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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@doorman

I was not thinking of crushing the beads. They have a timed release coating that would be compromised. I thought it would be a matter of weight, depending on how much , for example, 75 beads weigh. Don’t know if the scale will work….just bought it on Amazon. As far as 37.5, I’ll talk to my Psychiatrist on Nov. 8. Ps…..I also hate math!

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@doorman I also hate math. 😀

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I reinstated just shy of 6 months. The withdrawal was too hard on me and on my family. I had started self medicating with 2 or 3 mg of ambien in the early afternoon just to hold off my symptoms and scared myself by doing that. I would rather take an AD than become a drug abuser. I had a NP tell me he didn't think I was experiencing withdrawal and that I should start taking a mood stabilizer called vraylar. And to just stop taking the effexor I had restarted at 75 mg. I read the pkg insert and decided not to take a medication that is indicated for schizophrenia and bipolar given to me bysome nitwit who had free samples. So today I saw a psychiatrist who suggested 150 mg of effexor xr instead of 75 mg because 75 isn't enough for most people. And said I am probably not bipolar and for sure not schizophrenic. He said if my goal is to get off the medication or switch to something else, that would be my decision but I would need a much slower supervised taper. We agreed to get me stable on effexor for now. I have suffered so much in the past six months and worse I caused my elderly parents great concern, as well as my husband. I was in a great deal of denial saying I was ok with my taper and I apologize for giving anyone here false hope or bad advice. It was a matter of ego and I learned my lesson. You know what they say, pride goeth before the fall.
Wishing everyone well on this journey.

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@sandij

I reinstated just shy of 6 months. The withdrawal was too hard on me and on my family. I had started self medicating with 2 or 3 mg of ambien in the early afternoon just to hold off my symptoms and scared myself by doing that. I would rather take an AD than become a drug abuser. I had a NP tell me he didn't think I was experiencing withdrawal and that I should start taking a mood stabilizer called vraylar. And to just stop taking the effexor I had restarted at 75 mg. I read the pkg insert and decided not to take a medication that is indicated for schizophrenia and bipolar given to me bysome nitwit who had free samples. So today I saw a psychiatrist who suggested 150 mg of effexor xr instead of 75 mg because 75 isn't enough for most people. And said I am probably not bipolar and for sure not schizophrenic. He said if my goal is to get off the medication or switch to something else, that would be my decision but I would need a much slower supervised taper. We agreed to get me stable on effexor for now. I have suffered so much in the past six months and worse I caused my elderly parents great concern, as well as my husband. I was in a great deal of denial saying I was ok with my taper and I apologize for giving anyone here false hope or bad advice. It was a matter of ego and I learned my lesson. You know what they say, pride goeth before the fall.
Wishing everyone well on this journey.

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Sandi–Getting off Effexor is HARD! My last dose after tapering over two+ months from a 25mg tablet was 4/14/18–I still am struggling with the withdrawal effects!

You tried really hard. You figured out this attempt is not working. You've got a plan to deal with the now. You might try again later. "Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all." Others on here have gone back to the drawing board; we're all trying to figure out how to get off this stuff. Hope you are feeling better soon.

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@texasduchess

Sandi–Getting off Effexor is HARD! My last dose after tapering over two+ months from a 25mg tablet was 4/14/18–I still am struggling with the withdrawal effects!

You tried really hard. You figured out this attempt is not working. You've got a plan to deal with the now. You might try again later. "Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all." Others on here have gone back to the drawing board; we're all trying to figure out how to get off this stuff. Hope you are feeling better soon.

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How long were you on it and at what dose? Thanks.

Liked by Leonard

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@doorman

How long were you on it and at what dose? Thanks.

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Over 20 years started at 150 then increased to 225.

Liked by Leonard, doorman

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@texasduchess

Sandi–Getting off Effexor is HARD! My last dose after tapering over two+ months from a 25mg tablet was 4/14/18–I still am struggling with the withdrawal effects!

You tried really hard. You figured out this attempt is not working. You've got a plan to deal with the now. You might try again later. "Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all." Others on here have gone back to the drawing board; we're all trying to figure out how to get off this stuff. Hope you are feeling better soon.

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Thank you. I feel so much better. I'm about 75% improved. Still less than a great day, few of which I had during the withdrawal. But so much better than the worst days. I'm on the 4th day of 150 mg and plan to stay here unless something changes.

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@sandij

Over 20 years started at 150 then increased to 225.

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So a high dose for a long time. No wonder it was hard.

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@doorman

How long were you on it and at what dose? Thanks.

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Not quite 18 years at 25mg daily regular release for hot flashes.

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@sandij

I reinstated just shy of 6 months. The withdrawal was too hard on me and on my family. I had started self medicating with 2 or 3 mg of ambien in the early afternoon just to hold off my symptoms and scared myself by doing that. I would rather take an AD than become a drug abuser. I had a NP tell me he didn't think I was experiencing withdrawal and that I should start taking a mood stabilizer called vraylar. And to just stop taking the effexor I had restarted at 75 mg. I read the pkg insert and decided not to take a medication that is indicated for schizophrenia and bipolar given to me bysome nitwit who had free samples. So today I saw a psychiatrist who suggested 150 mg of effexor xr instead of 75 mg because 75 isn't enough for most people. And said I am probably not bipolar and for sure not schizophrenic. He said if my goal is to get off the medication or switch to something else, that would be my decision but I would need a much slower supervised taper. We agreed to get me stable on effexor for now. I have suffered so much in the past six months and worse I caused my elderly parents great concern, as well as my husband. I was in a great deal of denial saying I was ok with my taper and I apologize for giving anyone here false hope or bad advice. It was a matter of ego and I learned my lesson. You know what they say, pride goeth before the fall.
Wishing everyone well on this journey.

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Hi Sandi, I am 62 years old and had been on Effexor for too many years to count. I started at 75mg, then 150mg and in the end was taking 300 mg and tried many times getting off it on my own. Well, guess what?? I did it finally. I started hearing so much about CBD oil that I decided to try it. I went from 300mg to just taking 150mg by taking a few drops of CBD oil under my tongue in the morning and then before bed. There were days that I would get that sicky feeling(mostly by the afternoon) from withdrawel and would take 2 tylenol. I stuck with this for about 3 weeks and then went down to 75mg effexor and the CBD oil for another month. I then went to my doctor and he couldn't believe it and reccomend I then go to the 37.5mg for 2 days 75mg for 2 days, etc. Did this along with the CBD and all was good. I'm a little scared to stop the effexor completely so I'm still just taking the 37.5mg but now I have stopped the CBD. I could never have got this far without the Cbd oil. I feel great getting the Effexor out of my system(almost anyway). I'm not going to give up though until I can be free of it!!
Never give up! I hope you are feeling better.
Shelley

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I have been on Effexor XR 150 mg daily for approximately 20 years for depression. Due to episodes of severe Hypertension my Cardiologist has recommended I come off Effexor and start a new antidepressant. On 9/20/2019 my MD started me on Wellbutrin 300 mg and then Effexor 75 mg x 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks of Effexor was completed I began to show severe withdrawal symptoms,e.g. headaches, irritability, nausea/vomiting, etc. At that time he prescribed Effexor 37.5 to again to try to wean. I have gotten to where I had taken it every 2-3 day. On 10/28/ 2019, I had to be rushed to the ER due to chest pain, dyspnea, severe headache with nausea/vomiting and severe vertigo. Is this normal or should we extend the weaning process? I have read in medical journals that weaning at times can take up to 10 months?

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@farmgirl64

I have been on Effexor XR 150 mg daily for approximately 20 years for depression. Due to episodes of severe Hypertension my Cardiologist has recommended I come off Effexor and start a new antidepressant. On 9/20/2019 my MD started me on Wellbutrin 300 mg and then Effexor 75 mg x 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks of Effexor was completed I began to show severe withdrawal symptoms,e.g. headaches, irritability, nausea/vomiting, etc. At that time he prescribed Effexor 37.5 to again to try to wean. I have gotten to where I had taken it every 2-3 day. On 10/28/ 2019, I had to be rushed to the ER due to chest pain, dyspnea, severe headache with nausea/vomiting and severe vertigo. Is this normal or should we extend the weaning process? I have read in medical journals that weaning at times can take up to 10 months?

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Getting off Effexor is not easy. I used CBD oil in order to withstand the side effects. It worked! Don't give up. There is always a way.

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@shelleee

Getting off Effexor is not easy. I used CBD oil in order to withstand the side effects. It worked! Don't give up. There is always a way.

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Good evening, @shelleee, it sounds like your experience with CBD oil was a game-changer for you. And it is great that you have a positive story to share with others.

Right now, I am working on reducing my dependence on an anti-depressant that I have taken every night for 3 years. I think I am a happy person now but I am afraid my body will think I still need the medication.

So I am using CBD also. In fact, I am trying to figure out the best times to use it. My normal day would be 3 droppers with the last one at bedtime. Would you mind sharing with me what brand you are using the dosage? I use Care by Design 2:1 CBD/THC. May you be free of suffering……and the causes of suffering. Chris

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@farmgirl64

I have been on Effexor XR 150 mg daily for approximately 20 years for depression. Due to episodes of severe Hypertension my Cardiologist has recommended I come off Effexor and start a new antidepressant. On 9/20/2019 my MD started me on Wellbutrin 300 mg and then Effexor 75 mg x 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks of Effexor was completed I began to show severe withdrawal symptoms,e.g. headaches, irritability, nausea/vomiting, etc. At that time he prescribed Effexor 37.5 to again to try to wean. I have gotten to where I had taken it every 2-3 day. On 10/28/ 2019, I had to be rushed to the ER due to chest pain, dyspnea, severe headache with nausea/vomiting and severe vertigo. Is this normal or should we extend the weaning process? I have read in medical journals that weaning at times can take up to 10 months?

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Very few, if any doctors have any idea how to get a patient off Effexor and usually recommend far too quick tapers. If you read all the posts on this forum, the most successful way to get off Effexor is to go very slowly–which means tapering by very small reductions (5-10%, or even less) and staying at each new level for quite a while (weeks, or months) before tapering again. The longer you have taken Effexor and the higher your dose, the longer your taper should take. Ping-ponging on and off Effexor every few days just puts you into withdrawal over and over again. Reducing SLOOWWWLY significantly minimizes the unpleasant (and sometimes debilitating) withdrawal effects. Tapering in just weeks can be very uncomfortable and often unsuccessful. Read why and how better to get off Effexor here–
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/health/depression-withdrawal-drugs.html.

OTC medications and supplements can help with some of the withdrawal symptoms (click on my name and read my past posts for some). 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.

Ask your doctor about a "Prozac bridge"–"The only way doctors know to soften the blow when withdrawing from short half-life drugs [Effexor is such] is to add fluoxetine (Prozac). The half-life of Effexor is 5 hours and 99% of it is out of your body in one day. Prozac's half-life is 4 to 6 days and it takes 25 days for 99% of it to be out of your body. Essentially, the Prozac cushions the effect of no Effexor and lets you "ride out" the withdrawal process. You can add 20mg of Prozac to any other antidepressant and then get off the [original drug]. Once the [original drug] is gone, you can taper off the Prozac. This works because fluoxetine (Prozac) has a long half-life making it much easier to get off of than drugs like [Effexor].–https://natashatracy.com/treatment-issues/withdrawal/antidepressants-effexorpristiq-venlafaxinedesvenlafaxine/. See also https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/107532-coming-off-of-effexor-with-prozac-bridge/.

Liked by Leonard

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@texasduchess

Very few, if any doctors have any idea how to get a patient off Effexor and usually recommend far too quick tapers. If you read all the posts on this forum, the most successful way to get off Effexor is to go very slowly–which means tapering by very small reductions (5-10%, or even less) and staying at each new level for quite a while (weeks, or months) before tapering again. The longer you have taken Effexor and the higher your dose, the longer your taper should take. Ping-ponging on and off Effexor every few days just puts you into withdrawal over and over again. Reducing SLOOWWWLY significantly minimizes the unpleasant (and sometimes debilitating) withdrawal effects. Tapering in just weeks can be very uncomfortable and often unsuccessful. Read why and how better to get off Effexor here–
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/health/depression-withdrawal-drugs.html.

OTC medications and supplements can help with some of the withdrawal symptoms (click on my name and read my past posts for some). 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.

Ask your doctor about a "Prozac bridge"–"The only way doctors know to soften the blow when withdrawing from short half-life drugs [Effexor is such] is to add fluoxetine (Prozac). The half-life of Effexor is 5 hours and 99% of it is out of your body in one day. Prozac's half-life is 4 to 6 days and it takes 25 days for 99% of it to be out of your body. Essentially, the Prozac cushions the effect of no Effexor and lets you "ride out" the withdrawal process. You can add 20mg of Prozac to any other antidepressant and then get off the [original drug]. Once the [original drug] is gone, you can taper off the Prozac. This works because fluoxetine (Prozac) has a long half-life making it much easier to get off of than drugs like [Effexor].–https://natashatracy.com/treatment-issues/withdrawal/antidepressants-effexorpristiq-venlafaxinedesvenlafaxine/. See also https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/107532-coming-off-of-effexor-with-prozac-bridge/.

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Granted Effexor is a short half-life drug in the tablet form, but I take the XR form. Doesn’t this extend the half-life? I’m confused. I’m tapering of Effexor XR as we speak. I’m doing it by counting beads. I’ve only been on it since Aug. And I’m doing it slowly. 10% every 2-3 weeks. Does this sound OK?

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I'm tapering too and I need help!! Been on Effexor for 15 years or more. Was on 37.5 for most of the time then got upped to 150mg. Tried weaning but couldn't stand the withdrawal symptoms. I was at 150mg for the last 6 years or so. I started weaning a few months ago. I was able to go from 150mg to 112.5mg (take a 75 and a 37.5mg). Did that for several weeks then went to 75mg only (did every other day 112.5 then 75 then 112.5 etc.). I'm now down to 37.5 but can't get past that without feeling terrible. This has been rough – dizzy, can't concentrate, diahrrhea, crazy mood swings from tears to irritability in a second, headaches, etc! Going with out anything (37.5 one day, nothing the next, 37.5 one day, nothing the next) felt awful. Tried that for 6 days. Then I tried taking the pill every 36 hours instead of going every 48 hours. Still very bad side effects. QUESTION: How do I taper from 37.5 with the capsule? Do you actually open it and take out the little beads? How many at a time? @texasduchess how do you reduce by 10%? Anyone – does the every other day without anything work? I would really appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you!

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