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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@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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I hope there is a law suit against this company and the doctors That prescribe it …

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Good Morning All…..
I feel the need to discuss Effexor and all it has done to us and for us.
I am in the same boat as we all are, on a medicine that has terrible withdrawal affects.
I am just as pissed as everyone that we were not told of the possible side affect being on the meds and the withdrawal (or even that there IS withdrawal).

But for me, Effexor was a life savor. I was having HORRIBLE anxiety! At one point, I was out of work for a week because I couldn't get out of my house. I didn't know if I would be able to go back to work. EVERYTHING scared me and made me anxious, even driving to my son's house. These bouts of anxiety seemed to coincide with the true beginning of menopause. I say true beginning because as we women know, it is a process that starts when we are in our 30s (give or take). Through therapy, I realized I have been having anxiety probably most of my life; it reared its ugly head differently depending on my age.

When I had these anxiety attacks, I was put on a low dose of Effexor XR. Other than having a dull headache for a few days, I had not other problems with it. I stayed on the Effexor for a few years before the dosage was bumped up (a few times). After a while, my PCP suggested I come off of it because I was doing so well. Of course I was, I was medicated! I was coming off of it slowly (although I don't remember the plan), I started having anxiety attacks, again. I went back to the psychiatrist who was monitoring my meds. She told me I could not go back on the Effexor for 6 months (can't remember why). She tried me on a couple of other meds and nothing worked. I felt the anxiety throughout my body. Finally, after the 6 months was up, I asked to go back on to the Effexor. I did. It did not work as well as it did the first time, but I no longer had that horrible feeling throughout my body.

Throughout the years, the level has been upped, but usually after a specific event in my life. I believe I am at the max dose now. I know my memory is shot and it gets my hubby very upset. He thinks when I tell him I forgot, I am just making excuses, but I'm not! It has gotten so bad that I can honestly say that many times I have absolutely no recollection of ever knowing the info at all. I don't get that spark in my head that says, Oh yeah, I remember. I know that this is all due to the Effexor. I also know it is time to come off. As I said before, I have a lot of health issues I am dealing with at the moment. When they are all solved, I will start the process. I am going to take it VERY slow, even if it takes me a year or more!

Frankly, if I haven't started on this site, I would not have known that this drug, which has kept my anxiety pretty well curbed, is so horrible. Hindsight is 20/20 and I now know that many of the things I've been experiencing is due to the Effexor. I truthfully don't know how I would have managed all these years without it. I believe that many of my issues with the Effexor became worse when I got onto such a large dose. I take 150mg twice a day. I also believe that if I stayed on the small dose, it would have helped to keep me mellow without making me the way I am today.

Sorry for the rambling but I hope I got my point across that as bad as I now know this drug is, it has saved me in many ways. Were there other drugs I could take? I'm sure there are, but once I started with the Effexor and I felt so good, I didn't want to try anything else (except for that period of time I had to). I don't think I'll ever be 100% off an anxiety med, but I do believe I will get off the Effexor in due time.

Here is to a great mental health day!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Thank you and I completely agree!! Ive only been taking 150 for a year so not a long time, but I too believe that this med saved my life!! I had the dread and the deep depression and negative thoughts that I just couldn't shake. If it wasn't for my now 20 yo beautiful daughter I'm sure I would have ended the pain years ago but because I would never ever do that to her, I felt that I was going to have to live with that pain for the rest of my life. ( And it wasn't living, it was just existing ). I am on my 3rd week of weening off of the effexor and so far so good. Although this med saved me, I am excited about being drug free. I'm hopeful that I can stay that way but if I get those feelings back I know that there is help out there. I wish everyone great success and I'm so happy that I found this group.
Melissa

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I believe that this is the same taper schedule that my doctor gave me. I'm in my first week of going from 150 XR/1X per day to 2-75s a day. Next week I will go to 75 in a.m. and 1/2 (37.5) in the evening…. I'm having headaches (not a new symptom) but have discovered they are from the Effexor raising my blood pressure, which is all the more reason to get off them. No new symptoms yet, but we'll see!

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@caityduck

@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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Thank you 4 looking into the info sheets. And thank you 4 serving.

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@grandmar

Good Morning All…..
I feel the need to discuss Effexor and all it has done to us and for us.
I am in the same boat as we all are, on a medicine that has terrible withdrawal affects.
I am just as pissed as everyone that we were not told of the possible side affect being on the meds and the withdrawal (or even that there IS withdrawal).

But for me, Effexor was a life savor. I was having HORRIBLE anxiety! At one point, I was out of work for a week because I couldn't get out of my house. I didn't know if I would be able to go back to work. EVERYTHING scared me and made me anxious, even driving to my son's house. These bouts of anxiety seemed to coincide with the true beginning of menopause. I say true beginning because as we women know, it is a process that starts when we are in our 30s (give or take). Through therapy, I realized I have been having anxiety probably most of my life; it reared its ugly head differently depending on my age.

When I had these anxiety attacks, I was put on a low dose of Effexor XR. Other than having a dull headache for a few days, I had not other problems with it. I stayed on the Effexor for a few years before the dosage was bumped up (a few times). After a while, my PCP suggested I come off of it because I was doing so well. Of course I was, I was medicated! I was coming off of it slowly (although I don't remember the plan), I started having anxiety attacks, again. I went back to the psychiatrist who was monitoring my meds. She told me I could not go back on the Effexor for 6 months (can't remember why). She tried me on a couple of other meds and nothing worked. I felt the anxiety throughout my body. Finally, after the 6 months was up, I asked to go back on to the Effexor. I did. It did not work as well as it did the first time, but I no longer had that horrible feeling throughout my body.

Throughout the years, the level has been upped, but usually after a specific event in my life. I believe I am at the max dose now. I know my memory is shot and it gets my hubby very upset. He thinks when I tell him I forgot, I am just making excuses, but I'm not! It has gotten so bad that I can honestly say that many times I have absolutely no recollection of ever knowing the info at all. I don't get that spark in my head that says, Oh yeah, I remember. I know that this is all due to the Effexor. I also know it is time to come off. As I said before, I have a lot of health issues I am dealing with at the moment. When they are all solved, I will start the process. I am going to take it VERY slow, even if it takes me a year or more!

Frankly, if I haven't started on this site, I would not have known that this drug, which has kept my anxiety pretty well curbed, is so horrible. Hindsight is 20/20 and I now know that many of the things I've been experiencing is due to the Effexor. I truthfully don't know how I would have managed all these years without it. I believe that many of my issues with the Effexor became worse when I got onto such a large dose. I take 150mg twice a day. I also believe that if I stayed on the small dose, it would have helped to keep me mellow without making me the way I am today.

Sorry for the rambling but I hope I got my point across that as bad as I now know this drug is, it has saved me in many ways. Were there other drugs I could take? I'm sure there are, but once I started with the Effexor and I felt so good, I didn't want to try anything else (except for that period of time I had to). I don't think I'll ever be 100% off an anxiety med, but I do believe I will get off the Effexor in due time.

Here is to a great mental health day!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Oh, the anxiety of leaving my safe, comfy home. I feel safe at home. But I forget to take my meds every day and have been experiencing the brain zaps. Supposed to take 150 mg time released caps every day. But I forget. For bipolar, rages mainly. It does eliminate the rages. The anxiety – no. I still hide inside my house. And still forget to take them. 5, 10 years I've been on them. 5, 10 years I've been having "brain zaps", finding out later I sent ugly, mean text msgs to family members or even strangers. I was beginning to think another person was in my head taking over.

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@cherylannm

I hope there is a law suit against this company and the doctors That prescribe it …

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Please let me know if there is a lawsuit. These brain zaps have caused me much harm, family discontent and worry.

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Has anyone on here done fasting while withdrawing from effexor to get the benefits of autophagy? Is so, did it help?

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@terri672

Has anyone on here done fasting while withdrawing from effexor to get the benefits of autophagy? Is so, did it help?

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What is autophagy? I fast when I skip my doses, sleep for days and don't eat. I'm retired, don't have a regular routine. Keep water by my bed. Sometimes days go by.

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I'm in day 3 if 37.5 mg. So far so good!!

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@cherylannm

How’s it going ?

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H Cheryl. Pretty rough today. I had a crappy sleep last night and that always means I am gonna have a crappy day the next day. Monday night I had a great sleep and yesterday was a super great day. Tomorrow I meet with my cancer Dr so thats a bit stressful. At least I will know what I’m dealing with and then I can get on with life. And next week I see my family Dr and I will look at getting a sleep aid to help me get a good sleep!!!! Enjoy your night.

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@shaker1956

H Cheryl. Pretty rough today. I had a crappy sleep last night and that always means I am gonna have a crappy day the next day. Monday night I had a great sleep and yesterday was a super great day. Tomorrow I meet with my cancer Dr so thats a bit stressful. At least I will know what I’m dealing with and then I can get on with life. And next week I see my family Dr and I will look at getting a sleep aid to help me get a good sleep!!!! Enjoy your night.

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Hi Shaker
Wishing you the best of luck tomorrow!
Ainsleigh

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