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

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@sandij

@secretwhitepop @bd1323 while it might be tempting to reinstate or to introduce another medication, give some thought to the fact that it is going to take quite a while to stabilize during and after tapering and then discontinuing all together. I am not saying that sometimes medication is not needed, but after having this experience as well as previous ones with other meds, I personally would be very hesitant about beginning a prescription medicine again. I'm not really certain that antidepressants and antianxiety medications are the answer for uncomfortable feelings. And who is to say what causes those feelings in the first place? I can only speak from my own experience. I was not in a major depressive state when I was originally placed on prozac, my problem was situational, and prozac was just what people did then. I believe that many doctors prescribe for their convenience..and why not? It is their business to prescribe medication. When therapists recommend a patient consider prescriptions, it may also be for their convenience and not necessarily what is best for the patient. The medications are there, if needed, as a last resort. If our goal is to stop feeling anxiety, depression, or any other emotion that we perceive as negative, where do we draw the line? And how do we make that determination between what emotions are acceptable and what aren't?
Case in point, the last time I was at the doctor they have begun doing some kind of "sadness questionnaire" I guess to determine if someone is suicidal or depressed. Well I would have completely failed that dumb thing if I had answered honestly, because of the circumstances in my life right now, but that doesn't mean I am suicidal or ready for the loony bin, it means I am in a bad spot that is temporary. And that I need to find my own coping mechanisms, not be put on a drug.
@bd1323 the general consensus is to taper very very slowly. My experience was that no matter how slow I went, I was still going to experience symptoms. It could also very well be that what I am experiencing are not symptoms caused by the taper but are due to other things going on in my body and in my life. I can only suggest listening closely to your own body and continuing to read about others experiences. As you said, knowing others who are in the same boat helps to verify that you are indeed not going crazy. (Or, "we are all mad here" as the Mad Hatter would say!!) Either way, we are kindred spirits trying to help one another walk home.
Have a great day,everyone!! Thanks for being here.

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Thanks. Yeah, since it’s only been since February, and since I am able to cope better when not in certain environments, as always, I try and stick it out just one more day. Everyday. And when I have those glimpses of happiness, I revel in them.

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@secretwhitepop those moments are most important.
I sent you a private message, by the way!

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@sandij

@secretwhitepop those moments are most important.
I sent you a private message, by the way!

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How do I find private messages? Haha!

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@secretwhitepop

How do I find private messages? Haha!

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@secretwhitepop there is a little icon at the top of the page that looks like a letter. Its to the right of the notification bell.

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@sandij

@secretwhitepop @bd1323 while it might be tempting to reinstate or to introduce another medication, give some thought to the fact that it is going to take quite a while to stabilize during and after tapering and then discontinuing all together. I am not saying that sometimes medication is not needed, but after having this experience as well as previous ones with other meds, I personally would be very hesitant about beginning a prescription medicine again. I'm not really certain that antidepressants and antianxiety medications are the answer for uncomfortable feelings. And who is to say what causes those feelings in the first place? I can only speak from my own experience. I was not in a major depressive state when I was originally placed on prozac, my problem was situational, and prozac was just what people did then. I believe that many doctors prescribe for their convenience..and why not? It is their business to prescribe medication. When therapists recommend a patient consider prescriptions, it may also be for their convenience and not necessarily what is best for the patient. The medications are there, if needed, as a last resort. If our goal is to stop feeling anxiety, depression, or any other emotion that we perceive as negative, where do we draw the line? And how do we make that determination between what emotions are acceptable and what aren't?
Case in point, the last time I was at the doctor they have begun doing some kind of "sadness questionnaire" I guess to determine if someone is suicidal or depressed. Well I would have completely failed that dumb thing if I had answered honestly, because of the circumstances in my life right now, but that doesn't mean I am suicidal or ready for the loony bin, it means I am in a bad spot that is temporary. And that I need to find my own coping mechanisms, not be put on a drug.
@bd1323 the general consensus is to taper very very slowly. My experience was that no matter how slow I went, I was still going to experience symptoms. It could also very well be that what I am experiencing are not symptoms caused by the taper but are due to other things going on in my body and in my life. I can only suggest listening closely to your own body and continuing to read about others experiences. As you said, knowing others who are in the same boat helps to verify that you are indeed not going crazy. (Or, "we are all mad here" as the Mad Hatter would say!!) Either way, we are kindred spirits trying to help one another walk home.
Have a great day,everyone!! Thanks for being here.

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Hi Sandi, Thanks for the thoughtful response, and I wholeheartedly agree – SSRIs and SNRIs for anxiety seem to me to be a bad choice, as a professional specializing in risk analysis for medical devices, I am kicking myself for not further researching these drugs prior to taking them. – I researched the potential side effects, but the withdrawal/dependency aspects were all downplayed and I didn't specifically look at that side. Having now done so – I would be extremely reluctant to try this route again. For first world countries we are in a unique situation in that drug approval and marketing does not require a risk/benefit analysis vs. other existing treatments, solely a safety and efficacy analysis (in addition we are the only country that allows direct to consumer advertising). A compilation of studies done of Venlafaxine and other SS/SNRIs (references were included but the site won't allow me to post URLs, google for the NIHs pubmed database article PMC1681629 and PMC6097846) show Hedges scores for efficacy vs. placebo in the low to mid 30% range in patients with GAD without MDD, this corresponds to a Probability of Benefit of only about 13% and the NNT score (number needed to treat for one positive outcome) is 12. Given the significant side effects of these drugs not only during withdrawal but when taking them and the low probability of improvement I am surprised that these drugs are often the first course of action. However with aggressive marketing, misleading claims, and heavy industry influence in national physicians groups I shouldn't be (google venlafaxine FDA warning letter). Best of luck to you and and everyone else on this forum!

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@searchgirl

I counted mine couple days ago and got 110 beads in my 37.5 mg. I’ll need to do the same

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That's weird. In my 75 mg capsules there are usually between 194 and 197 beads which works out to 97 or 98 beads each day. Perhaps they are made by a different company and made differently. I HAVE noticed that some of the beads are smaller.

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@jakedduck1

@canadaanj
Now remember, we’re not just talking slow here, we’re talking slooooooow.
Small percentages!!!
Good luck,
Jake

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haha….i uuuuunnnnnderstaaaaaand. lol. Thanks! 🙂

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@canadaanj

haha….i uuuuunnnnnderstaaaaaand. lol. Thanks! 🙂

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@canadaanj
lol
Jake

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The number of beads varies by manufacturer, also its recommended to count the bead in 3 or 4 capsules to come up with an average.

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To the moderators, it would be interesting and perhaps helpful if there were simple summary stats for posts on this topic (and ideally any other related to Effexor or withdrawal from SNRIs like Pristiq) that showed the number of unique users reporting symptoms – for those of us where the doc says "that's unusual" 🙂

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It's my experience that doctors look at anything "found on the internet" as suspect and hogwash. Even if it comes from a reputable source such as Mayo or NIH. Unless it's their idea.

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@canadaanj

That's weird. In my 75 mg capsules there are usually between 194 and 197 beads which works out to 97 or 98 beads each day. Perhaps they are made by a different company and made differently. I HAVE noticed that some of the beads are smaller.

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I’m in Canada so maybe there’s a difference…who knows!

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So, it’s day 6 of my wean and I’m not feeling much…..yet….. went to my doc and she was not happy with my decision but I’m going to chalk it up as a concerned doc. She said I might not be able to completely get off meds because I’ve been on too long…10 years. I’m doing it anyway. I expect to feel something but I’m also using my usual cbd with thc mix oil.

I’m very curious though how many weaned off Effexor successfully and are happy with their decision.

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@bd1323

Thanks everyone for the replies, I've learned and great deal reading here about others experiences, and it helped verify I'm not going crazy and the symptoms are to be expected 🙂 I'm still debating whether or not to do this quickly and get away from this drug or slow down the process and try it that way. Best of luck to you all!

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@bd1323
Hi!
I am sure you have gotten LOTS of replies, let me be another voice heard.
Even though we all react to meds differently and we all have different withdrawal symptoms, I believe most of us agree that going off the drug SLOWLY is the way to go.
The withdrawals can be HORRIBLE and land you in the hospital!
These withdrawals can happen at any time and last a long time.
There is always time to try something else.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take it slow!
Happy weekend!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@lisa0878

Hi everyone. I'm new here . Im needing some help. I have tapered myself down from 150mg of effexor to 37.5…I really wanna come off it. Should I just cold Turkey it now? I got a few klonopin left I was thinking that would help me get threw the hard times.

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Hi. Ask your dr- I feel. Each person has different levels in how they can handle going off meds. Some folks had dramatic ill effects. Be careful.

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