The People's Perspective on Medicine

Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) Side Effects & Withdrawal

Stopping Pristiq can cause "discontinuation syndrome": a plethora of nasty withdrawal symptoms, but doctors often don't have advice for getting off of it.

An antidepressant could be a lifesaver when a person is desperate and hopeless. In less dire circumstances, however, we urge patients to ask questions about the prescription before they accept it. How much will it help? How long should I take it? How do I STOP taking it? Many readers have found it very difficult to discontinue desvenlaxine (Pristiq).

Withdrawal from Pristiq:

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:

A. H. wrote:

“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.”

Oscar recounted:

“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.”

Laurel said:

“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.”

Julie described her experience:

“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.”

The People’s Pharmacy Perspective:

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:


  • 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.


  • 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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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I was only on Pristiq for close to 2 months and found it did nothing to help with my depression and anxiety whatsoever. It actually made it worse. I was sad all the time. Lost more interest in doing the things I loved. I even had some suicidal thoughts which aren’t like me at all. After going through the trial and error process, and still am, with finding the right anti-depressant for me, I didn’t think much of going off of it – though I went cold turkey because the worsening depression was too much to bear.

I have been cold turkey for almost a week now and have been nothing but extremely dizzy, having mind zaps, and high blood pressure now (even with being on a beta blocker). I thought I was going crazy, so I finally went to the doctor today but ended up in the ER instead. My labs and everything came back great, and the doctor there is also chalking this up to the withdrawal.

It has been so insanely scary to me dealing with this withdrawal over the last week and just praying it goes away sometime soon. I can’t function properly while going through this.

I wish I had stumbled upon this page before starting Pristiq in the first place or I never would have agreed to try it when my doctor suggested it. Now I am going back on Vibryd, and I am happy because it is something that worked for me before, and I am hopeful it will again. The only reason I went off of it before was due to insurance, but I am hopeful I will feel myself again soon.

Had I have known how sick I would get going off Pristiq, I never would have gone on it. I am under medical advice, so did not stop this “cold turkey.” It has only been 2 days, and I can’t concentrate. I am so nauseous, vomiting, severe headache, and just overall feel sick.

How long did it take you to feel better? I am on one week and am nauseous, and my head is floating and dizzy. Wanting to get an idea on timeline.

Btw, my doctor told me that I could just go off of it without any side effects because I had only been on it not quite 90 days (72 days on 50mg). She is wrong and offers me nothing. I had a prescription for nausea med from previous doctor so I am taking it, which helps, but my head is so bad I am afraid to hardly walk and can’t drive.

I have been prescribed various antidepressants since 1994 after suffering a nervous breakdown (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome PTSD plus Bipolarism or ???) while I was an On-Call Forensic Crime Scene Examiner. After some unsuccessful suicide attempts in 1996 I was eventually prescribed Desfax. This drug seemed to cover up my mental issues for a few years until the never-ending side effects began to be more of an issue than my Bipolar symptoms.

These symptoms included Insomnia/Tight neck muscles/High Blood Pressure/Severe migraines/Ears permanently ringing/Massive weight gain, to list only a few. Three months ago I started an intense exercise program involving daily speed walking and gym sessions. Seven days ago I stopped Desfax cold turkey. Since then I have suffered brain zaps/skin prickles/severe rage and aggression/crying/flu-like symptoms/suicidal thoughts, etc.

I have read with great interest all of your previous comments by other Desfax victims, and you have given me even more will and conviction to continue to escape Desfax and the other prescribed drugs and regain control over my life. I hope we all win.

I was on a max dose of Cymbalta for 3 years. It was the first antidepressant I tried. It helped my pain a little at first, and then after a couple years it seemed to just do nothing except give me brain fog. My depression never felt better. But Cymbalta was hell to get off of. I had all sorts of withdrawal side effects. This was even with my doctor putting me on Welbutrin and Gabapentin while tappering off the Cymbalta.

Three years later, and I’m on the max dose of Welbutrin, taking a muscle relaxer, and meloxicam. I was taking 50mg of Pristiq as well. That was for about a year. I decided to stop the Pristiq on my own, mainly because of sexual side effects (I fear that Welbutrin might be causing that, too). It’s been almost three weeks. I went cold turkey, but started taking CBD oil at the same time. After the first week I was forced to take a dose of Pristiq due to the lack of sleep. Currently I’m dealing with headaches, fatigue, tiredness, lack of any energy, and occasional dizziness.

I’m feeling my chronic back pain, nerve pain, and body pain a lot more now. I’m tired of taking drugs. I want real answers and solutions to my chronic pain and old injuries. These damn medications just mask the pain and sadness/anger any normal person would feel in my situation.

Feeling better at all on these meds is just a false sense of getting better.

Omg, I’ve been on 200 mg of Pristiq for 16 yrs since my seven year old sons death , if I forget it’s like electric shocks so bad in my head, when panic attacks occur on top 50 mg of Valium are needed, maybe only once a week depending on situation. Have tried to go cold but become suicidal and am found sleeping on his grave. Will I ever be normal.

I was put on “a low dose” of Trazadone to improve my sleep. I was having trouble getting off. My neurologist sent a compounding pharmacy a prescription for it to be made into a liquid. It was so much easier to reduce the dose.

I was on Aropax for quite a few years for anxiety after a marriage breakup. I didn’t like it because of weight gain, and it was hard to withdraw from because of brain zaps. Last year my mother-in-law died, followed by my much loved cousin, my daughter was diagnosed with cancer before Christmas, and my mother died two days after Christmas. I felt terribly anxious and depressed, so my doctor changed me to Pristiq 50 mg. It worked well for a while until I had a meltdown with crying and high blood pressure. The dose was increased to 100 mg, and it was working okay until I forgot to take a dose one day and I started to have withdrawal symptoms by that night. …..brain zaps, weird dreams, stomach upset, sweating, lack of appetite. I am still feeling unwell two days later, even though I have taken my medication. I am exhausted. I wish I had never started it now, but it’s good to know that others have experienced similar withdrawal effects. Has anyone been admitted to hospital to withdraw off the drug? I am not sure I can do it on my own.

I am on week two of ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal. After reading your thoughts and experiences I am more determined than ever to beat these brain zaps and terrible side effects of withdrawal. So sad that my doc put me on this drug. I trusted him completely.

I have gained over thirty pounds and was so tired of feeling nothing. It is now time for me to grieve my losses (my son as well as my mother and father) without any prescription meds clouding my brain.
Best of luck to all of us who have become the guinea pigs for drug manufacturers. Keep posting your thoughts and feelings. You have made me realize that I am not doing this alone.

After the antidepressants I had been taking for 2 years lost their effectiveness, I began to slip back into a very depressed state. Desperate, I went to my doctor, who prescribed me 50mg of Pristiq. What followed next was the darkest 2 weeks of my life. Never having been suicidal, I had 2 separate attempts at ending my life during that time and was hospitalized. I was taken right off of the drug after only a week of a reduced dosage that was NOT continuously supervised by the hospital psychiatrist or family doctor. After that short but memorable experience, I suffered from severe withdrawal symptoms lasting months. (to this day)

I began experiencing symptoms I had never had before. The worst was the hallucinations, in one doctor’s words “auditory slips” (aka hearing shit), debilitating pressure headaches, paranoia, nightmares, nausea/vomiting and a never-ending brain fogginess. I honestly felt like my brain was on fire and I couldn’t function at all. Other symptoms that stayed with me were panic attacks, irritability, personality change, lethargy, hot flashes, and heart palpitations.

I have seen multiple specialists, been rediagnosed everything under the sun and I am still fighting to get some sort of understanding/relief. If I have learned anything from this experience it is to better educate and advocate for myself. I now know myself better and have learned a lot about the risks involved with antidepressants. After 6 months things are more tolerable but I am far from my normal self and still struggle tremendously with regular cognitive impairment.

I have been on Pristiq for just a few weeks I hate it and want to stop it I also take Prozac. Since I have taken it such a short time could I do cold turkey

I am so thankful to have found this commentary. I have been on Pristiq for about a year and half. The doctor had asked if the previous Anti-depressant was “helping” to which I said, I didn’t know. But I still experienced ongoing depression and some anxiety. (I have been on leave from my teaching career of 31 years after a horrible experience with a new administrator arriving and decimating our great little school. The journey has not been pleasant as a result. But Doctor prescribed Pristiq.

He admitted it was a new one to him and that he didn’t know a lot about it. I recently got a new doctor and she is a lot more thorough. I had been researching about Pristiq, since she has me on Wellbutrin as well. I said I had discovered some concerning possible side-effects and would like to wean from it. I began the weaning about 2 weeks ago. On her advice, I was to go to one every other day. After about a week and half, this past week, I had a very difficult period. I could not figure out why I was on the verge of tears! That is not at all usual for me. I was very down, had a constant sense of doom and fear I could not place. I knew in my mind it was irrational, yet there it was.

I have developed in recent months ongoing nagging lower back tightness and pain. I feel generally exhausted. Well… after the weaning process began, all of this has worsened. I have to nap most days for at least an hour in the afternoon. I like to read in the evenings, but fall asleep. As I saw the doctor last week on the worst day of it, she told me to stick with the every other day, and not to move yet to every third day. I went home and took one, as it was the right timing for it, and within hours felt some better emotionally at least.

This is a wicked drug. I have been on others over the years and never recall having such a withdrawal. I get brain zaps, that are like when a computer suddenly freezes and then resumes, I become very anxious, and feel like the world is collapsing around me.

Doctor mentioned we could switch to Cymbalta, but from what I have been reading, I don’t think I want that one either. I have gained some weight which is frustrating since I had worked hard a few years ago to get to the weight I wanted. I have no energy. It appears from all I have read here that this is pretty typical. I just would like to be done with this one.

I appreciate all the feedback here, and am glad I found this community for sure. Let’s hope for the best for all of us here.

I have been on 300mg for 4 months now with no side effects when taking it, while no positive effects of taking it either, as of yet. Forgot to take it one day a couple of weeks ago and did not experience what others in this thread had. Instead I experienced tremendous rage and aggression. I took precautions to avoid this again for the next time. Despite this I forgot again yesterday. Needless to say there are certainly withdrawal effects at this dosage including light headedness, dizziness, nausea and the most prominent of all, bordering on psychotic levels of rage.

Only reason I wrote about my experience is because I didn’t see anyone else having the same side effects as mine, though I did not see anyone on 300mg. If you forget to take this medication, and you are at work and have similar effects , I would recommend going home immediately, avoiding contact with anyone, and taking the med.

Hi Adam,

I have just read your post on the Peoples Pharmacy . Pristiq undoubtedly has its issues and it makes me wonder how these pharmaceutical companies get licences for a drug that has extreme side effects.

After a year on Effexor, my doctor sent me to a psychiatrist who put me on Pristiq and told me to increase the dosage until it started having a positive effect. When I got to 200mg a day I decided I wouldnt increase the dosage further.

As I have had a 3 1/2 cout battle to get paid by John Holland Rail, I traveled to the UK to see some old friends. I went to get more Pristiq from the chemist, where i was advised that Prestiq is not available in the UK, but another drug called Venzip XL.

I was expecting big withdrawal symptoms as when ive travelled from the Sunny Coast to Melbourne for work, and ran out of Pristiq, the top of my brain feels woolly and i cant think straight. I dont have this with Venzip XL, but a feeling that i dont care about anything. A friend recommended a herbal drug called 5 HTP that produces Serotonin that helps me feel happier.

It might be worth discussing with your doctor.

Adam, may I wish you the best of luck.



Have been on Pristiq for 2 yrs. I missed a dose yesterday because I am going to run out of meds before I get paid so was trying to stretch it. I was ok yesterday but feeling like crap today. When I woke up was feeling dizzy. I took my pill and am feeling worse. Nausea,dizziness, crying. I will NEVER miss a dose again am feeling really bad. Hope I feel better soon.

I have been on pristique for about 4 yrs, I’ve had the same dosage for about 2 1/2 yrs 150mg daily , my insurance all of a sudden decided to need a preotherization for 1 months refill, I called my psychiatric nurse practioners office on a Monday , they were supposed to take care of this, by Thursday vertigo set in bad, as intense sweating, then I felt like a was being stabbed all over my body with millions of needles could not sleep for almost 2 days, Friday all the symptoms got 100% worse, I called my insurance and they did an override, within 6 hours I was better, Saturday evening almost normal. Still having a bit of trouble sleeping, I’m scared to death about this. Calling my Dr. To get an immediate appointment tomorrow

I have been off Pristiq for 4 weeks now, tapering with 20 mg of Prozac.
I am experiencing skin tingling, crawling, pins and needles sensation.

Wondering if anyone else has these symptoms.

I have been using Pristiq 150mg daily for 3 years. Cold turkey past 8 days. Try to stop taking it but feel terrible. Just want to start back on it again. I have tryed tapering several times in several ways in the past. Withdrawal symptoms include sadness, random crying episodes, dizzy, blurred vision, dull mood. I have increased exercise under advise and this has helped. I try to remember how i was before starting this Pristiq and compare with withdrawal symptoms.

I think I feel better while on Pristiq than what I did before starting. But I feel terrible transititioning off this Pristiq. I have put on 15kgs in 3 years since starting Pristiq. Despite exercising 3 days a week using weights. I think Pristiq has been good for me in learning how to deal with everyday stressors differently to before I started. I think I would like to persevere in stopping this medication and see what I am like off it. And perhaps recommence on it ir something like it if I need to.

I have been on Pristiq 100mg for 4 years now. This is my 2nd day trying to stop without any support, cold turkey. I feel terrible, sick, dizzy, running to the bathroom with shocking diarrhoea. I am a single mum of a 13 yr-old. I feel alone and scared, but I am determined to get my self back. I have lost all connection to what was the real me on this medication. I don’t laugh. I am always flat, and I have gone from size 8 to size 14 (gaining 15 kg. I want to be off this medication, and I am not sure that I am doing the right thing trying this alone. I am wishing I never started taking them, but I did, so fingers crossed that I can cope with the next few weeks :)

Me too.

I would like to know if anyone has ever experienced the side effect of swollen submandibular glands while taking pristiq? On the neck below the jaw bone . I had a 2 week period where they were quite swollen and painful and I felt aching but no fever. Took a round of antibiotic and I suck on lemon drops and chewing gum as advised by the MD. The Dr. wasnt convinced that the pristiq was the issue . The swelling switched from one side to the other side of the neck, so I do not think it was a salivary stone. Now that I know what the feeling is when they are getting swollen, I am suspicious that it is a medication side effect . Thinking the reduction in saliva a known side effect made the salivary flow thicker and believe I have had frequent bouts of them hurting and attributed it to swollen lymph nodes . Cutting down on pristiq until you are off of it a whole other subject! I was thankful for this site that alerted me to the availability of the 25mg that are just for this reason and MANY Drs do not know about it. Switching from 50 to nothing sucked, 25mg daily for a week and then every other day is my plan. even though I loved the pristiq for controlling irritability and anxiety and focus, Ive lost my love for it due to side effects. If I figure out it isnt the problem I will probably go back on it.

I have been on Pristiq 50mg for a little over a year. The medication has helped me somewhat, but recently I have cleaned up my diet and made improvements to my life and I’m now at the stage now where I no longer want to rely on it to feel a standard baseline. I am in the process of tapering off Pristiq, and it’s harder than other medications because you can’t just halve the pills.

I am scheduling the coming off over at least a 2 month period, taking it 6 out of 7 days for around 2 weeks then 5 out of 7 days, 4 out of 7 days and so on. The brain zaps can be intense and leave you very disorientated or confused and irritable. But I do notice that they are particularly worse on days where I haven’t eaten as well. I really recommend anyone tapering off Pristiq to have had some time cleaning up their diet in the weeks before to lessen the withdrawl effects.

Try and eliminate starchy foods, carbs and increase your leafy green, fresh fruit and omega 3 intake. Don’t know if it will work for everybody but these things seem to have lessened the side effects for me on the days I’m not taking it.

I recently moved out of state, and my insurance won’t cover me to get my medicine. So I quit cold turkey. I loved being on my anti- depressant/ anxiety medicine. I am trying to get it but it costs a lot of money. I am having severe withdrawal symptoms: crazy dizziness, abnormal nightmares, CRAZY depression, and suicidal thoughts. I don’t know what to do, and I will not have the money to get my next month’s worth for another week. I don’t know what to do to help my withdrawal symptoms, and I am still waiting to hear back from my doctor. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

You might try asking your Dr. to give you samples or get connected with a social services rep at a hospital that could connect you to free or reduced price medication.

I had been on 100 mg of Pristiq for 8 years for low-grade depression. In the beginning, I took it with Abilify as well because nothing was working for me or I couldn’t tolerate the side effects of others. Pristiq worked for me and helped me to get through some stressful family situations without becoming over-emotional and especially angry. I stopped with the Ability, as my weight was going up, and I learned some negatives about it. Lost 12 lbs. quite quickly. Over the last 5 years, I tried to decrease the dosage of Pristine, as I would start to feel my heart racing and hyper. I’d go down to 50 mg then back up to 100mg then back down again. When I learned there was a 25 mg dose, I asked my doctor if I could take a 50 and a 25. That seemed to work well for awhile. In the meantime my family’s situation has improved, and my work in my 12-step program has given me the confidence to try to come off anti-depressants altogether.

I then took 50mg for a few months, then just 25mg for about 3 months, then stopped cold turkey three weeks ago. The first 3 days were not bad, then the symptoms hit. They are tolerable and not consistent. I call it wobbly-head. Sometimes severe fatigue like I have never experienced in my life. So then I just rest, and it gets better. I’ve never had the flu, but think the aches and throbs I feel in my back especially and all-over stiffness might be flu-like symptoms. I have an appt. with my GP to make sure nothing else is going on coincidentally in a few days. Oh yes, and irritability and agitation. Why is everything on the computer so difficult to open these days, and how am I supposed to remember all these passwords. I seem to be on a different wavelength of thinking and comprehending than others. Am crying every day especially when listening to songs on the radio, which feels good to me now, as I was not able to cry about anything while on the medication. Never been a big fan of crying but it is necessary to release sad emotions. Grateful to others who shared on this site.

I recommend to others to get down to the lowest dosage for awhile before going off completely, and try to do it during a quiet time in your life, perhaps even taking a long vacation to do it if you have a demanding job. Give yourself a break if at all possible. I have also been bathing my brain in healthy fats, avocado, fish oil capsules, vitamin B capsules, vitamin D and trying, but not succeeding, to stay away from sugar. That’s my next mission and so important to brain health, but first things first. I think maybe my cravings for sweets increased during withdrawal from Pristine. So don’t have any around and perhaps find one somewhat heathy sweet to tide you over so you don’t binge. Eat lots of leafy greens, lean protein, and drink lots of water. Blessings to all!

My wife passed away and I was in grief. My GP and a psychologist were treating me and the psychologist felt that I should have medication and was referred to a psychiatrist. I was prescribed 50 mg Pristiq in July 2017. I told the Psychiatrist I was unable to sleep and felt a loss of energy and in August, it went to 100mg Pristiq and 15mg Avanza. I became more and more tired and felt a total lack of energy and was having strange dreams and by the end of October, was taking 200mg Pristiq and 45mg Avanza despite me telling the psy that I was disorientated, having weird dreams and feeling totally drained and fatigued.

At no time were I told of any side effects as I had told the psy that Zoloft and I do not get along when he first suggested that as a course of treatment. I was now having strange dreams, shivering at night and cold sweat was becoming a normal occurrence. I saw the psy every month and in late January, it became extremely bad and in my February 2018 meeting with him, after another horrendous night, I told him it was the Pristiq making me worse. He was resistant to the idea and said that the drugs would need some time to be efficacious. After a few more days of ‘hell’, I saw him again and he recommended a steeping down to 150mg and then as it goes. I did not tell him that I wanted it to stop and about ten days ago, I stopped Pristiq altogether , scaled Avanza back to 15mg. I was still having cold sweat, developed flu like symptoms but continued with my cold turkey approach. I feel less tired, and although the flu-like symptoms still persist, I feel more energized.
I really think over prescription is a problem. In July 2017, I was able to walk my dogs but after August, was so tired that dog walking became impossible. Pristiq side effects must be made known to the patient, including its withdrawal effects. I would like to see a larger group of us supporting each other. I don’t know how my grief became transformed into a depression management problem and with horrible side effects. For those of you still struggling out there, be strong , stay strong and the psy is not always rights. Cheers and regards

I’ve read many posts on antidepressants and the problems they have caused. As a Vietnam veteran with a few problems I was put on on 400 mg a day of Effector and was switched to 200 mg Pristique when the psychiatrist thought it may be better. In all I was on antidepressants for nearly 4 years. I was miserable.

I was experiencing the side effects to where I couldn’t function. Life had to be better, so I weaned myself of them by escaping to overseas back packing and taking charge again. I completely changed my diet to healthy options, no processed food. Exercise and heavy intake of the B vitamins as well as sun, etc. Been a while but worth it. I take care of myself with actively looking forward to days ahead, exercise etc. It is not easy to get off these things, and the medical profession is tuned in to making it easy to subscribe to their insistence that only drugs will do it. I was once on 10 different drugs for problems. I now take none. I hope this will help someone to realise that life is worth living and self controlling one’s life is a buzz.

Does anyone have experience with altering their desvenlafaxine tablets? Does anyone know what to expect about how long the brain zaps, sensory, crying and anxiety withdrawal symptoms will last when weaning off?

My last dose was 50 mg once a day, and am now having withdrawal symptoms. I read online that if I cut the 50 mg pill in half or have a compounding pharmacy pulverize the tablets and make smaller doses for me, the pill’s structure and integrity are changed, and will likely cause discontinuation syndrome symptoms. Well I’m already having those symptoms in droves after three days after my last dose. I couldn’t go to work today, and am worried about how long I’ll be so incapacitated.

With doc’s supervision, I reduced my dose by 50 mg every two weeks with absolutely no side effects until three days after the last 50 mg dose.

I’m weaning off pristiq under my dr care. I was on 100 mg and she introduced Prozac 10 mg. It is not a pleasant experience it’s been weeks. I had a week of nauseau, vomiting, dizziness, and the headache persisted. She added 10 more mg of Prozac to stop headaches and that helped. I have stiff neck, crying everyday, feel out of it. So agitated I needed to up my klonopin. I have anxiety and OCD health anxiety. You can only imagine what I’m thinking as all these things happen. I’m now on 50 mg of pristiq and 20 Prozac. Changing psychiatrists. This is horrible. I feel out of it. No motivation. I will say exercise has been key in helping. This is a nightmare! I am hoping my new psychiatrist who is renown will get me off once and for all and back to Prozac. Good luck to all. It’s quite the journey we all have to take and no one quite understands.

I’ve been taking 200mg a day for what seems like years. I’m emotionally numb, except for sadness, feeling useless, and hating myself. I know not to stop cold turkey on the meds and have heard it’s horrid, and with my high dose am nervous. I have been on antidepressants for nearly 40 years. I have no quality of life and am struggling just to leave the house. Also weight gain has been a real downer, the biggest ever in my life (59 years). Any help or experiences would be greatly appreciated. Your posts are interesting and the best I’ve seen, best of luck to you all.

So thankful I found this site and all of your comments. I have been experiencing all of these same symptoms. Although, I’m not sure about the “brain zaps”. I do have a weird sound that, after hearing that term,is a good description. I wonder if that’s the same thing?

Hmm..anyway, after reading all of these comments I no longer feel like I’m going insane. Which, is truly what I thought was happening. And I feel like maybe I can handle what is happening to my body a little better knowing that it is temporary. Uuuhhhggg…hopefully not much longer. Good luck to all who are dealing with this. It sure is a trying time.

I am going through withdrawals of Pristiq, as I write this. I have been on depression medication since my daughter was 9 mos. old. She is now 19. I started with Prozac and progressed through 5 or 6 different medications through the years. I am presently taking 100mg of Pristiq, which I stopped abruptly 4 days ago. I was at work and felt ill in the morning, 6 days ago. I went to emerg, and found out that I had pneumonia, yet again. I had a hospital stay this past August, for 3 days, for severe pneumonia. I am now feeling the brain zaps, I’ve had an INSANE migraine, the muscles in the back of my neck are extremely tight, I’ve had insomnia like crazy, the uncontrollable crying, etc.

I have been reading a lot of comments left by others, and actually looked up more information on this drug. I suddenly realized that this drug may well have been the cause of my pneumonia, which I had a first bout of, about 13 years ago. I feel so stupid now, not taking the time to actually find out the “ins and outs” of antidepressants. I just told the doctors what I was feeling, they prescribed a drug and dosage, I took it in hopes that it would help, and that was the end of it.

If you take nothing else away from all of these personal comments, please take this one SIMPLE suggestion. When you are prescribed an antidepressant, PLEASE do your research, and read the paperwork that comes with your prescription from the pharmacy! Also, pay close attention as to how the drug is affecting your body, because it could be a detriment to your health, if you don’t. I will continue to put up with the brain zaps, and the rest of the withdrawal symptoms that I am going through right now, because I want my life back. For so many years, I have missed so much of my life because of “walking around like a zombie”, “not feeling emotional when I know I should”.

I am not saying that this is a good or bad drug, I just know how it is affecting my own life, and I am, quite frankly, tired of it. I will inform my doctor, of course, but this is a personal quest that I am on, and I hope to have success so that I don’t have to rely on antidepressants any longer. This may not have been a good idea for me to do, but having pneumonia, I just felt that I have enough medications in my body, and with the sickness, have not been “in my right mind.”

Thank you to all of you who have shared your thoughts, etc. It helped me to know that I am not alone in what I am feeling, and it was also informative, as before today, I didn’t know about the “brain zaps”. Take care, and be well.

I’ve been on pristiq, twice. Once for anxiety; once as an add-on to control seizures (I have a brain cavernoma in the area that affects anxiety). I will never use this medication again.

My first time getting off of pristiq was after about 3 years of use at 50 mg. I chose to cut the meds, and experienced severe (undiagnosed) focal partial seizures/brain zaps for about 3 weeks. My experience may be unique in that I do have a seizure disorder. Pristiq causes seizures, and did with me, during the withdrawal phase. (I also had seizures once in awhile while on the meds, but the seizures were not yet diagnosed).

My second time getting off of pristiq (25 mg) was after being on it for 3 months. Recent treatment for seizures may include adding an anti-depressant/mood stabilizer to minimize the seizures. I am also unique in that my seizures may be caused by my brain cavernoma (known to bleed and cause seizures; it has done both in my case). With one seizure medication (zonisamide), pristiq didn’t mix well…with another seizure medication (oxcarbazepine), it did fine. However, now that I am tapering off of the pristiq (I switched to venlafaxine 37.5 mg) I am experiencing withdrawal and a return of the seizure symptoms (so I am again not sure if my seizure meds are working or if it is the withdrawal from pristiq/venlafaxine). I chose to stop the pristiq because it wasn’t helpful, and I was concerned about getting off it (I hadn’t realized all forms of pristiq are xr, which means you can’t get off of it safely/without experiencing some kind of withdrawal symptoms). I hate it, I hate it, I HATE IT!!!

Regardless of the cause or correlation, I will never use pristiq/venlafaxine again. The withdrawal exacerbates my seizure symptoms and it is horrible. During withdrawal, I have experienced vertigo(not the same as dizziness), nausea, brain zaps (seizures in my case)…even though I have tapered slowly. I wish I had never agreed to use pristiq again. Erroneously, I thought pristiq was not extended release, but all forms of it are. You cannot get off of it without withdrawal or needing to switch to another medication that you can safely cut…but you’re likely going to experience withdrawal. It completely sucks!

FYI – prior to tapering off of my 2nd use of pristiq, I contacted the manufacturer to get tapering instructions. They had NONE. It was not helpful and now they try to contact me to “get more information about my adverse side effects,” since i mentioned that I had cut the pills in the past and experienced increased seizure activity. I already reported it, but don’t want to offer any more information. It feels like an invasion of my privacy, rather than a legitimate gathering of information for helpful use.

Currently coming off 50 MGs been on for two years. I’d like to add my perspective, currently experiencing some discomfort.

I say to the Brain: My Brain, My Brain, My Beautiful Brain, my source of comfort and familiarity you run my body so precisely at every moment I’m forever grateful.

However in days passed we wondered off the path of positive thought and we imagined dogmatic realities and envisioned danger around every corner, the curse of the imagination took hold and depressed our natural zest and curiosity for life, and we needed some physical assistance to create the serotonin you so cherish.

Today we know better, we no longer fall in to the trap of the evil inclination the imagination who makes us assume the worst at every turn, we can tell what’s real and here and now, from what’s not real and only exists in our mind, and we are therefore ready to take back control of our serotonin production.

There is a however a necessary period of adjustment, and you, my strong capable Brain, will be at the forefront of it. We can do this together my beloved Brain, let’s not resist the change taking place within us, let’s welcome it, this is the door to our healthy future if we keep faith in one another we can beet this for sure. I will make everything in my life secondary to you my Brain in these few days where you need all my attention. I will rest if you want me to rest, work if you want me to work, be social or alone as you please, we will accept this transition together because we know it’s best for us in the long run and we will enjoy the rest of eternity in freedom together.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Such positive words and advice!

Raziel you inspire me and my brain.

I have been on prestique 50 and want to come off. The doctor advised me to cut the pills in half. I did this for three days and it was an absolute disaster.

I suffered periods of highs and lows, Cronic diahorea which lasted a week and stomach pains, I have crazy dreams which made me scream out and my head felt like it was in a vice and being twisted off my shoulders and a heavy anxiety in my chest with heavy sweating.

Last night I vowed never to take it again if coming off it could cause all this. I made peace with my brain and like Raziel coached myself to do this cold turkey as it could not possibly be a worse period in my life than the reasons I went on prestique initially.

While I was on it I have to say it was very helpful.

I live in Australia and we don’t have 25’s unfortunately

Such a wonderful help, thank you for sharing this. Day 2 stopping cold turkey 100mg, after 1yr. Im finding the withdrawal symptoms interesting rather than horrible. Actually very similar to the initial side effects when I began taking pristiq. I can hear my neck when it turns (bizzare), feel disassociated from the world, kind of vertigo, calm, very vivid interesting dreams, a little tense.

I came off these tablets only as I was experiencing jaw tightness and teeth clenching ever since starting them (that was horrible), otherwise they have really helped me to become ‘chill’, they stopped my overthinking, anxiety and feeling ‘crazy’. They gave me the opportunity to get my diet healthy, life balanced, I now meditate to relax and hope these changes are enough to continue my progress.

I know the advice is not to stop suddenly however I want to get the withdrawals over and done with. I do not suffer depression so am not concerned about suicidal thoughts appearing etc, I am reading articles so I am informed about what to expect and of course am monitoring myself very carefully with a pristiq handy in my pocket just in case things become ‘crazy’. If this happens I will be off to the dr to get a 50ml prescription to wean off more gradually. For now though feeling positive and looking after myself.

I’ve been on pristiq for seven years. Dr told me to go down to 25 mil from 50 then stop I couldn’t function so I cut the 25 tablet in half for two weeks and then stopped !

It is day 4 and I am suffering with brain and eye zaps, tiredness, nausea,diarrhea, itchy skin, vivid dreams and I’m extremely emotional just feel achy all over and I have dizziness and leg cramps and feel like I have the flu! I am wondering how long this will last and if there’s anything I can do to feel better.

I have been on Pristiq for 6 years 100 mg per day. I suffered depression due to work/ family stress and having been involved in counselling for the past 2 years do not want to continue on the Pristiq, as I believe the depresion and anxiety were due to false belief systems (thinking). I have been taking 100 mg every second day for 2 weeks & am know into 3rd week where I am moving to taking 100mg every third day.

Can appreciate all that has been said. Crying for no reason, cracking headaches, dizzy, nausea, having been sleeping fine but my arms ache like crazy, can hardly move y fingers by morning. Feeling really positive though and a bit more clarity to my thoughts! My Dr some years ago told me to cut them but I thought I”d try this way to give them the flick.

I have been taking Pristiq since it was first released in Australia {not sure when, have lost track} My GP prescribed Pristiq after diagnosing me with severe depression and anxiety. I was started on a relatively low dose which over time was increased to 150mg per day. After being diagnosed with diabetes recently, I decided to review my medications with my GP {different doc to the one who first prescribed Pristiq}.

I have been weaning myself off Pristiq, with my GP’s support and have now been off them for a couple of weeks. In the last 2 years I have gained a LOT of weight, have had massive sleep issues from total insomnia to just wanting to sleep all the time.

I don’t know what is next but I wish the brain zaps would stop. When I turn my head, it feels like my head stops moving but my brain keeps going. Sick of being medicated for depression but not sure what to do now.

I am sorry I don’t have a success story (yet) to report, but wanted to share my story. I was taking 50 mg Pristiq daily. A naturopath tried to wean me off and told me to cut the pills in half. NO!

As you know, the Pristiq label says no cutting. They are time release so this give you a big dose al at once. Yikes! I was feeling bad overall, but my BP spiked to 140s/150s over 90/100s.

I am currently on a BP med for the forst time in my life at age 46. My doctor put me on Pristiq 25 mg and I am in no hurry to wean off of that. This is very scary.

Well I was on Pistiq 100mg for at least 6 months; and then they randomly came out with a generic, which weirdly was almost just as expensive. My doctor gave me this medicine in case I wanted to stop it, because he knows I adjust mine too as I see fit if I do not like some side effects, and he trusts me to do so. Well, after I started the generic, I started waking up with the big toe on my right foot being numb. I didn’t think much of it, but did realize it spread to the other foot, and if I had been lying down too long my whole body would suffer the ‘brain zaps’. I did not know what to even call them until this website.

I ran out of my medicine a week ago, so I believe I am at the end of day 6 or so. The brain zaps have decreased thankfully, although if I look out the side of my eye it can still happen. Luckily the feeling in my toes came back too! What I’m having an awful time with now is horrible sleep paralysis as I’m trying to fall asleep. It is not a one time thing either, it is multiple times and lasts for minutes. It is sad when you don’t want to try to go to sleep because of what it will do :/ So positives are, the brain zaps are definitely going away! Also I am not running around all the time forgetting what I’m doing and saying to myself ‘I’m loosing my mind’. Also, I have no more numbness in my toes!

Negatives: Is anyone experiencing this horrible sleep paralysis along with nightmares? I do not know why he recommended this one as an easy one to come off if I wanted. Stay strong everyone, I’m praying for a better tomorrow for everyone struggling with this!

I was so horrified by what I have read here I decided to NOT take Pristiq anymore, after only 2 days.

Obviously my doc lied too- I would not feel bad neither starting or laying off the medicine.

OK, so I have had a depression for umpteen years, down and listless and no energy.But I have never felt as bad as I have these 2 days of taking Pristic. Days! Surely I can just stop, without getting these awful effects???? or are 2 days enough to feel even more like hell? So glad I found this forum, will try registering. ML80

Hi, My name is Gill, I am presently undergoing, coming off Pristiq. I have been on just about every anti depressant there is. I am diagnosed with bi-polar and depression/anxiety. Recently I was in hospital and came off pristique over 2days, my doctor was going to put me on Cymbalta.

I read up about Cymbalta and was horrified at what I saw. So I asked if I could come off my anti depressant as a trial, as I actually felt my mood was lifted.

I have stopped taking Pristique now for two weeks, it is a nightmare. I am irritable,very sweaty, blood pressure has sky rocketed, unfortunately I smoke which doesn’t help. And they think I am hormonal? Maybe I am!

But I feel drowsy most afternoons and am tempted to take Valium to help me to cope. I get so confused with all the drugs. Who’s telling the truth???

I went off cymbalta in 2010 and just happened to be taking Sudafed for sinus problems. I noticed my brain zaps and dizziness went away or were decreased when taking the Sudafed. I talked with my pharmacist at the time and the only concern was having high blood pressure if I took it all the time. I continued to take it if I was at work and like I said it made a world of difference. Hopefully this can help others but ask your doctor first.

I am four days post my final dose of 50mg Pristiq which I had been tapering off from. Yes these side effects suck and I went searching the web to try and find success stories to give me the power to press on. It’s easy to find people having a tough time coming off the drug but no one seems to write how and WHEN they finally beat it. Sharing that side of your story might actually help others see a light at the end of the tunnel..

Hi I was wondering how you went? Did the sudafed keep helping? And are you completely weaned off now?

I was taking Lexapro but had awful side effects and I didn’t feel any relief from taking it. So, my doctor switched me to Pristiq and I took one pill today but after reading these posts I’m not going to take any more. Can anyone share their success story with an alternative anti-depressant?

Pristiq is a nightmare. I’ve only been on it a month and, like everyone else, I have nauseous stomach and vomiting, sweating is terrible, and don’t want to eat. I want to get off it so I stopped and started to take my old one which is Lexapro. Was in hospital twice for the sweating, sickness and dizziness. They thought it might be my heart but ran a battery of test, and heart looks good. Pristiq shouldn’t be prescribed to any human. I’m scared of the side effects of getting off it but I need to.

I chose to switch from Pristiq to Latuda. I haven’t felt like the Pristiq has done much of anything for me, and my husband agrees. I’ve also gained 10lbs since I started taking it about 8 months ago. Prior to the Pristiq, I was on Celexa, but it was making me have issues with separating dreams from reality, and it was really freaking me out. I took 25mg of Pristiq a day for 2 weeks. This week, I’m taking 25mg every other day.

It is TRULY a struggle. I feel dizzy, foggy and exhausted. My vision seems cloudy. The brain zaps are constant, and sometimes it feels like my entire brain is going “waaah waaaah waaaah”, almost like it’s expanding and contracting (though I know it isn’t). I’m having really stressful, vivid dreams. I’m depressed, hopeless, and easily angered/agitated by my husband and kids. I’m getting nothing done at work. I’m just trying to take it one day at a time, but I definitely feel like crap. I’ll continue taking a pill every other day this week and next week, then I’m supposed to stop taking them and take the Latuda. I’m definitely really nervous about it.

I was only on Pristiq for about 3 weeks, persuaded by my doctor. I didn’t like what it was doing to my moods. Also insomnia and nausea were creeping in. I didn’t think after so little time that coming off these pills would be so debilitating. Intense nausea, dizziness, headaches, weird vivid dreams and brain zaps. Without my wife and my faith I would be really struggling. It’s been six days of complete debilitation. I hope it ends soon, and I can get back to normality.

I think the “weaning off” only extends the issues and difficulty in getting off of it. I am on day 9 of cold turkey….. it has been hell, I will never go back!

I told my doctor that I wanted to come off Pristiq. He told me that taking 10 mls of Paxal would help.

I stopped Pristiq last thursday and started on paxal on Saturday….. I highly recommend that if you want to start pristiq DO NOT ….I started getting panic attacks after the sudden death of my husband ….then 3 mths later the tragic death of my baby grandson…..i am also a carer for a chronically ill daughter so have a lot of stress I found that weight was just creeping on me regardless of the ammount of exercise or the ammount of food i ate…… then their were the aches and muscle pains and in my joints.

I had scans and MRIs that showed nothing, then there was the dullness it was like I was on a 7 second delay as my daughter is very sick I need to have my wits about me, since stopping and start taking Paxil the withdrawal symptoms have dominated my day and night bran Zaps upset tummies sleeplessness today is day 6 the brain zaps have receded and I even felt confidant enough to drive the car…. also the muscle and joint pains stopped within 2 days. Good luck everyone dont forget to ask God for help.

I would like to know if anyone has used pot or has any thoughts on using pot to alleviate the withdrawal from Pristiq?

I was prescribed pristiq 50mg two years ago for depression and stress. A year later I went up to 100mg. And since then I feel worse than when I was on the smaller dose. I’m getting more frequent brain zaps even less than 24hrs since taking a dose. I’m really irritated and constantly snapping at my wife and two younger kids. I’m 31, male, reasonably fit though I don’t exercise and vegetarian. I should not and don’t want to be on this anymore.

But back to the question. Medicinal marjauna is not available in nsw Australia so I would need to catch up with an old friend, but I would like to know opinions on using it. I think I want to start splitting the tablets each fortnight until I get to zero so maybe pot could help with sleeping and brain zaps??

Yes, it helps IMMENSELY. I have been on and off of this medication since it first came out. They upped my dosage to 100mgs a few months ago. I forgot my meds on a 2 day trip out of state and it was as if I just woke up. I started realizing I was so numb to the world, I was just going through the motions of being alive (…work, home, bed, work, home, bed..) I smoke and my anxieties and symptoms completely disappear.

Has anyone else experienced hives when they tapered off Prestiq?


I’ve had terrible hives

I was prescribed a prescription for Pristiq today and now that I have read peoples posts, I am not going to take it! thank you for sharing your experiences – you have helped me and others by being honest and taking the time to write down your experiences.

My doctor just put me on 50mg per day …. I am suffering really bad mood swings and severe depression … after reading about the brain zaps ect I am really scared to continue with this …. but i feel i have no choice because of my chemical inbalance

Megan, the idea that psychiatric conditions are caused by a “chemical imbalance” is largely a myth (there are a few exceptions like thyroid conditions). So I do not think that feeling compelled to take medications to treat a non existent chemical imbalance is a good reason.

As a rule antidepressants are not much stronger that placebo for depression.

These comments have been a very helpful and encouraging read. I’ve been gradually weaning myself off Pristiq with lower doses over the last couple of months, and I’m 3 days into no Pristiq. I thought it was time to move off it, my personal circumstances have improved and I’ve been exercising pretty consistently for the last 6 months.

However even with the warnings, I wasn’t really prepared for how I would feel after coming off it completely – even going from a low dose to no dose, the side effects feel much much stronger than when I was just lowering the dosage. I have very strong feelings of vertigo and I don’t trust my balance – which is my main concern at the moment as I don’t feel safe exercising. I find it currently difficult to get comfortable lying down initially and when I sleep I have nightmares that are vivid and generally terrifying.

I thought I would be okay to go to work whilst coming off Pristiq, but I’m not convinced now that I can do it. I’m not sure what I’d do if I did stay home though, because I don’t currently feel very good lying down. Being aware of the side effects and the knowledge that they do go away eventually is a comfort though – I’m very keen to kick this Pristiq habit.

My doctor stopped Pristiq and gave me Zoloft without any titrating down of the Pristiq or titrating up of the Zoloft that was on last Monday this is a week later. I have felt like I’m having a nervous breakdown. Crying, feeling hopeless. Will this subside?

How are you doing now?

Did some research on compounding of medications and phoned a nearby compounding pharmacy this morning. The pharmacist said that they will do Pristiq in smaller doses – 40, 30, 25 mg right down to 5mg !! It does cost more for this service: AUD$50 for two weeks supply of 25 mg, for example, but that is great news for people wanting to titrate down from this drug. I would encourage others to check out what is available in their area in terms of getting a custom compounded dose so that the process of getting off Pristiq is not so horrible !! Peace n’love to all.

I have been on Pristiq 100mg for almost 5 yrs I think. Suddenly my insurance decided to not cover my prescription. I have tried other meds, but had allergic reactions. So needless to say, while waiting on all the appeal paperwork to go through, I ran out and have gone cold turky for 5 days. I have awful sweating, jitters, slight vision distoortions and slight dizziness. Each day gets better. The best thing is that the brain fog is gone, I have more energy and can “feel” again! I realize it will take me some time to get this out of my system. Hope it will get better..

i have stopped taking prestiq for nearly a week . I only weaned off for a week before stopping completely. withdrawal symptoms are maddening. as it’s nearly a week I don’t want to start again. is this sensible. regards Roxanne

Roxanne, How are you doing now? I am about 1.5 weeks in after going cold turkey because I ran out and didn’t want to pay for prescription again due to cost with deductible renewing. I am curious how your journey has been in recent days. Thanks for sharing.

Good on you.
I was on Effexor for over 10 years with the dosage slowly increasing over time to have any effectiveness then a shrink put me on Pristiq and the same thing is happening now having to increase dosage to have any effect. In the process my life has deteriorated resulting in the loss of my job and destruction of family life.

I know that the only time I can reduce my dosage is when I can maintain a good exercise program to force my body to produce its own chemistry. Otherwise I am in a fog and struggle to get going. I hope I can kick this dreadful drug but in the mean time I have been trying to find out if there is a class action here in Australia.

Just to add to my previous post. I went down from 200mgs of Pristiq to 0 in a week. It was ok until I hit the 0 mark and then the emotions went crazy.

My legs keep cramping badly during the night, I don’t want to sleep because I’m haunted by nightmares every night. I had severe itchiness which let to me bleeding from scratching so much. My tinnitus is worse than usual, the brain zaps are going but I’ve been told it could take months for the symptoms and brain fog to go away.

Also found out lucky me, I’ve been misdiagnosed for 20 plus years. I’m bi-polar so every time they pumped more anti-d’s into me it make me manic then crash and burn leading to a higher dose of anti-d’s and the cycle continued.

I don’t typically write on these forums but I recently discontinued taking Pristiq and during the first few days free of the medication, I was desperately searching for a hopeful post, which I hardly came by! I was sure that I would spend the next few weeks as miserable as I felt at the time! I was feeling really discouraged and contemplated going back, but was determined to push through, and I did!!

I was on Pristiq 100mg for almost 2 years and decided that the tough time in my life when I started taking it had passed and it was now time to stop. It was a hard decision that I put off foe months solely because I didn’t want to go through the withdrawals. I began splitting my 100mg into quarters, i know you’re not “supposed” to do this, but I did and didn’t have any issues. I took 3/4 pill (75mg) for 2 weeks then, 1/2 (50mg) for two weeks, then 1/4 for 3 weeks and decided I was ready to stop completely so I did. The first 2-3 days were a piece of cake.

Only a few brain zaps and dizziness but nothing I couldn’t manage. Day 4-5 were the days I felt the worst! I was dizzy, moody, headache, really sick to my stomach, horrible night sweats and bad dreams, needless to say I hardly slept that week! Lack of sleep may have had a huge part in why I felt so crappy! Days 4 and 5 were the days I searched for hope it wouldn’t last long and never found anything saying it wouldn’t last long. Most of what I found were horror stories!

That is who I am writing this now. To give hope to anyone needing it! On day 6, it felt like I woke up in a whole different world!! I felt amazing and it was then that I began to realize the foggy cloud Pristiq had held over me for nearly 2 years!! I’m glad the medication was there when I needed it, because there was a time that I REALLY did, but my advice would be not to take it any longer than you NEED to. I’m on day 12 and still feel great! Just remember to tapper of, don’t rush it and remember you won’t feel the withdraws forever!! You can do it! Just hang I there!

Hi katie, I’m tapering at the moment and the withdrawals are horrible but reading your story has helped me to know that I will be ok eventually. Thank you

Hi Kate thanks for sharing. I habe been on Anti Depressants for 18 years…I can’t believe it. Changed to Pristique about years….and have many times tried to get off it. I am going into Hospital next week to go cold turkey so scared..but I know I will get there and you have given me hope thankyou.

Thank you Katie! I’m scared to go from 25mg to 0mg. Your post gives me hope!

Thank you so much for this post. It has given me hope to seriously tackle my withdrawal plan. So many horror stories and my previous failed attempts at cold turkey have put me off but I am now going to try again and taper off thanks to your positive post!

Thank you Kate for writing I have had all the withdrawals you have and was getting concerned I am up to day 6 so hopefully I too will wake up good. Susan

Hi thanks for posting and I am amazed at the side effects this drug has. I’ve been wanting to get off it for awhile now as I had worked out it was the drug making me feel suicidual (it’s supposed to help, not encourage). So I’m reducing it each week by days eg miss one day then two until it’s reduced to nil. Reading all the other posts now explains the nightmare sweats tinnitus jitters foggyness I’ve been having. However I don’t understand brain zaps could someone explain this please and thank you for the posts it’s really helped me…

Yes I was the same. Misdiagnosed but even then I think I could have been better off if I changed my life style rather than going on the spiral I have been down. I have suffered massive muscular cramps from being on Effexor and as a result tore the ligaments in my feet and spent a fortune on physio and massage therapy to overcome it.

I’ve been on 200 mgs of Pristiq for around 6 years. I was previously on Zoloft and after 10 years it just stopped working. The doctors then tried multiple others before I ended up on Pristiq.

I know this day was coming and boy has it hit these last 4 days. It seems Pristiq has stopped working, I’m literally going crazy with my thoughts, anxiety, fear, depression. Leg cramps, nausea, brain zaps and I haven’t even started the withdrawal. I’m going into hospital for that and to change back to Zoloft and be reassessed.

I’m so scared, last time I was in and out of hospital for 6 months of a year and then it still took time to find the correct med. Why are they allowed to give us these meds without any warning of the withdrawal effects? It wasn’t the psych I’m seeing now who put me on this awful drug.

Thank you, Ann. Your post has given me some hope. I was on on 50 mg of PRISTIQ for 1 1/2 years which was prescribed for depression due to a terrible time in my life. Prior to that I had taken Celexa for a period of time. At the same time I was under the care of a neurologist for some undiagnosed movement disorder. Every test I have had in connection with this has come back negative.

I have now realized that Pristiq exacerbated the symptoms terribly. From difficulty walking and balance I actually had some falls, also had lack of coordination, muscle and joint stiffness, eventually slurred speech and bladder incontinence. I am determined to stick it out, as after cutting down the first week to 50 mg. every other day my speech improved. When I finally stopped the drug completely on day three I had no incontinence issues which was absolutely amazing to me, like a miracle. I also slept through the night without having to get up three or four times to P.

However the withdrawl symptoms of nausea and dizziness are terrible, and I’m hoping they will not last long I am sharing this because these neurological movement disorder symptoms are listed as rare, and I’m sure that other people have maybe experienced them. I am only 58 and thought my future was a nursing home. I now have some hope. I am convinced that my neurological symptoms were a result of Celexa over the years and eventually PRISTIQ. There is actually a website for medication induced movement disorders. I just have to get by the withdrawal. Luckily for me my depression was certainly situational over the years and has been helped by making long overdue changes to my life situation, meditation, diet, and exercise.

Hi I have been on 100mg for a year now and was experiencing side effects so I decided to go to the Doctor to help me get off them,
He told me to take 50 mg ,that was ok ,now I wanted to come off them all together. He wasn’t happy ,he told me to come off cold turkey or cut them in Half, then I said no,you can’t do that!!

So, now I’m doing it with the help from my daughter who is a qualified nurse.

I was taking one 50mg every other day. Wow. I couldn’t trust myself to drive, my head was buzzing, after a couple of weeks, I took one tablet every other two days, (We can’t get the 25mg here in Australia).

I’m suffering like hell, the depression is back, I have no interest in doing or going anywhere, palpitations, tinnitus is bad, and emotional, sobbing for nothing, crying on the phone, very emotional.

I’m trying to overcome this awful depressed state and my husband who is a retired scientist, suggest I cut one in half which gives me a two 25mg tablets, that will cover the two days without at a lower dose.

How you ask?

Is by emptying a capsule like Panadol casing and insert half the tablet inside it,

I would like to know why we can’t get the 25 mg here in Australia.
I am 76 years old and I want to get off them. I have been taking Mega B for about 10 years ,had a knee replacement 4 years ago with no problems. Broke my wrist in a fall no problem getting over it.these Pristiq should not be prescribed to anyone without first been told the terrible withdrawal symptoms.

Hi Mary
Did the super B help? As I’m in the process of reducing my tablets, these would be the worst antidepressants I’ve ever taken. I don’t feel gps have a understanding of this drug as mine suggested cutting it in half too and this is a no no. Anyhow it’s great to read others posts as I had no idea how bad this drug was

I got off Pristiq 50 Novemeber 1st after my visit to Doctor and tapering down. I stopped cold turkey after I left his office. I got some Super B complex and 5-HTB and Dramamine.

Two days later, I am feeling much better. I take Dramamine for dizziness and brain zaps. Non-drowsy, and got the other two for weight loss and Moods. I will give a update after 7 days, but day two I am better than day one. I still have weird vivid dreams and wake up sweating and dizzy.

But once I take these, I feel better at work. I was scared to death to come off this stuff because it was bad for me. But I am trying to do everything naturally this time. After gaining 15 pounds too, never in my life I ever gained weight that fast.

Please do you have a up date for me :(

I am on this drug for past six months and it is awful I am suffering high blood pressure, weight gain, brain zaps if I am even late on a hour or so, dizziness, irritable, night sweats, and I am trying to wean off too and going to my doctor tomorrow. I feel so drained as well. I take this in placement of hormones because I had a partial hysterectomy and was on Cymbolta before. I gained 15 pounds that fast too. I am normally tiny. I can’t wait to be off this stuff for good.

I took Pristique several years ago. I decided to get off of it when I began experiencing involuntary eye squinting, which was never present prior to this medication. I did experience the brain zaps, foggy brain and even electric shock through the bottoms of my feet. I decreased dosage over the period of one month and continued brain zaps for months. I am curious to learn if anyone else has had problems with severe eye squinting that goes on for weeks at a time. It is sometimes so severe that my arm and hand muscles clinch at the same time. I am less able to deal with stress since taking this medication and find myself in high anxiety at the least bit of stress.

So, after being on Pristiq for 7 years I wanted to stop taking it. Mainly because I am in a better mental state than I was. Awhile ago I missed one pill and swore I would never do that again! I knew after much research that it would be a good idea to speak with my Doctor about quitting Pristiq and supplementing another anti-depressant. He prescribed Prozac, I have been fine with it, actually I can “feel” again.
The side effects have been horrible. It’s been 5 days since I stopped taking 100 mg of Pristiq. I read that adding Magnesium, vitamin b12 and a b complex would help with the side effects and I have taken them today and feel much better. The brain wobbling has been minimal, and I have been able to stay out of bed!

Hi everyone, just wanted to share my thoughts & experiences with depression and anti-depressants.
I am a 63 year old woman who started taking anti-depressants approx 20 years ago. I was then in a very unhappy & stressful marriage to an alcoholic. I asked my GP for something to help me with my nerves and sadness. She prescribed an antidepressant. Can’t quite remember what it was, but it may have been Aropax. I know I was on that for a long, long time! I changed over to Pristiq a couple of years ago, starting on 50mg and doubling that last year when going thru a trying time.

Two weeks ago, I asked my current GP for a different antidepressant, as I felt this wasn’t doing its job.

Approximately five years ago, I was diagnosed with BiPolar II by a visiting psychiatrist. He put me on lithium with instructions to my GP to monitor me closely as I was also on thyroxine for an under active thyroid condition (Hashimotos). Unfortunately, the GP didn’t do this, and I ended up in hospital with manic tendencies, while having very dark depressive thoughts. I came off the lithium and from memory just took the Aropax.

It wasn’t until I was doing research for a course I was doing that I found out that lithium and thyroxine interact with each other and that is why the patient must be monitored. That GP had left town by then, but I let my current GP of the time know how disgusted and angry I was with my previous treatment.

The problem is I have been asking my current GP for something other than an anti depressant, as I experience highs and lows all the time. This is what I asked of him two weeks ago, but he said I didn’t need a mood stabiliser and suggested I wean off Pristiq over two weeks and then start a new one called Effexor. I have stopped taking the Pristiq after weaning myself slowly over the two weeks. The worst withdrawals so far have been cramps, aches and pains, teariness and irritability. Today I also had hot flushes, even tho it’s Winter and cold.
I’ve decided not to take the new anti depressants as I feel they are not really helping and I am in a a good steady place in my life at the moment and I’m hoping I can cope without them. From what I’ve read on here, Effexor is only a different brand of Pristiq anyway.
Living in rural Victoria, it’s very hard to get a really knowledgeable, caring GP. If you do, they usually move on within twelve months, which has happened to me often in the last ten years. I realise I have to be the advocate for my own health and I know ‘me’ better than a doctor, even though they have the education and medical expertise . I need to be more forthright with my GP and let him know this. I will be going back to see him next week to tell him I am hoping to stay off the anti depressants. I am also thinking of changing to the other clinic in town as I don’t find this GP very easy to talk to about my mental health. He is a very nervous person himself. I like to explore natural and holistic alternatives, but I’ve found him to be purely scientifically based and always insists on drugs for the medical issues. I would love to find a holistic GP like I once had in Queensland.
What I find disconcerting , is the fact that most literature tells you anti depressants are only a temporary fix and should be administered along with therapy and lifestyle changes. They should not be a long term thing. Yet I’ve read on line tonight how other patients have been on these medications for decades like me.
As I said before we are the best advocate for our own mental health and we are not being dictated to by drug companies, unlike our GPs.
I’m hoping I can stay off these meds. I know it will be a big change for my poor old chemically enhanced brain, but hopefully I will succeed this time.
Would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this.

My daughter was in a precarious position. Her psychiatrist moved to a clinic in a different state. The clinic couldn’t find a replacement hire, so they hired temporary psychiatrists to fill short periods of time. She saw a total of 5 Drs in 2 years. One Dr. prescribed Pristiq at 100 mg per day. He then left the clinic and another temporary filled in and increased her dose to 200 mg.

He additionally increased her dose again to 300 mg per day. This is a 95 lb 25 year old girl, taking this much medication!!!! She began to have increased pain and lack of desire to leave the house. She had trouble waking and had poor quality of sleep. When we finally traveled to her initial psychiatrist, he was dumbfounded by the incredibly high dose of pristiq she was on. He had not seen that in his 25 year career! She is weaning off the meds with horrible side effects, but hopefully she will feel better in the long run!

I’ve done quite a bit of reading on what information is available (limited aside from the forums which I don’t usually get too involved in ?) I’m shocked and saddened for those of you that have a complicated and frustrating medical system! ‘I can’t take this med anymore because I can’t afford it’?! So not right! Not that my rant changes this but ….

My decision to cease pristiq is based on no longer being in a sad and overly challenging marriage (ending 18 mths ago after 23 years) I want to see how I handle what life throws in my general direction now that I can challenge it head on on my own terms ?

I commenced tapering off 100mg 4 weeks ago. I had been on this dose for 4 years. I started by literally just trimming off a corner and ‘shaving’ a little more off each day. A sharp knife is helpful and lessens the likelihood of crumbling -mostly. Day 2-5 of not taking any was just bloody horrid. All pre mentioned side effects with zaps, fog, headache, chills, diarrhoea and anxiety main features in this freaking drama show. Now day 7 … Still all of the above but lessening.

Advise if you’re still reading ?… Surround your self with good… Friends, family and pets, funny tv shows and movies. A sad one does help if you need a good cry ?NO negative, unhelpful just don’t get it people if you can help it. And maybe take a couple of weeks off work if possible. It was not an option for me but it would have made it easier I think. And eat well. I had a few days where I just couldn’t be bothered, eating mainly fast food, and it just made it worse. No alcohol naturally.
Inward and upward ☺️
Good luck to you and hoping you all find inner peace, happiness and self worth X

Thanks for the words of encouragement Cindy. I’ve tapered down to 1 tablet, miss 2 days and although the zaps and fog are terrible, I am determined to beat this awful drug. Good luck to everyone out there. Remember, the side effects are annoying but they aren’t physically hurting us, they just suck while they’re happening. We will beat this, our bodies and minds are stronger than this insidious drug x

Hi, I’m a 50 year old male and have been on Pristiq for 5 years. My doctor had taken me off it from 100mg each morning down 25mg every 5 days. It’s been 2 days since I took my last dose and my ears are ringing unless I lay down.

I’m only sleeping 3 or 4 hours a day. Not driving a car at moment, not comfortable enough. Not sure what to do. Does anyone know how long before my ears stop ringing?


I’ve been going through these symptoms for over 2 weeks! I’m going to go back to my doctor and tell her she needs to figure something else out!!!! I’ve had ears ringing, nausea, vomiting, bronchitis, very little sleeping, and plenty more. I’ve only been on this for less than a year. Good luck to you luv so sorry

Hi all, I’m starting the journey to free myself from Pristiq and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on natural supplements or therapies which could help with the withdrawal symptoms? I’ve read before that magnesium, vit C and vit B6 can help balance your serotonin, as well as carbs in the diet and increasing exercise. Would appreciate anyone’s thoughts or suggestions. Thanks, Nicole

Updating my post. Firstly to note, cutting Pristiq is difficult. It cuts powdery and often crumbles if you don’t get it right. I found I get three good quarters from one tablet. I will not take the risk if the tablet does not conform to appear as a full quarter. I dropped my first 12.5mg taking one quarter three times a day around 9am, 4pm, and 10pm. When I woke in the morning it was the worst. Anxious, a little dizzy and confused lasted around four days and then eased off. Due to the dizziness, I was nervous to drive.

Twelve days later, I dropped another quarter this was the 4pm dose. I decided to do this based on not feeling any more withdrawal symptoms. Once I dropped this quarter, withdrawal symptoms returned. Nauseous, tired, anxious, dizzy, flutters in my ears and general confusion most severe day was third day after dropping my dose but it eased off after 5 days and I have now stabilised once more.

I must warn you all that I had a dull ache in my liver for a few days and this did concern me. I have discussed with my doctor but all vitals are normal and it could just be from the nausea and upset stomach. Overall withdrawal symptoms are nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I agree the withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable. I am determined to get off though and prepared to feel off a few days at a time.

I wanted to drop my next dose after my menstrual cycle, which is today. I have just dropped my morning dose as of this morning. Will update in a couple of weeks.

Hi Rachel, just wondering how you’re going after dropping down again? Hope you’re doing ok

Updating post, it’s been 6 days since dropping to 12.5mg. I must admit I am really struggling on this dosage drop. I am taking 12.5mg around 8:30pm as I have always taken pristiq in the night because I don’t get a lot of side effects this way.

I am a little scared of the way I feel……. The disorientation for me is the worst and this seems to start around 2pm everyday and up until this point I am all good. Withdrawal symptoms increase throughout the afternoon and don’t decrease until around an hour after taking pristiq. Last night I had strange sensations of twitching in my body and the flutters in my ears were just awful. I generally feel lethargic and irritated. Anxiety is now increasing but I am aware it is due to withdrawal. I am sticking at it as I have done it now for the past 6 days. I will keep you updated.
I hope this is helping you all x

I have done a lot of research and I was glad to find this forum. I have had severe depression and anxiety on and off for the past twenty years. My last episode 3 years ago was severe and my family were concerned enough to want to have me hospitalised. I initially started on Zoloft and Ativan until I stabilised which took a good eight weeks but once it kicked in it was a slow progress to feeling able to cope with general life. After two years or so I finally convinced my doctor to change my medication due to the side effects. I had been so unstable in the past my doctor was nervous to ween me off to start another. After seeing the physiologist he prescribed me pristique 50mg and to progress to 100mg. This was 8 months ago, i did not progress to 100mg stayed on the 50mg in which I have had no side effects until 5 weeks ago where I developed severe head aches and confusion every afternoon right through the night. GP wanted to increase my dose and put me on preventative migraine tablets. I knew it was the medication at this time I went that’s it I’m coming off. Sick of being put in a box.

This is what I Think?
If i wake up in the morning and I think of my anti present as my life force and I know I’m to scared to go without it then I am not ready to come off.

When I wake up in the morning and all I can think about is how I’m going to get off my anti depressant and it’s effecting the way I think then it’s time to come off.

After reading and researching this is what I am doing.
On Monday I went and brought a pill cutter went to the health shop and also brought probiotics and high quality fish oil. When I got home I cut the tablets into qtrs. I know it states not to cut and in no way am I telling anybody to do this. This purely my choice based on research I have reviewed. I have taken a quarter 3 times a day. 9am, 4pm, 10pm For the past four days. I have felt probably the worst today when I first had awoken but by about 11am I started to feel ok. I’m a little dizzy, have got a mild headache, feel a little anxious, nauseous and have had the runs but nothing so dramatic I’m scared. I knew I would feel off and so far I can bear it.

I am keeping a diary and I was going to update as I go on this forum because it appears we don’t get a great deal of follow up information with the completed outcome.

If I can help anyone at all I will its so hard to find information.

B 12, and lots of exercise help tremendously. Did anyone have severe neck pain during withdrawals. Is there irreversible damage with this medication?

Jeffrey, you are the only other person I’ve seen comment on the severe neck pain. My doctors look at me like I’m crazy when I mention that.

Vomiting and diarrohea for several days blows medication dosages out of the water. Sudden stoppage of Pristiq is unavoidable in this instance. I did not realise what was wrong. It is not at all pleasant. It frightening! Have resumed on 50 mg / half the previous dose, this morning. How long does it take to get back to normal?

So glad I found this forum! It helps to hear others with the same story and reassures me that I’m not crazy and will get through this. Had I known that this drug was so debilitating I would have never considered taking it!!!

Although it worked for me during my hormonal imbalance due to menopause induced from hysterectomy, getting off it has been worse than the emotions I was feeling prior to ever being on it. I took Pristiq for about 3 years only 50mg and cut to. 25mgs soon after I started as I was a bit of a zombie and had major brain fog that affected my job. I tried to ween off after the first year tapering then decided after I was down to 1/4 tablet for a month I could quit taking them. 4 days of the brain zaps, ringing in my ears, headache, nausea, irritability, crying, and sorrow, I had to go back on it to function.

In Dec my NP prescribed a new Med and told me to stop Pristiq cold turkey as I was cutting the pills to ween myself and was prescribed another in the “same family”. I was told since they are in the same family there was no need to transition. For 3 months I nearly lost my mind, was suicidal, nauseated and could not eat, massive headaches, irritable, crying uncontrollably, couldn’t stand to be around people, insomnia, had heart palpitations so bad that I had to see a cardiologist, paranoia, nearly quit my job, and more!!!

Mind you this was all the while I started a new anxiety Med which I was later told by a psych, (yes I had to start seeing a psychiatrist now) that I should never have stopped one cold turkey even though I started another as it takes 6 weeks for the new drug to begin working.

I keep reading in hopes to find someone that has good news with weening off this terrible drug that should not be on the market! I had to go back on Pristiq in April after the suicidal thoughts and major depression daily. . I thought this was all due to my hormones being imbalanced. I finally got on the right hormones and still feel the same. After reading these forums I now know it’s Pristiq causing these emotions. I’ve been weening down since April from 50mg to 25mg (cutting pill in half) to cutting the 1/2 into 1/4’s. I tried the every other day and that threw me into a downward spiral again so decided to stay in the 1/4 pill for a while until the side affects balance out. Now after reading your feedback a I’m hoping to try every other day with a few crumbs on my off days as I read a suggestion in other forms to do so. I now know this is going to take a long time and a lot of patience, but I’m willing to get through it to get this medication out of my system for good! Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I haven’t seen very many come back to the forum and give long term updates. So if any of you have any advice please respond. Very concerned that Dr.’s do not have more info on this drug and can assist patients with seeming safely. 3 different DR’s told me it’s a time release drug so it’s out of your system in 11 hours so you can just stop taking it…they are lucky they don’t have a suicide on their hands!!! How do we get the word out??? I’ve asked my Dr.’s to read these forums and get up to date on this dangerous medication. I highly doubt either of them did as one actually said to me “do you just think you have these symptoms since you read about them on the Internet?” Are you kidding me???? I read about them because I did my own research and couldn’t believe that so many had the same symptoms I was experiencing!!! Scary scary stuff!!!! Thank you to all that took the time to post your experience. Hopefully we can all get through this together.

Your post helped me considerably. I have been on 100 mg pristiq for over 5 years. Never wanted to go off because of the horrid side effects even if i missed for a few hours. Then in april insurance changed. States they would not pay for pristiq. Dr tried to switch me to effexor but i said NO. i had squirreled about 30 pills of 100’s and 10-15 of 50 mg tabs. I started last part of may with my decrease program. Some days most days really for 2 weeks i was so so sick. I had planned my vacation days around getting off this med. So anyway my goal was to be off by aug 5th. My bday. I am going to make it. Been taking 12.5 mg every 2 days now and aug 4th will be my last. Happy bday to me!!

I am on day 4 of quitting Pristiq cold turkey after being on it for two years. Withdrawal is hell. Dr is no help. I’ve started taking magnesium daily. Twice a day I drink a glass of water with baking soda in it to help with the brain zaps. I sleep a lot during the day. I started taking 5- HTP. I drink a lot of water and eat a lot of vegetables from my garden. I search for activities that I enjoy, thankfully I have found that line drying laundry is very therapeutic because I have to go outside and I can hang everything perfectly on the line to satisfy this new OCD thing that’s going on with me lol. Being outside AND concentrating on something helps. Today I started with cravings for burgers so I bbq’d a few and made a giant burger loaded with veggies. I also weirdly craved the need to smell finger nail polish so I painted my nails and that took care of things lol. Being aware that I am going through a weird time helps. I have no thoughts of suicide or injury to myself.

One thing I forgot to ask everyone is, do you get hot flashes or flushes from Pristiq? When I was on it they started and only had them mostly at night. Once I started tapering off they came during the day. Now that I have been off for 12 days, I am getting about 20 a day and 30 a night. They are just a wave of warmth and tingling on my whole body and I start to sweat but it only last 30 seconds to a minute.

I have never had them before and they are very uncomfortable. I am constantly at night putting blankets on cause I am cold then throwing them off because of these flushes. Sometimes when I get them I feel the building up of rage inside me and a heaviness in my head. This freaks me out! Anyone experience any of these side effects?

I have been on Pristiq for 10 months. My doctor wants to change to Prozac as I’m experiencing midnight anxiety, ie waking to myself chewing my nails. So she gave me 8 days to taper plus 2 days drug free before commencing Prozac. I wish we had a more thorough action plan and that she would have booked me in every few days for check-ups because coming off this drug is brutal and my dr has been booked out at my time of need hence after 7 months of being dry I am on my 2nd day of alcohol to cope but it has slapped me in the face.

I have felt out-of-control, foggy, very sad and teary, have nausea and brain zaps. I’m scared to drive as I have been foggy, sad and distracted. I’m upset with myself for using my old crutch but I’m very displeased with my dr for not having some foresight and managing me better. I have a young child so not having a thorough attentive plan is unacceptable and I’m considering changing doctors.

If I had been told when I started Pristiq a few years ago that the effects of withdrawal would be this horrible, I would never have gone on it.

I was on 50mg a day. I found out a few weeks ago that, among other issues, I have high prolactin, which is a hormone your pituitary gland makes. I didn’t know this, but sometimes Pristiq can cause elevated prolactin. So my dr said I need to be off of the med to regulate my prolactin.

I began with a week and a half of 25 mg. My symptoms were difficult to deal with, but pretty manageable. I was still able to function. I had brain zaps, brain fog, irritability, things like that. I am in day 2 of not taking the Pristiq at all. I would like to be put into a medically induced coma, the withdrawal symptoms are so bad. The brain zaps are horrifying. I am so sleepy. I have diarrhea, nausea when I don’t eat, nausea when I do eat. I have vertigo. Vision impairment. Dry mouth. Peeing all the time due to extreme thirst. Headache. Extreme emotions. Crying.

This is so crazy I can’t even believe I put a drug in my body that would cause these effects when I take the drug out of my body. I think it’s an absolute outrage that patients aren’t informed about these issues before they begin taking medications like Pristiq. I know being Pristiq-free is what I want, what is good for me, but wow, this is so crazy. I know this is temporary, but to try and get through this even temporarily is about enough to make me go literally insane.

I just told my husband that I wish I could be put in a medically induced coma until the side affects of this drug are out of my system! Hang in there!

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

Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing! I’ve been on a variety of different SSRIs, and am currently taking Pristiq. I was prescribred 50 mgs., but have had the foggy brain syndrome, and felt like I was in a stupor. This has been an ongoing problem, and taking ADHD medication is the only thing that has given me periods of clarity and energy. Without stimulants, I barely want to stir from the couch. I have tapered down to 25 mgs., but cutting the pill in half, but I am still very sleepy and unmotivated. I do feel clearer, when awake, and my sharp tongue has returned, which may not be a positive! I was relieved to hear that others have experienced extreme sleepiness during weaning. That really confused me since I thought all of the fog and sleepiness was a result of the Pristiq. I have experienced a weird sensation in my head that feels like a strange tingle traveling through water???, is that a brain zap? I plan to stay on 25 mgs. for another week or so and then go to half of that every other day….for a spell. I have seen that there is now a 25mg. tablet, which might make it easier to wean, if it is the same size and can but cut up more easily….Thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped me feel like I’m not alone!

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

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

Sorry to read about the loss of your beloved mum Meigan. How are things with your pristiqu withdrawal now? I know it’s a year later…Just wondering how you went

Maybe it’s because I’m in Canada and can’t get 25 mg here.
So I started by separating doses by 18 hours. Then 24. Then 48. Now 72.
I’m ready to be committed.
Brain zaps anger ears ringing can’t sleep.
These criminals that profit on this should be lined up and shot.
Doctors prescribe in seconds and don’t make any effort to try anything simple like exercise
I am ready to commit to a facility before I do something terrible to me or them.
There should be a legal way to stop them.

So sorry to hear about your mom. Curious, are you still off Pristiq and how are your symptoms a month later?

Stay strong! I am praying for you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you! I needed to read this.

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

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

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

Thanks for your thoughts.

You rock for giving so positive thoughts. Thx ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go to hospital to get help getting off Pristiq.

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

I was taking 100mg of pristiq for about the last year or so. I was unemployed for a long period anreally struggling with life. It really helped me so much! My anxiety and depression were at an all time high and after the pristiq a felt normal again. I’ve been working full time and now have a house of my own, so I decided that I would stop the pristiq. Also because its now really expensive as I don’t have a concession card anymore. It’s day 5 of going cold turkey. I’ve been a bit up and down. Very irritable. Brain zaps. Vertigo feeling when I move my eyes. A little foggy. I’ve had night sweats and no sexual interest also. All in all, I can manage. But at times I feel like I’m losing my mind. I’m finding myself questioning all the people that i have around me, in my head, not to them, if that makes sense. Work has been manageable, I work in sales, a little foggy remembering product info. Vertigo feeling can get a bit much so I just go on lunch. Had a few headaches in the morning but they’re very mild and go away. My head sort of feels like its just ringing ALL of the time. Here’s hoping the next few days get a little better.

I have been on pristiq 100mg for approx. four months, and I feel it really helped me through some dark times with no side effects to speak of during that period, however after going cold turkey two days ago i’m certainly experiencing very cloudy thoughts and the constant brain zapping is starting to wear me down.

This is scary reading. My doc just started me on Pristiq, now I’m wondering if it’s right for me

I was on Pristiq 100 for just over a year. The one time I missed a dose I had the same side effects as many of the people in this forum. My suggestion: visit a naturopath. The one wonderful lady I found helped me come off the drug in such a way that the side effects were minimal . I began taking it every second day and the off day I would take a multivitamin and omega 3 for about two months, this way my body was able to adjust slowly. It was hard as the off days were still causing sever dizziness, but by week 3 all of this was gone and I was normal all days of the week. After two months we pushed it to every third day, again supplementing the off days with vitamins and omega three and 1) positive energy (meditation/yoga/reading positive books) and 2) exercise – whatever I could handle. You have to remember why you’re taking this drug – anxiety or depression, or whatever other reason. You can’t come off it cold turkey because it’s a security blanket for your emotions. You have to ease your body off it, but also replace it with the right mindset, or what is the point to even coming off it! It was prescribed to you me for a reason and I am thankful for the time it helped me, but by changing my attitude and outlook on life I was able to come off of it within four months and never looked back – I feel great.
I believe anyone can do it, you just have to do it right.

Like every one on this website I am suffering very similar problems. I have tried THREE times to come off Pristiq 50mg. I have been on this drug for over three years and it was great when I needed it. I don’t need it now and not only do I want to come off it immediately, but I also just can’t afford to keep paying for it!! My GP and my pharmacist have tried to help but I think, (definitely the GP), has not been given the correct information regarding the terrible, frightening side-effects. I am now trying AGAIN – and this time going very very slowly by cutting small amounts off the tablets and taking them every other day – the days in between I plan to take a full, uncut tablet. I’ll gradually increase the days that I take the cut-down tablets and then begin to cut the tablets a little more, steadily and slowly reducing the dosage. It will take quite a few weeks, but better for me than not trying at all! My GP has prescribed Valium to take when the withdrawal effects get really bad. The headaches have already begun – but I’m going to rid myself of this awful drug and give this my complete commitment. If anyone wants to join me in a petition to write to the producing drug company for advice, or assistance whether we’re from Australia, USA, UK – seems like an international issue (!) then I’d be really keen to follow that up. (FYI, I’m not a lawyer or working for any competing company – just a sad mum of four – who works full-time and needs to see and feel a change). In the meantime, hang in there everyone !

I just got off from pristig 3days ago
I’m so out of my mind . The side effect of this medication so bad. Is killing my soul . Please help

Hang in there. Sending positive thoughts your way. I’m on the same journey, we can do this!!!!!!

I was just prescribed pristiq today after being on Cymbalta, Lexapro, and welbutrin. I started having pre-seizure activity with all three so I was weaned off of these without difficulty. I have also taken Effexor and had the same withdrawal effects that others are describing for pristiq. It took 6 months for me to wean off of effexor. I am very concerned about even starting this drug now.
I am a nurse, and thanks to effexor (and a visit to the ER for withdrawal effects) I have “drug withdrawal” (with no reason indicated) added to my medical history. They did not believe me even though they did drug tests –
I did not find anything to help the withdrawal effects and they are horrific.
I’m going to have to do a lot of praying before I start this one.

I was on Pristiq for 16 months for anxiety and depression, and it was amazingly helpful — better than any other med I’ve been on, including Lexapro, Paxil, Buspar, etc. I decided to go off it, though, because I gained 15 pounds around the 8th month–almost like a ‘get fat’ trigger went off–and I could not lose it even though I hired a trainer, followed Weight Watchers, ate well, etc. Did anyone else experience this? Published literature claims a weight loss, which I only had the first few months, but I could not stop this weight gain.

So, the first three days of withdrawal were bad, but not awful. I was on 50 mg and decided to go cold turkey. I had brain zaps before (going off Lexapro) and felt prepared to feel bad for a few days. Day 4 was the absolute worst — I had all the symptoms everyone has described so well here. Now, a week later, I feel like I’ve been through the worst of it, but I still feel nauseated, have the scoots, get flashes of dizziness and exhaustion, weird and intense dreams. I thought I’d be feeling much better by now, so this is disappointing.

The strangest thing about all of this is I feel like I did when I was pregnant — terrible GERD, the weird kind of exhaustion, food cravings / repulsion, etc. This makes me wonder if my weight gain, the effects of this medicine, are hormonal in nature? Any ideas?

Thanks, and all the best to everyone sharing these struggles.

I too am trying to come off Pristiq. I too gained about 15 kilos which is not helping my mental state. I’ve been taking pristiq for the last 2 years and was advised to reduce the dosage. I went from 100 to 50mg and have been cutting the 50mg tablet in half with no side effects. After 2 days of coming off the 25mg I too felt fantastic, until day 3. All of the side effects everyone had mentioned. How frustrating to go back to the emotional wreck I’d come so far from. The tears. . nasty thoughts. .foggy brain. I can’t function like that and be at work. I want off the drugs but still need to be able to function at work and at home. .single parent of 3 teenagers and working for the government I still need to be on my game. How is that going to happen? ? After having to leave work at lunch time and come home I have decided to take the meds till I’m on holidays so that it doesn’t affect work. Some holiday it’s going to be judging from what I’ve read thus far.

I take my hat off to all of you who have succeeded and I will try again. I can’t believe that something that made me feel better is now becoming the enemy.
I will take the advice of doing exercise and building natural “happy pills” for my brain.

I was on Pristiq for about a year and change… I’ve recently made a couple breakthroughs with my shrink. So I began to at first stop cold turkey, and I felt fine. After a few days I went back to the shrink asked him whether I should stop cold turkey like I had been. He said to gradually do it but if I felt I could handle it, encouraged me to stop cold turkey. Only that I be mindful of my emotions and thoughts as I do it and contact a mental health professional if there was any drastic change. So far it’s been another almost week since I took my last 50mg Pristiq. And I feel very well and am not suffering from a lot of those withdrawal symptoms others have mentioned. I don’t know whether I am really fortunate or what, however… I can’t help but notice a lot of these withdrawal nightmare stories are a lot alike, and spelled alike, and grammatically similar… Judge not, Compare not, delete the need to the understand.. Be careful !

When there is nowhere left to turn you have to accept what’s out there. I have had major depression issues for many years now and been prescribed numerous nasty antidepressant drugs. Before going onto PRISTIQ I was on 600mg of Effexor am and 90mg mirtazapine pm. I had been on PRISTIQ for many years, since it was released into Australia. 300mg per day over many years when I suddenly found I was unable to procure this product whilst overseas.

I considered the thought of testing reality and started lowering the dose but had to go cold turkey from 100mg. The nightmare started immediately, the headaches, brain zaps, blurred vision my eyes actually felt like they would burst they were so swollen. I could lay on my bed and watch my heart spasm erratically. I maxed out on pain killers and sleeping pills to survive, how I survived I have no idea, I lost almost a week that I can’t account for and yes self respect and dignity desert you. It took almost five weeks of hell before I could say I was almost normal and attempt to leave the house but that was only if no one looked at me or spoke to me, otherwise I’d burst into tears.

I persevered for several months but my dark passenger never left my side. My behavior became erratic and highly dangerous actions didn’t phase me, I was highly suicidal there was no choice I had to go back on PRISTIQ. I have the proverbial love hate relationship with this drug but the bottom line is it saved me years ago and saved me right now, going on is easy getting off is ………… I discovered reality for a short time but it wasn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Am I better, no but I’m still here and still wondering how I got here and why I’m still alive. I’m typing this at 3am guess that sums it up. Good luck to those who can leave this drug as a bad memory. For those that need it, I feel your pain.

I was on Pristiq for almost 10 years, and it worked better than any other drug I’ve ever been on. However, after a falling out with my prescribing doctor that made me unable to return to them, I was forced to go off it cold turkey. The withdrawal symptoms have ruined me for weeks. I can’t eat without getting sick. I have bouts of horrible, uncontrollable, painful shaking. Suicidal thoughts and other such negative things plague my mind constantly. My emotions are totally out of my control. The shaking is starting to die down, and I can now eat a full meal if I take medicine first (no change in emotional state, though), but the brain zaps and one other issue are on the rise despite it having been a few weeks. I came here in search of one issue that I’m too afraid to address with anyone, especially since I have yet to find another doctor – I see that apparently “lack of orgasm” was a side effect of the medicine, but since I’ve gone off it, that’s been a withdrawal symptom. I had no sexual issues while on the medicine, and now I am completely incapable of the aforementioned deed. Is there any advice for this? I can’t find it as a withdrawal symptom anywhere and I don’t know how long or if it will fix itself over time. I’m hopeful since surely withdrawal can’t last forever, but I’m not sure now if the medicine was the only thing allowing me to achieve that in the first place. I’m hoping to find a new psychiatrist to put me back on the medicine to fix my mental state anyways, but this is still worrying and odd.

I have been on Pristiq less than two weeks and I’ve already had to come off it because of severe suicidal thoughts. I have been trying different medications to counter anxiety depression so I didn’t think dropping the pill cold turkey would be a big deal. I have been having lucid dreams, unable to stand up straight, nausea/vomiting and brain zaps so severe it’s hard to function. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be for people who have been on it for years.

Wow!!! Went to the doctor today and was prescribed Pristiq. I have slept all day and feel really fuzzy headed!! I want to thank all of you for reporting your withdrawal experiences…it has helped me to realize I do not want to be on this drug.

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