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21 hours ago · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@daver
Compounding pharmacists can make tailored dosages for medications. You need a prescription and this service can be pricey and may not be covered by insurance. A commenter on another site who was getting off Ativan used Johnson Compounding and Wellness in Waltham, MA.

Since 2014, a Dutch medical charity, called Cinderella Therapeutics, together with Maastricht University creates personalized "tapering kits,” with precisely weighed out tablets in labelled packets that gradually reduce over several months. There are tapering kits for 24 different medications so far. Most of these were for people in the Netherlands, but a few kits have been sent to other countries.

https://www.cinderella-tx.org/en/

http://www.taperingstrip.org/

23 hours ago · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@sandij
Can you expand more on what you were told about it being dangerous? It's a tricky process weaning someone off one drug and onto another–you would definitely want an experienced and knowledgeable doctor.

@secretwhitepop
GrandmaR mentioned that Effexor didn't work for her as well when reinstated some months/years (?) as it did the first time she was on it.

By the time I realized that I was experiencing Effexor withdrawal effects, I had been off for over 6 weeks. I didn't reinstate Effexor because I read that doing so that far out was unlikely to quickly mitigate my very distressing withdrawal symptoms (1-2 weeks for sleep, energy or appetite to improve and 6-8 weeks for depressed mood and lack of interest in activities to fully improve) and I hoped those 1-8 weeks were better served moving further away from my Effexor use (I no longer needed it for hot flashes).

Could your doctor prescribe a short course of a faster-acting medication (Valium, clonazepam, or Xanax for example) for the anxiety to take along with the Zoloft until the Zoloft fully kicks in?

Mon, Jul 15 12:31am · Serotonin syndrome in Epilepsy & Seizures

@bruceg
Effexor (venlafaxine) works by increasing and regulating the levels of two different neurotransmitters in the brain–norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and serotonin.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when you take medications that cause high levels of serotonin to accumulate in your body. Too much serotonin causes symptoms that can range from mild (agitation, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating and shivering) to severe (high fever, seizures and passing out). Some people are more susceptible to the drugs and supplements that cause serotonin syndrome than others, but SS can happen to anyone. It occurs most often when you combine certain medications; a number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs are associated with serotonin syndrome, especially antidepressants.

If you are on Effexor, you should not take L-tryptophan, or 5-htp as these are converted into serotonin and increase serotonin levels in the brain. Effexor is already doing that by keeping the body from using up serotonin.

If you start a new drug, or increase the dose of a drug you're already taking and suspect you have serotonin syndrome, you should call your doctor right away, or go to the emergency room. Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal if not treated. Once serotonin levels are back to normal, the effects go away.

Anesthesia and pain drugs (such as fentanyl and hydrocodone) can interact with Effexor; in my case, I experienced serotonin syndrome while recovering from breast cancer and reconstruction surgery. My doctors KNEW I was on Effexor, but I think both the anesthetist and surgeon thought 25mg Effexor was too little to worry about, but it wasn't. My SS came on after several days of being on the pain drugs (so not a life-threatening sudden reaction as can occur), but I was home alone by then. If I had had some inkling the interaction could happen, it wouldn't have been so frightening; my doctors should have anticipated it and sent me home with just-in-case instructions/prescriptions if it happened.

Anyone taking Effexor should also be aware that ordinary cough medicine containing dextromethorphan can cause "significant" drug interactions with Effexor! I wasn't warned about that either by my regular doctor AND experienced serotonin syndrome when I was told to use a DM cough med during a sinus infection. This was super frightening as I didn't know what was happening–within 10 minutes of taking the DM and some other sinus medications, I felt a wave of intense fear wash over me like a wave–I didn't know why I was afraid, or of what. I did make the connection of that feeling to having just taken a bunch of medications–I thought they were interfering with each other; I didn't realize the reaction had anything to do with to my Effexor at all until years later when this fear reaction occurred again after the breast cancer/reconstruction surgery mentioned above. I don't know if I'm super-sensitive to these interactions, but keep in mind, I was ONLY on 25mg Effexor.

In the first instance, I was prescribed 10 qty .5 mg Xanax and told to take 1/2 to a whole one twice a day until I quit feeling so fearful; I used 6.5 pills. The second time, I stopped the hydrocodone and it certainly helped that I was already taking Valium (had been put on Valium to relax my chest muscles).

Tue, Jul 2 10:20pm · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@sandij
To minimize the anxiety I've developed as a withdrawal symptom, I supplement with L*dtke l-tryptophan, l-methylfolate (a prescription B vitamin), ashwaganda, Solg*r GABA and l-arginine (helps the L-tryptophan and GABA). Sometimes, I get a definite shaky, "squiggly" feeling in my chest that I think is a rush of adrenaline and a 25mg Ben*dryl often eases that bothersome, inexplicable fight/flight reaction. Even so, every 4.5 to 6 weeks, when my supplements aren't enough, I take one to two halves of my prescribed 10mg Valium.

Tue, Jul 2 2:42pm · Long term effects AFTER withdrawing from Effexor in Depression & Anxiety

@terri672
I was only on Effexor (25mg regular release) for hot flashes. I never had anxiety, insomnia, akathisia, irritability and rage UNTIL I tapered off (last dose was 4/14/18). Effexor increases/regulates the levels of two brain neurotransmitters–norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and serotonin. At low doses, it prevents serotonin reuptake (leaves more serotonin in the system). At higher doses, it inhibits both serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake. Serotonin helps control a number of processes within the brain–mood and emotions, anxiety and aggression, sleep, appetite, memory and perceptions. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone that affects parts of the brain that relate to attention and response and it underlies the fight-or-flight response. I realized pretty quickly that the overwhelming feelings, insomnia and akathisia were Effexor withdrawal symptoms. It's going to take some time for my brain to balance itself (I was on Effexor for 18 years); I found relief in taking supplements (click on my name to read past posts where I list them). If you were on Effexor for mental/emotional issues, you may need to go back on it, or try a different medication.

Tue, Jul 2 11:05am · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@secretwhitepop
Off label use of Effexor to minimize/reduce hot flashes is very common–especially for women like me (breast cancer survivor) who cannot use hormones to deal with them. At very lose doses, it works really well for this (I was on just 25mg regular release). Conversely, people on high/higher doses of Effexor may find that they sweat a lot/too much.

Hope the Seroquel continues to work well for you.

Mon, Jul 1 8:08pm · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@secretwhitepop
I found my withdrawal symptoms very distressing and I wanted HELP NOW. Keep in mind, I was only on 25mg Effexor and just to control hot flashes. I tapered off Effexor because those days were over and I thought why keep taking a pill I don't need. I had no issues on it (it worked great!), only after getting off it. If I'd known THAT, I would have left well enough alone and stayed on Effexor–a frivolous reason to stay on a drug. But, as well as avoiding a whole of lot of aggravation, jeopardizing my husband's and my sanity, I'd have saved a lot of $s, too (I'm taking a whole handful of supplements 3x a day and the occasional 1/2 Valium now just to keep level and they cost). You've discovered that you really do need medication to function well. Sounds like a good reason to me.

Thu, Jun 27 11:25pm · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@sandij
I agree that there is a definite tyranny to having to take supplements on a schedule, but I don't expect to take them forever. I started out taking my supplements five times a day and am now down to three.

By the way, one of the supplements I take is L-methylfolate–a rather expensive prescription B vitamin that can help with anxiety. I think you take this as well. Just thought I'd share that I found a coupon on Good Rx that saves major $s.