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  1. Hello all, just found this site and was looking for some advice on tapering off antipsychotic's. It all started about 11 months ago when I was prescribed saphris for depression by my pdoc to augment pristiq, (I know I should have known better). All was fine until about three months in when I started slowly developing anhedonia, just a complete lack of interest in life, it messed up my endocrine system, and destroyed my short term memory. Having successfully quit seroquel cold turkey in the past I thought saphris would be a breeze.... Boy was I wrong, only managed to make it there days in before the overwhelming anxiety (which I've never had before)and insomnia drove me back onto it. After three failed attempts to taper off(lowest dose is 5mg and couldn't cut sublingual wafers any lower), my pdoc suggested switching to 10mg zyprexa for two weeks then stopping that cold turkey, well that was a mess again, had anxiety from hell and insomnia. Again we tried switching over to seroquel which failed.So now I'm back on zyprexa (with a whole new set of side effects)with the plan of tapering off at a rate of -1.25mg every two weeks, currently I'm down to 7.5mg with moderate anxiety, intermittent insomnia and an insatiable appetite. Just wondering if this is too aggressive a taper, I only have tablets available so I'm just relying on cutting them into quarters. Just want off this pharmaceutical merry go round, feel as though I've been lobotomized.
  2. ADMIN NOTE moved initial posts from Mission of Surviving Antidepressants Hello. What do you exactly mean "if the symptoms are from and adverse or paradoxical reaction to medication, the medication has to be gradually withdrawn for recovery."? Is three to four months of gradual withdrawel enough? Thats what I did.
  3. Hi, After reading many many posts, I'm more confused than ever ... I just obtained a prescription to have Pristiq compounded and reduced by 10% of current dose each month in hopes of getting off this beast. After reading some of the posts, it appears that it may not be a good idea to compound this drug because of the extended release properties of the 50mg pill. Is there anyone on this site that has had success tapering off of this drug using a compound pharmacy to do a 10% taper per month? I"m now nervous to get the prescription filled after reading some of the posts. I contacted the compound pharmacy (Guardian Drugs in Toronto, Canada) and they have the same reservations about crushing the extended release tablets as they tell me, that while they can do it, they don't know exactly how the compounded drug with react in my system. In compounding it, the drug will most likely be weaker (by exactly how much they can't say with any accuracy) and therefore she cannot say with any certainty whether or not it will cause withdrawal symptoms which I am desperate to avoid. Tried to taper off about five years ago (second or third try) by cutting the pill and reducing it gradually and had such bad withdrawal symptoms, I thought I was going to go mad so back on the stupid drug I went. The compounding pharmacy offered to call my family doctor and suggest to her that I switch to Effexor (75mg) which she said is equivalent to 50mg of Pristiq. She said that Effexor is much easier to come off of and much easier to compound. She said it didn't sound like my family doctor has much experience with coming off antidepressants (don't think my doctor is alone on this point). She also suggested reducing the Effexor by 5% each month rather than 10% to help avoid withdrawal altogether. She said it is better to taper very gradually and to take as long as possible to get off these drugs. Even a year or more sounded reasonable to her. So I guess my questions are (1) is it feasible/best approach to switch to Effexor to taper or am I just switching to a different beast even more difficult to get off of? (2) should I just get the Pristiq compounded and hope for the best ... ? (3) better suggestions/experience than the above two points? I would really like to get off of Pristiq, have been on anti-depressants far too long and never able to get off of them properly because of the horrific withdrawal symptoms so basically I've been held hostage by a little pill and would like my life back. Tired of feeling flat and not having any real emotions and don't want to Stepford Wife/Walking Dead it anymore. I've been taking 50mg of Pristiq for about 7 years and prior to that was on Effexor extended release 37.5 x 2 for about the same amount of time. Any suggestions from people with experience getting off these drugs would be most welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for reading.
  4. Hi Everyone, I'm pleased to find this forum, but I am sorry that it is for the reason it is. It is amazing how many people are suffering from AD WD, and the symptoms and length of time it can take. I found this site from searching withdrawal symptoms, because today is my 10th day at my lower dose and I have been feeling worse today than at any time since I halved my dosage. Recently I became absolutely miserable about my aches and pains, which were stopping me from doing things around the house and causing sleep problems. I started wondering about them and then remembered that I had had to go off Prozac (about 20 years ago) when I got muscle weakness. St John's Wort also caused similar but not as bad muscle weakness so I stopped that too. I started researching AD symptoms and made (what seems to be) the connection that I have Serotonin Syndrome so I made the decision to reduce my Pristiq from 100 mg to 50 mg. The doctor suggested alternating between 100 & 50 for 2 months, but because the aches and pains are debilitating I decided to see how I went going straight to 50. After a couple of days I did get mild zapping / electric shock sensations, and also headaches for several days at the end of the 1st week. I slept a lot over the first 3 days (and was able to sleep at night). Then I had several nights where I had trouble sleeping. Last night I slept through for the first time. I had several days where I had an upset stomach which I had thought was a tummy bug but I now realise it is possibly from the withdrawal. At this time, I am feeling achy (a bit like the flu), different from being on the higher dose. This surpised me because I had been going well. Thinking back, the first few days I wasn't drinking coffee. Then I started having coffee in the morning again and yesterday I had one at breakfast and then another at lunchtime. What I have read on this site confirms my suspicion that it may be the cause of me not feeling as good as I had so no more coffee for me. Yesterday I decided that I need to started taking more care of my nutrition (I haven't had much of an appetite lately), and what I have read here confirms this. I am taking one day at a time, and I am not making any decision yet as to whether I will go off the Pristiq completely or stay on the 50 mg. At the end of last year I completed a free Government funded online workshop (I'm in Australia) which I found very helpful. Even though I had previously seen a psychologist, had done a lot of reading of books and internet articles and "knew" CBT (which I have nicknamed Change Bad Thinking) I found that doing the workshop (which was over 8 weeks) was very helpful because it was practising the CBT, instead of just knowing it. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best as you deal with whatever you are going through. Unfortunately, that is the hard part. We have to go through it ourselves. Thankfully, though, others can support us. Take care everyone. ChessieCat
  5. Hello. I am twenty years old and had been on antidepressants since I was ten. From then on through my teenage years, all I knew was I needed to take my medicine . Once I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, my pediatrician referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist then put me on respiradone and strattera. I don't remember if I had any behavior problems or not, but my neurologist told me I would have to be on medicine for the rest of my life. I stayed on those two meds until I got into high school. My first two years of high school, I couldn't stop crying. I cried day and night. My neurologist put me on celexa. When that didn't work, my neurologist told me he could no longer help me and referred me to a psychiatrist. I saw the new psychiatrist my junior year of high school who told me I had depression and anxiety that needed to be treated. I was taken off respiradone and strattera and put on pristiq and adderall. When pristiq wouldn't work, I was switched back to celexa. So it went on, switching back and forth between antidepressants. There were so many different ones I can't remember many of them. Every time I asked my psychiatrist if the next time it would work, he assured me it would. There was no chance to talk when I saw my psychiatrist. It would result in a new prescription every time. During my senior year, I helplessly slept through every class, sometimes falling out on the floor asleep. I had a good school counselor who allowed me to pass because she knew it was the medicine and I got plenty of sleep. I also cried uncontrollably almost every day in front of everyone and it was very humiliating as I would stir up a lot of attention. My senior pictures of me showed a person with a puffed up and swollen face. I was switched to lexapro again and stayed on it my whole first year of college. Then the crying returned. During my second year, I was switched to Abilify for depression. I still trusted my psychiatrist as he again promised me it would work. Out of all my experiences with antidepressants, there is nothing that could ever have compared to this. As soon as I took the first dose of Abilify, my brain signaled to me something was very, very wrong. I began receiving no sleep. My psychiatrist put me on trazadone for that, but when I took it, my body fell completely limp, my heartbeat slowed down to almost nothing, and I went numb while my body shut itself down. I stopped it after two nights. Meanwhile, with abilify, I began spending all my time obsessing over things I would normally never touch. I believed I was an alien hybrid sent from outer space to save the planet. I also believed the human race are all aliens in disguise. Then I started going mad. I didn't want to be a human anymore. I wanted to be a supernatural creature with otherworldly capabilities. This was all extremely terrifying to me, but I couldn't stop myself. I lost my common sense as I believed these nonsensical theories. My mind was overpowering me with racing thoughts such as these listed. I couldn't think clearly. I was almost always in a state of rage. Reasoning had left me. For reasons I do not remember, I stopped Abilify by myself cold turkey. My psychiatrist had told me before that I never needed to worry about tapering because the antidepressants I took were all in the same family. He never mentioned stopping completely. Withdrawal symptoms didn't show up until a week later. My psychiatrist told me they would last 15 days. They were relatively minor, and I didn't worry much about them. However, nothing could have ever prepared me for the horror I underwent next. Every horror I could have never imagined bestowed me over the course of a month. I received no sleep. I was very lucky if I got one hour. The nights soon got from bad to worse. I developed REM sleep disorder. I was unable to tell the difference between being awake and asleep. As my mind was drifting, I jumped up in the air, screamed, swung at the air, and thrashed violently all over. In addition, my head would suddenly snap up and I would shout melancholy indistinguishable language and suck in sharp breaths. I was aware of everything, but I had no control over it, and it was very disturbing to me. Then came the uncontrollable muscle movements. My lips drew up on the sides, my mouth gaped open, my lips puckered and pouted, my teeth bared, my tongue stuck out, my neck extended, my eyes bulged, my eyebrows rose and lowered, my hands flapped, my arms swung, my knees jerked, my head jerked side to side, and my fingers extended. Shouts, grunts, moans, and gasps escaped my mouth. Several weeks went by as more horrendous symptoms appeared. Every day I was a zombie. I could only do basic human activities. I had no awareness of the passage of time. At night while drifting off, a dark shadowy presence swept over me. I was aware of where I was in real time while drifting, but I sensed a sudden danger. I jumped up alert every time. I heard a voice I believed to be God's telling me why I was like this and what I needed to do. It spoke to me relentlessly for days. When this occurred, an otherworldly and overwhelming sense of peace filled my every being. But it was always soon replaced by a terror so surreal I could not function. During this time, I could "see" my brain and I believed I was in control of what I allowed to be let in. After four days of this, I ordered the voice to "Get out!" It did and did not come back. Right after this, a veil suddenly covered my mind and I was disengaged from reality. I had no sense of where I was and I had no connection with my parents. I was always mad, crying most of the time, and my head was always jerking. I saw my psychiatrist for the last time two months ago. The doctor who had been nice to me all this time suddenly turned mean. He told me he refused to see me unless I got on medicine. By this time, I had found this site and many other websites about withdrawal. I knew I wanted to try living a better life and I was not backing down. I never took the newly prescribed anti psychotic he prescribed me. A week later, my parents, exasperated with how I was doing and on their last straw, called my psychiatrist. My dad told the psychiatrist I had read on the internet how long the withdrawal really is and the doctor spoke with me on the phone. My psychiatrist told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was describing were "all in my head" because the medicine would already be out of my system now six weeks later. He told me I needed to get on medicine right now because "I needed help". He told me my quality of life was not as good without the medicine. I was in another rage episode by this time, and unlike me, I confronted him. I said "Well why are a lot of these the same symptoms I experienced during the so-called withdrawal time?" He said he didn't know and preceded to ask me was I on drugs. I was in disbelief that anyone would ask such a thing. I have not spoken to that psychiatrist since. I am dealing currently with a lot of physical and mental symptoms but none I would describe as severe as that horrible nightmare of a month. (That month just happened to be timed perfectly with my Christmas break.) My mouth, head, and fingers jerk, but never as exaggerated as they were the first month. I dealt with extremely numb fingers, feet, and ankles up until two weeks ago. My ankles at times felt like they were hanging by a single nail. My feet, bluish-green, were so numb and swollen I had no feeling and shooting pains shot up my legs. I was extremely dizzy for so long. My gp told me I have low blood pressure. I started having panic attacks. Anxiety crept over me for no apparent reason. I cried a lot. I felt hopeless. I am dealing with apathy, anhedonia, akathisia, and cognitive problems. My memory has not been well during this whole time. I am not aware; I'm just wherever I am. I have lost perception of sight, hearing, and touch. I do things I'm supposed to do because I know that's what I've always done. I cannot connect feelings to memories; I have to rely on pictures and journals from over the years. I had to look back in my journal to refresh my memory of this whole experience which I happened to write down. I have been disconnected with myself...it was worse in the beginning. I would look at pictures of myself and couldn't connect that it was me. The whole first month of withdrawal my face was so puffed up I thought my skin would fall off. Sometimes things look bigger or smaller than they appear. My thinking ability is limited. I went to my gp again three weeks ago and I was low on vitamin D. I am currently on iron medicine, vitamin d supplements, allergy medicine, and multivitamins. Although the numbness has gone away, I am extremely faint and have weak tremors every day. At night I'm miserably exhausted. My heart is always beating fast and hard. I get chills and my body tenses up. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about any of this. I cold-turkeyed Abilify four months ago. I have managed to keep my grades up in college since then and so far have maintained a perfect attendance. Some days are harder than others, but I try to count my blessings as I've heard stories far worse than my own. I am only beginning to understand what I am dealing with. The last thing I would want is to ever take another antidepressant and hinder this process. I feel like I have a real sense of myself now and I feel more in control. I have no idea how long this will last or if it will ever go away but I try to maintain a positive attitude about it as things slowly get better. I have faced the fact that I can't change my past but I can certainly shape my future. I apologize for the long story. It is difficult to get my thoughts together.
  6. Hi, this is my first post here, (your case is similar to mine - mod note: moved from Shaesurf's topic), my doctor recommended to me to stop cold turkey after six months and a half using Pristiq (before that I used Sertraline and I had a unbearable delayed withdrawal three months after I stop it cold turkey by medical recommendation, and the doctor didn't saw it as withdrawaw symptoms), and I on my own decided to cut the pills and I tapered for 8 weeks (54 days), that way: first week 3/4, second and third weeks 1/2, fourth week 3/8, fifth and sixth weeks 1/4, seventh week 1/8 and the eighth and last week 1/16. And then I started meditating (I went to a 10 day vipassana meditation retreat the day I stopped), and I had just a little bit of anxiety after the retreat and a hang-out like discomfort sometimes when I wake up but that's it. Tomorrow it will be one month since I stopped it and I'm doing fine so far. I take magnesium supplement, Lugol's iodine solution at 5%, and eat only raw vegan food.
  7. To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? However, Pristiq is difficult to taper properly as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release monolithic matrix formulation, is around 11 hours. The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate." The tablets come in only 3 dosages and, officially, they should not be cut up. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 In a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985), I learned that the extended-release characteristic is incorporated into the tablet itself (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. (If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability.) According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." There is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1707-tips-for-tapering-off-seroquel-quetiapine/page__view__findpost__p__33069 PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, patients have cut up Pristiq tablets to taper. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. If the matrix is sufficiently broken, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you cut up the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. From reports on the Web, cutting up tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping" (because the matrix is destroyed) when the entire dose is released at once, instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. It seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. Conceivably, dividing the dose and taking a measured amount of powder more than once a day, like regular Effexor, may make this method feasible. Crushing the tablet and making sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets. As Pristiq's extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together, when the tablet is crushed, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, if possible. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Once at 50mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. You will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this.) In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Like Pristiq, Effexor XR is released gradually and needs to be taken only once a day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (See discussion of Effexor and Pristiq dosage equivalency starting http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__42249 ) You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a cousin of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  8. Great Post, Thank You ! ["How I am coping with depression" by apathetic] Very informed, you know your stuff. I'm new to all of it, but an advid researcher, also very in tune with My body, So I knew all of this.... What I do not Know is, Should I be going from Prestiq 100mg to Effexor as of this past Wk. 7 days 50 mg Prestiq, w/ 37.5 mg Effex. Now, Prestiq every other day for 3 days, Then Stop .Then adding another 37.5 Effex, Not there yet, a few more days. I Am Petrified of Effexor Now !!! After Reading these boards. I had a Very Tragic Event, You wouldn't believe if I told you. Lawyers, traveling back & forth from West coast to East Coast, for the past 20 mons, hardly home, because of the Fight to save someone's life. So clearly Stress off the charts, PTSD Intensive out patient therapy.... My WD so far, Extreme OCD, Hyper as Hell, Can't eat, Haven't Slept in 22 mons, since.... Prestiq is a Nightmare HELL to get off of. I did it once, 4 yrs ago, then had to reinstate after a month. Plus I didn't it myself, Stupid, Cut them in half, Even More Stupid, which caused them to release at triple the forces, causing that extreme Anxiety, I never have suffered with Period, just as a WD symptoms. So Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm SCARED Now... I pray I haven't Already done damage by taking this Effexor in the last 8 days. That's how powerful a drug it apparently is. This I did not know...To Messed up to look into it myself, Not my usual MO, but I'm So out of it, just Not Myself !! I hear Myself Rambling on, instantly Grab My Mouth, to Shut it UP. I KNOW, I'm Acting Like a FREAK Thanx so much 4 your post
  9. Hello everybody, First of all, sorry for my poor English. I'll try to write short but correct sentences, so you can understand my case. I'm 21 years old and currently I'm studying Medicine. In 2013 I started psychological treatment for social anxiety (only psychotherapy, without medication). I'm positive that this helped me a lot, but the psychologist thought that I wasn't improving fast enough, so he prescribed me Escitalopram 5 mg/day. I didn't notice any improvement or adverse effect while taking this drug. The summer of 2014, before I started College, was the worst phase of my life. I didn't want to get out of my bedroom, and I only wanted to die. That fall, I visited a psychiatrist for the first time, and he prescribed me Desvenlafaxine 100 mg a day. This drug completely killed my mind. I felt numb, dizzy, emotionally flattened, I had severe memory problems... When the College semester ended (I failed 3 subjects), I withdraw the drug with the help of the psychiatrist. Several months later, I felt better, but I had the feeling that the drug had left some type of "residual damage" in me...I wasn't the same person than I was one year ago, and the memory problems were there. I committed the great mistake of asking another psychiatrist for advice: I wanted to know if the Desvenlafaxine was the culprit of the symptoms I was suffering. The new psychiatrist told me that I was suffering from anxiety and obsessive-like behavior, so he gave me Duloxetine (60 mg/day during the first 3 months, 30 mg/day later) & Alprazolam (0.125 mg. 3 times a day during the 3 first months, once a day later). This time, I got better results than the year before. I felt better, I even obtained A+ in two subjects. When the summer came, I decided to withdraw the drug with the help of my doctor. I suffered a considerable withdrawal syndrome (dizziness,photophobia,tinnitus,swinging mood...It was horrible!). When the College course started, I felt really anxious, I could barely study, so I started taking the Duloxetine & Alprazolam again. However, this time the medication didn't helped anything. I felt worse everyday, so I decided to leave the College for a while and search a good psychotherapist. I found one who is helping me a lot, she encouraged me to withdraw these horrible drugs, so I'm "clean" since December, 2016. I'm going to summarize my drug history and the withdrawal symptoms I'm having: Medication history · March 2014-October 2014: Escitalopram 5 mg/day. · October 2014-July 2015: Desvenlafaxine 100mg/day. · October 2015-July 2016: Duloxetine (Cymbalta) 30 mg/day & Alprazolam (0.125 mg/day). · October 2016-November 2016: Duloxetine (Cymbalta) 30 mg/day & Alprazolam (0.125 mg/day). · 2 and a half months "clean" (since the end of November until today) My withdrawal symptoms · I don't feel anything, I don't enjoy anything in life, my mood is completely flat. I don't enjoy things that I used to enjoy, I have to think "hey, you used to enjoy doing this, so you should be having a good time", but I don't have the "natural" and "automatic" feeling of enjoy. · My memory is not sharp anymore, I have problems remembering what I've done yesterday or some days ago, I have to do great efforts in order to remember things. · I feel mentally slow, I have enormous concentration problems, I feel absolutely useless. That's the summary of my situation. I can't talk about it with anybody (my fathers don't understand what's happening, my girlfriend and friends don't notice any problem and my psychotherapist, although she think I was medicated without reasons and she thinks the two psychiatrists committed malpractice, says that these drugs don't cause any permanent damage and that I mustn't get obsessed with all these symptoms. So, my last hope is this community, while I expect to find people with knowledge of the topic. Is this "damage" permanent? Will I recover my old self? I'm terrified just now, and the idea of not being myself anymore is scaring me a lot...I don't want to live like this, and if this situation don't revert, I'll have to take radical measures. Thank you very much for your time, I hope you can help me with your experiences and knowledge. Best wishes, dav267
  10. Hi there! I am a 30-year-old spitball who's always been extroverted and outgoing, just with a lot of anxiety. About 5 years ago, I experienced a sudden onset of depression for the first time. I've always been anxious, but never depressed so this was new and very scary for me. I had dark thoughts, was questioning what life meant and why any of us should care, etc. I scared myself so bad, I moved home to my parents for two weeks (they live in the same city, 20 min away) because I did not want to be alone with my thoughts. At this time, I started seeing a therapist who referred to me a psychiatrist. One session with the psychiatrist in, she decided I should go on 100mg Pristiq. For the next few years, that's what I took and I felt 100% back to normal. I felt so good, in fact, that I decided I want to cut my daily intake in half to 50mg. I did that, and the weaning was pretty rough. I'm lucky in that I didn't experience "zaps" or "flu-like" symptoms. It was moreso heightened anxiety and constant crying fits, when there was nothing to cry about! I finally came out on the other side and have been on 50mg for the past few years. Now, to current day. As someone who never had a history of legitimate depression and who is in a very different spot in her life now than she was 5 years ago, I've decided I want to get off of Pristiq. Just reading the horror stories about how hard it is to get off it is pushing me to get off of it. This is a scarily strong drug that I don't want in my system anymore. If I go through this tapering and realize I do need some sort of antidepressant down the road, that's fine. But I don't want it to be Pristiq. So starting in July, I began a tapering schedule that is going like this: July-August: 50, 50, 25 (so 25 every third day for a month) August-September: 50, 25, 25 (so 50 every third day for a month) September-October: 25, every day for month October-November: 25 every OTHER day for a month November-December: 25 every third day of the week *I also just started taking 15mg of Deplin 6 days ago to help curb withdrawal side effects and take .5mg of Ativan up to 3x a day if needed The first month was fine. But this second month is turning out to be incredibly hard. For the last two weeks, my anxiety has been elevated immensely. I wake up every day with a pit in my stomach. I've been having dark thoughts. I find it hard to concentrate and am overwhelmed incredibly easily. I am also extremely irritable. This weekend was the worst. Total panic attack and crying breakdown. And today I couldn't go into work. I just want to sleep. This is not me. It never has been. I am a relatively happy, excited, alive person and am struggling very much with this process. I am scared I'll never come out of it, that it doesn't get better, and I will turn into a shell of myself. I just wish I knew when to expect a turnaround. At what point in this tapering does it get better??? I don't want Pristiq to "win"; that is, I don't want to get back on it. Any advice, suggestions, comments, are welcome. Thank you.
  11. Nate: Pristiq

    Hi everyone, I take 50mg/day of Pristiq and am looking into eventually tapering off. I've read about switching to Effexor, tapering by going a day without it in a certain time frame reducing more, etc. Just looking at ways to do this and advice. I've been taking it regularly for about 7 years I think and it's kept me stable and generally in a good place. But some side effects like excess sweating and difficulty losing weight are getting me to research different ways to come off of it
  12. Hi all, I could really use anyone's experience or advice here as i'm in a very fragile mental state. My history I was diagnosed with OCD and severe anxiety in 2011. I was put on SSRI's and they did eliminate my symptoms but it also resulted in several other symptoms such as chronic fatigue and motivation and emotional blunting. I tried cycling through the SSRI's (see history below) to see if I could do better but none of them ended up removing the side effects. In the past I had tried tapering off the antidepressants (usually over the course of a month with no success, I used to get severe brain zaps and anxiety). My history of SSRI/SNRI's are below: 2011-2013 (Lexapro 20mg)2013-2014 (Sertraline 200mg, Prozac 20mg, Luvox 50mg, cycled through with help of psychiatrist, stopped due to other side effects such as sleep issues or anxiety)2014-2016 (Lexapro 20mg then Prozac 20mg)2017 June (Pristiq 50mg)2017 June - Now (Not medicated) My Journey Getting of SSRI/SNRI I have been on SSRI's and SNRI's for a total of 7 years when I decided to go see a wholistic doctor who said he could help me get off anti-depressants using high dose vitamins (Pfieffer technique) (I can provide doses of the vitamins if interested, some of the doses are very high Vitamin b6 250mg, Zinc 75mg etc.) I started the vitamins in May 2017 and was able to slowly stop Pristiq. It did help blocking the withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps). After stopping (and still taking the vitamins) I still felt the effects of the anti depressants (emotional numbing, no sex drive) but I also had no anxiety and no suicidal thoughts (I was unhappy but stable). The anti depressant effects had persisted after I stopped taking them. I thought all was fixed and I had to wait months for the negative side effects to reverse (no sex drive, fatigue). The event that triggered severe symptoms and relapse In July, I went overseas and had several very stressful events (breaking up with girlfriend, anxiety of being in a new country, a death in the family) and it is as if my brain delayed the withdrawal symptoms. It changed me. I now have severe general anxiety and depression (including suicidal thoughts and intense feelings of loneliness). The main symptom that is worrying me is a constant feeling that my perception is restricted/blurred and constantly feel disoriented, it is as if i'm feeling drunk all day and it is hard to process anything, people will talk to me and sometimes nothing registers. This is really worrying me (has anyone heard of anything like this? Is it withdrawal?) It is very hard to get through a day of work. It is okay in the morning and gets progressively worse as the day goes on. I'm not getting brain zaps so i'm not sure if it is withdrawal symptoms but I'm very worried right now. The only thing I can think of is to go back on 10mg Lexapro to see if the anxiety/depression and disorientation disappear. I have tried Omega 3 and it has not resolved the disorientation, I am already taking high dose Magnesium as well. Can anyone provide any information regarding these symptoms and if they have experienced it before? (Especially the drunk and disoriented feeling)? Has anyone had a stressful life event completely change the symptoms they were feeling? I don't know what to do. Thank you, LogicalScout from Sydney
  13. Hi everyone. I've been debating whether I should do this or not but I think it's best. So I had been taking pristiq 50mg since May 2014 when I was diagnosed with PTSD and I took it because well it numbed everything out. I was pretty naive and only now after much closure and comfort I've realised I do not need this medication in my life at all. My doctor well he basically told me take it once every two days and then once every three days and then once every four days and then completely stop. This process lasted about two weeks or just over that. I'm now ten days off of pristiq and well it's not easy. There's a lot of brain fog and confusion. I can't think too much it overwhelms me and I am constantly dizzy and have a persistent headache. The brain zaps are no joke. I tried eating healthy but I just want to vomit. I take stemetil for the nausea. It helps a little. I also take fish oil for some added effect i read about online. All I want to know is when will the brain zaps end ? It really is taking a toll on me. I'm not myself and that gets to me the most.
  14. lyrehs

    Hi.... Im an Australian Woman, Artist ,Mother,Grandmother (how did that happen so fast). Im in a space/place where I need help and advice but I feel so apathetic everything is a huge effort.Getting my thoughts coherent is so hard. I feel like I have been on medication forever although its only been for 20 of my 56 years.I avoided medicating myself for so long. I have spent so many years of my life completely overwhelmed and enveloped by sadness. I have experienced extreme highs, mania I guess,which in many ways is preferable to mind numbing apathy. I want to feel something.I am an artist but I have no passion for anything anymore.Part of whatever 'condition' I have meant that I always searched out, created highs something to look forward too, something to occupy my mind, to keep me going to keep me distracted. I cant even be bothered doing that,I am tired,so very worn out.I wanted to get off all the pills so I could find out who I am. I want to remember again. I want to be creative and earn more than just enough money to barely get by. From reading advice on this forum I get the impression I should switch back to Effexor as its easier to divide and taper the dose. The worry for me is that I am simply a depressed person who needs to have this awful stuff in her body forever like my Dr says I need. I don't want to be that person and at times I have felt that I could be different but life goes by so very fast. The journey seems so long and I don't want it to be just more of the same, I could not bare it if this is it.I know I am very down at the moment.I need more meds to stabilise myself and then taper slowly.I just cant remember what came first...the chicken or the egg. I may have been miserable before taking medication but I have felt so very bad on it. I never experience anxiety before...I didnt know what it was until Effexor and Pristiq. I am going to copy and paste my signature? I am not sure if it appears all by itself? then again if I don't and it doesn't ........ cheers in advance for reading
  15. My psychiatrist was treating me this winter for SAD. In April, the weather was improving and I was doing much better. At that time, I was taking 25 mg. Pristiq and 50 mg of Zoloft. I was still having some anxiety episodes two or three times a week(now they don't even seem like a problem) so she decided to decrease my Zoloft from 50 to 25 and at the same time increased my Pristiq from 25 to 50. I had withdrawal symptoms. They weren't fun. After 10 days, when I was still not doing well, she decreased my pristiq to 25 mg. That was two months ago. I have been up and down since then. I found this website and am wondering if I am still having zoloft withdrawal. Because I go back to how I was feeling in April before the decrease in Zoloft. Not sure what to do. I was thinking it was the pristiq because I thought when I noticed I took my med's that an hour or two later I would feel worse(brain numb, blah, bored, no motivation.) But I don't know what that is.I thought it was side effects from the Pristiq(I have been on 25 mg of Pristiq since January. Thanks for any input
  16. sorry for being confused but I am, I just don't want to start off doing the wrong thing. I don't understand about signatures with dosage underneath.Could you give me an example.I looked at peoples names on their posts but often what was written underneath seemed like gobbledeegook? (Australian for nonsense) would I write lyrehs then 35 mg pristiq currently. used to take 375 of effexor??? lyrehs. also what files would I need to attach? and this is not a topic so much as a question that I cannot find an answer to that makes sense to my addled brain.
  17. 41 years old. Never before suffered anxiety and depression until I crashed into menopause overnight my world was turned upside down. Tested for every disease imaginable I was bedridden for months before the diagnosis months later of premature menopause. I was put on mirtazapine 30mg for about 8 months. It did nothing for my anxiety or depression. I reached crisis point and was switched to pristiq 50mg in February of this year. I was meant to have two weeks cross over but had such a bad reaction I stopped the mirtazapine after five days. I was seriously ill for two weeks later who knows if that was withdrawal or the pristiq. So I also started on hormone replacement same time as pristiq and was doing so well they told me to wean off the pristiq after being on it for just six weeks. I did two weeks at 50mg two weeks at 25mg and two weeks at 12.5 before stopping for ten days altogether before having to start again due to severe withdrawal. Pdoc says to get a week of 12.5 and a week of 6.25 and go off after two weeks! I saw you posted details of a podcast in Aussie rob purssey I contacted him and I'm 41 years old. Never before suffered anxiety and depression until I crashed into menopause overnight my world was turned upside down. Tested for every disease imaginable I was bedridden for months before the diagnosis months later of premature menopause. I was put on mirtazapine 30mg for about 8 months. It did nothing for my anxiety or depression. I reached crisis point and was switched to pristiq 50mg. I was meant to have two weeks cross over but had such a bad reaction I stopped the mirtazapine after five days. I was seriously ill for two weeks later who knows if that was withdrawal or the pristiq. So I also started on hormone replacement and was doing so well they told me to wean off the pristiq. I did two weeks at 25mg and two weeks at 12.5 before stopping for ten days altogether before having to start again due to severe withdrawal. Pdoc says to get a week of 12.5 and a week of 6.25 and go off after two weeks! I saw you posted details of a pdoc in Aussie rob purssey I contacted him and I'm yet to see him but he suggested not cutting pills and going back to 50mg pristiq and said next step will be 75mg of Effexor. So withdrawals I had both weaning and off were insomnia, sweating all day, nausea, diarrhoea, confusion, no short term memory, suicidal thoughts, periods of great sadness, urge to cry and just generally feeling agitated beyond belief as though my limbs were all filled with concrete. I'm shocked that I've only been on it three months and it's this bad. So is moving to Effexor a better way to wean off in every bodies experience. Thank you
  18. I have been taking Pristiq (50mg once a day) for approximately 5 years. It manages my depression fairly well, but I have had side effects of extreme sweating and muscle spasms, and maybe weight gain. I don't know if I would have gained the weight anyway but have gained a lot of weight in that time. I want to stop taking it and was advised by my physician to start tapering off by taking it every other day for 3-4 weeks and then start taking Welbutrin on the off days. I was miserable the whole time - brain zaps, severe headaches, extreme irritability. I tried taking the Welbutrin only one day and was very dizzy and nauseated so did not take it again. My dr recommended I take the Pristiq every 3rd day after 3 weeks but after 5 days I was near a breakdown, physical and emotional. He recommended I go back to my daily 50 mg for now until we figure out what else to do, I am happy to hear there is a 25mg dose because we did not know about that. What is the best way for me to start tapering from the 50 mg tablets from everyone's experience on this site?
  19. ADMIN NOTE 10 09 17 Lilu wants everyone to know: "Please disregard my initial posts, since my knowledge about the subject of withdrawal was very limited and often wrong. Please follow the administrators' knowledge and advice to properly taper your medication." I would like to know if anyone else has experienced while on Pristiq: I take 50 mg of Pristiq every morning at around 8 am. But despite sleeping for 8 or 9 hours a night, I wake up feeling tired and sleepy with a heavy brain fog that pretty much lasts all day. It does seem to lift at around 3 pm when I find myself suddenly feeling more clear and awake. Sometimes though the sleepiness (somnolence) last all day and I feel like I just can't think clearly. It's as if I'm always slightly buzzed or sedated. Recently I found out that Pristiq reaches it's peak concentration level after 7.5 hours. So I will try to take it at night, and see if I will feel more awake and fog-free in the morning. Also, I guess I should mention that when I forget to take a dose of Pristiq, I start to feel extremely drowsy, just as if I have taken a sedative.
  20. Hello, Im a 28yo male, from Brazil, and Im desperate! - 2005 start taking Paroxetine 40mg, no big deal, worked quite nice. - 2006 stopped cold turkey, not more than a week with brain zaps and I was fine. - 2007 anxiety and depression came back, like when I wasnt on Paroxetine. - 2007 back to Paroxetine. I was "normal" again. - 2013 depression started again, transitioned to LexaPro 15 + Wellbutrin XL 300 with very few problems, 2 weeks and I was fine. - 2015 dropped Wellbutrin cold turkey without problems. - 04/2017 Transition to Pristiq 50, for five days I took half lexapro pill + half pristiq, the problems started, nausea, headaches, muscle stifness, neck pain, after these 5 days, things were the same... starting feeling miserable =(, I talked to my MD, she said to taper off Pristiq, 25mg for 5 days than 12,5 for five more than, stop taking. First drop and the brain zaps started, insomnia kicked in hard. - 05/12/2017 one week without Pristiq, I cant handle what Im feeling anymore, the zaps are driving me insane, I cant sleep properly, my body and head aches, my concentration is gone. Called my MD and she prescribed me lexotan to help ease the symptons. Still not taking it. I dont know if what Im experiencing is withdrawal from Lexapro or Pristiq, I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO!!, should I go back to Lexapro and try tapering it slowly or should I keep going like I am? I just want to get rid of the freaking zaps! Im quite desperate, sorry for my bad english!
  21. Hi, SA. Long time lurker jumping in. As it says in signature, I'm still at a very high dose of prisitq and a more reasonable one of seroquel. I don't want to be, but there you go. I don't know if or when I'll get off them, because I'm 21 and juggling studying full time with having a messy head. But I thought I would say hi, because there's no harm in it.
  22. emergingfromhell: Tips

    Hi. I'm HOPEFULLY coming out of what could be called a 7 month mental breakdown induced by antidepressant roulette ....I've read so many of your stories over the last few months (which have been the worst) and they have helped me...so I feel like I should share my experience in case anything in it can help someone else. First is a short version of what happened to me. Below that is a list of specific things that helped me. And below that, I've shared a longer version in case you'd like more details. I'm truly in awe of how behind psychiatry is. No one should have to suffer like this. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME - I was on Wellbutrin and Prozac for a few years - couldn't quite get the balance right (turns out SR and XL were getting messed up so that didn't help). I was always a little too anxious or a little too depressed. It wasn't bad, but could have been better so I thought I'd try something new. First, I got off Wellbutrin CT. Prozac alone was hell - probably bc of Wellbutrin withdrawal. Then I cross tapered Prozac with Pristiq. Pristiq worked for a month then stopped- I was in hell again - probably delayed Prozac withdrawal. Then I added Ability to the Pristiq - horrible side effects. Then I stopped those CT and I took Viibryd. Pristiq/ Ability withdrawal + Viibryd side effects, and after all I'd already been through, worse than hell. I took Klonopin and 10mg Prozac to wean off of that. I started to feel slightly human again. I got back on Wellbutrin and Prozac and felt more human. Then had to wean off the Klonopin - worse than what's worse than hell. Now I'm just on the Wellbutrin and Prozac like I was originally and I finally feel like a person again. What a nightmare - 5 withdrawals in 7 months. Anyway...I've learned some things.... THINGS I'VE LEARNED - Medicine tips: 1. Try to stay consistent with a pharmacy/manufacturer if you're taking generic bc that can make you respond differently to the medicine (I think that was a problem with my wellbutrin originally - also XL is smoother than SR and it's important to stay consistent with that as well) 2. Adding Prozac while weaning off an anti-d can really help with withdrawal 3. Wellbutrin can increase the concentration of Prozac in the body if taken together which is important to know when tweaking the dosage 4. Don't CT anything even if you're on something else or getting on something else. 5. Changing is a REAL b**** so only do it if you have to. 6. If you have to take a benzo to help with withdrawal, don't take it everyday or for too long bc you'll have another withdrawal and nothing to help with that one. Anxiety: 1. When panicking, holding ice, getting in a really hot bath, running or doing push ups can be good bc your heart is racing due to a threat it doesn't understand...when you give it a real reason to race and then take it away...your heart feels the threat is removed and will slow down a bit. Plus your mind will focus on that pain instead of on the more painful racing negative thoughts. In some messed up way, it's like a less harmful version of cutting. 2. Lavender oil is very calming, and smell is the only sense with a direct pathway to the amygdala which is the part of your brain associated with mood and emotions. Smells that remind you of happy times work as well. 3. Warm baths helped me more than anything. Increasing body temperature can help regulate mood. Sometimes, putting cold water on for a little helps as well bc that can help circulation and increase oxygen. Switching back and forth can help with the chills/hot flashes that come with withdrawal. 4. After bath, I put towel down on floor and did some stretches to open chest and hips bc that's where we carry a lot of grief. I recommend making it part of a morning routine. 5. Writing affirmations on paper with a pencil or pen can be therapeutic. Find words that resonate with you - simple sentences. It sounds silly, but it actually helped. 6. If people are pissing you off, but you know you shouldn't be confrontational in this state, write them letters that you don't send. 7. Fresh air really helps, even if you just open a window. 8. The mornings are the worst bc of Cortisol. 9. Google Alternate Nostril Breathing and do that for longer than feels comfortable. Also, when taking deep breaths, the exhale should be longer than the inhale and is more important, but if you do it for a really long time, make them equal so you don't get light-headed. 10. There's a good mediation app called "Insight Timer" and another called "Calm". 11. I read a book called "Love Warrior" that was a good distraction and very relatable. If you have stress relating to a toxic relationship, "Women Who Love Too Much" is also a great book. 12. Binge on a Netflix series to distract your mind. The Moth app is good for that also if watching is too hard. 13. Hugging or cuddling releases oxytocin and can really calm stress. Massages obviously help a ton as well. 14. Imagine a happy place in detail - the smells, sounds, textures etc...for a proper amount of time. Get lost there. 15. Talk to yourself and tell yourself the things you wish someone would say to you to calm you down. You'll feel crazy at first, but it helps. 16. People who've had easy experiences don't write on message boards, but there are plenty. So don't get discouraged only reading horror stories on here. They're the worst cases. 17. Focus on today. Making big changes to address the underlying issues that caused the original anxiety and depression are things to consider once you're stable. And whatever in your life is getting messed up bc of the state you're in, focus on fixing those later when you're better as well. Be honest with work, family, friends etc and hope for compassion. In the meantime, think of the next right thing to do and the next breath. One thing at a time, one moment at a time. Everything else will be much less daunting and easier to fix when your biochemistry isn't going haywire...so cut yourself some slack. Nausea: 1. Pepto can help. 2. Chocolate Boost Plus is good for when you're too nauseous to eat but need to keep weight up. Banana and peanut butter smoothies with chocolate protein powder helped me. Whole foods has a bunch of shots, smoothies etc if you can't make them. 3. Pedialite can help with dehydration. 4. Three fingers from your wrist is the pressure point for nausea. 5. Ginger helps more than you'd think. Ginger candies to suck on are good. Despite what people say, I found Ginger Ale made me more nauseous. Loved Ones: 1. It's helpful if other people can make many of the daily small decisions for you bc thinking at all can be really overwhelming. 2. Complicated conversations about politics, business etc should happen in another room. It's important to focus on simple and positive things to help your brain heal 2. Google SSRI withdrawal symptoms and show them to your loved ones so they know what to expect and so they know your behavior is the result of a chemical clusterfuck and is not reflective of a new or old you. 3. Explain to loved ones that if you sense their anxiety about your anxiety or their fear or impatience, you will feel it magnified and it will slow your recovery massively. You need to be around supportive people who will tell you you're going to be ok and keep you calm. That's crucial. From Me to You: This is only temporary. You will get through this and be yourself again, no matter how impossible that seems while you're in it. I know my story isn't very encouraging, but I really believed the new me was going to have to live like that forever, and I really didn't think I'd survive if that was the case. But I did survive and I'm here now - feeling like the old me with a new appreciation for everything, and the hope that what I went through will somehow help someone else. Here's the more detailed version if you think it might provide some useful information - about what NOT to do For a few years, I was on 300 wellbutrin and 40 prozac... I couldn't quite get the balance right for anxiety/depression, and I thought maybe being on just one drug would be a better idea. My doctor suggested I CT the wellbutrin and up my prozac from 40 to 60. I stayed on just Prozac for the month but crashed - fatigue, anxiety, depression - and A LOT of it. I still don't know if that was wellbutrin withdrawal but, in hindsight, I suspect it may have been. I went to a new doctor who suggested I try Pristiq bc my mom does well on Effexor (strong proof that members of the same family tend to do well on the same drugs) and it was the improved version. Also bc I had done well on Cymbalta years earlier, except for the intense fatigue, she thought another SNRI might be good for me. I weaned off Prozac in a couple of weeks while taking the Pristiq. It worked really well for about a month on it's own and then I crashed again - fatigue, anxiety, depression - and A LOT of it. Again, in hindsight, I wonder if the prozac had a delayed withdrawal bc that can happen even though doctors don't acknowledge it much. I raised the Pristiq by 25 for a couple weeks and it didn't help. Studies have shown that increased levels of Pristiq doesn't increase efficacy of the drug...it's just more to get off of later. So I went back down to 50 and my doctor then added 5mg of Ability. I had awful side effects - restlessness, jumping out of my skin, major depersonalization, etc. She suggested Rexulti which has less side effects but isn't covered by insurance and would have been 1k a month so I tried Geodon instead for three days - same class of med, same problems. So I gave up on Pristiq. Stopped CT and started 10mg of Viibryd. That's when things started to get really really bad. I basically compounded Pristiq withdrawal with Viibryd side effects. I eased up over a month to 40mg - the therapeutic dose. I woke up in a panic attack every morning, I couldn't function at all, I could barely talk or eat. I felt terrified and almost catatonic. I took 20mg at 11am and 20mg at 3/4pm, and you have to take it with food which is hell when you're that nauseous. It got a little better after 5/6 pm everyday which was strange. It also got a little better at 40mg in that my good windows would last a little longer but my bad ones were still awful and still lasted for the majority of my day. I added Valium in the morning but didn't want to get addicted so I'd go three days or so then experience increased depression when I stopped. My doctor kept telling me to be patient, that things would turn around, but after two months of feeling like I was dying everyday, unable to function and having suicidal thoughts, I lost any bit of patience I had left. He had also told me that he thought a lot of this was psychological not chemical and that I should spend more time talking to my therapist. Anyone who has been through awful side effects and/or awful withdrawal very much knows the difference between issues that can be resolved by a therapist and issues that need a good psychiatrist. The only thing I needed to talk to a therapist about at the time was the physical pain I was in due to the medicine. I saw another doctor who told me to wean off the Viibryd - that I should be feeling better by that point. I honestly thought I wouldn't make it through another withdrawal period, but the Viibryd was so bad for me that the withdrawal was actually less miserable than the side effects had been. She also told me to take Klonopin .5mg in the morning and at night. My anxiety was way worse in the morning so I took it then, but fortunately, didn't get addicted to the full 1mg a day bc I didn't take it at night. She also added Prozac - 10 up to 20 while I weaned down on Viibryd. After being off of the Viibryd for a little over a week, I needed to figure out what anti-depressant was next. I honestly felt too scared to try anything else so I added 300xl of Wellbutrin to the 20 Prozac - a little less than I was on originally - before I started all the changes. Still not finished - then I had to withdraw from the .5 Klonopin I'd been taking for a month. I cut in half for a week then half of that for 3 days. I suffered terribly that whole time and then for a few days after my last dose. I am writing you from the other side. So...I basically went through all of the hell to circle back to where I started, and I definitely didn't have it in me to get off altogether bc I know adjusting to life without meds after 16 years on them is going to be a bigger task than I have the energy for right now...but I did learn some things....
  23. 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.
  24. Im New to this forum. For many years I took 100-150mg sertaline and the only side effect was weight gain. My depression was moderated but not completely gone. Got a New doctor who recommended Pristiq. I've been taking 50mg for about 6 months. It was going fine. Suddenly I'm noticing frequent headaches, trouble remembering and nausea. Also increased anxiety. I'm not functioning and can barely get to the grocery store. I live alone and am scared. I've read about the symptoms of withdrawal and I seem to have all of them, except I have not changed my dose or time of day (night) that I take it. Has anyone else had this happen? I can't get in touch with my doc until 4 days from now.
  25. I've been on 50mg Pristiq 4 years, want to wean. I got stressed out after a fainting episode and near-death smoking wakup call, had anxiety attacks, ate xanax for a couple weeks while pristiq kicked in (i quit smoking cold turkey while i was still crazy with anxiety, no ciggies 4 years now yay!) now I want to stop Pristiq - libido and clear vision would be nice. my doctor is getting fired, expressed zero interest in weaning me. found your forum via google search; i'm hoping to find the magic method of getting off this stuff and share the experience.
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