Tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)
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 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.
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!!!!
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.
Have you tried Ginger by itself? Worth a try!!!!
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.
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).
Whether the extended nature of the drug is in the gelatin capsule, or in the beads within–
Saw this at drugs.com re how to take Effexor XR capsules–"Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush. You may sprinkle contents of long-acting product on spoonful of applesauce. Do not chew. Swallow the mixture right away. Do not store for use at a later time." This sounds to me as though the capsule is not important; what is important is that you let the beads dissolve in your digestive system.
Re bead-counting and why it is not a reliable tapering method and difficult to do–
From a Reddit post by u/tacomaprime and 37.5mg capsules–"I emptied the beads out of 7 capsules, 1 at a time and counted them. They were between 93 and 106 beads in each capsule." And this on survivingantidepressants.org by FeralUrban–"Effexor capsules do not contain the same amount of medication by weight in each capsule. The beads are all different sizes, as noted by others on this site and therefore inherently impossible to accurately reduce by 10% since you could be removing a bead that weighs three times as much as another bead, etc. [The] Pfizer Medication Help line [told him,] 'The capsules are filled by weight, not by volume. Ranges are validated with in an allowable variance.' The actual weight variability of each 37.5mg dosage of brand name Effexor is at least 3.5%, meaning if you take out 10% you could actually be taking out 13.5% or 6.5% and be bouncing your dose all over the place."
On the web site survivingantidepressants.org, there's a post about using an expensive jeweler's scale to get a precise weight for bead measurements for tapering (it has to be an expensive scale because the cheaper ones aren't precise enough). I considered buying one because I was so concerned about being precise, but I decided that eyeballing the beads would be close enough since I could easily see which ones were teeny-tiny, which ones were stuck together, etc. I didn't find much variation at all in the size BTW. I decided if there was variation between the capsules I put together, it would even out over the days I took that particular number. (I read many, many blogs and posts before I started tapering and after I began because I wanted to take as good care of myself during the process as I could. I've experienced the zaps and certainly didn't want them again if I could avoid it! I also don't know how far I'd trust a drug company's help line because the companies want us to keep taking their drugs — their goal is profit, not healthy patients. The current screaming-out-loud example is today's announcement that Richard Sackler of Purdue Pharma, the company that produced and marketed OxyContin, knowing full well the addictive nature of the drug, has been granted a patent for a new drug to help wean people off Oxy. All along, Purdue knew it could add something to Oxy to keep the addiction from kicking it, but it didn't do it. Now Sackler will make additional millions — no exaggeration — from the people that his company addicted in the first place. To back up my statements about Sackler and Purdue, I refer you to the current edition of “Pain Killer'' by Barry Meier. But I digress . . . ) I know the tapering method isn't 100% accurate in dosage, but neither is the method where you get tablets of various sizes, cut them in half or in fourths, etc. I just wanted to get off the damn drug and I'm doing it the best way I know how. (My GP knows what I'm doing and he's fine with it. His only comment about counting the beads was that he knew he could trust me to be conscientious about doing it, but he wasn't sure that every patient would be.)
Thank you! I take 75mg capsules, ER. I try to skip a day, but if I skip 2 I feel so sick! It actually takes a full day to recover from that. I’m struggling because I’m getting ready to start a new job, ugh! I’m going to ask my doctor to send me to a specialist.
We'll see what happens. Although I did learn one benefit of Effexor — apparently it tamps down menopause symptoms…I hit menopause 3 years ago – no symptoms whatsoever….when I spoke to my therapist about how crappy I felt on Wednesday and how I slept with ice packs for a couple of nights — she said that I was probably experiencing hot flashes….mine were more like heat waves.