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

@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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I’ve been on this drug since 2003. I am now 70 yrs old. I’ve decided that enough is enough. I did consult with my doctor and have started to slowly get off this drug. In 3 weeks, I’ve gone from 150mg to 75mg. I did this by opening the capsule and removing approx 10-15 pellets per day. When I reached enough to decrease a total of 37.5 mg (60 pellets), I stayed on that dosage (112.5mg) for one week. When I was confident that my symptoms from withdrawal were minimal, I started the process again. I’m now on my 2nd day on 75 mg. So far, so good. I’ll stay on 75mg until Saturday and begin the process again. If all goes well, I should be Effexor free in another month.

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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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How is that going? I’m only reducing by 12.5mg at a time and I feel rough. My head is pounding and I feel like I’m getting the flu.
I really don’t want to replace on with another drug.

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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 just to clarify, I didn't mean that coffee withdrawal caused many other things besides migraines, I meant that there were other things that brought on migraines even though they were primarily hormonal. Raw onion was a killer, as was chocolate. It took me a long time to make myself realize that chocolate was a problem.
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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I do make sure I eat well also. I take multi vitamin and omega 3 fish oil. I have not decreased caffeine (I have 2 cups of coffee in the a.m.). I also continue to have a glass of wine with dinner. In the last 3 weeks I've reduced my dosage from 150mg to 75mg by removing a number of pellets from the capsule every day. I've experienced a few bouts of dizziness and occasional headache, but nothing I can't live with. It hasn't interrupted my life. I plan to be completely off of Effexor in another 4 weeks. I'll certainly be keeping my fingers crossed that it goes well.

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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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I would recommend that if your withdrawals symptoms become to much try reducing the amount to every other day . I finally come through the other side I can't tell you it was a breeze because that would be unfair . Firstly remember we're individual so what work for me may not work for you try reducing every other day or every two days mix it around for your system to adapt but please please try to push through to The Dawn literally … eventually when your nearing a low low dose I suggest you decide your next move for me I have to take medication for life but I Happy to say I am on a low dose of Prozac and I feel me again after 15 long years x

Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

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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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@arachel I hope you do manage to get off of this miserable pharmaceutical. I would never have believed how many people are basically trapped by it. At least the wine with dinner gives you something to look forward to also. I always enjoyed that before my liver problems, I still wish I could have a glass with dinner.
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.

Jump to this post

@cwaudio

Have you thought about how you would treat the depression and anxiety without medication? I take Wellbutrin, and recently added Mirtazapine because I was becoming more depressed. I'm pleased with how much better I feel now. I'm not sure I'd want to stop taking Antidepressants – I really don't want to go back to the dark hole of depression.

Jim

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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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Through diet, environment and circumstance. Yoga and meditation has helped loads with my anxiety which I think is at the same level as it was pre drugs at the moment. Honestly, I think a lot of people, myself included have been put on drugs without doctors trying to find the root of the problem.
I read a book called ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari and that was really insightful. I just don’t want to be on medication anymore so will do anything I can to help curb it @jimhd

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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.

Jump to this post

@cwaudio

Being drug free would surely be my first choice, but I'm thankful for the ones I take that relieve pain or relieve depression. Can't wait for heaven.

Jim

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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After being on Effexor for about 5 years I decided to try something different because my doctor felt the med was causing my severe eye blurriness. I was asked if I wanted to try no anti-depressants but didn't feel I was ready. I weaned off the Effexor (was taking 75 + 37.5 mg daily) for about 3 weeks according to my doctor's plan. During the 3rd week I started taking Wellbutrin. After 3 days of being totally off the Effexor I started with nausea and dizziness. I then decided that I would just try getting off all anti-depressants because I hated the withdrawals. I don't want to go through this again if at all possible. On the 3rd day of no Effexor I had a major event to go to so I took a very small dose of Effexor to try to get me through the day. Big mistake because I was okay for couple days but now I've started all the withdrawal unpleansantness again. I have now been totally off of the Effexor for 5 days. I am extremely emotional, nauseated, and the biggest issue is dizziness. Can anyone tell me how long these withdrawal symptoms will last? I am determined to see this through but its very hard especially when your husband is not understanding at all. Also is there anything I can do to help with the dizziness?

Oh, I was only on the Wellbutrin for about a week and stopped it 10 days ago. Thank you in advance!

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Hi, @lalyfa. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like quite a journey with this withdrawal. I moved your post over here to this existing discussion because I know there are many members here who have had similar experiences with coming off venlafaxine (Effexor). Hoping you can all meet up here and they will have some thoughts for you.

Do you perhaps have another friend or relative who could be a support for you in this withdrawal process?

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@lisalucier

Hi, @lalyfa. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like quite a journey with this withdrawal. I moved your post over here to this existing discussion because I know there are many members here who have had similar experiences with coming off venlafaxine (Effexor). Hoping you can all meet up here and they will have some thoughts for you.

Do you perhaps have another friend or relative who could be a support for you in this withdrawal process?

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After having a terrible reaction to Xanax & Ambien (was only on 5 weeks), I checked myself into a Mental Health Hospital to get off these terrible, terrible drugs. The hospital provided guidance so I could quit cold turkey. So, the Psych Dr. put on 75 mg of Effexor XR- & 300 mg 3x day Gabapentin. Then, within 2 weeks time, was move to to dosage of 150mg 1xday (in AM) for Effexor XR & Gabapentin 600mg 3x day for anxiety. I have been on these drugs for 7 weeks now. NOW, I have to meet with a NEW Psych DNP who I will begin working with to manage my medication. I have severe anxiety & depression due to TMJD. I really do not understand WHY a Psych Doctor would give someone Gabapentin for anxiety IF it is only FDA approved for nerve pain & epilepsy. I really want off Gapapentin because I don't believe I need this medication but at the same time, I'm worried that the Gabapentin is helping me with pain that I don't feel with the TMJD. I have never been on this meds and only had 2 other times in my life that I was on medication – one was Klonopin for 8 months in 2013/2014 (another awful drug to get off). Oh, and since I wasn't sleeping, I was given trazadone 75mg for sleep & 3 mg of melatonin. I'm sleeping now but of course, am worried that all these drugs are going to just be awful for me to get off of.

Any suggestions on what to start with tapering first? The Effexor XR? The Gabapentin? The Trazadone?

Thanks much!

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@lisalucier

Hi, @lalyfa. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like quite a journey with this withdrawal. I moved your post over here to this existing discussion because I know there are many members here who have had similar experiences with coming off venlafaxine (Effexor). Hoping you can all meet up here and they will have some thoughts for you.

Do you perhaps have another friend or relative who could be a support for you in this withdrawal process?

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@lindmissi

I'm surprised that Gabapentin is prescribed. I just started taking it a month ago, and the dosage went up last week. I'm starting to feel bad side effects, so I'm going to ease off it over the next couple of weeks. I'm trying it for neuropathy pain in my feet.

You need to talk with the doctor and pharmacist about why you were prescribed Gabapentin. No one here can help you with that information.

Good luck getting your medications straightened out.

Jim

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@lisalucier

Hi, @lalyfa. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like quite a journey with this withdrawal. I moved your post over here to this existing discussion because I know there are many members here who have had similar experiences with coming off venlafaxine (Effexor). Hoping you can all meet up here and they will have some thoughts for you.

Do you perhaps have another friend or relative who could be a support for you in this withdrawal process?

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Jim, what kind of side effects do you have on Gabapentin? (if you don't mind me asking) Thanks Much – Lindmissi

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@lindmissi

Hello and welcome to Mayo Connect. I'm a Volunteer Mentor with Mayo Connect; I am not a medical professional and I can only offer you my personal experience. We're all here to share our experience in hopes of helping others with similar situations, understanding that each individual is different and what helps or hinders one person may not apply to other people.

I was prescribed Gabapentin 300 mg 3x day, for my chronic back pain. I found during the 6 months I took it that I was losing my memory. Large amounts of time disappeared and I was always in a brain fog. I thought I was getting Alzheimers. I was just goofy, and at one point had a small fender bender, im sure due to the Gabapentin. I decided that day to get off it. It seems as if doctors, mine was a pain doctor, prescribe Gabapentin for everything now. When I told my pain doctor I wanted to stop taking it, he got mad at me and wanted to know why. I explained my reaction to it and said k didn't think it was helping me. He would not help me withdraw and said I should just quit. I knew that was wrong from what i had read on Mayo Connect. After I withdrew with the help of my pharmacist over 3 months, I discovered that my pain improved. I think it made me feel more pain than i was actually having. I will never take Gabapentin, Neurontin, or Lyrica which are all related again. I think its a bad drug personally. I was even wondering if drug companies were giving doctors kickbacks for prescribing those medications. Probably just my imagination. Good luck with finding out what you need to help you. Please let us know what you find out from your doctor about why he has prescribed it for you.

Gail B
Volunteer Mentor

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