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

@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.

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

Liked by missymooha

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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

Liked by mrsmiller417

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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!

Liked by mrsmiller417

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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!

Liked by mrsmiller417

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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!

Liked by mrsmiller417

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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??

Liked by bactome

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@janetm

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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Janet I feel your pain, I am in the same exact mess as you right now. The dreams inside of dreams, are just insane. These withdrawl symptoms are terrible! I also would like to know when it will stop, but no one has answered me on here. I just want it to go away!!

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@ajevangelisto

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 don’t know when it stops but don’t try and just go cold turkey. I used a pill cutter and cut them in half for a couple of weeks and then into quarters. Just missing the quarter at first made me terribly sick. I am off them completely now but still have the hot flashes, joint pain, nausea and pms type crying jags. I used to be a promoter of anti depressants; I struggle with it all the time, but after this – no more for me unless I get so bad I can’t get out of bed. Hang on, it will get better.

Liked by mrsmiller417

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@janetm

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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I was glad to find this page because I was sure I was dying before! I had no idea that coming off that medicine had AFTER side effects. At least now although I am still feeling sick I know why.

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This is my 3rd time “withdrawing” from an SNRI I have been on Pristiq 2 times before but both times I switched to Effexor XR & actually w/d from that med in particular the last 2 times.. The first time it happened I was at the E.R. twice in a week & the first time I had no idea what was going on & felt like I was dying.. If I had to describe it in a “general” sense than it would be flu like symptoms except much more intense (severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, dehydration, etc) as far as physical goes & mentally/emotionally the worst experiences of depression & anxiety I have gone through to include panic attacks/shallow breathing/severe insomnia/hot flashes/chills/crying spells/etc.. the 1st w/d when I didnt know what was going on I went to the hospital & kept telling them I felt like something was in my head.. (which of course sounds psychotic to everyone else).. I kept telling them I felt like I was having an extreme case of morning sickness but I wasn’t pregnant & there was no way to ease the pain (ie advil, tums, pepto) nor the anxiety (w/ my klonopin). I had brought a list bc I was afraid that I would forget or leave out a crucial symptom & there was about 20-25 things I listed as wrong with me to include physical/emotionally/mental she looked at me & called it excessive & perhaps I was but as I mentioned before I had no idea what was going on.. they tested me for the flu, pregnancy, I made them do a cat scan bc of the feeling in my head bc I feared maybe I had a tumor or something (IDK! lol).. they did pump me with fluids through an iv bc my bp was 165/122 & my pulse was in the 130’s & they said the iv would “calm me down” needless to say I was very upset bc they were treating me like I needed to be in a straight jacket next door in the mental ward.. the nurse really p’d me off bc it didn’t seem like she was taking me seriously but I know they deal with much more serious things & I was just feeling very vulnerable, helpless, & confused but the iv actually helped me it brought down my bp/pulse & made me feel better so the prognosis at that time was dehydration which I didnt dare argue with bc of the temporary relief I felt & the judgement I already endured. but just 5 days later I was back with an extreme migraine.. I was puking up all the narcotics & once I found that not even there meds were working I knew it had to be something to do w/ symptoms from discontinuing the EXR.. I unfortunately was on it again soon bc I gave up waiting for the w/d to go away.. 6 months later I knew what to expect when I told the dr it wasn’t working & he decided to try me on Lexapro I told him I wasn’t going off cold turkey again so he told me to start taking my dose every other day for 2 weeks (while starting lexapro on the days I didnt take it) & then after 2 weeks to stop it completely.. Unfortunately I couldnt wait that long.. after just 3 days I was having thoughts of suicide bc I was in so much agony & emotional distress.. I would take my dose at night & the next day I would feel great & normal but the nights that I skipped the dose the next day was excruciating.. I decided to just stop it all together bc I didn’t want to wait 2 weeks & still put myself through that bc I had already had enough after a week & wanted to get it over w/ bc you literally cannot function or do anything when you are going through this (me atleast) I am a stay at home mom & have 2 children that need me to take care of them so it wasnt an option to keep anticipating & putting off the inevitable. I read online about someone who had gone through the same transition (EXR to Lexapro & she had doubled up on her dose of Lexapro & it seemed to help the emotional effects atleast & after a few days of completely stopping the med the effects were gone & I was able to do things & take care of my kids again. The only way I was able to sleep during the week & a half of torture was to take theraflu at night bc it has a sedating affect on me & the alcohol in it didn’t hurt either (Im not suggesting that but it was how I coped with my insomnia during that rough time) A man online described the physical pain as it felt like a piece of sheet metal was inside his body & like it was being banged on.. (a good comparison in my book) .. It’s like electric shocks shooting from your stomach to your head & back.. & there is nothing you can do to reduce or alleviate these most unpleasant feelings & sensations. I wouldnt wish any of these things on my worst enemy bc it makes you feel helpless & hopeless .. This time around I am discontinuing Pristiq & last night was my first night of not taking it & I already felt the nausea/dizzy/sheet metal sensation so I am praying for the best.. I know everyone is different so it is hard to say how long it may last for you but I know from what I have read if you quit cold turkey it is usually 1-2 weks before the effects completely wear off but if you taper of course it will be longer bc you are postponing the discontinuation & your effects will probably reduce as your dose reduces.. From my 2 experiences before I know the worst thing I could do is give up (or give in) tapering isn’t an option since I am on the lowest dose already (50mg) & I want to get this over with ASAP so until this gets better I am going to drink lots & lots of water keep hope alive & occasionally take a dose of theraflu to help knock me out on nights I can’t go to sleep bc I would rather be asleep dreaming than awake in pain. God bless you all my prayers are with you & you will make it through just remember it gets better & don’t suffer in silence there are plenty people going through the same thing you are & if you feel like giving up confide in your dr or check into a hospital bc the pain is just temporary & remember you will make it through.. P.S. when my last w/d ended I was extremely thankful to feel “normal” again but even more I started praying even harder for my grandmother who had chemo & radiation therapy & she suffered all day every day with her illness & unfortunately she passed away in July but it comforts my heart & soul to know she is no longer suffering any more & she is in a much better place <3

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@janetm

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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I pray you start to feel better Janet I know it isn’t easy.. I am glad you are completely off of it bc that is the first step to start the process most people take a week some people 2 but it is rare for it to go past that.. Usually for it to clear out of your system it shouldn’t take as long as other meds bc of its short half life but it all depends on your metabolism so even though the nausea may supress your appetite try to eat small meals throughout the day to jump start your metabolic rate (if you can exercise that will help too) but definately make sure you are drinking lots of water to flush the chemicals out.. cranberry is supposed to help clean our systems out too (I take it every day bc of chronic utis).. I hope you feel better real soon <3.

Liked by afrier2005

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@janetm

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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That is what I thought too (as stated in my long reply above).. Ever since my 1st & 2nd w/d I am ocd about meds I not only read the side effects & efficacy rates but now I also read the w/d effects bc many people will have to get off a med they cannot tolerate.. it is rare to find something that works & to stay on it for the rest of your life when it comes to mental health drugs especially.. so this is something the drs need to research & warn us about before they write a scrip for it bc as I also explained I am not one who feels suicidal but I was seriously considering it last time I w/d so I am sure there are many people who feel the same way if faced with the same feelings & pain & they have the black box warning for suicidal thoughts when you start taking the meds but I have yet to see much about the effects of going off the meds.. I have to do extensive research of my own to find such info.. I am thankful for the internet & for google though bc I usually do not have to search too far or long to find what I need. 🙂

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