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

@proserpine

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to stop taking Effexor, and I'll be honest, I'm angry. I was on 75mg, which doesn't seem like a lot learning what other people have been taking. I went down half a dose a couple of weeks ago, eased into by taking 75mg one day and 37.5mg the next for a few days (longer?). Then I stayed on 37.5mg for a few days and then I stopped. And my body aches, like my organs are being squeezed, and my brain is zapping and I'm shivering and sweating. And I'm angry. Because I went on Effexor after 11 years clean and sober because I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety, and now it's like I'm an addict getting off a hard drug. How is this shit legal?!

I utterly refuse to take anymore because there is absolutely no way that I'm going through this a third time. This is more intense than the first change, but I'm stubborn. Have others done this? Will this truly take 1-2 weeks to pass? Longer? The physical symptoms the first time seemed to take about a week. I'm trying to work at the same time, though I went home early yesterday and stayed home today. I'm hoping that they will lessen by Monday (today is Friday).

I think I also need to stay away from sugar as that sees to make the zaps worse. I'm also finding it hard to keep a thought in my head. I'm also feeling out of control, so I'm hiding in my basement watching tv and eating. My kid is at school today so that is possible. Tomorrow will be different which I think is good. I think I might need to be more active with no stress (so no work). It would really be helpful to hear from others about their experience.

Thanks!

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I have been off effexor for nearly two months, after a twenty year run. It wasn't fun. In fact, now Im not even sure stopping it was a great idea, because I have not noticed feeling any better. Not much has changed. However, I will give it time, and if I should decide to get back on antidepressants, I will not take effexor again. A doctor has recommened BUSPAR as it does not have severe withdrawal effects.

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@proserpine

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to stop taking Effexor, and I'll be honest, I'm angry. I was on 75mg, which doesn't seem like a lot learning what other people have been taking. I went down half a dose a couple of weeks ago, eased into by taking 75mg one day and 37.5mg the next for a few days (longer?). Then I stayed on 37.5mg for a few days and then I stopped. And my body aches, like my organs are being squeezed, and my brain is zapping and I'm shivering and sweating. And I'm angry. Because I went on Effexor after 11 years clean and sober because I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety, and now it's like I'm an addict getting off a hard drug. How is this shit legal?!

I utterly refuse to take anymore because there is absolutely no way that I'm going through this a third time. This is more intense than the first change, but I'm stubborn. Have others done this? Will this truly take 1-2 weeks to pass? Longer? The physical symptoms the first time seemed to take about a week. I'm trying to work at the same time, though I went home early yesterday and stayed home today. I'm hoping that they will lessen by Monday (today is Friday).

I think I also need to stay away from sugar as that sees to make the zaps worse. I'm also finding it hard to keep a thought in my head. I'm also feeling out of control, so I'm hiding in my basement watching tv and eating. My kid is at school today so that is possible. Tomorrow will be different which I think is good. I think I might need to be more active with no stress (so no work). It would really be helpful to hear from others about their experience.

Thanks!

Jump to this post

I'm replying only because of your reference to being clean and sober, which I was when I went on Effexor 25 years ago for depression. I don't remember what my initial dosage was, but I'd been at 150XR daily for quite a few years when I decided to taper off. Your taper was far, far faster than mine!! Mine took several months and I set up a schedule before I began. I counted the beads — which a lot of posters on this site don't agree with, so I don't post about my experience anymore. It was extremely tedious — but it worked!! My final dose was 5 beads/day for a week, so that tells you how tiny my final dose was, and I still had some effects during the process. I've been off since Oct. 1 and it's the best thing I've ever done except for getting clean and sober. During the taper I had some zaps, I slept hours and hours (or had insomnia!), I had bouts of rage, I felt like I was losing my mind — but none of this was overwhelming because I was tapering slowly. (And I do think that for those of us who've had alcohol and/or drug problems, staying away from sugar is a very good idea. We don't process it well.) I also knew that what I was experiencing was withdrawal from a very powerful drug and I knew from my previous experience that whatever I was going through would be worth it. And it is! One day at a time you can and will get through this!!

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@kbmayo

I'm replying only because of your reference to being clean and sober, which I was when I went on Effexor 25 years ago for depression. I don't remember what my initial dosage was, but I'd been at 150XR daily for quite a few years when I decided to taper off. Your taper was far, far faster than mine!! Mine took several months and I set up a schedule before I began. I counted the beads — which a lot of posters on this site don't agree with, so I don't post about my experience anymore. It was extremely tedious — but it worked!! My final dose was 5 beads/day for a week, so that tells you how tiny my final dose was, and I still had some effects during the process. I've been off since Oct. 1 and it's the best thing I've ever done except for getting clean and sober. During the taper I had some zaps, I slept hours and hours (or had insomnia!), I had bouts of rage, I felt like I was losing my mind — but none of this was overwhelming because I was tapering slowly. (And I do think that for those of us who've had alcohol and/or drug problems, staying away from sugar is a very good idea. We don't process it well.) I also knew that what I was experiencing was withdrawal from a very powerful drug and I knew from my previous experience that whatever I was going through would be worth it. And it is! One day at a time you can and will get through this!!

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@ainsleigh
How long after you reached zero did you continue to have side effects?

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Probably a couple of weeks (and they weren't major), with flashes every so often after that as my body continued to adjust. I kept reminding myself that my brain had been completely wired to that stuff and would take a while to re-wire itself. However, since my taper was a lot more gradual than yours, your side effects might be more intense for a while. I just kept reminding myself that it was ok — normal, in fact — to be experiencing what I was experiencing and that it would pass. Which it has. Hang in there!

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@kbmayo

Probably a couple of weeks (and they weren't major), with flashes every so often after that as my body continued to adjust. I kept reminding myself that my brain had been completely wired to that stuff and would take a while to re-wire itself. However, since my taper was a lot more gradual than yours, your side effects might be more intense for a while. I just kept reminding myself that it was ok — normal, in fact — to be experiencing what I was experiencing and that it would pass. Which it has. Hang in there!

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@kbmayo
It’s been 3 weeks and I’m feeling irritability, depression and anxiety (complete with the physical symptoms of anxiety). My husband is my best friend but I’m afraid of ruining my marriage. Every day I wake up thinking today will be a good day. Unfortunately I’m usually wrong.

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@danalee5

@ainsleigh
How long after you reached zero did you continue to have side effects?

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Hi danalee
I have never taken Effexor (thank goodness)-think you have me mixed up with someone else.
Good luck!
Aainsleigh

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@ainsleigh

Hi danalee
I have never taken Effexor (thank goodness)-think you have me mixed up with someone else.
Good luck!
Aainsleigh

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@ainsleigh
Sorry. My reply was actually directed at kbmayo- I mistakenly used your name.

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Sorry to hear about your struggles. All these big Pharma drugs work to suppress the symptoms but do not cure the root cause. I’ve been on escilatopram and lexapro and Prozac for 16 years. Now I’m on 10 mg lexapro going to start weaning soon. I’m doing alot of research and seeing a holistic therapist who is guiding me through the weaning. I take vitamins b6, 12 folic acid, magnesium and omega 3s fatty acids along with Apple carrot and beetroot juice every morning and 30 minutes of exercise Everyday. Cut off coffee because it messes up my nervous system and I’ve been feeling better already. Heard L theanine and 5 htp help with alleviating depressive side effects. Good luck!

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@danalee5

@kbmayo
It’s been 3 weeks and I’m feeling irritability, depression and anxiety (complete with the physical symptoms of anxiety). My husband is my best friend but I’m afraid of ruining my marriage. Every day I wake up thinking today will be a good day. Unfortunately I’m usually wrong.

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I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time. The only suggestion I have is that you google something to the effect of vitamins/minerals/natural aids to help detox from venlafaxine. I did that, and took Vitamin D3, Vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid, turmeric, zinc, magnesium and my regular calcium. I took time-release melatonin to help me sleep. I mixed 1 cup of club soda with one tbsp of natural apple cider vinegar and one tbsp of honey to help flush out my system. I drank turmeric tea, I added fresh ginger — grated — to as many things as I could. I've read posts by other people who used other natural supplements that help with anxiety and depression. I tried to walk 20-30 minutes a day. I watched movie comedies and reruns of TV comedies — anything that would make me laugh (the physical act of laughing releases good compounds in the body) plus it got me at least temporarily out of a funk. I watched my caffeine and sugar intake pretty carefully. I ate lots of yogurt to help keep my blood sugar from plummeting. And I took epsom salts baths, especially with lavender epsom bath salts. They relaxed me and helped my muscles relax. It's a bitch that we need to create a whole self-care regimen for ourselves to get through this, but I had to do it — and it did help. As far as worrying that you're ruining your marriage by going through this and the process taking longer and being harder than you'd hoped, flip it around: if your husband were going through something like this, would you be hanging in there with him and having extra patience and tolerance? I'm guessing the answer is yes.

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@kbmayo

I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time. The only suggestion I have is that you google something to the effect of vitamins/minerals/natural aids to help detox from venlafaxine. I did that, and took Vitamin D3, Vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid, turmeric, zinc, magnesium and my regular calcium. I took time-release melatonin to help me sleep. I mixed 1 cup of club soda with one tbsp of natural apple cider vinegar and one tbsp of honey to help flush out my system. I drank turmeric tea, I added fresh ginger — grated — to as many things as I could. I've read posts by other people who used other natural supplements that help with anxiety and depression. I tried to walk 20-30 minutes a day. I watched movie comedies and reruns of TV comedies — anything that would make me laugh (the physical act of laughing releases good compounds in the body) plus it got me at least temporarily out of a funk. I watched my caffeine and sugar intake pretty carefully. I ate lots of yogurt to help keep my blood sugar from plummeting. And I took epsom salts baths, especially with lavender epsom bath salts. They relaxed me and helped my muscles relax. It's a bitch that we need to create a whole self-care regimen for ourselves to get through this, but I had to do it — and it did help. As far as worrying that you're ruining your marriage by going through this and the process taking longer and being harder than you'd hoped, flip it around: if your husband were going through something like this, would you be hanging in there with him and having extra patience and tolerance? I'm guessing the answer is yes.

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@kbmayo
Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. I will check out your suggestions for supplements although I am currently taking the Bs and tumeric but will check out time release melatonin and your other suggestions. My husband and I read your reply together and he wanted me to tell you that he really liked what you said. The answer IS yes.

Liked by kbmayo

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@danalee5

@kbmayo
Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. I will check out your suggestions for supplements although I am currently taking the Bs and tumeric but will check out time release melatonin and your other suggestions. My husband and I read your reply together and he wanted me to tell you that he really liked what you said. The answer IS yes.

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It's great to know that you're in this together!! Thanks for letting me know!

Liked by danalee5

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@trgipson

I’ve been on I’ve been on Effexor/venlafacine for nearly 5years. Started at 75mg. Increased to 150at or point but didn’t want to have withdrawal symptoms if I ever wanted to wean off. So I returned to 75mg. It has helped over the years but I’m just concerned about being on it for so so long. Are they’re any long term SE that we won’t discover it nail 20 years down the road? So I recently made the decision to wean off. First let me share that there were 2 times over the course of the first year of taking this medication that I forgot to take it. I thought I was was going to DIE! I had never been so incredibly dizzy, nauseous, and headache at any point in my life. From that point on I always carried a couple extra pills with me at ALL TIMES, just in case.
Fast forward to present day, I’ve been weaning off for 10 days now. This seems absolutely ridiculous but, to minimize withdrawal effects I opened the capsule and take out 3 mini “pearls” every 3 days. I know it sounds crazy but the SE are just not worth it. I’m currently at -10 pearls a day tomorrow starting 13. I have resisted counting how many pearls are in there for my own psyche. At this time I feel I’ve noticed mainly 2 SE. One I’m seemingly so very tired I feel I could sleep all day. Two, I feel I lose my patience with my family easier than before. So this brings me to my question. Are these withdrawal symptoms or depression symptoms? They seem to over lap. My goal is to reevaluate after 3 months of being off the meds. Good luck weaning and take it SLOW!/venlafacine for nearly 5years. Started at 75mg. Increased to 150at or point but didn’t want to have withdrawal symptoms if I ever wanted to wean off. So I returned to 75mg. It has helped over the years but I’m just concerned about being on it for so so long. Are they’re any long term SE that we won’t discover it nail 20 years down the road? So I recently made the decision to wean off. First let me share that there were 2 times over the course of the first year of taking this medication that I forgot to take it. I thought I was was going to DIE! I had never been so incredibly dizzy, nauseous, and headache at any point in my life. From that point on I always carried a couple extra pills with me at ALL TIMES, just in case.
Fast forward to present day, I’ve been weaning off for 10 days now. This seems absolutely ridiculous but, to minimize withdrawal effects I opened the capsule and take out 3 mini “pearls” every 3 days. I know it sounds crazy but the SE are just not worth it. I’m currently at -10 pearls a day tomorrow starting 13. I have resisted counting how many pearls are in there for my own psyche. At this time I feel I’ve noticed mainly 2 SE. One I’m seemingly so very tired I feel I could sleep all day. Two, I feel I lose my patience with my family easier than before. So this brings me to my question. Are these withdrawal symptoms or depression symptoms? They seem to over lap. My goal is to reevaluate after 3 months of being off the meds. Good luck weaning and take it SLOW!

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I think it is likely the wean. Last night, my husband was cranky because we were ordering food for dinner and did so later than we should have. He was hungry. He snapped at me and immediately my ire rose and I yelled at him.

When I was weaning from 75mg to 37.5mg I had it happen a few times at work as well.

In all cases, annoyance, frustration or even anger were appropriate responses, but, for me, it manifest as an immediate rage.

I am on Effexor for anxiety not depression. That kind of rage is new to me. Not to say that I’ve never felt rage. Just not with the immediacy and intensity that I have been feeling lately. The pattern is unmistakable. I truly believe it is a symptom of the drug withdrawal.

Liked by danalee5, Leonard, kbmayo

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@amberpep

This is probably a dumb question, but why is everyone suddenly wanting to get off Effexor? Have you read something about it that I might have missed? Any insight you can give me would be appreciated.
Thanks, abby

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My doctor and I discussed getting off Effexor after being on it for 20 years. Before that, I had tried Paxil, Zoloft and Prozac. My dosage is light…37.5, but I am very sensitive to it, as has been the case with all antidepressants I’ve tried. Case in point, 5 mg of Paxil put me in the hospital. I’m getting off Effexor with the help of Wellbutrin (doctor prescribed). I’ve continued Effexor with 50mg of Wellbutrin but now take 100mg of Wellbutrin daily and Effexor every other day. I’ve had some of the brain swishiness (zaps) but nothing unbearable. Today is the first day I’ve gone beyond the every other day regimen with Effexor, and the withdrawal symptoms are no worse. My mood is still ok and I’ll see how it goes. If nothing changes today, I’ll try another day tomorrow without Effexor. I’ll continue with the 100 mg of Wellbutrin, which clearly has helped reduce Effexor withdrawal. By the way, sexual dysfunction has also been reduced over the past several days.

Liked by danalee5

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@rmeyers1ppk yes. sex is definitely better once off Effexor.

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It's hard to imagine that the hippy generation is complaining about sex overload. I've been on Effexor perhaps 15 years, haven't had an overload. Can't even remember.

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