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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

@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!

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Hang in there Amelia. Rereading your post reminded me that my doctor had me go from 150 ( my highest level) to 112.5 before going to 75. Then to 37.5. Then every other day. The entire process was five weeks.

I also had some moments when I wanted to jump out of my skin. Feeling electric zaps through my body.

On some days I feel great but mostly it is hard. Although getting better.

Good luck

@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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@dianrib
I used to be a sheep. What ever the doc said was fine ….UNTIL… I agreed to 6 doses of Bilateral shock treatments.
When I was discharged from the hospital, I could not take care of myself, much less my 1 year old child or her older siblings. I had to go to my gfs home in Virginia for months until my brain and I restarted our relationship.
DON'T BE A SHEEP
You are responsible for taking care to make sure how this new drug, treatment etc is something you can live with.
DONT BE A SHEEP

I've given up giving up taking Effexor for the second time now. I had to start taking my Effexor again 4 days ago so I'm still in the midst of the horror show of withdrawal and the slow crawl back to something resembling sanity. I'm typing right now because I don't know what else to do with my thoughts of gloom and doom. My heart is pounding and I just want to throw up. I took a Xanax yesterday and it got me through, but I didn't take any today because I'm afraid of developing a new addiction. I just can't escape myself. I tried reading, crocheting, watching tv and I just can't concentrate. I took a walk this morning and that felt good, but the panic attacks and depression took hold again quickly. I did go to the doctor and he told me that I needed to get back on Effexor because my serotonin levels were obviously in the toilet (my word, not his). My personal torture is also having an affect on my husband. He has been patient, but everyone has their breaking point. I don't think he wants to sympathize much longer. If he gives up on me, I don't know what I'll do. If anyone has any helpful thoughts or information, I could sure use it now. Thanks

Hi …. I've been taking Effexor for about 2 years now, and I'm usually very conscientious about taking all my meds. daily. Well, last Saturday I ran out, and because of the date of the month, I had only $1.00. I have not had any since last Saturday. Today was the first day I noticed anything at all ….. I felt dizzy and didn't feel I should be driving anywhere. My dear daughter went and picked them up for me, so about an hour ago I took one. I'm wondering why I didn't notice anything sooner ….. I sure expected to.
abby

@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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Kudos to you! I am starting to try to wean off for 2nd time… Sincere congratulations for your success! You are inspiring!

@sarnm

I’m starting my regime to get off venaflaxine XR. I’ve been on 225 mg for about 16 years, so I know what I’m up against. I do feel that it has contributed to my weight gain, ~40 pounds over the 16 years, but other factors (sedentary job, turning 50, alcohol) are also factors. I started taking 150 mg early this week and plan to acclimate to this before additional decreases. I do have plenty of Xanax and lunesta to get through situational anxiety or sleeplessness. I’d greatly appreciate feedback/guidance from those who have succeeded on a similar path. I can’t accept that it is impossible. Thank you.

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It seems like the older you get and the longer you are on Effexor contributes to your ability to get off of it. I've been a depressive personality since I was 15 and have struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks since then. My husband died in 2001 and I spiraled into a deep dark place. It was then that I started on Effexor and ambien (lunesta). Its been a steady diet of both since then. I tried to get off of Effexor twice; the last time was one week ago. It was a disaster and still is. My doctor says I'll be on an anti-depressant the rest of my life. He says that some people are just deficient in serotonin just like some people are deficient in insulin. You can't fight it because you think having to take an anti-depressant makes you less than perfect. I also take ambien every night to sleep. I guess that's where I'll be forever. Everyone is different. You have to find your place. P.S. I do drink wine every night and it helps immensely.

So I ended up making the decision to come of the Venafalaxine! Best decision ever! I have been constantly taking my CBD oil and I have never felt better! I have not taking any meds for 2 whole days and this is the first time in over a year! I am feeling fantastic right now because of it! I highly recommend trying! To everyone struggling stay strong and don’t let anxiety get the best of you. Be open about it even if people don’t understand. It has been the best form of therapy for me plus the CBD oil ❤️

@medfree17

So I ended up making the decision to come of the Venafalaxine! Best decision ever! I have been constantly taking my CBD oil and I have never felt better! I have not taking any meds for 2 whole days and this is the first time in over a year! I am feeling fantastic right now because of it! I highly recommend trying! To everyone struggling stay strong and don’t let anxiety get the best of you. Be open about it even if people don’t understand. It has been the best form of therapy for me plus the CBD oil ❤️

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Good for you! It's illegal here or I would be as well. Just dealing w halves and quarters…just enough to keep my brain off the roller coaster. And honestly…it's only been about 5 days but I already feel better. No crazy dreams and actually sleeping a few hours at a time.

@kecrim10mi

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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We are all Hereford you
Aren't you glad you found out! I certainly am

@kecrim10mi

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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Meant here for you! New phone….

@medfree17

So I ended up making the decision to come of the Venafalaxine! Best decision ever! I have been constantly taking my CBD oil and I have never felt better! I have not taking any meds for 2 whole days and this is the first time in over a year! I am feeling fantastic right now because of it! I highly recommend trying! To everyone struggling stay strong and don’t let anxiety get the best of you. Be open about it even if people don’t understand. It has been the best form of therapy for me plus the CBD oil ❤️

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@medfree17
I too am completely finished with my withdrawal. Based on all my reading here and my considerable bag of tricks to handle anxiety and so forth, the only thing I am doing different is the CBD oil. I use the one with hemp. No HTC.

@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

@amelia42
I started my withdrawal almost a year ago. I finished my withdrawal this week. Do not withdraw like I did. You WILL get extreme symptoms.
Please get to reading here. There is a way of counting the beads in those capsules to make your withdrawal easier. I wish you well, Bright Wings

@arachel

I've given up giving up taking Effexor for the second time now. I had to start taking my Effexor again 4 days ago so I'm still in the midst of the horror show of withdrawal and the slow crawl back to something resembling sanity. I'm typing right now because I don't know what else to do with my thoughts of gloom and doom. My heart is pounding and I just want to throw up. I took a Xanax yesterday and it got me through, but I didn't take any today because I'm afraid of developing a new addiction. I just can't escape myself. I tried reading, crocheting, watching tv and I just can't concentrate. I took a walk this morning and that felt good, but the panic attacks and depression took hold again quickly. I did go to the doctor and he told me that I needed to get back on Effexor because my serotonin levels were obviously in the toilet (my word, not his). My personal torture is also having an affect on my husband. He has been patient, but everyone has their breaking point. I don't think he wants to sympathize much longer. If he gives up on me, I don't know what I'll do. If anyone has any helpful thoughts or information, I could sure use it now. Thanks

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@arachel
Please start reading. There are tricks here already posted. Please do not ask your brain to focus. It can't right now.
The CBD oil will handle the grouchys. And the flu like symptoms. We are here with you.

@medfree17

So I ended up making the decision to come of the Venafalaxine! Best decision ever! I have been constantly taking my CBD oil and I have never felt better! I have not taking any meds for 2 whole days and this is the first time in over a year! I am feeling fantastic right now because of it! I highly recommend trying! To everyone struggling stay strong and don’t let anxiety get the best of you. Be open about it even if people don’t understand. It has been the best form of therapy for me plus the CBD oil ❤️

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This isn't so much a reply, but I'm new here and don't know how to post a new question. I was on celexa for 16 years for anxiety/panic attacks. It helped, but about 8mo ago transitioned to venlafaxine XR (effexor) 37.5mg due to chronic health anxiety. It hasn't really helped and I feel it makes me more anxious, heart rate high, BP low. With my MD's advise, I began the weaning process by taking one every other day for a week. As of this writing, I've be w/o it for over 48hours and feel fine except for my head feels like it's "swimming" when i move. It's not dizzy or vertigo or the zaps I read about, or even off balance but just a sensation in my head/ears. In the experience of this group, when do the withdrawal symptoms peak and how long do they last? I'm a nurse and have to be able to function. I am off the weekend and hope the worst of the symptoms will pas before I return to work. Any advise would be appreciated.

@anxiouslisa
Hello Bright Wings here. I am also an RN. It sounds as if your symptoms are just starting sorry to say.
Best way to feel better faster, CBD oil. I don't know where you live. I get mine at the Flippin Hippee in Mountain Home Arkansas. Google them if you can't get it anywhere close to you. Check at the vape shops.
Now if my memory is correct you are on 37.5 XR. Open the caps and count the beads and take them thru the day in 2 divided doses.
Darling, I am not sure you will be able to work Monday. You have to decide your priorities. You don't mention what unit you are working on….use your Intregity to decide if you should work. Just saying…
Using my method of getting off Effexor is nuts and dangerous, I truly did not know any better but I was supported by Sacred Plant Medicine.
Today I am Effexor free, depression free and my MS relapse is cut to bits by the CBD oil. I have no words to express my gratitude to CBD oil and this wonderful site with such like minded folks.
So, get to reading, then read somemore. If you want to reply to someone directly, type the @ symbol and their name with no space like I did with yours. I just got the hang of this site. It is confusing when your brain is mush. Smiling at you, Bright Wings

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