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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@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.

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Feel like a wimp coz on low dose 75mg 1x daily. But have been on 10 yrs. GYN put me on for hot flashes, it helped, cannot take any supplements due to endometrial uterine cancer.

Worried, experiencing stiff leg muscles and cramps. Have decided to get off effexor. Doc said go to every other day at current dose for 4 months. Then reduce dose.

Get dizziness if I forget take pill. So not looking forward to this.

Anyone else do the every other day?

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That’s too quick. Look at some of these posts. Most recommend going off in very small increments. I went from 150 to 75 to 37.5 to 37.5 split and the split again. Am now on 9.375, but it’s taken me 11 months to get here.

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@rosevillegirl

That’s too quick. Look at some of these posts. Most recommend going off in very small increments. I went from 150 to 75 to 37.5 to 37.5 split and the split again. Am now on 9.375, but it’s taken me 11 months to get here.

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Recommended every day but lower dose?

Today was my"on" day but currently experiencing vertigo

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@janetcquita

Recommended every day but lower dose?

Today was my"on" day but currently experiencing vertigo

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Just read @kbmayo. Get your point. Annoyed at doc's approach !

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@kbmayo

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!

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I might do that instead then thank you, just want to lessen the effects as much as possible as I hate feeling like this x

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@janetcquita

Feel like a wimp coz on low dose 75mg 1x daily. But have been on 10 yrs. GYN put me on for hot flashes, it helped, cannot take any supplements due to endometrial uterine cancer.

Worried, experiencing stiff leg muscles and cramps. Have decided to get off effexor. Doc said go to every other day at current dose for 4 months. Then reduce dose.

Get dizziness if I forget take pill. So not looking forward to this.

Anyone else do the every other day?

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@janetcquita
Hello!
It sounds to me, too, that you are reducing too much, too quickly. Basically, even through it is every other day, you are cutting down 50% of the total dosage.
I am currently reducing, too. Sorry if I am repeating myself from other postings, but I take 75 mg. Two in the morning and 2 in the evening. I started with reducing my evening pills. I reduced ONLY 1 pill by 1/4. I took the reduced amount every other day for 3 weeks, then every night for 3 weeks. That is a total of 6 weeks for a 1/4 reduction of only 1 pill.
It figure it will take me months before I am where I want to be. I am currently aiming for 37.5 mg in the AM and PM. (a total of 75 mg). I was up to 300 mg daily!!
Just to let you know that I am doing this myself, without a doctor. My psychiatrist, left the practice and I have not yet been to a new doctor. I DO NOT ADVISE THIS, IT IS JUST MY CHOICE!
Good Luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar

@janetcquita
Hello!
It sounds to me, too, that you are reducing too much, too quickly. Basically, even through it is every other day, you are cutting down 50% of the total dosage.
I am currently reducing, too. Sorry if I am repeating myself from other postings, but I take 75 mg. Two in the morning and 2 in the evening. I started with reducing my evening pills. I reduced ONLY 1 pill by 1/4. I took the reduced amount every other day for 3 weeks, then every night for 3 weeks. That is a total of 6 weeks for a 1/4 reduction of only 1 pill.
It figure it will take me months before I am where I want to be. I am currently aiming for 37.5 mg in the AM and PM. (a total of 75 mg). I was up to 300 mg daily!!
Just to let you know that I am doing this myself, without a doctor. My psychiatrist, left the practice and I have not yet been to a new doctor. I DO NOT ADVISE THIS, IT IS JUST MY CHOICE!
Good Luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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Boy am I glad I found this site! What you ladies say makes sense….I didn't really think this thru and as apparently neither did my doc.

Based on your experience guess I better find out what dosages under 75 are available and contact my doc.

Glad you folks are put there!

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I did not realize how many active posters there are on this thread. Thank you all for being here. This is so very familiar, and I can now go to my doctors and show them that I am NOT unique, many many patients have HUGE problems weaning off of this drug! My last attempt, as I have shared earlier, was so bad and hard on my husband, myself, and my two then young daughters that I made the choice to go back on the drug, as living with a mom with no short-term memory and irrational rage fits was too much for them, short lived as the fits may have been. I could not live with myself over it. I was too afraid of hurting my family's spirit and feelings, and I figured my girls needed a stable mom more than I then needed to be off of effexor.
Now that my girls are young adults, and I am more mentally prepared for the next steps, I am so very grateful for the support, information, and affirmation available here. My doctor had told me that I must have been having a 'rebound' reaction, or unusual reaction to discontinuing effexor, even though I had followed his instructions. I now KNOW that he was wrong, and I KNOW HOW to educate my doctors about this, and I have the courage and information available to educate THEM about how it all needs to go. My family will be aware of every step in the journey, and they will also have a say in how each step happens. No more shame, no more being a quiet or 'good' patient. Having been through the wars already I am not willing to be told how I should feel, and I am also not willing to allow this drug to hold me hostage any longer. I truly needed Effexor when I started it, but not anymore. Thank you all so much for the information, and support. I appreciate it so very much.

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*also, I am on capsules, so I will be reducing gradually to 38.5 and the I suppose I will join the bead counting club!

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@saku

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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@saku
A friend gave me a Breast Cancer "Dammit" Doll after I was diagnosed the second time. The idea is you smack that doll and/or use it to beat against a bed, or a chair and get your feelings of anger, hopelessness and fear out. I wonder if there is an Effexor "Dammit" Doll? Those of here could use one.

The professionals have no idea how long getting back to "normal" takes–only you know how you feel (and I think it's great that you're getting better). It's not surprising that your friends don't really understand–they "know" that you were on medication that's usually prescribed for mental/emotional issues and don't know how powerful these drugs are and that most were only designed to be used for short periods of time (and their effects on people studied assuming short-term use). Unless, someone has been through this, or had a medical professional screw them up, they probably think your doctor(s) knew best.

I'd tell them that research shows PAWS–post-acute withdrawal syndrome (https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/post-acute-withdrawal.htm; https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/addiction-resources/drug-addiction-resources/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-stages-symptoms/) can be as long as a couple of years, or more AND that the withdrawal effects can come and go in waves, getting worse then better, with the periods of improvement in between getting longer the further out you are from your last dose.

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@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…

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Hi Elana. I started 3 months of weaning myself off of effexor. Down to 37.5mgs. I felt and still do sometimes like you. It's absolutely hell on Earth. I had blurry eyes so bad I quit trucking. Cold then hot, flu like syptoms,high anxiety and felt unreal like, brain fog, things don't seem real (life). Fortunately it does start to get better. Say lots of prayers and just sit and cry if need be. I wish you well. Farmboy

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I would not advise every other day. As others have stated here, this is a problematic approach due to the short half life of the drug. You will constantly be throwing yourself into withdrawal. Try to keep your daily dosage consistent.

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