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

@bonny

The real issues about tapering off of these drugs is that NOBODY understands the multitude of ways they affect the body and make permanent changes to the cardiovascular system, brain, neuromuscular, endocrine, etc. Doctors, especially, do not understand or try to. If you are one who has bad post acute withdrawal (hits after off of the drug), reinstating the drug may not work. I can't emphasize that enough. It's not as simple as "I'll go off and go back on if I have to". Some people have no problems at all and others are permanently disabled by withdrawal.

Serotonin has numerous effects on the cardiovascular system, for example. It is stored in platelets, effects clotting, vasodilation, just to name a few. Since I tapered off of Pristiq over a YEAR in 2010-11, my BP and heart rate will not stabilize. They swing wildly within a minute or two. It's autonomic dysfunction, but no doctors understand it in this context or know how to control it. It's not unusual for my BP to be 60/30ish. Then go up to 160/110 within a short time. It's horrible. Same with heartrate. There are really no treatments for low BP (SSRIs are mentioned to increase BP), but when it swings both ways, it's hard to treat. A pacemaker has been suggested for heartrate. I'm aware of a few other people who've required pacemakers after withdrawal. I am mostly bedbound because this is so erratic and I pass out. It is posdibly neurogenic.

I had NO early warning signs or typical acute withdrawal symptoms during tapering. No zaps, nausea, etc. So, I marched on. I'm now on more drugs than before I tapered off of Pristiq. I've been to doctors across the USA, all with conflicting diagnoses. I have brain lesions, but no specific dx aside from autoimmune diseases that may be causing lesions. SS/NRIs do trigger autoimmune diseases, lupus, in particular. It does not go away with removal of the drug.

My best advice to people is don't start these drugs until every possible medical, nutritional, vitamin, mineral disorder is ruled out and serious therapy is used. I was put on Zoloft in '93 for mild fatigue and not depression or anxiety. I had immediate neuromuscular movement reactions, but no doctor made the connection until recently. I lost everything at age 39 — career, home…life as I knew it. Then, withdrawal made everything so much worse. I'm now 55 and have no life and am too sick to try. I have no family, friends don't know how to help, and they fall away after a few years of being sick.

Please, please be very cautious, go slowly, never CT, don't skip doses, etc. You may have no problems or you may end up like me or worse.

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I certainly appreciate you telling your story, @bonny. Thank you.

Liked by Bonny

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That medication will make your heart race it did mine and my doctor said it was a side effect, I stopped taking it the withdrawal isn't fun but hopefully by sun I will feel better

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@savanti

Hi, you can get off of it, it will take some time, here is what I shared with a support group livng with mental illnesses and depression. You first need to change one thing with everything you do in a day. Meaning stop waking up to doing the same thing each morning, stop doing the same things as you go through the morning, stop doing the same things at lunch, the same for the rest of the day. What this means, you have been living one day to the next with about a 95% repeat of the things you did the day before. So, whats new in your life? What are habits? Habits are things you do without having to think about how to do them. Try to catching yourself doing two things at one time. This also means doing something and also thinking about something not relating to what you are doing. This is a bad habit. *You need to explore your five senses, eat something you have never tried, find new things to smell, listen to something different, engage in new ocnversations, walk away form the same old stuff, reach out to touch all surfaces, feel a flower, feel rough surfaces, feel running water on your hand, find new things to see. What this will do is stimulate your brain helping you to slowly come off your medication with little side effect.
Imagine having a sharp pain, the more you try to feel it, the stronger it will get. But, focusing on something new and different the pain isn’t as bad. By doing new things, by taking risk to try something different while slowly over time reducing your intake of the medication will make it easier to get off of it. >I shared this with the group, four months later, a college girl told us she was able to reduce your med. intake by half and was feeling good enough to start dating again. by the time I left the group she was off her meds.
Change your daily habits. Explore your five senses. Find new things to do which means challenge yourself. Avoid interacting with wasteful conversations or activities which have no value. In the future, know that your brain can porduce any medication, all you need to do is change how you think. Thinking makes the brain produce good and bad chemicals

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This does not help with Pristiq withdrawal symptoms. I'm doing this anyway.

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@ayethepan

Hello, Savanti!
I like your advice to our anonymous friend re: Pristiq and coming off of a medication. However, I would–with respect–disagree strongly with your latter statement as an entire matter of fact for all people who suffer, have suffered, or will suffer from a mental illness. It is not the case that all individuals can alter their brain and neuro-chemistry through physical activity, exercise, and mental activity, exercise, and the sundry life changes that are, to be certain, good for most everyone who suffers from a mental illness. There are those folks in this world whose brain and neuro-chemistry are hard-wired in such a way congenitally (or as a result of brain injury or trauma) that they will never be able to overcome this “hard wiring” or “re-wiring” that results from trauma whether physical, neurological, or psychological. This is akin to saying a person suffering from epilepsy can change the disorder and end all seizures by making life changes. There are some things epileptic patients can do, to be sure, but such changes are not a pancea for all persons who so suffer. Psychiatry, Psychology, Psycho-biology, Neuro-biology and all the sundry related sciences have not determined–and, I think, likely never will–all that there is to know—and most importantly, to do—in addressing these issues. This is why a combination of medication AND “talk therapy” AND life changes/coaching and sometimes cognitive therapy and related are all valid and necessary or useful in varying ways for various people. There is no one approach that is right for all. It is dangerous, and no doubt so, to toil and explore the neurotransmitters through use of chemicals in medication. Yet, without such approachs many people including myself would never find any relief.
I look forward, I sincerely hope, to a response. Again, my sincerest respects to you.

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100% agreed

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Hi, I have been on Pristiq-generic for about 2.5 years, now on 25 mg. I have actually gained some wt. No appetite, increased constipation, sweating, insomnia. Apathy, no sex drive, on and off anxiety and agitation, terrible sweating. I hate this stuff and I thought Effexor was bad.. I want to get off of it. Also, it seems to make me more impulsive and irresponsible. Any suggestions?

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@jeanmnyc

Hi, I have been on Pristiq-generic for about 2.5 years, now on 25 mg. I have actually gained some wt. No appetite, increased constipation, sweating, insomnia. Apathy, no sex drive, on and off anxiety and agitation, terrible sweating. I hate this stuff and I thought Effexor was bad.. I want to get off of it. Also, it seems to make me more impulsive and irresponsible. Any suggestions?

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Hi, @jeanmnyc – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I merged your post with this one, as you mentioned wanting to get off of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and members in this thread have been discussing just that topic.

Here is an article with some general Mayo Clinic information on antidepressant withdrawal you may find useful: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/antidepressant-withdrawal/faq-20058133.

I'd also like you to meet @casey0603 @netty @nonnivee @losangeles90027 @bonny @missymooha and others from this discussion who may have input on some of the potential side effects you've experienced on this medication and how they worked with their physicians to taper off desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). @gailb may also have some thoughts for you.

How has your depression been on this medication?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @jeanmnyc – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I merged your post with this one, as you mentioned wanting to get off of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and members in this thread have been discussing just that topic.

Here is an article with some general Mayo Clinic information on antidepressant withdrawal you may find useful: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/antidepressant-withdrawal/faq-20058133.

I'd also like you to meet @casey0603 @netty @nonnivee @losangeles90027 @bonny @missymooha and others from this discussion who may have input on some of the potential side effects you've experienced on this medication and how they worked with their physicians to taper off desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). @gailb may also have some thoughts for you.

How has your depression been on this medication?

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My depression on this Medicine for the last 2.5 years has not responded so well.. First started off on 25 mg.. I am very drug sensitive, then up to 50 mg. It helped some, but I found myself more apathetic, wanting to take naps, not wanting to eat, worsening of constant bloating and constipation. It seems to make me in a strange, semi- nasty mood, more apt to lose my temper faster, etc. No sex drive, sometimes feelings of total detachment.. When I try and decrease it, the crying spells start. I was on regular Effexor before that for about 10 years, non- XR. It worked okay at 50mg., then I went down to 25 mg. on that due to about a 20 lb wt. gain. Getting off the Effexor was Hell. Pristiq seems to want to cause me to really lose it and break things and insomnia. I have gained about 7 lbs on it., despite not wanting to eat. I hate that it made my IBS and bloating worse. I am trying to take one tablet a day at 25 mg, current dose and 1/2 tablet every other day per my MD instructions. I am having way too much stress and worry right now. I am literally sorry I ever took anything back in 1996 for the depression. So many side effects.. I also have GAD, can get panic attacks, some agoraphobia. My Psych lied about this med and I didn't want to take it. I saw what it did to my identical Twin Sister.. she was more hostile, angry. I am also on Clonopin for the anxiety and panic attacks and GAD.. 25 years and sorry I ever took that at all. My Neurologist wants me off of it. Sick of being not me, depersonalization, despondent, without energy, or a nervous wreck. Tired of being Fat, despite hardly eating. I can't deal with much now and will leave things undone. I am doing a job search again at 60 and that is not good. The confusion also is worse with this medicine, I believe. I can't think, focus, concentrate. I look like Hell.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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I have just weaned my self from Pristique it is several weeks now. I was on 50 Micrograms a day and I started week 1. M50:T25:W50:Th25:F50:S25:Sun50.
I did this by cutting the tablet on my doctors advice as there is no smaller dose. The following week I increased the 1/2 tablets to 4 days the 3rd week all 1/2 tablets then 5th week 3 days then 6th week 4 days no tablet 7th week no tablets. My doctor gave me panadol fort for the migraines and stemetil for the nausea. I only took as needed I had 2 scripts for stemetil but only used a few panadol forte. Mainly at night so I could sleep. When I was completely off I developed flu like symptoms with sever neck shoulder and head pain she gave me 1 script for valium and that fixed it one tablet one night . I still get some zapping at night but all the other symptoms are gone except the ones like poor memory, I had increased bladder weakness and memory but its all settling now and I feel so much better. I also found that Migrastick peppermint and peppermint tea were helpful as I didn't want to be taking the stemitil all the time. I still get brain zapping mildly at night and I heard that drugs like Pristique have a "protective" attribute so one you stop taking them thinks that have not been a problem for a while become a problem again until totally free of the pristique so I experienced bladder weakness and very poor short term memory but that is already improving. I am so glad I am off the drug at last. I feel much more motivated since stopping this drug. I was prescribed for situational depression so there was no need to stay on it forever. But it was hard to come off It took me several gos. Cheers

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@joannapickford7

I have just weaned my self from Pristique it is several weeks now. I was on 50 Micrograms a day and I started week 1. M50:T25:W50:Th25:F50:S25:Sun50.
I did this by cutting the tablet on my doctors advice as there is no smaller dose. The following week I increased the 1/2 tablets to 4 days the 3rd week all 1/2 tablets then 5th week 3 days then 6th week 4 days no tablet 7th week no tablets. My doctor gave me panadol fort for the migraines and stemetil for the nausea. I only took as needed I had 2 scripts for stemetil but only used a few panadol forte. Mainly at night so I could sleep. When I was completely off I developed flu like symptoms with sever neck shoulder and head pain she gave me 1 script for valium and that fixed it one tablet one night . I still get some zapping at night but all the other symptoms are gone except the ones like poor memory, I had increased bladder weakness and memory but its all settling now and I feel so much better. I also found that Migrastick peppermint and peppermint tea were helpful as I didn't want to be taking the stemitil all the time. I still get brain zapping mildly at night and I heard that drugs like Pristique have a "protective" attribute so one you stop taking them thinks that have not been a problem for a while become a problem again until totally free of the pristique so I experienced bladder weakness and very poor short term memory but that is already improving. I am so glad I am off the drug at last. I feel much more motivated since stopping this drug. I was prescribed for situational depression so there was no need to stay on it forever. But it was hard to come off It took me several gos. Cheers

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Hi, @joannapickford7 – thanks for sharing your experiences with tapering off of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq). Sounds like your doctor was very responsive to side effects you had while weaning off of the medication.

Is your doctor hopeful that the bladder weakness and poor short-term memory will fully improve with further weeks or months off the desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)? Are these causing problems with your day-to-day living?

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Not really I just had a few more "accidents" than usual but that has pretty much gone. My memory is bad tho I hope it improves. I walked out the door and drove places without my handbag 3 times! I always take it with me! Hopless.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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Hey guys I’ve been taking 100mgs of desvenlafaxine for 6 months now I’m trying to get off of it and my dr has me going down to 50mgs a day for two weeks, I’m on day 4 how much longer are these crazy withdrawls gunna last I’m really struggling with my anxiety and depression, along depersonalizion. Thanks

Liked by Leonard

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@happyguy
Hi guy
Were you on 50mg for 2 weeks or were off it entirely in 2 days.
If I was stopping it I would decrease it by 5mg every 4 weeks, 10 mg tops as long as I didn’t have side effects. Never decrease an Antidepressant by 50%.
Of course everyone is different but if you want the best chance of not going through withdrawals you need to go slowly, by slowly I mean 5-10% decrease of your dose preferably every 4 weeks. Some might be able to do it quicker.
Are you planning to use another Antidepressant? The following is just something to think about.
The probability of being depression free in 5-10 years (don’t remember the exact time but it’s more than 5 years but less than 10 years) is much greater in people who use alternative or natural methods. It has also been shown that the recurrence of depression is significantly less. A major problem with these medications is that they don’t cure you or help you understand the cause of your problems.
These medications can cause sexual problems which can become permanent and irreversible.
I hope your feeling much better soon,
Jake

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@happyguy

Hey guys I’ve been taking 100mgs of desvenlafaxine for 6 months now I’m trying to get off of it and my dr has me going down to 50mgs a day for two weeks, I’m on day 4 how much longer are these crazy withdrawls gunna last I’m really struggling with my anxiety and depression, along depersonalizion. Thanks

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Have a look at my post back up a bit it needs the help fo a decent doctor who you trust and I have documents how I tapered and what I used to help me over come those very nasty side affects.

Liked by Leonard

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@jakedduck1

@happyguy
Hi guy
Were you on 50mg for 2 weeks or were off it entirely in 2 days.
If I was stopping it I would decrease it by 5mg every 4 weeks, 10 mg tops as long as I didn’t have side effects. Never decrease an Antidepressant by 50%.
Of course everyone is different but if you want the best chance of not going through withdrawals you need to go slowly, by slowly I mean 5-10% decrease of your dose preferably every 4 weeks. Some might be able to do it quicker.
Are you planning to use another Antidepressant? The following is just something to think about.
The probability of being depression free in 5-10 years (don’t remember the exact time but it’s more than 5 years but less than 10 years) is much greater in people who use alternative or natural methods. It has also been shown that the recurrence of depression is significantly less. A major problem with these medications is that they don’t cure you or help you understand the cause of your problems.
These medications can cause sexual problems which can become permanent and irreversible.
I hope your feeling much better soon,
Jake

Jump to this post

I have just weaned my self from Pristique it is several weeks now. I was on 50 Micrograms a day and I started week 1. M50:T25:W50:Th25:F50:S25:Sun50.
I did this by cutting the tablet on my doctors advice as there is no smaller dose. The following week I increased the 1/2 tablets to 4 days the 3rd week all 1/2 tablets then 5th week 3 days then 6th week 4 days no tablet 7th week no tablets. My doctor gave me panadol fort for the migraines and stemetil for the nausea. I only took as needed I had 2 scripts for stemetil but only used a few panadol forte. Mainly at night so I could sleep. When I was completely off I developed flu like symptoms with sever neck shoulder and head pain she gave me 1 script for valium and that fixed it one tablet one night . I still get some zapping at night but all the other symptoms are gone except the ones like poor memory, I had increased bladder weakness and memory but its all settling now and I feel so much better. I also found that Migrastick peppermint and peppermint tea were helpful as I didn't want to be taking the stemitil all the time. I still get brain zapping mildly at night and I heard that drugs like Pristique have a "protective" attribute so one you stop taking them thinks that have not been a problem for a while become a problem again until totally free of the pristique so I experienced bladder weakness and very poor short term memory but that is already improving. I am so glad I am off the drug at last. I feel much more motivated since stopping this drug. I was prescribed for situational depression so there was no need to stay on it forever. But it was hard to come off It took me several gos. Cheers

Lik

Liked by Leonard

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