Q. Can you offer me any ideas of how I can ease my withdrawal from Pristiq? My brain is cloudy, I am having brain zaps and I am agitated.

I should have never tried it out. Please help!

A. You must let your physician know what is going on. DO NOT stop this antidepressant suddenly. The withdrawal symptoms can be devastating.

Here are some stories to consider:

“I was prescribed Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) four years ago [this drug is somewhat similar to Effexor (venlafaxine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine) in that it works the same way] when Lexapro lost its effectiveness. Pristiq seemed to have no obvious side effects unless I forgot to take it in the morning. By afternoon, I would be experiencing brain zaps and hearing my eyes move. I would see “trails” when moving my eyes. This would go away within hours of taking the missed dose. I then tried to stop the drug myself, because I didn’t want to be on something that has that effect.

“I tried weaning off myself by taking a full dose (100 mg) then 75 mg the next day and alternating for 2 weeks then go down to 75/75. I went crazy after two weeks and had to go back to the original dose. Not only did I have severe suicidal thoughts every 5 minutes, but uncontrolled crying, extreme sluggishness, night sweats (when I could sleep), weight gain, irritability and mood swings. Physically, my blood pressure (which has ALWAYS been 110/78) jumped to 149/101.

“After two weeks of getting back on the drug, all symptoms (including high blood pressure) normalized. I am now under a doctor’s care to switch back to Lexapro (which she says will work again since I have given the drug a rest). She is having me take a full dose of Pristiq one day and then full dose of Lexapro the next day for a week. Then in 2nd week, Pristiq 1 day, then 2 days of Lexapro. She supplemented with Abilify daily. So far, the withdrawal symptoms have been manageable and I am in my 2nd week. I have added weekly acupuncture for the mood swings and am hopeful that I will have my life back.”–A. H.


“I was put on Pristiq almost a year ago. I got tired of taking this drug and I slowly started weaning myself off of the pills for about a month. As I’m typing this message my brain is shivering and zapping like nobody’s business. When I tried to explain it to my doctor he acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about. In the meantime, I suffer like crazy.”–Oscar


“I am coming off Pristiq right now. Was on 100 mg a day and my doctor pulled me off it cold turkey. I’ve only taken it for about 2 months, but I feel like I’m going crazy. I have the brain zaps so bad I can barely walk around my house. I’m terrified to drive. This is worse than anything I’ve ever been through, and that includes quitting smoking.”–Laurel


“I have been on a variety of antidepressants over the past few years for depression and anxiety. My latest prescription is Pristiq 50 mg once a day. I have been on it for 6 months. At first, I did see a difference in my depression and anxiety, but things began to change in the 7th month. I started having side effects from Pristiq. I haven’t had a brain freeze yet, but I have had other symptoms.

“I have had insomnia, headaches, GI upset, elevated cholesterol, blood pressure changes, joint/muscle pain, abnormal swelling all over, fatigue, agitation and ears ringing. From what I have read this is a hard medication to get off. I didn’t realize that this medication was making me sick until I went online and started to look up my symptoms. I really don’t know if I want to continue to take antidepressants if they are going to make me more physically sick.”–Julie


PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

No one should ever discontinue antidepressant medication without medical supervision. As described above in vivid detail, the withdrawal symptoms can be terrible. We are especially concerned now that we see Cymbalta (duloxetine) advertised for arthritis symptoms. We wonder whether physicians are warning patients that getting off such drugs can be challenging (to say the least).

Here are some side effects to be aware of with Pristiq and Cymbalta:

CYMBALTA (DULOXETINE) & PRISTIQ (DESVENLAFAXINE) SIDE EFFECTS:

  • Nausea, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting
  • Dizziness, fatigue, sleepiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia, anxiety, jitteriness, irritability, tremor
, weird dreams
  • Sweating, hot flashes
  • Blurred vision
, glaucoma
  • Headache
, ringing in ears
  • Sexual dysfunction, lowered libido, erection difficulties, lack of orgasm
, abnormal ejaculation
  • Liver damage
  • Serious skin reactions, rash, hives (requires immediate MD assistance!)
  • Glaucoma
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Bleeding problems
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Interaction with other drugs (leading to serotonin syndrome among other reactions)
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Depressed mood, suicidal thoughts and behavior, suicide

Some people never experience such side effects and achieve substantial benefit from medications like desvenlafaxine, duloxetine and venlafaxine. But others find the problems with such drugs overwhelming. The sexual side effects alone can be disconcerting. They are also quite common. You can imagine that dizziness, dry mouth, lack of orgasm and excessive sweating might be enough to drive a person to want to stop such medication. But as you will see below, that can trigger a whole other set of problems.

Doctors have taken to calling this “discontinuation syndrome.” These clinical words do not do justice to what it is like to stop antidepressants like Cymbalta, Effexor (venlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine), Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) or Zoloft (sertraline) suddenly.

SUDDEN WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:

  • Brain “zaps” (electric shock-like senstations in the brain)
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, vertigo, feeling faint
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety, irritability, hostility
  • Nausea, diarrhea, digestive upset
  • Tremor, hands shaking, nerve tingles, strange sensations
  • Fatigue, tiredness, lack of energy
  • Visual disturbances

So, what is a person to do once started on the antidepressant merry-go-round? Sadly, doctors do not have clear guidelines about how to help patients stop such drugs. There is no clear-cut formula that will work for everyone. Patience is essential, though. This is NOT a do-it-yourself project. You will need help from a knowledgeable health professional. And you will need to take time. For some, a few weeks may be adequate to gradually phase off the drug. For others, it may take many months of very slow dosage reduction.

We offer our Guide to Dealing with Depression. It provides some additional insights into both side effects and withdrawal. It also discusses some other ways of coping with depression. Whatever you do, you will need great support from a health professional who understands the complexity of such medications.

You are also invited to share your experience with these drugs below.

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  1. Kris
    Reply

    Hey y’all. I just wanted to share my story in hopes of giving someone else hope. I was on 50mg of Pristiq for almost 10 years. I unsuccessfully tried to get off a few years ago by going cold turkey. HUGE mistake! Hence the reason I ended up back on it. I couldn’t handle the withdrawals. I have been off of this drug for almost 2 weeks now. The key is slowly tapering. I started by taking a pill every other day for 2 weeks. I then took 25 mg every other day for 1 week. Then I winged it with the 25 mg pill to see how long I could wait before having to take one. I made if without it for 2 days that time. After that I didn’t take another one again! I had minimal withdrawal symptoms doing this. I did have a little vertigo, but nothing unbearable. The worst is the anger outburst, irritability & insomnia. I still mostly have trouble sleeping, which is something I’ve never had trouble doing. I do feel more & more better each day & do not feel like I’m walking through life in a fog, which is how that medicine made me feel. If you’re coming off, HANG IN THERE & the key is taper slowly. Keep a chart. Make a plan & be patient. You got this!

  2. Megian
    Reply

    I am presently attempting to come off Pristiq, It was initially described to help with depression and hormone imbalances related to the menopause, and it worked very well and helped me to change my outlook and learn to cope with things. After two years, my life was much better, and I felt it was time to become medication free. I was on 100mg and wanted to taper off, and by accident missed a day. After discussion with a medical practitioner, I started taking one every other day for a few weeks. Then I lowered the dosage to 50g every other day. At this point, all was going quite well. Missing one day was symptom-free, but missing two caused increasing nausea, dizziness, and brain zaps.

    After a week or so of that, fate intervened, and I spent over 42 hours at a hospital watching my beloved elderly mother slowly die. I did not leave her hospital bed, but did not have any medication with me. I was so focused on my mother’s sudden illness, I did not have time to dwell on my withdrawal symptoms. That was five days ago. Although I feel great sadness, and feel mentally drained and exhausted from all that has happened, I know that I am now strong enough to deal with it all without having to go back onto medication. Physically I am exhausted, nauseous, dizzy, suffering from brain zaps and feeling generally ill. (Some of this, I know, is due to pristiq withdrawal. Some, also, is due to the loss of my mum). I know it will all pass and slowly improve over time, and I am managing to function just well enough to be able to deal with all of the arrangements necessary for my mother. It helps that I have the most wonderful supportive family. Thank you for allowing me to share how I am feeling. I think it will help me deal with it all, and give me the strength to remain off pristiq.

    • Kris
      Reply

      Stay strong! I am praying for you

  3. Eddie's Mom
    US
    Reply

    Stopped Pristiq about a year ago due to cost. I didn’t think it was helping anyway. BUT, now I’m not sure. I’ve developed debilitating anxiety and have constant depression. I feel so bad that I’m questioning my resolve to stay away from the hideous chemical that caused me to go through a withdrawal that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! It took months of ever reducing daily doses augmented with Xanax and Norco with lots of sleep. I couldn’t hold a job. I did cut ER tabs in order to reduce my dose. The alternative was to crush a full pill and divide it into smaller doses. It took several months of pure hell. My current anxiety is so overwhelming I don’t know what’s worse. I feel like I’m irreparably broken.

  4. wayne
    australia
    Reply

    I had been on antidepressants for over ten tears for several personal reasons,but I must say at the time they saved my life.recently I left my stressful job and moved on with a lovely new wife and child.under my doctors instructions I reduced down slowly from 200MG to 50mG.the last fifteen days I took a 50MG every second day and that was it finished.i am now twenty days off the drug I had one bad day and still some minor stomach irration and wind.every day gets better and I feel heaps better more alert I still cry alittle but they are tears of joyand I can cry not like before.hope this helps guys please rememder always check with a GOOD doctor and some people cannot come off.kind regards to you all wayne from aussie land

  5. J
    Ohio
    Reply

    I have been off Pristiq for about 3 weeks now. I sort of tapered and then quit- with my Drs help.
    The brain zaps are terrible but the worst part for me is still the mental fog. i can tell that I am irritable at times and I try to notice it and just stop whatever I’m doing and take a deep breath.
    But the zaps and the “fog” have actually made me consider quitting my job. I am really having a hard time concentrating and, at times, comprehending what I am reading. It has made it difficult to run meetings and interact with coworkers. I feel like I can’t always follows along. I have never been this way and this is really frustrating.
    I haven’t read about others having this issue- is it just me?
    I expected the other “withdrawal symptoms” but this is just too much.
    I would just like to know if it’s just me.
    I see my doctor in a week to check in.. I can’t stand this.
    Thanks and good luck to all.

    • JL
      Indiana
      Reply

      I have been on Pristiq 150mg @day for several years. When I forget a dose or choose to go without, the only side effect is uncontrolled crying. As for its effects, I don’t really experience any. For over 5 years I have been a bed-ridden invalid, with absolutely no desire to do anything but watch tv. I have been on disability for 8 years, due to both physical and emotional disorders. I am saddened at the withdrawal horror stories. I’ve been through withdrawals from Ultram and Klonopin, both being hell on earth. A new doctor has taken the place of my NP, doing major damage Day One by reducing my Klonopin. I can barely sleep, and have become phobic about going outside. No amount of talking will change her mind. Although Pristiq does not seem to be having ANY effect aside from preventing crying jags, after reading of the horrific experiences of others, I have decided to leave it alone and continue on the prescribed dose. My hope is that all these accounts are passed on to your doctors and pharmacists, so that someone along the line will read, listen, and understand the disservice being done to patients in need of help.

    • Eddie's Mom
      Reply

      I just found this site and not sure if you’re still checking in. How are you managing? Have you gotten through the worst of it? I feel strong empathy for you and know what you’re going through. I pray you are now finished with the detox and feeling stronger.
      Best wishes!!

  6. Joshua
    PA
    Reply

    The problem was getting the pills. I hit an insurance doughnut hole. To get the pill I had to go through a very bureaucratic process to get them free, petition ones doctor for the pills, or face going cold turkey and withdrawal. I had been on the Pristiq and Lamictal for 6 years (I’ve been on one variety of pill since I was about 12). I took Pristiq and Lamictal and they worked well. My anxiety was under control and I could think before my chest filled up with adrenaline.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but some of the side effects of taking the Pristiq could’ve been harmful to me. I had Pancreatitis, and I later found out that that that was a side effect. Manic episodes on the pills were common enough for my psychiatrist to misdiagnose me as a manic depressive. I had insomnia, and spasms so bad that I couldn’t turn my head to the left. Dry mouth, and peeing a lot because I had to drink so much water to stay hydrated. Weight gain was also a problem, for some reason I was prone to more binge eating on the pills. There was also a “lack of emotional response”. I couldn’t feel negative nor positive emotions.

    However, the withdrawal symptoms were/are fierce. I remember studying, and reading the the words on a books page, but I couldn’t translate them into anything that made sense. I cried constantly and out of the blue. I had a fever and insomnia, night sweats. I had this feeling like pins and needles were piercing my head. They felt like pin pricks. The “brain zaps” and the spasms were bad too. I felt sharp pain in my jaw and eating was hard. I slept constantly because moving hurt a lot. I hate to say it, but the only thing that made the withdrawal from Pristiq and Lamictal manageable was cannabis. I don’t smoke now, but it helped a lot when I needed it.

    I wish I could find a drug like Lamictal and Pristiq because living in constant physical discomfort is not very pleasant. After being pill free for 9 months, I truly miss the clarity the pills gave me. Despite all the positives of sticking to mental health programs, I don’t want to have to develop a physical addiction to drugs to stay healthy.

  7. Kaz
    Australia
    Reply

    So today after being on antidepressants for 8 years. About 4 or 5 of those years being on Pristiq, I was looking for a way to ween myself off. Now after reading all that I have (not just on here) I’m a bit scared of the side effects. I’ve been on 200mg for nearly 2 years now. Started at 50mg…. 😟

    • ashley
      USA
      Reply

      I am also on pristiq. I have heard that to get off of it since it is time released and you cant really break the pills, a lot of Drs will put you on Effexor and wean you off with that. Good luck, coming off of these awful things isn’t fun.

    • Kaz
      Reply

      So.. 2nd day on only 100mg
      All pre sweet 😊

      • Kaz
        Reply

        Well, a few inconveniences but nothing major. When I get some of the symptoms, I say to myself, that’s ok because this is my choice. But the best thing is: I have more energy, I sleep like a normal person and I feel an excitement inside that I haven’t felt for years 😃
        It’s the 1st Feb my 5th day on 100 mg, half my dose of 8 years…

        • IamPositive
          Reply

          Hey, I see this conversation is quite recent. I will be glad to join in as I am looking out for people who are in the tapering process or have successfully come out of Desvenlafaxine.

          KAZ, how have you been doing? Why did you drop down so quickly from 200 to 100 may I know?

          I am on 50mg twice daily of Desvenlafaxine (so 100mg in tot) and I am talking to a compounding pharmacist in my locality after reading such a possibility elsewhere. They have asked me the details of dosages required. I am quite confused whether to go 50mg-40mg or 45mg-45mg to start with. I want to take it slow no matter how long it takes. I had been on other ADs ever since 2003 and this one Desvenlafaxine for about a year now.

          • Ann
            US

            I’ve been on Pristiq for over a year. My Dr started a tapering process that has worked tremendously for me. She took me from 100 to 50 for 6 weeks. Then she had to cut the 50 in half for 7 days. When asked about the issue of breaking the pill, she said the body would still get enough for it to think it was ok. After 1 week I was to begin alternating every 2 days: 0 pill, 2 days half a 50. The first day off was filled with cold chills, brain zaps, light headedness, nausea, fatigue. When I was to restart the 25 the next day, my husband and I decided to just stay off, the worst was over. He was right. Next day brain zaps, no nausea. 3rd day lightheaded, no brain zaps. I am on day 4 with no symptoms. Much prayer, much support and plenty of sleep.

          • Roxanne
            Alabama

            I have been on pristiq for 8 months. I am in a better place now and wanted to start weaning off. I was taking 50mg and then went to see a doc and she put me on 25mg to taper off that was on March 11th. So far I took it 8 days in a row wasn’t too bad with side effects. Had some brain fog, irritation, headaches and dizzy but could still deal with it. Then on March 19th I skipped that day and went to every other day for 8 times and had same symptoms as before on and off but also brain zaps, manic feeling, jittery, hot flushes, like every couple hrs and they would last a couple minutes or so and also felt like bugs were crawling on me (crawlies i guess they call it)

            Some days I had lots of energy and felt good and took advantage of those days. Then I skipped April 2 &3 and went to skipping 2 days in a row for 5 times. Will take my last pill tomorrow April 16th for the 2 day skip.

            Have had all the side effects as mentioned in post off and on but the last 2 times I have taken my pill the next day have felt the worse. So much brain fog I can’t seem to focus on anything. Its hard writing this post. I keep going over and over it to make sure I didn’t repeat myself. I have had headaches and piercing pains in back of skull that last a few seconds, not sure if that is another part of the brain zaps. All I want to do is lay on the couch and sleep. I am planning on doing 3 day skip for 5 times and then 4 day skip 5 times and my last day of pristiq will be May 31rst.

            I will do another post either after the 3 day skip or after I am totally off depending how I am doing. Overall it hasn’t been as bad as I have thought it would be but this off and on of the withdrawals makes you feel kind of crazy. I can’t make any plans because I don’t want to have to cancel. Luckily I have just moved to a new state so am not working so don’t have to deal with that.

  8. Sara
    Michigan
    Reply

    I’m on my 2nd attempt to get off of Pristiq. I have been taking it for almost 2 years. If I miss 1 dose I get a headache, extremely nauseous, dizzy, and just feel awful (almost non functional). I tried tapering off about 6 months ago, but the withdrawal symptoms were horrible. In addition to the physical symptoms I was very irritable and emotional. I don’t want to be depressed, but I can’t be a slave to this awful drug anymore. I’m not sure how to actually get off of it as it makes me so sick. I was reducing my dose by 25% for a few weeks at a time. My doctor said its side effects aren’t bad, so he’s no help. I guess I just need to push through.

  9. lorraine
    UK
    Reply

    My GP asked me to stop my antidepressant (mirtazipine/remeron abruptly to enable him to reassess if my previous antidepressant (citalopram) or the newly introduced remeron was the cause of my rages and uncontrollable crying episodes. I am now on day 13 cold turkey and feel helpless and hopeless. Plagued by horrible symptoms. I have searched extensively for an ‘average’ on length of suffering following cold turkey approach. But find it almost impossible as tapering is the theme. What information is around for people who have been medically advised to do this? I am now back to spending all day in bed. Feeling sorry for myself!

  10. Sharon
    cullman, Alabama
    Reply

    I did well taking Zoloft during my pregnancies .I had brain zaps when I would miss a week’s doses. They were very mild compared to pristiq. I missed two doses of pristiq due to a stomach virus this week, and I have to admit that after 25 years of taking antidepressants, I am truly disturbed and scared by the withdrawals I’ve experienced. I’m crying several hours nonstop, screaming and cursing, want to bang my head against the wall, severe shocks from my eyeballs to my feet. Having terrible thoughts. I’m going to my doctor and try to get off of this. It won’t be easy with 4 small children, but I refuse to be a slave to any drug! There’s other less scary drugs on the market! Good luck!

    • Annie
      Australia
      Reply

      I have suffered from anxiety my whole life and in desperation at 50 years old after my mothers death and an abusive relationship started taking Paxil.. Big mistake…The roller coaster ride did not abate and I started Pritiq in 2013 trying to find an answer to the instability I felt….

      However my life, emotions and relationships were not any better on this medication, if anything they were worse… Sure I had no anxiety however I was over confident, had numb emotions and didn’t care about some of my decisions I made…

      So everyone, I have gone ‘cold turkey’ off pristiq…Like everyone on this forum I experience all the withdrawal symptoms – brain zaps, nausea, not sleeping, irritability, jitters, brain fog, mood swings, weight gain, surges of anger, feelings of not coping and/or going mad etc…

      I am now about 8 weeks into my withdrawal. I find I have good days and bad days however I do Yoga 4 times a week, walk every other day, meditate and try to keep the stress levels down in my life. That includes limiting time with family that may trigger toxic emotions.

      Toughing it out with strategies I believe will work, is what I am doing…. The alternative for me is not an option ….a lifetime of taking medication which is prescribed by doctors who they themselves don’t understand the drugs they prescribe and being at the roulette table deciding which tablet or dose will make me feel normal…

      Great book to read on what doctors and these anti depressant drugs can do to a normal person experiencing life challenges is ‘ Dying for a Cure’ by Rebbekah Beddoe… insightful book….

  11. Brandi
    Ohio
    Reply

    I’m currently stopping cold turkey because I’m pregnant. Just wondering if anyone has any experience taking this while pregnant? Or coming off while pregnant…I’m concerned because my hormones are already causing my mood to be up and down. My doctor wants me to continue taking but there isn’t much research about pregnancy and Pristiq since it’s a fairly new drug, and I would rather not chance anything. If anyone can help me transition or at least let me know what to expect I would appreciate any help.

    • Terry Graedon
      Reply

      Weaning off gradually should be possible even though you are pregnant. Any risk to the baby is from exposure in the second and third trimesters.

    • Lisa E
      Fort Wayne, IN
      Reply

      Quitting cold turkey is not advised, especially while pregnant. Considering tapering your dose for the next 3-6 weeks. My opinion- your baby will have more distress from your discontinuation effects vs being exposed to the drug for several more weeks.

  12. Laura
    Canada
    Reply

    I recently successfully came off this drug. I was on Pristiq 50mg for over three years straight. I decided I wanted to come off them and my doc said to taper, take one every other day for a month, then every two days etc. I tried that and it didn’t work. Every day I didn’t take the drug I had horrible headaches and zaps.
    I went back on them every day and then a couple of months later decided it was time to cold turkey.
    It was not that bad!!! The first couple of days I felt fine but had some brain zaps and slept alot. I didn’t need time off work, I just did it at a time when I wasn’t too busy.
    The symptoms I had were brain fog, dizziness (but I could still drive), some mild diahrrea and drowsiness.
    It has now been 14 days since my last pill and I feel amazing. The zombie fog has lifted and I feel joy and other feelings I haven’t felt in years.
    I encourage you all to try it, you hear the worst of the stories on these forums and it really wasn’t that bad for me.
    I wish you all success and happiness.

    • Bob
      Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with a positive outcome! I think it’s the only one I have read

    • Denise
      West Kelowna
      Reply

      You rock for giving so positive thoughts. Thx 😊

    • Annie
      Reply

      I totally agree with your positive comments…. I have been off pristiq (50mg) for two months and am starting to feel normal again….I am observant of my mood and physical well being and just take note of symptoms which I am sure are due to the discontinuation of the drug…ie. moodiness, irritability etc…I then do things that support me… A walk on the beach, pick up a book and read a passage, put on some good music… anything that interrupts the pattern….

      I am realistic that I have been on this medication for a couple of years so I am not going to get an instance wellness result.. it will take time and work on my part.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Meg
      Australia
      Reply

      Hi, Thankyou for your comment, I find it very helpful. I am attempting to come off pristine. I have taken 100mg every other day for the last week ( I was on 100mg), the dizziness,foggiest etc has been manageable and I can still function reasonably well. This week I plan to go to 50mg every other day, extending to two, then three days between until they run out. I don’t currently have a dr due to moving house (and I love my new house – definitely a change for the better! In fact, things generally have improved). So I am acting on the advice of a lovely nurse practitioner, who will prescribe me extra 50mg if I need it. Pristiq has been very helpful for me over the last two years, but I am ready to function without it!
      Thankyou again for your positive advice!

  13. Clare
    Brisbane, Australia
    Reply

    I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq about 18 months ago. Previously I had been on lexapro for about 3 years and went off them cold turkey of my own accord. The withdrawal symptoms were intense – sleep paralysis, cold sweats, flu symptoms and brain zaps constantly, just to name a few. I got through it after a few weeks and stayed off meds for about 9 months before going on Pristiq. I am now at a point in my life where I feel like I’m ready to stop taking medication. I feel like I’m strong enough to get through life without them. Which is something I almost thought I’d never be able to do. I saw my doctor and thought I should do it properly this time as I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about withdrawal symptoms from Pristiq. I expressed my concern to her and she was able to give me some great advice. The first thing you must do when going off any anti depressant is to prepare yourself mentally. Realise that there are a number of changes in your brain chemistry that may result and keep telling yourself that you are strong enough to push through. The second thing you must NOT do is to stop taking the medication abruptly. My doctor recommended going down by quarters in two to three week increments, but said that I shouldn’t go lower until the side effects of the initial lowering subside. I’m now on half a tablet (25mg) and despite constant hot flushes and a few emotional outbursts, nothing has been unmanageable (thankfully). I just make sure I carry water with me at all times and try to keep cool so my heart rate doesn’t escalate too quickly. I think by next week I should be down to a quarter, so here’s hoping for the best. Just have to stay strong and positive!

  14. Sara G
    Brisbane Australia
    Reply

    I am a Pharmacist and never thought I would use Pristiq until I had a work accident and fracture my back and was prescribed Pristiq.

    I put on 11 kg in 3 months, had sweats, nausea, headaches, irritability and decided to take myself of the 50mg dose.
    First of all I cut all the tablets in half ( I know we tell you not to being enteric coated but needs must) then I cut another 30 tablets into quarters.

    For 14 days I alternated with one whole tablet and 3/4 of a tablet at night, then I took 3/4 of a tablet for 10 days then I alternated 3/4 of a tablet with half a tablet for 14 days then I took half a tablet for 10 days and then half a tablet alternating quarter of a tablet for 2 weeks then 1/4 of a tablet for 14 days then 1/4 every other day for 14 days, 1/4 of a tablet every three days for 14 days, 1/4 every fourth day for 14 days then 1/4 every fifth day for 14 days then I stopped altogether, felt groggy for two days could not sleep properly for 4 days but now ok just got to loose the weight.

    • Jade
      Reply

      I’m barely sixteen and after a series of sessions with my psychologist and a psychiatrist it was decided I would benefit from antidepressants. We were told to see our doctor as soon as we could so the chosen medication would take effect as quickly as possible, but our usual doctor was away and the letter of recommendation had yet to be scanned through.

      The doctor we saw had me explain my symptoms (I’ve been diagnosed with both depression and anxiety within the past four years and was diagnosed with a mood disorder by the psychiatrist) and then decided to put me on Prestiq. Within two weeks a different doctor again upped my dose from the starting 50mg to 100mg a day.

      The only side effects I suffered from while on the medication was extreme fatigue where I would fall asleep while in the middle of doing things, and the occasional dizziness. It was less than five days ago when I got to finally see our usual doctor who decided within the first ten minutes that I needed to be taken off Prestiq and begin taking the original medication recommended for me. I had taken my tablet that morning and was told to not take another and begin my next prescription in three days time.

      My doctor didn’t warn me about withdrawals in any way, and though I had expected there to be something, I hadn’t expected it to the degree of what I’ve been through. The past four days I’ve suffered through migraines, nausea, dizziness, and extreme panic attacks and I am now waiting for the medication I began yesterday to counter the misbalance caused. I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way, but please be extremely careful with this drug.

    • Lisa
      Seattle, WA
      Reply

      I was a long time user of Pristiq approx 5 yrs. I am no longer taking the medicine and am happy to report that I feel great! But it has taken me the last year to wean myself off of the medicine. I, too, have experienced all of the withdrawal symptoms from blood pressure changes ( the worst one UGH) sweating, brain zaps, sluggish, low energy, mood swings, headaches, dry mouth, weird sensations in my legs, joint pain, sleepiness, etc. Mostly experiencing these symptoms in between lowering my dose.

      I would lower my dose and keep it that dose until my body got used to it and the symptoms subsided. Then I would lower it again wait for symptoms to stabilize, repeating until I got down to a once week dosage eventually allowing me to quit. It’s been a long road but what I learned through this experience is not to put a time limit on quitting the medicine rather let your body tell you when to reduce the meds.

      Also, it is imperative to have a good support system in place a family member or pastor you can talk to and tell them how you are feeling emotionally, physically and mentally during the process of reducing. We won’t always see certain changes in ourselves but a close family member or friend will. It is important to tell someone how much meds you are on, your overall feelings and changes you are experiencing. That way they can help in monitoring your progress. And lastly, know it will be a journey and it won’t be easy but keep the faith your body will tell you what’s best for you….don’t rush the process!

  15. Donna
    DC Metro Area
    Reply

    Go to hospital to get help getting off Pristiq.

  16. sidne byars
    la Paz mexico
    Reply

    I have Hep C and Have had for over 50 years i was only dx 2008. I have been on anti d’s starting with Prozax and ending with pristique I was on Lexapro for a long time maybe 5 years before my Pain Specialist put me on Pristique the first day I felt better on 50mg of Pristique I have had very hard times with money. I am broke and now can’t afford to buy the meds so Iam going through withdrawel from 100 I was taking then started 100 twice a day as I cannot deal with my situation they will be cutting off my phone in a couple of days and there goes my internet. Since I do not have any money to do anything I have to quit cold turkey. It has been only 24 hours since I have had a pill took my last pill. I began taking anti’d’s for anxiety didn’t drive for almost 3 years as my anxiety was so bad, I am not liking my position but I have taken my self off pain meds cold turkey that took about 4 days in bed. I didn’t answer the phone I just stayed in bed and didn’t talk to anyone for at least 4 days and then 5 days and I was okay so I am hoping this is not worse for me. I am almost 70. I am hoping to be okay I quit smoking 4 years ago but now have recently started again. I am just so tired of being addicted to pills. I just want to be free of taking pills my pain levels are returning I am taking Lyrica and yurelax a muscle relaxant as my nevous system is damaged the lyrica helps with the fybromyalgia nerve pain today I took a 750 tylenol only have a few left so not sure how it is going to go I will post again if I can Hope I make it through okay will post again

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