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Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment

Pristiq Side Effects

In This Article

Pristiq, or Desvenlafaxine in generic form, is a prescription antidepressant. It comes from the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) family of drugs.

This medication reduces anxiety and depression by increasing the absorption of serotonin and norepinephrine into the brain. This increased level of absorption helps to balance the patient’s mood and relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Additionally, Pristiq can be taken to deal with hot flashes associated with menopause.

Pristiq is very powerful and if misused can quickly cause dependency and addiction. People who are prescribed Pristiq, are instructed to take it under close supervision of a healthcare professional.

Pristiq is typically taken once daily via a time-release tablet. This tablet should never be crushed up, or mixed with liquid, as that would deliver all of the drug into the system at once. Taking Pristiq in this way could be very dangerous. The generic form, desvenlafaxine, is typically prescribed in a very low dosage. A doctor will monitor the reaction to the medication, and may choose to gradually increase dosage over time.

Antidepressant drugs, in general, can cause suicidal thoughts in children and young adults. Pristiq is generally not prescribed to anyone under the age of 24 for that reason.

Pristiq Addiction

The FDA has issued a “black box” warning for Pristiq. The FDA has issued this warning for a wide variety of antidepressants. It’s meant to warn users of the high danger associated with misusing the drug.

Someone who is prescribed Pristiq won’t feel the medicinal effects right away. It may take up to a few weeks to get relief from the medication. This delay in effects causes some users to take more frequent or larger doses of the drug to get relief from their symptoms. However, the drug doesn’t work this way.

Taking larger or more frequent doses of Pristiq will only enhance the negative side effects of the medication. It can also drastically increase the risk of Pristiq addiction. Users will often misuse Pristiq as a way to handle severe depression symptoms. But, some people misuse the drug to enhance other substances like alcohol.

Misusing prescription drugs has become all too popular in the U.S. In 2018, according to a National survey, 17 million Americans age 12 and older admitted to abusing antidepressants like Pristiq, as well as other prescription drugs.

Oftentimes these drugs are kept out in the open, or in easily-accessible medicine cabinets, making the drugs all-too-easy to obtain.

Pristiq Side Effects

With Pristiq being such a strong drug, its misuse can have severe physical and mental side effects. Pristiq addiction and withdrawal is a serious, sometimes life-threatening, condition. It’s also caused unemployment, loss of family relationships, and criminal behavior.

Abusing Pristiq can result in the following side effects:

  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • swelling
  • mania
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • slurred speech
  • tremors
  • paranoia
  • anxiety
  • serotonin syndrome
  • extreme sensitivity to sunlight

Pristiq can take a strong hold on people who misuse the drug. Although the addiction is strong, it’s not impossible to beat. With the right detox and clinical treatments, people can overcome the addiction and move on to live a normal life.

Pristiq Withdrawal

Upon stopping Pristiq, a user will start to experience withdrawal symptoms. There is no set timeline for withdrawal symptoms, and it will vary based on the individual.

How long you’ve been taking the drug; your prescribed dosage; your daily habits such as diet, exercise, other prescriptions; your body type; and whether you choose to quit cold turkey or taper, are all factors that can affect the timeline of withdrawal symptoms.

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms appear 2-4 days after the last dosage of Pristiq. Healthcare professionals have noted that withdrawal symptoms seem to last 4-6 weeks, or longer, depending on a variety of factors.

These are the symptoms someone can expect while going through Pristiq withdrawal:

  • headache
  • insomnia
  • agitation
  • irritability
  • electric shock sensations
  • tinnitis
  • lethargy
  • rapid mood swings
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • tremors
  • confusion
  • mania
  • depression
  • seizures
  • excessive sweating

Like with all strong medications, gradual tapering off of the drug is recommended by healthcare professionals. Tapering schedules can differ depending on how long you’ve been taking Pristiq. Quitting abruptly can cause even more severe withdrawal symptoms from Pristiq addiction.

If you’ve been taking a higher dosage of Pristiq, or been taking the drug for a long period of time, the tapering process may take up to 6 months. That doesn’t mean 6 months in a detox facility, but once the patient left detox they would want to still continue to be monitored by a doctor.

Treatment Options

An addiction with the potential to be as strong as Pristiq addiction needs long-term treatment and monitoring. A healthcare professional may recommend a combination of treatment methods to help fight the addiction from all angles.

In-patient rehab, medical detox, sober living facilities, and community support groups are just a few of the methods that may be recommended.

Once a person has gone through detox, they will then move onto the rehab phase of their journey. Experts say that prolonged rehab programs of 90 days or more give patients the best chance for a lasting, stable recovery.

In-patient rehab offers people recovering from Pristiq addiction a structured schedule. This added stability will help to make the recovery process last. Patients will also have access to immediate clinical and medical assistance in case symptoms happen to become severe. Multiple therapy options are also available. Residents can take advantage of one-on-one counseling, group therapy, or family counseling.

This wide variety of counseling options helps to make sure residents are creating a strong, stable network of people who know what they’re going through as they transition into sober living.

Once a resident moves on to a sober living facility, the goals of the rehab process change. They are given drug and alcohol tests to make sure they don’t relapse, and medical and clinical staff are still nearby if needed.

The difference in a sober living facility is that more resources are provided to help residents live life in the real world. Resources for employment assistance, volunteer placement, and educational planning are provided. Residents are also given a less strict schedule, and may only have to deal with a curfew and house rules.

The prices and availability of these different treatment options may vary from place to place. Check with your insurance provider to see what they are willing to cover. If you need additional resources, you can contact us at Just Believe Detox Center. We’re always happy to help.

We Believe Recovery Is Possible For Everyone.
If you or a loved one needs help with Pristiq abuse and/or treatment, please call Just Believe Detox Center at (877) 497-6180. Our recovery specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.