Tips on minimizing 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

@catamite

OK. I called the doctor today. She told me 37.5mg to 0 is too much all at once. She said to get myself restabilized at 37.5, then take 25mg (she sent me an RX) and in two weeks, I should split the 25mg into two, and take only a half (12.5). Then in two more weeks go to 0. That's what I am going to do. If there is an easier way to end this misery that's what I will do. This has been one hellacious journey.

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That would be the day I walk on eggshells from an in – law . No wonder you’re on meds .

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@catamite

OK. I called the doctor today. She told me 37.5mg to 0 is too much all at once. She said to get myself restabilized at 37.5, then take 25mg (she sent me an RX) and in two weeks, I should split the 25mg into two, and take only a half (12.5). Then in two more weeks go to 0. That's what I am going to do. If there is an easier way to end this misery that's what I will do. This has been one hellacious journey.

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Hi Cherylannm. It’s not the reason I’m on meds but you’re right. There was another incident last week, and although I try not to say much because my son otherwise will get the brunt of it, I completely lost it and told her she needs help and a few other words (that I won’t post here). I just wrote my son and told him I don’t want any drama from her while I’m trying to get off my meds. We’ll see.

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@catamite

OK. I called the doctor today. She told me 37.5mg to 0 is too much all at once. She said to get myself restabilized at 37.5, then take 25mg (she sent me an RX) and in two weeks, I should split the 25mg into two, and take only a half (12.5). Then in two more weeks go to 0. That's what I am going to do. If there is an easier way to end this misery that's what I will do. This has been one hellacious journey.

Jump to this post

Wow!! Hope all hoes well . Need to stay away from drama ! Getting off these pills is murder .good luck

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@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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Well the dude has to be more supportive while ur going through this hard time. You will get better. Just takes time!!!!!!

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@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

Most people, unless they experience what we do, will never understand. Most times he lets me sleep in but I still hear “you should try and get up earlier so we don’t waste the day”. Otherwise, he’s a pretty nice guy. He also understands that I must put up with a wacko for a DIL. By the way, did you get headaches while trying to get off the meds?

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

Yes still get the odd headache. I just take Advil or Tylonol for it. I would just tell the DIL to go pound salt!!!!

REPLY
@brightwings

To the new folks…Welcome, you are in the right place. My last pill was March 14. 5 months, wow. I did it the hard way. Found this site way to late.
Remember, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. Tell yourself THIS TOO SHALL PASS
.
I was reading to catch up on posts…
L Tryptophan really caught my eye. How much are you taking?
I am proud of all of us. Taking control of our lives, watch out world, here we come!
Smiling My beautiful smile, night all.
Bright Wings

Jump to this post

Hi Wonderful Beautiful Encouragers! I have been taking Effexor for 10 years. It was prescribed to me by a military dr. when I was having anxiety issues. He chalked it up to post-partum depression, my son being less than 2 years old. I was told that I would be on it until at least menopause and potentially for the rest of my life. I'm ADHD….not depressed. In searching for a herbal solution for my daughters ADD, somehow the research crossed paths with Effexor information. Two weeks ago, I took my first step and divided my 75mg capsule into two parts. I had found site so I was prepared with St. Johns Wart, Lemon Balm and HT5. My withdrawl is tolerable. Yes, everything that has been mentioned has also been a part of my withdrawl, but not to extremes. After 10 days, I took another plunge today. I went from 37.5 to 19mg. Of course, withdrawl symptoms re-occur, but again, not too major. I'm wondering, if I'm feeling ok in 4-5 days, can I just stop taking it all together? Is there a reason that I would continue taking the meds for a longer period of time if I'm feeling good enough to take the next step down….the plunge? On a positive note, I've also stopped taking antihistimines. I was taking something every night or I felt like I was going to scratch my skin off. Now that I've reduced my Effexor, I have no need of the antihistimine. Here, I was thinking I was allergic to grass or trees or something in the air….no, apparently, I was reacting to the meds. My family says that I am way less hyper on the lower doses of effexor. My husband says that I always had the jitters and now that I'm coming off of the med, I'm much calmer. Thus, you can see my reasoning as to why I wish to take the jump and be done with it. I'm feeling very betrayed by every medical doctor I've seen in the past 10 years, from that military dr, to the family practitioners that have continued to prescribe this drug to me. What a surprise and comfort to find this group on Mayo Clinic. Advise welcome!!

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

I told her what I thought of her. I get hell if I offer to bake and cook because she’s offended that I think she’s not capable, I get told off because I offer to buy my grandchild a backpack, and recently it was because instead of putting my grandchild to bed in his crib (while she was at the movies), I decided to walk him to sleep in his stroller outdoors, because it was a nice day. I don’t drive so I take the GO train to her home so she can go have some fun. Then I take the GO train back home.

REPLY
@brightwings

To the new folks…Welcome, you are in the right place. My last pill was March 14. 5 months, wow. I did it the hard way. Found this site way to late.
Remember, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. Tell yourself THIS TOO SHALL PASS
.
I was reading to catch up on posts…
L Tryptophan really caught my eye. How much are you taking?
I am proud of all of us. Taking control of our lives, watch out world, here we come!
Smiling My beautiful smile, night all.
Bright Wings

Jump to this post

Hey Clever Mom. Heres what I would do. Talk to a pharmacist and see what he ir she advises. I would also speak with your Doctor even though you dont trust the person. Best be cautious here instead of having a setback later. I’m also getting off this awful crap and I will never, ever go on it again. Hang in there and try smiling too. Confuses the he k out of everyone. Enjoy your evening.

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

What an ungrateful …. we buy stuff for our grandkids all the time. Some people are just plain friggin weird and you cant fix that!!!!!!!!

REPLY
@brightwings

To the new folks…Welcome, you are in the right place. My last pill was March 14. 5 months, wow. I did it the hard way. Found this site way to late.
Remember, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. Tell yourself THIS TOO SHALL PASS
.
I was reading to catch up on posts…
L Tryptophan really caught my eye. How much are you taking?
I am proud of all of us. Taking control of our lives, watch out world, here we come!
Smiling My beautiful smile, night all.
Bright Wings

Jump to this post

Wise wisdom Shaker1956, I greatly appreciate your advise!

REPLY

Been off ativan for5wks,stupidly cold turkey, at first I had some bad withdrawals, but little by little they are starting to go away. I try to take it day by day, try to watch my diet,exercise, think positive and pray. I know it,s a long road but I know someday I will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

REPLY
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