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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@ercoled57

My blood pressure is elevated and has been since I started taking it. In the past the doctor's didn't believe there was a correlation but there is. My new doctor who does understand the correlation between Effexor and blood pressure truly believes that if I go off this medication I can probably go off my blood pressure medication as well. I was put on antidepressants due to post partum depression almost 24 years ago. In the past these medications were over prescribed. Also I have read a lot of studies that state that these medications work best in the short term while people are getting the other help they need (counseling, exercise, etc). Additionally I work in health care and see so many people who are over medicated. I don't want to be one if I can help it.

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I’m a person with typically low BP and mine got elevated, too, while on Effexor. Definite correlation. Also weight gain.

I’ve been taking zoloft and Seroquel for a couple months now and, BP and weight haven’t changed. This is a good thing!

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@kbmayo

Curious as to what anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds you're on. I've had to go back on, too, and while it's ok, it isn't great. However, it took some experimentation to get to this point, so I'm reluctant to ask to try anything else. And c'est la vie?? Indeed — for me, too!

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I’m on the lowest dose of Zoloft in the morning and the lowest dose of Seroquel at night. It’s been working out great. Doc is convinced I am bipolar. Effexor worked fine for me for about 20 years, but I’m 51 and have had hormonal changes I thought would allow me to go back to being med free… no such luck.

But, little side effects on the meds I’m now taking. Which is great.

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@ercoled57

I would like to do it by smaller increments however the EFFEXOR XR are in capsule form and the smallest capsule size is 37.5 mg. The doctors won't order the regular Effexor since I've been on Effexor XR for so long. They said that switching from one to the other can be as difficult as tapering down.

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If you can taper successfully down to a daily 37.50mg tab of Effexor (generic form is Venlafaxine) without any noticeable side effects, then you could try cutting the tabs in quarters with an exacto knife blade and take 3/4 tab for two weeks, then taper to 1/2 for two weeks, and continue until you have gotten down to 1/4 tab for a couple of weeks. I followed this plan and I made it successfully without any major side effects in my final tapering off. Good luck in finding the slow taper that works for you!

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hello

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@sheffieldsmith

If you can taper successfully down to a daily 37.50mg tab of Effexor (generic form is Venlafaxine) without any noticeable side effects, then you could try cutting the tabs in quarters with an exacto knife blade and take 3/4 tab for two weeks, then taper to 1/2 for two weeks, and continue until you have gotten down to 1/4 tab for a couple of weeks. I followed this plan and I made it successfully without any major side effects in my final tapering off. Good luck in finding the slow taper that works for you!

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@sheffieldsmith
She is taking a capsule and her doc won’t prescribe tablets.
Jake

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In reply to @aungsinkyar "hello" + (show)
@aungsinkyar

@aungsinkyar
Welcome to Connect.
Hi there,
Are you taking Effexor? Are you trying to discontinue it?
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@sheffieldsmith
She is taking a capsule and her doc won’t prescribe tablets.
Jake

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I understand…I just posted what worked for me. Maybe it’s time to find a new doctor who will be more willing to work with her. I was fortunate that my former doctor moved his practice so far away that my husband and went with a new primary care doctor who’s younger, an internist and most proactive in working with the patient as a team member to create a plan that’s best for them.

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@sandij

I've stopped taking high blood pressure meds since I stopped the effexor, because my BP issue resolved when off the effexor.

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That is great! MY BP has been up since on this so now that I am off hope it will go down

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@bookkie

That is great! MY BP has been up since on this so now that I am off hope it will go down

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Hi, @bookkie – does your doctor plan to measure your blood pressure at some point in the future to see how it may be different once you are off the venlafaxine (Effexor)? How are you feeling with continuing your taper?

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@careth2

So glad my insight helped! I hope you are doing better! Depression can be hell – we didn’t choose this, but are stuck with dealing with it! I wish you well! Let me know if you have any questions.

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carethe2, what did you end up on? Here it is 2019 but my path is very much like yours was. Took me excruciating months to get off effexor and then a combo of tiny effexor with Prozac. Prozac for a couple of months, but is was bad. Now on Lexapro and it's not taking care of my anxiety and depression. So it's been 10 full months at least of messed up mind. My doc thinks I need to be patient and that I should get up high on Lexapro. Been on 20 then 30 and now 40 of Lexapro hoping and praying that the next dosage level will work.
What did you settle on taking to remedy your situation? I'd love to hear.

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@nancy54

carethe2, what did you end up on? Here it is 2019 but my path is very much like yours was. Took me excruciating months to get off effexor and then a combo of tiny effexor with Prozac. Prozac for a couple of months, but is was bad. Now on Lexapro and it's not taking care of my anxiety and depression. So it's been 10 full months at least of messed up mind. My doc thinks I need to be patient and that I should get up high on Lexapro. Been on 20 then 30 and now 40 of Lexapro hoping and praying that the next dosage level will work.
What did you settle on taking to remedy your situation? I'd love to hear.

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After my 6 months of zero meds, my anxiety and depression came back. I took Lexapro and didn’t even last a week. I had the worst anxiety ever. It was horrible. But in my situation, my doc put me on Seroquel at night, which is a “mood stabilizer”. From what I’ve read, it’s akin to lithium… yes, for bipolar. Then she (my doc) added zoloft during the day.

I’m doing very well on this “cocktail”… but not perfect. Still having very down days and not 100% yet. Still on the lowest dose of both, however.

I kind of think I am bipolar (denial much?) because I’m so… boring. I used to get so loaded and full of energy and ideas…

I wonder how I can suddenly be bipolar at 51 years old?

Life is weird.

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@nancy54

carethe2, what did you end up on? Here it is 2019 but my path is very much like yours was. Took me excruciating months to get off effexor and then a combo of tiny effexor with Prozac. Prozac for a couple of months, but is was bad. Now on Lexapro and it's not taking care of my anxiety and depression. So it's been 10 full months at least of messed up mind. My doc thinks I need to be patient and that I should get up high on Lexapro. Been on 20 then 30 and now 40 of Lexapro hoping and praying that the next dosage level will work.
What did you settle on taking to remedy your situation? I'd love to hear.

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I went off all of the antidepressants, caused restless legs, vivid dreams, more tired, more depressed, weight gain, etc..Went to the hospital and tried lamictal a mood stabilizer because I was either in a great mood or crying. I feel some joy now and don't feel suicidal.

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I was taking Effexor/venlafaxine for hot flashes, not other issues. I found great relief from the withdrawal symptoms (fear, agitation, anxiety and insomnia) by supplementing with L-tryptophan, GABA, ashwaganda, l-methylfolate and fish oil five times per day and about three days per month 1/2 of 5mg valium. Over fifteen months, I am now down to two doses of supplements per day. You can click on my name and read past posts to see my list of supplements and dosages.

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@hwilson7

I’m a 45 year old woman who has taken 375mg Effexor for 12 years. I have been tapering off Effexor for the past three weeks in response to some blood test results that show I have to stop taking the drug. I’ve gotten down to 37.5mg in three weeks with no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. If this is still an active thread, I’d be happy to share the protocol I’ve been following. If there is a desire out there to learn the details (dosages, brands), leave a reply and I’ll post more. Thanks!

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Can you please share your protocol with me. I have been on 300mg of Effexor for 15 years. I have started to ween myself of it and I am down to 150mg in a period of 4 months. For the last two weeks I have been feeling nauseous every morning with flu like symptoms, aching all over which wakes me up during the night, tired, dry mouth. My doctor said that my blood work is normal and it could be a bug, I’m sure it’s withdrawal symptoms. I’m so tempted to go back to 300 mg again. How long this will go on.
Thanks for listening ! ST

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@suzannetherese

Can you please share your protocol with me. I have been on 300mg of Effexor for 15 years. I have started to ween myself of it and I am down to 150mg in a period of 4 months. For the last two weeks I have been feeling nauseous every morning with flu like symptoms, aching all over which wakes me up during the night, tired, dry mouth. My doctor said that my blood work is normal and it could be a bug, I’m sure it’s withdrawal symptoms. I’m so tempted to go back to 300 mg again. How long this will go on.
Thanks for listening ! ST

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HI Suzanne – your symptoms sound like what I had when I was getting off venlafaxine. Was only up to 112.5 but when I stopped taking any for more than every other day I too felt nauseous, dizzy, achey, and tired. It was reading the posts on this site that encouraged me not to take a pill when I had been off for seven days. I'm now over two weeks [maybe even three] and no longer have those symptoms. Your situation will be different, but know that we have felt what you are going through.

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