Side effects of Pristiq

Posted by Native Floridian @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.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

I began weening of of Pristiq about a month ago. And although I’ve had the withdrawl symptoms that others have experienced — insane fatigue, a lot of dizziness, head aches, nausea, etc, it has been bearable. I’ve been seeing a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner to help me get off the meds (which I’ve been on for more than 2 years). We started by taking one pill every other day, then every two days. I took my last pill last Monday. I’ve also been seeing my therapist, which has also made this transition bearable. The PNP did say it would take a few more months before I can feel absolutely normal.
My suggestion is to make sure you have medical and mental health support when coming off this med. I’m very surprised to hear the other comments from people of how they just stopped taking these meds cold turkey. That’s so dangerous, and based on these comments, it is devastating in some ways.

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I absolutely have to agree that going cold turkey could be incredibly dangerous. I had no idea what was wrong with me, my meds that I take at night had been in the night meds 14 day box, and I admit, I relied to heavily on my pharmacy and physician to keep the meds filled when they ran out when they always do, and did not pay close attention when putting the meds in the 14 day meds box I bought from the pharmacy, which I’ve decided not to use anymore. I was so used to picking up one set of meds from a pharmacy I use which was close to my job, and then the other meds from a pharmacy I used when I had to stay home, which is in another city, and was transferring them all to one pharmacy, which had much less personal service, but was open later and on Sundays. I think I’ll go with the smaller pharmacy, locally owned, with less hours open, but much better service, and keep them all in one place. My insurance pays the same no matter which pharmacy I use, so that’s not an issue. Having to take out each medication bottle at night was a pain, but I would have caught it much sooner had I been doing that. I would have remembered that I had run out of the Pristiq when I filled the 14 day container, which I always did in the evenings, when I was already tired. I would have caught the fact that one of the bottles of meds I always picked up wasn’t there. Between that and relying on everything to go as it always had between the pharmacy and my doctor, I put myself through heck and could have caused myself great harm. I had no clue that going through withdraw symptoms from Pristiq would be so rough. I thought it was the milder of the anti-depressants I was on, and didn’t think not having it would effect me so negatively. I have been back on it one day, and will take it again tonight and will be relieved when it takes effect again. Going from 100mg per day to none – dangerous. Please don’t go off any medication you’ve been on for any length of time, abruptly. The risks outweigh the benefits you hope to gain.

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Oh, and one last thing I thought I’d mention, I knew that one of my medications I took in the evenings made me hungry at night, which is a good thing for me, because I have trouble keeping my weight up, because I’m just not hungry, and noticed that during the time I was off the Pristiq, I wasn’t even hungry at night. I think because I took it early enough in the evening, around 6 with my other meds, that I was awake enough to know that I was very hungry and would eat, but wonder if I took it right at bed, if it would make me hungry at all? I wondered if the people that gain weight on it take it in the mornings or during the day or evening hours. Like I said, the weight gain for me is a good thing, but since I eat almost nothing during the day, I noticed Pristiq in particular was responsible for making me hungry, as it was the only one I was off of the last 9 days.

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I have been on 50 mg Pristiq for 4 years. I am coming off by increasing the distance between taking the medication by 12 hours every 2 weeks. I am in my second 2 weeks, and so far have not had withdrawal symptoms. (every 36 hours first 2 weeks, now every 48 hours) For people more sensitive one could decrease by 6 hours every 2 weeks. This is a long process and takes some discipline (making a calendar). Has anyone succeeded in this way? I will keep you posted on how it works out for me.

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So like 3 weeks ago I started tapering off pristiq 50 mg after being on it for 4 years. I am still on wellbutrin though andhave been for the last year. My dr suggested to cut 7 in half and ween off that way. he said 14 days would be MORE than enough time to adjust. He was wrong in my opinion! anywhoo… for the two weeks of having half i was OK. had some emotional up downs nothing too bad. felt like i was having a bad case of PMS. I was doing yoga, eating good, taking supplements, and excersizing everytime i was agitated.. and that worked well. TODAY 5 days off completely… first day dizzyness, nauseated, hostile off and on, moody, teary, most of all BRAIN SURGES, not fun…. second day i was like omg how long am i going to feel like this… brain surger or “zaps” in and out of foggyness and confusion same side effects as first day… like my boss would ask me to do something and i would just take it so hostile in my head… very much on edge.. hunger increased… felt almost tipsy for a few moments and Im sober… Had ALOT of crazy thoughts come through my head. old behaviors of wanting to throw or break things… i was stressing myself out thinking how can I be thinking these thoughts!!! But keep in mind YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FIRST THOUGHT, YOUR RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FIRST ACTION. 3rd/4th day a little better… same side effects just not as continuous thank god. I would suggest to anyone getting off take a few days off of work, be close and communicate with a support group around you. Today is day 5… i took some meletonin last evening to have a more restful sleep.. today i feel SOOO much better. im not 100 percent but soooooo much better. very bearable now. The last few days i was stressing myself out…. looking online to see if anyone was feeling the same way i was and for how long. I dont usually posts on things like this but i should share my experience strength and hope. i read almost everything i could online but since this is the first website that pops up on google when you search pristiq withdrawls i thought this would be the best place to post. some experiences may vary, but for me this is how mine went <3

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I have been taking 50 mg a day of pristig for over 2 years and have decided to taper my pristiq. I did alot of research and have read many forums and decided the best way for me was to start taking it every other day. Most of the research says to not cut the pill in half because of its time release formula. basically it will be a jolt to your system if you take half because it will hit you all at once. I have been lengthening the days after each one. For example I took one on sun but not on mon. then on tues i took one but not on wed. I did not notice any side effects so I took one thur then I did not take one on fri or sat. This ultimately comes down to how I felt. had I had any serious side effects I may not have continued with the tapering. Well my side effects so far have been mild. Some anxiety, some dizziness and fatigue. I am on my 12th day of tapering. I have gone three without any pristiq. I seem to have some flu like symptoms since yesterday but I’m not sure if it is related. So I took some dayquil sinus and am much better. Still my symptoms have been mild and I have not yet experienced any brain shivers. Although I had some serious exhaustion dizziness and disorientation yesterday but I think I have a cold/flu. I have decided to not continue tapering but to stop taking pristiq completely as long as I feel fine by tomorrow. I know there can be emotional/psychological effects later do to stopping any anti depressant but if after 4 days of not taking it I feel relatively fine I think any withdawl/ physical symptoms should be out of my system. Hope this helps. I will keep updating as my symptoms appear or go away.

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@twinklejem

So like 3 weeks ago I started tapering off pristiq 50 mg after being on it for 4 years. I am still on wellbutrin though andhave been for the last year. My dr suggested to cut 7 in half and ween off that way. he said 14 days would be MORE than enough time to adjust. He was wrong in my opinion! anywhoo… for the two weeks of having half i was OK. had some emotional up downs nothing too bad. felt like i was having a bad case of PMS. I was doing yoga, eating good, taking supplements, and excersizing everytime i was agitated.. and that worked well. TODAY 5 days off completely… first day dizzyness, nauseated, hostile off and on, moody, teary, most of all BRAIN SURGES, not fun…. second day i was like omg how long am i going to feel like this… brain surger or “zaps” in and out of foggyness and confusion same side effects as first day… like my boss would ask me to do something and i would just take it so hostile in my head… very much on edge.. hunger increased… felt almost tipsy for a few moments and Im sober… Had ALOT of crazy thoughts come through my head. old behaviors of wanting to throw or break things… i was stressing myself out thinking how can I be thinking these thoughts!!! But keep in mind YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FIRST THOUGHT, YOUR RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FIRST ACTION. 3rd/4th day a little better… same side effects just not as continuous thank god. I would suggest to anyone getting off take a few days off of work, be close and communicate with a support group around you. Today is day 5… i took some meletonin last evening to have a more restful sleep.. today i feel SOOO much better. im not 100 percent but soooooo much better. very bearable now. The last few days i was stressing myself out…. looking online to see if anyone was feeling the same way i was and for how long. I dont usually posts on things like this but i should share my experience strength and hope. i read almost everything i could online but since this is the first website that pops up on google when you search pristiq withdrawls i thought this would be the best place to post. some experiences may vary, but for me this is how mine went <3

Jump to this post

I just posted my experience and after reading yours I realize that I to have more emotional/hungry than normal. Not sure if it related but interesting none the less. I thought I was just hormonal lol

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I am new to this forum since I am also wanting off Pristiq and searched for articles regarding withdrawal. Needless to say I am shocked by what I am reading and though I do not have regret taking this medication, I wish I had known more about how hard it will be to taper off. I take 100mg daily and like many of you, I experience the same symptoms. I really felt alone to be honest with you. How do you tell people about “brain zaps” and some of the other issues relating to this medication? I did have a positive reaction to the medication for quite some time but since I was increased from 50 to 100, now I see where the problems started for me. I have read so many of the posts and I am thinking, wow that is me! I have gained so much weight, I eat at night like a mad woman, feel emotionally flat and have no desire for anything anymore. Someone said they lost their happy, and that is how I feel. My zip is gone, my libido went who knows where, and I just feel like a blob. I see my MD on Monday, and I found this forum afterwards just so I could prepare myself. Needless to say, I am somewhat scared but I have to get my life back like many of you. Someone had a good idea about tapering that actually makes sense. I am not a nurse but I am in healthcare and I do know that drugs build up in your system and you have to give it time to readjust. Just when you first started, it takes time to get the benefit. The worst thing you can do it cut them. They are time released and this is a big no no. I don’t think skipping is the answer either. So my plan is to time my pill and then take the next days a few hours later each day. It may take me a few months to do this but I am willing to try this to help eliminate the terrible withdrawal effects that I am reading about. So wish me luck and will post updates.

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Taking 50mg Pristiq for 9 months and began an alternating day taper in February.
Every 14 days I add one more day without a pill. I’m now alternating 3 days off, 1 day on. Taking it each morning. No cutting.

Symptoms are only noticeable on the first decrease/add-on of one day in the taper cycle. Some ‘brain zaps/electric feeling in the brain’. Mostly when changing focus or sudden eye movement. Not fun, but interesting. The goal is to expand to 4 days off, 1 day on until the end of May, then discontinue altogether and observe.

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Thanks to all for sharing your experience. I’ve taken 50 MG Pristiq for 1 year due to several deaths in my family, divorce, job layoff, and breast cancer surgery. No history of depression prior but it was determined that I needed an antidepressant due to the above circumstances. Feeling great now and with my dr’s approval will begin to withdraw at the following levels:

1 every other day for one month
1 every 3 days for 2 weeks
1 twice a week a week for 2 weeks,
Then stop completely.

So the entire process will take two months (from May 1 – July 1).

I have gained about 15 pounds over the past year, which is really strange since the listed side effects are weight loss, but it seems that many others have experienced weight gain as well. I will document my symptoms but it’s good to hear what others have gone through. I think a healthy diet is key.

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Has anyone had extreme ITCHING during the weaning off process of pristiq? I am on day 5 of taking 1/2 pill. I have been doing awesome until today!

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I have been on pristiq for 2 1/2 yrs. tomorrow I am going to try to quit cold turkey. I have lost interest in things I’ve alway enjoyed, had major weight gain ( mostly in my stomach) and have had hair loss. I have been on some form of AD for 12 yrs. . I want my old life back! Any suggestions on how to get thru the next few weeks?

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