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

@merpreb

Please call your doctor and ask for advice. You can not do this cold turkey without messing you up

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I agree completely. Effexor is not a cold turkey drug.

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@haleysmom

Yes and I was doing fantastic until I went from 37.5 to zero. I'm feeling a little better today.

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Great to hear that you are feeling better. I've read that the last taper is the most difficult…maybe you should see about staying at 37.5 or maybe taking it every other day until you feel ready to move to the next step….but check with your MD.

Meanwhile – do not hesitate to call your doctor if you are really miserable….that's part of the job description. If your doctor isn't available – they will have someone checking their messages. My guess is that just hearing from the doctor will help ease the anxiety….but since you are scheduled for surgery – it is definitely something to discuss with whoever is doing the anesthesia (especially if it is general or sedation)….if I recall you were vomiting a day or so ago….that is something the surgeon will want to know….they might opt to fine tune your anesthetic….or at least know to give you the magic yellow infusion before you go home….I am the queen of post-surgical nausea….and that's without tapering.

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I don't know how to post on this site without replying to a specific comment. I just want to vent and say that some of you seem to have close relationships with your doctors. You are lucky. I am a member of an HMO here in northern California (begins with a K) and my doctor seems to know absolutely nothing about withdrawal from effexor. I emailed her and told her I was nauseous and anxious while trying to get off effexor and she assumed this was from something else, not withdrawal. She just didn't seem to get it at all. I wanted to send her a link to this site, but I knew it would be rude, so I didn't. I am on 25mg. of effexor, started at 225mg. for 20 years. I have been working on this for nine months. Some days I just feel crummy. Next week down to 12mg. Thanks for this connection here at Mayo. Kathryn

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@catamite

I don't know how to post on this site without replying to a specific comment. I just want to vent and say that some of you seem to have close relationships with your doctors. You are lucky. I am a member of an HMO here in northern California (begins with a K) and my doctor seems to know absolutely nothing about withdrawal from effexor. I emailed her and told her I was nauseous and anxious while trying to get off effexor and she assumed this was from something else, not withdrawal. She just didn't seem to get it at all. I wanted to send her a link to this site, but I knew it would be rude, so I didn't. I am on 25mg. of effexor, started at 225mg. for 20 years. I have been working on this for nine months. Some days I just feel crummy. Next week down to 12mg. Thanks for this connection here at Mayo. Kathryn

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Kathryn (also with a K) – Kaiser has a tremendous reputation (and I say that as a long-time HMO industry analyst). Is your MD your PCP? If so, you could look into switching PCPs…That said, there is a wealth of knowledge at Kaiser so I am certain there is someone on staff who is familiar with Effexor withdrawal….Polite persistency is often the best policy with overwhelmed MDs (especially on a holiday weekend)….Perhaps reframe your question to the MD along the lines of "I have been on the drug for a long time and at a higher than average dosage and there seems to be a lot of clinical evidence that many patients have a difficult time getting off the drug….and my symptoms seem consistent with that evidence. Do you have direct experience with patients withdrawing from Effexor? What do you think may be causing my symptoms? Is it possible to consult with a specialist?"

225mg is a higher than average dose (most people are 75-150mgs assuming you are on the XR version)…my dose for 15 years was 150mg…and I've been tapering down for 3 weeks…my titration has been easy (so far). If you are on immediate release – maybe simply a switch to the XR version will smooth things out (although the smallest dosage is 37.5mg)….but I'm not an MD.

Polite persistency.

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@youngsally

Great to hear that you are feeling better. I've read that the last taper is the most difficult…maybe you should see about staying at 37.5 or maybe taking it every other day until you feel ready to move to the next step….but check with your MD.

Meanwhile – do not hesitate to call your doctor if you are really miserable….that's part of the job description. If your doctor isn't available – they will have someone checking their messages. My guess is that just hearing from the doctor will help ease the anxiety….but since you are scheduled for surgery – it is definitely something to discuss with whoever is doing the anesthesia (especially if it is general or sedation)….if I recall you were vomiting a day or so ago….that is something the surgeon will want to know….they might opt to fine tune your anesthetic….or at least know to give you the magic yellow infusion before you go home….I am the queen of post-surgical nausea….and that's without tapering.

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Wow…. thanks so much for your reply. I'm definitely telling them everything tomorrow morning before my surgery. I was vommitng a few days ago. I never been sick from anesthesia before but I worry tomorrow I might. I already told my fiance I should bring a bucket just in case. I know I had this surgery 3 wks ago and they gave me something in my iv before they took me back for surgery just in case. I'm still not able to pick up anything heavier than 10 lbs in my left hand and tomorrow I'm getting my right one done. Thanks for listening.

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@catamite

I don't know how to post on this site without replying to a specific comment. I just want to vent and say that some of you seem to have close relationships with your doctors. You are lucky. I am a member of an HMO here in northern California (begins with a K) and my doctor seems to know absolutely nothing about withdrawal from effexor. I emailed her and told her I was nauseous and anxious while trying to get off effexor and she assumed this was from something else, not withdrawal. She just didn't seem to get it at all. I wanted to send her a link to this site, but I knew it would be rude, so I didn't. I am on 25mg. of effexor, started at 225mg. for 20 years. I have been working on this for nine months. Some days I just feel crummy. Next week down to 12mg. Thanks for this connection here at Mayo. Kathryn

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Today is day 5 off Effexor completely. I feel so sick and all I do is belch does anyone else have this side affects?

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@cherylannm

Today is day 5 off Effexor completely. I feel so sick and all I do is belch does anyone else have this side affects?

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I'm right there with you!! Have you actually been sick to your stomach?

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So sick am afraid to eat Anything!

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@cherylannm

So sick am afraid to eat Anything!

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You are not alone!! I think today was day 7. I got sick 4 days ago, but ever since I have had headache and upset stomach but not actually getting sick. I have found that putting food in my stomach helped me though. I'm hoping this gets better soon.

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Hey there Haley’smom. Try eating ginger. Supposed to begood for an upset stomach.

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@haleysmom

You are not alone!! I think today was day 7. I got sick 4 days ago, but ever since I have had headache and upset stomach but not actually getting sick. I have found that putting food in my stomach helped me though. I'm hoping this gets better soon.

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I can’t believe the side affects from this drug. I try eating then all hell breaks lose… between bathroom and throwing up at same time I don’t know what to do anymore. What a horrific drug this is. I asked my doctor my pharmacist , all they say is TIME . I feel like am losing my mind …

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@haleysmom

Wow…. thanks so much for your reply. I'm definitely telling them everything tomorrow morning before my surgery. I was vommitng a few days ago. I never been sick from anesthesia before but I worry tomorrow I might. I already told my fiance I should bring a bucket just in case. I know I had this surgery 3 wks ago and they gave me something in my iv before they took me back for surgery just in case. I'm still not able to pick up anything heavier than 10 lbs in my left hand and tomorrow I'm getting my right one done. Thanks for listening.

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The yellow stuff is a post-op infusion….I think they may use anti-nausea drugs in the anesthesia mix…but it may well have been something like Versed which is a tranquilizer….it all depends on what type of surgery they are doing…but I wouldn't worry too much. They won't let you leave the hospital/surgery center until you feel okay for the ride. Your fiancee probably won't need a bucket…but if it makes him feel useful…then let him bring it.

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