Weaning off of Pristiq

Posted by tspoon @tspoon, Aug 6, 2015

Has anyone weaned themselves off of Pristiq?? I have been taking it for 7 years now and I am ready to be done, I do not want to depend on a drug any longer. I have tried to get off of this a couple times. Doing research, I didn’t realize how bad this drug is for you and doctors are failing to tell patients how bad it is for you let alone how hard it is to get off of this. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Liked by withbecka

@lisalucier

Hi, @gagelle — I wanted to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I moved your post over here to this thread so that you could meet some other members who have talked about Pristiq. I am glad to hear that you have gotten through your tapering journey with this medication.

Wondering what your original diagnosis was and what symptoms you were experiencing at the time you were prescribed Pristiq?

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I have been suffering from major depression since I was a child in elementary school. It wasn’t correctly diagnosed until I was in my 40s. Even though I saw a clinical psychologist as a child and a psychiatric social worker in my teens, they didn’t correctly diagnose my condition. This is the reason: My parents had hired and paid for those therapists. It came out in my childhood therapy sessions that I was suffering from abuse, both psychological and physical, by immediate family members. I still remember the head psychiatrist calling a special family session for my parents and myself. He emphatically told them that I was being abused by my grandmother and I should never be left alone with her. But nothing changed. Little did he know that the abuse from my parents was even worse. There were no reporting requirements in those days. I don’t even know if in the 1960s there was a social services agency to report child abuse. I had to find my own way out as an adult.

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Hello @gagelle

We appreciate the additional information you provided about your blood pressure. I’m glad that has improved as well. I wasn’t aware of the relationship between Effexor and Pristiq (Mentors and Moderators are not medical professionals, just patients like you are). A number of our members have taken Effexor at some time and they have posted about it’s use.

At Mayo Connect we all learn from the experiences of others and you have added to our learning curve!

Teresa

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@lisalucier

Hi, @gagelle — I wanted to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I moved your post over here to this thread so that you could meet some other members who have talked about Pristiq. I am glad to hear that you have gotten through your tapering journey with this medication.

Wondering what your original diagnosis was and what symptoms you were experiencing at the time you were prescribed Pristiq?

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@gagelle — I’m terribly sorry to hear about what you went through in your childhood.

You may want to check out and participate in a few other discussion threads on Connect that deal with abuse:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anyone-else-with-ptsd/bookmark/?ajax_hook=action&_wpnonce=b57d5cc4ad

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anger-post/bookmark/?ajax_hook=action&_wpnonce=b57d5cc4ad

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/new-here-1/bookmark/?ajax_hook=action&_wpnonce=b57d5cc4ad

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@hopeful33250

Hello @gagelle

We appreciate the additional information you provided about your blood pressure. I’m glad that has improved as well. I wasn’t aware of the relationship between Effexor and Pristiq (Mentors and Moderators are not medical professionals, just patients like you are). A number of our members have taken Effexor at some time and they have posted about it’s use.

At Mayo Connect we all learn from the experiences of others and you have added to our learning curve!

Teresa

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Hello @hopeful3325

From what I’ve read, Pristiq is Effexor but manufactured into a matrix that is released in the small intestine. It is not metabolized by the liver as most antidepressants. The matrix somehow makes the drug much stronger and gives it a shorter half-life. It is only available in time-release doses. If the matrix is broken, it turns back into Effexor. It can be dangerous to try to split the matrix as it can cause what is called an antidepressant dump–a large dose is dumped into the stomach. The coating on the pill is not the matrix. It is just a thin coating with no time-release function. The problem, of course, is that the smallest dose of Pristiq is 25MG. This can make it difficult for some to titrate without withdrawal effects. (Think about this: Until a short time ago, the smallest dose of Pristiq was 50 MG, making it almost impossible to titrate without major problems.) Here is a link to a website with valuable information about Pristiq withdrawal and its relationship to Effexor: http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/
Although a bit dated, the warnings and advice are still valuable. I believe that the material was copied from Peter Breggin’s book on psychiatric drug withdrawal. I hope this helps.

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@hopeful33250

Hello @gagelle

We appreciate the additional information you provided about your blood pressure. I’m glad that has improved as well. I wasn’t aware of the relationship between Effexor and Pristiq (Mentors and Moderators are not medical professionals, just patients like you are). A number of our members have taken Effexor at some time and they have posted about it’s use.

At Mayo Connect we all learn from the experiences of others and you have added to our learning curve!

Teresa

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Thank you @gagelle

You have provided some good information. I appreciate the research you have done.

Teresa

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I am on 50MG of Pristiq and have been since 2010. I decided since the stress I was under and depression that came from it is gone, it is time to wean off (doctor is aware). I took one pill every other day for 1.5 weeks, then went to one every 3 days for a week then in my 4th week, I took one every 4 days. I took my last dose Tuesday. I feel alive. I am not numb. I have more energy, stay awake and alert longer and overall just feel relieved. I have only experienced maybe 3 brain zaps. They didn't last long and since I knew it was a possible side effect, it did not scare me. I am excited to come off this med.

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@betteralready

I am on 50MG of Pristiq and have been since 2010. I decided since the stress I was under and depression that came from it is gone, it is time to wean off (doctor is aware). I took one pill every other day for 1.5 weeks, then went to one every 3 days for a week then in my 4th week, I took one every 4 days. I took my last dose Tuesday. I feel alive. I am not numb. I have more energy, stay awake and alert longer and overall just feel relieved. I have only experienced maybe 3 brain zaps. They didn't last long and since I knew it was a possible side effect, it did not scare me. I am excited to come off this med.

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@betteralready You've made great progress! I'm glad that you shared it with everyone on Connect.

Teresa

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I've been taking 100 mg of Pristiq for approximately 5 years. I'm now at the point that I don't 'need' it anymore. With the advice of my Dr. I'm taking 3/4 of a pill. I just started this on Friday and today is Sunday. In the first 24 hours I felt OK – I had a brain zap type experience. The last 24 hours I've been feeling tired. Hoping my energy picks up!

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HI, @geez — welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thanks for sharing your experience with starting to taper off of Desvenlafaxine Succinate (Pristiq).

Hoping here in this discussion you can meet @betteralready @tspoon @withbecka @safetyshield @beconscious and @gagelle. Thought you'd also like to meet @gman007 and @gailb, Connect volunteer mentors.

You mentioned a brain zap type experience. Wondering if you can share more about that?

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Hello @geez! I am also very curious about this brain zap rope? Please tell us about that – sounds like something my wife would like to use on me regularly. Seriously, I have seen some products being advertised for electrical stimulation of the brain in hopes of alleviating depression, but have not spoken with anyone who has tried that treatment. I have never taken Pristiq, so I can not speak specifically to that drug, but if it is a psychtropic, I would expect there would some habituation, either physical or emotional dependence and that would cause some withdrawal discomfort, but again, without the specific experience, I can't offer any parameters for those effects. Please tell us about the "brain zap rope".
Thanks, Gary

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@lisalucier

HI, @geez — welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thanks for sharing your experience with starting to taper off of Desvenlafaxine Succinate (Pristiq).

Hoping here in this discussion you can meet @betteralready @tspoon @withbecka @safetyshield @beconscious and @gagelle. Thought you'd also like to meet @gman007 and @gailb, Connect volunteer mentors.

You mentioned a brain zap type experience. Wondering if you can share more about that?

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Felt like an electric shock to my brain for lack of a better description.

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@gman007

Hello @geez! I am also very curious about this brain zap rope? Please tell us about that – sounds like something my wife would like to use on me regularly. Seriously, I have seen some products being advertised for electrical stimulation of the brain in hopes of alleviating depression, but have not spoken with anyone who has tried that treatment. I have never taken Pristiq, so I can not speak specifically to that drug, but if it is a psychtropic, I would expect there would some habituation, either physical or emotional dependence and that would cause some withdrawal discomfort, but again, without the specific experience, I can't offer any parameters for those effects. Please tell us about the "brain zap rope".
Thanks, Gary

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There was a typo in my original post or auto spell 🙂 LOL!
I was typing from my cell phone and it was supposed to read: "brain zap type experience"

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So I've been taking the reduced dose of 75mg out of 100mg of Pristiq for 8 days now. Within the first 24 hours I had a 'brain zap'. Now have a mixture of feeling really tired, not getting enough sleep while feeling agitated. My mind is constantly looking for something to do yet I don't have any energy. What is considered an acceptable window of time for these withdrawal effects?

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Hi, @geez — so sorry you have having brain zaps and are feeling really tired, yet not getting enough sleep while feeling agitated as you've reduced your dosage to 75 mg of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). Sounds frustrating.

I believe you are asking what is a commonly expected time period to be experiencing these symptoms?

You may wish to check with your doctor on that question, as they may have some data for you and may also want to be putting in your records what you are experiencing. Is that a possibility to call or message your doctor on a secure patient portal about this?

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