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

@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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@gb1988 based on your symptoms, I suggest that you obtain pharmacogenomics testing to see if you properly metabolize medications based on your genetics.

In a nutshell, based on your genes, you may be too slowly or too quickly metabolizing medications. Also, and this is very important, many medications inhibit (slow down) or induce (speed up) these genes as well. This is what is meant by "drug-drug interaction."

I was sick for 12 years, eventually took myself to Mayo Clinic, asked them to evaluate me for drug hypersensitivity, and we figured out that I don't properly-metabolize most drugs because of genetic polymorphisms (mutations). Many of these polymorphisms lie within the cytochrome p450 liver enzyme system.

If you can't get this done at Mayo, there are several mail order companies that do it, as well. I have used OneOme (owned by Mayo). You need to find a company that is certified by the state you live in to do this kind of testing.

Google "pharmacogenomics testing" and "PGx" testing.

You'll need to have your doctor contact the PGx testing lab to initiate the process.

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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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Few bother to read the inserts WE count on our doctors to do whats right and warn us about serious side effects !!!

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@brightwings

I am posting this so any that are interested can participate.
The NEXT SACRED CEREMONY in southern Missouri is scheduled for June 23, it starts at 9 am. Don't be late unless you have long distances to travel. I like to get there the evening before. The folks who attend are so wonderful, interesting, and healing folks.
The church is called New Haven Native American Church, Ava, Missouri. Google it.
There is a small chapel to stay in overnight if you choose. Lots of others will be there. We are up to about 70 or so folks every ceremony.
The location of the ceremony is 14 miles west of Ava, Missouri, straight west of Ava on highway 14. When you cross the Bryant River, you are there. Turn right at first driveway after river.
This ceremony is called Be Still in The Moment. Or Peyote. These sacred medicines have allowed me to get off the antidepressants. AND Ayawaska ended my depression.
So any questions, ask away. Smiling at you, Hope to see you there. Bright Wings

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I TAKE IT for a short time No vomiting for me. CBD is New to me

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@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.

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

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@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

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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"

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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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@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

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@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.

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@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!!

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@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.

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