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

@chicago1211

6 weeks without medication now. I don’t have any physical symptoms anymore. My mental is still very unstable though. I’m anxious, paranoid, uncertain and stressed. This whole Corona situation making it very tough to stabilise the conditions mentioned above.
I’m in the psychiatric hospital (willingly) again where they’ve prescribed me Ven 3 years ago.
Today the doc suggested me to take some Duloxetine to get my shit a little together.
Yep they wanna put me on meds again. I’m not “forced” to take any, but certainly you feel that the docs don’t really consider the difficulty of tapering that poison off, short term solution in a capsule is all they can offer.

The last 3 weeks I’ve been taking Amino acids to help normalising the levels of neurotransmitters, have been eating Walnuts like crazy (because of Omega-3) and did spend at least 30 minutes under the sun daily. I’m trying to stick to a routine, trying to keep a healthy day rhythm, but the condition does not improve dramatically.

Do I need more patience? If so then how long?

I’m just overloaded with anxiety, frustration and self hate.

Could someone give me any practical suggestions before I give up on everything and go on SNRIs again. Thank you. Thank you everyone for being there and your advices. Stay safe.

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Living in a routine and covering the sleeping and eating properly bases is a huge challenge. Knowing you need to, you are supposed to, and that it will eventually pay off doesn't make doing those things automatic. I fight with myself, chastise myself, then don't follow my own rules yet again. Sounds like you are doing well with self- discipline and giving your body what it needs, giving it a fighting chance.

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I have been on Effexor 75 for 6 months and then went straight to 37.5 for a month now, with no side effects. Now I want to get off this drug and with my doctors advice have been taking 37.5 every other day for a week. I FEEL LIKE HELL. Dizzy all the time even after taking the dose. Nausea all the time, I can’t eat anything. awful brain zaps. And feeling very emotional and crying
Any one have any advice?

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@20gordy

I have been on Effexor 75 for 6 months and then went straight to 37.5 for a month now, with no side effects. Now I want to get off this drug and with my doctors advice have been taking 37.5 every other day for a week. I FEEL LIKE HELL. Dizzy all the time even after taking the dose. Nausea all the time, I can’t eat anything. awful brain zaps. And feeling very emotional and crying
Any one have any advice?

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Sadly, many on here can attest that many doctors do not know how to taper someone off Effexor. Trying to taper by skipping days means that the levels of Effexor in your body yo yo dramatically; this drug has a very short half-life already which makes it hard to get off of. You'd do better to reduce the amount of drug you take at each dosing.

You may need to go back to 37.5 daily (or even more) until your withdrawal symptoms ease and hold there for some weeks before trying to taper again. When you do try tapering again, reduce by a small amount (5–10 percent), stay there for weeks before making another small step down.

Your doctor can prescribe a different formulation–I was on 25mg regular-release tablets that could be cut, or he could specify a certain brand of capsules (@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–see @sandij, or @doorman on how to do this). 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).

Ask your doctor about a "Prozac bridge"–essentially, the Prozac cushions the effect of no Effexor and lets you "ride out" the withdrawal process.–https://natashatracy.com/treatment-issues/withdrawal/antidepressants-effexorpristiq-venlafaxinedesvenlafaxine/. See also https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/107532-coming-off-of-effexor-with-prozac-bridge/.

OTC medications and supplements can help with some of the withdrawal symptoms. Ben*dryl, Bon*ine, or other seasickness remedies can reduce/minimize the dizziness/vertigo. Here's a good article re how to mitigate withdrawal effects with supplements–https://www.4mind4life.com/effexor-withdrawal-symptoms. (Fish oil may be more helpful than krill oil.) Do NOT take l-tryptophan, or 5-HTP while still on Effexor.

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@texasduchess

Sadly, many on here can attest that many doctors do not know how to taper someone off Effexor. Trying to taper by skipping days means that the levels of Effexor in your body yo yo dramatically; this drug has a very short half-life already which makes it hard to get off of. You'd do better to reduce the amount of drug you take at each dosing.

You may need to go back to 37.5 daily (or even more) until your withdrawal symptoms ease and hold there for some weeks before trying to taper again. When you do try tapering again, reduce by a small amount (5–10 percent), stay there for weeks before making another small step down.

Your doctor can prescribe a different formulation–I was on 25mg regular-release tablets that could be cut, or he could specify a certain brand of capsules (@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–see @sandij, or @doorman on how to do this). 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).

Ask your doctor about a "Prozac bridge"–essentially, the Prozac cushions the effect of no Effexor and lets you "ride out" the withdrawal process.–https://natashatracy.com/treatment-issues/withdrawal/antidepressants-effexorpristiq-venlafaxinedesvenlafaxine/. See also https://www.depressionforums.org/forums/topic/107532-coming-off-of-effexor-with-prozac-bridge/.

OTC medications and supplements can help with some of the withdrawal symptoms. Ben*dryl, Bon*ine, or other seasickness remedies can reduce/minimize the dizziness/vertigo. Here's a good article re how to mitigate withdrawal effects with supplements–https://www.4mind4life.com/effexor-withdrawal-symptoms. (Fish oil may be more helpful than krill oil.) Do NOT take l-tryptophan, or 5-HTP while still on Effexor.

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Thank you for your reply, I will ask my doctor about reducing the amount over time, rather than skipping days. And hope that helps.

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I slowly weened off 37.5 mgs over the course of 18 months. My choice to go that slow, but, had ZERO side effects. I took out beads from the ER capsules a bit at a time.

I was med free for 6 months but my anxiety and depression crept back in. However, I’d been on SSRI’s and SNRI’s for about 20 years.

I am currently not med free but I am Effexor free, successfully.

It’s not you, it’s the drug. I like a lot of meds (I guess, I’m not a doctor) Effexor has a very short half life so it won’t ween itself out of your system. That’s why every other day is like torture.

I’m glad you found this forum. It means the docs advice was not working for you!

S

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@20gordy

Thank you for your reply, I will ask my doctor about reducing the amount over time, rather than skipping days. And hope that helps.

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@20gordy
“ I will ask my doctor about reducing the amount over time, rather than skipping days. And hope that helps.”
I hope so too gory but according to your doctors track record I don’t have a lot of confidence that it will.
Countless members here have said when reducing Effexor to go SLOW or SLOWLY or GRADUALLY, but how many people have listened, virtually none obviously because these pages are full of people wanting to get off of it quickly as soon as possible or after reading our suggestions about slowly will cut their dose by 50% and come back here and can’t understand why they are suffering withdrawals. Some choose to quit quickly and are willing to endure whatever withdrawal symptoms come along and then return and complain what a horrible drug it is and it should be taken off of the market. Well it’s not a horrible drug and it shouldn’t be taken off of the market. It helps a lot of people but you have to use it responsibly and you have to get off of it responsibly. The problem is manufacturers and therefore most doctors are unaware of how to do that. But they should know based on the half-life and type of drug it is.
You mentioned you went down from 75mg to 37.5 without any side effects which not everyone can do but I am quite confident from 37.5 down you’re going to notice significant differences unless you go slowly. I’m going to tell you a true story that will hopefully demonstrate how doctors prescribe and advise patients even though they don’t know what they’re doing. There was a psychiatrist in Europe who is putting his patients I need Effexor and then taking them off and they were all suffering from withdrawal symptoms. The psychiatrist was also taking Effexor and when he decided to stop he used the same method that he was telling his patients to use. Well he to started having withdrawal symptoms. He had heard about the 5 to 10% method where you reduce your dosage by 5 to 10% every 2-6 weeks. So he tried it and guess what no withdrawal symptoms. But bottom line this doctor knew he was telling his patients to stop too quickly. Now he is an advocate of the 5 to 10% method.
Of course some people are able to stop more quickly than others. For the people who want to stop by a certain percentage method the best way is to use a compounding pharmacy but this can be expensive if it’s not covered by your insurance.
If I were you I would ask your doctor if s/he was on this medication and if you ever stopped did you have withdrawals coming off. But I doubt very much s/he was ever on it. I would ask s/he how do you know the advice that your giving me won’t cause me to suffer withdrawal symptoms? Ask for articles that support his/her Effexor discontinuation practices. Please don’t put your doctor on a pedestal and think s/he is a God doctor’s are human and are capable of making mistakes doctors do it all the time as you probably know. Medical errors in the United States are the third leading cause of death. I’m sure my doctor feels by the time she leaves the room she’s been through an
intense interrogation. It is obvious that likely none of the people advising you on how to come off this drug except those on this forum) have never been on it.
Good luck Gorgy and PLEASE go slow, you won’t regret it,
Jake

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Hello all,
It's been a long time since I posted anything personal but its time…
My son died march 12th.
I'm really suffering. We still dont have autopsy results but it was probably heroin. 46 years old
I'm working hard to pull out all my tricks to fight depression, I'm not going back on any pills.
So I sit and feel the pain and sometimes I cant even breathe.
This one is going to take some time to pass.
Bright Wings, floundering…..

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@brightwings

Hello all,
It's been a long time since I posted anything personal but its time…
My son died march 12th.
I'm really suffering. We still dont have autopsy results but it was probably heroin. 46 years old
I'm working hard to pull out all my tricks to fight depression, I'm not going back on any pills.
So I sit and feel the pain and sometimes I cant even breathe.
This one is going to take some time to pass.
Bright Wings, floundering…..

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My heart breaks for you. I hope you can find some comfort from all the good people here on this forum.

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Hello @brightwings-My sincerest sympathy on the loss of your son. I can't imagine the grief one suffers from the loss of a child. Perhaps you might like to connect with other members in the Loss & Grief support group here:
– Loss & Grief https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/loss-grief/

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@brightwings

Hello all,
It's been a long time since I posted anything personal but its time…
My son died march 12th.
I'm really suffering. We still dont have autopsy results but it was probably heroin. 46 years old
I'm working hard to pull out all my tricks to fight depression, I'm not going back on any pills.
So I sit and feel the pain and sometimes I cant even breathe.
This one is going to take some time to pass.
Bright Wings, floundering…..

Jump to this post

There is nothing I can say, I’m sure, that would even come close to help what you must be feeling. I hope, however, that knowing there are people out here who truly care for you, somehow, comforts you, if only a little. So so sorry for your loss. You have helped so many of us. For that we are so grateful.

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@secretwhitepop

There is nothing I can say, I’m sure, that would even come close to help what you must be feeling. I hope, however, that knowing there are people out here who truly care for you, somehow, comforts you, if only a little. So so sorry for your loss. You have helped so many of us. For that we are so grateful.

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You said it all so well. I thank you so much.
It's like this is my home group and that's what I need right now, my homies.
We do not have autopsy results yet but probably heroin overdose. 46 years old….
I think I've been coming here working with all of you for almost 3 1/2 years.
Laughing but not, cuz I help others heal only this time I need the words.
Being an RN, I have helped countless folks heal from loved ones deaths. But this really sucks….

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We all Send You our Love and Blessings!
Richard

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@brightwings

Hello all,
It's been a long time since I posted anything personal but its time…
My son died march 12th.
I'm really suffering. We still dont have autopsy results but it was probably heroin. 46 years old
I'm working hard to pull out all my tricks to fight depression, I'm not going back on any pills.
So I sit and feel the pain and sometimes I cant even breathe.
This one is going to take some time to pass.
Bright Wings, floundering…..

Jump to this post

Dear Brightwings,

I am so very, very sorry. My sincerest condolences on the tragic loss of your son. You are in my thoughts. Please know you have a friend here.

REPLY
@brightwings

Hello all,
It's been a long time since I posted anything personal but its time…
My son died march 12th.
I'm really suffering. We still dont have autopsy results but it was probably heroin. 46 years old
I'm working hard to pull out all my tricks to fight depression, I'm not going back on any pills.
So I sit and feel the pain and sometimes I cant even breathe.
This one is going to take some time to pass.
Bright Wings, floundering…..

Jump to this post

Sincere condolences on the passing of your dearest son. I cannot imagine the darkest nights of the soul you or your son have endured up to this point. It seems that many already teetering on the edge have lost hope during this time of pandemic sheltering, social distancing, and resulting repercussions of job loss, unemployment and economic uncertainties. The coping skills for adversity that our parents and grandparents used in their hard times are the very ones we need to dig deep and draw upon today. It is our legacy to us, and we must all recognize therein lies our superpower to endure and thrive. Nurses already seem to have innate, pragmatic superpowers that most of us are in awe of when they are confronted with their own personal losses. I’ve observed it in my nurse sister-in-law who lost her husband (only brother to my husband) to a virulent strain of pneumonia 6 years ago. Her understanding of the life and death cycles, and strength of purpose to push forward in faith has been an inspiration to all her adult children, as well as my husband and myself. Sitting with her grief, without meds, was her choice and a remarkable testament to how the human body can grieve and endure a great loss while carrying on each day with meaning and hope for the future. I pray that you will be encouraged and strengthened by the positive light and presence of those who have endured their great losses and weathered the similar storms you have encountered…..May the hard work of sitting with your grief and loss as you “endure the darkest nights of the soul” serve to strengthen and renew your faith and hope for the future. Love and Peace to you as you make those baby steps, Brightwings…Your beloved son is at peace, and may you find solace in knowing his struggles are now over. 🙏❤️🙏

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@sheffieldsmith

Sincere condolences on the passing of your dearest son. I cannot imagine the darkest nights of the soul you or your son have endured up to this point. It seems that many already teetering on the edge have lost hope during this time of pandemic sheltering, social distancing, and resulting repercussions of job loss, unemployment and economic uncertainties. The coping skills for adversity that our parents and grandparents used in their hard times are the very ones we need to dig deep and draw upon today. It is our legacy to us, and we must all recognize therein lies our superpower to endure and thrive. Nurses already seem to have innate, pragmatic superpowers that most of us are in awe of when they are confronted with their own personal losses. I’ve observed it in my nurse sister-in-law who lost her husband (only brother to my husband) to a virulent strain of pneumonia 6 years ago. Her understanding of the life and death cycles, and strength of purpose to push forward in faith has been an inspiration to all her adult children, as well as my husband and myself. Sitting with her grief, without meds, was her choice and a remarkable testament to how the human body can grieve and endure a great loss while carrying on each day with meaning and hope for the future. I pray that you will be encouraged and strengthened by the positive light and presence of those who have endured their great losses and weathered the similar storms you have encountered…..May the hard work of sitting with your grief and loss as you “endure the darkest nights of the soul” serve to strengthen and renew your faith and hope for the future. Love and Peace to you as you make those baby steps, Brightwings…Your beloved son is at peace, and may you find solace in knowing his struggles are now over. 🙏❤️🙏

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Thank you for your beautifully expressed thoughts encompassing all that passed through my mind, but didn't make it through to written words. I hope Brightwings finds comfort in your words as I did.

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