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

I’m in the third week of switching from venlafaxine to sertraline, had my last venlafaxine Thursday and first Sertraline yesterday and not having an easy time, got the favourites of dizzy, feeling a bit queasy and obviously the depression creeping back. Reading other people’s comments have been helpful with some suggestions and of course knowing I’m not alone in having to deal with these withdrawal symptoms, very bored with it now.

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Are these problems with Effexor common with other anti-depressants or drugs in the same class? The side-effects and difficulty weaning off of Effexor are frightening.
JK

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@glosrobbo

I’m in the third week of switching from venlafaxine to sertraline, had my last venlafaxine Thursday and first Sertraline yesterday and not having an easy time, got the favourites of dizzy, feeling a bit queasy and obviously the depression creeping back. Reading other people’s comments have been helpful with some suggestions and of course knowing I’m not alone in having to deal with these withdrawal symptoms, very bored with it now.

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Welcome to @glosrobbo, I'm glad reading through the comments of this discussion have been helpful. It's good to know that you're not alone. In addition to this discussion, you'll find other members talking about sertraline (Zoloft) here:

> depression/anxiety https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/depressionanxiety/

I hope things get better as you switch from venlafaxine to sertraline. Keep us posted.

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@contentandwell

Are these problems with Effexor common with other anti-depressants or drugs in the same class? The side-effects and difficulty weaning off of Effexor are frightening.
JK

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@contentandwell– Yes, it's very common with other anti-depressants. In affect anti-depressants change the chemical composition of your brain, either trying to stop a certain action or enhancing it. Over a span of time it is essentially your new brain composition, akin to prednisone. Your brain tries to maintain homeostasis and in affect fights the change. This is way over a simplification. I'm not a chemist.

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@merpreb

@contentandwell– Yes, it's very common with other anti-depressants. In affect anti-depressants change the chemical composition of your brain, either trying to stop a certain action or enhancing it. Over a span of time it is essentially your new brain composition, akin to prednisone. Your brain tries to maintain homeostasis and in affect fights the change. This is way over a simplification. I'm not a chemist.

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@merpreb Thanks, Merry, having to take these drugs really is a double-edged sword. I have never had a drug that I had any difficulty eliminating. I easily went from 40 mg of omeprazole to 20, and I took phenobarbital for a while (5 a day, before bed) and easily eliminated them. The neurologist thought they would help with my migraines. They did not, and they made me feel like a slug in the morning. I worry about people I know who are on anti-depressants, they really have negative effects along with the positive effects.
JK

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@merpreb

@contentandwell– Yes, it's very common with other anti-depressants. In affect anti-depressants change the chemical composition of your brain, either trying to stop a certain action or enhancing it. Over a span of time it is essentially your new brain composition, akin to prednisone. Your brain tries to maintain homeostasis and in affect fights the change. This is way over a simplification. I'm not a chemist.

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@merpreb I think my blue,s I,ll call it because a long time ago I started studying Tapping 10 yrs ago in a nutshell tapping on the meridians rewire your brain . I did it faithfully for along time now I only do tapping when Im anxious about something or feel funky. Tapping.com the video is by Nick Ortner started by Dr. Bob Procter,Bob Canfield,Dr.Mercola,Jack Canfield and so many more ,DrPatricia Carrngton Tapping .com

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I took Effexor xr for years. I loved it at first, and it helped me for quite a while. But then it just wasn't helping me that much anymore. Plus I felt tired all the time, I had disturbing dreams, and would get brain zaps when it got anywhere near the time for my next dose. I felt like I needed to either increase my dose (again) or go off it. I decided I wanted to clear my head, and I started tapering off the drug. I decreased my dosage slowly for about four months, and all was well, until I finally stopped altogether last week. I have gone off four or five other antidepressants in my life, and I had no reason to expect any difficulties, but boy was I wrong!
When I look at the list of possible withdrawal symptoms for Effexor, I have had every one except hallucinations. The two worst are that the brain zaps are almost constant unless I lie still with my eyes closed, and the nausea is so bad that I feel like I'm about to vomit all the time.
My nausea is a little better today than it was yesterday, so I have reason to hope. But I offer my experience as a cautionary tale. Everyone's body is different, of course, but my withdrawal from Effexor has been MUCH worse than any other drug I've been on — even though I tapered off slowly, as recommended.
Since all antidepressants seem to "poop out" eventually, withdrawing from them seems like an eventuality one has to consider when starting on them. Had I known how absolutely AWFUL I would feel at this point, I'm not sure I would have taken it.

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@elliemae

I took Effexor xr for years. I loved it at first, and it helped me for quite a while. But then it just wasn't helping me that much anymore. Plus I felt tired all the time, I had disturbing dreams, and would get brain zaps when it got anywhere near the time for my next dose. I felt like I needed to either increase my dose (again) or go off it. I decided I wanted to clear my head, and I started tapering off the drug. I decreased my dosage slowly for about four months, and all was well, until I finally stopped altogether last week. I have gone off four or five other antidepressants in my life, and I had no reason to expect any difficulties, but boy was I wrong!
When I look at the list of possible withdrawal symptoms for Effexor, I have had every one except hallucinations. The two worst are that the brain zaps are almost constant unless I lie still with my eyes closed, and the nausea is so bad that I feel like I'm about to vomit all the time.
My nausea is a little better today than it was yesterday, so I have reason to hope. But I offer my experience as a cautionary tale. Everyone's body is different, of course, but my withdrawal from Effexor has been MUCH worse than any other drug I've been on — even though I tapered off slowly, as recommended.
Since all antidepressants seem to "poop out" eventually, withdrawing from them seems like an eventuality one has to consider when starting on them. Had I known how absolutely AWFUL I would feel at this point, I'm not sure I would have taken it.

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Hi @elliemae and welcome to Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message this existing discussion group about tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor). If you click VIEW & REPLY you can read through past messages. It is a very long discussion with an incredible amount of information. Please note that you can sort the messages Oldest to Newest (chronologically) or from Newest to Oldest to see the more recent posts first.

Elliemae, you are certainly not alone. Many find Effexor especially difficult to taper and have experienced, like you, everything from brain zaps to nausea and more. What dose are you currently at? Are you tapering with the guidance of your doctor?

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@elliemae

I took Effexor xr for years. I loved it at first, and it helped me for quite a while. But then it just wasn't helping me that much anymore. Plus I felt tired all the time, I had disturbing dreams, and would get brain zaps when it got anywhere near the time for my next dose. I felt like I needed to either increase my dose (again) or go off it. I decided I wanted to clear my head, and I started tapering off the drug. I decreased my dosage slowly for about four months, and all was well, until I finally stopped altogether last week. I have gone off four or five other antidepressants in my life, and I had no reason to expect any difficulties, but boy was I wrong!
When I look at the list of possible withdrawal symptoms for Effexor, I have had every one except hallucinations. The two worst are that the brain zaps are almost constant unless I lie still with my eyes closed, and the nausea is so bad that I feel like I'm about to vomit all the time.
My nausea is a little better today than it was yesterday, so I have reason to hope. But I offer my experience as a cautionary tale. Everyone's body is different, of course, but my withdrawal from Effexor has been MUCH worse than any other drug I've been on — even though I tapered off slowly, as recommended.
Since all antidepressants seem to "poop out" eventually, withdrawing from them seems like an eventuality one has to consider when starting on them. Had I known how absolutely AWFUL I would feel at this point, I'm not sure I would have taken it.

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@elliemae Supplements can buffer the effects of withdrawal. It took me some experimenting to figure out what worked for me and using supplements made withdrawal tolerable. Click on my name to see my posts to see where I list supplements that can be helpful (most recently 1/08/19); it's always recommended to check with your doctor before using any supplements. OTC Ben*dryl and Dram*mine are good for the brain zaps, dizziness and nausea. Sucking on P*pto Bismol tablets can settle your stomach. Eventually, you’ll taper off the supplements, too. Some folks cut out sugar and caffeine as well, but as a Classic Coke drinker, no way!

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Hi!
Has anyone who eithet weaned off or inthe process of weaning off Effexor had any sleep problems?
Since I've started the reduction process, I can't sleep. Either I fall asleep for about 3 hours or I can't fall asleep at all (this has been happening at least 2 times a week).
Thanks!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar

Hi!
Has anyone who eithet weaned off or inthe process of weaning off Effexor had any sleep problems?
Since I've started the reduction process, I can't sleep. Either I fall asleep for about 3 hours or I can't fall asleep at all (this has been happening at least 2 times a week).
Thanks!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar Oh, yes. It gets better for a while, then it starts again. When needed, I take 1-2 25mg Ben*dryls an hour, or less before bed. Kava kava and lemon balm are helpful, too.

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@grandmar

Hi!
Has anyone who eithet weaned off or inthe process of weaning off Effexor had any sleep problems?
Since I've started the reduction process, I can't sleep. Either I fall asleep for about 3 hours or I can't fall asleep at all (this has been happening at least 2 times a week).
Thanks!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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I've used 3 mg. timed-release melatonin whenever I had that problem. Worked well for me.

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