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

@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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@karhvp @parus @lovestheocean @tennesseegirl
Welcome to our group. Hmmm, about what your PA is saying….I sincerely hope you get to reading other experiences from the like minded folks here to see what withdrawing from Effexor is really like. I myself started getting off the drug last summer. I took my last dose of Effexor the 2nd week of March. I think my withdrawal ended yesterday.
In my humble opinion, you will end up withdrawing from this drug twice if you follow her instructions.
Now you did not share what dosage meaning are you on extended release caps? If you are, there is a way of opening the caps to remove beads of Effexor and reduce the dosage that way.
What do the rest of you think about what her PA is suggesting.
Again, welcome to our group. You will find lots of support here. The most important thing you can do is get to reading. Smiling at you, Bright Wings

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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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I know that it takes me at least 4 weeks to start feeling like myself, and my dosage reductions have been much smaller than yours. I also experience confusion and difficulty concentrating. Perhaps a smaller reduction next time would be easier. Hang in there!

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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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@amalia78 Here is a thought, have you tried CBD oil. It has really helped me in so many ways. Be kind to yourself.

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CBD OIL
IS IT WORKING FOR YOU AND HOW DOES IT HELP?

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Hi Everyone. Day ten quit Effexor progress report. Feeling pretty darn good. Still some zaps, but they are subsiding. Some weird "noises" that even I cannot describe except to say they are going away. A bit of coffee in the morning helped my body aches which seem to be way down. I am sleeping like a rock and for many hours. I haven't slept a solid stretch in years.
And, I have feelings. I have been weepy at the sad news and laugh at the funny stuff. I have been quicker to anger than I can remember for a long time. Much less likely to take shit from people. "Get off my lawn" hahaha. Taking it a day at a time and not trying to be my own hero.

One thing that has changed a lot is that I am starting to do things I used to do every day. Onward.

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I’m in the middle of this at the moment and it’s killing me. I feel so nauseous. I purchased medince for nausea at CVS and it has not helped AT ALL. I’ve been sleeping a lot because I can’t stay awake without feeling sick to my stomach. I hate being awake. All I wanna do is cry.

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I made it as far as day 6 off of Effexor. At day 4 I thought I could survive and finally get rid of Effexor forever. That night I thought I would die. My body was shaking violently and my mind was racing. I just couldn’t take it. The pain of withdrawal was too much. I went back to the doctor yesterday. He spent 30 minutes with me. Apparently serotonin levels in my brain are not replenishing themselves even after a lengthy withdrawal period. He says I will have to take Effexor or another SSRI for the rest of my life. I am extremely upset. I feel like a failure. Dr tried to say that it’s just like needing insulin for a diabetic condition and does not mean I failed. I started back on 37.5 mg yesterday with the support of Xanax until I can settle my shaky bones. I guess being Effexor free is not in the cards for me. Good luck to all.

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@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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Get off of it it immediately. The withdrawal from it is horrendous. I’m currently getting off of it and I’m miserable. I’ve been crying daily because I feel sick to my stomach.

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@brightwings

@tennessegirl
How long have you been off the drug?

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Already have. Thank you so much…Everyone…and Brightwings, I look forward to each and every "tidbit".

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@sawiety

I wanted to pop into this community for personal support and to help others that are tapering off of effexor xr or venelafaxine.

I follow a strict Paleo diet and have eliminated or reversed 5 chronic, autoimmune diseases. Effexor is my final (12th) drug to get off of. It’s been a 3 year process and I’m thrilled to report I no longer have ulcerative colitis, ADHD, eczema, hypothyroidism and anxiety/depression. Most of the medications were easy to eliminate, but effexor has taken more planning and self care.

Last July (2017), I decided it was time to begin the tapering process. I was only taking 75 mg., but knew from the experience of accidentally skipping a dose, that I should not follow my doctor’s orders of getting off it in one month. After all, I had been taking it for nearly 18 years! So instead, I began by taking 10 beads out of the capsule.

I did ok, but it was a rough start. Thankfully it was summer and I didn’t need to be near my fifth grade students. I continued with the taper and got to 37.5 mg and settled there for a few months while preparing for my son’s wedding.

Since January 2018, I’ve been decreasing the dose by about 2 beads every other week. For the most part, this has been manageable, but I’ve had days where I’ve felt nauseated, dizzy and agitated. I’ve needed to be so careful in my job as 10 year olds do not deserve to be treated unfairly. So, that’s a big reason why I’ve taken this slowly.

Now it’s the following summer and just last week I went from 15 beads to 10 beads. I had a fairly good week until day 6, which was yesterday. I experienced hot flashes (not typical on a Paleo diet despite my age ~ 53 years), apathy, fatigue and the occasional brain zap. Today I do not want to function, but I don’t feel depressed or anxious ~ just unmotivated.

I’m slightly nervous about these last 10 beads. I intend to drop to 5 beads in 6 days, and then down to two and hopefully in a month, I’ll call it quits. But, I’m nervous about the final dose. The few dreadful experiences I’ve encountered are enough to make me nervous about the whole thing.

Anyhow, this endeavor will have taken me a solid year. But I feel the slow tapering was worth it for me. I am such a sensitive person and I don’t handle physical symptoms well. I know that my diet (no grains, sugar, pasteurized dairy, starches or legumes), has been a positive in all this and has probably made this transition easier than for some people. Nonetheless, my brain wants to be off this junk.

Definitely Omega 3 fats and high quality fish oil have proven to be helpful. These are part of my diet anyhow, so just upping the dose has proven beneficial. Hoping to rely on this during the final stretch.

I’ll write again when I totally get off it. Each time I dropped a few beads, my brain reminded me it was time for the next dose. Unsure what will happen when I eliminate it entirely. Would love any advice that anyone is willing to share.

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No But thank you for asking! I'm alone.have been for sometime now. My Dad died in Sept. I was chained to this house for almost 2 yrs taking care of him. 2 months after my husband died. Who said it would be EZ.

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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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@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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@grandmar
Asked and answered 4 days ago. Click my name and read back a few days. I keep posting tips in lots of things I write.. Smiling at you, get to reading

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