Tips on minimising 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

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

Ugh same here I only cut back 10%. This sucks .I guess it will take years.

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@stlouisgmajenn – you'd mentioned something before that you need to switch doctors to switch meds. Does your current doctor have any input for you on the violent rages you are experiencing as you taper off the venlafaxine (Effexor)?

@ccjohncc – are you saying you are also experiencing rages since your cutback of 10 percent of your previous dosage of the medication, or are you mentioning you are having other symptoms members in this discussion have talked about?

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@lisalucier

@stlouisgmajenn – you'd mentioned something before that you need to switch doctors to switch meds. Does your current doctor have any input for you on the violent rages you are experiencing as you taper off the venlafaxine (Effexor)?

@ccjohncc – are you saying you are also experiencing rages since your cutback of 10 percent of your previous dosage of the medication, or are you mentioning you are having other symptoms members in this discussion have talked about?

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On day 3 of cutting back about 9 % I was irritable as hell all day and didn't know why until I read my emails that had posts from this group talking about their rage side effects and I immediately knew that was it because I just don't get that irritated at every frustration all day. Also I took some of the beads I'd been saving and now feel ok. So I guess I'll try 3 %. Because I read where someone said to another over 6 percent is too much. Now I believe it. Oh well at least I'm learning and trying and not giving up.

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@lisalucier

@stlouisgmajenn – you'd mentioned something before that you need to switch doctors to switch meds. Does your current doctor have any input for you on the violent rages you are experiencing as you taper off the venlafaxine (Effexor)?

@ccjohncc – are you saying you are also experiencing rages since your cutback of 10 percent of your previous dosage of the medication, or are you mentioning you are having other symptoms members in this discussion have talked about?

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I.m 64 now. Experienced rages since 17. My current clinic doctor "forgot" I was taking Effexor, even tho he prescribed it. Maybe 10 years ago. It does curb my rages, but I sleep 28/30 days a month.

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@lisalucier

@stlouisgmajenn – you'd mentioned something before that you need to switch doctors to switch meds. Does your current doctor have any input for you on the violent rages you are experiencing as you taper off the venlafaxine (Effexor)?

@ccjohncc – are you saying you are also experiencing rages since your cutback of 10 percent of your previous dosage of the medication, or are you mentioning you are having other symptoms members in this discussion have talked about?

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@lisalucier
I've had the irritability and rages occasionally ever since my withdrawal symptoms began 6.5 weeks AFTER my last dose of Effexor (AND I tapered off very slowly from 25mg). Sometimes, I will have crying jags (especially when very tired) where I just sob for up to 30 minutes as though I've just lost my best friend. The raging, or crying episodes begin with akathisia (must pace, cannot sit, cannot concentrate, must be moving, try to soothe myself by rocking and hugging myself, etc.). I resort to taking 1/2 of a 5mg Valium (prescribed for just these occasions) and sometimes, the other half in an hour, or two if I cannot calm down. These episodes occur mostly on weekends when I am not observing my regular wake and eat schedule and am not at work where I have tasks to perform and keep me occupied. These episodes are occurring less and/or are not as intense now that I am SIX MONTHS out from that last dose. I wasn't even taking Effexor for mental, or emotional reasons and I was only ever using 25mg daily–I cannot imagine how my fellow discontinuers who were are able to cope. I am still trying to find a doctor who is familiar with Effexor withdrawal and how to go about it; I live in the DFW Metroplex, not the boonies–you would not think finding such a doctor would be that hard.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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@youngsally

Klonopin definitely helps — but you have to be cautious….while Effexor has unpleasant withdrawal….withdrawal from a benzo like klonopin can be dangerous for some people. Try not to use it for more than a day or two….more than that and you risk some psychological/physical habit.

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@youngsally
Good Morning,,
I take Effexor and I also have Klonopin.
The Klonopin was given to me for breakthrough anxiety attacks of extremely anxious events such as all the surgeries I've had. For surgery, it keeps my anxiety down as well as my vitals.
I was told NOT to take it all the time, just as needed.
If I found I needed it more than a couple of days, I was to call my psychiatrist.

I suggest you talk to the prescriber of the med.

Have a good day!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@texasduchess

@lisalucier
I've had the irritability and rages occasionally ever since my withdrawal symptoms began 6.5 weeks AFTER my last dose of Effexor (AND I tapered off very slowly from 25mg). Sometimes, I will have crying jags (especially when very tired) where I just sob for up to 30 minutes as though I've just lost my best friend. The raging, or crying episodes begin with akathisia (must pace, cannot sit, cannot concentrate, must be moving, try to soothe myself by rocking and hugging myself, etc.). I resort to taking 1/2 of a 5mg Valium (prescribed for just these occasions) and sometimes, the other half in an hour, or two if I cannot calm down. These episodes occur mostly on weekends when I am not observing my regular wake and eat schedule and am not at work where I have tasks to perform and keep me occupied. These episodes are occurring less and/or are not as intense now that I am SIX MONTHS out from that last dose. I wasn't even taking Effexor for mental, or emotional reasons and I was only ever using 25mg daily–I cannot imagine how my fellow discontinuers who were are able to cope. I am still trying to find a doctor who is familiar with Effexor withdrawal and how to go about it; I live in the DFW Metroplex, not the boonies–you would not think finding such a doctor would be that hard.

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Ha. I went to see psychiatirist today. I was charged $100 and he told me not to read in bed. He was entirely not helpful. He gave me no help whatsoever.

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@stlouisgmajenn

I.m 64 now. Experienced rages since 17. My current clinic doctor "forgot" I was taking Effexor, even tho he prescribed it. Maybe 10 years ago. It does curb my rages, but I sleep 28/30 days a month.

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Oh dear, I hear you. I've been on effexor for 20 years. Unfortunately, most of those years have been slept sleeping. I hear you.

Liked by Jamie Olson

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@cathy615

Hi. I transitioned from Effexor to Pristiq, another form of effexor supposed to metabolize better.So no withdrawal symptoms at that point. The Pristiq stopped working suddenly after a few months. Also was taking Wellbutrin for nearly ten years and started having real memory problems at work especially. Didnt remember things i did but could prove thru technology it really was me. i was very emotionaI, threw things all over my office one day, then became suicidal but thoughts of my granddaughters stopped me. For some illogical reason, did not contact my dr. for a few weeks. She switched me to cymbalta i think. I remember being extremely distraught. I also have rheumatoid arthritis so would have attributed joint pains to that.
This happened about 6 years ago and i have since had a manic episode 2 years ago.Dx went from PMDD and major depression to bipolar 1. Maybe was bipolar 2 all along.
Every time i have switched meds, i have been directed to taper over a few days. I haven’t noticed any major problems. But i also start a new med.
So, i think if you want to wean off and see how you feel it sounds like you will need to give yourself at least a week or two to deal with side effects. Or longer tapering as others suggested might be better, especially if you will be going off all meds.
I know it’s a tough decision so i wish you the best in your journey!
(Fyi: now taking generic prozac and seroquel to manage the bipolar ).
Cathy

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@cathy615 Really glad to know that someone made a relatively smooth transition from Effexor to Pristiq because that is exactly what I am doing now. After 18 years on Effexor (and 8 years of Prozac before that), it seems to be less effective than before. Also, I had lost 30 lbs over the first several years on Effexor, and now have gained 10 lbs over one year. Dr has me tapering from 300 mg to 150 mg for first month while also taking 50 mg of Pristiq. It's been one week and I've had a headache every day, loose & frequent BMs, and extra vivid dreams but no really scary side effects. We'll see how it goes. . .

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@wishiwasme

Stopped Effexor 150 cold turkey 5 days ago…this is unreal…but I know I'm not alone

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Holy crap! I tried that and had a complete emotional breakdown out of the blue in public and it came out of nowhere. Then I was so sick. I had to start taking a lower dosage. I'm so ticked off that I wasn't informed about this med when prescribed. I've been on and off of a number of antidepressants with only brain zaps to deal with but this one is a whole other category of scary to get off of. I'm down to 75 since first week of September and have gotten to where I can take it every other day but get quite sick by the 3rd day – nausea, tired, achy, headaches..

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Hello @mdw123 and @revtjls– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for posting. Your thoughts and experiences add value to the other members coming to connect with the same issues. It's so good to know that we are not alone.

What is your goal for being totally tapered off?

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@mdw123

Holy crap! I tried that and had a complete emotional breakdown out of the blue in public and it came out of nowhere. Then I was so sick. I had to start taking a lower dosage. I'm so ticked off that I wasn't informed about this med when prescribed. I've been on and off of a number of antidepressants with only brain zaps to deal with but this one is a whole other category of scary to get off of. I'm down to 75 since first week of September and have gotten to where I can take it every other day but get quite sick by the 3rd day – nausea, tired, achy, headaches..

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@mdw123
Good Morning!
I've been on Effexor for many, many years.
Right now, I am on 300 mg (150 in am and pm).
After some terrible things I experiences, my Effexor dosage was upped several times.

Beyond that, my story about stopping Effexor.
I ALWAYS had this nervous feeling within my body, even when I was a very young child.
At one point in my adult life, I started to go for therapy, but the therapy did not work regarding the internal 'nervousness' I was feeling.
My therapist suggested I see a psychiatrist about meds.
I did and was put on Effexor and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety.
It worked GREAT!
I worked so well, that my primary care physician suggested I come off them SLOWLY.
I cannot remember the tapering off schedule, but I do remember that I started with the evening dosage.

It was in the summer, about a month after my doc suggested to come off the Effexor.
I don't remember at what point I was in the tapering off schedule.
I was a school principal.
I worked summers and enjoyed the quiet school a lot!
I went to a fantastic workshop.
The presentor was top notch and had us in stiches.
I was having such a good time!!!!!
I excused myself from the table to use the rest room.
Walking down the hall, I had this wavy feeling go through me.
I got to the rest room as quickly as I could because I remembered exactly what it was.
I had the start of an anxiety attack.

I got into the rest room an sat down.
I started with the self talk as my entire body started to quiver, sweat ran down my fact and my mouth became one cotton ball.
It took a few splashed of cold water and shaking before I was in good enough shape to return to my seat.

Point is, there was NOTHING to bring on the attack.
I now know, I was starting withdrawal.
When I got home I took an Effexor.
I waited but it didn't work.
I called the psychiatrist and she explained that once you get off it (any part of your dosage) you cannot go back on for another 6 months.
We tried 2 other meds (can't remember which), neither of them worked.
When I hit the 6 month period, I went back on to Effexor (my choice).
It never worked as well, but at the time, it was the only thing that did work.

Like many members, I would like to come off. I know it will be a VERY long process.
I am thinking up to 2 years.

GOOD LUCK!

Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@jamienolson I spoke with my Dr. about a possible medication switch because because Effexor has become less effective over the past year or so. Or to put it another way, my anxiety has been increasing and so have the depressive symptoms. Based on results of a Genesight test, she prescribed Pristiq. So I am tapering off Effexor while simultaneously switching to Pristiq.

Liked by grandmaR

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This is week 2 this is horrible and it should be announced publicly that people are made to suffer because doctors do not know the side effects of the crap they prescribe god their patients.

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I just went to a psychiatrist, one who is supposed to know about all medications. He was no help at all. He did prescribe neurontin to help me sleep. He said all my other symptoms from discontinuation are anxiety, not symptoms of withdrawal. wtf.

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