Tips on minimizing 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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@richyrich… as for how to minimize the symptoms, my kinesiologist put me on standard process B complex and intense vitamin E before I started the process. It must be done slowly. I was on 350mg for probably 10 years? I first split the dose to twice a day. After 2-4 weeks, split one of the doses and then continue that pattern. I am down to 1/4 of 150, twice a day. I will stay there for at least 2 or 3 weeks, then take one of the doses every other day, etc… So far the process has been over 4 months and I still have a month or more to go. I haven't had any bad symptoms. Good luck to you…

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@42430

I’m not saying the main topic of this thread isn’t helpful. However, having so many branches unrelated to the main topic and over 2,000 posts to wade through isn’t helpful to someone searching issues here. Quite often moderators of threads will redirect when ancillary topics come up and a thread gets as unwieldy as this one. PEACE!

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I appreciate your feedback, @42430.

Wondering if you would share a bit more about what brought you here to Connect? Are you tapering off of venlafaxine (Effexor)? If so, how is that going?

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@shaker1956

Hey Jake. How goes it? Well i havent been in here in awhile. Turns out I have stage 4 Lymphoma and I am going through Chemo right now. I’ve had 2 treatments so far and what a ride its been. I never expected this at all but its gere and I have to deal with it. My doctor says the treatments should put this into remission. Sure hope so as the alternative is def not good. I have even started to take CBD oil. This stuff is supposed to have magical powers!!!!! I am sure glad I changed Doctors as my last one just kept on changing meds with little or no success. I went through that for 3 yrs. I’m also taking this “smart drug”. Doc says its like video game inside my body. Its killng bad cells and unfortunately its also killing some good ones. I have 4 more treatments to go and hopefully it works. Take care!!!!!

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@shaker1956 Chemo is hard. Have done it twice–six treatments in 2001 for estrogen-positive breast cancer and in 2015, six with Adriamycin and then 12 taxol for triple-neg breast cancer. You will feel like crap, but the alternative …. If you have been given ondansetron and prochlorperazine for the nausea on treatment days and for a few days afterwards, I was told to overlap them (after a baaaad reaction to the first Adriamycin chemo)–the first one was to be taken every 8 hours and the second, every 6 hours, but don't wait until the end of the 8 hours to take the 2nd drug–take it 6 hours into the 1st drug, then take the 8-hr drug about 4 hours into the 2nd one and so on. Made all the difference. Also–lived on Stoned Wheat Thin Crackers for those five months in 2015; could eat those when nothing else could be faced.

There's every hope! A co-worker was diagnosed with lymphoma about 12 years ago; I don't know the stage, but she was out for a year and at one point, they did a bone marrow replacement and she had to be isolated for three months until her immune system came back. She's doing well and enjoying retirement. Pulling for you.

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@texasduchess

@shaker1956 Chemo is hard. Have done it twice–six treatments in 2001 for estrogen-positive breast cancer and in 2015, six with Adriamycin and then 12 taxol for triple-neg breast cancer. You will feel like crap, but the alternative …. If you have been given ondansetron and prochlorperazine for the nausea on treatment days and for a few days afterwards, I was told to overlap them (after a baaaad reaction to the first Adriamycin chemo)–the first one was to be taken every 8 hours and the second, every 6 hours, but don't wait until the end of the 8 hours to take the 2nd drug–take it 6 hours into the 1st drug, then take the 8-hr drug about 4 hours into the 2nd one and so on. Made all the difference. Also–lived on Stoned Wheat Thin Crackers for those five months in 2015; could eat those when nothing else could be faced.

There's every hope! A co-worker was diagnosed with lymphoma about 12 years ago; I don't know the stage, but she was out for a year and at one point, they did a bone marrow replacement and she had to be isolated for three months until her immune system came back. She's doing well and enjoying retirement. Pulling for you.

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Hi T-Duchess. Tks for the well wishes. I’m presently taking Chemo and this other drug called Rituximab or something like that. Its also called the Smart drug. My Doctor told me my body is like a video game inside if me. Just pinning off the bad cells and some good ones. I’m doing 6 treatments in all and I have 4 more to go. And you are right. Its horrible!!!!! But we have another Grandchild due in March and I want to def be there. The Oncologist says the treatments i’m on are very successful in putting this is remission. My spleen went back to almost normal size after one treatment. It was really big!!!!! Hopefully all will work out. The people at the Cancer Center are the best to deal will. So appreciative of that cause I’m out in left field in all this!!!! Enjoy youre evening

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@lisalucier

I appreciate your feedback, @42430.

Wondering if you would share a bit more about what brought you here to Connect? Are you tapering off of venlafaxine (Effexor)? If so, how is that going?

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Thank you. No, I went cold turkey off Cymbalta because my primary care doc (not Psychiatrist) was concerned about harmful side effects. I wish I had learned about the side effects much earlier and the fact that I should have slowly tapered. Now I’m trying to recover from PAWS and searching files for people with similar experiences.

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@42430

Thank you. No, I went cold turkey off Cymbalta because my primary care doc (not Psychiatrist) was concerned about harmful side effects. I wish I had learned about the side effects much earlier and the fact that I should have slowly tapered. Now I’m trying to recover from PAWS and searching files for people with similar experiences.

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Hi, @42430 – sounds like it must have been a tough time with going off of duloxetine (Cymbalta) cold turkey rather than with a slow taper.

You mentioned you are recovering from PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. I am pretty sure you are aware of this from your online research of this topic, but for others who may be curious, here is some information on PAWS https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/post-acute-withdrawal.htm.

Though PAWS has been mentioned before by Connect members, there is no discussion specifically on this topic. @42430, if you are interested, I'd really encourage you to start a new discussion on PAWS in the Depression & Anxiety group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/.

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Interesting to see this topic come into this discussion. Concern about this type of thing is part of why I decided to not use CBD as I noticed there was that slight sense of panic when thinking I could no longer afford the CBD so before this could happen I started cutting back and was doing okay enough. Speaking only for myself as going cold turkey off a cocktail of prescribed meds in 2010 is something I don’t want to experience ever again Physically and/or mentally. Just my input as what works for one is not always for another. I have learned a lot in these discussions. Again “Yeah Team”!

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@lisalucier

Hi, @42430 – sounds like it must have been a tough time with going off of duloxetine (Cymbalta) cold turkey rather than with a slow taper.

You mentioned you are recovering from PAWS, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. I am pretty sure you are aware of this from your online research of this topic, but for others who may be curious, here is some information on PAWS https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/post-acute-withdrawal.htm.

Though PAWS has been mentioned before by Connect members, there is no discussion specifically on this topic. @42430, if you are interested, I'd really encourage you to start a new discussion on PAWS in the Depression & Anxiety group https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/depression-anxiety/.

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Wait… Does that mean I'll be suffering from the awfulness of withdrawal for another TWO YEARS!? I'm barely coping as it is and I'm not even off the damned venlafaxine yet. Today and late last night have been horrible. I had to sedate myself. I'm missing work today and feeling awful about it. I have to get my life together now. Today. Not at some distant unknown time. I thought I just had to force myself to survive for another week or two.

Does anyone know if there is a way to stay able to work?

I keep pushing myself harder because giving myself a break doesn't help. Resting and "self care" can't keep a roof over my head or food on the table.

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@notaround

Wait… Does that mean I'll be suffering from the awfulness of withdrawal for another TWO YEARS!? I'm barely coping as it is and I'm not even off the damned venlafaxine yet. Today and late last night have been horrible. I had to sedate myself. I'm missing work today and feeling awful about it. I have to get my life together now. Today. Not at some distant unknown time. I thought I just had to force myself to survive for another week or two.

Does anyone know if there is a way to stay able to work?

I keep pushing myself harder because giving myself a break doesn't help. Resting and "self care" can't keep a roof over my head or food on the table.

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What are you coming off? And what dosage? And what's your taper schedule? Two years??? Hell, no.

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@kbmayo

What are you coming off? And what dosage? And what's your taper schedule? Two years??? Hell, no.

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Venlafaxine and based on the PAWS link. That says it continues for two years after being completely off it.

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@notaround

Venlafaxine and based on the PAWS link. That says it continues for two years after being completely off it.

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@notaround, I’m not a mental health professional. However, I would like to provide additional references about post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Not all the resources include anti-depressants in their list of drugs associated with PAWS.
– From UCLA https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS
– From the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/carty/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome
– Elements Behavioral Health https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/addiction-resources/drug-addiction-resources/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-stages-symptoms/

In each of the articles, a different length of time is mentioned. Everyone is different, but it is important to be ready for the time commitment. Having support is helpful to get through the ups and downs of withdrawal and PAWS. The post withdrawal phase is a really important topic. I encourage you or @42430 to start a new discussion dedicated to the topic of PAWS.

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@colleenyoung

@notaround, I’m not a mental health professional. However, I would like to provide additional references about post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Not all the resources include anti-depressants in their list of drugs associated with PAWS.
– From UCLA https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS
– From the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/carty/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome
– Elements Behavioral Health https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/addiction-resources/drug-addiction-resources/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-stages-symptoms/

In each of the articles, a different length of time is mentioned. Everyone is different, but it is important to be ready for the time commitment. Having support is helpful to get through the ups and downs of withdrawal and PAWS. The post withdrawal phase is a really important topic. I encourage you or @42430 to start a new discussion dedicated to the topic of PAWS.

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I have done so much research on this drug, I even brought in a file folder with me to show him, but he did not even look at it. He has no idea to what extent I suffer. I live in Canada, and if you have a family GP, he has to be the one to prescribe my meds and has the control of sending me to a professional or a detox clinic. I have all the info on PAWS, but he has to want to read it!

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