Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)

Posted by richyrich @richyrich, Nov 2, 2016

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for years and tried to get off it a few times but each time I try to give up the chemical withdrawal symptoms are a horror story and I give up giving up. Anyone got any tips or tried and tested strategies? Thank you

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

Such kind words….thank you so much…..

REPLY

I have very much appreciated finding this thread. I’ve been on 225 mg Venlafaxine ER (capsules) for several years and I genuinely think I’d be better off with out it at this point. I’ve run out a couple of times and mostly experienced dizziness, vertigo and terrible nightmares, but not increased depression. My issues deal more with getting started on things and concentrating on tasks other than things not associated with working. LOL

I have noticed that several have had issues going from 37.5 mg to zero. Who has tried splitting the 37.5 in half and then weaning off from 18.25 mg? I’ve been on this crap for about 12 years so taking months to wean off doesn’t bother me

Anyways, some of your stories scare me but I’m going to speak with my doctor about a plan and go for it. I wish you all continued luck.

REPLY

I encourage you to go to the FDA website and read the history about Effexor XR. It took 14 years for it to be approved by the FDA. FOURTEEN! It was “invented” to alleviate taking multiple pills daily but I think it would have been better to take take lower doses than to get hooked on this stuff. It is HELL and I mean HELL getting off of this stuff. I have been through horrible life trials (divorce and loss of my son) and I have NEVER had anxiety like I’m having right now. The physical affects are like the worst case of the flu you’ve ever had in your life. Chills, nausea, diarrhea (and I MEAN diarrhea to the point you can’t leave your house). I have absolutely NO appetite which isn’t a bad thing since this shit made me gain 50 lbs. but nothing sounds good and I have to force myself to eat. I can barely even get a glass of ice water down. Soup broth is about all I can tolerate. I am about six weeks into this so I’m not turning back. I’m going to ride it out (I hope I survive) and get off of this poison. It should be criminal to produce a drug this potent without giving explicit WARNINGS about the withdrawal symptoms. I had no intention of staying on it long term but a divorce after 30 years of marriage and the suicide of my son five years later made my depression unbearable. I think I have slept most of the last five years. But the Effexor only exacerbated the brain fog, total lack of any kind of motivation, poor personal hygiene and the inability to really take care of myself. I know that grief played a big part of my fatigue and always will but if I can get a handle on this anxiety, I’m NEVER going on any kind of antidepressant again. EVER. My case may be one out of the norm, and I hope that is the case. My advice is to get off of it as soon as you can….trust your body and how you feel….especially your mind. I have been hospitalized SIX times for overdosing in the past five years after my son passed away. I truly wonder if it was the drugs…..as they all come with a “may cause suicidal ideation” label. I truly wanted to die after I lost my son and still some days the urge is hard to resist but I think with the proper care from a physician, better support (grief support is almost non existent), and a true friend that would have been by my side through the worst, I don’t think I would be where I am now. Being single and alone was almost unbearable…..I had no idea I would get the kind of response I have from my posts…..I only hope that no one has to endure what I have in these past six weeks. It’s a hell on earth, that’s for sure….

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I encourage you to go to the FDA website and read the history about Effexor XR. It took 14 years for it to be approved by the FDA. FOURTEEN! It was “invented” to alleviate taking multiple pills daily but I think it would have been better to take take lower doses than to get hooked on this stuff. It is HELL and I mean HELL getting off of this stuff. I have been through horrible life trials (divorce and loss of my son) and I have NEVER had anxiety like I’m having right now. The physical affects are like the worst case of the flu you’ve ever had in your life. Chills, nausea, diarrhea (and I MEAN diarrhea to the point you can’t leave your house). I have absolutely NO appetite which isn’t a bad thing since this shit made me gain 50 lbs. but nothing sounds good and I have to force myself to eat. I can barely even get a glass of ice water down. Soup broth is about all I can tolerate. I am about six weeks into this so I’m not turning back. I’m going to ride it out (I hope I survive) and get off of this poison. It should be criminal to produce a drug this potent without giving explicit WARNINGS about the withdrawal symptoms. I had no intention of staying on it long term but a divorce after 30 years of marriage and the suicide of my son five years later made my depression unbearable. I think I have slept most of the last five years. But the Effexor only exacerbated the brain fog, total lack of any kind of motivation, poor personal hygiene and the inability to really take care of myself. I know that grief played a big part of my fatigue and always will but if I can get a handle on this anxiety, I’m NEVER going on any kind of antidepressant again. EVER. My case may be one out of the norm, and I hope that is the case. My advice is to get off of it as soon as you can….trust your body and how you feel….especially your mind. I have been hospitalized SIX times for overdosing in the past five years after my son passed away. I truly wonder if it was the drugs…..as they all come with a “may cause suicidal ideation” label. I truly wanted to die after I lost my son and still some days the urge is hard to resist but I think with the proper care from a physician, better support (grief support is almost non existent), and a true friend that would have been by my side through the worst, I don’t think I would be where I am now. Being single and alone was almost unbearable…..I had no idea I would get the kind of response I have from my posts…..I only hope that no one has to endure what I have in these past six weeks. It’s a hell on earth, that’s for sure….

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@sadiesmom

Have you noticed any increment of change for the better the past few days?

I think that the loss of hope is the most devastating effect of depression. I know that it’s one of the classic symptoms, along with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, memory loss, reduced brain function and body function, loss of ambition, desire, pleasure, motivation…the list goes on. Thankfully, help is available at many levels. Sometimes the challenge is just finding the resources we need, not to mention having the energy to do that.

I hope that you’ll begin to see the smallest improvements each day as you go through the nightmareish process of withdrawal. I’m praying that for you.

Jim

REPLY

I have been reading with some encouragement of great success achieved by implementing a Effexor/Prozak tapering bridge in conjunction with mega doses of Omega3 and B vitamin. Have any of you tried such a method? I also am coming to the conclusion that this cannot be rushed and, if you’ve been on this crap for years, to not be surprised if it takes as much as six months or more to wean off. I’d rather have it take some time than rush things and experience the hell I read about.

REPLY
@hwilson7

My bad test results a month ago indicated that my liver was suffering damage from medication and was triggering autoimmune hepatitis. I’ve been reducing my medications ever since. I take a series of supplements and vitamins to help me get off the 375mg Effexor XR I’ve been taking for 12 years. I would recommend that anyone following this protocol take the supplements and vitamins for a month before trying to reduce your Effexor; also, make sure you are doing so under a doctor’s supervision in case there are any reactions to the supplements. Lastly, this protocol has helped me avoid any physical symptoms of withdrawal. It is important to be aware of emotional symptoms when coming off antidepressants. If you start having intense emotional symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

I have been reducing my Effexor by 75mg every 4-5days. It has always been beneficial for me to split my dose throughout the day. In other words, if I am taking 300mg, I take 150mg morning and night to keep the dose steady throughout the day. Now that I am taking 37.5mg, I am taking the dose only in the morning. I have only a few more days at 37.5mg before I come off the drug completely. I am also following the Paleo diet (recommended by my doctor for the autoimmune hepatitis) and exercise with cardio and weight training 4-5 times per week.

This is my daily medication protocol as of today:
Morning (taken first thing in the morning without food)
1 cap Vitamin D3 1000 UI
1 cap L-Tyrosine 750mg (to boost dopamine production in the brain)
2 cap probiotics (I take Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotics, 4.4 billion)
1 cap Vitamin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tyrosine)
1 cap Effexor 37.5mg

Night (taken at least one hour before bedtime)
1 cap L-Tryptophan 500mg (to boost serotonin production in the brain)
2 cap Omega 3 Fish Oil (I take Dr. Tobias Omega 3 2000mg Fish Oil w/ 1400mg Omega 3s – 800mg EPA, 600mg DHA)
2 cap Choline/Inositol 500mg/500mg (more a supplement for my Paleo diet, but I wanted to include it here as well)
1 cap Viatmin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tryptophan)
1 cap multivitamin (I take Centrum Woman as it contains iodine for healthy thyroid support)

To assist with any anxiety, I have a prescription for 25mg Seroquel to use on an as-needed basis. I have only been needing the Seroquel rarely but when I do take it, I take it right before bedtime. I purchased all the supplements and vitamins from Amazon as they had the best selection and fastest shipping. I hope this information is helpful. I came up with this list through research into reducing Effexor and looking at supplements that can help boost neurotransmitters in the brain. If there are any questions about this series of supplements that I am taking, please message me or reply and let me know. Thanks.

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Hi, H! Other than slowly reducing you Effexor intake, have you used the same supplement regimen throughout? I’d like to get started on that whilst waiting for my doctor recommend a tapering plan. Thanks in advance

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Hello @yanksterdoofus, I take a high amount of omega 3 and did some research after my doctor thought it was too high according to the Mayo pharmacist she checked with. I had to do my own research and found a couple of relevant sites. I think you have to be careful with Vitamin B6 amounts because it’s a little different than the other B vitamins and can cause some toxicity problems for the body.

Mayo Clinic research recommendations for omega 3 oils:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil-alpha-linolenic-acid/dosing/hrb-20059372
Vitamin B6 Toxicity:
http://www.easy-immune-health.com/vitamin-b6-toxicity.html
John

REPLY
@hwilson7

My bad test results a month ago indicated that my liver was suffering damage from medication and was triggering autoimmune hepatitis. I’ve been reducing my medications ever since. I take a series of supplements and vitamins to help me get off the 375mg Effexor XR I’ve been taking for 12 years. I would recommend that anyone following this protocol take the supplements and vitamins for a month before trying to reduce your Effexor; also, make sure you are doing so under a doctor’s supervision in case there are any reactions to the supplements. Lastly, this protocol has helped me avoid any physical symptoms of withdrawal. It is important to be aware of emotional symptoms when coming off antidepressants. If you start having intense emotional symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

I have been reducing my Effexor by 75mg every 4-5days. It has always been beneficial for me to split my dose throughout the day. In other words, if I am taking 300mg, I take 150mg morning and night to keep the dose steady throughout the day. Now that I am taking 37.5mg, I am taking the dose only in the morning. I have only a few more days at 37.5mg before I come off the drug completely. I am also following the Paleo diet (recommended by my doctor for the autoimmune hepatitis) and exercise with cardio and weight training 4-5 times per week.

This is my daily medication protocol as of today:
Morning (taken first thing in the morning without food)
1 cap Vitamin D3 1000 UI
1 cap L-Tyrosine 750mg (to boost dopamine production in the brain)
2 cap probiotics (I take Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotics, 4.4 billion)
1 cap Vitamin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tyrosine)
1 cap Effexor 37.5mg

Night (taken at least one hour before bedtime)
1 cap L-Tryptophan 500mg (to boost serotonin production in the brain)
2 cap Omega 3 Fish Oil (I take Dr. Tobias Omega 3 2000mg Fish Oil w/ 1400mg Omega 3s – 800mg EPA, 600mg DHA)
2 cap Choline/Inositol 500mg/500mg (more a supplement for my Paleo diet, but I wanted to include it here as well)
1 cap Viatmin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tryptophan)
1 cap multivitamin (I take Centrum Woman as it contains iodine for healthy thyroid support)

To assist with any anxiety, I have a prescription for 25mg Seroquel to use on an as-needed basis. I have only been needing the Seroquel rarely but when I do take it, I take it right before bedtime. I purchased all the supplements and vitamins from Amazon as they had the best selection and fastest shipping. I hope this information is helpful. I came up with this list through research into reducing Effexor and looking at supplements that can help boost neurotransmitters in the brain. If there are any questions about this series of supplements that I am taking, please message me or reply and let me know. Thanks.

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I’d been taking the supplements for about six months prior to the Effexor tapering and I’ll be tapering off some of those supplements now that I’m off the Effexor. In another post, a user was concerned about the amount of B6 I am taking. My doctor increased the B6 from 25mg 2x daily to 100mg 2x daily as a short term increase. Since I will continue to take the L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan to help with dopamine and serotonin production, my level of B6 will be reduced back to the 25mg 2x daily.

I hope the protocol I used will be of benefit to you. I worked with my doctor the whole time and I’d encourage you to do the same. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so it’s important to be working with a professional while tapering off a medication like Effexor. Best of luck!

REPLY
@hwilson7

My bad test results a month ago indicated that my liver was suffering damage from medication and was triggering autoimmune hepatitis. I’ve been reducing my medications ever since. I take a series of supplements and vitamins to help me get off the 375mg Effexor XR I’ve been taking for 12 years. I would recommend that anyone following this protocol take the supplements and vitamins for a month before trying to reduce your Effexor; also, make sure you are doing so under a doctor’s supervision in case there are any reactions to the supplements. Lastly, this protocol has helped me avoid any physical symptoms of withdrawal. It is important to be aware of emotional symptoms when coming off antidepressants. If you start having intense emotional symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

I have been reducing my Effexor by 75mg every 4-5days. It has always been beneficial for me to split my dose throughout the day. In other words, if I am taking 300mg, I take 150mg morning and night to keep the dose steady throughout the day. Now that I am taking 37.5mg, I am taking the dose only in the morning. I have only a few more days at 37.5mg before I come off the drug completely. I am also following the Paleo diet (recommended by my doctor for the autoimmune hepatitis) and exercise with cardio and weight training 4-5 times per week.

This is my daily medication protocol as of today:
Morning (taken first thing in the morning without food)
1 cap Vitamin D3 1000 UI
1 cap L-Tyrosine 750mg (to boost dopamine production in the brain)
2 cap probiotics (I take Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotics, 4.4 billion)
1 cap Vitamin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tyrosine)
1 cap Effexor 37.5mg

Night (taken at least one hour before bedtime)
1 cap L-Tryptophan 500mg (to boost serotonin production in the brain)
2 cap Omega 3 Fish Oil (I take Dr. Tobias Omega 3 2000mg Fish Oil w/ 1400mg Omega 3s – 800mg EPA, 600mg DHA)
2 cap Choline/Inositol 500mg/500mg (more a supplement for my Paleo diet, but I wanted to include it here as well)
1 cap Viatmin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tryptophan)
1 cap multivitamin (I take Centrum Woman as it contains iodine for healthy thyroid support)

To assist with any anxiety, I have a prescription for 25mg Seroquel to use on an as-needed basis. I have only been needing the Seroquel rarely but when I do take it, I take it right before bedtime. I purchased all the supplements and vitamins from Amazon as they had the best selection and fastest shipping. I hope this information is helpful. I came up with this list through research into reducing Effexor and looking at supplements that can help boost neurotransmitters in the brain. If there are any questions about this series of supplements that I am taking, please message me or reply and let me know. Thanks.

Jump to this post

I’m not sure what you mean about “supplement regimen”? I went from 150 mg to 75mg then down to 37.5. Week by week by week. I think the decrease was too fast. I have taken it for such a long time, my body needed more time to “detox” from each decrease. These drugs are nothing to take lightly, let me tell you. The side affects and anxiety will just about kill you….tread lightly and ask your doctor LOTS of questions and don’t hesitate to question their suggestions. You know your body best….good luck.

REPLY
@yanksterdoofus

I have been reading with some encouragement of great success achieved by implementing a Effexor/Prozak tapering bridge in conjunction with mega doses of Omega3 and B vitamin. Have any of you tried such a method? I also am coming to the conclusion that this cannot be rushed and, if you’ve been on this crap for years, to not be surprised if it takes as much as six months or more to wean off. I’d rather have it take some time than rush things and experience the hell I read about.

Jump to this post

The key is to take a loooooong time weaning off of this stuff. My doctor suggested halving the dosage weekly. Now I’m finding out that was way too fast. In my case, I would think weaning month by month would have been better for me. The first couple of weeks I felt pretty well but once I was totally off of the Effexor, my world crashed and burned. I could almost stand the physical side affects but this anxiety is hell….and I do mean hell…..I have tried everything from meditation, vitamins, walking, listening to music….but nothing helps. It lasts for hours even with the Xanax and these “coping” skills. My advice to anyone who is on Effexor is to have a SERIOUS talk with their psychiatrist and ask lots of questions about how addicting it is.

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I encourage you to go to the FDA website and read the history about Effexor XR. It took 14 years for it to be approved by the FDA. FOURTEEN! It was “invented” to alleviate taking multiple pills daily but I think it would have been better to take take lower doses than to get hooked on this stuff. It is HELL and I mean HELL getting off of this stuff. I have been through horrible life trials (divorce and loss of my son) and I have NEVER had anxiety like I’m having right now. The physical affects are like the worst case of the flu you’ve ever had in your life. Chills, nausea, diarrhea (and I MEAN diarrhea to the point you can’t leave your house). I have absolutely NO appetite which isn’t a bad thing since this shit made me gain 50 lbs. but nothing sounds good and I have to force myself to eat. I can barely even get a glass of ice water down. Soup broth is about all I can tolerate. I am about six weeks into this so I’m not turning back. I’m going to ride it out (I hope I survive) and get off of this poison. It should be criminal to produce a drug this potent without giving explicit WARNINGS about the withdrawal symptoms. I had no intention of staying on it long term but a divorce after 30 years of marriage and the suicide of my son five years later made my depression unbearable. I think I have slept most of the last five years. But the Effexor only exacerbated the brain fog, total lack of any kind of motivation, poor personal hygiene and the inability to really take care of myself. I know that grief played a big part of my fatigue and always will but if I can get a handle on this anxiety, I’m NEVER going on any kind of antidepressant again. EVER. My case may be one out of the norm, and I hope that is the case. My advice is to get off of it as soon as you can….trust your body and how you feel….especially your mind. I have been hospitalized SIX times for overdosing in the past five years after my son passed away. I truly wonder if it was the drugs…..as they all come with a “may cause suicidal ideation” label. I truly wanted to die after I lost my son and still some days the urge is hard to resist but I think with the proper care from a physician, better support (grief support is almost non existent), and a true friend that would have been by my side through the worst, I don’t think I would be where I am now. Being single and alone was almost unbearable…..I had no idea I would get the kind of response I have from my posts…..I only hope that no one has to endure what I have in these past six weeks. It’s a hell on earth, that’s for sure….

Jump to this post

Thank you, Jim. I seemed to at least be able to move able a little yesterday. I had to run to the grocery store for dog food. I would starve but i can’t let my Sadie Sue go hungry! I sat outside on the back porch for about 25 minutes with the sun beating on my face. It was only about 57 degrees here but the sun was warm and the wind was calm. It felt good to get out in the fresh air for a while. Every year I bake all the pies for my family’s Thanksgiving get together….usually about 6 pies….pumpkin, pecan and apple. Homemade crust and all. This year is the first year in almost 40 years that I’m not going to be able to do it. I just don’t have the physical strength to do it. I tried mixing up a batch of pie dough the other night and the anxiety was so bad……I WANTED to do it so badly and I FOUGHT like hell to try but it just wasn’t going to happen. I feel so let down that the tradition I have been able to provide for my family for so many years and one that I truly looked forward to isn’t going to happen. That only intensifies the anxiety…failure, failure, failure. My biggest problem in my life right now is loneliness. I retired after my son passed away and that was probably a curse. I just couldn’t get myself together enough to work so I went on disability. I have been divorced for 14 years and never had a live in since. Dated a little bit but at that time, “finding someone” just wasn’t that important. I felt like if things didn’t work out after 30 years, I wasn’t going to jump back in the frying pan. I was scared, I knew I would never live through that kind of heart break again. Then about five years later my son committed suicide. I watched him slowly self destruct with no help at all from his dad or other family members. PTSD wasn’t even spoken about when he was discharged back in 2006. Gosh….I can’t believe it’s been that long ago….he enlisted in 2002…..15 years ago. I know I wasn’t “over” the divorce when my son passed away. I was still in counseling over that mess. And when Curt passed away, my employer wasn’t very willing to work with me about my grief. Some days I made it ok, others, I just couldn’t function. I was grieving while trying to hold on to the only income I had. It took me almost 6 months to get disability and in the meantime, my house had gone to foreclosure and my car was just about ready to be repossessed. I had to stand in line the beginning of every month to beg for utility help and help with my medication. I don’t really think my family had any idea what I was going through. They didn’t have the means to support me financially, but they weren’t there for me in my grief. I don’t think anyone really knew what to do for me. I was so devastated. I isolated myself and took sleeping pills to stay in bed just about around the clock. That pissed them off but they really didn’t do anything to help. “If that’s how you want to live, then that’s your choice.” HELL NO IT WASN’T MY CHOICE. It’s what grief and a abandonment do to you. I reached out the best I could but being single it was tough….driving to support groups in the evenings by yourself when you didn’t really even know where you were going, usually being the “fifth wheel” as most participants were married couples. It was hard and still is. Every time I go to a therapist for help, I get this “deer in the head lights look” from them because I know they’re thinking, “I don’t even know where to begn to help this lady.” The demons of suicide rear their ugly heads daily……

REPLY
@hwilson7

My bad test results a month ago indicated that my liver was suffering damage from medication and was triggering autoimmune hepatitis. I’ve been reducing my medications ever since. I take a series of supplements and vitamins to help me get off the 375mg Effexor XR I’ve been taking for 12 years. I would recommend that anyone following this protocol take the supplements and vitamins for a month before trying to reduce your Effexor; also, make sure you are doing so under a doctor’s supervision in case there are any reactions to the supplements. Lastly, this protocol has helped me avoid any physical symptoms of withdrawal. It is important to be aware of emotional symptoms when coming off antidepressants. If you start having intense emotional symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

I have been reducing my Effexor by 75mg every 4-5days. It has always been beneficial for me to split my dose throughout the day. In other words, if I am taking 300mg, I take 150mg morning and night to keep the dose steady throughout the day. Now that I am taking 37.5mg, I am taking the dose only in the morning. I have only a few more days at 37.5mg before I come off the drug completely. I am also following the Paleo diet (recommended by my doctor for the autoimmune hepatitis) and exercise with cardio and weight training 4-5 times per week.

This is my daily medication protocol as of today:
Morning (taken first thing in the morning without food)
1 cap Vitamin D3 1000 UI
1 cap L-Tyrosine 750mg (to boost dopamine production in the brain)
2 cap probiotics (I take Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotics, 4.4 billion)
1 cap Vitamin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tyrosine)
1 cap Effexor 37.5mg

Night (taken at least one hour before bedtime)
1 cap L-Tryptophan 500mg (to boost serotonin production in the brain)
2 cap Omega 3 Fish Oil (I take Dr. Tobias Omega 3 2000mg Fish Oil w/ 1400mg Omega 3s – 800mg EPA, 600mg DHA)
2 cap Choline/Inositol 500mg/500mg (more a supplement for my Paleo diet, but I wanted to include it here as well)
1 cap Viatmin B6 100mg (to assist the L-Tryptophan)
1 cap multivitamin (I take Centrum Woman as it contains iodine for healthy thyroid support)

To assist with any anxiety, I have a prescription for 25mg Seroquel to use on an as-needed basis. I have only been needing the Seroquel rarely but when I do take it, I take it right before bedtime. I purchased all the supplements and vitamins from Amazon as they had the best selection and fastest shipping. I hope this information is helpful. I came up with this list through research into reducing Effexor and looking at supplements that can help boost neurotransmitters in the brain. If there are any questions about this series of supplements that I am taking, please message me or reply and let me know. Thanks.

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Thank you, John. I think that’s the missing link in my withdrawal. The supplements that my body is craving. What is L-tyrosine and L-tryptophan? Are those antidepressants? It sounds like your doctor did a lot more preparation in your withdrawal than mine did. It’s sooooooo hard to trust doctors these days! Like I said in my previous post, she weaned me off of the Effexor within 4 weeks with no supplements. I have read where alcoholics that are trying to detox take B vitamins to help with detox symptoms. I take B12 and Magnesium daily as I read those vitamins help with healing. The physical affects of withdrawal have wreaked havoc on my gastro system…which, that in itself, is hard to endure. I truly wonder if I’m going to make it through this. I’ll tell you one thing, I will do MUCH research on any drug a doctor prescribes from here on out….including antibiotics, bp meds, etc. I feeling like a walking Walgreen drug store…One good thing has come out of the withdrawal from the Effexor. My bp is well within normal limits. It has gone from typically being 180-185/80-90 down to in the 120’s but my lower number is still high….in the 70’s. That was my real purpose in trying to get off of the Effexor. That and my gynormous weight gain and sweating. And the lethargy was almost intolerable. I didn’t care about anything. I think one of the reasons my anxiety is so overwhelming is that for the first time in a long time, I realize how much of my life I missed out on while I was in the fog of the Effexor. I don’t know how to plan a routine for the day because before all I did was sleep….sometimes 16-18 hours a day. No lie. I could not function and knew something was horribly wrong. When I started researching the effects of Effexor, I was scared out of my mind. I have read that in some cases it can take 6-8 months to totally be free of the detox symptoms. As long as I can see some improvement daily, I think I’ll make it….but my continued grief over my son keeps me taking two steps forward and three steps back. I realize that I will live with that my entire life….but I just want to feel better to be the best mother I can be to my daughter. She is my rock….and I feel so badly that she has seen me go through all of this. Thank you for your continued contact and suggestions. God bless….

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@susu_in_a_mumu

After an accidental cold-turkey (ran out of pills over a long weekend) that was horrible, I decided that I wanted to try to get off Effexor so I didn’t run that risk again. I talked to my therapist who referred me to an MD psych resident who agreed to oversee my tapering. I was at 150 XR for more than a year. About a month ago I went from 150 mg to 112.5 (reducing at 37.5 mg), for a week, then again to 75 mg for a week, etc., and finally down to 18.75 mg for a week. Tuesday (four days ago) was my last tablet. I felt pretty good until this morning when I woke up feeling dizzy and emotional–that sort of emotion when you want to cry at a Hallmark commercial. I have an appt with my psyche resident on Monday which is good. I really don’t want to be on meds. Before I was on Effexor I had been on Prozac for like 15 years and experienced the “Prozac Poop-out.” The Effexor got me through a really rough time, but the cold-turkey withdrawal freaked me out. I hope I can stay off the meds, though I acknowledge I have a a history of anxiety and that may not be possible. I hope the dizziness and emotionality are just the death-throes of coming off the Effexor. Fingers crossed. Would love to know if others had the dizziness/emotion in the final stages of their withdrawal.

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I experienced SEVERE dizziness if I missed taking my Effexor in the morning. To the point, I probably looked like a drunk walking through the grocery store. It scared the hell out of me. I almost fell down my basement steps one afternoon when I was taking laundry downstairs to do. It was almost like the feeling of being on a boat and then getting your land legs back. I would NEVER recommend going off of an antidepressant COLD TURKEY. We have NO idea what these drugs do to our minds and bodies.

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@lager09

Eight years ago my doctor switched me from Zoloft to Effexor ER because I didn’t like the weight I had gained. (If I only knew then what I know now). I had been take Effexor ER 75 for almost 8 years for anxiety. I’ve only missed my doses a few times during that time and the withdraw effects were so serious that I thought I was really sick until I caught on it was the meds. I continued to gain weight, my memory loss is noticeable and had my family questioning me on it. I tried once 3 years ago to taper off and had a lot of stress going on so I went back. I had felt pretty decent and normal and was ready to give it a go again at getting off of this stuff. I didn’t like that though of being addicted to anything! I have now been tapering for 9 months. I went from 75mg ER to 37.5 ER. I did that for about 3 months so my body would adjust. I then went from 37.5 ER to 25 mgIR(non-extended release). The first night of this transition, I woke up in the middle of the night with my first full blown panic attack in almost 8 years. It was the first time my husband had seen me have one and I’m glad he was with me. I stuck with it as I am determined to get off this nasty Effexor that has taken control of me. With the help of the occasional use of Xanax .25mg. I take one and half tablets and it helps get me through tough times, especially when driving. I talked to my doctor and inquired about bridging weaning with Prozac as I’ve ready good things on this. 6 weeks ago, I started taking 10mg prozac daily and the 25 mg effexor IR. My anxiety got worse before it got better. I had another panic attack. I started having trouble getting to sleep at night, I just could not get my mind to shut down. My doctor recommended to take Benadryl to temporarily help. On the nights I tried to go without nothing and gave up and took a Xanax as it helped me relax to sleep faster than the Benadryl. I have cut out a lot of caffeine to help. Twice in the last 3 weeks I was able to sleep without help, until this past Sunday at church. I put in a prayer request for myself and my issues with anxiety and sleep. I have now had 5 days that I have been able to go to sleep without my mind racing. Some may say it’s the Prozac kicking in finally, but I believe otherwise. Regardless, 3 days ago as instructed, I cut my 25 mg tablets in half so I’m now taking 12.5 mg Effexor IR once a day. I was really, really nervous about this. But the worst effects I have had are the constant headaches. Every taper causes headaches that takes weeks to get better. As I know it’s part of the process, I do not take anything for them, I just do my best to tolerate. It has been a long and difficult journey. My family has had to see me vulnerable and dependent upon them at times. This can cause depression in itself, yet my faith and determination are helping me get through this. I will stay on this lower dosage of 12.5 until my body seems to adjust most likely a month or so. From there I intend to just be finished and then if all goes well, a quick taper off the prozac. I know that I may never be “normal” again, but I will be ok knowing I’m off the Effexor. I wished I had never been prescribed this to begin with and wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. While painful at first, I have no regrets over using the Prozac bridge during this transition. I fear how I would really feel without it. I apologize for the lengthy story, however I felt more details may help others relate as well.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you for your story about your experience. I, too, have turned to Our Lord for strength and persistence to get through this. And talk about determination! You got that right! It’s NOT an easy fix by any means. I am currently taking 10mg of the Prozac daily with .25 Xanax to control the anxiety. I have never had anxiety like this in my life…..I, too, have totally cut out caffeine and SUGAR. When I was on the Effexor I CRAVED sugar in any form. I packed on 50 lbs in about 2 years. On a 5 foot stature it looked like I gained 100 lbs. My craving for the sugar has completely subsided except for an occasional ice cream! Like you, I would totally advise anyone considering taking any kind of antidepressant to do a TON of research before….Sometimes they can be a “quick fix” but the price we pay for that quick fix can really mess with your life….

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@dixiesister

Can anyone tell me if heightened blood pressure is a side affect of Efexor? Also is a decrease from 150 mg to 75 mg too large a leap. My doctor just lowered mine that much. Then my dumbass after about two weeks desided to stop it all together. My b/p tonight was 145/100. Thought I was dying had to ice my head and take low dose aspirin because I thought I was having a heart attack. I’m trying to get off all my mental health meds for religious reasons. I see by all the other comments that’s it’s going to take longer and be harder than I thought. Thanks for any help you can give.
Dixie Sister

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Dixie Sister, YES, high bp is a serious side effect of Effexor. Mine got up close to 200/90’s. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. My PCP just kept changing bp meds with no results never putting 2 and 2 together that the Effexor was the real culprit. In my opinion, PCPs and psychiatrists MUST work closer together when they have patients on these medications. Good luck in your travels….keep the faith and keep in touch.

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