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

Liked by Bek, LynneB, kelly76, echams1 ... see all

@jakedduck1

@lisalucier
Lisa, I have to disagree with your comment about the Pharmacists statements you quoted. It is my opinion that particular Pharmacist is passing the buck by sending these people back to their doctors some of which may be giving wrong advice to their patients. Just because they are doctors it doesn’t preclude them from making mistakes. In fact according to research by John Hopkins Hospital over a quarter million people are killed each year from medical mistakes, and sadly that figure is on the rise. Doctors to often are giving patients inaccurate information like the person who was given three different diagnosis’s about her eye problem I read here today. Doctors prescribe the wrong medication which kills many people every year. I was nearly one of those statistics myself. Some years back a doctor accidentally (I hope lol) wrote a prescription for the Anticonvulsant Phenobarbital, however he wrote a lethal dose down. Had I not been somewhat familiar with medication dosages no telling what could have happened. Hopefully the pharmacist would have caught the error. But they are not infallible either. But my main reason for writing was to talk to
@patricia1955
regarding her discontinuing some medications.
1). It has been my experience that tapering multiple meds at one time is a risky endeavor. I ended up in bed for three months doing that. I was sicker than a dog.
2) Taper off off SLOWLY and I can’t empathize that enough. SLOWLY AND EVENLY. Don’t cut your dose in half or take it every other day or 3 days at one dose and 6 days for another dose. Remember, SLOW AND EVEN. This is especially true the higher your dose and the longer you’ve been on a particular medication.
3) I have read about a number of people here were given Xanax which is another Benzodiazepine, one Benzodiazepine is hard enough to get off of let alone two.
I’m not saying you have to come off every drug as slowly but I’d definitely go slow with Benzos.
But just because a doctor or Pharmacist gives you a t dose and timetable doesn’t mean they are always right.
Hope everyone titration

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@cathy615

Hi Cathy, Thank you for setting me straight and informing me and the other members of the group of my misrepresentation. My error should never have happened especially since I know better. Please accept my sincerest apologies if I mislead or frightened anyone in the group.

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@jakedduck1

@lisalucier
Lisa, I have to disagree with your comment about the Pharmacists statements you quoted. It is my opinion that particular Pharmacist is passing the buck by sending these people back to their doctors some of which may be giving wrong advice to their patients. Just because they are doctors it doesn’t preclude them from making mistakes. In fact according to research by John Hopkins Hospital over a quarter million people are killed each year from medical mistakes, and sadly that figure is on the rise. Doctors to often are giving patients inaccurate information like the person who was given three different diagnosis’s about her eye problem I read here today. Doctors prescribe the wrong medication which kills many people every year. I was nearly one of those statistics myself. Some years back a doctor accidentally (I hope lol) wrote a prescription for the Anticonvulsant Phenobarbital, however he wrote a lethal dose down. Had I not been somewhat familiar with medication dosages no telling what could have happened. Hopefully the pharmacist would have caught the error. But they are not infallible either. But my main reason for writing was to talk to
@patricia1955
regarding her discontinuing some medications.
1). It has been my experience that tapering multiple meds at one time is a risky endeavor. I ended up in bed for three months doing that. I was sicker than a dog.
2) Taper off off SLOWLY and I can’t empathize that enough. SLOWLY AND EVENLY. Don’t cut your dose in half or take it every other day or 3 days at one dose and 6 days for another dose. Remember, SLOW AND EVEN. This is especially true the higher your dose and the longer you’ve been on a particular medication.
3) I have read about a number of people here were given Xanax which is another Benzodiazepine, one Benzodiazepine is hard enough to get off of let alone two.
I’m not saying you have to come off every drug as slowly but I’d definitely go slow with Benzos.
But just because a doctor or Pharmacist gives you a t dose and timetable doesn’t mean they are always right.
Hope everyone titration

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Hi Jake,
Please don't feel bad or apologize. There is so much confusing info regarding everything related to our medical needs. It is hard to keep track.
Have a great day and thanks for your support! Cathy

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In this discussion about tapering off Effexor or elsewhere in the Connect community, many of you have met @gailb, one of our Connect volunteer mentors. Today she was featured in our member spotlight. Thought you'd enjoy getting to know more about @gailb and her story, here:

Back and Neck Pain Lead to New Connections: Meet @gailb: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/newsfeed-post/gailb/

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@lauralee88

Hey, I am thirty years old and I was diagnosed bipolar when I was a teenager. {among other things} Anyway about 11 years ago I started Paxil. I dont recommend any of these of course. And I am a terrible procrastinator who took my daily dose at night. I didnt know if I missed a dose until well into the next day when I was like ohmygod what is wrong with me. Oh thats you without your meds. Oh no, thats my body losing levels of a chemical it became dependant on, it in no way reflected me as a person. and if i didnt get my script filled on time? It was pure hell. One time it was over a weekend and I went without it. The first day was physically bad. My body was cramping a little but my emotions were all over the place and I was mentally drained. The next day was a hundred times worse and my mind was just getting more and more foggy. By sunday, because i had to wait for the doctors office to approve another refill or something i should have taken care of a week earlier. anyway sunday was surreal . like dreamlike, it didnt feel real at all. I couldnt hardly move or stop crying and i made someone drive my son who was at the time 5 or 6 and me to my mothers house across town because I just knew i wasnt going to wake up in the morning. I was convinced I was actually going to die. I told the doctors and my pharmacist/ who said it was extremely dangerous to do that and from then on if i ever ran out, he would loan me some to prevent the terrors i mentioned before. I told my then doctor to get me off that pill. Jumped from the frying pan, and into the fire. I was put on EFFEXOR. Mind you these arent even bipolar specific medications. I started out taking 150 mgs. Like you. Dayton just turned ten years old so I was taking it that long. About two weeks ago I was cut down to 75 mgs. This is still quite a cut. I mean they took 75 mgs of what my body has become quite attached to. Ive lost quite a bit of weight and when i do manage to sleep, although im ALWAYS tired, I have the craziest dreams. I mean they are out there. Im so happy to be ridding this poison from my body but all the time i find myself wanting to sneak another dose jsut to feel slightly better. Physically I feel like Ive been run over by a boat and my mind is blurry and reality is faded. Im going to find somewhere to start a blog because theres so much more i need to share. I think I can really help somebody.

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@lauralee88 I know exactly what you are going thru and feeling!! And the crazy crazy dreams! Waking up in a sweat freezing to death. Even not being able to move When I would finally wake. I'm down from a 1/4 of a 75 mg tab to my 4th day of none!! Having some head "whooshing" still but no brain on roller coaster and hanging on to the bed. Please know everyone on this sight are here to help you!! There are some very knowledgeable folks on here!!
Start your blog! Share some on here too…so folks can reach out, comment and offer advice!! I'm so glad you have someone near to help when you are having " one of those days"!! I live alone. You can even private message someone if you find a rapor and do not want to share with the whole group!! I applauded you, admire your courage and if I can do it so can you!!! At least posting on here you will be heard and encouraged and can help others while helping yourself.
Don't give up. Do the tapering off slowly. Listen to your body.
Remember everyone is here for you! And again…if I can do it…so can you!!

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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@jakedduck1

If it were me I’d never cut the Effexor in half. I’d take it slower. But that’s me. Good luck everyone.

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I started with cutting to 75 mg from 225 mg a day. Let my body "adjust" each time before going to halves then quarters. Tapering slowly is key!!!! And not feeling like a failure if your body reacts in such a way…. you have to increase you dose for a while.
Good advice. I am one of the lucky ones!! Thank you!!!

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@bonnie01

Hello – I have been taking Effexor for nearly 20 years, got up to 225 mg per day and am now almost off. It has been so difficult, I felt it might help others to share some insights. First of all, I put this whole process off until I retired from teaching, because when I tried to get off before, the emotional effects of tapering were not conductive to my work. Also, I live in Alaska and have dark winters so I waited until May of this year, with the light returning, to begin again, a SLOW taper. It has taken me nearly 8 weeks so far; I am on my last week. Having the TIME and SUPPORT and especially the LIGHT have helped my progress. My husband and close friends are aware of the side effects (nightmares, dizziness, anxiety, upset stomach, etc.) and give me a great deal of support. I take the time to walk or ride my bike; the physical exercise and drinking lots of water seem to help the most. Also, finding creative, fun projects to lose myself in are helpful, just so there are not any high expectations to cause anxiety. Knowing, by reading the posts here, that these symptoms are temporary, has also empowered me to keep going. Once I am totally off, I vow to never take this drug again. If the winter gets rough, I will go to counseling again and if absolutely necessary, find another medication. But never again Effexor. Best of luck to each person who is on this journey. It IS hard, but it is possible. Right?

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@bonnie01 RIGHT!! I've made it TOO!! Others trying…take encouragement from this And advice from her tips as they may also help you!! I also suffer from SAADS…most especially January, with February being the hardest….and going to a tanning bed despite the risks helps me immensely!!

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@patricia1955

This is my weaning schedule which I followed and can say I thought I was going to die! Effexor – went from 300 to 150 for four days then 75 for four days then 37 1/2 for 6 days. At the same time I was weaning off Atavan and Amitryptaline. Towards the end he introduced Trintellix and Neurontin. I have been so sick, mentally and physically. I went almost all day without a headache today. I still cry, exhausted, ruminating and feeling like I will never laugh again. But I was in such bad emotional shape with the drugs I was on that I stayed in my house for six years.
I kept promising my mom a trip when I felt better, but I never felt better. My mom died on Valentines Day I never took her anywhere. I am sobbing just writing this. I have PTSD and MDD. I have battled to stay alive for 63 yrs., now after losing so much of life I really hope this works.
I have never been so sick but I will do anything to get better. I can't sleep because of the pain in my head, ruminating, restlessness. I see my psychiatrist tomorrow. I go to bed at night and ask that tomorrow will be better.
Sorry for rambling, drugs, pain and a broken heart.

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@patricia1955 . please take encouragement from the fact I suffered everything you are going thru and the agoraphobia! And I made it!! Going on 5 days now..no Effexor! Its a slow process. Everyone is different. But…This IS the place for rambling!! Others will read, offer advice and encouragement…the folks on here are knowledgeable and you will know you are not alone. If I can do it so can you!! I applaude your courage.

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@jakedduck1

@lisalucier
Lisa, I have to disagree with your comment about the Pharmacists statements you quoted. It is my opinion that particular Pharmacist is passing the buck by sending these people back to their doctors some of which may be giving wrong advice to their patients. Just because they are doctors it doesn’t preclude them from making mistakes. In fact according to research by John Hopkins Hospital over a quarter million people are killed each year from medical mistakes, and sadly that figure is on the rise. Doctors to often are giving patients inaccurate information like the person who was given three different diagnosis’s about her eye problem I read here today. Doctors prescribe the wrong medication which kills many people every year. I was nearly one of those statistics myself. Some years back a doctor accidentally (I hope lol) wrote a prescription for the Anticonvulsant Phenobarbital, however he wrote a lethal dose down. Had I not been somewhat familiar with medication dosages no telling what could have happened. Hopefully the pharmacist would have caught the error. But they are not infallible either. But my main reason for writing was to talk to
@patricia1955
regarding her discontinuing some medications.
1). It has been my experience that tapering multiple meds at one time is a risky endeavor. I ended up in bed for three months doing that. I was sicker than a dog.
2) Taper off off SLOWLY and I can’t empathize that enough. SLOWLY AND EVENLY. Don’t cut your dose in half or take it every other day or 3 days at one dose and 6 days for another dose. Remember, SLOW AND EVEN. This is especially true the higher your dose and the longer you’ve been on a particular medication.
3) I have read about a number of people here were given Xanax which is another Benzodiazepine, one Benzodiazepine is hard enough to get off of let alone two.
I’m not saying you have to come off every drug as slowly but I’d definitely go slow with Benzos.
But just because a doctor or Pharmacist gives you a t dose and timetable doesn’t mean they are always right.
Hope everyone titration

Jump to this post

@jakedduck1 . ..I agree!!
Very well said.

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@74unicorn

I’m so out of it right now that I don’t know if I’m even posting in the right spot! I was on Effexor 150mg Extended release 2x daily for 4 years along with 200mg 2x daily of lamotrigine. Long story short, since the beginning of May I’m down to 25mg a day of lamotrigine. That’s the easy one. The last week I dropped down to 37.5mg in the morning and 37.5mg around 3pm of the Effexor (not extended release). I can’t stand myself or basically anybody around me! I’m angry, my anxiety hits me off and on all day long, I feel like bugs are crawling on me, headaches, and impulse buying on the internet! The sad thing is, I had my thyroid a year ago and that is still not under control so I’m sleeping most of the day. I’m only up a few hours out of the day and I’m losing it! I’m supposed to start Cymbalta when I’m completely off of the Effexor. For the depression and fibromyalgia. I went to a new doctor because my doctor now just doesn’t give a crap about his patients anymore. I had to take a urine test for the new doc to test for the Percocet that I’m on. He’s very strict. He said it takes 3 weeks for the results so I don’t see him until the 24th. It’s going to be a long 12 days! I feel like calling him and asking him to take me in as soon as he gets the results back to get me on the Cymbalta and be done with the Effexor completely!

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Quality of the MD is most important thing. SOme are disinterested or burned out Also be sure to write down what you need to tell MD on each visit. Do not be rushed MY experience with Effexor is I have went down to 1/2 my dose and feel OK But each of us is different Take it slow I also take CBD oil & exercise 2 -3 X a week . Daughter lives with me which helps me. Heard CBD works on some older dogs too but who knows

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@patricia1955

This is my weaning schedule which I followed and can say I thought I was going to die! Effexor – went from 300 to 150 for four days then 75 for four days then 37 1/2 for 6 days. At the same time I was weaning off Atavan and Amitryptaline. Towards the end he introduced Trintellix and Neurontin. I have been so sick, mentally and physically. I went almost all day without a headache today. I still cry, exhausted, ruminating and feeling like I will never laugh again. But I was in such bad emotional shape with the drugs I was on that I stayed in my house for six years.
I kept promising my mom a trip when I felt better, but I never felt better. My mom died on Valentines Day I never took her anywhere. I am sobbing just writing this. I have PTSD and MDD. I have battled to stay alive for 63 yrs., now after losing so much of life I really hope this works.
I have never been so sick but I will do anything to get better. I can't sleep because of the pain in my head, ruminating, restlessness. I see my psychiatrist tomorrow. I go to bed at night and ask that tomorrow will be better.
Sorry for rambling, drugs, pain and a broken heart.

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You are far from being alone. I have been on this horrible satanic drug for almost 20 years. I have attempted twice to get off this drug with no luck. I have had more problem either getting my script or my insurance issues et . I'd swear the system was against me . Here I have just relocated applied for medical in Jan.2018. was hospitalized March 1st. It is July 13th still no primary doctor group so no access to a doc. My old do says they will no longer be get refund my meds! Ok great they said I have to go-to ER or urgeny care to see if I can get some! SERIOUSLY I am so mad. Spent the morning o. The phone asking g specifically if they take medical and if I'd be able to get my script. Drove 20 miles get almost do e with check in and they tell me I have to. Go to anER. Are you kidding. I haven't had any pills now for 3 weeks. I'm tired of being nauseous and the rain thing. I am riding this out this time. I'm tired of keeping docs and big phaa employed! Us no one cares how we feel or what we are experiencing. Oone not family. O one. We have to stand together. Stay strong and keep pushing.

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@74unicorn

I’m so out of it right now that I don’t know if I’m even posting in the right spot! I was on Effexor 150mg Extended release 2x daily for 4 years along with 200mg 2x daily of lamotrigine. Long story short, since the beginning of May I’m down to 25mg a day of lamotrigine. That’s the easy one. The last week I dropped down to 37.5mg in the morning and 37.5mg around 3pm of the Effexor (not extended release). I can’t stand myself or basically anybody around me! I’m angry, my anxiety hits me off and on all day long, I feel like bugs are crawling on me, headaches, and impulse buying on the internet! The sad thing is, I had my thyroid a year ago and that is still not under control so I’m sleeping most of the day. I’m only up a few hours out of the day and I’m losing it! I’m supposed to start Cymbalta when I’m completely off of the Effexor. For the depression and fibromyalgia. I went to a new doctor because my doctor now just doesn’t give a crap about his patients anymore. I had to take a urine test for the new doc to test for the Percocet that I’m on. He’s very strict. He said it takes 3 weeks for the results so I don’t see him until the 24th. It’s going to be a long 12 days! I feel like calling him and asking him to take me in as soon as he gets the results back to get me on the Cymbalta and be done with the Effexor completely!

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@dianrib I’ve been telling him for years how I feel. I had to ask for bloodwork because I wanted to rule things out on my own. I had to become my own advocate. He is sickly himself and shouldn’t even be practicing medicine anymore. My last appointment is when I made the final decision to find a new doctor. He gave me a tapering schedule that once I started, I knew wasn’t going to work. He wanted me to taper in 4 steps, I changed it to 8. I’m on step 5 now. This is where the anger and more anxiety have come about. But I’m not giving up! My kids (22 and 17) will just have to deal with it. Sadly they both have issues of their own so I feel bad which in turn makes things worse for all of us. I’m definitely more angry than suicidal so I guess that’s a good thing lol. I’m just so mad that the doctors and drug companies are allowed to do this and make our lives so miserable! Money, money, money!

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Hello

I was on 75mg Effexor XR for about 6 months. The first time I tried to come off at about 3 months in I suffered severe withdrawals. Pain everywhere, diahorrea, severe brain zaps, extreme tiredness and crying all the time.
I have been Effexor free now for 11 days using Citalopram instead 10mg daily. I have had next to no withdrawal effects. Of course if you are trying to be med free this solution isnt great but Ive been on Citalopram before and came off it cold turkey with no side effects. So my theory is once all the Effexor body effects settle I should be able to come off Citalopram down the track with no issues. Wish you all the best.

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@brightwings

@74unicorn I am so sorry you are experiencing all this. We who are here posting have been or are going thru the same thing. Please get to reading, the answers you have are already here.
Please be aware if you just stop the pills at 37.5 mg, you are going to get sicker than you are now. I know from experience. Call your doc or do what others have done to reduce the withdrawal symptoms. Smiling at you BRIGHT WINGS
NOW get to reading…….

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@brightwings I had myself at 75mg in the morning and 37.5 in the afternoon. I was doing ok with some noticed anxiety. When I dropped the morning med to 37.5 is when I really noticed the increase in side affects. I did that all last week. The last 2 days I dropped the afternoon dose in half again. I think I’m going to stay like this until I see my new doctor. Once I know he will take me on as a new patient, we can finish up the game plan to transfer to the cymbalta. 2 1/2 months into this and I’m not done yet. I know it seems like this is how everyone has to do it or it doesn’t work out. What I think about now is, what has it done to our brains for the ones who have been on it at least a couple years??

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@74unicorn

I’m so out of it right now that I don’t know if I’m even posting in the right spot! I was on Effexor 150mg Extended release 2x daily for 4 years along with 200mg 2x daily of lamotrigine. Long story short, since the beginning of May I’m down to 25mg a day of lamotrigine. That’s the easy one. The last week I dropped down to 37.5mg in the morning and 37.5mg around 3pm of the Effexor (not extended release). I can’t stand myself or basically anybody around me! I’m angry, my anxiety hits me off and on all day long, I feel like bugs are crawling on me, headaches, and impulse buying on the internet! The sad thing is, I had my thyroid a year ago and that is still not under control so I’m sleeping most of the day. I’m only up a few hours out of the day and I’m losing it! I’m supposed to start Cymbalta when I’m completely off of the Effexor. For the depression and fibromyalgia. I went to a new doctor because my doctor now just doesn’t give a crap about his patients anymore. I had to take a urine test for the new doc to test for the Percocet that I’m on. He’s very strict. He said it takes 3 weeks for the results so I don’t see him until the 24th. It’s going to be a long 12 days! I feel like calling him and asking him to take me in as soon as he gets the results back to get me on the Cymbalta and be done with the Effexor completely!

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Sadly money seems to rule . But there are good MD's out there Maybe counselling for the anger ?

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@74unicorn

I would never cut a medication by 50% but if it worked for you congrats.

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