxseed, flaxseed oil, free range turkey, bananas, pasture raised eggs. 

By Saturday evening, I kept my eyes closed mostly because looking around intensified the brain zaps. I rested in the dark and listened to audiobooks and podcasts in bed. 

I felt quite nervous on Saturday not knowing how long the symptoms would last. There were a few times I thought that I should just continue with my original plan. Mentally, I was hopeful that the symptoms would go away quickly, but was prepared that they possibly could indeed last much longer. 

I fell asleep around midnight on Saturday and allowed myself to sleep until I woke up on Sunday - a solid 10 hours. 

The great news is that the brain zaps were minimal when I woke up on Sunday. They went away almost entirely by Sunday afternoon and I felt practically no withdrawal symptoms at all by Sunday evening. 

Note that on Sunday, I continued with all the serotonin-boosting items listed above. Fish oil, dark chocolate, etc. 

Overall, these steps/my process did not feel difficult. The worst part was on Saturday evening, simply not knowing how long the withdrawal symptoms would last - would it be a few more hours? a day? a few days? a week? That unknowing was the worst part indeed, but it turned out to not be more than 24 hours. 

I am so grateful to be off Pristiq and I pray that this can work for other people out there. I also pray that this medication becomes more strictly regulated with smaller doses available for the purpose of coming off it and that doctors become more educated on just how much of a nightmare it can be to come off this drug. 

I hope my story can help some of you out there. I wish you all the best and send you so much love and support. 

 

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Altostrata

Thanks. Valerie.

 

As you know, we do not advocate inconsistent dosing. But going off Pristiq is difficult and you did the best you could.

 

I'm glad to hear it appears to have worked for you. Some people are not as sensitive as others to dosage fluctuations and jumping off at 1/4 of a dose, and you may be one of them.

 

Please start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum and keep us posted about how you're doing over the next 6 months or so.


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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yima

How I'm quitting desvenlafaxine successful (so far, knock on wood).

 

Summary: convinced my doctor to give me a recipe for a compounded pharmacy, I've been going down the dose using a small dosage in capsule multiples times a day.

 

I've been wanting to quit this med for almost a year. About 9 months ago, I went from 100 to 50 mgs with a lot of effort, by doing one day 100 mgs, the other 50, until I felt stable enough to drop to 50.

I know this method is not recommendable, I didn't have a better option. It was hard, tried 2 times until I was able to.

 

Then, my doctor told me to do the same thing to quit it and be done in 2 weeks. IE, do one day on, one day off.

I wasn't able to, so I took a pill once every 36 hours. As the mark got closer, I started having with heavy withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps, anxiety, all the others).

 

What I did, after reading about it here, is ask my doctor for a recipe to go to a compounding pharmacist and have them crush the pills and put them into capsules.

He said I was a guinea pig, the first one who has ever done this (haha!).

Anyway, I asked for 8.3 mgs pills, to take one every 6 hours (I decided to take them every 6 hours, I know that the first dose will always come a bit late after sleeping, I wanted to avoid hitting the half life time of 8 hours, it was a bit misguided, I'm going to swtich to once every 8 hours next dosage change).

That means I was taking 33.2 mgs per 24 hours.

I felt some pretty heavy withdrawals for 3 days (mainly depression, feeling very low, not wanting to do anything all day long, etc). After that, I started feeling much better.

 

Now, 5 days ago I went down from 8.3 in each capsule to 6 mgs, so that means I'm taking 24 mgs every day.

Again, similar symptoms, plus a sluggishness I can't escape from not even with coffee or Ritalin (which I take for ADHD).

But now, day 5, I'm feeling much better than the previous days.

I've realized how important it is to go out and socialize. I work by myself on the computer every day, so if I don't do something at night, it can get very lonely very fast. I'm very happy that yesterday I went to a club with a friend, chatted up some girls, that surely helped me feel much better!

 

So, what I'm planning on doing next is moving the doses apart 6.5 hours, then 7, then 7.5 and then 8. I would stabilize in each new dosing schedule and when I'm very firm at 8 hours apart (that would be a drop from 24 now to 18 mgs), I will get lower doses capsules.

I think I'll drop 1 mg each time I lower, that would take me from 18 to 15 mgs, which seems pretty safe (considering I just jumped from 33.3 to 24 mgs without any major issues).

 

Anyway, I'm happy my doctor accepted this, but it's also very worrying to think about his ignorance in the matter. To think that a patient found the only solution that worked for him on the Internet and suggested it to him it's pretty frightening, not for me, but for all the people that will surely face withdrawal symptoms and think they are having depression symptoms again and the doctor will probably agree and put them back on the drug.

 

PS: I'd like to thank Altostrata for his/her advice on the compounding, I wouldn't have thought of that and I don't know what I would have done without that idea!

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Altostrata

Very interesting, yima.

 

Looks like you are fully capable of managing your own plan. I can see the sense in all your steps.

 

Since you're getting withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to slow your reductions to minimize them.

 

Please also start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum and track your progress there, so your case history won't get lost.


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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yima

To anyone reading this and thinking about tapering off Pristiq, is doable.

I went from 100 to 50 mgs, then used capsules made in a compound pharmacy to lower it slowly.

It was hard, sometimes very hard, but it's doable.

I'm at 12 mgs now and thinking about how to continue (made a post here if anyone is interested: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7368-how-to-handle-multiple-psy-drugs-taper-im-close-to-finishing-tapering-pristiq-yey/)

 

Will keep this thread updated also in the coming months.

Thanks again!

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Altostrata

yima, now that you're so close to the end, please consider making smaller dosage decreases much further apart. A lot of people find the last bit is the most difficult.


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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Shipko

Given the lack of research on the topic, my opinions are necessarily anecdotal, and YMMV.  Despite the Effexor XR supposedly having problems with bead tapering because not all beads contain active ingredients, I have had consistently good results bead tapering Effexor XR.  My approach is to change Pristiq to Effexor XR.  For 50 of Pristiq I make an immediate substitution of 150 of the Efxr and after a few days the Efxr is decreased to 100 mg and kept stable for a week before tapering from the Efxr. 

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antidepressantsNoMore

I stopped this medication @ 150 mg cold turkey 2.6 years ago. Side effects lasted 2.6 years lol , IT SUCKS! I'm 80 percent better but still not there. If I only knew how powerful these meds were I never would have been on them. This stuff is pure evil. I lost years of my life and I can't get them back. I still have the eye floaters too.


2 Years free of w/d.

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Petunia

Pristiq now comes in 25 mg and is prescribed specifically for tapering. See the link below under Dosage and Administration. http://labeling.pfiz...ing.aspx?id=497


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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Altostrata

Hurray! Still not enough of a dosage range, but better....

 

Revised post #1.


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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Sancho

Alto, can you help me with this?

 

You claim that "rather than a time-released coating, the coating on the Pristiq is only protective".  But a few lines below you say that "this [crushing Pristiq] is similar to cutting up tablets in risk as it has a time-release coating".  

 

Finally, is the coating only protective or time-released?

 

Thanks.  


Pristiq 100mg. Feb/2015

Wellbutrin 300mg. Feb/2015

Clonazepam 2mg. Oct. 2014

Clonazepam 2mg. Feb. 2015

Clonazepam 1.75 Feb. 2015

Clonazepam 1.50 March 2015

Clonazepam 1.25 March 2015

Clonazepam 1.00 April 2015

Clonazepam .75 May 2015

 

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Altostrata

Thank you, I made a correction in post #1. Pristiq does not have a time-release coating, the time-release quality is in the matrix formulation of the ingredients inside the tablet.


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

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Fresh

I've been tapering pristiq and at 34mg have just changed to a twice daily dose.

 

Taking one chunk of half a tablet plus some crumbs and powder wasn't giving me the coverage I had before.  I was getting

jaw achiness and tightness around the head for around 4 hours before my evening dose.  ? inter-dose withdrawal

 

I'm now taking 1/3 of my dose at 1:30pm and the remaining 2/3 at 9:30pm.   It's day 3 and looking good , no sore jaw tonight.

 

So , even though the slow-release component in pristiq is in the ingredients rather than the coating , it seems that breaking up tablets

changes the rate at which it's digested.


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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Altostrata

Correct, when the matrix formulation is broken, the drug is released faster.

 

Good to hear divided doses is working for you.


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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Alua

Hi all. I want to wean off pristiq 50mg. It has been suggested to me to switch to Effexor in order to do this. This scares me for obvious reasons but mainly due to the fact that there is much written here about the difficulty of withdrawing from Effexor. I do see the merit in the switch from an easier reduction perspective. I've read all the forums on here. Has anybody actually switched from pristiq to Effexor and weaned off successfully. I'm inclined to stick with the pristiq and have smaller doses compounded. Thank you


<p>Various benzos 4 months for insomnia prior to Effexor 37.5mg may 2014 for two weeks, Mirtazapine 30mg june 2014 - feb 2015.Pristiq 50 mg Feb 2015. six weeks later attempted coming off with a six week taper. ten days off and it got ugly. Tapering now using compounded pristiq with slow release agent. 37.5 mg 3 weeks, 30 mg 6 weeks, 25mg 4.5 weeks, 20mg for 6 weeks, 17.5 mgs 7 weeks, 20 mg 8 weeks, 19 mg 3 weeks, 18 mg 3 weeks, 17 mg 3 weeks, 16 mg 3 weeks, 15mg 2 weeks, 14mg 2 weeks, 13 mgs 2 weeks, 12 mgs 6 weeks, 11mg 3 weeks, 10.5mg 2 weeks, 10 mg 3.5 weeks. 9mg 4 weeks. Jumped at 8mg currently 16 months free

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peggy

i don't know if pristiq would be any easier to wean off than effexor, so i would be inclined to stay on pristiq and have the doses compounded.  I am on effexor and tried once to go onto pristiq (my Dr thought it may have less side effects - ha ha) and I had intense anxiety surges - so i don't necessarily think it is completely easy to switch from one to the other. 

 

I plan to go the compounding phi route when my effexor dose gets lower - I spoke with a compounding pharmacy on the Gold Coast called Tugan Pharmacy and they said they could get venflaxine for me and compound it - i would post the script in and they would take cc details, compound it and post it out.  Maybe you could look them up and call them and see if they can do it for pristiq?  


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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Altostrata

Alua, substituting Effexor for Pristiq is discussed in the first post in this topic. Yes, we have people who have succeeded in this.

 

Compounding Pristiq into smaller doses has exactly the same effect as cutting up a tablet -- dosage dumping is possible. This is also discussed in detail in post #1.

 

Please read post #1 carefully to consider all the ways you might go off Pristiq.


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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Fresh

Hi eiledon , did you read the section about switching to prozac here in post 1:

 

"Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant

Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a cousin of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq.

 

"The Prozac switch or Bridging with Prozac" http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/


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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Fresh

Yup , I know what you mean. I'm having a bit of dose-dumpage so am looking at options , but am pretty scared of changing.

 

It seems that pristiq 25mg tablets are not available in Australia (according to my pharmacist). I talked with her about compounding decreasing doses of pristiq , and she is going to seek advice from Pfizer.

 

For anyone considering compounding , get quotes.

Having specific amounts made on a monthly basis is expensive.

It's loads cheaper to have a large amount of the drug made up in smaller equal amounts. For example , if you're tapering from 20mg you might have a variety of 5mg's , 3mg's , 2mg's and 1mg's made up , and combine them to make up doses as you go down. This means you pay around the same for a 6 months total supply as 1 month of a specific dose.

Doing it this way also means you're not tied to a dose for pre-determined length of time , you can decrease when you're body feels ready , rather than when the calendar says so.


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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Altostrata

If you are experiencing dose-dumping, you may wish to take Pristiq in small doses more than twice a day.

 

As explained in post #1, the extended-release quality is damaged, but not completely eliminated, when the tablet is cut. Smaller fragments will be less likely to have any significant extended-release quality. Powdered Pristiq, which is what a pharmacy would put into capsules, will have NO extended-release quality.

 

Prozac is an SSRI, Pristiq is an SNRI. They are not similar drugs.


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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eiledon20

Thank you altostrata.

 

Thats the problem with cutting pristiq. Cutting quarters will result in some quarters powderizing. Will keep them in a small platic box for later tapering...


Partner suddenly died 2014. Severe depression AGAIN (had previous episode 10 years ago). I was given escitalopram but could not bear the side effects, so i ask for an ECT (not sure if this helped). During the treatment and my hospital stay I was given Depakote mood stabilizer.  PDOC says I need to take it for two years. After 4-5 months I have a hard time with the Depakote. Hard to get up in the morning. Depression again or Depakote effects? So stopped Depakote (did not know about tapering then)

 

Januray 21, 2015. Severe depression again, started Pristiq 50mg and clonazepam 0.5 mg nightly. Had confusion, suicidal thoughts, thoughts about death, and find it hard to understand the TV, much more type in a computer.

 

Had adverse reaction to most antidepressants: muscle pain/spasms, irritablity, restlessness. Also Tried Prozac, Zoloft, Escitalopram years ago.

Started to taper pristiq and clonazepam after four months:

5th month:

2 weeks - 3/4 tablet PRISTIQ   (deducting the clonazepam also, so hard to cut)

2 weeks - 1/2 tablet PRISTIQ   (crumbs of clonazepam nightly)

2 weeks - 1/8 or less (hard to cut really) (zero clonazepam)

Then jump off pristiq.

I just wonder why I was cured during the 10 year period (2004-2014) I have no depression symptoms and no meds either. Pdoc said I might be biploar 2 but it is a "grey" area. Aren't bipolars supposed to be on maintenance meds?! Damn this diagnosis. I am tapering Pristiq either way.

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Altostrata

Yes, people like to take the larger quarters and keep the smaller quarters for later, when their dosage is lower.


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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Fresh

My pharmacist spoke to Pfizer , and they were very evasive from the sound of it , but gave her the go ahead to compound it at smaller doses.

They suggested the way to taper was this - stop from 50mg , and if you get sick , go back onto 50mg , wait a month , and then do the same again.

As per post 1 in this topic:

"(According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this.)"

 

I'm thinking of having a 3 month supply of 10mg capsules made up with the slow-release formula (@2 per day , 180 caps.). I'll take one am and one pm , and supplement the capsules with weighed tablet fragments as I decrease from 33mg to 20mg per day.


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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nz11

Everyone reading this topic, please phone Pristiq's manufacturer and the FDA to make a complaint that there's no way to taper off Pristiq:

 

Pfizer (800) 438-1985 in the US

 

FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST.

 

I haven't gotten any response from the FDA or the phone call I made to Pfizer last week.

 

I phoned Emory hoping to speak to Philip Ninan, former Wyeth/Pfizer vice president for Pristiq development, but it turned out he's retired (now working part-time on Long Island, NY, see above).

 

A nice woman from Emory said she would ask another of the psychiatrists there about tapering off Pristiq. She phoned me back this morning. She said the doctor had done some Googling and found an article for me. It turned out to be from a site called SurvivingAntidepressants.org -- this very topic.

 

Well, I guess it's a good thing doctors are using this as reference, but we still need a way to taper off Pristiq!

I have just spent the whole afternoon reading this thread in its entirety ..slowly ...and i am just lost for words ...its one of those 'what the flip n heck ' moments or wtf for short!

 

Alto you deserve a Nobel prize or something.

 

What a shameful disgrace.


Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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MelissaRose723

Here is my story of going of Pristiq: I definitely tapered off of this drug. However, I experienced withdrawal symptoms nonetheless. My withdrawal symptoms lasted six weeks. SIX FREAKING WEEKS. It was absolutely THE WORST MONTH AND A HALF OF MY LIFE. The first thing I experienced was weird muscle spasms and having my muscles lock up. My legs were basically paralyzed for like a half hour. It was kind of terrifying, I'm not gonna lie. That only happened once. However, my migraines, fever, and etc. lasted FOREVER. It was the most awful thing. And don't even get me started on the way it screwed up my sleep cycle. I stopped being able to sleep at night, so I would whenever I could find time during the day. Some days I was so exhausted I would stay home from school to sleep. This significantly hurt my chances of graduating as it was the end of my senior year (thank goodness my school worked with my councilor and I was still able to graduate). It affected my performance at work and even some days I wasn't able to go to work because I was so sick.

If you plan to go off pristiq, beware. GO OFF AS SLOWLY AS FREAKING POSSIBLE. THE SYMPTOMS ARE AWFUL AND LAST A REALLY LONG TIME. I'm so glad I've made it through that period in my life.

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