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

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@jakedduck1

@shaker1956

So Shaker how are you getting along? Sounds like your symptoms are subsiding ? I hope so, I bet you feel like you’ve been dragged through a knothole backwards if not worse over the last 10 or so weeks. You must be a very strong person.
Please keep us informed as to how your progress.
Jake

Jump to this post

Thank you Ainsleigh. Everything will work out!!!!!!

REPLY
@lindaellenfrelk

I too am in the process of coming off of a 30 year hate relationship With Effexor. As some of you did, I also tried to do it cold turkey and weening myself. I kept telling my doctor(s) that I was tired all the time and just plain blah. They answer was “take 2 instead of 1”. I look back now and think “really?”. Anyway, I found a doctor willing to send me to a psychiatrist in order to evaluate my state of mind and he agreed that 30 years was way to long since my reason for going on them had ended 29 years ago. He put me on a weening plan that we both agreed upon. During my 8 weeks of weening, I had no issues at all. 2 days after my last pill, the brain zaps began along with the demonic dreams. I have watched my diet and have been drinking plenty of fluids along with a lot of rest. The bad dreams have subsided although the dreams I do have are certainly weird. The brain zaps are still pretty intense but through this message board, I am encouraged. My psychiatrist said indeed, Effexor is the worst one to come off of. Best of luck to all of us in this effort to get back to living our best healthy lives,

Jump to this post

Brain zaps are difficult to describe but if you get them, you WILL know it. I used to describe them as a kind of swooshing dead air sensation. Like I said, hard to describe.

REPLY

@shaker1956

Hi shaker
I don’t think the doctor should have mentioned chemo yet. There are many possible causes of Anemia.
Wishing for the best.
Jake

REPLY
@clevermom50

Hey you beautiful folks! Update from my new world! Yep, took the plung from approx 15mg to nothing. Saturday was a fuzzy day and ringing in the ears but NO headaches. NO brain zaps, took my supplements which include 2000 mg of Velarian Root at night to allow me to go into deep sleep cycles. No nightmares and slept through the night. I have more energy than I've had for 10 years. My 16 year old looked at me and said, "Mom, it's as if your personality woke up from a deep slumber.. I like this new you!" I have my flaky moments as I'm addressing my ADHD, but more than anything, I find my creativity awake and can not believe the amount of energy I wake up with and hold all day long. Appetite is different. I am not hungry but am making sure that I'm actually eating when I need to, even when I don't feel like I want to. Have dropped 4 lbs this week. My restless leg syndrome is gone, my crazy itching that was forcing me to take a antihistimine is gone. Damn! I think I was allergic to this med for the past 10 years and it was hurting me, not helping me! What did I put my liver through taking one med after another to counter side effects of something I was never supposed to be on in the first place! Yeah! Freedom! All I can say….take the advise of very wise folks and go in steps…cold turkey not worth it. Little ear buzzing…that's ok with me. If that is too much for you (and only you can judge that) then slow the progress down even further. Getting rid of the bottle of med I have….no turning back.

Jump to this post

@clevermom50
Congratulations!!!
I want to take the plunge, too, but there are too many things going on in my life right now that I have to deal with.
Once those things are resolved (one way or the other), I will be the next to try to get off the Effexor.
I've been on it for about 15 years (at varying dosages) so I don't expect it to be easy.
At the advice of my PCP, I tried about 10 years ago with no success.
I only got as far as reducing my dosage by 1 pill (I was taking 2).
How long did it take you to go through the process of coming off?
How did you do it?
Did you do it on your own or with a doctor of some sort?
What will you do now for your anxiety or depression?
Only answer if these are not too personal.

Have a terrific Effexor free day…….
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@texasduchess

I am four months off Effexor after tapering slowly down from 25 mg and been using supplements for two plus months which help tremendously. My biggest issue is akathisia (restlessness, rocking, pacing)–it is not every day (about once a week), but when it comes on, the supplements and Ben*dryl aren't enough and I use half of a 5 mg Valium. My doctor only gave me 15 to get through this withdrawal, so I use them sparingly. Walking it off isn't working right now as it's August in Texas and getting too hot makes the akathisia much worse. Any suggestions?

Jump to this post

@edziner
Hi!
OMG, you sound so much like my twin!
I am just a couple of years younger than you, but we are taking (or were taking) the same meds with he same dosages.
I had no idea that coming off Gabapentin was a big deal.
I started to come off it several months ago, basically, because I am just tired of taking so many meds and I am not sure it is working for me.
I know my brother takes it and it works wonders for him.
I want to come off of the Effexor, but I guess I'll continue with the Gabapentin, first.
I suppose it is easier than trying to come off of too many, too soon.
Congratulations of your success of coming off the Effexor!!!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@shaker1956

Hi shaker
I don’t think the doctor should have mentioned chemo yet. There are many possible causes of Anemia.
Wishing for the best.
Jake

Jump to this post

Lets just hope it doesnt get to that. Dam insomnia is worse right now. Meditation is not working anymore

REPLY
@clevermom50

Hey you beautiful folks! Update from my new world! Yep, took the plung from approx 15mg to nothing. Saturday was a fuzzy day and ringing in the ears but NO headaches. NO brain zaps, took my supplements which include 2000 mg of Velarian Root at night to allow me to go into deep sleep cycles. No nightmares and slept through the night. I have more energy than I've had for 10 years. My 16 year old looked at me and said, "Mom, it's as if your personality woke up from a deep slumber.. I like this new you!" I have my flaky moments as I'm addressing my ADHD, but more than anything, I find my creativity awake and can not believe the amount of energy I wake up with and hold all day long. Appetite is different. I am not hungry but am making sure that I'm actually eating when I need to, even when I don't feel like I want to. Have dropped 4 lbs this week. My restless leg syndrome is gone, my crazy itching that was forcing me to take a antihistimine is gone. Damn! I think I was allergic to this med for the past 10 years and it was hurting me, not helping me! What did I put my liver through taking one med after another to counter side effects of something I was never supposed to be on in the first place! Yeah! Freedom! All I can say….take the advise of very wise folks and go in steps…cold turkey not worth it. Little ear buzzing…that's ok with me. If that is too much for you (and only you can judge that) then slow the progress down even further. Getting rid of the bottle of med I have….no turning back.

Jump to this post

Hey GrandmaR!
I was fortunate not to have a high dosage. I WAS…..love saying that…..WAS….at 75mg XR for 10 years. My drs (as we moved about every 3-5 years) would each ask me if I was doing ok on it. I guess I was???? I started taking it after I got very anxiety ridden while overseas Lots of factors, but I found myself being very angry and very upset even when I knew it was not rational. It was like I was outside looking in, thinking…behave! You know what you are doing is wrong…why are you so angry? I was afraid I would do something to endanger my children. Our military dr put me on Effexor and told me that it would level out my moods and that it was something many women need to be on as their hormones go out of wack. I was also told that I'd most likely be on it for life. Every dr since then has pretty much just written the script without a second thought. It wasn't untill I was looking for a natural source of help for my ADD daughter that it cross referenced into antidepressants and the damage they do for ADD and ADHD kids. Hmmmm….I've been ADHD since before they even started diagnosing ADHD!!! (I'm 51).
For me, I looked at my husband and said, I'm done…I have to end this. It's been hard on our relationship and nearly driven us to divorce more than once, my lack of interest in him.
That next day I went from 75 to 37.5. I stayed there for about 10 days, give or take. You know how it is being on effexor….my memory stinks. I sat at 37.5 until my withdrawl symptoms had calmed to almost nothing. I then dropped to about 20mg (estimating) and each day, I was bringing it down just a few beads at a time. After one week of this, I went to nothing. I'm three days and counting. No, not wishing to go back. Still have ringing in my ears almost constantly, have the moments of complete clarity followed by a delayed brain reaction…..hmmm….almost like I turn my head and look at something and I have to wait for the world to catch up with me….sort of dizzy, weird feeling. Today is better than yesterday, but another symptom has shown up. I'll have the double click sound I hear…I thought it was a sound in the car, then in the grocery store it happened again…and when I went upstairs to make the bed, I heard it again and I realized it was in my head, not something around me. I'm sure that this too will go away, though very weird.

For me, I'm taking
Omega to rebuild the brain networking….put my head back together.
5-htl? to also rebuild
St. Johns Wart to counter any depression that might come up.
L-something….it's downstairs so I can't remember for sure L-Trith….whatever….helps anxiety I think.
Melissa (also known as Lemon Balm) to calm nerves and provide focus.
Valerian Root to allow my mind to cycle into deep sleep.

The combinations seem to be working for me. My dr….well she laughs and snorts when I mention herbal. I won't need all of these forever….most just long enough to heal. Meliss and Valeria Root will probably be what I stay with for my ADHD and maybe St. Johns Wart for the occational sad day.

Can I tell you???/well captive audience….of couse I can….EVIL LAUGHT!……I'm SO happy! I am so much more successful at my work, so much more energetic and so much more in love with my family. I am so thankful that Mayo Clinic is (though not against synthetic medications) so endorsing of herbal alternatives.

My journey is not near as complicated as many. But I've been on it for 10 years just like many out there have been. I'm so happy on the other side and I know you can be, too. No matter how or which route you take. Each of us is different. Hang in there.

Effexor Free Me

REPLY

@shaker1956

You’ve been delt a stressful blow buddy. I think your insomnia was inevitable.
How about some over the counter sleep meds.
Hang in there.
Jake

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@shaker1956

You’ve been delt a stressful blow buddy. I think your insomnia was inevitable.
How about some over the counter sleep meds.
Hang in there.
Jake

Jump to this post

Hey Jake. Tonite I’m gonna try taking 5 mg’s if melatonin and 220 mg’s of L-Tryptophan. I have been reading up on this and hopefully it works. Cant handle the next day after only getting 3 hrs of sleep the night before. I’m gonna speak with my Doc about this when I see her in a few weeks. Pharmacist suggested Benadryl but it didnt do anything for me. Hopefully all will come together soon. Waiting for my blood test results as well as those xrays are not helping. Enjoy your night Jake.

REPLY
@texasduchess

I am four months off Effexor after tapering slowly down from 25 mg and been using supplements for two plus months which help tremendously. My biggest issue is akathisia (restlessness, rocking, pacing)–it is not every day (about once a week), but when it comes on, the supplements and Ben*dryl aren't enough and I use half of a 5 mg Valium. My doctor only gave me 15 to get through this withdrawal, so I use them sparingly. Walking it off isn't working right now as it's August in Texas and getting too hot makes the akathisia much worse. Any suggestions?

Jump to this post

Never come off multiple meds at once. I ended up in bed for months. Can’t believe I was such an idiot.
I was on 3,600mg (max dose) of gabapentin and had no problems at all getting off it.
Good luck.
Jake

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@shaker1956

You’ve been delt a stressful blow buddy. I think your insomnia was inevitable.
How about some over the counter sleep meds.
Hang in there.
Jake

Jump to this post

@shaker1956 I have read that more than 3 mg of melatonin can cause nightmares so be aware. I take 3 often. If I absolutely need to sleep I take 1/2 Benadryl and for me it does the trick. If I’m really desperate I take a 5 mg lorazepam. My doctor only gives me 10 pills a year so I use them very judiciously.
JK

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@shaker1956

You’ve been delt a stressful blow buddy. I think your insomnia was inevitable.
How about some over the counter sleep meds.
Hang in there.
Jake

Jump to this post

Hi there Content. My pills are 5 mg’s so I’m gonna try one tonite. I just need a really good sleep. And thanks for the info. I was contemplating taking 2 pills but I’m not now. Lol. The pharmacist suggested I take 1 and see where that takes me. Hopefully combined with Tryptophan 220 mg’s will do the trick. Fingers and toes and eyes are all crossed!!!!!! Lolol

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment