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

@sharbare

I joined a group on facebook to help me get off of effexor. Over 5 weeks I have weened off down to 25 mg from 150. The group is saying this is too fast and I will feel awful in weeks to come. I am scared now and wonder should I go back on it. They say to cut back 10% every 3-4 weeks. They say I am in for a terrible time in the next weeks/ months. I am scared now.

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Don’t be scared but also, hang out at 25 mgs for a few weeks and see what happens. Once you start cutting the smaller doses down, it has a bigger impact, but if you’re doing well, see if you keep doing well at the lower dose. Then, when you’re ready, start decreasing very very slowly and hang out at the decreased done for a few weeks. You’ll be fine 🙂

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@jh31251

I’m in your same boat, I am 69, on the highest dose of Paxil, 2 30mg tabs a day, I will NEVER get off of this! I’ve never felt better in my life, my memory goes back at least 63 yrs and I had anxiety issues all the way back to then. To me it is great there is a medication that frees me from that horrible anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD etc! Find what works for you, what your body can tolerate and enjoy the relief. I know the journey to finding that relief is long and not easy but it is worth seeking out.

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The only reason I wanted to ween off Effexor was due to the side effects it was having on me… after weening off but then going back on an ssri pmus Seroquel, i feel great! (And without the side effects I had on Effexor!)

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@secretwhitepop

You’re going to be ok and you’re going to ween off successfully, but you MUST ween incredibly slowly. Docs notoriously suggest a regimen that is too fast for folks and leads to horrible withdrawal. If you give yourself, say, a year (don’t freak out!) to ween off, then cut back amounts accordingly, you will not only get off the drug, but with minimal or zero withdrawal. I did.

Thank being said, after 6 mo this med-free, my anxiety and depression came back. (I suppose I got it in my genes… who knows). But I am taking a low dose combo of seroquel at night (half tab of lowest dose made) and 50 mg of zoloft.

It’s not Effexor. So there’s that :).

Just please take care of yourself and your brain!

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There is no shame attached to taking an antidepressant.
That being said, I was out to change all of my abuse and successfully did. I took myself off 16 medicines. 6 of which were sedating.
However. as Secretwhirepop said, getting off effexor leads to anxiety. It doesn't cause it, it just makes us aware of it.
I used CBD for a year until someone gave me a recipe to make it myself.
I use that 3 times a day and I am free of anxiety.
Bright Wings
.
I NEVER GIVE UP.

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Welcome new members, @jackbud13 @jassyj @tb2011 @sharbare. This discussion has over 5000 posts. It may be a long read, but well worth your while to read through the past post from wise members who have "been there" and who "get it."

Quoted 2 members from their posts today sums up the sagest of advice:
@brightwings Develop a plan BEFORE you need it.
@secretwhitepop You’re going to be ok and you’re going to ween off successfully, but you MUST ween incredibly slowly.

As @basil points out "Maybe this isn't the best time to go off an anxiety medication…" COVID-19 is an anxiety-ridden time. For that reason, @sheffieldsmith started this discussion that may be of interest to some of you.
– Now is NOT the time to be Tapering off Depression or Anti-Anxiety Meds https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/now-is-not-the-time-to-be-tapering-off-depression-or-anti-anxiety-meds/

Please continue to ask questions as you navigate safe tapering. When responding to another member, it helps to add that member's @username in your response as I have done here. Here is a blog post that helps explain how messages and replies work on Mayo Clinic Connect:
– Replies and @mentions: How do I know who is replying to whom? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/about-connect/newsfeed-post/replies-and-mentions-how-do-i-know-who-is-replying-to-whom/

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@jh31251

I’m in your same boat, I am 69, on the highest dose of Paxil, 2 30mg tabs a day, I will NEVER get off of this! I’ve never felt better in my life, my memory goes back at least 63 yrs and I had anxiety issues all the way back to then. To me it is great there is a medication that frees me from that horrible anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD etc! Find what works for you, what your body can tolerate and enjoy the relief. I know the journey to finding that relief is long and not easy but it is worth seeking out.

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Good for you, smiling at you,
Bright Wings

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@secretwhitepop

Don’t be scared but also, hang out at 25 mgs for a few weeks and see what happens. Once you start cutting the smaller doses down, it has a bigger impact, but if you’re doing well, see if you keep doing well at the lower dose. Then, when you’re ready, start decreasing very very slowly and hang out at the decreased done for a few weeks. You’ll be fine 🙂

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I completely agree!
Bright Wings

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@brightwings

What would be accomplished by that??
Bright wings

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Help. If someone needs help, as in bridge drugs, or someone to listen to them, in person, now, that may be found at a hospital. Being reassured that what you are feeling physically is not a heart attack, or ms, or anything else your mind is working on would be helped by having your blood pressure taken, by knowing you are being checked properly. This forum has shown that others are being helped in many ways and when in the depths of a bad time, getting help shouldnt be discouraged.

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@colleenyoung

Welcome new members, @jackbud13 @jassyj @tb2011 @sharbare. This discussion has over 5000 posts. It may be a long read, but well worth your while to read through the past post from wise members who have "been there" and who "get it."

Quoted 2 members from their posts today sums up the sagest of advice:
@brightwings Develop a plan BEFORE you need it.
@secretwhitepop You’re going to be ok and you’re going to ween off successfully, but you MUST ween incredibly slowly.

As @basil points out "Maybe this isn't the best time to go off an anxiety medication…" COVID-19 is an anxiety-ridden time. For that reason, @sheffieldsmith started this discussion that may be of interest to some of you.
– Now is NOT the time to be Tapering off Depression or Anti-Anxiety Meds https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/now-is-not-the-time-to-be-tapering-off-depression-or-anti-anxiety-meds/

Please continue to ask questions as you navigate safe tapering. When responding to another member, it helps to add that member's @username in your response as I have done here. Here is a blog post that helps explain how messages and replies work on Mayo Clinic Connect:
– Replies and @mentions: How do I know who is replying to whom? https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/about-connect/newsfeed-post/replies-and-mentions-how-do-i-know-who-is-replying-to-whom/

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Thanks for reiterating that now is not the time to be doing a tapering off antidepressants/anxiety medications. I will be posting the plan that worked for me with very minimal side effects in the near future.. Please read my thread of posts @sheffieldsmith for a sneak preview as you PLAN your countdown to become Venlafaxine (Effexor) free…. ) but please do so only ONCE THIS PANDEMIC IS OVER, as your body and mind can only take so much bombardment of emotions at this time). Also, take the time to read and take notes on the above mentioned contributing members highlighted by our fabulous moderator, Colleen Young. Thank you again for keeping these conversations all tidied up, Colleen!

Liked by texasduchess, sears

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@secretwhitepop

The only reason I wanted to ween off Effexor was due to the side effects it was having on me… after weening off but then going back on an ssri pmus Seroquel, i feel great! (And without the side effects I had on Effexor!)

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Good for you for your decission…
But you forgot to share all the reading and work you personally did to be where you are now.
FOLKS, THIS MAY BE THE MOST DIFFICULT THING YOU EVER ATTEMPTED. KNOW THAT UP FRONT.
We are here to assist, but you each have to do the work and research to stay mentally fit.
Bright Wings

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@ksad

Help. If someone needs help, as in bridge drugs, or someone to listen to them, in person, now, that may be found at a hospital. Being reassured that what you are feeling physically is not a heart attack, or ms, or anything else your mind is working on would be helped by having your blood pressure taken, by knowing you are being checked properly. This forum has shown that others are being helped in many ways and when in the depths of a bad time, getting help shouldnt be discouraged.

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@ksad
You speak truth….to a point.
.
Normally, I would say go to the hospital…
However, covid 19 is in hospitals right now.
If you need to go, then go to the hospital. And be ultra careful there.
.
I did, 5 times, cuz I needed their expertise. I had a tremendous amount of abuse as a kid. I needed that intervention…..
.
Only you, each one of you can make that decission for yourselves.
Bright Wings

Liked by texasduchess, ksad

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@sears

Just a suggestion. You may want to think about holding off any tapering until you can get back to you’re doctor in person. I know most are just answering emails and such at this time. This is really not a good time to taper. My own doctor has suspended all tapers until things get back to at least a little more normal. We’re living in extremely stressful times right now.

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I agree! I was going to taper off Effexor back at the end of 2014. I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer again and knew I was looking at a double mastectomy and 18 rounds of chemo. I thought I'm only taking 25mg of Effexor for hot flashes (prescribed because of the first breast cancer treatment 14 years earlier), those are probably done and I am going to be taking a whole bunch of medications/drugs for this cancer treatment, so let's eliminate this one. My oncologist (same one from 2000) specifically told me NOT to quit Effexor—he said I was dealing with a lot of worrying stuff right then and shouldn't upset the apple cart.

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@secretwhitepop, @texasdutchess,
A personal note…
Thank you so much for helping me the other day. Both of your words meant so much to me, I humbly thank each of you.
As you can see, I have taken action after action to help myself get past mourning my son who died a month ago.
I tell folks, I wont ask you to do anything I have not done to heal…..
Laughing, cuz I have done it all. Why, because I was worth it, that's why.
I have fought my way back to living a triumphant life inspite of my abuse. Come join me, if you choose.
.
What changed, from focusing on my son's death so much?? And my grief?
Sadly I have learned, another son in Pakistan has covid 19. His entire family of 14 also have it.
.
God sent me to 41 countries, not on my dime. I am an international mother. I have children of my heart on 5 different continents. The child of my body died a month ago.
For what ever reason God sent me, I am mother to so very many less fortunate folks.
.
.I realized I have to be the strong one to help my sons and daughters in other countries get thru the hard times coming.
.
That's why I am back, cuz helping folks helps me. Cuz, I am listening and reading myself.
Thanks for the love we shared while healing and now. I didnt realize how much you guys mean to me until just now…
Smiling at you again, loving you both,
Bright Wings

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@jackbud13 @jassyj @pups1978 @tb2011 @sharbare
As @brightwings and @colleenyoung have suggested, please read the posts on this blog.

I don't recall any medical doctors posting here; we're just folks who have tapered off Effexor, or are still doing it. When you read our posts, you will see that you are tapering too fast. The big tipoff is withdrawal symptoms. Most folks get relief by going back to the dose where they didn't have any WD symptoms. (You might even need to up your dose some.) You stay there for some weeks to stabilize before attempting any more tapering. When you do begin tapering again, only reduce 5-10% (or even less) and wait weeks before reducing again.

It is a SLOOOWWW process, but unless you MUST get off Effexor quickly (medical reasons, lost your insurance coverage, can't get a refill, etc.), there is NO need to rush this process and feel awful … and you will if you go too fast. Effexor is a very powerful drug that affects your brain's neurotransmitter levels—it takes time for your head to recalibrate these without the drug, or at lower levels of the drug … hence, the nausea, dizziness, insomnia, anxiety, etc.

You can click on anyone's name and read their specific posts. I have written about supplements that helped me with withdrawal symptoms and ways your doctor can help you taper including a "Prozac bridge."

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@brightwings

@secretwhitepop, @texasdutchess,
A personal note…
Thank you so much for helping me the other day. Both of your words meant so much to me, I humbly thank each of you.
As you can see, I have taken action after action to help myself get past mourning my son who died a month ago.
I tell folks, I wont ask you to do anything I have not done to heal…..
Laughing, cuz I have done it all. Why, because I was worth it, that's why.
I have fought my way back to living a triumphant life inspite of my abuse. Come join me, if you choose.
.
What changed, from focusing on my son's death so much?? And my grief?
Sadly I have learned, another son in Pakistan has covid 19. His entire family of 14 also have it.
.
God sent me to 41 countries, not on my dime. I am an international mother. I have children of my heart on 5 different continents. The child of my body died a month ago.
For what ever reason God sent me, I am mother to so very many less fortunate folks.
.
.I realized I have to be the strong one to help my sons and daughters in other countries get thru the hard times coming.
.
That's why I am back, cuz helping folks helps me. Cuz, I am listening and reading myself.
Thanks for the love we shared while healing and now. I didnt realize how much you guys mean to me until just now…
Smiling at you again, loving you both,
Bright Wings

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Though folks may be many miles away, in this day and age we are connected by our raw and brave words spoken from our true selves through our cyber avatars! What a unique time we are living in! Definitely historical. (And at times, hysterical!) but very interesting we all met here. Of all places!

Stay strong and healthy. Here’s a giant hug. 🙂

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@secretwhitepop

Though folks may be many miles away, in this day and age we are connected by our raw and brave words spoken from our true selves through our cyber avatars! What a unique time we are living in! Definitely historical. (And at times, hysterical!) but very interesting we all met here. Of all places!

Stay strong and healthy. Here’s a giant hug. 🙂

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@secretwhitepop .I'll take that hug cuz its virtual.
I was actually hugged twice this week, suddenly!.
Now I teach people how to give hugs, that go from your feet to your head in real life, but with my damaged lungs from pesticides and my multiple sclerosis, I would just as soon pass up any real hugs at this point.
Stay safe everyone.
My great grandfather died of spanish flu in 1919. He was one of the last cases.
I DO NOT intend to follow in his footsteps.
Bright Wings
Good night all

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