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

Hi all,
It is advisable to talk to your doctor if you wish to stop taking an antidepressant. A slow taper is usually recommended. Some antidepressants can cause significant withdrawal-like symptoms unless you slowly taper off your dose. Quitting suddenly may cause a sudden worsening of depression.

Here are some articles for further reading:
– Antidepressant withdrawal: Is there such a thing? http://mayocl.in/2m00irD
– Antidepressants: Get tips to cope with side effects http://mayocl.in/2BRskvm
– Antidepressants: Selecting one that’s right for you http://mayocl.in/2BQGlJD

Last month we asked a Mayo Clinic pharmacist to weigh in on the topic of tapering and stopping venlafaxine (Effexor). See her post here: http://mayocl.in/2E74p0j

Some key points from her post:
– “Most antidepressants should be tapered before discontinuing.
– Abrupt discontinuation of venlafaxine is more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms and relapse than many other antidepressants because of its short half-life.
– The most important thing to remember is that each patient is different and may respond differently to the same treatment.”

The same goes for stopping medication. Everyone responds differently to discontinuing medication, which is why we recommend telling your doctor about your wish to stop and discuss the best way for you.

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

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@lisalucier hi, it’s been a long time since my last post. I no longer have serious side effects from weaning off the effexor.

My adult son who is an alcoholic, which situation brought me to start taking antidepressants ie effexor, continues his battles.
I have been doing things for myself to make my life easier, but I would like to find a thread that would help me in my situation. Could you direct me to other pages or links?
Thanks,

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@lolita9

Just joined the conversation. I’ve only been on effexor for less than a year that my doctor and I decided to take me off. Side effects coming off when I do not take the 75 mg is horrendous. I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’m on this and now am alone in coming off. I’m so scared but I can only trust my doctor to help me through this. It help to read I’m not alone. I wish I never taken it.

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Hi @lolita9,

I’m the moderator taking care of the groups this weekend, and just want to say that it is so good to hear you are feeling better. I admire your resilience – when one is depressed it isn’t easy to do things for oneself. Everyday routines may come naturally to most people, but for someone who is depressed, they are much harder feats. So first, congratulate yourself because when dealing with depression there are no little victories – every accomplishment is a big victory.

When you click on the link for the Mental Health group, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/mental-health/tab/discussions/ you can scroll down and see all the discussions in the group. Click on the title of a discussion that interests you. This will take you to the discussion thread where you can read all the messages. If you would like to post a comment or question and join the discussion, click REPLY and write your message.

Here are a few conversations that you might find interesting:
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/a-little-lighter/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mother-of-special-need-children-losing-her-mind/
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/anxiety-panic-and-depression-disorders/

I’m tagging Mentors @jimhd and @hopeful33250 as they might have some suggestions too.

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I am currently on 75 mgs of Venlafaxine.l hope to stop completely. I want to go down to 75mg. My doctor said drop one 75mg pill for 2 weeks. Then he will consider next step. My health provider does not compound and in California, it’s expensive. Also on Oxycondone 325 mgs~2x a day instead of Tramadol due to doc concern on too much seratonin. Take Metoprolol 50 md. On 10 mgs of Diazepam. My goal is to stop Effexor, Oxy & Diazepam. Any thoughts?

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@mamabear17

I am currently on 75 mgs of Venlafaxine.l hope to stop completely. I want to go down to 75mg. My doctor said drop one 75mg pill for 2 weeks. Then he will consider next step. My health provider does not compound and in California, it’s expensive. Also on Oxycondone 325 mgs~2x a day instead of Tramadol due to doc concern on too much seratonin. Take Metoprolol 50 md. On 10 mgs of Diazepam. My goal is to stop Effexor, Oxy & Diazepam. Any thoughts?

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@mamabear17

My only thought is that it’s imperative to taper off Effexor SLOWLY! Dropping 75mg all at once is too much. It will cause some serious withdrawal symptoms. I recommend you read what others have said about withdrawal in this discussion. Effexor is a medication that takes a long time to get off. Don’t be in a hurry, even if you really want to get off it.

Jim

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I’ve been on a very low dosage of venlafaxine for 10 years, 37.5 mg 2x a day. I’m trying to taper off. About 3 weeks ago I cut my bedtime dose in half and continued with the full dose in the morning. Now I’m cutting the morning dose in half as well. My Dr. recently also changed my bp meds from coreg to losartan. My question is this; I feel shaky all the time now. My bp has come down a little, but my pulse is anywhere from 93 to 116. Is this feeling from weaning off the Venlafaxine or from the change in bp meds? How do I get them to stop? Any ideas?

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@jeanelizabeth

I’ve been on a very low dosage of venlafaxine for 10 years, 37.5 mg 2x a day. I’m trying to taper off. About 3 weeks ago I cut my bedtime dose in half and continued with the full dose in the morning. Now I’m cutting the morning dose in half as well. My Dr. recently also changed my bp meds from coreg to losartan. My question is this; I feel shaky all the time now. My bp has come down a little, but my pulse is anywhere from 93 to 116. Is this feeling from weaning off the Venlafaxine or from the change in bp meds? How do I get them to stop? Any ideas?

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Maybe you are decreasing your dosage too much, too fast. That will certainly make you shaky. I am trying to do the same thing. I’ve been taking venlafaxine 150mg since 2003. My doctor is helping me so to speak. He is prescribing my pills in 37.5 mg capsules so that I can begin reducing the dosage. After 2 weeks, I’ve reduced down to 112.5, that is one 37.5 mg capsule less. I opened the capsules every day and removed 10-15 of the little beads inside until I reached a total of 60 beads (which is the equivalent to 37.5mg). I stayed on the 112.5 mg for one week. Today I plan to begin the reduction again by removing 10 beads from the next pill. Maybe I should wait a little longer, but I’m so over it. I want this done. I’ve tried to get off this stuff a few times and each time I was so sick because I was trying to do it as directed by skipping one day between pills. Did not work out so well. This time I decided to do this my way and so far so good. Good Luck. Please keep me posted. It’s good to talk with someone who is experiencing the same thing.

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@jeanelizabeth

I’ve been on a very low dosage of venlafaxine for 10 years, 37.5 mg 2x a day. I’m trying to taper off. About 3 weeks ago I cut my bedtime dose in half and continued with the full dose in the morning. Now I’m cutting the morning dose in half as well. My Dr. recently also changed my bp meds from coreg to losartan. My question is this; I feel shaky all the time now. My bp has come down a little, but my pulse is anywhere from 93 to 116. Is this feeling from weaning off the Venlafaxine or from the change in bp meds? How do I get them to stop? Any ideas?

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Thank you for your input. I talked to my pharmacist today as she thinks I need to go back to my dr. Ugh. Not that I don’t like my dr, I also just want it to be over! I’m thinking i should go back to my old bp med at least until I’m done with the Venlafaxine. The old one kept my heart rate within reason. And I didn’t shake.

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@jeanelizabeth

I’ve been on a very low dosage of venlafaxine for 10 years, 37.5 mg 2x a day. I’m trying to taper off. About 3 weeks ago I cut my bedtime dose in half and continued with the full dose in the morning. Now I’m cutting the morning dose in half as well. My Dr. recently also changed my bp meds from coreg to losartan. My question is this; I feel shaky all the time now. My bp has come down a little, but my pulse is anywhere from 93 to 116. Is this feeling from weaning off the Venlafaxine or from the change in bp meds? How do I get them to stop? Any ideas?

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You just may be right. I would only try to eliminate one drug at a time. It’s too tough on the body. After I finish with the venlafaxine, I’m going to try to eliminate my ambien (sleeping pills). I’m such a hot mess. Keep in touch.

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I am self tapering from 150g. The capsules I have have 12 ‘pills’ inside them so calculated there being around 12.5mg in each so reducing the amount of pills inside the capsule by one a week. When I get to one I’m going to try taking 12.5mg every other day, then space out until down to nothing.
I read that taking a multi vitamin, omega 3 and having dark chocolate can help with symptoms and have cut out coffee and alcohol. Trying to eat really well as well and have taken time off work to manage withdrawal. Currently have bad headaches but I think that could be down to the lack of caffeine.

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I think you'r right about the no cafiene causing the headache. I would try taking in a small amount and taper.

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@cwaudio

I am self tapering from 150g. The capsules I have have 12 ‘pills’ inside them so calculated there being around 12.5mg in each so reducing the amount of pills inside the capsule by one a week. When I get to one I’m going to try taking 12.5mg every other day, then space out until down to nothing.
I read that taking a multi vitamin, omega 3 and having dark chocolate can help with symptoms and have cut out coffee and alcohol. Trying to eat really well as well and have taken time off work to manage withdrawal. Currently have bad headaches but I think that could be down to the lack of caffeine.

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Also chocolate has some cafiene I think. If you make your own cocoa you can control the amount of sugar.

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@wrlaplante

I think you'r right about the no cafiene causing the headache. I would try taking in a small amount and taper.

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@wrlaplante I suffered from terrible migraines for years (my daughter does now). If I skipped coffee it would definitely bring one on, along with many other things of course. My migraines were pretty much hormonal related but I did sometimes get them at other times too with something like caffeine withdrawal.
JK

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@cwaudio

I am self tapering from 150g. The capsules I have have 12 ‘pills’ inside them so calculated there being around 12.5mg in each so reducing the amount of pills inside the capsule by one a week. When I get to one I’m going to try taking 12.5mg every other day, then space out until down to nothing.
I read that taking a multi vitamin, omega 3 and having dark chocolate can help with symptoms and have cut out coffee and alcohol. Trying to eat really well as well and have taken time off work to manage withdrawal. Currently have bad headaches but I think that could be down to the lack of caffeine.

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Hello @cwaudio,

Welcome to Connect. Thanks so much for sharing your insights. May I ask why your doctor prescribed Effexor, and your reasons for weaning off now? How long have you been on this drug?

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@cwaudio

I am self tapering from 150g. The capsules I have have 12 ‘pills’ inside them so calculated there being around 12.5mg in each so reducing the amount of pills inside the capsule by one a week. When I get to one I’m going to try taking 12.5mg every other day, then space out until down to nothing.
I read that taking a multi vitamin, omega 3 and having dark chocolate can help with symptoms and have cut out coffee and alcohol. Trying to eat really well as well and have taken time off work to manage withdrawal. Currently have bad headaches but I think that could be down to the lack of caffeine.

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Hi – I’ve been on for like 2.5 years for severe depression and anxiety & im trying to get off because I started to get anxious about how physically addicted I am to this drug. I just want to be in control of my body and I can’t be on this drug

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