Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 913371

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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?

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare? JL

Posted by Phillipa on August 21, 2009, at 21:34:54

In reply to Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by JL on August 21, 2009, at 17:41:56

I was under the impression that pristiq is the long acting patent extending for effexor? I sure could be wrong. Some seem to like it. That's all I know. Love Phillipa stress sure can make things worse especially sleep.

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?

Posted by johnj1 on August 21, 2009, at 21:51:52

In reply to Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by JL on August 21, 2009, at 17:41:56

How do you know that your mental symptoms are not just a result of the sleep disorders? If that is the case I am not sure why an AD would help you.

If you have sleep apnea do you use a CPAP? If not, why? My friend has been helped greatly by a CPAP and even stopped drinking.

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?

Posted by jl on August 21, 2009, at 23:24:41

In reply to Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by johnj1 on August 21, 2009, at 21:51:52

There are no questions, none whatsoever, that I've been depressed for a very long time (I also have PTSD) - all of which have been confirmed over and over again by a very large number of doctors. There's also a very strong history of depression in my family.

I believe I mentioned I've got Sleep Apena in my original post (sorry, but I can't see it from this screen) and that was first diagnosed 9 years ago - I've been on a CPAP machine ever since then. Actually, I use a BiPAP machine. The sleep disorders (Sleep Apnea, PLMD, insomnia, and hypersomnia) have become much worse since then and I've had countless sleep studies over the years - the most recent being a week ago. The PLMD is what gives me insomnia (it takes about two hours for me to fall asleep) and keeps me awake all night long (I'm not aware of it). While the sleep study said that my BiPAP pressure should be raised to 19 over 15, the sleep doc now thinks that I may need to use oxygen when I sleep - he's having me monitor my oxygen levels all weekend (he provided a device to use when I saw him today that will measure those levels). While I have a very, very high compliance rate for using my CPAP machine, I still wake up horribly exhausted and feeling miserable. I get almost no REM sleep at all and never drop into anything that remotely resembles deep sleep (below stage 2 sleep).

I also take another medication, Requip, to help with the PLMD (which is severe). In the past, I've used Klonopin (which didn't work) and Mirapex (which worked very well) for that.

I'm still very worried about starting Pristiq. I just came from the pharmacist and was told that Pristiq is very similar to Effexor - which I absolutely will never take again. As a result, I don't think I'm going to take it tonight until I also get to speak with my pdoc and find out more about how Pristiq compares to Effexor as far as side effects and withdrawals. The pharmacist said that Pristiq is not many people (at least locally) are using Pristiq and those that do say it's less effective that Effexor for depression.

Hope this explains things.

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?

Posted by JL on August 28, 2009, at 0:28:50

In reply to Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by JL on August 21, 2009, at 17:41:56

After a mere five days on Pristiq, I'm going through Effexor Hell all over again. After the Hell I went through with Effexor, my doctors are aware that I was going to miss a dose in order to see what would happen. I was planning on missing the dose this weekend but, as fate would have it, I missed last night after just five doses of it.

Well...I'm in Effexor Hell all over again - my head is spinning and I'm extremely nauseous - all less than 24 hours after I missed the dose (of Pristiq).

What is just a disturbing is that as I was trying to find out what other's experiences were with Pristiq (especially since Effexor is the drug from Hell and I had SEVERE problems going off of that several years ago), I decided to post questions on different sites (Dr. Bob's has always been one of the best).

Well, on http://www.depressionforums.org

an idiot (Deepster) attacked me because he didn't like what I said about my personal experiences with Effexor (and Deepster even admitted he had never used it). To compound matters, one of their forum adminstrators also warned me that I can't complain about drugs or an idiot doctor (who was never named) that caused me to land in the emergency room and refused to answer emergency phone calls about Effexor withdrawals. That forum administrator then CENSORED my post. Do NOT use Depression Forums dot com if you want real help.

I'm going through Pristiq withdrawals now - I only hope that they don't take MONTHS to stop like Effexor did.

Something MUST be done about drugs like Effexor and Pristiq that cause so many SEVERE problems.

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?

Posted by nevergiveup on October 23, 2009, at 13:44:13

In reply to Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by JL on August 28, 2009, at 0:28:50

The one thing that has been said to ease Effexor Hell is starting Erozac and letting the Prozac gradually wear down over a month, since prozac has a very long half life (stays in your body approx 1 month) while Effexor has two separate half life that each end abruptly or something like that. I found that on Effexor, at least, I could not educe my dose the standard 75 mg, but had to use 37.5 mg caplets instead. In the end I went down al by granuale, counting by hand (rather inexactly). When I went from one granuale to none, I suddenly had massive withdrawal, though assumably better than 37.5 mg to nothing.

There are posts on this website that describe it more thoroughly, but Prozac has been mentioned by many people to ease the withdrawal of Effexor and probably Pristiq.

Best wishes!
Dan

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?

Posted by Rosy Crucifiction on October 25, 2009, at 18:09:39

In reply to Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by nevergiveup on October 23, 2009, at 13:44:13

I found milnacipran (Savella) better than effexor for depression with atypical features. The only bad side effect was male genitourinary (prostate related urinary and sexual horror). No reports I've heard of for similar issues with females. Broadly Effexor, Pristiq, Savella and Cymbalta are all SNRIs. You could also try an SSRI with thyroid to augment. Thyroid boosts norepinephrine.

You should talk to your doc. And go to drugs.com and read their professional side effects for each drug (do a search for the drug and then scroll down. Click the one with professional next to it. It gives the real side effects profiles including post marketing.

 

Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare? Rosy Crucifiction

Posted by delna on October 29, 2009, at 6:44:42

In reply to Re: Lexapro to Pristiq and how do they compare?, posted by Rosy Crucifiction on October 25, 2009, at 19:09:39

> I found milnacipran (Savella) better than effexor for depression with atypical features.

Hi,
I am also confused about which SNRI to take (I also have atypical dep). I was put off Savella because it is supposed to cause more sedation/ fatigue that effexor.
Did you experience this at all? BTW what dose of effexor did you try? And Savella?

Thanks for your help~
TC
D


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