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 group.

@grandmar

@haleysmom
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SURGERY!!!
Ronnie

Jump to this post

Thank you!! We are getting ready to leave now.

REPLY
@grandmar

@haleysmom
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SURGERY!!!
Ronnie

Jump to this post

I'm home from surgery. The great news is I haven't felt sick to my stomach yet today

REPLY

Hi Everyone, not sure how to do a new post so I"m just replying to the original. I'm tapering off Effexor XR 375mg and am on week 2 of the process. I've only gone down 37.5 and havent had any physical side effects, thank god. For the emotional part – I have had anxiety almost every day of the taper. It's very rare that get anxiety any more. My concern is…is the anxiety from the withdrawal/taper or maybe I really do need the medication to help with the anxiety (i've been on it for many years, so didnt know if it was even working any more) and once the medicine is gone i will be back to where I was – symptom wise?? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!!!! PS- i'm under the care of an experienced psychiatrist, but just wanted to hear thoughts from the people 🙂

REPLY

Good for you for starting the process!! My guess — and I'm glad you have an experienced psychiatrist with you on this — is that the anxiety at this point is due to the taper since that can be one of the effects of withdrawing. I'd continue with the taper and see how it goes. I've found it very helpful to go over various lists of the effects of tapering off — that lets me know that lots of folks have experienced whatever side effects I'm having and they've kept on tapering to be able to finally be off this drug. If you and your doctor do decide you need medication for anxiety, there are plenty of others that don't have the horrible side effects of getting off them. My doctor has said he'll be glad to switch me to one that's much easier to discontinue if I still feel I need to take something. I've been tapering for a couple of months and have 2-3 weeks left before I'm off. I'm getting impatient and have been tempted to speed up the process, but I remind myself that my brain needs the time to adjust so I'm sticking with my schedule. Good luck to you and please use this board any time you need reassurance or a boost. It's been a lifesaver for me!!!

REPLY
@jamiejames

Hi Everyone, not sure how to do a new post so I"m just replying to the original. I'm tapering off Effexor XR 375mg and am on week 2 of the process. I've only gone down 37.5 and havent had any physical side effects, thank god. For the emotional part – I have had anxiety almost every day of the taper. It's very rare that get anxiety any more. My concern is…is the anxiety from the withdrawal/taper or maybe I really do need the medication to help with the anxiety (i've been on it for many years, so didnt know if it was even working any more) and once the medicine is gone i will be back to where I was – symptom wise?? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!!!! PS- i'm under the care of an experienced psychiatrist, but just wanted to hear thoughts from the people 🙂

Jump to this post

@jamiejames

Welcome to Mayo Connect JamieJames. I'm a Volunteer Mentor and am not a medical professional. I can't make diagnosis or gives medical advice. I do offer my experience, knowledge, recommendations and support. I noticed this is your first post. You will find a wealth of information and support for your withdrawal process from others going through the same things you are. The people on this thread are amazing in their willingness to help each other through. Please continue to post your comments, needs, and issues to get responses from community members. Also, I recommend reviewing the older posts here as you may connect with someone who has specific information about what you are experiencing.

I encourage you to keep withdrawing and remember that each of us reacts differently to drugs and to withdrawal. Best of luck.

REPLY
@kbmayo

Good for you for starting the process!! My guess — and I'm glad you have an experienced psychiatrist with you on this — is that the anxiety at this point is due to the taper since that can be one of the effects of withdrawing. I'd continue with the taper and see how it goes. I've found it very helpful to go over various lists of the effects of tapering off — that lets me know that lots of folks have experienced whatever side effects I'm having and they've kept on tapering to be able to finally be off this drug. If you and your doctor do decide you need medication for anxiety, there are plenty of others that don't have the horrible side effects of getting off them. My doctor has said he'll be glad to switch me to one that's much easier to discontinue if I still feel I need to take something. I've been tapering for a couple of months and have 2-3 weeks left before I'm off. I'm getting impatient and have been tempted to speed up the process, but I remind myself that my brain needs the time to adjust so I'm sticking with my schedule. Good luck to you and please use this board any time you need reassurance or a boost. It's been a lifesaver for me!!!

Jump to this post

@kbmayo thank you SO much!!! How are you feeling, mentally, since tapering to almost nothing (ie, anxiety, etc). Assuming I should wait to be fully off of one med before starting another, if it is needed.

REPLY
@gailb

@jamiejames

Welcome to Mayo Connect JamieJames. I'm a Volunteer Mentor and am not a medical professional. I can't make diagnosis or gives medical advice. I do offer my experience, knowledge, recommendations and support. I noticed this is your first post. You will find a wealth of information and support for your withdrawal process from others going through the same things you are. The people on this thread are amazing in their willingness to help each other through. Please continue to post your comments, needs, and issues to get responses from community members. Also, I recommend reviewing the older posts here as you may connect with someone who has specific information about what you are experiencing.

I encourage you to keep withdrawing and remember that each of us reacts differently to drugs and to withdrawal. Best of luck.

Jump to this post

Thank you, I will!

REPLY
@jamiejames

Hi Everyone, not sure how to do a new post so I"m just replying to the original. I'm tapering off Effexor XR 375mg and am on week 2 of the process. I've only gone down 37.5 and havent had any physical side effects, thank god. For the emotional part – I have had anxiety almost every day of the taper. It's very rare that get anxiety any more. My concern is…is the anxiety from the withdrawal/taper or maybe I really do need the medication to help with the anxiety (i've been on it for many years, so didnt know if it was even working any more) and once the medicine is gone i will be back to where I was – symptom wise?? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!!!! PS- i'm under the care of an experienced psychiatrist, but just wanted to hear thoughts from the people 🙂

Jump to this post

@jamiejames

You mentioned anxiety as you are withdrawing. I found that taking CBD Living Water, or CBD tincture (oil) relieved my anxiety when I was withdrawing from Tramadol 50 mg. If you can take medical Marijuana in your state, get a prescription and buy CBD tincture that has 1/4 THC in it. It takes between 15 minutes and 2 hours to feel the effects, it just depends on your metabolism. Just a suggestion.

REPLY
@gailb

@jamiejames

You mentioned anxiety as you are withdrawing. I found that taking CBD Living Water, or CBD tincture (oil) relieved my anxiety when I was withdrawing from Tramadol 50 mg. If you can take medical Marijuana in your state, get a prescription and buy CBD tincture that has 1/4 THC in it. It takes between 15 minutes and 2 hours to feel the effects, it just depends on your metabolism. Just a suggestion.

Jump to this post

Ooh, good idea! I don’t think I can get a prescription in NY. Is there another way I can buy it?

REPLY
@haleysmom

I'm home from surgery. The great news is I haven't felt sick to my stomach yet today

Jump to this post

@haleysmom
So glad you are home and things went well!!!!!!
Ronnie

REPLY

I've read some posts that mentioned doctors prescribing some new med to begin before the taper was complete — near the end of the taper — so you could ask your psychiatrist about that. How am I feeling mentally? Good question! No anxiety and I seem to be getting a little more energy, which is a huge reason I wanted to go off Effexor. The others were that I was depressed, no motivation, felt everything was pointless. I wasn't suicidal, but I'd decided that if it was time for me to go, that was ok with me. (A bit of background: I've been on Effexor/venlafaxine for 25 yrs, put on it for depression, SSRIs made me feeling like I was coming out of my skin so my dr decided to try something that was completely new, I'm tapering off a daily dose of 150mg XR, but I certainly didn't start that high, it's been gradually increased over the years as it became ineffective.) I read the first few chapters of a new book, “Lost Connections,'' where the author had gone through exactly what I was going through, and he talked about earlier research studies on anti-depressants which had been ignored. I read more about those studies and decided I'd had enough. (I especially liked “The Emperor's New Drugs'' and “Anatomy of an Epidemic'' as well as “The Antidepressant Solution: A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Overcoming Antidepressant Withdrawal, Dependence and `Addiction.' '' Personally I certainly don't consider it an “addiction'' — having experienced addiction, I can tell you that it's a totally different beast!) Reading is one of my passions, so I did other reading, too — googled a lot of information and found blogs on withdrawal which motivated me even more. Basically, I want my life back! The main symptoms I've had during withdrawal have been lethargy, sleeping lots and lots, a short temper and eventually insomnia (for which I finally started taking 3 mg of time-release melatonin — it isn't hard to find — I got mine at CVS). I've also taken various vitamins and other supplements and I drink lots of water to help flush out my system. Some depression, too, but that's nothing new. As my motivation increases, my depression decreases. Each of us has our own experiences as we taper, which is why it's been so helpful for me to look at the lists of symptoms and read other folks' posts. I've been gentle with myself, even pampering myself at times, and have been able to say no, no, no when asked to do things I didn't want to do or feel like doing. The house is a mess and so is the yard, but that's tough. I'll get to them eventually and heaven knows they aren't going anywhere. I've also tried to get myself to take walks and I've watched comedies on DVD/TV — laughing is a hugely underrated therapy. I've discovered that whenever I actually laugh out loud, I feel better. (Norman Cousins, the late editor of Saturday Review, discovered this for himself, as he described in his book “Anatomy of an Illness''). This is a loooong post — if you've read to the end of it, thank you! Hope some of this will help!

REPLY

@kbmayo
Wonderful post. Thank you so much! Your experience is similar to mine- 15 years (the last 10 at 225mg). I also read Lost Connections which inspired me to stop Effexor. I have had the same side effects since I started tapering, lethargy, sleeping, fatigue, quick to anger, I haven’t had the sleeplessness yet but have had headaches, nausea and serious changes in the digestive processes. Still, nothing unmanageable. I knew this process wasn’t going to be easy when I started it but it’s worth to get off the drug and have my life back!
I will look into the book you mentioned, The Antidepressant Solution. I’m at 37.5 AM and PM and am about to drop the PM dose. After that I will switch to the immediate release 25mg and start cutting those into halves and quarters as I get closer to the end.
I will look forward to your next post and how you are doing.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment