Want to taper off Pristiq, makes my heart race

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.

Liked by SHO101, dianenero

@ggmarie

Woo Hoo!! I am finally off Pristiq!!!! I am feeling normal again, the brain zaps have finally subsided to the rare side now (they are caused by your neurotransmitters firing) and I am just downright happy again! I am smiling, laughing and feeling like myself that I was beginning to question if she would ever be back again. All I can say to all of you is it will take time. There will be side effects while your brain is adjusting, and that is why is important to taper. I went from 100mg to 50mg and tapered off for 3 weeks. I had hoped to do it in 2 weeks but too many symptoms. I am hopeful in renewing my life. I never ever thought that this medication would actually start destroying my life. I lost all de sire to be part of life, felt empty and so emotionless. After 3 years I feel myself again. I am smiling again, joined a gym to help get rid of my weight gain. And just working out has made a difference. I really wish the best to all of you and know that it is a struggle. I did it and it was hard but I will NEVER go on a antidepressant again.

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Ya, I was just wondering if adding prosaic might help, definitely don’t add Effexor! I am off antidepressants completely, and feel good. Because I still have some lingering withdrawal symptoms, I don’t feel great yet. Sleep has been an issue, but its probably more situational then withdrawal. I lost a ton of weight when I first went on Effexor a year and a half ago, 5’8″ and 105lb! I’ve been putting weight back on over the last 6 months or so but it’s just kind of brought me back to pre-antidepressant weight.

My thoughts are with you and your son, I hope you can complete this journey soon. It nice that you have each other to support through this. Do you have any other children?

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Hi all. Just found you and wanted to jump in to add that I did cold turkey off of Pristiq a week ago and so far so good. I know that’s not the recommended way, but frankly I don’t think many know how to prescribe or discontinue a lot of these drugs. Particularly not a GP, which is all I have right now. My biggest complaint was this flattened emotional state I see so many complaining about, as well as my general distrust of the safety of the drug. I’m retired, so I could afford any w/d related downtime. I’d been on it six months after being on several other ADs, due mostly to chronic pain and six joint replacements in the past eight years. The surgeries should be done with now, unless my head falls off lol, and I am ready to get on with “real life”, but I just suspect the Pristiq was flatlining my desire to do anything. So now, it’s a bit scary to see if that lethargy and apathy is the real me or not. Hope not! Anyway, I think I’ve been lucky. Negligible headaches, the usual brain zaps and dizziness, tinnitus, but nothing intolerable at all – tho I will say I have enough experience to know to expect the worst, so maybe I wasn’t as freaked out by the w/d as a newby to the process would be. I am not encouraging anyone to do it this way, but I thought long and hard about it and decided to journal it and watch myself carefully – and I told family members to keep an eye on me. I just wasn’t too excited about drawing out the w/d duration, tho I’m sure if you have work, school, etc., you may not be able to give yourself the luxury of babying yourself, taking naps (or just holing up when your head buzzes and you can’t sleep), etc. to get you through it. Anyway, good luck, and please be sure to take advantage of professional help and advice available to you!

Liked by dpfrehm

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@icklin

Hi all. Just found you and wanted to jump in to add that I did cold turkey off of Pristiq a week ago and so far so good. I know that’s not the recommended way, but frankly I don’t think many know how to prescribe or discontinue a lot of these drugs. Particularly not a GP, which is all I have right now. My biggest complaint was this flattened emotional state I see so many complaining about, as well as my general distrust of the safety of the drug. I’m retired, so I could afford any w/d related downtime. I’d been on it six months after being on several other ADs, due mostly to chronic pain and six joint replacements in the past eight years. The surgeries should be done with now, unless my head falls off lol, and I am ready to get on with “real life”, but I just suspect the Pristiq was flatlining my desire to do anything. So now, it’s a bit scary to see if that lethargy and apathy is the real me or not. Hope not! Anyway, I think I’ve been lucky. Negligible headaches, the usual brain zaps and dizziness, tinnitus, but nothing intolerable at all – tho I will say I have enough experience to know to expect the worst, so maybe I wasn’t as freaked out by the w/d as a newby to the process would be. I am not encouraging anyone to do it this way, but I thought long and hard about it and decided to journal it and watch myself carefully – and I told family members to keep an eye on me. I just wasn’t too excited about drawing out the w/d duration, tho I’m sure if you have work, school, etc., you may not be able to give yourself the luxury of babying yourself, taking naps (or just holing up when your head buzzes and you can’t sleep), etc. to get you through it. Anyway, good luck, and please be sure to take advantage of professional help and advice available to you!

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Thank you for your post – feedback and encouragement! Good to hear of another person making it through the “discontinuation symptoms” associated with Pristiq – and also that you found them to be tolerable. I wonder if the length of time on the med (and dosage) make a difference? I would imagine so. Please post again and provide an update with how you are feeling/doing off the medication. Best wishes!

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@sillygrandma

I’ve been off Pristiq for 4 weeks now, and prior to that took Cymbalta for 3 years. What has helped: I take 2 1200 mg Fish Oil with 1 500 mg L-Tyrosine on an empty stomach in the morning. After breakfast I take a multi-vitamin and liquid B-12 (sublingual) 2000 mcg. After lunch(include some fat), I take Vitamin D 800 IU. At bedtime I take 2 more Fish Oil and a Vit D. I was taking more L-Tyrosine, but developed a rash on my legs and had to cut back. I also try to exercise but still have to watch out for dizziness. I still have mild brain zaps and occasional irrational anger, but I work through it with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. I ran across this blog 2 days after my last dose and left it up on the computer. My husband read it and it has changed his attitude toward my withdrawal. Thank all of you for posting.

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Hi there – thank you for your post – and the great info on the supplements! I have started taking the fish oil pills and need to add vitamin D to my regime. Think they both provide a huge support. So good to hear of another success story of someone coming off pristiq – congrats! :)). Do you mind sharing how long you were on this RX, the dosage and your method for tapering down? I have been on 100 mg for almost 2 years now. Have seen a noticeable decline in my overall health – weight gain and my mood. The flatlining described is pretty accurate – and have become very introverted (desire to be my myself) when used to be very extroverted and outgoing. My family has noticed a change in me too. Have tried several times to taper down to 50mg with no success – the symptoms were intolerable and put me out for a few days – hard to do with 3 kids and getting myself back to work. I’ve found a few new tips on here and am gearing myself up to try again. Thanks again!

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@ggmarie

Woo Hoo!! I am finally off Pristiq!!!! I am feeling normal again, the brain zaps have finally subsided to the rare side now (they are caused by your neurotransmitters firing) and I am just downright happy again! I am smiling, laughing and feeling like myself that I was beginning to question if she would ever be back again. All I can say to all of you is it will take time. There will be side effects while your brain is adjusting, and that is why is important to taper. I went from 100mg to 50mg and tapered off for 3 weeks. I had hoped to do it in 2 weeks but too many symptoms. I am hopeful in renewing my life. I never ever thought that this medication would actually start destroying my life. I lost all de sire to be part of life, felt empty and so emotionless. After 3 years I feel myself again. I am smiling again, joined a gym to help get rid of my weight gain. And just working out has made a difference. I really wish the best to all of you and know that it is a struggle. I did it and it was hard but I will NEVER go on a antidepressant again.

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Hi there – yes – I have three boys total. 18, 16 and 12. I know all of this has had an impact on them as well – not to mention the financial difficulty that we are now experiencing since i have been out of work for 6 months. I am just getting started back to work but honestly feel like I am “limping along”. Don’t feel that great physically and kind of numb emotionally, I can honestly look back over the last 2+ years of being on Pristiq (and adderall which I was put on a couple months after being on pristiq due to feeling “foggy” and see/feel that this is not good for me. Of course you could say – well maybe it is just depression – but it would be so nice to know what my “real” normal state would be. I don’t buy the idea of having to stay on an antidepressant for life! I am sure though that it changes the overall chemistry of the brain – just wondering how long it takes to readjust. Thank you for your suggestion and support! Would it be possible to email you directly with a couple other questions? Take care!!

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I have been on Pristiq about 2 months and all I wanted too do was sleep. I have 2 kids 9 and 3. I am so miserable so I haven’t took one in 2 days!!! I am dizzy feeling sick to my stomach. I am done with antidepressants!!!

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@icklin

Hi all. Just found you and wanted to jump in to add that I did cold turkey off of Pristiq a week ago and so far so good. I know that’s not the recommended way, but frankly I don’t think many know how to prescribe or discontinue a lot of these drugs. Particularly not a GP, which is all I have right now. My biggest complaint was this flattened emotional state I see so many complaining about, as well as my general distrust of the safety of the drug. I’m retired, so I could afford any w/d related downtime. I’d been on it six months after being on several other ADs, due mostly to chronic pain and six joint replacements in the past eight years. The surgeries should be done with now, unless my head falls off lol, and I am ready to get on with “real life”, but I just suspect the Pristiq was flatlining my desire to do anything. So now, it’s a bit scary to see if that lethargy and apathy is the real me or not. Hope not! Anyway, I think I’ve been lucky. Negligible headaches, the usual brain zaps and dizziness, tinnitus, but nothing intolerable at all – tho I will say I have enough experience to know to expect the worst, so maybe I wasn’t as freaked out by the w/d as a newby to the process would be. I am not encouraging anyone to do it this way, but I thought long and hard about it and decided to journal it and watch myself carefully – and I told family members to keep an eye on me. I just wasn’t too excited about drawing out the w/d duration, tho I’m sure if you have work, school, etc., you may not be able to give yourself the luxury of babying yourself, taking naps (or just holing up when your head buzzes and you can’t sleep), etc. to get you through it. Anyway, good luck, and please be sure to take advantage of professional help and advice available to you!

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Hi and thanks. So far, so good. Last Friday was two weeks. Since midweek last week I’ve had maybe one fleeting brain zap per day, negligible occasional headache. I did have one utterly lethargic yet edgy, couched all day day, but it was also very windy which puts me on edge anyway and I think it stirred all the spring pollen up, so I very possibly was just having bad allergies, but I’m experienced enough to know it may have been one of those flu-like effects of w/d, but who knows. I will say that my emotional range seems to have been restored….it had gotten to the point that things like the OK tornado would just leave me nodding with a very distant reaction, kind of like “I know this is really sad, but…” and now I’m more me, where tears when appropriate are possible, but I’m in control and not depressive. Frankly, I’m relieved. I was feeling like a Stepford wife. I’ll stay in touch. I know first hand it’s really scary to mess with these drugs and it’s good to share info. Again, I do what I do, don’t recommend or advocate for anyone else. Be wise, prudent and take care, all.

Liked by kdecker003, dpfrehm

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@ggmarie

Woo Hoo!! I am finally off Pristiq!!!! I am feeling normal again, the brain zaps have finally subsided to the rare side now (they are caused by your neurotransmitters firing) and I am just downright happy again! I am smiling, laughing and feeling like myself that I was beginning to question if she would ever be back again. All I can say to all of you is it will take time. There will be side effects while your brain is adjusting, and that is why is important to taper. I went from 100mg to 50mg and tapered off for 3 weeks. I had hoped to do it in 2 weeks but too many symptoms. I am hopeful in renewing my life. I never ever thought that this medication would actually start destroying my life. I lost all de sire to be part of life, felt empty and so emotionless. After 3 years I feel myself again. I am smiling again, joined a gym to help get rid of my weight gain. And just working out has made a difference. I really wish the best to all of you and know that it is a struggle. I did it and it was hard but I will NEVER go on a antidepressant again.

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Hi Karen…first of all I want to tell all of you how thankful I am to have discovered this discussion board! I felt so alone and scared and downright terrified as to what was going to happen to me because of this drug. I feel as you do that the doctors do not know how to really deal with this drug and will probably end up on TV with class action lawsuits. I am feeling so good again and it is so apparent that my husband and family has noticed it too. Without being able to connect with all of you, I don’t know how I would have mustered up the courage to get off Pristiq. I have come to the conclusion that all of these meds are bad. What they do to your brain chemistry is OK for a short period of time but not for long term use. Here is one the things that you do not want to happen, Seratonin Syndrome. Check out this link
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004531/
It was hard to go off and I was scared knowing I would have withdrawal symptoms, but I am so glad I did it and the pain and headaches, brain zaps were worth it. I am free now and I hope you will be too. I did not agree with my doctors tapering advice and came up with my own after reading how others did it. Because of what it does to your brain the tapering off is so important. My doc recommended was 50mg for 7 days then go off. Well that scared me because it takes 2 – 4 weeks for the full benefit of the drug so 2 – 4 weeks for tapering right? So he decreased my dose to 50 and I then started adding 12 hours to the next dose. Example: 50mg every 36 hours for 1 week then every 48 hours for the next week then every 72 hours for the last week. It worked for me, and yes I did have symptoms but now they are gone. Keep in touch Karen and all of you out there too.
Bless you too Karen!
Ginger

Liked by kdecker003

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@ontariobonnie

Oh this thread has inspired me. I have been on Pristiq for three years after having a breakdown brought on by years of a tramatic marriage/breakup. I was NOT depressed when I had this breakdown. The breakdown basically consisted of a three day panic attack then a trip to the hospital to rule out cardiac etc. then back to family dr. to get meds/plan of action. She prescribed pristiq 50mg and ativan/lorazempam as needed for panic attacks. AFter a few weeks of being homebound and seeing a psycologist and family taking care of me and my son, I started to pull out of it. AFter six weeks I returned to work and everything has been ok since then, three years later I’m sick of taking this damn drug and want my life back. I have put on about 50lbs in three years and have tried numerous times to get the weight off, exercise and strict dieting etc. I would lose a bit but not much, not as much as I think i should have! I am 43 years old and I want to be like I was before this madness started. I’m on blood pressure meds now due to this drug and also cholesterol medication. I am starting tonight my taper. I take my meds before bed so tonight I am NOT going to take my pristiq. Fingers crossed. My thoughts are with everyone who has had the misfortune to become a slave to this drug.

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Just checking up on you…how are things going? I am feeling so good again.

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Hi everyone! Well I am now 4 weeks Pristiq free! I can’t even almost express how I feel. I feel like I got my life back again. I can cry again, laugh and have energy like I used to. For me I came to realization that if I did not get off this drug it was going to do something terrible to me. And I also feel that eventually it will be pulled off the market at some point like others have. I wanted to have control over my tapering and not have to go cold turkey. Depression is a horrible thing to have but taking all of the medications can be worse. One of my son’s has been on so many different drugs for social anxiety disorder, that because he has so many side effects he decided to drug free also. I joined a gym called Planet Fitness because not only because of the weight gain associated with the medication, I know that exercise is the best medicine for my emotional and physical well being and not taking pills. After 3 years of Pristiq slavery I am hopeful again that life is good. For all of you, really be strong in your fight to get off of it. I wish I could tell you that you won’t have withdrawal symptoms but you will. I had them all and pushed through it. Was it hard? Yes…but compared to how I feel now, I am glad I did it. And finding this discussion board has helped more than anything else I have read. We are therapy for each other, the support is great and we are real people here.

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I was prescribed Pristiq for severe back pain, as the back pain specialist said my physical issues do not explain the severity of my pain. I took 50 mg for a couple of months and had no effects, either good or bad. The Psychiatrist then upped the dose to 100 mg. Good news: my back was better. Bad news: I had to sleep abput 12 hours a day. I was falling asleep during my commute, both morning and evening. The Psychiatrist suggested I taper off the drug. I went down to 50 mg for a few days, and then pondered whether to do one day on and one day off as she suggested. I read this discussion plus others, and decided that a) I didn’t want to have a “rollercoaster” effect on my brain b) I just want to get off the thing. Next week I am testifying in court as an expert witness and the week after that I am going on vacation, so it was now or never. I quit on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday were good. I even got my open water diver certification on the weekend! Come Monday morning…. all hell broke loose in my body. I couldn’t think, I felt dizzy and nauseous, I was sweaty and just overall miserable. I had a nervous breakdown about my son’s contact lenses being lost in the mail. I don’t have meltdowns like that! I also told my boss he was “bitchy” and I replied to a client with a very stupid email. I stayed home from work today (Tuesday), but have to work anyway. My brain feels a bit better and I haven’t had a meltdown. My stomach, however, is completely messed up. It hurts really bad. Fennel tea seems to help calm it down. I am hoping the symptoms get better by tomorrow, since there is no way I can stay home another day. I wish I had never taken this drug. I understand it can do wonders for some people, but the little relief I got for my back pain was not worth it.

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@martingala

I was prescribed Pristiq for severe back pain, as the back pain specialist said my physical issues do not explain the severity of my pain. I took 50 mg for a couple of months and had no effects, either good or bad. The Psychiatrist then upped the dose to 100 mg. Good news: my back was better. Bad news: I had to sleep abput 12 hours a day. I was falling asleep during my commute, both morning and evening. The Psychiatrist suggested I taper off the drug. I went down to 50 mg for a few days, and then pondered whether to do one day on and one day off as she suggested. I read this discussion plus others, and decided that a) I didn’t want to have a “rollercoaster” effect on my brain b) I just want to get off the thing. Next week I am testifying in court as an expert witness and the week after that I am going on vacation, so it was now or never. I quit on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday were good. I even got my open water diver certification on the weekend! Come Monday morning…. all hell broke loose in my body. I couldn’t think, I felt dizzy and nauseous, I was sweaty and just overall miserable. I had a nervous breakdown about my son’s contact lenses being lost in the mail. I don’t have meltdowns like that! I also told my boss he was “bitchy” and I replied to a client with a very stupid email. I stayed home from work today (Tuesday), but have to work anyway. My brain feels a bit better and I haven’t had a meltdown. My stomach, however, is completely messed up. It hurts really bad. Fennel tea seems to help calm it down. I am hoping the symptoms get better by tomorrow, since there is no way I can stay home another day. I wish I had never taken this drug. I understand it can do wonders for some people, but the little relief I got for my back pain was not worth it.

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Here is a link to the website…http://www.pristiq.com/side-effects.aspx
Your psychiatrist prescribed it for pain management? Get another doctor.

Liked by martingala, Lars1968

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@martingala

I was prescribed Pristiq for severe back pain, as the back pain specialist said my physical issues do not explain the severity of my pain. I took 50 mg for a couple of months and had no effects, either good or bad. The Psychiatrist then upped the dose to 100 mg. Good news: my back was better. Bad news: I had to sleep abput 12 hours a day. I was falling asleep during my commute, both morning and evening. The Psychiatrist suggested I taper off the drug. I went down to 50 mg for a few days, and then pondered whether to do one day on and one day off as she suggested. I read this discussion plus others, and decided that a) I didn’t want to have a “rollercoaster” effect on my brain b) I just want to get off the thing. Next week I am testifying in court as an expert witness and the week after that I am going on vacation, so it was now or never. I quit on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday were good. I even got my open water diver certification on the weekend! Come Monday morning…. all hell broke loose in my body. I couldn’t think, I felt dizzy and nauseous, I was sweaty and just overall miserable. I had a nervous breakdown about my son’s contact lenses being lost in the mail. I don’t have meltdowns like that! I also told my boss he was “bitchy” and I replied to a client with a very stupid email. I stayed home from work today (Tuesday), but have to work anyway. My brain feels a bit better and I haven’t had a meltdown. My stomach, however, is completely messed up. It hurts really bad. Fennel tea seems to help calm it down. I am hoping the symptoms get better by tomorrow, since there is no way I can stay home another day. I wish I had never taken this drug. I understand it can do wonders for some people, but the little relief I got for my back pain was not worth it.

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I concluded that already… Only 4% of people stop taking the pills because of side effects? Weird. I guess some depression can be bad enough that you’d rather live with the side effects.
I just don’t know what doctor. I’ve been to various specialists and they’ve either given me pain killers or antidepressants. Pain killers work and the short term side effects are minor, but I’m scared of long term side effects. So, I pretty much suck it up and live with the pain.
I am on day 9 off pristiq. It’s the first day I’ve felt almost 100%, although I still have a mild headache and had a minor emotional meltdown.
Days 3-7 were the worst: horrible stomach pains and nausea, coupled with foggy brain and emotional meltdowns. The stomach pain got better on day 6, but the brain fog got worse. It is not fun to prepare for trial while having brain fog!
Also, I was very very hungry. Food helped the pain. That seems to be better now too. I am a lot less sleepy, too. I guess my normal pain-filled life is back!

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@martingala

I was prescribed Pristiq for severe back pain, as the back pain specialist said my physical issues do not explain the severity of my pain. I took 50 mg for a couple of months and had no effects, either good or bad. The Psychiatrist then upped the dose to 100 mg. Good news: my back was better. Bad news: I had to sleep abput 12 hours a day. I was falling asleep during my commute, both morning and evening. The Psychiatrist suggested I taper off the drug. I went down to 50 mg for a few days, and then pondered whether to do one day on and one day off as she suggested. I read this discussion plus others, and decided that a) I didn’t want to have a “rollercoaster” effect on my brain b) I just want to get off the thing. Next week I am testifying in court as an expert witness and the week after that I am going on vacation, so it was now or never. I quit on Saturday. Saturday and Sunday were good. I even got my open water diver certification on the weekend! Come Monday morning…. all hell broke loose in my body. I couldn’t think, I felt dizzy and nauseous, I was sweaty and just overall miserable. I had a nervous breakdown about my son’s contact lenses being lost in the mail. I don’t have meltdowns like that! I also told my boss he was “bitchy” and I replied to a client with a very stupid email. I stayed home from work today (Tuesday), but have to work anyway. My brain feels a bit better and I haven’t had a meltdown. My stomach, however, is completely messed up. It hurts really bad. Fennel tea seems to help calm it down. I am hoping the symptoms get better by tomorrow, since there is no way I can stay home another day. I wish I had never taken this drug. I understand it can do wonders for some people, but the little relief I got for my back pain was not worth it.

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Hang in there. I was on Pristiq for 8 months and then began a taper. Alternating days, and adding 1 more day on every 14 days. It has now been 24 days off of 50mg. My worst day was on my 7th day off, terrible chills, but I knew what was on the other side: freedom. Now I’m seeing my energy return, but still occasional brain fog. Be gentle with your mind, and where you have the option to let it rest, take it (should be taking my own advice as I write this). I’m completely foggy this evening. Some social anxiety these past few weeks, but it gets better. It is an accomplishment, each day further in this process. Take care.

Liked by kdecker003, Gunner06

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@beconscious

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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Update: 24 days wthout Pristiq. I made a half-life schedule showing he 11 hour half-life incremental drop of this drug in my system, and diarized my mood, symptoms next to it. Energy returned. I’m doing projects and getting things done at a great pace, but trying to go steady so that I dont overdo it.

Brain fog and slight social anxiety. But life is SO much better. I’m not tired and sleepy all the time. I’m no longer a walking zombie (except for brain fog periods, which are mostly end of day mid-evening). Hang in there everyone, we’re all going to make it.

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