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Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) Side Effects & Withdrawal

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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

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"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

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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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111 Comments

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I was on Effexor for 8 years. I wanted to get off the medication to see if I was depressed anymore. My doctors discouraged this saying I would have to stay on for life...Yikes! Well, I lost my medication on a Friday going all weekend without it until I saw my new doctor on the next Monday....she was fine with me trying to get off. It took about 2 months before I felt I could safely drive and about 6 months for the brain zaps and other symptoms subsided. I really wanted to get off this medication and have been successfully off for 2 years now without any depression! It can be done!!

It must be very painful to spend your professional life as a pharmacologist and then have to write things like this, but please keep it up. I am absolutely astonished and discouraged that our so-called public watchdogs like the FDA continue to let big pharmaceutical companies push drugs like this on trusting doctors and their patients.

Sadly, I have lost faith in my own health care providers because of their refusal to take drug side effects seriously. What is it going to take to wake them up??

I was on venlafaxine/Effexor for over a year as a rest from another antidepressant. My doctor and I agreed it was time to be free of all antidepressant medications and I gradually decreased the dosage over several weeks, actually months, with few or no side effects. If I did start having side effects, I would go back to the previous symptom-free level for a while and then start an even slower decrease. I could not get below 25 mg no matter what pace I tried. I was resigned finally to being tied to this drug permanently.

After several months my doctor suggested a new trial - I started on a very low dose of another antidepressant (10 mg) which I had taken successfully in the past, together with the 25 mg of venlafaxine. After a week or so, I started gradually reducing the venlafaxine, while maintaining the other drug. In this way I was able to get completely free of the venlafaxine. It was then fairly easy to get off the other medication, and I have been antidepressant free ever since!

I was on Effexor XR, 75 mg for 9 years. It was prescribed to me for peri-menopausal anxiety and panic attacks. The drug seemed like a miracle at first, but after a couple of years started becoming one long nightmare. I have now been off of Effexor XR for almost two years. I went through hell getting off of this drug, did it mostly on my own w/information I researched on the internet.

Looking back I would recommend to anyone that they get the help of a out-patient or in-patient rehab clinic to help them. These are very addictive drugs!!!

Hang in there! It is possible to get off Pristiq. I was on both Effexor and Pristiq for several years.
I literally cut the pills in 1/3 for 2 weeks, then I took take 1/2 for 2 weeks, last 1/4 for 2 weeks. It took a good solid week to come out of a fog after the last 1/4 pill. It will get better, it just takes time to ween your body off of it.

I've commented here on Cymbalta withdrawal before. I would add another symptom which affected me: severe itching, particularly in the scalp area. I pretty much had to manage my withdrawal on my own, because my neurologist (he'd prescribed it for neuropathic pain from Guillain-Barre Syndrome) thought I should keep taking it. I am very glad I tapered off, because before I had quit entirely, I was diagnosed with severe liver damage. It took awhile to convince my gastro-enterologist that it was related to the Cymbalta, and even now I'm not sure he believes me.

My experience with Cymbalta has made me extremely wary of prescription medications, and I always research them as thoroughly as I can before taking them. I was fortunate that my liver has substantially recovered. My recommendation for anyone who gets a new prescription is to ask not only the doctor but also the pharmacist about it. Pharmacists know a heck of a lot more about drugs than doctors do, and (in my experience) don't appear to suffer from the god complex that leads so many doctors to treat patients as ignorant and unintelligent children who can't be expected to participate in their own health care decisions. (Oops, sorry, end of rant!) I appreciate People's Pharmacy greatly for enabling me to make informed choices about my health care.

I am saddened to read so many comments about the dreadful side effects of the antidepressants. Why isn't the multibillion dollar drug industry held accountable for the terrible side effects of antidepressants.

I had a very tragic event in my family caused by the antidepressant Prozac. In Jan. 2005 my handsome 33 year old son, who was the father of 2 children, committed suicide while taking that despicable drug. Evidently, neither the prescribing doctor nor the pharmacist warned my son that Prozac causes suicidal thoughts but it does and a tragedy occurred that effected several families.

I'm just overwhelmed re all these comments. What a horrible situation to have to take crap like this Prestique. I find myself wondering how darn bad the depression and anxiety would have to be, to make one's sanity hostage to those meds.

A few months ago I had a (rare) bout of severe anxiety due to specific stressors at that time, and my Dr. tried to convince me to start on an antidepressant and/or (worse!) a bipolar med. I studied up on her every suggestion and discovered horror stories just like the ones above. When I tried to introduce my concerns into the conversation and cited the numerous reports of terrible side effects I found on the web, my Dr. (just like so many other docs) became irritated, saying, "You can find absolutely anything you want on the web... the web doesn't mean anything at all!"

So... who cares how many people report horrible problems like the ones above? Certainly not the doctors! I refused to start any of those meds, and I've been fine ever since.

The only thing that seems to make drug companies or the FDA pay attention to severe drug side effects is multimillion dollar class action lawsuits.

My physicians continue to insist that I take the medication du jour (most recently Cymbalta) to treat my chronic problems. When I refuse because I have educated myself about the potential costs to my health, they don't accept the information I try to provide them about why these drugs are not a good idea.

Don't trust physicians for this information. With every new medication you are prescribed, do your homework before agreeing to add it. Use one of the online medication interaction checkers and be sure that you are not going to have problems with the new medication interacting with your current meds. Your family can always try to sue when you lose your life and/or health, but isn't it best to be your own advocate?

It is almost twelve years now since I lost my sister to suicide because of a bungled medication regimen. Nothing can replace that relationship in my life, but big Pharma considers these losses just the cost of doing business, and most of the time they are not held accountable.

I can understand your frustration. In my opinion, having been around adult family members taking valium and other antidepressants, the key to using these powerful drugs today is to find a doctor who is trained in the use of psychotropic drugs. Then become an informed educated patient/partner with your doctor.

For me, Effexor has been a god-send. I also have ADHD which I can identify symptons of all the way back to as young as I can remember. The same goes for depression which I later learned runs in my family. With both chronic depression and ADHD I was a mess. I tried to hide as much of how I felt all the time because when I was a child, it was thought children did not have depression and ADD/ADHD was an unknown. I was afraid my family would think I was crazy [whatever that meant to them].

Again in my opinion, one should NEVER get off of a med without doctor's help. These drugs work precisely BECAUSE they are what they are. Regards.

I am starting to understand the importance of being our own "health care advocates"! Doing the research - asking questions and if needed, getting a second opinion. Also looking into "alternative" treatments.

One of the problems that I see with antidepressants - is that doctors seem to be so willing/quick to put a patient on an antidepressant as a first response "solution". Considering the potential side effects (and that the meds affect our brain chemistry), I think it would make much more sense to do some further testing (on brain chemistry), and make sure the person is supported with nutrition, exercise and counseling.

I switched to Pristiq in 3/2011 (after my teenage son had been prescribed the drug for depression/anxiety). Previously I was on Lexapro for about 5 years (following my divorce). Pristiq was being marketed as a possible solution for pre/post menopausal symptoms - so I thought I would switch over to this "new and improved" brand drug. At that time it was fairly new and there wasn't much information on possible side effects. I have learned recently that the clinical studies are usually sponsored by the drug companies. Not sure then how objective or realistic they really be...

Started on 50mg Pristiq which seemed to work pretty quickly - and at first seemed to work pretty well. Then it seemed to "wear off" and the side effects started - tired, foggy thinking, blurred vision among other things. I was bumped up to 100 mg and at that point kind of felt numb - and honestly had a hard time getting through each day (and gained close to 30lbs). The most trouble part was that started isolating - wanting to be by myself where before I had always been very much a people person. Not quite sure how I got through last year and by October 2012 I felt like I could no longer keep up with my work responsibilities and resigned from my job (as a local sales manager for a National Insurance Company).

Since then I have been on a "search" to be healthy. I've made changes to my diet and exercise and added vitamin D (learned later that I was low -and that this can also cause depression). After missing one day - and having HORRIBLE discontinuation symptoms) - I have realized that it is time for me to get off of Pristiq.

It has been a challenge to say the least. I tried switching to Prozac - that didn't work. I have tried going from 100- 50mg (the only two doses readily available) and the discontinuation symptoms totally put me out of commission - dizziness, lightheaded, headache, total fogginess, awful brain zaps/shocks and the feeling like I have the flu. Pretty scary stuff.

Pretty scary stuff and each time I have tried to make a change, I end up losing a few days - with at least 1 day in bed completely non functioning. Not the best thing to try and deal with - especially with being a single mom with three boys to take care of and trying to search for a new job.

I have found a holistic MD who I hope will help me to taper off this drug. Tried switching to Prozac and that didn't work either ( same discontinuation symptoms when I stopped Pristiq). I'm hoping I can taper down in 10 percent increments by getting the RX filled at a compound pharmacy...

And then my goal will be to get my 18 year old son off this drug as well!!

Any possible suggestions and/or "success" stories (of people who have successfully tapered off - and stayed off Pristiq) would be MUCH appreciated. Unfortunately, most of the posts I have found on-line have been from people struggling with side effects and discontinuation symptoms... it would be great to hear that it is possible to become "Pristiq free"!!

Thanks in advance,

Karen

Hi,

I have been on AD for two years now, swapping from lexerpro to efexor after the first year and to pristiq six months later. All seemed to work at first then simply had a numbing effect, no highs or lows just a constant state of numb & irritability.

Every time I see my M.D. to discuss my concerns with the medication the dosage is increased or I'm switched.
Prior to being moved to pristiq from efexor I had started the process of tapering my dose myself. Three days in I saw my M.D. told him my plan and received advice that this was a bad move, so onto pristiq.
Knowing that if I again raise concern I will most likely have my dosage increased or switched out, so...

I'm now 8 day in, cold turkey, and while it is unpleasant I believe the tide is starting to turn.

If there is something that I have taken away form my experience is not to put all my eggs in one basket.

Pristiq has worked for my depression but has caused every side effect you've listed from sweating to weight loss to loss of libido to loss of orgasm. I'm on 2- 50mg pills in the morning, but I'm considering to go to 1 pill per day. My diabetes has gotten worse, my blood pressure has gone up but not bad enough for medication but I'm on several Rxs per day for someone only 55 yrs old and I'm tired of it. Please help me with whatever suggestions u might suggest!
Mary

I was on a large lose of endep many years ago and had to take 3 weeks off work to withdraw from it - this was with a weaning program.
After that, I swore I wouldn't take ad's ever again.
However, 9 myths ago I was started on lexapro as my mother has cancer and I have a vision impairment and I was struggling. After a few months the lexapro ceased to have any effect and I was put on pristiq the week before Xmas.

By the beginning of the New Year I was feeling back to normal again and very positive. I returned to work (I had to have 6 weeks off before Xmas) and things went really well.

I decided that I was feeling so much better I was able to return to full time work for the first time in 3 years.

At Easter, I decided to stop the Pristiq. Two weeks later and I am still having withdrawal symptoms which have caused me to take 2 days off work.

My anxiety and depression are still ok but I feel so awful that I now worry about slipping back and needing meds again.

I know these meds have a place but I think that Dr's prescribe them too quickly and without enough knowledge of the side effects and withdrawals.
Please be careful when talking with your doctor and considering commencing any of these medications.

I've been on pristiq and seroquel for some time now. I am also on atenolol for tachycardia. Yesterday I suffered a horrible virus....vomiting and diarrhea. This is sending me into withdrawal. It's terrible. This happens every time I get sick. I'd like to stop these drugs, but I'm scared to do so.

I am currently weaning off Pristiq and looked up various symptoms because I am SO fatigued and feel very foggy, along with a slight headache. I was prescribed this medicine for PMS, and I honestly cannot tell how well it does or doesn't work. I did notice that my cholesterol and triglyceride levels suddenly increased, to the point where I had to go on an additional med that specifically targets triglycerides.

When I talked to my Doc about this, he could not find any documented side effects of it affecting this, but I am convinced it does. Why the warning about talking to your doctor before starting Pristiq if you have high cholesterol? I also experienced weight gain, decreased sex drive, etc. while taking Pristiq. Either way, I am glad to be getting off this medicine and thank God I was on lowest dose possible.

Been weaning myself off the Pristiq. I have been completely off the Pristiq for 8 days now. This drug is horrible getting off of. I've been nauseous, have had brain zaps, my brain feels foggy, having sleep problems now, blood pressure has went up, more anxiety. And I was put on this and klonipin for panic attacks.

Since I have been on Prisyiq my periods have completely stopped. I hate this drug. If I had known it was going to be like this I would have never tried it. How much longer am I going to have to go through this? Doctors don't tell you the withdrawal symptoms you will have coming off it. And I do think this drug is addicting, I don't care what the doctors say.

My advice to anyone thinking about taking this drug is don't do it. It's horrible coming off of. And I don't know how much longer this is going to last. If I wasn't taking my Klonipin I don't think I could stand it. How can the medical field think this drug can be good for you.

I'm so confused. I've been on Zoloft, 100mg, for 8 years. My doctor and I felt that maybe I could get better results by switching to Pristiq as recently I've been more down and depressed. I started taking 50mg of Pristiq today, along with my regular dose of Zoloft. I'm very sleepy, dizzy and am having stomach pain.

Maybe I should just stick with Zoloft and try to find a way to work through the depression. I'm kind of scared by the possible side effects of Pristiq. Really the only thing I've had a problem with on the Zoloft is with sex drive. Ugh, wish this was easier.

I'm in between medications at the moment, just trying to find one that will work right for me. Firstly I was on 50mg of Zoloft and felt like I had lost control of everything. I then saw my GP and was prescribed 50mg of Pristiq. I was instructed to stop Zoloft for 3 days before starting Pristiq. In those 3 days I had anger outrages both mentally and physically. Then I started to take 50mg of Pristiq and felt as if I was a zombie, I couldn't sleep at night and also had shaking of my legs intensely every moment I was awake.

Now I am on my second day of switching to a new medication which is not easy. I am feeling emotionally normal except for when I have Brain "Zaps". I'm contemplating on just starting 60mg of Cymbalta on the third day and hoping it eases these Brain "Zaps".

Has anyone any advice on how to ease these Brain "Zaps"? as I'm finding it unbearable?

Been off the Pristiq for almost a month now. I'm still having the brain zaps at times but not as bad. I still feel like my brain is foggy. I don't think the doctors need to be prescribing theses medicines when they have no idea what they medicine is going to do or how a person reacts to it. This is been a horrible experience for me. Thinking about using natural medicine next time. We are just being used as guinea pigs

I have very, very gradually been weaning myself off of pristique for about 3 months and it has been hell. I thought the worst was over but tonight I'm experiencing brain zap, nausea and diarrhea and irritability. I've isolated myself from my family so they don't have to put up with this.
DAMNED drug companies -only out to make a buck!

Well tomorrow is my one week transitioning from 100mg Zoloft to 50mg Pristiq. The first day I had extreme dizziness, stomach pain and a headache. Second day dizziness and headache. Seems now I'm just having a little dizziness and only a tiny headache. I've been on 100/50. Next week I start a 50/50 schedule.

I'm a little nervous. My appetite has decreased; I've lost 4lbs which is great. I need to lose more. Oh and I've been sleeping really good. I hope to continue down this same path. My mood has lifted and I'm more engaged in daily activities. Will report back.

I started on 50 mg of pristique after taking effector for several years cause it lost it's effectiveness so then I went up to 100mg of pristique when my mother was dying and I was in a terrible law suite with my brother who didn't think I deserved as much as him. This was after my father died. So I was on pristique for several years after my mother's death and now 3 years later I want to get off pristique so I told my doctor I went down to 50mg a day and continued that for about one month.

Now for about a month I've been taking 25mg of pristique but I'm only sleeping 5 to 6 hrs per night and I feel very anxious. I don't know what to do, I don't really want to go back to 50mg but I'm afraid of taking 25mg every other day. What was the name of the other antidepessant that you took 10 mg of while you got off the 25 of pristique?

I would really appreciate if you could share that info with me because it sounds like something that would work for me. I'm willing to try if I can eventually get off of both like you did. I'm 60 and I'm afraid of taking medications in case they cause dementia. Also I don't think I need it anymore. I want to be chemical free. Please help me if you can. Thank you so much, VP

I don't know if you got my question but I wanted to know what medication you used in addition to 25 mg of pristique to get off pristique completely? Thank you, VP

Hi people. Just thought I'd add my two cents. I have been on pristiq for over 2 years and was on a 100 mg a day. At first I felt like it was working but after awhile I ended up feeling slower and not sleeping very well. I went to the doc and he said to stop taking it and to start taking advanza. Big big mistake !!

After 3 days I could not handle the side effects. I immediately started taking it to stop the side effects. Since than I spoke to a person that believes a bit differently in things and he told me to try taking tryptophan he did say that this and snri's should not be taken together as bad things can happen but I was desperate to try anything.

I have been off pristiq for one week cold turkey and have been taking one tryptophan in the morning and one at lunch. While I still get brain zaps and anger issues on a scale of one to ten I give them a 3 compared to 9 beforehand. I'm not saying they are the cure but they are certainly helping me.

I was in severe pain and went to my doctor who put me on pristique about a month ago, I started getting a dull headache and a sore right eye and nausea I did not really link it with the Pristiq as I had also been started on blood pressure medication at the same time. Yesterday I did not take the medication as I had to have a gastroscopy. Today I felt terrible my head felt like it was enclosed with a tight band and my eye was really painful and I felt really sick in the stomach.

My son said stop taking those tablets they are making your liver unwell. So tonight I thought I will look up the side effects of this drug. What an eye opener this website has been. I have 9 of the listed side effects. I really don't know whether to go cold turkey because I have only been taking it for 28 days or see my doctor first because I felt really so dreadful tonight I was thinking of taking myself to the emergency ward at the local hospital. However until I read this site I had not realised that the problem was Pristiq.

I knew I was not depressed just exhausted from night after night of being unable to sleep due to pain. I have taken Prozac in the past with no problems so was not expecting this level of side effect as a friend had said how good it was. Wish I had never heard of it.

I have been on an extremely high dose (200mg daily) of Pristiq for about two years now. I have felt for some time
now that it has become ineffective in treating my depression. So I went to the Dr to get off it. I knew that it was a powerful drug and 'weaning' would be necessary. Having forgotten to take my tablets on a couple of occasions ( and believe me, if you've been on Pristiq you know you learn very quickly to NEVER forget to take them because the nausea, vomiting, dizziness, migraine type symptoms, light sensitivity, shakes etc that you suffer when you miss one dose are very powerful motivation indeed to remember!!) it was an endeavor I was not anticipating. But I'm not an advocate of taking unnecessary medication so off I went.

Dr asked me how many tablets I had left. Just one dose I replied (2 x 100mg tablets). Take one today and one tomorrow he said, then nothing for 4 days. Then he wanted me to try starting on Cymbalta. I was pretty shocked by his 'prescription' as I had really expected that the weaning process would have been much more paced and gradual. This really sounded like a cold turkey scenario to me. But who am I to argue? He's the one with the degrees...

Well skip forward to day 6 sans Pristiq. The hellish roller coaster this week has been I would not wish on my worst enemy. Migraine, extreme light and sound sensitivity, fatigue, extreme nausea, violent mood swings, pits of depression and despair, copious amounts of tears, aching eyes, horrible anxiety, actually physical difficulty with getting oxygen into my lungs (which is really scary to have to struggle so hard to breathe since we kind of all take that ability for granted), suicidal obsession, diarrhea, dizziness , hot and cold flushes, shakiness and trembling... I could go on... I spent two days locked in my bedroom sleeping with the shades drawn tight because the simple act of standing had me reeling with dizziness, gripped by nausea and in actual awful aching body-wracking pain.

The symptoms have eased somewhat at day 6 but am still very light and sound sensitive and am pretty much useless. Trying to concentrate on anything results in headache, nausea, shakiness etc. it's becoming a marathon effort to share my experience through these damned intrusive detox side effects. I have to say I have developed a healthy empathy for anybody having to suffer through detox! You know, a heroin addict may walk their own path to the detox point but it's still a cruel cruel thing to suffer.

I actually got on the net today trying to find out how much longer I would be plagued by these withdrawal symptoms. I'm really hoping not too much longer (fingers tightly crossed). My head is getting thicker and fuzzier the longer I persist here and I am starting to struggle with breath and nerves and shakes. I have decided I will not be going back to that Dr. I'm not interested in trading one evil for an equivalent evil.

I'm actually thinking that all things considered, although this week has been absolutely shattering, I am stronger than I thought I was. I'm still here and I'm still fighting! Hope this has made sense. Wish me luck with my continued detox.

Oh and if your Dr suggests Pristiq for you, think hard about it.

Thank you Thank you, all who've contributed...I've been taking 200mg of pristiq alongside of a cuppla other meds eg Valdoxan, under Dr.s orders. Finally the side effects of all this were too obvious to ignore!!!... so Dr wants me to stop Pristiq so I can 'try' Cymbalta... phasing from 200mg to 150mg for a few days, then 100mg fr 10days.

Now I'm taking 50mg for 4 days (today is my 4th). So far symptoms have been bearable but am now struggling to breathe, boy was that scary til I decided to check out others' experiences here... The dizziness and weird expanding head stuff I could handle, although the falling over consequences hurt... but this breathing issue is Nasty.

Have decided to try and sleep it out... it's 10:00am... Hope I wake up... if I do, I'll let you know if sleeping helps.

I went to see my Dr. for panic attacks that were getting more frequent and worse. After trying several types of anti-depressants, I found pristiq to be the one I was able to tolerate the best. The panic attacks stopped altogether, and although I was aware I was not quite myself, I thought it was a good trade-off.

After missing a couple of doses during an unusually busy workweek, the proverbial "lightbulb" came on my head- something that I never knew I was missing. It was like waking up from a coma. I did not realize that slowly over time I had become sort of a zombie.

Now that I am off the med, I feel like I missed 2 years of my life I can never get back. I tapered off pristiq over a one month period. I had relatively mild wd symptoms, disorientation being the worst.

I would say to find a dr. to help you with quitting any anti-depressant. Find one who will listen, maybe even one who prefers other forms of dealing with depression other than drugs. Every person is different, I have read the posts here, definitely see more severe symptoms in some people, not too bad for others. I wish I would have gone with my instincts and avoided starting the medication in the first place-

I have been on a few AntiDepressant meds after severe opiate addiction for over 25 years, I am taking suboxone and pristiq, I do not want the pristiq anymore so I stopped, it's been 3 days stopping cold turkey and like all the other AD meds I have brain swells and pulsation, skipping eye movements and some body twitching, but the worst is the nausea, even with being on permanent maintenance with suboxone the withdrawal affects are pretty bad, but not as bad as opiate withdrawal, stay as occupied as you can and push through, I don't know how long these symptoms will last but I am determined to get off, not to mention your sex drive picks up something fierce which is good for your spouse!

Absolutey right about the sex drive. I feel 30 years younger! Or should I say that with the Pritiq and Wellbutrin I felt 30 years older -- and I'm already in my 60s! Tough it out is right. I keep as busy as possible but also take half of a low-dose Clonazepam every couple of days. At night I drink wine with dinner and that makes me feel better for a while. I've tried drinking earlier in the day, though, but it doesn't work (especially b/c I've never been a daytime drinker; I was just trying it for medicinal purposes). But I'm in week 4 now and haven't felt better in years. I'm watching for symptoms of depression though; I have only had one acute episode, but many mild ones. But I've been on these damned drugs for more than a decade so I have no idea anymore what's normal. I've gained 5 lbs in this past month but am going back to normal eating now and hope that the little bulge will soon go away. In the long run we have to remember that the SSRIs are really only recommended these days for severe depression, yet millions of us continue on them for mild or moderate. The science doesn't support this. But... what do we do once we get off these horrible things if we find that we are still depressed?

I hav gained over 10 kg in 7 months of taking Pristiq so much for helping loss of appetite I can't stop eating making me even more depressed!

I hav always been an active person but I hav had no motivation to do hardly anything even daily chores n looking after my three kids as a single mum is overwhelming I tried all the natural stuff first but didn't quite feel strong enough.

I lost my husband to suicide and bipolar so I needed something now. I regret it so much I'm tearful and irritable snappy at my kids. After reading everyone else's comments I'm really concerned. I have been cold turkey from Pristq for two days cause long wknd here and I forgot to take it now feel so dizzy n nauseous I can't move without head spins but I hav to get to a chemist for emergency supply as its father's day today and the whole family coming over n I'm overwhelmed as I can't move!!

I hav a baby to look after whose crying and needs me and two other kids I'm yelling at cause they want me to get ready for the ready for the day!!! Do not go cold turkey unless u can suffer in bed with vomit bucket beside u I feel like I'm coming off Heroin or something hot cold sweats brain bout to explode pls be careful not like me!!

I gotta go get emergency supply asap buy its Sunday and nothing open yet arggghh hope I feel better soon cause this sux!!!

Thank goodness I read these posts. After years on the merry go round (100mg a day) over the last few weeks I've been reducing Pristiq and stopped 7 days ago and not due to see my doc for another 4 weeks. Trying to describe whats happening in my head to my family was worse than the noises and the rest of the symptoms.

Misery loves company but I've got it pretty easy compared to some of the other comments on this site. Good luck and trust yourself and stay strong.

I have been on Pristiq for 5 years now and missed a dose a few weeks back. OMG - it was horrible! Experienced severe brain zaps, confusion, dizziness - it felt like I was losing my mind! I could not get out of bed because I felt like I would fall down. My husband said that I was not making any sense when I spoke. It was really scary. Even more scarier is that I am afraid to get off of this medication because I would not be able to function at work - there is no way! I feel like I am stuck. Who has two weeks to spare so that you can go through the withdrawals - I don't! Any suggestions on how to successfully get off of this med AND be able to function?

I have been on Pristiq for 3 years and I agree if u forget a tablet - the brain zaps, nausea, dizziness is horrible. I'm seeing a psychologist who will help as I so need to get off these. My doc told me I can't half these tabs (on 50grams) but I'm so keen to slowly reduced them somehow - has anyone tried this or suggest anything?

I got a generic test where they use a swob to your gums and they send it to the lab where it tells you which drugs are good and which aren't. After I first starting taking anti-depressant two years ago I was prescribed to Celexa 20 mg. I moved and started seeing a new psychiatrist and she prescribed me Fluxetine 20 mg, and after the first day of taking that I already felt a lot better.

Two weeks later my results came back and the new medicine I was prescribed (Fluxetine) was in the column good but use with caution. The Pristiq was in the good column so she prescribed me 50 mg. Today was the first day I took it and I've been having really bad headaches when I cough, I think this might be bad. I've read a lot of comments about this drug and they say its really addictive. My brother just died a couple months ago from addiction and I have a very addictive personality so I'm also scared about, please let me know what to do!!!

MY LAST FEW LOGS: 8/27 A few months ago tried getting off pristq, Dr suggested half dose for 2 weeks and then stop and I should be fine. By the third week I was waking up crying so I got back on. I've been on it for over 4 years and although it helped, if I ever want to have children I need to get off of it. So new psyc... I expressed how much fear I had over trying to get off of it again... So we upped my wellbutrin, got me on busbar (non addictive anti anxiety) and am now on Prozac. First week just added 10 mg Prozac. Felt Okkk... Then after that 3 days of taking 20 mg Prozac and I felt weird but bearable... So yesterday took half a pristq and felt that weirdness go away and felt normal. Today did the same but ugh... Nausea, uncomfortable!

9/8 I'm still on half a dose of pristq and two prozac. I'm really shocked that its been working so far. I think only thing I've noticed that's super different is that my pms this month is soooo much worse. I've always had symptoms of pms but now it magnified but is bearable....

.9/24,I'm now on quarter pristq, upped to 30 mg Prozac. Lots of nausea, general uncomfortable feeling. Lack if motivation a lil more anxiety pressure in my head. Thankfully though all bearable. Been easily annoyed. In general all my emotions seem magnified. But to a doable degree. Not like last time I tried getting off of it! I went nuts.

Hi there,

I was on cymbolta 120mg for 2 years than I was getting very severe Anxiety attacks, suicidal thoughts and really bad depression about 2 months ago. So they started getting me off Cymbolta and it was horrible then the Psychiatrist changed me on too Pristiq 50mg 4 weeks ago, what a nightmare!!!, I was worse than ever, I was agitated, crying, very aggressive and my depression was really bad to the point I did not want to get out of bed. I went back to the psychiatrist on Tuesday and she told me to get off pristiq and has given me a script for Lexapro 10mg I start that tomorrow. I have been off pristiq now cold turkey for 3 days and I tell you what it is so horrible the brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, body aches and no sleep it is horrible. I just want to know if anyone has had Lexapro 10 mg before and has it made them feel any better??

Jess

Been on the anti-depressant roller coaster for 15 years. Pristiq was good for me for awhile. I took it for about 6 months, and felt it was better than Effexor. When I stopped Effexor, the withdrawals were so bad, I really thought I was going completely insane. I was successful at stopping Pristiq the first time I took it. I was on it for about 5 months. I got pregnant and went cold-turkey off of it as soon as I found out I was pregnant.

The withdrawl symptoms were very unpleasant. Nausea, swimmy, blurry head, shakes, tremors, and brain zaps. But I managed to press on (going back on any meds was NOT an option, being pregnant). Within 2 weeks of no medicine, I was fine. My depression was back, but it had to be managed by means other than medications. I have learned, over the years of trying different meds and trying to be med-free that the basic self-management of diet, proper sleep, and EXERCISE are the most effective ways to stop feeling depressed. 60 minutes of cardio-vascular exercise each day has been shown to have the same or greater effectiveness in eliminating depression as any of the medications. And a strong network of friends helps a lot.

I don't have that as much as I would like, as many others that suffer from Major Depression or Bi-polar, we end up on an isolated island because of the times when we are really down and we withdraw from people and social environments. Then we lose or distance friends, and it's hard to get that back. So, I got really down again, due to some very traumatic life events, and I went back on the Pristiq. It was helping some, but the cost is killing me. So I am on day 2 of quitting the medicine. I feel like crap. but I am still somewhat able to do my job, and take care of my 6 children...yes, I am a single mom with 6 kids.

Sometimes I am weepy or snappy with the kids, but I have learned to reign it in, no matter what. I am not looking forward to days 3 and 4 off the medicine, as this seems to be the height of mental dysfunction, brain fogginess, and fatigue. I am hoping by Monday, the symptoms will resume back to a level where I can function. But I feel for each and every person on here that has been on this ride as well.

Medications have their place, but learning to care for ourselves and manage without the pills is better. It takes time, self-awareness, determination, and willingness to do what it takes to feel well. if more doctors would give a prescription for exercise and 8 hours of sleep a night, combined with avoiding alcohol, eating a healthy diet, and surrounding ourselves with supportive people; then maybe more people would get better, faster. Peace and love to all my fellow-sufferers. There is hope, though. Never give up hope.

I have been on 100mg of Pristiq for about 2 years now, and unfortunately, it isn't the medication for me as I was still suffering with anxiety and panic attacks.

My doctor and I decided to change medication to 60mg Andepra.

Today is day 4 from changing over from Pristiq to Andepra and if I had of know the side effects of Pristiq, I wouldn't have gone down that path. My daily symptoms have been;
- nausea,
- lack of appetite
- trembling for hours
- hot flushes
- brain zaps
- tingling in my face and mouth
- feeling helpless
- suicidal thoughts (can I put up with it much longer? Is this what my life is going to be like? Etc)
- scared to be alone.
- bursting out into tears.

It's just horrible and I feel for anyone who experiences anything like this in their lives. I pray for you/ us all. May God take this evil thing away from us.

Day 1 & 2 were the worst but I think this was because I didn't expect this. Day 3 & 4, I went back to the doctors to explain and he gave me a beta blocker to get my heart pressure on track. In praying things get better real soon. Please tell me they will and it does? Xxx

I just feel like crying reading all these comments because I'm currently trying to wean off Pristiq and failing badly due to the horrific withdrawal symptoms. I just want it out of my life, I can't believe I was ever prescribed it.

I'm currently at the end of day 7 pristiq free. I wish I could say I physically feel 100% but I'm getting there and feel fantastic!

This is my detox so far..
Day 1: felt absolutely fine/no different
Day 2: after 16hrs sleep awoke bawling mu eyes out with every emotion searing at once. Dizziness, sweats, nightmares, vision glitches and nausea. By bedtime I prayed that I would live (that's how terrible I felt, like I may not survive)
Day 3: still teary but then overwhelmed by anger.. I kicked something and almost broke my foot... such rage!
Day 4: slurred speech and vision, bowel interruptions, shivers and shaky
Day 5: woke up starving and need to eat all day (assume to recover from the emotions of the past 4 days), feeling better, able to breathe deeply and calmly, very thirsty, quiet and reflective all day in the sunshine
Day 6: eating double than when on Pristiq (now 5 meals per day), visiting friends, smiling again, drove my car now my vision is better yay! Slept like a baby!
Day 7 today: reflective on how hard this week has been, peacefully happy in the garden, walked the dog, ate heaps, laughed until I cried (wow hadn't done that in ages, creativity is returning and I can attentively watch my favourite tv program
Tomorrow: CAN ONLY GET BETTER

I haven't felt this good in ages... to be precise 3 years... that's how long I was on it. Physically i feel i still have a way to go as detox/withdrawal from any dependent medication is hard on your body as it gives you signs that bits missing it. But the personal satisfaction I feel, the inner joy from knowing I am beating this dependency and will never go back on them ever again by far outweighs any feelings of nausea I may still have.

I can only advocate and encourage you all not to give up. I now believe with a clearer mind and heart that things can only get better and even though its a very hard vice to beat the power of the mind can heal all.

I recommend an essential oil blend called 'baby calm' its a blend of rose, lavender and chamomile... a dab on the temples is super soothing. I truly believe this stuff saved my sleep, I was having horribly vivid nightmares waking wet with sweat until I begun using this. I also purchased some relaxation incense and a healing crystal which sits beside my bed to absorb negativity and illness. If your not keen on the 'hippie' methods try good old deep breathing, h2o, fresh air, sunshine, pets or people that make you feel inner joy and love.

Chin up everyone if I can do it you can too... believe in yourself not in medication because as I have learned only we can help ourselves. Life is tough at the best of times, consider the time you 'wasted' on the meds and what you missed out on... pledge to yourself to be part of life again and love it.

I hope I can inspire 1 person to keep going with their withdrawal journey because I promise it will get better if you want it to.

Good luck!!

wow, cool info! This is one of those occasions where you suddenly discover you're not the only one suffering this stuff. I never knew how to describe to others those scary feelings I now know as "brain zaps". freaky stuff indeed. Thank you everybody for sharing these things, it is so important. I have been on Pristiq 50's for about two and a half years and suffer if I miss a day. I get unreasonably cranky and tend toward suicidal thoughts. I would like to hear if anybody can get off these things successfully, i.e. with a healthy brain and attitude. Thanks again y'all, stay happy.

lkwest, I like your attitude. I cannot comment on Pristiq, but Cymbalta nearly killed me. And it was hard to wean from, too. I am determined not to get back into the hands of big pharma. I will use herbs.

Lkwest - thanks for your post and everyone else that has posted. Day 7 today and feeling ok but have moments of nausea, dizziness and headaches but I am determined to keep going and wean myself off this drug.

I am in day 5 of coming off pristiq 50mg ... I was previously on effexor and given pristiq as a better choice of antidepressant ... well I have tried many times to come off this drug, having every single side effect that is listed by others on this site but this time no matter what I'm done ... it has basically made me a zombie and I feel like a drug addict .... make sure you know what you are getting into before you take this stuff ... the price you pay is dreadful .... thanks to all for the tips on retaining sanity I am pumped to never take this or any other antidepressant again.

I would recommend checking out gentler herbal remedies. Check with the people at your local health food store... maybe they could suggest something that would help. I understand what you're going through. Cymbalta and withdrawal from it nearly killed me. Never again.

My doctor has taken me off Pristiq 150 mg daily as it has caused my blood pressure to go up considerably.

I have been reducing the drug according to doctor's instructions and the main symptom of withdrawal is a bad headache and nausea. Also I have feeling again. My mother died recently and I did not cry. I did not feel anything except complete inertia after she died. I'm sure the Pristiq made me very flat. Now I am feeling appropriate emotions. I feel human again. No brain zaps but incredible dreams. Clear dreams with lots of details and I dream all night.

I feel much more motivated now. The Pristiq was very good for controlling depression but I did not have any other feelings. I am now on Mirtazapine 30 mgs day and doing well so far. Only two weeks into reducing meds.

I find it so interesting & helpful to read all of your personal experiences. I've been on Pristiq for approx 2 years & only recently realized how numb I've become. I've also gained about 30 lbs & became so tired - maybe worse than the depressed tired.

I decided I wanted to stop taking Pristiq & researched other people's stories of coming off the drug. I decided to use a compounding pharmacy to decrease by 10mg every 2 weeks (I was on 50mg/day). The first month of 40mg & 30 mg were fine. Very few side effects, and they only seemed to creep up in the evening. (Shaky, cranky) But today I went down to 20mg & I'm having lots so withdrawal: nausea, exhaustion, cranky-mean, shaky & brain zaps. I hate this feeling & how cranky I am to my family.

However, I'm determined to get through this & get off this drug. I already feel so much more like myself...my sense of humour is coming back, my creativity in my work... There's a sharpness that's been missing that is slowly returning.

Best of luck to everyone else - I'll update when these effects dissipate. Be well.

I am so thankful to have this forum where we all can share-it is good to know I am not the only one going through this!
I started taking ads about 10 years ago: first Lexapro (stopped being effective after 3 years), next Wellbutrin (stopped being effective after 2 years), then finally Pristiq five years ago. I felt I had to start taking something so I could raise my children and keep my marriage together.

I never intended to stay on something for the rest of life - just until the children were grown and my "having it all together" was not so important any more. Well, my last child just left for college; and (as so many have said) I came to realize I have been operating like a zombie for years. Looking back, I cannot say I wish I had never started taking it, because I remember feeling so horrible without it that my only emotion was sadness all the time- I could not enjoy any part of life.

So, I cut the tablets (50mg) in half for 2 weeks, then fourths for 2 weeks. Today I have been Pristiq-free for 2 weeks. The brain zaps have been bad, but someone told me MAGNESIUM MALATE would help & it has. For me, however, the physical withdrawal symptoms have been mild compared to the emotional symptoms. The mood swings are HUGE! I go from peaceful to outraged to hopeless. I am trusting this will pass over time, but does anyone have a time frame reference for me? My doctor has not been much help.

How will I know when the drug is out of my system & be able to determine whether this is just my natural state or a symptom of withdrawal? Remember, none of us started taking this drug just for fun! It was because things were not right when we were taking nothing at all! DOES ANYONE HAVE A TESTIMONY OF BEING DRUG-FREE AND FEELING GREAT? And how long does it take?

Thanks for your post, I decided to go all the way with getting Pristiq out quickly. I want to be free of it. I'm willing to go through some pain, instead of tapering I just want to feel normal, I'm bipolar not really depressed more anxiety ridden.

I really needed your post and it helps, my Dr. said there wouldn't be w/ds. (don't believe her) but have ativan, topamax, heck drink some if need be but trying to taper uugh for me just seems like I'll never get off it.

One year 50 MG
(advice highly appreciated!)
Day one. Headache. Mini breakdown but determined!

I was on Pristiq 50 mg for a year due to anxiety.... One day I realized this drug numbed me and pretty much made me a zombie. However getting off it turned out to be a struggle but it is possible.... I found eating extremely healthy and working out as often as possible helped fast track the withdrawal symptoms.... headaches and dizziness seemed to be the worst. I did quit cold turkey and the symptoms latest for about a month and a half but just try and stay positive and you will get through it...

2 days off pristiq. It's harder than I thought it was going to be. The withdrawals are terrible. I have cried all day, feel nauseated and foggy. I get this weird numb tingling sensation in my hands. That happened when I started it too. Have been on it for a few years. Not having a lower dose than 50mg makes it near impossible to wean off so I decided to go cold turkey to avoid the rollercoaster of symptoms that come with going on and off. Doing it with my doctor and support of family and friends.

If I can add anything it would be-don't be a hero and try and do it alone. It's like coming off any kind of drug and you need supportive people around you. It doesn't make you any weaker for reaching out for help. All your experiences have been helpful in making this experience for me more real and makes me realise I am not alone and not insane for feeling what I am feeling. Thanks for that. Wish me luck!

If you have been getting off it for 3 months gradually with all these withdrawal effects, why not just stop. Ie., no more drug. Surely you are just dragging the withdrawal out?

I wrote a nice paragraph about my experience, hit the wrong button while proofing it and lost it before it posted. Glad I'm so determined to share my experience as it's currently occurring and I am truly hoping it can help some other poor soul whose trying to go through the withdrawal process. First off I am Bi-Polar. I take mood stabilizers as well as Pristiq. Began taking the fancy combo of Lithium 900 mg 1xday, Equetro (increased dosage over time. It is a newer drug similar to Tegretol) and finally about 1 year ago we added Pristiq. Didn't have any trouble with the addition of it. Initial dose was 50mg to start then eventually we went up to 100.

Because I've recently been experiencing rapid mood swings, (like daily and more severe) and I am aware that persons with Bi-Polar may not do well with being on any Anti-D for an extended amount of time, I became concerned that I was experiencing a condition referred to as "switching". Rapid mood swings which frankly over the past 15 years I've rarely had. Always it came when I was on too many meds, or extended use of an Anti-d, etc. My doc agreed so last Saturday we began the weening process. He didn't make me aware that there could be side effects. :( I was so caught up with preparing for 21 guests for T-giving I thought my aches and pains, mood issues i.e. irritability, outbursts, etc. were due the stress of cleaning, moving a ton of furniture around to accommodate the large group and being on my feet so many hours shopping, prepping and cooking all the food. My poor family thought I was becoming Manic. Oh joy.

I knew if I didn't reduce my stress I WOULD become manic. I try hard to manage my illness. I'm very proactive after several years of living with it pretty near out of control. After going to bed Thursday night I awoke with pain everywhere! Could not sleep. Finally got up and took something like Motrin. Later that morning I soaked in the tub and stretched and tried to relax all my aching muscles. It really helped. Just my neck was not recovering. Took 3 motrin. No Help. Later on took one Aspirin which did numb the muscle pain a bit.

Woke up today with severe neck muscle pain again. Took two Aspirin but no help. Called my doc who then told me its a withdrawal symptom. GREAT. Thanks for telling me this LAST week. Called my GP as the Psychiatrist could only suggest Aspirin which of course isn't working on its own. He did suggest warm compresses. Got out the heating pad. It helps. My family doc called back finally and prescribed a muscle relaxer along with 3 Motrin taken 3xday with meals. Just beginning this routine. Very hopeful it will work. Will post tonight or tomorrow with the results. I hope this helps anyone suffering with the aches and severe pains.

I have been taking pristiq for 3 years. I spoke with my doc about discontinuing, and was advised that this is one if the easier antidepressants to purge out of your system. I was told that my age, and "demographic" should take about 2 days to clear out, however it's been about 2weeks now, and symptoms don't seem to be subsiding. The symptoms I have experienced are all listed above except one. I wonder if anyone else has experienced a mild case of narcolepsy? I understand that fatigue is a common symptom, but I seem to feel well rested most of the time, but if I'm doing anything "less than stimulating", I'm out like a light. (Meetings, work, long drives, movies etc..) this is very destructive to someone trying to live a fairly "normal" life.

I've tried sleeping more at night, (10-12hrs) but this doesn't seem to make a difference. As much as I love a good nap, other people in my life, don't seem to appreciate it when I nod off in mid conversation. My depression seems to be keeping at bay, for now, but I think this might change if I can't stay awake (meetings, driving,..etc..). I understand that the drugs are not a "cure all", and they simply help you cope while your body naturally heals from the sickness of depression, however how will my body heal from the medicine? I think that md's should be better educated on how to explain all possible symptoms, before, during, and after any drug prescription.

This is something that all drug "watchdogs" should monitor. It seems way to easy to acquire any med that you can research. (All you have to do, is ask your doctor).

It is 1:15 am Monday. I wrote Saturday about the terrible aches and pains I was experiencing and my GP's direction to take Motrin and a muscle relaxer. Pain was better Saturday night, but truly gets worse as the meds are wearing off. I could not sleep tonight despite taking the two and using a heating pad. Was hoping that the symptoms would be much better by now. Seeing my psychiatrist late morning today to discuss.

I have not experienced any of the other terrible withdrawal symptoms that others of you have written or asked about. I feel very fortunate that this is my one and so far only difficulty. I wish each of you the best with your individual circumstances.

When I talked to my for the 2nd time to let him know about the suggestion of a muscle relaxer, etc. from my GP I asked how long the withdrawal symptoms might last. He replied that it is different for everyone, but at most about 2 weeks. I'm halfway to that point. Hope he's right!!

Thanks for all the posts! It really help me to decide not to take pristiq. I'm supposed to start taking it today but reading all ur posts last night were enough to scared me not to take pristiq. The doctor prescribed me placil for the first time last Nov 1 with inderal10mg as well to avoid my heart raising and I got all the side effects like massive headache, hot flashes, muscles spasm, muscle twitching, tingling sensation all over my body, confusion, raising heartbeat, dizziness and the feeling that I'm gonna die any moment, doctor said it will be gone after a week or 2, I took it Nov 1 and decide to go to the doctor who gave it to me coz my regular gp is on holiday at that moment, I went through hell the whole time I'm taking placil so I said to the doctor to change it coz I'm getting more panic and anxious every time I feel all the side effect coz I haven't got sick like that before, the last time I got flu or fever when I was 17years old and I'm already 35 now and can't believe I felt all that from
just a piece of tablet.

So he did ecg test to me and heart is normal, my only problem is I'm having an iron deficiency. The doctor prescribed me xanax (just 1 tablet a day 1 hour before I go to bed) he said it's really good and no side effects, he told me he didn't give it to me before coz its addictive, he said I can only take it for just 3 months with inderal10 (3x aday)for my heartbeat. I first took xanax on Nov 21 with inderal still but stop completely the placil. The next day I felt very normal and gave me a good sleep but a bit sleepy in day time too.

Dec 2 I feel a bit different, had headache until now which is come and go, and sometimes shortness of breath but I managed it by doing relaxation exercises, a bit of pins and needles, muscle spasm, muscle aches from my back up to my shoulder and next and sometime up to my jaw, Not sure if this a withdrawl symptoms from my first anti depressant placil so I went to my regular gp yesterday coz shes back and she want me to stop taking the xanax and inderal 10, she said the inderal 10 will make my blood pressure lower and my only problem is my iron so she wants me to continue my iron supplement and she gave me a same of pristiq 50mg for 4weeks.

She said xanax is only like a vallium and the effect is only 4hours but its addictive. I said I'm scared of the side effects and I don't want to go through that again, she said side effects is only nausea and for 7 days only. But after reading all ur post here guys, especially about the withdrawals of pristiq, I called my gp this morning and let her know that I will cut the xanax tablet into 2 then start taking half every night for 2 weeks without taking the pristiq and lets see how I go, and she said I can do that and lets see, coz I have a feeling that I can manage my anxiety or panic attack and especially if we are trying to have our second baby, I'm 2 weeks off now from placil and just taking xanax so I'm crossing my fingers that all withdrawal symptoms will be gone soon and manage to help my self just in case I have another anxiety attack, good luck to all of u here guys! hope we all feel better soon :-) thanks again!!

I have been on Prestiq since it came out in 2008 and it has worked wonders for me compared to other meds. However with a recent switch in insurance due to marriage, I have been off it cold turkey for about 3 days because there has been a hang-up clearing it with my insurance. I really hate the side effects of the withdrawal but I figure I might as well experiment while I wait for my new prescription. I took BC for about a year while on Prestiq and it has really messed me up in regards to my sex drive. I thought getting off the BC would work but it apparently didn't so I'm going to see what I'm like without the Prestiq as well. I never had the issue until the BC and things just haven't been right since so I'm hoping getting the Prestiq out of my body will "reset" it in a way. Any tips on how to work through the effects? All I've dealt with so far are the brain zaps, dizziness and mild stomach discomfort.

Boy oh boy, there are so many people on drugs.

I have been on pristiq since dec 2009 for major depression, hallucinations paranoia and anxiety I was basically a mental mess and seeing demons at night was quite frightening for some time.. I thought I just had a dark imagination until the doc asked if I hallucinate. I was surprised to know they are a part of depression. Anyhow my whole life I have suffered from sensitivity to noise, anxiety, in and out of depression as life's stresses and many roller coaster events trigger the depressive thoughts. that's all it takes to be on a downward swirl into the black hole.

I have taken champax for giving up smoking which caused me to become more paranoid had social phobia and depressed even more then when I started at that time I was giving up drugs alcohol and smoking... talk about stress and my husband was in love with some other woman. I already had those things but became so heightened. Was also on addictive anxiety short term drugs. Boy they knock you out and keep you right. So starting pristiq was the best thing I ever did at that time in my life my demons didn't visit me any more in bed at night and all other symptoms of depression left my head and body.

2010 I had my first baby kept taking pristiq as doc recommended all was fine never been happier in my life. Until number 2 came along 16 months later. No drug in the world I don't think can help you unless you can change your minds ways. I was so anxious all the time stressed about job losses going on overwhelmed fatigue and a demanding child I was at the end of my tether. Up the dose to 100mg a day I got worse angry, irritable, flat, sad unmotivated more anxious... So doc put me up to 200mg a day. Boy was that worse again loss of empathy, compassion yet I was manic lots of the time racing thoughts high energy and motivation can't sleep because of so many things I wanted to do late at night early hours of morning a child that won't sleep on top of that. I was sleep deprived. high yet flat, sad, unmotivated all at the same time.

I got told by few professionals I was mixed mood verge of bipolar as I do spend and impulsive in every aspect. Although I am starting to think it's the prescribed drugs that do that so many side effects. I never knew they can make you manic. Aggressive mood swings for no reason etc. so they decided to try me on seroquel. Mood stabilizer Even though I wanted to come off pristiq it had been 4 years I want to see what I am like without it. Anyhow tried it for 3 nights 25 mg plus 50 mg of pristiq. I was even worse abusive, angry, irritable, hostile just horrible really dizzy too. So stopped that. then took 50mg of pristiq for 2 weeks as told to do then stop so I did. Boy oh boy as people have been saying I totally agree. I am having other health problems at moment with vestibular stuff. Dizziness, nausea, loose bowels hot cold sweats. So when I stopped sat just gone I was already having those symptoms so I took a imagrin which worked after I had a shut eye. Next day though and every other day after till today because I gave in to subside this constant dizziness, hearing my eyes move, feeling like I'm falling and all above.

Last night I was so wet from sweat but freezing, feeling sad, crying, guilty all week I have been in the house because I could not leave or drive just too dizzy couldn't move my eyes without them shaking. I have been abusive slamming doors swearing and yelling at kids like I have tourets or something. Just no self control and sensitive to noise. So I shaved my head. I am self destructive at least it's only hair. Better than cuts I say. Then crying feeling of guilt despair, don't deserve to be a mother.

Anyway I'm not bipolar I do have issues which self control and impulsiveness and perfectionism and many many other things yet I'm the messiest person ever which over whelms me. I'm my worst enemy. Which in some way most of us are. We Do all that's bad for us instead of what's good for us. So too my long conclusion I took 50 mg pristiq today and felt more myself than I have all week the dizziness went and all other stuff. So I think sat I had a migraine as imigrin worked but hadn't for the rest of the week. So from Sunday must have been withdrawals. I got told coming off 50mg would be fine since a low dose.. I don't bloody think so.

It was the longest 5 days ever I would hate to come off stronger drugs like addictive types. I personally think I need to be on some thing for me to be sane. Even less then 50mg would be good just enough to tie me over. 50 mg today Did get me racing around. So I will ween off it and see how it goes. And see professionals and change my lifestyle and diet. Hope people didn't get too bored I can go on a bit... Oh so much too say.

I haven't been able to get a script of pristiq 100mg for 4 days now. My Psychiatrist has been away and I asked the other Dr at the surgery to write me a script 5 days ago and the receptionist told me she is too busy. I am experiencing brain tremors, crying and very depressed. I am scared. This is so negligent on the Doctor's part when she would be fully aware of the side effects I am experiencing.

I recently stopped taking Pristiq after having been on it for the last 3 or4 yrs. The decision to quit taking it was due to circumstances based on current finances & having to pay $200 out of pocket for the script. I talked with a dr about getting on a cheaper med so got a script for Celexa which is much more affordable.
I have been on antidepressants for yrs due to family hx of clinical depression & long term mental abuse in a 30 yr marriage.

I just relocated to Florida & am living with my daughter who suggested that I try to get off antidepressants for a while to see how my body reacts. After tapering off, it has been 10 days since I took my last dose. It has been hard, to say the least, but I made up my mind to give it at least 30 days, taking it one day at a time
I am truly grateful to hear all of your "testomonies" which had brought so much clarity to my long difficult journey that I have endured over the past yrs.

It has included increased anxiety, major brain fog & forgetfulness. In my mind, I just contributed it to "old age". I am now 58 yrs old & an LPN. Due to brain fog, I decided that I wouldn't put patient's lives at risk , so I am just working as a sitter. Right now, I am more determined than ever to get off this drug since I know that it has caused more problems for me rather than fixed them!
I am so hopeful for a better happier year 2014 !

Thanks for this website and everyone sharing their experiences.

I have been on and off AD's for 16+ years since the sudden death of my brother with the same heart condition that my son and I both have so life has been tough. I have been on Pristiq for the last 2 or so years starting with 50mg and going up to 150mg. I dropped back to 100mg and then down to 50mg. Last 50mg tablet was taken Christmas Eve (morning) and cold turkey since then. Wow - what an interesting time it has been. Luckily the withdrawal (or discontinuation symptoms as the docs like to refer to) didn't start until the day after Christmas but since then it's been hell. Every day I'm so close to giving in and popping one of those darn innocent looking tablets but I'm determined to keep going. Doc wants to change me to Cymbalta but I think it's time I actually get to know who I actually am again.

Anyway, reading all these comments give me strength to continue and realisation that I'm not going crazy feeling this ill stopping these crazy meds.

Just need to get through 1 day of work tomorrow and then I have another 5 days holidays - hoping for at least a small amount of sleep tonight!! There is no way that I could have worked and felt as bad as I have (at least I think it is beginning to improve - I will tell myself that anyway)!

Good luck to you all and I hope we all have a better 2014!!!

SAS, my personal advice would be to stay away from Cymbalta. People are different and react differently to drugs, of course. Cymbalta made me want to sleep all the time, and it nearly destroyed my liver. If you and your doctor decide on it, please ask her/him for liver enzyme tests at least once a month. Take care, and I agree about 2014 !

Happy New Year everyone! I just wanted everyone to know that there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who is trying to wean off Pristiq. 50mg. I have slowly been weaning off this drug since early October and Im rapt to say its nearly a week since I've taken it! I had nausea for a week and now I'm having those horrible brain zaps but they are becoming less frequent each day!

My best advice to give you all is to find a good doctor to listen and help you get through this! Going cold turkey is definitely not the answer, is dangerous and the side affects are just horrible as I've tried and thought I was going to die! I hope this post gives you all some hope! My feelings have returned as well as I'm having vivid dreams (I haven't dreamt for a few years and it's wonderful) Good luck everyone!!

This is alarming, I have only just started taking pristiq, I had my first one this morning, I feel fine and no side effects but I realise it's only early days, I'm not even sure if I want to continue taking them after reading these comments ;/

People's Pharmacy response: Do keep in mind that people who have not had difficulty with this drug are unlikely to have posted.

Brooke - I must add to my comment that I originally took this drug for depression and it certainly helped me feel a lot better. The reason I wanted to come off these is because I was having side effects and also I am currently in a "good" place and feel great! I can always go back and talk to my doctor if I need assistance with any signs of depression again!

How are you feeling now? I have been off for a month now and still feel "stoned". I really don't know what to do and wondering if you are feeling any better. I do not want to taper off in any way if possible. thanks for your time

Has Anyone had success going cold turkey? this is awful!!

I weaned off by 10 mg every 2 weeks. It was rough. The last 10 mg to nothing the hardest. But, after approx 6 weeks off of all meds, I finally feel like myself again. No more side-effects.
It's totally worth it!

Encouraging News for all~ I first posted in October saying I felt awful. I started weaning myself off 50mg the 1st of the month and by the 15th I was completely off Pristiq. But the withdrawal symptoms continued and were horrific: brain zaps, severe mood swings, depression, dizziness, etc. I stuck it out and gave myself a lot of grace-not expecting too much of myself.

It is now the first week of January and I am so happy to report the symptoms are gone! No zaps in several weeks and I am not on antidepressants at all. I feel good and I thank God for that! Hang in there! You can do it! Stick it out and don't make any major decisions during your withdrawal phase. Give yourself grace & time - this is temporary and it will pass!

I just wanted to add another take on this for anyone else who might be going through it and looking for insight. I've taken Pristiq for nine months now and haven't had many complaints but wanted to stop taking after a year because I'd like to try to get pregnant.

Well... due to some problems with my insurance and not getting paperwork done in time, I couldn't get my prescription in a timely manner which means I've had to go cold turkey for about a week now. I don't suggest doing this without your doctor's knowledge, I wouldn't have, but my doctor isn't in Friday - Monday which didn't leave me much of a choice.

ANYWAY - my point is, it's not that bad. It likely differs from person to person, but my experience has not been like many that I've read here. I've had the brain zaps, they don't hurt, they're just uncomfortable. I know why it's happening so they don't worry me very much. It wasn't until the fourth day that I started to feel my worst with nausea, mild headaches and irritability. I still was able to go about my day as normal I just was cranky doing it because I didn't feel well.

So far, I haven't felt more anxious or depressed either. So, yes, it can be done. It's not that bad for everyone. It kinda just feels like you're having a moderate hangover for a couple days but you'll live.

My 54 year old son has been on SSRIs and SNRIs - nothing has been effective for depression over the 25 year use. He is trying to come off Pristiq down from 100 Ext.release mg (about 4 mo.) to 50 mg ext.release which cannot be cut due to extended release. Has anyone had worsening diabetes using this stuff? He can't get Blood sugar under 200 and Dr. upped his insulin to cover that - has not worked to lower. Also, he missed a 50 ER mg. dose one day; the next day he went into a violent rage and almost tore his kitchen cabinet door off hinges. Rage came from "nowhere" - but I wonder if it is connected to "serotonin syndrome".

He sleeps about 4 hrs a night & has no motivation for anything. Does anyone know how to get off extended release Pristiq? He has been told it only comes 50 ER mg. and 100 ER mg. tabs? I agree with many who say doctors don't know about withdrawal symptoms - or won't tell patients ??

I have been on Pristiq for 5 years (100mg). It helped with the depression. I want off of it because I am tired all the time and really feel that the Pristiq is why. I went to my doctor. I went to 50 mg every day for a week which was not bad at all. Then I went to 50mg every other day. Wow- horrible- brain zaps,dizziness,increased heart rate, very irritable, shakes, nausea, diarrhea,vomiting, short tempered, inpatient, muscle aches...

I am now according to my doctor, not supposed to take any. Day #2 of no Pritiq- all the w/d symptoms above magnified by 10 plus all I want to do is lay in my bed. I really do not want to take it and am really trying to suffer this out. I now know what a heroin addict goes through and will no longer judge them..... My strong faith in God and prayer has brought me this far and I will conquer this. If anyone out there is going through the same thing--GOOD LUCK!

I was on Pristiq 50mg for only 5 months and my doctor decided to taper my dosage to get me off the drug. I thought the side effects of going on the drug were bad... was I wrong. Getting off of the drug is terrible. I went from 50mg daily for 5days down to 25mg for 5days, than stop pristiq all together.

I am now 5 days totally off the medication and I have never felt worse. The constant feeling of my stomach being queasy, headache, exhaustion, mood swings etc. are not improving. I am sorry I ever let my doctor put me on this drug and will suffer as long as it takes being off of Pristiq because I will NOT ever go back on it.

I went back to my Psychologist because of my mood swings coming back with a vengeance and he put my on Abilify. I haven't started it yet because I'm so sick to my stomach from withdrawals from Pristiq, that I cant keep anything down. I am worse off from the Pristiq side effects than I was when I was on no medication. My advice to anyone and everyone is don't do it. Don't ever let them put you on this drug.

I've been on Pristiq and Wellbutrin for years and wanted to stop both to determine what life would be like without them. Cut from 100mg of pristiq to 50 with no side effects. My doctor told me to keep taking the Wellbutrin and stop the Pristiq. I am in day 4 and feel like I have a bad cold, fuzzy head, sniffles, occasional "brain zap." Compared to what I've been reading, I am very lucky. I hope you will all feel well. The next challenge is the Wellbutrin.


I was on Pristiq 50mg daily and gained 35 pounds in 5 months. I wanted to stop taking this medication before I gained too much weight. I went from 50mg down to half a pill every other day (25mg). I did this for a little over a month. Then I cut back to a quarter of a pill every other day for about a week. The last few weeks I took St. John's Wort to help. I think it helped me.

Yes I had the dizziness off and on,the light headedness, a few brain zips and some depression when cutting back. I have been free from this dreaded medication Pristiq for over a month with no side effects since. Now I need to lose about 15 pounds of excess weight. Don't give up to those that want to stop taking this medication. You can do it!

I have been on Pristiq for 6 months now. Last month I went from 50mg a day to 100. I am not in the norm. Pristiq has really helped me. It has not affected my sex drive at all. The only side effect I suffer from is night sweats, but being 40 I don't know if that's the Pristiq or my age. It's awful that so many of you have bad experiences. The withdrawl is scary but I will not even think about that right now, as long as it's helping me.

It is really hard to read all these comments. I feel your pain… I am responding to LLL and am VERY interested in how you are doing now. I went, some what cold turkey, from 100 MG of Pristic and suffered 4 days of HELL, managed to get through it. I had a month of what I remember of as feeling better day by day on no meds, gaining clarity every day, but at a month I was hit by a brick and felt like I caught a severe head cold, dizzy and unfocussed. I am now 2 months off, but still suffering the same lack of focus and feel almost not quite there… this seems to not improve.

LLL, I am wondering how you are progressing. I would love some good news.. but it is what it is. I hate to think this is permanent damage and I have to feel this way for life… :(

Hindsight is 20/20… That is if you still can remember anything after the antidepressants..

Thank you.

I just read through most of these comments. Reading these comments happened to make me realize that I really am NOT crazy after all! I have been taking 100mg Pristiq for about four years now and have experienced terrible, frightening withdrawal side effects. In the past, I have tried taking myself completely off of this drug three different times, and I must say, it was the WORST thing I have ever done to myself. Stopped taking it cold turkey. Bad mistake.

This medication has helped me tremendously!!! That is if I take it everyday correctly. Somehow, I can't seem to kick this drug because I have tried multiple anti depressant medications and this is the only one that truly works for me.

At this very moment, I am having terrible blurred eye site, hot flashes, crying spells, worsening depression and I can only see where this is going if I do not get my medication quick. I have been completely off of this medication for two days... I lost my medical insurance and I do not qualify for medical insurance through the state. I have been getting help from my clinic. My doctor is amazing. He has been providing me with samples. I shouldn't have waited last minute to call for more samples! I call my clinic and they tell me that they are all out of Pristiq samples and that they will write me a prescription for only a weeks worth because I cannot afford $200+ for the full script. Well then, I come to find out that they sent my script to the wrong pharmacy. Frustrating. Now, I am waiting to hear back from my doctor to see if there is anything he can do for me.

I am sitting at work right now as I am typing this comment because I cannot seem to focus on my work because I am so worried about my personal well being... sad and scary... if any of you can give me some advice on how to cope without this medication as I DO NOT have medical insurance, that would be so highly appreciated!!! Please help...

Reading this has been very helpful. I've been on 50 mg Pristiq for about 3 years through a divorce, two family deaths and a job change. It's helped me a lot through a tough time--the only SSRI whose side-effects were tolerable for me.

My situation has stabilized, now though, and I want to get off so I went to 37 mg for 2 wks then went to 25 mg (half a pill) since I had a three-day weekend yesterday. So far so good on the mood front--tremendously grateful given what some folks have had to endure--but I'm just dizzy and clumsy.

I'll go back to 37 mg if the dizziness hasn't subsided enough Monday to be driving again and taper more slowly. I'm looking forward to getting off and seeing what "me" feels like! Maybe this tinnitus will go away after so long and my brain fog isn't just menopause.

Makes me so mad the docs prescribe these things like they were candy to vulnerable people with no warning about how hard they are to come off of. Thank you, Joe and Terry, for your help.

It was a sigh of relief when I found this blog. I've been on Pristiq for about 7 years. I've tried to quit cold turkey before a few times but the dizziness/vertigo made it worse for me (and I was too stupid to ween myself off it by slowly lowering the dosage). I was able to cut my 50 mg in half for the past couple years and maintain stability.

Fast forward to September of 2013, I felt the Pristiq had leveled off. I don't know why and or how, just woke up one day and I felt different. It was so clear that something was wrong. I was back being anxious and depressed again. What was worse was that I felt I was regressing mentally. Daily functions became harder for me to accomplish. I just felt different. I left I was losing my grip both figuratively as well as physically. It might not seem obvious to people around me but I was really having a hard time putting things into perspective with my day to day. Everything felt "off". My fingers felt numb all the time. I was easily fatigued and felt lethargic constantly without doing anything strenuous.

My senses were heighten and intensified on every flaw that I had. A bizarro Spidey-Sense if you well. I was getting duller in every turn and I was fully aware of it and getting more angrier at myself because I couldn't do anything to stop it. What usually would take me a second to do turned into half a minute. I felt the world had turned against me. I used to be so smooth (at least I felt like I was) and now I feel sluggish (still do). My confidence level went right out the window. Never was full of myself but this was ridiculous. I'm a well established person. Why am I feeling so worthless and scared of even opening my mouth to speak?

So I've decided to see a new psychiatrist to reevaluate my Pristiq intake. After 2 months of diagnosis, he decided to put me on Prozac. Bad idea. I felt worse. Within the first week I felt all the side effects of Prozac. The best way to describe it is that I felt like I need to rip my face off and climb out of the body that I was in. I had to cancel a road trip for work because I couldn't possibly get behind the wheel. Especially during winter storm season. I felt hopeless. Not suicidal but I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know it sounds dramatic but it really scared me.

Needless to say, I got right off and he switched me to Effexor. Mind you all of this was happening around the holidays where my emotions are intensified with all the unnecessary family drama. I took Effexor for one day and immediately felt the same effects as Prozac but not as potent. That's when I told myself that I need to be off of everything. It wasn't a tough decision, but it was a rough road reaching getting to that point. I even went to my primary and did a full physical thinking that it could be an early sign of a flesh eating virus and it's eating my brain (thanks to all the zombie craze these days) or at least finding something wrong through various blood work. Nothing. I'm healthy as an OX. Heart rate, blood pressure, calories, etc, tip top shape. But I didn't feel that way.

On 12/14/13, I stopped all medication. That includes generic ambient that I took every night for the past 4 years if not more. I stopped all alcohol intake. Not that I had a problem but I didn't feel it was helping with my road to recovery. And I got into a workout routing that consist mostly cardio and free weights follow by tons of stretching. I start to see a therapist regularly and being more cognizant of a nutritious diet. I started to document every time I had a slight withdraw from dizziness to panic attacks. It has gotten a little better but it is still a struggle to keep on a straight head daily.

It has been 2 months and counting. I feel good (or a little above decent). Far, far away from perfect and I know I have ways to go to flush out the 7 years worth of Pristiq and ambient that clogged my body. My mind is definitely not as clear and it takes me a minute or so longer to process things. But I have to remind myself that it is all the chemicals that are in my head trying to readjust. Finding this blog helps. Reading all these posts helps. I will be checking this regularly and keep putting my thoughts and progress out there. I feel this will be a good release for me and keep tabs on my progress. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone. Thank you.

I have been on pristiq for approx 2 years and am currently reducing from 400mg per day to 300mg per day. It is only day four and I am sooo tired and have headaches. I feel if I close my eyes to blink I will fall asleep. I get dizziness if I have forgotten to take a dose however nothing has started as yet. Only a little bit in tingles and light headedness. Is the tiredness from the withdrawal, I feel like I have flu like symptoms - heavy chest with out the nasal congestion etc.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
Your symptoms do seem suggestive of withdrawal side effects. Some people describe tingling and disorientation. The tiredness may also be a consequence of slowly phasing off the drug. You may to reduce the dose even more gradually over a longer period of time to reduce the severity of the symptoms. Please discuss this with your physician.

Yes, it seems that my diabetes has worsened dramatically when I switched from Effexor to Pristiq.

I started last week on Friday. Dr put me on prozac an is tapering me off of it. I also downed enough omega369 an vit. b supplement as often as 4 times a day. By today which is Monday I am feeling MUCH better. There is hope just do your research an drink lots of water an take mega doses of omega an vit b
Good luck to all.

After 6 months on pristiq, I stopped cold turkey 6 days ago. Until today, I had not realized exactly what I had done. I have been experiencing ALL the withdrawal symptoms, but because I had also gone cold turkey on OxyNorm 2 days before finishing my script, I just never thought about the newer symptoms that started, focusing only on quitting OxyNorm.

I now know that it was a very stupid thing to have done, and while I am glad to be rid of both medications and look forward to a much healthier body, I do wish I had done it sensibly.

My pharmacist said that no doctor would ever recommend quitting both an opioid and AD at the same time but that seeing I was already 6 days into it, I may as well continue but to just let the local GP know. He also said that to have stopped both medications the way I did, took strength, and that I should be very proud of myself. And I am.

Reading the posts above makes me understand that I am not alone in this struggle, and that there is very good reason to get off such strong drugs, I am just so damn mad at myself for not questioning things earlier.

Well here I go I stopped pristiq a week ago as a lot of my depression problems were caused by 2 meds reacting against each other and I have now stopped 1 of them. I have spoke to my Dr he was happy with me stopping and now with the pristiq but wow I feel like I am on a roller coaster up 1 minute down the next my head sometimes feels like it is shrinking, have shaking dizziness and all I have thought about just taking them again but now I have read comments here I know that I am going to get through this but it is going to be a bit of a ride really we should be told about all this before taking it. Does anyone know how long it takes before some of the symptoms stop? I want my life back :'(

About 6 weeks, slowly weaning off and you will be Pristiq-free. After 6 miserable weeks of withdrawal, I am now off all antidepressants and feeling great! Hang in there! You can do it!

I have been on numerous anti-depressants. Every time I tried to get off them I have gotten so depressed I was suicidal. I am currently trying to stop taking Pristiq because I cannot afford it and my shrink will no longer give me samples. I have been taking 50mg a day. The shrink told me to take one pill then no pill the next day, then one pill the day after that, then no pill the next day until I'm out. He knows I have high blood pressure already but he said I would be ok if I went off Pristiq this way. He sad NOT to break up the pills.

Today is day 6 of this routine. No Pristiq today and I am having severe dizziness and am crying every 10 minutes. I feel so weak and it is hard to drive or work. I am scared!

That's so scary to read. Wish my doctor told me more about Pristiq before prescribe it to me. She gave it to me without telling me the price that I had to pay. Now I'm struggling with this pill, trying to stop it but at the same time so scared with the withdraw symptoms.

I just found out about this terrible feelings after taking the pill for 6 months, I was at the airport waiting for my plane, when I started to have the most weird feeling I ever had in my whole life, hot and cold flushes, light-headed.. (sometimes depending how you move your body you get different feelings.. hard to explain), vision distortion, nightmares and the feeling something very bad is going to happen, I thought I was dying..

I had no idea what was going on, until I stopped to think and I realised that I didn't take the pill the night before, I couldn't believe that my feelings was due to that. I couldn't believe that I was putting this kind of pill into my body.

So I took the pill that I forgot the night before and after one hour or so the feelings were gone! Was hard/sad to realised that I was doing it to myself, I was taking this pill and making my body so dependent on that. I would prefer to go back to when I didn't take it.

It does keep my anxiety and depression under control but the price is too high and I'm not willing to pay it.

Now I'm trying to get off Pristiq, I'm scared of the feelings I'll get but I'm decided to stop it while I can.

I first posted on this site back in February and I want to share my latest update. I want to show the newcomers that there is plenty of lights at the end of this Pristiq-withdrawal-tunnel. Granted the tunnel seems endless majority of the time with unpredictable mood swings and foggy thought patterns. I realized for me a rigorous work and work out schedule helped stabilized my anxiety. I also allow myself to wallow in depression when it hits but still push myself to the gym to at least for 30 minutes, even something as simple as a walk on the treadmill to show discipline.

Now I am over 150 days since my last Pristiq and any other prescription drugs and I couldn't imagine myself going back to it any time soon. I've also been keeping a semi weekly / bi-weekly journal to monitor any spikes of dizziness or unusual withdraw symptoms. It's very encouraging to see the list getting shorter by the week. I know I still have a long way to go to be hundred percent and this could be as good as it's going to get but at least I know I did it clearheaded without any abusive substance. Hang in there and all is going to work out sooner or later.

I thought I was the only one. There are times at night when I wake up on the toilet in the bathroom. Some nights when I actually remember going to the bathroom I can feel myself falling asleep and there's nothing I can do but fall asleep while on the toilet and I thought I might've been the only one thinking I was developing narcolepsy.

I didn't think it was a withdrawal symptoms until you mentioned it in your post. Looking back I see that it was possible. I mainly had these episodes when I had missed a dose or I was very irregular with a dose. I was on the 50 mg once a day and when I talked to my doctor about trying to get off of it she all but refused. She thought that I wasn't having side effects and she felt like the anxiety was just getting worse and if anything that we need to increase the amount of medication I was on and I didn't feel that way. I felt like I have been on it long enough I really wanted to try a more natural approach and my therapy.

Anyways the doctor refused to give me advice on how to wean off of the Pristiq so I have been slowly weaning myself off of it. There are times when I missed doses and honestly it's been probably a few days since I've done a dose but it seems like the longer I'm off of the medication the better I feel. I also have been experiencing breathing problems which I didn't attribute to the Pristiq it all. I've also been experiencing dizziness when I stand up I feel very lightheaded. I'm also having uncontrollable swelling of my legs and feet which may not be related to the Pristiq I haven't really seen anyone else complaining about that but that's just something that's been happening here recently since I stopped taking the Pristiq.

The main thing that made me want to quit taking Pristiq was I had my period and I had it for six weeks straight and it seems like every time my period would subside it would just kick back in and it was like starting all over again and that it made me anemic severely anemic and it was very scary.

I have been on effexor then pristiq for 15 years. Taking the drug caused me no side effects and I was happy to be "normal" again, functioning without crying in despair every day was a big relief. Now I am on 50mg and can go up to 48 hours before withdrawal starts with usual symptoms described here.

I have wanted to get off pristiq for years but more so since my blood pressure is up. I also realized I don't really feel love anymore and my libido is non existent.

My doctor denies there is a withdrawal effect and told me I could cut my pills in half for a week then stop. So I've gone from 50mg every other day to 25mg daily, same average dose but it is making me feel unwell, I have stomach upset, vertigo and fogginess that I didn't have before.

I am determined this will be my last prescription of pristiq, I have two boxes of 50mg to wean myself off. Sounds like I can do it from all the comments by others.

Lately, I've noticed that when I run out of my medications, almost all of them at the same time, I start feeling some strange side effects. After running out again, and feeling those side effects, I finally called to get them refilled.

Since I'm on an arthritis medication for my joint paint, I thought that was the problem. I asked my pharmacist and she said that if I feel weird, it's not withdrawal, but just that my body needs that medication, but I didn't even think to ask about my other meds.

When I went in to get my meds, she told me she did not have any more Pristiq more than 2 tablets at that time so she gave me those for the meantime. I've still been taking my pain meds despite how I thought they made me feel, also those 2 pristiq's, and the side effects went away.

It's been about 4 days now and those side effects are back.
I thought it would be important for me to share my story because my side effects are a little different than others. I get headaches that don't go away, dry mouth, itching, insomnia, and worst of all, the blood pressure or heart beat irregularity. Every time I make any normal moves like standing up, turning around, walking, etc., I feel almost faint, like my blood pressure spiked, and then my chest feels strange like my heart skipped a beat. I've also noticed that my hands and feel go numb/asleep.

Since I have been taking my pain meds, and once again off of the pristiq, I thought it was obvious that this medication was the problem, which ultimately led me to post this.

I cannot help but WISH that all of this was due to my arthritis meds because it would be so much easier to find a replacement medication, but Pristiq is harder.

I don't want to be numb again on Prozac which gave me no other issues, depressed without any medications, and I know how risky all the other medications are now. I don't know what to do now, and feel helpless and in need to continue the use of this medication.

It has been a little over two weeks since I started weaning myself off the Pristiq and it hasn't been easy! I was taking 50mg a day for years and it just got too expensive so I decided to stop takng it. My doctor said dont cut the pills in half, rather take one on one day, none the next, etc. for two weeks,then take one pill one day and miss doses the next two days. Today is my third day without Pristiq and I am very dizzy, extremely irritable and depressed, could not sleep last night, even though I was exhausted, have body aches and a headache, but it isn't as bad as the first day off it two weeks ago.

Hang in there! You are not alone! What has been of great help is the prayers being said by my family and friends and myself, going for walks (even though I feel like I will fall down!), taking Vitamin B12 and Rescue Remedy, wgich is a floral tincture you can find in health food stores which really helps with the anxiety and feeling so awful!

You will get through this! You are worth it and so is your life!

I am so glad to hear that others suffer from withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants. I started taking Pristiq about 5 years ago now for an anxiety/panic attack disorder. My panic attacks gave me weird body rushes, numbing of fingers on my left hand, and a strong tingling sensation in my leg and arm on my left side. At first I thought I was having a stroke or something. It was really freaky. My doctor pretty thoroughly checked my heart and aside form hypertension and high cholesterol I was fine. She then determined that I was having a panic attacks.

At first she prescribed xanax. The sensation in my arm wore off, but it would not go away in my leg, and I was still experiencing frequent panic attacks, so she then prescribed Lexapro. That was a weird experience. After starting to take it I was fine at first, but after a couple days I wouldn't sleep and was starting to hear phones ringing. My sister had been taking Pristiq at the time so I asked if I could try that. It worked wonders. Eventually all my panic symptoms went away and I had no side effects from Pristiq. The Dr told me that when I was ready I could ween myself off the drug by taking a pill every other day, then every third day, and so on.

After a while of taking Pristiq without having a panic attack I decided to try weening off Pristiq, and started having what I called "weird brain throbs," but have seen referred to here as brain zaps. These are very annoying and can be debilitating. Then I started experiencing the tingling feeling in my leg, so I went back on it. I've tried one other time since to ween myself off with similar effect. It's now been about 5 years and I haven't had a panic attack in a couple years, so I rally want to get off this medicine.

I started weening myself off a week ago, and I'm having the brain zaps and my leg is acting up a bit. after reading some of the withdrawal symptoms, I'm wondering if the increase of anxiety is from the withdrawal. I'm encouraged that others have successfully weened themselves off of antidepressants and I'm going to stick to weening myself off, slowly, and hope for the best. I know these drugs do help some, but I am also weary of the pharmaceutical companies and their lack of concern for the well being of patients who take their products, all for the love of money. Where is our government in all this? Shouldn't they be trying to protect the people?

I suspect that just like the doctors they are getting kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies as well, and are in love with money and power over the lives and well being of the people they are supposed to serve.

Well, it is day 11 without Pristiq and I am having a rough day! I am very angry and ready to slap anyone who is rude to me. Things that I would normally laugh off really irritate and anger me. I am dangerous on the freeway! I've actually been close to physical fights with rude people! Very unlike me! I've also been having uncontrollable crying jags and dizziness along with difficulty breathing.

Is this nightmare ever going to end! I swear, I think the manufacturers of Pristiq purposely make it almost impossible to get off it! They are evil!!!!

I PRAY FOR ALL OF YOU WHO ARE GOING THROUGH THIS!!! You are NOT alone!

Again I agree, why was I put in it in the first place when the Doctors should know the serious side effects. My dog died after 15 years so GP put me on pristiq... Oh my god!! Night sweats, no sleep, dizziness, blurred vision, memory loss and the tremors... yet she insisted I stay on it, max dosage 100mg... Even had suicidal thoughts caused not by my depression, but from the medication side effects.

Do our GP's get a bonus or free holidays to have you hooked for life? I've gone cold turkey and thanks to the web advice I'm prepared for the withdrawals... which is more information and choice then my GP gave me.

Went to another GP, even he wanted me back on it!! I have no faith in our medical system when all they want is you spending $, months or years getting off it.

I may have been depressed before but I could sleep mostly, good eyesight, memory, didn't suffer any shaking, headaches or noises. Looking back, actually bearable to where I am now
I paid a doctor to give me all these side effects and suicidal thoughts... Good one!

Ive read through all comments on withdrawals from Pristiq and am glad I'm not going nuts. I was on Pristiq for nearly a year on 50mg a day, Fine until about three months ago and then rashes and itchiness started. Given different medications to stop but nothing helped. Had blood tests and was told my cholesterol was a little high. Apparently another symptom. Had a punch biopsy and was told that results indicated that medication could be the reason for rash. Doctor decided to take me off Pristiq and advised me to take one tablet every other day for two weeks then I should be fine. The itchiness/rashes continued absolutely driving me crazy. Decided a week ago to go cold turkey. Rashes not subsiding. Nauseous, crying bouts, anger and depression. How long can this go on???

Not sure what is worse, being on or going off this horrendous medication. I'm determined to battle on if only the rashes would cease!!!! can handle all other symptoms.

I wrote on here before. I'm still working on weening myself off Pristiq slowly. I watched a documentary, "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead," on a guy who did a 90 day juice fast to "reboot" his system and he had great results. He had a rare skin condition that is like psoriasis, not a mental condition, I know, but he was cured and off his medications by doing this juice fast.

I'm thinking that it would help with withdrawal symptoms and possible mild anxiety and depression. I'm not saying this is a cure for clinical anxiety and depression, but for those of you, like me, who just had a "freakout," and were not diagnosed with clinical depression or anxiety, it might be something to look into.

I will be trying this juice fast when I get the money (poor college student right now), but I would encourage you to check this documentary out and try the juice fast. I personally believe that it will help. I will post my results when I can try it. If any of you do it before me, please post your results. By the way, its not a product you buy. the only thing you need is a good juicer, and quality fresh fruits and vegetables to juice. I'm not selling anything here.
http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/

Thank you for sharing your experience and hope. You have helped me! God bless you!

I wasn't going to reply other then my original post, but I realised I didn't post anything POSITIVE .. here goes, one, I was on it for 2 months before reading all of your posts, thank heavens I read them! I went cold turkey which may not be for everyone .... I've been off it for 9 days now, I was in bed for the first 3 days sleeping, and waking and sleeping, I drank heaps of white black tea to flush my system and watched videos (nice ones because of the paranoia thoughts setting in, brain zaps, weakness and noises etc ) .. getting up, the dizziness and headaches were bad ...small achievable steps everyday, eyesight has improved by day 5.

Be kind to yourself was my mantra, I focused on one thing per day (little exercise to work the Pristiq out of my body), like washing dishes even though my aching arms felt like I was lifting dead weights....swept the path, then slept 5 hours straight? Hey, I actually slept! .... find the one thing you like and do it... also I kept TV on, ipad going and played music, .. whatever interested me when I was awake .. I found keeping my mind busy with useless but interesting things, stopped the images, suicide thoughts, paranoia and obsessive thoughts that Pristiq drug intensifies, .. you go around in circles in your mind ... and when you do have a good thought or nice feeling .... hold on to that those thoughts, think and rethink them as many times as you can because you can re train your thinking ... funny, how you have fleeting thoughts of good, but long intense thoughts on negative and bad? .... BE KIND AND FORGIVING TO YOURSELF and good luck to all ... I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel and it's NOT a train or Pristiq coming my way.

Hey there! I've been off Pristiq for over two weeks and I feel better every day, but it has been a horrible, God awful experience. The juice fast sounds like a great idea! In this regard, believe it or not, I was told by my physician, (not the shrink who prescribed the Pristiq) to take Metamucil to help lower my cholesterol so I've been taking it for over a week now. Guess what, I believe the Metamucil is helping to flush this crap out of my system, so I bet a juice fast would work wonders!

I'm still having dizzy spells but not as often or as severe and the crying jags have decreased significantly! I've also been taking B12, drinking lots of water and praying!

You can do this!

Omg me too I was only on pristiq for 2 months 50 milligrams and this is the worst feeling ever. My doctor forgot to check my charts and I was severely allergic to venvalaxine I have the biggest swelling of my feet and hands. I've never been pregnant but I think this is what it's like the extreme swelling my ankles are like tree trunks and my wrist I can barely even move so yes this is one of the big ones. I also can't stop scratching my head I suffer from anxiety and stress and sometimes scratch my head but this is ridiculous I'm literally digging holes in it. pristiq is horrible

Hi VP. I am not sure if you every received an answer or are still trying to get off Pristiq, but my doctor prescribed me a low dosage of Prozac to help get off Pristiq.

I tried cold turkey last year and it was horrendous. I had the brain zaps, sight interference, dizziness, nausea, mood swings, etc. This time I got a 10mg dosage of Prozac.

I take two per day for three days, then 1 per day for 3 days. I am now on day 3 without Pristiq. I can say I am feeling effects coming off the drug, but the prozac has really helped tame it all. All I am really feeling is sluggish, and a bit zoned out.

Now I am not sure what will happen once the prozac is done, but my GP did say that doing this for the first week really gets you over that hump of stopping the Pristiq. Hope this helps you, or someone else out there.

Mary, hoping you see this, I have been on Pristiq for approximately 8-9 months. My personal experience was as follows:
My initial prescription was 50mg,this proved so unsettling to me after 3-4 weeks it aggravated my severe clinical depression due to the low mood on this dosage in the first weeks and the consequent higher dose (100mg) that initially caused a severe depressive episode, I have conveyed the following to my GP. during this time re side effects on this drug.
1.Changes in dosage up or down had a huge effect on mood,for me more so on higher dosage.
2.Although a comfort eater prior this prescription,my appetite on this dosage 100mg. was constantly higher than usual and I ballooned out from 105 kg to 130 kilos(5'11")
3.High degree of sweating with only minimal exercise.
4.During sleep biting my tongue (and teeth grinding) deeply to the point it bleeds on a regular basis from initial dosage.(at least 2 months)
My suggestion is to consult you doctor,listing symptoms and request either to be weaned of drug or wean off it to the lowest dose.Unfortunately my doctor does not seem to take these side-effects of mine with any degree of gravitas or alternative choices/therapy on offer.
you can wean of this stuff,follow info above it's very useful,good luck,uncle pierre...

I am 56 years old and began the anti depressant Merry Go Round with the advent of Prozac. It was toted as a miracle pill with no side effects. Since then I have trusted the doctors and I have run the gamut of SSRI's. Finally about 6 years ago I was put on Pristique, which is an SSNI. It must have been OK in the beginning, I really don't remember, but I've got to get off of it now. I started a taper by razoring off a small piece each month. The withdrawal is horrific. I have many of the above symtoms, anxiety and insomnia being the worst. Every morning I awake at 5:00am in a sweat and feeling what some junkies must feel. I take my "shaved" dose and start to lose the symptoms. When I tried to quit cold turkey, I became suicidal and tried to overdose on xanax, clonazapam and Pristique. Ha, the next morning I awoke at 6AM anyway! I was very bouncy to say the least.
What I am finding helpful during my Taper: NOW brand Calm, an amino acid blend for neurological health

The amino acid L-Tryptophan
L-Glutamine - to reduce sugar cravings
Holy Basil supplements

I still take xanax and clonapin as needed and I keep a journal of meds, supplements, moods and record the times they are taken. I'm still in the "early" phase of tapering and I do believe this may take a long time. However, even with 1/4 less Pristique, my moods have improved. I believe the supplements are feeding my brain what it lacked to begin with.
I am on Government assistance, so I only have a prescribing nurse, and she doesn't seem to know all that much.

Two excellent books that got me started on nutritional help are by Julia Ross. You can get them used on Amazon. Her two books, The Diet Cure & the Mood Cure led to the creation of the supplement Calm.

I have found no sources of help or relief from doctors or prescribing nurses, so I began to research on my own (determinedly). Of course I cannot afford a holistic doctor as that would be the best route to go, in my opinion.

I hope some of you will read the books and begin your own regimen, while doing a slow taper.

I have gone cold turkey, only being on it for 3 months, it's was horrific, but I glad .. all my Dr could say was he was very disappointed in me? Not, so sorry about the side effects and suicidal thoughts I didn't tell you about and I just want you addicted to them ... I researched adrennal fatigue and found the pristique wiped out my minerals ..

On taking magnesium, zinc, and manganese ... I have no headaches, depression gone, eye's improved and the brain zaps gone .. all I needed was some minerals and a good diet .. Thanks to those 3 minerals I'm now sleeping and much calmer. I still have a few bad days but hey! it's better the being on Pristique ... hope this helps any one who is going through withdrawals. Good Luck

I stopped Pristiq 50 mg on Tuesday, under my physician's instructions. Last night started having brain zaps and significant vertigo, exactly as I've had in the past in withdrawing from Effexor. I am hoping to "outrun" the side effects without having to split the pills, but I know it's going to be tough. Any suggestions?

I was on Pristiq for over 2 years, 50mg. It helped me tremendously with my anxiety and depression with barley no side effects, the first 4 weeks I was very tired but I'm pretty sure it was because I was burnt out from everything going on. After two years of being on it, I SLOWLY weened off of them. For 1-2 months I took 50 mg 36 hours apart, then for one month 48 hours apart, then 3 days apart for one month.

It is a nasty drug to get off of but do it slowly. Don't torture yourself for nothing. I did have shakes and brain fuzziness every time if would start the new dosage program but your body adjusts after a week of doing it. I'm currently 4 days no pristiq and my brain is fuzzy, dizzy and slight nausea but so far much better than cutting cold turkey (which I would get brain zaps, severe nausea, rage, crying,...)

I'm feeling really hopeful right now, I can put up with this fuzziness any day knowing that I'm gonna be off this pill for good. Be hopeful and again, DO IT SLOWLY! I will write again and let all of you know how things go later on.

I initially was prescribed pristiq because I was seeking some artificial motivation in my life. I wasn't in the realms of extreme depression - simply lost faith in the system as we know it. I wanted the kick start to be able to join the rat race. However I have come to realise that, after 4 years of 100mg daily dose, it really does not benefit me in both my mental and physical state. After the first time I missed a dose or two I realized how these drugs are engineered to keep you on them thereby increasing the share market value of these leech drug companies. Currently I have gone cold turkey for a week and the brain zaps are progressively getting worse. I also feel a little emotionally on edge. For example I will hear a news story either bad or good and get a split second of wanting to burst into tears. I also feel like I am in a perpetual state of 'getting' the flu but I'm not sure if this is related - as it is flu season here in aus. That all being said, I am steadfast in never taking another pristiq, I feel that companies are praying on people that are damaged simply because they do not fit into the system that is so corrupted. I figure my body and mind will adjust, I have noticed that going to the gym really does reduce the severity of the side-effects while I am there, so it's good motivation to continue. Wishing everyone the best for their cleanse!! Peace out.

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