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

@kippybee

I don’t have tips because I’m only 5 days into my weaning off process. I’ve tried numerous times in the past, but always gave up due to the withdrawal side effects. I’ve successfully gone from 225 to 150 mg without any effects at all. 5 days ago I went from 150 to 112.5mg and the unpleasant physical effects started appearing yesterday. My brain feels like it’s in a vice grip and no painkiller is alleviating the discomfort. The vertigo and nausea have also begun.

I’m really disappointed that here in Canada (I don’t know if this is the case in the US as well), immediate release Effexor tablets are no longer available; I was counting on using them for this process. How I’m going to wean with capsules is beyond me.

Right now I want to die and it’s only the beginning. Ugh.

Jump to this post

Here's my method. Open the capsule and remove 5 of the beads each day for 2 or 3 days. Then progress to 10 beads per day etc. etc. It takes a while but this method has kept the withdrawal symptoms to a minimum. No brain zaps or dizziness. I do get some days where I feel a little sick for a few hours, but it passes quickly. Right now I'm down to 37.5 mg from my start at 150mg. I've been a bit reluctant to start weaning off the last 37.5 because I have been experiencing some panic attacks lately and am afraid to push my luck any further. Once I feel that I've got a grip on the panic attacks, then I'll use the same method to finish the deal. Good luck.

REPLY
@kippybee

I don’t have tips because I’m only 5 days into my weaning off process. I’ve tried numerous times in the past, but always gave up due to the withdrawal side effects. I’ve successfully gone from 225 to 150 mg without any effects at all. 5 days ago I went from 150 to 112.5mg and the unpleasant physical effects started appearing yesterday. My brain feels like it’s in a vice grip and no painkiller is alleviating the discomfort. The vertigo and nausea have also begun.

I’m really disappointed that here in Canada (I don’t know if this is the case in the US as well), immediate release Effexor tablets are no longer available; I was counting on using them for this process. How I’m going to wean with capsules is beyond me.

Right now I want to die and it’s only the beginning. Ugh.

Jump to this post

Kippybee. I’m so sorry the tools you seek don’t exist in Canada. I hope you find what you need to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms. Please don’t give up. I, too, am just starting my wean process and feel the negative effects. I’m glad to have found this site and support. I wish you all the best. SARNM

REPLY
@nanke99

Hi! I was on Effexor XR for a few years and got off it several years ago. It was a very difficult process, so I fully sympathize. You MUST wean off
VERY SLOWLY. I don’t remember what my dosage was at the time (225mg?), but it took me about 9 months. Please do not let that long time scare you, it’s worth going slow, that will be your biggest help w/ withdrawal. At the time I had a very difficult time finding any doctor with experience getting people off it.
Luckily I was advised to to find one and luckily I did. It is considered harder to get off than heroine. Not trying to scare you, just want to make sure you go as slow as possible. Mostly, I was moody/angry, had headaches, and some brain “shivers”. The brain shivers I already had while on the meds.
I think we went down in 25mg increments over several weeks for each reduction. Keep us posted and good luck! Just give yourself some time and it will be over before you know it!

Jump to this post

That is a great question. How is it going?

REPLY

I quit Effexor XR aka Venlafaxine cold turkey. Yes I know that it is not ideal in most circumstances and for many reasons. It has been just under a week and I am doing well. Prior to stopping I was feeling suicidal with many dark thoughts. For nearly six weeks, I struggled to make it through each day. I had a personal epiphany that I needed to question what I was doing. I was questioning my purpose and how I was contributing to the world. Alright I had the good intentions but now I needed to stop the medication. Using the collection of advice from people above I created a plan. I do have to say that during this time I came across this quirky show, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. This show spoke to me and I realized that I could find meaning in the strangest of places. The show saved my life. Really it did. Now I needed take time off from everything and everyone so I could focus on this personal project.

Day One – I was optimistic but I could feel the start of the nausea and brain zaps. The nausea was the worst but if I got outside and exercised it helped A LOT.

Day Two – The nausea was a challenge so I needed to distract myself. I used Netflix binging and eating food as my weapons. I shifted my eating to healthier options like apples, blueberries and lemonade. I agree with people commenting that soda did spark more brain zapping activity. If there was ever a reason to drop the soda and shift to water and lemonade then this is a silver lining.

Day Three – My dreams were off the charts both good and bad ones. They were more powerful and meaningful. I love dreaming and sleeping. During this transition my sleep pattern was chaotic. I slept when I needed to sleep. I am a huge fan of sleep and napping. So when I had any room for ZZZZzzz time I took it.

Day Four – The nausea continued to be my biggest challenge. I almost started taking dramamine but instead continued to power through the discomfort. Food was really helpful in this area. I don't know why but learning to cook simple things and avoid all the processed foods was another amazing silver lining. The dreaming continues to be a fun thing. I used to be really good at navigating my dreams so I hope I can get that skill back. Having and/or remembering dreams again is very cool.

Day Five – The nausea started to subside with shorter sessions of discomfort. It's still there but not as impactful with only momentary bouts. I continued to focus on activities for how I could simplify my life. Shifting my focus from the future or past to the moment was an awesome silver lining too. I found myself more in the moment with others and myself. It's a pretty powerful shift.

Day Six – You know all those projects that never get done. Well I put them into the list that I ignored. Magically I just started to do them with no expectations or pressure. The best advice I was given by a therapist was to do the dishes. In better words and cool marketing campaign by Nike, "Just Do It". So I did and I am. Yes another silver lining. They just keep piling up don't they. The silver linings not the projects. The projects are getting done.

I am experiencing the challenges several mentioned and I am so happy they shared their journey. It helped me know what to expect. I thought I might shift my dose down but thought if I can make it through the band aid rip then why not.

I am feeling things more deeply than I can remember. That is both awesome and scary. I am trying to be very mindful and I have shared what I am doing with a few friends. I have some monitors so I don't go off the rails. I felt like I was headed down a very dark path. I no longer feel that way. But I know that mental illness in my case a lifelong journey. I cant recommend this path to others because I want you to be safe. I hope you can work with your doctors, family and friends to follow what works for you. I remember when I started on venlafaxine nearly 10 years ago. It really quieted my negative thoughts and gave me a peace that I hadn't experienced since I was a young kid free from adult responsibilities.

I am sharing my experience because the people in this chain have helped me. I wish I could wave a magic wand to help you all. The journey is the destination and I hope sharing mine will help those who helped me.

Onward friends.

REPLY
@nanke99

Hi! I was on Effexor XR for a few years and got off it several years ago. It was a very difficult process, so I fully sympathize. You MUST wean off
VERY SLOWLY. I don’t remember what my dosage was at the time (225mg?), but it took me about 9 months. Please do not let that long time scare you, it’s worth going slow, that will be your biggest help w/ withdrawal. At the time I had a very difficult time finding any doctor with experience getting people off it.
Luckily I was advised to to find one and luckily I did. It is considered harder to get off than heroine. Not trying to scare you, just want to make sure you go as slow as possible. Mostly, I was moody/angry, had headaches, and some brain “shivers”. The brain shivers I already had while on the meds.
I think we went down in 25mg increments over several weeks for each reduction. Keep us posted and good luck! Just give yourself some time and it will be over before you know it!

Jump to this post

Hello, @jmanon — welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect.

Just wanted to clarify to ensure you get a response from the member to whom your question is addressed. Your question here is to @megregg, correct? What I'd suggest is using the member's @username if you'd like to address a particular member so they know to respond.

This has been a very informative and supportive thread for many members in the process of or considering the possibility of tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor) in consult with their doctors and sometimes pharmacists, as well. Hope it's also helpful to you.

REPLY

Hello, @jmanon — welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I'm glad this discussion talking about the journeys others have shared was helpful as you looked at going off of venlafaxine (Effexor).

Thanks for the caveat not recommending to others going off venlafaxine cold turkey, but rather, working alongside a doctor to create and follow a plan to taper off.

Smart idea to let a few friends know what you were undertaking with going off this medication, building in your own social support.

Thanks for your kind wishes and encouragement to all here who feel (along with their doctors) that it's the right time to taper off this medication or consider doing so in the future.

You mentioned feeling things more deeply than you can remember. Were you feeling flat or not experiencing highs and/or lows on the medication?

REPLY

Hello @lisalucier Yes the six weeks preceding going off effexor were very bad. Some of the darkest thoughts and the longest I have ever continually experienced. Something had to change and the blog has been so helpful in others sharing their experiences. I feel so fortunate to be able to exit the medication easily in comparison to others. I have been working on mindfulness techniques over the years and lots of types of self discovery exercises. it likely also the benefit of some genetic predispositions too. I am very fortunate and needed to make a change. Something that won't work for others. It could have epicly backfired. Thanks for reaching out. I thought that my success might inspire people to look at their options with their doctors. Perhaps creating the right setting of support and distraction could be replicated in setting more conducive to withdrawal. Over the past few years I have talked with friends who had family members dealing with addiction. I tried to step in their shoes in understanding myself even in this very different context. Long story but thanks for note and question.

REPLY
@nanke99

Hi! I was on Effexor XR for a few years and got off it several years ago. It was a very difficult process, so I fully sympathize. You MUST wean off
VERY SLOWLY. I don’t remember what my dosage was at the time (225mg?), but it took me about 9 months. Please do not let that long time scare you, it’s worth going slow, that will be your biggest help w/ withdrawal. At the time I had a very difficult time finding any doctor with experience getting people off it.
Luckily I was advised to to find one and luckily I did. It is considered harder to get off than heroine. Not trying to scare you, just want to make sure you go as slow as possible. Mostly, I was moody/angry, had headaches, and some brain “shivers”. The brain shivers I already had while on the meds.
I think we went down in 25mg increments over several weeks for each reduction. Keep us posted and good luck! Just give yourself some time and it will be over before you know it!

Jump to this post

CBD oil to help nausea, I use CBD oil.

REPLY

@coloradogirl Thank you for your amazing advice on quitting effexor. You were so descriptive and clear about the complexity of brain chemistry and uniqueness of each individual. I decided to rip off the band aid and see I could do it. I am on day seven and have definitely hit a plateau. The good news is that the original horrendous experience is now manageable in less than a week. For me the key was to deal with the nausea and brain zaps. Food helped me feel better and good food was the key. Being moderately active like walking helped me. After a few days getting some more cardio focused activity like swimming helped immensely. During this past week I took time off work and making no commitments aside from this singular task. This experience has given new meaning to Netflix and Chill. I hope you can share your experiences with your doctors. I am open to answer your questions and that of your doctors too.

Onward Friends and especially to @coloradogirl whose advice gave me the basic plan to make this leap. YOU ROCK!

REPLY

Bright wings here. Please forgive me for my long absence. I get the emails in my gmail all the time. I promise you, I do read each of your posts and pray for you and all of our issues in this withdrawal process.
Today I am 8 weeks venlafaxine free. I feel wonderful most of the time but not always. Please be aware I also have multiple sclerosis so the symptoms may be from either struggle.
So what am I doing that the rest of you are not? The answer is I am going to Sacred Ceremonies and using Sacred plant medicine. I will be making a series of posts in the coming days to share the many techniques I have learned to deal with panic attacks, different withdrawal symptom fixes and so many things I want to share.
The goal is to lead a happy satisfied life and I am almost there.
If you have not read my previous posts, click on my name and it should take you to all of my posts. I don't want to repeat myself because I am typing with one finger on my phone. I plan on learning how to tether my computer to my phone but other things were always more important.
12 months out of the last 15 months I have been going to Indian land 46 miles from my house to attend Sacred Ceremonies. These Sacred Ceremonies are conducted by Medicine men or women certified by Chief Mooney of the primary tribe in Utah. So anyways, this makes the use of Sacred Plant Medicine legal in spite of the government classifying them as the worst drugs out there.
Now I want to say I am 67 years old and if anyone would have told me I would be using these drugs, I would have become enraged and been kicking their rear ends down the street!!!!! While I do smoke the green stuff, that is the med I use for my MS. I had one dose of MS Medication and vowed I would never subject it to another dose of such a terrible drug. I have had MS for 35 years and except for balance problems and a few minor other challenges I am pretty much symptom free in relation to my MS. I do know I am one of the luckiest folks with MS.
Ok back to what is and has been helping me. At the Ceremonies, the 2 Sacred plant medicines I have used are peyote 12 times and ayawaska twice. This is in the last 15 months. I will repeat myself to say that God has been Consistantly leading me to the next step to completely change EVERY EFFECT OF MY HORENDOUS ABUSE. Sacred ceremonies have done things to change the effects of the abuse beyond my wildest dreams or hopes. I can honestly say I have no guilt, shame, hatred, depression or any bad feelings or thoughts of suicide. I had been suicidal for years while going thru all the many memories of being born into a satanic cult and all the things I learned about what my nights were really like when I believed I was sleeping as a child.
Ok Sacred Ceremonies…to find one in your state, Google the name of your state and native American church. That should lead you to folks who can help you find sacred plant medicine near you.
I live in Missouri. If anyone wants to come here, let me know and I will send information. If I was on my computer, I would include so many links. So I will find out how to do it tomorrow.
I have told my personal physician about going to the ceremonies. I teach them all about them if they are interested.
Each time I go to a ceremony, I go with an intention or goal to have the plant medicine assist in changing in myself. Disclaimer: I was a registered nurse for 21 years. I never thought as my daughter stated, "I would be going off into the woods to get high". It is so much more than that.
The plant medicine works on physical problems and mental ones. In all my experiences as a nurse and in my own healing I have never seen anything work like this….remember, I was in therapy from 1986 to 2011 with a 10 year break somewhere.
I used to be on 13 medications, now I take a bp med and a baby aspirin. And CBD oil 3 times a day.

REPLY

Please Google the 2 plant medicines to learn more about them yourself. Trust your gut about if it is right for you. There are videos on you tube of ceremonies or teachings about the medicines.
I believe I am only off of this venlafaxine because the sacred plant medicine helped me get to the point I could successfully get off it. I have tried to wean myself off the Effexor for 26 years. I could never get past the electricity in my head.
I have never been good about being consistant with taking my own medications as ordered and as I have said many times, I have tried to get off it with no luck. But when I heard it was possible to remove the cause of a persons depression with the plant medicine ayawaska and a skilled medicine man, I started weaning myself off the Effexor. No particular plan other than to not take it unless the electricity in my head got too bad.
What was the effect of this plan? I had a stroke because of a nightmare which is one of the things the withdrawal causes. Oh I am fine, but I firmly believe the bug man came knocking at my door to interrupt the stroke. Thankfully all the symptoms went away in a half hour or so. I took it as a sign to get healthy NOW OR PAY THE CONSEQUENCES.
I am not sure when I joined this wonderful site, maybe December? Certainly after the stroke. Oh, what could have helped avoid the stroke? CBD oil. Since I started seeing what it did to each person I gave it to and how it almost instantly worked on what ever was going on in that persons life, I am totally sold on CBD oil. I know what it has done for me which is to calm me, help me sleep, helps with nausea, anxiety, stress and body pain. Like I said I am sold on it. I forgot my bottle at a friends house and went out and bought some more. I will not be with out my CBD OIL. Or my sacred plant medicine.
Ok I am getting tired and it is late.
I have also changed my diet to much healthier food like others have. I have much more energy now. Which is both from the sacred plant medicine and the results of using the CBD oil for 3 weeks.
Tomorrow I will address anxiety attacks and more things that can help IF YOU ARE WILLING TO Try THEM.
The weight has been dropping off me…about 25 pounds now. I actually got a wolf whistle as I was walking around the medicine wheel. I look so dramatically better, all my curves curve the right way now. I used to weigh 204 pounds for so many years. I had lost some weight but getting off the Effexor wow, I wish I had done this year's ago. And I realized this weekend at the ceremony I have used my fatness as a way of remaining invisible all these years.
Ok more tomorrow. Smiling at you all, Bright Wings who is invisible no more

REPLY
@brightwings

Bright wings here. Please forgive me for my long absence. I get the emails in my gmail all the time. I promise you, I do read each of your posts and pray for you and all of our issues in this withdrawal process.
Today I am 8 weeks venlafaxine free. I feel wonderful most of the time but not always. Please be aware I also have multiple sclerosis so the symptoms may be from either struggle.
So what am I doing that the rest of you are not? The answer is I am going to Sacred Ceremonies and using Sacred plant medicine. I will be making a series of posts in the coming days to share the many techniques I have learned to deal with panic attacks, different withdrawal symptom fixes and so many things I want to share.
The goal is to lead a happy satisfied life and I am almost there.
If you have not read my previous posts, click on my name and it should take you to all of my posts. I don't want to repeat myself because I am typing with one finger on my phone. I plan on learning how to tether my computer to my phone but other things were always more important.
12 months out of the last 15 months I have been going to Indian land 46 miles from my house to attend Sacred Ceremonies. These Sacred Ceremonies are conducted by Medicine men or women certified by Chief Mooney of the primary tribe in Utah. So anyways, this makes the use of Sacred Plant Medicine legal in spite of the government classifying them as the worst drugs out there.
Now I want to say I am 67 years old and if anyone would have told me I would be using these drugs, I would have become enraged and been kicking their rear ends down the street!!!!! While I do smoke the green stuff, that is the med I use for my MS. I had one dose of MS Medication and vowed I would never subject it to another dose of such a terrible drug. I have had MS for 35 years and except for balance problems and a few minor other challenges I am pretty much symptom free in relation to my MS. I do know I am one of the luckiest folks with MS.
Ok back to what is and has been helping me. At the Ceremonies, the 2 Sacred plant medicines I have used are peyote 12 times and ayawaska twice. This is in the last 15 months. I will repeat myself to say that God has been Consistantly leading me to the next step to completely change EVERY EFFECT OF MY HORENDOUS ABUSE. Sacred ceremonies have done things to change the effects of the abuse beyond my wildest dreams or hopes. I can honestly say I have no guilt, shame, hatred, depression or any bad feelings or thoughts of suicide. I had been suicidal for years while going thru all the many memories of being born into a satanic cult and all the things I learned about what my nights were really like when I believed I was sleeping as a child.
Ok Sacred Ceremonies…to find one in your state, Google the name of your state and native American church. That should lead you to folks who can help you find sacred plant medicine near you.
I live in Missouri. If anyone wants to come here, let me know and I will send information. If I was on my computer, I would include so many links. So I will find out how to do it tomorrow.
I have told my personal physician about going to the ceremonies. I teach them all about them if they are interested.
Each time I go to a ceremony, I go with an intention or goal to have the plant medicine assist in changing in myself. Disclaimer: I was a registered nurse for 21 years. I never thought as my daughter stated, "I would be going off into the woods to get high". It is so much more than that.
The plant medicine works on physical problems and mental ones. In all my experiences as a nurse and in my own healing I have never seen anything work like this….remember, I was in therapy from 1986 to 2011 with a 10 year break somewhere.
I used to be on 13 medications, now I take a bp med and a baby aspirin. And CBD oil 3 times a day.

Jump to this post

Hi, @brightwings — how wonderful to hear from you.

Thanks for all the information about the ceremonies and the oil that have been helping you as you've gone off of venlafaxine.

Now that you've been off of venlafaxine 8 weeks, how is the depression you were previously treating with the medication?

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.