Pristiq Withdrawal: How To Stop Taking Desvenlafaxine

Last Updated: February 13, 2020

Authored by Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Whether due to it not working, experiencing side effects, or just wanting to live medication free, many users are interested in stopping Pristiq. However, coming off desvenlafaxine can be difficult. Users need to understand desvenlafaxine withdrawal and how to avoid it.

How To Stop Taking Pristiq

Choosing to stop taking medication is not a decision that should be made lightly, especially when it is one for a mental health condition. Stopping desvenlafaxine can mean experiencing many negative effects, including the return of depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Before making the decision, the user should speak about their concerns about Pristiq medication with their doctor.

Should the patient and their doctor decide that coming off desvenlafaxine is best, they will need to decide what method of stopping the use is best. The goal should be to avoid negative desvenlafaxine side effects that can be exasperated when ending use.

Stopping Pristiq Cold Turkey

One option that patients often take is stopping desvenlafaxine cold turkey. This option is not ideal. Going off antidepressants suddenly can result in a wide variety of problems, some of which can be life-threatening. Because these symptoms are so numerous and quite difficult to cope with, it is suggested that patients gradually wean off desvenlafaxine instead of suddenly stopping.

stopping pristiq

Tapering Off Pristiq

Users who work with their doctors to stop desvenlafaxine will be given a tapering schedule. While tapering schedules can be found online, users should not follow these on their own. It is best to work with a doctor so they can tailor one to the needs of the patient.

Pristiq Withdrawal Symptoms

As every drug in its class, Pristiq may cause antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Even when ending desvenlafaxine use is done safely, it doesn’t mean there is no risk of experiencing desvenlafaxine withdrawal. In fact, it is still quite likely that the symptoms will be felt, even if just mildly. Working directly with a doctor can help to reduce Pristiq withdrawal symptoms as much as possible. However, users can still expect to experience some of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Strange neural sensations, such as brain zaps or unexplained itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Struggles with sleep
  • Problems with coordination

Pristiq Withdrawal Duration

There is no established period for desvenlafaxine withdrawal effects. Every patient will experience this differently, based on numerous factors, including:

  • If they chose to stop cold turkey or if they opted for weaning off the drug.
  • If they tapered, how large their dose reductions were.
  • How long they had been on the medication before deciding to stop.
  • What dosage they were taking.
  • If they sometimes took a larger dose.
  • If they were abusing Pristiq.
  • How well their organs function and are able to filter the medication out.
  • Their overall health and ability to respond to the absence of the drug.

For those who opt to follow a schedule, desvenlafaxine withdrawal may only last a day. For others, withdrawal symptoms of desvenlafaxine could linger for weeks. It is impossible to know in advance how long withdrawal will last; patients can only discover this answer by stopping the medication.

Patients who are worried about these symptoms can talk to their doctor about making a plan to cope with them. That way, when they arise, it will be easier to get through withdrawal. Anyone who has been misusing the drug should seek out specialized care when withdrawing, as there is a greater risk of complications.

help with withdrawal

What Helps With Pristiq Withdrawal

If the prescribing doctor is worried about withdrawal symptoms, they might prescribe low-dose Prozac. However, users should never attempt this withdrawal cure on their own. Prozac obtained illegally could be mixed with other substances and cause dangerous interactions, and even if it is not contaminated, Prozac and desvenlafaxine can interact.

Patients should be prepared to still be uncomfortable during the process. However, by taking the right steps, it should be more manageable. And as always, they should not be afraid to reach out for medical help when needed.

Stopping Pristiq Safely

If someone is interested in stopping their use of desvenlafaxine, especially if it has crossed the line into abuse, they should seek help from drug rehab. These facilities understand how to manage withdrawal symptoms and keep patients comfortable, all while taking care of their mental health. The right addiction treatment program makes it possible to get on the road to a better life.

Page Sources

  1. Going off antidepressants. Harvard Health Publishing. 2018.
  2. Gabriel M, Sharma V. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2017; 189(21): E747. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160991.

Published on: February 13th, 2020

Updated on: February 13th, 2020

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment