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Author Topic: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?  (Read 8929 times)

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Offline rioz

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Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« on: September 30, 2009, 11:13:02 AM »
Hi all,

I have suffered with some form of depression and OCD for as long as I can remember. In 1998 I started taking Zoloft. I used to describe the effect of the medication as "not feeling medicated" and "like a veil had been lifted". I did well for many years.

As I have posted elsewhere, I developed AIDS in late 2007 and as part of my recovery saw a neuropsychologist for help and care. As part of that care we switched the Zoloft to Pristiq.
Again, no sense of feeling medicated and overall no sense of anything different ( other than the myriad of issues like disclosure, healthcare, mortality, side effects, aging, the physical and emotional self, etc.).

So now I find myself mostly disinterested in everything except my granddaughter whom I see almost every weekend. I don't do much of anything and I have fallen into this cycle of guilt (for not being productive) and despair.

My ID wants me to go back on Zoloft and before I do I was hoping to get some experienced opinions on antidepressants.

Good wishes to all,

« Last Edit: September 30, 2009, 06:04:58 PM by rioz »
Living with HIV since 1985
Living with AIDS since 2007

Truvada, Lexiva, Norvir, Levothyroxine, Testim, Sertraline, Crestor

Offline sdguyloveslife

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Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2009, 01:58:01 PM »
Hi Richard,

I'm not exactly sure what your question is, but I will share some experience of my own with you in the hope that it might help.  I've been on several antidepressants over the years and it sounds like this one just fizzled out on you.  It happens.  I've been on a few that just eventually stopped working. 

After reading your post, I wonder why you switched from Zoloft to Pristiq in the first place?  It sounds like Zoloft was working well for you - why try to fix something that isn't broken?  If however, you switched from Zoloft because it's effects were becoming diminished, then I wonder why you would go back to it? 

Just a warning...coming off Effexor for me was very difficult and I had terrible "brain shocks" as I decreased dosage - so, it's important to slowly lower the dose little by little and taper off the drug over several weeks.  I say this because my doc describes Pristiq as basically just Effexor that's "cleaned up and purified" in a lab.  The way my psychiatrist tried to combat them (and it worked) was to put me on Prozac while I was still coming off the Effexor and it helped to minimize the brain shocks.  (Wondering if this might work if you went back on Zoloft while coming off the Pristiq?) 

I've been on a few others over the years...so if you have a specific question about another medication, maybe you can pose another question or PM me. 

Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

Offline rioz

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  • Posts: 54
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2009, 05:57:06 PM »
Hi R,

Thanks for the response. It did indeed help.

i was doing well on Zoloft (preAIDS, that is), so when the cornucopia of issues smacked the shit out of me I figured the Zoloft wasn't working anymore - much as you describe your experience with certain drugs simply not working after a time. As I stated, I never felt medicated on the Zoloft so it was difficult to know what was going on.

Anywho, my ID, without me even mentioning depression and me acting in my usual foolish manner - suggested I go back on the Zoloft (I love you Bisher Akil for figuring this one out as you always figure everything out). So I have started, continuing to take the Pritiq and adding 50mg Zoloft for ten days. Afterwhich I will stop the Pristiq and up the Zoloft to 100mg.

It's day three and so far I am feeling better. Of course these issues of "ours" are often multifocal so I try to always be conscious of my mental, physical condition(s) and take the time to really feel what's going on.

Good wishes to all,

« Last Edit: October 02, 2009, 06:00:29 PM by rioz »
Living with HIV since 1985
Living with AIDS since 2007

Truvada, Lexiva, Norvir, Levothyroxine, Testim, Sertraline, Crestor

Offline Trace67

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Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2009, 06:59:20 PM »
I have been on Pristiq for over a year and I dont feel near the side effects that I did form Effexor XR, which I was on for 3 1/2 years. However, I often find myself becoming reclusive and not really caring about alot of things that I cared about previously. So its good and bad I guess.

Offline rioz

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  • Posts: 54
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 07:26:33 PM »
Hi Trace,

Are you seeing A mental health provider?  I am addressing my condition because I do not want to feel disinterested in the things and people I "normally" or used to. I mean no disrespect with my question, just a little friendly concern for your health.

Good wishes to all,
Living with HIV since 1985
Living with AIDS since 2007

Truvada, Lexiva, Norvir, Levothyroxine, Testim, Sertraline, Crestor

Offline the trebmeister

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    • daddy, you bastard
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2009, 12:21:42 AM »
hi richard,

i've never tried pristiq because it's in the same class of drugs as effexor, the SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, as you probably know).   the first anti-depressant i tried was effexor over 15 years ago and still get the willies thinking about it.   it was awful.  i felt like my adrenalin level was 1000% higher than normal and couldn't sleep over the 4 day weekend i tried it.  even though i cut that damn pill into half, 1/4, and a little sliver on the 4th day the unpleasant side effects were not diminished.  if i'd taken it a few more days i might not be here now to rattle on...  would that it were!

i've taken just about every SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, of course) and paxil, zoloft, and lexapro have helped immensely.   paxil is the med i take most of the time but after 15 years it's less effective so i'll switch to zoloft or lexapro for a few months hoping, not always successfully, to gain some benefit when i return to paxil.   zoloft lowers my libido but at this point that's a plus in my book. 

when you're first dealing with the whole ball of HIV/AIDS wax it's anyone's guess how it will affect you (and your own brand of depression).  most of us sink into a bit of a slump at first and then, upon realizing death isn't ringing the doorbell right now,  begin to re-fashion our lives, emphasis on LIVE, with our new realities as pozzies.  friends have grown quite tired of my standard cliche' "i'm too mean to die" since i've been dragging this virus around for 1/2 of my life and have yet to produce a dangerous infection or even an innocuous one -- if cat scratch fever counts (and it doesn't) that's the worst i've been through.

depression was a (major) part of my life before I became poz so it's hard to quantify/qualify the affect HIV infection had but it probably didn't help.  i started isolating myself in my teens and, good god, it must have been 3rd grade when i lost interest in everything, but at 53 i'm still here babbling along and deriving some pleasure out of life.
Your friends may say that I’m a stranger
My face they’ll never see no more
There is but one promise that’s given
I’ll sail on God’s golden shore

Offline rioz

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  • Posts: 54
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2009, 04:00:02 PM »
For what it's worth...

I have completed the switch back to Zoloft and except for a minor headache on and off for a few days, I am done. I am pushing myself to keep busy and active and doing so definitely helps with my energy level and spirit.

Your post is right on the money regarding how we each deal differently with the onset of HIV/AIDS issues.
As is your phrase "re-fashion our lives". It's been almost two years since my hospitalization and I am still adjusting.

So, I am feeling pretty well these days and I just thought I'd share.

Good wishes to all,

Living with HIV since 1985
Living with AIDS since 2007

Truvada, Lexiva, Norvir, Levothyroxine, Testim, Sertraline, Crestor

Offline mecch

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  • Posts: 13,404
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2009, 04:49:40 PM »
this article got me thinking about my brain on SSRI, and now with HIV.  Its a very NEW way of looking at SSRIs


SSRI heal a sick or dying brain.  this is purely about neurons.

Its up to you to recondition the healthy brain to function better.

Try also this - Neuro-Dharma

and this - the Healthy Brain

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline deibster

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  • Posts: 159
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 11:21:07 PM »
Hello guys, all of the people that I know on antidepressants are on more than one. I had side effects, fogginess, on Effexor & Wellbutrin. I'm much better on Wellbutrin & Zoloft. I have also been on Seroquel & Remeron in the past. The remeron made me tired, but nothing makes me foggy like the Effexor did. Good luck with it. Hugs, deibster
Poz since Dec 1992. Meds since 1995. Disability since 2005. Constantly fighting the Lipodystrophy 'beer gut.'

Prezista/Norvir, Epzicom, Cytomel, Prevacid, Coumadin, pravastatin, Fenofibrate, Remeron, Zoloft, Concerta, Flomax, Allegra180, Nasacort, Centrum, Flax Oil, Fish Oil

Offline Carly

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  • Posts: 56
Re: Experience with Pristiq or other antidepressants?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2009, 06:26:43 PM »
While I still remain negative so therefore have no experience with being positive & on antidepressants, I do have lots & lots of experience with simply being on antidepressants.  I've been battling depression & anxiety for years & been hospitalized twice, & my family has a looong history of mental illness.  My mother is bi-polar & my grandmother schizophrenic & both of them actually had electroconvulsive therapy back in the day (it was known then as "shock treatment").  So while I'm no expert, I have had a little experience in this area.

One thing I think it's important to keep in mind when it comes to these drugs is that every one reacts differently to them.  My mother & I have taken some of the same medications, & each time we've both had completely different reactions too them.  Usually what I'm able to tolerate she can't, & vice versa.  It's very odd, but everyone's brain chemistry is different.  I think I've taken just about every antidepressant their is, the most recent being a combo of Wellburtin & Paxil.  I did take Wellburtin & Effexor, but with Effexor I always felt tired & my speech was always slurred, so we switched to Paxil.  Then last winter I got pretty depressed again, so my doc decided to try a combo of Pristiq & Wellburtin.  The Pristiq didn't do a damned thing except make me nauseous.  So we just went back to a higher dose of Paxil & Wellburtin.  In between all that shit I took Lamictal for a while, which made me even more sick to my stomach than the Pristiq.  My biggest issue is that when the time changes & the days get shorter, I tend to get depressed, which is why I fucking hate fall & winter.  So I've just learned to tough it out until spring.

The best thing I can suggest is to find yourself a good psychiatrist who will help you get on the right combination of meds.  If you get really depressed & feel that you might hurt yourself or someone else, then go to the ER & get hospitalized.  I had myself commited once, & it's nothing to be ashamed of.  It gives the doctors a chance to moniter you more closely than they would be able to in an outpatient setting which will help them to help you get on the right meds.  A lot people make the mistake of going to their primary care physician for treatment of mental illness, & while primary care docs mean well, they just don't have the specific training or time it takes to deal with a mentally ill patient.  I look at it as someone with a disease seeing any other kind of specialist.  If you have heart problems you see a cardiologist, or if you have skin problems you see a dermatologist, & of course with HIV you see an infectious disease doctor.  So why wouldn't you see someone who specializes in mental illness for depression?   This is something I've been preaching to people of for a while, because I've seen too many people go to primary care physicians & even neurologists(!) & end up more messed up than they were before.  

So get yourself a good psychiatrist!  And make sure it's someone you're comfortable with.  You don't always have to stick with the first doctor you find.  I had to go through a couple before I found one that understood my needs.  

Anyway, that's just my two cents.


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