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

@scidow

Hi I was put on Effexor years ago I’m a disabled vet and go to the va they have increased my dosage a lot I now take 300mg er . They have always said it would help with my nightmares and ptsd but at this point there’s no way to tell I have tried to stop using it 20 -30 times even with a taper I still get the buzzes and fever and worst nightmares but I’m praying to stop this time I’ve tapered down to 15mg and still get the dizziness and buzzes but not as bad hopefully by next week I’ll be free from this nightmare but I won’t give up! It will be amazing to wake up and say I’m almost off all these countless drugs .plz pray for me!! Ty

Jump to this post

@scidow
Your not tapering slowly enough Ty. Cut that pill in half and in half again or until your only taking 1mg less per week or even less if necessary. As you get close to stopping you may want to cut even smaller pieces. Under normal circumstances you shouldn’t have to but who knows how sensitive you’ve become to it. I cut my Klonapin (sp) which is an Anticonvulsant into Ridiculously tiny pieces but that’s what it took to get off it. Slow and steady and your body will never miss it. You’ll make it buddy, don’t worry.
Jake

REPLY

Ty, I reread your post and you say “I’m almost off all these countless drugs”
I hope your not trying to stop several drugs at the same time. I tried stopping several drugs at the same time and ended up in bed for 3 months. Be careful and get your docs help. I have found some docs say you should cut it down quicker and under normal situations that’s ok, but there exceptions. Maybe you one. Good luck bud!!! “Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch.” That proverb is truer than you may think my friend.
Jake

REPLY
@scidow

Hi I was put on Effexor years ago I’m a disabled vet and go to the va they have increased my dosage a lot I now take 300mg er . They have always said it would help with my nightmares and ptsd but at this point there’s no way to tell I have tried to stop using it 20 -30 times even with a taper I still get the buzzes and fever and worst nightmares but I’m praying to stop this time I’ve tapered down to 15mg and still get the dizziness and buzzes but not as bad hopefully by next week I’ll be free from this nightmare but I won’t give up! It will be amazing to wake up and say I’m almost off all these countless drugs .plz pray for me!! Ty

Jump to this post

Praying for u

REPLY
@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

Jump to this post

Hi, I'm very curious to know what gave you the idea that most doctors have photographic memories? Nothing could be further from the truth. The only difference between doctors and everyone else is that they took and passed college courses that enabled them to acquire a license to practice medicine. Sadly people think they are super powered or demigods (unfortunately even some of the doctors themselves believe that ridiculous idea also). It is so very important for people to NOT give them any extra special treatment as it often goes to their heads and all sorts of problems result including taking advantage of patients. If you ever are mistreated by any Healthcare provider always know you have recourse. All states have Departments of Healthcare Professionals where they have their yearly licenses renewed. It is also in place for patients to keep the professionals working responsibly for YOU. If they have real reports of abusing their power there are consequences that those Departments enforce. Which can go as far as having license revoked.

REPLY
@scidow

Hi I was put on Effexor years ago I’m a disabled vet and go to the va they have increased my dosage a lot I now take 300mg er . They have always said it would help with my nightmares and ptsd but at this point there’s no way to tell I have tried to stop using it 20 -30 times even with a taper I still get the buzzes and fever and worst nightmares but I’m praying to stop this time I’ve tapered down to 15mg and still get the dizziness and buzzes but not as bad hopefully by next week I’ll be free from this nightmare but I won’t give up! It will be amazing to wake up and say I’m almost off all these countless drugs .plz pray for me!! Ty

Jump to this post

Praying Nightmares or common as is being dizzy,

REPLY
@gailb

@terra

I want to welcome you to the Mayo Connect online community. I am a Volunteer Mentor and am not a medical professional. I share information, ideas, my personal experience, and support for members. I am alarmed by your post that you have gone off Effexor cold turkey. Please go back to your dosing schedule and read the information below:

I have copied a post from another community member who has been through the withdrawal process. Please take her seriously.

"@fallenangel13
DO NOT GO COLD TURKEY. DO NOT!
Click on my name and read my first post. That is what is waiting for you if you do. I had a mini stroke by doing that before I found this site.
I am an RN. I am aware that relationships can be complicated between doctors and patients but something doesn't feel right here.
If your doc won't help you, find one who will. There are plenty of docs and PA's out there.
Smiling at you, Bright Wings" (click on @brightwings )brightwings

I also recommend that you contact your pharmacist about how to withdraw from Effexor. This drug has dangerous and hard withdrawal symptoms so please get help. Contact your doctor as well and let him know what you are doing.

Gailb
Volunteer Mentor

Jump to this post

agreed Careful with Effexor Xanax & others They can be more toxic than we know Of course they can help some folks To me the Key is Slow but sure. Ask tons of questions even the pharmacist

REPLY
@sunflowermom4

I've been on Venlafaxine for six weeks now. Due to side effects my doctor is having me go off of the meds. I was taking 75mg daily, and I'm on day 5 of 7 days taking 50mg. I feel very dizzy, it's hard to focus,tired because I keep waking up at night. Is this normal symptoms with going off of this medication?

Jump to this post

sunflower More common than we know

REPLY
@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

Jump to this post

Hello @asdfqwer and @ccjohncc– Welcome to connect. Thank you for posting! Mayo Clinic Connect is a place where you can meet other people to discuss similar medical experiences and support one another.

You both have posted in a group that is discussing minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor- can either of you share something that has helped you to get through the with drawl?

REPLY

Checking in…I am doing well. The rushes of emotions are much less and I am becoming more graceful at handling them.
I have been honoring my feelings. I can not tell you how important that is…if I feel like crying…at some point during that day, I will allow myself to cry. Or grieve or throw rocks/small boulders in a creek to express anger. I can not tell you how freeing this is. It allows me to be much more in control and I am not stuffing more pain into my body that led to 19 surgeries.
I believe I have emptied that pouch of pain related to my husband's death. I am still stunned to name the feelings I had stuffed after his sudden death. I keep checking to see if there is any residual pain related to my moms death 2 months prior but am am not feeling any.
I know why my husband came back to prod me. I am to get ready for my future. Things are starting to happen thru out the community of sacred ceremony attendees. Myself included.
I have a new motto:
TODAY IS THE DAY FOR ACTION. The time for talking is over.
I am looking into moving closer to my like minded friends. Folks are buying land near where I used to live in Wright county, Mo.
So I have started clearing this place out. I am actually looking for my nest egg. It is here somewhere. I changed its hiding place right after the mini stroke in November. So while I am looking for it, I am gathering things to pass on or give away. I know I will have a smaller place in the future.
I am excited. Life is good. I have been getting out more and heading with my girl friend to the rivers with our dogs. I was brazen enough to suggest a get together after a fellow healer returns from the huge Lakota ceremony coming up in the black hills. His reply was he would like that. There is life after Effexor.
Starting to fly again, Bright Wings

REPLY

You sound so positive and I'm happy for you. Have a wonderful day. You put a smile on my face. 🙂

REPLY

TIME FOR EVERYONE TO CHECK IN.
.
Many many years ago I remembered my REAL life growing up, being born into a satanic cult. That was 1986. Now it is 2018. The fantastic day life my family showed everyone was real. But the night time abuse was also real. I don't have a regular story of abuse. ANY ABUSE IS BAD ABUSE.
I vowed to heal myself….God has been here helping me all the way because I chose to see him as my helper and healer. This road has been long and fraught with terror. I NEVER GAVE UP. So many days were just put one foot in front of the other. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Then keep going, keep going and go some more.
No one wanted to hear me whine. So I wrote and wrote in journals. I have 32 journals that are the history of my abuse, but they are so much more than that. They are the history of my healing.
If I could heal from all of that including integrating more than 250 personalities, then you can heal too. My mission is just about over. So today, I declare myself to have arrived at the end of this very long journey. SO LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN
I am ready.
So instead of focusing on my past, now it is time to start planning my future. I am ready.
Definately flying now.
Now, come and declare your intention. You just read mine. Smiling at you all. Bright Wings

REPLY

Oh I am excited. Can you tell? Tomorrow is payday. I am headed to the hippee shop and getting high potency CBD oil. 700 mg in a bottle, 40 bucks. Right now I am using the 225 mg bottle. I will use this for the rest of my life. It helps me feel better each time I take it. So, what are you waiting for. Go get your bottle today. You are in charge of your life, or should be…. If I could do all this, so can you. What are you waiting for?

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.