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Pristiq versus Effexor XR


What is Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)? The newest antidepressant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will hit the U.S. market in a few months. Pristiq is a drug similar in composition to Wyeth’s …

264 Comments to
Pristiq versus Effexor XR

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  1. I’ve always had chronic anxiety problems. Four years ago, I admitted myself into rehab for alcohol abuse. While I was there, I was put on Effexor XR. It was a miracle drug for me. Since then, I haven’t desired a drink or needed any xanax. Two weeks ago, I switched to Pristq because my insurance won’t pay for the Effexor XR and they don’t sample it anymore. I started feeling the anxiety creeping back up and am switching back to the Effexor XR today!! If I have to pay $140 a month to feel as good as I have for the past 4 years, then it is worth it to me. Maybe I didn’t give the Pristiq a chance, but I believe in “don’t fix it if it aint broke”. Good luck to everyone out there with the unfortunate luck to have anxiety/depression problems. It is a horrible feeling, but there are many meds that work for each individual that make life worth living happily. Talk to your doctor and tell him everything you are feeling and he will find the right one for you, even if you have to try different ones. Happy New Year to all !!

  2. Hi all – I have been on Lexapro for approximately 4 years (after Welbutrin and a couple of others). I saw my doc yesterday and she decided to switch me to Pristiq. I have always taken my lexapro at nite because it made me so tired – she told me to take the Pristiq in the morning. I really know nothing about it and so I’m doing some research. I have also put on an incredible amount of weight – my doc doesn’t really attribute it to the Lexapro but after reading all the comments here – I do wonder. I’ll let everyone know how it goes!

  3. Hi All,

    Saw your posts and wanted to share that today I experienced very bizarre and severe withdrawal symptoms from Pristiq.

    I alleviated them by taking a Prozac, which I had read 3 years ago was a good “buffer” drug to wean oneself off of Celexa, which I was on for 2 months in 2005.

    Like many of you, I enjoyed my experience taking Prisiq; I did not even experience side effects. I didn’t notice a huge difference in my mood, perhaps a little more energy and a little less anxiety, which was nice.

    For six weeks, I had been taking sample tablets of Pristiq I received from my doctor. I have an appointment to see him again tomorrow, so when my samples ran out a few days ago, I figured I’d wait and get more from him instead of paying to fill my prescription.

    Well, that was a big mistake. Today, I found myself struck by a bizarre, unexplainable panoply of symptoms. The symptoms included: dizziness, nausea (but not food-related); disorientation; vertigo; hypersensitivity; balancing issues; severe, uncharacteristic irritability; light and noise sensitivity; feelings of a migraine onset without the accompanying headache; shakiness and weakness in my arms and legs; and an intermittent humming sound in my ears.

    For 2 hours, my husband and I were baffled at my dis-ease. Finally I remembered having a similar experience with Celexa.

    Thankfully, when I had the Celexa problem, I discovered a post from some kind soul who said that Prozac was a good buffer drug for getting off Celexa.

    Well, an hour ago, I took a generic Prozac (dug one up from an ancient bottle in the back of my medicine cabinet), and I feel FINE now.

    Thank God.

    I’ll take one tomorrow night and the next night, and God willing, I’ll be successfully off this drug.

    If you’re experiencing similar symptoms, or flu-like symptoms (which I experienced with Celexa withdrawal), I highly recommend the Prozac remedy.

    Best of luck to you.
    Science journalist in Los Angeles

  4. I’ve been taking Lexapro for quite some time but complained to my doctor about sexual side affects. Doc switched me to Pristiq samples which I’ve been taking for about 2 weeks and find myself frequently nauseous. Anyone experience nausea/frequent upset stomach on Pristiq?

  5. I’ve been struggling with something, thought it was just anxiety but now am pretty sure it is a recurring kind of depression. I’m ADD and take Strattera and that has worked wonders for me over the past several years since I was diagnosed.

    In any case, I have worried about the side-effects of an antidepressant so I’ve been reluctant but my doctor prescribed Pristiq and just what I’ve read on this page has really made me feel a lot better about trying this route. I understand the issues with getting used to a new medication so I’m prepared for some adjustment. I’m really hoping that the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition helps bolster the Strattera (as that is what Strattera does) and that the addition of serotonin reuptake inhibition helps fix whatever else has been bugging me.

    I should also say that I am a Wyeth employee. That means I get Pristiq free. But I am a patient first. And that’s my main concern.

  6. This stuff is junk. Just look at the studies. My pdoc called it a “fraud” and “money-making gimmick.” Switched over to it 4 months ago and now I am deeply depressed. Went back on effexor xr today.

  7. I guess I’ve been VERY lucky in that I’ve been on pretty much every anti-depressant mentioned (well, I guess not LUCKY in that I was mis-diagnosed with unipolar depression when I had bipolar) but I was on these anti-depressants for months & months with increasing dosages & then when they finally maxed out on what dosages they could give me I stopped cold-turkey & started on another!!

    FINALLY, I was diagnosed with bipolar & started on a mood stabilizer, anti-psychotic & an anti-depressant when needed (during the winter months–have SAD).

    I NEVER had any of these withdrawal effects described. Maybe my other symptoms were so strong that they covered them up?

  8. I have been on Pristiq for 3 months now. The first month was great, I was not really hungry, lost 3 pounds and was less angry and aggitated. A miricle! Then came motnh 2 and in 2 weeks I gained 12 lbs! (this was BEFORE the holidays!) Since then, the scale keeps creeping up…1 lb a day! I can’t talk it anymore! I worked SOOO hard last year to loose 30 lbs, I am not going to let a medication ruin all my hard work! Sooo frustrating!

  9. First let me say this – I am bipolar. That being said, I can honestly say one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt – everyone reacts differently to every drug on the market. What may work for one person, may not work for another.

    I personally have had a much better response to the Pristiq, and I USED to be on Effexor (400mg!!). The Effexor made me tired, didn’t do much to increase my “happiness” or relieve the depression. Worst of all, I had major sexual side effects. As a man in my early 30’s, this was worse than the depression itself! LOL But since I switched to Pristiq, I am more able to “reach completion” LOL

    I know several people, friends, who suffer from bipolar disorder. Some respond to meds, some don’t respond at all. Some respond to one drug, some to another.

    I try to take the professionals advice and stick to a regular treatment plan, and if one drug doesn’t work, I try another. So far, the combination of Lamictal (400mg) and Pristiq (50mg) has worked best of all the other drug combo’s I have tried.

    Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on the matter. If one doesn’t work, try another. And don’t give up…things WILL turn around, it just may take longer than you would hope for or expect.

    MUCH LOVE TO ALL OF YOU!

  10. I am a male age 38. I should be a poster child for Effexor XR. That medication WORKED for me and changed my life. Before I took it, I was anxious, jumpy, and antisocial. I tried every other type/brand of antidepressant and always felt like a zombie.

    After Effexor XR, I was calm, cool, easy going and was able to do public speaking, teaching and other stuff I was too anxious to do without it. The most prominent side effect I had on Effexor was morning drowsiness.

    After being on Effexor about 8 years tho, my sex life died. The switches were turned off. No sex drive, complete ED. Taking Viagra worked on the mechanics, but nothing helped with libido. As a result, I am now braving the waters with Prestiq. I have been on it since Jan 1, 09. I had nausea on day one and felt a little “funky”. I continued to take Effexor XR with Prestiq for about 5 days (in low doses – I would dump out the capsule to about 25% of the 75mg dose).

    I can honestly say that there was no major withdrawal for me when I weaned off Effexor. My libido is back, ED is gone. My only disappointment is that Prestiq does not handle anxiety as well…I feel a bit jumpy again…but its worth it to have a sex life back! The jumpiness may actually be energy that I’m not used to having!

    Conclusion: if Effexor worked for you and you want your sex life back, switch to Prestiq, but don’t go cold turkey…take Effexor with it for a few days. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV…haha. Good luck!

  11. After being on a low dose of Paxil for 5 years for severe GAD (and Hypochondria). It truly saved by life, but after 5 years I just couldn’t deal with the grogginess I felt every morning. I was content, but just not feeling motivated to do more than the minimum. This fall, for some unknown reason, the anxiety started creeping in and my hypochondria gradually tried to worm it’s way back. To top it off, I was having depressive episodes, which was new for me.

    My Dr. tried to increase my Paxil, but it sedated me so much it was hard for me to sit in my chair at work, and I found myself closing my door and taking hour long naps in my office every day. I finally had enough and went to my doctor for tests, and to request a different AD.

    She suggested Lexipro, but I insisted that I needed more energy so she gave me some Pristiq. I took my Paxil on top of the Pristiq and reduced my dose by 5mg each week until done. I had NO Paxil withdrawal, and other than a couple of days of fogginess, I have had ZERO side effects on Pristiq.

    I haven’t tried Effexor, so I can’t comment on the difference, but I can tell you that after two weeks Pristiq has made me an entirely new person. I feel motivated, energetic, and optimistic. I get so much done now and feel there are not enough hours in the day to do what I want to do. I can actually complete my job each day, and come home and do more than just watch TV (which I actually hate) and doze on the couch.

    I am going to see my Dr. tomorrow and suggest that rather than switch to generic Effexor like she had proposed, that I stay on Pristiq. I know from experience that generics don’t always work as well or consistently, and Pristiq has been so amazing that I am willing to make sacrifices to pay more each month for it.

    For me, it has been a wonder drug. It makes me feel like I haven’t felt since I was a teenager, all with no sedation, no grogginess, no sexual side effects…nothing. Do I still cry sometimes? Yes. But it’s all normal emotions, not like the stunted emotions that traditional SSRIs were famous for.

    My advice? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…and given it an honest shot.

  12. I have been trying to wean off of Effexor.
    I was on 187.5mg.
    I am down to 75mg
    My psych. put me on PRISTIQ to help with the withdrawal from Effexor.
    But she put me on 50 mg in the am
    and 50 mg in the pm.
    I am so nauseous. I thought it was from Effexor withdrawal, but reading this I now think my dosage of Pristiq is too high.
    Does anyone know what the dosage of Pristiq 50 mg is equal to in Effexor?

  13. Hmmm. I have printed out the free voucher 4 Pristiq but am not sure that my pdoc will be down with this.

    My first reaction to Prozac was fabulous. So good that my ex-shrink supported my getting off it 4 good. Then the depression returned. As with everything I have taken, the second time around is an utter failure.

    My initial “tour” with Effexor several years ago was not so bad, and I’m not sure why my then-shrink steered me away. (He also prescribed “all the benzos I could eat” and have spent a whole year reducing my Klonopin from 2mgs to about 1.) Zoloft was great for two and a half years. When I retried it, again, it was hell.

    Basically, if I try stuff again, it doesn’t work well at all– in fact it makes me feel worse!

    I tried Effexor again and it was hell and I couldn’t wait to get off it and weaned. Cymbalta worked well for about two-and-a-half months and then quit.

    Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil, Wellbutrin, etc. all sucked. Remeron made me sleep, but it did nothing else beyond that.

    Pretty much tried everything– even committed myself to a psych ward, even though I wasn’t suicidal at that time. Those places are holding tanks where they keep you doped up, take all your sashes, spiral notebooks, and other things that you could conceivably hang yourself with.

    Huge transitions in my life. Husband decided that marriage was over after 21 years. Moved. No job, and I am having one hell of a time maintaining my freelance writing career– which was never a huge income-draw. So much for homemaker as a “real job.”

    Suicidal ideation a lot but hanging on as I know this solves nothing and would be horrible for my two grown sons, to boot.

    Pdoc wanted to bring out the big guns– MAOIs. No way! She may suggest some different “atypical anti-psychotics.” Zyprexa? Abilify? Probably the former b/c it is probably less agitating. But who knows? I will find out tomorrow.

    The other generic ones like Risperdal, etc. just make me feel crappy and do nothing for my motivation. Seroquel just zones me out and makes me useless too.

    I’m probably Bipolar II but have had no manic episodes for years! I’m currently on 200mg of Lamictal down from 400. I notice no difference at all!

    Am I crazy to think that Pristiq may be different enough than Effexor to be beneficial?

  14. I am so heartbroken reading all those comments, as I am just realizing I am not alone in this pharmacological nightmare. Just been back from the doctor who just switched me to Pristiq, after putting me on about any other drug in the universe.

    Prozac worked like magic the very first time 17 years ago, but ever since its been nausea, migranes, losing too much weight, sleepiness or restlessnesss to a point which has been so much worst than my initial symtoms.

    I am 33 and have been suffering from major depression for the last 20. I have seen dozens of psychiatrist, psychologists, anything. Besides exercise (which is so hard to get to, as most of the time Im at a point I can barely move) nothing has helped.

    I know people are different, and something which may have saved one person will have no effect on another. But after about 20 kinds of anti depressants, is there even any use to keep bothering?

    I feel like my only hope may be ECT, and am wondering if anyone has tried that and had better results. Or if anyone could tell me where can i find a doctor who will be willing to go ahead with that procedure. (seems like such a bloody taboo)

    I really doubt this new magic pill will fix me (especially after reading about the patent expiring, just shameless).

  15. So sorry, MissMisery.

    Today my pdoc actually gave me a sample of Pristiq even though Effexor XR was pretty bad. She actually thinks it’s different than Effexor. I asked her about its effectiveness in “drug-resistant” depression. She has tried it on five patients in this category and said that one of them actually responded to it. The difference between E and P, she said, was that it took getting up to a certain dose for Effexor to become an SRNI whereas Pristiq does start in that category. So we’ll see. If the symptoms don’t get worse or start to improve, this might work. (Here’s hoping!) I have had some success– but the past year has been VERY difficult in so many ways.

    I am adding the swimming back to my regime. I’d been doing it for 30 years and stopped when I moved.

    Many of my problems are situational, but even when they were not, I still fought depression.

    I’m not willing to try ECT, but I’m sure that there are doctors willing to administer it.

  16. I have been taking effexor xr for years. Since my doctor will no longer be able to give me free samples, he suggested I take Pristiq. I started with a positive attitude, but the changes I see are that I’m very tired, have some increased anxiety, and have bloating and frequent bowel movements…3-4 a day. Three times(since I got on the pristiq six weeks ago) I have been up all night on the “pot.” I finally decided this is enough and called my doctor to see if I could change back to Effexor, so I can be myself again and get out of the house and away from the pot! Only problem is that it will cost me $150.00 a month. Let’s see, do I want to give up food or clothing??????????????????????

  17. Me again. Day three. VERY tense and yesterday, I was extremely tired. Cannot tell if things are worse or the same. I wonder if it is worth it to stick this one out. I tend to give up kinda fast. I’m also wondering if I should try taking it at night. Probably worth a call to my pdoc. . .

  18. oh man. kind of a long story for me. Was on Lexapro, didnt work. Then Effexor for about 3+ years. Finally one day I had a pretty srong and very scary hallucination. Freaked me out and quit cold turkey. Then went to Paxil, was crazy tired for about 2 weeks. Lost weight then gained it back. Im still not sure if it made me worse or if it just kinda quit working for me.
    Now I am on day 3 of the Pristiq. I did no weaning from the Paxil, just straight up started the Pristiq (50mgs). I definitly Have the same poopy problems. Maybe not as bad but have had some cramping, bloating and very wet and frequent BM’s. Why is it bothering my stomach so bad???? Emotionaly, today I seemed to feel better but with ups and downs. The anxiety is still there tho. So I have xanax for the panic attacks and really hard days. At least that way I get some sleep. Also noticed some hot flashes, shakes and nausea to where i had to vomit. I have EAD, SAD, & AMDD. Jeez, alot of letters there. My insurance does not cover the Pristiq however and it is very expensive. My doc loaded me up with sample packs. Im gonna give it a fair chance, I just hope the stomach problems cease. Things are hard enough without having to deal with the side effects.

  19. I have taken effexor xr about 4 years.I still felt depressed but I wa also mixing alot of vodka and a few hydrocone.I stopped the hydrocodone,stopped the vodka,I have a glass of red wine innstead.I went to see my doctor and he suggested pristiq ,because it is like effexor,but it is new and more expensiveand you usually get what you pay for. So anyway i have read all these comments and am totally scared to quit my effexor that works okay for a new med.(pristiq)

  20. I was on Effexor XR for about 6-7 years. Started with 75mg but for the majority of the time was on 150mg a day. The worst part about Effexor XR was that if I forgot to take it I felt so incredibly sick I had to go take the dose and go to bed and wait for the meds to start working. Huge headaches, nausea, dizziness. I switched to Pristiq in April 2008 because Effexor stopped working for me. I tried a ton of other meds too… lexapro, zoloft, and none worked. The transition from lexapro to Pristiq was fine but the I moved to Australia and they weren’t selling it yet so my doctor put me back on Effexor XR. The transition was horrible. Sickness, irritability, etc. My doctor actually got Pristiq for me here prior to it being released and I felt much better once on it vs. Effexor. This week I forgot to take pristiq and felt ill but it was no where near as bad as it was when I was on Effexor. To each his own. Maybe because I was on Effexor for so long it just stopped working and the slight change in formula helped me.

  21. I have been on Effexor XR 225mg for 2 years. I am successfully being treated for the chronic depression but am getting tired of the ‘vivid’ dreams, weight gain, nervous left hand, short-term memory loss etc. My physician is switching me over to pristiq this week. As discontinuation of effexor is horrible my physician assures me that I shouldn’t go through withdrawls since it’s basically the same med. Will keep you posted.

  22. I took Effexor Xr for 10 years. I got off to try without using anything. It didn’t work so my doctor put me on Pristiq. I am on my third week and I jusst called the doctor to get back on Effexor Xr. Pristiq didn’t work at all.

  23. Pristiq is horrible. My anxiety is back don’t
    feel happy. First week was sick taking it. Wasn’t worth it.

  24. Tiffany-I understand completely! The first 2 weeks were one heck of a honeymoon. I felt better than I ever had before and lost about 5 pounds. The next 6 weeks were ok, not depressed but my mood was not lighter than before the pristiq and my weight started climbing. My gp denied that it was the pristiq emphatically. “Could not possibly be the cause” were his exact words. So I stayed on it for a couple months thinking I had to keep lowering my calorie count. Well, over those 4 months I gained 31 pounds. I stopped taking it last week -that was a nightmare for the next 5 days. I am feeling better-last evening was better and today looks promising. No more muscle cramps, nausea and bone wracking chills. The headache is much better as well. This was supposed to be a short term medicine so I didn’t mind spending the $145.00 when my insurance company refused to cover it. When reps say that all insurance accepts this script, they are not being entirely truthful. Please be extremely careful about starting this or any meds on the market these days.

  25. I was taking Effexor for a couple years and it was good and helped. I didn’t like the vivid dreaming (okay, I did! but was really tired in mornings). My chlorestoral went up quite a bit & I’m very healthy/athletic, so it wasn’t expected. So, I tried Pristiq. Like Lexapro the low dose didn’t work. I am on 200mg now and it feels good, the same, except no side effects. My doctor said there are lots of clinical studies done at 200, 300 & 400 mg, but that Wyeth only published the two lowest dosages to try and minimize reporting of any side effects. I wish they made 200mg tablets.

  26. My cholesterol numbers went up but thank goodness the ratio was still great. I had tried taking 2 of the 50mg tabs like my gp had suggested and got violently ill. The insomnia from the 50mg dose was horrible especially since I already have sleep apnea and had spent almost a year getting it under control. Constipation, bloating, swelling, insomnia, irritability and extreme weight gain are not worth it. I went off cold turkey 5 days ago and the fullness in my ears along with the vertigo are diminishing rapidly. The muscle cramps and nausea are 90% gone. I hope to get back to normal soon. I won’t be surprised if we see some ambulance chaser running a commercial about it soon.

  27. 3 days into the 50mg pristiq and other than a slight headache and a bit of increased energy I am doing okay. I was terrified of quitting effexor cold turkey but I’ve been pleased so far.

  28. The honeymoon phase is really great. There are some who have no side effects whatsoever but just be careful. The majority of us have horrible side effects. That is why the fda wanted to ban the drug when it was first introduced (look up wyeth pristiq and menopause).

  29. I wasn’t a big believer in antidepressants, but jeez, pristiq has worked wonders on me. I haven’t been this happy and outgoing since i was a teenager and I’m 29 now. I have a hard time believing that the way i feel could be a placebo effect. anyway, if anyone is wondering about the effectiveness, in my case, it’s a godsend.

  30. I made the decision to stop taking pristiq and today is the 9th day. Over the last 5 days I have experienced some horrible side effects and looked them up. Wikipedia had a lot of information as well as the harvard medical website. Seratonin syndrome is most likely what most of us have been experiencing. Hard for me to explain it but the websites were dead-on about all of the side effects and symptoms. This is a horrible way to die-the way that my skin had gotten yellow was an overlooked sign of liver toxicity as well.

  31. p.s.-I wish the drug reps would stay off this board.

  32. Let me start by saying this: I never personally have knocked the effectiveness of Effexor-but beware at some point you will start to get side effects from it and they get worse and worse until the positives of the drug outwiegh the negatives of your mental illness. THEN its too late, you are in big trouble because its not like any of the other drugs you have been on. I have been on the usuals Zoloft, Prozac, Welbutrin to name a few and my only complaint about those were the poop-out effect. Now you want to get off Effexor and you realize that you cannot just nicely wean off and God forbid you cold turkey it. Its horrible-dizzyness, nausea, vomiting, sweats, shaking, brain “zaps”, and it lasts for months even if you wean over a long period-4 to 6 months we are talking about. Its no freaking picnic to feel like a physically ill head case for that long! It took me over 4 months to get off Effexor after being on it for 2 years and I am worse now mentally than I have EVER been. The worst part is I recognize it yet it takes everything in my power to control it-often times I can’t and I spaz on my husband and daughter-like massive fits of rage! I only suffered from mild to moderate depression before-what the?-now I am a total nut job except I know what is going on?! Its disturbing!!!

    If you are looking at going on this drug I urge you to find another drug-find something-ANYTHING else, I don’t care what ANY doctor or health care provider will tell you about Effexor or even this new drug-the reasons people need it and that for some people its not an option to use something else, blah blah blah. NOBODY can say anything about Effexor until they have been on it and have tried to get off of it! It should be pulled from the market as far as I am concerned! Or at LEAST health care providers need to be PROPERLY educated before prescribing it AND the product needs to be labeled accurately! But as we all know, the FDA and the Drug manuafacturers are in bed together and supporting the colleges that educate our young doctors…And drug reps-they ought to be shot in my opinion! So read as much as you can about this drug and make the educated decision yourself. If nearly 20,000 people have signed a petition against Wyeth and its drug, Effexor how many thousands more have suffered like I have described? Nobody else should have to go through this! This is not just a prozac or a zoloft here-this is a POWERFUL drug and should be treated as such. You don’t see doctors casually prescribing drugs like Lithium to people because it “might” be helpful for a condition-absolutely not! Effexor should be no different. The potential problems from it are often hidden and by the time you realize it-its too late! You think that the new one may be better or safer-its probably not-its just to avoid losing the revenue when the patent on Effexor runs out! So why trust another drug by the same company? Stay away from these anti-depressant drugs made by Wyeth!!!

  33. Shannon, I am so very sorry you are suffering with this. I have only been doing it 2 weeks after having taken pristiq for 9 months. I guess if I quadruple the nightmare I am going through I would be in your shoes. It is terrifying but you can survive this. My f*d up doc put me on pristiq to lose weight. OMG! He only read the first two lines of the instructional pamphlet then prescribed this poison to a pt with sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes. This caused seratonin toxicity 5 months ago and he just kept adding meds instead of ‘fessing up and admitting his mistake.

  34. I started on Pristiq about a month ago. Even though they are similar, it must be somewhat different from Effexor XR because I tried it before and it made me really sick. With Pristiq, I had a just a little bit of dizziness and nausea but it went away after a week or so. It made me feel a lot better by the third week but I wouldn’t say I feel as great now in the fifth week. We’ll see. I say give it a try and monitor your symptoms/possible side effects carefully. It may work or it may not but everyone is different and it is worth a try if you suffer from depression.

  35. I’ve been on Pristiq for 2 full weeks after being on Effexor XR225 for 3 years. I’ve noticed that I sleep more soundly than I have in years and I wake refreshed instead of dragging my rear out of the bed every morning. I haven’t noticed weight gain/loss.
    So all in all, I’m going to keep monitoring the situation and keep thanking God that he gave us brains to figure out our maladies instead of just having to live with them.

  36. The more I read about this stuff, the more convinced I am that no one should be on it. It is a killer and wyeth knew it all along. Ssri’s are not safe at any dosage nor are they safe for any length of time. Please look into these before it is too late. They cause depression for pity’s sake. Why take a pill that is known to cause depression when that is supposed to be the reason you are taking it?

  37. After being on again and off again effexor for several years, my doctor gave me Pristiq to try to help the anxiety that i continued to feel. While I have only been on this drug for a week, I have felt much better. I feel like I have more energy, am more focused (which has been a problem) and just more alive. I hope this continues. Will keep you posted

  38. Nancy, please read at least a few of the previous posts on this board. Everyone feels ok for the first couple weeks, then slowly this stuff loses effectiveness (it is effexor after all) and starts wreaking havoc with your body.

  39. I took pristiq for a week and felt anxious and feverish and just awful so i stopped a few days ago. I have had the most terrible dizziness and nausea. I hope it goes away soon because i cant function properly being this dizzy all the time. Has this happened to anyone? How long does it last? Be careful of this drug!

  40. This worked like a charm for 2 weeks. Then it really pooped out on me. My depression is back, worse as before.
    I also have terrible insomnia and trouble achieving multiple orgasms, as I could before taking Pristiq.
    I’ve lost 80% of the sensation in my clitoris and nipple areas.
    (I can only pray this isnt permanent. any other ladies experience this side effect?)

    Pros.. I lost weight initially and had bountiful energy. But like i said, that subsided after 14 days. :(

    I guess I will just stay on it because its one of the only meds i can afford through an assistance program.

  41. I meant to say “not as bad as before”. It alleviates some of my symptoms, but I still have lots of negative thoughts, unexplained sadness, etc.

  42. I am terrified. I have never taken meds before and I am actually seeking professional attention for the first time at the age of 24 after a life time of stress and depression. I pray, I read, I journal and use positive affirmations. I started too feel completely out of control (crying, angry outbursts, suicide attempts, quit my job, no social life, risky behaviors). I dont doubt that it is clinical depression, but there has to be a better solution. My psychiatrist immediately pushed meds and I tried Zoloft for a week. Anxious, sweaty, unfocused, crazy… So he switched me to Pristiq. Both he and my therapist keep talking about the importance of me finding the right drug. When is someone going to do some real therapy and help me cope?! I dont want to be one of these people spending years and years bouncing from one drug to the next blaming it for the bad and giving it credit for the good. There has got to be a better way. I want my life.

  43. I count my blessings that I did not undergo the horrendous withdrawals I have read about from the effexor xr. My heart goes out to you that have suffered so much!

    I took 300mg of ef xr for 1 year, back in 2004, when my workers comp doc 1st diagnosed me w/major clinical depression and sad, gad. It followed a 2 week stint on Lexapro that did nothing but make me ball my eyes out all day for absolutely no reason! After moving across country from Fl to Cali, I took myself off ef xr cold turkey because I felt “all better.” No withdrawals what so ever. But then again, I had just taken up crystal meth, so if I did have withdrawals, I thought it was the crystal. I do recall feeling electric shocks in my brain, but my boyfriend, (now my husband, praise the LORD!) said he got them too, so I thought it was from the crystal.

    I got back on the effexor after a few months, as Cali has a great health program for the poor, at least for the poor who lived in S. Lake Tahoe! But I was concerned about doing meth and taking AD’s together, and I was getting pretty heavy into the drug use, shooting up, staying up for a week at a time.

    My daughter (youngest) at 7y was kidnapped, and my boyfriend’s ex had just killed their 4 y old son and 2 other people in a horrific head on collision, so we were in a crushing grief and he had prior experience with meth and I wanted to try it cause I was told it makes you want to clean your house, and helps curb your appetite. I had no idea of the “spun-out trip” I would be on for the next 3 1/2 years! We shot up every day for a year, until I got so delusional and paranoid my bf had to take me to the ER. They gave me a shot of halidol, and I eventully passed out and they sent me home.

    After that, I decided I needed to get help, not for my addiction, but for my mental health. I went to health and welfare, and they put me back on effexor. It helped, I had developed panic attacks, especially in grocery stores. I really wanted counseling, but we had to take my truck to the scrapper, so I couldn’t get to meetings as I couldn’t depend on a ride. We tried to stay clean, and managed to cut way back on our using, from nearly every day, to 2-3 times a month for me. My bf was sneaking much, much more, but he hid it from me cause he was worried about my mental state.

    the effexor did work for awhile, but I just didn’t take it regularly, really pretty sporadically!

    We ended up moving to Idaho, a friend had invited us to come out and get a fresh start. We vowed to stay away from anyone affiliated with meth. My bf and I knew if I was going to get well, we had to stay clean. That lasted until we became homeless, and were camping out on the Snake river for about 6 weeks. That last week, someone came to the river to camp and they had some meth, and we smoked it with him. I hardly had any, but got all paranoid and crazy again. I hid it pretty well though.

    Finally, we got a house, and while walking our dog and our wolf one day, we noticed a white wolf chained in front of this house down the road. A girl came out to talk to us as she had seen our beautiful wolf, Autumn. We could tell she was wired on crank.

    We made a mental note of it, so we could get to know her and get a hook-up for meth. A few weeks went by, and we got her to get us some. It was total bunk! We ended up getting in some trouble with the law, and viewed it as a wake up call from God.

    We stayed clean for about 6 months, than messed up again. We regretted it instantly. And again managed to stay clean for 6 or 7 months. Since being in Idaho, we have used maybe 8-10 times in the 2 years we have been here.

    We kept praying to God to take the desire to use from us. It is definately working!!! In the meantime, I went back to mental health in July of 2008. For the 1st time, I was honest with my new doc about my prior drug use. He put me on nortryptiline. I hadn’t used meth in nearly a year, but I am here to tell you, if felt like I had just done a big blast. I was hallucinating HARD. I had extreme paranoia, to the point I thought my bf and our 2 friends we had known for 4 years were out to get me! I actually had to call the crisis line, first time I ever did that in my life! I could not stop crying, hysterically! Crisis line was no help whatsoever. It was the weekend and I wanted my doc so bad! I had to wait til wednesday!

    Well, I went home and went to sleep. Woke up feeling fine. Got on the web and researced nortrypt. Says not to use in bipolar patients—-bad reaction.

    So when I went to doc and told him all that had happened, he started asking me questions more in depth than he had when I first saw him. He gave me a bipolar dx!!!

    He put me on the number 1 med he said he would take if he were bipolar (which he is not) Lamectal. Wow, that stuff made me feel so happy!!! But, I got the Stevens Johnson syndrome with it (life threatening) so I had to quit immediately. Bummer!

    He had me on seroquel too, which did help with the paranoia, and helps me sleep better. We tried cymbalta (yuck!) Lithium, and when I couldn’t tolerate it, he put me on Prisiq, along with the seroquel. That was 4 months ago. He told me it helps with fatigue, and to take it in the morning so it wouldn’t keep me up at night. Even his nurse commented that if I take it any later than 12 noon, I wouldn’d be able to sleep. That got me jazzed, cus even before my meth use, I was always so low energy (the main reason I was attracted to meth was for energy!)

    I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. Have had 2 neck surgeries with hip bone from my own hips in place of the discs that were blown out in 2 different accidents 10 years apart, major knee surgery in 2001, partial hysterectomy also in 2001, much needed but unaffordable shoulder surgery, arthritis, spinal stenosis, spondylosis. Basically a good candidate for pain management, but alas, here in Idaho there is no help for the poor!

    I stayed the course throuh the Pristiq side effects, because my doc had told me there are 23 different meds for the bipolar, and it is just a matter of what works for each individual. I did not want to be one who went through them all.

    Immediately I noticed the boost of energy. I had spent months in bed, and I was sick of it! I jumped out of bed happily….wow! I did have dry mouth, frequent bms, headache, all tolerable.

    Then I got the no orgasm side effect. I knew it too would pass, and now I am happy to say that it has! MY darling, incredible man and I got married October 17, 2008. We went to hell and back, to borrow a quote from June Carter Cash describing her and Johnny, but with God’s grace we made it, and we couldn’t be happier!

    I don’t believe any drug is perfect, but I know that I need to be on something to level me out, and that when I think I am “cured” is just a sign the meds are working. Having read all these posts has really helped me to be thankful for my wonderful, patient, understanding doctor. Thankful for my incredible husband, truly a gift from God! Thankful for all your stories and this forum. I have yet to get into any counseling, but telling my story to fellow mental health patients feels good.

    I noticed my post is the only one that mentions illicit drug use, and I hope I have not offended anyone. I am just being real. I want you all to know my true story so that I would have the opportunity to tell you all how Jesus saved me, pulled me out of that deep dark pit, forgave me for my self-destructive behavior, cleaned me up, and gave me the courage and desire to glorify His holy name by giving my testimony.

    For those of you who don’t yet know the love of Jesus, I urge you to step out in faith, believe that He is God’s Son, who came to earth and died for us, so that we could be forgiven for our sins and be accepted by our Creator, our Heavenly Father God, and receive the gift of salvation and eternal life.

    Without Jesus, my husband and I would probably still be shooting up meth, if we were still alive. He kept us alive to tell our story, and help others who are going down that road. Believe in Him, He is real, and He loves you so very much.

    Thank you for listenting, and I pray each and every one of you finds the perfect combination of meds for your condition. The Great Physician is able to meet all your needs, physical and emotional and spiritual, if you will let Him.

    God bless you, be free!!! Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

    Love, Heather

  44. I have tried nearly every drug known to man and gave up for a long time until I just couldn’t cope and luckily there was this new pill called Pristiq that my Dr said we could try. Of course I got online and researched the crap out of it and was very discouraged by what I read. I decided it was my last ditch effort so I started it despite all the negative feedback and lo and behold I feel like a different person. I mean I am me but a newer happier, calmer, anxiety free (for the first time without benzos) me FINALLY something that worked. I can’t tell you how nice it is to get up and look forward to my life. I haven’t lost my temper once since week one and I smile non stop.
    I hope no one else gets discouraged by negative posts and it keeps them from trying something that just may be their miracle in a pill. Everyone is different so if you like me have almost given up and are settling for a life of depression and anxiety PLEASE try Pristiq first and give it at least 3-4 weeks.

    Best,
    Jenny

  45. Some of these comments scare me as it sounds as if the people are diagnosing themselves. The one comment where the person was on Effexor for 8 years; then started Pristiq and added Effexor in — YOU CAN’T DO THAT! Plus, it takes months to wean off Effexor!!!

    Also, someone who has bipolar wrote in and said they feel they want to hurt their kids on Pristiq! Hello! If you have bipolar, you can’t ONLY be on an anti-depressant as it will make you MANIC! You need a stabilizer too.

    Geesh!

  46. What are the DIFFERENCES (supposedly) of Effexor and Pristiq? Is this just a Wyeth scam?

    I was on Effexor for 6 years and it took me 6 MONTHS to wean off of it completely — I got head “zaps” dizziness, nausea, confusion. It FINALLY subsided. Makes you wonder what these drugs are actually doing to your brain!

    I have terrible depression and I never get “high” like manic, or do stupid things, but I get VERY IRRITABLE, either ON or OFF anti-depressants.

    Anyone have any suggestions for what Rx’s might work best?

  47. As a pharmacologist by training I must take issue with your statement concerning Pristiq that “this is the first time a drug co. has shown that a lower dose is more effective than a higher dose” to the contrary every product on the market for any disease state or condition has a dosage at which the efficacy does not improve with dosage escalation. The real issue here is why is a lower dose effective? The amount of drug available in the systemic circulation immediately upon dosing is greater with Pristiq because it has been combined with a succinate salt (greatly enhances absorption).

  48. The comment by Lilith about starting Pristiq and feeling no drug works and just wanting to end it makes me feel sad because that’s exactly how I feel sometimes (well, a lot of the time lately).

    I have never been prescibed Effexor, I actually was first on Zoloft 50mg for anxiety dealing with a transition over a year ago. I stopped taking Zoloft once I felt more comfortable and my doctor said it was safe to. Within the last few months, I had been feeling an onset of deep sadness, which I hadn’t felt since a member of my family had died years back, and I went to see my doctor. Oddly, he put me back on Zoloft. Since I had been feeling depression-like symptoms and not anxiety-like (which I would have recognized) I went back within 6 weeks expressing no positive change.

    My doctor then gave me a few sample packs of Pristiq, claiming this would be targeted for my depression and should work. Almost immediately after starting Pristiq, my anxiety returned, possibly stronger than it has been before. My common symptoms in the past were waking up with stomach pangs, racing thoughts, trouble breathing, yadda yadda yadda. But with Pristiq, I have those symptoms along with lack of appetite and EXTREME sleeping problems.

    I normally take 1-2 hours to fall asleep and that never bothered me much. Now, I cannot fall asleep before 1 am, and I wake only a few hours later, unable to return back to sleep before I have to start my day. I have been on Pristiq for 2 weeks now and am shocked how much of a negative impact the side effects have had. Last night, I literally did not sleep at all. I have slept 5 hours wihtin the past two days and am getting noticible dark circles under my eyes.

    I’m disappointed with Pristiq primarily because it didn’t have ANY positive effects. Not one. Sure, I might be jumping the gun by saying it doesn’t work for me, and I’ll give it a few more weeks but I don’t know how much more I can take. I’d rather deal with mild depression than immense anxiety.

    I am only a teenager…

  49. My husband was given samples of Pristiq by his doctor. (Samples, samples, samples … anyone else notice a pattern.) He had been on Lexapro for about a year. He has had trouble sleeping, actually going to sleep was easier, staying asleep was the problem. Doc though the Pristiq would help with the sleep issue.

    He was on them for 2 full weeks when he went overseas on a business trip. It was not long before he began experiencing horrible depression and thoughts of dying (not suicide but just wanting to go to sleep and not wanting to wake up). His requested an immedidate return home and thankfully his company agreed. He has an appointment with the Doc upon his arrival.

    Question — has anyone else experienced an increased level of depression on Pristiq?

    For those who have found Pristiq is a good med for them, great.

    (In the meantime, as I read all of your postings I find it very interesting the doctors are giving out samples like they are stickers for being a good little patient at the doctor’s office. GRRR)

  50. I don’t feel that I am depressed but I do have anxiety attacks often. They are not so bad that people notice but I do stress over everything just like my mother did. I have been diagnosed in the past with OCD. A few years ago I started taking Lexapro and loved it. It seemed to stop working for me and it did cause weight gain so I tapered off of it. When I went to the doctor a few months ago complaining of shortness of breath, she said it was anxiety and prescribed Prisiq. I was only able to take it a few days (samples of course) and couldn’t take the insomnia. I have wanted to try it again but then I remember how hard it is to get off these drugs. I still have anxiety but I am wondering if it’s not better to try and live with it. Has anyone had luck using it for anxiety? Another reason I don’t want to take it is that our HR person blabs to everyone what medicines that you are on. I know it’s supposed to confidential but it’s not in our office.

  51. Hi have been off effexor for 4 months & my doc gave me pristiq. I took it before I went to bed & woke up with my eyes dilated, cotton mouth & felt like I was having with drawls even though I havent been on Effexor for 4 months. I could move at all today & i felt like I was just coming down on drugs, blurred vision, major anxiety, xanax took the edge off but just a little bit. I have never had such horrible side effects from one day of an antidepressant & I have tried a few. This stuff is gnarly. Also – I have mild depression and I read in the first notes from a Pristiq rep that is for Adult Major Depressive Disorder. My doc told me is a purer form of Effexor but that is BS. Effexor never made me feel this way. Docs give it to you because they are loyal to the reps & get perks from them that sales for you. This is horrible medication. I hope it wears off in a week like it states because I will go nuts. Especially reading everyone, everyone is having bad side effects & its not withdraw

  52. I am a 17 (18 in two months) year old female. I have just been diagnosed with severe depression a few days ago and i was completely oblivious to the fact that other people werent feeling the same things i was without being sick. I thought it was just normal :]. My dr. prescribed me Pristiq and counceling (im not to sure about the counceling but its not like i have much of a choice). i am 135 lbs so im not to fond of losing or gaining weight wich makes me a bit shy to it but whats a few pounds for happiness :D. I start taking it in three days and my dad is taking me to some nice little tourist town for the weekend to get away. I think its because he doesnt know how i will react to the medicine and after reading some side effects i would probably do the same.I will post back on how it works out for me. Im actually a little scared, reading all the things i have read about it. Its also a bit weird to me that he would put me on something that adults that are way older than me ( no offense !) are on.

  53. first morning on pristiq so far no side effects (but its only bin a short while since ive taken it like an hour or so) other than feelin a little nauseated and i couldnt finish my breakfast. also a weird sort of floaty feeling. my heart raced almost 15 minutes after i took it and has slowed but stayed at a quicker than usual rythm. : / i have school in a couple hours i hope real bad side effects dont kick in there :[

  54. wow i deffinately said so far no side effects then listed about four haha. scratch that

  55. got through the day without any real bad side effects 😀 im very please. did not help my depression of course its the first day but i had a feeling of emotionlessness for a while. will post back in about a week

  56. I’ve been clinically depressed for decades. Not continually, but I’d have prolonged very dark periods. I’ve been “stuck” in my circumstances for years and my brother strongly encouraged me to finally take action on my own behalf. So I consulted my family physician who prescribed Pristiq.

    I read this forum, wanting to compare and contrast Pristiq with Effexor XR, as there was a substantial difference in price. I concluded that people’s side-effects on Pristiq were their own, not mine, and I would begin.

    I immediately observed a number of subtle yet profound positive changes, and these shifts have persisted. I’ve been taking Pristiq for about 10 weeks.

    First, I’ve only had a few fleeting moments of darkness. And I can recognize the darkness quickly, and notice that it’s foreign to my now not-dark state. Also, I’ve been exercising and training all my life, but hadn’t in more than a month. After beginning Pristiq, I immediately went back to the gym – it was a natural segue.

    Immediately, I become much more active and productive. I’ve always been busy with many projects – now I’m much more efficient and I get a lot more done in a day. And very importantly, I’ve given up much – if not most – of my resentment and annoyance at the work I have in front of me.

    Remarkably, my dreams [while asleep] have become much more interesting and much less threatening and scary. Bad things frequently happened in my dreams. Now I’m on adventures. Complicated plot-like activities are going on. And, my dreams are much more vivid – I remember long snatches of conversaation and much of the content when I wake up. I’m not buried under a vague morass of malaise and unhappiness.

    There are other wonderful unexpected benefits of Pristiq’s normalization of my brain chemistry. My singing is much freer and much more on key. I’ve developed a new passion for the music of Miles Davis – for all my preceding years I found his music disturbing and unpleasant. Now I find it fascinating and uplifting and creative. As well, I have a brand new interest in Metallica.

    So, singing, Miles Davis, and Metallica – for me, this implies that my horizons are broadening and I’ve been able to let go of a lot of baggage. I don’t know what that baggage was – and don’t care. It’s gone and that’s good.

    I’ve had minimal side effects with Pristiq. For the first few days I had mild constipation, but that resolved quickly. And the first two nights I took a little longer to fall asleep, but that also resolved immediately. No other side effects.

    The notion that my issue was a brain chemistry imbalance is very freeing. I’d always felt there was something deeply wrong with me – the depression was something wrong. Now I think the depression was a direct result of a brain chemistry imbalance. Pristiq restores my normal brain chemistry, and I have been returned to my normal state of happiness and creativity.

  57. In response to Layla…
    yes my depression got much worse after being on it for less than 3 weeks. I also became extremely tired, irrational, and had suicidal ideations.

  58. Hello, my name is Tosha. This is my first time being on any AD, so I don’t actually know what to expect from them. I did feel horrible during my first 2 weeks but I feel fine now. My concern is about bleeding between periods. If anyone has experiencd this while taking PRISTIQ, please let me know how long it lasts. This I don’t like.

  59. I have been on PRISTIQ for about 2 weeks now. I went to my Dr. for what I thought was ADD and she told me that I was severely depressed.Until now I didn’t realize that I was holding so much stuff in
    and that it was doing this to me. Other than not sleeping well the first three nights, and head aches the first two days and having an extra period this month (this I hope doesn’t continue)I have had more energy than I have had in years and I don’t think about food 24/7. So far so good!

  60. Pristiq did not work for me at all. I had been on Effexor XR a year or so prior to starting Pristiq. I wanted something that worked the same wasy, but was less toxic to the liver. I tried the 50mg dose for 1 month and then went up to 100mg for another 2 months. It was a waste of money at $50 a month with insurance. I’m now back on Effexor and starting to feel better. I also take a low dose of Elavil q HS and 100mg of Lyrica q HS and prn.

  61. General antidepressants are not for bipolar disorder. There are other medications that work well and some that will stabilize moods. I am a nurse working in psychiatry and know this very well. Pristiq does not usually cause weight gain in individuals but more often weight loss.
    Remember that all medications act differently in different individuals. What is good for one may not be good or effective for another.
    Also, remember that side effects often occur within the first few days to few weeks and often go away after a while. Most often those who stop the medication do not give it a chance to let your body adjust to it. Do not stop it until you talk to your doctor! Doing so could cause more problems and more serious effects! Call your Doctor and tell him what problems you are having and follow his instructions.

  62. I have never taken antidepressants because I never needed them until several months ago. I have been on Pristiq for 2 months now and it has absolutely worked wonders for me. I just wished I would have taken it sooner because I was extremely irratable, especially with everyone around me from my children to my co-workers to my friends. I lost the energy and drive to do the things I liked to do and I would not be able to do those things w/o Pristiq. I don’t know how other meds affect people but after having depression for 5 years and just now getting relief, I really hope others will find relief some way too, whether, it is thru Prisitq, Prozac, Cymbalta or something else. I haven’t experienced any weight gain at all, in fact, I don’t get hungry like I used to or think of food like I used to but then I guess that’s because I find delight in doing other things besides eating. I esperienced all the side effects the first week then they tapered off by the second week. I have been able to get a good nights sleep, which I hadn’t had in 5 years. What does bother me a bit is that I do get sleepy during the day but if I take a 10min nap during break or lunch, it usually takes care of the problem. I feel more centered and focused. I can concentrate better and am not forgetful like before. Pristiq has really given me a little hope and better outlook on my daily living…

  63. About Lilith on or about May 17th commented she is so irritable and ready to hurt her children”???? Did anyone find concern in that ? I know we are all trying to cope an express but somethings work for some and some things work for others but to feel she is that unstable says her doctor should have her off of that quickly and monitored to restablize her since she has kids. I would want the same. I hope she is fine by this time. We all have extreme moments

  64. I’m am currently on Effexor 300 mg and Valium 5mg up to 3 times a day. I am on the medication for panic disorder and extreme anxiety. Today my doctor recommended I go on Pristiq. Being an anxious person I hate going on medicine and worry about side effects. I am slowly coming off the Effexor and going onto the Pristiq. I took Paxil for about 4 years and was taken off of it. I was weened off of it but nothing was given to me while I was being weened off of it. It was so horrible. I said I will never go through that again. I felt crazy! I am scared to try this new medicine, but I need something. I am really scared though.

  65. About 4 yrs ago I was having a major depressive episode. I think depression has been part of my picture for most of my life–I think it’s part of my family’s genetic picture. But this time was worse and it was making life unmanageable. I couldn’t get any work done and while not suicidal, I was thinking about death a lot.

    I went to see a wonderful psychiatrist who put me on Effexor XR. It changed my life!! It was one of the best decision I have ever made. I felt emotionally better within days. I did not, however, like the side effects of going on Effexor. I felt nasuea and headaches for the first two weeks that made me want to quit. But I rode it out and those effects went away.

    One of the “bonus” things I found was that Effexor reduced my overall anxiety dramatically. I wasn’t aware how much it affected my life and what a pain in the ass I was to be around. I went as high as 225 mg/day on Effexor but eventually dropped to 150 mg as a good dose for me. The 225 mg level gave me “brain zap” sensations from time to time.

    But I gained a lot of weight, which I think I probably can’t blame totally on Effexor. I think being peri-menopausal, being too sedentary, life stresses, etc. add into that picture, but Effexor seems to make the weight stick like glue for me.

    So this year, I felt like I was in a good enough place I wanted to try something different to see if I could eliminate the weight. My psychiatrist recommended trying Pristiq at 50 mg. My transition was really very easy. I did NOT taper off Effexor at all. I went right to Pristiq per my pdoc’s instructions. I had a some of that headachy & nausea stuff in week one, but not bad really and not as bad as when I started Effexor.

    I did find that 50 mg. of Pristiq was not enough and my doc bumped me to 100 mg. That fixed the mood stuff that I didn’t feel was being addressed at 50 mg., but now I am concerned about my blood pressure. I think it’s gotten very high on the 100 mg. level and will be seeing my primary care doctor about this soon.

    I have lost 10 lbs since I got onto Pristiq, not nearly what I want to lose. But now it feels like I *can* lose weight with increased activity and cutting back on how much I’m eating.

    Overall, both Effexor and Pristiq have been very, very effective for my depression and anxiety. I really wanted to post this for all of you who are reading all of the messages of complaints. I just want to really stress how much you cannot tell how these drugs will work for YOU without trying them. And if you do give it a try, try to have some supportive friends and/or family help you during the time you’re trying them. It sure helped me.

    The positive change in my life being on these medications has been huge for me (and my partner!!). I will never again accept living with depression. Life is so much better now. I’m still broke, I still worry, bad things still happen in my life, but I can experience joy and happiness too! I hope each and everyone of you reading this finds the right answer that works for you. Please keep trying until you find that answer.

    Best wishes to all.

  66. I had to switch from Effexor to Pristiq when I lost my job and health insurance (some psychiatrists are giving out samples like candy). I don’t know whether it was from the Pristiq or withdrawing from the effexor but I gained a bunch of weight. I have hunger pains from the supposed “New Effexor” that I never had before I started the Pristiq. I also have been really moody. I just decided to go back to Effexor and pay for the meds, rather then deal with the emotional/physical distress I’ve been going thorough on Pristiq.

  67. hello im glad that your here involving us them and those. i have been on effexor xr since 2002. just recently in april 2009 i decided that enough was enough and that i had to do something and take charge because nobody had any clue to what it was like to be in my body. one day back in 2002 i was shopping in the grocery store with my boyfriend by my side and so suddenly i found my self flat out on the store floor,i was crying i was scared i thought that i had been shot in the back,i lay looking up at my boyfriend and asked him what had just happened.since them i have become to understand that what was happening was my brain was giving off electrical shocks and it would travel down my spine and it would exit out my heels my best bet was to stop sit and dont even move, not even blink an eye and just lay flat out on my back and focus on one spot on the celing. afterwards it leaves me feeling emotional with drawn from the loved ones especially the children because one minute im perectly normal then the next minute im in bad shape. i have a regular physican and i have told him of these issues on more then one occasion and i try to address this on every visit. you know it took me by supprise. i have been diognosed with deppresion,vertigo i get dizzy,ringing in my ears i wouild get the jitters like every time i would take the medications,i also would throw up and my gag reflexs would get like totally out of control my bowels were any where from all normal to constipation.one day i had noticed that my bowels looked normal except that you could see small white specles,i freaked i called the doctor made a lab appt took in a sample and was later called and told everything was normal.i was told that you can ingest effexor by opening the capsule and simply sprinkle it on some yogart,and so twice a day i take 150mg capsule i decided one day to wean myself free of the effexor and wouldnt you know that i dont have the tiny white beads in my stools any more. my bladder is week my vision was 20/20 its now on to glasss, hot sweats headaches and i never suffered from any kind of headachs or eyeache,very emotional cant sleep and if i force myself to sleep anxiety stricks, once i do fall to sleep its then hard to get up.im weaning off of the effexor xr due to all of these symptoms and more. i have completly STOPPED i do feel wounderful have had very few episodes of the shocking in my brain and those shocks that im refering to as (FEW) only lasted for the first at most seven days and really they were diffrent in there attach to me it sounds silly but it made my brain feel like it was falling off a ledge or say a shelf lol. i dont have as many sleep issues any more i dont sleep ten to sixteen hours a day any more and im up when everybody else gets up. i have more control over MY LIFE rather then the effexor having the control.im learning how to meditate and by doing that im turning my own energy into this fighting mechanism that is like an army of one. my defense is to mentally attack the shoking syndrom by replacing it with simply pleasure such as laughing or giggling that way when the shocking dose happen my energy is up and running and the defense is to kill off the impulses, few are going to laugh and i expect that to happen you have to remember we are in control of our own feelings and actions. and no i dont laugh out loud nor do i act out loud in foolishness. alot of your proffesional doc lawyers judges try to wounder what they do to keep there selfs to a much calmer person im sure the practice meditating. im a 46 yr old grandmother and a mother of three im 5ft 3in tall 140 lb with atlete body. im thankful and blessed to come this far and to me it dosnt matter how tall you are or your physical statue or how much you weigh. depression can cancer on any one its lously hateful very jealous and smothering and it can claim any one. Depression seems to increase by the thousands i never knew that the impact was so intense. Good Nite to all of us them and those. sonja,north bend oregon

  68. I thought I would add to all the ohter effexor people, changing to pristiq. I’m a 24 yr old female. Who in the last few months has been around the ringer. I started taking effexor in 2004 for server anxiety disorder and post-tramatic stress. I would also use ativan when needed. I had many many side effects with effexor. You name it I had it! So I went off the effexor by weaning. On to welbutrin, from that to cipralex to a few others and in the end I eneded up far worse that I had been in the the last few years. So now I’m taking pristiq and welbutrin in the morning, and seroquel at night! If you ask me this is complete B.S. I wish so much that a few years back I would have sought out professional help using cbt. Then I wouldn’t be in this dependable state of the money making medication madness.

  69. I have been on every psychotropic drug I have ever heard of since first being talked into medicating my life long depression in about 1991. I am now 66 and trying to find some way to end my life without it being apparent that it was at my own hand. I took Effexor XR from around 1995 until Pristiq came out. I was told that it is a metabolite of Effexor with fewer side effects. I have not noticed any fewer side effects. I take 40mg dexedrine SR in the morning along with 100 mg Nuvigil and supplement the stimulants twice more daily with 30 mg Adderal (amphetimine sulfate) as I feel the depression deepening and my focus waning. I have not been able to work for 6 years, since I made the mistake of telling my firm of my struggle. I was gone withing 3 months as I might be a risk to the firm. I & they knew I could ot stand the torment they would heap on me if I sought a legal remedy. I titrated off all my drugs (without Dr. approval) in late 2006 and was rewarded with 17 shock treatments (ECT). They did not seem to have any effect and, in a zombie like response to the doctors, I went back on the medications. I am still so depressed that I simply want to leave quietly and apparently normally to avoid causing the pain that I read suicide causes in a family. Oh, did I mention that I take 20 mg Sonata and clozanapam at night. I am a legal drug addict with no relief in sight. I tried CBT without noticable effect.

  70. For Mike,

    Mike, this is only my humble opinion (IMHO):

    I have been treated for 24 years for depression and then finally diagnosed correctly as bipolar. I do know what it feels like to suffer depression your whole life. I am 56 years old. I do believe that bipolar illness is my correct lifelong diagnosis. It sounds to me like perhaps you are not located in the United States because I do not recognize some of the names of the meds you have taken? Medications are a must for me if I want to optimize the quality of my life. But there are additional factors I cannot live without.

    First, I have a deep spiritual connection to a power greater than myself. I can honestly say that it was this connection that got me through my darkest hours of despair. I am not, in any way, speaking of religion. I am speaking of faith in a loving, all caring being. He/She is with me constantly and guides me when I am lost and desperate.

    Second, I have only recently learned that, contrary to my own preferences, I cannot barricade myself in my home and struggle with my demons alone. I need people to laugh with, to cry with, people who understand what my suffering is about, people to rejoice with when I feel good, and people to care about when they struggle with their illnesses. This gives my life meaning.
    This is hard for me because I am a loner personality. But I have had to learn to change.

    I don’t know if this helps but please consider what I have said. Suicide is a crappy solution to the ills of this life.

  71. I have been on Effexor XR for 12 years. I pay cash for this med. For the past two years I have been ordering it from Canada Drugs (just google them to find their site) and it is much cheaper. You can get the cheapest generics from India. But their production standards are not the same as in the US or the UK. So I get the generic from the UK through Canada Drugs. It’s still substantially less than paying cash in the US pharmacies. While it is still not legal to order drugs from Canada if you live in the US (like I do), I have never had a problem receiving them. I don’t want to switch to Pristiq. I am fortunate that 300mg Effexor XR works for me, even after 12 years. For those in a real financial bind, you can get the non-extended release formula of Effexor in a generic. It is cheap, but you have to take it 3x a day. Wyeth-Ayerst does not have an indigent (poor Person) program unless you are below the poverty level. However, other companies do. I am also on Seroquel (made by Astra Zeneca) and I receive it FREE after I have spent 3% of my annual income on medications (ANY prescribed medication, from ANY company, not just AZ drugs). For example someone who earns $20,000 will get their meds free after they have spent $600 dollars. This is a God send because Seroquel is expensive. So in the end maybe check out each companies indigent patient program before you get on a new drug, especially the newly available. The newest are not always the best. Look at Lithium — it’s been around forever and is still considered the best drug for bipolar. The side effects SUCK, so no one prescribes it. But it works. So maybe we sacrifice efficacy for ease of use. It’s an individual thing as far as what you’re willing to tolerate (side effects, dosing regimen, etc.)

    One thing to note from a scientific point of view, no one really understands the brain chemistry behind these drugs. It’s not like we can crack a head open and check on a person’s serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, etc. levels and activity. So don’t give up. Be your own best advocate in finding the right regimen. No one is the same. It’s all individual biochemistry (I have a PhD in biochemistry). So when you read another person’s experience, take it into consideration, but not as fact.

    Be well. Take care of yourself. There is always hope.

  72. Our Pdoc gave my 16 year old daughter samples of Pristiq 8 weeks ago. She was on Prozac. We tried zoloft, wellbutrin, abilify, Lexapro, and celexa. She suffers from severe social anxiety with comobib depression. The first two weeks she had a little bit of a rough time. At two weeks she told me she was very depressed and wanted me to call the Doc. I did but, our doc was on vacation. I would have to bring her in to see the partner. Only trusting her own doc she told me she would hang on for the next week. By the time that week was up she was completely changed. Like a miracle! She was happy, social, less irritable, more in control. She even invited people over-something she has never done! She told the doc she was at a 2 and now she’s a 9. Turned out she just needed that extra week. She has had no side effects other than a decreased appetite, some sweating, and a headache once when she skipped her dose. It is worth giving some time for the medicine to take hold. After 2 years of trying different meds, it is awesome to see how happy my daughter is now. Thanks Pristiq!

  73. Just finished reading everyone’s posts…wow…lots of stuff going on. For me, I can tell you that I have been on Pristiq for 6 days and can already tell that its working. I had a stress related/panic attack at work and was sent to the emergency room for high blood pressure. The ER doctor treated me and sent me to a GP –that’s where I learned of the rx. Since then, I have probably lost about 8 pounds…I make myself eat because I really have no appetite. But, I’m ok with that. Also, starting on the 4th day I started feeling like my myself. I can only hope that this continues. I have so much energy and really am thankful for the dr who helped me. One thing that is bothersome is a constant headache BUT thats such a small thing compared to the tremendous stress I was under. Good Luck to everyone.

  74. I wanted to try to help with my comments here. Pristiq, and other anti-depressents, are not treatments for bi-polar illness in general, but for the depression part of it. It is to treat the symptoms, not to mean the person has depression.

    Likewise, lower dosages of some bi-polar medications can be helpful for people with long-term, stubborn depression. This is almost always a small dosage meant to “boost” the original antidepressant. It doesn’t mean the person has bi-polar illness.

    I have been diagnosed with long-term, atypical depression and tried many typical antidepressants. Like a great deal of people they were helpful, but the side effects made resuming a normal life difficult (for me it was the “sexual side effect” that made orgasm & arousal difficult).

    I’ve been very happy with Pristiq — it is the first antidepressant with so little side effects!! However, for me personally, it is not as strong as Effexor, and I am working my way through different meds to “boost” it and get to enough relief. My doctor doesn’t want to give me more than 200 mg.

    Well, just my experience than Pristiq can be great if your primary thing is you have really annoying side affects with Effexor or similar drugs. Also, 37.5 mg isn’t enough to do anything (although this worked well for a petite, female friend). Boosting is common, it is okay if the drug works decently but “not enough”, you have other choices.

    Thank you all so much for you community spirit and sharing you comments, much love.

  75. Pristiq in not indicated for Bi-polar. If you are taking this drug get off it. It is contraindicated for mania.

  76. i have taken Effexor XR – 75mg most of the time – for four or five years now after unsuccessfully trying many other things. I have an undetermined “mood disorder” – has not been identified as bipolar or depression. I had been feeling great and decided the RX was getting too expensive (I pay cash now) so my pdoc and I mutually agreed that I was fine to stop the Effexor XR. After a VERY GRUELING withdrawal that lasted over a month, I mean I didn’t know if I could make it through, those withdrawal feelings finally went away. I was so sure at that point that I would NEVER take Effexor again, after such an awful time getting off of it.

    Now, three months later, I am again depressed and extremely anxious. Wondering if I am truly over the withdrawal? Can it take longer than most think? I wake up with a stabbing sensation in my gut (right below my two ribs in front) and dread at getting out of bed. I can’t eat and have lost 10 lbs. Everything in every moment is hard to do. I meditate, take vitamins, exercise most days at least 30-60min, and have been trying everything I know possible to alleviate this depression/anxiety pain.

    To be certain, lIfe circumstances are changing, stressors are rising, my dog of 17 years died, and I need a job. So, I called my doctor to tell her I think I need to go back on the Effexor XR. I went in to see her today and she very strongly suggested I begin taking Pristiq. She said it’s just like Effexor – same stuff – and it’s free because she has samples. I started today with my first 50mg. I am suspicious of the “free” aspect of this medication. So far my side effects are as follows: dry mouth, sore throat, blurry vision, extreme diarrhea/gas, sweating, trembles, and a constant dull head ache. But guess what – the stabbing sensation in my gut went away.

    From some posts here it sounds like the withdrawal is just as bad as that of coming off of Effexor XR? Would this be accurate? I do need something. Don’t know if I should just go back to Effexor, which is about to be or is now cheaper now that it will be generic, or if this Pristiq is truly better or worth taking – it’s free today, but when the samples run out…… how tied to this med will I be?

    Love and blessings to all of you who are trying so hard. Keep the faith.

  77. I forgot to mention that Effexor XR is the only medication I take – have sworn off xanax because it usually just adds depression when the effects wear off. any wise words are welcome.

    thank you all for your posts, you are inspiring to me.

  78. Okay, update. Took the first and LAST Pristiq ever. I was up all night. Fell asleep, then, 45 min later, awoke to full blown panic attacks – over and over all night. had 5 -6 panic attacks where could not breath, sweaty, extremely panicked and wanted to call 911 but I knew it was just panic attacks so I roughed through it. I will never take this again. I don’t remember ever having this side effect from Effexor XR.

  79. I have Fibromyalgia (FM) also causing my depression.

    I’ve been on Pristiq since 9/2/09. No bad side-effects. Slight change in my depression.

    However, PAIN RELIEF!! I was taking Vicodin 2-3x’s daily from excruciating lower back pain from the Fibro. I would have to say that 99% of that pain is gone. Too much rain here in FLA gave me a few days of discomfort, but rain has cleared up & I’m feeling ok now.

  80. I just have to share my daughters story with you all. When she was 5 she started having episodes of panic but at the time I was going through a panic disorder myself and didn”t recognize hers…sadly. When she was in elementary and junior high it was almost impossible for her to get through the day. She would cling to me, cry not to go and I tried helping her every way I knew how. Finally a dr. put her on Zoloft when she was 11. She took it for about 2 mths and was doing better when I weaned her off. She did much better for a few yrs and then in her late teens it hit her hard. She cryed all the time, mood swings were terrible, she was scared of dieing and wasn”t functioning normally. She began to seem VERY suicidal and at this point I knew if someone didn”t help her she may very well take her life. Maybe you believe in God or maybe not but I am a christian and I believe through many hrs of prayer and tears God helped us find a christian Dr. He sat with her for a few minutes evaluating her and just REALLY listening, giving her the time she needed to explain what she was going through. He said she had GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) and prescribed Pristiq to her and also anxiety med. She is like a different person now. She is tired first thing in the morning after taking her meds but in a couple of hours she begins to feel more alert and herself. I firmly believe this medication saved me from going to my daughters funeral instead of one day going to her wedding. The only side effect she is experiencing now is recently she is having drenching night sweats and crazy dreams. I believe her hormones are out of sorts from the meds so she is going to have bloodwork done to check. She has been on Pristiq for about 1 yr now. She finally found something and someone to help her get her life back. Yes, I do worry about side effects since it is so new. I wish we knew more about it in that area. God Bless you all and just take it minute by minute, day by day.

  81. It took a long time and a lot of patience to titrate off of 300mg Effexor SR while titrating up on Pristiq. Having gone off of Effexor one time in the past, I am convinced that carefully and slowly decreasing the amount of Effexor is the only way to get through the terrible withdrawal effects. I was originally on 200mg Pristiq but have reduced the dosage to 100mg day one; 50mg day two, etc. I guess it is working. My suicidal thoughts are somewhat abated but my focus and extreme exhaustion stay with me as does anger and immagination (real or fantasy?) of betrayals. Someone mentioned sleeping 20 hours. I do that some days after taking the Pristiq along with 40mg dexedrine SR, and Nuvigil. The only thing that keeps me awake is Adderol during the day. I still have little or no focus and spend hours lost somewhare in my mind. I feel exercise would help but cannot get going. I have had major depression all my life (almost 67 now) and it is in my family. I am seeing it in my sons but coming out as anxiety. My dad was clinically depressed until he died at 90. It is an insidious disease that too many see as a personal failing. “Just try harder–get over it.” I even feel that it is a personal failing that I should be able to gut through even though my intellect tells me otherwise.

  82. I want to thank the people who gave me encouragement when I first posted in late August.

  83. Hi everyone. I’m into my 3rd week of taking Pristiq for depression and anxiety. I tried Cymbalta but had terrible side effects. So far I’m still not feeling too good but am feeling better off the Cymbalta. All your comments have been extremely helpful and I hope I have as much success on the Pristiq as some of you have had.

  84. I have never been on effexor but have been on Pristiq since Dec. 08. I have PTSD, major depressive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorder and personality dissasociative disorder. This medication has worked wonders for me and am starting to rebuild my life. It did take a few weeks for it to start working though. I have been on 7 different antidepressants, two of which has caused suicidal tendencies. I am on medicaid and now they are saying that they will not cover Pristiq and I have to start taking effexor. I take 50 mg 2x a day and me and my docotrs all feel that this change could be deadly. If approximately 300mg of effexor equals 50mg of pristiq that would mean I would have to take about 600mg of effexor. Wow that is a lot of pills to take and since they are not time released the effect will not be the same. Also from what I have read Pristiq’s chemical makeup has a natural sedative in it and from what I have read Effexor does not. Not only will I have to take like 6 pills a day of effexor with the major side effects and effects happening at once I will have to go on sedatives, so more pills, also which is not time released. So at least 3 times a day I will not be able to function depending on when and how often I will have to take the sedatives. Now this will mean that the progress I have made will be gone and I will turn into a zombie with vertually no chance of becomming functional again. And that’s if I don’t become suicidal and try to kill myself again. Ok so does anyone have an alternative to this change because I don’t.

  85. I just switch from Effexor to Pristiq because the weight gain was so horrible. It has been a few weeks and I do not notice anything significantly different. Although I feel like my appetite has increased! I am really, really hoping to lose the weight from effexor! What has been everyone’s experience with weight once on Pristiq?

    Second thing- I have come to find, after a long journey through the jungle of antidepressants, that you cannot rely on any pill to be your refuge. Now, I feel antidepressants help me greatly, but I have learned that I need to create a web of self-care particularly involving exercise, diet (Omega-3 pills are said to really help with depression), regular meditation/relaxation, and other coping skills. I highly recommend the book “The Mindful Way through Depression” by John Kabbat-Zinn and colleagues.

    To offer some hope through all this, you may not feel totally in control of your body and its chemicals, but remember that you do have some power to influence it through activities like exercise, diet and of course the belief that you do indeed have the strenght of mind of alter some things (this is why placebos are always needed in any study). So good luck and keep on staying on top of the research b/c we are always discovering new ways to help combat depression and anxiety (many of which are not through psychotropics).

  86. Wow. Finally found a versatile compilation of experiences to compare. Again, the on every different med for 17 years. Tried a couple of other classes, Remeron made me morbidly hallucinate, Risperdal gave me a prolactima (brain tumor on pituitary glad, had one D cup boob and one C cup, having implants, the D was impressive but not when it’s only ONE and stopped menstrating) So that didn’t work. Was on Effexxor for a year, added in Wellbutrin when it started to droop. Also on Buspar and Amitriptyline. Major depression diagnoses. Most recent trial was Topamax. Lasted the 8 weeks, lost my boyfriend, almost my job, went through a fourth facial reconstruction surgery in mental hell, lost all of my friends (who suddenly decided I was a horrible shallow vain user of a person after being friends for years. And that I wasn’t “fun” anymore for the last year, hmmm I broke my FACE in three places, who WOULD be fun?) and became a hermit. Now, the Topamax is gone, the boyfriend slept with someone else so when I started acting like “me” again, I found out and I am back to square one, alone except for my online diary friends, and one friend that has stuck through this.
    I digress. I recently FINALLY got to see a psychiatrist. He affirmed it is not bi-polar, it is major/clinical depression. The Wellbutrin was removed when I did the Topamax. I had previously reduced my Effexor (SPEAKING OF WHICH I DON’T GET THE INSURANCE ISSUE. ONLY EFFEXXOR XR IS NOT COVERED. I TAKE GENERIC EFFEXXOR TWICE A DAY AND IS CHEAP. ASK ABOUT IT, I HAD NO DIFFERENCE FROM XR) to as low as half a 75 mg day and night with never a withdrawal. Was up to one and half morning and night when I saw the Psych, after getting off the Topamax, to try and keep my spirits up through surgery and other problems
    He also decided to try Pristiq. I have now realized I think I am causing my OWN withdrawal problems. Because I never had reduction problems before, I dropped one pill per dose weekly. The first week on Pristiq, he had me take half a pill and reduce half a dose each morning night of Effexor. I am to titrate down one pill per week on Effexor and second week am now at one 50 mg Pristiq in the a.m. I dropped my morning pill instead of halfing morning and night and this week has been HELL.
    I have gotten to the point of uncontrollable crying by the end of the day, I have Valium and Xanax for stress and NEITHER touches this. I obsess on my recent losses and the effects on my life from the most recent surgery. I have no energy, no motivation. The first week I was doing really great in the day, (taking Pristiq in the morning) but now, this week it is getting worse and worse. Night before last I was so torn up about all the recent losses in my life I was vomiting. Any idea how bad it hurts to barf with a broken face? Only one month out from a huge metal plate being drilled into your jaw? Yeah, rough week.
    ANYWAYS, sorry I am rambling, I am putting as much out there as possible to help anyone that I can, and to get feedback that I can, because I am scared and this time, mostly alone.
    What I am feeling today, is that ONE *I* messed up the downward titration. I am picking up a refill for my Effexor at lunch because I work 20 miles from home and will immediately switch to half a tab am/pm. When my psych calls me back, I am going to ask about the Pristiq in the morning or night. I think mornings are working okay, except for combined with the withdrawals this week.
    Honestly, I feel that I am simply removing the Effexor because after one week at half, and almost a week at 50 on Pristiq, I am only getting worse rather than better. BUT, again, if I stuck out 8 weeks of total hell on Topamax, I can give Pristiq a couple weeks, once I get the Effexor titration back on track I hope this off center, half fuzzy, pseudo me feeling will back off, along with the crying jags, the self-pity, obsession with things I have lost and have no control over and constant negativity.
    I HAVE found that reading and trying to follow some Buddhism ways of thinking are greatly helpful, when I can make myself focus enough to do it. They actually focus on so many of my issues related to my depression it is uncanny, but when in a state like right now, I am unable to reach out to anything helpful because I am too mired in my own fear and negativity.
    I will be checking back because I really want to see how many of you do that are checking back in, and myself as well and am beyond glad I found somewhere with more than 1 or 3 posts on what someone went through, as well as the variety of reasons for people being switched.
    If you are losing your Effexor XR because of insurance, ASK about the generic. A pill twice a day is better than losing something that gives you your life back.

  87. I’m like the other poster; just my first day after taking Pristiq. I feel different. It’s a little strange after being the way I have been since my mom died, i haven’t taken an anti-d in seven or eight years. Wondering if this will last. i am going to my first social event tonight in months. I hope this works for me; the last year and a half have been friggin’ horrific, I’m just not the old me that I used to love being.

  88. Pristiq is the best ad I have taken and I’ve been on them all. I used to have panic attacks in work meetings and now I don’t. It is a lifesaver.

  89. I have been on Pristiq for 3 months now and I love it but for some reason it does not seem to be helping with my depression as much as it was. Before nothing could make me cry but now I am having crying spells. Has this happened to anyone taking Pristiq? Does the dosage need to be increase? Anyone know about this?

  90. Jennifer,
    I have not had any weight gain on Pristiq and I have been on it 3 months. However, like you, my appetite has increase tremendously but it is very, very, odd that I have not gained any weight at all. I eat like a horse but do not gain any weight. It has been a life saver for me although I do feel that it is not helping as much as it was with the depression. It might be because of the time change and lack of sunshine and the holidays get me down because I am single and do not have a boyfriend. My children are grown and holidays are split with ex-husband and his wife and their other inlaws. That might be my problem right now. Teri

  91. @ Teri —

    I found this site by Googling. I have been on Pristiq sample packs since 7/21 and my doc ran out of sample and gave me a month supply of generic effexor and I am concerned because it causes weight gain ?… whereas, i have lost 10 lbs over 3 months .. if you look a at the chemical compound.. the word DEV does not appear in the generic effexor .. wonder if the dev is some extra chemical .. kind of ‘speed’ lol. I feel the same way you do .. Great for two mos and over the last month I feel lately kind of emotional and when that happens I feel the tears .. which as a guy i frickin hate BUT and i noticed when i drank a bit of alcohol .. it kind of wore down the pristiq power. But i feel it has sort of worn off a bit . Also I noticed it is getting harder to wake up in the morning… I get 6-7 hours of sleep and I just want to sleep sleep.. First time AD user… 31 yrs young.. maybe the 30 thing hit…

  92. HUGE difference between generic Effexor and Pristiq. Total different absorption rate and side effects. I am now OFF of the Efexxor, took over a month because of side effects and on the Pristiq 50 mg morning and night. Like I used to take the Effexor. Being in the 5th or 6th week now, just Friday I started feeling different. I do not know if it is the med finally kicking in, or just an upward flow, but I haven’t cried or gotten really angry all weekend. THAT is surprising. And I’m awake all day, though part of that is the Provigil. Usually when I start a new med, I notice the changes within days. But this one I was WORSE within days. Now my fingers are crossed that MAYBE there is a chance Pristiq might do it for a while……………even my libido is working a little bit, and that is a lot more than before. 😉

  93. I’m a non-biased biochemist by training and education. He says his comment wasn’t tainted by any conflict of interest as a drug rep, but my opinion is definitely uncensored,blunt, and totally honest.

    About Pristiq vs. Effexor: Venlafaxine is a chiral drug compound. What does this mean? As an example, our right(D-) and left(L-) hands are mirror images of each other that cannot be superimposed to appear identical. Effexor is a blend of D and L-venlafaxine. They figured out how to purify the D form of the drug away from the L- form. Pristiq is pure D-venlafaxine. The D- and L- forms of venlafaxine are mirror images of each other just like our hands are. Each form of the drug can have very different effects on our mind and body though. If we were to substitute the protein in our diets with D-amino acids instead of the natural L-amino acids, we would be unable to metabolize it and would become malnourished. Depending on each individual person’s metabolism, some people might be able to interconvert the L-venlafaxine in Effexor to the D-venlafaxine form. Other people might be unable to do this efficiently. They say Pristiq is better at lower doses. It is possible that the people who do better on Effexor are unable to convert L-venlafaxine into D-venlafaxine. Effectively, they are on low-dose Pristiq. If someone is fine on Effexor, switching to Pristiq shouldn’t be better unless the L-venlafaxine in Effexor is causing negative side-effects. My wife’s on Effexor and a beta blocker for her mitral valve prolapse heart condition, and I’m on Pristiq for help with anxiety/depression.

    I have been on Pristiq for a little over three months. Independently, my wife, kids, and myself have noticed huge improvements. I’m on Adderall for ADD too (been taking for the past six years since being a grad student in a research lab). I’ve noticed that my blood pressure and heart rate went up on the Pristiq. My doc tried me on Lexapro and I HATED it and was back on Pristiq in about a week.

    I was having insomnia at night and irritability and anxiety during the days. Waking up was extremely difficult prior to beginning the Pristiq. I am the type of person who will try everything under the sun to modify my lifestyle or behavior to “treat” or “cure” emotional and personal problems. Depression and ADD are both hereditary in my family, but I was able to avoid the need for an anti-depressant until after exhausting all of my options and resources and turning age 32. My wife has been trying to get me onto an anti-depressant for a couple of years.

    Pros: I’m a kinder, less irritable, less volatile father and husband. I sleep better. I wake better. I have definitely been helped with my anxiety by this. I have not been a zombie on this

    Cons (the bad and ugly of Pristiq): I disagree with the drug rep who said cognitive side effects haven’t been observed. Really?!? I went from having the memory of an elephant to not being able to remember where I dropped the toilet paper after I wiped my butt in the bathroom. I felt like I was going crazy for a while. I have to take special care to do things like remember where I parked, remember where I left something, remember everything I was at the store to buy. To compound my memory problems, we moved into a new house just prior to my starting Pristiq. I felt helpless until I finally got my garage re-organized. I ended up just buying some new tools until I found the ones I had misplaced or couldn’t find. Crazy because I never had that problem before. That may not seem like much to a drug rep, but it annoys the hell out of me. I have had to work very hard to counter the worsened short-term memory.

    About when and whether ANY antidepressant might become the appropriate to start taking:

    Please consider the following issues. I will say that if your life or personal choices are the underlying reason for you’re depression, taking the meds won’t help worth a lick. These meds aren’t magic pills that should be turned to unless they are your last resort. Improve your life by improving decisions. If you find there are factors that are beyond what you can control, influence, and/or avoid (ie. job environment) then give these meds another look. That is how I saw them. I hope I don’t have to be on this even after my stressful work environment improves. Two big reasons I resisted taking anti-depressants were the zombie effect, loss of cognitive function, and the withdrawal problems everyone experiences when stopping an anti-depressant. Again, I don’t want to be on this my whole life!!!

    In the event that there is a disruption in the availability of a drug because of economic or weather-related disturbances, what do people plan to do if they are all of a sudden without their magical anti-depressant? If someone is going to choose to start one of these drugs, I’d recommend gradually adding an emergency stash of it as you are able. Just explain that to your doctor. Your insurance won’t cover your surplus meds though. That would have to be out-of-pocket.

    Verdict: I am grateful for Pristiq. I find myself more like I was before I became anxious, tense, and depressed. I’m a nicer, kinder, more balanced person on Pristiq. I don’t know if I’d have been functional enough to complete my PhD without this medicine. I seriously doubt it.

    • Thankyou! Great information. I’ve also found information: noradrenaline levels are relatively higher with Pristiq than Effexor. From what you’ve described I suspect that could be the objective and may be different for different people. Also the patient context impacts enormously on the capacity of each patient to metabolise and respond well to therapies. (existing life stresses, generalised health state, duration and intensity of emotional disturbance, degree of internalised feelings and capacity for effective expression of emotional state coupled with comfort from friends, family and good support systems e.g. counselling, doctor)
      I’ve also been diagnosed adult ADHD (incorrectly treated in the past as bipolar – dreadful!), also hereditary chronic depression and hypothyroidism (both sides of family), also academic background in bio med, unable to manage working for a living on a sustainable basis all my life and eventually diagnosed long term PTSD, especially bad following last psychiatric hospitalisation in the 80s.
      I totally agree that Pristiq turns a sharp brain (even if over active from anxiety and caffeine) into fuzziness. It got better over the weeks. I did better on half dose Pristiq (cut tablet in half under Dr’s ok) at night then progressed to full dose and then switched to morning when no more side effects. At 5 – 6 weeks good now, happy and coping better each day.
      You’re absolutely right: Pristiq doesn’t “fix” life problems. It does provide better “raw materials” (for me that was much needed noradrenalin) to be able to remember what I’ve learned and apply it to solve my life issues and problems (plenty of problems). What I experienced was a reconnection effect within: my sense of being split in different directions dissolved, I started to be able to feel my feelings rather than observing what my body was doing to get information on how I might be feeling. Some of the increased energy might be due to both the elevated noradrenalin, internal adrenal reaction to the change (disturbance of homeostasis), “connection” of cognitive brain to subsconscious memories (I had lots of wake in fright “horrors” in first 2 weeks), emotions being blocked then unblocked (ADHD + rage = physical activity) and not responding to personal biochemical signals e.g. stopping caffeine and other stimulants. Alcohol is out – I learned that years ago on Parnate (MAOI) – a tiny amount makes me dopey. Apart from Avanza when my father died, my partner was in intensive care, friends and family seemed suddenly to be treating me as the enemy in their grief and I was first time resourcing and managing a building site!) I haven’t been on anything like Pristiq since the 80s. It’s brilliant, I can feel how I feel, I can politely communicate this to others and let them have whatever they’re having about it without emotionally rescuing them, I act out how I feel less, I’m much calmer and I can do complex financial investigation and attend to legal matters without the years long fear of overwhelm, abandonment and grief. I wish I’d had Pristiq years ago – I would have been able to attend to business myself, felt less like a hopeless victim of my own “success”, done less harm to myself and my finances and not be facing potential bankruptcy at the end of my stretch of seriously wrong treatment of depression and PTSD (my fault: I kept trying to use natural therapies at great expense to keep it all together.)
      A clear picture of myself ending up in hospital following a major financial shock 2 months ago followed by a slow onset physical and mental “breakdown” triggered the realisation that I couldn’t “fix” this one alone and I didn’t have the luxury of time to sit at home and go through the recovery. I needed to act fast to do whatever I could to avoid bankruptcy. My doctor,cousellor and naturopath all understood that and offered no opposition, thank goodness!
      I think having a trusted professional to work through the emotional reactions and reassure us while we’re making the adjustment is essential.
      I’m not yet back to socialising comfortably but at such an early stage of recovery with so much on my plate I’m letting myself ease into that when I feel like it without guilt.
      You’ve given me hope. I would like to complete my PhD and have a lot on my “bucket list”. I’ve missed out on so many of “normal” life experiences owing to the anxiety depression and having anxious and depressed parents worrying about me too. They’ve passed on now and it looks like it might be possible for the “real” me to use what I’ve struggled to learn over the years and create something great out of my life and my experiences.
      First I have to overcome the fear and underperformance that has beset me in the workplace and find something lucrative to do asap to have the money to keep the wolf from the door. I’m just managing on extended credit, asking those who have exploited my kindness(with my permission) and borrowed from me to be responsible and pay me back asap. Standing up for myself and asking for money back in my timeframe are very new experiences.
      Thankyou for sharing your knowledge :-)

    • This comment/information was more helpful to me than all the vague crap I’ve been told since I started these types of meds for PTSD.

      I’ve been on nearly everything and through extremely difficult bouts of trial and error have finally ended up on Pristiq. I noticed a huge positive change within the first 10 days, I also take Temazepam at night to help with sleep. I have a little break-thru anxiety occasionally, which I have managed to control without additional meds. I noticed the weight loss benefit initially, but it seemed to taper off pretty quickly. The biggest and most definitely problematic side effect I’ve been suffering is short term memory. Why is it that NO ONE would tell me that it could be from the Pristiq?? I have been feeling like a total freak! My ability to return to my previous line of work was obviously affected by PTSD, but now that I’ve got that managable – its being affected by my inability to remember what the hell I’m doing.

      Current bigger issue.. I lost health insurance but dont qualify for public health assistance. The cost of Pristiq out of pocket is pretty high and I’m a single mother who just cant afford it. I’m being told that I can go back to Effexor, which is ‘basically the same thing, and way cheaper’. The savings is appealing, but I’m worried about going back to ‘not quite normal’. Not to mention a possibility of weight gain. Sorry, but I’m having control issues, and bordering an eating disorder – I cannot lose control of at least that!

      Sooooo.. thank you for this comment/info & confirming to me that my memory issues can indeed be coming from the Pristiq, & explaining simply the difference between the ‘D & L’.

    • I’ve been taking Pristiq since 2009. At first I was great on it, I felt so positive and energetic, that I was wondering if this has some kind of speed like chemical in it. Btw, i never did any kind of illegal drugs in my life of 41 yo. I lost enough weight to feel even better about myself, and I enjoyed my kids and my job a lot better. I didn’t care about the excessive sweating, the bad taste in my mouth, the frequent heart palpitations that continue to this day, the short term memory loss… yet, I must say that was the most anoying and complex side effect to deal with. Then I had a lot of stressors in my life, all at once, among which a move to a different state, an hour away from my work and from my mother, who is my earthly rock in my time of need, and the person I trust with my and my kid’s lives. Plus, lots of personal and immigration issues, that thank God are finally over, after 20 yrs. So, the Pristiq stopped working. I asked the Dr. for more, she lied to me and stated there is no higher dosage, and instead she priscribed Buspar twice a day, with the 50 mg of Pristiq. I thought I was going to sleep my way out of this world and die in my sleep. I stopped taking both of the drugs, at once. You can imagine that I became the shrew from hell, and everyone around me tried to avoid me. I returned to my long lost love, food, and I gained 30 lbs in a matter of three months, that I managed to stay off of the drugs. I went to hell and back, took my husband with me too, he himself having a lot of depression and anxiety issues, manifested in domestic violence and all kinds of aggressive ways of expressing our frustrations with each other, to the point of being threatened by cops that one of us is going to jail next time they have to answer a call to our house. That was the turning point for me. I started taking the Pristiq again, and the veil of darkness lifted off once more. I slowly started taking the Buspar, only once a day, twice only in extremely irritable days, and now I feel better once again, 30 lbs later, and having lived through an experience that tought me a valuable lesson: meds are important, but they do make one dependent on them, just like any other addiction, except, in my case, they have a positive effect that outweighs the negatives.

  94. GregRogers at 8:56 am on March 5th, 2008
    “There is an awful lot of money spent on these drugs to essentially just get the placebo effect. Ironically, if the drugs weren’t approved and prescribed, I guess nobody would get the placebo effect, because they wouldn’t be prescribed anything.”

    I imagine, though, that it would be illegal to sell placebo’s as an effective method of improving depression? What madness.”

    I agree with that “placebo effect” of taking something prescribed and if in the second paragraph you said that the drugs could do worse (“improving depression”) I would say that they could do more harm by making one behave like a real psychopath (and do not realize that) when under their influence!
    I did “my duty” and tried four different anti-depressive drugs with distance in time and respecting all the indication thinking that they could help at least as a placebo; At the first one I stopped after a week when I noticed that I became aggressive, other drugs had different bad effects… The last time I said okay I have to stay on one drug for longer time; I resisted for 5 months *without any improvements but I thought “it’s maintenance” till I got worse than before. and I was attracted attention upon an another strange behaviour. So no more drugs of this type for me! We have a joke (I have just interrupted my last anti-depressive, an “effexor” class): “A psychotic believes that 2+2=5; a neurotic knows that 2+2=4 but that’s annoying him.” I sincerely prefer to die neurotic than behaving like a psychopath from now on :-)

  95. I have been on Prestiq for a few weeks. It does seem to help with depression and I like the side effect of decreased appetite, but did experience an unusual nosebleed where it soaked through almost a whole roll of paper towels. I have not had a nosebleed since I was 9 (I’m 43 now) and I have not bled like that since before my hysterectomy due to really heavy periods. When I donate blood, I tend to be a fast donor who can fill it in 3 minutes. I think this drug can be really dangerous for those with bleeding issues to begin with.

  96. I was given an RX from my OB for Pristiq to help with PMS symptoms (???), have never been on any kin of anxiety or antideprescents before. after 6 months of taking 50mg I realized I wasn’t sleeping more the 4 hours a night, I was so tense I would be unable to unclench my hands. I was also having a hard time getting along at work, actual inability to do simple routine functions and being paranoid about my co-workers. I called the doc to see how to get off. His nurse called back and said just start taking a half a pill at first and then every other day. I questioned her about the half pill thing because it says on the bottle “do not alter this pill” I believe it is a time-released issue. She said it would be ok, but I told her I wouldn’t do it until she checked back with the doc. The new instructions were every other day for two week and then every two days etc. Getting off has been HELL, I now see why it is so hard for illegal drug users to get over an addiction. Because I get up in the morning and do a dance on days I get to take a pill. I am on week 6 of the plan and still having symptoms.

    I asked about side effects and was told they would be the same as when I got on them – I didn’t notice any side effects getting on them – so I thought this would be a snap. Wrong. I did not find any examples of withdrawal symptoms on Wyeths website for Pristiq, but here is what I have been going thru. Severe dizziness, unable to drive or at times walk without falling. Electrical zapping noises in my head, irridation and anxiety beyond anything I’ve ever known and most frightening to me are symptoms of unstable blood sugar count. I have a very large history of insulin dependent type 2 diabeties in my family; although the majority of us are not over-weight.

    I bet next time me and my husband will just learn to live with the PMS, cause that was nothing compared to what we are living with now.

    I couldn’t believe what I have been reading today, I feel very sorry for those who are trying to come off of any of these types of drugs. It sounds like they all have some kind of bad withddrawal issues. There should be a law that says people should be informed about those problems along with side-effects while taking the drugs. Good luck to all of you.

  97. My answer may be in the long list of comments above but frankly I don’t have the time to read each one. My question is simple …. Is a side effect of Effexor weight gain? I’ve been on Cymbalta for about a year and have gained 50 lbs. No, it’s not because I’m overeating and I’m on a treadmill at least 3 x week. I don’t need another reason to be depressed!!! One doctor wants to put me on Effoxor, another on Pristiq. I’m all for taking the one which does not have weight gain as a side effect. Can any rep clue me in on this????

  98. Been using Pristiq for nine days now. It came on VERY strong at first (day 2). It was great! (And I’ve been through them all.) Then yesterday (day 8) I detected the beginnings of a poop-out. At first, Pristiq had dissolved all my suicidal thoughts, made me happy to work, and got me up in the morning with a spring in my step. I fear now that we’re going back to poop-out land. Let me know if you get the same.

  99. I have been on pristique for about two months. It has helped. I’ve taken Lexapro and gained weight taken Cymbalta which insurance decided not to cover welbutrin worked but added to my hand tremor I already have. My problem isn’t so much depression but irritability and agression. The pristique takes away the tremor and helps with irritability but I seem to be eating more and have gained five pounds. I’m going to ask my Dr. if he can prescribe something in addition to help with weight gain.

  100. I have been on Pristiq for the first time for almost 2 weeks now after taking Celexa for 2 months.. The reason for the switch in medicine is because I think Celexa did something to my auditory nerves that has been preventing me from wearing my hearing aide and the ringing is horrible… So, there’s been no change with Pristiq except I haven’t started my period and I have always been clock work.. It’s freaking me out and I would like to start soon and yes, I had one or 2 days of breakthrough bleeding, but nothing else… If you ask me, I don’t like Pristiq.. I would much prefer to take Celexa since it keeps me very calm and mellow.. Pristiq gets me too riled up and moody..

  101. ever since ive taken pristique i have started wetting the bed.do you know why this would happen ?

  102. I am 40 yrs old and I have been suffering w/depression for many yrs. I have taken many differnt drugs for help, however no long term relief w/little side effects.

    I have taken Pristiq for 4 months, along w/going to counseling once a week and I FEEL GREAT! I am much happier and enjoying interacting w/my family and friends.

    For new users go into this w/a open mind. Talk to your doctor and find a good Therpist.COUNSELING and MEDICATION works.

    God Bless!

  103. I have a huge delimma on my hands!!My husband has taken Effexor for a long time and one day we went to the dr. and i had told him to tell her to possibly change meds cuz he is on the edge all the time. Then she changed him to Pristique but it didnt seem to work as well…then she changed him to the generic/brand name whichever venlafaxine hcl 150’s and now all he does is cry and it’s been over a month on this drug. HE thinks he’s going thru mid-life crisis. I somewhat believe this but with changing meds around the same time I DON’T KNOW! I hate seeing him this way and We called the dr. and all she wants to do is up the doseage! HELP ME!! I feel like i’m living with a child and I don’t like seeing him this way!

  104. Hi all,

    I have a read a number of your posts and I would like to add to this body of knowledge what I have been told. I have been on AD’s for 10 years with the addition of Klonopin for anxiety. I was switched from Effexor XR to Pristiq like many others. I had no bad effects switching.. the Psych told me that Pristiq is the same as Effexor but it is the drug that the liver converts effexor into.. so it is easier on the liver and requires a lower dosage because of the losses in the liver conversion. Effexor is an HCI and pristiq is not. I have not noticed any change in side effects from Effexor. I still carry the wieght even though I work to lose it.. I still have the same sexual side effects.. no more or less.. I have not noticed any change in my depression or anxiety between the 2 drugs.. If you tolerate Effexor well you should have no problems with Pristiq since it is essentially the same drug in your system.

    The only real change I have seen from Pristiq is that I cannot get out of bed. I am Ok once I am up .. but getting up is almost impossible. I sleep 12 hours on the weekends. I have never felt this tired and fatigued except on Trazadone. I think that maybe the pristiq is too much for me at the 50mg dosage. Maybe my liver didnt convert the Effexor as efficiently therefore leaving me with a lower dosage. I will look into this.

    My biggest warning is the effect both AD’s have on your blood pressure! I have always been 120/80. since starting effexor and now Prisitq I am 150/110!! I take double dosages of BP medicine and it is still not controlled. I may have to stop the AD to bring my BP down and save my life! When I read that high BP was a side effect I didnt realize the magnitude it would reach. Have your BP checked regularly on these AD’s.. If you have ringing in the ears as I do it may be because of high BP.

    I wish you all the best
    Tom

  105. Very interesting article on anti-depressants. If it’s 100mg, then it means that it is kind of risky to those other people who are in lower dosage of anti-depressant. I think that patients should seek advice to their doctors before drinking this medicine. I am sure this kind of drug has good and bad effects on our body.

  106. I have been on different meds trying to get one right to help with my anxiety and depression. I had stopped taking meds all together for about a year and a half. I come to the realization that it’s probably something that I am going to have to be on for the rest of my life. I was on 300mg of Effexor XR w/ 200 mg of Zoloft and 20 mg of Atenolol which is a stagefright med to offset the side effects of the effexor. It seemed to work well with that combo, but then as the stresses in my life reduced, I didn’t need to take all of those at once anymore. I was weened off the meds all together. Last year is when I realized that I had to be back something when my emotions were uncontrollable: anxiety attacks and crying often. I was first placed on the Pristiq at50mg. It seemed to be okay, but didn’t notice much difference. I went on the generic form of Effexor, venlafaxine. I was motivated, had a regular sleep schedule but my emotions were completely numb. I also noticed my weight being consistent and the normal weight i’ve had for years. The side effects were awful though. I was very jittery, was nervous in large crowds, nervous meeting others and would get my tongue tied and my voice would shake in a new environment. This has never happened before. I have always been a social butterfly, thriving in large crowds and enjoyed meeting new people. Now, for about 4 months now, I have been on the Pristiq at 100mg. I cry when it’s appropriate, my mood is constant and life’s stresses that may arrive, are handled properly; however, now I sleep excessively, not motivated to work out, my weight is all over the board on a monthly basis, and I am having a hard time concentrating. Is it the generic form of Effexor that made me feel so nervous and jittery? I have thought about asking my psyc dr to add 37.5 mg of Effexor XR to see if I can get back on a routine schedule of my personal duties, motivated to do the things I want to do, and back on a normal sleep schedule. I was only taking 75mg of the generic. Has that combo worked for anyone?

  107. hi my name is jackie and im 21 years old and i have been depressed and medicated since the age of 13.
    i was on effexor and didnt know what a good thing i had!!!
    switched to cymbalta, HELLISH. was drinking 3 or more energy drinks a day and still sleeping 12 hours of more a night.
    So told my doc that i wanted back on effexor and she suggested pristiq.
    im on day 5 and its been up and down.
    i think today the anxiety is finally subsiding and the depression was gone within a few days.
    the side effects arent fun but im hopeful they will leave me in due time
    the worst have been: anxiety, heart racing and restlessness.
    i handle the physical better than the emotional side effects.
    so i have also had zero appetite for days and dizziness and diareaha(cant spell)
    i am trying to be hopeful on this med and hoping that because effexor worked so well for me pristiq will to.
    thanks for listening

  108. HI ALL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO WRITE YOUR COMMENTS. I AM 67 AND WAS JUST SWITCHED FROM EFFEXOR TO PRISTIG ONE MONTH AGO AND I REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHY. MY DOCTOR JUST SAID HE WANTED ME TO TRY IT AND HE THINKS I WILL LOVE IT. I WAS DOING WELL ON EFFEXOR FOR 3 YEARS. I THINK I MUST STILL BE GETTING ADJUSTED, BUT I REALLY FELT BETTER ON EFFEXOR. WHEN SOME OF YOU MENTION BRAIN ZAPPING, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? SOMETIMES WHEN I WOULD MISS A DAY OR SO OF THE EFFEXOR MY EYES WOULD SORT OF HAVE AJUMPING FEELING AND IT HAPPENED WHEN I WAS WEENING OFF OF THEM TO SRART TAKING PRESTIG. COULD THAT BE WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT BRAIN SNAPPING? WELL I GO TO MY DOC ON THURSDAY AND I WILL LET YOU KNOW WHAT HE SAYS.

  109. Wow, what a freaking ride I have been on. Started Effexor last year in March. It seemed to work pretty well, but still had the negative voice. Increased dose to 75mg and I was moody and agitated. Last August went to 150mg…..oh man, I thought I was bipolar- fast cycling and extreme agitation. I was ready to fight at any moment, I was on hyper alert. My senses were too activated I felt super human. Feeling over stimulated I could not manage my life. My house became unmanageable, exercise was too hard, life seemed impossible. I started to have chest and back pain, ucontrollable mood swings. I felt like I had had a mental break and didn’t even notice it! My Pdoc increased my med to 187.5mg and talk about all those symptoms just became more heightened. I had to have a EKG and cardiac panel, my heart rate was in the high 90’s. I had insomnia and was put on ambien to sleep. OMG, I was not like this before….severe depression- never extreme anxiety. I tappered of down to 37.5, not too many SE compaired to Lexapro. I am just pissed now- my life was sucked away and now I get to clean up the freaking mess of taking a medication that screwed up my braind chemicals- I didn’t think I was going to make it through. I would get home from work after being so over stimulated and I was unable to cook dinner for my kids, I would try and try and it felt like my brain just turned off and I would cry and cry and cry. I know this drug works well for some, but if you notice an agitation that wasn’t there before- proceed with caution! I am so afraid to step on the scale- none of my clothes are fitting me- I ran 4 miles yesterday. I am not going to let some drug take over my life again!

  110. Wyeth should be investigated by the FDA. If not sued in a class action suit.

    If anyone thinks the withdrawal effects from long term use(more than 6 moths)of the drug does not pose any long term effects to the cognitive function is direly mistaken.

    The brain saps as doctors and nurses claim to be not serious are very serious and also the effects this drug can have on heart can be fatal.

    The brain saps is a part of your brain looking for serototinin that it’s not producing there for it cause extra stress on multiple beta reciptors and also ruins for pineal gland.

    Effexor didn’t do as much short term damage as Weyth was hoping it would do to all of us. I would look foward to hearing some awful side effects with Pristiq

    • I would like to say that I did pretty well on Effexor XR for the 16 years I was on it. Sure I would have my days but everybody does. Then I had the bright idea of thinking I didn’t need to be medicated anymore, so I weaned myself off of it very slowly (so withdrawals really were not that bad). That was a few months ago. Since I have gone off of it, I have developed horrible anxiety and panic attacks, so much that I had to take medical leave from work. Tried other drugs (wellbutrin, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Viibryd, Seroquel) all seemed to make the anxiety worse. I want to be calmed down, not hyped up more! So I told my doctor that I wanted to get back on effexor, and she told me she wanted to try me on Pristiq first. Oh boy. So I took the first 50mg dose. Seemed ok. But by the next morning, in addition to my anxiety-induced nausea and dry heaving that I had been experiencing anyway, I began to have intermittent waves of a full-body burning sensation on my skin. Called my doctor to tell her and she said that if the symptoms did not improve within 24 hours, to go to the emergency room. Well, then I started feeling really out of it and drifting in and out, so I went to the emergency room. My doctor had me discontinue the Pristiq after that first dose. Has anybody else experienced this type of all over skin burning sensation (not hot flash)? I am starting back on my Effexor in a few days (to make sure my body starts with a clean slate of meds with no other in my body). I REALLY hope I will be able to tolerate Effexor XR this time around. I was able to before. It is meant to treat all the symptoms I have been experiencing since I went off of it. I really hope that this med gets me off of this unpleasant merry-go-round so that I may have the good quality of life I had before when I was on it.

      • Hi, AS:

        I did the same thing you did – I was on Effexor XR for years and doing very well on it. Then, like you, I thought “hey, I don’t need these meds, I’m gonna wean myself off” (this was also advised by friends who did not understand depression and meds). So I did – over the course of 4 months I weaned myself down to an 1/8 of a regular Effexor tab (I had quit my doc, who I wasn’t thrilled with, so I was doing this on my own – this doc thought I could wean myself off in a matter of DAYS! He was awful). Sure, I had withdrawal symptoms, but I was determined to get through them. Then, WHAM! I was hit with the worst depression, anxiety, depersonalization, you name it, that I’ve ever experienced. I too had to take medical leave from work. I honestly didn’t know if I would live through that experience.

        Thankfully, I found a wonderful new psychiatrist who got me cautiously back on a therapeutic dose of Effexor XR and counseled me through the weirdness. He quite literally saved my life. I came back to “normalcy” fully within a month and a half.

        You might have a hard time getting back on Effexor for the first few weeks, I sure did. My doc prescribed a low dose of Klonopin to take the edge off those early side effects and it helped tremendously. Hopefully your doctor is not a “benzo-phobe”. Also, I hope you’re seeing a psychiatrist and not just a GP for these meds. You will likely benefit from talk therapy while you’re getting back on the meds.

        Good luck to you and just hang on through the weirdness, if you should experience any. There is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise! :)

      • Hi AS:

        That almost sounds like some sort of allergic reaction. Hopefully, you’ll be fine back on the Effexor. Even though those two are very similiar, you may have reacted to something in that particular brand….who knows.

        I’m finding just 37.5mg of Effexor XR to be helpful with my 200mg of Wellbutrin. It takes just enough edge off of the anxiety and helps [along with wellbutrin] the depression and lack of motivation. But any larger of a dose [or without the wellbutrin] and I get too sedated from it, but I also have primary inattentive ADHD and have that tendency.

        We are all different, though. Hopefully you will continue to maintain the previous benefit without having to shift the dosage. I’m just fortunate to have found a good combo for me, though I’ve been through my own circuit on and off meds [how would we ever know we still really needed them?].

        Best of luck….

  111. hi
    I have been on pristiq for 2 days no big problems and also have 0.5 mgs of xanax er tabs. still feeling ok. Will see when I go back to work as that is a stresssor. I thin psychiatrist if you have health ins. are the ones to seek out for they know how to interact medication or at least mine does.
    good luck
    Gad1232

  112. WOW, and thats a BIG WOW!! I have several thoughts about everything I have read above.
    First of all, I would like to know where anyone is getting Pristiq cheaper than Effexor, this is not so in Missouri. I have called Walmart, Walgreens and the smaller town pharmacies (which are usually cheaper, for those of us without insurance) Everywhere I have called Pristiq is much more expensive than Effexor!
    I was on Wellbutrin, but could only think about death while taking it. Not suicide, just thinking about death all the time.
    I have been taking Pristiq now for 2 weeks. I love it, I feel so much better. Yes I do have a couple side effects, but nothing to the extent of thinking about death all the time. My side effects are occasional hot flashes, and frequent urination.
    For those of you with bad side effects, that does not mean that everyone will have bad side effects.
    Before anyone listens to all the bad OR all the good things about Pristiq, think about this.
    I am allergic to Penicillin, does that mean everyone will be allergic to Penicillin???
    What works for me, may not work for you and visa versa.
    I love the Pristiq, I feel soooooo much better within a half hour of taking it. I too have ADD, and the Pristiq has helped with that also.
    Those of you using Adderall, be careful, it does cause your teeth to rott…yes thats a side effect for almost everyone…Adderall is pretty much Legal Meth. It worked for me, but I didnt like the up and down mood swings.
    I hope my post helps someone!
    Have a great day, and if one med doesnt work try another until you find one that works FOR YOU.

    • Try a Canadian Pharmacy…..they are everywhere in the USA….or mail order with a prescription….most drugs a quite a bit cheaper…

  113. I have been on lexapro for 4 weeks and it worked a treat….almost immediate though I find I am starting to go downhill again with some return to depression and anxiety but only mild compared to what it was like before starting to take it. But I am on sub-recommended dose of 5mg as I am paranoid about taking meds, side effects, reliance etc. I realise this is an Effexor forum but I recently visited a psychiatrist (one off for advice on meds) and he told me Effexor is the worst for withdrawal and his patients take 9 months or so to get off it,

  114. I’ve only been taking Pristiq for 4 days and after reading the comments to this article I am a bit worried. I’ve been taking Wellbutrin (immediate release, SR, and now XL) for years and it works very well for me. I had a few ups and downs and my psy put me on celexa. I was on that for quite a while and after some more ups and downs, I tried Zoloft (hated it. I felt flat and blah all the time), Prozac (made me hyper and sick to my stomach) and Lexapro (couldn’t pull the trigger during sex) and so I went back on celexa (low dosage). Recently, I was having some major anxiety issues so my psy gave me some samples of Pristiq. I’ve been taking it for 4 days and while I do feel better I’m starting to have side effects – upset stomach, excess gas, an internal shakiness, excessive sweating). I want to go off of it and back on Celexa.

    I’m going to talk to my psy later today but I was wondering if I should expect the severe withdrawl symptoms that some people experience with Effexor? I’ve only been on the Pristiq for 4 days and I want to go right back on the celexa. Eventually I would like to get off the celexa too and just go with the Wellbutrin. The difference in how I feel isn’t great enough to justify all these side-effects.

    Is it likely that I will experience withdrawl from Pristiq?

    Thanks. jason

  115. hello
    i have been taking pristiq for 8 months now and also Wellbutrin for 3 or 4 months. i will say they have both helped in my depression and anxiety. i dont feel so helpless and alone and can be happy at times. which is a big improvement from before the meds. i have had sum weight gain too but im not so sure it is due to the meds. i feel it was due to the depression. i have had sum excessive sweating but its only when its hot. now that the weather is getting cooler i dont seem to have it. i do wonder if the lack of sex drive is from the meds. i have read alot of forums and things and they all pretty much say there is no sexual side effects. and sum have even said that pristiq has brought theres back after being on Effexor. I have never been on any other meds besides these. i wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this?

  116. This is mostly to SHARON (15 May 2008): Generics, by law, are chemically the same, i.e. the same formula as the name brands. They are no different and I would suggest you are experiencing some sort of “generic placebo” effect. You can spend more on Motrin if you want; ibruprofen is the same thing. Any doctor who insists on prescribing name brands when generics are available has an agenda and is not saving their patients money.

  117. The post directly above contains incorrect information. Generics, by law, are NOT the same formula as name brands. The FDA itself only requires that a generic be “bioequivalent” to its name brand counterpart. (“Bioequivalent” does NOT mean “the same”; just Google it and you’ll see what it means.) Different binders and fillers are definitely allowed, and those can and do affect the absorption of the drug – and thus its effectiveness. This is even more of an issue with extended-release drugs like Effexor XR. A few years ago, an independent lab tested Wellbutrin extended-release against its generic version. The lab discovered that the generic version dissolved almost immediately instead of over time. So the generic had no extended release effect. Further, generic drug companies are cited again and again by the FDA for non-compliance, such as providing too little of the active ingredient – or too much! A couple of years ago, generic Adderall had to be recalled because it contained TWICE the stated amount of the active ingredients. A simple Google search will prove beyond any doubt that generic drugs – and especially those used for psychiatric disorders – are NOT the same as brand name drugs.

    • Unfortunately, most of us are stuck taking generics unless we have a lot of extra $ to shell out [or your MD doesn’t mind going through major stacks of paperwork on a routine basis to justify to the insurance why you need the brand].

      It is for that reason I almost hate to start out with any new drug because, once it goes generic, you are stuck switching. Then you have to deal with all of the disappointment if/when the generic fails you in whatever way it does. Sometimes it’s just a matter of adjusting the dosage, but….

  118. I’ve been taking Pristiq for 4 weeks now. I’ve started experiencing fear and paranoia which only seem to be allayed by alcohol or valium – not exactly the situation I had expected. I feel that when I do finally get to bed (and I have a fear of going because then I don’t want to get up) I stay in bed for at least 12 hours – just trying to escape the awful anxiety by sleeping through it. I was on Effexor several years ago, and that was ineffective. I then tried Luvox for awhile, which seemed to work, then Lexapro, which was strange. Does anyone else experience the rapid heartbeat and feeling of dread since they started taking Pristiq. The Doctor who prescribed it had a shiny, lovely info pack about Pristiq that he probably got on one of those wonderful all-expense covered conferences. So sick of all these medications!

  119. Efexor has been useless for me, all it does is numb me and take away my sex drive. Thanks, psychiatrists.

  120. I have a question about Effexor (venlafaxine)(spelling?) and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine). If I had such a bad reaction to desvenlafaxine, what would be the chances that I would have a bad reaction to venlafaxine this time around? I was on Effexor for a very long time and it worked for me (until I decided i didn’t need to be medicated anymore…big mistake.) See my earlier post regarding Pristiq. I am going back on Effexor in a few days.

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