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

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@grandma-R- I was not given a substitute drug when I withdrew from Effexor. I was told to take 2 months, I think that previously I mistakenly said 2 weeks.

Liked by Leonard

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@merpreb

@grandma-R- I was not given a substitute drug when I withdrew from Effexor. I was told to take 2 months, I think that previously I mistakenly said 2 weeks.

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@merpreb
Got you.
It still sounds like 2 months is not long enough.
Good luck
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Maybe it isn't.

Liked by Leonard

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@grandmar
Hello Ronnie,
I think your wise not wanting one drug to help cover up the withdrawal symptoms of another. You have my respect and admiration for making that decision.
I hope your not reducing your dose at more than 5% every 2-6 weeks or at least not continuing to reduce if symptoms are present.
Hope and happiness to you!!
Jake

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@jakedduck1
Thank you for all your supportive words.
ronnie

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@notaround

If you do later remember your old psychiatrist's reasoning for waiting six months, I'd be interested to know why. I haven't heard that from my doctor but gods know they individually can't know everything.

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Update: I've been down to taking 37.5mg twice a day for two weeks now. Finally stabilized – the first day and a half sucked. It wasn't an overall dosage decrease but it definitely matters to split it into am and pm.
Now I'm removing one dose every other night. So Sunday night, yesterday night no pm pill, and no pm pill Thurs. I've been having trouble sleeping but of course I don't know if it's withdrawal. The headaches definitely are. Having a withdrawal headache on top of a sinus infection knocked me into bed at 7pm Sunday.

I think I'll take out the night pills entirely in another two weeks, slowly decreasing how often I take them. I have to it this way because I have about two month's worth of 37.5mg (if taken once a day) and no lower dose available for the XR. I can't do the immediate release because it's way too much of a swing for my body. So hopefully I get down to 37.5mg once a day soon and go from there.

Probably will pause tapering for the last two weeks of December. I hate the holidays so I don't need to make things harder on myself.

So it's almost one year since my near death experience. I'm sure as hell taking extra pills with me if I go anywhere.

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@grandmar

@jakedduck1
Thank you for all your supportive words.
ronnie

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You are so welcome. Please keep me posted on your success. God bless

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I have been taking Effexor for over 5 years . 150 mg and stopped taking it cold turkey on Sunday . The week was horrible .. body aches, diarrhea, chills , sweats , brain zaps , you name it . I almost caved on Thursday but kept fighting . I took a sleeping aid at night and Advil for body aches . Today Is a week and I feel amazing !!! Still a few brain zaps and upset stomach but nothing I can’t handle 😋I’m so glad I stuck with it . I feel so clear minded and HAPPY!!

Liked by Leonard

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@tdeal

I have been taking Effexor for over 5 years . 150 mg and stopped taking it cold turkey on Sunday . The week was horrible .. body aches, diarrhea, chills , sweats , brain zaps , you name it . I almost caved on Thursday but kept fighting . I took a sleeping aid at night and Advil for body aches . Today Is a week and I feel amazing !!! Still a few brain zaps and upset stomach but nothing I can’t handle 😋I’m so glad I stuck with it . I feel so clear minded and HAPPY!!

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I am so happy for you. I am down to 25mg a day for about 3 months now. I feel happier and more clear minded on this dose. Beginning to taper to every other day this week. The "brain zapping" is what I can't stand when I stop. It makes me feel like I am losing it. I hate this drug. I never realized what a fog it had me living in. I am struggling with the unveiling so to speak of real life. I continue to struggle. Working out helps me quite a bit. I wish you continued success with your fight.

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@grandmar @mjsmimi @tdeal @marleneaceI @notaround @jakedduck1

As a former Effexor taker and present Zoloft and Wellbutrin taker I have to tell you that I am worried about all of you who are trying to get off of antidepressants without weaning yourselves off slowly. Without a proper weaning phase your symptoms can come back and slap you on the butt. You are playing with fire, and suffering side effects needlessly. When you begin taking chemicals that are for your brain you are altering your neurotransmitter connections- they are chemical messengers that influence activity in your brain and other parts of your body as well. If you get off them too quickly you are throwing your entire body and its chemicals out of sync. This can be extremely dangerous and put you right back in a depression that is worse than the one you were experiencing. And what are your plans for when your depression does come back, because it will no matter how quickly you get off your meds.
Here is a link with more information: https://www.addictioncenter.com/stimulants/antidepressants/withdrawal-detox/

Liked by Leonard

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@merpreb

@grandmar @mjsmimi @tdeal @marleneaceI @notaround @jakedduck1

As a former Effexor taker and present Zoloft and Wellbutrin taker I have to tell you that I am worried about all of you who are trying to get off of antidepressants without weaning yourselves off slowly. Without a proper weaning phase your symptoms can come back and slap you on the butt. You are playing with fire, and suffering side effects needlessly. When you begin taking chemicals that are for your brain you are altering your neurotransmitter connections- they are chemical messengers that influence activity in your brain and other parts of your body as well. If you get off them too quickly you are throwing your entire body and its chemicals out of sync. This can be extremely dangerous and put you right back in a depression that is worse than the one you were experiencing. And what are your plans for when your depression does come back, because it will no matter how quickly you get off your meds.
Here is a link with more information: https://www.addictioncenter.com/stimulants/antidepressants/withdrawal-detox/

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@merpreb
Hello Merry,
I’m very curious how you came to the conclusion that I was taking Effexor. Even if I were how did you get the idea I didn’t/wouldn’t taper. I am totally puzzled. I hope you will let me know. Maybe I was posting in my sleep if I ever said anything that remotely indicates what you claim. In fact I suspect I’m probably the biggest advocate here for protracted tapering.
Have a wonderful day
Jake

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@jakeduck1..I copied your name from the conversation. I wanted my message to address everyone who participated, with hopefully those who didn't take it to weigh in. Guess it didn't work the way I set it up. I'll be more specific next time. I'm still a bit new with all this. I'm sorry

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@merpreb

@grandmar @mjsmimi @tdeal @marleneaceI @notaround @jakedduck1

As a former Effexor taker and present Zoloft and Wellbutrin taker I have to tell you that I am worried about all of you who are trying to get off of antidepressants without weaning yourselves off slowly. Without a proper weaning phase your symptoms can come back and slap you on the butt. You are playing with fire, and suffering side effects needlessly. When you begin taking chemicals that are for your brain you are altering your neurotransmitter connections- they are chemical messengers that influence activity in your brain and other parts of your body as well. If you get off them too quickly you are throwing your entire body and its chemicals out of sync. This can be extremely dangerous and put you right back in a depression that is worse than the one you were experiencing. And what are your plans for when your depression does come back, because it will no matter how quickly you get off your meds.
Here is a link with more information: https://www.addictioncenter.com/stimulants/antidepressants/withdrawal-detox/

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@merpreb Some us who were taking Effexor simply don't need it any more (I was on it for hot flashes and those days are passed), some folks have side effects they can no longer tolerate (high blood pressure, vision changes, impotence, digestion issues, etc.), some are young women who want to get pregnant (or are), some find Effexor is no longer working for their mental issues and some are thrown off the drug by loss of insurance, or can't find a doctor to renew their prescriptions.

When I was put on Effexor 18 years ago for hot flashes, I didn't ask a lot of questions about the drug; I was in the middle of breast cancer treatment and thought I was looking death in the face–I had bigger fish to fry right then. I had no idea until the beginning of this year when I began thinking of quitting Effexor and did some research that Effexor is a "big deal" drug that many folks find difficult to quit.

I live in the DFW Metroplex and have used Compass and Best Doctors and asked my oncologist (who prescribed the Effexor), friends and pharmacists to try to find any type of doctor familiar with Effexor withdrawal–it's been six months and I haven't found one yet. As @jakedduck1 says, "If there is an expert on getting off Effexor, they are hiding very well."

There is now a lot of info on the web, but still I haven't found a site that lays it out–at this weight/height, age, years on Effexor, dosage of Effexor you're taking, how quickly you'd like to/or need to get off, this is what you do. It's all pretty much guess work, how motivated you are to get off Effexor and how withdrawal affects you. Quite a few posters on this site and elsewhere have been put on tapering plans by their doctors that are too drastic, or have been given the "blank stare" and told they can just stop. This site has helped me so much–many posters emphasize the need to taper (and how to) as well as shared their coping strategies (yoga, exercise, cognitive behavioral training, deep breathing, etc.) and supplements to mitigate many of the withdrawal symptoms.

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@jakedduck1

@merpreb
Hello Merry,
I’m very curious how you came to the conclusion that I was taking Effexor. Even if I were how did you get the idea I didn’t/wouldn’t taper. I am totally puzzled. I hope you will let me know. Maybe I was posting in my sleep if I ever said anything that remotely indicates what you claim. In fact I suspect I’m probably the biggest advocate here for protracted tapering.
Have a wonderful day
Jake

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@tdeal I was replying to tdeal when posting, I appologize.

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I'm new to the group and actually joined a few weeks ago, but just now getting on. Do to not having health insurance any longer and really tired of being on Effexor 150mg, I didn't really have the option to taper off. I would skip a few days, then take normal dose, skip and take for about a week and then cold turkey. I've been off for about 5 wks now and the withdrawals were horrible. Nightmares, sweats, no headaches at all and I'm very prone to them, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, lots of brain zaps that also zap to my hands, body aches, weak, feel like I have the flu every day. I realize this could go on for up to 9 months and I also read that withdrawals are actually worse than heroin withdrawals. I think I'm going to make it. I wanted to be a part of this group to either help someone or someone to help me with words of encouragement. TIA

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