Pristiq - what do I expect?

kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
Hello. Three months of struggling and more to come, so on the gentle advice of three members of my medical team, I'm about to take anti-depressants for the first time in my life.

The oncologist and GP have conferred and I have a box of Pristiq ready to go tomorrow morning. Pristiq because down the track the onc says I'll be on Tamoxifen and those two go together OK, unlike Lexapro.

Is anyone out there on Pristiq? What can I expect over the next few weeks?


  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 552
    Can't give you an answer, 
    2kmakm _can't even type... but good on you for trying something to help.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    @sister Thanks. I feel so desperate, so bleak and futile. It's not me at all, I don't recognise myself anymore. And of course I feel weak and a failure for taking them... But intellectually I know that's the stress, anxiety and depression talking. One of my closest friends said it showed courage to take them. So in 27 minutes I shall.

    No more typing for you! Rest, breathe and distract yourself if you can. We can do this.  K xox 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,362
    Would you feel bleak about taking an antibiotic? Most people at some time in their life feel overwhelmed, having cancer seems as likely a time as any to feel depressed!! Medication can help restore your emotional health just as it can restore physical health. Realising that takes courage and determination to be well again. Best wishes. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    Thank you @Afraser. I've been told two figures:  one in two AND one in three women diagnosed with breast cancer will get depressed. I know I'm not unusual. I'm trying to be open here in this forum in the hope that it will help others. I know the stigma associated with taking medication for the brain. It's absurd. But intellectually knowing something doesn't stop you feeling something else. Nothing about this sodding disease is easy eh?
  • wendy55wendy55 Copper Triangle South AustraliaMember Posts: 265
    @kmakm, Hi, as Afraser has put so well, you would take an antibiotic if needed, I too realized after some gentle pursuasion from my GP, and McGrath nurse, went on to anti-depressants, and after about 4 weeks realized just how much they helped me,I was more in control of my emotions and my partner said I was a much nicer person to live with!,I have had metastatic breast cancer since 2013 and have found along with complimentary therapies that the anti depressants have made life a little easier to deal with, nothing about treating breast cancer is easy, we just do the best we can on any given day, and I have also realized that I do not have the time or energy to allow stress into my life, please take care of yourself, be gentle on yourself,
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 1,362
    No, I am afraid it's rarely easy. And I appreciate your courage in sharing your feelings. Cancer and depression have a lot in common - they are frequently experienced but no-one unaffected much likes talking about either! I discovered when my mother was felled with depression that almost everyone I knew had a story - their own or family or friend - about an encounter with depression. Same with cancer. The more we talk, the more the matter stops being weirdly secret - they are illnesses, not failings. Good luck with your treatment. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    I sense the wisdom in you @wendy55! I'll have to work on strategies to keep stress to a minimum. I suppose this is one of them.

    @Afraser My deceased sister struggled with depression her whole adult life. She refused to take any medication, which made her life, and the lives of those who loved her, impossibly hard. I always swore I'd be different if it happened to me.

    It still took the "gentle persuasion". Thank goodness for the kindness of the doctors & nurses.
  • lrb_03lrb_03 Member Posts: 583
    @kmakm, I have been on Pristiq since well before my cancer diagnosis,  following a workplace incident. However, at different times since my diagnosis, my GP has suggested increasing the dose. I always resisted, until recently, when I couldn't go and see a health professional without massive angst and finally realised I did need to increase, and yes, it has helped. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    Thank you @lrb_03. I'm on the lowest, 50mg. I'm glad to hear it's helped you. I've had a little nausea after taking it today, but not as much as my second dose of chemotherapy...
  • lrb_03lrb_03 Member Posts: 583
    When I first started on it, I'd had so much "nervous nausea" for so long, that I couldn't tell the difference, lol
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    edited March 3
    Lol indeed! I knew if I gave myself time to think about it I'd hesitate and be in trouble. Said yes on Thursday, prescription Friday and down the hatch today. I hope it makes a difference but also that I don't lose myself in another way.
  • lrb_03lrb_03 Member Posts: 583
    I certainly haven't lost myself. I'd say Pristiq, particularly when I first went on it, went a long way to bringing myself back to me. 
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not always great, but mostly I can find the tools that I have, when the dose is right, to help myself.
    Feel free to pm me any time
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    Thank you @lrb_03. Will do.
  • brightspacebrightspace Member Posts: 220
    Hi Kmakm  i had work related stress so took meds for about two years
    Found it best to take them late arvo before first it affected my concentration so take care if driving thats why i took later
    All best B
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 424
    Thanks @brightspace.
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