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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I can’t seem to find a Dr that knows how to taper me off. I was taking 300mg and my Dr dropped me to 275, and then 175. I have a chemical imbalance and have been on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been on 175 for 3 months now and have terrible brain zaps, crying a lot, nausea, migraines, body pain, nightmares, severe depression and anxiety. I’m not sure what to do next. My prescription came in wrong once and I was a week without meds and ended up in emergency room in such severe withdrawals that I had massive migraine, talking strangely in a very confused state, brain zaps, crying uncontrollably, severe nausea to point of feeling I would pass out. They had no idea what to do for me and said they didn’t think Effexor withdrawal could cause such symptoms…lol. No matter that even Google says its worse than heroin withdrawal! I’m not in a good place at all and need to finish tapering off so I can be put on other meds for chemical imbalance and depression.

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@salela

I’m so excited to have a name for “brain zaps”! As others have said, they’re not painful at all, just disconcerting. It’s like swoosh inside my head that I can “hear.” It goes from one side to the other and back. It is what reminds me that I have forgotten a dose of Lexapro. (I have no other side effects from Lexapro–it’s been a very helpful drug.) As for Effexor…I tapered off about 10 years ago. It was really difficult. I was cutting tablets into quarters to get tiny doses at the end. Nevertheless, when I finally stopped, the vomiting was so bad that ended up in the ER for severe dehydration. A psychiatrist I saw later said he would have had me go onto another antidepressant during the Effexor taper, then taper off the second antidepressant, as Effexor seems to be more difficult to taper off of than other drugs.

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Some psychiatrists jokingly refer to Effexor as sideffexor.

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This drug is insidious. It has been 6 weeks since I stopped taking effexor completely. I titrated down over a period of over 9 months. I have experienced depression, extreme emotions (crying a lot) and am now starting to experience anxiety. I’m getting frightening thoughts and its hard to get rid of these thoughts. I just read a post that said melatonin may seem to help with anxiety. I’m going to try that. I started taking 400 mgs. of SAMe about 30 days ago. I feel like it has helped. I had some problems with upset stomach, but drink a full glass of water when taking the tablet (must be taken on an empty stomach. I might need to increase the dosage. SAMe is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body. I’m not sure that there is any prescription medication that doesn’t cause side effects. Anytime something messes with the chemistry of the brain side effects are bound to occur. If someone has any recommendation about other helpful options, please reply.

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Hello All! I wrote a couple weeks ago about being prescribed Effexor for menopause symptoms and when it quit working I went on Prempro. The gyno that put me on both acted like just quitting the Effexor would be fine since i was only on 75 mg for about 3 months.
I decided to taper myself so went down to 37.5 mg for a few days and started Prempro at same time. Don’t know which or maybe both caused it but I had a horrible migraine for 3 days where I couldn’t hardly get out of bed and couldn’t work. After the 3rd day the headache went away and I decided right then to not take another Effexor EVER so I totally quit and actually thought I was doing fine but after reading some of these recent posts I’m beginning to wander if maybe some of my symptoms which i have thought were completely menopause related might actually be from stopping this drug.

It’s been a 1 1/2 weeks since i quit taking Effexor completely and since then I have been so emotional and cry over everything especially anything that upsets me even a little. This is really strange behavior for me and people who know people have commented that something isn’t right with me because I am not and have never been a crier. Not that I think there is anything wrong with crying ( I don’t); it’s just that is not in my personality and my staff and bosses have noticed it. It is very embarrassing to be discussing a work issue and have tears come to my eyes and get all choked up when trying to talk. I have always been more of the Kiss my a**; this is the way it is going to be kind of person. Not unkind but never a crybaby. I certainly hope this passes soon (if it’s related to the Effexor) because it is really impeding my job performance and my personal relationships too.

I hate feeling like this but not sure how to overcome it but I can tell you for sure I won’t be trying to overcome it by going back on Effexor because one way or the other: This too shall pass; it might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass! 🙂

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@lukekee

Hello All! I wrote a couple weeks ago about being prescribed Effexor for menopause symptoms and when it quit working I went on Prempro. The gyno that put me on both acted like just quitting the Effexor would be fine since i was only on 75 mg for about 3 months.
I decided to taper myself so went down to 37.5 mg for a few days and started Prempro at same time. Don’t know which or maybe both caused it but I had a horrible migraine for 3 days where I couldn’t hardly get out of bed and couldn’t work. After the 3rd day the headache went away and I decided right then to not take another Effexor EVER so I totally quit and actually thought I was doing fine but after reading some of these recent posts I’m beginning to wander if maybe some of my symptoms which i have thought were completely menopause related might actually be from stopping this drug.

It’s been a 1 1/2 weeks since i quit taking Effexor completely and since then I have been so emotional and cry over everything especially anything that upsets me even a little. This is really strange behavior for me and people who know people have commented that something isn’t right with me because I am not and have never been a crier. Not that I think there is anything wrong with crying ( I don’t); it’s just that is not in my personality and my staff and bosses have noticed it. It is very embarrassing to be discussing a work issue and have tears come to my eyes and get all choked up when trying to talk. I have always been more of the Kiss my a**; this is the way it is going to be kind of person. Not unkind but never a crybaby. I certainly hope this passes soon (if it’s related to the Effexor) because it is really impeding my job performance and my personal relationships too.

I hate feeling like this but not sure how to overcome it but I can tell you for sure I won’t be trying to overcome it by going back on Effexor because one way or the other: This too shall pass; it might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass! 🙂

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Yeah unfortunately I’m here to tell you that is definitely the side effects of coming off that drug. My recommendation is to get the smallest dose possible and then portion that out, that goes into even smaller doses… and smaller doses and smaller doses.

this could take upwards of months to almost a year. This is one of if not the worst antidepressant to be on end to come off of ..

if you live in a state where marijuana is legal medicinally I recommend talking to someone about low-dose THC prescription. I understand how a lot of humanity is opposed to this as medicine, but it has worked wonders for my brain when I never thought it would. And to be honest when you’re all at options why not try things that are new to you and presented as safe, positive, organic, and to be quite honest one of the most relaxing ways I’ve ever ingested medicine. there are ways to have marijuana medically and your life now that I had never thought would be possible. Tincture form, edible form, beverage form, pill form, and lotion form, topical form, even as a suppository!

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I have been off of the Effexor for almost three months now and it’s been some of the worst times of my life. My dr. weened me off way too quickly. I would recommend not reducing doses for at least a month, if not longer. A week is NOT long enough, which is what my dr. recommended. I ended up in the ER because I was suicidal during this first month of detox. This drug should be illegal. If you read the side affects (PLEASE READ ALL INFORMATION THAT IS INCLUDED WHEN YOU PICK UP YOUR PRESCRIPTION). Do some research on how long it took the manufacturer to get it patented….FOURTEEN years, I believe it said. That should tell us something. The problem started when the manufacturer moved from Effexor to Effexor XR (time released). This was probably to save the insurance companies money as patients were taking the regular Effexor 2-3 times a day. “Well let’s just manufacture a drug that is only taken ONCE a day and that will save the drug companies money.” I have also been doing some research on natural ways to combat depression and anxiety. GABA is recommended to take 25mg 2x a day and increase to 100 mg 2x a day. L-tyroine and tryptophan. (sp??) B6, Magnesium, Iron, Vit D, calcium and B12 are supposed to help as well. Almost every website that I researched mentioned the Magnesium. I started taking the Vit D, magnesium, Iron and B12 a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure that they are helping but my symptoms are easing, SLOWLY. Gabapentin (prescription) is also very good at easing the anxiety I encounter in the mornings. It is non habit forming (supposedly!). I also joined a local Planet Fitness and when my anxiety is so bad that I feel like I’m going to burst, I get on my tennis shoes and head to the gym for about an hour just to walk on the treadmill. I can clear my mind for at least a little while during the day. Do some research on the natural ways to combat depression and anxiety. I have spent hours and hours and hours trying to find a way to get off of pharmaceuticals FOREVER. I know I will always grieve over the loss of my son and the loss of my marriage but I have to find a way to go on in this world for my beautiful daughter. She is the sunshine of my life and I truly want to be the best mother to her that I can be. In these times, we have to be our own advocate. Big pharmacology is KILLING us slowing, believe it or not. Please, please, please keep your comments and experiences coming. One way or another we will conquer this demon one person at a time. Hugs to everyone….

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Yes, I can definitely see how rough it’s going to be and this is a really, probably the worse time in my life (professionally and personally) to be having crying jags but I am NOT taking another one of those pills. I know I’m not suicidal and never have had any kind of emotional problems so I knew it was a med but wasn’t sure if it was the Effexor or the Prempro but now I’m sure it is the Effexor. I am going to research all the supplements you mentioned to see if maybe some or all of them might help me. I already take magnesium for numerous things so I am sure combined they will be very beneficial.

The way I am looking at it now is that this is a showdown between me and Effexor and I am not going to lose to a drug. I am too damn stubborn so I am trying to inject some humor in my situations and just go with what I said earlier: This too shall pass!

Thank you so much for such informative information about what has helped you. I truly value anything that is more of a natural cure or aid. I have also been researching reflexology and am trying some of it too.

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@lukekee

Yes, I can definitely see how rough it’s going to be and this is a really, probably the worse time in my life (professionally and personally) to be having crying jags but I am NOT taking another one of those pills. I know I’m not suicidal and never have had any kind of emotional problems so I knew it was a med but wasn’t sure if it was the Effexor or the Prempro but now I’m sure it is the Effexor. I am going to research all the supplements you mentioned to see if maybe some or all of them might help me. I already take magnesium for numerous things so I am sure combined they will be very beneficial.

The way I am looking at it now is that this is a showdown between me and Effexor and I am not going to lose to a drug. I am too damn stubborn so I am trying to inject some humor in my situations and just go with what I said earlier: This too shall pass!

Thank you so much for such informative information about what has helped you. I truly value anything that is more of a natural cure or aid. I have also been researching reflexology and am trying some of it too.

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@mkmenge

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I am so THANKFUL I found this blog thru Mayo Clinic! I am meeting with my doctor tomorrow to plan my withdrawal course from Venlafaxine, and will be showing her all these responses from this blog. No matter what, and with God’s help, I will flush this drug from my body! I pray every night for all of the victims who are going through hell because of this drug. I am considering creating an online petition to gather signatures to present to the FDA and Congress (hopefully we’ll get that far) to get the “Extended Release” form of this drug banded from the United States! (the “regular version has already been taken off the market according to infomation I have read online). I would greatly appreciate any feedback as to everyone’s thoughts! Thank you.

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@mkmenge

I am so THANKFUL I found this blog thru Mayo Clinic! I am meeting with my doctor tomorrow to plan my withdrawal course from Venlafaxine, and will be showing her all these responses from this blog. No matter what, and with God’s help, I will flush this drug from my body! I pray every night for all of the victims who are going through hell because of this drug. I am considering creating an online petition to gather signatures to present to the FDA and Congress (hopefully we’ll get that far) to get the “Extended Release” form of this drug banded from the United States! (the “regular version has already been taken off the market according to infomation I have read online). I would greatly appreciate any feedback as to everyone’s thoughts! Thank you.

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Yes!!!!!!!!!

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@cehwll5382

@sadiesmom 1st) you’re not taking up space in this world. 2nd) i too have my struggling with tapering off venlafaxine. my dose has become .75mg and i still cannot get that last bit out of my life. every attempt makes behind my eyes feel like a fish tank. mood swings are extreme. and more. i want you to know, you aren’t alone. if you want a friend in times when it’s this bad, please feel free to private message me. Also, have you considered going to a local shelter and looking for a senior rescue dog? i did and it changed my life. once i got sober from booze, i knew i’d need something to put my energy into. i got a 9 year old tiny sleepy pal named betty whites she gets me out, makes me smile and is so very low maintenance. something to consider.. you’ll save their lives and they save yours 🙂 so, just trying to help with getting out a little day by day and also, you’d be surprised how much of a sense of purpose that gives you. be well. chris, san diego CA.

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Meant to say that I cannot exercise as long as the class runs, 45 minutes to an hour. This is the pool, in the afternoon when I go. Very rarely many people there.
JK

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E9CC7DF1-C734-4E60-9037-E1FB060D7C96

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@faithssurvivor1

I can’t seem to find a Dr that knows how to taper me off. I was taking 300mg and my Dr dropped me to 275, and then 175. I have a chemical imbalance and have been on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been on 175 for 3 months now and have terrible brain zaps, crying a lot, nausea, migraines, body pain, nightmares, severe depression and anxiety. I’m not sure what to do next. My prescription came in wrong once and I was a week without meds and ended up in emergency room in such severe withdrawals that I had massive migraine, talking strangely in a very confused state, brain zaps, crying uncontrollably, severe nausea to point of feeling I would pass out. They had no idea what to do for me and said they didn’t think Effexor withdrawal could cause such symptoms…lol. No matter that even Google says its worse than heroin withdrawal! I’m not in a good place at all and need to finish tapering off so I can be put on other meds for chemical imbalance and depression.

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@faithssurvivor1 I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am not familiar at all with Effexor but from what I have read here I would never allow it to be prescribed for me.
I just wanted to offer my concern for you in this battle to get off this drug, I hope you can succeed without any more agony.
JK

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@lilmac44

This drug is insidious. It has been 6 weeks since I stopped taking effexor completely. I titrated down over a period of over 9 months. I have experienced depression, extreme emotions (crying a lot) and am now starting to experience anxiety. I’m getting frightening thoughts and its hard to get rid of these thoughts. I just read a post that said melatonin may seem to help with anxiety. I’m going to try that. I started taking 400 mgs. of SAMe about 30 days ago. I feel like it has helped. I had some problems with upset stomach, but drink a full glass of water when taking the tablet (must be taken on an empty stomach. I might need to increase the dosage. SAMe is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body. I’m not sure that there is any prescription medication that doesn’t cause side effects. Anytime something messes with the chemistry of the brain side effects are bound to occur. If someone has any recommendation about other helpful options, please reply.

Jump to this post

@lilmac44 with all the problems this drug causes I think it should be off the market.

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@faithssurvivor1

I can’t seem to find a Dr that knows how to taper me off. I was taking 300mg and my Dr dropped me to 275, and then 175. I have a chemical imbalance and have been on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been on 175 for 3 months now and have terrible brain zaps, crying a lot, nausea, migraines, body pain, nightmares, severe depression and anxiety. I’m not sure what to do next. My prescription came in wrong once and I was a week without meds and ended up in emergency room in such severe withdrawals that I had massive migraine, talking strangely in a very confused state, brain zaps, crying uncontrollably, severe nausea to point of feeling I would pass out. They had no idea what to do for me and said they didn’t think Effexor withdrawal could cause such symptoms…lol. No matter that even Google says its worse than heroin withdrawal! I’m not in a good place at all and need to finish tapering off so I can be put on other meds for chemical imbalance and depression.

Jump to this post

Ty!!!!!!

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@mkmenge

I am so THANKFUL I found this blog thru Mayo Clinic! I am meeting with my doctor tomorrow to plan my withdrawal course from Venlafaxine, and will be showing her all these responses from this blog. No matter what, and with God’s help, I will flush this drug from my body! I pray every night for all of the victims who are going through hell because of this drug. I am considering creating an online petition to gather signatures to present to the FDA and Congress (hopefully we’ll get that far) to get the “Extended Release” form of this drug banded from the United States! (the “regular version has already been taken off the market according to infomation I have read online). I would greatly appreciate any feedback as to everyone’s thoughts! Thank you.

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I hope we can get this petition off the ground. I mentioned these blogs to my psychiatrists and told her that the hospital in which she practices should meet and discuss the horrible side effects and the horrible withdrawal this drug causes and CEASE to prescribe the drug. PERIOD. However, in reality, that’s how these places make their money, isn’t it? Keep folks addicted to these drugs, keep them coming back for more and when they do finally decide it’s time to ween off, they are ASSURED that us, their patients continue to need their services. I have said all along that all big pharma is about is making money, not curing their patients. I am hoping there is someone out there who has the where with all to figure out how to proceed and have this deadly drug banned to save future patients from the agony and suffering this drug causes.

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