Comments on
Pristiq versus Effexor XR

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

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 existing antidepressant, Effexor XR (which loses its patent protection in …

259 Comments to
Pristiq versus Effexor XR

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  1. I have read about others having blood pressure spikes and also that it raises your cholesterol. Also, that it increased heart rate in subjects. I have anxiety issues, so that doesn’t sound too good to me. I was all set, too, to ask dr. about this med in December. Now, I just don’t see the point of it. I have been trying to find others to try now…even though they don’t look good either. I don’t want to be a guinea pig any more! I read that last post about heart failure? Egads. Wtf are they trying to do to us?!

  2. Okay.. I had taken Effexor XR, 225 mg for almost three years. I started taking Pristiq 10 days ago and this is my testimony.
    The Effexor XR helped my depression, but I gained 30 pounds. I was always hungry. I mean always and I eat a healthy diet. I lost 8 pounds for a while, but the hunger pangs were severe so I ate larger portions. I have horrible sexual side effects, I mean no sex drive whatsoever! Now that I have been on the Pristiq and I am taking the 50 mg tablet switching directly from Effexor XR, the first 3 days I was dizzy for a couple of hours after I initially took it but then I got so much energy. I was always tired on the Effexor and had to nap every day, but not now! I also have my sex drive back and my husband was quite surprised! I get hungry, but I am a “normal” hungry now. I am hoping that I will once again lose the weight, but too early to tell. I feel happy, happy and energetic and still can sleep at night. With Effexor XR, I could not wait until 11 pm rolled around so I could go to bed. Many times I went to bed at 9 pm. Now it is 11:30 pm and I am writing this note, getting sleepy but not exhausted. To those of you with some minor side effects, hang in there. I mean I did go through withdrawal from the Effexor. I felt like I had the flu for a week (but it wasn’t the flu), a really bad headache and body aches, but that is all gone now. Everyone is different, but for me, it has been worth it.

  3. I was switched to Pristiq about 2 1/2 weeks ago. I have actually lost wieght just from being off my other antidepressants and being on this. (I had gained like 20 pounds in 7 months being on others)

  4. I stumbled across this website while looking up information on Pristiq that might try and convince me to stay on this med. I’ve just completed 1 week of this new Rx after being on Effexor 150mg for almost 5 years. Effexor worked wonders for me and I didn’t want to change. My doctor thought Pristiq would be a “cleaner” drug for me to be on and because I’d begun experiencing some new axiety, which had been under control for quite some time, he thought going up on the Effexor wasn’t the answer.

    I want my Effexor back and after reading all these posts cannot decide what to do. I’m a licensed health care professional and should be able to make an informed decision. I did a tapering dose of Effexor for 1 week and have felt horrible – anxious, irritable, short-tempered with family and co-workers, flat affect, crying and feeling like my skin is crawling. New symptoms I’m having include headaches (which I didn’t have with Effexor), increased appetite and some swelling sensation around my eyes. I’ve read about Effexor withdrawal for a long time and have pondered changing meds before, but feared the horrible side effects. I honestly don’t know if I can tolerate “not” having Effexor in my brain. I felt so normal on it and now feel abnormal.

    I thank everyone for their candid comments about their experiences. Reading these at least helped me understand what I’m going through and to know that others have and are experiencing similar issues, questions and problems related to the Effexor vs. Pristiq debate.

  5. Hello all, I found this page while looking for information on the med that I recently started taking… Pristiq. I have had a lot of changes take place in my life over the past year such as moving out on my own and in with my girlfiend, having a baby, starting a new job. I was starting to feel so stressed from everything that I could bearly take it anymore. I couldnt sleep, I was constantly irritated and fighting with my girlfriend, and contantly worrying about finances and such. So I went to the doctor and explained to him what all was going on in my life and how I was feeling and he gave me some samples of pristiq. I have now been on the med for 5 days and I do feel like I am happier compared to before. Most of my worrys are gone exept that now I am constantly worried about what this med is doing to me. I have never been on an AD med before so this is all new to me. I find myself thinking about this all the time and I have thoughts like… What if the med makes me crazy?… Whats going to happen when I am ready to stop taking this med?…. Is this safe for my head? I have a sister who has been diognosed with paranoia/skytzofrania (I know whats not how you spell it but i’m not sure how it’s spelled) so I always think about her and worry that I might snap one day like she did. The med seems like it’s helping put me in a better mood and make me less irritable but I cant stop thinking and worrying about the toll that it may take on me….

  6. First I want to say Thank God I found this discussion. Secondly, I hope to God that my husband of only 2 months will understand that the recent fits I’ve had could very well be attributed to my change in medication.
    I’ve been on Effexor XR for I don’t even know how many years now off hand. After trying a few other antidepressants I fell in love with Effexor. The rages I use to have completely quit. Within the last year my doctor also prescribed me with Lamictal. I was having mood swings while I was at work. He recently gave me samples of Pristiq because they were replacing Effexor. I finally finished my last prescription of Effexor and started taking the Pristiq. Well I’m a week into it and have had two spells of completely tearing my house apart with fits I use to get before taking the Effexor. I’m afraid I may have pushed my husband to the point of wanting to get a divorce already because he has no clue where this Tracey came from.
    I finally put 2 and 2 together this morning after having another fit last night and thought I’d check the comparison out between my old and new meds. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner and I really don’t know why my doctor didn’t discuss it with me first. I realize now that I must be going through the withdraw symptoms from coming off of the Effexor. I know that I would feel really weird if I missed a dose in the past. I haven’t had that “weird” feeling so far, but I know that what I’m going through right now has to be withdraw symptoms. I hope my husband and my house will withstand the wrath of Tracey until I get ahold of my doctor so we can figure out a better way of switching me over to Pristiq. If that is even what we decide to do. I thought that Effexor would no longer be available. I didn’t realize that it was just going to be going to generic. I’m not apposed to switching though if some of the side effects of the Effexor will no longer be an issue. I’d love to lose the weight I’ve gained since I’ve been on it. :)
    To finish, thank you all for your posts. I guess I don’t need to tell you how much reading this has helped me feel like there is hope. Especially after wanting to die after the fit I had last night. Thank you all and God Bless you.

  7. I’m glad I found this discussion group. I just came off 225 mg of Effexor XR (cut by 75 mg per week)to 50 mg of Pristiq. I feel a little shakey, my head is cloudy and have been getting a rash for the past 2 days which causes intense itching but is helped by topical cortisone. My pdoc switched me because I felt that the Effexor was not working as well after 6 years. For months I’ve been struggling with feelings of emptiness, some agitation and possible ADD symptoms.

    As for the weight gain, I have lost 13 lbs over the past 10 weeks because I started going to Weight Watchers and started an exercise program. I am also in a 12-step program that gives me tremendous support.

    I have learned not to get too caught up in reading the side effects because then I get more anxious. I hope to be able to weather the change of meds without too much trouble.

  8. Similar story to others: my doctor tried to switch me from Effexor XR (150 mg/day, for 11 years) to Pristiq (50 mg) without tapering. She gave me weeks and weeks of free samples.

    After three days I was so sick I could barely walk straight. I had to call her from the pharmacy and beg for an emergency prescription for Effexor because I was so sick I couldn’t work and was having crying jags, lightheadedness, dizziness – this after just 3 days.

    She switched me back to Effexor after expressing surprise that I would have such a reaction. I think she must never have switched anyone before. It is ridiculous to assume you can take someone off of Effexor without tapering properly.

    Pristiq is a patent extender because Effexor is going generic. Period. Wyeth is pushing doctors to push it on their patients. It’s incredibly irresponsible. If your doctor suggests switching you without first tapering you properly, BE VERY WARY.

  9. Twenty days ago, I had to change from Effexor XR (300mg), with no taper(cold turkey), to Pristiq (50mg 1st week, now 100mg) since I ran out of insurance benefits for name brand meds for the rest of this year. In Oct. I had to pay $350.00 for Effexor, and I couldn’t afford that again as I also take Lamictal and pain meds. Anyway, I can get samples of the Pristiq.

    Since the 1st day, it has been hellish. I’m experiencing the usual Effexor withdrawal symptoms of…

    terrible headaches, dizziness, confusion, forgetfullness, disorientation, out-of-body floaty feeling, ‘brain zaps’ at times- with my brain feeling like a soaked sponge with electric current running through it, a lingering feeling of falling (which feels like when I went to the CN Tower and looked down from the glass floor at 342 meters up), definite changes in sense of smell and taste, muscle aches, and just pure mental anguish.

    As each day passes, it seems to get a little better.

    I’m certainly no expert, but I’ve done extensive research, and I have tried these… so here are some things that may help with the withdrawal symptoms…

    Fish Oils with Omega 3,6 &9.
    B-Vitamins- including B3,B6,B9(folate) & B12.
    I also believe praying helps immensely.

  10. Wow…I did a search for “when the best time to take Pristiq would be” and ended up here. I have read all the blogs and FINALLY understand what is going on. My Dr. switched me from Effexor to Pristiq. I had been taking 75mg in A.M. and 150 in P.M. Once my 75 ran out I only took the 150 and when it ran out moved on to the Pristiq. Well, this is day 4 and I am about to climb the walls. The dizziness is killing me and the insomnia driving me crazy. I still have the” Jimmie Legs” (RLS) that I noticed didn’t seem to bother most on this board. That got so bad I had to start taking Mirapex. Well, with this med I am still needing the mirapex but taking only 10mg instead of full 20mg as it will knock me out. I had been taking Effexor for a couple years and the last few months needed to increase the amount due to extreme stress at work/home and finally a meltdown which I ended up on STD and finally losing my job. The Dr. mentioned that Pristiq would eliminate the leg syndrome and a one pill would equal all the Effexor I was taking. I now see from all the posts I am in withdrawl. Thank the Lord, I thought I was losing it. The medication works for me other than the dizzy/leg thing and INSOMNIA. I thought maybe taking the med in the A.M. was not the right thing since I was not being able to sleep and that switching to P.M. might help. I just want off the rollercoaster. This is not a fun ride. One thing I have noticed is that I am not hungry very often and sometimes forget to eat. I had that with the Effexor but this is more pronounced. I am hoping that I can lose some of this weight I gained from the Norplant that started all this. I also wondered myself how you could jump from one med to another. I see on here that some lucky people had intelligent, if not caring physicians that helped them along. All this makes me want to slap mine in the face the next appt. I see him. Hmmm…that might make me feel better. I wish everyone on this board well and that they all find their way. I understand and feel each of you and your pain.

  11. I have not tried Effexor; however, I have struggled with taking Zoloft for depression, as it makes me sleepy and stupid. I have ADD and depression, and I am VERY happy with the effects of Pristiq on both. In fact, this is the first antidepressant I have taken that doesn’t make me sleepy and stupid – to the extent that I may be able to reduce or eliminate my Ritalin. I’m thrilled with this drug. However, every person is different, as others have said. I wonder if those previously taking Effexor are suffering from the infamous “withdrawal” effects when they try Pristiq. And…I haven’t tried NOT taking Pristiq yet – may not want to!

  12. Hi all again.
    I am now on my second month of Pristiq. My Father is dying and my sister is dying. I am coping because of the Pristiq. No other way. I have lost 7 lbs. I am happy, upbeat, feel like the sun will shine again.
    Hang in there with it, really give it a month. The insomnia, headaches, “weird feelings” will pass. I have convinced my daughter to give it a try and she is in her second week and each day feels better emotionally.
    I only pray it is the real deal and will not be recalled in a few months like Celebrex and other drugs for heart issues.

    No side effects now except no appetite, which I can live with. No sexual side effects.
    I am a 54 yr. old female and take Xanax and Ambien too when stress gets too much.
    Chin up. Hang in there.

    Pristiq is allowing me to finish my novel which nothing else has come close to doing in the last three years.
    Good Luck and God Bless each of you in your struggle to get out of the darkness.

  13. Like nearly everyone above, I have been taking
    EffexorXR for a few years(300mg/day)with good results. Lately the familiar face of depression was showing itself just a little too frequently again, so my doctor suggested I was suffering “burn-out” and switched me to 50mg Pristiq. As a nurse, I knew that Effexor is extremely difficult to suddenly stop, so I asked the doctor about that. Her initial response was that I should have no problems… followed by the advice that I could add 175mg Effexor every other day if I did suffer symptoms. I have been fighting nausea, light-headedness, the urge to burst into tears at any moment, and general malaise for the past two weeks; but am trying to tough it out without throwing in Effexor. Wish I would have done this search sooner and been just a little smarter by trying to taper off instead of the sudden switch. A little bit of an old xanax prescription has been my lifesaver. I am hopeful Pristiq will offer me the “glass is half-full” outlook that Effexor used to…

  14. I have been on Effexor for two years or so. My doc recommended Pristiq last week, and I have now been taking it for four days. It is wierd, but I have had some weight gain, and am wondering if anyone else has had this side effect.

  15. I have been on Lexapro and didn’t realize that it was the tablets that were making me put on weight until I’ve read these posted comments. I’ve just started on Pristiq today and hope that it will be better. The Lexapro has just stopped working after a few years. Thanks for all the stories which make the switch a little less scary./

  16. I just started pristiq yesterday and I have ALREADY started feeling better. So far I am EXTREMELY happy with it. I’ve been on several different anti-depressants in my life, and NONE of them have compared to pristiq, even just for taking it for 2 days.

  17. Has anyone used Pristiq for Panic Attacks? My doctor prescribed it to me but one of the side effects is Panic Attacks, which is what I am trying to treat. Not sure if I should take it, as I do everything to avoid having them. I really don’t suffer from depression so I guess this is an off label usage of it. Any thoughts?

  18. i hope this chat room is for real. i’ve never done this before..if it is thank you. so many answers tonite and i am so grateful. i’ve been in such despair, and did not know why. doctor out of town and i’m just winging this hell. went off 225 mg 0f effexor after too many years to count onto pristiq, and have felt deathly, migraines, bad nausea, and uncontrollable crying and feeling just a little mad. doc told me for the first 2 days to cut effexor to 150 mg, and then just take pristiq. be sure to wean yourselves off of effexor. thanks to this page and opinions i have learned this.. right now just holding tight, taking 50 mg.og pristiq and praying for relief. also, taking xanax to calm down, so i don;t cry so much and tigan for nausea which does not help. 1 ambien for sleep,thank goodness. thank you all for enlightenment. i wish my doctor had known as much. denise

  19. Hi all,
    This is my first time talking about the nightmare that is effexor. I’ve been on it since I was 19, I am now 30. I’ve wanted to get off of it for years, but could not deal with the withdrawal symptoms…and to be honest, not being able to get off it is more depressing than depression! Not to mention the fact that no-one believes me when I try to explain the horrors of withdrawals…
    Anyways, My doc suggested the pristiq route, as I could get free samples, and I don’t have insurance. So here’s my beef with that: I take 75mg effexor, every 3 days or so, which I’ve been doing for years(that’s the only way I could wean myself down). Supposedly 50mg of pristiq is equal to 150mg effexor, so my doc said to cut it in half. Despite the fact that wyeth says “NEVER” cut the pills, I tried it yesterday… and basically the pristiq shattered. I tried it with three more pills, with a pill cutter, same results.
    Now I may sound like a conspiracy theorist, but why is there only one dose of pristiq, that can’t be cut? I’ll be damned if I’m gonna start taking the equivalent of 150mg effexor, yet it seems like Wyeth is trying to force that on people… prob because its harder to get off. Anyways, I gathered up about enough pieces to make a half of Pristiq, and took my first dose last night. I’m hoping it is a fairly smooth transition, but I have my doubts after years of monstrous effexor withdrawals. We’ll see. In the meantime, I don’t understand why there hasn’t been a class action in the US against Wyeth over Effexor… I kno they had one in Britain…

  20. Dear Kelly,
    I caught your post as I was flipping through the Internet. I had been on 325 mg of Effxor XR for several years, and through keeping a medical journal and working closely with my wonderful Psychiatrist, I felt this might be a good time to begin to lower my dosages.
    I have Depression as well as GAD and I take Ativan for the anxiety, which we all know is habit forming, and I am also an addict/alcoholic. I thought – and doctor agreed – to try reducing the Effexor and see if it calmed my racing thoughts and then I can eventually stop the Ativan all together. (I have cut the Ativan by more than 33%.) I am stabilized on 225 mg of Effexor XR!
    I was scared by all the feedback about the difficulties of getting off of Effexor, but I am doing it slowly and carefully. I’m at a good plateau at the moment and thing I’ll stay here for the moment.
    The first 2 weeks were the worst, didn’t think I could do it, but I wasn’t physically ill and I had the option to increase the amount at anytime. I tried to read the posts from others without projecting “worse case scenarios” on to myself.
    Come on by Psych Central and read our Community listings and other bonus tools.
    Anytime you want to chat…I’m here.
    Scooterb

  21. 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 !!

  22. 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!

  23. 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

  24. 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?

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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!

  29. 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!

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

  33. 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?

  34. 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).

  35. 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.

  36. 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??????????????????????

  37. 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. . .

  38. 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.

  39. 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)

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

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

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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).

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

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