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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@sears

Does Effexor come in a liquid form so one doesn’t have to actually count beads?

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I just read it does not.

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@sears

Does Effexor come in a liquid form so one doesn’t have to actually count beads?

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I don't think you can just get it at a regular pharmacy, but I did see instructions for compounding pharmacists–
https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/venlafaxine-hydrochloride-15-mg-mlhttps://www.mipedscompounds.org/sites/default/files/standard-formulations/Venlafaxine.pdf
Here's an article about tapering strips available from Cinderella Therapeutics–
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2140106-people-are-hacking-antidepressant-doses-to-avoid-withdrawal/

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@texasduchess

From the experiences recounted on this forum, doctors routinely give/recommend to patients tapering schedules that are TOO FAST. Your doctor may be guiding you, but only you know how you feel; unless you're in a big hurry for medical reasons (i.e., Effexor is making your blood pressure spike dangerously, or you're pregnant), slow down–WAAYYYY down. You will know if you are tapering too fast–withdrawal symptoms are the big tip off.

I was only ever on 25mg regular-release Effexor/venlafaxine–it came as very small (approx 1/4 inch), flat, dry tablets; usually round, but occasionally my refills were 5-sided, or oval-shaped; color was usually pale pink/salmon, or yellow. These were all very easy to cut with a pill cutter. You could cut these into halves, quarters, or even smaller with a razor blade, or Exacto knife and mix-match to get smaller doses as you taper.

Folks have opened the capsules and counted/removed beads; it is tedious and is somewhat hit-and-miss as the number/sizes of beads within a capsule varies from capsule to capsule within a bottle of pills. Your doctor could specify a specific brand of capsule–@farm_mom found Teva had the most consistent size and number of beads within a capsule. See @sandij, or @doorman on how to count/throw out beads to taper.

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I'm going to have to use the regular Effexor pills to do this and it's OK to use Prozac as a bridge? It'll help?

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@suzy31

A long time ago I was addicted to benzos but I had a doctor who knew how to get me off of them and he did but it was hard. Now I have doctor who gave me this Effexor XR who doesn't apparently have a clue to help me get me off of it and I'm going to be the one telling him how to do to by the advice I read on here. That is so sad. This doctor thinks I can go down from the 75 milligrams to 37.5 milligrams then to no milligrams and then I'm off of it. It's not that easy and I wish it were. They say the last 75 milligrams is the hardest to come off of and it really is.

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You’re already more than halfway there since you now know the trick. It’s just a shame the doctors don’t know that you have to ween so very slowly! Please, go so slowly you do t have ONE withdrawal symptom! It IS possible! I took 18 months to week off the lowest dose but with no real withdrawal symptoms.
(Don’t get me wrong, I still use an antidepressant/anti anxiety drug. I think my body/brain need them – but I did not suffer withdrawal from Effexor. You CAN do this. )

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@suzy31

I'm going to have to use the regular Effexor pills to do this and it's OK to use Prozac as a bridge? It'll help?

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No need to feel daunted by “counting” beads. Remember, you don’t actually have to count the beads in every single capsule. Just count the beads that you take OUT of the capsule. So for example, at first I took out five every single day for about three weeks, until I felt my body was used to the lower dose. You shouldn’t feel a thing, and if you do, stay on whatever dose you’re down to longer until the symptoms go away. It’s quite easy.

And I felt more in control this way.

Remember, XR means extended release. Those little beads are made to enter your system slowly. I wouldn’t add any more change to your meds since you take several.

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@secretwhitepop

You’re already more than halfway there since you now know the trick. It’s just a shame the doctors don’t know that you have to ween so very slowly! Please, go so slowly you do t have ONE withdrawal symptom! It IS possible! I took 18 months to week off the lowest dose but with no real withdrawal symptoms.
(Don’t get me wrong, I still use an antidepressant/anti anxiety drug. I think my body/brain need them – but I did not suffer withdrawal from Effexor. You CAN do this. )

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I don't intend to give up it's just my doctor had to go lot slower on weaning me off of this stuff. I know know I do need an antidepressant because I have severe anxiety and depression and some OCD too but Effexor XR is not the drug for me.

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@secretwhitepop

No need to feel daunted by “counting” beads. Remember, you don’t actually have to count the beads in every single capsule. Just count the beads that you take OUT of the capsule. So for example, at first I took out five every single day for about three weeks, until I felt my body was used to the lower dose. You shouldn’t feel a thing, and if you do, stay on whatever dose you’re down to longer until the symptoms go away. It’s quite easy.

And I felt more in control this way.

Remember, XR means extended release. Those little beads are made to enter your system slowly. I wouldn’t add any more change to your meds since you take several.

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Kind of mad at my doctor right now. I'm on 20 milligrams of Viibryd and one of the side effects of that is a headache and I'm having that so trying to get me off of the Effexor XR like he did so drastically made me have one killer of a headache the last time. He has to get me off the Viibryd to get me off the Effexor XR for sure. I seriously wonder if my doctor know what the heck he's even doing.

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@suzy31

Kind of mad at my doctor right now. I'm on 20 milligrams of Viibryd and one of the side effects of that is a headache and I'm having that so trying to get me off of the Effexor XR like he did so drastically made me have one killer of a headache the last time. He has to get me off the Viibryd to get me off the Effexor XR for sure. I seriously wonder if my doctor know what the heck he's even doing.

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Most doctors don’t know how to taper correctly. They love to put you on these drugs and have no idea how to get you off! Sad state of affairs. In my opinion most of the antidepressants are just as bad as Benzos. And side effects are much worse than a any benzo.

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I agree with you totally my doctor thought I could come off the Effexor Xr that quickly then just start taking the Viibryd and I'm having headaches on that and when I see him on Wednesday he's going to have to take me off of the Viibryd for sure. I've basically have been sick and this is no fun for me.

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@suzy31

I agree with you totally my doctor thought I could come off the Effexor Xr that quickly then just start taking the Viibryd and I'm having headaches on that and when I see him on Wednesday he's going to have to take me off of the Viibryd for sure. I've basically have been sick and this is no fun for me.

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Do you have any idea how sick people get trying to get off drugs like yours? It’s terrible and can take years to taper off correctly. I had a complete breakdown getting off Paxil. Not trying to scare you. Please please get your doctor to take you seriously or find one that will. Research Effexor. The worst to come off of. Read people’s testimonials. There are several websites available on the internet to refer to. Doctors have GOT to start taking this more seriously! They’re killing us.

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@sears

Do you have any idea how sick people get trying to get off drugs like yours? It’s terrible and can take years to taper off correctly. I had a complete breakdown getting off Paxil. Not trying to scare you. Please please get your doctor to take you seriously or find one that will. Research Effexor. The worst to come off of. Read people’s testimonials. There are several websites available on the internet to refer to. Doctors have GOT to start taking this more seriously! They’re killing us.

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Now I realize it and I feel like my doctor has been taking this too lightly and he's going to have to listen to me on Wednesday and take me seriously. It's not worth feeling like crap.

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Stay strong with that! Being overdosed, wrong med, badly managed taper were all the fault of drs who didnt listen to me. I wish we could have a way to not be at their mercy. Good luck!

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@sears

Do you have any idea how sick people get trying to get off drugs like yours? It’s terrible and can take years to taper off correctly. I had a complete breakdown getting off Paxil. Not trying to scare you. Please please get your doctor to take you seriously or find one that will. Research Effexor. The worst to come off of. Read people’s testimonials. There are several websites available on the internet to refer to. Doctors have GOT to start taking this more seriously! They’re killing us.

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Not killing but taking years away, family away, careers away, and making us not want to live.

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Hi it’s me again. 2 weeks off this damned drug and I’m still suffering from absolute confusion, lack of concentration, extreme mood swings, anxiety, etc etc. Feels like my brain can’t find any balance. Something similar to being constantly high, living through a bad bad chemical trip.
Has anyone experienced something like that?
Is it going to stop.
Will I ever be able to think clearly again?
Without pills. Call me dumb but it feels so wrong to treat withdrawal symptoms with other psychoactive meds.
ISN’T IT JUST FALLING TO THE SAME SPIRAL.
You treat symptoms from withdrawal of one drug, need to then suffer from withdrawal of another. Repeat.

Ps.
The lack of concentration or difficulty making any decisions was already there while taking meds.

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@suzy31

I agree with you totally my doctor thought I could come off the Effexor Xr that quickly then just start taking the Viibryd and I'm having headaches on that and when I see him on Wednesday he's going to have to take me off of the Viibryd for sure. I've basically have been sick and this is no fun for me.

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I just read a side effect of viibryd overdose is a headache. Perhaps cut the pill in half? Some folks (me!!) are highly highly sensitive to medications. Never go off cold turkey and I always ween on, too. Just to see how my body will react. I also always chat with the pharmacist whenever I get a new Rx. They are VERY helpful and easy to talk to.

I was on Effexor for about 20 years. And it worked! I thought hey, I’m 50 years old, gone thru menopause, feel great! Maybe I should try and ween off… well, a bit over two years later I’m back on an SSRI as well as a mood “stabilizer” Some folks just do better with science 🙂

Go easy on yourself and let your doc know everything you’ve learned here. Docs aren’t perfect and if s/he is any good, s/he will take what you say to heart and hopefully no other patients will have to endure what you’re going through!

Hang in there.

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