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Avatar universal

Switching from Effexor xr and Xanax to Pristiq and Valium

Hi everyone, I want to share my story and get information about this. I went to the pdoc and told him I was interested in trying the new Pristiq, he said it was longer lasting, which is a good thing in my book, but he said thats all he knows about the drug, I was stunned he didnt know any other information!!! So he told me to just stop taking my Effexor xr of .75mg x 3 pills a day and start taking pristiq .50mg and I shouldnt feel the terrible withdrawl symtoms  that comes with effexor, so day one I take my pristiq and valium, by the middle of the day, it felt as if I misssed taking my Effexor dose, my brain started zapping terrible, stomach aches etc. I thought there would be no problem, so I was upset, I called the pdoc back and explained what was going on, he said well I guess you can take a 75mg effexor and your pristiq, why would he not know this? Why wouldnt he warn me? I understand the drug is from the same company but going from such a high dose of one to the new one killed me. its like his attitude is like im a lab rat, scares me, so I guess the point is I am going to have to ween off of 75mg eventually to just pristiq, but everyone says they are the same, they are not!!! I wouldnt have had any issues, I think a pdoc should know these things and take the switch slower and ween off correctly, is anyone comming across this issue? Pdoc doesnt have a clue about the med and what it will do to you?? sorry this is long---but advice would be great!!
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Avatar universal
Effexor and Pristiq are related but Pristiq is a structurally novel compound.  They have the same active metobolite (which is thought to have the beneficial effects) but Pristiq has succinate salt added to it which allows for a predictable concentration of the medication.  What all this means is that most patients will be able to stay at the starting dose of 50 mg with very good results.  There have been very low incidences of side effects, little to no weight gain and sexual side effecfts don't seem to be an issue either.

I'm suprised that you are having issues, because of the almost identical makeup of the drug. The brain is a mysterious thing though, some react, some don't. The thing though is it may take a few days for the drug to be attached to the receptors, there is no scale to measure on when that will happen. It's a good idea to do a slow taper of the Effexor, I know those spins well, it's horrid to say the least. Hang in there. I've read good reviews about Pritiq.
724811 tn?1291434386
I was on Effexor a few years ago and had a horrid time getting off.  Now I am on Pristiq and I hope that when I eventually quit it won't be as bad.  Pristiq has been working for me just as well as the Effexor did, if that is any help to you.  I think my depression stems from physical issues, so drugs can only do so much for me, but it does take away the lows I tend to feel.  Good luck with it.  One thing that did happen when I went on, and I don't know if this is related or not, but my blood pressure has been strangely low.  I even fainted a few times.  When I looked up side effects of Pristiq, I saw high blood pressure was a possible problem.  I do agree that our Doctors don't know enough about this drug.  Most of my doctors never even heard of it....even asked me how to spell it for my charts.  I had to tell them it is the "new effexor", or the patent extender!  
Avatar universal
As Leftcoast said Effexor and Pristiq are 99% the exact same medication with a slightly different release mechinism. In fact the molecular structure of the two drugs is almost identical.

BUT, that does not supprise me that you still got Effexor withdrawls during the switch.
Our brains and bodys can sense even the slightest variation with drugs.

I used to take Effexor years ago for a long time (many other drugs in between) but I have been on Pristiq for about three months now and it works pretty good. I had to stop Effexor because it stopped working for me after 4 years. The Pristiq was just different enough that it produced a response after the Effexor failed.

I give it a good 4 to 6 months and the Pristiq will also stop working for me, but when your as med resistant as me you take what you can get.

Interesting story: You know why Weith Pharm (makers of Effexor XR) came out with Pristiq? Well, Effexor XR was and is the worlds highest grossing (sales) antidepressant in history. It has earned Weith 3.5 Billion (not million) dollars in sales per year.

Just that one medication 3.5 BILLION! BUT as you know it's been 7 years since the release of Effexor XR and Weiths patent on the Extended Release formula runs out this month. Weith is smart and they know Effexor XR is now fair game for generic companies to produce. Thus they develope a hybrid type medication (a sister drug of Effexor XR) It's called Pristiq and Weith is banking on holding market share for 7 years with it like they did with Effexor.

The two meds are almost completly identical in every way. Weith is smart and they know how to hold market share when a cash cow like Effexor bleeds out.

I read that in a magizine and thought it was very clever how the Pharm companies market this stuff. It's all about the green. Sad part is that us Americans pay the lions share of the development of new drugs that get approved by the FDA and hit market.

That's because we have a private health system that makes us pay huge fat money, yet most other countries get the exact same meds in a social health system for pennies on the dollar. If not for Americans footing the massive cost of meds to the drug companies then very few new meds would even hit market. The research dollars would not exist and the pharm companies would go belly up.

So for people in other countries that think we have it made because we have so many doctors and Psychiatrist to select from and get us in fast..... There is a HUGE price we pay for it. Literally hundreds a month just for partial coverage. The cost to us Americans is massive, and if you don't have the money for your meds (even life saving meds) "then you die and they don't care."

Even with good insurance our meds still cost us a ton out of pocket at the pharmacy counter for every refill. Last week when I was at the Pharmacy I saw an old lady that had to pay $240 for her heart medication OUT OF POCKET! She was crying to the pharmasist and they couldn't have cared less. She never got her meds. Sad for sure.
Avatar universal
I called the pdoc back and he's having me take a 75 effexor xr and my pristiq 50---I guess a ween off of it, no more brain zaps for now, I dont know what will happen after I stop taking effexor all together, we shall see in a few weeks.

As for the comment above, I too have seen people have to pay out of pocket for perscriptions and its usually elderly and people like me, who had been laid off and take medications and are put into a situation of having to pay out of pocket, what to do? Luckily I got my job back but what about those people that are needing these drugs to survive? It is very sad and I have been there, it's not fair.
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