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lilred
@lilred

Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 26, 2018

Weaning off Effexor- is there any way to make this more bearable?

Posted by @lilred, Mon, Nov 26 3:23pm

Okay, hi. I’ve been on 300mg of Effexor XR for around three or four years. It stopped helping me once I started getting older (I was put on it when I was just about past age eighteen) and my doc and I made a mutual decision to wean off but only after starting Wellbutrin and making sure it helped me first. Decreased by 37.5mg every three days, and felt fine besides a bout of irritability here and there. As soon as I was finished weaning off I started having terrible side effects. I felt like I was going to pass out one day, have barely had an appetite, and for the past two days have had awful brain zaps. I’m also extremely anxious and am constantly worrying if these side effects are normal and if they will ever go away.
Does anyone know of any way to get at least the brain zaps (they’re my biggest complaint tbh) under control a bit more?

REPLY

@lilred
If your doctor told you to decrease your dose by that much and that quickly s/he’s an idiot. Every 3 days is insanity. Doctors are not Gods. You might want to think about your doctors advice considering medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. So in 24 days you went from 300mg to -0- WOW!
There have been studies done that recommend reducing your dose 5-10% every 4 -6 weeks. I’d guess those zaps are going to be around for awhile unless your one of the lucky ones. You may want to ask your doctor about restarting your medication until the zaps stop, unless he’s the one who came up with this plan, if so I’d be looking for a new doctor.
Good luck and wishing you health and happiness,
Jake

OMG WHO IS YOUR DOCTOR? He or she should come with a health warning. You are very very lucky the side effects were not a hundred times worse – the advice you received was highly dangerous, it should have taken about 4 to 6 months at least for you to come off 300mg Effexor, and don’t worry, they are an excellent drug for anxiety etc. and with the right help you can come off them completely over time. 300 mg is a high dose. I suggest you go back on them under the right supervision. Please see a doctor with experience in mental health you CANNOT play around with these drugs. The very best of luck.

Well, the thing was that we only continue going down like that if my brain/body tolerated it. Never would have continued doing it like that if I were having adverse effects during the drop. The only time I’ve felt bad side effects is the days after I took my last dose.

I am so happy with my doctor that I would defend her as well. Please please see this as it really is – under no circumstances should you have been allowed to reduce ur dosage the way you did, NEVER EVER EVER. it has nothing to do with it suiting ur Brain Body it was a huge risk, which tells us, your doctor knows nothing about mental health. That is not to say he/she is not a good doctor. There are horses for courses. One size does not fit all. If you look up reducing Effexor on google, it will explain it to you better than I can ,slowly slowly is the only way. Take care of yourself.

@lilred
Hi
Are you still having symptoms? If so you might want to ask your doctor if you should take a low dose to stop your symptoms then restart your taper at a much slower rate.
Hope to hear your better soon,
Jake

@jakedduck1

@lilred
Hi
Are you still having symptoms? If so you might want to ask your doctor if you should take a low dose to stop your symptoms then restart your taper at a much slower rate.
Hope to hear your better soon,
Jake

Jump to this post

Im actually gradually starting to feel relief. It’s a slow process but at least it’s starting to clear up.

@lilred
Hello!
There are many of us trying to come off of Effexor, who are experiencing the same thing you are.
I just started last week weaning down from 150mg in the am and pm.
I have not yet experienced the 'zaps.'

Mayo Clinic has excellent newsletters you can sign up for for.
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ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: IS THERE SUCH A THING?

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If you stop taking antidepressants, could you experience antidepressant withdrawal? Do withdrawal symptoms mean you were addicted to the drug?
Answer From Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Antidepressant withdrawal is possible if you abruptly stop taking an antidepressant, particularly if you've been taking it longer than six weeks. Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal are sometimes called antidepressant discontinuation syndrome and typically last for a few weeks. Certain antidepressants are more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than others.

Quitting an antidepressant suddenly may cause symptoms within a day or two, such as:

Anxiety
Insomnia or vivid dreams
Headaches
Dizziness
Tiredness
Irritability
Flu-like symptoms, including achy muscles and chills
Nausea
Electric shock sensations
Return of depression symptoms
Having antidepressant withdrawal symptoms doesn't mean you're addicted to an antidepressant. Addiction represents harmful, long-term chemical changes in the brain. It's characterized by intense cravings, the inability to control your use of a substance and negative consequences from that substance use. Antidepressants don't cause these issues.

To minimize the risk of antidepressant withdrawal, talk with your doctor before you stop taking an antidepressant. Your doctor may recommend that you gradually reduce the dose of your antidepressant for several weeks or more to allow your body to adapt to the absence of the medication.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe another antidepressant or another type of medication on a short-term basis to help ease symptoms as your body adjusts. If you're switching from one type of antidepressant to another, your doctor may have you start taking the new one before you completely stop taking the original medication.

It's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between withdrawal symptoms and returning depression symptoms after you stop taking an antidepressant. Keep your doctor informed of your signs and symptoms. If your depression symptoms return, your doctor may recommend that you start taking an antidepressant again or that you get other treatment
Products and services
Mayo Clinic on Better Hearing Balance
Free E-newsletter
Subscribe to Housecall

Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.

Sign up now
If you stop taking antidepressants, could you experience antidepressant withdrawal? Do withdrawal symptoms mean you were addicted to the drug?
Answer From Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Antidepressant withdrawal is possible if you abruptly stop taking an antidepressant, particularly if you've been taking it longer than six weeks. Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal are sometimes called antidepressant discontinuation syndrome and typically last for a few weeks. Certain antidepressants are more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than others.

Quitting an antidepressant suddenly may cause symptoms within a day or two, such as:

Anxiety
Insomnia or vivid dreams
Headaches
Dizziness
Tiredness
Irritability
Flu-like symptoms, including achy muscles and chills
Nausea
Electric shock sensations
Return of depression symptoms
Having antidepressant withdrawal symptoms doesn't mean you're addicted to an antidepressant. Addiction represents harmful, long-term chemical changes in the brain. It's characterized by intense cravings, the inability to control your use of a substance and negative consequences from that substance use. Antidepressants don't cause these issues.

To minimize the risk of antidepressant withdrawal, talk with your doctor before you stop taking an antidepressant. Your doctor may recommend that you gradually reduce the dose of your antidepressant for several weeks or more to allow your body to adapt to the absence of the medication.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe another antidepressant or another type of medication on a short-term basis to help ease symptoms as your body adjusts. If you're switching from one type of antidepressant to another, your doctor may have you start taking the new one before you completely stop taking the original medication.

It's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between withdrawal symptoms and returning depression symptoms after you stop taking an antidepressant. Keep your doctor informed of your signs and symptoms. If your depression symptoms return, your doctor may recommend that you start taking an antidepressant again or that you get other treatment

I had the same thing happen to me when I tried to wean off. My doctor did a slower titrate. I started by taking the next lower dose for a week. Then every few days for a week or so. Then we went to the next lower dosage, and so on. At one point she skipped the last lowest dosage and cut me off. Did I ever get sick. Those brain zaps are horrible, nausea, but worst of all is I sobbed for two days uncontrollably. Anxiety off the charts. I had taken it for 7 or 8 years. I tried a few others and finally settled for Wellbutrin as well. I started on medication back in 1999 and back then I was told the drug was perfectly safe and there would be no problem if I had to get off of it. My most recent psych nurse said back then they were not as aware. So many psychotropic meds have withdrawals.

@mermaid1935

I had the same thing happen to me when I tried to wean off. My doctor did a slower titrate. I started by taking the next lower dose for a week. Then every few days for a week or so. Then we went to the next lower dosage, and so on. At one point she skipped the last lowest dosage and cut me off. Did I ever get sick. Those brain zaps are horrible, nausea, but worst of all is I sobbed for two days uncontrollably. Anxiety off the charts. I had taken it for 7 or 8 years. I tried a few others and finally settled for Wellbutrin as well. I started on medication back in 1999 and back then I was told the drug was perfectly safe and there would be no problem if I had to get off of it. My most recent psych nurse said back then they were not as aware. So many psychotropic meds have withdrawals.

Jump to this post

Please speak to a psychiatrist if u need too, I attend my psychiatrist once a year since I started taking Effexor 13 years ago. I had to take 225mg starting with 75mg 4 weeks later 150mg and 4 weeks later 225mg.

Reducing down was done by reducing the mg very slowly until u reach 10 or 5mg. I don’t know how low the mg’s go to but stay on the lowest dose for at least two months. if u are not having bad side effects on the low dose, miss one day first week then two days second week and so on. If you are on 300mg you should come down over eight to 12 months, I am not a doctor but I am explaining to u the way I was managed by a mature psychiatrist slowly slowly reduce. (Also May I suggest u look up the web And ask how to reduce the mg while taking Effexor) hope this helps.

I would like to know about this too.

@judyham

I would like to know about this too.

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Hi, @judyham, and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I wanted to suggest you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, so that way you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

What kinds of questions or concerns do you have about weaning off of venlafaxine (Effexor)?

I have just weaned my self from Pristique it is several weeks now. I was on 50 Micrograms a day and I started week 1. M50:T25:W50:Th25:F50:S25:Sun50.
OI did this by cutting the tablet on my doctors advice as there is no smaller dose. The following week I increased the 1/2 tablets to 4 days the 3rd week all 1/2 tablets then 5th wee 3 days n tablet 6th week 4 days no tablet 7th wee no tablets. My doctor gave me panadol fort for the migraines and stemetil for the nausea. I only took as needed I had 2 scripts for stemetil but only used a few panadol forte. Mainly at night so I could sleep. When I was completely off I developed flu like symptoms with sever neck shoulder and head pain she gave me 1 script for valium and that fixed it one tablet one night . I still get some zapping at night but all the other symptoms are gone except the ones like poor memory, I had increased bladder weakness and memory but its all settling now and I feel so much better. Thanks

I found that stemetil for the nausea was good and the peppermint Migrastick really helped with headaches but when it got too bad I used panadol forte. My doctor is great and trusts my judgement she gave me valium for the pain and stiffness I got in neck and shoulders abd I took one at night once and it fixed it. Asa I was bef
ginning to feel better Peppermint worked instead of stemetil

@joannapickford7

I have just weaned my self from Pristique it is several weeks now. I was on 50 Micrograms a day and I started week 1. M50:T25:W50:Th25:F50:S25:Sun50.
OI did this by cutting the tablet on my doctors advice as there is no smaller dose. The following week I increased the 1/2 tablets to 4 days the 3rd week all 1/2 tablets then 5th wee 3 days n tablet 6th week 4 days no tablet 7th wee no tablets. My doctor gave me panadol fort for the migraines and stemetil for the nausea. I only took as needed I had 2 scripts for stemetil but only used a few panadol forte. Mainly at night so I could sleep. When I was completely off I developed flu like symptoms with sever neck shoulder and head pain she gave me 1 script for valium and that fixed it one tablet one night . I still get some zapping at night but all the other symptoms are gone except the ones like poor memory, I had increased bladder weakness and memory but its all settling now and I feel so much better. Thanks

Jump to this post

Hi, @joannapickford7 – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Sounds like your doctor was with you all the way on your taper off of desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

One thread you may want to look at and potentially post in is "Want to Taper Off Pristiq – Makes My Heart Race," which started in 2012 and is still going as a discussion now in 2018. I think other members there would be interested in your experiences and how your doctor had you navigate some of the side effects of the taper.

I'm now to ths not sure what a thread is tho I can guess and dont know how to find it I wanted to write my experience with a doctors help so others can see it can be done. I still have some residual zapping and those memory things that these drugs protect so bladder weakness again and memory really bad but hoping they will come good with time I was on Pristique for situational depression for & years tried so many time to come off. It's a horrid drug.I mean it helped initially but you should be able to come off drugs you no longer need. I was upset that if I forgot a pill I would be sick with Migrane and Nausea for a day till the next one kicked in!

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