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

@lisabee

I have been on only 37.5 Effexor for over a year and stopped taking it a week ago after my doctor said it was ok to just stop. I have had headache, ears ringing, dizziness, nausea, sleeplessness, and a couple of crying meltdowns. I’m surprised such a low dosage has affected me so much. Any ideas on how long this should last? Any suggestions on things to do to help?

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Some things I have tried and some suggestions I have read (on other sites) is to perhaps restart the 37.5 but split it over the day. I have found that taking 1/2 caplet at 8a and 1/2 caplet at 8p keeps the side effects at bay, but as @panewdayphyl stated every situation is different. I have read that some folks dose down by skipping a day (taking the pill every other day) and then very slowly increasing the days that you don’t take it (take day 1, skip day 2 &3, take day 4, etc.). As every body is different, chemicals work differently for each of us. What one person does, may not work for you….hence so many suggestions out there. If there is any trend with this pill it’s DON’T JUST STOP TAKING IT! You know your body and how you should feel. I cannot stress enough how important it is to talk with a professional who understands and can support your withdrawal from this drug and is open and supportive of adjusting the med so you can reduce the withdrawal from it. I hope this helps 🙂

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@footballref2

I stopped taking Effexor XR 450mg 13 days ago with no withdrawal symptoms other than being tired but was tired when taking it. My counselor of 3.5 years left that state and the her office had no one who was experienced in severe PTSD, panic attacks, high anxiety due being hospital Chaplain (pediatrics) for 24 years, responder with Red Cross for 9/11, Katrina, Alabama tornadoes and air plane crash. To much death. Couldn’t find anyone qualified/willing to accept Medicare as I’m on percent disability. My question is when do the symptoms begin? Is it possible not to have any.

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Hi, @footballref2 — just wanted to check in with you and see how your stopping the Effexor XR 450 mg went overall? Did any withdrawal symptoms ever start?

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I wish I had an answer to your question. I was on Effexor 75mg. for at lest 10 years. My 1st attempt to stop this drug failed and the doctor put me back on them. (I should have changed doctor then) After studying and researching the side effects of this drug, I decided to try to stop again. I did not seek a doctor’s advice. I reduced the amount taken daily very slowly. I started with 1 bead reduction every week. I took about 9 months to do this. You would think that this was enough time for my brain to rewire. It wasn’t. I stopped taking Effexor completely November 24, 2017. I started taking 400 mgs of SAMe daily. I took this for 5 weeks and started having anxiety attacks. After checking the side effects of this drug, I stopped taking it cold turkey. I should have done more research on SAMe. Now I’m a bundle of emotions – crying over nearly everything, depressed and anxious and extreme fatigue. I don’t know what to do. It is just awful. My research continues. Some doctors believe that depression is the result of brain inflammation. If you have an autoimmune disease, it is caused by inflammation. I have arthritis & psoriasis. I have been drinking a lot of tea echinacea plus & Tulsi Sleep. these teas help me to relax a bit. Exercise has not helped much. I have increased my omega 3, but haven’t seen any improvement. I also take a small drop of melatonin under my tongue before I go to bed. I don’t think I ever had a brain zap, but did experience dizziness. I also take a B-12 supplement and make sure I get other B supplements too.

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I’m 70 years old. I’ve been taking Effexor (venlafaxine) since 2003. I tried going off of it a few times and ended up right back on it. I’m taking 150mg right now and today will be my first day trying to weaning myself off again. I plan to take it very slow. My doctor suggests decreasing the dosage by 37.5 for a few months to see how that goes. I feel like that may even be too much too fast. I’m truly scared to death to do this knowing full well what I’m in for. My husband and I have our own business and its going pretty well. I hope that my withdrawal doesn’t interfere too much with my work day. I’ve been reading many of these posts and no one has expressed how the withdrawal affected their jobs. Would be very interested to hear about that aspect.

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I found another website that is helpful. It is: forums.webmd.com. There is information regarding taking Omega 3, ginger and eliminating sugar from your diet. I don’t know how Omega 3’s help in the withdrawal of effexor. I had a prescription renewal for venlafaxine. The pharmacy told me they had it ready for me and the cost for a 3 month’s supply was $141. I refused the prescription. I was surprised at the cost, so when I got home, I checked the formulary from the insurance company. Venlafaxine was moved to a tier 4 – non-preferred drug. This makes me wonder if some part of the medical world has finally become aware of how dangerous this drug really is. Continue to research this most serious problem. We must speak out about the dangers of anti-depressants and demand the medical community use effective alternative treatments in treating depression. More research needs to be done on this complex problem.

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@arachel

I’m 70 years old. I’ve been taking Effexor (venlafaxine) since 2003. I tried going off of it a few times and ended up right back on it. I’m taking 150mg right now and today will be my first day trying to weaning myself off again. I plan to take it very slow. My doctor suggests decreasing the dosage by 37.5 for a few months to see how that goes. I feel like that may even be too much too fast. I’m truly scared to death to do this knowing full well what I’m in for. My husband and I have our own business and its going pretty well. I hope that my withdrawal doesn’t interfere too much with my work day. I’ve been reading many of these posts and no one has expressed how the withdrawal affected their jobs. Would be very interested to hear about that aspect.

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Good luck

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@arachel

I’m 70 years old. I’ve been taking Effexor (venlafaxine) since 2003. I tried going off of it a few times and ended up right back on it. I’m taking 150mg right now and today will be my first day trying to weaning myself off again. I plan to take it very slow. My doctor suggests decreasing the dosage by 37.5 for a few months to see how that goes. I feel like that may even be too much too fast. I’m truly scared to death to do this knowing full well what I’m in for. My husband and I have our own business and its going pretty well. I hope that my withdrawal doesn’t interfere too much with my work day. I’ve been reading many of these posts and no one has expressed how the withdrawal affected their jobs. Would be very interested to hear about that aspect.

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I have been weaning off this med now for about 5 yrs. I too was on 150mg and I took it slow, slow, slow. if your not on the XR you should be able to cut your caplets into quarters. That worked for me to slowly wean down of over a longer period of time. As for it affecting my work, as I weaned so slowly, I didn’t notice any negatives from the weaning. As I have stated before, everyone’s body and needs differ, so only you can know how the dosing down is affecting your behavior, attitude, thoughts, memory, etc. I hope the best for you as you start this journey and hope you find more clarity and happiness 🙂

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I found this website to be very helpful and informative about the positive effects of Omega 3 for Effexor withdrawals http://www.theroadback.org/effexor.aspx

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This is a MUST read for anyone contemplating weening off of Effexor. I am going to share it with my psychiatrist in hopes that she better understand how truly difficult this drug is to escape from. Thank you for the valuable information.

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@lilmac44

I found another website that is helpful. It is: forums.webmd.com. There is information regarding taking Omega 3, ginger and eliminating sugar from your diet. I don’t know how Omega 3’s help in the withdrawal of effexor. I had a prescription renewal for venlafaxine. The pharmacy told me they had it ready for me and the cost for a 3 month’s supply was $141. I refused the prescription. I was surprised at the cost, so when I got home, I checked the formulary from the insurance company. Venlafaxine was moved to a tier 4 – non-preferred drug. This makes me wonder if some part of the medical world has finally become aware of how dangerous this drug really is. Continue to research this most serious problem. We must speak out about the dangers of anti-depressants and demand the medical community use effective alternative treatments in treating depression. More research needs to be done on this complex problem.

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@lilmac44

I never realized how fortunate I was that Effexor didn’t work for me. I hope that doctors are beginning to realize how terrible withdrawal is and that they’re becoming less inclined to prescribe it.

While it’s true that antidepressants carry risks, many of us are alive and functioning because of them. I hope that the opioid scare doesn’t morph into an antidepressant scare, and people who are greatly benefitted by them will have unreasonably limited access to them. I hope that, as long as Wellbutrin works for me, I won’t be forced by politics or public paranoia to cut back on my dosage. The same thing is true for the other psychotropics I take. As is true for opiates, we need to maintain a balanced approach to their use.

Jim

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Hi, I have been slowly withdrawing from effexor for months. I went from 200 down to 37.5 over three months. I was at 37.5 for a month and now I went completely off four days ago. I’m shaky, sweaty or cold and can’t sleep. How long will this last??

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