Andie

Andie: Tapering off Pristiq

22 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone 

 

I am new here. This is my first ever post to a form of any kind. 

 

I am currently tapering off Pristiq 10 percent per month under the care of my specialist. I was prescribed Pristiq in July/August of 2010 by my GP. Over the years, I have made several failed attempts at stopping the Pristiq as I found the process just too difficult while trying to balance the responsibilities of my career. I resigned from my position in 2016 and have been tapering since November 2016. So far so good, but it has been a long, emotional and isolating process. I still have some struggle every time I reduce my dosage, and it would be great to have the support of others who understand what I am going through. 

 

I also hope my journey can be of help to someone else. 

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Hi Andie and welcome to SA,

 

It's really pleasing to hear about someone tapering by 10% monthly.  Just out of interest, was it something that your doctor suggested?  Or did you find a book or something on the internet?

 

Thank you for completing your drug signature.  Would you please add the starting dose of Pristiq?  Also, are you taking any other prescription or non-prescription drugs?  If so, please add them to your signature.

 

How are you getting your dose of Pristiq?  I have mine compounded.

 

Are you calculating the 10% on the previous dose or the starting dose?  SA recommends calculating on the previous dose which means each drop is less than the one before.

 

We have members here who find that the lower their dose gets the slower they need to go.  This topic discusses why this may be the case:  Why taper paper: dose-occupancy curves.  If you are starting to experience withdrawal symptoms when you drop by 10% you might find it better to reduce the percentage amount.

 

Here is a symptom list which you might find interesting.  You may have experienced some of them and not realised that they were withdrawal symptoms:  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

These really helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

This is your own Introduction topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.  If you click "Follow" top right you will be notified when someone responds.

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Hi Platium Star, 

 

Thanks for your reply. Here is a little bit more about me. 

 

My initial starting dose was 100mg. I tapered to 50mg using a pill cutter, weighing scale and nail file! 

 

When I first started trying to taper off, my GPs instructions were to take one tablet every other day. I tried this a few times, and of course it didn't work. Frustrated at repeatedly attempting something that I knew wasn't working, I started doing my own research and discovered the Antidepressant Solution by Joseph Glenmullen. I am using compounded Desvenlafaxine capsules. I had a discussion with my specialist about the 10% taper as suggested in the book , but we decided on a quicker taper to start with using 5mg reductions to reduce from 50mg to 40mg (just to see if I could tolerate it). We started the 10% taper once I got to 40mg.  We taper 10% of the previous dose e.g. my current dose is 30mg, so my next script will be for 27mg. My Specialist is very very good about working with me on this process. 

 

I started to feel the side effects of Pristiq wane at 35mg. The sweating, vivid dreaming and muscle pain markedly improved. 

 

I also found that using Hydralyte was useful when I was experiencing night sweats as I was constantly dehydrated. 

 

I find the most difficult thing has been trying to explain to others why I have been unwell, or how I feel, without disclosing all of my personal health history. 

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Sorry Chessie Cat! I called you Platinum Star thinking that was your screen name. oops! 

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You aren't the first member to call another member by their post rating!

 

I'm pleased to hear that you have been tapering wisely and that your doctor is supportive.  It certainly helps!  It's unfortunate that there aren't a lot more of them.

 

I'm also take an electrolyte solution occasionally.

 

I get my tablets compounded in different doses so that I can adjust my taper as needed.  At the moment I'm using 20mg, 2 x 2.5mg and 1mg.  I open the 1mg capsule as I take it so that I get some Pristiq "top up".

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You aren't the first member to call another member by their post rating!

 

I'm pleased to hear that you have been tapering wisely and that your doctor is supportive.  It certainly helps!  It's unfortunate that there aren't a lot more of them.

 

I'm also take an electrolyte solution occasionally.

 

I get my tablets compounded in different doses so that I can adjust my taper as needed.  At the moment I'm using 20mg, 2 x 2.5mg and 1mg.  I open the 1mg capsule as I take it so that I get some Pristiq "top up".

Using smaller doses is a great idea. It  actually works out cheaper if I order 100 capsules or more. Thanks!

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Hi ChessieCat,

 

Do you take your own Pristiq tablets to your Pharmacy to be compounded? The pharmacy I use is a specialist compounding pharmacy so the cost of the 'raw' medication and the compounding itself is all rolled into one fee, but I also have the option of taking my own medication to them. 

 

Generic Desvenlafxine should be available soon! 

 

Thanks for all your help :)

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Update: I have increased my dosage to 32mg. I had been suffering from insomnia, brain zaps and agitation all week. 

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Hi ChessieCat,

 

Do you take your own Pristiq tablets to your Pharmacy to be compounded? The pharmacy I use is a specialist compounding pharmacy so the cost of the 'raw' medication and the compounding itself is all rolled into one fee, but I also have the option of taking my own medication to them. 

 

Generic Desvenlafxine should be available soon! 

 

Thanks for all your help :)

 

Sorry ChessieCat, 

 

Ive just gone back a few posts and seen that you take your own medication in for compounding. 

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Hi There 

 

I was quite symptomatic when I reduced my dosage to 30mg even though I only reduced from 32mg. I have gone back to taking 32mg and my brain zaps have totally disappeared and I am feeling physically much more comfortable, but I have been left feeling totally emotionally blunted and a bit disconnected?

 

Has anyone else experienced this? This is just the most bizarre feeling. Any advice you can provide would be really appreciated. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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Hi Andi,  this is a typical withdrawal symptom with SNRI's like pristiq and effexor. Did you start your taper from 100mg in August? The withdrawal symptoms are a warning that you are going too fast and need to slow down. A long hold is what you need so that your nervous system can catch up. I tapered effexor and in my experience would hold for a few months before restarting the taper. This is probably not what you want to hear but you really do need to stabilise, It is good that the side effects have lessened. 

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"Generic Desvenlafaxine should be available soon!"

 

Some members have experienced issues when changing brand/generic.    Two suggestions if you do go to generic: 1. if possible do a crossover from brand to generic and 2. don't make a reduction at the same time as you change over.

 

Generic vs Brand

 

Change of Manufacturer

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"Generic Desvenlafaxine should be available soon!"

 

Some members have experienced issues when changing brand/generic.    Two suggestions if you do go to generic: 1. if possible do a crossover from brand to generic and 2. don't make a reduction at the same time as you change over.

 

Generic vs Brand

 

Change of Manufacturer

Morning!

 

Thanks for that. I was wondering if there would be any differences between the generic and brand. I think I am just so cross about giving Pfizer my money for 6 and a half years for a medication that makes me feel so awful! 

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"Generic Desvenlafaxine should be available soon!"

 

Some members have experienced issues when changing brand/generic.    Two suggestions if you do go to generic: 1. if possible do a crossover from brand to generic and 2. don't make a reduction at the same time as you change over.

 

Generic vs Brand

 

Change of Manufacturer

I better check whether my Pharmacy is using the generic. My prescription was significantly cheaper this time and I have been feeling very odd, even though I only reduced by 7%. Thanks ChessiCat- I am learning lots! 

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Hi Andi,  this is a typical withdrawal symptom with SNRI's like pristiq and effexor. Did you start your taper from 100mg in August? The withdrawal symptoms are a warning that you are going too fast and need to slow down. A long hold is what you need so that your nervous system can catch up. I tapered effexor and in my experience would hold for a few months before restarting the taper. This is probably not what you want to hear but you really do need to stabilise, It is good that the side effects have lessened. 

Hi MammaP

 

I have been trying to come down from 100mg since 2010. I got stuck at 50 and stayed on this dose from 2010-2016 with unsuccessful attempts during this time. I found a new doctor and started tapering again from 50mg in August 2016, You are right, even though I am doing a low dose taper now, I think I went too fast in the early stages, My specialist thought I could handle it (and so did I), but I think has all caught up with me. I only came down about 7% and I really felt it. 

 

I will stay at 32 for a while and I have an appt with my doctor on Monday. All the agitation, insomnia and zapping has disappeared but I"m still feeling ever so slightly 'out of my body' and a bit flat. 

 

I have updated my signature so my history is a bit clearer. Thanks again for the reassurance. 

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Hi Everyone 

 

I apologise if this has been asked 100 times. 

 

This is the first time I have had a really significant withdrawal reaction on this taper. 

 

I came down from 32mg of Pristiq to 30mg two and a half weeks ago. I felt the effects of withdrawal immediately but I kept on going with the 30mg in the hope that the symptoms would subside. After two weeks, I decided to go back up to 32mg when I had no relief from my symptoms (insomnia, agitation, zapping dizziness). Most of this has cleared up now except the mental fogginess and feeling really flat. I suspect this is because of the length of time I was on 30mg that my body now needs to readjust to 32mg. I have been back up on 32mg now for 2 full days. 

 

From your experience, should I have increased my dosage immediately after feeling withdrawal symptoms? Or are there are certain amount of days that the symptoms peak and subside?

 

I am definitely going to hold and let myself stabilise until I attempt to taper again. If I have to wait a few months, I am happy to do that. 

 

Thanks in advance 

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Hi, Andie, I moved your post here as your history gives it context. Please put all such questions and updates in this, your Intro topic.

 

Generally, if your withdrawal symptoms do not go away in a few days, that's a sign you've reduced too much. Sometimes a small updose is all that's needed; if you went from 32mg to 30mg, going back to 31mg might have been sufficient to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

 

You may wish to hold for a while at this level to let your nervous system settle down from all the dosage changes in the last 6 months. Please post in this topic and let us know how you're doing.

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Thanks so much Altostrata. I was debating where to post this question.

 

I will ask my compounding pharmacy to make me some 1mg and 0.5 mg capsules capsules just in case this happens again.

 

I will let you know how I am doing.

 

thanks so much

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Hi Andie, just popping in to wish you well on your taper. Pristiq can be a real tyrant but I'm sure with a slow and steady taper you can win this race. All the best.

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Hi Farout

 

Thanks so much for the well wishes. Pristiq is indeed an absolute beast!

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Update: Went to see my GP today. One thing that I am lucky about is that both my GP and specialist recognise withdrawal syndrome. My GP even mentioned she has a few patients going through the same thing.

 

I had NO clue how numbed out I was until I woke up one morning and found myself feeling totally different  (it happened at 35mg) and the return of some of my feelings has been quite overwhelming to say the least. My GP has offered to send me to a Psychologist to see if it will help. I am undecided. 

 

This is all so very confusing and frustrating. I can't believe I went to my old Doctor all those years ago looking for a way to manage my anxiety and ended up physically ill as a result. I have always taken good care of my health and I am in such shock that this has happened. 

 

My withdrawal symptoms have largely cleared, but still feeling slighty 'out of my body'.

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