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

Maybe there’s a thread about seroquel? Part of me thought that seroquel + zoloft basically equals Effexor. But I’m not having the same side effects. Which is good. However, I am prescribed the lowest dose there is and I cut that in half. And seems to be working. I actually tried weening off once I got the hang of zoloft and any less than a quarter brings on anxiety.

I will always try and stay on the lowest dose of anything I can.

But why should I worry about seroquel?

Liked by texasduchess

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@cp6401

thanks for the reply @texasduchess @secretwhitepop @sears . Sleep helps alot, that which i've been lacking lately, and which i've learned is fundamental when it comes to even "having a chance" at healing and coming off meds you've been on for 20+ years..or.. just cause.. and last night, i got a solid 7-8 hours (gravol assisted), which is the first time in weeks literally. I look forward to more restful sleep tonight. My doctors are aware and all agreed at the taper plan, which was suggested by my trusted "pharmacist, and GP and cpsych. Problem is, while i was "marginally better" on the 37.5. I had most of those symptoms already present just less severe. basically Effexor never worked for me, and the urgency to get off was born from there. I wish i could say i was feeling great, and so that's when i decided it was time to taper. But i wasn't. I never felt good on effexor, except when upping or lowering a dose, i would get one day of euphoric happiness, which soon faded. If my original dose of zoloft from my teens didn't stop working, i wouldn't be fighting this fight.. same with Celexa, which worked for a long time, then, either i had too much pressure in my life, or it just stopped working, then switched to lexapro, no help, then effexor xr. If the meds just kept on working, i would still be on them. That was my main motivation for the taper all together. that and taking holistic care of myself.. watching my diet, meditating, get hormones checked, and supplementing etc.. vitamin, self care…i've think i've already mentioned). this long planned journey since 2017. to do the right things, plan things out. I realize i've perhaps made some bad choices, but i feel like they were supervised choices nonetheless, and i have no choice now but to assume them.. I've been off since Feb 19th'. so 1.5 months. and i'm at that age old choice of "do i go back on or not".. do i soldier on? will things get better? i hate that question. but mostly, i hate that i don't see a light at the end of the tunnel.. i wish i knew someone in my circumstance, who's gotten through it. someone who can say.. yes, with time, things will get better.

thanks for reading

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I understand your feelings of despair over whether or not you’ll get better soon and “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Yes, in all probability, YOU WILL. Please go back and check my posts and those of ace contributors you see recurring on here. We all have given a precise and consistent history of our journeys and present status. It would be a big help for you to see our success stories and present statuses. In my particular case, I became more alive and “with it” within 6 months of my final weaning off Venlafaxine. I currently only get occasional feelings of anxiety, and very little depression now, even with being on the free-falling rollercoaster ride we’ve all found to be our “pervasive new normal”, WHICH IS ONLY TEMPORARY. If you need help navigating this awesome forum to find our history of page posts, please reach out and let one of us know. Just click on our profile name and it will take you there! Your only job is to take care of yourself at this time and I hope you’re following some of the excellent advice posted here! Many have influenced and helped me to be where I thankfully am today. Now, you have some reading to do, friend! Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll pop in to answer! KEEP ON KEEPING ON…..

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@secretwhitepop

Maybe there’s a thread about seroquel? Part of me thought that seroquel + zoloft basically equals Effexor. But I’m not having the same side effects. Which is good. However, I am prescribed the lowest dose there is and I cut that in half. And seems to be working. I actually tried weening off once I got the hang of zoloft and any less than a quarter brings on anxiety.

I will always try and stay on the lowest dose of anything I can.

But why should I worry about seroquel?

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@secretwhitepop, there are a few discussion threads about seroquel here:
– Getting off of Seroquel https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/getting-off-of-seroquel/
– Seroquel and side effects https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/seroquel-causing-extreme-grogginess/

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Thank you!

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@sandij

1. Ego related. They get their panties in a wad over patients who do research. 2. They dismiss patient concerns because, after all, we are crazy enough to need a psychiatrist, so our concerns stem from our diagnosis. 3. Big pharm gives kickbacks. 4. Laziness to research new information unless it can help their financial situation. 5. They usually have their own, untreated diagnoses, which is why they chose that profession.

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interesting points.. especially number 5, i think you're spot on with that one.

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@chicago1211

I’m seeing myself in your posts, what you describe is exactly what I experience right now, I just had to reply.
Well, in case you think you are alone in this hell.

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thanks @chicago1211 how have things been for you lately?

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@texasduchess

I am glad today is a better day and that you were able to get enough quality sleep last night. If we each had a crystal ball, we'd make a LOT of different choices. I agree with @sheffieldsmith that anyone thinking of tapering right now should hold off and if already started, hold where they are; sheltering-in-place and social distancing are stresses enough. If you can, avoid the news and agitating/violent TV, movies, books and music. A regular routine and taking meds/supplements on schedule help maintain an even keel (you mentioned you had forgotten about your thyroid medication). I will be off Effexor two years shortly–it does get better.

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thank you for this feedback @texasduchess . can i ask, were you on long? (you also, literally just reminded me to take my vitamins :P)

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@cp6401

thank you for this feedback @texasduchess . can i ask, were you on long? (you also, literally just reminded me to take my vitamins :P)

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You can click on my name, or anyone's name on this thread and read all their posts. I have quite a few, so I'll reprise my history.

I started taking 25mg Effexor in 2001 for hot flashes (an off-label use). My breast cancer was estrogen-driven so I was given tamoxifen–it binds up the estrogen in your body which put me into a chemically induced menopause.

In the Fall of 2014, I was diagnosed with a different breast cancer. I asked my oncologist if I should get off the Effexor as my treatment was going to more grueling and I probably didn't need it for hot flashes anymore, anyway. He told me to hold off–not to rock the boat right now.

I waited until the Spring of 2018 and tapered off by cutting my small flat tablets into tinier and tinier pieces. I took two months to get off 25mg. I was fine for about six weeks after the taper. Then, I began experiencing all the symptoms of Effexor withdrawal–anxiety, insomnia, agitation, shakes, akathisia, fear, dizziness, etc. I had been on Effexor for almost 18 years–I think six weeks is how long it took for my body to "use up" all the stores of this drug stored in my body tissues.

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@secretwhitepop

I forgot to mention this before, but, have you tried meditation? That helped me tremendously while I was med free. Like I said before, I’m back on zoloft and seroquel and I like the effect better than Effexor. And I always wish I was on nothing. But, well, like they say, it is what it is.

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Hello @secretwhitepop, yes, i'm an almost regular meditator. I say almost because there are times when i feel like maybe now isn't a good time to sit and be still.

Liked by texasduchess

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@sheffieldsmith

I understand your feelings of despair over whether or not you’ll get better soon and “see the light at the end of the tunnel”. Yes, in all probability, YOU WILL. Please go back and check my posts and those of ace contributors you see recurring on here. We all have given a precise and consistent history of our journeys and present status. It would be a big help for you to see our success stories and present statuses. In my particular case, I became more alive and “with it” within 6 months of my final weaning off Venlafaxine. I currently only get occasional feelings of anxiety, and very little depression now, even with being on the free-falling rollercoaster ride we’ve all found to be our “pervasive new normal”, WHICH IS ONLY TEMPORARY. If you need help navigating this awesome forum to find our history of page posts, please reach out and let one of us know. Just click on our profile name and it will take you there! Your only job is to take care of yourself at this time and I hope you’re following some of the excellent advice posted here! Many have influenced and helped me to be where I thankfully am today. Now, you have some reading to do, friend! Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll pop in to answer! KEEP ON KEEPING ON…..

Jump to this post

Thank you so much for this feedback, I needed it. I will take your advice! I find my self looking online and YouTube for positive feedback on folks that have succeeded after as long as me at Getting off. I have found a few.. it’s hard not to become obsessed with searching, but on the flip side, it’s easy to come across something that will make you feel worse about everything. 😀

REPLY
@texasduchess

You can click on my name, or anyone's name on this thread and read all their posts. I have quite a few, so I'll reprise my history.

I started taking 25mg Effexor in 2001 for hot flashes (an off-label use). My breast cancer was estrogen-driven so I was given tamoxifen–it binds up the estrogen in your body which put me into a chemically induced menopause.

In the Fall of 2014, I was diagnosed with a different breast cancer. I asked my oncologist if I should get off the Effexor as my treatment was going to more grueling and I probably didn't need it for hot flashes anymore, anyway. He told me to hold off–not to rock the boat right now.

I waited until the Spring of 2018 and tapered off by cutting my small flat tablets into tinier and tinier pieces. I took two months to get off 25mg. I was fine for about six weeks after the taper. Then, I began experiencing all the symptoms of Effexor withdrawal–anxiety, insomnia, agitation, shakes, akathisia, fear, dizziness, etc. I had been on Effexor for almost 18 years–I think six weeks is how long it took for my body to "use up" all the stores of this drug stored in my body tissues.

Jump to this post

Thanks for sharing your story @texasduchess. It’s confirmation again to me that it’s possible to live a life med free. I was wondering about that akithisia thing. I have that when I have higher anxiety levels too

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@cp6401

Thank you so much for this feedback, I needed it. I will take your advice! I find my self looking online and YouTube for positive feedback on folks that have succeeded after as long as me at Getting off. I have found a few.. it’s hard not to become obsessed with searching, but on the flip side, it’s easy to come across something that will make you feel worse about everything. 😀

Jump to this post

You got it! I think we’re all counting our blessings these days!

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At the risk of sounding obsessive

Has anyone used trazadone for sleep whilst withdrawing from Effexor? Although I’m over a 1.5months off Effexor XR I’ve been prescribed (and accepted) trazadone 50mg for sleep. Since this was originally an antidepressant at higher doses back in the day I’m concerned that it’s stunting or extending my overall withdrawal. So if it naturally takes me 3/6/12 months to get off, With no aid, I’m just resetting my tapering schedule to 0 every time I use it and that it’s going to be yet another drug I need to get off of and go through this whole process again.. aarrrgg ..because as we know, when you ask a doctor with help with symptoms, you get a drug. And I am trying to do this as holistically as possible. (Haven’t needed Ativan in over 5 days)…

Another thing that bugs me is that if I have a good day, it’s the drug, not “I’m finally starting to feel good and seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Does this make any sense to anyone ?

Thanks for reading

Liked by texasduchess

REPLY

I think its probably ok. I think it works on different receptors. I'd rather be on trazadone for sleep than on effexor lol. Keep up the great work!

Liked by texasduchess, cp6401

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@cp6401

At the risk of sounding obsessive

Has anyone used trazadone for sleep whilst withdrawing from Effexor? Although I’m over a 1.5months off Effexor XR I’ve been prescribed (and accepted) trazadone 50mg for sleep. Since this was originally an antidepressant at higher doses back in the day I’m concerned that it’s stunting or extending my overall withdrawal. So if it naturally takes me 3/6/12 months to get off, With no aid, I’m just resetting my tapering schedule to 0 every time I use it and that it’s going to be yet another drug I need to get off of and go through this whole process again.. aarrrgg ..because as we know, when you ask a doctor with help with symptoms, you get a drug. And I am trying to do this as holistically as possible. (Haven’t needed Ativan in over 5 days)…

Another thing that bugs me is that if I have a good day, it’s the drug, not “I’m finally starting to feel good and seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Does this make any sense to anyone ?

Thanks for reading

Jump to this post

And you're having good days because of the work you are doing. Good for you that you haven't needed the ativan.

Liked by texasduchess, cp6401

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