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

@secretwhitepop

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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This is so so true…Taking it slow is the best and we are not kidding.

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@grandmar

@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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You guys I am doing so much better as of today…Thank you for all the advice and I'm sorry I know I'm getting my time messed up. I think it's been about 3weeks now but feels like it's been forever. I'm gonna have to go look at a calendar but again Thank you and I wish everybody the best of luck. This med was NO JOKE.

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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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@kgoller
If you read the last few pages you’ll have all the answers you need.
Jake

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@wrkingitout

Hello, I just found this group today, 2 weeks too late to save me some misery. I've been on and off anti-depressants for many years and I'm a pro at weaning off. I thought I was anyway. This has been a scary and humbling process. Since I was only on 37.5 to supplement my Wellbutrin I didn't think going to every other day for a while then stopping would be a big deal. This is day 4 without and I still want to crawl out of my skin. I just gave in and took one with the plan of calling my Dr in the morning and confessing to doing this without his knowing and give him this list of symptoms.

Abdominal upset & diarrhea
Night and periodic daytime sweating like hot flashes
Inability to concentrate
Loss of memory
Deep sadness
Intensified and different reaction to alcohol
Severe brain shivers
Muscle and joint pain
Intense craving for sugar and carbs like pasta
Deep sense of overall shame and repeating tapes of things I said and feeling deeply ashamed. I don’t think these things warrant this reaction, time will tell. Example: telling dinner companions about the string of tragedies I had in a very matter of fact way during a light-hearted dinner, making them uncomfortable I’m sure.
Hopelessness with no sense of why
Dizziness
“out of body” feeling
Facial features drastically changed, not recognizable by my iphone

I'm very grateful that you all took the time to share here, it made me feel not so alone and ashamed. God bless you all!

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Omg I thought it was just me with the out of body experience…I hallucinated while taking my mom to the drs and couldn't keep my eyes open on the road and almost killed us. It was a horrible day that day…I got lost in the dr office. I was playing with stuffed animals in the gift shop. I scared myself and my mom so bad!!!!! My mom thought I was on drugs…lol….I SWEAR I WASNT..I have no idea why this happened and it didnt happen again. I'm finally feeling better now. I think it's been 3weeks maybe a month since my last effexor I'm gonna have to check a calendar because it feels like forever ago because I was like another person going threw my withdrawls…I never told anybody what happened that day because it sounds so crazy. I am just glad to hear somebody else has experienced this.

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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
Click on my name and read my posts–I was on 25mg for hot flashes. Quitting Effexor cold turkey even when on a low dose is not a good idea if you don't want to feel like cr*p and can be dangerous. Doctors need to keep up with what has been found out about how to get off this drug and other antidepressants–you taper off gradually by small increments and/or you use "bridging" drugs to soften the blow when withdrawing from a short half-life drug like Effexor.

Liked by grandmaR, Leonard

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@ethanmcconkey

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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It’s only been a little over a month of me tapering down

Liked by Leonard

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@lisa0878

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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Thank you. Did the same thing you did and I stopped taking it after being on 37.5 for a week.

Liked by Leonard

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@kgoller

It’s only been a little over a month of me tapering down

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@kgoller
“It’s only been a little over a month of me tapering down”
The important question is how much did you decrease your dose or did you stop altogether?
Jake

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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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@kgoller
It is doubtful that your withdrawal symptoms will subside much/at all without reinstating to the dosage where you weren't experiencing withdrawal symptoms and tapering much slower. Your doctor can prescribe a "Prozac bridge," or other medication (I was given Valium to help with the anxiety and akathisia I developed after 6.5 weeks off). Withdrawal symptoms can get much worse when reducing at lower levels, especially if you make large reductions—going from 37.5 to 0 is a BIG drop. Getting impatient now isn't a good idea—as you are experiencing, it can be VERY unpleasant, sometimes dangerous (your blood pressure can drop dramatically, etc.) and worse, rushing the tapering process sets you back. Effexor makes profound changes to how our brains balance the neurotransmitters needed to function. When you stop, or significantly lower your Effexor, the brain has to wake up and start working by itself. The time this takes varies enormously.

Here's a good article re how to mitigate withdrawal effects with supplements (fish oil may be more helpful than krill oil; I also take GABA; do not take L-tryptophan while still on Effexor)–https://www.4mind4life.com/effexor-withdrawal-symptoms

Over-the-counter help–
Ben*dryl for brain zaps
Dram*mine for vertigo and dizziness
P*pto Bismol for nausea (you can get as tablets/lozenges to suck on, too)
Ibuprofen, or other pain reliever for the flu-like body aches

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@jakedduck1

@kgoller
“It’s only been a little over a month of me tapering down”
The important question is how much did you decrease your dose or did you stop altogether?
Jake

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I was on 225. Tapered down by 37.5 mgs every 7 days. When I got down to 37.5 I only took that for 3 days then stopped.

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@kgoller

I was on 225. Tapered down by 37.5 mgs every 7 days. When I got down to 37.5 I only took that for 3 days then stopped.

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@kgoller
Mercy gracious, you couldn’t have done any worse if you tried.
So what are you planning to do now? No telling how long the withdrawal will last. I was in the process of replying when this post came through.
Jake

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@kgoller

I was on 225. Tapered down by 37.5 mgs every 7 days. When I got down to 37.5 I only took that for 3 days then stopped.

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@kgoller
When I read "at the advice of my psychiatrist," I thought you had been tapering off with your doctor's help gradually and just decided to jump off at 37.5mg. I agree with @jakedduck1 that this was/is waaayyy tooo faaaast. If reducing from 225 to zero in a little over a month was your doctor's plan, he needs to keep up with what has been found out about how to get off this drug and other antidepressants–you taper off gradually by small increments and/or you use "bridging" drugs to soften the blow when withdrawing from a short half-life drug like Effexor.

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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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@kgoller
“I don't know if I can stick it out any longer.”
You shouldn’t try and out last the withdrawals. Go back on Effexor to where your not having symptoms or ask dr for a bridging drug. If you discontinue your medication slowly your body will probably never miss it and you’ll probably never have any withdrawal symptoms but it will take time. It’s hard to say how long, 2 years for some 1 year for others. Some decrease their dose every 2, 4 or 6 weeks. You could try cutting your dose by 20% and cut the time down but you’ll increase your chance of withdrawal symptoms too. Also decrease your dose every 2 or 4 weeks instead of 6 week intervals. Even a 25% taper will take close to a year depending on what mg you eventually stop at and personally I wouldn’t try a 25% taper but some people can do it. Tapering is a very individual thing.
Good luck,
Jake

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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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Hello there. Boat Head!!! Excellent description! I echo what everyone else has offered. But also, add B12 and Omega 3 supplements–they help heal the brain.

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@jakedduck1

@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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@jakeduck1- Hi there Jake- Just want to say I think your quest to get people to understand the importance of slooooooooow withdrawals is so great! Keep up the good work! On another note I'm not sure that I agree with you that depression is a choice. What do our other friends on Connect have to say on that subject?
Best wishes
Ainsleigh

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