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

@sandij

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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Thanks. Makes sense.very surprised t j.g at doc advised this. But he's probably never had to go thru something like this

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@farmboy

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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Hi Farmboy,

Thanks for the reply.

I just stopped cold turkey, and for some reason it wasn't so bad the first few days, but today…. good grief 😦

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@elana

Hi Farmboy,

Thanks for the reply.

I just stopped cold turkey, and for some reason it wasn't so bad the first few days, but today…. good grief 😦

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Stopping cold turkey is pretty hard. You might want to read some of the other post about step down (weaning) yourself off slowly. It's hard to do. I got bad enough I went to a CBT therapist to help me through the tough times. That seems to help me.

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@linxy

I went off Venlafaxine 4 weeks ago after being on it for several years. I tapered down from 225 to 75 myself, it was really ok. But i couldn’t get down to 37.5 without getting brain zaps, nausea, headaches, insomnia, trembling, anxiety and all the rest. I went to see a psychiatrist who booked me into hospital for a couple of days to help me get off and to monitor me. For the first 2 days he put me on 37.5, then and from day 3 nothing. From day 1 though he put me on Urbanol that helped with anxiety, Aropax SR 25 mg, pain meds and nausea meds as necessary, Biotrazadone 100mg at night, Disipal that helped with the brainzaps and shaking and Inderal. Using those meds really helped a lot, i only experienced slight brain zaps, a little bit of nausea, diarrhea and vertigo, nothing as severe as when i tried to go of Venlafaxine by myself. Im off it now and adter a month i only get slight brain zaps occasionally, feeling a little weak and tired but nothing too bad. I could stop using Disipal, Inderal, pain and nausea meds.

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I am new here so may be in wrong place. I take 150 mg of Effexor been on it a year now . But every since I started taking it I have battled constipation & I will sweat & have chills . I want to take it but would like reduce my dose . I would like to taper down to about 100 mg to see if that would help these symptoms . Can anyone help me ?

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@texasduchess

@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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Dammit doll sounds like a good idea. The Dr.s have no idea as twice I was told to go to half for 2 weeks then off. Oh my gosh,pure hell for me and my family. I did it very very slowly this time and was surprised that I had withdrawal after going Dow to5 little pellets as my last dose and that was for a couple of weeks. I hope it does not come back in a year or so, or actually at any time. I am not saying I will not go back on some antidepressant if I need it, but after well over 20 years on this, how would I know I needed it! Good luck to all, just go slow.

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Does anyone have suggestion on a good antianxiety med? Since weaning off of effexor my anxiety is horrible. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you

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I'd be interested to know that, too. My doctor — my GP — put me on 150mg sustained release Wellbutrin almost two weeks ago when I told him at my annual exam about the anxiety and depression coming back after I'd been off venlafaxine about 4 months, and it's helped a lot so far. (The anxiety was especially crippling.) Things aren't perfect, but they're better. I've had several friends die in the last month, which has been really tough emotionally, and the winter where I live has been especially hard. He's very willing to up the dose to 300mg if I think it's necessary, but I want to wait until I've recovered some from these life events before I do that. (I can't take SSRIs; I tried them years ago, before Effexor, and felt like I was coming out of my skin. That's why my psychiatrist at the time put me on Effexor.) I've also been taking water-soluble CBD oil twice a day, and that seems to help a bit, too. (My doc didn't recommend that; a friend suggested it because she was able to substitute that for the Prozac she'd been taking.) I've also been reading books on overcoming anxiety and trying to do what they suggest, which has helped, too.

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@farmboy

Does anyone have suggestion on a good antianxiety med? Since weaning off of effexor my anxiety is horrible. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you

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@farmboy
My doctor gave me a prescription for 5mg Valium that I can take when the anxiety and akathisia get out of control; I usually get relief with 1/2 of one 5mg tablet. I used my first prescription (15 pills) between June 20 and the end of August (my doctor had me take three days off work and take 2 whole pills each day to "get ahead" of the anxiety and akathisia and then, use as needed); I still have 26 out of the bottle of 30 pills picked up at the beginning of September.

Other folks have used a "Prozac bridge" to get through the withdrawal.

If you click on my name, you can read my previous posts. I've mentioned several times the supplements I'm taking. Lidtk* l-tryptophan (you CANNOT take while on Effexor) and GABA have helped me the most with anxiety. I also picked up Natural Calm, a magnesium supplement you mix and drink, from CVS. You're supposed to take it regularly for it to be effective; I only tried it once, or twice when things were really bad; I couldn't wait several days for relief–I took the Valium.

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@breds1968

Im weaning off Effexor too.. 225 down to 150 at the mo not too bad withdrawl wise thank god.
On it about a year seen no improvement.. made my anxiety and depression worse.. Also it raised my cholesterol level from 4.9 to 5 then from 5 to 5.4 even though Im on statins for my cholesterol?! So frustrated with this hell of a drug 👹👹

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I reaaly appreciate the different circumstances and how everyone is so different. I have been on effexor 225 for years. Due to ins problems, my GP recommended Wellbutrin. Altjough I heard about tapering of course I was too arrogant to think it applied to me. I went to 150mg effexor for one week and then switched to welbutrin (low does). Two days just nauses but now can barely function.

Always feel like I am in a dense fog, dizzy, and in my 90s. excessive crying, nauses, can’t get a good quality of sleep, night sweats, arm and leg tingles and the trembling atnight. Cut off caffeine as it makes me more nausea. Can muster up some energy for a few hours a day. How long will this last? I really need some good advice.

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@texasduchess

@farmboy
My doctor gave me a prescription for 5mg Valium that I can take when the anxiety and akathisia get out of control; I usually get relief with 1/2 of one 5mg tablet. I used my first prescription (15 pills) between June 20 and the end of August (my doctor had me take three days off work and take 2 whole pills each day to "get ahead" of the anxiety and akathisia and then, use as needed); I still have 26 out of the bottle of 30 pills picked up at the beginning of September.

Other folks have used a "Prozac bridge" to get through the withdrawal.

If you click on my name, you can read my previous posts. I've mentioned several times the supplements I'm taking. Lidtk* l-tryptophan (you CANNOT take while on Effexor) and GABA have helped me the most with anxiety. I also picked up Natural Calm, a magnesium supplement you mix and drink, from CVS. You're supposed to take it regularly for it to be effective; I only tried it once, or twice when things were really bad; I couldn't wait several days for relief–I took the Valium.

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Thank you texasduchess. I'll click on your name and read through your supplements. Doc put me on remeron but doesn't help with the anxiety. What it does do,it makes me eat like a hog and have some really weird dreams. Thanks for the reply.

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@kbmayo

I'd be interested to know that, too. My doctor — my GP — put me on 150mg sustained release Wellbutrin almost two weeks ago when I told him at my annual exam about the anxiety and depression coming back after I'd been off venlafaxine about 4 months, and it's helped a lot so far. (The anxiety was especially crippling.) Things aren't perfect, but they're better. I've had several friends die in the last month, which has been really tough emotionally, and the winter where I live has been especially hard. He's very willing to up the dose to 300mg if I think it's necessary, but I want to wait until I've recovered some from these life events before I do that. (I can't take SSRIs; I tried them years ago, before Effexor, and felt like I was coming out of my skin. That's why my psychiatrist at the time put me on Effexor.) I've also been taking water-soluble CBD oil twice a day, and that seems to help a bit, too. (My doc didn't recommend that; a friend suggested it because she was able to substitute that for the Prozac she'd been taking.) I've also been reading books on overcoming anxiety and trying to do what they suggest, which has helped, too.

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I take lorazepam right now but it doesn't stick with during the day and does very little even when the anxiety is ramped up. Clozepam is the same way. I need something that sticks with me through out the day. I also take remeron but it doesn't help at all. Makes me eat like a hog and dream weird dreams though.

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@ahnjdb92

I reaaly appreciate the different circumstances and how everyone is so different. I have been on effexor 225 for years. Due to ins problems, my GP recommended Wellbutrin. Altjough I heard about tapering of course I was too arrogant to think it applied to me. I went to 150mg effexor for one week and then switched to welbutrin (low does). Two days just nauses but now can barely function.

Always feel like I am in a dense fog, dizzy, and in my 90s. excessive crying, nauses, can’t get a good quality of sleep, night sweats, arm and leg tingles and the trembling atnight. Cut off caffeine as it makes me more nausea. Can muster up some energy for a few hours a day. How long will this last? I really need some good advice.

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I’m afraid I don’t have advice but can totally relate to how you feel. On day 2 of reducing my dose and I’m a mess! After not being able to cry for 18mths I’m tearful and the brain zaps are unbearable! Also feeling very anxious and panicky which is something I’ve not experienced before! How long will I be like this!!!???

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