Does Pristiq have withdrawal symptoms? (+5 symptoms))

In this article, we will discuss whether Pristiq has withdrawal symptoms. We will also discuss some research studies and how to manage if these symptoms occur.

Does Pristiq have withdrawal symptoms?

Yes, Pristiq has withdrawal symptoms, especially when you skip the doses or stop taking the medication abruptly. Making changes to your dosage without proper guidance or a gradual tapering plan can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Stopping the medication abruptly or adjusting the dosage, whether by increasing or decreasing it, can raise the chances of experiencing negative effects. It is important to note that you should not make any changes to your treatment plan without medical supervision.

How does Pristiq cause withdrawal symptoms?

Pristiq, a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, is an antidepressant that affects serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters) in the brain (1). The body takes time to adjust to the altered levels of neurotransmitters. Once adjusted, the body gets used to the medication which leads to physical dependence.

Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the drug and suddenly has less or none of it. When a person discontinues Pristiq suddenly or reduces its dosage, the body needs time to readjust to its neurotransmitter levels. This sudden change can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

What are the withdrawal symptoms linked with Pristiq?

If you stop Pristiq suddenly, you may experience the following withdrawal symptoms which will start within a few hours after reducing the dose (2):

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Electric shocks in the brain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • weight changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Uneven heart rate
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Tremors

If you experience any of these symptoms after discontinuing Pristiq, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider immediately.

How long do Pristiq withdrawal symptoms last?

These symptoms can vary from person to person. They may start a few days after reducing the dosage or stopping Pristiq and can last for a few weeks. However, for some individuals, they may take a longer time to disappear potentially extending beyond several weeks.

What does research suggest?

According to research studies, withdrawal symptoms may appear in any patient taking Pristiq or treating depression. However, every patient responds differently to the antidepressant therapy.

One study stated that withdrawal symptoms were observed when people stopped taking SNRI medications such as Venlafaxine or Desvenlafaxine. These symptoms varied in how common they were and were more frequent with SNRIs (3).

They usually started a few days after stopping the medication and lasted a few weeks, even when tapering off slowly. Some people experience symptoms later for a longer time after stopping the medication (3).

The clinical data suggest that Pristiq will cause adverse effects when you try to discontinue it, regardless of the dose you are taking. Therefore, you should always consult your doctor whenever you want to discontinue the medication.

How to manage Pristiq withdrawal symptoms?

The following measures are recommended to manage the withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing Pristiq (4):

  • Your doctor should inform you about all the possible withdrawal symptoms that might appear upon abruptly discontinuing Pristiq.
  • Remember withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening and do not indicate addiction. Your healthcare provider should guide you that these symptoms are reversible and will resolve on their own.
  • If you have withdrawal symptoms while reducing your medication, the best way to ease them is by going back to your previous dose and then tapering off more gradually.
  • To manage withdrawal symptoms, symptomatic treatment is recommended. For example, headaches can be managed using acetaminophen and insomnia can be managed by using benzodiazepines.
  • Getting advice from a nutritionist while coming off Pristiq or any antidepressant is recommended. They can provide dietary guidance, suggesting food and supplements that might help during the withdrawal process.
  • Lifestyle modifications like yoga or acupuncture are also recommended for managing Pristiq withdrawal symptoms. Also, ensure proper sleep of 8-9 hours. 

In my view and the knowledge available, Pristiq withdrawal can lead to a range of undesirable and in some cases, severe symptoms if the medication is abruptly discontinued. You may experience them within hours after the last dose and they may subside within a few weeks.

I suggest, consulting your healthcare provider if these symptoms persist or worsen. They will help you to adjust your treatment plan according to your needs.



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