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Pristiq withdrawal

Posted by Anonymous-aeaf6ea1 in Brain & Nervous System, Jan 7, 2012

Has anyone successfully tapered off Pristiq? If so, what was your plan? I am considering going off this medicine. I take 50 mg per day and have done so for about 2 years. I understand there are very significant withdrawal symptoms and I would like to stop taking Pristiq because it causes my heart to race when the time release happens. I am afraid this medicine may not be good for the heart because the clinical trials state that anyone with a heart condition was not allowed to take it.

Tags: womens health, mental health, mens health, healthy living, sleep problems, addiction, discontinuation, depression, Mania, beyondmeds, breggin

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Posted by @meridian, Jan 22, 2012

I've been on Pristiq for 2-1/2 years and aside from sweating, I tolerate it well. Once I ran out of meds on a Thursday but was going to see my pdoc on Tuesday and thought, no biggie, I can skip a few days. WRONG!

My withdrawal symptoms were gross over-sensitivity to light, a really bad headache, malaise, achy all over, notably decreased mood support (I'm on a cocktail, so Pristiq is just one of 5 psycho-active meds). In other words, I felt like crap.

Managed to do this to myself again by forgetting the Pristiq in my shoulder bag (man-purse) and missing 5 days. When I thought "why do I feel so bad? I'm on all these anti-depressants?" that of course led to the realization that I'd missed 5 doses of Pristiq. I've heard that for some, you can't go back on as it will no longer be effective once totally off. I think I've been lucky to be able to get back to good results within a couple of days after starting up again.

I think tapering off over a month or so would be fine, but I would NOT go cold turkey on this one. Maybe your doc will want to switch you to another SNRI like Effexor to help during the taper off.

And of course you can't really cut the tabs in half due to the time-release coating.

I just wish my insurance would cover it because at $130++ a month, it's pricey.

Best of luck, just take it slow and monitor your mood and any other effects of tapering off.


Posted by @savanti, Jan 25, 2012

Hi, you can get off of it, it will take some time, here is what I shared with a support group livng with mental illnesses and depression. You first need to change one thing with everything you do in a day. Meaning stop waking up to doing the same thing each morning, stop doing the same things as you go through the morning, stop doing the same things at lunch, the same for the rest of the day. What this means, you have been living one day to the next with about a 95% repeat of the things you did the day before. So, whats new in your life? What are habits? Habits are things you do without having to think about how to do them. Try to catching yourself doing two things at one time. This also means doing something and also thinking about something not relating to what you are doing. This is a bad habit. *You need to explore your five senses, eat something you have never tried, find new things to smell, listen to something different, engage in new ocnversations, walk away form the same old stuff, reach out to touch all surfaces, feel a flower, feel rough surfaces, feel running water on your hand, find new things to see. What this will do is stimulate your brain helping you to slowly come off your medication with little side effect.
Imagine having a sharp pain, the more you try to feel it, the stronger it will get. But, focusing on something new and different the pain isn't as bad. By doing new things, by taking risk to try something different while slowly over time reducing your intake of the medication will make it easier to get off of it. >I shared this with the group, four months later, a college girl told us she was able to reduce your med. intake by half and was feeling good enough to start dating again. by the time I left the group she was off her meds.
Change your daily habits. Explore your five senses. Find new things to do which means challenge yourself. Avoid interacting with wasteful conversations or activities which have no value. In the future, know that your brain can porduce any medication, all you need to do is change how you think. Thinking makes the brain produce good and bad chemicals


Posted by @ayethepan, Jan 31, 2012

Hello, Savanti!
I like your advice to our anonymous friend re: Pristiq and coming off of a medication. However, I would--with respect--disagree strongly with your latter statement as an entire matter of fact for all people who suffer, have suffered, or will suffer from a mental illness. It is not the case that all individuals can alter their brain and neuro-chemistry through physical activity, exercise, and mental activity, exercise, and the sundry life changes that are, to be certain, good for most everyone who suffers from a mental illness. There are those folks in this world whose brain and neuro-chemistry are hard-wired in such a way congenitally (or as a result of brain injury or trauma) that they will never be able to overcome this "hard wiring" or "re-wiring" that results from trauma whether physical, neurological, or psychological. This is akin to saying a person suffering from epilepsy can change the disorder and end all seizures by making life changes. There are some things epileptic patients can do, to be sure, but such changes are not a pancea for all persons who so suffer. Psychiatry, Psychology, Psycho-biology, Neuro-biology and all the sundry related sciences have not determined--and, I think, likely never will--all that there is to know---and most importantly, to do---in addressing these issues. This is why a combination of medication AND "talk therapy" AND life changes/coaching and sometimes cognitive therapy and related are all valid and necessary or useful in varying ways for various people. There is no one approach that is right for all. It is dangerous, and no doubt so, to toil and explore the neurotransmitters through use of chemicals in medication. Yet, without such approachs many people including myself would never find any relief.
I look forward, I sincerely hope, to a response. Again, my sincerest respects to you.


Posted by @savanti, Jan 31, 2012

Hi, thanks for getting back with me. I do agree to an extent on the matter of a person developing a state of mind when life has been giving them sweets things to enjoy and from out of the blue unexpected a mental condition developes. I could share things with you from my childhood which would show just how disconnected my mental state was from the real world. I had alomst zero feeling and emotions, very little ability to think, and 99% of the time locked in my world.
Now what I have learned from spending time around people living with a mental condition from mild to severe had to do with them living with stress. Michael J. Fox while in India or one of those countries pointed out how relxed and at peace with everything had allowed him to feel calm without stress. That peaceful calm state helped him the same way his medication helped him.
I beleive a person's brain creates bad chemicals/damaging chemicals when they can't get rid of the stress, the stress chemicals eat up the cells in the brain the same way lad, acid and other bad drugs do.
When I was growing up my mental state didn't allow anything to create stress. I wasn't able to hold on to things from the past. For example, when I was 15 a friend and I went over to a have fun witha couple fo girls, when we left there wasn't anything popping up casuing tme to think something. The next day, nothing and she was nice and pretty and we had fun.
In 8th grade Robert P. walks up to me kicks me in the groin, I'm in pain, not crying, I'm looking at him as he backing up to walk away, as soon as the pain leaves, I go back to what I was going, again on the opposite end of the spectrum, there wasn't any remembering. It was back to what I was doing.
How many ways can you sharpen a knife? This works the same way in our routine, our daily living, a daily life, our repetitive life style. We moved a lot as a child, so, I got to try new foods, there were new smells, new people, new things to see, new sounds, and then six months or nine months later, moving again.
I beleive had we lived in the saem house, same smells and so on, I would be who I am today. We lived in the country and sometimes in a small town, I was always outside exploring new things and experiencing pain from falling out of a tree, a sting by watching a yellow stinging scorpion scrawl up to my little pinky and sting it, to smelling the air after a shower, I got to experience everything outdoor.
Find me a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist who takes clients outside to the wild or outdoors to explore things you can't find or do indoors. Repetition doesn't work for the brain. the brain is trained and developed based on the first few years of our life. Which means a person needs to be outside 80 to 90 percent of the day, doing things a child would do. Find a doctor doing this kind of therapy and you may find a doctor with success.
What I know is this, the brain is an organ, that needs the five senses to always be finding new things to explore, this stimulates the brain. Another thing I beleive we all have genes which can be triggered at any time, causing a person to develope a condition, created by a life style of repitition and stress.
Thus, How did I turn on my brain? How did I get my brain to start up my thinking? How did I get feelings I never had since birth? How am I able to live one day to the next without stress? These things started up in the last few years and I'm 50. Now from a professional point of view and experience, doctors, psychologists cant explain how I did it.
Don't get lost by spending your day listening to your mind tell you things, go outside and find something to do you would never in your life do. Make it fun, make special, make something like a child would go do, climb a tree, buy a toy and play with it at a park. Do anything, just stop being an adult for one day,can you do that? Sincerely R.


Posted by @kidswriteri123, Mar 30, 2012

I LOVE THIS REPLY, absolutely love it. I am trying to "come back" right now and your advice about the outdoors, the whole last paragraph actually, is so so priceless. Thank you for sharing.


Posted by @nativefloridian, May 26, 2012

I agree with getting outdoors and creating new experiences for oneself. There is a definite therapeutic benefit to spending time with nature. Learning about new subjects and staying active, exercising, varying ones' schedule and making changes that are positive are all great suggestions. In fact, I think that people that are stuck in ruts (even if it is just driving the same way to work every day) are more likely to have problems when things they can't control suddenly change.

I am not so sure about how the brain makes the chemicals it needs to properly function and keep a mind alert and moods stable. I do know that I have experienced trauma in my life that probably led to PTSD which was added to a major depression recurrent diagnosis. There was no choice other than medication and talk therapy combo which eventually brought me back out of the black hole I was in. I believe that certain medications are very beneficial, however, the withdrawal symptoms can be extreme. Pristiq and Effexor both have similar withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, Pristiq is not made in doses less than 50 mg. Effexor is easier to come off of because of the variety of dosages available.

All of this talk about 'mental illness' is a negative way to view a chemical imbalance in the brain. I don't consider myself ill or mentally handicapped in any way, I am very sure that many people that suffer from lack of serotonin or other chemicals in the brain may have triggered it by doing something as simple as maintaining years of sleep deprivation raising very young children. That's what happened to me. Five years of very little sleep depleted my brain of serotonin. As soon as they gave it to me, I was fine. I would not want to live without my serotonin. It gives me peace, happiness, positive outlook, faith and the ability to do whatever I want in life. I agree with the comments AyeThePan, to be careful of stopping medication that is very beneficial to you.

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Posted by @ayethepan, Jan 31, 2012

Hello, Friend. Please talk this over thoroughly with your Doctor before you stop your medication, even if you taper off very slowly. When we read about clinical trials and side-effects virtually all medications will list "horror stories" in short form. And it is not always certain that some of those side-effects were actually due to the medication in question. Of course, you have identified the increased heart rate (tachycardia) yourself. I also suffer from Depression and take a related medication, Cymbalta. Pristiq and Cymbalta are in the same class of anti-depressants. (Effexor, Celexa, and Lexapro are as well.) Another consideration is whether you will be starting a new medication to replace the Pristiq. Often, though it is not always possible, the Physician will order a start of the replacement medication and gradually titrate the new med up as the old med is gradually lowered. I, too, tend to have a high heart rate due to one or more of my medications for depression and some related issues. However, the benefits of my medications (also on Depakote and Xanax) are far too great to discontinue them due to higher heart rate. (Actually, I could probably lower that rate by quiting all caffeine and exercising more.) I appreciate your situation re: the increased pulse occurs as the Pristiq "kicks in." Your physician may have advice or even a possible treatment to reduce this tachycardia. I hope this is useful. My best to you.


Posted by @attinson63, Aug 15, 2012

Doesn't exercise increase good endorphins?


Posted by @kmunroe, Feb 16, 2012

I wanted to post this to help anyone withdrawing or considering withdrawl from pristiq.I was taking 50 mg's per day for 2 years. I didn't want to take any drugs anymore. I wanted to "battle" on my own. No judgement - I hated my side effects from the drug. I experienced a signifigant lack of intrests in all things creative, sex, music (i am a life long musician) Also I felt it deadened my ability to be passionate about anything? I never actually "felt" anything while taking the drug? Before I started it I felt absolutely hopeless, if not for my animals I don't know what I may have done. ok - I decided 6 weeks ago I was getting off this drug. I spoke with my doctor and started to taper. 50 mg everyother day for 10 days, than I cut the pills in half(yes I know NOW there was a time release coating) for 10 days, than cut into quarters (12.5 mg's for 5 days, now 3 days completely off. IT HAS BEEN VERY DIFFICULT. This drug is a beast. Side effects have included horrible VIVID nightmares of betrayl, weird taste in my mouth, weird smells, weight all over the map, feeling like constant out of body experience, mood swings, despair, insomnia. But - it is getting better every day. There is life after pristiq... I have focussed through all of my symptoms on knowing - it is the withdrawl! NOT ME! Hard to do. But do able. Just know in your core it is the drug NOT YOU losing it. For me - it seems like this drug surpressed my emotions/feelings/issues the moment it got in my system and now i'm dealing with these issues again as I coming off the drug. I admit I am way better suited Now compared to 2 years ago to deal with these things and not everybody will be as "LUCKY" as I am, so just know that. Also, I let everyone close to me know what I was doing for support reasons. If anyone has any questions I would humbly lend advice and support. MY DOCTOR IS COMPLETELY INEPT AND INCOMPETENT RE: PRISTIQ AND ALL MATTERS RELATING TO PRISTIQ! Remember - you are NOT alone. Just reach out...

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Posted by @swissel, Feb 16, 2012

Hi I am currently going through Pristig Withdrawal can identify with your comments on the way you felt when you were taking it I felt I had no emotions and life was just blah. I am having a terrible time with withdrawals it seems to be taking forever my thinking is clearer but I still feel dizzy,tired,have sweats and my head bothers me. Actually I spend so much time laying down because I feel so dizzy and sick. I keep telling myself I will get through this but I get so frustrated because it seems to be taking forever. I have been told that it is not me it is the medicine and going off of Pristig is like going off of Heroin. I just wish I would be able to do more and not be so dizzy I can't give up because I know it will get better and I will feel better once I can get thru this. It is hard to do as you say focus on the fact it is withdrawal Not ME I just need to see or feel that it is getting better every day. I do reach out to friends but get so upset that I am still ill and that it is lasting so long. They are there for me and I can thank them enough but when will it end. Thanks


Posted by @kmunroe, Feb 16, 2012

how long have you been completely off the pristiq?


Posted by @swissel, Feb 21, 2012

Since January 17th The first 2 weeks I could do nothing I was so sick. I still am having withdrawal symptoms and feel like my whole body is in turmoil. I still am extremely tired. I am so frustrated that I am not much better and that it is taking so long.I am working with a nutritionist who swears I will feel better soon.It's so hard. I can't believe what these medications can do to you and how hard it is to get back on your feet again. I pray it will end soon and sometimes I cry. The worst right now I would say is the total exhaustion.I will not give up I want to go forward not back into the medication crap.


Posted by @mell_88, Dec 11, 2014

1 week off of pristiq and I feel absolutely horrible...
More so at night time's as I'm busy throughout the day with my children..
How long do the brain zaps, headaches, dizziness and feeling short of breath last?
I wish I never went on it, not something the doc should prescribe just for anxiety... quitting cold turkey


Posted by @diane72, Dec 11, 2014

Did u step off gradually? I did half doses for two months then every other day for a month. It took several months for the brain zaps to stop completely. It's with it in the end but I would strongly suggest not stopping cold turkey! That's dangerous! I also supplemented with Rhodelia Rodea and St. John's wart for the anxiety and mood swings, it helps and it's all natural.
I will NEVER take an anti depressant again because if Pristiq!
Hang in there and good luck.


Posted by @soozyr, Dec 11, 2014

I ended up quitting cold turkey. I just gritted my teeth and got through
it. It was scary, at the time, not knowing how long the withdrawal
symptoms would occur. To anyone reading this wether you decide to quit
cold turkey or taper off, rest assured the side affects will subside. I
can't recall how long but I would say they will gradually decrease and in
about 2 weeks time will be completely gone. I was shocked that my Dr. had
no idea what I was talking about when I told her about the withdrawal
symptoms I was having. I will also never take an antidepressant again if I
can help it. I originally went on them for hormonal mood swings,but I
don't feel that antidepressants are the answer. In my opinion there must
be a better way to deal with PMS!!! Diet and exercise help. 2 things I
struggle with being consistent in, but it is really vital!! Best of luck
to you and just know that you will feel back to normal soon!!!


Posted by @heart7song, Dec 11, 2014

Both my husband and I went off the Pristiq VERY slowly and had nearly ZERO side effects. We cut the Pristiq by 1/4 of a tablet every other day. It took several weeks to finish, but it was worth it. We have five children and wanted to be able to parent lovingly even when going off the Pristiq. We saw all over the place that we are not supposed to cut the Pristiq, but we did it anyway, and the results were fantastic. I was the first to try this, and when my results were so positive, my husband did the same. The ONLY side effects we experienced were a little head buzzing and occasional dizziness. VITAMIN C was recommended by someone and it worked beautifully to end the buzzing and dizziness within a few days. NOW...we both are losing the weight we need to lose, and more importantly, we are interested in living life again. We are GRATEFUL to have had the Pristiq when we were both severely depressed due to painful curveballs life threw at us. But...once that painful season passed, it was time to get off the Pristiq and get back to living again. I hope this is helpful.



Posted by @gunner06, Dec 11, 2014

I'm not sure how long you have been on it, and I'm no doctor, but it lasted about 4-5 days off and on. I got off of it because it made my heart race, much like an upper would do. I prayed and tried to keep myself distracted. I also started a vitamin called l-theanine and a super stress b complex. The thing about meds is that your body doesn't realize if it is entering your body artificially or making it, so if you take it for a long time the withdrawal will be worse and your body will have a hard time reacting and will not make what it needs to, to help you. I tapered off the dosage then stopped. I still get anxious but when I pray about it and remember to breathe, it is all okay.


Posted by @haj89, Jun 17, 2012

Hi, I just wanted to share my experience with Pristiq and withdrawing from it. I took it for almost 18 months and decided I want to stop because I want to have a baby (and an antidepressant-free pregnancy). Although it did give me many side effects, it also helped treat my depression and anxiety.
When I first took the plunge into withdrawal, I thought it would be better for me to go cold turkey. My thinking was along the lines of, "It'll be really rough for maybe a week and then it'll all be over, and I'd rather do it this way than suffer for weeks." Boy was I wrong, I had the absolute worst 4 day experience with nausea, dizziness, crying fits and an unexplainable out-of-body sensation the entire time. It was absolutely horrible and by the end of the 4th day, I had a major panic attack where I couldn't breathe and my whole body was violently shaking, my teeth were chattering. This went on for about half an hour, I really thought I was gonna die. By the way I was doing all this on my own, without the advice of my doctor. After this incident, I called my doctor and he advised me to restart Pristiq immediately and if I really wanted to stop I needed to do it over several weeks. So I followed his withdrawal regimen. I had a 50mg tablet every other day for 2 weeks then 50mg every third day for 2 weeks. I am currently taking 50mg every fourth day. Tonight is the fourth night and I am due for a dose but I feel absolutely fine. Normally when it gets close to when my dose is due I start feeling the withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. But at the moment I feel great! I think maybe I'm done! It's a great feeling to know that you have accomplished complete withdrawal after going through such a long-winded struggle. Especially when you're working straight through everything.
I just wanted anybody who is out there and going through the same sort of thing, to know that you have to be persistent and patient. It will get better and you will get there, you've got to be strong and keep the ultimate goal in sight.

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Posted by @travmccullar, Jul 8, 2012

Hi haj89, I'm on my 3rd of being off Pristiq(Cold Turkey) and it's been one of the craziest up and down roller coaster rides I've even been on. I've had exactly the same withdrawal symptoms from "out of body" sensation to want to just go off on someone or even cry, but since I'm a "man" I can't go there. It's now Sunday 5:30pm and my last dose was Thursday at 5:45am and I'm hoping I can make it another day. I like you am doing this all on my own without the advice from my Doctor and I didn't even tell my wife till today, mainly because I didn't want any special treatment from her. I want to make sure I can really make it on my own with out the "drug."
I've only been on it for 8 months and like all the other people on Anti-Depresents feel, i also don't want to count on them for years of my life.
The Pristiq has caused crazy nightmares and weight gain and for a person who already had issues about the way they look, it does not seem to be a good drug to be on. Before I was diagnosed with depression I had a "life style" change aka a DIET! Felt great for the first 6 months of this, lost 60lbs, my wife was about to give birth to a new baby, then boom! Baby comes and you know what happens next beside all the great and wonderful times.... STRESS!
So, anyways enough about all that. I just want to say good luck to to everyone that is on the road to getting of Pristiq or any other Anti-Depression drug.
Day 4 starts soon!


Posted by @violinm9, Jul 9, 2012

Hi - I must say that I experience many of the same withdrawal symptoms you describe. I have been taking 300 mg of Pristiq and went off it in about three or four days. I keep getting shock-like sensations in my ears, dizziness, insomnia, you name it and my doctor has not called me back after I've left messages. Tomorrow I'm going to look for a new one. I am just grateful that I have good insurance. I have to be in good shape by September when I will be starting nursing school (at the age of 56 - tell me if you think I'm crazy to do that). My moods are up and down and I often feel like sobbing. I have even had suicidal thoughts. - feelings of desperation for no good reason - I have a great family - Thanks for listening


Posted by @travmccullar, Jul 11, 2012

http :// survivingantidepressants dot org Look at some of my new post on this site. It's under TravMac Cold Turkey Pristiq Stoping Cold Turkey


Posted by @spencer137, Jul 16, 2012

Hi, my situation with Pristiq is very similar to yours. I'm trying to go off of it because I want to start a family. I've been taking it for 2 years. I've already started a slow wean of the pill, First taking every 36 hours, now I'm at every 48. I've definitely had some crazy withdrawal symptoms - dizziness, nausea, anxiety, mood swings. Every time I've made the dosage change (switched days) I have 4-5 days of pretty crappy symptoms. When you switched to every 3rd day what was that like for you? How long total did it take for you to get off the drug? I'm extremely frustrated at this point and I feel like when the withdrawal symptoms hit it makes it that much worse to think that this will be over soon!! This is the first and only AD I've ever had to take. It's served it's purpose for me but now I'm ready to move on

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Posted by @cnelson56, Nov 9, 2012

Thank you for sharing. I want to get off this awful drug and my doctor said well just quit taking it. I tried that and thought I would die. I will try this regimen.


Posted by @bonny, Jun 22, 2012

I tapered off of Pristiq 100mg over approximately 10 months. I cut the tabs, which I now understand may not be wise. I went from 100 to 50 to 25 to 0 TAKING IT EVERY DAY. Do not skip doses or you will have withdrawal symptoms! Please take your time - decrease by 10% per month MAX to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

I began on SS/NRIs in 1993 and was on continuously.

I experienced anxiety, early morning panic awakenings (cortisol surge) at about 4am after only 4-5 hours of sleep. I did not get brain zaps like I did when I missed just 1 dose of Effexor.

IMPORTANT: During withdrawal, I had outbursts of emotion - anger and agitation - THAT I NEVER HAD BEFORE DRUGS OR DURING. This could have easily been diagnosed as hypomania/bipolar, but it is a normal reaction during withdrawal. I'm naturally very reserved and it was unusual for me.
Perceptual changes - depersonalization/derealization.
EVERYTHING FEELS TWEAKED OR *OFF* because the drug dampens all sensations and feelings. It can be scary if not expected.

After I DC'd, I found a great peer support group online. There are several very professional people to offer taper advice and support.

www (dot)survivingantidepressants (dot)com

Also on Facebook and Twitter

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Posted by @bonny, Jun 22, 2012



Posted by @suzane, Aug 7, 2012

I too was trying to taper off with advice from my Dr. helping me with menopause/hormone issues. She never even heard of it but strongly suggested I wean off slowly. She was unaware of coating/time release issues. Even my Psych who prescribed didn't know much about tapering off being he only took samples from his Pharma rep. Was and still am having horrible withdrawal symptoms that make it a challenge to work! Logged my experience w/someone at Wyeth/also logged complaint w/FDA. I know this takes a lot of time from your daily duties but I believe it's worth the effort to make them aware of how Pharma Co's are making us feel while trying to wean off the scary stuff. Best recommendation is to find a compounding pharmacy as they helped me. Bought a "tablet crusher" from him/he wrote directions (not actual px)to take crushed pill 25mg (was on 50mg)mixed w/juice evry 8 hrs.(3x/day for next 2 weeks. My Psych highly recommended starting on Sam-e right aft my last dose of Pristiq. Thank goodness for this non-traditional pharmacy/this wonderful pharmacist who was gracious enough to help me out!

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Posted by @medtechlynn, Sep 23, 2012

Did this approach work?


Posted by @spring4nix, Aug 27, 2012

Hello! It would be great to get an update on your success at ceasing Pristiq. I have been trying to recover from the withdrawal symptoms two weeks now... this may not sound long, but it has been HELL! I experienced nausea, palpitations, loud roaring in my ears that have distinct volume of loud beating to a rhythm, nervous legs, extreme weepiness, cognitive deterioration and feelings of being 'out of my body'. EVERYONE should be warned the side effects are much more severe in withdrawals than the benefits of administering this drug. Dr.'s should be ashamed at not forewarning the 'victim' of this nightmare prior to telling you simply, 'it works'. It did NOT work for me, so I decided to quit after 6.5 years. It feels as though it may be improving, but I will keep you posted!

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Posted by @yonigrrl, Aug 28, 2012

Thanks to everyone here for sharing your experience with pristiq! I am new here and about to stop taking this awful drug! I have tried several times but cannot function without it so I have had to schedule vacation time from work to get this out of my system. Honestly...I'm terrified! I too would love to hear about your progress annonymous! Hopefully things went well!

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Posted by @ajevangelisto, Sep 3, 2012

I'm currently in the process of tapering off this horrible drug, and well, I feel HORRIBLE! How long does this last? I was on 100mg Pristiq for the last two years, it did nothing for me but hurt me more. I am tapering off per doctor orders (the same crooked doctor that put me in this mess in the first place), and I feel miserable & scared. I was advised to cut my dosage down by half for two weeks, and then go completely off. I am in day 6 of just cutting my Pristiq dosage in half, and I am having terrible symptoms. I feel like a basket-case. My eyes hurt, it feels like there is so much pressure in them. I am having migraines. I feel weird wah-wah feelings in my ears and head, I'm having weird electrical zaps in my eyes, head, and ears, I can't sleep at night because I jump awake with horrible leg cramps. I feel probably the worse I have ever felt in my entire life. I am scared for when I completely go off this stuff...I mean if it is this bad already, how much worse is it gonna get before it gets better? Someone please just tell me it gets better!? This drug is evil, I took a stand and want off and am getting off it, but I feel miserable right now! Suggestions anyone??


Posted by @janetm, Sep 4, 2012

I don't know when it stops but don't try and just go cold turkey. I used a pill cutter and cut them in half for a couple of weeks and then into quarters. Just missing the quarter at first made me terribly sick. I am off them completely now but still have the hot flashes, joint pain, nausea and pms type crying jags. I used to be a promoter of anti depressants; I struggle with it all the time, but after this - no more for me unless I get so bad I can't get out of bed. Hang on, it will get better.

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Posted by @mrsmiller417, Sep 5, 2012

I feel the same way.. Just the w/d effects make you wanna steer clear of them all together.. In fact the only reason I am discontinuing Pristiq (even though I know I still suffer from manic depression) is bc I have been on antidepressants for 6 yrs now (since I was 19 when my son was born).. I dont know who I am any more & I want to give it a try without them & see how bad it really is without them - I used to be soo different I used to have so many friends & socialize & go out & have fun & for the past 3 yrs (since I have been on them nonstop bc I got preg w/ my daughter) I have become agoraphobic/ocd/& I can probably fit every mental health diagnoses except schizo when all it started out as was postpartum depression!.. If I feel depressed after stopping for awhile than I am going to try every natural way of dealing with things that I havent been able to try while on them.. I know meds can save peoples lives but they seemed to have messed mine up so I am very hopeful to find myself again.. 🙂


Posted by @mrsmiller417, Sep 5, 2012

yea I completely understand about the eyes it kind of feels like they are really dry but also they feel like very sensitive & a sort of pain when you open & close them.. I think it is much more Neuro related bc of the head & eye problems & it of course is SOO nerve racking lol.. I stated before I tried tapering off but I just wasnt able to bc I wasnt able to get out of bed nor take care of myself or my kids that need me so I completely went off.. It isnt something I suggest for you but I know in my case tapering meant suffering longer & weather the pain/feelings would reduce didnt matter to me I just wanted them gone ASAP & so the sooner I went off the sooner I got better.. Of course I did that with my Klonopin too & read that people can get seizures from suddenly discontinuing that but the long lasting suffering just isnt my thing.. I want it gone now so I am not tapering this time.. but however you decided to do it make sure you dont go through anything alone if you feel suicidal or like giving up than call your dr or go to the hospital or have someone you can trust help you through it bc I know it is by know means easy.. I am not suggesting you do what I say bc I am not a dr but the only way I found relief the 2nd time around (as stated above is when I felt most miserable & suicidal) I took showers/baths or listened to calming music (may or may not help at certain times).. I took theraflu on nights I was in agonizing pain or I felt very vulnerable or restless/anxious (my reasoning is bc I had flu like symptoms so I took something that would help) it may not have helped with every symptom but it had a calming/sedative effect I needed to fall asleep (it has a bit of alcohol in it).. like I said the first time when they "hydrated" my body with iv fluids it made me feel better all day so I definately believe that more fluids- water especially can help.. But the best thing to do is not to lose hope bc there is light at the end of the tunnel.. you will make it through just as I will.. just as I have before & just have others have & will.. While we may not know when exactly we will feel completely normal.. just remember that each day you make it through is a day that you will put behind you & perhaps when you wake up tomorrow you will feel better? if not than maybe the next day.. Even though its extremely hard to keep high spirits in our darkest hours it is when it is most important. I know I was thinking last time I w/d that I would rather be going through child birth again than to experience this agony bc it really does mess up my emotional & mental state as well as my physical.. Just to know that it WILL get better helps me cope. It sounds dumb but when I dealt with this last time I felt extremely proud of myself afterwards for sticking in there & knowing that not many people have the strength to stick it through (whether on their own or with help).. My younger sister has a history of illegal substance use & she has relapsed a few times & when you come off any drug the only way to STOP w/d is to take the drug again but then eventually you will have to stop & deal with it & theres no better time to deal with it than now.. & the biggest difference between other drugs & Pristiq is that we will never relapse on Pristiq not only will we stay as far as we can from the drug but we will remember how hard it was to come off of it & I have warned sooo many people about the w/d of Effexor I just wish I would have known that Pristiq has the same w/d effects. My prayers are with you... & ps. AGAIN it will get better 🙂


Posted by @diane72, Sep 26, 2012

WOW! I thought I was the only one with the strange "wah wah" feeling in the head and ears and the snapping sensation! Uuggghhh! It's so awful I am on 50 mgs of this stuff and have been for two years. I have tried to taper off a couplde of times but cannot take the side effects. If I am even late taking one dose I feel terrible. I want so badly to get this out of my system and feel like a Pristiq prisoner! I am sorry to see so many peaole going through the same thing but at least now I know this is to be expecyed and I am not alone. I am going to consult with a pychiatrist (something I have avoided) and see what the best reccomendation is.


Posted by @jamilyn, Oct 11, 2012

Unfortunately, from what I've been reading, the withdrawal symptoms can last up to several months. I was on Pristiq for only 3-4 weeks. I quit cold turkey (per my doctor) a week ago and the withdrawal symptoms are the worst I have ever experienced. I hate this drug! Try Dramamine to help with the dizziness and nausea - it seems to help everyone who has tried it.


Posted by @janetm, Sep 3, 2012

I started trying to taper off Pristiq about 4 weeks ago. I was on 150 mg a day for 2 years. I started cutting the pills in half, then quarters. I stopped last week. I still have vivid dream inside of dream 'dreams'. I feel nauseated all of the time. Hot all of the time even with the a/c on 70. My stomach hurts and always feels full. My joints hurt. When does it stop? Is there any way to get it all out of your system faster??

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Posted by @ajevangelisto, Sep 3, 2012

Janet I feel your pain, I am in the same exact mess as you right now. The dreams inside of dreams, are just insane. These withdrawl symptoms are terrible! I also would like to know when it will stop, but no one has answered me on here. I just want it to go away!!


Posted by @janetm, Sep 4, 2012

I was glad to find this page because I was sure I was dying before! I had no idea that coming off that medicine had AFTER side effects. At least now although I am still feeling sick I know why.


Posted by @mrsmiller417, Sep 5, 2012

That is what I thought too (as stated in my long reply above).. Ever since my 1st & 2nd w/d I am ocd about meds I not only read the side effects & efficacy rates but now I also read the w/d effects bc many people will have to get off a med they cannot tolerate.. it is rare to find something that works & to stay on it for the rest of your life when it comes to mental health drugs especially.. so this is something the drs need to research & warn us about before they write a scrip for it bc as I also explained I am not one who feels suicidal but I was seriously considering it last time I w/d so I am sure there are many people who feel the same way if faced with the same feelings & pain & they have the black box warning for suicidal thoughts when you start taking the meds but I have yet to see much about the effects of going off the meds.. I have to do extensive research of my own to find such info.. I am thankful for the internet & for google though bc I usually do not have to search too far or long to find what I need. 🙂


Posted by @mrsmiller417, Sep 5, 2012

Have you completely stopped too or are you still tapering? It all depends on how long you took it, your dosage, & of course your body (which everyones is different).. I stated above that from most of the info I found (on various other sites) most people say about a week some people say about 2 & it is rare but depending on your body it could take more than that (I hope not).. I know I was looking for the same answers last time but I usually just average them up & hope for the average if it lasts past that than it does though but if you want more info I found lots of info googling SNRI withdrawal/ & even more just reading the bad reviews on under Pristiq they usually say why they got off the med but even more so what they experience when getting off. I pray you feel better soon <3


Posted by @mrsmiller417, Sep 5, 2012

I pray you start to feel better Janet I know it isn't easy.. I am glad you are completely off of it bc that is the first step to start the process most people take a week some people 2 but it is rare for it to go past that.. Usually for it to clear out of your system it shouldn't take as long as other meds bc of its short half life but it all depends on your metabolism so even though the nausea may supress your appetite try to eat small meals throughout the day to jump start your metabolic rate (if you can exercise that will help too) but definately make sure you are drinking lots of water to flush the chemicals out.. cranberry is supposed to help clean our systems out too (I take it every day bc of chronic utis).. I hope you feel better real soon <3.

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Posted by @mrsmiller417, Sep 5, 2012

This is my 3rd time "withdrawing" from an SNRI I have been on Pristiq 2 times before but both times I switched to Effexor XR & actually w/d from that med in particular the last 2 times.. The first time it happened I was at the E.R. twice in a week & the first time I had no idea what was going on & felt like I was dying.. If I had to describe it in a "general" sense than it would be flu like symptoms except much more intense (severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, dehydration, etc) as far as physical goes & mentally/emotionally the worst experiences of depression & anxiety I have gone through to include panic attacks/shallow breathing/severe insomnia/hot flashes/chills/crying spells/etc.. the 1st w/d when I didnt know what was going on I went to the hospital & kept telling them I felt like something was in my head.. (which of course sounds psychotic to everyone else).. I kept telling them I felt like I was having an extreme case of morning sickness but I wasn't pregnant & there was no way to ease the pain (ie advil, tums, pepto) nor the anxiety (w/ my klonopin). I had brought a list bc I was afraid that I would forget or leave out a crucial symptom & there was about 20-25 things I listed as wrong with me to include physical/emotionally/mental she looked at me & called it excessive & perhaps I was but as I mentioned before I had no idea what was going on.. they tested me for the flu, pregnancy, I made them do a cat scan bc of the feeling in my head bc I feared maybe I had a tumor or something (IDK! lol).. they did pump me with fluids through an iv bc my bp was 165/122 & my pulse was in the 130's & they said the iv would "calm me down" needless to say I was very upset bc they were treating me like I needed to be in a straight jacket next door in the mental ward.. the nurse really p'd me off bc it didn't seem like she was taking me seriously but I know they deal with much more serious things & I was just feeling very vulnerable, helpless, & confused but the iv actually helped me it brought down my bp/pulse & made me feel better so the prognosis at that time was dehydration which I didnt dare argue with bc of the temporary relief I felt & the judgement I already endured. but just 5 days later I was back with an extreme migraine.. I was puking up all the narcotics & once I found that not even there meds were working I knew it had to be something to do w/ symptoms from discontinuing the EXR.. I unfortunately was on it again soon bc I gave up waiting for the w/d to go away.. 6 months later I knew what to expect when I told the dr it wasn't working & he decided to try me on Lexapro I told him I wasn't going off cold turkey again so he told me to start taking my dose every other day for 2 weeks (while starting lexapro on the days I didnt take it) & then after 2 weeks to stop it completely.. Unfortunately I couldnt wait that long.. after just 3 days I was having thoughts of suicide bc I was in so much agony & emotional distress.. I would take my dose at night & the next day I would feel great & normal but the nights that I skipped the dose the next day was excruciating.. I decided to just stop it all together bc I didn't want to wait 2 weeks & still put myself through that bc I had already had enough after a week & wanted to get it over w/ bc you literally cannot function or do anything when you are going through this (me atleast) I am a stay at home mom & have 2 children that need me to take care of them so it wasnt an option to keep anticipating & putting off the inevitable. I read online about someone who had gone through the same transition (EXR to Lexapro & she had doubled up on her dose of Lexapro & it seemed to help the emotional effects atleast & after a few days of completely stopping the med the effects were gone & I was able to do things & take care of my kids again. The only way I was able to sleep during the week & a half of torture was to take theraflu at night bc it has a sedating affect on me & the alcohol in it didn't hurt either (Im not suggesting that but it was how I coped with my insomnia during that rough time) A man online described the physical pain as it felt like a piece of sheet metal was inside his body & like it was being banged on.. (a good comparison in my book) .. It's like electric shocks shooting from your stomach to your head & back.. & there is nothing you can do to reduce or alleviate these most unpleasant feelings & sensations. I wouldnt wish any of these things on my worst enemy bc it makes you feel helpless & hopeless .. This time around I am discontinuing Pristiq & last night was my first night of not taking it & I already felt the nausea/dizzy/sheet metal sensation so I am praying for the best.. I know everyone is different so it is hard to say how long it may last for you but I know from what I have read if you quit cold turkey it is usually 1-2 weks before the effects completely wear off but if you taper of course it will be longer bc you are postponing the discontinuation & your effects will probably reduce as your dose reduces.. From my 2 experiences before I know the worst thing I could do is give up (or give in) tapering isn't an option since I am on the lowest dose already (50mg) & I want to get this over with ASAP so until this gets better I am going to drink lots & lots of water keep hope alive & occasionally take a dose of theraflu to help knock me out on nights I can't go to sleep bc I would rather be asleep dreaming than awake in pain. God bless you all my prayers are with you & you will make it through just remember it gets better & don't suffer in silence there are plenty people going through the same thing you are & if you feel like giving up confide in your dr or check into a hospital bc the pain is just temporary & remember you will make it through.. P.S. when my last w/d ended I was extremely thankful to feel "normal" again but even more I started praying even harder for my grandmother who had chemo & radiation therapy & she suffered all day every day with her illness & unfortunately she passed away in July but it comforts my heart & soul to know she is no longer suffering any more & she is in a much better place <3


Posted by @medtechlynn, Sep 23, 2012

thankyouthankyouthankyou! Now I know I'm not crazy,not dying and don't have a brain tumor or ulcers. My withdrawal has been exacerbated by a raging sinus infection but living in a constant state of anxiety is awful. Good to know there's an end in sight.


Posted by @kmcc, Oct 8, 2012

I have been off pristiq for 3 weeks and the symptoms of insomnia, dreams that are insane and freaky, and panic attacks have not gone away. I had to go to hospital for 9days and thought I was better, but I was not. I will have to go back because I can function and black out from lack of sleep and do self destructive things. I have been on it for 7 yrs because of the fear of this occuring so I assume that is why my withdrawl is so long. Are their any meds that ease the pain. Trazidone doesn't work or make me sleep. Benzos don't work and I don't know what to do. The doctors try to tell me I am crazy even after explaining. I hope to find one that can actually listen and help. Please let me know if their is a med to help. I am going crazy. It is all physical at this point, but the symptoms make me nuts!


Posted by @jamilyn, Oct 11, 2012

You don't always have to take a prescribed medication to get help for symptoms. For your sleep (or non-sleep), try Melatonin. It's 100% natural and it works wonders, better than any prescribed sleep aid I've ever tried. You find it in the vitamin section of any store. I have suffered from Insomnia for almost 20 yrs and I can only take 2.5mg! Trust me, you will sleep like a baby! As for easing your withdrawal symptoms; I have been off Pristiq, cold-turkey, now for 1 week after taking it for only 4 weeks. I am having a hard time right now. I have been reading many boards on how long withdrawal symptoms can last (up to several months - ugh) and what, if anything, we can do to help ease these symptoms. The one thing I keep reading is Dramamine... Dramamine is an over-the-counter antihistamine. It's used to control motion sickness; nausea, dizziness, vomiting. It seems to work for anyone who tries it. I'm on my way out the door to buy some. It may not be the answer to relieve the withdrawal symptoms 100% but if this Dramamine can help alleviate ANY of the symptoms, I'm all for giving it a go (I'll be buying the reduced drowsy kind - with 2 teenagers, a 10 yr old, and a husband who acts like he's 3 yrs old, I can't be sleeping during the day, lol)! Good luck to you!!


Posted by @lizzieanne, Jan 25, 2013

Dear Mrs M, or anyone. I could really use some Help! i am desperate to break the drug cycle could really use help to break away from these meds m
i dont drink or smoke but am on a little bit of left over narcotics and advil to handle
the pain from the spinal fusion probem so complications are on top of the the story....
After I had my child 25years ago,I experienced post partum and they tried me on Prozac and I started getting head aches and losing my vision grayish to grey to blurry dark grey only 1 in 100,000 I think, then same w Zoloft and Paxil plus weight gain ugh. Finally I went onto Effexor going thru all of their incarnations w not major relief in depressionI am in a real difficult place because I have been using 150 milligrams of pritiq for 5-7 years after Ivswitched from Effexor. I also take generic Wellbutrin 600 and my Rx drug company said they would no longer cover the wellbutrin or any more than 100 pristig. I have tried to go of many times before but at my own desire there were catastrophic consequences with deep depression and much suicidal thinking but I always had the drugs to go back on to. Now I am reaching a wall and won't be able to go back on.In addition I had a failed spinal fusion surgery that only started to show a little bone growth after 1 3/4 years. I am one tired puppy and in physical pain as well as psychological pain and actuall many times thinking about throwing in the towel as I live a lone and my darling son works in Brazil and India. Even though I have lots of friends none of them deal with the physical and mental problems that I have and they are all married. As A result I hide as much as I can so I won't be a drag. I tried last week to just cut down by 1/3 on the pristiq staying the same on the Wellbutrin and thT kionopin. I still had disastrous results. Doom and gloom and self loathing no motivation and suicidal thoughts. I'm seeing my primary guy today for some suggestions but worry because I and on so many Meds at this point that the thought on going off them is terrifying especially because 7 years ago I lost all of my insurance and went off or everything that was close to a psychotic break. I really lost it so went back on as
soon as I could find an insurance company Thanks for any help

Posted by Anonymous-f1c67565, Sep 23, 2012

I am now Pristiq free. I have been tapering off for a month. It has been a hellish experience. I am glad to say I survived. I do feel the 'brain snaps' occasionally and the dreams are still with me. I am 4 days free of the drug. I tapered from 100mg per day to 50mg a day for 15 days then a quarter a day for a 20 days...I am now at day 4 without. I am struggling but I will see this through. I feel better just not being on it....I now know I can do without the drug and intend to find 'myself' again. It's interesting to actually go through this process and weed out the withdrawal symptoms from my actual personality. I wish you all luck and blessings as you go through this horrid experience. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Sherry

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Posted by @cricket55, Dec 9, 2012

Very interesting story Sherry....this is now, by now, I hope you are TOTALLY back to yourself.... my story is alittle different.....I only took 2 -1/2 tab...then 1 full tab.... doctor switched me to take them at night starting with 4th one instead of morning, I had all day to think about it.... read some posts glad I found this post tho... good info here.....but I just could NOT take that 4th tablet...just couldn't ... figured I'd have a ruff day today or for several days....I sure hope it won't be for WEEKS with only 3 of them in my system....I am less nauseated , so I am thanking the Good Lord for that... there have been many times through each day that I've had to cling to HIM....body just shaking so badly....also, none of my meds worked today ...I take Xanax a few times a day and because of the extreme nausea...was taking double the Zofran...NONE of it was working...I was just a shaky mess.... I had NO appetite at ALL...everything I have eaten since this whole Pristiq thing started has been forced... UG! But tonight I did bake sliced potato in foil and put greek yougurt on it and ate a pear with it and a small glass of carrot juice... I'm on a bland diet for the next month ...back in mid Sept a NP thought I had H-phlori and put me on 1 normal anitbiotics for 5 days...then two VERY strong antibiotics for the last 5 days... by the second to the last one...i was doubled over and SO naueated ....then later an upper/lower did show that I had some gastrirtis ...but no ulcers.... all this of course has brought on anxiety....that is why my doctor thought the pristiq was what I needed... I had to take Xanax over 20 years ago...and after awhile I knew I was feeling better....and winged myself off it by shaving alittle at a time every few days ...Praying for all here... Praying my withdrawals don't last long....some have said several weeks for even a few days.... I'm praying NOT!!!! God Bless!!

Posted by Anonymous-f1c67565, Dec 9, 2012

So happy to say that I am totally free of any anti-depressants !! I made it. And you will too Cricket! Do not give up. See the symptoms through,. It's interesting. My Dr, wanted me to wean off of Pristiq and then go to Cymbalta. I never filled the prescription. He doesn't know. I've been on some form of anti-depressant for 12 years and I am completely free of it now....I feel blessed. I pray for a gentle withdrawal for you Cricket. Sherry

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Posted by @cricket55, Dec 9, 2012

Sherry, thank you....I hope each day gets better...the nausea is better, but the shakes are still there....with out the Xanax (which they will only let me take every 6 hours or so) is the only thing that helps so far on that part.... I want my old life back where I did no drugs for over 20 years...I did do Xanax for several years, back in the early nineties...but weaned myself off them as I felt better.... you can usually tell as you need them less and less between doses.... I don't think my doctor is going to be very happy with me about not taking the Pristiq...but I just don't want to be on Something THAT strong... at least with Xanax there are no side effects ...and if you wean youself off....little there too...I had read that you take a razon blade and shave alittle at a time every 2nd or 3rd day til there is barely anything left... you kinda trick it in a way that its getting the same dose.... keep me in your prayers.... I have gastritis now because of a really STRONG antibiotic they put me on.... mid Sept.... still on a bland diet after an upper/lower GI....but NO ulsers at least... thanks for praying for me, Sherry..... Cricket


Posted by @brendabee, Sep 28, 2012

I am on day 8 without any pristiq and quitting cold turkey ...100mg. daily for 6 yrs. It has not been sooo bad. (sounds like I am lucky). However I have some withdrawal symptoms: dizzy, hot flashes. I also seem to have alot more energy-which is a good thing! It was such a pain to get it filled this last time that when it was filled I had not had any for 7 days sooo I no longer want to be dependant on the drug, insurance co., and dr. office. Good luck to all.

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