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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

@bamagirl10

Thank you everyone for your input on withdrawing from Effexor. I was put on Effexor 20 years ago for traumatic brain injury headaches and depression. I wanted to try life without Effexor, so my doc prescribed the 150mgs in smaller doses so that I could taper. My insurance wouldn’t cover the smaller doses and calls to my doc have gone unanswered. So, I am out of Effexor and on day 2 of forced cold turkey. Going to try a little exercise this morning as recommended by coloradogirl… I won’t begin to tell you guys how I feel – sounds like you’ve all been there. #tryingtobebrave

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@dianrib. You rock. I hope we helped. Please keep me posted. Just do the @tennnessegirl or @whomever.

@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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@dianrib ….you are so right. But I sure do now. Hope you are doing Better!!

@gb1988

I’m weaning off of Venlafaxine after only 2 mos of taking it. It caused violent personality changes in me – which is atypical behavior. As in I was yelling at my amazing, gentle boyfriend / soon-to-be fiancé over NOTHING and felt like I could just hit him. HORRIBLE. I felt BIPOLAR. Thank goodness he went through a personality change, too, years before we met when he was trying to find the right meds for his anxiety, so he understood, otherwise I guarantee our almost 2-year relationship would have ended that night. I was sobbing uncontrollably, angry…gosh it was horrible. The medication was supposed to make me feel better for goodness sakes, not turn me into a worse version of myself!

I initially went on it after Sertraline caused only one of my pupils to dilate, and at the advice of the ER pharmacist, I immediately stopped taking the Sertraline, as this can be indicative of a rare but serious side effect. I had wanted help with GAD and bad PMDD, no depression outside of my menstrual cycle. (Can’t take birth control or any other type of hormonal therapy, so I wanted to find alternative options for helping the PMDD.)

My doctor then put me on 37.5 mg of Venlafaxine and as I said now I’m weaning off of it due to the crazy personality change after 2 mos. I’m done trying meds after this; for my somewhat milder symptoms, it’s not worth the side effects.

It’s day 5 of weaning off, I took 1/2 pill per doctor’s advice for the first 3 nights, didn’t take it last night (night 4) and now day 5 I feel like I’m going to throw up. I have the jitters too.

However, I’m kicking myself because I had 4 cups of full caff coffee this morning about 4 hours ago (stupid!), and due to my extreme sensitivity anyway with caffeine, that made my nausea even worse. I feel like I’m about to burst into tears, too, because of not feeling well and the emotional changes of getting off the meds. If it’s this bad after only 2 mos taking 37.5 mg, I can’t imagine how terrible it would be for those on a large dose for years.

My body is HYPER sensitive to all things caffeine, alcohol, med related. My doctor even said she wouldn’t help me further with picking a 3rd medication to try, as my body indicates its more sensitive than others’. She referred me to a psychiatrist as they are “more familiar” with medications for anxiety, etc., and would do a better job picking a medication for me. But since the GAD/PMDD are mostly managable, I’m done with the experiment of trying medication to help – I gave it a good go.

I’m a 5’7”, 120 lbs, (29 yrs old), and my doctor said that having a smaller frame and lower dose should mean I won’t have as bad of withdrawal symptoms. Compared to others, I know she’s right, but as I’m typing this I’m fighting the urge to go try and throw up. AWFUL MEDICATION TO WEAN OFF OF! Do it gradually. Do not stop cold turkey – I am just so glad I was on a low dose for a short time. Doctor said it should only take 7 days for me to wean off since my dose was so small. Thank goodness it’s Saturday, so I can lie on the couch all day and I have tomorrow, too, to help me HOPEFULLY feel normal again by work Monday.

Tips: 1. Stay AWAY from caffeine 2. GRADUAL weaning off 3. Don’t give up! I’m also fighting the urge to take a half a pill today, but I don’t want to do that because that’ll set me back. I’m following my doctor’s weaning-off plan and in her words, there’s not much I can do to wean off since my dose was so small already. She said just to cut the pill in half and take the half pill for 3-4 nights.

Folks who are on very high doses, oh I feel for you. Blessings for strength to keep up the weaning-off path and not to relapse into taking it again.

I was petrified to wean off because “Doctor Internet” had so many posts about Venlafaxine being the worst medication of its kind you can possibly try to wean off of. Doctor Internet was right. It sucks, and I was only on 37.5 mg for 2 mos.

If possible, maybe ask your doctor about going on a different medication if you’re trying to decide between starting Venlafaxine (which is the generic brand of Effexor) and a different medication.

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Thank You

Hi all. I've been on 37.5 for only 8 months, was on Celexa 17 years before that. The celexa helped for a long time, but not for my chronic worry (esp health anxiety), so was switched to generic Effexor (venlafaxine XR). I don't feel it ever helped, always felt anxious esp in the morning, but at same time very tired.With help from my psych and PCP agreed to take one every other day for a week then stop. I'm on day 5 w/o it and my head just feels "swimmy" when I move my head or even just my eyes and I swear I feel a zap go to my tongue!!. Not quite vertigo, not quite dizzy, just weird. I reached out to my therapist for support and wanted to share something he said to me, which I hope will get me and all of you through, since we are going through the same thing. He said "you'll get through the side effects, you've worked thru so much worse emotional distress, remember the knowledge you've already paid dues for, there's very little you haven't already coped with so you possess the wisdom to cope with just about anything because you already have"

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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I'm sorry, I'm new here too and anxiety sucks! I'm day #5 without the medication, it's definitely not pleasant, but I felt worse on it. I'm taking fish oil,magnesium and B stress tabs to help. There's also a natural relief oil called DiVertigo that you rub behind your ear which helps a little with the "swimmy head" feeling. Best of luck to you and to all of us who suffer with anxiety and the road to recovery

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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I know how you feel, iam going through the same thing with Seroquel.

@kerwea

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

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@kerwea ….most definitely! Chills, I had agoraphobia…panic attacks…unless you are on ER…the tabs ate only meant to last 8-10 hours! Your body goes into a type of withdrawal. We're all here for you!!

@kerwea

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

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@dianarib. I think they all cause side face ts. Certainly you could try some other type of anti depressant and hopefully find one you can transition to! I'm determined to get off this ONE! I
do take Xanax…mega strength vitamin B & Caltrate. I've read up on the impotance of vitamin D. Check it out online.

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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I have the swimmy head right now. It's a scary feeling. I'll look that DiVertigo up and get some of that. Thank you. How much of the other things do you take? The fish oil, magnesium and B stress tabs? I didn't know about those. Maybe I should get those to prepare. How long did it take you before you stopped it completely?

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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@anniegk How long have you been at it?

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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Since I was on the lowest dose all I could do is alternate days for a week or two. I chose a week and today has been 5 days since last dose. I've only started the supplements this weekend but they are: schiff brand omega 3 extra strength (1 daily); magnesium 250mg daily; nature made stress b complex one daily; I already take vitamin d3 5,000iu daily. I've also read tumeric helps w anxiety and Claritin (regular NOT the one w decongestant) helps w swimmy head feeling. It's non drowsy so will try that tomorrow since I have to work.

@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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medfree17 Stop it now!!! Effexor is a very powerful drug that has many horrific side effects that can truly change your life in a negative way! I am 8 days free of Effexor! It was the most painful 8 days of my life! Please research the effects of withdrawal from this drug they will shock you! You may consider talking to a specialist because I should have never been prescribed Effexor and that just might be your case as well. Unfortunately, it took me fifteen years to find this out! Only being on it one week is lucky for you and I don't think you will have any withdrawal symptoms. Stay off of any medicine if you can! there are a lot of other treatments you could consider or even things you could do to help yourself…for me, praying helped me through the pain and unlike so many others who are still suffering I am blessed to be pain free after 8 short days I hope the best for you, SallyStarr

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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@anxiouslisa I'm on 150 mg, a few months ago my dr tried to raise that dose. I'm so glad I refused. Just switching the 150 and 75 back and forth is making me feel strange and dizzy. I'm really scared to go down to just 75 but I WILL do it. I want off of this. I will get those vitamins and try them, hopefully they will help out some. I use tumeric when I cook, but maybe I should try it in a supplement. Thank you! Good luck to you tomorrow at work.

@toasty

Hi, I'm new here. I've been on Effexor for about 4 years now. I had no idea about how hard it is to get off or I'd have never started. I just saw my Dr May 30th and told her I wanted off. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about it. I take 150 mg. She gave me a prescription for 75mg and told me to switch them back and forth for a few weeks before just taking 75 daily. I'm beyond terrified. I've been switching them lounge she said. I feel weird the nights that I taken the 75mg that day but I'm not sure if it's actually withdrawals or just my anxiety. So far I've been able to take a Xanax when it happens and I'm ok. She didn't give me a lot of info and I'm not sure when I should try to just take 75 all the time. I have about a weeks worth of the 150 left in my bottle and I have refills but will the pharmacy refill it since I just got the 75 mg bottle the other week? I'm so freaked out. I mean I'm really really scared. Tryingto act normal is killing me.

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I started the first cut in March 12, 2018, did the second one June 3rd 2018. Have been having some nausea and alot of anxiety. Last night i couldnt sleep and had anxiety. Just feel bad all day.

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