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

@ksad

Hello. It seems this discussion will help me with getting off effexor. It was prescribed 18 yrs ago and increased over time up to 300mg. The last 2 years have been horrible and the doctor responded to my questions about trying something different with her concerns about my high blood pressure. That would be dealt with first before looking at other meds. She was following a protocol, I assume, and that was the order she felt she had to follow. Her response to my concern that the effexor was raising blood pressure was "it shouldn't". Finally she agreed to begin a taper set up to decrease 37.5 mg/week. Per week. After 2 weeks I saw her, described my symptoms and wished I could have puked, levitated, or stabbed her with something not even sharp as she said the withdrawal "shouldn't" be causing any discomfort. Carry on.
I got through the first 4 weeks, and was taking 4 instead of 8 capsules. I crashed, badly. My son described what was happening to his dr and Jan 2 I saw this new dr. for the first time. We don't know why the dr. I was seeing wasn't aware of what could happen with that fast a drop, or why the pharmacists didn't pick up on it. I had to to back up to 5 capsules and in a week will drop down to 4. The plan is to drop 37.5 every 4 weeks. Struggling with the idea of that much time being miserable but reading posts here makes me see it could take much longer than to the end of June to be off this.

I am worried about many things. Is the next drop going to cause another crash?

What supplements should I be taking, as in vitamins or fish oil or something that could make this more tolerable?? Who gives me that info? Who do I trust other than the ones selling the products?

Getting off effexor is going to make things better in itself, but the depression and anxiety will still be there. All of the other issues will still be there. How will I manage that?

I don't want to add anything else to the drug soup (also on clonidine, irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide, plus good old crestor) but am reading about adding another antidepressant as the effexor dose lowers. Can I do this without taking something else, another drug, meant to help?

I was half way there and wanted to keep going, to tough it out, but that option was not there. I have not been able to work (teach jr high) and am still coming to terms with the reality that this is happening. I went home too upset to handle the day, that one day, and it became the end of a 25 yr career. Will I be able to function again, to be who i was?
This is already a long read and I could go on for pages. I struggle with explaining this to others – most people have no clue, or assume there is something else wrong with me. I want to say its not my fault and that its unbearable. Gaining empathy for addicts who will do anything to keep this pain away, and for people who use suicide to shut it down for good, has been intense and I don't know what to do with that feeling either.

Let me know if anything happens with the class action suit, please. I think there are 2 parts at fault, or 3. The makers of the drug, the drs who are in over their heads and prescribe it, the medical system that puts us/me at the mercy of such drs, and the pharmacists who go ahead handing out drugs in amounts that hurt people. I guess they are victims of the system also in that they can't question prescriptions, or can they? I live in Canada, in a rather isolated northern community with very few drs, and often don't see the same dr more than once or twice in a row.

If you've read this far, thank you. Having a place to defend yourself and ask questions is good.

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You’re are an amazingly strong person to be able to endure the illness and teach junior high! And, your students are exceedingly lucky to have you as a teacher as your writing skills and thought processes are superb.

Agitation is a thing. Respect it like you would hair loss from chemo. Is there anyway you can take some time off while you stabilize the weaning?

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Day two after dropping from 75 to 37.5. It took me much longer to fall asleep! Coming off the weekend I’m well rested, so I just wasn’t that tired. But, I found my mind was ruminating in things to do and dipping into depression and anxiety (not intense, yet), and my personal favorite suicidal thoughts. I’m using the app Headspace now and I meditated and then listened to the bedtime stories. I usually can’t stay awake during a story, but I got to the end of “Lach Dormant,” twice. I really enjoy the silly little stories. Whenever my mind started drifting I quietly brought it back to the story. It works. Calms me down. Shifts gears. Gets me on a good track. Then I listened to a weird Bedtime music track. Finally I fell asleep.

This morning I feel good.

And whenever my brain gets agitated I get the buzzing in my ears. It’s been in on all weekend and this morning. A warning sign. The sound just receded a bit… interesting. And I feel the agitation swelling typing in this stupid little smart phone with my thumb!

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I feel you are dropping too fast! Open up the capsules and take out a few beads at a time.

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@secretwhitepop

I feel you are dropping too fast! Open up the capsules and take out a few beads at a time.

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I hear you. I've been at 75 for well over a month. I feel good. That lucid feeling has reappeared. It quickly receded, however, the last time I dropped. I'm very concerned about the last 37.5. I'll probably go the bead route. Will see how the next month goes on 37.5.

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@ksad

Hello. It seems this discussion will help me with getting off effexor. It was prescribed 18 yrs ago and increased over time up to 300mg. The last 2 years have been horrible and the doctor responded to my questions about trying something different with her concerns about my high blood pressure. That would be dealt with first before looking at other meds. She was following a protocol, I assume, and that was the order she felt she had to follow. Her response to my concern that the effexor was raising blood pressure was "it shouldn't". Finally she agreed to begin a taper set up to decrease 37.5 mg/week. Per week. After 2 weeks I saw her, described my symptoms and wished I could have puked, levitated, or stabbed her with something not even sharp as she said the withdrawal "shouldn't" be causing any discomfort. Carry on.
I got through the first 4 weeks, and was taking 4 instead of 8 capsules. I crashed, badly. My son described what was happening to his dr and Jan 2 I saw this new dr. for the first time. We don't know why the dr. I was seeing wasn't aware of what could happen with that fast a drop, or why the pharmacists didn't pick up on it. I had to to back up to 5 capsules and in a week will drop down to 4. The plan is to drop 37.5 every 4 weeks. Struggling with the idea of that much time being miserable but reading posts here makes me see it could take much longer than to the end of June to be off this.

I am worried about many things. Is the next drop going to cause another crash?

What supplements should I be taking, as in vitamins or fish oil or something that could make this more tolerable?? Who gives me that info? Who do I trust other than the ones selling the products?

Getting off effexor is going to make things better in itself, but the depression and anxiety will still be there. All of the other issues will still be there. How will I manage that?

I don't want to add anything else to the drug soup (also on clonidine, irbesartan and hydrochlorothiazide, plus good old crestor) but am reading about adding another antidepressant as the effexor dose lowers. Can I do this without taking something else, another drug, meant to help?

I was half way there and wanted to keep going, to tough it out, but that option was not there. I have not been able to work (teach jr high) and am still coming to terms with the reality that this is happening. I went home too upset to handle the day, that one day, and it became the end of a 25 yr career. Will I be able to function again, to be who i was?
This is already a long read and I could go on for pages. I struggle with explaining this to others – most people have no clue, or assume there is something else wrong with me. I want to say its not my fault and that its unbearable. Gaining empathy for addicts who will do anything to keep this pain away, and for people who use suicide to shut it down for good, has been intense and I don't know what to do with that feeling either.

Let me know if anything happens with the class action suit, please. I think there are 2 parts at fault, or 3. The makers of the drug, the drs who are in over their heads and prescribe it, the medical system that puts us/me at the mercy of such drs, and the pharmacists who go ahead handing out drugs in amounts that hurt people. I guess they are victims of the system also in that they can't question prescriptions, or can they? I live in Canada, in a rather isolated northern community with very few drs, and often don't see the same dr more than once or twice in a row.

If you've read this far, thank you. Having a place to defend yourself and ask questions is good.

Jump to this post

Hi, I'm a retired teacher who was subbing for ESS, but insomnia and other withdrawal symptoms aren't predictable enough to allow for scheduling jobs. I had to arrange to take January off and hope to be able to get back to work in February. It's iffy. I believe I know in some part how you feel – it's very frustrating not to be able to do something that you've previously done, but need to continue doing. Teaching is challenging enough without all the other miseries caused by withdrawal. You do need to slow down the process as Sandi said. I went off too quickly (doctor didn't know how to safely guide my withdrawals either) and the withdrawals were not good. Maybe you can level out to a place where you can still work and yet begin to get off slowly enough to help with your other health issues. I'm trying diet, exercise and prayer – hang in there – it will get better.

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@rainer

Hi, I'm a retired teacher who was subbing for ESS, but insomnia and other withdrawal symptoms aren't predictable enough to allow for scheduling jobs. I had to arrange to take January off and hope to be able to get back to work in February. It's iffy. I believe I know in some part how you feel – it's very frustrating not to be able to do something that you've previously done, but need to continue doing. Teaching is challenging enough without all the other miseries caused by withdrawal. You do need to slow down the process as Sandi said. I went off too quickly (doctor didn't know how to safely guide my withdrawals either) and the withdrawals were not good. Maybe you can level out to a place where you can still work and yet begin to get off slowly enough to help with your other health issues. I'm trying diet, exercise and prayer – hang in there – it will get better.

Jump to this post

Many kind words to read this morning; thank you, everyone. I am off work, using up the 186 sick days I had stored. After they are used, if I need to, I can apply to be approved for long term disability.
I miss interacting with the kids and am terrified of what going back to work will do.

My principal has changed my teaching assignment while I’m gone (yes, she can legally do that) and there is a “duty to accomodate” part in policy that means there has to be a position for me.

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@ksad

Many kind words to read this morning; thank you, everyone. I am off work, using up the 186 sick days I had stored. After they are used, if I need to, I can apply to be approved for long term disability.
I miss interacting with the kids and am terrified of what going back to work will do.

My principal has changed my teaching assignment while I’m gone (yes, she can legally do that) and there is a “duty to accomodate” part in policy that means there has to be a position for me.

Jump to this post

Good on you for having all those days – and don't be afraid to use disability. When you are in a better place mentally and physically – and you feel more "predictable" about yourself – going back to work won't seem so terrifying – You've done it before you can do it again, or you might want to rekick a whole new career path – possibilities are out there. The kids – a whole separate issue there (lame joke from one teacher to another.)

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@rainer

Good on you for having all those days – and don't be afraid to use disability. When you are in a better place mentally and physically – and you feel more "predictable" about yourself – going back to work won't seem so terrifying – You've done it before you can do it again, or you might want to rekick a whole new career path – possibilities are out there. The kids – a whole separate issue there (lame joke from one teacher to another.)

Jump to this post

Ha! Whole new career path sounds great and after finally finishing school after 53 yrs, it seems the next logical step. No gumption, no initiative and no ability to organize my own days make that seem impossible. No patience either! At the same time every outing comes with tears as kids ask when I’m coming back to school. Has anyone kicked this and got themselves back to where they could resume the life they had?
And….if I’m better, the expectation that I must resume work and responsibilities returns. That’s terrifying but the option is staying sick.

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It's now 11:38 am, my second day 75 to 37.5… feeling light headed, a bit dizzy and getting dizzier, and hungry. It started out so well.

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@shermananski

It's now 11:38 am, my second day 75 to 37.5… feeling light headed, a bit dizzy and getting dizzier, and hungry. It started out so well.

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Hello, I am Bright Wings. When I came here, there were 141 pages on this topic. Now there are how many???
Many have come before you and suffered, or not.
Go start reading, learn from others that came before you.
There is no easy way to get off this horrendous rollercoaster of withdrawal but you can make the roller coaster drops easier.
Click on my name to read my whole story.

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

How bad it gets for you, depends on what you do from today on.

Also, it's important to keep your mind busy. Study something. Pick up a guitar or do something you used to love. TAKE AN ACTION.
Keeping your mind busy keeps it off your misery.

CBD, CBD, CBD.
GO GET IT TODAY.

I wish you well, but it going to be a while.

Today I lead a triumphant life. Smiling at you,
Bright Wings, flying cuz I take action.

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@brightwings

Hello, I am Bright Wings. When I came here, there were 141 pages on this topic. Now there are how many???
Many have come before you and suffered, or not.
Go start reading, learn from others that came before you.
There is no easy way to get off this horrendous rollercoaster of withdrawal but you can make the roller coaster drops easier.
Click on my name to read my whole story.

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

How bad it gets for you, depends on what you do from today on.

Also, it's important to keep your mind busy. Study something. Pick up a guitar or do something you used to love. TAKE AN ACTION.
Keeping your mind busy keeps it off your misery.

CBD, CBD, CBD.
GO GET IT TODAY.

I wish you well, but it going to be a while.

Today I lead a triumphant life. Smiling at you,
Bright Wings, flying cuz I take action.

Jump to this post

There are too many pages. If I start spiraling I'll go back up to 75 mg and regroup. CBD… there's a whole other page of back-n-forth. Where to get it for starters. I'm a total novice and have no idea what that's all about.

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@shermananski

There are too many pages. If I start spiraling I'll go back up to 75 mg and regroup. CBD… there's a whole other page of back-n-forth. Where to get it for starters. I'm a total novice and have no idea what that's all about.

Jump to this post

I use Lazarzus naturals. Company in Oregon. To order my CBD.
I also have multiple sclerosis. So I was using 2500 mg a month.
Our brains are equipped with receptors for CBD.
It completes something in our wiring.
It's your choice to learn from others or suffer.
I had a stroke from getting off effexor.
Yes, your choice how hard this gets.
I wish you well.
Bright Wings

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@ksad

Ha! Whole new career path sounds great and after finally finishing school after 53 yrs, it seems the next logical step. No gumption, no initiative and no ability to organize my own days make that seem impossible. No patience either! At the same time every outing comes with tears as kids ask when I’m coming back to school. Has anyone kicked this and got themselves back to where they could resume the life they had?
And….if I’m better, the expectation that I must resume work and responsibilities returns. That’s terrifying but the option is staying sick.

Jump to this post

@ksad
I feel your frustration. Hang in there.
Right now your brain is being flooded with signals that things are wrong from the drop in effexor.
"This too shall pass" is a motto I use when I am not in control.
Read, read read here.
It will get easier, if you do what we did to make it easier.
I have been on this page for 2 years. Each person comes and wants a way to feel better. NOW!
It's not going to happen.
Read, read read. Then do what we did.
There is no way to write out the steps for each person who comes.
I wish you well. Bright Wings

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@brightwings

I use Lazarzus naturals. Company in Oregon. To order my CBD.
I also have multiple sclerosis. So I was using 2500 mg a month.
Our brains are equipped with receptors for CBD.
It completes something in our wiring.
It's your choice to learn from others or suffer.
I had a stroke from getting off effexor.
Yes, your choice how hard this gets.
I wish you well.
Bright Wings

Jump to this post

I have read everything… all very useful. It's just a bit of a mishmash. So, you mention "I WAS using 2500 mg." When you went off Effexor? When you had a stroke? How much do you take now? And, why? Thank you!

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@shermananski

I have read everything… all very useful. It's just a bit of a mishmash. So, you mention "I WAS using 2500 mg." When you went off Effexor? When you had a stroke? How much do you take now? And, why? Thank you!

Jump to this post

I was taking 150 mg of effexor. I had been on antidepressants for 33 years. This was my last medicine of 16 to get off of. The worse one too.
I went cold turkey. Result was I had a stroke.
I am completely recovered now cuz I do what ever it takes.
You are dropping to fast. You will suffer hard.
Someone here is the expert on opening capsules to count out so many beads to cut your dosage easier. It takes longer, but keeping your mind and body moving helps tremendously. Do what ever it takes!
BTW, I am an RN.
I used to order from Lazarus natural. Now I make it myself.
Start with 25 mg of CBD a couple times a day. Incease it to 3 times a day if necessary. Your body will tell you how much you need. Listen to it.

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