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How do I stop taking Pristiq?

Responses (17)

Official Answer by 16 Jun 2009

You should never stop taking Pristiq abruptly. If you need to stop taking Pristiq, you should do so under the supervision of your doctor and the dose should be reduced gradually (or by taking less frequently if the dose is one pill a day) to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

The withdrawal symptoms of Pristiq include dizziness, nausea, headache, irritability, insomnia, diarrhea, anxiety, fatigue, abnormal dreams, and sweating. The longer you have been taking Pristiq, the more likely you will be to have any of these symptoms. If any of these symptoms occur and are unbearable, your doctor will increase the dose of Pristiq, then gradually start reducing again. Good luck.

Votes: +3
don17097 7 Jul 2011

Since I am on the lowest dose of 50mg od how do I take less frequently?

shanihib 25 Sep 2011

I've wondered it myself. I'm also on the lowest dose. I figure I'll have to space out the pills? I have a meeting with my doctor this week to discuss weaning me off the meds.

sholloway3 14 Jan 2012

I quit pristiq over about a month to six weeks, after taking it for 3 months. I cut tablets in half, then quarters, taking half for a month, then quarter for two weeks, then quarter every second day for another two weeks. Was fine this way.
After 10 months, I am now looking at beginning pristiq again.

Votes: +1
Naz52 24 Jan 2012

I currently take 100mg pristiq and have been for almost 3 years now, I want to stop taking pristiq, My doctor proscribed it for anxiety, Going to the Dr. office is expensive. I went one day with out the pill and I was ok, that was yesterday, today I've had the with drawls and i just took a pill. I will try cutting the pill also, I use to have a 50mg pill in the beginning maybe i should start with cutting in half and so on. Still researching.

mile2102 12 Oct 2012

I agree with sholloway3.
That is the only way to reduse or eliminate the withdrawals.

babyr0423 14 Jan 2012

I agree strongly with robo. Never just stop taking Pristiq, or you will have horrible withdrawls from it. You have to taper down from it, like shalloway3 was saying. I did that once, and it was no walk in the park. I ended up missing it and getting back on Pristiq. I'm still taking it. Good luck to you, and take care. Ruth

Votes: +3
SusanO 4 Apr 2013

Ruth, I feel so sorry for you. If you are happy great! But that drug could be not so good for you. Some folks have to go on PROZAC to get off Pristiq. can you imagine? Blessings.

Mary411 18 Apr 2012

Stop taking Pristiq very, very carefully especially if coming off 100mg tablets. I believe my doctor has very good professional credentials but he failed to mention the pitfalls of reducing Pristiq dosages to zero. Withdrawal symptoms are accurately described in the patient information so study them carefully and be prepared for the worse case scenario. I came off 100mg much too quickly and have been miserable for a week. I think I'm through the worst withdrawal symptoms but it has been a rocky road getting to this point. I am determined to exhaust all non-prescription treatments for depression before going back to Pristiq because getting off the drug is so difficult. I believe my depression is more of the seasonal variety (SAD) so my first line of defense when daylight decreases will be a lightbox and exercise.

SusanO 4 Apr 2013

Go with the light box, also mirrors help if you have a desk away from a window, you can see the window over your back then. Chocolate, exercise can help and distraction. Definitely never take that Pristiq again. (If ever you have a notion to do anything legally against Pfizer/Wyeth, consider me, I am not a litigious person) I am so unhappy my MD failed to tell me the same. I am a health professional and should have known better. Curious, have you ever been able to stop the med? Are you OK? I am in the midst and have tried all sorts of things, mostly distraction helps. The noise and sensations in my brain are horrible, I will no doubt donate my brain to science someday and ask for a review of the damage this drug has permanently caused. I have reported it to the FDA and I suggest you and all others who suffer from this should do the same if they can.

PClarkH 21 May 2018

I use one now. My doctor recommended it to be used 20 to 30 minutes a day upon rising. He also recommended against going back for that one more hours sleep. Now I have brought my light to work, since I get no natural light here. I am buying another one to use at home. You can get one on Amazon for $30 to $40.

bwilderlk 10 Nov 2012

I believe I was a depressed baby! I am a 59 year old married mother of 5 and an RN. I started taking Prozac about 20 years ago. Worked wonders for my depression. About 5 years ago, my depression started getting worse and worse. To make it short, I started going to a nurse practitioner at that time. I have been on SO MANY different meds... alone and in combination with others. A couple of months ago I was on Lamictal, Celexa, Pristiq, Adderall, Ambien and Klonopin (prn)... I'm sure spelling is incorrect on some... but all these at the same time! NOTHING worked over a month or so at most. She kept adding and taking away. These are NOT the only meds she tried. I swear! There were times I thought I was going to die... and could very easily have done just that. After a horrible meltdown one Sunday, I started doing some research. I want to be off meds!! I started looking at ECT.

SusanO 4 Apr 2013

Wow, ECT? That is serious. But I am happy you are feeling better. I too feel t he same as you. PFIZER/ WYETH should be exposed for what they are. A class action law suit would be appropriate.

PClarkH 21 May 2018

ECT is less frightening and traumatic than you think and many people achieve great results using it. I had it many years ago and I was able to get out of the hospital and off the frightening drugs they had put me on. I have lived long enough with anxiety and depression and a long cocktail of ineffective drugs that I am considering this for myself. Life's too short not to give it a chance.

h-buch 6 Aug 2016

My doctor adviced me to come off pristiq once I know that I'm pregnant. But he is not sure if its safe for me without pristiq during pregnancy, because it depends on me if there is no anxiety during the pregnancy term. But afraid to come off.
I hope someone who has the same problem advice me.

VJo 8 Sep 2016

Please know that there are potential class-action lawsuits against Pfizer by pregnant Mothers who took Pristiq during pregnancy and had children with birth defects.
I would encourage you to discuss titrating down off Pristiq prior to getting pregnant. The discontinuation can be horrendous. I've been going through it for 3 months. I cannot image being pregnant and titrating down at the same time.

kataleya 15 Jun 2017

If you want to get off, do it only with your doctor's supervision. But don't risk depression and anxiety during your pregnancy. Do whatever it takes: exercise, meditation AND have the doctor prescribe something that works and is ok for pregnancy. It's easy to say try natural things, but if the brain needs help from meds, they are lifesavers. Good luck with a safe, happy pregnancy.

Tpellets 27 Aug 2016

There is 25 mg dose of Pritiq. I am in the process of coming off Pristique after a few years on doses up to 100 mg. I was on 50 mg and my doctor put me on 25 mg for one month and then Proxac for 10 days. She said this will bring me off Pritiq smoothly.

I know how bad it feels to try to quit this drug. I tried it once and the shocking feelings in my head were terrible.

Check with you Doctor.

Votes: +2
kataleya 15 Jun 2017

Good answer. My doctor also told me to add Prozac and I have not begun. But in the past six months, I have gone from 200 mg to 50mg by s l o w tapering. There is no way around that. Slow is the way to go. Anyone who tries it quickly is in for a SHOCK, literally. Zaps are what we call it, too. My history shows that it is absolutely doable. Be patient all of you struggling to get off.

Tlpousson 16 Sep 2017

After taking the 25's for a month and then the Prozac for 10 days were you ok? How were side effects once on Prozac then off of Prozac? I was on 50 mg Pristiq then 25 mg now cutting the 25 in half. The mood swings (among other things) are horrible... dr said she could give me Prozac to help so I was wondering if it helped you!! This sucks!

shelleygrace 24 Sep 2016

Iv been taking Pristiq now for 2-3 years I'm on 100mg,Iv been coming off them.
It's been really hard,I was working today and had to go home.
Dizzy,tightness in my head,anxiety,feeling jittery,irregular heart beats and feeling as if I'm going to just drop to the floor...
My doctor prescribed this drug for depression and anxiety,but honestly they seem now to be the least of my worries. This is horrible!!! I don't want to be reliant on this drug anymore.
I'm decreasing my dosage under the watch of my doctor,am I coming off too quickly? It's been a 2 week proses off doing 100mg 1 day and then the 2nd day 50mg,I was fine though this proses now I'm just on the 50mg once a day.this is when the symptoms became a lot worse... Iv also quit smoking at the same time. Will I be ok? Will these symptoms pass?

Votes: +1
17-76-62 6 Dec 2016

I was on 100 mg as well. I stopped pristiq by cutting the pill in half, half again, then stopped. I've been off them now for 8 weeks. I went through the nausea, vomiting, headaches, body pains,I still suffer the brain freeze at times, but a lot better. Never again will I use that drug. It's not safe for human consumption. Be strong, you can get off it, positive thoughts. Good luck everyone.

Kia1170 28 Jul 2017

How long did u cut in half? I've only been on about a year. I've gone from 100to 50 mg already. Wondering how long to taper down?

eleh 29 Dec 2016

I was on 400mg pristine for several years, it was the hardest to come off (I was also taking dothiepin, cymbalta and others that I can't even remember). I stopped because the psychiatrist wanted me to start taking Lamictal despite being 90% sure that I will end up in hospital for stevens-johnson syndrome. The others were easy to taper down but as I'd been on such a high dose of pristine for so long it has really taken its toll on me. I went down slowly to 100mg then stayed on that for a few months, then 50mg for a few months (had to go to my gp for a new prescription - do not cut the tablets in half!)

Votes: +1
Egreenleaf 29 Jan 2017

I have been taking 50mg Pristiq for 3 months. My Psychiatrist put me on it for depression and after Zyprexa was causing me sleeping issues. I was hoping this medicine would help but I have been feeling more depressed and sleeping just as much (12-14hrs). All I do is sleep. I want off of it! I hate it. Plus I don't have insurance so it's $345. How can I get off off it myself? Can I cut it down shortly? Can anyone help?

eleh 29 Jan 2017

Hi, I'm assuming you've asked your GP/psych first about coming off? They are the best ones to help you, they will probably make you try it out for a few weeks first though. $345 though makes me cringe mine were $6 for 4 boxes :/

It will be an awful experience coming off them and I don't feel better without them, I had been on them so long I forgot what it was like to have anxiety. I don't enjoy it but at least my life doesn't revolve around remembering my tablets and then being out for a week if I forget a dose.

Give it a month I'd say and try to keep an open mind, they take a long time to kick in and wear off (which i don't understand why they're so brutal if you forget one) but then tell your prescribing doctor how you feel. Keep a sleep/mood diary to show them. Hope this helps!

kataleya 15 Jun 2017

Just talk to your shrink. If you hate it, it is not working after 3 months, and too expensive, it is probably not right for you. Even after only 3 months, get your doctor's supervision to get off it. Good luck.

Uplifting 15 Feb 2017

Very slowly. It's absolutely possible. Please check out dr Kelly brogdan's work. Her book: A mind of one's own. She specializes with medication tapering.

Bellamia86 12 May 2017


I have been taking Pristiq since the age of 23. I am 31 years old. I have been on the lowest dose (50mg) and have never increased. I always taken my Pristiq consistantly at night. I have tried countless times to get off of it and it was horrible with the discontinuation effects. I have consulted with many pharmacists. My brother-in-law is a pharmacist and my cousin is also a pharmacist. They have commented that this is also one of the most expensive medications for anxiety and depression because of it's special time release capabilities.

Votes: +1
eleh 18 Jun 2017

I'm glad that worked for you :) I never split mine because of the time release and the side effects were awful for 3 months but I also was coming off other meds at the time so I can't say it was all Pristiq. I seem to be doing okay now, so far so good!

Bellamia86 2 Jul 2017

That's great! It isn't easy. I am now 6 weeks off of Prestiq. I get a bit of vertigo from time to time but a'll of that to say, it's amazing I have no more heavy duty withdrawal effects. It's a miracle.

Lilah25 2 Jul 2017

I was on 100mg for 4 years. I cut down to 50mg with quite a bit of ease. There were a few sleepless nights and irritability but this passed. I stayed on this dose for a year trying to find the "right time" to get off the medication.

Just over a month ago I ran out of my meds and due to a bit of financial hardship I had to go without for 3 days. This was extremely hard. Mood swings, zaps, nausea, jittery, shakes etc
Once I had the dose I was alright but I used this as a push.
For the past month I have been doing one day on one day off.
The first week was hard but eventually got easier I was able to attend work and just push on.

Now I am going 2 days off one day on. It's slow but I have decreased and don't feel like I need it to survive. It's just a very long process. During this I have avoided alcohol completely kept social calls to a minimum etc the main thing is to ensure there are destructions and to just push through.

justmoca 27 Nov 2017

I'm in the process of tapering off after being on Pristiq 100mg for 5 years. It has helped me with my PMSD over the years but need to stop taking because I can no longer afford it. I'm currently alternating 50mg and 25mg each day for 30 days and will be cycling another 30 days with 25mg daily, then every other day for 30 days, then every 2nd day for 30 days. The withdrawal effects are definitely impacting my day to day activities (tinnitus, crying, helplessness, brain zaps, dizziness, unmotivated, insomnia, etc.) but I'm determined to discipline myself from taking this anymore no matter how severe these effects get. How long did your doctor keep you on the every 2nd day dose before you stopped? How have you felt since stopping? Any lingering withdrawal side effects?

DonePristiq 2 Mar 2018

I have been taking Pristiq for nearly 2 years and antidepressants for about 20 years. Pristiq worked for a few months but then the side effects began but dr encouraged me to stay on. Almost a year ago I found an Integrative Psychiatrist who is adamant that in most cases drugs are not the answer and are harmful to the body. I agree. I've been tapering off Pristiq 50 by taking 1 every other day for 10 days, then skipping 2 days and now skipping 3. Ive been having the classic withdrawal symptoms (dizziness, tinnitus, bad dreams, brain zaps, cold sweats, etc.) which are like worsened side effects but are gradually becoming less severe. I swear I will never take this drug again. It's brutal. The most helpful thing leading up to stopping it and getting through the withdrawals is mindfulness meditation.

PClarkH 21 May 2018

I can confirm the side effect sleepiness. I wake up every morning and don't want to get out of bed. I am pretty much useless at work. I am weaning my self off Pristiq, maybe a little too fast, but I don't think I feel any worse than I did when I was taking it every day. I hope to adopt more natural therapies like nutrition, exercise, meditation and a good nights sleep. Thanks for sharing. free discount card

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