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

@jtj

Hi all! I'm new to the group, but have been reading pages and pages of old postings. Here's my story and an ask for assistance.

I have been on 150 mg of Venlafaxine (generic Effexor) for many years for chronic depression and anxiety. For several reasons, I wish to quit taking this medication. I know how painful withdrawal can be, having been through it accidentally over a holiday weekend when I ran out of pills several years ago.

I am working with my psychiatrist, who lowered my dosage from 150 to 112.5 back in March. She thinks I should not discontinue use, as in her opinion it is "working." Yes, my depression and anxiety are in check, but I still do not want to be on THIS drug. (I have pretty much tried everything else though.) So she agreed reluctantly to assist me. Due to the pandemic, I have not seen her for a few months. On my own, I tapered from 112.5 to 75 mg. After a month on 75 mg, I then went down to 37.5 the last couple of weeks. I have had NO withdrawal symptoms with each reduced dosage. I now want to taper to 0. This seems to be the hardest step from what I've read. Not sure if I should first try the 37.5 mg every other day? Or remove the beads inside the capsule (seems tedious)? Since I've had no other withdrawal symptoms could I do this quickly? Or is this last step the one that needs to be dragged out the longest?

I should add, even though I've reduced my dosage from 150 to 37.5, I still feel happy with no anxiety (during this pandemic no less!), and no depression. Makes me think I've been over medicated for years. I am hopeful with the many life changes I've been through the last few years (sleep apnea treatment, retirement, and now grandchildren) my "chronic" issues won't come back. Perhaps naive, but I feel I owe it to myself to try. Thoughts? Appreciate all feedback.

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Hello,
I started on Venlafaxine 150 a little over a year ago and it helped me through a rough spot in my life. I have successfully tapered down to 37.5 MG a day, then every other day and that went pretty well. I am now trying to stretch it to every 3rd day but by the end of the 3rd day I am very nauseated, have head buzzing and sound and light sensitivity. Just want to stop taking this stuff! Any suggestions?

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With similiar problems getting off Efflexor I await responses to your query!

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@momo13

Hello,
I started on Venlafaxine 150 a little over a year ago and it helped me through a rough spot in my life. I have successfully tapered down to 37.5 MG a day, then every other day and that went pretty well. I am now trying to stretch it to every 3rd day but by the end of the 3rd day I am very nauseated, have head buzzing and sound and light sensitivity. Just want to stop taking this stuff! Any suggestions?

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@jtj
“Since I've had no other withdrawal symptoms could I do this quickly?
I don’t think anyone is able to answer that question. Some people can stop Effexor with no problem whatsoever others can’t. perhaps you’re one of the lucky few who won’t have a problem, I don’t expect to get a guarantee from anyone that that’s going to be the case.
My first concern is that your brain is used to a certain amount of Effexor and the way you choose to taper that drug you’re changing the percentage of how much your brain is getting especially if skipping days like momo13 is suggesting. You started out tapering at 25% then you chose to taper by 50%, now you want to decrease it by 100%. I personally wouldn’t gamble that a 100% decrease wouldn’t cause side effects nor do I believe its a reasonable thing to except or try. Why are you all of a sudden in such a hurry to stop.
I believe in the 5 to 10% tapering method although some people are able to taper by more than those percentages. If it it were a medical emergency to immediately stop a drug thats one thing but that’s rarely the case.
my advice is to take it slowly and although it’s not a guarantee for an uneventful taper it certainly increases the probability of one.
Read back on this thread and see how many people took their physicians advice on tapering and how many people came back complaining of withdrawal symptoms and received no help from their physicians. You might want to remember medical professionals are not always right. According to Johns Hopkins university medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
whatever you decide I hope you both can avoid the side effects,
Jake

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@lisalucier

Hi @dianrib,
We are aware of the issue with double messages and are working on a solution. Part of the issue is that Connect has grown too big for our current email server, meaning we have to upgrade. That our community has grown and more people are getting support and help is a good thing. Now our technology has to catch up. 🙂

The new email server should be in place by mid-July and then you will no longer receive duplicate emails. I'm sorry for the annoyance in the meantime.

All the best,
Lisa

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This morning I received two telephone calls with the same message (telling me my prescribed med was correct for my condition). A couple of days ago I received a text that I had NOT gone to my October 6 apptmt and I should contact my provider. I did go to my October 6 apptmt with Marit Hartman on Baldwin 6. And I replied to the text and asked what was the issue. No reply to that. About a week ago I received a message on the portal "to schedule an appointment" no indication on what kind of apptmt I should schedule. (At that time I had alrready scheduled my flu shot and Covid booster and knew that W4 would contact me for my Covid test.) A few days ago I received two phone calls from W4, both of which went to voicemail as I was at work, asking me to schedule my Covid test prior to my dental hygiene; I returned the call and scheduled that test. A day or so later I received two text messages with the identical request from W4. Please reply and indicate when this will be corrected.
Thank you
Rosemary Bradshaw

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I’m down to 37.5mg once a day and a 1/4 crumb once a day. This has taken one month of gradually reducing my prescription.
Anyone else trying to get off of Effexor ?

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@huxy

I’m down to 37.5mg once a day and a 1/4 crumb once a day. This has taken one month of gradually reducing my prescription.
Anyone else trying to get off of Effexor ?

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Hi Huxy and welcome. You may have noticed that I moved your question to this long-standing discussion about tapering off Effexor. Click this link if you'd like to read from the beginning https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tips-on-minimising-withdrawal-symptoms-from-effexor-aka-venlafaxine/

I moved your question here so that you can fellow members like
@texasduchess @jakedduck1 @sears @momo13 @vfrifr @dianecostella @miker8888 @db1 and others who have successfully weaned off Effexor or are currently in the process of doing so.

You're absolutely right that this has to be done very gradually. The pace may vary from person to person, but slowly is key. How long did you take Effexor? Can you tell what you mean by "a 1/4 crumb once a day"?

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@huxy

I’m down to 37.5mg once a day and a 1/4 crumb once a day. This has taken one month of gradually reducing my prescription.
Anyone else trying to get off of Effexor ?

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Sounds like you’re doing well. That last 37.5 could be a problem. Taper that dose very very slowly. Some get stuck on 37.5 for a long time.

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@sears

Sounds like you’re doing well. That last 37.5 could be a problem. Taper that dose very very slowly. Some get stuck on 37.5 for a long time.

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Thank you! That is good to know. I hate the days with nausea…but it passes soon enough with a brisk walk.

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@colleenyoung

Hi Huxy and welcome. You may have noticed that I moved your question to this long-standing discussion about tapering off Effexor. Click this link if you'd like to read from the beginning https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tips-on-minimising-withdrawal-symptoms-from-effexor-aka-venlafaxine/

I moved your question here so that you can fellow members like
@texasduchess @jakedduck1 @sears @momo13 @vfrifr @dianecostella @miker8888 @db1 and others who have successfully weaned off Effexor or are currently in the process of doing so.

You're absolutely right that this has to be done very gradually. The pace may vary from person to person, but slowly is key. How long did you take Effexor? Can you tell what you mean by "a 1/4 crumb once a day"?

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I was on Venlafaxine for about 20 years, Effexor before that for around 2 years(that got expensive hence the switch to Venlafaxine), Prozac for about 5 years before that. Looking at the amount of time I have been on this drug is shocking.
There was a time when my life was stressful but my God! This is ridiculous I have lived a peaceful life for over 10 years. I would have stopped a long time ago but the withdrawal is not a cake walk. I want out!
Venlafaxine comes in tablet form. My prescription calls for me to take two 37.5 mg tabs a day.
On Oct.1st I cut a number of tabs in half and started a two and a half week schedule of 11/2 tabs a day. Now I am down to 11/4 tabs a day.(I call the 1/4 a crumb…because it is!) November 5 I plan to only take one 37.5 tablet a day for a month then 1/2 of that for awhile then nothing.
I experienced my worst bout of feeling nauseous today, which is why I joined this forum. Ugh, it went away after I ate something and went for a walk.
It’s nice to have a place to go for support and other stories.
Thank you!

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@huxy

I was on Venlafaxine for about 20 years, Effexor before that for around 2 years(that got expensive hence the switch to Venlafaxine), Prozac for about 5 years before that. Looking at the amount of time I have been on this drug is shocking.
There was a time when my life was stressful but my God! This is ridiculous I have lived a peaceful life for over 10 years. I would have stopped a long time ago but the withdrawal is not a cake walk. I want out!
Venlafaxine comes in tablet form. My prescription calls for me to take two 37.5 mg tabs a day.
On Oct.1st I cut a number of tabs in half and started a two and a half week schedule of 11/2 tabs a day. Now I am down to 11/4 tabs a day.(I call the 1/4 a crumb…because it is!) November 5 I plan to only take one 37.5 tablet a day for a month then 1/2 of that for awhile then nothing.
I experienced my worst bout of feeling nauseous today, which is why I joined this forum. Ugh, it went away after I ate something and went for a walk.
It’s nice to have a place to go for support and other stories.
Thank you!

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P.s…thank you for moving me. This is the sort of forum I was looking for.

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@huxy
You mentioned taking half your dose. I wouldn’t reduce your medication by 50% or anywhere near that much. You have to go slow. You have taken this drug for a long time and that plays a part in how long you need to taper. There is no one formula for tapering so going slow is you best chance of not having any withdrawals. Don’t be in a hurry. Even a long taper would be short compared to how long you’ve taken it. I believe you’ll regret cutting your medication in half especially as your dose decreases. Are you currently having any withdrawal symptoms?
Take care,
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@huxy
You mentioned taking half your dose. I wouldn’t reduce your medication by 50% or anywhere near that much. You have to go slow. You have taken this drug for a long time and that plays a part in how long you need to taper. There is no one formula for tapering so going slow is you best chance of not having any withdrawals. Don’t be in a hurry. Even a long taper would be short compared to how long you’ve taken it. I believe you’ll regret cutting your medication in half especially as your dose decreases. Are you currently having any withdrawal symptoms?
Take care,
Jake

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Thank you Jake!
I agree with you. I may have not been clear. I reduced my pills by a quarter. From 2 tabs to 1 1/2 then 1 1/4 (both for three weeks). After I finish the 1 1/4 tabs I plan to go to 1 tablet.
Thank you for your input. Believe me when I say it is hard enough reducing by this amount! I’d hate to go any faster.

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