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

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

@brightwings

Congradulations on getting rid of severe diseases and the Paleo diet. My hat is off to you. I got rid of severe fibro, but I believe I did it with flower essences. I am a flower essence practioner. I own all of the Alaskan Flower essences and all of the Desert Alchemy essences. As I write this I am wondering why I did not make an essence to help with the withdrawal. I just did not think of it, I guess.
Now, if I am calculating right, at your present rate of withdrawal with the beads, will you be taking your last dose after school restarts? Not a good idea, in my humble opinion. You state the students are your priority. (Hurrah for you.) Even with dropping down the beads, you will still have withdrawal symptoms.
You can find plenty of support here.
I have to take my dog for a walk. Be back later.
Welcome!

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Look up Desertalchemy.com and Alaskan essences. Read at those web sites and load up on knowledge.

@liz223

My heart hurts for you. I lost a young adult child. Maybe someday I can write my story.

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Thank you!

@brightwings

I read this as I was doing something else. I thought about there being no Effexor and I felt glad. Then I realized if It was banned I would probably be dead. Yes I was on it 26 years AND IT KEPT ME ALIVE.
My Docs tried 17 different antidepressants. This is the only one that worked.

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@parus
For me the Effexor really was the only drug of choice. I am also a very sensitive person when it comes to drugs. But I could not allow myself to commit suicide cuz my older brother did and I WOULD NOT LET MY ABUSERS WIN.
Fortunately or unfortunately (giggle) I am so like Pollyanna. I say unfortunately because some folks hate a bubbly happy person in the morning. Today feeling grumpy from withdrawal and a bee sting is really getting to me. I am certainly not used to it.

@brightwings

@tennessegirl
How long have you been off the drug?

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@tennasseegirl
Remember, you can always cut those tablets in half or quarters.

@lisalucier

Hi, @ainsleigh — I've moved your post here about your feelings about reading about problems Mayo Clinic Connect members have posted related to venlafaxine/Effexor, as many of those who have discussed this medication have done so in this thread. Hoping members like @brightwings @tennessegirl @arachel @jmanon @pinktart @susanknits will share some of their insights on its use in light of experiences members have shared.

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@tennasseegirl
I like your pride. I am in the state next to you, Missouri, living in water, hill country. Sure beats Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I was born. The only time you go around a curve there is if you are making a left turn!

@sawiety

I wanted to pop into this community for personal support and to help others that are tapering off of effexor xr or venelafaxine.

I follow a strict Paleo diet and have eliminated or reversed 5 chronic, autoimmune diseases. Effexor is my final (12th) drug to get off of. It’s been a 3 year process and I’m thrilled to report I no longer have ulcerative colitis, ADHD, eczema, hypothyroidism and anxiety/depression. Most of the medications were easy to eliminate, but effexor has taken more planning and self care.

Last July (2017), I decided it was time to begin the tapering process. I was only taking 75 mg., but knew from the experience of accidentally skipping a dose, that I should not follow my doctor’s orders of getting off it in one month. After all, I had been taking it for nearly 18 years! So instead, I began by taking 10 beads out of the capsule.

I did ok, but it was a rough start. Thankfully it was summer and I didn’t need to be near my fifth grade students. I continued with the taper and got to 37.5 mg and settled there for a few months while preparing for my son’s wedding.

Since January 2018, I’ve been decreasing the dose by about 2 beads every other week. For the most part, this has been manageable, but I’ve had days where I’ve felt nauseated, dizzy and agitated. I’ve needed to be so careful in my job as 10 year olds do not deserve to be treated unfairly. So, that’s a big reason why I’ve taken this slowly.

Now it’s the following summer and just last week I went from 15 beads to 10 beads. I had a fairly good week until day 6, which was yesterday. I experienced hot flashes (not typical on a Paleo diet despite my age ~ 53 years), apathy, fatigue and the occasional brain zap. Today I do not want to function, but I don’t feel depressed or anxious ~ just unmotivated.

I’m slightly nervous about these last 10 beads. I intend to drop to 5 beads in 6 days, and then down to two and hopefully in a month, I’ll call it quits. But, I’m nervous about the final dose. The few dreadful experiences I’ve encountered are enough to make me nervous about the whole thing.

Anyhow, this endeavor will have taken me a solid year. But I feel the slow tapering was worth it for me. I am such a sensitive person and I don’t handle physical symptoms well. I know that my diet (no grains, sugar, pasteurized dairy, starches or legumes), has been a positive in all this and has probably made this transition easier than for some people. Nonetheless, my brain wants to be off this junk.

Definitely Omega 3 fats and high quality fish oil have proven to be helpful. These are part of my diet anyhow, so just upping the dose has proven beneficial. Hoping to rely on this during the final stretch.

I’ll write again when I totally get off it. Each time I dropped a few beads, my brain reminded me it was time for the next dose. Unsure what will happen when I eliminate it entirely. Would love any advice that anyone is willing to share.

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I can ask @ my next apt. I think it's brilliant. In the mean time…no more @ nite…crazy dreams! And I have also gone for my robe & fuzzy pj's…feeling nuts before I knew it was a symptom. I truly wondered why my Dr quizzed me so emphatically but I am so glad she did!! I wonder when there will be a class action law suite against the manufacturers of this terrible drug! I was clueless. But no more. And determined to get off it more than ever. Thsnk you again for your support and welcoming me into your group!

@brightwings

@tennessegirl
How long have you been off the drug?

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Good advice from @brightwings . Not easy @tennessegirl . I have been there. I also lived in TN and regret having ever left there,

@ainsleigh

I have been astounded to read here how many people have had problems with Effexor. I have not taken it nor would I if you paid me! I was surprised to find that Mayo Clinic mentions it as one drug that can be used for Panic and Anxiety Disorders. I would hope that nobody I know and care about would touch it with a ten foot pole!
Comments would be appreciated.
Ainsleigh

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@ainsleigh Here is one connect member that is i full agreement. I will never be able to convince those closest to me that it WAS THIS medication and many others. My life is in shambles. Can't change it, can't fix it". Bunch of pissants!!!!!!!

@brightwings

I read this as I was doing something else. I thought about there being no Effexor and I felt glad. Then I realized if It was banned I would probably be dead. Yes I was on it 26 years AND IT KEPT ME ALIVE.
My Docs tried 17 different antidepressants. This is the only one that worked.

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Hope here for you going thru this process. So far, I have dropped 25 or more pounds. Just from getting off the drug. I only weigh when I go to the docs office.

@lisalucier

Hi, @ainsleigh — I've moved your post here about your feelings about reading about problems Mayo Clinic Connect members have posted related to venlafaxine/Effexor, as many of those who have discussed this medication have done so in this thread. Hoping members like @brightwings @tennessegirl @arachel @jmanon @pinktart @susanknits will share some of their insights on its use in light of experiences members have shared.

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Thank you! My mother WAS a coal mine's daughter…for real. Definitel have her pride and East TN Hillbilly pride! LOL

@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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why do doctors NOT warn us about the side effects of taking and going off or tapering Effexor ,Xanax and other such meds ? I did n ot take Xanax for 3 days and wound up in the ER with horrid head pain, 300 BP and very high blood sugar . Thought I was dying Wish I had known

@brightwings

@tennessegirl
How long have you been off the drug?

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I intend to. Halves and qtrs! Thank you!

@brightwings

Ok checking in…I feel like crap today. My bones are hurting, the larger the bone mass is, the higher the ache in them. Slept extremely poorly. Up and down all night. I feel like I have the worst flu.
The only difference I can find in my life is I got stung by a sweat bee…second one in as many months. I have a lump the size of a 50 cent piece near my knee. I have never had challenges with bee stings in the past because bees are usually my friends but I am nature girl. Who knows how many times I have been stung in the past.
What I am really not used to is feeling grumpy. This is so extremely rare for me. I hate it.

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And I am extremely allergic. Will this make my reaction worse?!!

@sawiety

I wanted to pop into this community for personal support and to help others that are tapering off of effexor xr or venelafaxine.

I follow a strict Paleo diet and have eliminated or reversed 5 chronic, autoimmune diseases. Effexor is my final (12th) drug to get off of. It’s been a 3 year process and I’m thrilled to report I no longer have ulcerative colitis, ADHD, eczema, hypothyroidism and anxiety/depression. Most of the medications were easy to eliminate, but effexor has taken more planning and self care.

Last July (2017), I decided it was time to begin the tapering process. I was only taking 75 mg., but knew from the experience of accidentally skipping a dose, that I should not follow my doctor’s orders of getting off it in one month. After all, I had been taking it for nearly 18 years! So instead, I began by taking 10 beads out of the capsule.

I did ok, but it was a rough start. Thankfully it was summer and I didn’t need to be near my fifth grade students. I continued with the taper and got to 37.5 mg and settled there for a few months while preparing for my son’s wedding.

Since January 2018, I’ve been decreasing the dose by about 2 beads every other week. For the most part, this has been manageable, but I’ve had days where I’ve felt nauseated, dizzy and agitated. I’ve needed to be so careful in my job as 10 year olds do not deserve to be treated unfairly. So, that’s a big reason why I’ve taken this slowly.

Now it’s the following summer and just last week I went from 15 beads to 10 beads. I had a fairly good week until day 6, which was yesterday. I experienced hot flashes (not typical on a Paleo diet despite my age ~ 53 years), apathy, fatigue and the occasional brain zap. Today I do not want to function, but I don’t feel depressed or anxious ~ just unmotivated.

I’m slightly nervous about these last 10 beads. I intend to drop to 5 beads in 6 days, and then down to two and hopefully in a month, I’ll call it quits. But, I’m nervous about the final dose. The few dreadful experiences I’ve encountered are enough to make me nervous about the whole thing.

Anyhow, this endeavor will have taken me a solid year. But I feel the slow tapering was worth it for me. I am such a sensitive person and I don’t handle physical symptoms well. I know that my diet (no grains, sugar, pasteurized dairy, starches or legumes), has been a positive in all this and has probably made this transition easier than for some people. Nonetheless, my brain wants to be off this junk.

Definitely Omega 3 fats and high quality fish oil have proven to be helpful. These are part of my diet anyhow, so just upping the dose has proven beneficial. Hoping to rely on this during the final stretch.

I’ll write again when I totally get off it. Each time I dropped a few beads, my brain reminded me it was time for the next dose. Unsure what will happen when I eliminate it entirely. Would love any advice that anyone is willing to share.

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@tennasseegirl
Hahaha, I am in my fuzzy pj."s too. Right now. Temps in high 80's outside. Air off!
Ok, crazy dreams are a symptom. I had no clue about them as I had not found this site yet. On Nov 4th I was having a nightmare about how my brother died…murder or suicide? Medical staff wouldn't tell me. I do not think I have ever felt that angry in my life. Why the extreme interest in his death? Cuz if he was murdered I had better watch out for my life too. (When I started therapy. 6 months after I started, my therapists office was broken into. They had to go thru 5 locks to do it. Long story short…my records were the only one missing.Good thing I was only talking about my brothers death and family stuff then. Anyways, my therapists office wasn't bothered again but I didn't realize why I got so paranoid after that. I had not started to remember cult abuse.)
Nowbecause of that nightmare I had a small stroke. Not trying to scare anyone. It completely went away in about 20 minutes. I missed my brain for some months but Sacred Plant Medicine and my Medicine Man, Doug Byland have gotten me back to pre stroke. I do take a baby aspirin now and will till I die.
Is there anyone with you that could wake you up if you are having a nightmare?
I think God was telling me to get my health in order. That's why I am eating better.
So be careful gf

@brightwings

Congradulations on getting rid of severe diseases and the Paleo diet. My hat is off to you. I got rid of severe fibro, but I believe I did it with flower essences. I am a flower essence practioner. I own all of the Alaskan Flower essences and all of the Desert Alchemy essences. As I write this I am wondering why I did not make an essence to help with the withdrawal. I just did not think of it, I guess.
Now, if I am calculating right, at your present rate of withdrawal with the beads, will you be taking your last dose after school restarts? Not a good idea, in my humble opinion. You state the students are your priority. (Hurrah for you.) Even with dropping down the beads, you will still have withdrawal symptoms.
You can find plenty of support here.
I have to take my dog for a walk. Be back later.
Welcome!

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@tennasseegirl
In Jan I got an essence from my teacher in arizona. My fiancee died from an extremely fast moving cancer and I wanted an expert to help me feel better faster.
I was stunned to hear she now charges $130 Plus shipping

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