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I am 63 yr old female and have been reading the boards relative to effexor xr withdrawal (highest dose 2015 375 mg), slow taper to May 2018 took last dose of Effexor XR 37.5 mg May 28th 2018, I started to have some balance dizzy issues in April and then by first week in June I had horrible anxiety (not my usual, had to be from the Effexor withdrawal), nausea, jitters, balance, dizzy issues, depth perception problems, was sensitive to light and sound, thought I was losing my mind –long story trying to make this shorter. Over summer through present time I have had gradual relief, still have some balance, dizzy issues, depth perception and mental challenges, which brings me to my latest diagnosis in subject line. (I was and still am taking wellbutrin XL 300 mg/daily for depression). I am not depressed and my anxiety has been reduced greatly (I think in part due to stopping the Effexor quite honestly), not taking any additional medication for anxiety – don’t need it! Praise God!

One of the changes I noted as Effexor was tapered was cognitive decline. Having difficulty multi tasking , making financial spreadsheets, challenging to make sense out of complex situations or interrupting the difference between 3 different options for scheduling (as an example–these are all things I have been really good at — until April/May of this year). Met with neurologist, (primary care ordered brain MRI which was neg), he ordered over 20 labs and they were all within normal limits and he referred me to neuropsych for testing – showed deficits in visual spatial ability, graphomotor reproduction of complex visual figural information, weakness in divided attention in verbal fluency format, block patterns and abstraction ability. “not severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of dementia but not normal, so mild neurocognitive d/o; predominately executive and right hemisphere pattern of deficit present etiology not clear in light of normal MRI. They are thinking perhaps i am having ophthalmologic migranes/seizures (only experience in right field of vision) and this may be part of what is impacting my cognition.

I will have follow up more specific/detailed MRI in May 2019, in mean time I am “to remain concerned but not consumed over these results”, call or make appointment if symptoms increase, (balance, dizziness, cognition etc).

Long story shorter I know that wellbutrin is typically not prescribed for people with known seizure d/o; from what i have read and know (i am RN behavioral health) wellbutrin can lower seizure threshold. Can you help me find any research or information that may relate to effexor withdrawal and or wellbutrin potential impact on cognition or correlation with optical seizures impacting brain function. I will have follow up more detailed MRI..not until may 2019, . I have been trying to put most of this puzzle together myself, I had to request initial MRI in June, request referral to neuro, self referred to opthamology and found my prescription was way to strong — leading to some of my depth perception and balance problems — new script/glasses now helping somewhat.

I appreciate any feedback you may have. Thank you, Barb

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Replies to "Hi, I am 63 yr old female and have been reading the boards relative to effexor..."

Hi @dorty – Welcome to Connect! I agree with Lisa in terms of watching the condition and investigating causes. My husband was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in 2015 and I know from our own experience how frightening that diagnosis can be. It sounds as if your diagnosis was based on the battery of neuropsych tests you just completed. As a follow-up to that, I would encourage you to look at the information and articles on Mayo's website under Mild Cognitive Impairment. Some of the articles and resources were helpful to us. Also, I'm wondering if your neurologist and/or neuropsychologist recommended anything beyond the "wait/re-test" approach? You may consider contacting Mayo to see about your eligibility for participation in their HABIT (Healthy Actions to Benefit Independence & Thinking) program. Here are a couple of links you might find helpful.

Hello, @dorty – just wanted to check in with you and see how things are going with the cognitive decline you mentioned noticing? Has imaging provided any further information?

@rachelanne – also thinking of you today and wondering how the symptoms are recently that you talked about experiencing related to your mild cognitive impairment diagnosis?

Hello – I also wanted to invite a few Mayo Clinic Connect members who were discussing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) on one of the Mayo Clinic Connect pages, the Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment page https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/living-with-mild-cognitive-impairment-mci/, to join in this discussion.

Please meet @lindaburdett @kingstonian @emyliander. Wondering if each of you three might introduce yourselves and talk about whether you have an MCI diagnosis or are wondering about it, and any symptoms you've been experiencing?

Hello all- I was diagnosed with MCI at age 62 after beginning to realize I was misplacing things, repeating myself, getting frustrated with my husband when he would way 'you already told me that', not wanting to socialize with friends for fear they would think 'what is wrong with her'. My PCP referred me to a Neurologist who did a battery of tests and she advised me I had MCI. Actually, she called it early onset memory loss. Symptoms that I have are walking into a room to get something and not remembering what I wanted to get. Later I remember and go get it. I have been repeating things to my husband and he gets frustrated and says 'you already told me that'. I then get frustrated and leave the room. I enjoy reading books but can't recall what I read so I go back a few pages and then pick up where I left off. I was also able to retire at 62. I had been an Administrator for a large medical practice so I was very happy to take an early retirement before signs started showing up. To make a long story short, when I feel myself getting frustrated I go to a quite spot and do deep breathing exercises and I calm down. I do enjoy reading the articles on MCI as they give me encouragement and know that I am not alone. So that is MCI in a nutshell for me.

Hi @lindaburdett, I can relate with what you are experiencing. I am having problems with my memory. I get so frustrated and want to give up. I have had 2 MRI and there was not a big change. I have a genetic disease called Adrenaleukodystrophy. This could be attributed to my disease. They have no cure for this disease. I take alot of supplements. I try to take natural products if I can. My Dr recommended Meloxicam 15 mg and Hy hydrocortisone 10 mg. He also prescribed Vitamin D 50,000 mg. I see my memory getting worse. My anxiety level is not good. I was thinking of asking my Dr about a Hyperbaric chamber. I dont like drugs. If you seen o the movie Lorenzo's oil that is the disease. It has affected my walking and balance. As I explore my disease I will let you know. Hope you find answers. God Bless.

Hello Barb,
I was wondering if you were still following the forum and if so if you could update us on your condition. You mentioned seizures which grabbed my attention since I have Epilepsy and I’m curious if you could explain further any of the characteristics of any seizures you may be having. Have you actually had some seizures? If you know for a fact you’re having seizures have you ever lost consciousness. Occipital lobe seizures are generally Focal seizures and there are four types, Focal aware and Focal impaired, Focal motor & Non-Focal Motor. Focal impaired you lose consciousness or your level of consciousness changes. Focal motor
Have doctors ever happened to mention to you that you may have occipital lobe epilepsy or any other type of seizure disorder? I was wondering if you were having actual seizures or if you were having Auras that may be associated with the migraines. migraines don’t usually cause seizures and seizures don’t cause migraines so your statement was confusing to me. Are you having any visual hallucinations for instance seeing things that aren’t there, colored or flashing lights, decreased vision quality perhaps to the point of blindness or near blindness or pain or jerking of the eyes?
I apologize for the inquisition here but I’m asking these questions because often times people actually have Occipital lobe epilepsy but they’re diagnosed as having migraines. People with migraines are more likely to have seizures. It is thought that the migraine may trigger the seizure. Likewise people with Epilepsy seem to have an increased risk of migraines.
Take care of yourself,

I am “brand new” to this site, but 77 yrs old with MCI w/o Alzheimers, that started noticeably in February 2018. I started retiring from my engineering consulting business and am now about 90% retired. We live in Chattanooga TN and Jekyll Is., GA. I hope to attend the next Habit program, hopefully in Jacksonville.
I have a low heartbeat (bradycardia) and was provided a pacemaker in October. I’m on donepezil/Aricept and memantine, B12/B6 (5000mcg/300mg) twice/day, plus supplements for heart, Calcium, Centrium silver, D3. I brisk walk 20-40 min./da. about 5 days/wk. I do about 10 repetitions of 7 weight-related exercises about 3times/wk.
I use my PC, iPad Pro, and iPhone to cope with MCI on many aspects of my functioning as well as close family members to assist me at times with more challenging issues. I use team members to assist me on challenging work issues.
I can still do Bible studies and quasi lead small group studies.
I am very interested in learning more about how to best function with MCI. Everything I engage in takes much more time and I have great difficulty meeting schedules, commitments, and deadlines, as well as multitasking in day-to-day functioning, plus sticking to plans on a daily basis.
Thanks, Jim.

If I were you, I would ask my doctor to see if i could get off of any drugs unless you absolutely must take them for a critical reason, especially Klonopin… Klonopin is now known to have anti-cholinergic properties and increases the risk of dementia. I have had many conversations with doctors interested in this subject and concerned that, in fact, elders are sometimes diagnosed with dementia when, in fact, it is the drugs they are taking that is causing the memory problems. However, klonopin and other drugs with anti-cholinergic properties are linked to a worrisome increased risk of cognitive problems including dementia – not only fleeting memory glitches. A rare but still documented side effect of venlafaxine is confusion and anxiety which can contribute to memory problems. You do not mention taking any bladder control medications which can be especially problematic for producing cognitive impairment (drugs like Versicare) and these drugs are frequently prescribed quickly and often for older women. Americans are the most drugged people in the world. I am certainly not against medication but one must be one's own advocate and it makes sense to see if your drugs are part of your problem. Here is a article from Harvard that mentions benzodiazepines like Klonopin . https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/two-types-of-drugs-you-may-want-to-avoid-for-the-sake-of-your-brain

Hello, @dorty – since you have been informed following your neuropsych testing that you have mild neurocognitive disorder with deficits not severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of dementia but not normal, it makes sense to 1) watch this condition, as you and your doctor are doing and will do when you return for another more detailed MRI and 2) investigate with your doctor any potential causes, like any possible link to your venlafaxine (Effexor) withdrawal.

I'd like you to meet some other Connect members who might have some thoughts and input related to the mild neurocognitive disorder discovered, like @hopeful33250 @debbraw @jenniferhunter @IndianaScott @providence1960 @bonniep. They may also have some insights related to your question about a potential connection to tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor).

Did your doctor have any thoughts for you on any connection between going off the medication and development of cognitive decline, @dorty?

Thank you to all that have enquired after me. Yesterday I noticed the “ view more “ box, I was thinking that no one was writing anymore, I should have known. I called the referred Dr’s office weeks ago and was told they do so many referrals a month, guess it hasn’t been my month yet. Now with COVID 19 all appointments we had have been postponed. My memory problems continue, my husband keeps telling me “ you don’t listen to me” trouble is he talks so much, I have a hard time filtering out what I really need to listen to. I have to laugh sometimes at the things I do. I made a meal for a man who’s wife had died and called to ask what time he would like me to bring it. I didn’t hear from him so just took it when it was ready. A few weeks later I was listening to my messages on my cell phone and found the message for the man. Apparently I called from our home phone and left the message on my cell phone, no wonder he didn’t answer. 😬 our house goes on the market in 11 days, we’ve been unable to find a place in NY, complicated by having 2 cats and a dog. Also trying to get our daughter set up with a day program to attend. Some days are better than others.