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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@suzy31

I always thought my psych doctor would always do the right thing but not so much anymore they would rather do the easiest thing as I've found out through this Effexor thing. He would rather just keep me on it if he could that would be the easiest. Since I'm complaining so much he has to get me off of it now. I'm rather disappointed in him. I don't know maybe they do want to help but they truly don't see what these drugs really do.

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I think pretty much all of us are disappointed in our doctors. You’re not alone.

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@sears

I think pretty much all of us are disappointed in our doctors. You’re not alone.

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I just found out something very frustrating my doctor prescribed me 20 milligram Prozac tablets because he insisted that I only take 10 milligrams for the first 4 days and that my insurance would pay for the tablets because they were generic. Little did he know they refused and wanted a prior authorization because they were tablets. I just found that out today from the pharmacy where my doctor is at. That's why I haven't gotten them yet. I'm lucky because generics are cheap so the pharmacy let me put it on my house account and they are sending them finally. My insurance will only cover the Prozac 20 milligram capsules and not the tablets. OH, brother! So I had to call my doctor and leave a message for his nurse to tell her what happened.

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@sears

I think pretty much all of us are disappointed in our doctors. You’re not alone.

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I am getting where I don't trust any of them I don't like being talked down to. Very disappointed in most of the medical drs.

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@stephee11

I’m having crazy withdrawals, or at least that’s what I’m hoping it is. Went to the hospital last night and they gave me acid reflux medicine to take for a month. I’m weaning off of Effexor evil I start my Wellbutrin. I’m at 37.5 mg of Effexor a day and 150 of Wellbutrin. I started tapering down from 150 and was fine until I went to 75 and had to stop to start my Wellbutrin. I couldn’t make it through the second day of just Wellbutrin because I thought I wasn’t going to die. After discussing it with my doctor, I am now tapering down from 37.5 for a week, then taking it every other day the next week and every third day the following week. I just want this madness to end. I just want to love my cat and my boyfriend without getting angry or crying while shaking throughout my whole body. My withdrawal symptoms are: warm sensation in middle of chest, dizziness, blurry vision and aches in my calfs.

Went to the ER last night, the doctor told me it’s not covid 19.

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Hi, @stephee11 – I also wanted to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. Totally makes sense you just want to love your cat and your boyfriend and not deal with anger and crying.

I have not taken venlafaxine (Effexor) before, but came off of another antidepressant, citalopram (Celexa) years ago and switched to bupropion (Wellbutrin). The road off of my former medication was bumpy (complete with a visit to urgent care visit), as was the journey onto my new medication. However, after waiting out the buproprion about three months, it worked well for me and I've taken it since then.

I'd like to introduce you to others who also may provide some support and input as you continue your taper from 37.5 mg venlafaxine after going off completely at 75 mg didn't work well for you. Please meet @sandij @brightwings @laujenkins @ksad.

How has today gone for you?

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@colleenyoung

Hi @stephee11, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. That must've been scary both to have such a strong withdrawal reaction and to have to go to ER. As you'll read by scrolling through past posts, the final steps of reducing the taper can be the most challenging. @texasduchess @secretwhitepop @sears have all gone slow as well as Jake. Everyone is different. Be sure to tell your doctor how you're feeling, so your taper can be adjusted to be right for you.

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After my doctor refused to take my calls, I called my local health unit and they took me off Wellbutrin and ease my way back to my previous dosage of 150. I’m going to slowly taper down after that because I need to get off of this medication. With all of this coronavirus stuff going on, my anxiety thought that I got it when my chest got tight after I started my Wellbutrin.

Hopefully I can finally beat this.

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@lisalucier

Hi, @stephee11 – I also wanted to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. Totally makes sense you just want to love your cat and your boyfriend and not deal with anger and crying.

I have not taken venlafaxine (Effexor) before, but came off of another antidepressant, citalopram (Celexa) years ago and switched to bupropion (Wellbutrin). The road off of my former medication was bumpy (complete with a visit to urgent care visit), as was the journey onto my new medication. However, after waiting out the buproprion about three months, it worked well for me and I've taken it since then.

I'd like to introduce you to others who also may provide some support and input as you continue your taper from 37.5 mg venlafaxine after going off completely at 75 mg didn't work well for you. Please meet @sandij @brightwings @laujenkins @ksad.

How has today gone for you?

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I’m still having the shakes and am extremely dizzy. My arms tingle and I just get so nervous about all of these symptoms. I’m having acid reflux problems because of this. It’s scaring the hell out of me.

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@stephee11

After my doctor refused to take my calls, I called my local health unit and they took me off Wellbutrin and ease my way back to my previous dosage of 150. I’m going to slowly taper down after that because I need to get off of this medication. With all of this coronavirus stuff going on, my anxiety thought that I got it when my chest got tight after I started my Wellbutrin.

Hopefully I can finally beat this.

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These doctors are horrible! Mine quit taking my calls when I had many questions in regards to tapering Xanax.

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Hi. Even if doctors and their behaviours are frustrating they are what we have to work with. Learning what our bodies and brains can do, how they work, and recognizing limitations is a way to make sense out of it all. Being at the mercy of people and systems we don't trust definitely makes all the issues bigger and more of a burden. I wonder if doctors realize how much?

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@suzy31

I always thought my psych doctor would always do the right thing but not so much anymore they would rather do the easiest thing as I've found out through this Effexor thing. He would rather just keep me on it if he could that would be the easiest. Since I'm complaining so much he has to get me off of it now. I'm rather disappointed in him. I don't know maybe they do want to help but they truly don't see what these drugs really do.

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They sure love putting us on this stuff though!

Liked by sundance6

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@sandij

I got off and said I would never go on it again no matter how bad withdrawal was. That someday withdrawal would be over. After six months if windows and waves I had to begin effexor again. I went on 75 and now to 150. At 75 I was begging for something else to add to take the edge off, because I did not want to increase again (because I want to be off of it someday). I got no relief and started taking half dose of 10 mg ambien at about 4 pm because I was ready to kill myself after a day of withdrawal. I never went over 10 mg of ambien a day but knew I was abusing it, using it as a benzo to treat the withdrawal. I begged so many doctors to give me something to help so I would not be abusing the ambien. I got no relief from buspar or hydroxizine. I finally have a psychiatric NP who gave me seroquel to sleep and is on board with a slow taper from effexor when I get stable. I mentioned my mood swings and that I felt maybe I could be bipolar. She thought not but handed me the questionaire and it turns out to be the case. I began taking vraylor which I'm sure will turn out to have its own set of side effects, but I feel my moods are stable now. Or else I'm just more aware of them. Either way its a win. I'm way more positive and clear headed. I also began taking adderall again ( not prescribed for adhd but for energy, however I see I am ADHD as well). I'm now slowly tapering by dumping some beads from the 150 mg capsules and changing my rx to 4 37.5 mg capsules daily to assist in the bead counting. I actually had no problems the first time I tapered effexor, going from 150 to 75, which I know is not recommended but it was fine for me. When i get my 37.5 capsules I may try a 37.5 decrease. We'll see. Anyway, thats my convoluted story for today and I hope it helps someone on this forum if only to help you realize you are not alone, crazy, or irresponsible in this quest.

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I seriously think Effexor should be taken off the market. Doctors really need to think long and hard about prescribing this med. Withdrawals sound worse than any benzo taper I’ve heard of.

Liked by abbynormal

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Most don't care! Usually if they are tied into a hospital group or insurance they are told what they can do and what they can't! They have No Time for anything out of the ordinary.
Sundance(RB)

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Sorry I have been gone from this site for the last three months. What is Effexor used for?
Thanks,
Sundance (RB)

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Hello, I just found this group while Googling "How to Withdraw From Effexor". Seeing that I'm working from home for the next several months, I thought now would be a good time to get off of this terrible drug. I've been taking 37.5mg for 15 years, mostly because I survived going from 75mg to 37.5 and just couldn't deal with the withdrawal again (terrible nausea and brain zaps). This time my doctor wants me to taper down by opening a capsule, counting the beads, and slowly decreasing the number of beads I consume (via a spoonful of pudding) over several months. Has anyone tried this? I'm also 15 years older than when I went off the first time at 35 and I don't know if it will be even worse now. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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@sears

I think pretty much all of us are disappointed in our doctors. You’re not alone.

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Very true.

Liked by sears

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@abbynormal

Hello, I just found this group while Googling "How to Withdraw From Effexor". Seeing that I'm working from home for the next several months, I thought now would be a good time to get off of this terrible drug. I've been taking 37.5mg for 15 years, mostly because I survived going from 75mg to 37.5 and just couldn't deal with the withdrawal again (terrible nausea and brain zaps). This time my doctor wants me to taper down by opening a capsule, counting the beads, and slowly decreasing the number of beads I consume (via a spoonful of pudding) over several months. Has anyone tried this? I'm also 15 years older than when I went off the first time at 35 and I don't know if it will be even worse now. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Hello, @abbynormal, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sorry to hear your previous attempt at tapering off of venlafaxine (Effexor) did not go so well. If you click VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the entire thread on venlafaxine tapering.

You mentioned your doctor suggested tapering by counting beads in the capsules and slowly decreasing the amount over several months. Some members who have mentioned this method and may have some thoughts for you from their personal experiences tapering this way include @sandij @doorman @kbmayo. @texasduchess and @jakedduck1 also may have some input.

Have you already decreased your dosage since you discussed the taper with the doctor, abbynormal? If so, how did it go?

Also, good to hear from you, @sundance6. Venlafaxine (Effexor) is used to treat depression and some anxiety and panic disorders https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/venlafaxine-oral-route/description/drg-20067379.

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