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

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@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.

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Effexor XR…had to take it at night instead of in the morning because all I ever wanted to do after taking it was sleep. It was as good as a tranquilizer. I was worthless after taking it.
So, a week free of Effexor. Still have buzzing ears. Occationally I have the awkward feeling of my vision catching up with my movement, I have WAY more energy. Before Effexor, I was the energizer bunny…adhd. With effexor, I was sedated in comparison. Now, I'm getting back to energizer bunny and dealing with the supplements that allow me to focus and be productive as an ADHD person. Went water rafting with my kids yesterday for 4 hours, then came home and mowed an acre of land, trimmed it up and weeded the flower gardens before coming in to make dinner. My family doesn't know who I am! HA! I am guessing that the 80+ lbs that I've gained in the past 10 years will come off just from my activity level. I work at a factory that is being built and have been climbing 60 foot towers to inspect. I use tie offs for my own protection. Yes, I slept away 10 years of my life…not letting one more minute go by under that influence.

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@craig633

Thought I would something up here, hopefully can benefit someone. Went onto venlafaxine as a change to escitalopram, which I was on for about 9 years. I think the doctors answer to issues was just to increase the dose. Withdrawal from this not so much an issue but suicidal thoughts worse on this med. awful stuff. Specialist suggested switching to Effexor. Went on to this up to 150mg. Missed a dose one day and bang- withdrawal. Dizziness, nausea. Time off work due to this. Doctor didn’t think dizziness was related to missing the dose and insisted in using the term “discontinuation syndrome” why dot they just say withdrawal? Was given stemetil to minimise dizziness. Next missed dose- same symptoms, same comment from doctors regards Effexor not having many “discontinuation symptoms” every time I missed the dose I felt like crap. Determined to get off this drug so had to tough it out. Stocked up on stemetil for the dizziness and also paradol osteo, dual layer slow release paracetamol. Planned some leave from work so I could deal with the withdrawal from the tapering of the dose. Went from 150 to 75. First couple of days of reduced dose I needed the stemetil and panadol osteo. Then to 37.5 same procedure. No smaller capsule than 37.5 so once used to that. Had to go to every second day dose for a couple of weeks, then every 3rd day. Always needed the stemetil due to dizziness. Now been off for a month. Feel more alive. Hope this helps someone

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l've been weaning myself off 150 mg of Effexor, been experiencing mega "brain zaps". Worried that one of the other people in my head is taking over, doing mean, ugly stuff during the zaps. Is there a class action suit about this yet? I'd like to join. Me. Yes me, not my evil twin

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Hi Everyone. Newbie here!
This is the beginning of my 3rd week reducing my dose of Venlafaxine with the hope of coming off it all together. I have been taking the meds since 2011 beginning with 150 mg but reduced to 75 mg in the last few years. I decided to come off it as I felt as if it was taking over my life and I hated renewing my prescription for it. I tried cold turkey a few years ago and that was a massive mistake as we all know.

This time, I spoke to my doctor who referred me to the pharmacist (I'm in the UK) and between them they decided that I should go as slowly as possible. My normal dose of 75 mg would be taken once a day as it was slow releasing. For my first week, I was put on 37.5 mg twice a day. My 2nd week was one tablet in the morning and half in the evening. Now that I'm on my 3rd week, I take half a tablet in the morning and half in the evening. My 4th week will be one tablet once a day for a week then stop. I was advised to return to the previous dose if my withdrawal symptoms became unbearable.

As it is now, I have not experienced any withdrawal symtoms but I know, from research, that this may not be the case when I stop taking them altogether but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I feel excited about being Venlafaxine free in the future and hopefully I will lose some of the weight I have put on whilst being on it too.

Thanks everyone who has written about their experiences and given advice. I'm so glad I found this group.
We can do this!

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@craig633

Thought I would something up here, hopefully can benefit someone. Went onto venlafaxine as a change to escitalopram, which I was on for about 9 years. I think the doctors answer to issues was just to increase the dose. Withdrawal from this not so much an issue but suicidal thoughts worse on this med. awful stuff. Specialist suggested switching to Effexor. Went on to this up to 150mg. Missed a dose one day and bang- withdrawal. Dizziness, nausea. Time off work due to this. Doctor didn’t think dizziness was related to missing the dose and insisted in using the term “discontinuation syndrome” why dot they just say withdrawal? Was given stemetil to minimise dizziness. Next missed dose- same symptoms, same comment from doctors regards Effexor not having many “discontinuation symptoms” every time I missed the dose I felt like crap. Determined to get off this drug so had to tough it out. Stocked up on stemetil for the dizziness and also paradol osteo, dual layer slow release paracetamol. Planned some leave from work so I could deal with the withdrawal from the tapering of the dose. Went from 150 to 75. First couple of days of reduced dose I needed the stemetil and panadol osteo. Then to 37.5 same procedure. No smaller capsule than 37.5 so once used to that. Had to go to every second day dose for a couple of weeks, then every 3rd day. Always needed the stemetil due to dizziness. Now been off for a month. Feel more alive. Hope this helps someone

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@stlouisgmajenn how long have you been weaning off of it? I’ve been trying for about 6 months now. I had my son go to Mr Nice Guys and buy me a scale so I could weigh out the little granules in the capsules. I got myself down to about 25 mg and then my dr suggested I just “rip off the bandage”. Those brain zaps are no joke! I’ve been on some pretty heavy meds in my life and have never had this much trouble getting off of them. I’m on day 5 and feeling a bit better and the zaps aren’t near as strong. Triggers are moving my head or eyes too fast, loud sounds, and closing my eyes while standing. It seems to close me and go in waves. Early mornings suck late evenings are definitely better.
Wishing you all good things and if you happen to hear about a suit against them, please let me know

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@craig633

Thought I would something up here, hopefully can benefit someone. Went onto venlafaxine as a change to escitalopram, which I was on for about 9 years. I think the doctors answer to issues was just to increase the dose. Withdrawal from this not so much an issue but suicidal thoughts worse on this med. awful stuff. Specialist suggested switching to Effexor. Went on to this up to 150mg. Missed a dose one day and bang- withdrawal. Dizziness, nausea. Time off work due to this. Doctor didn’t think dizziness was related to missing the dose and insisted in using the term “discontinuation syndrome” why dot they just say withdrawal? Was given stemetil to minimise dizziness. Next missed dose- same symptoms, same comment from doctors regards Effexor not having many “discontinuation symptoms” every time I missed the dose I felt like crap. Determined to get off this drug so had to tough it out. Stocked up on stemetil for the dizziness and also paradol osteo, dual layer slow release paracetamol. Planned some leave from work so I could deal with the withdrawal from the tapering of the dose. Went from 150 to 75. First couple of days of reduced dose I needed the stemetil and panadol osteo. Then to 37.5 same procedure. No smaller capsule than 37.5 so once used to that. Had to go to every second day dose for a couple of weeks, then every 3rd day. Always needed the stemetil due to dizziness. Now been off for a month. Feel more alive. Hope this helps someone

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Great news @craig633! That’s awesome How long was it before you didn’t have the dizziness? Right now (5dayswithout) it’s my biggest hurdle. I’m going on holiday with my family in 14 days and don’t think I can handle the stupid brain zaps /dizziness.

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@adimswife

Hi Everyone. Newbie here!
This is the beginning of my 3rd week reducing my dose of Venlafaxine with the hope of coming off it all together. I have been taking the meds since 2011 beginning with 150 mg but reduced to 75 mg in the last few years. I decided to come off it as I felt as if it was taking over my life and I hated renewing my prescription for it. I tried cold turkey a few years ago and that was a massive mistake as we all know.

This time, I spoke to my doctor who referred me to the pharmacist (I'm in the UK) and between them they decided that I should go as slowly as possible. My normal dose of 75 mg would be taken once a day as it was slow releasing. For my first week, I was put on 37.5 mg twice a day. My 2nd week was one tablet in the morning and half in the evening. Now that I'm on my 3rd week, I take half a tablet in the morning and half in the evening. My 4th week will be one tablet once a day for a week then stop. I was advised to return to the previous dose if my withdrawal symptoms became unbearable.

As it is now, I have not experienced any withdrawal symtoms but I know, from research, that this may not be the case when I stop taking them altogether but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I feel excited about being Venlafaxine free in the future and hopefully I will lose some of the weight I have put on whilst being on it too.

Thanks everyone who has written about their experiences and given advice. I'm so glad I found this group.
We can do this!

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OK, now I have direction. I'm prescribed slow release 150mg (USA). So I'll try 75mg 2X day for 1 week then the rest of your recommended stepdown dosage. I was taking 75 mg a day (or so) a day, whenever I remembered. Obviously my brain was used to more Effexor. That explains the "brain gaps".

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@maryfrances

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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@maryfrances you and are in the same boat! That is why my dr prescribed Effexor too. It was supposed to stop hot flashes, which by the way. It NEVER did!! I always save the patient information sheets that I get with my meds and it doesn’t say anything about these symptoms of brain zaps or dizziness or confusion. I’m on day 5 with out and it has been a rough road.
I have an appointment with my PCM on Tuesday to discuss the symptoms. We are military and hopefully by including the commander, I can at least have them start looking into it. This drug came out in 1993. It seems it maybe they need to at the very least, revise the information sheets to Include these symptoms.

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@adimswife

Hi Everyone. Newbie here!
This is the beginning of my 3rd week reducing my dose of Venlafaxine with the hope of coming off it all together. I have been taking the meds since 2011 beginning with 150 mg but reduced to 75 mg in the last few years. I decided to come off it as I felt as if it was taking over my life and I hated renewing my prescription for it. I tried cold turkey a few years ago and that was a massive mistake as we all know.

This time, I spoke to my doctor who referred me to the pharmacist (I'm in the UK) and between them they decided that I should go as slowly as possible. My normal dose of 75 mg would be taken once a day as it was slow releasing. For my first week, I was put on 37.5 mg twice a day. My 2nd week was one tablet in the morning and half in the evening. Now that I'm on my 3rd week, I take half a tablet in the morning and half in the evening. My 4th week will be one tablet once a day for a week then stop. I was advised to return to the previous dose if my withdrawal symptoms became unbearable.

As it is now, I have not experienced any withdrawal symtoms but I know, from research, that this may not be the case when I stop taking them altogether but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I feel excited about being Venlafaxine free in the future and hopefully I will lose some of the weight I have put on whilst being on it too.

Thanks everyone who has written about their experiences and given advice. I'm so glad I found this group.
We can do this!

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Hello. You have found the right place. I also am on my 3rd week of weening off of this drug. I was taking 150 a day in the morning for a year. I also gained weight even though I go to the gym and have always eaten healthy. I'm normally 125 and I'm now 144. I hate this. I'm praying this weight comes off after this drug is out of my system!! Good luck.

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@adimswife

Hi Everyone. Newbie here!
This is the beginning of my 3rd week reducing my dose of Venlafaxine with the hope of coming off it all together. I have been taking the meds since 2011 beginning with 150 mg but reduced to 75 mg in the last few years. I decided to come off it as I felt as if it was taking over my life and I hated renewing my prescription for it. I tried cold turkey a few years ago and that was a massive mistake as we all know.

This time, I spoke to my doctor who referred me to the pharmacist (I'm in the UK) and between them they decided that I should go as slowly as possible. My normal dose of 75 mg would be taken once a day as it was slow releasing. For my first week, I was put on 37.5 mg twice a day. My 2nd week was one tablet in the morning and half in the evening. Now that I'm on my 3rd week, I take half a tablet in the morning and half in the evening. My 4th week will be one tablet once a day for a week then stop. I was advised to return to the previous dose if my withdrawal symptoms became unbearable.

As it is now, I have not experienced any withdrawal symtoms but I know, from research, that this may not be the case when I stop taking them altogether but I will cross that bridge when I get to it. I feel excited about being Venlafaxine free in the future and hopefully I will lose some of the weight I have put on whilst being on it too.

Thanks everyone who has written about their experiences and given advice. I'm so glad I found this group.
We can do this!

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I was re-reading your stepdown schedule. On the 4th week, do I take a WHOLE tablet or a HALF tablet? How many mgs? Please advise, thanks.

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@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

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Hi Content. I did sleep well last night. I even managed tosqueeze in 2 extra 2 hrs sleep. Sure need it!!!! Enjoy your day…

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Talk to your doctor. You have to be slowly weened off of that crap.

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@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

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@shaker1956 Great! I am sure you are enjoying your day, after having a good night's sleep.
JK

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