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

@youngsally

I'm wondering where you found the information on the "change the extended nature" of the XR when the capsule is opened. In capsule forms the extended release is usually built into the bead coating — the capsule disintegrates quickly. In tablets, where the extended release is built as a combination of coating and/or structures to the tablet (laser drilled holes or a gel matrix) – then one definitely changes the absorption rate if the tablet is broken in half or crushed. It's one of the reasons why there has been such a push to make opioids "tamper proof" – can't crush em and smoke/snort or inject them.

It's a minor point – and I agree that a bridge is an option for people…and bead counting is tedious – and difficult to do correctly every time.

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I did read this somewhere and felt that it was unusual also. I read that the physical container for all the little capsules had the time release properties not the individual capsules themself. If someone on this forum would provide accurate information that would be great!

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@mrhappy

I did read this somewhere and felt that it was unusual also. I read that the physical container for all the little capsules had the time release properties not the individual capsules themself. If someone on this forum would provide accurate information that would be great!

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I suppose it would have to be both the capsule and the beads. The capsule has to dissolve before the beads can. If you are tapering off, you can always buy the gel capsules empty and put the beads in them if you can't change the mg..

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I am a 55 year old female who started taking Effexor for my hot flashes about two years ago. I take 75mg daily. I’ve tried to quit but my symptoms are so severe, I can’t get off. My ears feel really full making me dizzy, light-headed and nauseous, and I am physically ill. Any suggestions?

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@terri672

I suppose it would have to be both the capsule and the beads. The capsule has to dissolve before the beads can. If you are tapering off, you can always buy the gel capsules empty and put the beads in them if you can't change the mg..

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It can't be the capsule; it has to be the beads. The capsule is just a container; the medication is in the beads. There are recommendations — maybe even among those that come with the pills — that say if you don't want to use the capsules, then open one and sprinkle the beads on applesauce and eat that. I think vegans find the makeup of the capsules to be a problem because they're made with animal product. For my tapering, I needed to buy gel capsules for some weeks and they're working just fine. Counting beads is incredibly tedious, but it's also been the simplest method for me. A local compounding pharmacy wouldn't redo the capsules for me because they hadn't filled the original prescription, so I've counted — and counted — and counted. The beads are pretty much uniform in size. Some of them are really tiny and sometimes two beads are stuck together, but it's easy enough to accommodate them in the counting.

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@catamite

Wow. You are really going fast young sally. I wish you all the best. I will be off soon too. Monday I will be down to 12mg for a week, then down to 0. I got very sick with nausea and insominia when I tried to go from 37.5 to 0. I am still waking up with an occasional headache lasting no longer than an hour. It will be so nice to get this monkey off my back.

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Exciting — and good for you! I'm close to the end, too, and I'm counting the days. This week I'm on 29 mg. and next week I go down to 14 for a week and then — I hope — none. If I have any zaps when I'm coming off 14, I plan to taper down 5 beads/day until I'm off, which would be an additional week. (A week ago I added 3 mg of time-release melatonin for the insomnia, but my sleep schedule has gotten completely out of whack during this process. That might also be because I'm retired and I've canceled everything non-essential during the taper, so I can sleep for long stretches when I feel the need, which makes it hard to go to sleep at a semi-normal time, plus I drink lots of water to help flush this stuff out of my system so I have to pee a lot which makes it harder for me to fall asleep unless I'm really, really tired!!)

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I did the same thing ! But was told later that after the 37.5 I should of just stopped because the time release capsule is doing more harm then good at that point . I stopped at around 20 mg . Some horrific side affects please please just end it and deal with it . Today is 8 days with nothing and am feeling a little better…. good luck

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I have been off of effexor for almost two weeks. I felt great the first 2 days and then had upset stomach and vomiting. It went away and I had surgery Tuesday. I started with the headache, sweats, vomiting yesterday. I know it's not the surgery because I just had the same surgery on left arm 3 wks ago. I was hoping I was over the withdrawal symptoms…..oh and all I want to do is eat when I'm sick to my stomach. It's like comfort and I'm afraid I'm going to gain even more weight.

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@haleysmom

I have been off of effexor for almost two weeks. I felt great the first 2 days and then had upset stomach and vomiting. It went away and I had surgery Tuesday. I started with the headache, sweats, vomiting yesterday. I know it's not the surgery because I just had the same surgery on left arm 3 wks ago. I was hoping I was over the withdrawal symptoms…..oh and all I want to do is eat when I'm sick to my stomach. It's like comfort and I'm afraid I'm going to gain even more weight.

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Hey there H’Mom. Try getting some gnger. Or even drink Ginger Ale. It will settle your stomack. I have an enlarged spleen and have horrible gut aches but this really helps. Good luck!!!!

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@shaker1956

Hey there H’Mom. Try getting some gnger. Or even drink Ginger Ale. It will settle your stomack. I have an enlarged spleen and have horrible gut aches but this really helps. Good luck!!!!

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Sorry to hear. I have been drinking Ginger ale, eating saltines and taking Dramamine. Nothing helping yet. I was really hoping that this part was over when I felt better for a few days but now it's back.

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@haleysmom

Sorry to hear. I have been drinking Ginger ale, eating saltines and taking Dramamine. Nothing helping yet. I was really hoping that this part was over when I felt better for a few days but now it's back.

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Have you tried Ginger by itself? Worth a try!!!!

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@shaker1956

Have you tried Ginger by itself? Worth a try!!!!

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Not yet, but I'm willing to give it a try. I'll have my fiance pick up some tomorrow. It comes and goes. It usually happens a few times a day with the headache and sweating. At least it's not all day anymore.

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@susanarm

I am a 55 year old female who started taking Effexor for my hot flashes about two years ago. I take 75mg daily. I’ve tried to quit but my symptoms are so severe, I can’t get off. My ears feel really full making me dizzy, light-headed and nauseous, and I am physically ill. Any suggestions?

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@susanarm
The most important strategy is to taper off slowly. I also hope you are enlisting a doctor's help (although some are not familiar with the difficulties of getting off Effexor and some suggest some pretty fast tapers); be your own best advocate–if you feel like cr*p with the reduction program, it's too much reduction too fast.

Please read all the posts on here for tips; I started with Page One and reread some posters often. If you click on my name beside this reply, you can read my posts in particular. I have mentioned some ways to reduce/taper.

You don't say if you tried to taper off your 75mg, if you tried skipping days, or if you tried cold turkey (that's not a successful strategy for most people).

You don't say if you are on Effexor tablets, or capsules, or your medication is extended-release (XR). Regular-release tablets can be obtained in 25mg doses. I was on that for 18 years. You can use a pill cutter to slice these in halves and quarters and then mix and match to get tapered doses that you can tolerate without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. You can ask your doctor to change your prescription. Capsules are trickier. Some folks open them and delete a set of beads, stay at that level for a while, then start taking out a larger number of beads, stay at that level for a period, etc. I mention in one of my posts how some folks dissolve their daily dose of medication in juice and throw out a small set amount and maintain that reduced dosage for while and then taper down again when ready. Compounding pharmacies can make tapered doses for you (if you can find one in your area and afford the cost).

Dram*mine, or Bon*ne (motion-, or sea-sickness OTC drugs) will help tremendously with the dizziness, light-headedness and nausea. If you are tapering, sounds like you're trying to reduce too fast.

I'll warn you–Effexor messes with your brain neurotransmitters; it will take time for your body/brain to reestablish how to balance these chemicals on its own again. I was on Effexor for 18 years for hot flashes at 25mg; I tapered off over 2.5 months and felt fine until six weeks AFTER the last dose. I am only feeling well now because I take a whole host of supplements four times a day and every now and then some Valium (prescribed by my doctor for the akathisia symptoms that started at that six weeks later time).

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