As promised, my successful tapering off Effexor (Venlafaxine)

Posted by sheffieldsmith @sheffieldsmith, May 31, 2020

Below you will find the tapering plan that I used to successfully wean myself off Effexor (Venlafaxine). Feel free to share this with your doctor If you would like. I researched and came up with this plan, which was approved by my doctor, although she thought I could probably have weaned myself off sooner. But the reality is that we all have differing tolerance levels for tapering and weaning off this powerful drug from our bodies. Some people can taper faster, but usually not those who have been on this drug for years (like myself, since October 2002). I tapered off EffexorXR 150mg capsules about 5 years ago down to 75mg, and was on that maintenance dosage for a couple of years until I started weaning off the 75mg a year ago in April 2019. As of October, 2029, I’ve been withdrawal symptom free, but I still have occasional periods of anxiety when triggered. But I realize these waves of anxiety will soon pass, and I cope by deep breathing, taking a walk, having a cup of chamomile tea, etc. Cutting my exposure to watching upsetting news has really helped a lot as well. These days I seek things that bring joy and peace in such a turbulent world. Wishing you all a successful weaning off this powerful drug.

Weaning off Venlafaxine XR 75mg (Effexor-(extended release)capsules:
Weaning plan off plan that worked for BSS:
1. Inform your doctor you are tapering down from 75 mg Venlafaxine and ask them to prescribe 37.50 tabs to help with tapering doses (1/2 dosage down from 75 mg Venlafaxine capsules). The tabs are easier to cut into halves and quarter dosages than counting out beads from the capsules.
2. Begin your taper only after you are on a non-withdrawal symptomatic dosage level. If you were having w/d symptoms at 75 mg, you’ll need to go back to the level at which you were symptomless and stay there for 2-3 weeks before deceasing to a slow taper. NOTE: after successfully tapering from 150mg Venlafaxine down to 75mg for a month, I was unable to tolerate a drop cold turkey from a daily dosage of 75mg down to 37.50mg (50%) without having bothersome withdrawal symptoms of dizziness, brain fog, brain zaps, and nausea. So after researching various tapering plans, I came up with a slower tapering schedule my body could tolerate to finish the tapering from 75mg to 37.50mg, and then on to complete the tapering. Your body may even need slower tapering, so adjust according.
3. Week 1-2: Take 75mg caps MWFSu; take 37.50mg tab on alternate days Tu,Th, Sa. At the end of week 2, if you only have relatively mild to no withdrawal symptoms, proceed to week 3. IMPORTANT: If you have intolerable symptoms, adjust to a slower tapering schedule by adding an additional 1/2 tab on the alternate days (or take a total of one and a half 37.50 tabs on alternate days). You’ll then have to tweak the rest of your tapering schedule. If all goes well, proceed with week 3.
4. Week 3-4: Cut a few 37.50 tabs in half with a pill cutter or exacto knife blade to create quarter pieces. Take 37.50mg tab on MWFSu and take 3/4 tab on alternate days Tu, Th, Sa.
5. Week 5-6: Take 3/4 of a tab MWFSu, and take 1/2 tab on alternate days Tu, Th, Sa. If only mild symptoms, proceed to week 5.
6. Week 7-8: Take 1/2 tab on MWFSu; and take 1/4 tab on alternate days Tu, Th, Sa. If no symptoms, continue to week 7.
7. Week 9-10: Take 1/4 tab on MWFSu; and take 1/8 tab (cut 1/4 tabs in half) on alternate days Tu, Th, Sa. *Notice the quartering of doses into crumbs now…very important to keep small dosage tapering to remain withdrawal symptom free.
8. Week 11-12: Take 1/8 tab crumb on MWFSu; take none on alternate days Tu, Th, Sa. *If skipping alternate days produces symptoms, stay on 1/8 tab crumbs for a couple of weeks before alternating skip days for a couple of weeks.
You’ll find that this schedule may have to be tweaked for you by extending the time you stay on a taper…possibly up to 3-4 weeks before beginning a new tapering down. It all depends on how you tolerate the first two weeks.

Effexor doesn't come in liquid form?

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I just read your post again.
You wrote so clearly your plan of tapering.
Thank you for being a great role model.
Many thanks!

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A great piece of writing!
So informative!
Again, many thanks.

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Your welcome, Ellen. I hope you find the peace you seek from weaning off this addictive drug that carries so many undesirable side effects. Enough is enough.

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@sears

Effexor doesn't come in liquid form?

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No, it doesn’t to my knowledge.

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I'm on 75mg an 37.50 mg of venlafaxine for 6months how hard will it be for me to come of them. As they have made me much worse. Just want of them would really appreciate any help at all thanks so much

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I tapered from effexor 187.5 mg by my doctor in 4 weeks and my life has been hell. I am 84 years old – a widow for 20 years and have a lot of issues in that time. Years earlier my physician prescribed zoloft. It worked well and 3 was weaned off it by my doctor in a relatively short time without having any problems. I think my doctor prescribed effexor due to my age. What a tragedy this drug has made of my life. Why aren't using your plan. It seems sounder & safer than the plan my doctor used. I no longer want him to treat me. I would love to send him your way of tapering. I will not use your name unless I have your permission. Thanks and God bless.
Clarafahy1937@gmail.com.

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@noirin1957

I'm on 75mg an 37.50 mg of venlafaxine for 6months how hard will it be for me to come of them. As they have made me much worse. Just want of them would really appreciate any help at all thanks so much

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Hi there, any updates? How is it going? Thanks 🙂

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@cjf

I tapered from effexor 187.5 mg by my doctor in 4 weeks and my life has been hell. I am 84 years old – a widow for 20 years and have a lot of issues in that time. Years earlier my physician prescribed zoloft. It worked well and 3 was weaned off it by my doctor in a relatively short time without having any problems. I think my doctor prescribed effexor due to my age. What a tragedy this drug has made of my life. Why aren't using your plan. It seems sounder & safer than the plan my doctor used. I no longer want him to treat me. I would love to send him your way of tapering. I will not use your name unless I have your permission. Thanks and God bless.
Clarafahy1937@gmail.com.

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This schedule did not work for me. Was on 37 1:2 venlafaxine. Took me 2 years of counting beads. Counted every bead in every capsule.

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@noirin1957

I'm on 75mg an 37.50 mg of venlafaxine for 6months how hard will it be for me to come of them. As they have made me much worse. Just want of them would really appreciate any help at all thanks so much

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I was on it for a year before tapering off it. I was pretty sick physically. I was vomiting and had terrible body aches. My brain had no filter. I was say things to people that I would never normally say. It was a scary experience. I don’t like that class of drugs and Cymbalta is in the same class of drugs. I take Zoloft now and I feel fine and I am happy I made the switch. It may not be so bad for you as you aren’t on a high dose I don’t think, I forget what my dosage was but it was pretty high. Do your research the other person who said they were counting beads is something a lot of people do when having a tough time weaning off.

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I was on Venlafaxine XL for a year (150mg). I have successfully tapered down to 75mg and am now on 37.5mg – I then went to every other day of the 37.5 and am finally on every 3rd day. I have been stuck here for a while and can't seem to taper further. By the end of the 3rd day I feel very nauseated, have brain zaps and migraines – sensitivity to light and sound.

I will add that prior to taking Venlafaxine I was on Bupropion 300 mg for about 20 years. Switched to Venlafaxine after a very stressful life event where Bupropion was not helping.

I very much want to stop taking Venlafaxine. Should I go back to Bupropion?

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