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 Support Group.

@jakedduck1

@shaker1956

Your side effects should never have happened.
I’m going to say something that many may disapprove of and I think that is because many people refuse to accept responsibility of their medical problems.
Doctors are not always right, they are not Gods, they are human like you and I and capable of making mistakes.
The most common preventable errors made by doctors are medication related. Approximately 400,000+ a year. Approximately 250,000+ patients die each year from medical mistakes. The third leading cause of death. Patients must take at least some responsibility for every aspect of their medical conditions, their medications and treatment.
How many times have you read people receiving the wrong prescription either from the doctor, Pharmacy or a nurse at the hospital.
I was at the ER after an unusual seizure and was told to have a prescription filled and take it all. I refused, telling the nurse that’s a lethal dose of Phenobarbital. After arguing with me she took it to the doctor. She comes back admits I was right but says “The Pharmacy would have caught the Mistake, maybe so but maybe not. I also picked up my Moms medications and and when checked them at home one belonged to someone else. I was irresponsible for not catching the error at the the Pharmacy. Just goes to show how easily errors can occur. My point with all this superfluous jabber is maybe just maybe your doctor may not be giving you the best possible information.

@shaker1956 (more specific to your question)

While on Effexor your body becomes physically dependent on it. When you stop it your body needs at least some of it. You’d be feeling much better if you got some tablets and cut them in fourths and take 3 of the quarters for at least a week then 1/2 of the pill then 1/4 of the pill and stop. Possibly you’ll need to cut your pill into eighths. It depends on you. Everyone is different. God Bless you and the best of health. I’m in your corner rooting for you.
Jake

Jump to this post

Hi Jake. Thanks for the reply. Pretty scary statistics you wrote about there. Today I begin my 7th week without Venlafaxine. It is an extremely tough go but I plan on sticking to my plan. Which is no more of it. I dont want to take any dosage at all!!!! I have endured 6 weeks without the crap so I dont want to take a step back. Gonna stick to doing lots of exercise and proper nutrition. Was reading somewhere in here that CBD oil is good for the zaps. Thats the worst part for me. Gonna look into it more today. Enjoy your day!!!!!

REPLY
@brightwings

@terra, @fallenangel13
Bright wings here, my last Effexor was March 14th but I had been reducing my med since last summer.
1. Please, please go out this am and find a vape shop or a hippie shop. Do yourselves a huge favor and get CBD oil at least 200 mg on the front of the bottle. IT WILL CUT YOUR SYMPTOMS IN HALF. I take 50 mg 3 times a day and I will take this for the rest of my life. It makes me feel much better and better yet, it makes my 8 year old dog dance like a puppy. I will also give it to my dog for the rest of its life. I have to say, I am 67 and firmly thought this was just hippee poop. IT IS NOT!
2. TAKE your extended release capsules and break them open. Then start reducing how many beads you take each day. It is a much kinder way to get off this drug. If you do a search here for @coloradogirl she is the one who shared this tremendous tip. Just click on her name. Then follow her tips.
I wish you well, smiling at you, Bright Wings

Jump to this post

Been reading a lot I post back in the first part of June I believe I loose track of time so easily these days but was taking effexor about a year and a half and it seemed to stop working if it really did at all so my pcp sent to mental health where they uped my dose from 75 up it 37.5 week then to 150 with no real change in how I was feeling I have a lot of back pain stomach pain and had a heart attack at age 35 so I also take a lot of meds of the heart and stomach and pain meds all that alone is depressing only being 47 now my body is more of a 60 + year old because of the way my heart beats but needless to say I only look late 30s so I'm told but anyway we discussed switching to Cymbalta b3cause it is known to help pain so he started me on the weeping process which his order was 75 3days 37.5 3 days and start Cymbalta so by day 2 of no effexor I was a hot mess all around about ready to commit my self because of dizziness pressure in my head sweats shakes bad dreams lack of total concentration just felt totally disoriented so I call mental heath Dr he stopped the Cymbalta and put me on 10 MG Lexapro and 25mg Vistaril which I only took a few days of the Vistaril because it didn't help the panic attacks I was having I see this Dr tomorrow almost 2 months later I do feel better from the withdraws but still get the fuzzy head feeling from time to time and just no enegery or get up and go at all I'm hoping this comes back I want my life back so him and I are going to have a long discussion on what to do next I want off the Lexapro too but am terrified of what may come of that too no more meds for me until I get a genetic testing first wish me luck and from what I have learned about this drug is that you must I mean must take it slow and easy because that was one of the worst feelings I've ever had I would rather be depressed then withdraw from the evil drug

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

So many struggles. I heard that Benadryl can help with the brain fuzz. I wish you the best on this journey that there are so many taking.

REPLY

So I finally talked to my doctor about stopping the Effexor after several attempts to stop on my own. He simply called me in a new prescription for Prozac and told me to take both Prozac and Effexor for 10 days and then stop the Effexor. I'm actually only taking one Effexor every other day and I've had no withdrawal symptoms yet. Usually if I would even be late taking the Effexor, I would get sick. I really hope this works!!!!

REPLY

Hi, @tshere95 — glad you talked with your doctor. Hope the tapering off the venlafaxine (Effexor) with adding the fluoxetine (Prozac) works well for you. Glad to hear you are not having withdrawal symptoms.

@amalia @stringly @misszimbo — how are things going with the tapering process?

REPLY

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.

REPLY
@shaker1956

Good evening. Just in need of info from anyone out there who has dealt with Venlafaxine withdrawal. I have been off Ven since Jun 11th/ 18. Though I was only on 37.5 mg"s for the final 6 weeks prior to stopping, I don't understand why I still have the zaps and the occasional sore stomach. My Dr had advised me 2-4 weeks of hell at first and then that was followed by 4-6 weeks. I'm now passed that and it doesn't seem to be getting better. Except in the evening. I do feel better in the evening which is weird. I exercise a lot, eat properly but still feeling off. I also take different vitamins that people along the way have advised me were good for me while coming off Ven. So I would appreciate any advice that people would have regarding how long I could expect this to go on. I dont want to have to go back on any of these drugs!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope everyone is having a great evening.

Jump to this post

Thanks. Just as shaker said, I’m happy to be right where I need to be to get advice to get through this awfulness.

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

@taylorwatkins13
Are you still going from 12.5 to nothing?

REPLY

@tshere95

What strength Effexor and Prozac are you taking? Are you sensitive to medications?
Jake

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

Yes. I have been completely off of it for over 2 weeks.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.