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

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@mimid0506

I have been on Venlafaxine for 3 months now, initially moved onto it from Citalopram as I was feeling so low. Started on 37.5mg which was then increased to x2 37.5mg (one in the morning and one at night), I didn’t feel too bad but did have brain fog and now what I understand to be brain zaps! Then 2 weeks ago my doctor gave me a new prescription for one 75mg tablet a day and since then I have been like a zombie! Constant dizziness and feeling totally out of it! I finally plucked up the courage to speak to her again today to say I can’t carry on like this and she told me to just stop taking them! I asked if I should wean myself off them and she said there was no need and to try a holistic approach for my depression.
I’m in such a state and so worried about the withdrawal effects of this drug even though I’ve not been on it that long. Should I just stop taking it like she says? Is that safe!?

Jump to this post

One of the main threads on this posting is tapering off. If you are already feeling the effects, please do yourself a favor and take it slow.

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@mimid0506
Hi!
Before I begin, let me just say that each person is different as to how they feel of Venlafaxine and how they feel coming off. There are no guarantees that either will go well or that there will be no impact.
When I began to take Effexor (Venlafaxine), I began the same way as you. 37.5 mg in the morning then later on 37.5 mg in the evening. It was a rough couple of weeks until my body (and head) adjusted. After it did, I was doing well! I was doing so well, that my PCP suggested I come off the meds. It's been a while, but I did have some sort of weaning schedule. It was not a very good one. After 2 days, it began……..
I went to a workshop for work. Believe it or not, I was having a great time!!!! Laughing, listening, participating… I excused myself from the table to go to the lavatory. I sat down and it began…. My body started to quiver uncontrollably, I broke out into a profuse sweat and I felt like my body was on fire. I had a grade A, #1 anxiety attack. As soon as I got home, I took a pill, but it didn't help.
At my weekly therapy session, I told my therapist about what happened. She suggested I make an appointment with the psychiatrist to discuss meds. She explained that once you come off the Effexor, you cannot go right back on. Over the next months, I tried 3 or so different meds. None of them worked as well as the Effexor.
About 6 months out, I asked the psychiatrist if we could start the Effexor again. We tried. Although the Effexor helped me a great deal, and I've remained on it, it NEVER worked as well as it did the first time.
Over the YEARS, my dosage has increased. It basically keeps my anxiety down. I am now weaning myself off VERY, VERY slowly. I am NOT looking to quit, just to get down to what I feel is a reasonable dosage.
I was taking two 75 mg in the morning and in the evening (300 mg total). I reduce one evening pill by 1/4 every other day for 3 weeks. If I am fine, I take that dosage every night for 3 weeks. If I am fine, I make another 1/4 pill reduction. I never touch my morning dose, at this time. I am currently at 1-1/4 pill in the evening from 2 pills. This took me about 18 weeks to do. Very slowly!!!!
Hope this helps!!!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@mimid0506

I have been on Venlafaxine for 3 months now, initially moved onto it from Citalopram as I was feeling so low. Started on 37.5mg which was then increased to x2 37.5mg (one in the morning and one at night), I didn’t feel too bad but did have brain fog and now what I understand to be brain zaps! Then 2 weeks ago my doctor gave me a new prescription for one 75mg tablet a day and since then I have been like a zombie! Constant dizziness and feeling totally out of it! I finally plucked up the courage to speak to her again today to say I can’t carry on like this and she told me to just stop taking them! I asked if I should wean myself off them and she said there was no need and to try a holistic approach for my depression.
I’m in such a state and so worried about the withdrawal effects of this drug even though I’ve not been on it that long. Should I just stop taking it like she says? Is that safe!?

Jump to this post

If it were me, I'd taper and I'd take my time doing it. Most of us on this blog have done it that way, some of us after trial and error. As far as a holistic approach to depression, I know that can and does work for some people. But if it doesn't, there are other antidepressants besides Citalopram and Effexor/venlafaxine that perhaps your doctor would be willing for you to try. Good luck!

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@kbmayo

If it were me, I'd taper and I'd take my time doing it. Most of us on this blog have done it that way, some of us after trial and error. As far as a holistic approach to depression, I know that can and does work for some people. But if it doesn't, there are other antidepressants besides Citalopram and Effexor/venlafaxine that perhaps your doctor would be willing for you to try. Good luck!

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kbmayo I really agree with what you say. It's taking me along while to get down to 37.5mg. Everyone in this group is very helpful and kind. Best discussion group I have found. Thank you to all of you!

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Can I just vent for a minute. I have finally gotten off Effexor but have been going through withdrawal, although that seems to be getting better. My issue is with well meaning friends who suggest that maybe I shouldd go back on it if I am having emotional and physical problems from withdrawal. Would they say that if I was withdrawing from heroin or alcohol addiction? Has anyone else had issues with this or am I just being over sensitive?

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Good morning friend.No you are not being over
sensitive.Most of the withdrawal symptoms are subjective to anyone who hasn't gone through this horrific ordeal.I am currently going through the physical symptoms of withdrawal as well.You are
aware of the physical symptoms because you can feel them constantly.People around you may think there's possibly an over exaggeration because there are also windows of cessation of the pain.You may feel good for a little while,and then suddenly symptoms reappear.There are videos online that you can refer to regarding benzo withdrawal syndrome, geared to friends and family
to help them better understand the hellish fight you are going through.You are courageous,please
know that! I wish you the best!

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@grandmar

@mimid0506
Hi!
Before I begin, let me just say that each person is different as to how they feel of Venlafaxine and how they feel coming off. There are no guarantees that either will go well or that there will be no impact.
When I began to take Effexor (Venlafaxine), I began the same way as you. 37.5 mg in the morning then later on 37.5 mg in the evening. It was a rough couple of weeks until my body (and head) adjusted. After it did, I was doing well! I was doing so well, that my PCP suggested I come off the meds. It's been a while, but I did have some sort of weaning schedule. It was not a very good one. After 2 days, it began……..
I went to a workshop for work. Believe it or not, I was having a great time!!!! Laughing, listening, participating… I excused myself from the table to go to the lavatory. I sat down and it began…. My body started to quiver uncontrollably, I broke out into a profuse sweat and I felt like my body was on fire. I had a grade A, #1 anxiety attack. As soon as I got home, I took a pill, but it didn't help.
At my weekly therapy session, I told my therapist about what happened. She suggested I make an appointment with the psychiatrist to discuss meds. She explained that once you come off the Effexor, you cannot go right back on. Over the next months, I tried 3 or so different meds. None of them worked as well as the Effexor.
About 6 months out, I asked the psychiatrist if we could start the Effexor again. We tried. Although the Effexor helped me a great deal, and I've remained on it, it NEVER worked as well as it did the first time.
Over the YEARS, my dosage has increased. It basically keeps my anxiety down. I am now weaning myself off VERY, VERY slowly. I am NOT looking to quit, just to get down to what I feel is a reasonable dosage.
I was taking two 75 mg in the morning and in the evening (300 mg total). I reduce one evening pill by 1/4 every other day for 3 weeks. If I am fine, I take that dosage every night for 3 weeks. If I am fine, I make another 1/4 pill reduction. I never touch my morning dose, at this time. I am currently at 1-1/4 pill in the evening from 2 pills. This took me about 18 weeks to do. Very slowly!!!!
Hope this helps!!!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Thank You, I’m not going to go cold turkey like the doc said but I only have 37.5 capsules so will try taking those for a week then every other day before stopping. I just want to feel normal again whatever normal may be! I hate feeling so thick headed and dizzy it’s really affecting my day to day life and hubby doesn’t understand at all. I’ve got 3 boys to look after plus my job as a preschool teacher & I feel like I’m failing at all of them x

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@teachols

My functional medicine doctor recommended this supplement. @kbmayo did you try a supplement with any of these ingredients?
I'm just so nervous about making things worse. The last 2 days have been bad.

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That looks like a really good supplement — it has ingredients that most supplements don't have. I just used regular high-dose vitamin/mineral supplements and added separate pills for specific vitamins and minerals so I could amplify those. I know we don't do any prescribing here, but if it's ok, would you mind sharing the name of this supplement? Thanks!

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@rosevillegirl

One of the main threads on this posting is tapering off. If you are already feeling the effects, please do yourself a favor and take it slow.

Jump to this post

Hi, my name is Elana.

I've been on effexor for a few years now (150xr)

I honestly hate how it's made me feel and decided to stop a few days ago.

I feel horrible, absolutely horrible.
I have stopped other antidepressants in the past and have never felt anything like this before.

Dizzy, out of it, vertigo, heavy headed, light headed, pounding in my head, hot, cold, eyes feeling funny, can't even think straight, weepy, disconected…. just altogether awful…. can't even remember how long I've been off this nightmare med.

When does it stop????

Help please…

REPLY
@mimid0506

Thank You, I’m not going to go cold turkey like the doc said but I only have 37.5 capsules so will try taking those for a week then every other day before stopping. I just want to feel normal again whatever normal may be! I hate feeling so thick headed and dizzy it’s really affecting my day to day life and hubby doesn’t understand at all. I’ve got 3 boys to look after plus my job as a preschool teacher & I feel like I’m failing at all of them x

Jump to this post

Sounds good. I had capsules, not tablets, so when I tapered, I opened the capsules and counted out beads, then removed a certain number of them, so that my taper could be more gradual. If my figures are right, a 37.5 capsule would have about 120 beads (probably 121 or 122), so you could do it that way if you wanted. The difficulty with taking a capsule one day, then not taking one the next day, then taking one again, and so on, is that the half-life of venlafaxine is very short (which is one reason why it's so hard to quit) so your body goes from full dose to half, then full, etc. — a sort of yo-you effect — so it doesn't give the body a chance to adjust to a lesser dose. Tapering is easier on the body. Whatever you try, I really hope it works for you!

REPLY
@elana

Hi, my name is Elana.

I've been on effexor for a few years now (150xr)

I honestly hate how it's made me feel and decided to stop a few days ago.

I feel horrible, absolutely horrible.
I have stopped other antidepressants in the past and have never felt anything like this before.

Dizzy, out of it, vertigo, heavy headed, light headed, pounding in my head, hot, cold, eyes feeling funny, can't even think straight, weepy, disconected…. just altogether awful…. can't even remember how long I've been off this nightmare med.

When does it stop????

Help please…

Jump to this post

Are you going cold turkey?

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@kevkl

Big question for me is how long have you've been completely off the meds? From what I've been told, it takes 1-2w to not feel any more withdrawal symptoms. Also, the med has a long release/life cycle, meaning it still in your system after you stop.

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I have been completely off them for about a month. Starting to feel better, at least no headaches and for the most part the mood swings are gone😀

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