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

I’ll be 10 days off tomorrow and I feel great! More energy and not having any side effects after those first 5 days. I cry at little things but not in a bad way. It’s normal emotional things that can be cried at. It’s still weird because I ask myself at times if I took my meds but that is becoming less and I’m feeling free of this medicine. I’m so glad I made the decision to stop and never look back. It took me years of weening on my own with no set timetable until I finally felt like I was ready after being at 37.5 mg for a while. I never had anxiety or other issues and the reason I got on this medication was because of things happening in my life at the time.

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@jakedduck1

@bd1323
I believe your withdrawal symptoms are only going to get worse if you continue to make 50% cuts. Is getting off Effexor fast really worth the misery it’s causing? I hope the 50% cuts weren’t your doctors idea. These symptoms may not soon resolve either so just in case be prepared. I hope you slow down your taper for your own good.
Good luck and please taper SLOWLY!!!
Jake

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@jakeduck1
I agree with you 100%.
My new doc said that when I begin to reduce again, he wants to reduce by morning meds by 25%!
I know from experience, that is WAY TOO MUCH of a reduction!
Ronnie

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@bd1323

Thanks Jake, and yes was Dr.s idea – however from where I am standing if it is going to be miserable either way I'm leaning toward just getting it over with

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@bd1323
Good Morning,
Please do not take that attitude of just getting it over with. Withdrawal does NOT have to be so difficult if you are willing to take your time and do it VERY, VERY SLOWLY.
I certainly am NOT in the medical field, but I've been on Effexor for more years that I can remember.
I am not looking to get off this drug, just to reduce the dosage to a 'minimal' amount to keep my anxiety under control (whatever that amount may be).
I've been doing it at a snails pace.
I was taking 2-75 mg in the morning and at night.
It took me from November to about April to reduce my evening pills to 1-75 mg.
I've had NO withdrawal effects.
I am now staying on this dosage throughout the summer.
I have things going on and I don't want to reduce just in case I do have some withdrawal.
I am giving my body time to get used to this new dosage in the evening and after the summer, I will use my process to reduce my morning dosage to 1-75 mg, too.
Take it SLOW because the results can be dangerous it you go too quickly!

Good luck with your decision!
And remember, this is not liking yanking off a band-aid (as far as just getting over with it)
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@grandmar

@jakeduck1
I agree with you 100%.
My new doc said that when I begin to reduce again, he wants to reduce by morning meds by 25%!
I know from experience, that is WAY TOO MUCH of a reduction!
Ronnie

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@grandmar
I believe your absolutely right Ronnie. I wouldn’t chance a 25% cut either. Your way has been successful and withdrawal free. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? I don’t understand why a doctor would risk your well being by trying to change something that has worked so well. Although I can’t say your doctors way won’t work just as well but again, why take a chance with the unknown. I do believe it would be better to take Effexor daily but obviously you have shown there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You deserve a lot of credit and you certainly have my respect. Your showing others how to get off this medication withdrawal free. Patience and time equals a successful withdrawal free taper, seems like a no brainer to me.
Keep up the good work!!!
Jake

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@bd1323

Thanks Jake, and yes was Dr.s idea – however from where I am standing if it is going to be miserable either way I'm leaning toward just getting it over with

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@bd1323
It has been shown time and again that 50% cuts generally do not work, at least not for most patients. I don’t mean for this to sound cruel but withdrawals really are not necessary but an example of what happens when you take something away that you have made your brain dependent on. Your brain can’t adjust to the large abrupt changes your throwing at it. In my opinion if you want a smooth successful and effective taper you may need to increase your Effexor back to where you were symptom free and then reduce much much much slower. Your brain probably won’t even notice the SMALL! decreases and you’ll most likely be withdrawal symptom free.
Wishing you the best,
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@grandmar
I believe your absolutely right Ronnie. I wouldn’t chance a 25% cut either. Your way has been successful and withdrawal free. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? I don’t understand why a doctor would risk your well being by trying to change something that has worked so well. Although I can’t say your doctors way won’t work just as well but again, why take a chance with the unknown. I do believe it would be better to take Effexor daily but obviously you have shown there’s more than one way to skin a cat. You deserve a lot of credit and you certainly have my respect. Your showing others how to get off this medication withdrawal free. Patience and time equals a successful withdrawal free taper, seems like a no brainer to me.
Keep up the good work!!!
Jake

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Thanks Jake!
I think the doc will go along with my methods. Frankly, I am just going to a psychiatrst to get my meds.
Happy Friday!
Ronnie

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I have been on 37.5 mg/l for a year strictly for terrible hot flashes. Also on estrogen. Trying to go off the Effexor now. Doc thought stopping low dose would not be an issue. It's been 2 days and feeling like I have boat head. Anybody have this issue going off such a low dose???

Liked by grandmaR, Leonard

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@brownikl1

I have been on 37.5 mg/l for a year strictly for terrible hot flashes. Also on estrogen. Trying to go off the Effexor now. Doc thought stopping low dose would not be an issue. It's been 2 days and feeling like I have boat head. Anybody have this issue going off such a low dose???

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Yes, I did!!!!
I would suggest you go back on until you feel better THEN reduced slower. If you are using tablets, I'd cut them into fourths. Take a fourth away from the dosage for at least 3 weeks (longer if you feel even a little off). Then. Continue the process until you have finished and feel well. Don't rush, even on such a small dose.
I am not a medical person, just someone who reduced too quickly a long time ago and reducing now at a VERY SLOW PACE!

Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@brownikl1

I have been on 37.5 mg/l for a year strictly for terrible hot flashes. Also on estrogen. Trying to go off the Effexor now. Doc thought stopping low dose would not be an issue. It's been 2 days and feeling like I have boat head. Anybody have this issue going off such a low dose???

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@brownikl1
Good morning,
You might find someone here who stopped it withdraw free but I wouldn’t bet any money on it. This isn’t the type medication the vast majority of people can abruptly discontinue.
I’m not allowed to say what I think of your
doctor(?) so moving on….
Although I do agree that if you come off this medication properly which means SLOWLY, and that doesn’t mean 50% cuts like your doctor will probably suggest if s/he suggests any cuts at all. If you discontinue this medication slowly enough the chance of any withdrawal symptoms are so infinitesimally small I wouldn’t give it a second thought. People being impatient is what usually causes withdrawal symptoms. Speed is your enemy, discontinuation is NOT a quick process. Not if you want an unremarkable taper which I’m sure you do. There are some people who have no or little trouble stopping this medication but they are few. You have made your brain dependent on this drug which was easy. Discontinuing it can be just as easy provided you act responsibly and have some patience. You may need to restart your taper at 37.5mg or maybe a 3.75mg cut to 33.75mg which is a 10% decrease. If you continue on this path always decrease your dose by whatever percentage you choose, preferably 5-10% of your then current dose. For example, don’t decrease it by 5mg now and 5mg every month or so because eventually as you get closer to zero that decrease will eventually end up as a large percentage cut which is what you want to avoid. The time and effort you invest in quitting will be well worth it.
Hoping you have an uneventful taper,
Jake

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@grandmar

Yes, I did!!!!
I would suggest you go back on until you feel better THEN reduced slower. If you are using tablets, I'd cut them into fourths. Take a fourth away from the dosage for at least 3 weeks (longer if you feel even a little off). Then. Continue the process until you have finished and feel well. Don't rush, even on such a small dose.
I am not a medical person, just someone who reduced too quickly a long time ago and reducing now at a VERY SLOW PACE!

Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@brownikl
Ronnies method has been amazingly successful for her and represents approximately a 9.375% cut. Although
I must admit that stopping very slowly doesn’t always prevent withdrawal symptoms but it’s very uncommon when it doesn’t.
There is a person here who has been decreasing their dose by only half a percent a month and she continues to have bad effects but again, that is rare. But it goes to show how our individuality dictates that one treatment isn’t alway effective for everyone.
Good luck,
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@brownikl
Ronnies method has been amazingly successful for her and represents approximately a 9.375% cut. Although
I must admit that stopping very slowly doesn’t always prevent withdrawal symptoms but it’s very uncommon when it doesn’t.
There is a person here who has been decreasing their dose by only half a percent a month and she continues to have bad effects but again, that is rare. But it goes to show how our individuality dictates that one treatment isn’t alway effective for everyone.
Good luck,
Jake

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@jakedduck1
Thanks for mentioning that, Jake.
I forgot to say that we all respond differently but most of us have a horrible experience downsizing too quickly.
And there is NEVER a guarantee that slowly will help, but you have a better chance!
Ronnie

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@brownikl1

I have been on 37.5 mg/l for a year strictly for terrible hot flashes. Also on estrogen. Trying to go off the Effexor now. Doc thought stopping low dose would not be an issue. It's been 2 days and feeling like I have boat head. Anybody have this issue going off such a low dose???

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Yep. All of us have had an issue going off such a low dose. Please taper it extremely slowly. Give yourself at least six months. We’re not kidding.

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I have been taking effexor for over a year and it stopped working, so i decided to taper off at the advice of my psychiatrist. I got down to 37.5 mg and now am feeling all of the withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps, nausea, vertigo, body aches etc.). I was preivously on 225 mg. I want to be off of this medication completely because the withdrawal is horrific. I just want it to be over. How long do the withdrawal symptoms last? I don't know if I can stick it out any longer. Should I check into a place where they can do medical detox? I'm in mental, emotional, and physical pain from this and cry and throw up every day and feel like utter crap. I just don't really know what to do or how long this is going to last. Please leave opinions and help on this discussion I can use all the information I can get.

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Hi @kgoller and welcome to Connect! You may have noticed I moved your post to this existing discussion on effexor withdrawal, so that you can connect with others who have similar experiences. Simply click VIEW & REPLY in your email notification to get to your post.

That must be so frustrating to be having this mental, emotional and physical pain from the withdrawal.

I wanted to introduce you to @grandmar @babydoll @lisa0878 and @texasduchess as they may be able to share their experience with this medication or can offer you support.

Back to you @kgoller how long have you been tapering? Was it a quick taper or a slow taper?

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@kgoller

I have been taking effexor for over a year and it stopped working, so i decided to taper off at the advice of my psychiatrist. I got down to 37.5 mg and now am feeling all of the withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps, nausea, vertigo, body aches etc.). I was preivously on 225 mg. I want to be off of this medication completely because the withdrawal is horrific. I just want it to be over. How long do the withdrawal symptoms last? I don't know if I can stick it out any longer. Should I check into a place where they can do medical detox? I'm in mental, emotional, and physical pain from this and cry and throw up every day and feel like utter crap. I just don't really know what to do or how long this is going to last. Please leave opinions and help on this discussion I can use all the information I can get.

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I am so sorry. I completely understand what you are going threw. I myself was on here asking for help probably about 2weeks ago (feels like a year ago) and I am finally coming out on the other side now. It will get better. I promise!!! What mil are u down too? I got down to 37.5 then just stopped and I experienced everything you are…I did go to the hospital on day 13 because my head hurt so bad and my heart rate was high and my blood pressure. They gave me an Iv and made me comfortable and since then I can finally say I am doing alot better. No more throwing up. My heart rate is back normal and my head finally dont hurt…I am taking a low dose of xanax thoe which is helping me. This is just how I have gotten threw this.
The other wonderful people on here will have great advice for you as well. I am so happy that I was able to just release on here and talk to others that were going threw the same thing.
If you have any questions I'm here to talk
GOD BLESS and I promise it will get better

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