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

@megannicole

This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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I have recently been coming off effexor I took 75 MG for about a year then went up 37.5 for week then 150 from there well I felt worse tired weight gain just overall felt worse so Dr decided to ween me off it was 3 days at 75 then 3 days at 37.5 for 3 days to nothing for 1 day then started Cymbalta 30 MG this is day 4 no effexor I feel horrible depressed weird head feeling dizzy fighting with boy friend snapping over the tiniest things I hate how I feel almost makes me want to take it to feel better in a sense but know the withdraws are what's causing it i been self medicate with colazipan and marjaunia which helps with all this but it's illegal and my family Dr drug test me on a regular basis because of other health issues please suggest anything to get threw this would be appreciated I feel so hopeless

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@lovetheocean

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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@lovetheocean Congratulations on your success! It sounds as if it feels like a whole new life for you. That's really great.
Oh, and I love the ocean too — any ocean will do but we on the east coast so it's usually the Atlantic.
JK

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@megannicole

This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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sorry. to hear your having a bad time. but IS cymbalta and better than Effexor ? I do not know. Seems all these drugs have side effects Headaches & Dizzyness is one of them I have that too Wish I could get off all these type of meds. I also take Xanax Got very sick _ went to the ER ) when I did not take Xanax for 3 days . Wish doctors would warn us about how severe this can be Best of luck Hang in there ..

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@kerwea

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

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Yes Doctor shop MD Should not have brushed off your concerns

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@kerwea

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

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I am Having Weird dreams One of the many known side effects . More I know about these meds The scarier it feels Is there another way to feel better besides these strong brain changing meds ?

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@arachel

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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Sorry I too worry about having to take these meds all my life No way to live Patients are NOT warned about this when they begin taking Xanax, Effexor etc. Why ? Doctors must be held accountable !!! I do not want to take these meds rest of my life !!! Insulin is not comparable to Xanax or Effexor ! Insulin is life savings and does not make you feel horrible or cause panic. ! I also blame big Pharma for pushing these drugs on TV and leaving free samples etc. Scared to be ' hooked' all my l ife. There needs to be a class action law suit. or something big to deal with this major problem ..

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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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Effexor Xanax and other meds cause one to be 'addicted' & have serious side effects That was not told to us by our doctors !

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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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@megannicole

This discussion has really helped me realize that I’m not crazy and it’s not normal to feel this way. I’ve been taking Effexor for a couple years and talked to my dr about lowering the dosage because I have no appetite on it!

I went from 225mg extended release to 150mg. Day one and two we’re ok, but by day three I had horrible vertigo, stomach and back pains and puked for almost 12 hours. I can’t believe how miserable I feel. I messaged my doctor about it and am hoping she can give me something to curb these horrible withdraws.

I’m a tiny adult female, weigh about 100 pounds. I think we cut the dosage too much too quickly and now I’m paying the price. I am so tired and physically unconmfortable idk what to do.

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I’m in the process of tapering off Effexor to be able to go on cymbalta as well. I’ve got a long way to go because I was extremely overmedicated. But from what I can tell, you did not have nearly enough time to wean off of the Effexor. At least 2 weeks for each taper. Then while on the lowest dose, the cymbalta should have been introduced into your system. Then finally weaned off of the Effexor completely. I heard from a lot of people that cymbalta is good. I’m going to be using it as an antidepressant and for my fibromyalgia. If it’s only day 4, I would think about taking the lowest dose of Effexor until the cymbalta kicks in. Maybe 2-3 weeks. It takes a couple weeks for an antidepressant to start working. So right now it’s kind of like taking nothing and going through withdrawals. Good luck!

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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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@kerwea

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

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Absolutely. Agitation and extreme anxiety are noted withdrawal symptoms.

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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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Oh wow. That is great. I wish I'd have known when I was battling my withdrawals. It was awful. I titrated down too but did not know to take "supplemental dose". I am so very grateful to have gotten myself off this nasty drug. I have a much better understanding of those who struggle with other types. I cannot imagine being an addict. This was bad enough.Thank you for posting!

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