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

@anne2019

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!

Jump to this post

Also, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone on this post. I was beginning to think I was over-reacting or psycho-somatic. Surely it couldn't be this bad! You have all affirmed that my experience is real! I really want to get off this drug!

REPLY

Yes, you count the beads when you taper slowly. From 37.5 it should be an extremely slow taper, like less than 5%. Don't take it every other day because you'll be in constant ping ponging withdrawals. You count the beads in 3 capsules to get an average of how many beads are in each capsule then divide by the percentage to see how many beads to take out so that the remaining beads are 5% less than your dosage. But right now I would recommend staying at 37.5 until you are absolutely stable before trying to taper at all.

Liked by Leonard, doorman

REPLY
@anne2019

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!

Jump to this post

The 37.5 Venlafaxine capsule contains approximately 37 “balls” …37 times .1= 3.7. Subtract this amount from 37 for your next dose.

REPLY
@doorman

The 37.5 Venlafaxine capsule contains approximately 37 “balls” …37 times .1= 3.7. Subtract this amount from 37 for your next dose.

Jump to this post

What he said.

REPLY

So are you saying go down 3.7mgs, or 1 ball, each time I want to reduce? And stay on that for a few days then go down 1 more ball each time?

REPLY
@anne2019

Also, I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone on this post. I was beginning to think I was over-reacting or psycho-somatic. Surely it couldn't be this bad! You have all affirmed that my experience is real! I really want to get off this drug!

Jump to this post

Persevere. Take care of you.
Call the prescribing doctor.
Pharmacists are helpful in explaining any supportive medical like Escitalopram

Liked by Lisa Lucier

REPLY

Medicine

REPLY
@sandij

Yes, you count the beads when you taper slowly. From 37.5 it should be an extremely slow taper, like less than 5%. Don't take it every other day because you'll be in constant ping ponging withdrawals. You count the beads in 3 capsules to get an average of how many beads are in each capsule then divide by the percentage to see how many beads to take out so that the remaining beads are 5% less than your dosage. But right now I would recommend staying at 37.5 until you are absolutely stable before trying to taper at all.

Jump to this post

Thanks so much. This is very helpful!! How long would you recommend I stay at each level before I reduce by the next 5%?

REPLY
@anne2019

Thanks so much. This is very helpful!! How long would you recommend I stay at each level before I reduce by the next 5%?

Jump to this post

And I will stabilize at 37.5 for a long time! Great suggestion.

REPLY
@anne2019

Thanks so much. This is very helpful!! How long would you recommend I stay at each level before I reduce by the next 5%?

Jump to this post

I would say at least 3-4 weeks. You want to stay at the reduced dose until you are completely stable. If you have any withdrawal symptoms then stay on it at least another week.

Liked by texasduchess

REPLY
@anne2019

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!

Jump to this post

If you dropped from 150 to 37.5 over some weeks, you are tapering too fast–feeling like cr*p is the big tip off. Ping-ponging on/off from one day to the next is just putting you into withdrawal over and over. The recommendation is to go back to the level where you felt good (that may be 75mg, or even 112.5mg), stabilize there for weeks, or even months before tapering (only 5-10%, or even less) again. Going slooowww is your friend! There's no point rushing the process if you ultimately can't get off Effexor because the withdrawals are too awful.

Is your doctor on board? He can help you taper off Effexor by prescribing a different formulation–changing from extended-release to regular release, or from capsules to tablets (I was on 25mg tablets that could be cut), or specifying a certain brand (@farm_mom found Teva had the most consistent size and number of beads within a capsule–helpful to those counting and throwing out beads to taper). Or your doctor can write a prescription for a compounding pharmacy to make tapered doses for you (the extra cost may well be worth it because you can glide down in incremental amounts, rather than make rather large jagged drops).

Yes, other people opened the capsules and removed beads. @sandij and @doorman just commented on how to do this.

Liked by doorman

REPLY
In reply to @helenfrances "Medicine" + (show)
@helenfrances

Beads?
Tablets here…can be cut in halves

REPLY
@doorman

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?

Jump to this post

I did not find specific info re XR's and regular's half-lives, but did find this: "Effexor XR provides a slower rate of absorption, but the same extent of absorption compared with the immediate-release tablet." The XR version evens out the amount in your system over the course of the day; that may mean the half-life of some of the drug is extended, but that's probably just a few hours.

You will know if you are tapering too fast–withdrawal symptoms are the big tip off. Only you can decide if they're tolerable, or not. If not, the recommendation is to go back to the level where you felt good, stabilize at that dose for weeks (or even months) before tapering again (you may want to taper less than 10% from this point on).

Liked by doorman

REPLY

I have been on Effexor for some months and so far it is helping; however, if you feel it is no longer effective then your primary care physician or neurologist should taper you off and try another medication.

Liked by doorman

REPLY
@anne2019

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!

Jump to this post

Hello. First of all you WILL eventually ween off. Secondly, I believe you’re going too fast still, so give yourself some normalcy and take the 37.5 everyday. When you’re ready, yes. Take out some of those small beads.

I took out 5 beads each time I went down a level. I had zero side effects but it took about 18 months. What’s the hurry?

I did ok but after six months completely clean, I went on Zoloft and seroquel. (Both generic). I was too sick of not being happy and well, truth be told, I was buying and selling too much. My family was suffering and my doctor pointedly told me it is highly likely I am bipolar. And so now I take meds for it. And they’re working 🙂

Good luck and go easy on yourself.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.