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

Please help me day six cold turkey. Crying my eyes out for the first time in 7 years. Head swooshing, helpless when I have so much to do?

REPLY
@bjzaunbrecher

Please help me day six cold turkey. Crying my eyes out for the first time in 7 years. Head swooshing, helpless when I have so much to do?

Jump to this post

B.J., I’m so sorry you’re in so much pain. I did cold turkey with effexor and went through the same thing–it wasn’t helping me, and I thought I could just quit. It’s like your head is inside a big bell and someone is hitting it with a sledgehammer. This would be your 7th day–if I were you, I would seek medical help if you keep having these extreme symptoms.

REPLY

I wnated to share my son’s story with trying to get off Pristiq. We went to the doctor thsi summer to talk to him about weaning my 18 year old son off Pristiq. He had been taking 50 mg for 8 months. He made a plan where he would be off in about a month- starting by alternating one day on and one day off then going to two days off and one on etc. This did not work and we called the doctor to tell him about the terrible withdrawal symptoms he was having. He just told us to continue doing the same thinga dn it would eventually get better. He said it make take more time. Well after 6 weeks we were at 2 days off and one day on Pristiq and the side effects got much worse. I was afraid for him to try to go 3 days off in a row and then take one 50 mg tablet. It just seemed to be confusing his brain. After reading other people’s stories online, I knew he wasn’t alone. I called the drug company and they were no help at all. I called the FDA to talk to them about this. They encoruaged me to file report. They said they had been receiving many complaints but they only way they would take this off the market is if people take the time to file written complaints. I did. WE decided to take his tablets to a compouding pharmacy and see if they could make smaller doses up for him so he could wean off more gradually. The ppharmacist agreed to do this. He ground the 50 mg tablets up and made several smaller doses. He put a chemcial in that made these new doses tiume released. He made doses at a 10% reduction and made 10 -14 days for each dose. This worked very well. Since my son had been going 2 days off and one day on the medicine, we figured he was at 33% of 50 or 16 mg at the time we decided to do this. So the pharmacist made his first dose at 15 mg. This took about 2 weeks to adjust to but the symptoms were much less severe since he was taking a stable dose each day and his body had time to adjust. to it. Then my son went down to 10 mg and he only had to take that 7 days before going to 5 mg. He has taken that 5 days without any problems. He is feeling really good now after haing a terrible summer of horrible withdrawlal symptoms. I really believe he would have never been able to get off this medicine if we had not done gone to the compounding pharmacy .. College was starting for him and he would not have been able to continue with those terrible withdrawls symptoms. He had a full scholarship and this medicine was causing us to think he might not even be able to start this fall. I think if we hadn’t of gone to the compoudning pharmacy we would have probably just gone back to 50 mg so he could function in college.
I just wanted to share our story. If you have a compounding pharmacy available that is the way to go. It is just infuriating that Pfizer will not make the dosages needed to wean off this drug! When I called the FDA I aked them to send me the clinical trial information. The information states that there are withdrawals if you decrease the dosage by 5% or less. They knew this but only made a 50 mg dose and 100 mg dose??? They make a pill that you cannot cut into lower dosages or it will dump in your system?? They are SO liable for all this pain and suffereng people are going through. If anyone wants to start a class action lawsuit, I’m interested .

REPLY

I thought I’d add my voice to this discussion. I’m a 52 year old female, and started taking Pristiq in late 2011, 50 mg, for mild anxiety. I just wanted to not feel so stressed all the time, and my doctor was happy to let me try medicating it. The Pristiq didn’t help with my anxiety; learning my own coping mechanisms is the way to go.

It’s now Saturday 8/31/13 and I have been trying to stop Pristiq for about a month, because I don’t want to be taking something I don’t need. Plus, I had the shortness of breath, and had gained a lot of weight on it (much of which I’ve lost in the last several months through a nutrition and exercise program). I tried putting myself on a schedule of taking it every 27 hours for a week, then every 30 hours, then every 36 hours, etc. – gradually increasing the time between doses. I did ok until I got to every 48 hours, and then it was the ping-pong effect of one day ok (after taking a pill), then the next day feeling brain zaps, dizziness, and nausea.

So last Sunday I decided to grit my teeth and quit cold turkey. The last pill I took was last Saturday night, so the first dose I skipped was Sunday night. Thus, I count Monday as my first day off the drug. The week has been rough, but I still managed to go to work and do the things I need to do. I’ve had brain zaps, tinnitus, and vertigo. The brain zaps lessened a couple of days go and the tinnitus became more prevalent. The vertigo is the main thing bothering me – I feel nauseous in a carsick kind of way. I’m about to go get some “coculus indicus” which someone I trust told me is a homeopathic remedy for nausea. I’ve read this forum and haven’t been able to discern what the consensus is for how long the withdrawal symptoms generally last, but I am really hoping that by the start of the next work week I’m doing better.

One thing I’ve noticed is that when I go to the gym and work out (lifting), it makes the worst of the symptoms go away for a little while. That’s the best relief I’ve found, besides stuffing my face with food, which also works. But I don’t want to gain weight through the withdrawal process.

This post is kind of rambling .. which is another symptom of the withdrawal … my thoughts have been disjointed and I keep finding myself losing my train of thought. Oh, and I’ve been having crazy, epic dreams at night. I will be so glad when I’m back to normal.

REPLY
@bjzaunbrecher

Please help me day six cold turkey. Crying my eyes out for the first time in 7 years. Head swooshing, helpless when I have so much to do?

Jump to this post

I’m right there with you. I just posted my story above. How are you today?

REPLY

I am on day 10 of alternating 50 mg of Pristiq to every other day. It has been the worst experience of my life! Brain Zaps, crying spells, anger, feeling of a cymbal clanging inside my head with vibrations that linger, head aches, confusion and despair. I had no idea this medicine would be so impossible to come off of!

Is there anyone who has come off this nightmare drug successfully????? I am really concerned!

REPLY
@skherren

I wnated to share my son’s story with trying to get off Pristiq. We went to the doctor thsi summer to talk to him about weaning my 18 year old son off Pristiq. He had been taking 50 mg for 8 months. He made a plan where he would be off in about a month- starting by alternating one day on and one day off then going to two days off and one on etc. This did not work and we called the doctor to tell him about the terrible withdrawal symptoms he was having. He just told us to continue doing the same thinga dn it would eventually get better. He said it make take more time. Well after 6 weeks we were at 2 days off and one day on Pristiq and the side effects got much worse. I was afraid for him to try to go 3 days off in a row and then take one 50 mg tablet. It just seemed to be confusing his brain. After reading other people’s stories online, I knew he wasn’t alone. I called the drug company and they were no help at all. I called the FDA to talk to them about this. They encoruaged me to file report. They said they had been receiving many complaints but they only way they would take this off the market is if people take the time to file written complaints. I did. WE decided to take his tablets to a compouding pharmacy and see if they could make smaller doses up for him so he could wean off more gradually. The ppharmacist agreed to do this. He ground the 50 mg tablets up and made several smaller doses. He put a chemcial in that made these new doses tiume released. He made doses at a 10% reduction and made 10 -14 days for each dose. This worked very well. Since my son had been going 2 days off and one day on the medicine, we figured he was at 33% of 50 or 16 mg at the time we decided to do this. So the pharmacist made his first dose at 15 mg. This took about 2 weeks to adjust to but the symptoms were much less severe since he was taking a stable dose each day and his body had time to adjust. to it. Then my son went down to 10 mg and he only had to take that 7 days before going to 5 mg. He has taken that 5 days without any problems. He is feeling really good now after haing a terrible summer of horrible withdrawlal symptoms. I really believe he would have never been able to get off this medicine if we had not done gone to the compounding pharmacy .. College was starting for him and he would not have been able to continue with those terrible withdrawls symptoms. He had a full scholarship and this medicine was causing us to think he might not even be able to start this fall. I think if we hadn’t of gone to the compoudning pharmacy we would have probably just gone back to 50 mg so he could function in college.
I just wanted to share our story. If you have a compounding pharmacy available that is the way to go. It is just infuriating that Pfizer will not make the dosages needed to wean off this drug! When I called the FDA I aked them to send me the clinical trial information. The information states that there are withdrawals if you decrease the dosage by 5% or less. They knew this but only made a 50 mg dose and 100 mg dose??? They make a pill that you cannot cut into lower dosages or it will dump in your system?? They are SO liable for all this pain and suffereng people are going through. If anyone wants to start a class action lawsuit, I’m interested .

Jump to this post

I am very interested! There needs to be more accountability! I had no idea it would be so insanely hard to come off this drug! Pristiq is the worst experience I’ve ever gone thru! I hope your son is doing well on his journey today! My prayers are with him!

REPLY

I’ve read a lot of posts on here and some were helpful. It’s also comforting to know I am not alone with the “brain zaps”, nausea and dizziness. I do want to say however, that Pristiq has worked so well for me. Depression runs in my family. I tried for a long time to just use therapy and stay “drug free”, but my depression symptoms got worse and I ultimately made the decision with my therapist and doctor to go on a medication. That was four years ago, and after trying Lexapro and Wellbutrin, which both had adverse affects for me, I went on Pristiq. Although it’s not fun to come off of – I am only doing it because of pregnancy – I have little doubt that I will go back on it after the pregnancy if my depression continues. Some people need anti-depressants for a short period of time. Others suffer from depression their whole lives and drugs like Pristiq make it possible for me to function normally. I feel normal feelings, highs and lows, but today depression does not define who I am like it used to.

REPLY
@skherren

I wnated to share my son’s story with trying to get off Pristiq. We went to the doctor thsi summer to talk to him about weaning my 18 year old son off Pristiq. He had been taking 50 mg for 8 months. He made a plan where he would be off in about a month- starting by alternating one day on and one day off then going to two days off and one on etc. This did not work and we called the doctor to tell him about the terrible withdrawal symptoms he was having. He just told us to continue doing the same thinga dn it would eventually get better. He said it make take more time. Well after 6 weeks we were at 2 days off and one day on Pristiq and the side effects got much worse. I was afraid for him to try to go 3 days off in a row and then take one 50 mg tablet. It just seemed to be confusing his brain. After reading other people’s stories online, I knew he wasn’t alone. I called the drug company and they were no help at all. I called the FDA to talk to them about this. They encoruaged me to file report. They said they had been receiving many complaints but they only way they would take this off the market is if people take the time to file written complaints. I did. WE decided to take his tablets to a compouding pharmacy and see if they could make smaller doses up for him so he could wean off more gradually. The ppharmacist agreed to do this. He ground the 50 mg tablets up and made several smaller doses. He put a chemcial in that made these new doses tiume released. He made doses at a 10% reduction and made 10 -14 days for each dose. This worked very well. Since my son had been going 2 days off and one day on the medicine, we figured he was at 33% of 50 or 16 mg at the time we decided to do this. So the pharmacist made his first dose at 15 mg. This took about 2 weeks to adjust to but the symptoms were much less severe since he was taking a stable dose each day and his body had time to adjust. to it. Then my son went down to 10 mg and he only had to take that 7 days before going to 5 mg. He has taken that 5 days without any problems. He is feeling really good now after haing a terrible summer of horrible withdrawlal symptoms. I really believe he would have never been able to get off this medicine if we had not done gone to the compounding pharmacy .. College was starting for him and he would not have been able to continue with those terrible withdrawls symptoms. He had a full scholarship and this medicine was causing us to think he might not even be able to start this fall. I think if we hadn’t of gone to the compoudning pharmacy we would have probably just gone back to 50 mg so he could function in college.
I just wanted to share our story. If you have a compounding pharmacy available that is the way to go. It is just infuriating that Pfizer will not make the dosages needed to wean off this drug! When I called the FDA I aked them to send me the clinical trial information. The information states that there are withdrawals if you decrease the dosage by 5% or less. They knew this but only made a 50 mg dose and 100 mg dose??? They make a pill that you cannot cut into lower dosages or it will dump in your system?? They are SO liable for all this pain and suffereng people are going through. If anyone wants to start a class action lawsuit, I’m interested .

Jump to this post

We contacted a lawyer just to see what is involved in a lawsuit.. don’t know if we will actually go through with it because we don’t know what all is involved yet. Pfizer does needt o be held accountable. I can’t believe the FDA would approve this drug without a way to get off it safely! Thanks for the prayers. My son got moved into his dorm at college and is doing better. I pray he continues to do well and has no more side effects. I am incredibly thankful for the compounding pharmacist in my town who agreed to make up the lower dosages so he could wean off at a steady rate. . I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t done that . The pharmacist had to call around and collaberate with some other experts about the best way to do it and didn’t charge us much at all. So thankful for him! I wish the best for you and all the others trying to wean off this drug. I hope our story helps. I’ll post more after we meet wth the lawyer.

REPLY
@lbgr1960

I thought I’d add my voice to this discussion. I’m a 52 year old female, and started taking Pristiq in late 2011, 50 mg, for mild anxiety. I just wanted to not feel so stressed all the time, and my doctor was happy to let me try medicating it. The Pristiq didn’t help with my anxiety; learning my own coping mechanisms is the way to go.

It’s now Saturday 8/31/13 and I have been trying to stop Pristiq for about a month, because I don’t want to be taking something I don’t need. Plus, I had the shortness of breath, and had gained a lot of weight on it (much of which I’ve lost in the last several months through a nutrition and exercise program). I tried putting myself on a schedule of taking it every 27 hours for a week, then every 30 hours, then every 36 hours, etc. – gradually increasing the time between doses. I did ok until I got to every 48 hours, and then it was the ping-pong effect of one day ok (after taking a pill), then the next day feeling brain zaps, dizziness, and nausea.

So last Sunday I decided to grit my teeth and quit cold turkey. The last pill I took was last Saturday night, so the first dose I skipped was Sunday night. Thus, I count Monday as my first day off the drug. The week has been rough, but I still managed to go to work and do the things I need to do. I’ve had brain zaps, tinnitus, and vertigo. The brain zaps lessened a couple of days go and the tinnitus became more prevalent. The vertigo is the main thing bothering me – I feel nauseous in a carsick kind of way. I’m about to go get some “coculus indicus” which someone I trust told me is a homeopathic remedy for nausea. I’ve read this forum and haven’t been able to discern what the consensus is for how long the withdrawal symptoms generally last, but I am really hoping that by the start of the next work week I’m doing better.

One thing I’ve noticed is that when I go to the gym and work out (lifting), it makes the worst of the symptoms go away for a little while. That’s the best relief I’ve found, besides stuffing my face with food, which also works. But I don’t want to gain weight through the withdrawal process.

This post is kind of rambling .. which is another symptom of the withdrawal … my thoughts have been disjointed and I keep finding myself losing my train of thought. Oh, and I’ve been having crazy, epic dreams at night. I will be so glad when I’m back to normal.

Jump to this post

Checking in, Tuesday 9/3/13. It’s day 9 of being off Pristiq cold turkey. I feel quite a bit better; still have tinnitus, brain zaps and vertigo, but they are milder. I am just keeping the faith that I will be back to normal soon.

For me, exercise, eating, and sleeping all make the symptoms go away temporarily. Alcohol makes them worse.

REPLY
@chrissyt

I am on day 10 of alternating 50 mg of Pristiq to every other day. It has been the worst experience of my life! Brain Zaps, crying spells, anger, feeling of a cymbal clanging inside my head with vibrations that linger, head aches, confusion and despair. I had no idea this medicine would be so impossible to come off of!

Is there anyone who has come off this nightmare drug successfully????? I am really concerned!

Jump to this post

I am no medical expert, but from what I’ve read on this forum and my own experience, I think that alternating days just keeps you in withdrawal. I made the choice to go cold turkey and for me I think it’s the right choice. If I were more patient I would have looked for a compounding pharmacy like the person in the post immediately below mine.

REPLY

My doctor had me go from 100mg of Pristiq to 50mg over 3 months. Then, when I saw her yesterday and told her that I didn’t experience any major withdrawal problems, she gave me the following schedule for the next 14 weeks:

every 2 days for 4 weeks, then
every 3 days for 3 weeks, then
every 4 days for 3 weeks, then
every 5 days for 2 weeks, then
every 7 days for 2 weeks

This may be overly cautious but if it lessens the withdrawal problems, I can live with it.

REPLY
@chrissyt

I am on day 10 of alternating 50 mg of Pristiq to every other day. It has been the worst experience of my life! Brain Zaps, crying spells, anger, feeling of a cymbal clanging inside my head with vibrations that linger, head aches, confusion and despair. I had no idea this medicine would be so impossible to come off of!

Is there anyone who has come off this nightmare drug successfully????? I am really concerned!

Jump to this post

Thank you for your reply. I am going out-of-town to a conference this upcoming week, so I feel I shouldn’t try “cold-turkey” until I return. However, I do agree it keeps me in a constant state of withdrawal symptoms alternating days. I think I will try cold turkey when I return and see how it goes… Oh how I wish I had never entered a relationship with this drug!!!!! This is the hardest break-up I’ve ever gone thru!

REPLY
@lbgr1960

I thought I’d add my voice to this discussion. I’m a 52 year old female, and started taking Pristiq in late 2011, 50 mg, for mild anxiety. I just wanted to not feel so stressed all the time, and my doctor was happy to let me try medicating it. The Pristiq didn’t help with my anxiety; learning my own coping mechanisms is the way to go.

It’s now Saturday 8/31/13 and I have been trying to stop Pristiq for about a month, because I don’t want to be taking something I don’t need. Plus, I had the shortness of breath, and had gained a lot of weight on it (much of which I’ve lost in the last several months through a nutrition and exercise program). I tried putting myself on a schedule of taking it every 27 hours for a week, then every 30 hours, then every 36 hours, etc. – gradually increasing the time between doses. I did ok until I got to every 48 hours, and then it was the ping-pong effect of one day ok (after taking a pill), then the next day feeling brain zaps, dizziness, and nausea.

So last Sunday I decided to grit my teeth and quit cold turkey. The last pill I took was last Saturday night, so the first dose I skipped was Sunday night. Thus, I count Monday as my first day off the drug. The week has been rough, but I still managed to go to work and do the things I need to do. I’ve had brain zaps, tinnitus, and vertigo. The brain zaps lessened a couple of days go and the tinnitus became more prevalent. The vertigo is the main thing bothering me – I feel nauseous in a carsick kind of way. I’m about to go get some “coculus indicus” which someone I trust told me is a homeopathic remedy for nausea. I’ve read this forum and haven’t been able to discern what the consensus is for how long the withdrawal symptoms generally last, but I am really hoping that by the start of the next work week I’m doing better.

One thing I’ve noticed is that when I go to the gym and work out (lifting), it makes the worst of the symptoms go away for a little while. That’s the best relief I’ve found, besides stuffing my face with food, which also works. But I don’t want to gain weight through the withdrawal process.

This post is kind of rambling .. which is another symptom of the withdrawal … my thoughts have been disjointed and I keep finding myself losing my train of thought. Oh, and I’ve been having crazy, epic dreams at night. I will be so glad when I’m back to normal.

Jump to this post

Update, Sunday 9/8/13. More improvement. Still have tinnitus, but it’s less loud. Vertigo is 95% gone. Far fewer brain zaps. Best of all, my ability to feel happy emotions has returned!

Liked by autumn981

REPLY
@meow620

I was taking Pristiq for about 4 months and didn’t feel like it was making a noticeable difference and I felt like it had caused me to gain weight so I decided to discontinue using it. I asked my doctor about tapering off to avoid withdrawal symptoms and she said it was not really necessary to wean off – I could just stop using it. I think she said this because I was on the lowest dose (50 mg). I decided to taper off a bit anyway and took it every other day for a week or two, then stopped. It didn’t even register last week that it was connected, but I was vomiting one night last week so violently that I had chest pains and took myself to the ER. They said my heart was fine, chalked it up to heartburn and sent me home. Now that I have read some of the posts here, I am thinking it was probably from my abruptly stopping the Pristiq after taping off for a short period of time. I have also had those weird dizzy-like sensations – not quite the “brain shocks” that I experienced years ago after stopping Paxil, but definitely noticeable. I am glad I decided to stop taking this drug.

Jump to this post

I have been off Pristiq for 3 months now and feel great! I am now more productive than I have been in years since being on antidepressants. I am guilty of calling this medication an “evil” drug when in fact it did help me through some down times. What is evil is the withdrawl and the fact that you are not warned about the symptoms. It is great that some docs recognize the issue and are weaningnpeople slowly and safely, mine still doesn’t acknowledge I was experiencing withdrawl symptoms!’ I feel whole again, my energy level is great and I am experiencing joy daily from the tasks I tackle around the house, shopping, or in the garden. I am reconnecting with friends making new ones. I accept the kaleidoscope of emotions I now experience without blaming.the world for things that don’t go my way. I am not afraid to seek help should I need it again but will be very wary of taking any powerful meds without being informed of all their effects. My blood pressure has returned to normal after requiring 4 different meds to control it when on Pristiq, blood sugars are also normalizing and I am using less insulin. All I can tell you is to is to keep hanging in there because you will get through the pain and can live very well without Pristiq.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.