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

I know There should be a lawsuit.

REPLY
@grandmar

Hi All…
I just received my refill of Effexor.
For the first time (bad me), I actually took the time to read the enclosed paper work.
NOT ONCE does it mention the word ADDICTIVE (or any version). All it did say was to consult your doc before you come off . It also suggested coming off slowly in order to try to limit reactions.
Again NO mention of the word WITHDRAWAL.
Although many of us are still on Effexor, we had read the posts by those trying to come off. So, we all know what I shared.
The reason I told you about this is because in case you were not aware (like me), the paperwork from the manufacturer does NOT mention the words addictive or withdrawal.
JUST SAYING…..

Jump to this post

US laws favor big corps or it would be a law to keep us INFORMED

REPLY
@pony

I have been on 300 mg of effexor approximately 15 years. I'm down to 150 mg in two weeks. As I'm coming off, I am being titrated on to cymbalta 60 mg.I know my bipolar issues require an anti depressant. I'm not willing to go through all that again.I accept that I need meds to function normally.
The first step down, I thought I had the worst flu ever, my sinuses swelled up and I even ran a low fever. But, at the 5th day, I started feeling sooo much better. It was wonderful. What I did to get through it was lots of rest, all the fluids I could tolerate and I ate healthy meals.I used acetaminophen and ibuprofen for the pains. I have not yet had brain zaps. It has been in the mid 90's outside so I stayed in the air conditioning. At times I felt unable to think clearly. I did something really stupid. I already have four dogs and took on a fifth one. So try not to make any big decisions. Now that I can think more clearly, I may be rehoming the 5th dog soon.
Next week I step down 75 mgs so Im prepared and know it will not be pleasant. I plan to do all the self soothing I need to get through it especially guided meditations for healing on youtube. I am going to set up a "care" station next to where I usually sit…otc pain meds, gatorades, dried fruit snacks, etc. I'm very lucky that I have klonopin .5 mg to help with severe anxiety as needed.
I wish you self love and self compassion…be extra good to yourself during this transition.

Jump to this post

Just withdrew from klonipan. It was a horrendous experience. Be very very careful

REPLY

Are you positive you received all the information the pharmacy had. I can believe the terminology you state wasn’t there. When I get prescriptions I always get a relatively short bit of information but if I ask for more information I get pages. Did you ask for more information?

REPLY
@jakedduck1

Are you positive you received all the information the pharmacy had. I can believe the terminology you state wasn’t there. When I get prescriptions I always get a relatively short bit of information but if I ask for more information I get pages. Did you ask for more information?

Jump to this post

@jakedduck1
Yes, I am sure I got all the info the pharmacy had. The information packet that came with the prescription was about 5 pages long.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@pony

I have been on 300 mg of effexor approximately 15 years. I'm down to 150 mg in two weeks. As I'm coming off, I am being titrated on to cymbalta 60 mg.I know my bipolar issues require an anti depressant. I'm not willing to go through all that again.I accept that I need meds to function normally.
The first step down, I thought I had the worst flu ever, my sinuses swelled up and I even ran a low fever. But, at the 5th day, I started feeling sooo much better. It was wonderful. What I did to get through it was lots of rest, all the fluids I could tolerate and I ate healthy meals.I used acetaminophen and ibuprofen for the pains. I have not yet had brain zaps. It has been in the mid 90's outside so I stayed in the air conditioning. At times I felt unable to think clearly. I did something really stupid. I already have four dogs and took on a fifth one. So try not to make any big decisions. Now that I can think more clearly, I may be rehoming the 5th dog soon.
Next week I step down 75 mgs so Im prepared and know it will not be pleasant. I plan to do all the self soothing I need to get through it especially guided meditations for healing on youtube. I am going to set up a "care" station next to where I usually sit…otc pain meds, gatorades, dried fruit snacks, etc. I'm very lucky that I have klonopin .5 mg to help with severe anxiety as needed.
I wish you self love and self compassion…be extra good to yourself during this transition.

Jump to this post

@121314
Hi
I am a bit surprised you were on Klonipan as your primary drug. I know a couple of people, including myself, who take it as an extra boost when one of the nasty anxiety attacks push through our daily regimen. I was told that although I have had positive results, it was not to be used as my daily dose….
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

REPLY
@pony

I have been on 300 mg of effexor approximately 15 years. I'm down to 150 mg in two weeks. As I'm coming off, I am being titrated on to cymbalta 60 mg.I know my bipolar issues require an anti depressant. I'm not willing to go through all that again.I accept that I need meds to function normally.
The first step down, I thought I had the worst flu ever, my sinuses swelled up and I even ran a low fever. But, at the 5th day, I started feeling sooo much better. It was wonderful. What I did to get through it was lots of rest, all the fluids I could tolerate and I ate healthy meals.I used acetaminophen and ibuprofen for the pains. I have not yet had brain zaps. It has been in the mid 90's outside so I stayed in the air conditioning. At times I felt unable to think clearly. I did something really stupid. I already have four dogs and took on a fifth one. So try not to make any big decisions. Now that I can think more clearly, I may be rehoming the 5th dog soon.
Next week I step down 75 mgs so Im prepared and know it will not be pleasant. I plan to do all the self soothing I need to get through it especially guided meditations for healing on youtube. I am going to set up a "care" station next to where I usually sit…otc pain meds, gatorades, dried fruit snacks, etc. I'm very lucky that I have klonopin .5 mg to help with severe anxiety as needed.
I wish you self love and self compassion…be extra good to yourself during this transition.

Jump to this post

Yes I took it every day for 2 1/2 years for anxiety and panic attacks. Had no idea of the consequences until I started withdrawing and it took six months including hospitalization. I was also taking Lexapro for depression which I am still on. Once I started reading online about klonipen, I realized I was in for a long road. I’ll never do it again!

REPLY
@pony

I have been on 300 mg of effexor approximately 15 years. I'm down to 150 mg in two weeks. As I'm coming off, I am being titrated on to cymbalta 60 mg.I know my bipolar issues require an anti depressant. I'm not willing to go through all that again.I accept that I need meds to function normally.
The first step down, I thought I had the worst flu ever, my sinuses swelled up and I even ran a low fever. But, at the 5th day, I started feeling sooo much better. It was wonderful. What I did to get through it was lots of rest, all the fluids I could tolerate and I ate healthy meals.I used acetaminophen and ibuprofen for the pains. I have not yet had brain zaps. It has been in the mid 90's outside so I stayed in the air conditioning. At times I felt unable to think clearly. I did something really stupid. I already have four dogs and took on a fifth one. So try not to make any big decisions. Now that I can think more clearly, I may be rehoming the 5th dog soon.
Next week I step down 75 mgs so Im prepared and know it will not be pleasant. I plan to do all the self soothing I need to get through it especially guided meditations for healing on youtube. I am going to set up a "care" station next to where I usually sit…otc pain meds, gatorades, dried fruit snacks, etc. I'm very lucky that I have klonopin .5 mg to help with severe anxiety as needed.
I wish you self love and self compassion…be extra good to yourself during this transition.

Jump to this post

May I ask what MG of Lexapro you take that's what I started after effexor am I going to have side effects from this like effexor I was on a Zanax for years Dr weaned me off them only thing I noticed is i don't sleep well without them although I told my Dr about this she just insisted it's not a sleeping med

REPLY
@jakedduck1

Are you positive you received all the information the pharmacy had. I can believe the terminology you state wasn’t there. When I get prescriptions I always get a relatively short bit of information but if I ask for more information I get pages. Did you ask for more information?

Jump to this post

Patients should NOT have to ask to get all info It should be provided .

REPLY
@jakedduck1

Are you positive you received all the information the pharmacy had. I can believe the terminology you state wasn’t there. When I get prescriptions I always get a relatively short bit of information but if I ask for more information I get pages. Did you ask for more information?

Jump to this post

@dianrib
I agree that information should be provided, especially the real important stuff like possible addiction and withdrawal. But truthfully, there are sooooooooooooo much info, it would be impossible to list all things.
However, as patients, we have to be our own advocates.
If addiction or withdrawal is important to you, ask the doctor.
Same thing goes for possible interactions that might occur with other meds.
And of course, allergies.
As I said before, it would be nice to be told without asking, but I really don't think it is possible (except maybe hitting the high points).
Be your own advocate and ask questions.
Bring a list of questions (specific and general) before you go to the doctor. Write down the answers since too much info can be confusing.

Have a nice evening!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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

I wanted to add that ginger helped my nausea…i bought candied ginger chunks at Kroger and chewed them for stomach upset. It seemed to help.Ginger tea and ginger ale would probably work as well.

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

I got the worst flu-like symptoms ever..I think the aches and pains were the worst for me.Tylenol and ibuprofen helped some.

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.