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

@alexandraanonymous

I was on pristiq for a year, and 5 days ago my psychiatrist finally took me off of it! i only took 25 mg for a year (with klonopin as an emergency backup in case of sudden anxiety) and throughout the year i learned how to handle situations that i never thought i could handle on my own. i also noticed that i relied on klonopin less and less until i basically never took it anymore.
now that i am allowed to be off, i am so thankful that i was put on it, but realized that i am okay without it now! my mood began depending on myself, and didnt depend on the pill. this was also when i was making a scary transition into college (i am only 18 years old) and i am so glad i could do it.
the only problem i am having now is the withdrawal. my body is strongly affected by changes and i was wondering how long do you estimate it will last?
the first day i felt HORRIBLE. nauseous like i was going to vomit at least 5 times in one day. horrible stomach aches, constipation. it’s day 5 now and i’m feeling slightly better, the only thing is i feel so so dizzy and really don’t have motivation to do anything. i feel somewhat agitated, (not as bad as i did on day 1) my mood currently feels fine (no extreme happiness or sadness) the withdrawal is just very hard for me because i am an active runner and exerciser and i dont want to gain weight or feel sick during a workout.
the symptoms are becoming less harsh, but i still feel very hot, or very cold, somewhat nauseous, and very dizzy, kind of hazy like my head is in the clouds (unfocused)
please reply! its helpful to know someone went through or is going through the same thing i am! thank you!!
p.s. right now i am only taking the 25 mg every other day for a week. doctors orders.

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I am 8 weeks off, and the withdrawal symptoms ended up being protracted. One set of symptoms would appear and subside, then nothing, then a new set began. Patience, care and persistence is key (diet, support and exercise, too, of course).

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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,

I just wanted to let you know that I found this forum two weeks ago. I asked my psychiatrist to take me off the meds, but he wanted to do it over a longer timeframe than I was willing. After reading your post and the others, I chose to quit cold turkey. As of today, I’ve been pristiq free for two weeks. The withdrawal symptoms were not horrible for me. I found that drinking coffee helped take away the dizziness/brain zaps or at least made them less noticeable. I still have hot flashes but I don’t care. I turned 31 yesterday and have now made it through I year since my mother passed. I will do my best to never take these kind of meds again. Good luck!

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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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Since my last update have been sleeping well. Only emotional flatlines remain. Last evening a moment of panic symptoms beginning with a sensation of clogged sinuses. Today feeling like my stomach is bloated and in my chest, feeling slight wooshing sensations but my mood is flat. Still waiting for those emotional good feelings.

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I don’t know if this is current (July 2013) but thought I’d add my experience. Had been on 100 mg for two years and now ready to wean off. I backed off to 50 mg a day for a week. My psychiatrist had me cut 50s in half for another week. That being done, three days after being off completely, I became so dizzy I couldn’t see or walk straight plus nausea. So am now on 1/4 dose (50s cut in half) every other day and will do that for 20 days and try again. Since 1/4 dose is the smallest the pill can be made using a pill cutter, I may have to go from every other day to every 3 days and keep stretching it out. I couldn’t believe how strong the dizziness is. Have no idea how anyone does it cold turkey. I did need this when I went on but have never gone through withdrawal for any prescription med before. Had wanted to know if anyone experienced a skin rash? Also, while not near the strength, I’ve had light headedness every day while I’m weaning off. Hope this helps someone. Glad to find this discussion.

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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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I am so relieved to read your post. My daughter has had a horrific journey weaning off Pristiq, and just as her moods seem to stabilize another symptom begins. She has been off Pristiq for 4 weeks now, and the last few days have included insomnia and social anxiety. For those of you tapering off, the first week drug-free was HELL, but then each week has gotten better. She has four or five good days, and then two or three not-so-great-but-better-than-it-was-on-Pristiq days. We keep a journal to remind us of the good things.

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@grace2244

I don’t know if this is current (July 2013) but thought I’d add my experience. Had been on 100 mg for two years and now ready to wean off. I backed off to 50 mg a day for a week. My psychiatrist had me cut 50s in half for another week. That being done, three days after being off completely, I became so dizzy I couldn’t see or walk straight plus nausea. So am now on 1/4 dose (50s cut in half) every other day and will do that for 20 days and try again. Since 1/4 dose is the smallest the pill can be made using a pill cutter, I may have to go from every other day to every 3 days and keep stretching it out. I couldn’t believe how strong the dizziness is. Have no idea how anyone does it cold turkey. I did need this when I went on but have never gone through withdrawal for any prescription med before. Had wanted to know if anyone experienced a skin rash? Also, while not near the strength, I’ve had light headedness every day while I’m weaning off. Hope this helps someone. Glad to find this discussion.

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Thanks for sharing your post. Most/all of my comments are from 2013 but there are pre2013 contributions here.

Hang in there as the withdrawal eventually gets easier (read my comments below). If you Google ‘surviving antidepressants’ you will find a good forum that helps with managing AD WDs.

Wishing you the best.

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SUCCESS STORY HERE!!!

I am on day 11 of being Pristiq free!
After reading the forums, I was overwhelmed with information. I had no idea that this medication was so horrible to stop taking. I had been taking it for well over 5 years. I was having a difficult time with situational depression and then just kept taking it. Life will always have something to throw my way, so I just kept filling the script. I didn’t want to go on another med to get off a med, it just didn’t make sense.

There were so many suggestions on here on what people had tried to do. It’s a travesty of justice that the medical profession doesn’t have accountability when prescribing to have an exit strategy as well. This pill doesn’t come with one.

I tried taking one pill every other day for a few days, then just decided cold turkey was my best option. I informed my husband as well as a coworker of the possible side effects I had read about. I was fully aware that this could be risky, but it motivated me all the more to pull the plug and get it out of my system. Taking one every other day or cutting them seemed to have it’s own realm of problems.

Even after taking for over 5 years, I haven’t had any horrible symptoms as I’ve read other’s experiencing. I haven’t had any brain zaps,dizziness, lack of energy, etc. I believe after reading so many negatives, it helped that I was so determined to make this a positive experience. I also think your brain can trick you into being submissive to letting go of something you think is helping you to not feel depressed. I can’t miss a week of work to lay in bed! I made myself more active also. Spent more time working in my garden, reading during my lunch breaks at the park, etc.

Let me also add for those thinking I have it too easy. My 16 year old daughter just informed me 4 days ago that she’s going to live with her dad. It has been several days of trauma and drama. I made it through it. I’m at work, I’m dealing with it. I’m moving forward. I’m ok. I’m in charge of my life and my body.

Keep in mind that when I read through hundreds of these posts I couldn’t find one person that said they came off this med without horror stories. So, here’s one story…. so far so good. 11 days in and I’m not going back, not ever. My energy level (which I thought Pristiq was helping) is gaining momentum again. Oh yeah…. and these pills will dull sensations in your sex drive…. that comes back too!! BONUS!

I trust in my body and my brain and I listen to what it is telling me. I’m shocked that I’m not having adverse results, but I’m thriving in the success… not looking for the failure.

Good luck everyone. I hope this one small bit of success gives someone else the hope to know there is a way out.

Liked by Libbyroo

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@miriamtherese

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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Have you had any success with this method?

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So glad to have found all these extremely helpful suggestions! I’m on day 6 Pristiq-free and I basically decided to quit cold turkey because we can no longer afford it and we’re planning to conceive in a few months anyway.

So far I’ve had vertigo, dizziness, nausea, extreme irritability and today a major mood swing but I think that has more to do with the fact that my oldest started kindergarten although I’m sure coming down from an SNRI doesn’t help the situation.

I got some Dramamine and a daily Vitamin today after reading this thread and noticing a lot of people said that helped. I really hope those will help me because it’s hard to function as a mom when I can’t stand for any significant period of time due to the vertigo and dizziness.

I’m a little concerned about my depression coming back, it’s landed me in the hospital when I was switched off pristiq and onto effexor due to cost, so I’m hoping I don’t end up with the panic attacks and suicidial ideation that the effexor gave me. Pristiq, when I’m on it makes me feel normal, not his strung or frustrated or anxious, just normal, happy even. So it will be interesting to see if I can maintain mental health while off it.

An upside already is that sex is way more enjoyable, it was okay when I was on Pristiq but I’ve definetly noticed a difference in my ability to be all there during intimacy which is awesome. Acheiving orgasm is a lot easier as well, so there’s some hope for others that are coming off this medication.

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@arimethia

So glad to have found all these extremely helpful suggestions! I’m on day 6 Pristiq-free and I basically decided to quit cold turkey because we can no longer afford it and we’re planning to conceive in a few months anyway.

So far I’ve had vertigo, dizziness, nausea, extreme irritability and today a major mood swing but I think that has more to do with the fact that my oldest started kindergarten although I’m sure coming down from an SNRI doesn’t help the situation.

I got some Dramamine and a daily Vitamin today after reading this thread and noticing a lot of people said that helped. I really hope those will help me because it’s hard to function as a mom when I can’t stand for any significant period of time due to the vertigo and dizziness.

I’m a little concerned about my depression coming back, it’s landed me in the hospital when I was switched off pristiq and onto effexor due to cost, so I’m hoping I don’t end up with the panic attacks and suicidial ideation that the effexor gave me. Pristiq, when I’m on it makes me feel normal, not his strung or frustrated or anxious, just normal, happy even. So it will be interesting to see if I can maintain mental health while off it.

An upside already is that sex is way more enjoyable, it was okay when I was on Pristiq but I’ve definetly noticed a difference in my ability to be all there during intimacy which is awesome. Acheiving orgasm is a lot easier as well, so there’s some hope for others that are coming off this medication.

Jump to this post

So the Dramamine was effective in that it curbed the vertigo and dizziness but it also made me basically pass out at 7:30 pm last night, I’m on day 7 and I had minimal dizziness. I’ve felt a big foggy but today I had more energy and motivation than I’ve had in the past 6 days combined. Today was the first day I started on women’s one a day so that may have had something to do with it. It’s getting better every day!

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My daughter has been off Pristiq for 6 weeks now. The withdrawal was horrific, particularly during the first 3 weeks, but we saw many good days so we knew we were doing the right thing getting here off meds (under doctor’s order sand supervision). We thought the worst had passed after two good weeks, but the last three days have been rough– leg spasms, brain zaps, rage and sadness. Did anyone else find this–that recovery wasn’t a straight line, but a dance: two steps forward one step back?

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As, I type this I am on day 4 on withdrawals and its horrific. I would not wish this on my worst enemy and I have some pretty bad hatred towards that person. I am 31years old, and had to call my mom over this morning to help take care of me because I felt like I was gonna die. My husband got off months ago and still has “brain zaps and fogginess” but this is the 2nd time I have ran out and could not afford to get mine filled and its the same symptoms. I feel like I have the flu, with chills Today. Nausea, with vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo symptoms, foggy headedness. Migraine headaches that go beyond normal pain and extreme crying and moodswings and rage ..rage that is not normal. This medicine is tearing my family apart. It should be pulled from the market with a law suit. I have taken anti depressants since I was 17. Nothing has ever done this to me. No one should ever have to go through this. Good luck to those that r one it. I feel for u. I don’t know who I am any more.

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I’ve been off of Pristiq for several weeks now and haven’t felt this good in years. I was on 50mg daily before went to every other day for 2 weeks. After that, I discontinued it completely. I had the brain zaps, a few mood swings and a bit of fogginess for about a week before they began to diminish. This was the third attempt at discontinuing Pristiq and I made sure I had a well balanced diet and added a little caffeine and tylenol at every meal and spent time outdoors walking, working in the gardening, volunteering at the local church a few days and keeping focused on something other than the side effects and I’m convinced that helped in the success. In the interests of full disclosure, I have COPD (stage 2) and diabetes which my physician thought would make it more difficult…..but I did it. I feel better now that I ever have when I was on the Pristiq ( and Effexor before that) and never thought that it would be like that. It’s frustrating that the pharmaceuticals don’t offer any advice on how to wean, but my physician and I worked it out. Hang in there because the reward is worth the fight!

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@angiek

SUCCESS STORY HERE!!!

I am on day 11 of being Pristiq free!
After reading the forums, I was overwhelmed with information. I had no idea that this medication was so horrible to stop taking. I had been taking it for well over 5 years. I was having a difficult time with situational depression and then just kept taking it. Life will always have something to throw my way, so I just kept filling the script. I didn’t want to go on another med to get off a med, it just didn’t make sense.

There were so many suggestions on here on what people had tried to do. It’s a travesty of justice that the medical profession doesn’t have accountability when prescribing to have an exit strategy as well. This pill doesn’t come with one.

I tried taking one pill every other day for a few days, then just decided cold turkey was my best option. I informed my husband as well as a coworker of the possible side effects I had read about. I was fully aware that this could be risky, but it motivated me all the more to pull the plug and get it out of my system. Taking one every other day or cutting them seemed to have it’s own realm of problems.

Even after taking for over 5 years, I haven’t had any horrible symptoms as I’ve read other’s experiencing. I haven’t had any brain zaps,dizziness, lack of energy, etc. I believe after reading so many negatives, it helped that I was so determined to make this a positive experience. I also think your brain can trick you into being submissive to letting go of something you think is helping you to not feel depressed. I can’t miss a week of work to lay in bed! I made myself more active also. Spent more time working in my garden, reading during my lunch breaks at the park, etc.

Let me also add for those thinking I have it too easy. My 16 year old daughter just informed me 4 days ago that she’s going to live with her dad. It has been several days of trauma and drama. I made it through it. I’m at work, I’m dealing with it. I’m moving forward. I’m ok. I’m in charge of my life and my body.

Keep in mind that when I read through hundreds of these posts I couldn’t find one person that said they came off this med without horror stories. So, here’s one story…. so far so good. 11 days in and I’m not going back, not ever. My energy level (which I thought Pristiq was helping) is gaining momentum again. Oh yeah…. and these pills will dull sensations in your sex drive…. that comes back too!! BONUS!

I trust in my body and my brain and I listen to what it is telling me. I’m shocked that I’m not having adverse results, but I’m thriving in the success… not looking for the failure.

Good luck everyone. I hope this one small bit of success gives someone else the hope to know there is a way out.

Jump to this post

I’m now 1 month off of Pristiq. I’m so very thankful that I’m off. Energy level is still coming back. I will never go on an antidepressant again. Going cold turkey worked for me. I didn’t have any of the brain zaps or other horrible things I see a lot of people have had. I have been keeping physically active which helps a lot. I was using energy drinks previously to help me keep up with my busy lifestyle, I have cut way back on them. I was often taking 2 forms of them a day.
I feel way less susceptible to mood swings now, and am able to regulate my moods much easier without so much stress. Wonder what Pristiq did in the first place?

Liked by Libbyroo

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I have just joined in this discussion. I forgot to get my refill and went either 2 or 3 days without. Oh how bad that is!!! I did get the refill today and will see my doctor tomorrow, as I really want to get her permission and instructions on tapering off. I tried once before and had all of this swimming head and such. The past couple of days I seem to have lost some bladder control. Only some. Has anyone experienced this symptom as they went off of Pristiq? Thanks for any response.

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