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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@smurf

Testing testing is my post above showing? I need advice if I can even do this? I think my provider is clueless

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You can do this but don’t be in a rush. Do t even think about an end date, just slowly start weening and when it ends it ends. But know that there IS life in the other side of Effexor. So, I personally tapered off and took each tapered dose for about a month before going down. You can experiment. But if I ever had one head spin, I kept at that dose longer. REMEMBER once you get down to one 37.5 mg capsule a day, that’s when it starts getting really tricky. As you taper, you need to go even slower. This is the smallest dose (I believe) and so if you have been tapering off, day, 20 mg at a pop, that’s over a 50% drop! So think of it that way. I used to open up my capsules and take out 5 teeny beads for the first month then ten, then 15. It seriously took me 18 months to ween off that last small dose, but I had zero withdrawal issues. ….
That is, at least until a few weeks after my last dose.

Look, if you burst into tears, let the tears come. You’ll feel better afterwards. Effexor jacks with your natural brain chemistry. It works, but not for everyone. And maybe, as in my case, you’re a different person and can deal with things better. I truly think that it’s a total brain chemistry thing, but meditation, exercise and eating healthy have truly helped me get through this.

One last thing. Go easy on yourself. Go slow. You’re only human and you are not alone. This is a huge undertaking. But you can be Effexor free, if only a little bit at a time :). There’s no rush.

Take care!

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@babydoll

That would be awesome if it could be on Angie’s List! Good idea! I have gone through a psych and MD who does not understand. I’m 2 months out, but have a really bad relapse with anxiety and restless legs. She upped my Prozac to 60 MG, but it’s not working! Just making it worse in my opinion.

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I weened so slowly I never used a bridge, but that is also because I am giving myself a break on all medications. There is certainly nothing wrong with taking Prozac, but if it doesn’t work that’s not cool. Are you completely off Effexor now?

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I am off of Effexor now. I’m beginning to wonder if the symptoms I’m having are side effects of taking Prozac.

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@babydoll

That would be awesome if it could be on Angie’s List! Good idea! I have gone through a psych and MD who does not understand. I’m 2 months out, but have a really bad relapse with anxiety and restless legs. She upped my Prozac to 60 MG, but it’s not working! Just making it worse in my opinion.

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After being completely off for three and a half to four months, I had a very bad anxiety and panic relapse, and I'm having excellent results with citalopram (generic Celexa). I've been on it for a couple of months and take 20 mg, which my doc will increase if necessary.

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@secretwhitepop

You can do this but don’t be in a rush. Do t even think about an end date, just slowly start weening and when it ends it ends. But know that there IS life in the other side of Effexor. So, I personally tapered off and took each tapered dose for about a month before going down. You can experiment. But if I ever had one head spin, I kept at that dose longer. REMEMBER once you get down to one 37.5 mg capsule a day, that’s when it starts getting really tricky. As you taper, you need to go even slower. This is the smallest dose (I believe) and so if you have been tapering off, day, 20 mg at a pop, that’s over a 50% drop! So think of it that way. I used to open up my capsules and take out 5 teeny beads for the first month then ten, then 15. It seriously took me 18 months to ween off that last small dose, but I had zero withdrawal issues. ….
That is, at least until a few weeks after my last dose.

Look, if you burst into tears, let the tears come. You’ll feel better afterwards. Effexor jacks with your natural brain chemistry. It works, but not for everyone. And maybe, as in my case, you’re a different person and can deal with things better. I truly think that it’s a total brain chemistry thing, but meditation, exercise and eating healthy have truly helped me get through this.

One last thing. Go easy on yourself. Go slow. You’re only human and you are not alone. This is a huge undertaking. But you can be Effexor free, if only a little bit at a time :). There’s no rush.

Take care!

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Than you so much for all your feedback and support!! There is so much good information on here and I’m thankful I found this group.

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@smurf
I was on Effexor 150mg for 33 years. I went cold turkey, not knowing of any challenges…
I ended up having a stroke from the nightmares, a side effect of withdrawal. Nov, 2017….
I am fully recovered now.. I still miss parts of my brain that have not come back fully yet.
Our brains heal slowly!
I found this site months after I took my last medication…
…..
Ok now where I am today, guys, yesterday I had a couple of brain zaps again…only 2 but they count.
Last dose Effexor Jan 2018. I had many of those brain zaps a few months ago too. This time it was only 2. But I AM paying attention…it makes no sense but its Effexor, the drug from he'll to get off of.
Bright Wings

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@brightwings

@smurf
I was on Effexor 150mg for 33 years. I went cold turkey, not knowing of any challenges…
I ended up having a stroke from the nightmares, a side effect of withdrawal. Nov, 2017….
I am fully recovered now.. I still miss parts of my brain that have not come back fully yet.
Our brains heal slowly!
I found this site months after I took my last medication…
…..
Ok now where I am today, guys, yesterday I had a couple of brain zaps again…only 2 but they count.
Last dose Effexor Jan 2018. I had many of those brain zaps a few months ago too. This time it was only 2. But I AM paying attention…it makes no sense but its Effexor, the drug from he'll to get off of.
Bright Wings

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Thank you for that information. I have been on 30mg of Effexor for 30 years. I know what brain zaps are! I’ve thought about cutting dosage to 150mg- any thoughts?

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@nanners012910
Please detail your usage again. Running out of data…BW

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Ok I went and read your posts.
Hang in there. It is doable.
I tried 17 different antidepressants. Only Effexor worked.
I got myself off 16 different meds. 6 were Sedating.
Today, I use CBD and will until the day I die…takes care of all that anxiety.
What ever you do go slow on weaning..
.
Now I challenge you, I understand the long term depression you are speaking about. Been there done that…
I WONT DO IT AGAIN CUZ I GOT THE SKILLS to beat the depression and anxiety.
What are your plans and skills you will use to replace this drug.
Bright Wings

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@nanners012910

Thank you for that information. I have been on 30mg of Effexor for 30 years. I know what brain zaps are! I’ve thought about cutting dosage to 150mg- any thoughts?

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DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s to large a cut. Most people who reduce by 50% have awful withdrawals.
Keep in mind the length of time you’ve been taking this drug. Your brain isn’t likely to accept such a large cut.
Try cutting 30mg that’s a 10% cut. Although no one can predict an ideal percentage cut since there is such a big difference in how people react. One person had a horrible experience getting off Neurontin, I was on a larger dose and had no problems at all. If you look back you can read about all the people who regretted their decision of large cuts.
I understand it’s hard to go slowly but it’s really the only choice you have if you want to discontinue this medication safely with no withdrawals or at least the fewest possible withdrawals. Some have done it but it has taken along time.
Based on a 10% titration rate your looking at 3 years maybe slightly more.
If you don’t have any withdrawals during your fist months cut may you could try reducing every 3 weeks instead that might cut your time by 9 or so months.
A compounding pharmacy would probably be your best bet if that’s a feasible option.
Slow and steady is the best way to succeed
Good luck,
Jake

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@nanners012910

Thank you for that information. I have been on 30mg of Effexor for 30 years. I know what brain zaps are! I’ve thought about cutting dosage to 150mg- any thoughts?

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Hello–chiming in here…I assume you mean you've been on 300mg? DO NOT reduce to 150mg from 300mg. It will throw you into withdrawal, the likes of which I woudn't wish on anyone.
Read through all these posts.
Slow taper is how to best avoid the worst of WD symptoms. Slow taper=10-15% reduction in mg every month to month and half. Does it take awhile? yes, but it's worth avoiding the WD symptoms–trust us.

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Not the most popular opinion here but I went from being on 225 for many years, down to 150 back in September 2018. I had no immediate withdrawal symptoms but they came after a month. Because I'd been through neurontin withdrawal which as Leonard said, was horrible for me, I knew what to look for, so I wasn't blindsided, nor were my symptoms debilitating enough to say I wouldn't taper that way again. But I'm not sure I'd go from 300 to 150. My choice to taper from 225 to 150 was based on the desire to simplify, I just was not interested in counting beads, I just took 2 capsules instead of 3 and was willing to accept the consequences. I will say though, that 300 to 150 could be dangerous, since 300 is a pretty high dose. Use your best judgment in your choice and most importantly, support your health during this process!

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@farm_mom

Hello–chiming in here…I assume you mean you've been on 300mg? DO NOT reduce to 150mg from 300mg. It will throw you into withdrawal, the likes of which I woudn't wish on anyone.
Read through all these posts.
Slow taper is how to best avoid the worst of WD symptoms. Slow taper=10-15% reduction in mg every month to month and half. Does it take awhile? yes, but it's worth avoiding the WD symptoms–trust us.

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Thank you , I will check w doctor because I trust the information you provided .

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@nanners012910

Thank you for that information. I have been on 30mg of Effexor for 30 years. I know what brain zaps are! I’ve thought about cutting dosage to 150mg- any thoughts?

Jump to this post

Why are you thinking about reducing? Is it causing you problems, or not working?

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@brightwings

Ok I went and read your posts.
Hang in there. It is doable.
I tried 17 different antidepressants. Only Effexor worked.
I got myself off 16 different meds. 6 were Sedating.
Today, I use CBD and will until the day I die…takes care of all that anxiety.
What ever you do go slow on weaning..
.
Now I challenge you, I understand the long term depression you are speaking about. Been there done that…
I WONT DO IT AGAIN CUZ I GOT THE SKILLS to beat the depression and anxiety.
What are your plans and skills you will use to replace this drug.
Bright Wings

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@brightwings What brand of CDB oil do you use and how do you use it? I’ve seen your posts and I’m willing to try anything to keep my anxiety at bay. Thanks!

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