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.

@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.

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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.

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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?

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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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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?

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@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?

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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@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?

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

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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!

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