Pristiq withdrawal

I wouldn’t say I’m a vengeful person (others might, I dunno). But right now, I’d like nothing better than to give nurses and doctors a taste of their own medicine. Or even, lack of their own medicine.

Went to get my meds this morning. Was told by the nurse I don’t have anything written down for brekkie. Ermm. I’ve only had morning medication for the past almost three years. He then said the duty doctor would be called to come see me. Righty oh.

Next thing I know, four hours have passed and still no sign of the duty doctor nor the Pristiq. After some prompting from IVT on Twitter, I found my nurse to again ask about my Pristiq. Was told I’d have to wait until tomorrow when my treating team see me as they don’t know whether the duty doctor ceased the Pristiq on purpose or what. “One day doesn’t change anything!” the nurse cheerily remarked. Which I would refute, but even worse, today was day two without Pristiq. I gave a small “huh” in response and walked away in irritation.

It’s now past 9pm and I’m feeling it. Really feeling it. There’s a reason I avoid missing even one dose of Pristiq if I can help it. And this is it. Nausea. Oh the nausea. Hot and cold flushes. Muscle soreness. Brain zaps. Feeling off balance and like I’m about to fall over. But that’s cool, one (or two) days won’t make a difference, right? Hah. Oh how I’d like them to experience SNRI withdrawal before they start spouting shit like that again.

190 thoughts on “Pristiq withdrawal

  1. Withdrawal is evil. If I miss a dose of venlafaxine, 24 hours later I’m shaking, fell physically sick and am completely off the wall mental. The nurse is just plain wrong to say it doesn’t matter. Hope you get your meds soon.

    • You are incredibly lucky. This is day four of my withdrawals from pristiq. Yesterday was horrible, brain zaps, noises, crying, angry, shaky, nauseous, you name it, I have had it. I have a strong constitution thank God, so I’m not giving up. I’m staying in bed until I reach the other side of this drug from hell. I’d appreciate some prayers because that is what I am doing every hour during this ordeal. Thank you. Pam

      • I’m glad someone else is raising awareness. I was literally shaking from fear when I walked into a non-for-profit for therapy center. I was afraid that they would refuse treatment if I decided not to take the pills they offered. Until I was reassured that I would never have to subject myself to 3+ months of physical hell just to stay healthy, I just shook and cried. I just had to see a psychiatrist for Medicare (I’m on disability). The only reason I came off the pills in the first place is because of a Medicare doughnut hole. I was paying 400.00 dollars for each 30 day supply. The massive bureaucratic issues made it hard (not impossible) to receive the drugs free. After chasing my doctors around as if they were illegal drug dealers, I finally got them to sign off on the forms.This happened while I was going through the beginnings of withdrawal. The good news is, it the withdrawal symptoms went away. The bad news is, I had to smoke and vape cannabis to keep the pain and symptoms at bay from the withdrawal for about 3 months. Smoking weed got boring, so I stopped. I experienced little to no withdrawal symptoms from weed. Now I’m Pharmaceutical free for about half a year. My symptoms got slightly worse, but they’re manageable, I’m never depressed, I’m just really frustrated and pissed off that I had to go through that without any compensation. I’m 44 and I’ve been on pills my whole life. I refuse to go back on those or any pills unless the doctors make them more affordable and available with as much if not less side effects than something like Cannabis. Keep on fighting the good fight and feel better!

  2. Wow, I feel for you willfindhope! I am on Pristiq and I agree that you certainly do feel it if you miss a dose, let alone two…I can actually feel myself ‘drop’ a bit even if I miss it by a few hours ~ headache, shaky, nausea, dizzy…I am so surprised your nurse was so blaze about it! Hope you are hanging in there ok…

  3. I have nevet experienced withdrawal but it sounds horrible. Weird that they don’t connect with your normal doc to check what meds you are on and which doses you need and when…
    Good luck! *hugs*

  4. Sorry to here you are going through withdrawal. Definitely know the feeling of going off Pristiq, its horrid. If you are getting really nauseated ask fo anti – nausea meds. I found that helped when I had to go through withdrawal, specifically the one that you put under your tongue.

  5. venlafaxine withdrawel is evil, like really really nasty. the brain zaps where nearly the end of me esp since the medical profession just doesnt understand it! when i was in inpatient ED treatment they never ordered my duloxetine until id run used to make me feel so bloody agitated and awful. and they just shrug and say noone withdraws in a day or 2…er yes they really do, cos SNRI’s have ridiculously short halflives, and mabe the staff should bloody know that! take care xx

  6. You’ve every right to feel vengeful! I hope things get sorted asap, and that they all get struck down by withdrawel symptoms from not being empathetic health care professionals!!! (that made sense in my head, hope u get what i mean!?!?!)

  7. I stopped taking pristiq 3 weeks ago (after taking it 3 years). The withdrawal effects have been absolutely brutal and after 3 weeks are still going strong. Yes, I did titrate off it however,and the first day completely free to it, the side effects were pretty minor but the second day… all hell broke loose! For the first week I was so dizzy and nauseas and took dramamine which helped. Now rather than dizzy/nausea I can only describe it as a feeling of “perpetual car sickness”. Other significant symptoms include random and frequent crying jags (3-4 times a day for no apparent reason), thoughts of desperation and self harm, lack of energy and lots of sleep (up to 13 hrs a day if allowed), significantly reduced tolerance to frustration, ear ringing, inability to stay on task, slight stammering or studdering when trying to talk fast, nightmares during the first week, and the worst is the “brain zaps”. One of the side effects that were amusing to me when taking pristiq was that ch-ch sound but it got worse when I stopped takig it. The ch-ch sound was accompanied by a feeling of having my brain electrically shocked and face buzzing. I finally relented and went to a doctor and she said it is called “brain zap”. The worst thing I was told was that the withdrawal can take several more months! I feel like I’m on the back side of it now since I’m not relegated to the couch all day and vomiting but the symptoms are still interfering with living my life.
    All I can say is work with your doctor if you intend to stop takig pristiq. I regret the fact that the drug maker wasn’t more open about potential withdrawal effects. Seriously, it doesnt take that long to withdrawal from heroine! I will certainly be doing much more homework before I try any more medications. Yes I have MDD and anxiety all tied to and ED however, there has to be something better.

    • Hi Christy, I am at the month marker at not taking Pristiq. Somehow I made it and did not have brain zaps, although I know what they are from withdrawing from Paxil many years ago (a nightmare). What I did was have dizziness and motion sickness, which in turn, caused vomiting and nausea. I am STILL suffering from an upset stomach/gastritis, and am scheduled for an endoscopy on the 20th. I was just wondering if you had any problems with stomach irritation. This has been the worst ever. The ringing in my ears is still there, but not so loud, and the stiffness in my neck has eased a bit. My pdoc looks at me like I am nuts when I describe the withdrawals. It took him 5 days to order me anti-nausea medication…I fired him.

    • How does one know whether it is a withdrawal symptom or a relapse ( I stopped taking it three months ago after being on it about four years?)

  8. Everyone listen- I have made it through Effexor and Pristiq withdrawal- I almost committed suicide and had to have ect- Tapering helps some, but only SOME- You MUST take three pills of malic acid (2400 mg) for the brain zaps, it is a MIRACLE- AND- You must take an omega three, fish oil is a miracle for some, it makes me very sick so I used hemp seeds- Hemp seeds are available at any health food store- Finally, I completely CURED my depression by taking vitamin d at 10,000 iu a day- Carlsen brand is very good, however, any oil based vitamin d product in a gel cap form should be ok- Don’t suffer, buy these three products and good luck!

  9. Yea I can definitely understand your frustration. I was suppose to be on a temporary pristiq treatment, then go of them slowly. I just finished my last repeat but because of a short term money crisis I couldnt afford to go to the doctor. So cold turkey it is. This is day 4 and I feel irritated, on a short fuse, sick and the brain zaps make life interesting. Especially after working out. I think it has a lot to do with brain stimulation. Not to mention trippy dreams and irrational thoughts. Not suicidal yet tho. Lol. Im considering a doc visit on payday. Just remember your not alone. Theres a worldwide community of people like us who have your back! Hang in there. Apparently it gets better.

  10. Day #4 of Pristiq. quit cold turkey because I’m not a depressed person, just hyper and doctor gave it to me for mood swings. BS! F75k the mood swings! i rather be moody than walk around like a zombie! I think they just get paid to give this pill to everyone who walks through the door. Oh yeah, Day #4 – sucks! Dizzy, throwing up, diahrea, – oh well will loose some weight:) Couldn’t spell my own name on the e-mail to customer, driving car is a task, 55 MPH on a highway, feel like everything is twirling around, muscle pains. Havn’t cried yet, maybe because I feel so sick, that don’t have enough energy for crying. Love the dreams! Some crazy s^$&t, I wish I can record them… heck of a movie would be…! With that said, takes a lot of willpower to get of thet crap. But I do will be fine and wish you all the same!!

  11. oh, the joys of withdrawl. I just started this pristiq two days ago. (and I know what your thinking)…quit now while your ahead. ok, so here is my story. Ever heard of the wonderful drug called Tramdol? Good times there (saying this with evil sarcasm), I intially started that drug in 03′. one day a year later, I didnt take a pill for a whole day. I welcomed death 24 hours later. I thought, I wonder if I take a tramadol will I get a little better? Alas, I was cured! Then the o sheit moment…im addicted. mind you it wasnt a narc yet. so, I continued my regimen of 8 tablets a day mainly to avoid side effects. I began this drug because of cervical pain. here we r in 2012, and I have managed to get down to 2 tabs a day, with the depressiom, anxiety, fearfullness, agitation, moodiness, and all that comes with withdrawl symptoms following me. im only “better” 3 hours after taking this pill, and then all the above withdrawls 6 hours after ingestion. so, what is my point, you ask? Well, being in the state of mind im in, (remember my dr. put me on pristiq) withdrawls never go away, acute phase is bad, chronic phase is worse. so, after much hesitation, reading, asking my pharmacist, and thinking do I want to be depressed and dang near manic all my life?NO! I blame my depression on tramadol, and will now need a crutch all my life. the two drugs r similar, and wont be long before they classify this med a narc also, because of the debilitating withdrawl effects. So, for those stopping pristiq amd going thru it, hats off to you. I applaud you, envy you, and pray that your minds learn how to cope again. For those out there like me who have tried to jump ship, only to find themselves desperately holding the side of a life boat, I understand. To accept that needing something to help with everyday functions is hard. But I sure as hell dont want to be mental all my life. This was probaly not helpful, but I was trying to express to those out there that the withdrawls go beyond brain zaps, eventually depression sets in.

  12. I have been on pristiq 100mg for 3 years and currently on day on day 6 of withdrawal down to 50mg. You will have to excuse my typing as the screen is so dam blurry because i cant see strait. Day one of 50 mg the shakes started after two hours, then ‘drops’ then perfusive sweating then finally sever nausia and vomiting at about 5pm and then could not move out of bed till the next day. Day 2 all of the above except without having to go to bed, that was replaced with panic attacks. Day 3 felt wonderfull, i finaly had a window of my normal self until day 4. severe vomiting that came on in waves, panic attacks, de realisation. Today is day six and im not sure i can take anymore. I went off the high dose for a few different reasons but mostly i was over being so dam tired “almost falling asleep behind the wheel’ feeling of brain deadness and no motorvation.I work full time and have 3 kids so i just cant be tired!! My doc told me i would not feel any difference going form 100 to 50..well guess what moron you ar F@../ing wrong on that one! i have had to take days off work, driving is scary, the dreams are exhausting, vomiting every morning, shakes and the feeling of being in an elevator that is stuck between floors jumping up and down is just about to do my head in! oh and dont get me started on the brain zaps! this morning i put petoral in my car and was so numb and confused drove off before i realised i hadnt paid yet! not a good look..haha! I was originaly put on this poisen after i had a traumatic birth i went into a constant state of panic, ended up at a mother and baby unit where they fed me lorazapm? not sure the spelling sorry, and Pristic. well i was soo drugged from the loraz i couldnt tell if the Pristiq was even working and then to scared to go off it incase i went “mental” again. Panic disorder, thats what they tell me i have..well arnt there better meds than this arsnic they have fed me for anxiety? on 100mg i still had a resting pulse of 90 so its hiding the symptoms and not he cause? I am going to get a cattle prod and introduce my docter to a ‘brain zap’ Can someone please tell me this wont last forever?..wholly crap i will still need to get off the 50 eventually…i think id rather a hole in the head!!

    • Hang in there. I stopped taking the Pristiq after being on it for 2 1/2 weeks. This is day 2. I am feeling NO side effects. Nor did I feel the side effects that were listed by others when beginning to take the med either. HOWEVER, I still take the evil little drug Tramadol, and I KNOW that the two drugs are similar because I looked up the ingredients. SO with that being said, I really relate to your struggle of “weening” off the Pristiq. OMG, coming down from 8 to 2 tabs of Tramadol a day was… like… no words come to me to describe it. Hell, is not accurate enough. I had cold sweats, nightmares, brain zaps, moodiness, irritability, pain in my joints, and restless leg syndrome to name a few. Try taking (OTC find in the pharmacy herbs section) zinc (forgot the use, but does work) , folic acid (boost energy) , and melatonin (helps to induce sleep) to help with the withdrawals. Sounds like you don’t need the melatonin just yet though, but when the insomnia sets in… and it will… try two melatonin’s before you go to bed. Also try valarin root. (helps with anxiety, but smells horrible.) take plenty of warm baths, or as many as you can, wrap your legs with ace bandages if you have restless leg issues, take OTC analgesics such as Tylenol, Motrin, Aleeve, etc., for headaches. Hope you have family or some other support system, because unfortunately this can take up to 4 weeks to get accustomed to the withdrawals. (Depends on the person, and how long on drug.)

      Oh, and tell your doctor, to f*ck off.

        • It’s taken me 2 years to get the courage to withdraw from Pristiq, I have read so many horror stories I was scared. I know about severe withdrawals having come of Effexor a few years ago. I’ve been on Pristiq for 3 years and decided I wanted to experience life on my own terms. so I am tapering. I Took 1 less for 2weeks, 2 less for 2 weeks then rang my psychiatrist for ideas to taper of completely. She said one every 2nd day for 3 weeks then one every fourth day for 3 weeks. Every second day has been pretty mild withdrawal effects. Monday will be every 3rd day for 3 weeks. I have high hopes I’ll be ok and get through this, I know that would take a miracle. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I have epilepsy so am scared of seizures during withdrawals. Supplements I am taking are co-q10 and vitD. I’m staying positive..

          • Hi Cherie,
            You seem to have a handle on things and I feel for you because pristiq was an evil drug for me and coming off it was a nightmare. Literally.
            I stayed at my mind for the week and tappered down quickly which was horrible. Vomiting, cramps, night terror, insomnia, brain zaps and dizzy etc. BUT a few weeks after that with supplements and excercise and loads of self care, I felt normal and better than ever. If you’d like to chat … x

  13. i can relate to the withdrawals luckily only been on pristiq 100s for 4 months have cut back to 50s this last week brain zaps and nausea. the interesting thing about the drug is that it works but robs you of motivation and makes you sleep too much sure nothing much bothers you but a robot is what it makes of you and doctors and the like are so quick to point out that using street drugs is an escape from reality but are keen to prescribe these drugs that take away our individuality. if certain people werent making enormous profits from these drugs i suspect they wouldnt prescribe them so freely. good luck and remember doctors dont have much of a clue when it comes to prescribing drugs they certainly dont try these ones themselves, if they did they would have an idea what they are playing with.

    • HELP!!! I’ve been trying to get off pristiq since February! Can’t skip a day, med won’t let you! Have tried cutting the pill into 4 portions but would have to top myself up 3-4hrly. Have dealt with major function problems, brain zaps, driving is soo much fun as is grocery shopping and the list continues… I finally relented and went back to my dose of 50mg a day because it was too hard and interferd with my family life day to day.
      Btw I have spoken to THREE doctors and a pharmasist-waste of time!
      Can someone tell me HOW TO GET THE HELL OFF THIS EVIL DRUG…please?

      • Look into Prozac bridging. Most ppl have success with it. I’ve been on pristiq for three years after Effexor and plan to do the switch soon. I will stay on prozac for anxiety but it WILL help the withdrawals. Good luck. Xo

      • Oh my I been using this nasty drug for about 2 years. Recently I decided I was going to stop taking this poison,,oh what fun (NOT) I started going down to every other day.Now I’m down to one every 4 days. The withdrawals SUCK!! Brain zap,dizziness,disoriented,chest pain,LOW BLOOD PRESSURE and so much more.The low blood pressure and brain zaps are the worst. If I can get past the low BP I think I will be ok. Has anyone else experienced low BP while coming off this poison

        • Lynn yes – had trouble driving for a week or 2 after coming off while brain zaps and lightheadedness were the worst – already have naturally low BP so the drop was quite bad – itll settle down for you with time

  14. hie there i I am damn angry with my shrink for giving me this stupid drug. I am trying really hard to get off it. but everyone around me keep saying that i faking it ( the side effects ). The tremors are very bad! My migraine is getting worst. I would suddenly end up at places and have no idea how i got there! My husband ( ex husband now ) left me because he just could not take it anymore ( me being a freak! )

  15. I was prescribed pristiq only 3 and a half weeks ago using only 50 mg a day. After the 4th week I stopped half way thru, due to being fed up with the blurry vision, dry mouth and blood pressure readings of 50/100 not to mention the pain in my left side, felt like my kidney shutting down. And the aggression in the first week? when i was angry. Well let me tell you 3 1/2 weeks or 3 years i feel Nausea, sore muscles, head aches aswell. Stay away from it period. Exercise for depression and vitamins for health. I will never let a doc talk me into depression tablets again i will hang myself instead. its a Bad Drug just like them all (FIX ONE THING< FUCKKK SOMETHING ELSE) STAY AWAY

  16. I was given Pristiq in April for depression. I had my doubts about the drug, but I was in desperate shape. I was also given Lamotrigine as a mood stabilizer….a small dose. I was having a bad time with side effects: jaw clenching, headaches, stiff neck, ringing ears and blurry vision. I decided to go off the pills. My doctor said to take one every other day, which I did for 2 weeks…then just stopped. I expected horrible withdrawals….it’s been a week, and I must say, I must be one of the lucky ones…withdrawals have been pretty mild, compared to when I went off Paxil (God forbid). My ears are still ringing, and my jaw is still cracking, but I am getting a bit better each day. I did have terrible nausea and vomiting, but that has stopped. I am wondering if it could be that I was on 25mg of Lamotrigine…maybe that spared me. I also take Vitamin B, D, Fish oil and Flax seed. The sad part is that the doctor told me that he wasn’t aware of any bad side effects from going on or coming off of this drug. I wonder what kind of kick backs these doctors receive? How could he look me in the eye and tell me that? Does he do no research? You gotta love Wyeth, not making smaller doses of this vile medication. I hate them.

    • Why doesn’t someone get a petition going to get Wyeth to make a 25mg and a 10mg pill? There must
      Be thousands of people going through this
      Unhumane withdrawal! Myself included!

    • Follow-up to this post…..the withdrawal came…it came to me big time. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO SICK IN MY LIFE. This is truly an evil drug. It is October, and I believe I STILL have some residue from this “medication”.

  17. Hmmmm, I have been on Effexor XR 300mg for a few years I guess, and was recently told I had to see a psychiuatrist rather than a counsellor or psychologist (much more successful for me). Dr has just suggested 100mg Pristiq rather than what I take now – same drug type but apparently better..? I’m not swapping without more information but I’ll assume the withdrawals are the same. 24 hours and my eyes feel funny, my face a bit tingly. Sometimes I have found this kind of like being stoned. 48 hours and I don’t really have the perceptual skills to drive safely. 72 hours and I called a suicide hotline. People ask if I’m better than I was before taking them. I dunno, I suppose so. You don’t take SNRIs and feel a rush. But miss a dose and ah, you’ll feel something! Hope you’re travelling well now x

  18. I am a nurse and happen to be taking myself off pristiq right now. I feel your pain because its been horrible, but to be honest if a patient had said it was this bad I would have never imagined it could be. Luckily, I never put a patient in this position cuz I would feel terrible if I had. I think there is a lack of education to nurses as to the withdrawal symptoms a person has comin off this drug.

    • I have been on Paxil..a definte nightmare. But FYI, Pristiq is no better. I finally got off of that horrible med. It took me 6 weeks to finally be…ok…just ok…the vomiting and dizziness were horrendous. I read about it, but never realized it would be so bad. Pristiq should be taken off the market…period!

  19. I just skipped one pill, ran out and forgot to go by and pick it up. This was the second time that I skipped a pill and then threw up. I just made the connection. And am thankful for this forum. I do however like being on pristiq. it keeps me from getting so angry. I gained a lot of weight on a diff med.

  20. Thank goodness I am not alone!! I ran out 3 days ago, and have had no time to pick up my prescription. I finally had my boyfriend get it for me last night. It was awful. The past 2 days I’ve cried over nothing. I thought maybe it was PMS, but, I never cry, so it didn’t make sense to me. I have been so hot and sweaty which makes me feel just sick. My 2 year old has had a 102 fever and hasn’t let me put her down, so it made me feel even hotter! The dizziness… Oh the dizziness…. Felt like I just took 15 shots of liquor in a row and spun around to pin the tail on the donkey. the first time I missed my dose for two days, I seriously thought something was wrong with me… I take it for anxiety and stress… And even though I never noticed a difference getting on it… I sure notice the difference in mood, patience, emotions etc… when I am off of it.

    • I am finally, finally rid of this horrible medication. I can tell you that the withdrawals from this medication are very fierce. I have never been so sick in my life and it lasted a long time. I am happily on Lexipro now…it works like a champ with no bad side effects that I can see. Pristiq is a dog.

      • May i ask how long did it take? I am totally incapacitated & wondering if the body aches (down to my bones), relentless severe pounding headaches, chills untill shaking then waking up in a fever then waking up drenched having to change clothes in the middle of the night or day only for this cycle to start over, upper abdomen pain will ever stop! It’s been 5 days now…..

        • Hello Suarezohana, well I am sure everyone is different. For me, however, it took a while. I would say six weeks. My worst symptom was my stomach…I went to the health food store and was recommended to by a medicinal honey, please forgive me, I don’t remember the name. It was very expensive, like $24 for a small container. I am thinking that if you go to a heath food store you will be able to fine it in their pharmacy. Just know that it will end. The pain was the worst i have ever experienced and I thought i was dying. Never, ever again!! I took this honey, along with probiotics. It helped a lot. I took hot baths with epson salts for the pain. I took vitamins and ate a bland diet. I tried alternating my dosage to get off…it did not work. I finally just went cold turkey….I wanted to kill those people for not making a smaller dose other than 50…I think it is a ploy to keep you on that poison. I started to take Lexapro and things eventually got better. I am sorry to say, i do not think there is any way around this…it is like walking through the fire. Know though…you will recover. The makers of this “medication” should be shot. Write me anytime.

        • My symptoms exactly… Off pristiq 5 days now….stomach is hurting, nausea,vomiting, hot cold sweaty not able to focus had to miss work. Stopped cold cuz I knew my new pdoc would change my meds but never knew this would happen. He said just ride it out or go to ER.

  21. I have been off Pristiq for 4 or 5 days now. I have to say in all honesty that I have never felt it has done much for me. I have been on it twice, going on it at points in my life where I thought that I was unable to cope without something to help me. It did give me the push I needed to get out of the house though. The first time on it I had the sweats really bad and I was very very tired (which I attributed to depression). The first time I got off them I didn’t have that much drama so I am hopeful of the same for this time round. The second time on it I realised that it was the drugs making me so tired. I have also been concerned about pressure in the eyes as I am very glare sensitive and sometimes my eyes just feel like they want to burst. I went to my GP who suggested I up my dose as the different dosages affect people differently. I can’t see how taking more, of a drug that makes me feel tired is going to miraculously give me energy. Even the thought of increasing my dose made me anxious! Then again my GP did not encourage much faith in him by not knowing that this drug should not be split (he was going to prescribe the larger dose and if it didn’t work have me cut it in half… Good one!) I was initially prescribed the medication for anxiety but it really hasn’t helped much with panic symptoms. I have periods of depression which my psychologist thinks are a byproduct of the anxiety. I have also this time around, noticed an elevation in my blood pressure and bad cholesterol which for someone with obesity is not a good thing. Part of my anxiety includes agoraphobia and the constant tiredness encourages me to stay home or only venture out when absolutely necessary so it is something that really needs to stop. Right now, off the Pristiq,I feel a bit spacey, get some off and on ringing in the ears, a little vertigo (although I do have a sinus infection too) and a bit headachey. Am still feeling really tired. I having been doing the same stuff as normal and have felt a little more anxiety but as that comes in cycles I accept that and also understand that now I know I am operating without the drug as a safety net I have to re-trust that I can do things on my own. I have increased the amount of omega 3, magnesium and vitamin d I am on and I am also going to try to remove sugar in my diet as there is a massive correlation to instability of blood sugar and anxiety and depression… And I guess it is surely worth a shot!?
    Good luck for everyone’s journeys. I wish you good healthM

  22. believe it or not paxil is worse. I tried to get off paxil when my doctor told me I had to because my liver enzymes were up do to a spider bite and the antibiotics I took. Comin on Paxil was literal hell. I couldnt take it so my doctor putme on pristiq. its day four of withdrawing cold turkey, brain zaps, nausea, nightmares, insomnia, and the worst headache ever oh and hot flashes, but this is still better than paxil withdrawal, which should be a crime to prescribe

  23. I’m so glad I read your story because I missed one day of pristiq after bring on it for a year and I’m so sick!! Dizzy, nausea , ughh feel like death 😦 the doctors don’t seem to care ! Thanks

  24. I’m on day 2 of withdrawing from pristiq and I am finding it hard to type this. Cannot function normally because of symptoms such as dizziness, foggy-head, trouble focusing, brain jolts, bad memory ~ all the ‘fun’ stuff 😦
    It is good to read others stories though and have the reassurance that I’m not alone.
    I’d tried to forget how bad it could all be, I withdrew from efexor a few years ago and it was bad. I kept a rambling kind of journal to document my feelings back then ~ now unfortunately, it’s just the same.
    I really want to be free of anti-depressants and find out what I’m like and how I can cope with depression in other ways than these horrible tablets that are SO hard to get off.
    I AM looking forward to feeling motivated, energetic and INTERESTED in life again.
    I hope it doesn’t take too long.

  25. Beth, I thought this would nightmare would never end…but for me it took a
    time…months. But symtoms dissapeared little by little and it was
    tolerable. I had terrible nausea and vomiting, with a lot of dizziness.
    That in itself upset my whole digestive system. Also, I had a lot of
    tension in my upper back and neck…that took the longest to get rid of. I
    am taking Lexipro, which is wonderful with no side effects, except weight
    gain…I can manage it. So just to give you courage and hope…this will
    eventually get better.

    • Marie, thanks for your reply. Day 4 now and I’m not feeling as bad.
      Maybe it’s because I have a cold (Yuk in Australian summer) and that is taking the focus off the mental stuff.
      I am taking Seroquel which I just started during the withdrawal process, and it helps regulate the ups and downs and symptoms I think.
      The family went off to the beach today…not up to that yet, but ok with being on my own to potter round slowly.
      Thankyou to Behind the Facade which lead me to this blog 🙂

      • Dear Beth: thanks for writing. You will get through this, I promise.
        I just think that I had a particularly hard time getting off this drug. Sometimes I thought the horrible side effects would never end,
        but they did. Try to relax and take care of yourself as best you can.
        Take plenty of vitamins, rest and eat healthy. Please keep posting and let us
        know how you are doing. Yes, this message board was a God send. Without it,
        I would have felt like I was going mad.

  26. I’ve been on Effexor, now on Pristiq, which is the active metabolite of Effexor. Very few medical “experts” understand or seem to care about the effects of withdrawal from these drugs on most patients. …to the extent that some medical people refer to use of Pristiq-like drugs as “addiction.” Sons o’ bitches. None of the sites or sources I’ve accessed even mention the worst withdrawal symptom, which is “neurasthenia”, in which you experience the sensation of intense electric shocks around your nervous system when you make sudden movements of your eyes, head etc. Bastards.

  27. And, I even had the misfortune of running out of Effexor on a weekend, when I could’t see my GP. Some attending doc at the walk-in clinic I’ve used for years refused to give me a scrip because “I don’t prescribe addictive drugs.” That’s only one of the experiences I’ve had with self-righteous holier-than-thou world-savers. These people need to walk a mile in the shoes of those they abuse like this.

  28. Today is day 5 for me because I have to jump through the hopes of the County Clinic to get my meds. I have been hypomanic for most of the time, and just started having brain “floaties”. Even though I am enrolled in the prescription plan with Pfizer, they refused to call in my refill for me because it is time for me to update my “treatment plan,” which I can’t do until my appt. in 2 weeks.

  29. I here everyone talking about the withdraws but what I would like to know why are we getting off of it
    I have been on it for 2 years and it has ruined my life
    I am on day 4 off of it

  30. I was on prisiq for only ten days .went off it cold turkey as it was horrible .I am on day 6 now and everyday I get a new symptom — all that has been described on this blog .I am 64 yrs old and nervous of what long term damage I have done .Can someone tell me when it all goes away. No one seems to give the long term answer. Don’t tell me to go back to my useless doctor!!

  31. Dear Jules, I think everyone is different as far as the length of time of withdrawal symptoms. My useless doctor told me that there were no withdrawal side effects, so I understand you. Also, I think the length of time you are on them plays a role. Ten days isn’t very long, so hopefully your experience will be short. I was on them for about 4 months….my withdrawal was long and hard. By long I mean it took months to be completely free. Hang in there, it can be done. I am on Lexipro now and very happy with the result. Pristiq was horrible for me.

    • Hi my name is John and I am 54 years old. I was on Pristiq 100mg for 2 years , 12 days ago I went cold turkey . And I am doing great becoming more alive and focused everyday. I feel my live coming back everyday. But I have a secret weapon that no one has mentioned. So if you want to hear more just ask me .

      • Johnny, I am on day 2 withdrawal from pristiq 50mg for about 1.5yrs. I’m just kinda feeling like im waiting for something terrible to happen. If you have any advice that will help me get through this sunami that I feel is coming, please email me. Thanks so much,

      • How in the world do u get off this drug without drug withdrawals. These migraines are hell. Trying to switch from Pristiq to Prozac,but I think I’m gonna switch to Wellbutrin because it helps with obesity. So frustrated!

  32. How is everyone now.I am on day 7. Today it seems worse.I have terrible headache,dizzy,feel bloated when I eat and nauseated ,when I go to speak I can’t remember what I was talking about and my eye sight is getting worse. When will it all end!!!

    • Hi JohnnyB,

      You have it right. GRACE is the ONLY reason I am even able to attempt going through discontinuation syndrome. The withdrawal symptoms are BRUTAL – especially the neurasthenia (shocks when moving eyes or head quickly – aka ‘brain zaps’ or ‘ch ch’ sound).

      I am able to keep the irritability and hopeless to a minimum because I listen to modern spiritual music and read spiritual stories that fill me with joy and continually remind me to react with love to all, including myself when I do snap at someone.

      Having said that, I also know that I don’t want to slide back, so as of yesterday, I am taking 10000ui vitamin D, 2400mg malic acid, magnesium, 3000-6000mg Omega 3, Natrum Sulfuric (for dizziness) and a homeopath remedy for nausea.

      I know tomorrow will be better.

      Thank you for your post, you inspire me!


    • Hi Dawn its John and I am in Day 21. I will try to be around tonight to chat. I feel great. I live in NJ so you know my time zone. sometime after 8pm. I would love to share to everyone how to beat this to all of you.

  33. Dawn, know that it will end. I was very sick coming off this…and it took a while for all the symptoms to go away. I tried another antidepressant – Lexipro and it is wonderful for me. You must try to find a medication that works for you.

  34. Hi, am currently coming of Prestiq after 3 years. It is now 2.7 weeks. First week was ok but bad dreams. Continuing to have terrible dreams and insomnia. Only sleep about 1.5 hours at a time and awaken with bad dreams. Have to get up to feel better. These bad dreams have not subsided and am now feeling shaky. Not sure what to do. Don’t want to continue on antidepressants, for which I have bee on for about 7 years. Don’t know how I can handle the bad dreams and insomnia though. I think I can work through the insomnia but not the dreams. Any suggestions ?

  35. yes sleep was always an issue. The only thing that help me was taking a sleep aid called temazepam 30mg. The dreams are a dif story I am not a shrink and without getting into your head, why are you on them to begin with,

    • It’s a long story. Been seeing psychiatrist for about 4 years and now seeing psychologist who is helping. Lots of issues including addict son, family deaths, physical health etc.etc. Unfortunately been extremely strong person most of life and it all just caught up. Have been on temazepan each night for about 12 months. Helps but not since I have come off antidepressnats. I think if I can get through these dreams will be ok. Do you know how long they last? Don’t really have much respect for medical profession but at the time it seemed ok to go on antidepressants. Should have known better as had experience with my mother’s downfall on medication. Nevertheless, have taken the path to get off them so just have to cope. Don’t like the dreams or feelings at the moment. Nearly took one today but have resisted. Thanks for the reply.

  36. Dear Teek: It took me months to rid myself of some of the side effects…but they do stop….eventually. Once the nausea is over, try to eat well and take lots of vitamins, especially in the B family and Fish Oil. Try to go to sleep at the same time every night. I had horrible insomnia…but now I sleep like a champ. I even rid myself of anti-anxiety drugs…I used this for sleep. It took a while, but now I am home free. If you need an antidepressant, try a different one. Don’t suffer. I am on Lexipro now and very happy with it. Good luck.

  37. Now 16 days free– I thought I was getting over most of the symptoms but today I had a headache and took a pain killer and wham right back to the nausea ,brain saps and dizziness.
    Has anyone else had this experience?

    • Yes! Except For a couple of days in February on half a pill I am doing cold turkey. I was feeling really good and then it started again brain zaps things, I vomited the last two days. One day I woke up a felt so good I couldn’t believe it . Then started bad Nausea. I hope I’m wrong but I feel at this rate it’s going to take a solid year to get it out of my system. I feel I should be pounding down water to try to flush it out but when the nausea sipping a little ginger ale helps some. not diet!
      I think it’s malpractice for the dr not to warn you of side effects before taking prestique.
      They should let you know what you are getting into.

      I went through a bad time about a year ago and had to get on something. I guess it helped some bu decided to go off the more I read about it and the withdrawal. This is crazy and no one can possibly understand how you feel. Like really, how can someone understand brain zaps. It’s more like how it would feel after someone shook your brain
      Up. And btw, pristique is one of the only antidepressant that does not. Um…excrete? I can’t think of the right word, but doesn’t digest through your liver which I thought was a good thing. Well I need to sip on some ginger ale or vomit, and this has been over a month. Any comments or anyone taking something like Dramamine ?
      Good luck to everyone.

  38. Yes Jules I have. Like I said before, for some people (me included) it takes a very long time. I was so scared I thought I had stomach cancer. Here is what I did and I hope it helps: I went on a bland diet. I took probiotics; I went to the healthfood store and bought Meluca Honey (and only this type of honey) and took a teaspoon daily. I also took Zantac. Eventually (I mean 6 weeks) it went away. Do not be discouraged or scared…it will end. Oh, my “doctors” looked at me like I was crazy when I complained of these symptoms, so don’t expect any understanding from them…at least this was my experience.

  39. Now 23 days off Pristiq. Dreams have lessened and with help of twpTamezapan at night have been sleeping better. Noticed need to take vitamins to build energy otherwise very tired. Emotions are bit better controlled. Hope continues to get better. Have many other issues to get organised so need the mind to work properly. thanks to Johnny B – appreciate the interest. Helped.

  40. was on Prestiq for a little over a year. started with 50mg then went to 100mg. quit cold turkey 8 days ago. Brain zaps, feel like im wigging out while talking to people. Dreams are f##king crazy! can’t sleep. stomach upset. they are clueless to these withdrawals. started taking med because of social anxiety/depression. withdrawals starting to ease but come and go. went to my doctor a few weeks ago. told them I didn’t feel the meds were working, either wanted to try something else or quit taking them. was told not a good idea due to the time of year(holidays). suggested I wait til march or so then re-evaluate. also told me my blood pressure was hi and needed to monitor closely and might have to go on bp medicine. checked my blood pressure the last few days, its in the normal range. have never had high bp. High bp is a side effect of this med. I feel so foolish for believing everything doc says. such a strong drug with terrible withdrawals. docs should be more informed and ensure patients are more informed before prescribing this med. looking forward to next visit, blood work in a few weeks. gonna give them an earful. hopefully they will give more thought to side effects/withdrawals before prescribing this med.

      • Johnny, not only was this drug a bear to come off of, it also gave me problems when on it. As an example: I had a loud and annoying ringing in my ears that was constant; I started to develop high blood pressure (never had it before and it is gone now); I was very off balance; I developed a tense back and neck (that took 2 months to get over); My jaw locked and constantly clicked when yawning or eating (gone now). This drug, for me, was horrible. I have chronic depression. I am on Lexapro now and doing dandy.

      • I was on Pristiq for several years for depression. 100mg for a while, then down to 50mg because I have bipolar lll (antidepressant induced mania/mood swings.) I have decided to reduce or eliminate some of the medications I am taking. I may want to have one more child and there is no way I will expose a baby to Pristiq, adderal, lamictal and abilify while in the womb.

        • More background: I am 33 and have been on and off 10 or so antidepressants since I was 15. Pristiq has had the worst side effects out of them all! I have not had the brain zaps, but I had those with Effexor withdrawal. I do have the headaches

          • sorry on my phone and it keeps messing up. I have headaches, sore joints and neck/ back, nausea, short fuse, hopeless feeling, insomnia, detailed dreams, burning stomach, low energy, poor focus

  41. I also have some questions of advice from GPs. Too keen to put you on medication and not responsible enough to wean off. I was told that after being on antidepressants for so long it would likely I would not be able to come off them. It’s now 24 days. Dreams still there but not nearly as terrifying. Emotions are at the forefront but still prefer to handle them than go through this again. The hardest thing is not resorting to them to deal with problems on the homefront. However, still worth it. I think the medical profession is largely accountable to pharmaceutical companies. Same goes with giving up smoking. That is my next hurdle. Unfortunately the ciggies have become a crutch but after the withdrawal from prestiq I hope to tackle that one. At the moment though am feeling quite tired all the time but hopefully that too will pass.

    • Hi, I have been quit from smoking for a year, thanks to Chantix. Don’t be afraid of Chantix side effects. I felt great on Chantix because it works like an antidepressant kind of like wellbutrin/zyban. Anyway, just wanted to let you know what helped me. Also, I only had to take chantix for 30 days and I was quit for good! Pristiq withdrawal is horrible compared to chantix withdrawal. There isn’t much to lose, you should consider Chantix. It also helped my dad quit after 50 years of smoking!

  42. Thank you Marie, your comments ,along with everyone elses is helping me get through this.If it wasn’t for your help I would feel I had something seriously wrong with me. How can 10 pristiq tablets cause so many after problems. I feel sympathy to anyone who has been on them for 3yrs or more — what must they be going through? 18 days now and counting!

  43. Hi, now am 32 days off Pristiq but still having dreams. Not as bad but still there. Am quite emotional at the moment though will have to deal with it (may be other events causing). Any other comments on Champix? Am a 25 a day smoker and have to quit. Ciggies have been a crutch though.

  44. Hi, I’m on day 2 off Pristiq 50mg and feel really bad. I’ve decided to stop “cold turkey” and I’ve been having some symptoms like dizziness, brain zaps and nausea. I’m taking graviola leaf pills, and a natural form of dramamine and think it is helping a bit. Just sharing this in case someone wants to try it. I also order online Malic Acid, Vitamin D3 and hemp seed oil capsulesmsince I’ve done a lot of research and found that some people were using them with success. I’ll post my updates here.

  45. Hi Marie, day 3 was aweful 😦 . Vomitting was the highlight of my day (TMI?). Today, day 4, no vomitting but lots of brain zaps (I didn’t take the graviola pills. Waiting inpatiently for the supplements I ordered online. I’ll keep you guys updated.

    How are you doing Marie?

  46. Natalia, I am doing just great. I got off of Pristiq in July…I vomited and was sick for the first week bad, but then, the after effects lasted a lot longer (5 weeks?)…it seemed like forever, as I developed acute gastritis. The zaps went away, finally, after about 3-4 weeks. The stiffness in my back and neck and jaw took the longest….2 months at least, with the jaw clicking still here, but not as bad. The tinnitus comes and goes, but is not as loud. I did go on another antidepressent in August, I think it was. It has worked beautifully. I love it and I am my old happy self on it. No side effects, except hunger. Well, given the choice of suicide or being chunky, I will be chunky. I do not have situational depression, I have depression all the time…from when I was a young girl (runs in the family)…so not being on anti_d’s is not an option for me. You can get throught this, and you will. Just realize it is the pill…nothing else. Take care dear and write when you want. I am around.

  47. Wow! This happened to me & I really didn’t know the nausea was related. I also by day 3 (yes!) I was a crying, pissed off at everything hot mess! Thanks for sharing!

  48. Hey everyone…iive been coning off pristinq …oh like 2 weeks noow..from 300mg and dropping 50mg every 3rd day to nill for 3 days now,,,and i feel like i have serious brain damage…so soory for my typing i just cannot function …. feel like my brain has been electrically wired up and and getting electric shocks evry 90 sec…and my face and head jolt evry time plus numbness and pins n needles thru my feels life the non stop constant spinning to the left which my head and eyes follow that motion too..incredible neausousness..on a ride from hell…memory is f88cked..not allowed to drive anymore..would be driving the same route to doctors on a weekly basis and whilst driving would lose complete memory of where the f**ck i am …like an alien has picked me up and dropped me on anothe r planet,,,and no recollection of how or where the f*8ck I am.or got there..i cant even hold a simple conversation cause ill be talking and lose complete memory of what the f**k im talking about and cant think of a single someone disconnected the data in my brain and then it would come back and 10 secs later its gone again..cant hold a simple discussion ..brain zaaaps..constant humming and zappind noise in my ears like a ddzzz dddzz noise…short circuit…really f*8ked up…i cant even stand up with out hitting every wall and or falling over…icredibally tired all the time from i thonk just pure fu**ken exhaustion…try to get up but takes me a good hour to actuallt try and get my self out of bed but brain zapppss just kocks me back down ….and each day i jus t keep getting worse.when i think that i couldnt get any worse than the day bforee..i serio;ud;y think i have brain dameg…………

  49. I have been taking prestiq for 2 months, it’s not helping, and when I went to see dr, he also prescribed wellbutrin to go with it. Been taking that one two weeks, and I find I feel worse. I just want to quit cold turkey, and I can’t get in to see my doctor for at least another week. Since I’ve only been taking it two months, shouldn’t be too bad, right? most of the symptoms you ladies are describing for withdrawls, is my normal symptoms I have with taking it. It’s not helping.

  50. I am on day three and I just looked up this info on the internet and I cannot believe that I ever took this medication to begin with. I thought I had the flu – my husband said its because I stopped the Pristiq but I thought he was nuts. I asked my doctor if it was addictive and he said no – I would like to know what his definition of addictive is – if you take a drug and then stop and have withdrawal symptoms then its OBVIOUSLY ADDICTIVE. I feel like I am in the twilight zone for god sake, But I am determined, Many many years ago I was addicted to a drug much worse (not prescribed) and one day I said enough is enough and I quit. I was never so sick in my life but I got through it somehow, and because of that I never used it again. I am not taking this pill anymore, if it kills me!!!!

  51. Goodbye Pristiq. It is now 13 weeks since I stopped taking this terrible thing. Went through some very rough patches but managed to get through. At one time was given another antidepressant to try, supposedly much milder. Took one but decided I didn’t want any of this type of medication. There had to be other ways to deal with things. Saw a psychologist for approx 10 weeks and that helped a great deal, mainly because I vocalised to someone things that bother me.
    Won’t say I don’t have down times but much better dealing with things than withdrawing from Pristiq. Agree with other comments, the medical profession really don’t know enough about these medications and withdrawal symptoms, or don’t want to know. Should be much more information about withdrawal before prescribing. One GP actually said I would probably have to be on this type of medication for the rest of my life !!! Well, hello no. Am coping without it. Good luck everyone and keep going.

    • I quit pristiq on the 18th of April. Had the brain zaps constantly for the first week, and the crazy dreams (which are ongoing, but somewhat less vivid). There were days when my dreams would influence my whole day. Now I have constant ringing in my ears, which doesn’t seem to abate. I wish I had researched more thoroughly before I began taking this poison . I am wondering if others went through this and if so how long will I have to tolerate this. I don’t feel depressed so much as I feel frustrated. I just want to feel comfortable in my own head again if you know what I mean. My doctor is completely clueless about this medication, which is why i chose to go off cold turkey after extensive reading all the forums online. Someone else mentioned feeling like they damaged their brain, which is how I feel now. On the other hand, I already feel better in that I don’t feel that numbness to life, and I care enough to go through all of this to make a change and move forward. It would just help to know this constant ringing in my ears will stop. Another symptom I am experiencing right now is restlessness and a trigger temper (which is exacerbated by the annoyance of the noise in my head). Any words of hope would help so much, I can tolerate this if I know it will eventually stop!

  52. May 2nd was the last day I took Pristiq. I was sick the next day, and the next day I was sicker, and the next day I felt like I was going to expire, but today May 8th, I got up and I feel pretty good….. not perfect, but much better. Hang in there to anyone who is trying to stop taking this medication. I went ‘cold turkey’ and its over now. Good luck everyone.


  53. Hi everyone… Day 4 here for me… Thank goodness I found this site so I know I am not alone.. Cold turkey here too. Brain Zaps over and over, face jolts, nausea, bowel changes, dishorientation, crying, hot flushes, then cold …. But I am powering on. 100mg for me with a Psych that every time I asks says next month .. so you know what I made my own decision – I’m taking back me.

    I will take the advice and take plenty of Krill Oil and Vitamin B and get some decent exercise and lift my seratonin levels.

    Keep smiling everyone and I sure agree with Lyndsay .. if you didn’t experience you would never understand.

    Good luck eveyrone

  54. I take pristiq. If I miss a day, I get the feeling of nodding off, but without the actual movement of your head dropping forward. I hate that.

  55. Well, I guess I’ll be staying on Pristiq for the remainder of my days here on earth.
    There’s no way in the world I’d be able to handle the missed dose symptoms for longer than one or two days – it already me so crazy and affects my poor family & work 😦

  56. This med has the absolute worst withdrawl symptoms ever!!! if you miss one day, it feels like you missed a week. I was aggitated, sick to my stomach and light headed. I have been on other anti- depressants before and it took 3 or 4 missed days to even come close to this! some thing is very wrong! I am aggitated beyond belief and weepy. I have anxiety issues not depression. They need to take a hard look at this medicine!!!!

    • I agree completely I said all of the exact same things! plus I was always exhausted and gained 30 lbs!!! I changed back to effexor again! It is so much better !! I told my doctor he needs to never recommend it to anyone!

  57. I had been taking Pristiq since last August. Thought it seemed to be ‘helping’ – not quite as tearful and sad and seemed to be ale to function, but then made a planned move and was out of work. No job, no health insurance…no Pristiq. It’s so expensive, I just couldn’t afford it – so forced withdrawal. Yikes!!! Have had overwhelming nausea, profuse sweating, hot/cold flashes, fogginess, brain zaps (I think. Not really sure what they are), ear-ringing, insomnia, and really achy. Achy like I’ve worked out or have had the flu for the last 3 weeks! Has anyone had that? I keep reading the posts, but can’t tell how long this is supposed to last. My Dr. Prescribed Effexor, which U can get at a much lower cost (it’s actually the generic version) but I’ve decided to just quit all of them. I just don’t want to have to go through anything like this again. I started temping about 5 weeks ago, and for the last 3 weeks working has been trying. I’m sure they think I’m an idio because some things just aren’t computing. Having said that, I’m still not going back. I’ll figure out some other coping strategies or something natural – is stuff just doesn’t work for me.

    So, has anyone else had the flu-like symptoms? Wait, going through another sweating spell as I type this. I’m sure people are staring at me thinking, ‘What’s wrong with her?’

    Thoughts? Please!!

  58. Hang in there on the withdrawal. It’s been six months now since off Pristiq. Best thing I ever did. I will never go on antidepressants again. They just put you in limbo. Much more energy now. I respond best to psychology – if you get the right psychologist (took me three goes). Things haven’t changed that caused my depression but after so many years on them, feel much better off. Just have to cope, adapt and find other ways to handle the stress. Good luck to all who are trying to get off this. My sleeping issues are still a minor problem but that’s much better than the effects of pristiq. Still have some days when I can’t cope but it passes. Talking is good.

    • Its been a long road for us since January …..see we should stayed in touch cause I couldn’t be happier it might of rubbed off on you ….lol

      • So glad to see you happier. Can’t say it’s rubbed off though. Happy is a long way from where I am, and frankly (at 68yrs) can’t see that changing. Just trying to cope for the days to come. Son and girlfriend live with me and with an ice addict that’s not easy. No needles but life is often on the edge. Still feel better though than when on Pristiq. It’s just a matter of not sinking. Have a gorgeous 2yr old Balinese cat that manages to keep me sane. Hope your life continues to be good.

        • What does your age have anything to do with it ….I’m an old man too …..I want to chat with you outside this site ….is it possible ????? Please answer me ….:)

          • Yes but I don’t know where or how to do that. Have some chat things on FB and am on Google chat but haven’t used.

          • Hi Johnny, hope all well with you and yours. Not sure what you mean by outside of this site. I live in Australia not sure where people on this site are from. Have email, mobile etc.

  59. I’m day 3. And not sure I’m going to live. I feel bad for my 7 year old. I’m not sure I can drive her to and from school. Or, do homework. I’m sick, tired, and scared

  60. I had been taking pristine for over 4 years and felt great while on it but decided the reason for going on it had passed and time to take control of my life. I have felt so bad I considered starting taking it again. My brain felt like mush, I am so irritable but have to still function in my job. THe sweats and then coldness are the worst. I havent felt sick but feel like the withdrawal symptoms are making me crazy. I discussed with my husband about going back on the drug if I dont feel better as I have to function. The GP who intially prescibed the drug has retired and I am seeing a nice young dr who suggested I stop taking it and while I wanted to , I wish he had prepared me for this dreadful time. To make matters worse for me I am 55 and had not expreienced any symptoms of menopause but from around day 5 of stopping (after reducing does for 2 weeks) I have a mushy brain and the worse hot flushes and then I am freeziing cold – I dont know if it is coming off pristiq or menopause. I am going back to my GP to ask a few questions. Whatever it is it is the pits

  61. I just recently started Pristiq, last week in fact. I’ve been on it for 5 days. I am reading these posts here on this sight and I am beginning to have second thoughts.

    • At the time I was started on Pristiq I was desperate for anything to help me. It took about 2-3 weeks for it to become effective. I’ve been on Pristiq for over a year now, and I think it has literally saved my life and my family. I am certainly nowhere near ready to wean – I guess I will cross that bridge once I come to it (if ever).

    • It helped me after dealing with the depression of the death of my son. I’m ready to go off now. I would just say that there are plenty of antidepressants out there and if I had to do over, I’d go with one of the long standing AD vs. Pristiq even though it did work.

  62. So glad I found this site – thank you ellahoward for your post that offers a NATURAL solution for this ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL withdrawal process. I have been taking 100mg of Pristiq and 5000ui Vitamin D a day (my osteopath advised it helps with depression). Today, I took 10,000ui, along with 2400mg Malic Acid and 3000mg Omega 3 and it has helped a bit with the brain zaps. I also took Natrum Sulfuric for the dizziness. I REALLY, REALLY hope tomorrow is better. I have most of the same symptoms as everyone else (dizziness, nausea, weak, achy muscles, headaches, sleeping 12+ hours, blurry vision, CRAZY dreams, shaky, hot then cold, brain zaps – my speech is not slowed or slurred and I have not vomited – very fortunate).

    I didn’t realize until yesterday, when reading this site, that forgetting to take Pristiq was causing my symptoms. I’m not surprised I didn’t make the connection because last weekend I fell and hit my head and thought I gave myself another concussion (depression is a symptom of concussion). I have had post concussion syndrome (PCS) for over 2 1/2 years and the SYMPTOMS OF PCS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME AS PRISTIQ WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS. When I realized what was happening yesterday, I made a decision to stop taking this drug and manage my depression with exercise and naturopathic drugs.

    The meds (Cetalopram prior to Pristiq) served me well for the time I needed them (they helped me to no longer want to be dead). But I also know I would not be well enough to even consider attempting this if it were not for being led back to GRACE in September. Johnny Bianco has it right (posted January 23, 2013 – 11:45pm, above). Please know that GRACE IS THE ONLY THING that is helping me though this by keeping the hopelessness and irritability to a minimum, and by providing me many happy and fulfilled moments when I listen to modern spiritual music or read spiritual material.

    Now that I have found GRACE, I can cope through the BRUTAL withdrawal, and become happy, joyous, and free, like I was before the concussion 2 1/2 years ago.

  63. I had a few bad things happen in my life at the same time 6 months ago. Major Surgery, loss of high paying job, went on Pristiq, had bad side effects for almost 3 weeks,walked around like a zombie. I realized it ws not worth it and I could only operate at around 50% efficiency and lacked all my quick wit and peak performance tools to produce high level decisions and results. Had to take sleeping pills everynight I was on it to fall asleep. I weeded off Pristiq a month ago by taking 1/2 doses each week until a week ago. Still dizzy and problem with ears and hearing properly. I wish I never went on Pristiq. I feel like I was asleep the last 6 months and can’t remember much of anything as each day was just like the day before.

  64. Hate Pristiq. I QUIT cold Turkey. Today is the third day. I took a week off from work to get my self out of this medicine after taking for 2 years 100mg a day.I cannot function because of this stupid medicine. HATE the brain zaps, Feeling like I want to hit my head to the wall. I am going to punch the psch and knock him out and feed the medicine to his mouth so he can feel the next day how it feels like when pristiq withdraws from his body.

    • It has been 7 days since I am off pristiq now. Again, cold turkey. I do not feel terrible like the first 3-4 days but I still feel light headed in the morning and in the evenings heavily. I HATE this medicine. This is not medicine but rather poison to our bodies. Another scam in the market by the drug companies. I will beat this and I feel like I am happier now. But since I have had terrible headaches because of the withdraw, I was a little irritated to any noise around me. I am almost free..

  65. I am day three and experiencing all symptoms. How can you decrease slowly without playing ping pong with your brain by taking 50mg every second day? Is going cold turkey the answer?

    • My doctor said take 6 of 7 pills for at least two weeks. So I started with skipping Sunday. See how I do – extend this two week period of 6 of 7 pills if I feel like I need to. Then next two weeks, take 5 of 7 (skip let’s say Sunday and Thursday). You keep doing this in two week or more increments until you are off. So, with that said, it could be a 3-5 month process. She said not to go cold turkey whatever you did as it was horrible and to reduce slowly.

      • I ended up taking two weeks off of work and went cold turkey. Emotional ping pong taking them every second day just didn’t work for me.
        Brain zaps and nausea were hell.

  66. I’ve tapered off, was only on pristiq for about 3 weeks. Worked great for about 3 days!
    Can anyone tell me when I can expect to get my libido back?
    I’ve been clean of the drug completely for about a week now.
    Losing my libido is more depressing than the original depression.
    Doctor didn’t tell me anything about this. She also said it wouldn’t cause weight gain.

    This really is urgent – I seldom get the chance to let my libido loose so can I expect it back in the next couple of days or are my days of sexy nymphism over because of 3 weeks on a drug that the doctors prescribing it know F-all about??

  67. I couldn’t get to pharmacy yesterday night to fill my prescription…. Long story short I missed one dose & today I’m dizzy, SUPER NAUSEATED, vomited once, feel like I have the flu!!! Now I know I’m not alone with this withdrawal situation with pristiq 😥

  68. I’ve come off this, horrible stuff it should be banned. Suppose that’s one reason why it has a black box label in the States. It takes a while to leave until you feel normal again, but it does happen. I know that doesn’t help at the time, but keep going

  69. I’m just starting to go off after 16 months on Pristiq 50mg. I am to deduct one daily pill for at least two weeks (so take 6 of my 7 pills per week). Then, week two, deduct 2 pills out of 7; spread out over the week, for another two weeks, etc. That means it will be about 3.5 to 4 months before I’m completely off. Seems like many of you are going off at a more rapid pace.

  70. Today is the third week since I stopped taking this hellish medicine.
    Still suffering from the withdrawal symptoms but the magnitude of suffering is low now.
    Severe Flu like symptoms , brain zaps , vertigo or dizziness will be strong in the first week so you have to hold on and go through the torment if you really wish to quit this stupid medicine.
    I stopped taking it completely, but I don’t recommend it to people with severe anxiety.

    Remember there is always light at the end of the tunnel , be strong willed and your sorrows will perish.
    My advice is that if your going through a bad phase of life it’s time to change, change your friend circle , talk to people , do things that are amusing to you.
    Never venture into the world of psychological medicines, avoid it.
    Many of emotional problems can be treated with therapy.

  71. Momchop here. Only on Pristiq 16 days at 50mg. Felt horrible with dizziness that was progressively worsening, horrible unreal dreams that were nonstop, vertigo, very stiff shoulders and neck every morning that lead to head. Aches. I dreaded to go to bed each night because I would have to have the dreams, wake up exhausted and stiff and sore. Inpatient Pdoc said to continue until I see my regular Pdoc who is on vacation and I have no appointment for 7 wks. Called my GP who said to stay on until my regular Pdoc is back. Called help line to hospital I was just discharged from and the same thing happened only I was told to calm down and use my “skills!”
    Everyone is passing the buck and not helping me. I am on day 3 off cold turkey and violently ill. Vomiting, diahrra, cannot stand up, electric shock feeling thru my head and scared. Do not understand how to taper if 50 mg is smallest dose. FDA says not to cut in half or to alternate days as that is worse. It should be illegal to prescribe a med and only get a sheet of paper that describes side effects and no mention of horrible issues with discontinuation. I have a life to live and time left is dwindling away. Been on everything including MAOI and 23 shock therapies. Just turned 60 and am wondering why try to bother with the remaining life I may have left as the last 21 yrs have been hell and cost me my job, almost has cost me my kids and husband. Now doc wants us to go to marriage counseling!! Are they kidding? This is such a pharmaceutical scam and bullshit the docs blindly follow. I want to put something on my headstone telling them that THEY killed me.

    • TAPER, TAPER, TAPER. You CAN halve, quarter, eighth this stuff, and it’s the only way to get off it. I did so on doctor’s advice – I’m convinced the advice “can’t be halved” is pure greed – more money, non-beneficence to the patient. The company does not care about you. I wish I could tell everyone on this site – TAPER!! Discontinuation will be easier and you will be off it after a few months.

  72. Hi, I’ve been on antidepressants (ADs as I’ve seen people refer to them) for nearly eight years now, since I had my first and only son. I have always struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teen due to hormonal and other life-situational reasons, but never needed to be on medication until I was diagnosed with Postnatal depression (PND) when my son was eight months old. Luckily by that time he had stopped wanting my breast milk and I was a good candidate for ADs, due to my health and circumstances.
    I went on Zoloft, which had an immediate effect and my mood change was like night and day! From not functioning at all and not bearing the sound of my son’s cries, to being able to go to the shops again and actually be able to enjoy life. For a time and a purpose I needed to take ADs to cope with motherhood and many life-altering changes that happened in a very short space of time. In addition to taking ADs, I also undertook several other methods of rehabilitating, such as group counselling, mood-management courses, individual psychotherapy and psychiatric evaluation. I also took a holistic view which included healthy eating and active lifestyle, getting back into the workforce, finding new hobbies, and thanks be to my God, I had a wonderful group of friends and a loving husband who would prove to be an invaluable support system.
    In the years to follow, I would learn so much about myself, depression, my life, my faith, relearn how to be a loving mother, friend and wife, and of course how my body functions. Now I’m on Pristiq and have been for the last year and a half. The transition came after I noticed my anxiety worsened due to a recent illness, kidney stones. I have always had a fragile immune system, but according to blood tests, I’ve always been in the healthy range. Then I started looking at alternative therapies, i.e. naturopathy. But it was only since my sister, 2 years older than me, began a health and wellness course that I was made aware of the true benefits of natural health. Yes, ADs serve their purpose, but I’m a very strong believer that they are not meant for lifetime treatment. Something must be investigated if you’re still on the same type of meds and your illness is not improving. Treatment is multi-faceted and should never be a bandaid solution. This is temporary, and then even the bandaid must come off and the body heal itself!
    A lot has to be said for treating your body with loving kindness. There is a lot to be had with nourishing your body through food, for food must be our medicine, as with our minds. Our minds must feed us good, nourishing thoughts, visions, plans, dreams, not junk. And we must surround ourselves with loving, kind, understanding and supportive people in our lives. Although it isn’t easy. It’s still a battle. But you can nourish your body, spirit and mind and your world with goodness that will benefit you for life! Now that’s a solution! Yes, you may find depression and/or anxiety is a lifelong management program, but so is a healthy weight, and as life changes we make the necessary adjustments. Learn about what works for you. Discern for yourself along with a trusted psychologist when that time in your life has come where you’ve crossed that bridge between that lowest, dark place of deep depression to a better, lighter place of coping, confidence and skill. Then get off those meds! But make sure you talk about it!
    Like any drug, your body has to go through its own detox, purging of the addictive chemicals. But to go through any detox, first there has to be a plan. Plan, Prepare and commit. Support your body by nourishing your liver, your adrenals and your brain. Invest in quality vitamins, a genuine Naturapath and surround yourself with supportive friends and relatives. Open yourself up to new things. Take time to rest, recoup and treat yourself well. Nurture yourself. This doesn’t mean overindulge or neglect other important things, but tend to your health (physical, spiritual and mental) the way you would for a sick child. Be kind to yourself. Know that this too shall pass. Begin a diary so you can note your transition and it’s very revealing, even encouraging when you read back over everything!
    It’s a journey. Mine on the road back to a drug-free life has just begun. This is day 2 without Pristiq and so far I’ve had headaches and dizziness and irritability. But I’m going to be consistent. I’m going to pray like fervently that God give me his power and strength to pull through, all the while nourishing my body with food medicine, such as magnesium, protein, iron, complex carbs, fresh fruit and veg and lots of fish for omega 3! I’m not just going to detox. I’m going to reboot! But I’m not alone. And that’s the most important part of getting off any AD…
    Wish me well (I don’t need luck ;-).
    Best wishes on your journey,
    Anna ❤

  73. I have been withdrawing off of Pristiq for the past two months. It is nightmarish. Had I known how bad, etc. etc. Doctors really have no idea how horrible this is, even the smallest, slowest taper dose. I wish I could go to a detox for a month.

    • Hey DaisyLC. How are you going? Have you managed to stay off the Pristiq? I’m at day 41 cold turkey withdrawal from 300mg a day. Most symptoms have passed, but I can’t kick the nausea. I’m on Zofron for nausea and it just doesn’t get rid of it. My doctor thinks it’s in my head, but I’m seriously so nauseas I can hardly function! I’d be grateful if you could share with me how you got through or managed it.

  74. You should try and get off Pristiq as soon as possible if your depression is something you can handle. If withdrawls are that bad who knows what it’s doing to your body. No long-term trials. Basically Pfizer co. is fucking you over completely for your money.

  75. Hello everyone. I am on day 7 of withdrawal. I thought things would feel better by now, but they are not. I have terrible back pain that has intensified each day. I tried to talk to my Dad on the phone last night, but my voice was effected and I was stammering and couldn’t get the words out. It was like the shaking I am experiencing in the rest of my body went to my voice. Shivering and then hot flushes are unbearable too. I am having mood swings between depression and rage. My husband hates me at the ,moment and I just don’t think I can go on.

    • After attempting to withdraw from Pristiq several times, I decided to stay on it. I take it at midday, and find that I get an energy boost for the rest of the day (for some reason). I’m used to the side-effects now, and I just accept Pristiq as part of my lifestyle – like taking a daily vitamin. Maybe I’ll be on it for the rest of my life – I don’t know. I just know that the battle of withdrawals was definitely not worth the pain. My ptsd etc. is a lot better most of the time as well, so it actually works for me. Don’t give up. If Pristiq isn’t for you, keep trying and you’ll find some meds or some other way of coping better. Keep trying.

  76. Hey does anybody know how long Pristiq withdrawal lasts for? I’ve been off it cold turkey for 41 days and am still extremely nauseas. Is this normal? Will it end? I’m loosing hope, but refuse to go back on this EVIL DRUG!

  77. Pingback: New Treatments For Depression » Blog Archive Pristiq Dosage Morning Or Night

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  79. This drug is evil and has bad effects on people who don’t really suffer with depression. My husband went from normal and loving into a monster who lied gambled and had no remorse or any feelings at all. He was put on anti depressants 7 years ago from one panic attack. His whole personality changed from then on. Recently after fighting and breaking up so many times he reluctantly agreed to try and get off them. He did try once 2 years ago cold turkey and it was a nightmare. He was like a drug addict. He was abusing me and rummaging through drawers and cupboards to find a script he thought he had. He doesn’t believe he has done any wrong while on this poison but everyone else around him knows he has. Last attempt we tapered down to half a 50mg pill for 2 months. Some withdrawals. When they settled tapered to a quarter for two months. He panicked at this point and went back to a half again. Another 2 weeks on half and then tried a quarter again. His attitude towards me changed dramatically on a quarter of a tablet. Talking to me and saying he loves me and looking at me when I spoke. Had been living with a zombie who had no feelings for me for years. I was amazing to see how much he changed with less poison in his system. On a quarter for a month then half of that for another month. He had headaches and other symptoms like feeling anxious and I think his vision was affected though he wouldn’t say so. Things were looking good for us and we hadn’t gotten on so well in years. I was encouraging and supportive and felt relaxed for the first time in ages. He was off altogether for two weeks and got sick with gastro and went to the doctor. Then suddenly a week after that his old behaviors came back. Attacking me over things he thought I said. Ignoring me like I don’t exist. While he was on a very low dose and off altogether he loved me so much he said he wanted to get me a new ring for our anniversary next year. Told me I was beautiful and how much he loves me. This was how he used to be for the 6 years before he went on them. Now once again I am nothing just someone who has dinner waiting for him to eat while he sits on the couch with the tv on and his laptop playing online poker till he goes to bed. I am ignored till I speak and if he doesn’t like what I have said he will get nasty. He did that for years on the poison but not once off it. I can only guess that while he was at the doctors he asked to go back on the poison. He told me he thought his gastro was from stopping the pills. Please if you are trying to get off this stuff keep going. I know it will be hard but it is mind altering and if you do not suffer with major depression it can have bad affects on your levels of serotonin and dopamine and put them way out of balance. I have done a lot of research and have found this to be true. Good luck to everyone and I hope you can get off and lead a happy normal life.

  80. Hi thanks for sharing. I can see how frustrated you must feel. I really hope your partner can get off this evil drug for good. I’m at day 84 of cold turkey withdrawel, I was on 300mg. It’s been hell, but I’m doing pretty good now. I’m not 100% back to my normal self yet, but getting there, I feel like me again. I understand how hard it is for your partner, this drug is almost impossible to get off, but it can be done, and I won’t sugar coat it, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through! Saying that though no matter how hard it is he needs to get off it! Perhaps rehab might be a thing to check out, although I will say that doctors ect are blind to the fact off how bad pristiq really is. I feel for him and I also feel for you. I put my husband through a living hell, and I’m blessed that he has been there for me every step of the way. He says now I’m off the drug I’m more real and a better person. When I decided to come off pristiq I told my family and closest friends and they have supported me the whole way. It was hard to let them see me like this and they’ve been amazing. I actually thought I was dying at one point and had ct scans, ultra sounds, blood tests and X-rays. The withdrawal discontinuation symptoms were that bad. The main thing that did get me through is my faith in God. I wish you and your partner all the best and I hope he does get free of this evil drug. Email me if you want to talk at xo

  81. Pingback: New Treatments For Depression » Blog Archive Pristiq Tired All The Time

  82. Pingback: New Treatments For Depression » Blog Archive Is Pristiq Or Zoloft Better

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  85. I am now 5 days off of Pristiq with virtually no withdrawal symptoms. I did this by taking a small bite of the pill (I was on 50 MG) every evening for a week and 2 days. One the third day I stopped completely. This method worked. I have read that it is dangerous to cut or bite the pill due to the time-release coating but I assure you, nothing terrible happened to me. The two weeks prior to this I had tried to stop cold turkey and that one one of the worst decisions of my life. The withdrawal symptoms were so bad I had to start taking my full dosage again. Then, I decided to try biting the pill into really tiny bits. This method worked and I am so happy to report that I am Pristiq clean!! It feels wonderful! The only withdrawl symptom I have had are brain zaps that are so minor I barely notice them and those only lasted three days. Try this method, try anythiong else but try to get off this drug. You can do this!

  86. I agree with all of the comments regarding this hideous poison. Too long of a story to share right now but I do believe that I was wrongly prescribed pristiq at a time in my life when I was desperate to get some sleep because of ongoing insomnia due to a marriage breakup and parent with cancer. I needed a cuddle and a rest… Not this Rubbish.
    One week cold turkey off but very forgetful and confused still. Teary and like I have morning sickness all day and night long.
    I feel I’ve been misled and hope to restore my life

  87. Three days cold turkey. Same as everybody else. Brain zaps, dizzy, sweats, insomnia etc. I started Pristiq for some mild anxiety and sleep difficulties. What a mistake, and i should have know better. I was a psychologist myself but trusted my GP and later a Psychiatrist. I believed it when i was told that a counsellor couldn’t effectively be counselled and that medication was the way to go. The effect of Pristiq on me was poor judgement, irritability and anger, even worse sleep than I was trying to treat, dehumanisation and withdrawal from others and life. Of course these symptoms all point to depression and therefore continued Pristiq, of higher dose is necessary. Up to 400mg by one psychiatrist, about 3 years bouncing between 150 and 200mg now. And of course none of these side effects are useful when trying to help others, particularly the dehumanisation and lack of empathy that i have felt for 5 years since starting Pristiq. I have lost my profession (deregistered and unemployed for 4 years now), lost my marriage, lost all but one friend, and have generally mistreated those who have remained around me (family and new partner). Of course I must take responsibility for my own actions, I did and said the things that have cost me so dearly, but I truely haven’t been me, the person who cared enough about people to quit another more highly paid profession to work as a psychologist… the person who dearly wanted to help others. I am deeply ashamed and cannot begin to make amends for the last few years, it is unethical to contact past clients and appologise for my own poor judgement.
    I have tried to quit this medication on a number of occasions as i have felt worse being on it than i have ever felt while off it, but medical advice has been that i am still suffering major depression and must remain on medication….now i know that it is just withdrawing that mimics depression and anxiety even though my GP, and the Psych Board deny any ill effects of Pristiq.

  88. I took Pristiq for 2 weeks then quit cold turkey. I have mild dizziness and nauseous. constantly fatigued and insomnia, but the my main issue is severe headaches. Did anyone have headaches from Pristiq withdrawal?

  89. I’m a recovering METH addict and the withdraws from Pristiq are sometimes worse. I’ve been on it for five years and for the first couple years if I missed a couple doses it was no big deal but now if I don’t take my pill before bed I’m in full withdrawal by the following afternoon and simply taking a pill doesn’t help.
    I’ve never heard of “brain zaps” until today but that describes it perfectly. Also the low blood pressure the feeling like you want to cry at the car commercials. The weird way your ears fell like a broken speaker. But worst of all is the nausea. And it’s JUST nausea. No vomitting. If vomiting helped I’d thank God. Like I said this is worse than any of the illegal drugs I’ve taken. I thought it was just me because of my history that I had screwed up my brain so I’m grateful to know I’m not alone. I’m kinda scared tho because I was hoping to find a fix. I’m not sure what to do next…

    • Hang in there, I know it’s dam hard. Took me 6 months before the nausea went away. 12 months to be fully rid of Pristiq out of my system. Unfortunately for me my depression wouldn’t go and I tried other treatments and nothing worked, I was suicidal, so I reluctantly returned to taking Pristiq. I take 300 mg a day and my depression is in remission. I’ve found Pristiq is a great drug to fight severe depression and it’s the only thing that works for me personally. As for you if you stick at it and become free of this drug, and alternative methods work for you, I’d go for alternative methods, because Pristiq is a prick of a drug to get off. For me unfortunately it’s all that works to keep me normal. I wish you the very best. Hope you get off it and never need it again. Best of luck.

  90. I can’t believe how old this thread is. I have stopped taking this awful med pristiq, not because I wanted too. I went to pick up my refill and was informed that it now cost $861.! Are you kidding me!? I pay thousands a year for my insurance and have many scripts and this is how CVS caremark treats those that pay them for insurance. Today is day 3 with no meds cold turkey. I had to call off of work today because I can’t drive myself because the zaps, dizziness, nausea are unreal. I feel like I am dying and just want to go to the emergency room but I don’t think they can do anything to help.
    I have been taking pristiq for about 2 years now, following a very bad car accident and some major life changes. I just want to feel normal for my family and not lose my very important job.

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