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

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

@grandmar

@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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@ GrandmaR Thanks Ronnie! I totally appreciate it – my gut reaction is 'hey get off this junk asap because the longer you are on it the worse it will be' but it seems after reading through many of these posts and other sources, doing it slower than I have been may be necessary, I already went back from 75mg to 150 last night, strange the 225 to 150 drop didn't hit me as hard so there must be some threshold for different folks. Happy weekend to you as well!

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@bd1323

@ GrandmaR Thanks Ronnie! I totally appreciate it – my gut reaction is 'hey get off this junk asap because the longer you are on it the worse it will be' but it seems after reading through many of these posts and other sources, doing it slower than I have been may be necessary, I already went back from 75mg to 150 last night, strange the 225 to 150 drop didn't hit me as hard so there must be some threshold for different folks. Happy weekend to you as well!

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@bd1323
I am so HAPPY you decided to go slowly!!!!
Ronnie

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@searchgirl

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

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Me too! Hence the name: Canada Anj. lol. I"m in Sask. 🙂

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@searchgirl

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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Just go extremely slowly. I was on for over 20 years. Your doctor is a jerk. I’ve been weened off completely since February with not too many bad side effects. It’s only been a few months, I’m dealing with a lot of emotional stressors, but truthfully, I am happy with my decision to ween off. And your body can fix itself. Again, your doctor is a jerk for saying that. I have a jerk doctor too. Not my previous docs who encouraged me (because this process took 18 months!) but my new one who said “ oh, don’t do that!”

Anyway, to be honest, today (if you read my posts) I was having a hard time and considered going back on. Right this minute, I feel good. As long as I have these minutes, there is Hope!

JUST DONT RUSH IT! Stay in this forum. It’s very supportive and will help. And if you go slowly enough, you may have very few withdrawal symptoms. Which is what you want 🙂

Stay strong!

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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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@secretwhitepop

Just go extremely slowly. I was on for over 20 years. Your doctor is a jerk. I’ve been weened off completely since February with not too many bad side effects. It’s only been a few months, I’m dealing with a lot of emotional stressors, but truthfully, I am happy with my decision to ween off. And your body can fix itself. Again, your doctor is a jerk for saying that. I have a jerk doctor too. Not my previous docs who encouraged me (because this process took 18 months!) but my new one who said “ oh, don’t do that!”

Anyway, to be honest, today (if you read my posts) I was having a hard time and considered going back on. Right this minute, I feel good. As long as I have these minutes, there is Hope!

JUST DONT RUSH IT! Stay in this forum. It’s very supportive and will help. And if you go slowly enough, you may have very few withdrawal symptoms. Which is what you want 🙂

Stay strong!

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You are such a brave and fierce soul. Your setback might be your strength so that’s nice news that you made it through and stayed free! i’m still terrified my ween’s gonna hit me any minute so I’m working hard at what I need to do to stay present. I’ve got a long way to go soooooooo…..here we go.

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@lauren123

@brightwings This is a lovely statement that really triggers my heart energy. I often think of how life might end, and wonder if people who don't have chronic pain can ever possibly understand. Thank you for your acknowledgement of how this family has been supportive. You are full of grace and love. Wishing you a painless journey.

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@brightwings, and others. I hope there will be more conversations bout this issue on this blog. Thank you.

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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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Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! You must do this at the advice and consent of your doctor. There are serious side effects of going cold turkey, not to mention that you might be mentally impaired doing it this way. Please, please, please call your doctor

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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.

Jump to this post

@lisa0878
From 37.5 to 0 is a BIG drop. Logically, you would think the hardest part is over and that jumping off at 37.5mg would be easy … but this process of getting off Effexor isn't linear–the withdrawal symptoms can get much worse when reducing at lower levels, especially if you make large reductions. You've worked hard to get down to 37.5; getting impatient now isn't usually successful AND can be unpleasant.

Here're some thoughts by a frequent poster to this thread, @jakedduck1, "I’d reduce [your] current dose by 5-10% every 2-4 weeks. 37.5 -10% = 3.75 to 33.75mg, then 10% of 33.75 [33.75 -10% = 30.38mg]. Don’t decrease by the same original amount [3.75] because that will increase the percentage of the taper the closer you get to zero and that’s when the taper should be at an even lower percentage especially if there are any side effects …. Maybe you could taper faster, who knows? Even a 5-10% taper isn’t a guarantee that withdrawal symptoms will definitely be avoided, but the chance is greatly reduced."

I personally was on tablets–they were tiny, but easy enough to chip off slivers at the beginning and the end of my taper and cut into halves and quarters in the middle. Other folks count the beads in their tablets and guesstimate how many to remove at each taper. You can look for a compounding pharmacy to make specific tapered doses; a commenter on another site who was getting off Ativan used Johnson Compounding and Wellness in Waltham, MA.

Even though you have klonopin on hand, mixing drugs willy-nilly is not a good idea. Can you go to your doctor and ask for tapering help? You would need a prescription if you want to use a compounding pharmacy, or you can ask about a "Prozac bridge" to soften the blow when withdrawing from a short half-life drug like Effexor.

P.S. You don't mention how long you were on Effexor. Be aware that this stuff gets stored in your body fat. If you've been on it for years, the more you've tucked away in nooks and crannies. Your body will find those stores and use it–so once you've tapered off, you might think you're off Effexor completely, but you're really not. This is another good reason to go really SLOOOOW during the final stages of tapering.

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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.

Jump to this post

@lisa0878
First off, Welcome!
I hope you have taken the time to read the variety of postings regarding this issue.
If you have, you will see that without exception, anyone who has gone cold turkey has had some sort of withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms started immediately or after some time.
These symptoms were long lasting or lasted a shorter period of time.
These symptoms were livable or landed people in the hospital.
There is NO way of know HOW you will react to going cold turkey other than YOU WILL HAVE WITHDRAWALS!!!
Regardless of how long you have been on this drug, how much you have been taking or what you have done so far, YOU WILL STILL HAVE WITHDRAWALS!
By going VERY, VERY SLOWLY, you lessen the chance of having severe withdrawals, if any.

I reduced by 25% over almost 6 months!!!
I am not sure if I am having any withdrawal symptoms.
I have always been a horrible sleeper, but now it is worse.
Withdrawaly????
I don't know??!!??!!
Reduction of 25% was my first goal of reduction.
Since I've reached this goal, I've stopped reducing.
I want my body to get used to this dosage before I continue to make another 25% reduction.
(Beside, with summer here {I live in Florida}, trips are usually in the plans and I don't want to take a chance and be away JUST IN CASE I DO WITHDRAW).
In addition, I have had GREAT SUCCESS with Effexor, I have NO INTENTIONS of coming off of it completely.
My goal is to take what I consider to be a reasonable doage.
I was at 300 mg (2-75mg in the morning and evening) trying to get down to 150 mg.
Depending on how that works, I'll see if I'll go down further.

Good luck to you!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Liked by texasduchess

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@texasduchess

@lisa0878
From 37.5 to 0 is a BIG drop. Logically, you would think the hardest part is over and that jumping off at 37.5mg would be easy … but this process of getting off Effexor isn't linear–the withdrawal symptoms can get much worse when reducing at lower levels, especially if you make large reductions. You've worked hard to get down to 37.5; getting impatient now isn't usually successful AND can be unpleasant.

Here're some thoughts by a frequent poster to this thread, @jakedduck1, "I’d reduce [your] current dose by 5-10% every 2-4 weeks. 37.5 -10% = 3.75 to 33.75mg, then 10% of 33.75 [33.75 -10% = 30.38mg]. Don’t decrease by the same original amount [3.75] because that will increase the percentage of the taper the closer you get to zero and that’s when the taper should be at an even lower percentage especially if there are any side effects …. Maybe you could taper faster, who knows? Even a 5-10% taper isn’t a guarantee that withdrawal symptoms will definitely be avoided, but the chance is greatly reduced."

I personally was on tablets–they were tiny, but easy enough to chip off slivers at the beginning and the end of my taper and cut into halves and quarters in the middle. Other folks count the beads in their tablets and guesstimate how many to remove at each taper. You can look for a compounding pharmacy to make specific tapered doses; a commenter on another site who was getting off Ativan used Johnson Compounding and Wellness in Waltham, MA.

Even though you have klonopin on hand, mixing drugs willy-nilly is not a good idea. Can you go to your doctor and ask for tapering help? You would need a prescription if you want to use a compounding pharmacy, or you can ask about a "Prozac bridge" to soften the blow when withdrawing from a short half-life drug like Effexor.

P.S. You don't mention how long you were on Effexor. Be aware that this stuff gets stored in your body fat. If you've been on it for years, the more you've tucked away in nooks and crannies. Your body will find those stores and use it–so once you've tapered off, you might think you're off Effexor completely, but you're really not. This is another good reason to go really SLOOOOW during the final stages of tapering.

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I also take the tablets.
They are much easier to break down than the capsules.
@lisa0878 , if you are taking the capsules, please read the posts about how each manufacturer has a different number of beads.
You don't want to remove the same number as others since yours might be different.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Liked by texasduchess

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Supposedly the withdrawals are much worse when you get to the lower doses. That might be because it gets more difficult to decrease by small amounts. I mean, say you get down to 2 beads. At some point you would have to take only one bead, that's a 50% drop. And seriously, there are people who cannot get off one bead. That thought is not one that I'm willing to entertain.
I am not advocating everyone just jump off their medication. There are safer ways, obviously, tapering.
There is just no way I would prolong the inevitable. Remember, I've been through this and worse, with neurontin. It was a year of hell but there were enough windows to give me hope.
Have you done well on effexor to the point where it's worth staying on it? What's your reason for wanting off? Those are 2 very important questiond.

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@grandmar

@lisa0878
First off, Welcome!
I hope you have taken the time to read the variety of postings regarding this issue.
If you have, you will see that without exception, anyone who has gone cold turkey has had some sort of withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms started immediately or after some time.
These symptoms were long lasting or lasted a shorter period of time.
These symptoms were livable or landed people in the hospital.
There is NO way of know HOW you will react to going cold turkey other than YOU WILL HAVE WITHDRAWALS!!!
Regardless of how long you have been on this drug, how much you have been taking or what you have done so far, YOU WILL STILL HAVE WITHDRAWALS!
By going VERY, VERY SLOWLY, you lessen the chance of having severe withdrawals, if any.

I reduced by 25% over almost 6 months!!!
I am not sure if I am having any withdrawal symptoms.
I have always been a horrible sleeper, but now it is worse.
Withdrawaly????
I don't know??!!??!!
Reduction of 25% was my first goal of reduction.
Since I've reached this goal, I've stopped reducing.
I want my body to get used to this dosage before I continue to make another 25% reduction.
(Beside, with summer here {I live in Florida}, trips are usually in the plans and I don't want to take a chance and be away JUST IN CASE I DO WITHDRAW).
In addition, I have had GREAT SUCCESS with Effexor, I have NO INTENTIONS of coming off of it completely.
My goal is to take what I consider to be a reasonable doage.
I was at 300 mg (2-75mg in the morning and evening) trying to get down to 150 mg.
Depending on how that works, I'll see if I'll go down further.

Good luck to you!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Guys, my problem wasn’t with the head spins and stuff. I feel depressed again. It’s not lifting. What is the bridge again? Prozac? I think I need something.

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@secretwhitepop

Guys, my problem wasn’t with the head spins and stuff. I feel depressed again. It’s not lifting. What is the bridge again? Prozac? I think I need something.

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@secretwhitepop
Susan, as I recall, you have a lot of stressors in your life right now–your mom's Alzheimers, dad's passing a year ago, you moved, etc. You got off Effexor because you wanted to see who your "baseline" self was. It IS possible that you do need to go on something, but you also said you really didn't want to do that. You mentioned taking positive steps such as gardening, moving your desk to face a view and natural light and taking sub-lingual Vitamin B. It can take us 2-3 years to get our brains back to functioning well without Effexor (you were on Effexor for 20 years). The good news is we're moving into summer (more light for longer and more opportunities to get out and walk, or just enjoy outdoor activities).

I don't subscribe to ayurvedic disciplines myself, but there are some commonsense suggestions in these two articles–
https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/finding-joy-mind-body-spirit-guide#1
https://medium.com/@ayurdhamahgurgaon/effective-and-safe-ayurvedic-cure-for-depression-4cbf4b09d056

Here's an article about natural supplements (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314421.php). I take l-methylfolate (a prescription B vitamin), L-tryptophan (Lidtk* brand), Solg*ar GABA, omega-3s and ashwaganda.

Liked by secretwhitepop

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@texasduchess

@secretwhitepop
Susan, as I recall, you have a lot of stressors in your life right now–your mom's Alzheimers, dad's passing a year ago, you moved, etc. You got off Effexor because you wanted to see who your "baseline" self was. It IS possible that you do need to go on something, but you also said you really didn't want to do that. You mentioned taking positive steps such as gardening, moving your desk to face a view and natural light and taking sub-lingual Vitamin B. It can take us 2-3 years to get our brains back to functioning well without Effexor (you were on Effexor for 20 years). The good news is we're moving into summer (more light for longer and more opportunities to get out and walk, or just enjoy outdoor activities).

I don't subscribe to ayurvedic disciplines myself, but there are some commonsense suggestions in these two articles–
https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/finding-joy-mind-body-spirit-guide#1
https://medium.com/@ayurdhamahgurgaon/effective-and-safe-ayurvedic-cure-for-depression-4cbf4b09d056

Here's an article about natural supplements (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314421.php). I take l-methylfolate (a prescription B vitamin), L-tryptophan (Lidtk* brand), Solg*ar GABA, omega-3s and ashwaganda.

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Thank you. Every day is a new day. And I suppose it’s one day at a time. I will read the articles you provided. Perhaps something in there will provide “lift”. In the past, I remember St John’s Wort helping. Is that still a thing? I will read the articles now. :). Again, thank you. I guess I just want to make it stop, you know?

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