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

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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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My Dr wants me to do every other day, but if I’m ha I guess really bad symptoms, she recommended taking a dose to get through until I can stop completely. I’m on the tabs, so she just said whatever the smallest dose I can, which is 1/4 tab for me (12.5mg)

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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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Then please listen to your body. If you need to take 1/2 in the morning as a preventative then do so. If you start to feel like your brain is on the roller coaster later in the day..then start with a quarter..& give it 15 minutes or so to work. This is what I have been doing! It's only been about 6 days but I already feel better. I try never to take before bed..unless the feelings start and I start w a quarter tab but never past 8 pm. No more crazy dreams either and I actually sleep thru the nite maybe waking once (bathroom). My Dr gives me Xanax for panic attacks and anxiety. I do take 1/2 before turning out the lites. I wear an eyemask & soft ear plugs too. Because I've had insomnia. Being woken and never goi g back to sleep at the slightest sound. Once you find sleep again@ least for me its so precious. There are a lot of people in this org. On this chat. Smart people All here to help you. Take what works from the group disreguard the rest. This drug must be like withdrawing from heroin…. Because you do get addicted quickly. I hope I helped a little. Remember listen to your body…and we are all here to help each other.

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Just 5 days off meds ? Thats great When I just cut down I feel real bad

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@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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How much CBD oil to take ? ANy help is appreciated

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@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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I never felt the need for Effexor or Xanax till my sweet hubby died.& daughter had a stroke, grandson had major issues. Left a hole in my life. Hubby & I were a team… kept each other going …Loved him deeply .. still miss him every day I'm not the same person I was 8 yrs ago..

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@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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I've been there ..Its a vicious cycle , trying to kick these meds No one warned about the terrible side effects of stopping or cutting down . Why ??? Why is that legal to put people thru this ? Greedy Big pharma gets away with pushing these meds on TV but takes NO responsibility for the bad after effects. Doctors too They pledge 'First do no harm' what a joke Most just say Keep taking these meds for life !! Hell NO

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@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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Meant to add Xanax is Hell to get off of I've tried for 3 day ( ran out ) and would up in the ER with horrid headache, 300 BP…unbearable anxiety There has to be a better way…

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@amberpep

tennesseegirl and everyone ….. you hit the nail on the head when you said your family doesn't understand. Mine don't either. I was totally out of the Effexor for a week and by day 4 I was about to jump out of my skin with anxiety. I had a headache, major anxiety, was dizzy and just plainly felt awful. My mouth is also dry and there's other things I take that can cause that also …. you can't win. Well, I got my Effexor yesterday (my daughter was kind enough to get it for me because I had $0 left.) By last night I could feel a change ….. I didn't sleep well, so I took 2 melatonin and that helped. This morning I am really dragging ….. zero energy, headache, totally want to sleep. I told my daughter this AM as she wanted me to come over today – about 20 miles away – and I told her I just didn't trust myself on the road …… as usual, she didn't get it. Forgive the language here, but everything in me wants to scream "well, if you'd have read the damn stuff I sent you, you'd know why I felt this way." But, I guess it's easier for them t stick their heads in the sand. I've tried, but it's major avoidance with them ….. makes it very hard on bad days.
Take care, you're not along with your family.
abby

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We are all here with you! Good Grief…family is supposed to be your support. Mine did not get the memo! Called me lazy..told me to get off My a** & do something. Terrible.. I just don't let them in my house or read their crappy texts. One of my sisters and my nephew are blocked! Ahhhhhh!

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Not off…..tapering. Halves and quarters. Its been 6 days now….feeling better everyday. I do take half in am as preventative but that's way down from 75mg BID…..and never past 8 pm!

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@dianrib

Just 5 days off meds ? Thats great When I just cut down I feel real bad

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Increase your dose! Try my method. Everyone is different and I do not remember how long you have been on it! For me just about 2 years

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@dianrib

Just 5 days off meds ? Thats great When I just cut down I feel real bad

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Increase your dose. Slow down on the titration. Even if you have to take a pill to avoid the roller coaster. Then if you start to feel that way start w a half or a quarter….We are all different. I've only been taking it for 2 years tho.
Tapering down definitely not off! Its been 6 days. Halves and quarters. I do take half in the am and if I start the roller coaster..I start w a 1/4 and nothing after 8 pm.

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@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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Gawd…that must be like trying to lose weight and quit smoking! I take Xanax. It helps because of anxiety and panic attacks. I was only sleeping 2 hrs @ a time at nite too. Since tapering the Effexor…I sleep thru the nite. But the Xanax helps if I wake up in a panic.

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@parus

All I can say is my withdrawal from EFFEXOR over 8 years ago is NOT something I would want to experience again. I can say I am more at peace with myself and others without this DRUG. Withdrawal from these type of DRUGS can be lethal w/o proper supervision. Sad that professionals are NOT better educated or just don't care…

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agree Professionals / MD 's do NOT seem to care Their response is ' Keep taking the same meds that caused the problem in the first place ! Something legal needs to be done… Meds that affect the brain are not to be taken in such a cavalier manner.

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@dianrib

Just 5 days off meds ? Thats great When I just cut down I feel real bad

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Tennessee Why do you say 'Increase your dose' sorry but I'm confused

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@dianrib

Just 5 days off meds ? Thats great When I just cut down I feel real bad

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Didn't you say you felt worse by following your current method? Maybe you have cut back too much…..And too quickly.

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