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

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

I agree that this must be a slow,slow process. I took a year Togo from 75 to 0, dropping just a few pellets at a time and staying at each reduced level for 2 weeks or so.

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I wish I could help you.

I stopped taking this nightmare drug about a week ago, and it's been horrible.

If I had to do it over again, I'd make an appt with a pharmasist and discuss this with them, they usually have a better idea than many doctors.

Good luck.

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@elana

I wish I could help you.

I stopped taking this nightmare drug about a week ago, and it's been horrible.

If I had to do it over again, I'd make an appt with a pharmasist and discuss this with them, they usually have a better idea than many doctors.

Good luck.

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Have you got to the part where you get really really depressed,mad as hell,cry alot, confused,lost and don't care if you live or die? This med needs outlawed. If Dr's only knew the hell people go through getting off of this medicine they wouldn't prescribe it. At least I hope they wouldn't.

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@texasduchess

@ahnjdb92
The fogginess and dizziness puts you at high risk of falling–not good at your age. Tell your doctor ASAP the effects you are experiencing. The switch from Effexor to Wellbutrin sounds too fast at too steep a reduction.

This is a really good article about how to switch from one antidepressant to another–https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4919171/

You mentioned insurance problems as why you are getting off Effexor–here's some info from another thread here at Mayo Clinic–"I use discount cards supplied by the manufacturers to help you cover your copay. If you will go to https://www.effexorxr.com/, you can sign up for a discount card that will allow you to pay as little as $4 for a thirty day supply. As long as Medicare or Medicaid is not your primary insurance [this might be an issue for you], you will receive a significant discount and these are available for most drugs and if you still can not afford any drug prescribed, most of the pharmaceutical companies have programs to help you get the medicine you need."

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Thank you for your suggestions. I looked up that day discount – it’s not for me as it’s not for Massachusetts, where we live. I broke down and finally called psych nursing practicitioner who was extremely helpful. She told me to stop the Wellbutrin. She also put me back on 75mg Effexor for the next 5 days. Then I’m supposed to go to 37.5mg and see how I feel. One day at a time. Although I am still so exhausted, somewhat dizzy and move slowly, I don’t have nauseas, slept well last night and feel pretty calm. What a day makes – yesterday I really thought I was going out of my mind.

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@ahnjdb92

Thank you for your suggestions. I looked up that day discount – it’s not for me as it’s not for Massachusetts, where we live. I broke down and finally called psych nursing practicitioner who was extremely helpful. She told me to stop the Wellbutrin. She also put me back on 75mg Effexor for the next 5 days. Then I’m supposed to go to 37.5mg and see how I feel. One day at a time. Although I am still so exhausted, somewhat dizzy and move slowly, I don’t have nauseas, slept well last night and feel pretty calm. What a day makes – yesterday I really thought I was going out of my mind.

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@ahnjdb92
Sorry the discount program didn't work out. The poster of that suggestion also said to call the manufacturer to check for programs to help you get the medicine you need.

I'm glad you called your psych nurse practitioner; I was worried about you. Based on the experiences of most of us here, your taper is pretty steep and too fast (225 to 150 for 1 week to Wellbutrin for 2 days to 75mg Effexor for 5 days then to 37.5). Please don't wait to call your PNP if your withdrawal effects get overwhelming again.

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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@ahnjdb92
Wonder what Pfizer has against Massachusetts?

Googled "how to save on Effexor" and came up with this–
https://www.helprx.info/effexor-discounts-coupons?&utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&campaignid=125364102&adgroupid=5602704702&utm_term=discount%20effexor&adid=36970705302&matchtype=b&ct_network=g&SiteTarget=&pos=1o1&utm_content=sMdQD9RGN|dc_pcrid_36970705302_pkw_discount%20effexor_pmt_b&gclid=Cj0KCQiAtvPjBRDPARIsAJfZz0pLZgphKL0WZTV34LZz85BD5vxpuLGIgrTLoN9bLVNk7MPdHSlQQpcaAu-BEALw_wcB

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@ahnjdb92

Thank you for your suggestions. I looked up that day discount – it’s not for me as it’s not for Massachusetts, where we live. I broke down and finally called psych nursing practicitioner who was extremely helpful. She told me to stop the Wellbutrin. She also put me back on 75mg Effexor for the next 5 days. Then I’m supposed to go to 37.5mg and see how I feel. One day at a time. Although I am still so exhausted, somewhat dizzy and move slowly, I don’t have nauseas, slept well last night and feel pretty calm. What a day makes – yesterday I really thought I was going out of my mind.

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I have tried that quick method, although most Drs. consider it the accepted method of getting off Effexor. It was a sure fire method of keeping me on the meds whether I needed them or not, because I was terrified of going off them.

Liked by farmboy

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@farmboy

Have you got to the part where you get really really depressed,mad as hell,cry alot, confused,lost and don't care if you live or die? This med needs outlawed. If Dr's only knew the hell people go through getting off of this medicine they wouldn't prescribe it. At least I hope they wouldn't.

Jump to this post

I honestly don't think it needs to be outlawed. That would create a huge problem for people who need it. Look at the 'opioid crisis' which all it has done is take needed medicine away from people in horrible pain.

I don't blame my psychiatrist for putting me on venlafaxine – but I do blame him for not warning me about the withdrawal. It should only be prescribed with a plan in place to help patients taper off. And backup plans in case of insurance problems. The side effects from this med were actually very mild compared to sertraline and a few others.

I hope everyone remembers that at least for depression, this is a medication that can do a lot of good. For me, it was the only thing that worked (until it stopped working). It is not inherently bad or dangerous. It's really the stopping taking it that is the problem.

I'm rather concerned about new patients that seem to find this thread and immediately decide to quit cold turkey without giving it a chance. Untreated depression is dangerous! The fad of anti-medication is actually killing people. Getting someone with depression into treatment is hard enough. And supplements don't work for moderate to severe depression. Even if they could, they have no guarantee they contain what is on the label, unlike a prescription.

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@notaround

I honestly don't think it needs to be outlawed. That would create a huge problem for people who need it. Look at the 'opioid crisis' which all it has done is take needed medicine away from people in horrible pain.

I don't blame my psychiatrist for putting me on venlafaxine – but I do blame him for not warning me about the withdrawal. It should only be prescribed with a plan in place to help patients taper off. And backup plans in case of insurance problems. The side effects from this med were actually very mild compared to sertraline and a few others.

I hope everyone remembers that at least for depression, this is a medication that can do a lot of good. For me, it was the only thing that worked (until it stopped working). It is not inherently bad or dangerous. It's really the stopping taking it that is the problem.

I'm rather concerned about new patients that seem to find this thread and immediately decide to quit cold turkey without giving it a chance. Untreated depression is dangerous! The fad of anti-medication is actually killing people. Getting someone with depression into treatment is hard enough. And supplements don't work for moderate to severe depression. Even if they could, they have no guarantee they contain what is on the label, unlike a prescription.

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I am in agreement with you!! I do not blame my psychiatrist for putting me on this drug. I was suffering from extreme anxiety. I could not go out of my house to go to work and I couldn't even go for a ride to my children's houses. I was put on Effexor. It was a life saver. It worked so well that my PCP suggested I come off and she gave me a schedule. Within a couple days, I had a severe anxiety attack while at a work function. I went back on my pills when I go home. After a couple of weeks I saw it did not help. I was devastated. The psychiatrist explained that it wouldn't work for about 6 months. So, we tried a few other meds and NON worked. At 6 months I requested that I go back on the Effexor. I did, and it worked. It never worked as well, but I did just fine.

That was many years ago. Throughout the years, my dosage has gone up and up. My highest dosage was 300 mg (two 75 mg in the morning and at night). My memory started to go and I always felt like my head was in a fog. This time, I decided to lower the dosage. My psychiatrist left so I am doing this VERY, VERY slowly! It is not my intention to get completely off, just to get down to a dosage I feel is reasonable. I am thinking 37.5 mg in the morning and evening.

I will not bore you with the schedule I am using, but so far, so good. If that IS of interest to you, you can click on my name and see my postings where I have described my process many times.

So yes, I do not think people should automatically come off if it is working and the patient is feeling good.

Thanks for bringing this topic to light!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@notaround

I honestly don't think it needs to be outlawed. That would create a huge problem for people who need it. Look at the 'opioid crisis' which all it has done is take needed medicine away from people in horrible pain.

I don't blame my psychiatrist for putting me on venlafaxine – but I do blame him for not warning me about the withdrawal. It should only be prescribed with a plan in place to help patients taper off. And backup plans in case of insurance problems. The side effects from this med were actually very mild compared to sertraline and a few others.

I hope everyone remembers that at least for depression, this is a medication that can do a lot of good. For me, it was the only thing that worked (until it stopped working). It is not inherently bad or dangerous. It's really the stopping taking it that is the problem.

I'm rather concerned about new patients that seem to find this thread and immediately decide to quit cold turkey without giving it a chance. Untreated depression is dangerous! The fad of anti-medication is actually killing people. Getting someone with depression into treatment is hard enough. And supplements don't work for moderate to severe depression. Even if they could, they have no guarantee they contain what is on the label, unlike a prescription.

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After reading your post,yes it might work well for others. Please don't let my opinion of effexor effect other people's opinions. I do agree with you before putting someone on it there should be a plan in place if they need off of it.

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Has anyone experience really really bad anxiety and panic attacks after quitting effexor? Yes I did wean myself off slowly.

Liked by kbmayo

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Not full-blown panic attacks of the kind I used to have, but definitely panic episodes and fierce anxiety, especially at night. Some of the panics were putting me almost in phobia territory. I googled, I got vitamins and minerals, I got books on anxiety and depression, I started using CBD oil twice a day, I drank kava tea (made with 2 tea bags so it would be strong enough), I tried to walk, I tried to begin meditating twice a day . . . Finally, when I told my doctor, he said “Enough of that'' and put me on Wellbutrin, 150mg/day, and said I could go to 300mg if necessary. I've been on it for two weeks now and I can tell it's making a difference. I still use the CBD oil, the vitamins/minerals, and try to do the other things. One biggie for me is to actually do what the anxiety/depression books recommend, which I never did before, instead of expecting the medication to do all of it. I can work with my thoughts in a positive way. I read something today on FB that was perfect and I'll pass it on in an additional post. I really do recommend finding some good books to read and use. There IS relief from this stuff!!

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@notaround

I honestly don't think it needs to be outlawed. That would create a huge problem for people who need it. Look at the 'opioid crisis' which all it has done is take needed medicine away from people in horrible pain.

I don't blame my psychiatrist for putting me on venlafaxine – but I do blame him for not warning me about the withdrawal. It should only be prescribed with a plan in place to help patients taper off. And backup plans in case of insurance problems. The side effects from this med were actually very mild compared to sertraline and a few others.

I hope everyone remembers that at least for depression, this is a medication that can do a lot of good. For me, it was the only thing that worked (until it stopped working). It is not inherently bad or dangerous. It's really the stopping taking it that is the problem.

I'm rather concerned about new patients that seem to find this thread and immediately decide to quit cold turkey without giving it a chance. Untreated depression is dangerous! The fad of anti-medication is actually killing people. Getting someone with depression into treatment is hard enough. And supplements don't work for moderate to severe depression. Even if they could, they have no guarantee they contain what is on the label, unlike a prescription.

Jump to this post

@notaround
I agree. Effexor definitely has its uses. My first breast cancer was fed by estrogen and I was pre-menopausal. One of my treatments was to take the drug Tamoxifen which binds to estrogen. It put me into a chemical menopause. My hot flashes were being freezing cold one minute, boiling the next, freezing, boiling …. I was miserable and would have gone around the bend if I had not been given Effexor for its off-label use/side effect of controlling body temperature (at low doses). Back then, I did not have the time, nor the ability to research/try different drugs, or natural supplements to see if they would moderate my temperature. Effexor worked from the first pill and 20 years ago (and even today) was the standard of care to those in my situation.

The big issue to me is that there is no tried-and-true formula/protocol for getting off Effexor. It's all guess work and trial-and-error. Poster Leonard Holloway (@jakedduck1) said something like, "You'd have to look long and hard for a doctor who could help … if you found one at all."

Liked by farmboy

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@kbmayo

Not full-blown panic attacks of the kind I used to have, but definitely panic episodes and fierce anxiety, especially at night. Some of the panics were putting me almost in phobia territory. I googled, I got vitamins and minerals, I got books on anxiety and depression, I started using CBD oil twice a day, I drank kava tea (made with 2 tea bags so it would be strong enough), I tried to walk, I tried to begin meditating twice a day . . . Finally, when I told my doctor, he said “Enough of that'' and put me on Wellbutrin, 150mg/day, and said I could go to 300mg if necessary. I've been on it for two weeks now and I can tell it's making a difference. I still use the CBD oil, the vitamins/minerals, and try to do the other things. One biggie for me is to actually do what the anxiety/depression books recommend, which I never did before, instead of expecting the medication to do all of it. I can work with my thoughts in a positive way. I read something today on FB that was perfect and I'll pass it on in an additional post. I really do recommend finding some good books to read and use. There IS relief from this stuff!!

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Here's the thing from Facebook:
“If you're happy and you know it, overthink
If you're happy and you know it, overthink
If you're happy and you know it,
Give your brain a chance to blow it,
If you're happy and you know it, overthink''
I laughed out loud when I read that because it describes me so perfectly!! Maybe some of the rest of you will get a laugh from it, too. I think humor really does help, when we can get ourselves to use it. Laughter does seem to break up that bad stuff, at least temporarily. (BTW, I'm currently reading the book “Women Who Think Too Much''!)

Liked by farmboy

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@kbmayo

Not full-blown panic attacks of the kind I used to have, but definitely panic episodes and fierce anxiety, especially at night. Some of the panics were putting me almost in phobia territory. I googled, I got vitamins and minerals, I got books on anxiety and depression, I started using CBD oil twice a day, I drank kava tea (made with 2 tea bags so it would be strong enough), I tried to walk, I tried to begin meditating twice a day . . . Finally, when I told my doctor, he said “Enough of that'' and put me on Wellbutrin, 150mg/day, and said I could go to 300mg if necessary. I've been on it for two weeks now and I can tell it's making a difference. I still use the CBD oil, the vitamins/minerals, and try to do the other things. One biggie for me is to actually do what the anxiety/depression books recommend, which I never did before, instead of expecting the medication to do all of it. I can work with my thoughts in a positive way. I read something today on FB that was perfect and I'll pass it on in an additional post. I really do recommend finding some good books to read and use. There IS relief from this stuff!!

Jump to this post

I've been having full blown anxiety/panic attacks. I ended up in the emergency room yesterday. The Doc put me on Hydroxyzine and Buspirone in hopes that it will calm me down. I also am taking Wellbutrin I believe 150mgs. When you went to 300mg of Wellbutrin I assume it helped.? Maybe I should ask the Doc to up my Wellbutrin if that's the case.

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