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Native Floridian
@nativefloridian

Posts: 175
Joined: Oct 15, 2011

Pristiq withdrawal

Posted by @nativefloridian, 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.

Liked by dianenero, SHO101

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meridian
@meridian

Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 22, 2012
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.


Savanti
@savanti

Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 20, 2011
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


AyeThePan
@ayethepan

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 31, 2012
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.


Savanti
@savanti

Posts: 16
Joined: Sep 20, 2011
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.


kidswriteri123
@kidswriteri123

Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 29, 2012
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.


Native Floridian
@nativefloridian

Posts: 175
Joined: Oct 15, 2011
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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AyeThePan
@ayethepan

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 31, 2012
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.


attinson63
@attinson63

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Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Posted by @attinson63, Aug 15, 2012

Doesn’t exercise increase good endorphins?


kmunroe
@kmunroe

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Joined: Feb 16, 2012
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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Swissel
@swissel

Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 16, 2012
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


kmunroe
@kmunroe

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Joined: Feb 16, 2012
Posted by @kmunroe, Feb 16, 2012

how long have you been completely off the pristiq?


Swissel
@swissel

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Joined: Feb 16, 2012
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.


Mellissa
@mell_88

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 11, 2014
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


Diane72
@diane72

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 26, 2012
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.


soozyr
@soozyr

Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 10, 2013
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!!!

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