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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Hippy shop ? Are you in California

Can anyone buy it or do you need a doctors prescription?? I don’t want any just curious.


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.


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KEEP reading Much info here but each person is an individual with differing symptoms,strengths and abilities Slow but sure

Brightwings, you are an inspiration. I totally believe when we choose to make God first in our lives, we can expect miracles. May your future adventures be awesome. You are a strong woman because you know where your strength comes from.


Can anyone buy it or do you need a doctors prescription?? I don’t want any just curious.

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NO RX needed also sold online

Hi everyone,
While this thread is primarily about tapering off Effexor, I'd like to address the part of the discussion that has recently focused on cannabidiol (CBD), a naturally occurring cannabinoid constituent of cannabis and medical marijuana. I thought you might appreciate a message clarifying some of the misconceptions and status of the use, evidence and legalities related to CBD.

1. Evidence vs usage
To date CBD to treat epilepsy (in children) is the only condition that has some scientific evidence supporting its use in some cases. CBD for pain, anxiety, inflammation and sleep remains as yet scientifically unproven and requires more validated research.

According to this article by NPR (, “By one estimate, the CBD industry has doubled in size over the last two years, and is now worth $200 million. But with this popularity the hype may have gotten ahead of the science.”

While there is promise and ongoing research into CBD effectiveness in managing pain, anxiety, inflammation and sleep, the jury is still out. Here are recent articles that help clarify.

– CBD Oil: All the Rage, But Is It Safe & Effective? (WebMD)
– Does CBD Really Work For Anxiety? (HuffPost)
– Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract (NPR)

2. Industry is unregulated
CBD is not regulated. “Because of the legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to regulate products like CBD oil.” States are struggling to put regulations in place. … Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label.” Read more about regulation in this WebMD article (

There are risks associated with medical marijuana CBD. See this post from a Mayo Clinic pharmacist ( People should also consider interactions with other drugs and always discuss the use of CBD with their medical provider and consult with a pharmacist.

3. Concerns about attracting sellers and fraudsters
With the increasing activity related to CBD on Connect comes the unwanted attention of commercial sellers of product and fraudsters. Mayo Clinic Connect’s Terms of Use ( prohibit “any material which … (viii) contains any information, software, or other material of a commercial nature; (ix) contains solicitations or advertisements of any kind; (x) constitutes or contains false or misleading indication of origin or statement of fact…”

Our Moderating team keeps a watchful eye for people with commercial interests posing as members on Connect. If you see posts that contravene the Terms of Use, please report them. Here's how:

4. Is it legal?
It has often been stated or asked about the legality of CBD in all 50 states. According to this article in Forbes “CBD is not legal in all 50 states ( — even though it is widely available. At best, the law is murky and open to differing interpretations.”

– Is CBD Legal? The Legal Status of CBD in 2018 (Medium)
– The legal status of cannabis (marijuana) and cannabidiol (CBD) under U.S. law (Elsevier 2017)
– State Medical Marijuana Laws (2018)

5. Information from Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic provides the following information on medical marijuana

6. Get informed
Information about the use, efficacy and legality of CBD and medical marijuana is constantly being updated. Do your research. It is advisable to talk with a health care professional if you have questions.

This is not just about Effexor Re CBD oil IF it helps and is not harmful To me Thats all that counts Even if its found to have a ' placebo' effect . Other drugs besides Effexor ( Xanax ) have been found to be harmful to many . One hopes meds are found that are NOT so ' addictive ' 3 days without Xanax sent me to the ER with 300 BP Pharmacist told me Xanax has very serious withdrawal symptoms. . I believe patients are NOT, in most cases, properly warned.

It has been over three weeks. I am having some minor brain zips, a little confusion and mood swing. Also, I have hot flashes. Since it has been almost one month, am I still in danger?

@terra I got off the Effexor fully March 14th. I took almost a year but I did it the hard way. In my humble opinion, yes you are still in danger. Your symptoms are just starting. They will get much worse. Click on my name and read my first post.
Now we are folks helping folks here. We are all going thru this. So best thing you can do is read what the others have written.
You do not mention what kind of Effexor you are on. Capsules or tabs. There are ways of cutting the dosage down with either method, Caps or tabs. Welcome, smiling at you, Bright Wings

Remember, we were all put on this med for a reason. I know it was appropriate for me to be given an antidepressant. I had tried 17 different drugs until I was finally put on Effexor. Its the only one that worked for me. So why this post now.
I believe in being my own detective to handle my challenges. I have been monitoring myself in many ways. What I discovered is this:
I have this fairly constant low key anxiety in the backround. It is not resolving on its own. The CBD oil helps some at 225 mg. This anxiety is not acceptable to me. So yesterday I had an edible. Wow, anxiety gone.
However, today I picked up my high potency CBD. 700 mg on the wrapper. I used it twice, 1 dropper x 2. Anxiety disappeared. The dosage that was suggested to me was 2 Dropperful 2 times a day. I however, have to test everything for myself. Hence the lower dose.
Now, my second challenge is much worse. I woke up in so much pain today from the 3 ruptured discs I got in 2006. Evidently, the Effexor kept my pain at bay. Its been gradually increasing since I got off the drug. Nothing I tried worked to relieve it. I do not want surgery. I had to do something so my action was to call my PA and ask for a referal to a back doc. It is time for more shots in my back. The good news is I don't think I have had any shots in What, maybe 5 or 6 years.
I do not see this as a failure. It just means I have to be vigilant at taking care on myself and my pain. If I don't I know my depression will start again. THIS IS HOW I AM BEING PROACTIVE to care for myself.
Food for thought right???
Good night all, happy 4th of July everyone, Bright Wings

I’ve been on Venlafaxine XL 300daily, for more than 7 years. I get brainzaps and have recently developed wicked tinnitus. I also take Wellbutrin, added more recently and very helpful. when it’s active my depression makes me feel paralyzed by lethargy. Long journey, still struggling. I believe I have been on this stuff too long. Initial suggestions to drug monitor met with resistance.

I’m looking for guidance & support, and appreciate what everyone is sharing.

How long have you been weaning? Honey, you are just starting the symptoms. Its going to get worse. Please go and read, and then read some more. To be honest, I don't know how welbrutin will change your symptoms. Read read read.
Welcome. Smiling at you, Bright Wings

Bright wings checking in again today. (It may be a bit, flying high today.)
I am THRILLED to report not one bit of Back pain today. Yesterday, I was looking for a referral to a back doc. Today I am sipping mocha coffee and chatting with everyone on messenger.
Placebo effect or not. Today I am pain free and could not be happier. Happy 4th everyone.
Oh another change since getting off the Effexor. Last year I smoked 30 packs of cigs a month. I had noticed in April I had dropped to 16 packs a month. Now this month after using the CBD for 3 months, I used 14 packs of cigs. I would like to get off them completely BUT one battle at a time. Smiling at you, looking for a drone firework display to treat myself to today., Bright Wings


@terra I got off the Effexor fully March 14th. I took almost a year but I did it the hard way. In my humble opinion, yes you are still in danger. Your symptoms are just starting. They will get much worse. Click on my name and read my first post.
Now we are folks helping folks here. We are all going thru this. So best thing you can do is read what the others have written.
You do not mention what kind of Effexor you are on. Capsules or tabs. There are ways of cutting the dosage down with either method, Caps or tabs. Welcome, smiling at you, Bright Wings

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I was taking time release capsules- 150 mg per day. Previously I took two regular 75 mg pills per day. I will look at your previous posts. Thanks.

Hi, I am not sure how to see if anyone replied to my question. I am on day 6 with 25mg of Effexor. I had been taking 75mg for almost two months, but the side effects were making things worse for me to get the rest that I needed. I've had days when I feel great, and other days where I cry over the silliest things. After tapering the 25 mg my doctor wants me to take a tablet once a day then stop. I was diagnosed with FND functional neurological disorder and PNES pschogenic non epilectic seizures. Today, I had multiple spells. I figured out they are triggered by stress and when I don't sleep very well. I was also told that I have mild depression. I really don't want to take something that has side effects when different things trigger it. Do any of you do natural things to help you out?

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