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.

@sassidede

I quit pristiq abt. a month ago, cold turkey. I know!! Bad idea! I had forgotten my pill for 2 days & couldn’t figure out why my head was having brain zaps. Then it dawned on me.So, I just didn’t take anymore. Yes it was hell! Words didn’t come out the was I intended, couldn’t remember, & did I mention the brain zaps? (haha) That was the worst feeling. I’ve lost weight ,thats good. Nothing tastes right. It kind of changed everything. But I’m feeling more “normal”. I Have feelings I had shoved to the side. Pristiq made me have no feelings at all, I couldn’t cry, didn’t have the same interests that I used to have. I talk more & seem to be getting better. I do take a zanax when I get anxious. I have never been diag. with depression that has a name! I would tell my Dr. I feel kind of blue. Oh your Depressed! So Im going to a Dr other than my primary doc, & get diag.(dont know how to spell that word) but you know what I mean. Heck by now, 35yrs later, I may not have depression. At that time in my life I was probably unhappy! I can’t remember the name of the first script but theres been one after the other. Now the couch & TV is not my best friend!! I hardly ever sit down anymore, I’m up & staying busy. By taking pristiq for 3-4yrs. it seems like I went thru’ life in a fog. My head is clearing, but the “brain zaps” are still with me, less & less tho’.

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I have quit Pristiq a few times. This time I have decided to stop it entirely and permanently. I noticed that while on the drug I spend more time sleeping and have hot flashes when it is time to take the drug. My biggest issue with the drug is that I believe it is designed to be a drug that you can’t get off of easily or if ever at all. My second biggest issue is that I am not depressed at all but really don’t feel like doing anything anymore and that does not seem normal to me. I could just stay home forever. Even when suffering from depression, I didn’t feel this way. I don’t feel interested in much anymore and I don’t socialize anymore nor have a desire to do the things that need to be done. I just feel as though I am a different person on this drug. I have always been a highly motivated person so it is noticed by everyone, especially my family. I would like to know if anyone else has had this experience on Pristiq? Third, my cholesterol is extremely high on this drug. I have taken it for 2 years now 50mg a day and the process of being satisfied without motivation has been a slow one and it didn’t happen suddenly. Today is day 3 and my symptoms are hot flashes and perspiration and light headedness ~ difficulty concentrating and I am tired. Other than that I am fine. I am worried that I could become depressed again but the more I read about most prescription drugs, the side affects are bad so I want to try to see if I still need an antidepressant. Thanks for reading and sharing your stories.

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After 2 years on Pristiq the side effects became more than just a nuisance. My doc suggested switching to Cymbalta, after tapering off Pristiq. I started reducing my dose by 1/2 — 1 50mg tab every other day. After 2 weeks, the worse symptoms are nausea, increased pain (Pristiq really works for nerve pain) and a general feeling of ‘mental discomfort’ — being ‘on edge’.

Prior to Pristiq, I was on Lexapro; my doc switched to Pristiq because I complained of side effects. However, the side effects of Pristiq are definitely worse, and I think Lexapro did a better job controlling my depression.

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Hello,
I have been on Pristiq since March 2011. Prior to that I was on Lexapro for about 5 years (for mild depression following my divorce). At first the Pristiq seemed to help (maybe the first month or two) – but then i started having trouble with concentration, memory (foggy thinking), and poor sleep. My doctor at the time then added xanax for sleep and adderall for concentration. Two years later and my health (physical and mental) has significantly declined… side effects now include blurred vision, weight gain (30lbs), short term memory loss, and worsening depression…sometimes have trouble sometimes getting through my day. Last October I resigned from my job – and thought I would take a few months to focus on getting my health back. I have stopped taking xanax (now take a natural supplement to sleep), exercise 2-3 times a week, and try to overall eat better. Nothing has really helped so I have come to the realization that I need to get off of Pristiq. Missed one day and the discontinuation symptoms were terrible – extreme dizziness, headache, body aches, brain zaps and “jumbled thoughts” – took me 3 days to recover which is not easy to do with three teenage boys.
Have been doing research trying to find information on how to get off Pristiq. It seems that a lot of people have been struggling on this drug – and not too many “success stories” on how to taper off… any advice/feedback from anyone who has found a way to successful get off – and stay off Pristiq would be MUCH appreciated!!
Thanks in advance,

Karen

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@sassidede

I quit pristiq abt. a month ago, cold turkey. I know!! Bad idea! I had forgotten my pill for 2 days & couldn’t figure out why my head was having brain zaps. Then it dawned on me.So, I just didn’t take anymore. Yes it was hell! Words didn’t come out the was I intended, couldn’t remember, & did I mention the brain zaps? (haha) That was the worst feeling. I’ve lost weight ,thats good. Nothing tastes right. It kind of changed everything. But I’m feeling more “normal”. I Have feelings I had shoved to the side. Pristiq made me have no feelings at all, I couldn’t cry, didn’t have the same interests that I used to have. I talk more & seem to be getting better. I do take a zanax when I get anxious. I have never been diag. with depression that has a name! I would tell my Dr. I feel kind of blue. Oh your Depressed! So Im going to a Dr other than my primary doc, & get diag.(dont know how to spell that word) but you know what I mean. Heck by now, 35yrs later, I may not have depression. At that time in my life I was probably unhappy! I can’t remember the name of the first script but theres been one after the other. Now the couch & TV is not my best friend!! I hardly ever sit down anymore, I’m up & staying busy. By taking pristiq for 3-4yrs. it seems like I went thru’ life in a fog. My head is clearing, but the “brain zaps” are still with me, less & less tho’.

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Karen, I was right where you are! I took Pritiq for five years.Before the drug, I was a happy go lucky type of person. Very active. Then I suffered a loss of a loved one and shortly after had a total hysterectomy. My PCM put me on this drug and it did help me. But after year three I had gained forty pounds and was just not my self. I couldn’t loss the weight and I didn’t want to leave the house. I’ll do it tomorrow became my motto. but, tomorrow never came. I made two attempts to get of this drug and then I found this site. After reading everyone’s experience I knew I was doing the right thing for me. I started by cutting 50mg in half for two weeks with very little side effects. on the third week I cut it again to a fourth. I did start having a sick stomach, dizzy and fuzziness, I took time off of work then and went cold turkey from there. On day three of cold turkey I stared to feel like my ole self. I literally was happy. and felt the feeling of happiness! I continued with the fuzziness for a few more days but, everyday is better. Did I tell you that as we speak I am fifty pounds over weight and I have high cholesterol. I am taking my life back and I am already losing the weight so yes I think I am a success story and you can be too!

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Just thought i would mention. An articular has come out in MORE magazine, march issue about women and antidepressants. If you are thinking about quitting I think this articular will give you the push to do so.

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I wanted to share my withdrawal symptoms from Prtisiq,
in hopes it will help someone.
My info-
I’m a 35 yo female
Been on pristiq 2.5 yrs
Athletic – workout daily
I don’t drink, nor eat meat.
And I stopped taking pristiq cold turkey.
The first day – I had dizzying headaches when I would outside,
or stand up too quickly.
The second day – the headaches lessoned to 2-3 times that day.
The third an fourth day – I maybe had one headache each day.
And that was it.

What I have noticed now that I have been off for two weeks, is my head/thoughts seem more clearer, my happy is more happier.
Although I would not want to take back getting on Prisitq, because nothing, nothing at all helped me get out of my funk.

Another weird thing that I noticed when I was on pristiq, was the tips of my fingers would get numb at times, especially at nite. Now that I am off, I no longer have that sensation, very weird.
All the best to you all.

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Update-
I wanted to share my withdrawal symptoms from Pristiq
in hopes it will help someone.

My info-
I’m a 35 yo female
Been on Pristiq 2.5 yrs
Athletic – workout daily & practice yoga
I don’t drink alcohol, nor consume meat/dairy.
And I stopped taking Pristiq cold turkey two weeks ago.
The first day – I had dizzying headaches when I would step outside, or stand up too quickly.
The second day – the headaches lessoned to 2-3 times that day.
The third and fourth day – I maybe had one headache each day.
And that was it.

What I have noticed since I have been off for two weeks, is my head/thoughts seem more clearer, my happy is more happier.
Although I would not take back getting on Prisitq, because nothing, nothing at all helped me get out of my funk.
Something weird thing that I noticed when I was on Pristiq, was the tips of my fingers would get numb at times, especially at nite. Now that I am off, I no longer have that sensation, very weird.
All the best to you all.

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I hope this will help/encourage somebody who wants to stop taking this drug.
My age:53
General health: good
I have been on Pristiq for 9 months. I was (and still am) on Wellbutrin, but my Dr. thought Pristiq would benefit me in addtion to the Wellbutrin. To be honest, I really didn’t feel any better, but I continued taking it. I had always been slim, and within 6 months, I had gained over 20 pounds with no changes in my diet/exercise. Also, I began having high blood pressure for the FIRST time in my life. (BP was normally 110/70 or less), so I had to take bp meds I was frustrated at having to take so many meds . Mainly because of weight gain & BP, I had thought about getting off Pristiq. I woujld have preferred to wean myself from it, but because of miscommunication with my pharmacy & travel, I ended up having to do it cold turkey. The first week was horrible. I was Very dizzy, weak, nauseated, and Very light-headed. I almost gave up, but believe me that I am SO happy I didn’t!! I hadn’t realized how emotionally numb it had made me! All of a sudden, I was having feelings again — happy, sad, just NORMAL reactions. I wouldn’t recommend the cold turkey method, and I wish I had been able to gradually decrease. But if anyone for some reason HAS to do it that way, I want you to know that I did, & it’s possible. I would recommend doing it over a weekend, even taking a few days off work if possible.

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I stopped taking Pristiq on 03/08/13. I had been taking it for about 6 months. I stopped taking it because I ran out of medication and didn’t have a refill. Also, my doctor had just been arrested and stripped of his medical license for having sex with patients in return for pain pills! Sooooo… needless to say I quit Pristiq cold turkey because I didn’t want to go back to that doctor’s office for my refill. I had been on Cymbalta for 2 years a few years ago and I stopped them cold turkey as well. And although the withdrawal from Cymbalta was hell… my withdrawal from Pristiq has been a horrible horrible hell. My last pill was on 03/08… well now it’s 03/19 and they have not let up a bit. I haven’t had any stomach cramps or throwing up or anything like that. I have just had major brain zaps and tingling and dizziness. My brain has been in a fog this whole time and sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming and my brain keeps trying to come to and wake up. I haven’t had any loss of sleep. But I have been very very very tired. I could sleep for 15 hours straight and still be tired. All I want to do is sleep. The dizziness and foggy feeling I have is getting really old and sleep is the only time I don’t have to feel those feelings! I feel like it’s never going to go away. My Cymbalta withdrawals only lasted a few days. I never expected Pristiq withdrawals to last this long. But I will NEVER in my life go on any medication like that again. It isn’t worth the withdrawal symptoms.

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@skootah33

I stopped taking Pristiq on 03/08/13. I had been taking it for about 6 months. I stopped taking it because I ran out of medication and didn’t have a refill. Also, my doctor had just been arrested and stripped of his medical license for having sex with patients in return for pain pills! Sooooo… needless to say I quit Pristiq cold turkey because I didn’t want to go back to that doctor’s office for my refill. I had been on Cymbalta for 2 years a few years ago and I stopped them cold turkey as well. And although the withdrawal from Cymbalta was hell… my withdrawal from Pristiq has been a horrible horrible hell. My last pill was on 03/08… well now it’s 03/19 and they have not let up a bit. I haven’t had any stomach cramps or throwing up or anything like that. I have just had major brain zaps and tingling and dizziness. My brain has been in a fog this whole time and sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming and my brain keeps trying to come to and wake up. I haven’t had any loss of sleep. But I have been very very very tired. I could sleep for 15 hours straight and still be tired. All I want to do is sleep. The dizziness and foggy feeling I have is getting really old and sleep is the only time I don’t have to feel those feelings! I feel like it’s never going to go away. My Cymbalta withdrawals only lasted a few days. I never expected Pristiq withdrawals to last this long. But I will NEVER in my life go on any medication like that again. It isn’t worth the withdrawal symptoms.

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I am now on day 4 of going off cold turkey!! This is the worst feeling I have ever had. From reading your post I don’t have much to look forward to for awhile. Please keep me posted on how things are going. I would NEVER recommend this drug to anyone. I cant seem to get off couch for fear of just falling over with dizziness. My lips tingle every time I try to do too much. I feel like I am going to just pass out. thank you for your post.

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@skootah33

I stopped taking Pristiq on 03/08/13. I had been taking it for about 6 months. I stopped taking it because I ran out of medication and didn’t have a refill. Also, my doctor had just been arrested and stripped of his medical license for having sex with patients in return for pain pills! Sooooo… needless to say I quit Pristiq cold turkey because I didn’t want to go back to that doctor’s office for my refill. I had been on Cymbalta for 2 years a few years ago and I stopped them cold turkey as well. And although the withdrawal from Cymbalta was hell… my withdrawal from Pristiq has been a horrible horrible hell. My last pill was on 03/08… well now it’s 03/19 and they have not let up a bit. I haven’t had any stomach cramps or throwing up or anything like that. I have just had major brain zaps and tingling and dizziness. My brain has been in a fog this whole time and sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming and my brain keeps trying to come to and wake up. I haven’t had any loss of sleep. But I have been very very very tired. I could sleep for 15 hours straight and still be tired. All I want to do is sleep. The dizziness and foggy feeling I have is getting really old and sleep is the only time I don’t have to feel those feelings! I feel like it’s never going to go away. My Cymbalta withdrawals only lasted a few days. I never expected Pristiq withdrawals to last this long. But I will NEVER in my life go on any medication like that again. It isn’t worth the withdrawal symptoms.

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Well I went out and bought Women’s One A Day multivitamins and for some reason they have curbed my dizziness by a LOT. I read something once about how multivitamins are good for withdrawals but can’t remember where I read it. I took one yesterday and today and the difference has been amazing. I can honestly say I feel better now than I have since I stopped taking the Pristiq. I am still a little tired but it could be because I stayed up too late and had to get up too early. So I definitely recommend going and getting yourself some multivitamins and see how that helps. I also read that once you get off of the Pristiq, stay off. Don’t give in and take a pill here and there to make your withdrawal symptoms go away. It will wreak havoc on your brain! Stick with it, you will make it!!

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I have been off Pristiq for 9 days due to miscommunication between my pharmacy and my doctors office. I feel like I’m going to go crazy with anxiousness, and for the first time my blood pressure has gone from the normal 110/80 which it ALWAYS is, and as of right now is 168/115, and my pulse, resting, is 140. Between this and the feeling that my head is going to explode, I know this is really bad. I just got it refilled today, and took it in the parking lot of the pharmacy. I know that for most people, my blood pressure seems like it isn’t high at all, but I am relatively healthy, other than the MS and depression, and work out when I can, my weight is fine for my height (5’8, 131 lbs) and my blood pressure and pulse are usually not an issue. At what point does the blood pressure become dangerous enough for someone without blood pressure issues that I need to address it immediately? I’m assuming it’s the Pristiq withdrawl, but if it isn’t, I’m in trouble. My head is killing me. I never ever fuss to anyone about my health, good, bad or otherwise, but right now, I’m feeling really strange and again, anxious. Anxious doesn’t even seem strong enough to cover it. More like Hysterically on Edge and feeling like I’m about to be killed at any moment. That would be closer to describing the feeling. This is horrible.

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