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Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?

Posted by JL on August 21, 2009, at 17:41:56

I have been on anti-depressants for many years. The first was Effexor which is the drug from Hell (I ended up in the ER the first time the idiot doctor took me off of it cold turkey - I ended up firing her as a result). I did find a real doctor who finally agreed to take me off of Effexor, due to side effects, and it literally took me many, many months for the horrendous withdrawal problems to go away. Since then, I've been on several other medications, including (but certainly not limited to) Zyprexia, Seroquil, Wellbutrin, Prozac, and most recently Lexapro, for ongoing depression and anxiety. Some of the drugs did nothing (Wellbutrin and Prozac), Zyprexia made me FAT and my doctor took me off that due to potential liver problems, Seroquil made me extremely tired. I've also been on a variety of medications for anxiety - Xanax (but only "as needed"), Klonopin (which I also took for my very severe sleep disorders), and most recently Trileptal.

I've been on Lexpro for the past few years (I can't remember, at this time, exactly how many) and Trileptal for about a year or so.

Both seem to have helped, however, I also have severe sleep disorders (Sleep Apnea, Period Limb Movement Disorder [PLMD], hypersomnia, and insomnia) as well as having undergone EXTREME stress for a many, many (the past year has literally been the most stressful I've ever had)- yes, my life is a mess and no one knows how I've made it this far.

The problem is that my sleep disorders have continued to get much, much worse (just reconfirmed, again this week after yet another sleep study - all of my docs agree things continue to get much worse) and I'm ALWAYS exhausted and depressed.

As I was laid off over the summer (which only added to my already overload of stress), I decided to wean myself off most of my medications over the summer to see if I would be more alert. While my sleep remains HORRIBLE, I am somewhat more alert and have been working with my doctors. Interestingly, I am just as depressed as I was while on Lexapro (I probably developed a tolerance to it and my doctors also think that the ceaseless stress I'm under is greatly adding to my depression). My sleep doc also just told me that Lexapro can make my PLMD even worse and he wants me off of it. My regular doctor agrees and now wants me to start taking Pristiq. I've also put in a call to my psychiatrist who has also been trying to figure out the med issues (I haven't heard back from him yet, but he's very good at working with me).

At the moment, the docs want more sleep tests, and I was given Pristiq to begin taking today. Although I've been weaning myself off of Lexapro (which certainly isn't as hellish as Effexor), I continue to have some withdrawals (nausea, lightheadedness, etc).

My question is (after the above rant) - I've never heard of Pristiq until today and there seems to be conflicting information as how it is related to Effexor. Under no circumstances will I ever go on Effexor again. I'm concerned that Pristiq may be too similar. I do NOT want to go through the horrible side effects of Effexor and do NOT want experience the withdrawal Hell that Effexor also has. Do these problems exist with Pristiq?




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