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

@db1

I'm so sorry 🙁 Did you taper or quit cold turkey? Has your doctor got any advice? The most frustrating thing for me is that the medical community seems to know so little about any of this. When I ask my doctor if she thinks this is still withdrawal or if this is my "new normal," she is noncommittal. When I ask if she has any idea how much longer this might last if it IS withdrawal, she can't even hazard a guess…. It seems crazy to put people ON these medications if so little is known about the effects of coming OFF them 🙁 If the doctor who first prescribed me this medication had told me about ANY of this, I never would have taken it!

Jump to this post

Amen!

REPLY
@sherry47

I tapered from November to that May 19th date. Ended up in the ER twice. I didn't know what the brain zaps were. I thought I was having mini strokes. My doctor had me taper from 225 to nothing in 3 weeks. Not good.
Her suggestion was to either stay on the low dose indefinitely or to check myself into an mental health institution. The doctor that prescribed the Effexor would not return my call or the calls from my doctor. Very frustrating.
I 100% agree with you, if I had any idea that the hell I have been through was even the smallest possibility, I would have never switched over to Effexor. The kicker for me is that I had put myself into an alcohol rehab and that is where they prescribed the most addictive pill I have ever had.

Jump to this post

May I suggest reading the book "The Anti-Depressant Solution" by Dr. JosephGlenmullen. Dr. Glenmullen has 30+ years experience helping people discontinue Effexor and other medication in that group. He is also an expert witness against the drug companies. The book is helping me discontinue Zoloft. I am in that special 4% of people highly sensitive to Zoloft. Doctor suggested tapers had me in complete misery. One taper had me in the hospital because I was so weak and tired. Thanks to the book I have learned that I can only taper 0.4mg at a time. From the book I learned that slow tapering is important. Brain zaps are a signal that too much is being tapered. Good luck!

REPLY
@vfrifr

May I suggest reading the book "The Anti-Depressant Solution" by Dr. JosephGlenmullen. Dr. Glenmullen has 30+ years experience helping people discontinue Effexor and other medication in that group. He is also an expert witness against the drug companies. The book is helping me discontinue Zoloft. I am in that special 4% of people highly sensitive to Zoloft. Doctor suggested tapers had me in complete misery. One taper had me in the hospital because I was so weak and tired. Thanks to the book I have learned that I can only taper 0.4mg at a time. From the book I learned that slow tapering is important. Brain zaps are a signal that too much is being tapered. Good luck!

Jump to this post

Thank you

REPLY
In reply to @sherry47 "Thank you" + (show)
@sherry47

You are welcome! Please let us know if the book helps you.

REPLY
In reply to @sherry47 "Thank you" + (show)
@sherry47

You are welcome! Please let us know if the book helps you. Good luck!

REPLY

Hello! Ive been taking Effexor XR 150 for 4 months now. It has worked compared to Zoloft however, halfway through my treatment, I got food poisoning and stopped taking my meds for a week. Well, I did not know about withdrawal symptoms and was severly nauteaus, had join pain, stomach pain, emotional, couldn't sleep for about a week. I've also gained SO MUCH WEIGHT so my psychiatrist prescribed Topamax to help with the weight gain. I also am prescribed Adderall for ADHD and I feel like the Effexor has made the Adderall no longer effective so I no longer take it. I want to completely stop taking Effexor and get my life back but dont know what to do. Any thoughts? Obviously Im going to talk to my doctor to slowly taper off but Im reading all these horror stories and dont know how slowly to taper off. What have you done that was successful in tapering off Effexor?

REPLY
@califas

Hello! Ive been taking Effexor XR 150 for 4 months now. It has worked compared to Zoloft however, halfway through my treatment, I got food poisoning and stopped taking my meds for a week. Well, I did not know about withdrawal symptoms and was severly nauteaus, had join pain, stomach pain, emotional, couldn't sleep for about a week. I've also gained SO MUCH WEIGHT so my psychiatrist prescribed Topamax to help with the weight gain. I also am prescribed Adderall for ADHD and I feel like the Effexor has made the Adderall no longer effective so I no longer take it. I want to completely stop taking Effexor and get my life back but dont know what to do. Any thoughts? Obviously Im going to talk to my doctor to slowly taper off but Im reading all these horror stories and dont know how slowly to taper off. What have you done that was successful in tapering off Effexor?

Jump to this post

It has to be a very slow tapering off. Look it up in one of the Effexor groups on Facebook. People tell their experiences. Personally I took Effexor XR for about a year. It helped with my depression and OCD but it made my anxiety worse. I tapered off in three weeks. The first day I stopped taking it I didn’t feel right. The next day I was vomiting, had physical withdrawal symptoms and had absolutely no filter. I was saying things to people that I would never have the nerve to say at any other time. It was awful. My psychiatrist suggested I go inpatient as they manage the meds much quicker but I refused to do so. I started on Zoloft immediately after I stopped Effexor but it took time to kick in. During that time I was so sick and a totally different person. My psychiatrist said I weaned off too quickly that’s why things happened the way they did. I was on a medical leave from work and was in a rush to get back. Guess what two years later due to a reduction in students I was made part time. So much for rushing to get back. Take your time, do it very slowly and you will be fine.

REPLY
@dianecostella

It has to be a very slow tapering off. Look it up in one of the Effexor groups on Facebook. People tell their experiences. Personally I took Effexor XR for about a year. It helped with my depression and OCD but it made my anxiety worse. I tapered off in three weeks. The first day I stopped taking it I didn’t feel right. The next day I was vomiting, had physical withdrawal symptoms and had absolutely no filter. I was saying things to people that I would never have the nerve to say at any other time. It was awful. My psychiatrist suggested I go inpatient as they manage the meds much quicker but I refused to do so. I started on Zoloft immediately after I stopped Effexor but it took time to kick in. During that time I was so sick and a totally different person. My psychiatrist said I weaned off too quickly that’s why things happened the way they did. I was on a medical leave from work and was in a rush to get back. Guess what two years later due to a reduction in students I was made part time. So much for rushing to get back. Take your time, do it very slowly and you will be fine.

Jump to this post

Maybe the book "The Anti-Depressant Solution" might help. Written by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, who has spent 30 years helping people discontinue Zoloft, Effexor and other drugs in this category. The book gives guidelines on how much taper, the withdrawal symptoms, checklist to help track the withdrawal symptoms, case studies and more. In April 2020, I was put on 25mg of Zoloft for anviety. By June 2020 I was have severe heart palpitations thanks to the Zoloft. (Turns out I am in the special 4% of people extremely sensitive to Zoloft.) The tapers had me in complete misery. One taper put me in the hospital. I found the book in April 2021. By following Dr. Glenmullen's recommendations, I have discovered that I only taper 0.4mg at a time without being in complete misery. Presently my dose is 5.6mg. I am using the liquid Zoloft. Please also do research on both drugs. Got to the website of the drugs manufacturer. There you will find a more complete profile of the drug then what the pharmacy give you. Good luck and let us know how you are doing!

REPLY
@califas

Hello! Ive been taking Effexor XR 150 for 4 months now. It has worked compared to Zoloft however, halfway through my treatment, I got food poisoning and stopped taking my meds for a week. Well, I did not know about withdrawal symptoms and was severly nauteaus, had join pain, stomach pain, emotional, couldn't sleep for about a week. I've also gained SO MUCH WEIGHT so my psychiatrist prescribed Topamax to help with the weight gain. I also am prescribed Adderall for ADHD and I feel like the Effexor has made the Adderall no longer effective so I no longer take it. I want to completely stop taking Effexor and get my life back but dont know what to do. Any thoughts? Obviously Im going to talk to my doctor to slowly taper off but Im reading all these horror stories and dont know how slowly to taper off. What have you done that was successful in tapering off Effexor?

Jump to this post

Hello @califas and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You will notice that I have moved your post into a very active existing discussion on Effexor and tapering. I did this so you may review previous comments and also so you an connect with members like you such as @vfrifr @sears and @sherry47 who have all recently shared about their experience.

Have you consulted with your doctor on tapering and also shared your feelings about your medications?

REPLY
@amandajro

Hello @califas and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. You will notice that I have moved your post into a very active existing discussion on Effexor and tapering. I did this so you may review previous comments and also so you an connect with members like you such as @vfrifr @sears and @sherry47 who have all recently shared about their experience.

Have you consulted with your doctor on tapering and also shared your feelings about your medications?

Jump to this post

Thank you so much! Yes, Ive mentioned it to her. My psychiatrist is amazing! I have brought up my concerns and has mentioned she wants to start tapering me off in a month and I started to worry. I am being proactive by finding solutions that others have used to bring to her attention to see what she thinks. I hope I never have to take this medication again.

REPLY
@califas

Hello! Ive been taking Effexor XR 150 for 4 months now. It has worked compared to Zoloft however, halfway through my treatment, I got food poisoning and stopped taking my meds for a week. Well, I did not know about withdrawal symptoms and was severly nauteaus, had join pain, stomach pain, emotional, couldn't sleep for about a week. I've also gained SO MUCH WEIGHT so my psychiatrist prescribed Topamax to help with the weight gain. I also am prescribed Adderall for ADHD and I feel like the Effexor has made the Adderall no longer effective so I no longer take it. I want to completely stop taking Effexor and get my life back but dont know what to do. Any thoughts? Obviously Im going to talk to my doctor to slowly taper off but Im reading all these horror stories and dont know how slowly to taper off. What have you done that was successful in tapering off Effexor?

Jump to this post

Go slow and try to remember that things may not always be the way you perceive them at this time or for the next several months. Be prepared for things to get dark. Reach out. I found it hard to explain what was going on. Remember that people here have been through it. Use that

REPLY
@dianecostella

It has to be a very slow tapering off. Look it up in one of the Effexor groups on Facebook. People tell their experiences. Personally I took Effexor XR for about a year. It helped with my depression and OCD but it made my anxiety worse. I tapered off in three weeks. The first day I stopped taking it I didn’t feel right. The next day I was vomiting, had physical withdrawal symptoms and had absolutely no filter. I was saying things to people that I would never have the nerve to say at any other time. It was awful. My psychiatrist suggested I go inpatient as they manage the meds much quicker but I refused to do so. I started on Zoloft immediately after I stopped Effexor but it took time to kick in. During that time I was so sick and a totally different person. My psychiatrist said I weaned off too quickly that’s why things happened the way they did. I was on a medical leave from work and was in a rush to get back. Guess what two years later due to a reduction in students I was made part time. So much for rushing to get back. Take your time, do it very slowly and you will be fine.

Jump to this post

Your last sentence is golden! I was on Effexor XR for several years when my Psychiatrist and I decided to stop. She created a rigid, detailed plan and suggestedthat I chart each day. That chart and check offs helped immesureably. There were some difficult moments and I certainly experienced several "brain freeze" events but that chart kept me going until that last pill when I realized I was free.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.