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

@lilmac44

It will be 4 months at the end of March that I completely stopped Effexor. I continue to suffer from extreme fatigue, hypoglycemic like symptoms, anxiety and shakiness. My cortisol is high at night which interferes with a good night's sleep. I have eliminated wheat from my diet, high carbohydrate foods and sugar. My diet is good and I am eating vegetables, seafood and other foods that provide protein. I rarely eat red meat. I don't know if these symptoms are a result from withdrawal from Effexor or caused by Adrenal dysfunction. Has anyone else experienced these side effects? If so, how long do/did they last in this withdrawal process?

Jump to this post

Same same…..I dreaded getting off of work because between the insomnia, strange scary thoughts, and detailed nightmares……I was afraid to go to bed…..admittedly I did take a .05 mg RX of Lorazepam every once in awhile…..mostly I am drinking warm Almond milk now w a little honey or some chamomile tea before bed….also I have been taking Valerian Root or melatonin with the 5htp in it…really helps….now that I actually want to physically move….I can walk/exercise at night just a bit after dinner……soon I hope to be exercising in the early am again…….I have also taken benadryl to help with anxiety to help during the day also. I would rather be a bit tired than anxious.

REPLY
@lalyfa

It’s now been about 2-1/2 months since stopping Effexor. I was hoping to not have to go back on any anti-depressants but don’t see that happening. I’ve been trying the cbd oil but that doesn’t seem to help either. I see my doctor next week and will talk to her about it. I hate the thought of going through the different meds again trying to find one that works for me. In the past I’ve tried Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Effexor. Right before stopping all the meds she suggested I try Wellbutrin so I’m wondering if I should give it a try. I’m so afraid of going back on any of these meds since seeing the effects these drugs really have on us but I’m making everyone around me miserable including myself. Has anyone had success with Wellbutrin? Is it as hard to stop taking as the Effexor?

Jump to this post

It is EXTREMELY difficult to get off of Effexor and any real knowledgeable psych doc will admit it to you…..I do not take any antidepressants now and do not plan on it again after being on them for almost 25 years…..Effexor is the worst……In about 07 prior to being prescribed Effexor, I tried Welbutrin…..I now put it on my list of "medicines I am allergic to". I had horrible panic attacks within the first few days of taking it and therefore stopped taking it. That was me and my personal reaction to it.

REPLY
@lalyfa

It’s now been about 2-1/2 months since stopping Effexor. I was hoping to not have to go back on any anti-depressants but don’t see that happening. I’ve been trying the cbd oil but that doesn’t seem to help either. I see my doctor next week and will talk to her about it. I hate the thought of going through the different meds again trying to find one that works for me. In the past I’ve tried Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Effexor. Right before stopping all the meds she suggested I try Wellbutrin so I’m wondering if I should give it a try. I’m so afraid of going back on any of these meds since seeing the effects these drugs really have on us but I’m making everyone around me miserable including myself. Has anyone had success with Wellbutrin? Is it as hard to stop taking as the Effexor?

Jump to this post

Thank you fior sharing. Wellbutrin was the one I was considering changing to if I thought I still needed something.

REPLY
@lalyfa

It’s now been about 2-1/2 months since stopping Effexor. I was hoping to not have to go back on any anti-depressants but don’t see that happening. I’ve been trying the cbd oil but that doesn’t seem to help either. I see my doctor next week and will talk to her about it. I hate the thought of going through the different meds again trying to find one that works for me. In the past I’ve tried Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Effexor. Right before stopping all the meds she suggested I try Wellbutrin so I’m wondering if I should give it a try. I’m so afraid of going back on any of these meds since seeing the effects these drugs really have on us but I’m making everyone around me miserable including myself. Has anyone had success with Wellbutrin? Is it as hard to stop taking as the Effexor?

Jump to this post

So did any of the ones you tried work for any amount of time?

REPLY

I had the same experience with Wellbutrin. Of course the doctor insisted that it wasn't the cause of my panic like attack. They wanted to blame it on a ministroke. All of the testing done after did not identify a medical problem. I have had reactions to other prescription drugs in the past as well, but conventional doctors take my complaints as being a figment of my imagination. I am so sick of having drugs thrown at me to mask the symptoms and never identify the root cause of the problem. In my opinion, antidepressants, in some cases cause more problems than they solve. The horror of withdrawal doesn't sink in until it happens to you.

REPLY
@sadiesmom

I hear you….I started the weaning off process back in October. My dr. transitioned me to Lexapro but I don't think it's really working. You're right. The effects of Effexor and the weaning off is a hellish nightmare. My anxiety is off the charts even taking Xanax and Gabapentin. I DON'T want to get addicted to the Xanax and the Gabapentin makes me so sleepy. I take it at night if I take it at all. The nausea and diarrhea has been relentless. I have lost 35 lbs since January and have been seeing a gastroenterologist seeking answers for THAT problem. So far, he hasn't come up with any real problem….blaming it on the withdrawal of the Effexor. I had the sweats, too, while I was taking it but they increased during the weaning off process. I am now pretty much free of the sweating but it was such a problem for so long. Many nights I would have to change my pjs and bed clothes up to three times….I was soaking wet and the smell of the sweat was absolutely putrid. I hate to be so graphic but I guess even though I was experiencing the vomiting and diarrhea my body still wasn't getting rid of the toxic chemicals in my body and the only other way to rid myself of them, they exited via sweat glands. In my opinion, this medication should be BANNED from consumption by any living thing. I am almost 6 months out and still having problems. I am trying my hardest to get to the gym and eat well but my lack of motivation and the fatigue often keep me home. I hate this life that I'm living….

Jump to this post

How long did your symptoms last before subsiding? I am starting to feel better very gradually. I still have to rest about 3 hours in the afternoon and avoid much of any activity after 6:30PM. It is a long healing process and I never want to go through anything like this again.

REPLY
@poisonivy

I wrote in March how I had begun to wean off of Effexor after 20+ years of use. I was on 150 mg. My Psychiatrist lowered my dose from 150mg to 75mg and for a month I had no problems or withdrawals. She then lowered it to 37.5mg and for the past week, I have been so sick. Dizzy, nausea, vomiting, problems focusing, chills sweating and a feeling of restlessness of my arms and legs and a constant headache. I called my doctor today for advice and she told me I could go back on the 75mg for a week and see if the symptoms disappeared. If they did it would my decision either to go back to the 37.5mg dose or wait another 4 weeks before trying again. In the meantime, I have been prescribed Ondansetron for nausea. I'm asking for advice. I want to get this poison out of my system as I have recently been diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure and Effexor is one of the drugs that are bad for kidneys. I'd like to soldier on but I don't know if I can. Any advice welcome.

Jump to this post

You don't know how helpful your post has been to me. Thank you so much. I am so sick right now on the 37.5 mg that I am stuck in my recliner. It's the only place where I'm reasonably okay. As long as there is no motion. Even watching the movement on the TV makes me dizzy. I notice that everything sounds loud. I'm trying very hard to rid this poison from my system. Both of my Doctors are very knowledgeable about how hard the withdrawals are with Effector so that is a help. Again thank you so much for your post.

REPLY
@poisonivy

I wrote in March how I had begun to wean off of Effexor after 20+ years of use. I was on 150 mg. My Psychiatrist lowered my dose from 150mg to 75mg and for a month I had no problems or withdrawals. She then lowered it to 37.5mg and for the past week, I have been so sick. Dizzy, nausea, vomiting, problems focusing, chills sweating and a feeling of restlessness of my arms and legs and a constant headache. I called my doctor today for advice and she told me I could go back on the 75mg for a week and see if the symptoms disappeared. If they did it would my decision either to go back to the 37.5mg dose or wait another 4 weeks before trying again. In the meantime, I have been prescribed Ondansetron for nausea. I'm asking for advice. I want to get this poison out of my system as I have recently been diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure and Effexor is one of the drugs that are bad for kidneys. I'd like to soldier on but I don't know if I can. Any advice welcome.

Jump to this post

It is so comforting to know that others know what I am going through. Thank you for your post! 6 weeks of this though might do me in. LOL

REPLY
@lalyfa

It’s now been about 2-1/2 months since stopping Effexor. I was hoping to not have to go back on any anti-depressants but don’t see that happening. I’ve been trying the cbd oil but that doesn’t seem to help either. I see my doctor next week and will talk to her about it. I hate the thought of going through the different meds again trying to find one that works for me. In the past I’ve tried Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Effexor. Right before stopping all the meds she suggested I try Wellbutrin so I’m wondering if I should give it a try. I’m so afraid of going back on any of these meds since seeing the effects these drugs really have on us but I’m making everyone around me miserable including myself. Has anyone had success with Wellbutrin? Is it as hard to stop taking as the Effexor?

Jump to this post

The one's I did try all seemed to help for awhile….Zoloft was the first….I found I needed more & more of it over the years in order to feel ok…..I also lost my sense of humor while on Zoloft & felt sort of zombi ish often while taking it….I believe next I went to Lexapro & stayed on that one for several years……lots of weight gain, but maneageable mental health through the trauma I was dealing with throughout so many years.
And just to reiterate, after sharing my own experiences and asking lot's of people many questions, I did learn that some people were taking welbutrin and it worked for them in whatever capacity it was perscribed to them. The reaction I personally had with welbutrin was quite intense and included overwhelming anxiety for several days from my personal experience. One more experience I have not had is being prescribed different psych medicines together and having the psych doc try different mixtures of this or that medication. Each time I was prescribed a new antidepressant, I stuck with just that medication alone. I did began taking ativan in 2003 to manage anxiety and anger I was having and continued taking that once or twice a day as directed by doc through 2012 when I decided to stop that med after experiencing withdrawal symptoms after skipping days of it.

REPLY
@poisonivy

I wrote in March how I had begun to wean off of Effexor after 20+ years of use. I was on 150 mg. My Psychiatrist lowered my dose from 150mg to 75mg and for a month I had no problems or withdrawals. She then lowered it to 37.5mg and for the past week, I have been so sick. Dizzy, nausea, vomiting, problems focusing, chills sweating and a feeling of restlessness of my arms and legs and a constant headache. I called my doctor today for advice and she told me I could go back on the 75mg for a week and see if the symptoms disappeared. If they did it would my decision either to go back to the 37.5mg dose or wait another 4 weeks before trying again. In the meantime, I have been prescribed Ondansetron for nausea. I'm asking for advice. I want to get this poison out of my system as I have recently been diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure and Effexor is one of the drugs that are bad for kidneys. I'd like to soldier on but I don't know if I can. Any advice welcome.

Jump to this post

@poisonivy15 I, too, too Effexor for many years….divorce after 31 years of marriage, then five years later I lost my son to PTSD related suicide. I was basically a zombie for 15 years. I gained over 50 lbs and have literally laid in bed for the past 6 years since losing my son. I was a mess. I was having horrible back pain so my PCP did a urine culture and found "considerable" amounts of blood in my urine. It scared me to death. That's what prompted me to do a TON of research on the Effexor. Yes, Effexor is poison and it was killing me one organ at a time. Back in October I talked to my psychiatrist about getting off of the Effexor not only because of the problem with my kidneys but I had severe gastric problems as well. We started reducing the dosage by 1/4 each WEEK. That was way too fast. I should have known better than to start the weaning process so close to the holidays because that's when I really tank. I miss my son so badly. On New Year's Eve Day I called 911 because I was so weak from all of the vomiting and diarhea. I was severely dehydrated and had the worst panic attack I've ever had in my life. My lips were drawn as were my hands and arms. I thought I was having a stroke and so did the EMTs. Once I got the hospital they filled me full of liquids and gave me a Xanax for my anxiety but it didn't help. I ended up getting something through the IV for the anxiety. I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. When they released me I came back home and literally didn't have the strength to even make myself something to eat. The gastric issues persisted. I sweated gallons of sweat, literally, and continued the vomiting and diahrea. I called my doctor that evening and told the doctor on call I didn't think I was going to survive. She called in a prescription for Gabapentin for the anxiety. I truly don't know how I drove to the pharmacy to pick it up but I didn't have anyone to get it for me. Once I got that in my system the panic attack subsided and I finally fell asleep. My dr. moved me on to Prozac while weaning me off of the Effexor but I told her that wasn't working. She changed it to Lexapro a month later and I have dropped 35 lbs since January. I have no appetite and the thought of food makes me gag. I am seeing a gastroenterologist to see what's going on in my stomach and bowels. The weight loss has been great as I needed to lose the 50 lbs I gained, but not being able to eat is horrible. I tried to go out for my daughter's bday and took three bites of a nice dinner and couldn't eat any more. My staple food is Cheerios. That's the only thing I can tolerate. I'm having a colonoscopy and endoscopy next week to see why I can't eat and the weight continues to fall off. I truly think that the Effexor is still in my body as I have read sometimes it takes 6 to 8 months for it to be totally expelled from the body. I know I will struggle with depression from the many losses I have had in my life but don't want to depend on pharmaceuticals to keep me alive. I am hoping the weather here in Ohio breaks soon so I can get outside and walk or do yard work. But these past 6 months have been a hell I never want to go through again. My biggest problem right now is anxiety and I HATE taking the Xanax as it's just another drug I will have to worry about getting off of. The Gabapentin helps with the anxiety but puts me to sleep. I hate that we all are experiencing such catastrophic events weaning off of this poisonous drug. And, in my opinion, it truly is poison. My recommendation to anyone thinking about weaning off of it is to to take it very, very slowly. Maybe reduce the dosage a month or two apart. But reducing the dosage weekly is a sure plan of disaster….best of luck to everyone out there who is struggling….keep putting one foot in front of the other and pray to get to the other side of this….

REPLY
@poisonivy

I wrote in March how I had begun to wean off of Effexor after 20+ years of use. I was on 150 mg. My Psychiatrist lowered my dose from 150mg to 75mg and for a month I had no problems or withdrawals. She then lowered it to 37.5mg and for the past week, I have been so sick. Dizzy, nausea, vomiting, problems focusing, chills sweating and a feeling of restlessness of my arms and legs and a constant headache. I called my doctor today for advice and she told me I could go back on the 75mg for a week and see if the symptoms disappeared. If they did it would my decision either to go back to the 37.5mg dose or wait another 4 weeks before trying again. In the meantime, I have been prescribed Ondansetron for nausea. I'm asking for advice. I want to get this poison out of my system as I have recently been diagnosed with stage 3 kidney failure and Effexor is one of the drugs that are bad for kidneys. I'd like to soldier on but I don't know if I can. Any advice welcome.

Jump to this post

It is not just the physical withdrawal that is horrible. It is also the mental and emotional part of it. The withdrawal of this drug messed with my head and brought me to dark places more than once and tried to keep me there……mostly it was taking place at the beginning of each taper down. I began to question my mental state a few times and obsess about my life. It was very negative. On top of this, I became agitated and aggressive. Everything was making me so angry….the smallest things and things that do not even matter in life were irritating me. I was angry at my husband a lot. At times, there was nothing he could do to make me happy and I was mean sometimes and I am not a mean person!! I was angry at the world. Driving and dealing with traffic and the public even at the grocery store was difficult. I became agitated at everything. I cried often and questioned my thinking, I kept pushing through each day no matter what symptoms I was having believing that I could get through it. Everything that you read that everyone is dealing with this drug is spot on for me so do not discount any of it. Take the best physical care of yourself that you can. Try to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible physically and emotionally, whatever that means to you. I ate a lot of ice cream and starchy and sugary foods throughout the tapering. I didn't want to move off of the couch. I did not want to go outside often. My husband was a saint. He just loved me through it. I was overwhelmed with fear to reach out on a website such as this going through it but I kept reading and reading. Now I do not have those unrealistic fears. There is always hope. There is so much information online now and groups and threads like this are here to help. I am glad you are in awareness of the situation.

REPLY

I agree with you. Just my opinion also….there are PCP s out there, one of them was mine….who let me know at one point he thought it would be a good idea to go up from a 150 mg dose of Venlafaxine per day to a 300+ mg dose per day. I believe I actually tried it for a couple of days…..did he take Venlafaxine ever? Doubtful. That was when I started doing a little research.

Yes and that Welbutrin…..I recall calling the pharmacist on a Saturday because I was having full blown anxiety where I could not function after starting it….I remember the script for welbutrin from my PCP said you should start feeling better within one week so I kept ingesting my prescribed dose for 4 to 5 days until that day I called the pharmacist and HE instructed me TO STOP TAKING IT IMMEDIATELY.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment