Side effects of Pristiq

Posted by Native Floridian @nativefloridian, Jan 7, 2012

Has anyone successfully tapered off Pristiq? If so, what was your plan? I am considering going off this medicine. I take 50 mg per day and have done so for about 2 years. I understand there are very significant withdrawal symptoms and I would like to stop taking Pristiq because it causes my heart to race when the time release happens. I am afraid this medicine may not be good for the heart because the clinical trials state that anyone with a heart condition was not allowed to take it.

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I tapered off of Pristiq 100mg over approximately 10 months. I cut the tabs, which I now understand may not be wise. I went from 100 to 50 to 25 to 0 TAKING IT EVERY DAY. Do not skip doses or you will have withdrawal symptoms! Please take your time – decrease by 10% per month MAX to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

I began on SS/NRIs in 1993 and was on continuously.

DURING TAPER AND 6 MONTHS AFTER-
I experienced anxiety, early morning panic awakenings (cortisol surge) at about 4am after only 4-5 hours of sleep. I did not get brain zaps like I did when I missed just 1 dose of Effexor.

IMPORTANT: During withdrawal, I had outbursts of emotion – anger and agitation – THAT I NEVER HAD BEFORE DRUGS OR DURING. This could have easily been diagnosed as hypomania/bipolar, but it is a normal reaction during withdrawal. I’m naturally very reserved and it was unusual for me.
Perceptual changes – depersonalization/derealization.
EVERYTHING FEELS TWEAKED OR *OFF* because the drug dampens all sensations and feelings. It can be scary if not expected.

After I DC’d, I found a great peer support group online. There are several very professional people to offer taper advice and support.

www (dot)survivingantidepressants (dot)com

Also on Facebook and Twitter

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GOOGLE : SURVIVING ANTIDEPRESSANTS

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@haj89

Hi, I just wanted to share my experience with Pristiq and withdrawing from it. I took it for almost 18 months and decided I want to stop because I want to have a baby (and an antidepressant-free pregnancy). Although it did give me many side effects, it also helped treat my depression and anxiety.
When I first took the plunge into withdrawal, I thought it would be better for me to go cold turkey. My thinking was along the lines of, “It’ll be really rough for maybe a week and then it’ll all be over, and I’d rather do it this way than suffer for weeks.” Boy was I wrong, I had the absolute worst 4 day experience with nausea, dizziness, crying fits and an unexplainable out-of-body sensation the entire time. It was absolutely horrible and by the end of the 4th day, I had a major panic attack where I couldn’t breathe and my whole body was violently shaking, my teeth were chattering. This went on for about half an hour, I really thought I was gonna die. By the way I was doing all this on my own, without the advice of my doctor. After this incident, I called my doctor and he advised me to restart Pristiq immediately and if I really wanted to stop I needed to do it over several weeks. So I followed his withdrawal regimen. I had a 50mg tablet every other day for 2 weeks then 50mg every third day for 2 weeks. I am currently taking 50mg every fourth day. Tonight is the fourth night and I am due for a dose but I feel absolutely fine. Normally when it gets close to when my dose is due I start feeling the withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. But at the moment I feel great! I think maybe I’m done! It’s a great feeling to know that you have accomplished complete withdrawal after going through such a long-winded struggle. Especially when you’re working straight through everything.
I just wanted anybody who is out there and going through the same sort of thing, to know that you have to be persistent and patient. It will get better and you will get there, you’ve got to be strong and keep the ultimate goal in sight.

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Hi haj89, I’m on my 3rd of being off Pristiq(Cold Turkey) and it’s been one of the craziest up and down roller coaster rides I’ve even been on. I’ve had exactly the same withdrawal symptoms from “out of body” sensation to want to just go off on someone or even cry, but since I’m a “man” I can’t go there. It’s now Sunday 5:30pm and my last dose was Thursday at 5:45am and I’m hoping I can make it another day. I like you am doing this all on my own without the advice from my Doctor and I didn’t even tell my wife till today, mainly because I didn’t want any special treatment from her. I want to make sure I can really make it on my own with out the “drug.”
I’ve only been on it for 8 months and like all the other people on Anti-Depresents feel, i also don’t want to count on them for years of my life.
The Pristiq has caused crazy nightmares and weight gain and for a person who already had issues about the way they look, it does not seem to be a good drug to be on. Before I was diagnosed with depression I had a “life style” change aka a DIET! Felt great for the first 6 months of this, lost 60lbs, my wife was about to give birth to a new baby, then boom! Baby comes and you know what happens next beside all the great and wonderful times…. STRESS!
So, anyways enough about all that. I just want to say good luck to to everyone that is on the road to getting of Pristiq or any other Anti-Depression drug.
Day 4 starts soon!

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@haj89

Hi, I just wanted to share my experience with Pristiq and withdrawing from it. I took it for almost 18 months and decided I want to stop because I want to have a baby (and an antidepressant-free pregnancy). Although it did give me many side effects, it also helped treat my depression and anxiety.
When I first took the plunge into withdrawal, I thought it would be better for me to go cold turkey. My thinking was along the lines of, “It’ll be really rough for maybe a week and then it’ll all be over, and I’d rather do it this way than suffer for weeks.” Boy was I wrong, I had the absolute worst 4 day experience with nausea, dizziness, crying fits and an unexplainable out-of-body sensation the entire time. It was absolutely horrible and by the end of the 4th day, I had a major panic attack where I couldn’t breathe and my whole body was violently shaking, my teeth were chattering. This went on for about half an hour, I really thought I was gonna die. By the way I was doing all this on my own, without the advice of my doctor. After this incident, I called my doctor and he advised me to restart Pristiq immediately and if I really wanted to stop I needed to do it over several weeks. So I followed his withdrawal regimen. I had a 50mg tablet every other day for 2 weeks then 50mg every third day for 2 weeks. I am currently taking 50mg every fourth day. Tonight is the fourth night and I am due for a dose but I feel absolutely fine. Normally when it gets close to when my dose is due I start feeling the withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. But at the moment I feel great! I think maybe I’m done! It’s a great feeling to know that you have accomplished complete withdrawal after going through such a long-winded struggle. Especially when you’re working straight through everything.
I just wanted anybody who is out there and going through the same sort of thing, to know that you have to be persistent and patient. It will get better and you will get there, you’ve got to be strong and keep the ultimate goal in sight.

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Hi – I must say that I experience many of the same withdrawal symptoms you describe. I have been taking 300 mg of Pristiq and went off it in about three or four days. I keep getting shock-like sensations in my ears, dizziness, insomnia, you name it and my doctor has not called me back after I’ve left messages. Tomorrow I’m going to look for a new one. I am just grateful that I have good insurance. I have to be in good shape by September when I will be starting nursing school (at the age of 56 – tell me if you think I’m crazy to do that). My moods are up and down and I often feel like sobbing. I have even had suicidal thoughts. – feelings of desperation for no good reason – I have a great family – Thanks for listening

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@haj89

Hi, I just wanted to share my experience with Pristiq and withdrawing from it. I took it for almost 18 months and decided I want to stop because I want to have a baby (and an antidepressant-free pregnancy). Although it did give me many side effects, it also helped treat my depression and anxiety.
When I first took the plunge into withdrawal, I thought it would be better for me to go cold turkey. My thinking was along the lines of, “It’ll be really rough for maybe a week and then it’ll all be over, and I’d rather do it this way than suffer for weeks.” Boy was I wrong, I had the absolute worst 4 day experience with nausea, dizziness, crying fits and an unexplainable out-of-body sensation the entire time. It was absolutely horrible and by the end of the 4th day, I had a major panic attack where I couldn’t breathe and my whole body was violently shaking, my teeth were chattering. This went on for about half an hour, I really thought I was gonna die. By the way I was doing all this on my own, without the advice of my doctor. After this incident, I called my doctor and he advised me to restart Pristiq immediately and if I really wanted to stop I needed to do it over several weeks. So I followed his withdrawal regimen. I had a 50mg tablet every other day for 2 weeks then 50mg every third day for 2 weeks. I am currently taking 50mg every fourth day. Tonight is the fourth night and I am due for a dose but I feel absolutely fine. Normally when it gets close to when my dose is due I start feeling the withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. But at the moment I feel great! I think maybe I’m done! It’s a great feeling to know that you have accomplished complete withdrawal after going through such a long-winded struggle. Especially when you’re working straight through everything.
I just wanted anybody who is out there and going through the same sort of thing, to know that you have to be persistent and patient. It will get better and you will get there, you’ve got to be strong and keep the ultimate goal in sight.

Jump to this post

http :// survivingantidepressants dot org Look at some of my new post on this site. It’s under TravMac Cold Turkey Pristiq Stoping Cold Turkey

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@haj89

Hi, I just wanted to share my experience with Pristiq and withdrawing from it. I took it for almost 18 months and decided I want to stop because I want to have a baby (and an antidepressant-free pregnancy). Although it did give me many side effects, it also helped treat my depression and anxiety.
When I first took the plunge into withdrawal, I thought it would be better for me to go cold turkey. My thinking was along the lines of, “It’ll be really rough for maybe a week and then it’ll all be over, and I’d rather do it this way than suffer for weeks.” Boy was I wrong, I had the absolute worst 4 day experience with nausea, dizziness, crying fits and an unexplainable out-of-body sensation the entire time. It was absolutely horrible and by the end of the 4th day, I had a major panic attack where I couldn’t breathe and my whole body was violently shaking, my teeth were chattering. This went on for about half an hour, I really thought I was gonna die. By the way I was doing all this on my own, without the advice of my doctor. After this incident, I called my doctor and he advised me to restart Pristiq immediately and if I really wanted to stop I needed to do it over several weeks. So I followed his withdrawal regimen. I had a 50mg tablet every other day for 2 weeks then 50mg every third day for 2 weeks. I am currently taking 50mg every fourth day. Tonight is the fourth night and I am due for a dose but I feel absolutely fine. Normally when it gets close to when my dose is due I start feeling the withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. But at the moment I feel great! I think maybe I’m done! It’s a great feeling to know that you have accomplished complete withdrawal after going through such a long-winded struggle. Especially when you’re working straight through everything.
I just wanted anybody who is out there and going through the same sort of thing, to know that you have to be persistent and patient. It will get better and you will get there, you’ve got to be strong and keep the ultimate goal in sight.

Jump to this post

Hi, my situation with Pristiq is very similar to yours. I’m trying to go off of it because I want to start a family. I’ve been taking it for 2 years. I’ve already started a slow wean of the pill, First taking every 36 hours, now I’m at every 48. I’ve definitely had some crazy withdrawal symptoms – dizziness, nausea, anxiety, mood swings. Every time I’ve made the dosage change (switched days) I have 4-5 days of pretty crappy symptoms. When you switched to every 3rd day what was that like for you? How long total did it take for you to get off the drug? I’m extremely frustrated at this point and I feel like when the withdrawal symptoms hit it makes it that much worse to think that this will be over soon!! This is the first and only AD I’ve ever had to take. It’s served it’s purpose for me but now I’m ready to move on

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I too was trying to taper off with advice from my Dr. helping me with menopause/hormone issues. She never even heard of it but strongly suggested I wean off slowly. She was unaware of coating/time release issues. Even my Psych who prescribed didn’t know much about tapering off being he only took samples from his Pharma rep. Was and still am having horrible withdrawal symptoms that make it a challenge to work! Logged my experience w/someone at Wyeth/also logged complaint w/FDA. I know this takes a lot of time from your daily duties but I believe it’s worth the effort to make them aware of how Pharma Co’s are making us feel while trying to wean off the scary stuff. Best recommendation is to find a compounding pharmacy as they helped me. Bought a “tablet crusher” from him/he wrote directions (not actual px)to take crushed pill 25mg (was on 50mg)mixed w/juice evry 8 hrs.(3x/day for next 2 weeks. My Psych highly recommended starting on Sam-e right aft my last dose of Pristiq. Thank goodness for this non-traditional pharmacy/this wonderful pharmacist who was gracious enough to help me out!

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@ayethepan

Hello, Friend. Please talk this over thoroughly with your Doctor before you stop your medication, even if you taper off very slowly. When we read about clinical trials and side-effects virtually all medications will list “horror stories” in short form. And it is not always certain that some of those side-effects were actually due to the medication in question. Of course, you have identified the increased heart rate (tachycardia) yourself. I also suffer from Depression and take a related medication, Cymbalta. Pristiq and Cymbalta are in the same class of anti-depressants. (Effexor, Celexa, and Lexapro are as well.) Another consideration is whether you will be starting a new medication to replace the Pristiq. Often, though it is not always possible, the Physician will order a start of the replacement medication and gradually titrate the new med up as the old med is gradually lowered. I, too, tend to have a high heart rate due to one or more of my medications for depression and some related issues. However, the benefits of my medications (also on Depakote and Xanax) are far too great to discontinue them due to higher heart rate. (Actually, I could probably lower that rate by quiting all caffeine and exercising more.) I appreciate your situation re: the increased pulse occurs as the Pristiq “kicks in.” Your physician may have advice or even a possible treatment to reduce this tachycardia. I hope this is useful. My best to you.

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Doesn’t exercise increase good endorphins?

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Hello! It would be great to get an update on your success at ceasing Pristiq. I have been trying to recover from the withdrawal symptoms two weeks now… this may not sound long, but it has been HELL! I experienced nausea, palpitations, loud roaring in my ears that have distinct volume of loud beating to a rhythm, nervous legs, extreme weepiness, cognitive deterioration and feelings of being ‘out of my body’. EVERYONE should be warned the side effects are much more severe in withdrawals than the benefits of administering this drug. Dr.’s should be ashamed at not forewarning the ‘victim’ of this nightmare prior to telling you simply, ‘it works’. It did NOT work for me, so I decided to quit after 6.5 years. It feels as though it may be improving, but I will keep you posted!

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Thanks to everyone here for sharing your experience with pristiq! I am new here and about to stop taking this awful drug! I have tried several times but cannot function without it so I have had to schedule vacation time from work to get this out of my system. Honestly…I’m terrified! I too would love to hear about your progress annonymous! Hopefully things went well!

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I’m currently in the process of tapering off this horrible drug, and well, I feel HORRIBLE! How long does this last? I was on 100mg Pristiq for the last two years, it did nothing for me but hurt me more. I am tapering off per doctor orders (the same crooked doctor that put me in this mess in the first place), and I feel miserable & scared. I was advised to cut my dosage down by half for two weeks, and then go completely off. I am in day 6 of just cutting my Pristiq dosage in half, and I am having terrible symptoms. I feel like a basket-case. My eyes hurt, it feels like there is so much pressure in them. I am having migraines. I feel weird wah-wah feelings in my ears and head, I’m having weird electrical zaps in my eyes, head, and ears, I can’t sleep at night because I jump awake with horrible leg cramps. I feel probably the worse I have ever felt in my entire life. I am scared for when I completely go off this stuff…I mean if it is this bad already, how much worse is it gonna get before it gets better? Someone please just tell me it gets better!? This drug is evil, I took a stand and want off and am getting off it, but I feel miserable right now! Suggestions anyone??

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I started trying to taper off Pristiq about 4 weeks ago. I was on 150 mg a day for 2 years. I started cutting the pills in half, then quarters. I stopped last week. I still have vivid dream inside of dream ‘dreams’. I feel nauseated all of the time. Hot all of the time even with the a/c on 70. My stomach hurts and always feels full. My joints hurt. When does it stop? Is there any way to get it all out of your system faster??

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