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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Hi, if you are still having trouble please ask your doctor for two single pills of Prozac. Due to its long half life it can assist in weaning off a drug (Effexor) with a very short half life.

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@jacqueliner

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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Thank you for this update. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to taper off Effexor twice in the past 10 years. First time I experienced a bout of panic attacks for first time in my life that didn’t go away and I ended up back on it. Second time I didn’t get very far down the tapering schedule before the anxiety and overwhelm started coming on too much.

NOBODY understands how difficult it is to get off of this drug unless they’ve tried it themselves. Good luck and it’s so helpful to hear everyone’s stories on here 🙏

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@kermit2021

Thank you for this update. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to taper off Effexor twice in the past 10 years. First time I experienced a bout of panic attacks for first time in my life that didn’t go away and I ended up back on it. Second time I didn’t get very far down the tapering schedule before the anxiety and overwhelm started coming on too much.

NOBODY understands how difficult it is to get off of this drug unless they’ve tried it themselves. Good luck and it’s so helpful to hear everyone’s stories on here 🙏

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It's been absolutely miserable. This is such a horrible drug and only those of us who have tried to get off it understand that. My last dose was three weeks ago and I'm still going through nausea, breathlessness, massive anxiety. It's made me wonder if I should just give up and get back on the smallest dose. I did find a Facebook group several days ago and they're very helpful. At least I know I'm not alone and so many others have gone through the same thing. And doctors are useless helping taper off.

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@jacqueliner

It's been absolutely miserable. This is such a horrible drug and only those of us who have tried to get off it understand that. My last dose was three weeks ago and I'm still going through nausea, breathlessness, massive anxiety. It's made me wonder if I should just give up and get back on the smallest dose. I did find a Facebook group several days ago and they're very helpful. At least I know I'm not alone and so many others have gone through the same thing. And doctors are useless helping taper off.

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I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through – I remember the intensity of the anxiety I went through the first time around. I hope you have some good support with you.

That’s awesome you found a FB group. I’m not on it anymore, but I’m tempting to join given it sounds like this group has been helpful to you. I was hoping the these message boards would have more insight into how to taper effectively, or else examples of people who successfully got off Effexor for more than 6 months. Maybe I just haven’t found the right posts yet…

Thinking of you and sending you hope and ease. I think all of us on this thread have some idea of what you’re going through. You’re definitely not alone 🤗

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@jacqueliner

It's been absolutely miserable. This is such a horrible drug and only those of us who have tried to get off it understand that. My last dose was three weeks ago and I'm still going through nausea, breathlessness, massive anxiety. It's made me wonder if I should just give up and get back on the smallest dose. I did find a Facebook group several days ago and they're very helpful. At least I know I'm not alone and so many others have gone through the same thing. And doctors are useless helping taper off.

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You may want to speak to your doctor about low dose Prozac. It may or may not work out. Hopefully it would take the edge off so you don’t have to go back on the Effexor. Also, Prozac is a whole lot easier to taper due to its long half life.

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Hi!
I have been on Effexor for over a year and a half after lexapro stopped working for me and feel like it really helped me with depression and obsessive thoughts. This march I discussed with mt doctor wanting to switch because of how much weight I gained and how sluggish tired I felt. It took from end of March until last week to totally ween down. Once I was down to the lowest 37 tablet I started feeling manic and sad all over again. She put me right on prozac 10 mg without taking the 2 together and I continued and still continue to feel really down and obsessive intrusive thoughts. My doctor told me I was withdrawing I asked to be put back on Effexor even though I wish to not be on it. Started it 2 nights ago and I’m hoping they work the same as they did before. Really nervous. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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@amandaxoxo1

Hi!
I have been on Effexor for over a year and a half after lexapro stopped working for me and feel like it really helped me with depression and obsessive thoughts. This march I discussed with mt doctor wanting to switch because of how much weight I gained and how sluggish tired I felt. It took from end of March until last week to totally ween down. Once I was down to the lowest 37 tablet I started feeling manic and sad all over again. She put me right on prozac 10 mg without taking the 2 together and I continued and still continue to feel really down and obsessive intrusive thoughts. My doctor told me I was withdrawing I asked to be put back on Effexor even though I wish to not be on it. Started it 2 nights ago and I’m hoping they work the same as they did before. Really nervous. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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Hello @amandaxoxo1 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. It sounds like this taper didn't end quite the way you were planning/hoping but it is great to hear that your doctor is so in tune with you and noticed a need and was proactive in helping you quickly.

I know you wish to connect with others who have possibly went through a taper, so wanted to bring in members @texasduchess @sunshinestacy @tshere95 @cathy615 @nancy54 who have shared about tapering off Effexor with the help of a Prozac bridge, as it is sometimes referred to.

How has your experience been now that you are on day 3?

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@amandaxoxo1

Hi!
I have been on Effexor for over a year and a half after lexapro stopped working for me and feel like it really helped me with depression and obsessive thoughts. This march I discussed with mt doctor wanting to switch because of how much weight I gained and how sluggish tired I felt. It took from end of March until last week to totally ween down. Once I was down to the lowest 37 tablet I started feeling manic and sad all over again. She put me right on prozac 10 mg without taking the 2 together and I continued and still continue to feel really down and obsessive intrusive thoughts. My doctor told me I was withdrawing I asked to be put back on Effexor even though I wish to not be on it. Started it 2 nights ago and I’m hoping they work the same as they did before. Really nervous. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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Hi Thankyou so much for reaching out!
Originally my doctor wanted to wait for my “ gene sight” test to come back. It’s a new dna test that shows what meds work best for your body. I felt that I couldn’t wait. I am beginning to feel less crying spells , but still spending my days with ruminating thoughts.
Had a app this am with her and by Friday I can bump up to 112 I believe she said. My original dose that worked well for me was 150 before I weened down.

Thankyou for sending me names of others who successfully got off

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Just went over my gene test which says I am ultrarapid metabolizer. Does anyone know how that will affect my withdrawal from Effexor and potential for side effects?

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@rmce72a

Just went over my gene test which says I am ultrarapid metabolizer. Does anyone know how that will affect my withdrawal from Effexor and potential for side effects?

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Great question.

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@amandaxoxo1

Hi!
I have been on Effexor for over a year and a half after lexapro stopped working for me and feel like it really helped me with depression and obsessive thoughts. This march I discussed with mt doctor wanting to switch because of how much weight I gained and how sluggish tired I felt. It took from end of March until last week to totally ween down. Once I was down to the lowest 37 tablet I started feeling manic and sad all over again. She put me right on prozac 10 mg without taking the 2 together and I continued and still continue to feel really down and obsessive intrusive thoughts. My doctor told me I was withdrawing I asked to be put back on Effexor even though I wish to not be on it. Started it 2 nights ago and I’m hoping they work the same as they did before. Really nervous. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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Hi @amandaxoxo1, I moved your comment about tapering off Effexor to this long running discussion with many other members. There are over 500 pages of comments.
– Tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/tips-on-minimising-withdrawal-symptoms-from-effexor-aka-venlafaxine/

The biggest takeaway from all the members here is to go S L O W. Many people find that final mile on 37 mg to be the toughest. Having to increase the dose again for a while is normal. You need to do what is right for you. It sounds like you have a doctor you trust and who is working closely with you.

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@amandaxoxo1

Hi!
I have been on Effexor for over a year and a half after lexapro stopped working for me and feel like it really helped me with depression and obsessive thoughts. This march I discussed with mt doctor wanting to switch because of how much weight I gained and how sluggish tired I felt. It took from end of March until last week to totally ween down. Once I was down to the lowest 37 tablet I started feeling manic and sad all over again. She put me right on prozac 10 mg without taking the 2 together and I continued and still continue to feel really down and obsessive intrusive thoughts. My doctor told me I was withdrawing I asked to be put back on Effexor even though I wish to not be on it. Started it 2 nights ago and I’m hoping they work the same as they did before. Really nervous. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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There have been folks on "Tips …" who mentioned that they restarted Effexor after realizing they still needed it. One I particularly remember is grandmaR who restarted it after a considerable time off. You can go back through these pages, read her posts and see if you can find the specific one. Although I strongly recommend reading ALL the posts on "Tips …," if you want to save some time, I can tell you that I started posting August 2018, so it would be after that and she told posters here that she wouldn't be active on "Tips …" possibly in late 2019, or even into 2020.

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