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

Hi everybody. I'm happy to have found this forum. I'm also weaning off Effexor and I heard the horror stories about the process. I was feeling pretty confident when I went from 300mg to 225mg to 150mg. I have been doing this under my doctor's care and was surprised how easy it has been. Until now. I'm now at the 75mg mark and it has been horrendous. The third day in I started to feel a lot of vertigo, weird brain zaps and lack of coordination. It got so uncomfortable I started taking 150mg again for a couple days. I wanted to try it again so have stuck out the 75mg for about 2 weeks. I thought I had the flu last week when I started having a nauseous "car sick" feeling that kept me pretty home bound. This feeling has only gotten worse over the last week. Horrible headaches, diarrhea, I feel like I'm in slow motion if that makes sense. I feel edgy like I want to jump out of my own skin. It's extremely unsettling and quite honestly, I'm scared. I feel like I may lose control. I'm not sure how to describe it properly, almost like I'm fearful the withdrawals will get so bad it will overcome me. I'm near tears writing this because I really must get off this med since it's been 15 years and doctors have told me this is basically ineffective in mood disorders (bipolar 2).

I did call the doctor today who was not in. Hoping to hear tomorrow. Anyone have any wisdom on a time frame or coping methods to get through this?

I'm curious why such a drastic shift from the 150mg to 75mg. Has anyone alternated 150mg and 75mg for awhile? I'm willing to push through this if there's hope here. I don't want to have to take this med the rest of my life just to avoid the withdrawals.

Anyone successfully off completely that can send a bit of motivation my way? This is horrible. Not sure if I can pull this off. I'm trying!

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@kerwea

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

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Absolutely. Agitation and extreme anxiety are noted withdrawal symptoms.

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@jess9284

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.

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Oh wow. That is great. I wish I'd have known when I was battling my withdrawals. It was awful. I titrated down too but did not know to take "supplemental dose". I am so very grateful to have gotten myself off this nasty drug. I have a much better understanding of those who struggle with other types. I cannot imagine being an addict. This was bad enough.Thank you for posting!

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@amelia42

Hi everybody. I'm happy to have found this forum. I'm also weaning off Effexor and I heard the horror stories about the process. I was feeling pretty confident when I went from 300mg to 225mg to 150mg. I have been doing this under my doctor's care and was surprised how easy it has been. Until now. I'm now at the 75mg mark and it has been horrendous. The third day in I started to feel a lot of vertigo, weird brain zaps and lack of coordination. It got so uncomfortable I started taking 150mg again for a couple days. I wanted to try it again so have stuck out the 75mg for about 2 weeks. I thought I had the flu last week when I started having a nauseous "car sick" feeling that kept me pretty home bound. This feeling has only gotten worse over the last week. Horrible headaches, diarrhea, I feel like I'm in slow motion if that makes sense. I feel edgy like I want to jump out of my own skin. It's extremely unsettling and quite honestly, I'm scared. I feel like I may lose control. I'm not sure how to describe it properly, almost like I'm fearful the withdrawals will get so bad it will overcome me. I'm near tears writing this because I really must get off this med since it's been 15 years and doctors have told me this is basically ineffective in mood disorders (bipolar 2).

I did call the doctor today who was not in. Hoping to hear tomorrow. Anyone have any wisdom on a time frame or coping methods to get through this?

I'm curious why such a drastic shift from the 150mg to 75mg. Has anyone alternated 150mg and 75mg for awhile? I'm willing to push through this if there's hope here. I don't want to have to take this med the rest of my life just to avoid the withdrawals.

Anyone successfully off completely that can send a bit of motivation my way? This is horrible. Not sure if I can pull this off. I'm trying!

Jump to this post

Hi Amelia. Yes! You can do this and WILL! I had no help either other than this wonderful forum. I finally tried own my with success by doing what you are doing, titrating. I fully understand your feelings and concerns. It is frightening to those of us who want to be healthy to purge these toxin from our bodies. This forum, and especially me, are with you, behind you. If you beginning to feel hopeless do not hesitate to reach out to either this forum or your local hotline for support. You CAN get through this Amelia. And you WILL. When I was off the effexor and it was out of my system another doctor in the same practice prescribed Celexa. I am told that often just by switching medications helps. I believe it would have been a bit easier had I known this but for me, I wanted to ensure all effexor was out of my system before starting a new drug though I am told that was necessary. Hang in there. You are so close! DO not give up. Do not feel there is no hope because there is. Read Jess' post, I wonder if there is anyway you can take a supplemental dose until you hear back from your Dr?? Mine were in capsule form and I assume yours are too given the dosage. Perhaps your pharmacist can help with that question. I ask my pharmacist most all of my medication questions and find her to be incredibly insightful and helpful, much more so than the Dr who wrote the Rx. Please do not give up. I know it is horrific now but It does get better. I promise. Keep up the great work Amelia. I wish you all the best. Please post your progression. We are all here for you.

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@amelia42

Hi everybody. I'm happy to have found this forum. I'm also weaning off Effexor and I heard the horror stories about the process. I was feeling pretty confident when I went from 300mg to 225mg to 150mg. I have been doing this under my doctor's care and was surprised how easy it has been. Until now. I'm now at the 75mg mark and it has been horrendous. The third day in I started to feel a lot of vertigo, weird brain zaps and lack of coordination. It got so uncomfortable I started taking 150mg again for a couple days. I wanted to try it again so have stuck out the 75mg for about 2 weeks. I thought I had the flu last week when I started having a nauseous "car sick" feeling that kept me pretty home bound. This feeling has only gotten worse over the last week. Horrible headaches, diarrhea, I feel like I'm in slow motion if that makes sense. I feel edgy like I want to jump out of my own skin. It's extremely unsettling and quite honestly, I'm scared. I feel like I may lose control. I'm not sure how to describe it properly, almost like I'm fearful the withdrawals will get so bad it will overcome me. I'm near tears writing this because I really must get off this med since it's been 15 years and doctors have told me this is basically ineffective in mood disorders (bipolar 2).

I did call the doctor today who was not in. Hoping to hear tomorrow. Anyone have any wisdom on a time frame or coping methods to get through this?

I'm curious why such a drastic shift from the 150mg to 75mg. Has anyone alternated 150mg and 75mg for awhile? I'm willing to push through this if there's hope here. I don't want to have to take this med the rest of my life just to avoid the withdrawals.

Anyone successfully off completely that can send a bit of motivation my way? This is horrible. Not sure if I can pull this off. I'm trying!

Jump to this post

BTW Amelia, I had the same symptoms as you and understand how you are feeling. I was literally bedridden for three days. I felt I was going to die. I truly did. But I swear, once I eliminated effexor I felt better. I read a suggestion to take an Ativan if you have for nausea. I finally found some CBD oil in a drawer and tired that for nausea. I wonder if Dramamine would help you. I'd inquire but I read that may help. I hope you are doing okay. Let us know please and continue to reach out. I will check this site periodically throughout the next few days to see how you are.

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@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)

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Hi Ronnie. It causes withdrawal symptoms that to me were very unpleasant. I was told later by another doctor that I could have switched than get off the med altogether. I wound up starting Celexa after about a week of stopping the effexor but that was my choice and is not a suggestion by any means. I am not a professional but that is what worked for me. I did my own research and Clexa seems less likely to cause negative issues. I am taking it now and doing well. The effexor withdrawal symptoms are pretty rough for many people and switching meds may be a viable option for you, had I known I could have I may have done so instead of fighting the withdrawal from effexor. I hope this helps. Good luck.

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@karhvp

I have reduced from 150mg to 75 mg about 6-7 weeks ago and are still having withdrawals. My Nurse Practioner wants me to be withdrawal free before reducing to 37.5 mg.
I read that it takes 2-4 weeks to get through the symptoms. Has anyone else had symptoms this long? Sometimes I feel very confused and can’t concentrate.

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Hi, Brightwings. I’m slowly tapering off Effexor as well. I’ve been having horrible muscle twitching in the evenings or whenever I try to relax the entire time I’ve been on Effexor (5+ years) —worse than RLS. Whole-body muscle jerking. 2 neurogists, my pcp, and psychiatrist have no idea what it is and I suspect it’s an Effexor side effect along with the extinguished sex drive. I would like to try CBD oil but don’t know if/how I can get it legally where I live. How do you get yours?

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@74unicorn

Hello all. I just joined the group. I’m trying to wean off of Effexor as well. I have been highly overmedicated on Effexor and lamotrigine for the last 8 years. I just was informed about it a month ago. I’ve been on 150mg xr twice daily! The lamotrigine was being used as a “booster” to the Effexor. I was prescribed 4X the max amount that I should have been on. The lamotrigine wasn’t nearly as hard to cut back on as the Effexor is. My first move was cutting back the 2nd dose to 75mg. I did that for 4 weeks. The vertigo was horrible. Last week I dropped down the morning dose to 75mg. So I’m now on 75mg in the morning and 75mg in the afternoon. This is worse than the first step down. Headaches, confusion, irritability and I’m sooo tired. Too tired to get up and eat. I keep snack bars in my nightstand. From what it looks like from everyone’s comments, I have a long way to go. I need to be off the Effexor before I can start cymbalta. I have a lot of other health problems on top of this mess. Effexor has a stimulant in it. So taking the night dose was keeping me awake until morning. Then I would sleep all day. I feel this drug and my doctors have stolen the last 8+ years of my life. I’m very angry. Does anyone know if there are any lawsuits because of the problems with Effexor?

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Hi, Unicorn. I just want to share that I was on cymbals for years and the withdrawal from that was brutal as well. Now I thoroughly research withdrawal symptoms in any drug I’m prescribed.
~Indri500

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I now believe that Effexor , Xanax etc can be ' insidious No one warns us of the effects of trying to get off these very ' profitable' drugs . Big pharma makes them' addictive' so insures a steady cash flow…

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@jess9284

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.

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Whats a ' supplemental dose' Thanks

REPLY
@kathymurphy55

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for stress induce menopause hot flashes.
I quit cold turkey once because I blame it for gas and weight gain. What a mistake that was. All I did was cry.
Now I am told I have dry mouth and this med can be the reason. I don't know what to do

Jump to this post

I have the same exact problems with Effexor ( also take Xanax ) another' addictive drug ! There Must be an answer to this …

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@jess9284

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.

Jump to this post

whats ' tittated ' Thanks

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@jess9284

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.

Jump to this post

To continuously measure and adjust the balance of a drug. Either to slowly administer to get into your system or slowly taper your dosage down. Does that help?

REPLY
@kathymurphy55

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for stress induce menopause hot flashes.
I quit cold turkey once because I blame it for gas and weight gain. What a mistake that was. All I did was cry.
Now I am told I have dry mouth and this med can be the reason. I don't know what to do

Jump to this post

Me too. I am weaning myself off Effexor. I take Xanax for anxiety and panic attacks. I've had them since High School but was not diagnosed until my 30's when I ended up in the ER. I understand.. Believe me. Even as most people including family does not. The only people that understand are those HAVE them.. My husband understood, saw me at my very worst. Took me to the Dr. I lost him 3 years ago. But I do understand!

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I just found these posts. Much of what I am reading fits my situation. Headaches, flu-like symptoms, up and down feelings, fatigue Have been off Effexor for three weeks now after having been on it for a year and half. Followed a gradual withdrawal from the drug. Wasn’t aware that I would feel all of the feelings, etc that I am. Feeling lots of anger that seems to have been stored up. Struggling at times but trying to hang in there. Just retired and trying to stay active. Morning is the worst. This input from others is helpful

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