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

@stlouisgmajenn

I can't get off Effexor on my own. I'm 120 pounds, taking 150 mg/day. I've been taking 75 mg day 4 a few weeks, but now the rages are back. Serious rages. Homicidal rages. So had to go back up to 150 mg. I need to switch doctors to switch meds.

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Noooo. Definitely don’t try on your own. Tried twice and experienced the unstoppable rages. Think low dose withdrawals over a long period of time plus finding strategies like cognitive based mindfulness, meditation and stress reduction to offset some of the triggers. I’ve been withdrawing for a year but that is long and that’s me with family,

Others have been able to rid themselves of it with less protracted effort and that shows it can be done. For others, however, symptoms like flash rage is a clear signal that our brain chemistry doesn’t like the abrupt change and can’t keep level.

I agree that a different md is worth checking. It’s not necessarily a slight against them nor is it answer shopping. Instead, it’s finding a well qualified physician acquainted with neurobehavior and psychotropics. Doctors disagree with one another all the time. You simply need to feel comfortable finding one to help you remove a destructive element from your medical circumstances. You can always challenge a doc by asking why you need to remain on a particular medicine that is terrible for your quality of life.

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@youngsally

You are absolutely right – one doesn't know how they will be affected by a taper…and it is not knowing when the symptoms will stop that is completely exasperating. It's really awful that you are still experiencing problems six months out…but hopefully for you (and your husband) things will settle down over time. A number of people suggest a prozac bridge….have you spoken to your MD about that? In my case I am taking a low (5mg) dose of lexapro – but that is because my depression symptoms are not gone – but the effexor wasn't helping. It's only been a week, but the lexapro has tamped down some of the negative side effects of the effexor withdrawal (or I've been fortunate enough to get through the effexor stuff).

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@youngsally
A Prozac bridge is used while tapering off Effexor; I'm not sure that it would be helpful six months after the last dose of Effexor. If anyone on here has experience with Prozac under circumstances like mine, please let me know if the Prozac bridge worked this far out.

The supplement regimen I've adopted keeps me feeling normal most of the time and I am hopeful that I'll be able to taper off these as well. In the meantime, I do use Valium as needed when akathisia starts and my oncologist (who prescribed the Effexor for hot flashes) is working with me.

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@texasduchess

@youngsally
A Prozac bridge is used while tapering off Effexor; I'm not sure that it would be helpful six months after the last dose of Effexor. If anyone on here has experience with Prozac under circumstances like mine, please let me know if the Prozac bridge worked this far out.

The supplement regimen I've adopted keeps me feeling normal most of the time and I am hopeful that I'll be able to taper off these as well. In the meantime, I do use Valium as needed when akathisia starts and my oncologist (who prescribed the Effexor for hot flashes) is working with me.

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While tapering down on Effexor, I had just cut my dose in 1/2, so I was at 125 mg. I could not function at all. I just sat at my computer in a fog, crying. My cognitive ability was decreased. I called my doctor and she said to start the Prozac immediately instead of waiting until I was completely off. Well Prozac did nothing for me at that point. I had to go back to 225 mg. I have been Effexor XR since 1998 or 1999. This medication is the only one that works for me. When I was a teenager, Prozac worked but not now.

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@smurf

While tapering down on Effexor, I had just cut my dose in 1/2, so I was at 125 mg. I could not function at all. I just sat at my computer in a fog, crying. My cognitive ability was decreased. I called my doctor and she said to start the Prozac immediately instead of waiting until I was completely off. Well Prozac did nothing for me at that point. I had to go back to 225 mg. I have been Effexor XR since 1998 or 1999. This medication is the only one that works for me. When I was a teenager, Prozac worked but not now.

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PS I don’t know if I’ll ever get off this med

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Me either. Its been over 20 years for me now.

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@smurf

While tapering down on Effexor, I had just cut my dose in 1/2, so I was at 125 mg. I could not function at all. I just sat at my computer in a fog, crying. My cognitive ability was decreased. I called my doctor and she said to start the Prozac immediately instead of waiting until I was completely off. Well Prozac did nothing for me at that point. I had to go back to 225 mg. I have been Effexor XR since 1998 or 1999. This medication is the only one that works for me. When I was a teenager, Prozac worked but not now.

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@smurf
Saw this formula on https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/107532-coming-off-of-effexor-with-prozac-bridge/–
When you cross-titrate between two antidepressants, as you go down on the antidepressant you want to quit, you go up on the antidepressant you are titrating to–so as you go down on Effexor, you go up on Prozac. Then if you want to quit Prozac, it should be easier than quitting Effexor because Prozac has such a long half-life it creates its own tapering effect.

So if you started on 300 mg Effexor + 20 mg Prozac, your titration would look like the following:
300 mg Effexor + 20 mg Prozac
225 mg Effexor + 40 mg Prozac
150 mg Effexor + 60 mg Prozac
75 mg Effexor + 80 mg Prozac
Discontinue Effexor + 80 mg Prozac (or 100 mg Prozac if your pdoc is willing to go above the max dose, which is common to do)

Or if you down-titrate by 37.5 mg:
300 mg Effexor + 20 mg Prozac
262.5 mg Effexor + 30 mg Prozac
225 mg Effexor + 40 mg Prozac
187.5 mg Effexor + 50 mg Prozac
150 mg Effexor + 60 mg Prozac
112.5 mg Effexor + 70 mg Prozac
75 mg Effexor + 80 mg Prozac
37.5 mg Effexor + 80 mg Prozac (90 mg)
Discontinue Effexor + 80 mg Prozac (100 mg)

If you have issues with anxiety/irritability/etc., then you can take a benzo temporarily, like Xanax, Ativan (short-acting), Klonopin, or Valium (long-acting), etc.

Or alternatively–
You could try a much slower taper off Effexor and when you get to the lowest dosage possible on Effexor, replace, or “bridge” it with Prozac. Surviving Antidepressants recommends tapering by 10% of your current dose with at a hold of at least four weeks before your next decrease. Some people may have to taper at an even more conservative rate as they are very sensitive to even the smallest drops.
Then, you taper off Prozac; withdrawal symptoms are consider unusual when discontinuing Prozac.

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Hi there! Just wanted folks to know after 6 months of tapering from 225mg of Effexor (been on it since 2003) I just finished a wonderful day 2 of zero Effexor! I had some minor bumps- a little dizziness, very brief irritability session first thing this morning but overall great. Yesterday, day one at zero was a nightmare of rage and headaches, feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin etc. but today I felt more clear headed and happier than I have felt in well, I honestly don’t know how long!
To those of you who are in the process: hang in there! There may be bumps ahead for me in the coming days and weeks but I know that I will have a lot more days like today (and better) in my future!
Good luck.

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I really need support here, I have a MRSA infection so I can’t take Effexor with the antibiotics I’ve always wanted off of this but the side effects are hard on meWhats harder, no support.i can’t tell a family member because they like to use your crazy on me, Nice huh.Its day 5 and I hate the brain seizures. I want off , I’m pissed I take a medication that makes me so sick to get off ofI believed the damn doctor, myself oh it’s me, well I got off of seroquel by myself and guess what I sleep I’m not crazy and I just need off of this shit. Thanks for listening.

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@nseidel

I really need support here, I have a MRSA infection so I can’t take Effexor with the antibiotics I’ve always wanted off of this but the side effects are hard on meWhats harder, no support.i can’t tell a family member because they like to use your crazy on me, Nice huh.Its day 5 and I hate the brain seizures. I want off , I’m pissed I take a medication that makes me so sick to get off ofI believed the damn doctor, myself oh it’s me, well I got off of seroquel by myself and guess what I sleep I’m not crazy and I just need off of this shit. Thanks for listening.

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You’ll get off . I got off in 2 months , was very sick but it all passes . Just keep saying “ I don’t need it “ fight all side affects.

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Hi Everyone. I just wanted to tell you all that I am officially on day 28 without effexor. It has been a rough road. I am doing ok but still have a few bouts of nausea. Also, my sleep cycles are all askew, as I was used to sleeping at least 10 hours a night on effexor, and now I wake up after only six hours. It leaves me feeling sleepy for most of the day. I am working on this and I know things will get better after I get this problem worked out. This forum helped a lot. Thank you.

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@cherylannm

You’ll get off . I got off in 2 months , was very sick but it all passes . Just keep saying “ I don’t need it “ fight all side affects.

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Thank you, worst part is being called a fucking psych bitch by my son

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@richyrich

Thanks Nankee99. Reassuring to know that it’s not just me who finds getting off the stuff a horrendous experience. Feedback on this blog is reassuring to the extent that it makes you realise that an exit from the drug is possible, albeit very difficult. What about stopping without tapering and going cold turkey. Quicker but more painful?

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I’m on week two of cold turkey due to MRSA infection. I got off of seroquel I can do this

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