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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@parus

As I peruse the feedback I am noticing many differing many different comments and experiences. Goes to show we are not all wired the same when it comes to medication. One size does not fit all.

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Totally, every human has different chemistry. All wired differently. That's why any doctors ideas around how to work with medications go out the window. Only thing I've found that they know is NOT to go off "cold turkey" which I so agree, because too hard on our system. All the doctors I've been to had zero idea about Effexor withdrawal, even my Top Rated Colorado psychiatrist, MD. However thankfully I recently found a nurse practitioner who does.
I was on Effexor XR- 75 MG for 20 years. I've recently Tapered along with a low dose of 20 mg Prozac, per my doctor. Went down to 17 mg then went off cold turkey from 15mg and I've been sick for 5 weeks now. Some days are OK, but most days nausea and a bit of vertigo. Holy shit Effexor XR I learned has Class Action Law Suits currently; one for pregnant women that have led to birth defects while taking it. There should be a Class Action for the insane withdrawal symtoms as well.

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@kikinordy

Totally, every human has different chemistry. All wired differently. That's why any doctors ideas around how to work with medications go out the window. Only thing I've found that they know is NOT to go off "cold turkey" which I so agree, because too hard on our system. All the doctors I've been to had zero idea about Effexor withdrawal, even my Top Rated Colorado psychiatrist, MD. However thankfully I recently found a nurse practitioner who does.
I was on Effexor XR- 75 MG for 20 years. I've recently Tapered along with a low dose of 20 mg Prozac, per my doctor. Went down to 17 mg then went off cold turkey from 15mg and I've been sick for 5 weeks now. Some days are OK, but most days nausea and a bit of vertigo. Holy shit Effexor XR I learned has Class Action Law Suits currently; one for pregnant women that have led to birth defects while taking it. There should be a Class Action for the insane withdrawal symtoms as well.

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May I Sk what state you r in? I need such a professional to help me. Would you plz your NP for a Detroit area recommendation! Thank you!

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@kikinordy

Totally, every human has different chemistry. All wired differently. That's why any doctors ideas around how to work with medications go out the window. Only thing I've found that they know is NOT to go off "cold turkey" which I so agree, because too hard on our system. All the doctors I've been to had zero idea about Effexor withdrawal, even my Top Rated Colorado psychiatrist, MD. However thankfully I recently found a nurse practitioner who does.
I was on Effexor XR- 75 MG for 20 years. I've recently Tapered along with a low dose of 20 mg Prozac, per my doctor. Went down to 17 mg then went off cold turkey from 15mg and I've been sick for 5 weeks now. Some days are OK, but most days nausea and a bit of vertigo. Holy shit Effexor XR I learned has Class Action Law Suits currently; one for pregnant women that have led to birth defects while taking it. There should be a Class Action for the insane withdrawal symtoms as well.

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For anyone reading this. Jumping off 15 mgs. Prozac was not a good idea. Always try to taper to 0.

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@coloradogirl

So, I just finished this process with Zoloft (sertraline) and here are some things that worked for me. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully these are low risk for you to try.

1) You may need to ask your doctor for a slower tapering program than other patients. Some people are just more sensitive to dosage changes. Be aware that symptoms will get better, then may reappear each time you taper. AAFMA (practice group of family physicians) says that the symptoms typically last 1-2 weeks and as long as 4 weeks, so I just kept reminding myself that it was temporary.
2) Be watchful for things that make your symptoms worse. For example, caffeine seems to trigger the brain zaps for me (still, even after being off for several weeks), so I cut back my caffeine intake. I didn’t give it up completely (because I still need to function), but cut back on how much real coffee I was drinking, mixed decaf with regular, and switched to tea sometimes. In the end, I probably cut my daily caffeine intake in half, and it did help quite a lot.
3) Ibuprofen or other pain reliever can help with the flu-like body aches.
4) Benadryl helped with the brain zaps.
5) Exercise helped with both. Even if I wasn’t up to a run, a few blocks of walking would settle down the symptoms for a while at least. (Then, when they come back, just take another walk. We took a lot of walks for a while there).
6) Get enough sleep. As I came down off the meds, my normal sleeping patterns returned, which was great, but it did mean that I needed to plan time to let my body rest.
7) Pay attention to your diet. Your brain uses carbs to make seratonin, so now is not the time to go on the Atkins diet. Eat well and make sure you’re getting enough healthy carbs. You may crave sweets; I certainly did. I tried to counteract this by having bananas, graham crackers, and other healthy things I could snack on instead of sticking my head in a birthday cake like I seemed to want.

No lie – it’s a painful process, but this did really help make it easier. Also, at a certain point, when I was down the below the normal starter dose, I just ripped off the bandaid and went to zero. At that point, it felt like each taper was just prolonging the suffering. Don’t just go cold turkey from your current dose, though, as that can be dangerous. Also, don’t add any supplements or substitutes for the SSRI without talking to your doctor first (also dangerous).

And of course, watch for the return of depression / anxiety type symptoms. For a while it was hard to tell whether I was tired because of the change in meds or because my depression was returning. I figured as long as I felt okay enough to function and wasn’t thinking about being harmful to myself or anyone else, I could play it out and see. It turned out to be the meds and on the other side, I can see that I was more worried about it than I needed to be.

I wish you the best of luck and a healthy life.

Mardee

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Thank you, my husband found your post.
Changed my unlivable weekend to just a nightmare.
Today the world looks brighter.

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Hello, I want to start tapering off my venlafaxine 37.5 capsules, but I'm not sure how to do it. Can someone please advise the safest way?

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@lilswan64

Hello, I want to start tapering off my venlafaxine 37.5 capsules, but I'm not sure how to do it. Can someone please advise the safest way?

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@lilswan64
What is your current dose?
Jake

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@lilswan64

Hello, I want to start tapering off my venlafaxine 37.5 capsules, but I'm not sure how to do it. Can someone please advise the safest way?

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I add my welcome, @lilswan64. You'll notice that I moved your question about tapering off 37.5mg venlafaxine capsules to this existing discussion:
– Tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tips-on-minimising-withdrawal-symptoms-from-effexor-aka-venlafaxine

I did this so you can connect with other members like @texasduchess @jakedduck1 @kbmayo @mimid0506 @summertime4 @sandij @samrichardson who have tapered off venlafaxine capsules.

@lilswan64 what has your tapering schedule been to get down to 37.5mg? How are you feeling?

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@lilswan64

Hello, I want to start tapering off my venlafaxine 37.5 capsules, but I'm not sure how to do it. Can someone please advise the safest way?

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There is a 25 mg tablet of Venlafaxine. So I went from the 37.5 mg to the 25 mg. I had no ill effects from that. I stayed on 25 mg for a month. Then I split that 25 mg and stayed on half (12.5 mg) for another month. Then I went to 1/4 of the 25 mg that and stayed on that for a month. At that point, I just stopped and didn't have any bad effects. The only thing I've been struggling with is fatigue, but I can't say if it's related to getting off Venlafaxine. However, cutting the dosage down this way helped me not get any weird body feelings or brain zaps or nausea. I'm anxious again, but I'm going to learn to deal with it without getting on a new pill. I'm determined to control my anxiety through things other than medication.

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@jacqueline
CONGRATULATIONS

Tapering off Effexor slowly may be time consuming but well worth it to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Always good to read about a successful taper.
Take care,
Jake

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I know you posted this a long time ago, but perhaps this information can help someone going through this now. I have had a miserable time tapering off Venlafaxine for the past two years. I thought I was going slowly, but I was going too fast. I did just find a support group in Facebook called "EFFEXOR (Venlafaxine) Tapering, Discontinuation Syndrome and Protracted W/D" that is really, really helping with how to taper off slowly and successfully. How I wish I'd found this group two years ago. It's a private group, so you'll have to ask to join. I can't recommend it enough. Sadly, neither my GP, cardiologist, or pulmonologist had a clue about tapering off this medicine slowly and successfully.

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Hi …. I am on Venlafexine, a relatively small amount, and I'm wondering what kinds of problems you had when you tapered off of it. Also, did it not work for you any longer? So far, it's been helpful for me, but you just got me thinking about it, and wondering why it is so difficult, and what kinds of things were happening when you did taper off of it.
Barb/abby

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@jacqueliner

There is a 25 mg tablet of Venlafaxine. So I went from the 37.5 mg to the 25 mg. I had no ill effects from that. I stayed on 25 mg for a month. Then I split that 25 mg and stayed on half (12.5 mg) for another month. Then I went to 1/4 of the 25 mg that and stayed on that for a month. At that point, I just stopped and didn't have any bad effects. The only thing I've been struggling with is fatigue, but I can't say if it's related to getting off Venlafaxine. However, cutting the dosage down this way helped me not get any weird body feelings or brain zaps or nausea. I'm anxious again, but I'm going to learn to deal with it without getting on a new pill. I'm determined to control my anxiety through things other than medication.

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Update 10 days later and I tapered off too quickly. I "thought" it was slow, but it's turned out to be a big mistake. I have massive anxiety and bouts with crying and a hard time breathing. No medical problems (had those checked right away). I needed to taper off much, much, much slower than I did. I am now back on the 1/4 of a 25 mg and hoping the withdrawals subside so I can taper off much much slower. I cannot stress enough how hard it is to finally get off Venlafaxine, but if you do, go extremely slowly. Will update this in the coming weeks in hopes of helping others. Be well, everyone.

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