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

@nanke99

Sure, my pleasure! I would not go cold turkey! Not just the pain but the mental & emotional effects are unpredictable and could be dangerous. Do you have a doctor experienced with this? It is important to find one with specific experience w/ Effexor withdraw. When I did it years ago, there were very few, but now you should be able to.
What is your current doctor saying?

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@gailb my husband has never smoked marijuana in his life but even he thinks it's about time. I was never a marijuana smoker either but did try it once when I was in my early 20s — I do not like feeling like I am not in control though.
It does not kill like opioids do and it really does help some people. We knew a woman in her late 80s with advanced cancer and her family had to buy it illegally because it helped her so much. Of course that meant it was very expensive too.
Reading your problems with tramadol makes me realize why my doctor was very reluctant to prescribe it more. It did help with the knee replacement pain and for me that was important because being a post-transplant patient the only OTC pain reliever I can take is Tylenol, which is not much help. I really like my ortho and he is a very cautious doctor, which I like a lot.
JK

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@nanke99

Sure, my pleasure! I would not go cold turkey! Not just the pain but the mental & emotional effects are unpredictable and could be dangerous. Do you have a doctor experienced with this? It is important to find one with specific experience w/ Effexor withdraw. When I did it years ago, there were very few, but now you should be able to.
What is your current doctor saying?

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I have taken Gabapentin for years and never worried about trying to come off since I have never had side effects that I'm aware of. My doctor assured me it is not addictive. I take it for Neuropathy. It helps tremendously.

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@nanke99

Sure, my pleasure! I would not go cold turkey! Not just the pain but the mental & emotional effects are unpredictable and could be dangerous. Do you have a doctor experienced with this? It is important to find one with specific experience w/ Effexor withdraw. When I did it years ago, there were very few, but now you should be able to.
What is your current doctor saying?

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@liz223

Hello Liz:

My doctor has offered to prescribe Gabapentin for neuropathy symptoms but I have hesitated. Could you tell me a bit more about how it has helped you? Does it help with the tingling, the pain or the numbness? My neuropathy seems to involve an inflamed root in the lumbar spine.

Teresa

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I have found the discussions here very helpful. I am tapering from Venlafaxine 75 mg. after taking it for over 18 years. I tried once before cold turkey but the withdrawal was so difficult I went back on it. Fortunately a new psychiatrist is helping me taper and she put me on Wellbutrin 150 mg XR to help with the transition. I have begun by halving the Venlafaxine tablets (I am not on the XR med). I am going to try to taper over 3 weeks, but if it is too difficult I will take longer. I hope to then go to 18.5 (one quarter of my current tablet) for another 3 weeks before stopping. I am in week 2, and I have had some issues but no brain zaps yet. After reading a lot of medical literature about this drug, I really regret that my GP put me on this years ago. It has probably contributed to my hypertension and a few other health issues over the years. My heart goes out to all of you who are having a lot of trouble discontinuing. It is hard enough to deal with depression and anxiety without the added problems of discontinuation syndrome. Best to all of you

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@tonysdca

I have found the discussions here very helpful. I am tapering from Venlafaxine 75 mg. after taking it for over 18 years. I tried once before cold turkey but the withdrawal was so difficult I went back on it. Fortunately a new psychiatrist is helping me taper and she put me on Wellbutrin 150 mg XR to help with the transition. I have begun by halving the Venlafaxine tablets (I am not on the XR med). I am going to try to taper over 3 weeks, but if it is too difficult I will take longer. I hope to then go to 18.5 (one quarter of my current tablet) for another 3 weeks before stopping. I am in week 2, and I have had some issues but no brain zaps yet. After reading a lot of medical literature about this drug, I really regret that my GP put me on this years ago. It has probably contributed to my hypertension and a few other health issues over the years. My heart goes out to all of you who are having a lot of trouble discontinuing. It is hard enough to deal with depression and anxiety without the added problems of discontinuation syndrome. Best to all of you

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I got started on Wellbutrin 150mg XR at the same time as when I started weening as well. It probably helped some but I think I came off the Effexor too quickly. Anyway. Glad you’re here. It’s helped me to know I’m not alone!

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@hopeful33250

Hello @tshere95

I see that you are a new member on Connect, welcome! I appreciate you post on this topic.

While we at Connect are not medical professionals, from the many experiences mentioned in Connect, the idea of going off of meds cold-turkey can be a dangerous one. The side-effects can be very difficult. If you want to go off a medication please contact your doctor for a plan to taper-off the drug. Talking with a pharmacist might also be a good idea.

You don't mention how long you have been taking his med or the dosage, but these are all important factors to consider as you taper off under medical supervision.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

Teresa

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Hey tshere95! I am a medical professional, which angers me even more that I even allowed being put in Effexor. I do agree to a point that big pharma has a lot to do with things, but with Effexor, you have to be careful with things like your blood pressure, heart rate and a multitude of other issues, even if you’ve never had an issue before. Effexor raises blood pressure in many when they’re routinely on it. The stress when going cold turkey after your brain has become used to it (in just a couple of weeks) is in for a shock just stopping it. Please speak with your pharmacist and have them send recommendations to your physician. There’s no shame in going slow. I thought I could handle it too. Tho I’m through the worst of it now, I could have gotten something to help…but I didn’t. You don’t feel like yourself at all when coming off this horrible drug. Just my 2 cents. Good luck! 🙂

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@tonysdca

I have found the discussions here very helpful. I am tapering from Venlafaxine 75 mg. after taking it for over 18 years. I tried once before cold turkey but the withdrawal was so difficult I went back on it. Fortunately a new psychiatrist is helping me taper and she put me on Wellbutrin 150 mg XR to help with the transition. I have begun by halving the Venlafaxine tablets (I am not on the XR med). I am going to try to taper over 3 weeks, but if it is too difficult I will take longer. I hope to then go to 18.5 (one quarter of my current tablet) for another 3 weeks before stopping. I am in week 2, and I have had some issues but no brain zaps yet. After reading a lot of medical literature about this drug, I really regret that my GP put me on this years ago. It has probably contributed to my hypertension and a few other health issues over the years. My heart goes out to all of you who are having a lot of trouble discontinuing. It is hard enough to deal with depression and anxiety without the added problems of discontinuation syndrome. Best to all of you

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Hello @tonysdca and welcome to Mayo Connect.

I appreciate you joining this discussion. You have provided a very well-thought out plan and have your doctor's help. This is so important when you are tapering off a med like this.

I look forward to hearing from you again and following your progress.

Teresa

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@tonysdca

I have found the discussions here very helpful. I am tapering from Venlafaxine 75 mg. after taking it for over 18 years. I tried once before cold turkey but the withdrawal was so difficult I went back on it. Fortunately a new psychiatrist is helping me taper and she put me on Wellbutrin 150 mg XR to help with the transition. I have begun by halving the Venlafaxine tablets (I am not on the XR med). I am going to try to taper over 3 weeks, but if it is too difficult I will take longer. I hope to then go to 18.5 (one quarter of my current tablet) for another 3 weeks before stopping. I am in week 2, and I have had some issues but no brain zaps yet. After reading a lot of medical literature about this drug, I really regret that my GP put me on this years ago. It has probably contributed to my hypertension and a few other health issues over the years. My heart goes out to all of you who are having a lot of trouble discontinuing. It is hard enough to deal with depression and anxiety without the added problems of discontinuation syndrome. Best to all of you

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@nancy3756 Thank you for adding your experience to this discussion. Yes, Connect does help us to feel that we are not alone!

How are you feeling now?

Teresa

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I have been posting on this thread since I began tapering off from 150mg. It's been 4 months and I'm finally down to 37.5 mg. I've been removing the beads from the capsules slowly. I decided to try removing the beads from the capsules instead of skipping a day between dosages. I tried this method once. It was unsuccessful. So, this time I decided to do it my way. So far so good. My doctor is against me opening the capsules because of the time release element built into the capsules. From what I have observed after opening the capsule, there are large beads and small beads so I suppose the drug in the smaller beads is dissolved faster than the drug in the larger beads. It's pretty difficult to separate the beads into size category so I just decided to do it slowly (5 beads a day). I figured it should level out sooner or later. I did have a few episodes of feeling sick, but it was worth it. The only thing I am noticing after getting down to 37.5 mg is my mood. I am getting some panic attacks. I'm trying to talk myself through them and have resolved not to let panic attacks deter me from my mission. I am curious as to how long panic attack episodes will last. I don't want to start weaning off of the 37.5 until my mood has leveled out. If anyone has any input on how long withdrawal symptoms last, I would love to hear about it.

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@tonysdca

I have found the discussions here very helpful. I am tapering from Venlafaxine 75 mg. after taking it for over 18 years. I tried once before cold turkey but the withdrawal was so difficult I went back on it. Fortunately a new psychiatrist is helping me taper and she put me on Wellbutrin 150 mg XR to help with the transition. I have begun by halving the Venlafaxine tablets (I am not on the XR med). I am going to try to taper over 3 weeks, but if it is too difficult I will take longer. I hope to then go to 18.5 (one quarter of my current tablet) for another 3 weeks before stopping. I am in week 2, and I have had some issues but no brain zaps yet. After reading a lot of medical literature about this drug, I really regret that my GP put me on this years ago. It has probably contributed to my hypertension and a few other health issues over the years. My heart goes out to all of you who are having a lot of trouble discontinuing. It is hard enough to deal with depression and anxiety without the added problems of discontinuation syndrome. Best to all of you

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thanks Nancy. I am taking it very slowly. I have had some nausea and light "brain zaps" as well as some joint aches. The Wellbutrin seems to help some. I might try CBD oil (without THC) if my psychiatrist has no objections. I am reluctant to combine OTC meds. without understanding their risks/benefits.

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@tshere95

Honestly, I don't want to have to depend on these drugs anymore to make me feel right. I think there are other ways to deal with issues. Herbal remedies along with meditation are a couple of these ways. Most doctors don't even know why they prescribe these drugs. It's all about money. It's all just trial and error and we are the ones who are reaping the side effects. It's ridiculous. I want off. If I have to go cold turkey, I will.

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First….Do Not Go Cold Turkey. It's not pretty. I've reduced my dosage from 150 to 37.5 by removing a number of the beads inside the capsule every day. There are approx. 125 beads in the 75mg capsule and 60 in the 37.5. Divide that over at least 30 days. I absolutely agree with you about these drugs. There has to be a program or method or herbal remedy to help with anxiety and depression. I've been on these drugs for over 15 years and I'm so glad to be getting off. I've also lost 10 pounds as a benefit. So that's something to look forward to. Good luck and keep the faith.

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This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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@tshere95

Honestly, I don't want to have to depend on these drugs anymore to make me feel right. I think there are other ways to deal with issues. Herbal remedies along with meditation are a couple of these ways. Most doctors don't even know why they prescribe these drugs. It's all about money. It's all just trial and error and we are the ones who are reaping the side effects. It's ridiculous. I want off. If I have to go cold turkey, I will.

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Wow…I didn't know there were beads inside the capsules. I figured it was powder. Well, this is going to help me tremendously! Thank you @arachel for that information. I had a few 100 mg tablets left that I was splitting but the rest is the new capsule prescription I just got. They're 150 mg. Now that I know they're beads, I can start dividing these as well. I am going to try to go off slowly if possible. I just got so sick and tired of the side effects that I just wanted off. Now, after reading about all the withdrawal symptoms, I'm scared of what may happen if I do go cold turkey. It just angers me that a doctor would prescribe me this knowing all of the side effects as well as the hell that people go through to get off of it. I guess that's how they make their money though.

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@tshere95

Honestly, I don't want to have to depend on these drugs anymore to make me feel right. I think there are other ways to deal with issues. Herbal remedies along with meditation are a couple of these ways. Most doctors don't even know why they prescribe these drugs. It's all about money. It's all just trial and error and we are the ones who are reaping the side effects. It's ridiculous. I want off. If I have to go cold turkey, I will.

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@arachel Hi Rachel, forgive me for repeating myself, but I really would like to know what the negatives are when taking these drugs that makes everyone want to get off of them so much. Isn't that risking a return to whatever caused them to be prescribed in the first place? I am totally ignorant of these drugs but would like to understand better because I do have people close to me who are on some of them.
Thanks.
JK

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@lisalucier

Hi, @tshere95 — here is a link to a previous Mayo Clinic Connect discussion of kratom in which you may be interested: https://mayocl.in/2HZ9wSa.

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Thanks!

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