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

@texasduchess

@caityduck
You don't mention how much Effexor you were on and I realize when you want off you want off NOW, but to go "cold turkey" is unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst. Please read the many posts on here and taper off–slow and steady wins this race.

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@idwhite720 for me, the brain zaps are the worst! It kind of feel like eyes and brain are just slightly off So if I’m super still and don’t move you head or eyes, I feel pretty good. But any loud noise, movement of my head or eyes causes a short second of dizziness. Mine are in threes. So I’ll get 3 zaps at a time It kind of feels like it takes a second for my brain to follow my eyes. It’s the craziest feeling I’m now in day three and it comes and goes. I’m ready for it to be done!! Staying hydrated, sleep, and keeping things calm have helped me. Hope you continue to move forward too!

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

Liked by catbitess, adimswife

@texasduchess

@caityduck
You don't mention how much Effexor you were on and I realize when you want off you want off NOW, but to go "cold turkey" is unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst. Please read the many posts on here and taper off–slow and steady wins this race.

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@caityduck Thanks for the definition! I'm having the brain zaps then, I guess….dizzy inside myself when I turn my head or eyes, or even if I blink. I'm feeling slightly more human today, being day 7 of "cold turkey" from the 37.5 mg. Zofran before bed helped with the nausea.

Liked by catbitess

@chinupjenna

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

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Good luck!! I am on week 2 of tapering off. I was taken 150.0 for a year so not super long. My Dr told me to take 115 for 2 which I just finished, then 75 for 2 wks and then 37.5 for 1 wk and then done. I haven't had any side effects yet. I also just had surgery last Tuesday so only pain I'm in is from that. Good luck!!

@chinupjenna

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

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Hi, @chinupjenna. I wanted to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect to that of @edziner and also let you know that I merged your post with this discussion on tapering off of venlafaxine (Effexor). Here you will meet many members who are or have experienced the taper process with this medication, like @texasduchess @shaker1956 @caityduck @grandmar and others. Hoping they can add some support and input about what their tapers were like.

I'd also wish you luck. What will be your tapering schedule, @chinupjenna?

I just found out that my psychiatrist who has been monitoring my Effexor for the last 4+ years is leaving her practice. My appointment with her was cancelled. Now I don't know if I will be able to see her before she leaves. I go every 6 months so I will have time to find another doctor.
I don't need this now!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

@chinupjenna

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

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@haleysmom
I am so happy for you that your tapering off process is working so well.
I hope it remains that way!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

@chinupjenna

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

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Thank you!!!! My fingers are crossed

@chinupjenna

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

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I have been on effort for 2 years now started with 75mg and now at 150mg .I'm now living in Florida so I had to find a new doctor I am praying that she will help me get off this med. I do not feel like I need it. I forgot to take a dose yesterday and wow I won't make that mistake again I felt as if all noises around me where louder and I just wanted to sleep. Very lethargic . so I seen where you slowly take the dose down about every 2 weeks so hoping this new doctor will get me off this nasty drug. I go next month so I will post what I am experiencing. Not looking forward to this little journey.

@chinupjenna

Today i begin a slow taper down after being on this med for 16.years.
Wish me luck

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Welcome to Florida. I have lived here 3 years. I love it. It helps with my depression. I hope you like your new doctor. Good luck.

@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

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I started my process yesterday, but my 2 doctors disagree on the length of the process. First, he split my 150mg dose into 2, 75 mg/day. I'm feeling fine with that. Also, my wellness doctor gave me some Bcomplex and Vitamin E. He said they would help with the withdrawal symptoms. I did those for a week before I started yesterday…

@taylorwatkins13

Hi all. It’s me again. I had a scare on Saturday morning. I was in the shower and all of a sudden couldn’t see well. I had terrible spots in my vision and everything was very bright. I yelled for my husband (who was actually home thank goodness) and we decided together to go to the ER. Shortly after my vision went spotty I got the worst headache I’ve ever had. So I thought, maybe a migraine. Once I got to the hospital they acted quickly. Gave me three injections. One for nausea and two more for pain. It knocked me out. I don’t remember much. But on the discharge papers the ER doctor diagnosed me with discontinuation syndrome… and advised I see an eye doctor regularly to keep my eye pressure in check. My husband said my eye pressure was 23 when they checked it. Which is apparently high. This medicine is EVIL. I don’t know if anyone else has had a similar experience, but I thought I’d share. I have an appointment tomorrow with an opthamologist to assess the damage this medicine has caused to my normally 20/20 vision. I’ll update.

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Where did you start?Did the trillintex help?

@clevermom50

OK…going to take a plunge….Went from 75 to 37.5, sat there for about 10 days and was finally feeling pretty good. Dropped last week to half of that(approx 19mg and each day took a little less than the last. Friday I would estimate my dosage was around 12-15mg. Have not taken today. Feeling the fog in my head a bit and some headache. Not nearly as bad as when I dropped to 37.5. I'm countering that with Omega 3, 5-HCL, St. Johns Wart, L-Tri and because I am actually ADHD, I take Lemon Balm (calming/focusing) every morning and Valeria Root at night (helps the sleep). Every time I take a step down, I come out the other side in a few days with more energy than I've seen in years. Been on Effexor XR 75mg for 10 years for anxiety that I was experiencing while living overseas during the war. Hmmmm….just a little anxiety with hubby never home, two babies in the house, me alone in a village by myself and noone to talk with from the American community and relying on public transportation….

Anyway, I'll get back to ya'll with an update as I progress through the day. I have a backup dosage of about 12 mg sitting in a glass ready in case it just gets to be too much, but if I can push through today, tomorrow will be a step better. Oh, have to ask about weight gain. In the past ten years, I've put on about 80 lbs and it just NEVER comes off. Should I be expecting weight gain or loss coming out of this mess? For the better of me, I'm accept if weight gain is part of the side effects, but my appetite seems weird. Sometimes I'm not hungry at all…other times, I'm beyond starved then end up over eating and feeling like I ate three Thanksgiving dinners in one sitting. Anyone else have this?

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According to the literature and most people, weight gain is the side effect of effexor. I've gained 60 or so pounds in the last 10 years. Hoping it comes off when I'm finished tapering off the effexor. I have changed my way of eating, so we'll see!

@clevermom50

OK…going to take a plunge….Went from 75 to 37.5, sat there for about 10 days and was finally feeling pretty good. Dropped last week to half of that(approx 19mg and each day took a little less than the last. Friday I would estimate my dosage was around 12-15mg. Have not taken today. Feeling the fog in my head a bit and some headache. Not nearly as bad as when I dropped to 37.5. I'm countering that with Omega 3, 5-HCL, St. Johns Wart, L-Tri and because I am actually ADHD, I take Lemon Balm (calming/focusing) every morning and Valeria Root at night (helps the sleep). Every time I take a step down, I come out the other side in a few days with more energy than I've seen in years. Been on Effexor XR 75mg for 10 years for anxiety that I was experiencing while living overseas during the war. Hmmmm….just a little anxiety with hubby never home, two babies in the house, me alone in a village by myself and noone to talk with from the American community and relying on public transportation….

Anyway, I'll get back to ya'll with an update as I progress through the day. I have a backup dosage of about 12 mg sitting in a glass ready in case it just gets to be too much, but if I can push through today, tomorrow will be a step better. Oh, have to ask about weight gain. In the past ten years, I've put on about 80 lbs and it just NEVER comes off. Should I be expecting weight gain or loss coming out of this mess? For the better of me, I'm accept if weight gain is part of the side effects, but my appetite seems weird. Sometimes I'm not hungry at all…other times, I'm beyond starved then end up over eating and feeling like I ate three Thanksgiving dinners in one sitting. Anyone else have this?

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I also gained weight. I have gained 15 to 20 lbs in a year. No matter what I did I could not lose it. I eat healthy and exercise. It's so depressing. I'm praying this weight comes off.

I have been taking Effexor for hot flashes, I ran out for a few days last winter, wow! I couldn't figure out what was going on. I saw someone say brain zaps such a good description! I hate this stuff, I was never told by my now retired dr the withdrawal effects. It sucks and I warn people all the time. I am nos taking HRT for menopause symptoms, and slowly being weaned off this crap! It sucks to be blunt, I feel for all of you! Let's be here for each other!

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