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

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@patjen

@texasduchess Thank you so much for your response ๐Ÿ™‚ I woke up today feeling much better after taking that 1/2 dose yesterday. Yes…will continue on this dose for a while and then attempt to taper again…in Australia the 37.5mg dose is only available with an authority prescription which gives you one mth's supply…it is a capsule and not a tablet…so it is necessary to visit the GP each mth for a new script…I feel that halving the beads in the capsules a better solution…no, I am not doing this with medical supervision…mainly because I have not met a doctor or physician locally who really understands SNRI withdrawal syndrome…I have an elevated BP and have been on anti hypertensives for quite a few years and also developed inappropriate sinus tachycardia which I control with Coralan…my cholesterol is also elevated and I am very resistive to taking a Statin…I am watching my diet currently….am abstaining from alcohol and trying to exercise daily…I had success with reducing my Cholesterol in the past with Bergamet…don't want to take another drug considered poison to rectify a condition that the Effexor may be responsible for….The Corolan was initially prescribed by a cardiologist some yrs ago when I developed the tachycardia…I have mentioned on numerous occasions to specialists and GP's re the possible connection to the Effexor and my hypertension and tachycardia…they just look at me blankly…they have no idea re the possible connection with my symptoms and don't really appear too interested in investigating the connection….yes..I have spoken to my dentist re the occlusal splints and will pursue this ๐Ÿ™‚ I had invisalign treatment so already have a retainer for my top teeth which I pop in when the symptoms become too much…you should see the wear and tear on this little number !! gives me an indication of the punishment it receives whilst I sleep….I have read about the Prozac bridge technique and will consider it if I am unsuccessful with tapering…thank you so much for your advice…so, tell me….are you now off this drug completely and how do you feel…I really need to hear a success story as I haven't found one on the internet currently ๐Ÿ™‚ Kindest regards…Pat

Jump to this post

Hi texasduchess. I feel sympathy for your situation, and especially that you haven't found a doctor that understands the problems with antidepressant withdrawal. Please consider going through the taperingstrip org website. It has a host of information specific to reducing or getting off venlafaxin and other antidepressants. It's a charity organization. I have found information on the issue I haven't found anywhere else. It may help you get through this easier. Note that they do ship to Australia if you want to try a tapering strip.

REPLY
@abq179

Hi texasduchess. I feel sympathy for your situation, and especially that you haven't found a doctor that understands the problems with antidepressant withdrawal. Please consider going through the taperingstrip org website. It has a host of information specific to reducing or getting off venlafaxin and other antidepressants. It's a charity organization. I have found information on the issue I haven't found anywhere else. It may help you get through this easier. Note that they do ship to Australia if you want to try a tapering strip.

Jump to this post

@abq179 I think you meant to point out the availability of the tapering strips to Australians to @patjen (she's in Australia; I've been off Effexor for more than six months now). Thanks for mentioning that there's helpful info re reducing/getting off Effexor on the tapersite as well–I'll check it out. Re doctors who understand the problem of antidepressant withdrawal, as @jakedduck1 says, "If there is an expert on getting off Effexor, they are hiding very well." Those trying to get off antidepressants are definitely an under-served community!

REPLY
@patjen

@texasduchess Thank you so much for your response ๐Ÿ™‚ I woke up today feeling much better after taking that 1/2 dose yesterday. Yes…will continue on this dose for a while and then attempt to taper again…in Australia the 37.5mg dose is only available with an authority prescription which gives you one mth's supply…it is a capsule and not a tablet…so it is necessary to visit the GP each mth for a new script…I feel that halving the beads in the capsules a better solution…no, I am not doing this with medical supervision…mainly because I have not met a doctor or physician locally who really understands SNRI withdrawal syndrome…I have an elevated BP and have been on anti hypertensives for quite a few years and also developed inappropriate sinus tachycardia which I control with Coralan…my cholesterol is also elevated and I am very resistive to taking a Statin…I am watching my diet currently….am abstaining from alcohol and trying to exercise daily…I had success with reducing my Cholesterol in the past with Bergamet…don't want to take another drug considered poison to rectify a condition that the Effexor may be responsible for….The Corolan was initially prescribed by a cardiologist some yrs ago when I developed the tachycardia…I have mentioned on numerous occasions to specialists and GP's re the possible connection to the Effexor and my hypertension and tachycardia…they just look at me blankly…they have no idea re the possible connection with my symptoms and don't really appear too interested in investigating the connection….yes..I have spoken to my dentist re the occlusal splints and will pursue this ๐Ÿ™‚ I had invisalign treatment so already have a retainer for my top teeth which I pop in when the symptoms become too much…you should see the wear and tear on this little number !! gives me an indication of the punishment it receives whilst I sleep….I have read about the Prozac bridge technique and will consider it if I am unsuccessful with tapering…thank you so much for your advice…so, tell me….are you now off this drug completely and how do you feel…I really need to hear a success story as I haven't found one on the internet currently ๐Ÿ™‚ Kindest regards…Pat

Jump to this post

@patjen With so many health conditions, I can see why you are interested in reducing the number of medications you're taking–especially if they are interacting, or even causing, or worsening your health problems.

If you click on my name, you can read in one of my earlier posts where I describe how you can dissolve your Effexor in juice to make it easier to reduce your dosage–counting out the beads can be incredibly tedious and others have pointed out that there's quite a variation in the number of beads in capsules of the same dosage and that the beads are different sizes within each capsule.

The blank stare … oh, yes, I've gotten that. I love my oncologist, but even he looked at me like my head zipped up the back when I told him I was losing my fingerprints during chemo treatment. Two weeks later, I read a story on the web where another woman lost her fingerprints after undergoing chemo and now carries an official letter with her to explain this condition! For a while there, I considered a new career in safecracking, but the prints've returned somewhat–although, it is still difficult to use touchscreens.

REPLY
@texasduchess

@patjen With so many health conditions, I can see why you are interested in reducing the number of medications you're taking–especially if they are interacting, or even causing, or worsening your health problems.

If you click on my name, you can read in one of my earlier posts where I describe how you can dissolve your Effexor in juice to make it easier to reduce your dosage–counting out the beads can be incredibly tedious and others have pointed out that there's quite a variation in the number of beads in capsules of the same dosage and that the beads are different sizes within each capsule.

The blank stare … oh, yes, I've gotten that. I love my oncologist, but even he looked at me like my head zipped up the back when I told him I was losing my fingerprints during chemo treatment. Two weeks later, I read a story on the web where another woman lost her fingerprints after undergoing chemo and now carries an official letter with her to explain this condition! For a while there, I considered a new career in safecracking, but the prints've returned somewhat–although, it is still difficult to use touchscreens.

Jump to this post

Thank you so much @texasduchess So glad to see you have retained your sense of humour with all you have been through !! Thanks for the tip re the juice…I did not know that there were so many variables with the number of beads in each capsule…atm I am just opening them up and judging 1/2…when I am ready to taper more I will give this method a go…amazing how much better I feel today physically and mentally, given I stopped totally on the 1st Nov and was actually OK for a couple of weeks and then it hit me…I was actually putting it down to a detox I am doing and the fact that I took some Melatonin for a couple of nights to help me sleep…I do want to reduce med's given that I could well be on two of them because of the Effexor…poly pharmacy sucks !! I do hope you are on the up and up after your chemo xo We returned from America on the 1st Nov…it is interesting to see commercials for drugs on TV and all the side effects listed…and billboards everywhere re litigating be it for car accidents or drugs….perhaps if Aust was a bit more litigation conscious more of our GP's would do their homework before prescribing…I have a lovely female GP (Serbian) but she really doesn't understand a lot about this issue…she is happy to listen though…she was not the one that prescribed the Effexor initially….did you show your oncologist the article ?

REPLY
@texasduchess

@abq179 I think you meant to point out the availability of the tapering strips to Australians to @patjen (she's in Australia; I've been off Effexor for more than six months now). Thanks for mentioning that there's helpful info re reducing/getting off Effexor on the tapersite as well–I'll check it out. Re doctors who understand the problem of antidepressant withdrawal, as @jakedduck1 says, "If there is an expert on getting off Effexor, they are hiding very well." Those trying to get off antidepressants are definitely an under-served community!

Jump to this post

@texasduchess We sure are !!!

REPLY
@abq179

Hi texasduchess. I feel sympathy for your situation, and especially that you haven't found a doctor that understands the problems with antidepressant withdrawal. Please consider going through the taperingstrip org website. It has a host of information specific to reducing or getting off venlafaxin and other antidepressants. It's a charity organization. I have found information on the issue I haven't found anywhere else. It may help you get through this easier. Note that they do ship to Australia if you want to try a tapering strip.

Jump to this post

@abq179 thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚

REPLY
@patjen

Thank you so much @texasduchess So glad to see you have retained your sense of humour with all you have been through !! Thanks for the tip re the juice…I did not know that there were so many variables with the number of beads in each capsule…atm I am just opening them up and judging 1/2…when I am ready to taper more I will give this method a go…amazing how much better I feel today physically and mentally, given I stopped totally on the 1st Nov and was actually OK for a couple of weeks and then it hit me…I was actually putting it down to a detox I am doing and the fact that I took some Melatonin for a couple of nights to help me sleep…I do want to reduce med's given that I could well be on two of them because of the Effexor…poly pharmacy sucks !! I do hope you are on the up and up after your chemo xo We returned from America on the 1st Nov…it is interesting to see commercials for drugs on TV and all the side effects listed…and billboards everywhere re litigating be it for car accidents or drugs….perhaps if Aust was a bit more litigation conscious more of our GP's would do their homework before prescribing…I have a lovely female GP (Serbian) but she really doesn't understand a lot about this issue…she is happy to listen though…she was not the one that prescribed the Effexor initially….did you show your oncologist the article ?

Jump to this post

@patjen I slowly tapered off Effexor and did not have any withdrawal issues until 6.5 weeks after my last dose. I think that's when my body used up the last of the drug stored in my body tissues (I was on it for 18ย years). You're a long-timer on Effexor, too; you may have been cushioned by drug stores as well.

Yes, I did have the article at my next doctor visit!

I love the drug commercials–seems as though every one when listing side effects, or adverse effects ends with "and sudden death." Who would sign up for that!?!

REPLY
@texasduchess

@patjen I slowly tapered off Effexor and did not have any withdrawal issues until 6.5 weeks after my last dose. I think that's when my body used up the last of the drug stored in my body tissues (I was on it for 18ย years). You're a long-timer on Effexor, too; you may have been cushioned by drug stores as well.

Yes, I did have the article at my next doctor visit!

I love the drug commercials–seems as though every one when listing side effects, or adverse effects ends with "and sudden death." Who would sign up for that!?!

Jump to this post

@texasduchess Very interesting…yes, I think you are right…slow is def the way to go….how are you feeling now without the drug ? Do you have any residual issues from taking this drug for 18yrs? I took an article on Bergamet along to one of my visits to a cardiologist a few yrs back…a leading cardiologist in Sydney has all his pt's on it…and the very high risk ones he will put on a Statin too…my Cardio wanted to put me on a Statin…I was resistant as I think they are pure poison…I did take it for 2 days and went off it because I felt so bad…and am sure it was not psychosomatic…I actually think I really researched Statins after taking it from memory because it made me so sick…My cholesterol on my next visit had improved markedly with the Bergamet…Told Cardio I had taken Statin for a week…wasn't game to tell him 2 days…he tried to tell me that taking the Statin for "a week" was what brought my Cholesterol down !! He got a bit shitty with me for not continuing on with the Rx…and dismissed me with a cautionary tale about not believing everything I read on the Net…;-) Yes…re the "sudden death"…yep…why would you ??? But they are covering their backsides I guess….but people in Oz would be far more conscious of not accepting drug treatment willy nilly if these commercials aired here….Am assuming you are from Texas y'all ? We drove through Texas last month…absolutely loved it…and the people ๐Ÿ™‚

REPLY
@patjen

@texasduchess Very interesting…yes, I think you are right…slow is def the way to go….how are you feeling now without the drug ? Do you have any residual issues from taking this drug for 18yrs? I took an article on Bergamet along to one of my visits to a cardiologist a few yrs back…a leading cardiologist in Sydney has all his pt's on it…and the very high risk ones he will put on a Statin too…my Cardio wanted to put me on a Statin…I was resistant as I think they are pure poison…I did take it for 2 days and went off it because I felt so bad…and am sure it was not psychosomatic…I actually think I really researched Statins after taking it from memory because it made me so sick…My cholesterol on my next visit had improved markedly with the Bergamet…Told Cardio I had taken Statin for a week…wasn't game to tell him 2 days…he tried to tell me that taking the Statin for "a week" was what brought my Cholesterol down !! He got a bit shitty with me for not continuing on with the Rx…and dismissed me with a cautionary tale about not believing everything I read on the Net…;-) Yes…re the "sudden death"…yep…why would you ??? But they are covering their backsides I guess….but people in Oz would be far more conscious of not accepting drug treatment willy nilly if these commercials aired here….Am assuming you are from Texas y'all ? We drove through Texas last month…absolutely loved it…and the people ๐Ÿ™‚

Jump to this post

@patjen Yep, I live in the DFW Metroplex and not a native Texan (but got here as soon as I could). If you were here last month, it wasn't really typical–we had a lot of rain, cold temperatures and no sunshine for weeks on end.

Re researching drugs and illnesses–you're kind of d*mned if you do and d*mned if you don't. You hear all the time that you should be an educated consumer and your own best advocate–yet, when you question some health providers, you get "Don't question me!" responses. I will admit that my husband threatened to put "parental blocks" on some sites when I was researching the chemo I was going to do–lots of scary stuff.

Post-Effexor–I still need to take supplements (L-tryptophan and GABA) and Dramam*ne, am quick to rage and have trouble staying asleep (this used to be my hobby!), I am not doing too badly–but I've been off Effexor for more than six months, tapered slowly and was only ever on 25mg. I do feel "normal" most of the time and have tapered off one set of supplements. If I had known I'd have issues and what a pain my post-withdrawal symptoms would be, I'd have just stayed on Effexor; the only thing I noticed on Effexor is that if I forgot to take my daily pill, I'd get a whopper headache–I figured out pretty quickly that the headache was related to not having taken my Effexor.

REPLY
@patjen

@texasduchess Thank you so much for your response ๐Ÿ™‚ I woke up today feeling much better after taking that 1/2 dose yesterday. Yes…will continue on this dose for a while and then attempt to taper again…in Australia the 37.5mg dose is only available with an authority prescription which gives you one mth's supply…it is a capsule and not a tablet…so it is necessary to visit the GP each mth for a new script…I feel that halving the beads in the capsules a better solution…no, I am not doing this with medical supervision…mainly because I have not met a doctor or physician locally who really understands SNRI withdrawal syndrome…I have an elevated BP and have been on anti hypertensives for quite a few years and also developed inappropriate sinus tachycardia which I control with Coralan…my cholesterol is also elevated and I am very resistive to taking a Statin…I am watching my diet currently….am abstaining from alcohol and trying to exercise daily…I had success with reducing my Cholesterol in the past with Bergamet…don't want to take another drug considered poison to rectify a condition that the Effexor may be responsible for….The Corolan was initially prescribed by a cardiologist some yrs ago when I developed the tachycardia…I have mentioned on numerous occasions to specialists and GP's re the possible connection to the Effexor and my hypertension and tachycardia…they just look at me blankly…they have no idea re the possible connection with my symptoms and don't really appear too interested in investigating the connection….yes..I have spoken to my dentist re the occlusal splints and will pursue this ๐Ÿ™‚ I had invisalign treatment so already have a retainer for my top teeth which I pop in when the symptoms become too much…you should see the wear and tear on this little number !! gives me an indication of the punishment it receives whilst I sleep….I have read about the Prozac bridge technique and will consider it if I am unsuccessful with tapering…thank you so much for your advice…so, tell me….are you now off this drug completely and how do you feel…I really need to hear a success story as I haven't found one on the internet currently ๐Ÿ™‚ Kindest regards…Pat

Jump to this post

Hello, @patjen – I wanted to add my welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. A few things you mentioned made me think of the following to recommend:

-You may want to check out and consider posting in our Healthy Living group, as you are working on diet, exercise and the like https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/healthy-living/

– You might want to take a look at and perhaps join in a discussion in the Connect Heart & Blood Health group, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/heart-blood-vessel-conditions/

Are the clear aligners (Invisalign) working okay with the chronic teeth grinding from the medication, then? I have taken bupropion (Wellbutrin) and learned about the possible teeth grinding side effect for the first time last winter when my dentist noted some hairline cracks in a couple of teeth and put together what might be happening. I am using a mouthguard from the dentist, and though it took awhile to get used to, it has helped very much. I no longer want to sleep without it.

You mentioned with your withdrawal, you sometimes deal with suicidal ideation. Do you have a doctor's office, suicide hotline or somewhere to turn to if that ever gets too bad?

REPLY

It is the hardest thing to do. I just want to feel better and normal again…any help out there?

REPLY
@texasduchess

@patjen Yep, I live in the DFW Metroplex and not a native Texan (but got here as soon as I could). If you were here last month, it wasn't really typical–we had a lot of rain, cold temperatures and no sunshine for weeks on end.

Re researching drugs and illnesses–you're kind of d*mned if you do and d*mned if you don't. You hear all the time that you should be an educated consumer and your own best advocate–yet, when you question some health providers, you get "Don't question me!" responses. I will admit that my husband threatened to put "parental blocks" on some sites when I was researching the chemo I was going to do–lots of scary stuff.

Post-Effexor–I still need to take supplements (L-tryptophan and GABA) and Dramam*ne, am quick to rage and have trouble staying asleep (this used to be my hobby!), I am not doing too badly–but I've been off Effexor for more than six months, tapered slowly and was only ever on 25mg. I do feel "normal" most of the time and have tapered off one set of supplements. If I had known I'd have issues and what a pain my post-withdrawal symptoms would be, I'd have just stayed on Effexor; the only thing I noticed on Effexor is that if I forgot to take my daily pill, I'd get a whopper headache–I figured out pretty quickly that the headache was related to not having taken my Effexor.

Jump to this post

@texasduchess Yes the rain came down in Texas as we departed…we travelled to New Mexico from there so we missed the worst of it…one bonus…coming from a drought nation it is lovely to see so much green…
LOL re the parental lock !! but it is empowering to be informed….even though you take the risk of being misinformed on some sites…you just need to research thoroughly…what did we do before Google ?
Yes I too used to be able to sleep on a log…but now often have trouble…but particularly so when I came off the Effexor…I do find it hard to surrender to sleep..can never go to bed early…but I think this is because I did shift work for so many years.
I could go a couple of days of missed doses before I developed symptoms of withdrawal…I used to feel like I was coming down with the flu…general malaise and headachy…have you tried Melatonin for sleep ? I really want to get off this drug as I have read that many hypertensive people on the drug found their hypertension improved when they tapered off it…and the tachycardia I am taking Coralan for…and the teeth grinding…but not sure if this extra pyramidal side effect can be fixed ? If anti psychotic meds are anything to go by probably not ๐Ÿ™

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
ย  Request Appointment