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Nana

☼ Nana trying to stay off Pristiq

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Nana

I was on antidepressants for about 7 years, always trying to get off them. I have been on Celexa, Abilify, and Pristiq. I retired in December of 2014 so I no longer have job stress. I began tapering off Pristiq after I had only been on it about 2 months. I went down to 50 mg, the smallest tablet there is, then began cutting the tablets in half. When I wanted to reduce to 1/8th of a tablet, I crushed the tablets and used a razor blade to make a line on a mirror, and approximate 1/8th. All of my tapers lasted about 4 weeks until I got down to 1/16th. It was so small, and I had to travel for a funeral, so after two weeks of 1/16 I stopped. It has been 46 days and I feel myself slipping into depression and anxiety. But I am determined to stay off meds. I only take fish oil and Vitamin D. I just want to hear from other people that have survived Pristiq withdrawal. I want to hear success stories. Tell me I can do it! Tell my brain will heal. I run for about 30 minutes every other day and walk on the in between days.

 

Pristiq

100mg/day  two months

50mg/day x six weeks

25mg/day x six weeks

12.5 mg/day x six weeks

6.25mg/day x 2weeks

Off Pristiq March 23rd, 2015

 

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Prestorb

Welcome Nana, good for you! You may not know it yet, but you have done amazingly well with such a fast taper! You can definitely do it, but Alto's suggestion may make it much more tolerable for you. Often folks don't really feel the full effects of withdrawal symptoms until they are completely off the ADs for a while. I've experienced this myself several times. But hang in there, with whatever decision you make, you can do it and your brain will heal. There are many success stories!

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Petunia

Welcome from me too Nana,

After being on antidepressants for 7 years, its not surprising you are experiencing some symptoms after tapering over several months. These drugs change the way the brain functions and it can take a while for those changes to reverse. But you will recover eventually.

 

Please see our Symptoms and self-care section for ideas to help you manage as you continue to heal.

 

Withdrawal symptoms can often get worse, before they get better, and for some people can last a long time, so I recommend you read the links Alto posted and consider reinstatement of a small dose.

 

Here is a link to a Pristiq success story:

 

Mogfish: successful taper directly off Pristiq using cutting up method

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ang

Welcome and well done!

I did too fast a taper, suffered, but reinstating anything, or trying anythin new, is damn worse.  Stick with it, AND WELL DONE!

 

AT LEAST OFF THE DRUGS, i HAD WINDOWS, TRYING TO REINSTATE, EVERY DAY IS HELL....  day 10 ready to give up.....  the drugs making me worse, now why the crap and the bullsh*t, make you wrorse before you feel better?  BLOODY GOOD MARKETING I RECKON.

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Petunia

ang, your drug history and situation is very different from Nana's and from memory I don't think you followed the reinstatement protocol properly. Nana could possibly avoid long term withdrawal syndrome with a careful reinstatement and taper plan. Reinstatement doesn't make everyone feel worse, many people who tapered too fast can feel some relief quite quickly, especially if not much time has passed.

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JanCarol

Hey Nana, welcome to SA!

 

That was an aggressive tapering.  Please be patient with yourself.  

 

I agree with Alto that a tiny reinstatement will help smooth your recovery.  The sooner you reinstate the better. 

 

Please keep in mind that some of the worst symptoms may come months AFTER the drug is out of your system.  By doing a tiny reinstatement now, you can prevent a load of grief, later.  It doesn't always work, but it is, perhaps, one of the few things that can.

 

Are you having any symptoms now?  Are you hanging on by your fingernails?  Be gentle to yourself, be patient with yourself.  You are rebuilding your brain, and that doesn't happen overnight, or in a week, or even in a month.  You were on the drug for 7 years. The Pristiq rearranged your brain, and it will take time to rearrange it back.

 

Rhi's description of healing the brain

 

The only other thing I might consider, if I were you, is Magnesium, which helps over 300 amino reactions in your brain and body:  Magnesium

 

Take care, and welcome!

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Nana

Thank you to everyone who has replied. Thank you for your encouragement and for your advice. I have been Pristiq-free for seven weeks now. I am reluctant to reinstate because I feel like I have stabilized over the last few days. If I feel myself slipping again, I definitely will. There is always the question of warding off a major relapse versus continuing the brain damage by continuing or reinstating the med. I don't think there is an absolute answer since every person and every situation is different. For now, I think there is great benefit in knowing I have a community of people such as myself who are trying to break the tyranny of these meds. So thank you again for your encouragement and advice. I will keep posting my progress and/or regressions!

 

Nana

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Altostrata

Good to hear, Nana. Please let us know how you're doing.

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nz11

Well done on being drug free.

Just be wary wdl symptoms can be delayed. Intense aerobic exercise can also trigger wdl so be careful out there... take it easy.

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Nana

Thank you for the warning nz11.

 

I count every day that I wake up and am not in withdrawal as a blessing. Some days I feel borderline panic when I wake up. On those days I do some deep breathing before I even move. Then I remind myself that the mornings are the hardest. So far, this has worked. By the time I am up and moving the panic has subsided.

 

On Monday I will be 8 weeks Pristiq/AD free. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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Altostrata

Be sure to minimize any stress while you're in this fragile recovery state.

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Nana

Thanks Altostrraa,

 

I will!!

 

nana

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ltree74

Hi Nana,

 

I am 9 weeks off of Pristiq myself.  I was on AD's for about 7 years and Pristiq was about the last 5-6 of that.   I have had a time with it getting off.  I wish I would have found the site sooner but never knew wd's could be so bad.   I was also taking Ambien to sleep because the Pristiq kept me too wired.  I was on 50 mg for about 7 months then did a 3 wk every other day then cold turkey.   I found some herbal stuff that helps me ride the waves above water so I decided not to reinstate.  I am also tapering the ambien also with herbal help.  The wonderful people on this site advised against so I am being very, very careful and listening to my body.  So far so good.

 

  I have also woke up in the mornings since stopping Pristiq and before decreasing ambien where I have had am panic episodes.  I have never had these before ever.   I do exercises in the am and sometimes yoga meditation and that helps tremendously.   I can't say every day I feel great about life but it does seem to be getting better each day.   I have started recording good days and bad days with their symptoms to try and see if a pattern emerges.   I can't give you a success story right now but I know it helps me to know there are others in the same boat. 

 

Good luck to you!

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Nana

Hi ltree,

 

Thank you for your response.

 

It helps me too, to know that others are in the same boat. I think that the support offered by this site will be instrumental in my success. The morning fear is hard to deal with. So far, it has not progressed to panic for me, but I know that can still happen. I used to think that once I made it to 8 weeks out, I would be in the clear. Now I know that I will have to be vigilant in my self-care for years. But that is okay. At least when I have setbacks I will know that this is the norm for AD withdrawal. And that I need to ride them out, talk myself down, exercise, and meditate. And I want to be a success story that other people can read about here. I hope to be able to post weekly that I made it another week. I am looking forward to three months, six months, nine months, a year. two years, and ten years in the future.

 

Good luck to you ltree! Let's hang in there together!!

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CautiouslyExcited

Hello Nana.  I am new to this forum and am beginning the tapering process off of Pristiq this Friday.  I stumbled upon your post and wanted to check in with you.  I have been on Pristiq for 6 years.   

 

I am also curious for the opinion on others on the following tapering plan:

 

100 mg to 50 mg for 1 week then

50 mg to 25 mg for 2 weeks then

no meds

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Altostrata

CautiouslyExcited, please start your own Introductions topic. We can answer your questions there, so as not to derail Nana's topic.

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ltree74

Cautiously Excited................when you post your introduction I will go into more detail.   You are not tapering long enough.  I did a 3 wk taper.  HORRIBLE.  I will keep and eye out for your topic.

 

ltree74, 9 wks post taper.

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ltree74

Hi Nana,

After I read your response, I felt like you were my cheerleader. lol   I know it sounds crazy.  I just identified with what you said.   I have to talk myself down sometimes too.    I have been able to deal with the low spots by talking to myself and reminding myself to be in the present moment.  The what ifs, what could have beens, and what happened will get me in bad spots so fast.   I learned a little trick while my dad was battling cancer.......I stop myself and say for this moment I am ok.  What is past is past and I can't imagine the bad stuff because it may never happen.   I also exercise and meditate.  Meditation has helped me so much to be in the moment.  There is a lot to be said for the moment.  Anyway, I too hope to be free of meds forever.  That's the goal anyway. 

 

I have felt so much better this week.   I have slept so good too.  I think that really helps me. 

 

I look forward to hearing your updates each week!!!!

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Nana

Thanks ltree!

 

I had a rough couple of days with physical manifestations: fatigue, nausea, frequent urination. Wait. What? Frequent urination? I had a UTI! Now on abx and feeling much, much better. (It isn't always withdrawal).

 

ltree, your suggestions for living in the moment and getting through the hard stuff are very helpful. I have read many of the posts on this forum of people who are in very dark, black places. I have been there and I know that when I was bad, (during previous attempts to get off ADs), these suggestions would not have helped. But now, knowing what I know, and having gone through a relatively slow taper, I hope that the self care, the daily affirmations, the exercise and good diet and meditation, I will not go to those black places again. But...if I do, I now have this forum to sustain me and remind me that the darkness is temporary.

 

So far, so good. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I know there are many challenges ahead. I understand from this forum that three months out can be rough, and that 9-12 months out can also be rough. One day at a time!

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Nana

Cautiously Excited,

 

Your taper sounds way too fast. I have done fast tapers and when the WD starts, it escalates quickly! Please see my WD history in my signature. This was pretty aggressive. If I had to do it over I would go slower, but think I can live with it now. Time will tell.

 

I did go from 100mg Pristiq to 50, but I had only been on Pristiq for about two months when I made the switch. I don't know if I could have made that big of a decrease if I had been on it longer.

 

I think Mogfish has an excellent description of a slow taper, using a method of cutting up the pills, and first taking the "big" half for a few weeks, and then the "small half". The pills are hard to split evenly. You can find Mogfish on this forum.

 

Good luck!

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Nana

Oops. In my last post I should have said "please see my most recent withdrawal history in my signature". I did some pretty rapid tapers off of Celexa and Abilify prior to my taper off of Pristiq. I really crashed after both. The Celexa tapers I did on my own because I was sure that I could. When I crashed, my pc added Abilfiy. Once I was feeling good again I researched Abilify and learned what a dangerous medication it can be. And it is usually used for psychosis, although it also works for depression. Anyway, I asked my pc for a taper schedule and she had me taper off over three weeks. Way to fast! I was in a very bad place until I went to a psychiatrist who started me on Pristiq. I didn't like the psychiatrist, but I was in no position to argue. I needed help fast. So I took the Pristiq as directed until she told me to go up to 150. Instead I went down to 50. I was going to a MH therapist who cautioned me not to taper until I had stabilized for two years. But I wanted off before any additional damage could occur.

 

Well meaning people give a lot of bad advice. I hope I am not one of those. I sincerely believe the best support and advice I have ever received has been on this forum. I think the reason is that everyone here has experienced ADs and WD. How else can you possibly know?

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Nana

I woke up feeling a little more blue than usual. But then, it has been cloudy for several days, I am a little short of sleep d/t company in my home, and I have the added stress of company. Feeling the need for a little extra support I came to this site to read others' stories and I learned that the antibiotic Cipro can wreak havoc with AD withdrawal. S***! That is the one I am on for my UTI. Four days of treatment to go. Plus, I can't run while on it and for a month after d/t the possibility of tendon rupture. An easy jog in the morning almost always alleviates anxiety and sadness. Guess I just have to wait this out. I do not want to go back on ADs!

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Nana

Nine weeks Pristiq-free. And counting. I feel pretty good. Keeping my fingers crossed that this will continue. This is the longest I have been free of ADs in seven years of trying to quit!

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ltree74

Hi Nana,

 

I hope today is better for you.  I have had blue days the last two days.   I figured out why.  I had my suspicions but now it's confirmed........drinking exacerbates w/d symptoms.  UGH.   I only occasionally have a drink.    Prior to the last few days, I had over a week of waking up feeling good.   I really do hope you are better today.

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Nana

ltree74,

 

I, too, feel worse after drinking. I have recently made the decision not to drink any more. (It's been seven days). I have made this decision many times before. I hope it sticks this time. I Googled "alcohol free seven days" and ran across some interesting posts that described me pretty well. I really am not a good social drinker. I do well for a few days, but then comes the day when I can't hit the off switch. I have tried to explain this to my husband many times, without success. I think it is genetic programing. So, for now, without the help of AA, but with a very strong desire to be off ADs and all drugs, including alcohol and caffeine, I am making the pledge to myself again. I don't know if you can identify with this, but if you can I hope it helps you.

 

I am good today. You have probably heard the saying, "Every day above ground is a good day." Well, for me, every day above ground and not in withdrawal is a good day. And I don't feel like I am in withdrawal today.

 

I hope you are feeling better today too!

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Nana

Ten weeks off Pristiq. I am not sleeping well, but that could be attributed to so many things. Maybe even the change in atmospheric pressure overnight...

 

The jury is not it, but I am hanging in there, determined to get back to the person I was before antidepressants.

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peggy

you sound like you are doing pretty well to me Nana!

i hope it continues on an upward trajectory

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ltree74

Hi Nana,

Sorry for the late response I've been pretty busy and hadn't been on the computer much.   I do understand what you mean about the drinking thing.  My brother has the same problem you do, once he starts he can't turn it off very well.  I've seen his battle.  It's a tough one.

 

so I am at 11 1/2 weeks off pristiq as of today.  So far so good.  I seem to only have problems around pms time and if I drink.  The other days are working out quite manageable since I've gotten my sleeping worked out better.   I've been tapering Ambien for 5 weeks.  Last night was my first night no ambien.  I have herbal stuff that helps with the sleep.  I really am sleeping better than I ever have on the ambien.  So glad to be free of it too.  

 

Hope you are having a good week this week!!!

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Nana

Thanks Peggy and ltree.

 

Yes, I am doing well. I have moments where I feel like my old self. Perhaps these are the windows. I have moments where I feel like I could descend into panic, but I don't. But I do believe that I am not suffering the waves of AD withdrawal, and I am grateful for that. Cautiously optimistic, and grateful. And looking forward to that day when I feel like I have completely recovered my old brain.

 

I have been completely off alcohol for two weeks. It has been interesting as we have had company in town for 10 days, with a variety of family get-togethers. Everyone drinks, but some more than others. As a non-drinker, I am acutely aware of how many times each family member refills their wine glass. I am taking an evil sort of joy in keeping score!

 

I am enjoying the benefits of feeling good at the end of the day and not feeling hung over, or even fuzzy the next day. I am waiting for the benefits of better sleep, weight loss, and a "healthy glow." Maybe the healthy glow is too much to ask for at my age, (61). I don't see any reason to ever drink again. Giving up alcohol completely has been easier than anticipated.

 

Best wishes to both of you.

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Nana

My last dose of Pristiq was March 23rd, 2015. I have been off for three months! I know that WD can occur many months after tapering off, so I remain cautious. But I am also glad that I have made it this far!

 

I am taking Magnesium Glycinate, 200 mg in the morning and 200 mg in the afternoon. I sincerely believe it has a calming effect. I am so grateful for this forum, where I learned how important Magnesium can be.

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Altostrata

Very good to hear, thanks for letting us know how you're doing, Nana.

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Nana

Today marks one year off antidepressants! I am doing fine. I have no drugs in my life except 1/2 cup of weak coffee in the mornings. And I plan to get off that. I do not take vitamins or supplements. I completely stopped alcohol five months ago. Quitting alcohol is a different kind of challenge than getting off ADs. I have a daily conversation with myself about how good it feels not to drink. But that's another story.

 

I watched a Frontline expose on vitamins and supplements from which I concluded they probably weren't doing me any good, and might be doing harm. When I stopped them I did not notice any change in mood or sleep.

 

I feel lucky. I believe I am a victim of the pharmacy industry greed and medical indifference. Still, no one held a gun to my head and said "swallow." I followed bad advice for a long time, but deep in my gut I knew I had to get off the ADs. This forum helped me find a way.

 

I do light to moderate exercise every day. I snow ski a lot, which often creates a kind of meditative state.  On days I don't ski, I walk 3-4 miles in a nature park near my home.

 

I eat well, with very few processed foods. Most vegetables and fruit, but some meat, dairy and eggs as well.

 

Good luck to all of you out there struggling with antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. I have been there. It sucks. I remember it well. The panic in the mornings, the relentless sobbing. Yuck...but not the real me.

 

Best Wishes!

 

Nana

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Nana

Topic title:  Off antidepressant four years

 

I took my last antidepressant four years ago after a seven-year nightmare of trying to get off of them. I followed the recommendations in this forum. It was hard at times, but well worth it. The understanding of windows and waves got me through the tough days. Plus, I would go talk to a cousin who was helpful. She said that when I cried it was like releasing little pockets of infection that needed to get out. I don't know if that's true, but I was at a lake in Montana and the sun was shining, and I managed to get through.

 

So...It can be done. If you think you are going slow enough, you probably aren't. Be patient. Let your brain heal.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title

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thecowisback

it's so good to hear from someone who has recovered!!! thankyou so much for coming back on the site with such good news 😁😁

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puthappinessfirst

Need this today. Thank you! 💜

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