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richyrich
@richyrich

Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 02, 2016

Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)

Posted by @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

REPLY

I made it as far as day 6 off of Effexor. At day 4 I thought I could survive and finally get rid of Effexor forever. That night I thought I would die. My body was shaking violently and my mind was racing. I just couldn’t take it. The pain of withdrawal was too much. I went back to the doctor yesterday. He spent 30 minutes with me. Apparently serotonin levels in my brain are not replenishing themselves even after a lengthy withdrawal period. He says I will have to take Effexor or another SSRI for the rest of my life. I am extremely upset. I feel like a failure. Dr tried to say that it’s just like needing insulin for a diabetic condition and does not mean I failed. I started back on 37.5 mg yesterday with the support of Xanax until I can settle my shaky bones. I guess being Effexor free is not in the cards for me. Good luck to all.

@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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Get off of it it immediately. The withdrawal from it is horrendous. I’m currently getting off of it and I’m miserable. I’ve been crying daily because I feel sick to my stomach.

@brightwings

@tennessegirl
How long have you been off the drug?

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Already have. Thank you so much…Everyone…and Brightwings, I look forward to each and every "tidbit".

@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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No But thank you for asking! I'm alone.have been for sometime now. My Dad died in Sept. I was chained to this house for almost 2 yrs taking care of him. 2 months after my husband died. Who said it would be EZ.

Hi All!

Hope everyone is doing well!
I couple of days ago I asked a question.
Unless I missed it, I am sorry to repeat it.
Why is everyone so anxious to get off Effexor?
How will you deal with your anxiety and/or depression?

Thanks
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

@grandmar

Hi All!

Hope everyone is doing well!
I couple of days ago I asked a question.
Unless I missed it, I am sorry to repeat it.
Why is everyone so anxious to get off Effexor?
How will you deal with your anxiety and/or depression?

Thanks
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

@grandmar
Asked and answered 4 days ago. Click my name and read back a few days. I keep posting tips in lots of things I write.. Smiling at you, get to reading

@megannicole

This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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I have recently been coming off effexor I took 75 MG for about a year then went up 37.5 for week then 150 from there well I felt worse tired weight gain just overall felt worse so Dr decided to ween me off it was 3 days at 75 then 3 days at 37.5 for 3 days to nothing for 1 day then started Cymbalta 30 MG this is day 4 no effexor I feel horrible depressed weird head feeling dizzy fighting with boy friend snapping over the tiniest things I hate how I feel almost makes me want to take it to feel better in a sense but know the withdraws are what's causing it i been self medicate with colazipan and marjaunia which helps with all this but it's illegal and my family Dr drug test me on a regular basis because of other health issues please suggest anything to get threw this would be appreciated I feel so hopeless

@lovetheocean

Hi Everyone. Day ten quit Effexor progress report. Feeling pretty darn good. Still some zaps, but they are subsiding. Some weird "noises" that even I cannot describe except to say they are going away. A bit of coffee in the morning helped my body aches which seem to be way down. I am sleeping like a rock and for many hours. I haven't slept a solid stretch in years.
And, I have feelings. I have been weepy at the sad news and laugh at the funny stuff. I have been quicker to anger than I can remember for a long time. Much less likely to take shit from people. "Get off my lawn" hahaha. Taking it a day at a time and not trying to be my own hero.

One thing that has changed a lot is that I am starting to do things I used to do every day. Onward.

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@lovetheocean Congratulations on your success! It sounds as if it feels like a whole new life for you. That's really great.
Oh, and I love the ocean too — any ocean will do but we on the east coast so it's usually the Atlantic.
JK

@megannicole

This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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sorry. to hear your having a bad time. but IS cymbalta and better than Effexor ? I do not know. Seems all these drugs have side effects Headaches & Dizzyness is one of them I have that too Wish I could get off all these type of meds. I also take Xanax Got very sick _ went to the ER ) when I did not take Xanax for 3 days . Wish doctors would warn us about how severe this can be Best of luck Hang in there ..

@kerwea

Can the withdrawal symptoms include paranoia, anxiety or strange nightmares?

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Yes Doctor shop MD Should not have brushed off your concerns

@kerwea

Can the withdrawal symptoms include paranoia, anxiety or strange nightmares?

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I am Having Weird dreams One of the many known side effects . More I know about these meds The scarier it feels Is there another way to feel better besides these strong brain changing meds ?

@arachel

I made it as far as day 6 off of Effexor. At day 4 I thought I could survive and finally get rid of Effexor forever. That night I thought I would die. My body was shaking violently and my mind was racing. I just couldn’t take it. The pain of withdrawal was too much. I went back to the doctor yesterday. He spent 30 minutes with me. Apparently serotonin levels in my brain are not replenishing themselves even after a lengthy withdrawal period. He says I will have to take Effexor or another SSRI for the rest of my life. I am extremely upset. I feel like a failure. Dr tried to say that it’s just like needing insulin for a diabetic condition and does not mean I failed. I started back on 37.5 mg yesterday with the support of Xanax until I can settle my shaky bones. I guess being Effexor free is not in the cards for me. Good luck to all.

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Sorry I too worry about having to take these meds all my life No way to live Patients are NOT warned about this when they begin taking Xanax, Effexor etc. Why ? Doctors must be held accountable !!! I do not want to take these meds rest of my life !!! Insulin is not comparable to Xanax or Effexor ! Insulin is life savings and does not make you feel horrible or cause panic. ! I also blame big Pharma for pushing these drugs on TV and leaving free samples etc. Scared to be ' hooked' all my l ife. There needs to be a class action law suit. or something big to deal with this major problem ..

@grandmar

Hi All!

Hope everyone is doing well!
I couple of days ago I asked a question.
Unless I missed it, I am sorry to repeat it.
Why is everyone so anxious to get off Effexor?
How will you deal with your anxiety and/or depression?

Thanks
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

Jump to this post

Effexor Xanax and other meds cause one to be 'addicted' & have serious side effects That was not told to us by our doctors !

I only took Effexor for a month….50mg tabs, titrated up to 2 tabs daily (immediate release, not xr). One day I forgot a dose (only at 75mg daily at this point) and felt horrible (nausea, dizziness, brain zaps, etc.) It wasn’t until I got home from work that I remembered my missed dosed. It was almost time for my next dose so I took it immediately. Within 45 minutes I felt 100% better….all of my symptoms had subsided and I felt normal. Thought that was weird,but continued with the titration up to 100mg daily within the next couple days. After only 2 days at that dose I decided I didn’t want to take this medication anymore because of the more noticeable side effects, so started to titrate back down. Visited my doctor a short while later and she agreed, I was down to 1 tab daily (1/2 morning and 1/2 night). She suggested going down to 1/2 daily, then every other day, then stop. She recognized that it can be difficult to come off of and told me to supplement the “off” days as needed until I’m off completely. Got down to 1/2 tab daily for a week, then decided to try every other day. Didn’t go as planned….ended up taking a 1/4 tab just to get some relief. Totally worked…..just a 1/4 of a tab (12.5mg) made me go from feeling like death to completely normal in less than an hour. I tried taking that dose for a week before trying the every other day again. Yesterday was my first successful skip day. The only reason it worked is because I didn’t start feeling the withdrawal symptoms until nighttime….approx. 3 hours before bedtime, so I just laid on the couch until it was time to go to sleep…it seems like as long as I don’t move I don’t notice the symptoms so much. In the morning however, I had to take my 1/4 tab as soon as I got up. Today when I got home, I started getting the withdrawal symptoms again, but instead of taking another 1/4 tab I decided to try my favorite pain reliever (PainAid, available from Amazon…..only thing that seems to work for me if anyone else finds that the normal Aleve/Advil/Tylenol/whatever doesn’t work…) and although it didn’t remove the symptoms completely….I was able to at least function normally (make dinner, do laundry, have a normal conversation with my husband, etc…haha) so Yay!! I’m hoping I can have another skip day tomorrow by just taking the pain reliever when I start feeling the symptoms…we shall see! Anyways, just wanted to share in case this remedy helps anyone else trying to get off this horrible medication….btw I was on 2 other meds like this with only slight side effects (mainly tired all, the time)…nothing like what I’ve experienced with Effexor.

@megannicole

This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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I’m in the process of tapering off Effexor to be able to go on cymbalta as well. I’ve got a long way to go because I was extremely overmedicated. But from what I can tell, you did not have nearly enough time to wean off of the Effexor. At least 2 weeks for each taper. Then while on the lowest dose, the cymbalta should have been introduced into your system. Then finally weaned off of the Effexor completely. I heard from a lot of people that cymbalta is good. I’m going to be using it as an antidepressant and for my fibromyalgia. If it’s only day 4, I would think about taking the lowest dose of Effexor until the cymbalta kicks in. Maybe 2-3 weeks. It takes a couple weeks for an antidepressant to start working. So right now it’s kind of like taking nothing and going through withdrawals. Good luck!

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