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Pristiq Withdrawal Symptoms + Duration

Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is an antidepressant drug that functions as an SNRI (Selective Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor). In other words, it prevents the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin in addition to that of norepinephrine. It was created and marketed by Wyeth – a company that has now become part of Pfizer. This drug is extremely similar to that of Effexor (Venlafaxine) as it contains the same active metabolite.

The goal with the development of this drug was to take only the active portion of Effexor and eliminate the rest with the hopes of side effect reduction. It took many years for the FDA to finally approve this new antidepressant, but it’s widely debatable as to whether this drug really has major advantages over Effexor. As an analogy, most would agree that this drug is to Effexor as Lexapor is to Celexa.

It is largely thought that this drug was developed mostly to protect business for Wyeth. By creating Pristiq, the goal was to convince psychiatrists to switch from Effexor to Pristiq to protect the billions of dollars that Effexor generated in sales. They have done this by suggesting that Pristiq carries fewer side effects and is generally better tolerated than Effexor. However by now, most evidence suggests that is inferior to Effexor on several levels.

After trying Pristiq, many people find it intolerable and realize that it carries many unpleasant side effects. Others find that it simply doesn’t work as well as they had hoped to alleviate their major depression. Since many people don’t want to be on antidepressants for life, withdrawal from Pristiq is usually inevitable.

Factors that influence Pristiq withdrawal

When it comes to withdrawal from any antidepressant, there are various factors that play a role in determining severity of symptoms. These factors include things like: time you took the drug, dosage, your personal physiology and drug sensitivity, as well as how quickly you tapered off of the drug.

1. Time Span

How long were you taking Pristiq? In general, the longer that you take an antidepressant, the tougher it is to quit. When you take a drug like this for a long period of time, your body and brain become accustomed to functioning under its influence. Additionally, long term users generally need to increase dosage because they become tolerant. The shorter the term that you use Pristiq, the less withdrawal symptoms you will likely experience.

2. Dosage (50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, 400 mg)

In most cases, people start out at 50 mg and then if necessary titrate the dose up to 100 mg. If the 100 mg works for awhile, but then stops working, a psychiatrist may double the dose to 200 mg. Over time, the more you increase the dosage, the more difficulty you will have withdrawing.

By increasing the dosage, you are essentially forcing your body and brain to function under the influence of more Pristiq. Most research suggests that there is zero additional benefit to be had by taking more than the starting dose of 50 mg.

3. Individual Factors

It is also important to keep in mind additional factors that may influence withdrawal symptoms. These factors include things like: your physiology, daily habits, diet, exercise, social support, and other drugs that you take. Most people have different reactions to antidepressants based largely on individual factors.

One drug may work brilliantly for one person, and be an absolutely hellacious experience for another. It is the same concept in regards to withdrawal – one person may experience very severe withdrawal symptoms, while another may not notice much of anything during discontinuation.

4. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

In the past, a major problem associated with Prisitiq discontinuation is that there wasn’t an intermediate dosage between 0 mg and 50 mg.  Thankfully there is now an intermediate 25 mg dose of Pristiq that should help with the tapering process.  Even though the 25 mg tablets may be an easier transition down to 0 mg (nothing), they are still “time release” tablets, meaning if you cut the tablet, it breaks the specially formatted “time release” coating.

Breaking this “time release” coating will cause the drug to be absorbed all at once within your system – which may be extremely intoxicating and is not recommended by most. Instead, what some knowledgeable doctors may do to help ease withdrawal symptoms from the 25 mg dose is prescribe another drug with an easier withdrawal – similar to a replacement therapy (fluoxetine is a popular choice).

Another common strategy for reducing Pristiq is to transition patients to its parent drug, Effexor (Venlafaxine).  These drugs are molecularly similar, and since Effexor is available in lower doses, it may allow for an extended taper – making the withdrawal process more tolerable.  Quitting Pristiq “cold turkey” may result in prolonged withdrawal symptoms that are more severe than had an individual tapered down to the 25 mg dose and jumped from 25 mg to 0 mg, or transitioned from 25 mg to a replacement antidepressant to make withdrawal more tolerable.

Anecdotal accounts suggest that some individuals have had success taking 25 mg of Pristiq “every other day.”  Most educated professionals would argue that this is an ill-advised strategy, akin to playing “ping pong” with neurotransmitters and the brain – possibly exacerbating the severity of withdrawal.  In any regard, working with a trained professional to taper off of Pristiq slowly should help minimize the number and severity of discontinuation symptoms.

Prisitiq Withdrawal Symptoms: A List of Possibilities

Below are a list of common symptoms that people have experienced when they discontinue Pristiq. Keep in mind that your experience may be different from that of others. Individuals have different experiences when it comes to withdrawal symptom intensity and duration.

  • Anxiety: Any drug that inhibits serotonin reuptake can lead to major increases in anxiety when a person stops it. In many cases people get anxiety relief from taking Pristiq because it elevates serotonin levels. When a person stops the drug, their brain is expecting to receive the serotonin boost, but does not get it. This leads to abnormally low levels of serotonin and makes some individuals have intense anxiety during withdrawal.
  • Brain zaps: It is common to experience “brain zaps” or electrical shock sensations throughout the brain during withdrawal. It is not known exactly what causes these, but most people attribute it to the brain going through neurochemical readjustments. It is attempting to return to homeostatic levels of various neurotransmitters and in the process, people feel “zaps.”
  • Chills: Many people experience extreme chills while taking this medication. Some people get used to the drug though and after awhile they subside. However during withdrawal, many people re-experience “chills” and feel as if they are really sick. These chills may last weeks, but will eventually go away as the body and brain readjust.
  • Concentration problems: It is very common to experience foggy thinking while on Pristiq and other antidepressants. However, when discontinuing the drug, concentration problems can become very unbearable. Most people are frustrated by all the symptoms that they are experiencing and in addition to these symptoms, they experience reduced cognitive functioning. Many people have described this as “brain fog” that takes weeks to gradually improve.
  • Confusion: It is common to experience mental confusion upon withdrawal. This may be a result of memory problems in addition with an inability to properly concentrate. If you feel extremely confused during your withdrawal, just know that this will improve over the next couple weeks.
  • Crying spells: Many people endure periods of crying spells because they cannot cope with the crazy emotions that are triggered during withdrawal. If you feel more depressed than before you started Pristiq, it’s largely due to the fact that your serotonin and norepinephrine levels are abnormally low.
  • Depression: When withdrawing from an antidepressant, it is common to experience a resurgence of depression. This depression may be significantly more severe than prior to your usage of Pristiq. It is important to understand that during the withdrawal period, it is expected that your depression will be very severe. This is because your brain is in neurochemical imbalance as a result of the drug. This imbalance will naturally correct itself as you learn to cope with life without the drug.
  • Depersonalization: Perhaps one of the worst feelings during withdrawal from Pristiq is that of depersonalization. If you feel weird, unlike your natural self, and more like a zombie or like you are living in a dream, it’s likely that you are depersonalized. This is a result of changes in neurotransmitter levels as well as your brain attempting to make changes to reestablish normal functioning.
  • Dizziness: Feeling dizzy is something that nearly everyone experiences when they quit an antidepressant. For some individuals the dizziness may last a week or so and get better. For others, the dizziness may linger for weeks and/or months before it improves.
  • Fatigue: Since Pristiq is known to give people increased levels of energy, coming off of it may result in fatigue. You may feel mentally, emotionally, and physically fatigued when you quit taking this drug. The fatigue is mostly influenced by drops in neurotransmitters and your body using energy to try to restore normative functioning.
  • Flu-like symptoms: As someone who has used Pristiq, I experienced flu-like symptoms when I first went on the drug. It is very common to experience these symptoms upon discontinuation as well. You may feel chilled, nauseous, dizzy, achy, have a fever, and in some cases you may actually vomit.
  • Headaches: In addition to feeling dizziness, headaches are always among the most reported withdrawal symptoms. Most people notice that their headaches typically improve over the course of a few weeks. In order to manage your headaches, be sure to get plenty of rest, drink water, and consider taking headache relief.
  • Hopelessness: The depression that you experience during withdrawal may lead you to feeling completely hopeless about life. It is important to recognize that this is merely a phase of withdrawal and that you will regain hope for the future. For this reason, it may be necessary to seek out help from a therapist if you are unable to find hope in your situation.
  • Insomnia: Due to the activating nature of this drug, it can lead people to experiencing unbearable insomnia while taking it. In other cases, it can also lead to people to developing severe insomnia during discontinuation. This insomnia is thought to be a result of low serotonin levels – which result in abnormally high arousal, anxiety, and inability to sleep.
  • Irritability: You may notice yourself become increasingly irritable during withdrawal. Innocuous things may lead you to become very angry and/or short-tempered. Just know that being irritable is very common during withdrawal. This symptom should gradually improve over time.
  • Mood swings: Moods may transition from feeling hopeful and energetic to feeling completely depressed and hopeless. You may feel angry one minute and better about your future the next minute. Mood swings may last for an extended period of time until your brain has repaired itself.
  • Nausea: This is a very common symptom to experience when coming off of Pristiq. You may feel very intense nausea – almost like you’re halfway to the point of vomiting. The nausea should gradually die down after a few weeks.
  • Panic attacks: The fact is that many individuals experience panic attacks during withdrawal from antidepressants. You may not have had much anxiety prior to your usage, but the drug tweaks your neurotransmitter functioning to the point that anxiety can become abnormally high during withdrawal. High anxiety may lead you to experiencing a full blown panic attack. Do your best to manage the feelings of anxiety by engaging in relaxation and activities that will help desensitize your nervous system.
  • Sensitivity: Many people experience an increased sensitivity to loud sounds and bright lights. This is usually caused by hyperarousal and the fact that when your nervous system is highly sensitized, normal sounds can seem amplified and/or threatening.
  • Sleep changes: Antidepressant withdrawal can wreak havoc on your sleep. You may notice that you feel increasingly tired throughout the day, but cannot seem to sleep at night. Your sleep cycle may become unpredictable. Do your best to make sure that you are getting enough sleep so that your body and mind can recover.
  • Suicidal thinking: During discontinuation from any antidepressant, a person may develop suicidal thinking. The suicidal thoughts during discontinuation may be very intense and difficult to deal with. They are thought to be a result of low neurotransmitter levels as a result of withdrawal.
  • Sweating: Another very common symptom that people experience during withdrawal is that of sweating. You may sweat profusely during the first few weeks of withdrawal. This may lead to sweats throughout the day and during sleep (night sweats).
  • Tingling: Some people have reported tingling sensations in their hands and feet. Just know that this is likely a result of your nervous system attempting to function normally without the drug. Since it is not receiving the drug, it is generating a “tingling” feeling. This will subside over time as your body adapts to functioning without the drug.
  • Vomiting: Certain individuals have pretty severe reactions when coming off of Pristiq. In less common cases, some people actually experience nausea so extreme that it leads to vomiting during withdrawal. This vomiting should subside within a week or two. If not, you may need to come up with a slower tapering strategy.

Note: It is understood that Pristiq stays in your system for approximately 2.54 days after your last dose.  Many people notice that withdrawal symptoms become most severe after the last bit of the drug has left their system.  In other words, discontinuation symptoms may really start to emerge after 3 days of being Pristiq-free.

Pristiq Withdrawal Duration: How long will it last?

Pristiq is considered a very difficult drug to withdraw from, especially for those who have been on it for a lengthy period. There is no dose lower than 50 mg – which further complicates the “tapering” process. Work with your psychiatrist and determine the best plan to gradually taper off of this medication. By conducting a gradual taper, it is thought that you will lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms and experience a quicker recovery.

There is no set withdrawal “time frame” for any antidepressant medication. Some people may quit taking the drug and notice minimal withdrawal effects that last for about a week or two, then completely clear up. For individuals that are highly-sensitive to medication and withdrawal effects, the symptoms may last for weeks or months. Individual factors have a major influence in determining the intensity of the withdrawal phase.

Understand that the average withdrawal period lasts between 6 and 8 weeks – just as long as doctors say it takes an antidepressant to kick-in. However, I would argue that unless proper tapering is conducted, the withdrawal effects actually last much longer. For many individuals I recommend reevaluating symptoms after 90 days (i.e. 3 months). By taking 90 days, you are giving yourself a lengthy period of detoxification and time to heal.

Many people have incredible difficulty when it comes to withdrawing from SNRI’s because they create imbalances in two neurotransmitters: serotonin and norepinephrine. Therefore it can seemingly take longer for many people to recover. During withdrawal from any antidepressant, it is important to make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep, take good care of your body, and get quality social support. If you have experience withdrawing from Pristiq and/or are currently going through withdrawal, be sure to share your experience in the comments section below.

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{ 597 comments… add one }
  • Lisa May 5, 2018, 8:39 pm

    I am so angry that I ever started taking Pristiq! Do not start taking this drug! It is horrible! I have been on 100mg for about 2 years and now down to 50mg. I’ve been tapering off for about two months now and am still having all the side effects mentioned in previous posts.

    I am going to try to get hold of 25 mg tablets – but have been told that 50 is the lowest dose available like many others have been told. I am now taking on 50mg tablet every 48 hours and will continue to wean off slowly even if it takes me 6 more months to do so.

    I can’t reiterate strongly enough to anyone reading this thread – PLEASE DO NOT START TAKING THIS DRUG!! IT IS AWFUL!

    • Eric May 8, 2018, 5:32 pm

      Hi Lisa…you are 100% correct. Pristiq is poison. The side effects are horrendous. I have finally gotten it down to 25 mg per day. Yes, I have split the pills.

      I had 100 100MG tablets… finally cut to 1/4… felt no impact of splitting it. However, I can’t go much more than 30 hours apart on 25 mg.

      My next step is to try to take with Prozac 20MG and then just Prozac… to nothing.

    • paun May 14, 2018, 2:31 pm

      15 Weeks (3 1/2 months) off Pristiq – Still suffering from tinnitus (still troublesome but better), sinus/facial/gum/nose pressure and pain and some sweating. Things have gotten significantly better but the “head” symptoms are still hell.

      The CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights) has a lot of information on anti-depressant withdrawal along with testimonials. I have found a number of people that also suffered long term problems with tinnitus and “head” pain.

      Many for more than a year. I hope that it will not last that long of course, and I must say that my pain has changed a little at least. I do not regret my decision to come off this drug and still am still optimistic that the symptoms will eventually go away.

  • Chris April 30, 2018, 11:50 pm

    Hi All. I have been on 350mg of Pristiq for the last 18 months or so (have tried everything else including 13 sessions of ECT) Have not really noticed any benefits for my PTSD and severe depression.

    Doc decided yesterday to take me off it completely and gave me a prescription for 50mg tablets and said “good luck”. I have come off them once before (in the early days of my treatment) but hadn’t been on them for long.

    I am kinda terrified of the side effects. Started with 300mg today. Fingers crossed. Chris (Western Australia)

  • Liz April 28, 2018, 1:16 pm

    I have been on pristiq for almost a year. Time to get off and find my old self. I chose cold turkey off of 100mg. After 2 nights of NO sleep I had to take a pill. Plan B! I started taking CBD oil and after about 10 days I stopped the pristiq. I still have withdrawal symptoms but they are tolerable.

    I am sleeping okay, dizzy spells are not bad, hate the brain zaps but they are not very frequent. The symptoms are there but I can live with them!!! I hope people find this helpful because CBD oil is really helping me. I am a week off this hideous drug now so I know I can make it.

    • Ashley April 30, 2018, 5:01 am

      I also had started CBD oil during this second round of the tapering process. I was desperate to find something more natural to help with the withdrawal effects instead of relying on Klonopin which can be addictive and hard to come off of too.

      I’ve completed week one on 25mg Pristiq with the CBD oil and it so far has helped at least the anxiety part tolerable but I went through flu like symptoms and a massive headache.

      Now what I’m experiencing is muscle aches and pain plus feeling lethargic. Got to keep up prayers to get through this. I commend you for hanging in there with stopping cold turkey.

  • Louise April 26, 2018, 2:09 pm

    I went off pristiq 4 weeks ago and had 1.5-2 weeks of “brain zaps”. It truly is the most awful drug. I’ve been on it for nearly 10 years (I got comfortable on the 50mg dose & never went off it) but decided to give it up because I’m getting married soon and we want to start a family.

    The worst thing about this drug is that medical advice regarding tapering is extremely varied (once every other day, split it in half, don’t split it in half as it wrecks the extended release, etc…) and in Australia 50mg is the lowest dose.

    How is there 25mg available in other countries but not here? What a joke. I went on this for anxiety all those years ago but coming off it has triggered the most awful symptoms of depression, uncontrollable crying, and extreme rage/irritation.

    I feel hopeless and have no idea how long this will last, or is this just my new “normal?”

    • Diana April 27, 2018, 3:41 am

      This is day 5 of cold turkey for me (I’m also in Australia so no option of taking 25mg). I had only been on a 50mg dose for about 5 months and decided to stop because of the side effects and I’d made other changes in my life which lifted the depression.

      I actually felt fantastic for day 1-2 but the last few days have been really difficult (dizziness, shocking nausea to the point of almost vomiting, nightmares the last 2 nights). I have been on Zoloft previously and tapered off that no problem. This is an insidious drug and I’m more than angry that my GP didn’t mention the withdrawal process (I assumed it would be like Zoloft).

      I’ve been taking paracetamol and drinking lots of water, eating frequently and that seems to help a bit. I do yoga and that has helped too. I’m hell bent on seeing this out though because I know it will end, and also I refuse to pay another dollar to those who benefit financially from this horrible medication.

    • paun April 30, 2018, 12:32 pm

      13 Weeks off Pristiq. Remaining symptoms are: severe tinnitus, (some) excessive sweating and severe constant sinus/nasal/facial/gum pressure and pain. The other over 50 terrible problems that I originally experienced are gone (I hope for good).

      So to everyone that is still struggling, it does get better with time. I also am taking a number of supplements and am doing pressure point massage in my neck/face/ears. This does seem to change the pain but not eliminate it yet.

      I say to all, stay strong and you can beat this, but remember that you are the only one that can make the decision.

  • Amy Jackson April 26, 2018, 5:31 am

    I have been weaning off Pristiq for a year. I just finished my last 10 days of 1mg! I went to a compounding pharmacy. I’m already dizzy and foggy, this is day 1 of no pills! I’ve also gained about 15 pounds in the last few months, since I’ve started to get down to just a small amount of the drug.

    I was originally prescribed Cymbalta for pain management in 2006! These drugs are awful to get off of, and I’m so scared right now that I’m going to just have to go back to a full dose. I don’t have the pain like I used to, and I’ve never had depression until now, so I don’t need this medicine anymore.

    The mood changes and lack of motivation from the withdrawal are so unlike me. And I hate it. My question is, has anyone successfully made it off this medication? I don’t want to go through 12 weeks of hell just to finally give into going back on the drug.

    I’ve tried for years to wean off this and Cymbalta with no success. That’s why I’ve taken a full year to wean this time. I don’t know that its going to be worth it.

    Please be honest, is there a way out? Or should I just surrender to the fact that I have to be on an antidepressant for the rest of my life?

    • Colleen April 26, 2018, 5:39 pm

      Amy, I successfully weaned myself off of it last year. It took me almost a year as well. Keep at it and it will be worth it. 1mg is next to nothing so I’m surprised you are having such withdrawals from that. I no longer have any side effects.

      • Amy Jackson April 27, 2018, 3:01 am

        It’s so good to hear from someone who’s been off it for a year+! I was beginning to think that Paun was the longest one off so far, lol. I may go back up a dose and wean back down slower. Thank you for all your support!

    • paun April 26, 2018, 9:04 pm

      Amy, Ashley, Louise: We are all on this site for support. My withdrawal has been 12 weeks so far and I have detailed it on this site from about 3-4 weeks off. It has/is not easy!! Having said that, however, there seem to be many that have dropped off so I assume they have been successful in stopping.

      My remaining symptoms are severe tinnitus, gum/sinus/nasal/facial pumping throbbing pain and excessive sweating. I have experienced EVERYTHING that you state and more. I am so much better than I was but it was very intense at times. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel. You can beat this but I know at times I felt helpless.

      I stopped from 100mg cold turkey (not a good idea) but I did not know what was wrong with me. I have not taken anything else in place of Pristiq at all. I am not out of the woods yet, but have hope that I will be soon. I wish you all strength and success.

      • Ashley April 27, 2018, 7:09 pm

        Thank you for your comments! I know we all need the support in this badly. I’m sorry to hear 25 mg is not available everywhere and even so I feel I needed a dose in between this and 50 mg to call me down from.

        I’m almost at week 1 down on the 25 mg again and felt flu-like yesterday. Anyone experiencing the dizziness or off balance when waking in public? I also feel some confusion or more forgetful.

        • Jeanneen April 27, 2018, 8:30 pm

          I too feel what I call “out of it.” This feeling makes me anxious. Also feel dizzy and have skin crawling and prickly sensations. This is not fun.

    • Denise May 3, 2018, 4:33 pm

      Hey Amy. I have successfully gotten off 50 mg of pristiq. It’s been 28 months now. I was on pristiq for 7 years. It’s a awful drug. I’m completely medication free and living life to the fullest.

      You can do this!! TIME is the healer. Nothing else. Let your brain heal and reach homeostasis again. Take care, Denise

  • Ashley C. April 26, 2018, 3:06 am

    Pristiq is one nasty drug to wean down off of! I’ve been on it for 3 years and had been on 50mg, 75mg, and 100mg. I’ve been on 50mg the longest and just recently in January I started the weaning process under psychiatrist support. I was weaning off because my husband and I are wanting to start a family and my gyno stated that this drug is not safe for pregnancy.

    I started on the 25 mg the whole month of January into February not knowing of what was to come with withdrawal effects. I started noticing constant chills and feeling fatigued more often. The coffee wasn’t doing much for me anymore. Still didn’t think too much of it thought I was low on Iron. Then I did the thing you aren’t supposed to and cut the tabs in half, but my psychiatrist was ok with that.

    Did that for a couple days and seemed then boom I ended up having a mental breakdown and had to go back on the 25mg. Was ok after but still felt mentally unstable. Then the weekend hit and I ended up in the ER with what I felt was a heart attack. I had been shaking uncontrollably and was cold all over. I had a reactive hypoglycemia attack.

    Since that time I have been through a hell of a rollercoaster. I had another attack two days later and started my journey of trying to diagnose what was wrong with me. I kept having constant (what I thought and docs at first thought were) blood sugar issues. Then it was constant night sweats, palpitations, tachycardia, and panic attacks. I ended up in the ER two more times.

    I went through every Endocrinology test, a CT scan, MRI, other blood tests, and cardiologist. The last two months this had gone on and at one point my first internal med doc told me to talk to my psychiatrist about going back on the 50 mg Pristiq and she’d add a higher dose of Xanax. Well Xanax almost seemed to make it worse or not work at all.

    Then my last major episode I had my primary doc had given me Klonopin to see if that could ease symptoms. Cause at that point, I felt I needed to be hospitalized, but the ER docs couldn’t find any reason for me to be admitted. Just a week ago I had a follow up with the 2nd internal med doc I saw since I sought out another opinion – and what it came down to was: I was having discontinuation syndrome of the Pristiq.

    All my other testing had come back in normal range each time nothing of concern to the doc or that could explain my symptoms. Not only that, but adding the Klonopin and going back up to the original 50 mg Pristiq seemed to reduce the symptoms, but I still felt slightly wonky and now started noticing other things happening such as bruxism when I started getting anxious.

    The doc said you’re very sensitive to the withdrawal and now that you know, I’d follow the psychiatrist’s plan and get on a safe antidepressant which was Zoloft. He also said you’ll have to use the Klonopin as a crutch when those panic attacks happen.

    So here I am again having been back up to 50 mg for a month and today was day 4 of the taper to 25 mg and I had a massive headache all day. I’m very ready to rid my body of this awful drug and get on with my life and feel somewhat normal again!

  • Jeanneen April 23, 2018, 9:48 pm

    I am on day 7 of no Pristiq. Suffering from severe dizziness, tingling throughout body especially after eating. Feels like skin is crawling, pins and needles sensation.

    Doctor handed me a scrip for liquid Prozac to ease withdrawal, but I am determined to gut it out. Anyone else have these symptoms? Any advice and/ or encouragement is appreciated.

    • Tawny April 24, 2018, 7:53 pm

      Hi Jeanneen, a lot depends on how fast you weaned from Pristiq. Going fast and/or skipping days is very dangerous. The safest way is to compound down using a compounding pharmacy. Others crush and weigh their own doses.

      Your brain needs to heal after all the chemical changes that have taken place. It frustrates me that doctors do not wean people correctly! Good luck! Add some magnesium, fish oil, vitamin B-12 and D3. Turmeric is very anti-inflammatory and good for your brain!

    • paun April 25, 2018, 11:36 am

      Hi Jeanneen, I stopped cold turkey because I was not aware that I would suffer withdrawal. I realized it 2 weeks in. I now know that may not have been the best route as it has/is hell. I also suffered from the same symptoms as you describe. Fortunately they are now all but gone 12 weeks out.

      All that remains is very painful face/mouth/teeth/nasal throbbing pumping and excessive sweating day and night. I hope that the Prozac helps you through this as it could take time, but know that time will heal it. I wish us all the strength to reach our drug free goals.

      • Jeanneen April 30, 2018, 1:35 pm

        Thanks for the encouragement, Paun. Sometimes it feels as if this will never end! I decided to forgo gutting it out and will take Prozac to ween off Pristiq. Will start today.

        So did you have the tingling, skin crawling sensations also? This started while I was on Pristiq, which is why I am getting off and because I want to be drug free.

        • paun April 30, 2018, 9:28 pm

          I started to get slight tingling/vibrating all over my body and involuntary leg movements. I stopped when these started. I then had very itchy skin EVERYWHERE!!

          Arms, legs, back, scalp, feet, toes, hands, fingers and face in particular. Glad to hear that you are moving to drug free. Good luck to all of us.

  • Anon April 22, 2018, 12:49 pm

    Been on Pristiq for around 10 years. 7 years 50mg, 3 years 100mg. Gone off cold turkey. First 2 days dizzy and lightheaded, continued work and driving.

    Now end of Day 4 and dizziness essentially gone with no real sides worth mentioning. So far looks like all going great. 10000 times easier than quitting smoking. Withdrawal seems to be a mixed bag. Easy for some, hard for others.

    • paun April 23, 2018, 11:27 am

      12 Weeks off of Pristiq. Still suffering from severe tinnitus, severe sweating day/night, slightly off balance, very intense pain and throbbing pressure in gums/teeth/face/nose/sinuses and dry lip pins and needles. So much better than before.

      So glad to hear Anon that you are doing well. It gives hope to so many. Just wanted to mention a New York Times article 19 April 2018 titled “NYT Exposes Antidepressant Scandal: Antidepressants are Addictive.”

      I certainly can relate to it. My road has been long but I think I am coming through and hope that the detail that I am giving helps someone.

    • Jeanneen April 27, 2018, 8:34 pm

      Wow, good for you. I can’t say the same for me. I am determined to gut it out, the withdrawal is horrible. Keep reminding, this too shall pass.

  • paun April 16, 2018, 11:50 am

    11 Weeks off Pristiq. Still suffering from excessive sweating, chills, vivid dreams, severe tinnitus, gum throbbing/pain, facial tension, sinus pressure and cold/clumsy hands and feet.

    Things are better than before but still quite intense and at times almost intolerable. Still hope things will continue to get better.

  • Donna April 14, 2018, 2:38 pm

    It has been 6 days since my last Pristiq. My GP advised weaning off over 4 weeks. I have been on 200mg for several years. While decreasing the dose the worst I had was grogginess which lasted for about 3 days every time I decreased the dose.

    Now that I’m no longer taking it at all I am experiencing constant light-headedness, nausea and stomach pains. Even now, while lying down, I feel light-headed. At work I am having to hold on to walls and bench tops.

    (I am still on Seroquel at this stage but am hoping to wean off that after a few months.) I am trying to be positive and tell myself that all of this will pass and that it’ll be worth it in the end. It’s the light-headedness that’s the worst for me.

    We will all get through it and be better off. Love to you all. 💜

  • Angela April 12, 2018, 7:11 am

    5 years on this drug. Slowly withdrawing now – it’s horrendous. The upset stomach and diarrhea, the headaches, and the vivid crazy dreams. I actually thought I may be pregnant. This drug needs to be removed from the market.

    • Jacqui April 20, 2018, 11:02 pm

      I agree with you, I went through hell coming off this drug. If you follow the warnings, that is “do not cut or skip” – there is no way to reduce your dosage. I ended up cutting and weighing (used capsules). Good luck.

      • Tawny April 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

        Actually, using a compounding pharmacy is the easiest and safest way to taper. This allows for fewest side effects.

    • Louise April 26, 2018, 2:11 pm

      Agreed! It is truly horrendous.

  • Pam April 11, 2018, 8:22 pm

    I have been on Pristiq for almost 8 years. I told my doctor I don’t feel any better, always flat and no feelings. I told him there is a 25 mg dose called the “wean off dose” – which is for 30 days. He agreed. I have been off of it for 3 days now and have been starting to feel flighty, headache, insomnia (had that all my life…lol) gut gurgles, and pain for a bit.

    I came on here to see why I started feeling this way and now I have my answer. I am on 100 mgs of Lamictal and I weaned down to 1 mg of xanax a day (which was okayed by doctor). I suggest asking for a 25 mg of Pristiq if you need to wean off.

    A lot of Doctors will say they didn’t know that there is a low dose as 25 mgs, but yes, to wean off there is. Don’t let them tell you different. Good luck to everyone. I will continue to follow the group. It sure helps. :)

  • Kelly April 3, 2018, 9:39 pm

    Hi, I was on Pristiq for 8 years (50mg). I have been off of the medication for a full 7 weeks. The thing that’s killing me is the dizziness. It’s not so much that the room is spinning, but that I’m clumsy, I feel like I’ve missed my footing sometimes, and that I have to touch a wall when I walk so I don’t fall. It’s almost as if I’m walking on a boat.

    Also, I’ve been having headaches and facial pain. I thought maybe it was sinus related, but I have no stuffy nose or other “sinus” symptoms. Is this a migraine? They started about 2 weeks after I quit the meds and it’s now week 7. Can anyone else relate? It’s been very supportive to see others posts.

    • paun April 4, 2018, 10:15 am

      Hi Kelly. You are not alone. I have been off Pristiq for 9 weeks now and suffer/suffered the exact same problems that you describe. The dizziness, unsteadiness and off balance feeling has mostly gone, but the clumsiness of hands and feet remains. I also have severe facial redness, pain and itchiness.

      I also have pounding gums and sinus pain that seems like I will burst. I understand that the face/gum/tooth area is impacted by cranial nerve 5. You can look it up and link the connection. We know that Pristiq depresses the CNS and therefore effects EVERYTHING! I believe that all we can do is wait or some say going back on small doses helps.

      That is not the road I want to take as I feel that it prolongs the inevitable. I went on a course of antibiotics and nasal steroids with no relief. I also do not have congestion. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that someone out there knows of how to relieve our suffering. Good luck to us all.

      • Kelly April 9, 2018, 12:18 pm

        Hi Paun, It’s good to hear I’m not alone. I recently found a Facebook group that offers suggestions for those of us going off of this drug. They told me that going cold turkey from these SNRIs causes our system to almost shut down and restart.

        Meaning, this is why we are still having symptoms, because our brain is rewiring itself. The good news, they told me to try supplements. I am trying magnesium and fish oil. Its only been two days, so I don’t really feel different, but the next two supplements I will be adding are a vitamin B complex and D3.

        I’ll add these two in next week, then the third week I will add turmeric. Side note: I’ve been using Wal-phed D for my “nasal” symptoms. Not sure if they’re really sinus related, but I wonder if the decongestant part helps with swelling of some kind. It’s so hard to stay positive.

        • paun April 10, 2018, 9:27 pm

          Hi Kelly, I believe that you are spot on in describing what happens to our CNS. I have been taking magnesium, B and D vitamins. It is so hard to tell if they are helping at all. I also try to drink plenty of water.

          I honestly believe that time is the ultimate healer and our bodies have their own healing schedule. I am much better than before but the mouth/sinus problems are overwhelming. I hope that you are feeling better very soon and please keep me posted if you are able. Lets not give up hope. We can do this.

        • Pam April 11, 2018, 8:31 pm

          YES definitely on supplements. They are finding out Magnesium helps with depression. Keep up on vitamins. Try talking to an Herbalist. My niece is one and is helpful. I am going to see her (lives across the states from me) in June. That way I will get a better outlook on eating habits too.

          Exercising is a key. I have been riding my bike or I try to treadmill it. It increases serotonin and keeps the anxiety at bay. Even if you just walk around the block or your yard. The sun is also the best thing for depression too. When it’s cold out but sunny I will sit on the porch and enjoy it. :)

    • paun April 9, 2018, 2:28 pm

      10 weeks off Pristiq cold turkey from 100mg. I continue to have problems with severe facial/nasal/gum/tooth pressure, pain and pumping along with fatigue, SEVERE tinnitus, sweating that is now on/off but severe, irritability (subsiding) and ability to focus.

      I am still on 25mg of Elavil and 1mg of Lorazepam at night, so they may be helping with other symptoms. I have booked Craniosacral therapy for later this month in hopes of some relief from the nerve pain and tinnitus.

      I met with my Psychiatrist last week and was disappointed but not surprised at her response. It is clear that I am on my own as I am unwilling to continue with drug therapy. She said that stopping cold turkey could present problems (information that would have been useful 2 months ago) but it was biologically and physiologically IMPOSSIBLE to have withdrawal effects one year later as some people on forums have stated.

      She questioned the “quality” of people reporting on these forums. My concerns were met with defensiveness, disbelief and loss of interest in my case. She wants me to have blood tests to find out what is “wrong” with me as she denies that it is W/D.

      Despite saying that she is very worried about me, I have not heard from her to book a follow up in 4 weeks as she said she would. In the end I must say that I do feel better than 2 months ago – so I guess that gives hope to all of us.

      We must continue to advocate for ourselves in what for me has been and continues to be living hell.

      • Tawny April 11, 2018, 8:17 pm

        Time to find a new doctor!! Doctors are becoming dangerous to our health.

      • Jacqui April 20, 2018, 11:18 pm

        Oh my word Paun. I experienced something very similar with my (now ex) GP who had no idea how to help me. I also got the you can’t believe what you read on the Internet lecture. Believe me I did a lot of research as I knew I could not go cold turkey.

        I strongly believe that doctors should not be allowed to prescribe antidepressants. I ended up being sent to a psychiatrist who told me that she’d had a patient end up in hospital coming off Pristiq. Thankfully I was finally heard. Even if I had already finished weaning.

  • david mercer April 2, 2018, 11:10 pm

    I have been on Pristiq 200 mg for some time now – as I have major depression and hereditary chemical depression. It works well for me and only the last 3 days have I stopped taking it… not by choice I might add. I ran out of tablets and the chemist that holds my script was closed for some reason (actually the whole shopping centre was having some work done to it).

    3 days of hell – about 20 side effects. I do not know how some people go off it cold turkey. My brain has a mind of its own, but right now, I have never experienced so many side effects in one go. My brain has no control – I am sure of that. I guess I will be on this for quite some time.

  • paun April 2, 2018, 12:19 pm

    9 weeks off Pristiq. Problems that still remain are: severe and constant tinnitus, memory problems, profuse sweating all night and some during the day, clumsy hands and body, vivid dreams, pulsing/pressure/shooting pain in gums, irritable, sensitive to noise, tired, tooth pain, active/pulsing tongue, red cheeks, tense facial muscles, insomnia, dark dry patches of skin on face, dry skin all over, itching, racing thoughts and slurred speech.

    These symptoms are somewhat typical of CNS dysfunction as Pristiq depresses your CNS. My body and mind are trying to recover from years of alteration. Like everyone else I am worried that there will be permanent harm. I still hold out hope and several have stated that you should re-evaluate after 3 months. Best of luck to all of us.

    One more thought as my mind races… anyone who has the power to prescribe this drug should… have personal experience with it… i.e. should have taken it and withdrawn, therefore knowing the impact it has/had on their life OR be required to watch videos of people that have been or are on Pristiq and talk about how their lives have changed either for better or worse from the drug.

    This may help ensure that serious discussions about both the up and down side of this drug take place. I know that I was never warned that any withdrawal problems even existed. I wish that I had been able to make an informed choice. I blame myself as my ONLY motivation was to feel better.

    I thought that if side effects were experienced I would simply stop taking it. No excuses – I know that I was stupid and at best naive and still hope that making me better was the only motivation of the prescriber(s) and not financial gain from drug companies as others seem to suspect as a lot of literature seems to conclude that antidepressants are not very effective as there are so many other possible causes of depression.

  • Kirrin April 2, 2018, 11:35 am

    I was on pristiq for 9 years, mostly 100mg. It saved my life and worked extremely well for me. I am reminding myself of that now as I suffer with withdrawals. I felt I needed to try not taking it as it is either stop or take for the rest of my life. I need to know if I still need it.

    Three months ago, I reduced to 50g by alternating daily between doses. One emotional week and two days of feeling terrible but then ok. I thought stopping altogether would be the same. But it has been much harder.

    I had planned to stop at some point but it happened unexpectedly as I had a really bad flu and forgot to take tablets. (Indicates how bad the flu was as I never forgot as I could tell within an hour if I had – brain zaps mainly).

    Since then I couldn’t tell how much of this awful time was the flu not going away and how much was withdrawals. It has helped to come here and read the list of symptoms. Ten days of varying degrees of feeling absolutely awful. I am finding this very difficult.

    I’m worried that if I was so sensitive to notice a late dose while taking this, will this mean withdrawal will last even longer? Trying not to think about this. Instead I’m concentrating on good self care and one day at a time. Brain zaps are still most of the time but not as bad as days 5-7.

    Nausea unpleasant. Fatigue is very tiring. (Jokes help.) headaches difficult… the only symptoms I haven’t had are tingling, sweats and suicidal thinking but the brain fog is perhaps the hardest for me. I realize how much ‘quick-thinking’ is part of my self identity.

    I find it hard to struggle to think, remember, concentrate and wish I could take time off work. I wish all of you well as you go through this. It helps hugely to read of others feeling the same.

    • Tawny April 2, 2018, 3:40 pm

      Please consider withdrawing slower! Doctors do not wean correctly! A 5-10% drop each month is the only way to avoid terrible withdrawal symptoms. This can be done by using a compounding pharmacy! Your brain has been chemically altered. It needs slow drops with time to heal between each drop. There are Facebook groups out there for this. Check them out!

      • Leslea Bjornsen April 3, 2018, 9:44 pm

        I have never heard of a compounding pharmacy. As far as I know the lowest dosage is 50 mg. Tawny are you in the US?

        • Tawny April 9, 2018, 7:59 pm

          Hi. Yes, I am in the U.S. There is a 25mg pill that some doctors do not know about. Mine didn’t. I use a compounding pharmacy to go lower slower. I have minimal side effects and will be done with my wean by the end of summer!

      • Deb April 29, 2018, 3:28 pm

        So what were the doses you took while weaning off this drug?

  • Suzzie March 22, 2018, 1:57 pm

    Hallelujah! I have had the worst few months. Not only did I just have to endure Klonopin withdrawals, my doctor did not seem to want to listen to me when I stated that Pristiq was NOT covered by my insurance so I had to quit cold turkey. I ended up quitting this past Friday and I will say it has been the biggest roller coaster ever.

    I feel even worse then the Klonopin (I took the highest dosage for 2 years and only tapered for a week) and then this of course happens. So Friday was probably the best day I have ever had and then the weekend was exhausting and when Monday came around, my husband and I had this HUGE fight over stupid stuff and I ended up crying for hours, panicky and feeling hopelessness.

    Thankfully, he understands what is going on. The next day I slept until 6pm, almost 24 hours. Wednesday, I felt like utter crap and last night I did not sleep until 6am as I was unable to even stop my body from moving. I was extremely jittery, I could not close my eyes and on top of that my muscles were constantly tensing.

    I have finally been able to get a full 2 hours worth of sleep and although I am exhausted, I am extremely wide awake. This has not been a fun few months for me and it can feel so disheartening when all you want to do is feel better.

    I am really hoping that by changing to a new therapist and psychiatrist I will be able to not be on medications anymore and be able to cope better. That being said, I am so happy to see that I am not alone. It is extremely hard to even explain how I am feeling even to my husband. So thank you everyone for the insight!

    • paun March 26, 2018, 4:41 pm

      I am 8 weeks off Pristiq and still suffering. Many of the terrible symptoms have abated, but just back from the dentist have found that the tense jaw and face led to grinding my front teeth which has worn away all of the enamel on a front tooth – as the tooth is now flat. I have bruised the gum and possibly the nerve (been referred to an endodonist) and the pain is truly unbearable.

      Other problems that remain are memory problems, severe tinnitus, sweating/chills, clumsy hands and feet, dreams and irritability. So the good news is that these problems are all that remain of a list of over 75. It is hard to celebrate however as anyone knows dental nerve pain is unbearable.

      I don’t know how I am going to live with this. So for me the withdrawal has been terrible, intense and long. For those of you in the very early stages, please know that it does get better with time.

    • paun March 26, 2018, 7:05 pm

      Hi again Suzzie, Just wanted to note that I was also very jittery, shaky and trembling all over my body for quite some time. My muscles seem to tense everywhere hence my mouth/tooth problems. It is also of note that there are several causes of depression and not all can or should be treated with medication. Hope this helps.

      • Suzzie March 26, 2018, 9:59 pm

        Hi Paun – I have been having a lot of muscle tenseness and jaw issues. I also have been having issues with my gums and now my front teeth are going crooked.

        It’s definitely not been fun. I see a new therapist tomorrow, so hopefully I will be put in the right direction on how to cope because I definitely have spiraled into a horrible depression and it is so hard to plan anything when I don’t know when I will be having a good or bad day.

        I really appreciate reading your experiences as it has been definitely helping me with getting ready of what may come. Thanks again!

    • paun March 27, 2018, 1:37 pm

      Hi Suzzie, The jaw, face and muscle tension that you are describing sounds familiar. It started with a slight “touching” of my top front teeth and the bottom front i.e. clicking them together. It then turned into rubbing and grinding, then the next I know intense pain (shooting / pumping / throbbing / vibrating) in my gums with spread to my nose and sinus area.

      I believe the continued pain from bruising the root of my teeth by grinding and wearing down of the enamel could have been prevented by wearing a “grind guard”. I purchased one at a drugstore and it does seem to help. The grinding has stopped but the pain has not. This may be something that you want to try.

      I also tense muscles in my abdomen/stomach and my legs. This has subsided somewhat. I have read other testimonials (few) that talk of mouth/head/tooth/gum/sinus problems so it gave me hope. Do not wait too long to see a dentist / endodontist / periodontist or other oral care specialist.

      It took me about 5-6 weeks to realize that ALL of my problems were directly caused by withdrawal symptoms and not a cold or flu. I will be asking the endodontist to freeze the nerves around the problem tooth so I can see if I feel any relief. This withdrawal is long and painful but it has gotten better. It will for you too.

      • Marcia Wilson March 27, 2018, 4:14 pm

        The jaw clenching and grinding is a painful side effect of Pristiq. While I was taking Pristiq, I wore a mouth guard and that helped a little. But after getting off Pristiq, I would still be troubled by the clenching.

        The internet had some good ideas to combat the grinding and clenching: High Absorption Magnesium – 2 tablets 2 times a day – found it on Amazon – brand name Doctor’s Best. I hope you find some relief with this too.

        • Suzzie March 28, 2018, 8:37 pm

          Thank you… I wasn’t sure on how much to take of the magnesium! Much appreciated :)

          • Pam April 11, 2018, 8:39 pm

            A woman needs 322 mgs of magnesium a day. Men need 400+. I take 250 mgs once a day. I am sure my body gets some from food also. :)

      • Suzzie March 27, 2018, 6:26 pm

        Hey – So I just spoke with a new therapist who used to help people going through withdrawals. She told me to start taking magnesium and vitamin B12 because our bodies lose a lot when we go through withdrawals.

        Also, I just ordered a mouthguard as well, I do not like anything bad to go with my teeth. Hope the information helped. And good luck!

  • paun March 19, 2018, 11:28 am

    Sinus pressure is still there. 49 days off Pristiq and still suffer from dry mouth, rough/active tongue and of course sinus pressure/pain and facial tensing. Also, diarrhea, loud buzzing/humming in my head/ears and sweating.

    The brain zaps are gone and although still a little clumsy, the unsteadiness I felt when walking is all but gone. I noticed that not many posts talk about progress beyond 2-3 months with the exception of occasional ones that are follow ups stating that they still feel symptoms after 9 months to years later.

    To those people: Thank you so much for sharing and I wish you the best. The majority I assume have recovered after about 3-6 months. I am hoping that this is the case. Hang in there to all of us, we can beat this.

  • Paun March 12, 2018, 11:44 am

    Hello everyone, I am new to this site but also coming off Pristiq. I am now 6 weeks off Pristiq and still suffer the withdrawal symptoms. I have had EVERY side effect written in this site with the exception of nausea and vomiting. I have however had digestive issues with terrible diarrhea (still have it).

    The symptoms that have not abated and are constant are dizziness, unsteadiness, night/day sweats (went away for a few weeks but recently came back), irritability to the point of being mean (I am usually very quiet, sensitive and easy going), sensitive to sound, clumsy, anxious, panicked, terrible buzzing in head/ears 24/7 and feeling cold when it is warm.

    The worst physical problem for me is what this has done to my mouth, tongue and sinuses. I developed SINUSITIS (never had it in my life) and at first did not recognize it. I went to the dentist twice, once for dry mouth (it continues) and once to check my gums as they pulse and pump all the time. I went on a course of antibiotics and a course of nasal spray steroids but neither offered any relief.

    I simply have inflammation of the sinuses.I tried to treat it with ibuprofen etc to no avail. I have worn down one of my front teeth and just hope I don’t lose it as I grind all day. My tongue is tingly and my mouth tastes metallic. Most days I struggle with wanting to win this battle and just hoping I would die.

    I went off Pristiq 100 cold turkey after being on this dose for about 5 months (I was on 50 for many years). The tremors and the jolts terrified me so much that I just wanted it out of my system. Thankfully they have stopped. After reading posts, it seems that withdrawal is inevitable for some no matter how you do it.

    With the exception of my mouth/head issues I am coming through this and you will too. I agree with many that say the seemingly casual way these medications are given is not right. People should have serious conversations about the side-effects and withdrawal problems with their prescribers prior to ingesting them. I hope this note helps someone else out there as this has helped me. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Nick February 25, 2018, 2:08 am

    I came to a friend’s house for the weekend. I’m on a lot of meds, and I’m always careful to make sure I bring them all. Well, apparently I forgot my Pristiq. No big deal, I’ll only miss two pills right? WRONG! Oh my God! First day without it I felt a little off, and was having brain zaps. Today is day two without it and I’m afraid that I might die.

    I’m having terrible brain zaps, my stomach feels awful. I constantly feel like I’m going to vomit. At one point it felt like it was in my throat. I’m cold, I’m shaking. I’m confused. I felt wound up, but now it’s hard to keep my eyes open. I’m so anxious that all my fingers are chewed up and bloody.

    Sounds! Sounds are driving me insane. They go right through me. They make me feel crazy and irritable. I’m going through hell, all because I forgot TWO FLIPPING PILLS!!! I am now wondering what this stuff is doing to me if not taking two pills is making me feel like this.

    I really want to talk to my doctor and tell her to get me off this junk (safely, if that’s even possible) and put me on something else. Hell, I almost feel like dealing with the depression and suicidal thoughts would be better than this. Two pills.

    All of this, because I forgot TWO pills. To anyone who is thinking about taking Pristiq, or has a doctor recommending that you go on it, DON’T! DO NOT TAKE THIS POISON!!!

  • Leslea February 22, 2018, 2:31 am

    I have been on Pristiq for about a year. Trying to get off has been horrible. I tapered from 100 mg down to 50 mg and didn’t feel any withdraw symptoms. Going to 25mg and then none has been horrible. It has been a week and I am still extremely dizzy and have thrown up at work several times. To read this can last for months! Not sure I can do it. Seriously considering just staying on 25 or 50 mg. Brutal.

    • colleen February 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

      Hang in there. It took me a LONG time to come off of it. Maybe try 25mg going from 24 hours to 36? Stay on 36 for a week or 2 and then spread it to 48? I eventually got up to every 3 days before stopping. Give yourself the time and keep a schedule. Trust me, it will be worth it!

      • paun March 30, 2018, 4:48 pm

        How long after your last dose did you feel normal again?

  • Wendy February 21, 2018, 2:01 am

    I wasn’t on Pristiq for long. It was given to me for panic attacks and anxiety. I couldn’t stop foot tapping and jigging around when I was on it. I guess I felt worse in the first instance, but it did help me feel more motivated and I was able to concentrate for longer. When I was able to quit my job, I stopped having anxiety attacks and began the process of withdrawal.

    The brain zaps and what I called ‘the whooshies’, where I could hear my blood pounding in my head, and hear noise when my eyes were tracking something, plus the accompanying nausea and giddiness were just too much. My doctor was offended that I wanted to come off the drug, and refused to believe I had any symptoms whatsoever, because the leaflet says there are no withdrawal symptoms on Pristiq. So no help there.

    I came to this forum and was despairing about what was happening and how long it might continue. In the supermarket, I saw St John’s Wort tablets, so bought a bottle on impulse, did the research, and began to dose myself, starting with 4 tablets a day. I then reduced Pristiq gradually, and although I still got whooshies, they were becoming less and less frequent.

    When I had stopped Pristiq altogether and I was confident that the Pristiq side effects were minimal, I reduced the SJW to 2 tablets a day for a month, then 1 and finally came off them altogether. Two days after my last tablet I was surprised to get a whooshie, because I hadn’t had one for so long. I had a week of maybe one mild whooshie a day, and then no symptoms at all.

    It’s now four months later, and I’ve moved house and I feel happier than I have done in a long, long while. I’d say my brain is back to functioning normally, and the balance of serotonin etc has been restored. I’m writing this to offer hope to people who feel as desperate as I did when I began this process.

    So often people say they are trying something, but don’t come back and say how it went. Well, I am completely over Pristiq now, so much so, that I nearly forgot it existed or that I had been taking it! Tapering, and anything else that can soften the blow is the way. It can be done. Good luck!

    • Becky February 28, 2018, 1:15 pm

      Thanks for this Wendy! I am about to try and come off Pristiq for blood pressure related issues and was very worried. About a year ago I began to taper off Cipralex and it was hell on earth. I have been considering trying St John’s Wort, and reading your story has definitely helped me make that decision!

      Do you mind if I ask how many mg’s of Pristiq you were taking and if that helped determine the number of SJW tablets you were taking? I am on the lowest dose available where I live (50mg) so I won’t be able to taper it!

      • Natalia Slawomirski March 29, 2018, 3:49 pm

        I have been on Pristiq for about 7-8yrs. Since I first began taking Pristiq, my dose started off low, then went up and then back down again to what I started on, 50mg. A doctor had told me that given my drug abuse history was quite significant (I was seeking treatment for addiction) and that as a result my serotonin levels have been totally depleted so no way was I not depressed.

        “Here is a prescription I want you to take which you will need to be on for at least the next 5 yrs.” So I did. I’m clean now and have been since 2015.” Anyway, I’ve decided it’s time to get off Pristiq. For the last month, maybe even more? I had been having one tablet every second day then one tablet every third day.

        My last dose was 2 days ago. I’ve only tonight noticed I feel ‘different’. Slightly foggy, dizzy, trouble concentrating & moody. I’m not going to lie, I’m terrified of what’s yet to come. In 5 days I will have to face my ex in court. I just PRAY to god I won’t be going through the worst of it then.

        • paun March 30, 2018, 4:43 pm

          Try to remember everyone is different and your body adjusts in its own way. Your symptoms do sound like withdrawal. My symptoms were the worst after about 2-3 weeks off. I don’t know that there ever is a good time to come off of these drugs as life continues to happen.

          Just try to remember that the symptoms you experience are due to withdrawal and your body is trying to heal (I wish that I had known this). I kept thinking that something else was wrong with me. Good luck in court and only you can decide what is best for your recovery.

  • Kassie S January 28, 2018, 11:30 pm

    I was on Effexor for about 3 years, I was coming to the end of my insurance so I thought I would try and get off the medication. After 3 months of disgusting and terrible withdrawals my doctor put me on Pristiq since he said the withdrawals would not be as intense. I tried doing every other day and it was a nightmare, I couldn’t make it to through the second day without medication.

    I went to every single website I could looking for help in the comments, and I always see the same things from people. Everyone is going through hell, their doctors don’t know what to do, some people suggest prayer and that was about as helpful as it got. I decided to do some research, first I should mention that I am on the medication for a Panic Disorder, I experience extreme anxiety and panic attacks with just a sprinkle of depression (probably from not being able to leave my house or do things on my own) anyways, I started taking vitamin D, Omega 3 and Vitamin B complex every single morning.

    Cut out all caffeine and alcohol. I started my process on a Sunday. I took my medication at 8 am Sunday morning, then I took it at 10 am on Monday, 12 pm Tuesday, 3 pm Wednesday, 5 pm Thursday, 7 pm Friday, 9 pm Saturday and nothing on Sunday (this is on 50mg pristiq). I took my pills to work with me on Monday, when I started to feel some weird side effects I took the pills (this was at 11) and then tried to go as long as I could again.

    So far I’ve been dealing really well! I have had increased diarrhea, some troubles sleeping, and some irritability. But the brain zaps are gone, which I found to be the most troubling. Most importantly I have been honest about how I am feeling. Im keeping a journal to track everything. You need patience, and time, and support!!! Hope this helps !!

    • ElizabethL February 19, 2018, 11:51 pm

      Hi Cassie, this is really helpful. How have you been since you posted on Jan 28th?

  • Samantha January 22, 2018, 12:43 am

    I stoped taking it after 6 months cold turkey and all I am experiencing is extreme hunger.

  • Ashleigh January 1, 2018, 6:22 am

    I went into pristiq after having a breakdown, stayed on it 11 months on 50mg and my doctor told me to taper by taking it an hour later each day so I did that. By the time I reached the day of taking it at 3pm, I realised I didn’t feel sick and decided not to take it.

    I am now on my 5th day struggling with fatigue and dizziness – only had a bit of nausea for one day. But I must say I was terrified I would be a lot worse. I think this method of tapering helped me a lot because if I ever forgot a tablet one morning, I would feel soooo sick by lunch time!

    I hope this advice helps someone out there 😊

  • Dave December 24, 2017, 6:38 pm

    I have been on ADs for over 27 years. Most recently on pristiq for 5 months. Tapered over 3 weeks. But doctor put me on 40mg of Prozac to help with withdrawals. I have anxiety, heavy head, depression, worry and feel anxious jolts as I fall asleep. The sleep is the most troublesome for some reason. It’s been 5 days since last pristiq, first day on Prozac.

    I’m also taking 900mg lithium and 16mg Valium. Both don’t help with withdrawals. I eventually want to come off both of those as well.

  • Toni March 19, 2017, 7:29 pm

    I went on Pristiq at my doctor’s recommendation. The first few days, I didn’t really have an side effects and felt good, so I thought wow this is really going to work, then came the crushing fatigue and sweating. I was non-functional, could not get out of bed. So I stopped taking it. I was taking it for 7 days. The doctor wanted me to alternate days taking the dose, so I would have weaned over 6 days (after being on 7 days).

    I chose not to put this poison in my body any longer. The first day off, I was fatigued, but later in the day I felt fine. Then the sweating and fatigue and depression hit for the next two days. I am on Day 4 and sweating and fatigue have let up some, but the depression is still hanging in there.

    I am on two other meds for depression, so I know this is withdrawal. Insomnia has also been an issue. I really think doctors should warn their patients how bad a withdrawal this can be before prescribing it. I still can’t believe I am on day 4 off the med and still having symptoms. I will update when I feel like myself again.

    • Toni April 27, 2017, 12:10 am

      It took me over 2 -3 weeks to get over the withdrawal. Worst part was the depression it caused.

  • Lee March 9, 2017, 12:26 am

    Oh my, I’m on day 4 of cold turkey withdrawal from 100 mg for the past 8 years. I’ve just switched to Trintellex and I am in agony. I can’t stop the crying jags and I literally want to die. I though I would have to go to the ER last night. I want off this med so badly and I’m afraid I will have to go back on!

    I hate it so much!!! I just don’t know if I can bear the withdrawals for another month or more. I am hoping that the trintellex will start to kick in and ease the withdrawals soon. I am at least relieved to find these comments to see that I am not alone in my agony. Peace to you all!

  • Olivia March 2, 2017, 5:21 am

    Thank you everyone for sharing… I feel lots of solidarity in this :) ! I was previously on 150mg and I went down to 100mg with no problems except some dizziness and brain zaps which went away in a week or so. It’s been quite some time and now I’m tapering down from 100mg to 50mg and I’ve been experiencing so many more symptoms.

    I’m on day 4 now and I’ve been having a lot of depersonalization, foggy thinking and difficulty concentrating, nausea, a couple crying spells. I was worried that this would be my new set point, but it seems as though my brain is just readjusting! This is challenging, but I commend strength in everyone going through this transition!

    Hoping everyone has a smooth recovery!! <3 I haven't noticed anything with my taste buds yet!

  • Mary February 17, 2017, 4:55 am

    I am going on three weeks with out pristiq. I was on 100mg for about 5 or 6 years for hot flashes. I started tapering off with one pill every other day for about a month then went to 50 mg every other day for about three weeks. Missed a dose and decided that was enough of that – so I quit about three weeks ago.

    Haven’t had brain zaps, but had some really crazy dreams. I woke up thinking I had just left the movie theater they were so real. Have woken up with headaches which I usually don’t have. These things happen when I eventually fall asleep because I have insomnia. This might sound crazy because I haven’t heard anyone else mention it, but my taste buds are really off.

    There is a funny taste – or maybe it’s in my lungs that I keep having. It is so hard to explain, but whatever it is it is the worst for me to deal with. Every once in awhile it goes away and I think “Yah!!” but then it is back. I used to drink diet coke but know I can’t even think about it because of that taste.

    That might be a good thing because as we all know diet coke is bad for you. Anyway I am rambling on and all I really want to know does anyone have trouble with their taste buds?

  • Dave February 14, 2017, 8:24 am

    2nd day of reducing my dose from 200 to 150. Felt really dizzy all day and have vomited a few times. Not a pleasant day or experience. The day is also humid, so I am sweating profusely and just generally feel like crap. Have been on the drug for about 30 months.

  • Katie February 10, 2017, 10:21 pm

    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 for 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 why 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 in there!

  • Liz February 10, 2017, 1:31 pm

    I did cold turkey too, I feel your pain, hold on and be strong if it was a choice you made on purpose. I found Gravol or Benadryl helped me for nausea and I found I got itchy. Drink lots of water to flush your system out and make sure you are eating foods that are healthy. It took me three-ish weeks to start feeling normal. I’d say day 5 or 6 is around the worst of it.

    The process is slow but anything that affects brain chemistry would be. Be kind to yourself, nap, do things that make you happy, have friends come visit you. Even if you are sweating and feeling miserable, I found talking about it with friends and having people around helped. If you can afford it, stay home from work. I was off four for weeks, it’s challenging to be a nice and functioning person while your body is rebelling. Good luck!

  • Logan February 8, 2017, 3:44 am

    Went without pristiq for 2 days, the most brutal 48 hours I’ve ever endured in my life, seeing as I’ve been using pristiq for well over 2 years I can understand the symptoms. The zaps and the feeling of insanity has put me through hell, I feel like I’ve lost my mind and I can’t seem to get a grip on reality, keep in mind this is 48 hours cold turkey. Any suggestions?

    • Tawny February 10, 2017, 2:53 am

      Wow! Why cold turkey? Is that by choice or you are out of pills? I would think tapering would be better but if that’s not possible, can you get to a doctor to see what he/she recommends? Also ask the advice of a pharmacist! They are the experts on the drug so maybe they can give you some hints. Scary stuff. Good luck and post an update when you can.

  • Tawny January 13, 2017, 1:13 am

    Wow! I’m truly scared to attempt to get off Pristiq! I take it for anxiety not depression but have been on this for about 8 years. I’ve been on an anti-depressant for about 16 years. Every time I would get off of one, I’d have a major panic attack with constant anxiety within 6 months so I’d be put right back on one.

    There have been times when I’ve forgotten 1 dose and I would have brain zaps and tingling all over! And that’s after 1 day!! I can’t imagine what 2 days off would do! I’d like to get off but am really scared to even try. Anxiety can be so bad though. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of going crazy and I don’t want that! Not sure what to do…

  • Stephanie January 6, 2017, 10:00 am

    Wow… The nausea is ridiculously intense and this is just my first day. None of this was by choice, either. Stupid insurance. 100mg to nothing. I’m hoping I can get at least some 50mg samples tomorrow. I’ve been vomiting for hours now.

    I’ll finally vomit after hours of intense nausea, feel better for about an hour or so, then the nausea comes back and the cycle continues. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m considering sticking my fingers down my throat to get it over with, except at this point it would just be dry heaving.

    • Amy January 7, 2017, 5:12 am

      Stephanie, you hang in there! It is HELL! My 48 hours of labor ending in a C-section was a piece of cake compared to withdrawal from this drug. LISTEN, I promise it will get better. It seems like it won’t but it will. There were times I thought it did permanent damage to my eyes because I was dizzy for over a month.

      I’m perfectly fine now. Well, that is debatable… I became dependent on Dramamine for a month and took Zofran for the nausea. My colon was a mess. Going to the hospital is a last resort but they will help if you feel too badly. The most important thing is to hydrate. Drink water, juice, coconut water. It will help you.

      Remember this: You will never take this drug again, withdrawal will go away but it will take a while, this blog will help you get through the hard times. You will feel normal some day, drink liquids, don’t be defeated!

  • Dawn January 3, 2017, 4:45 am

    I was on Pristiq for over 5 years. The last year I was on 50 mg/day. I tapered off over a two month period and have been off completely for about 7 weeks. For the first couple of weeks I was exhausted and very weepy.

    The “brain zaps” are the worst and I’m still experiencing them a few times a day. They are very annoying and I worry if they are hurting my brain.

  • Cosette January 2, 2017, 6:55 am

    Hello, I hope someone can still answer this comment. I was on Pristiq for a little under a year. Started on 50mg and then went up to 100mg. I recently lost my insurance and am no longer able to get Pristiq at a reasonable cost. It’s now my 3rd day off it and I am feeling horrible. Been dizzy and nauseated all day and I just cried uncontrollably. I know there’s no way to answer this certainly, but is there any way to estimate how long the withdrawal will last after being on the medicine for such a relatively short period of time? I could really use any help right now.

    • Melinda January 27, 2017, 7:30 am

      I really feel for anyone whose insurance pulls the plug as it’s not your choice to stop your meds and insurance companies don’t care that stopping Pristiq abruptly is hell. I’m in Australia and Pristiq is on our government pharmaceutical benefit scheme so it costs a maximum of $38 a month. I used a discount chemist and paid even less – $21 a month.

      While your reason for going off Pristiq was financial, mine was increasingly bad side effects and weight gain (both out of our control, I think). I know this is late as you wrote almost a month ago but it still might help you or someone else. Hopefully by now the worst of your withdrawal symptoms have subsided. Before coming off Pristiq I did heaps of research about nutrients and how to supplement if necessary.

      I narrowed it down to 6 mood enhancers that I now take every day, along with making sure I get the RDA for every nutrient we need as I think it helps with the physical symptoms. If money is an issue, just try the two amino acids that will keep your neurotransmitters steady (I get mine from iherb at really reasonable prices). These are L-Tyrosine to boost your norepinephrine and dopamine, and Acetyl L-Carnitine to boost your serotonin.

      I tapered for only 2 weeks and when I stopped, I didn’t have anywhere near the awful withdrawal symptoms that others report so I think my ‘nutrient cocktail’ did help. The Tyrosine will take 2-4 weeks to work to its full extent and the Acetyl L-Carnitine up to 2 weeks. You’ll feel better each day.

      My taper was cutting the 100 mg tablets in half for a week and then in quarters for a week with no problems. While at first I had the brain zaps, dizziness and sleepiness, these eased after a week and I think I’ve had a relatively easy withdrawal compared with others. I was on Pristiq for 2 years and gained 30 kilos. My doctors kept saying you don’t gain weight on Pristiq but in my experience you definitely DO.

      From the beginning with Pristiq my weight shot up. But even though I kept having to buy bigger clothes and avoid looking in the mirror, I felt it was better to be fat than depressed as my depression was so bad. Then about 6 months ago I started getting side effects that were either from the Pristiq or weight related – burning indigestion, exhaustion, diarrhea, nausea at the smell of food, nausea due to lack of eating, ridiculous sweating (you know, when everyone else is freezing in three layers and you’re in a t-shirt with sweat dripping off your face).

      Six months ago, I changed to a plant-based no-junk-food no-sugar diet and began exercising daily (have to walk our dog at least an hour a day or she whines!). But… after 6 months there was absolutely NO change in the scales. It had to be the Pristiq as other known culprits were ruled out by a blood test and my horrible side effects were becoming debilitating.

      I had to get off it. Whether it’s the vitamins/herbs/aminos or it’s all placebo I don’t care because I feel so much better and happier (so nice to FEEL an emotional range again). Also, after being Pristiq-free for 12 days, I only get heartburn and nausea if I don’t eat, I sweat only when it’s hot and the scales read that I’m half a kilo lighter! Keep strong on your journey to get off Pristiq as it’s worth it in the end.

      • Judy March 20, 2018, 10:55 am

        Hi Melinda. Just read your post from last year. Inspiring – as I am in Australia too. I have been reading a lot about amino acids (especially L-tyrosine) and your post is in time. I have been on 300mg Pristiq for 2 years and prior to that 200mg for a further 3 years…prior to that Zoloft…

        I am planning to cut down over a 6 month period and finally use nutrition and supplements to help instead of BIG PHARMA! Kind regards, Judy

    • Ben January 29, 2017, 7:01 pm

      My partner is now hitting the stage where the Pristiq has all left her body, the withdrawal symptoms have been *much* easier to manage with knowledge from others like in this article. Thank you all for calmly sharing information on what we can expect.

      My partner’s nausea abated last night to the point where she could share dinner with me, and she kept it down. After more crying spells, she thanked me and slept. It really helps her to know how much of this is just due to the withdrawal.

      Take strength, people, this can be endured and then you’re done with this drug!

  • Stuart Goldstein December 23, 2016, 4:12 pm

    Made the mistake of letting my Pristiq prescription expire amidst the holiday pandemonium. Big mistake – withdrawal symptoms were so severe I surrender to the couch as if I had the flu. Symptoms included brain zaps, fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite etc. I encourage all to be vigilant keep on top of your prescription if you choose to continue with Pristiq. Knowing what I know about the medication I fear for the future when I decide to discontinue treatment. Good luck.

  • Ivette December 23, 2016, 2:12 am

    I am forced to stop taking pristiq because my insurance doesn’t want to pay for it anymore. This is my second day without the med and I feel awful. Dizzy, agitated, confused, irritable, the zapping in my head is starting and not being able to rest and sleep. I am getting headaches and getting upset for any little thing. I hope and pray that this doesn’t last.

  • Steve December 17, 2016, 4:57 pm

    I have been on Pristiq a number of years… I am now on week 3 of ‘weaning and quitting’. I took 50 mg every other day for two weeks and then quit completely. This past week has been rough. Light-headed feeling with dizziness and flu-like symptoms physically… Rage followed by uncontrollable crying spells emotionally. I feel like I am making life unbearable for those around me…What keeps me going is the understanding (or at least I hope :) ) that this is not me. The withdrawal process is in charge now, and I can only hope I make it to the other side. Hang in there everyone!

  • Marcia December 17, 2016, 3:22 am

    I am three weeks without Pristiq and all the awful side effects are gone. You can do it. It really helped that I did a gradual withdrawal – from 100mg to 50 mg and stayed there two months; went to 25 mg and stayed there for a month.

    Then skipped a few days and finally just stopped. It took 2 days for my body to react and then the withdrawal effects hit with a vengeance. You will get your head back; you will get a stomach that reacts well to food again.

    Your cognitive skills will return. You will no longer feel like a zombie. Hold on tight and don’t give up. Marcia

    • Gabriel January 8, 2017, 1:27 am

      Marcia. Thanks. I did a print screen on your comment. I’m on day 2, only. I know this will be insanely rough. From 100mg to 50mg was a hell. I was on and off 50mg for two weeks and now nothing. Day 2. My body is tingling. I’m a lil depressed and very anxious. But I know this will ease. I know. The worst will come in the following days, and I will survive. Kisses from Brazil.

  • Raychel December 16, 2016, 6:58 am

    On day three without pristiq and I’m almost ready to go back on them. I was on them for roughly 10 months and started cutting my tablet smaller and smaller about every two weeks. Then I went down to prob 7mg a night, before I cut it out. Yesterday I felt like a bus hit me! Head zaps are really bad, my entire back aches, crying spells, agitation, chills, sensitive skin. It really shows how strong this drug really is…

  • Steve December 7, 2016, 2:15 am

    Hi everyone, I’m on day one of tapering from 200mg (was on 150 mg for about 6 mths and 200mg for the last 4 mths). I wasn’t really getting any benefit from pristiq so my psychiatrist recommended I try something else. I’m a little worried because his suggested taper is to drop 50 mg each week. I’m in Australia so I don’t think 25mg is an option. I’ve strapped myself in and am ready for the ride. Wish me luck.

  • Marcia December 2, 2016, 7:49 am

    After many years taking Pristiq 100 mg. I am on day 8 of being Pristiq free. I was prescribed this drug for mild depression. As time passed, I had insomnia and was prescribed a sleeping pill that I took daily. Over time, I had high blood pressure, and was prescribed another medication for that. Then, I had erratic heart palpitations and was prescribed a med for that.

    After many years, I finally questioned all these expensive drugs and went to Pristiq’s web site and… there I learned that my multiple medical problems were all possible side effects of this drug. Nuts! My doctor was helpful with my desire to get of this medication – I went from 100 mg. to 50 mg. and stayed at that level for two months. Then I went to 25 mg. and stayed there for a month.

    Thanksgiving was my first day without Pristiq. All was OK for two days – then the nausea, chills, insomnia and fatigue took over. The brain zaps are real – the top of my head seems to want to explode. I went to the ATM and couldn’t make it work. The bank staff told me I was trying to use a Master Card, instead of the bank card. Word retrieval was noticeable.

    I now take frequent rest periods – little sleep – just closing my eyes and keeping warm under the bed covers. I picked this time to quit because I thought I was in a good place in my life. The election was finally coming to an end and I felt sure that common sense would win over most people! Well… funny how life turns out! This web site has inspired me with people’s stories of great courage.

    Knowing this is the right thing for me to do will help me to persevere. Dramamine has been helpful with the nausea – warm soups have helped as well. Chamomile tea at the end of the day – all in an effort to calm myself from within, though my head and body have been going off the deep end. I am encouraged that each day will be better, thanks to the kindness of others who have taken the time to write about their experiences.

    We are not alone …in the middle of a long night without end, that is a great comfort. Marcia

    • Marcia December 3, 2016, 6:38 pm

      As others have written on this lengthy blog about getting safely off Pristiq, the brain zaps have subsided. Food no longer fights nausea. And a blessed night’s sleep has returned. Purpose for the day has re-emerged and a short list for my Saturday tasks has me back, ready to greet the day. There is a calm, clear headed feeling and a smile on my face! I will track this carefully, knowing that I have been to a very low valley and come out the other side. Marcia

  • Kirsty December 1, 2016, 3:58 am

    I am currently on day 5 of my withdrawal symptoms & I can honestly say I wish I was dead! I am so unbelievably sick. Vomiting, nausea, dizzy, severe mood swings, cannot function in general & am experiencing all of the above symptoms severely. I don’t know if or how I can get through this when I’ve only made it to day 5. :'(

    • Amy December 2, 2016, 7:33 pm

      I’m so sorry you have to go through this. The 3 kids makes it very difficult. It gets better, I promise! I took Dramamine and still take it as needed. It usually makes me sleep but I didn’t have that problem. I know it sounds crazy, but if you can’t deal with the symptoms, the ER will help (last resort). You can do this!

  • ploppy December 1, 2016, 2:30 am

    I am a couple of days into discontinuation of Pristiq. I have been on a number of antidepressants continually for about 15 years. In regard to splitting pills & tapering, I highly recommend it (with my GP’s supervision). It does specify that antidepressants should not be cut or split. However, modification of my antidepressant dose was the most sensible, & workable option for me.

    I used a set of digital scales accurate to 1mg ($30 AU). I split, weighed, & filed down the 50mg pills with a nail file, stepping down 10℅ each week (or so). I discontinued at 10mg. The pill fragment being so small that it couldn’t be reduced anymore (& the dose hardly lasting 24hours). I always use a weekly pill divider, arranging my meds at the start of each week. I don’t want to be modifying a dose every day.

    I am feeling uncomfortable, a bit dizzy, & tired today. However, I have not encountered anything like some of the withdrawal symptoms described in this forum thread. The idea of stepping off 50mg or 25mg is absolutely insane in my opinion. I encourage anyone wanting to discontinue any antidepressant to at least discuss this option with their health care professional. I have a great GP, one with an open mind.

    At the end of the day, anyone with any decent experience with antidepressants, in my opinion, knows how these drugs interact with their body far better than a doctor does. Also, good diet, magnesium, & regular exercise also play a positive part in this process. I also take 2mg of valium morning, & night to ease the discomfort. Good luck…

  • Amy November 26, 2016, 6:12 am

    It makes me feel less anxious knowing that I am not the only person dealing with symptoms from withdrawal of Pristiq. I tapered my 50mg by extending the pills every 24, 28, 32, 36, 40 hours. The schedule was insane but did I fine. Then by my doctors advice, every 48 hours for 2 weeks, then took 25 mg every other day for 2 weeks. IT WAS HORRIBLE! Like a Rollercoaster, I said, forget it… took a week off work and went cold turkey.

    I vomited, had bathroom issues, dizzy, anxiety and similar symptoms that have been described by people here. My colon was KILLING me as well as my upper back. It’s been 3 1/2 weeks and I am better. BUT my eyes are still driving me crazy. It’s like I’m car sick most of the time and take Dramamine. I’ve had no emotional issues (except the fact I have a teenager).

    I am hoping the issues with my eyes and equilibrium improve because I can’t deal with this forever. It’s debilitating. The doctor and pharmacist have not had answers and Pfizer is covering their butt. Not sure what to do next.

  • Stacey November 24, 2016, 8:21 pm

    Day 12 and diarrhea still taking the best out of me!! No appetite all day. Brain zaps are definitely easing. Emotions still swinging and extreme fatigue. Yay for big pharmas!

  • Katie November 23, 2016, 10:07 am

    I was on 50mg a day for three months then began alternating to every second day in the 4th month for about 2 weeks before going cold turkey. I tolerated the drug very well from the beginning, only experienced mild insomnia and brain fog for a couple of weeks then no side effects at all. But I read about this drug and how hard it is to get off it and decided I’d rather find other ways to deal with my issues.

    In the first week of cold turkey I got very frequent dizzy spells, irritability, a panic attack and sweating. I planned supports for my withdrawal and on the last week of taking Pristiq also began taking krill oil, rhodiola, magnolia, holy basil (all these are adaptogens that work on the endocrine system) and a multivitamin and continued with those daily during withdrawal. I also made myself do walking & meditation everyday and eating meals consisting of protein and cooked vegetables only.

    No caffeine, no grain, no sugar. Walking elevates your noradrenaline levels, meditation sorts out the serotonin levels. It’s day 6 of cold turkey and I feel almost normal. I’m more emotionally sensitive but nothing major. I made the mistake of allowing myself 1 coffee a day in the first few days of withdrawal, mainly because I felt like death upon waking. This was a mistake.

    Caffeine makes the dizziness worse. I think the reason being that it dicks around with your serotonin levels and noradrenaline levels too. You get a big hit then a rollercoaster for the rest of the day which does you no good at all. Caffeine free during withdrawal is the way to go. Your body has enough to cope with without the effects of caffeine as well.

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