Tips on minimizing 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

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@sharbare

Thank you for your comment. What I have done. 5/6 weeks ago I started tapering off, 25 mg at a time and I got down to the last 25mg on apr 20th. I posted in that group and everyone went nuts! and said it was to fast. I started to notice horrible side effects and brain zaps. So I started upping the dose and I am at 3 x 37.5 mg. I am planning to get fully back onto the 150 mg. Is this safe? What I am afraid of is months down the road and feeling worse if I tapper too fast now. I went through some terrible things with Lyrica in the past and getting off of that. I am so scared to get off of this. Now is not the time. Now during covid I feel like I need to be mentally and physically at 100% and weaning now can't let me do that. So my question is… Is it ok to go back onto 150mg/day. I am now at 112.5 mg/day. I just upped this morning 37.5 m to get to 112.5 mg/day. Maybe if I give this 2 weeks can I up again to the full dose.

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I took Effexor for almost 2 years and the reason I stopped was the terrible side effects that are inevitable no matter how you taper off the drug. I was on 150 same as you and went down to 75 then I quit cold turkey. I would eat and it wouldn’t digest Id just throw it all up, weird things in my vision like flashing and yea the brain zaps. When you were on your lowest dosing you’re side effects wouldn’t have lasted longer than 2 to 3 weeks than maybe some side effects that don’t really leave you after taking Effexor. Biggest thing to keep in mind is that no matter How you come at this ur going to feel terrible for alittle bit and you’ll get better. After quitting cold on 75mg… everyone’s different but I would say it all completely went away after a month getting better and better as time went on. This drug has possibly damaged my stomach so anyone with weak stomach lining or weak intestinal walls I don’t think this is healthy for anyone. I got severe bronchitis after 1 and a Half months of being off it and I’m paranoid it has something to do with that as well. I’m scared for anyone taking this as it could damage them long term.

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@sharbare

Thank you for your comment. What I have done. 5/6 weeks ago I started tapering off, 25 mg at a time and I got down to the last 25mg on apr 20th. I posted in that group and everyone went nuts! and said it was to fast. I started to notice horrible side effects and brain zaps. So I started upping the dose and I am at 3 x 37.5 mg. I am planning to get fully back onto the 150 mg. Is this safe? What I am afraid of is months down the road and feeling worse if I tapper too fast now. I went through some terrible things with Lyrica in the past and getting off of that. I am so scared to get off of this. Now is not the time. Now during covid I feel like I need to be mentally and physically at 100% and weaning now can't let me do that. So my question is… Is it ok to go back onto 150mg/day. I am now at 112.5 mg/day. I just upped this morning 37.5 m to get to 112.5 mg/day. Maybe if I give this 2 weeks can I up again to the full dose.

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Please ask your provider if it’s okay to do this.

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I quit smoking last October then, this last February started weaning myself off effexor (which I have been taking since 2004). I've gone from 150 mg to about 25 mg since Feb. It's been okay–my only concern is mood swings. However, I feel smoking pangs all of a sudden. I wanted to be off both smoking and effexor. Now I feel like I should have done it the other way around. I feel like I should smoke until I'm off the effexor for a month or two then quit smoking again. What are your thoughts?

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I have a question for anyone who has been on effexor for a while (a few years at least) then went off it. How long after you quit did it take before you felt all side effects to go away?

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@2degrees
Best I can say, it's different for everyone. Read, read here, then read some more.
We get tired here…….
Bright Wings

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@2degrees

I quit smoking last October then, this last February started weaning myself off effexor (which I have been taking since 2004). I've gone from 150 mg to about 25 mg since Feb. It's been okay–my only concern is mood swings. However, I feel smoking pangs all of a sudden. I wanted to be off both smoking and effexor. Now I feel like I should have done it the other way around. I feel like I should smoke until I'm off the effexor for a month or two then quit smoking again. What are your thoughts?

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@2degrees, I agree with @brightwings. Everyone is different. You need to do what is right for you. That may mean tapering off Effexor and quitting smoking at the same time or one after the other. Only you know what you can handle.

If I read your message correctly you quit smoking October 2019 and have not started again. That's great. This is just my personal opinion, but I wouldn't start smoking again to support the Effexor taper. You've quit. Congratulate yourself for that. You can make it stick and stay quit. If you need support with staying quit, post in the Addictions & Recovery group here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/addiction-recovery/

Concentrate on the Effexor taper. You've gone from 150 to 25 mg in less than 3 months. If I've learned anything from this discussion group, it is GO SLOW. There's no rush or gold medal for tapering fast. If you mood swings are of concern, why don't you stay on 25 mg a little longer than planned until your body adjusts? What dosage were you taking prior to decreasing to 25?

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Thank-you both for advice. My kids are noticing that my mood swings a lot. If I start talking about something it can turn into a full out rant. The thought about retaking up the smoking for a bit is to take the edge of my effexor tapering and, since quitting smoking wasn't extremely hard, I thought I could take it up again until a put a month or two between me and my last effexor tablet. Here's the thing though; I'm not sure if I trust myself. In terms of smoking, my mind will play tricks on me to convince myself to start smoking again. Also, with this whole COVID nightmare, it's not the best time for a 55 year old man to start smoking. I just love it so much.

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@wandasophia

I have been thru a few therapists, and got off effexor by myself. I am on no drugs, but feel i could use something. 2 psys prescribed without knowing much about me. I was refered by my therapist pf 2 yrs.

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@wandasophia How old are you, is lack of estrogen a problem?
Bright Wings

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@2degrees

Thank-you both for advice. My kids are noticing that my mood swings a lot. If I start talking about something it can turn into a full out rant. The thought about retaking up the smoking for a bit is to take the edge of my effexor tapering and, since quitting smoking wasn't extremely hard, I thought I could take it up again until a put a month or two between me and my last effexor tablet. Here's the thing though; I'm not sure if I trust myself. In terms of smoking, my mind will play tricks on me to convince myself to start smoking again. Also, with this whole COVID nightmare, it's not the best time for a 55 year old man to start smoking. I just love it so much.

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@2degrees
I use chamomile tea and CBD, works wonders for me. Try them, they sure help me and I will be 70…
Bright Wings

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@2degrees

Thank-you both for advice. My kids are noticing that my mood swings a lot. If I start talking about something it can turn into a full out rant. The thought about retaking up the smoking for a bit is to take the edge of my effexor tapering and, since quitting smoking wasn't extremely hard, I thought I could take it up again until a put a month or two between me and my last effexor tablet. Here's the thing though; I'm not sure if I trust myself. In terms of smoking, my mind will play tricks on me to convince myself to start smoking again. Also, with this whole COVID nightmare, it's not the best time for a 55 year old man to start smoking. I just love it so much.

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The big tipoff that you are tapering too fast is withdrawal symptoms. It is not uncommon while tapering off Effexor to drop too fast and have anxiety and rage–often flash rage—going from mildly annoyed to I-want-to-throttle-you in seconds. Rather than taking up smoking again (you've been off six months!), you can get relief from your withdrawal symptoms by reinstating your Effexor, going back to a dose where you 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. With all the stress we're under with COVID-19, maybe just forget about getting off Effexor for the time being.

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@texasduchess

The big tipoff that you are tapering too fast is withdrawal symptoms. It is not uncommon while tapering off Effexor to drop too fast and have anxiety and rage–often flash rage—going from mildly annoyed to I-want-to-throttle-you in seconds. Rather than taking up smoking again (you've been off six months!), you can get relief from your withdrawal symptoms by reinstating your Effexor, going back to a dose where you 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. With all the stress we're under with COVID-19, maybe just forget about getting off Effexor for the time being.

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Yes try again when this crisis passes.

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@texasduchess

The big tipoff that you are tapering too fast is withdrawal symptoms. It is not uncommon while tapering off Effexor to drop too fast and have anxiety and rage–often flash rage—going from mildly annoyed to I-want-to-throttle-you in seconds. Rather than taking up smoking again (you've been off six months!), you can get relief from your withdrawal symptoms by reinstating your Effexor, going back to a dose where you 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. With all the stress we're under with COVID-19, maybe just forget about getting off Effexor for the time being.

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@texasduchess
Wise words you are giving her.

@2degrees I had a full on stroke from going 150 mg to cold turkey. I have since completely recovered. But, are you feeling lucky.
.
Getting off this drug was the hardest one for me. I am very glad you are here.
Please go back and read. We can not repeat each post for every person who comes.
.
When I got here, there were 141 pages, now there are how many?? Go read, cuz what helps one does not help another.
Be Proactive. This is your life. Bright Wings

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