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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@msrubi52

My doc just prescribed Effexor. Wellbutrin wasn’t effective for my depression and increased anxiety (and weight, go figure). Since I discontinued wb last year I’ve had stent placement and have to take Plavix. SSRIs are out of the running so my options are limited. I’ve read multiple horror stories about withdrawals from Effexor and stories of success. I guess I’m curious as to why any of you who discontinued it, chose to do so? If it works, shouldn’t it be forever? TIA

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@msrubi52 I started taking anti-depresssnts after having a stroke 11 years ago. The stroke caused a complete personality change in me and I was extremely emotional and constantly agitated. I started with Paxil, then Celexa, then Effexor (generic form). The anti-depressants did help a lot with the emotional part but not quite as well for the aggitation. I would also have outbursts of crying &/or laughing at the weirdest times for no reason. The anti-depressants helped with that too. After being on Effexor for the last 8 years I felt it was actually making me feel worse and when I tried to increase the dose I started sweating profusely. So we decided to try Wellbutrin recently. My doctor weaned me off the Effexor over a month’s time and added the Wellbutrin during my last week of 37.5mg Effexor. On day 3 of no Effexor I started having horrible withdrawals. After a couple days I decided if I was going to go through these withdrawals I would go off the Wellbutrin too (had only been taking 1 week). I really want to see if I can handle life without the anti-depressants. Today is day 19 of no anti-depressants and for the first time I’m not badly dizzy. The withdrawals from Effexor are horrible to say the least. In my opinion, this experience has made me think twice about having to go on them again. However, I will make that decision next month when I see my doctor again. I just know that if I must go back on them I will never go off again and that doesn’t make me happy. I’m trying to make diet changes and some other changes in hopes of helping my issues but not sure what will happen. There are others whose depression is much worse than mine and the anti-depressants help them greatly. I am happy for them! I am just so skeptical now after seeing how these meds truly effect us in the long scheme of things. Sorry for my ‘book’, just wanted to explain my journey a little.

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@msrubi52

My doc just prescribed Effexor. Wellbutrin wasn’t effective for my depression and increased anxiety (and weight, go figure). Since I discontinued wb last year I’ve had stent placement and have to take Plavix. SSRIs are out of the running so my options are limited. I’ve read multiple horror stories about withdrawals from Effexor and stories of success. I guess I’m curious as to why any of you who discontinued it, chose to do so? If it works, shouldn’t it be forever? TIA

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@msrubi52

I only took Effexor long enough to know that it wasn't working for me, so I don't have the experience to help you, but I've read many posts here from people who have suffered various side effects from taking Effexor, not to mention the withdrawal. If you'll browse through the comments, I think you'll find quite a few accounts in answer to your questions.

It sounds like it's a medication to be avoided, but each person is different, and responds to meds in many different ways. I hope you learn enough to help you make an informed decision.

Jim

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Hello, everyone:
I just joined the group a few moments ago so this is my very first post. I, too, have been on Effexor XR for an extended period of time (20 years) and am so glad to have found this group. It is heartening to know I am not the only one who has experienced these God-awful side effects and has tried several times to switch, taper off, or go cold turkey. Blessings on you all and keep on keeping on!

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@msrubi52

My doc just prescribed Effexor. Wellbutrin wasn’t effective for my depression and increased anxiety (and weight, go figure). Since I discontinued wb last year I’ve had stent placement and have to take Plavix. SSRIs are out of the running so my options are limited. I’ve read multiple horror stories about withdrawals from Effexor and stories of success. I guess I’m curious as to why any of you who discontinued it, chose to do so? If it works, shouldn’t it be forever? TIA

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@lalyfa all the antidepressants have some side effects, weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. I spoke to a client today who I know takes Effexor and she was very honest. she said it was prescribed after a suicide attempt, been on in 10 years and she said she spoke to her doctor about staying on in forever. I asked her why and she said “I just feel like I’m a nicer person I enjoy life more I enjoy being around people I’m not angry and it makes me just want to be nice to people.” which I totally get it because I’m feeling quite the opposite, very angry and very hostile irritable and the anxiety just makes all that worse. my options are really limited here so I guess I really have no choice but to try this.

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@msrubi52

My doc just prescribed Effexor. Wellbutrin wasn’t effective for my depression and increased anxiety (and weight, go figure). Since I discontinued wb last year I’ve had stent placement and have to take Plavix. SSRIs are out of the running so my options are limited. I’ve read multiple horror stories about withdrawals from Effexor and stories of success. I guess I’m curious as to why any of you who discontinued it, chose to do so? If it works, shouldn’t it be forever? TIA

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Hi, I was also prescribed Effexor recently. Although I hear so much about withdrawal it is working very well for me. I feel like my old self for the first time in a long time. It was just he easiest medication change I ever had. I had tried numerous other meds after my Celexa stopped working. My husband was switched from Effexor to Cymbalta in the past few months and it was done very slowly and he had minor side effects. He was on it for 15 years. I think you need a real good Dr who knows how to titrate your meds. Hopefully I will continue the feel good. Wish me luck!

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@msrubi52

My doc just prescribed Effexor. Wellbutrin wasn’t effective for my depression and increased anxiety (and weight, go figure). Since I discontinued wb last year I’ve had stent placement and have to take Plavix. SSRIs are out of the running so my options are limited. I’ve read multiple horror stories about withdrawals from Effexor and stories of success. I guess I’m curious as to why any of you who discontinued it, chose to do so? If it works, shouldn’t it be forever? TIA

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@vdandy I do wish you good luck with the Effexor. It's nice to hear a positive story about it, it seems to have been such a negative experience for so many.
JK

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Hello, @livingwiththechallenge2018. Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like you've had a lot of awful side effects with trying to taper, switch or quit venlafaxine (Effexor XR).

How is this medication working for you symptom-wise right now?

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Currently experiencing Venaflaxine withdrawl symptoms. Confusion, outbreaks of uncontrollable crying, dizziness, REALLY slow cognitive processes… Have been on Sertraline 100 mg/day and Venaflaxine 150mg/day for several years. Really want to face the music and deal with my anxiety and depression without medication if possible. Started weaning myself off both meds. Reduced Sertraline to 50 mg/day for four weeks, then reduced Venaflaxine to 75mg/day for four weeks, then stopped the sertraline completely for four weeks and just this week stopped the last of the Venaflaxine. MAJOR mistake, I believe. I am almost hallucinating. Dizziness, period uncontrollable weeping, confusion… Surprisingly, no anxiety or depression (original diagnosis). Overall the worst is just this incredible cognitive sluggishness. As a public figure addressing groups regularly 4-5 times/week. This is going to be a problem. I hope to be able to see my GP (prescribing DR) this week. This discussion thread has helped immensely to process my confusion…

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@jitegemea

Currently experiencing Venaflaxine withdrawl symptoms. Confusion, outbreaks of uncontrollable crying, dizziness, REALLY slow cognitive processes… Have been on Sertraline 100 mg/day and Venaflaxine 150mg/day for several years. Really want to face the music and deal with my anxiety and depression without medication if possible. Started weaning myself off both meds. Reduced Sertraline to 50 mg/day for four weeks, then reduced Venaflaxine to 75mg/day for four weeks, then stopped the sertraline completely for four weeks and just this week stopped the last of the Venaflaxine. MAJOR mistake, I believe. I am almost hallucinating. Dizziness, period uncontrollable weeping, confusion… Surprisingly, no anxiety or depression (original diagnosis). Overall the worst is just this incredible cognitive sluggishness. As a public figure addressing groups regularly 4-5 times/week. This is going to be a problem. I hope to be able to see my GP (prescribing DR) this week. This discussion thread has helped immensely to process my confusion…

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Hi Effexor comes in 37 mg that might be Better than stoppIng all together. Hope you can get to a Dr right away or maybe he/she could call the script in, not sure though. Hope you feel better.

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Hi all …. it's been awhile since I've been here. I had a real shock today and frankly don't know how I'll pay it. I had to renew 4 Rx's today, and the total for all 4 is over $200. The two highest ones are Effexor (90 tablets-2 a day), and Wellbutrin (90 tablets – 1 a day.). I can't afford this and these are the generics.I already live in low income housing and am just making it, and now these prices have skyrocketed!
abby

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@amberpep

Hi all …. it's been awhile since I've been here. I had a real shock today and frankly don't know how I'll pay it. I had to renew 4 Rx's today, and the total for all 4 is over $200. The two highest ones are Effexor (90 tablets-2 a day), and Wellbutrin (90 tablets – 1 a day.). I can't afford this and these are the generics.I already live in low income housing and am just making it, and now these prices have skyrocketed!
abby

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@amberpep have you looked at GoodRx? Not sure where you live but without insurance generic Wellbutrin, even the XL is under $30 and the generic Effexor is under &15 . You might want to check on there and shop around. Good luck!

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@jitegemea

Currently experiencing Venaflaxine withdrawl symptoms. Confusion, outbreaks of uncontrollable crying, dizziness, REALLY slow cognitive processes… Have been on Sertraline 100 mg/day and Venaflaxine 150mg/day for several years. Really want to face the music and deal with my anxiety and depression without medication if possible. Started weaning myself off both meds. Reduced Sertraline to 50 mg/day for four weeks, then reduced Venaflaxine to 75mg/day for four weeks, then stopped the sertraline completely for four weeks and just this week stopped the last of the Venaflaxine. MAJOR mistake, I believe. I am almost hallucinating. Dizziness, period uncontrollable weeping, confusion… Surprisingly, no anxiety or depression (original diagnosis). Overall the worst is just this incredible cognitive sluggishness. As a public figure addressing groups regularly 4-5 times/week. This is going to be a problem. I hope to be able to see my GP (prescribing DR) this week. This discussion thread has helped immensely to process my confusion…

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Go to the emergency room at a hospital close to you. You should only be withdrawing under supervision of your physician or pharmacist. They will be able to help you.

Gail B
Volunteer Mentor

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@msrubi52

My doc just prescribed Effexor. Wellbutrin wasn’t effective for my depression and increased anxiety (and weight, go figure). Since I discontinued wb last year I’ve had stent placement and have to take Plavix. SSRIs are out of the running so my options are limited. I’ve read multiple horror stories about withdrawals from Effexor and stories of success. I guess I’m curious as to why any of you who discontinued it, chose to do so? If it works, shouldn’t it be forever? TIA

Jump to this post

@vdandy

How long were you on Celexa before it stopped working? I have been taking it (Citalopram) 6 years now, and since withdrawing from a year on Tramadol after surgery, it doesn't seem to be working as well as it did. I have been having periodic anxiety attacks in the morning. At first I just thought they were from withdrawal, but they are continuing. So, I'm wondering if the Tramadol messed with the effectiveness of the Citalopram. I'll talk with my doctor, but I want to do a little research first. I have really liked taking the Citalopram as it changed my life for the better.

Thanks,
Gail B
Volunteer Mentor

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@jitegemea

Currently experiencing Venaflaxine withdrawl symptoms. Confusion, outbreaks of uncontrollable crying, dizziness, REALLY slow cognitive processes… Have been on Sertraline 100 mg/day and Venaflaxine 150mg/day for several years. Really want to face the music and deal with my anxiety and depression without medication if possible. Started weaning myself off both meds. Reduced Sertraline to 50 mg/day for four weeks, then reduced Venaflaxine to 75mg/day for four weeks, then stopped the sertraline completely for four weeks and just this week stopped the last of the Venaflaxine. MAJOR mistake, I believe. I am almost hallucinating. Dizziness, period uncontrollable weeping, confusion… Surprisingly, no anxiety or depression (original diagnosis). Overall the worst is just this incredible cognitive sluggishness. As a public figure addressing groups regularly 4-5 times/week. This is going to be a problem. I hope to be able to see my GP (prescribing DR) this week. This discussion thread has helped immensely to process my confusion…

Jump to this post

@jitegemea I am 3 weeks totally off venlafaxine after weaning off for a month. I too had bad dizziness, uncontrollable crying, slow cognitive processes, etc. Its horrible. The last 2 days have been my best so far. Not much dizziness but still extremely emotional & still times of confusion. However, I have not had any hallucinations which sounds pretty scary. I’d probably head to the emergency room if it happened to me. My doctor gave me a 10 day supply of Ativan to help with the withdrawals but I only use it if I’m having a very bad day. It does help a lot.

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@amberpep

Hi all …. it's been awhile since I've been here. I had a real shock today and frankly don't know how I'll pay it. I had to renew 4 Rx's today, and the total for all 4 is over $200. The two highest ones are Effexor (90 tablets-2 a day), and Wellbutrin (90 tablets – 1 a day.). I can't afford this and these are the generics.I already live in low income housing and am just making it, and now these prices have skyrocketed!
abby

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@amberpep I have heard that some drug companies will help with people who truly cannot afford the medications. You should ask your pharmacist about that. Obviously you need to supply income information, etc., but it would worth it if it means the difference in being able to get the drugs you need or not.
JK

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