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

@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.

Jump to this post

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?

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

@anniegk How long have you been at it?

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

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.

REPLY
@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

Jump to this post

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

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

@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.

REPLY
@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.

Jump to this post

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.

REPLY
@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

Jump to this post

Md's prescribed these drugs too casually w/o warning of side effects This must stop !!!

REPLY
@coloradogirl

Happy to help. Good luck with your process. I also forgot to mention that both stress and sugar seem to make the brain zaps worse for me. Even though I’ve been off for about a month now, I had a cupcake yesterday afternoon and within about an hour, I had quite a few. Worth watching in case it does the same thing to you.

Jump to this post

Thanks

REPLY
@nanke99

Hi! I was on Effexor XR for a few years and got off it several years ago. It was a very difficult process, so I fully sympathize. You MUST wean off
VERY SLOWLY. I don’t remember what my dosage was at the time (225mg?), but it took me about 9 months. Please do not let that long time scare you, it’s worth going slow, that will be your biggest help w/ withdrawal. At the time I had a very difficult time finding any doctor with experience getting people off it.
Luckily I was advised to to find one and luckily I did. It is considered harder to get off than heroine. Not trying to scare you, just want to make sure you go as slow as possible. Mostly, I was moody/angry, had headaches, and some brain “shivers”. The brain shivers I already had while on the meds.
I think we went down in 25mg increments over several weeks for each reduction. Keep us posted and good luck! Just give yourself some time and it will be over before you know it!

Jump to this post

Xanax is similar I got very sick after NOT taking it for 3 days Scary Went to ER

REPLY
@kerwea

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

Jump to this post

Beware of Xanax Its can be insidious getting off it or lowering dose

REPLY
@kathymurphy55

I have been taking Effexor/Venlafaxine for stress induce menopause hot flashes.
I quit cold turkey once because I blame it for gas and weight gain. What a mistake that was. All I did was cry.
Now I am told I have dry mouth and this med can be the reason. I don't know what to do

Jump to this post

wean off very gradually See if that helps Big pharm makes tons with these 'addictive' meds

REPLY
@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…

Jump to this post

which NO one reads MD's have a responsibility to inform, protect their patients First DO NO harm '

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.