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Thursday, April 17, 2008 Casey, Community Member, asks

Q: Withdrawal from Effexor?

I want to go off my meds, but I've heard that the withdrawal can be pretty bad from Effexor. Has anyone gone off Effexor and experienced withdrawal?

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Answers (168)
Teri Robert, Health Guide
11/28/08 2:05am

J.,

 

How many days did you skip your Effexor dose? If it was just one or even two MAYBE you can pick up again at your 150mg dosage. If it was longer, your doctor may want you to start lower and taper back up.

 

PLEASE call your doctor's office about this. If your doctor is out for the holiday weekend, your pharmacist may be able to give you some advice.

 

Some of us react that way to our meds. I take Effexor XR and missed a day because of extending a trip. I felt horrible and cried too.

 

Please take care of yourself!

Teri

Reply
Vicki M, Editor
4/20/08 12:04pm

Hi Casey,

 

Hopefully you are under the care of your doctor. No online resource can be a replacement for your doctor's advice and care. Hopefully you are working with your doctor to come off of Effexor. You can read about Effexor here in the drugs database. Effexor is a medication that is not safe to discontinue unless you are under the care of a physician. According to the drugs database:

 

"It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased. This medication may cause dependence, especially if it has been used regularly for an extended time or if it has been used in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal reactions (e.g., nausea, vomiting, headache, numbness, tingling, nightmares) may occur if you suddenly stop this drug. To prevent withdrawal when stopping extended/regular treatment with this drug, gradually reduce the dosage as directed. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions immediately.

 

The side effects are listed here.

 

There are also some discussions between members here who discontinued using Effexor. You can read about member number 4363's experiences and the answers here. Cpate had a tough time with withdrawal as well. You can read Cpate's experience and the comments here. Heidi47 also had a lengthy experience with Effexor. You can read her comments here.

 

I hope this helps. Stay in touch and let us know how you are doing!

Vicki M

Reply
Hope, Community Member
6/ 8/09 4:52pm

I currently take 300 mg of Effexor XR for anxiety (and a little depression), and it definitely helps, but I would like to be able to become "Effexor free" (as some have called it) sooner rather than later.  I am currently working with a psychiatrist who knows my goal and has experience working with those going through various withdrawals.

 

I understand the importance of decreasing dosage very slowly (I've been there with several other medications in the past), but I sometimes wonder if I'm really ready to take less than I do now.

 

I was declined for health insurance coverage, so I don't feel like I can afford to see a therapist to work specifically on behavior modification and better ways to reduce and handle stress.

 

Do you have any suggestions or know of any free couseling available online or otherwise?

 

Thanks!

Reply
Danielle, Community Member
6/19/09 12:09pm

I have been on Effexor XR for the last three years as part of a migraine treatment regiment.  One year ago I moved to Austria and my migraines have literally disappeared.  I spent most of 2006 and 2007 either bedridden or in the hospital due to the severity of my migraines.  In the last 8 months, my Austrian doctor has been able to SLOWLY reduce the number of daily medications I take. (I started with 15 pills per day!)  Now, I am totally med free!  I was on 300mg of Effexor XR per day and reduced by 75mg every three to four weeks.  Four days ago I stopped taking the 75mg capsules.  I feel like I am losing my mind.  I was on some pretty harsh drugs for my migraines and the withdrawal symptoms from the other drugs were almost non existent.  Day 1 of being "Effexor Free" I felt awful.  I am having nightmares, nausea, vomiting, hot flashes and sweats, my tongue and mouth get numb and tingly in waves throughout the day, drowsiness, SEVERE AGITATION, dizziness to the point of almost passing out, and my brain is doing something crazy too...it's nothing I ever felt before and I don't even know how to explain it but it's affecting my eyes, ears, and balance. It's so bad that I am considering starting the pills again.  I advise anyone who is going off of this drug to really consider what they are deciding.  I have never felt this out of control in my life.  I got alot of benefits from being on Effexor, but now I'm just hating it alot.

Reply
chris, Community Member
6/26/09 4:27pm

i'm in the same f...ing nightmare as you. was taking for 3 years and lowered dose from 150mg for three months to 75mg and now quit cold turkey and have gone through everything you said and i feel like i'm dying. if i ever knew it would be like this i never would have taken the drug. its just like a drug addict trying heroin to feel good and he was aware of the aftermath he knew what could happen. i was never was informed that i would feel like i'm being shocked in my brain every time i moved my body. this is nuts, now i'm suppose to stay on this shit or feel like this for weeks or months. this drug company sucks and should be sued over the horror stories i read about online and what i am going through. i feel for anyone suffering from this ccw6913203@yahoo.com

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Bobby-Sue, Community Member
6/28/09 8:40pm

Hi I was on 75mg for about one year.  I weaned off and felt bad so my doctor prescribed serc 16mg which is an anti-vertigo medication.  I feel much better now.  Because I am not dizzy I don't feel nausea anymore.  Try it.

Reply
EffEffexorXR, Community Member
9/15/09 9:44pm

WOW me too. I feel your pain. I was prescribed Effexor XR for generalized anxiety when I was 16. I was taking 75mg capsules. When I was 19 I decided to get off of it. I withdrew with the electric shocks and other symptoms, which I was quite famliar with if I forgot a dose. Not even a year later I had a full blown panic attack and developed a panic disorder. I was having panic attacks left and right no matter what I did. I tried some other medications and decided that the Effexor was familiar. The doctor assured me that I would only have to take it for 6 months to a year to avoid a relapse in the panic attacks. I took it longer. I got off of it when I was 22. (I'm 23 now) I had another miserable time trying to quit it cold turkey. I spent about two weeks being extremely uncomforable, having the electric shock feeling everytime I turned my head. If I walked across the room the electric shocks felt like they were moving from the balls of my feet up to my head and out through my teeth. I was crying all the time, couldn't sleep, the panic came back with a vengeance, I had vertigo and felt like a crazy person. Now, after a year of struggling with trying to get my panic disorder under control without medication, I have given up again, but I told my doctor there was no way I was going back on Effexor. I am now taking Prozac 20mg. I haven't been on it long, but I already feel better. It's effects are much like effexor's were. I am a little speedy, a little less hungry, and calmer ("in neutural" as I like to call it) Effexor was a nightmare for me. I hope all of these stories might educate others to seek alternative medications. 

Reply
helpneeded, Community Member
10/16/09 2:29pm

One more Effexor addict here. How in the h... can this drug be on the market and prescribed so freely by primary care physicians? I've tried twice to get off of it and became so sick that I now guard my pills as though my life is at stake. How can I get off of this? I have to work. I can't stay in bed for weeks until I'm better. I took Vicodin for a year and a half after a horse crushed my ankle and was able to wean myself off that drug with few side effects, other than  a week where I had trouble sleeping. Please tell me how to find help.

Reply
helpneeded, Community Member
10/16/09 2:29pm

One more Effexor addict here. How in the h... can this drug be on the market and prescribed so freely by primary care physicians? I've tried twice to get off of it and became so sick that I now guard my pills as though my life is at stake. How can I get off of this? I have to work. I can't stay in bed for weeks until I'm better. I took Vicodin for a year and a half after a horse crushed my ankle and was able to wean myself off that drug with few side effects, other than  a week where I had trouble sleeping. Please tell me how to find help.

Reply
helpneeded, Community Member
10/16/09 2:29pm

One more Effexor addict here. How in the h... can this drug be on the market and prescribed so freely by primary care physicians? I've tried twice to get off of it and became so sick that I now guard my pills as though my life is at stake. How can I get off of this? I have to work. I can't stay in bed for weeks until I'm better. I took Vicodin for a year and a half after a horse crushed my ankle and was able to wean myself off that drug with few side effects, other than  a week where I had trouble sleeping. Please tell me how to find help.

Reply
helpneeded, Community Member
10/16/09 2:29pm

One more Effexor addict here. How in the h... can this drug be on the market and prescribed so freely by primary care physicians? I've tried twice to get off of it and became so sick that I now guard my pills as though my life is at stake. How can I get off of this? I have to work. I can't stay in bed for weeks until I'm better. I took Vicodin for a year and a half after a horse crushed my ankle and was able to wean myself off that drug with few side effects, other than  a week where I had trouble sleeping. Please tell me how to find help.

Reply
Carrottopcat, Community Member
10/24/09 9:11pm

Thank-you so much for the info I thought I was loosing my mind.except in my case the efforor just stopped working.I feel like my mind is one place and I have no interest in anything.I have been on the effoxor for at least six years.Have you started something else and if so how do you feel now.I go to the Doctor on Monday and would like some feed back.

Reply
jonas, Community Member
12/ 7/09 5:44pm

I was on Effexor for about 5 years norephranephrine (sp?) deficiency and my doc said my levels were good and could go off my meds. I slowly tapered down from 300mg every 2 weeks, but to be extra careful, I took the last few doses each a month (75mg for a month, 37.5 for a month) and now nothing. My effects haven't been so severe this way, but I still feel cruddy, emotional, have crazy dreams, low fever.

Taking the 37.5mg would have helped you instead of just going off cold turkey at 75mg I think. Maybe you can still try it?

Reply
LS328, Community Member
3/13/10 1:38pm

I do not agree with taking 37.5 will make your withdraw better. I having been taking 37.5 for the last year. I missed a dose last night because I did not make it to the pharmacy in time. I woke up this morning and feel like I am dieing. I am shaking, feel like I have no control over my body or what comes out of my mouth. I feel angry and the littlest thing sets me off. There was no way I could have driven to the pharmacy this morning, since I feel like I cant control my motor function or rage. So I screamed for my husband to go get my rx, I have never seen him rush out the door so fast. Right now my heart is racing, and I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I want to cry, and scream the same time. I do not have the brain shocks that others have described, but I feel like s..T! This med is horrible. I used to take zoloft and have never had this problem.

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legthatkicks, Community Member
4/18/10 10:40pm

this description is exactly what i went through the past two weeks. i am now 7 days withouth any effexor, and while far from perfect, things are improving. i had it all - the cranky rage, nausea, dizzies (still have that), headaches, complete loss of emotional control (spontaneous emoting into tears and fits  of anger). i think the best for me was removing myself from any stressful situations and having friends and a husband and doctor watching out for me. when i stayed home i was much more able to control my symptoms, but when i tried to work it sent me into dissociatitve states when i got stressed. i am really hopeful that this coming week is going to be better than the last and gradually i will become myself - i am looking forward to getting to know the real me again.

Reply
Angie, Community Member
4/27/10 9:16am

I am currently 9 days into the withdraw...have bruises on my legs where I have bumped into things because of the dizziness.  The "brain zaps" are still occurring...maybe twice a day I feel like the earth has turned sideways and I have to grab hold of whatever is in front of me to steady myself.  My headaches have decreased but I'm still in a sort of fog.  On the 5th day of withdraws I cried uncontrollably and felt a feeling of hopelessness...but my hubby is wonderful and helped me through it. When will this end???  I decided to stop the medication cold turkey and as you say I can't wait to get to know myself better.  I have been on this medication for over 2 years and up until now have never been "addicted" to anything.  When this ends and I am more in control of my emotions, I plan on setting up a meeting with the prescribing doctor so others are well informed about "withdraw" symptoms.  I was not informed and it makes me want to scream!!!

Reply
legthatkicks, Community Member
4/27/10 9:39am

angie - hang in there. you will get to the other side of this. my very recent personal experience (two weeks since last dose - i had been on effexor or zolof for 15 years!)  is that the hand holding and support of my fabulous doctor got me through a strict taper and i have reached to other side!

 

i really do not think you really should not have stopped cold turkey. i recommend you go to your doctor asap and have them set up a taper schedule. if you don't feel like you are getting suporrt for a realistic and supportive taper, find a new doctor - you are worth it  and deserve to have someone helping you with this. by going cold turkey you are not giving your body time to adjust to the change in brain chemicals...

 

i went throught everything you describe, and it really sucked, but i can report that i am past most of it now, and it is because of the taper schedule. the dizzies, what i called "brain scrambles" the angry rage, vivid dreams, the crying uncrontrollably, even a day of derealization - i had it all.

 

but i can now report that for the past 5 days i have felt much more in control of my emotions and the craziness. my last dose was april 12 - so two weeks ago. but i did a taper to get to that last dose.

 

so, my thoughts for you - stay strong, get a good doctor who can help you safely taper and support you through it, and know that your body will tell you what it needs, eventually, but you need to give a lot of time to find out how you will really feel without the effexor. you may find out that you will eventually do great without any antidepressent but you may also discover you really do need something - but it is too early to tell. this is why you need a doctor carefully monitoring you throught this process.

 

i had many conversations with my doctor the past few weeks where i was in a panic worrying that how i was feeling was "who i was" and was going to feel like this forever -  and it was terrifying - so i think i know what you are feeling.

 

the best advice i can give you is to be patient and find a doctor who knows what he is doing and can support you through the process of withdrawal. don't waste your precious energy being angry and regretting the past (that you chose to take this drug) - i  recommend that you use your inner energy to get support to heal and move forward with your life.

 

here is a quote for you:

 

"It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop. "   (confucious)

 

 

Reply
Angie, Community Member
4/27/10 1:21pm

Wow...you are awesome!!!  Just reading what you wrote makes me smile!!  Sometimes I am mean and I think mean things...and yes I worry is that who I've become??  I DON'T want this drug to rule my life anymore..I'm ready to be free and with your advice I will concentrate and use my inner energy to move forward and not think about the past. The reason I haven't done any tapering is because I want everything out of my body and I know that is not showing patience....but if you are doing well after 2 weeks surely I don't have too long to go.  Thank you...thank you for your response.  The good thing is I am off this week...I can sleep...and I will find myself again really soon....take care:)

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legthatkicks, Community Member
4/27/10 1:40pm

you are welcome angie! i am tearing up reading your response - but it is a good cry - i am happy i was able to offer a glimmer of hope to you. (i have cried more in the past month than i have in the past 10 years...)

 

like i said - i was where you are just last week, so be strong. i think staying home is a wonderful thing - the days i was able to not be stressed by work and other responsibilites were so important - my worse days were when i tried to do my normal routine, but i was not "normal" me, so it didn't go so well. i called it being "alternative universe" me. i am now realizing that i am not how i feel at any particular  moment.  i just need to realize that my body is going to have bad days but that doesn't mean that i am broken forever - one step back two steps forward...

 

A thought and quote to tuck away for when you are in the :alternative you" space and feeling discouraged and stymied by the symptoms of your body:

 

"You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." (CS Lewis)

 

You may want to check out some of my posts on my Tumblr blog from the past few weeks - they may show you how my mood has changed as I have gone through the process...  I hope that you have someone you trust that you can talk out how you are doing - I have the luxury of an immensely caring and supportive doctor and partner and it makes a world of difference. But connecting and sharing in communties like this can also be so helpful.

 

-sending you gentle hugs  - you CAN do this! and you WILL!

 

-n

http://littlebirdexpress.tumblr.com/

 

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Angie, Community Member
4/29/10 5:18pm

I am embracing those gentle hugs...thing are getting better!!!  Yesterday in the am felt enough dizziness to make me sick to my stomach.  Today is a new day and YES...I can do this.  Since I have stopped this medication I feel so many aspects of my life are healing and do call you my earthly angel. I hope you don't mind me mentioning you in my book as a "helper" and some of the things that you mentioned that helped me with my overall healing process.  It has been a process for 2 1/2 years...and I am ready to finish this book.  I have come so far not to finish this withdraw period...you are right "I CAN do this".  I am currently learning about myself a little more and actually going to go back to work tomorrow with more zest.  I am a speech pathologist...and I can do well.  Thank you...continue on your journey to help others...it is your purpose!!!

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legthatkicks, Community Member
4/29/10 7:17pm

oh angie - likewise - your gratitude for my advice is an amazing gift.

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micjoe, Community Member
5/ 7/10 10:30am

Were you able to get off of it Angie?

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micjoe, Community Member
5/ 7/10 10:30am

Were you able to get off of it Angie?

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Angie, Community Member
5/ 7/10 12:30pm

I am currently on my 18th day without the medication and side effect FREE.  I have no more brain zaps, no dizziness, no upset stomach, no itching (that was REALLY bad for about 2 days).  My physical self feels really good!!!  I am now exploring my inner self to find out who I am without the medication.  Around the 14th and 15th day I was highly agitated at everything people said around me...but I was able to control that feeling.  I do have times where I am teary eyed but none of these things steer me toward a doctor to prescribe something else. I've made it this far so I am going to stay on this journey. I do have a lot of support.  Thank you so much for asking.  This was one HUGE hurdle in my life, one that I can't share even with my friends because I feel they wouldn't understand.  You know those "addicted" and "withdrawal" words?  Things are good and I do feel incredible strong for accomplishing something so difficult.  Again it was so nice of you to ask....how are you doing?

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micjoe, Community Member
5/ 7/10 2:28pm

Congrats to you..that's awesome!  I am on day 6 and the brain zaps are still very strong.  I;m pretty good if I just don't move!!   The doctor wants me to go on 10 mg prozac for a short time and I am choosing not to right now.  Maybe stubborn, but I just want these drugs out of my system.  I'm hoping another few days may do it!?!  Thanks and congrats!!

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Angie, Community Member
5/ 7/10 3:00pm

Wow...6 days is REALLY good.  Only you know how much you can take without other "help" from medication.  I am stubborn too and I think we are both determined.  You are well on your way.  On the 12th -14th day the side effects for me subsided.  You truly have something to be proud of.  You are almost there.  Please embrace yourself for these first horrible days that you've conquered.  Good Luck!!!!!  Please let me know how you are.  I will be thinking of you.

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ana p, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:15am

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You are an inspiration Angie.  It has been two days since I last had my medication and today has been the worst so far.  I have been on Effexor XR 75mg for 1.5 yrs and recently had the okay to come off the medication.  Instead of gradually coming off the Effexor, I decided to stop taking it.  I have been sitting in the same spot since Sat. 7am and it is now Sun 1am.  I am experiencing the same side effects as everyone in these posts and I feel like I can do this cold turkey after reading your post.  Thank you and I wish you all the best.

Reply
Angie, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:55am

I know that 2 days seems like a lifetime....so proud of you!!!  2 days is a HUGE accomplishment!!!!  As far as the "cold turkey" you are the only one that can decide if that's right for you!!!  For me it was something that I needed to do and I felt liberated after the "withdrawal" symptoms subsided.  I am "me" again and doing really well.  I wish you success and  contentment after your hardship.  It does get better and then really better.  Good Luck and keep in touch.  I truly know how bad it is and want you to know that I am here if you need encouragement along the way!!!!  A quote to tuck under your pillow is "The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you"!!!  You can do this!!!!

Reply
Angie, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:55am

I know that 2 days seems like a lifetime....so proud of you!!!  2 days is a HUGE accomplishment!!!!  As far as the "cold turkey" you are the only one that can decide if that's right for you!!!  For me it was something that I needed to do and I felt liberated after the "withdrawal" symptoms subsided.  I am "me" again and doing really well.  I wish you success and  contentment after your hardship.  It does get better and then really better.  Good Luck and keep in touch.  I truly know how bad it is and want you to know that I am here if you need encouragement along the way!!!!  A quote to tuck under your pillow is "The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you"!!!  You can do this!!!!

Reply
Angie, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:55am

I know that 2 days seems like a lifetime....so proud of you!!!  2 days is a HUGE accomplishment!!!!  As far as the "cold turkey" you are the only one that can decide if that's right for you!!!  For me it was something that I needed to do and I felt liberated after the "withdrawal" symptoms subsided.  I am "me" again and doing really well.  I wish you success and  contentment after your hardship.  It does get better and then really better.  Good Luck and keep in touch.  I truly know how bad it is and want you to know that I am here if you need encouragement along the way!!!!  A quote to tuck under your pillow is "The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you"!!!  You can do this!!!!

Reply
doctors need a clue, Community Member
8/ 5/10 6:48am

Not sure how long i was on efexor but I do know my doctor IS NOT well informed about the drug, side affects, or the withdrawls from this stupid medication.  I had to stop cold turkey because of the cost of it one month it cost about $23 dollars next month when I went to refill it was going to cost me $146.  I just couldn't see paying that much for a 1 month supply.

My doctor told me early on that missing a day here or there was no big deal because it would have no effect on me  "WRONG" anytime I would miss a day the next day I would feel like fighting even a wall if it got in my way, I would cry if someone looked at me wrong.

Now that i have gone off it cold turkey, here is what happens: i sweat so bad that i am soaked from head to toe and that is just if i walk just a few feet, chills in 90 + degree weather, i yell at my kids and pets just because they do one thing wrong, dizzy, night sweats, vertigo,headache  (continus for over a week), dry mouth so bad ( I have sleep apnea and have to use a CPAP and that doesn't prevent the dry mouth).  There are other affects I fell too.

 

I personally am very unhappy with my docotor for perscribing this medicine and not taking me off of it sooner.

Now I need to find away to get rid of these stupid withdrawals..........it is worse than being slightly depressed like i was before taking.

Reply
Dana F., Community Member
8/11/10 11:26am

I am so happy to read these responses -- to know that I am not alone.  I have spent the last month of my life thinking the worst.  I just hope we can all find some relief and peace, soon.  I have been considering going back on the medication just to get rid of the vertigo and the feeling that my body is here but my mind is not.  I don't know how to explain that.  Just an intense fuzziness that leaves me feeling numb, nauseous, & confused.  

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sojourner8, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:02pm

The same thing has happened to me.  I was paying $10 and now it's $190 because I've met my drug cap for the year?  Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Funny thing is that I've been taking Venlafaxine(brand)hcl Er Tabs which my dr. and pharmacy say is a generic but BCBS doesn't.

 

BTW - I had horrible withdrawl if I missed my drugs for a day but when I changed to Venlafaxine - it was much, much better.  I didn't start to feel withdrawls until about the third day - but when they hit they were full on.  I've always had a wide and deep emotional range and I didn't realize how little control over my emotions I had until I worked with my counselor & pychiatrist and started effexor.  It was amazing and I had a reminder this week of how helpful the drug has been.  I lost a full day and 1/2 in massive hystronics and tears and I remembered going through something similar when I started birth control pills.

 

I'm grateful for this forum and for everyone who's posted here - makes me feel like I'm not along.  I hope everyone makes it through their withdrawl alright and best wishes to you.  I think (hope) that now I'm getting more knowledge about the drug's half life and withdrawal symptoms that stopping the drug might be an easier experience - compared to me or my family not being prepared for physical/mental issues.  This would have to be coupled with titrating off the drug with the help of my physictrist.

 

 It's scary to have all these "side effects" because I've many good benefits and I have better control over my life now.  Sigh.  

 

Does anyone know what effexor does in our body to create us serious side effects?  Reading the posts, it seems that other anti-depressants don't present these affects.  This is the only anti-depressent I've been on so I don't know.  

Reply
Dizzy, Community Member
1/27/12 3:57pm

total agree with you good on you for fighting, I am working at this realy hard but like you I want my life back 

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
9/28/10 11:10pm

Same with me.....have been on 37.5 for several months, in an effort to get off this crap, and doctor would not refill cuz I hadn't been to him in a while. So, the nightmare began and kept escalating, forcing me to miss work and feel like I am looked upon by the health community (did I happen to mention I have been an RN for 32 years???!!!!) as if I'm nuts.  I came into work today with copies of blogs describing the thousands of people that's lives are now F'd up, thanks to this med.  The other nurses I work with were amazed and grateful to have this newfound knowledge.  Can you believe how quiet they've kept this for several years now?  At the risk of all of us unsuspecting people being in situations of having massive withdrawal with no recourse, and ignorant doctors and nurses who think we're "over-dramatic" and give refills when it's convenient for them.  So I'm pissed on TWO levels-- at the doctors who are such callous asses and stupid to boot, and at the drug company who MUST know by now, the lives that have been so adversely affected by their drug, and are greedy and have no conscience.

I had EXACTLY THE SAME symptoms as you did...and am trying to figure out how to expose this travesty.

 

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
9/28/10 11:10pm

Same with me.....have been on 37.5 for several months, in an effort to get off this crap, and doctor would not refill cuz I hadn't been to him in a while. So, the nightmare began and kept escalating, forcing me to miss work and feel like I am looked upon by the health community (did I happen to mention I have been an RN for 32 years???!!!!) as if I'm nuts.  I came into work today with copies of blogs describing the thousands of people that's lives are now F'd up, thanks to this med.  The other nurses I work with were amazed and grateful to have this newfound knowledge.  Can you believe how quiet they've kept this for several years now?  At the risk of all of us unsuspecting people being in situations of having massive withdrawal with no recourse, and ignorant doctors and nurses who think we're "over-dramatic" and give refills when it's convenient for them.  So I'm pissed on TWO levels-- at the doctors who are such callous asses and stupid to boot, and at the drug company who MUST know by now, the lives that have been so adversely affected by their drug, and are greedy and have no conscience.

I had EXACTLY THE SAME symptoms as you did...and am trying to figure out how to expose this travesty.

 

Reply
Effexfree, Community Member
6/ 9/11 1:05pm

Hello - If you are still interested in exposing Effexor and other like drugs please let me know.  I have recently become Effexor Free after 3 attempts over the last 6 years and the final attempt took 2 years - 2 months and a handful of days.... the clincher is that I was on 37.5 for the entire time!!! 

 

I am on a mission to expose it; Effexor and the company.  

 

 

Cheers,

P.S.

 

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
6/12/11 3:26pm

Well, as you can  see, I first wrote about my miserable experiences, back in Sept. of 2010...

Well, guess what.... I FINALLY DID IT-- KICKED EFFEXOR RIGHT BACK IN IT'S EVIL LITTLE BUTT!

 

It took me a long time, during which tme I realized just how powerful this stuff was. 

Here's what I did:

As others have done, go the 37.5 mg generic, so it's tablet form (don't try to mess with capsules, it's too dangerous, you don't know what bead is for what).  I then did the obvious, split pills in 1/2 for a while--couple of weeks, then split in 1/4..and after that, you find yourself asking the question, "now what?".  Well, even though it's totally against my medical training, I began biting off a small corner, either every day or every other day, depending on how I felt!!  It was like a junkie just needing a fix, but it worked......

 

So then it got down to where I would just get a crumb--didn't even need water, just a stupid silly crumb!  You wouldn't think it would've made a difference, but it did.  I would get the brain swishees (as I call them), and then that little crumb would make them stop!  I just kept going till I was literally down to a crumb every couple of days, and then I got some calming herbal stuff from the chiropractor to try to take any remaining edge off-- which worked a tiny bit. I admit, I was probably not my kindest or most patient for a couple of weeks, but physically I was okay and didn't have all those horrible, debilitating symptoms.

 

I've been off for a few months now and get a "brain swishee" about twice a week and they only last for a second-- just to remind me how grateful I am to be rid of that stuff, and that it takes a very very very long time to get it out of your body.

 

What killed me, was when I got a new patient assigned to me (am an RN), and she was crying nonstop, and I realized she had been on antidepressants and when they transferred her, didn't transfer that rx, and she was having a major reaction--- it's not just the drug companies, it's my fellow nurses and doctors that are clueless.... the whole thing sucks....our psych community is in many ways very archaic....throwing mass quanitities of pills at people and not really knowing what will or could happen.  I think some mechanics care more about our cars than doctors care about our bodies.....sad but true.

Reply
anne46, Community Member
8/ 6/11 8:26am

good on you it should be banned the side affects are so shitty and the doctors dont tell you about them at the timeFrown

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
9/28/10 11:11pm

Same with me.....have been on 37.5 for several months, in an effort to get off this crap, and doctor would not refill cuz I hadn't been to him in a while. So, the nightmare began and kept escalating, forcing me to miss work and feel like I am looked upon by the health community (did I happen to mention I have been an RN for 32 years???!!!!) as if I'm nuts.  I came into work today with copies of blogs describing the thousands of people that's lives are now F'd up, thanks to this med.  The other nurses I work with were amazed and grateful to have this newfound knowledge.  Can you believe how quiet they've kept this for several years now?  At the risk of all of us unsuspecting people being in situations of having massive withdrawal with no recourse, and ignorant doctors and nurses who think we're "over-dramatic" and give refills when it's convenient for them.  So I'm pissed on TWO levels-- at the doctors who are such callous asses and stupid to boot, and at the drug company who MUST know by now, the lives that have been so adversely affected by their drug, and are greedy and have no conscience.

I had EXACTLY THE SAME symptoms as you did...and am trying to figure out how to expose this travesty.

 

Reply
Sapphire, Community Member
4/13/11 1:56pm

I have been on effexor for over 20 yrs. Tried several times to come off it but i get the most horrible side effects....wooshing in my head and aggression like you wouldnt believe, im like a man possessed.....

Reply
JP, Community Member
5/ 3/10 10:42am

I have been on the 37.5 for about 3 mo. and decided to get off of it due to way it was effecting my sex life. 2 days after stopping it I started having the feeling ofcar sickness and an overall  weirdness that is unexplainable until I read every elses symptoms of withdrawel and dreaming like crazy. Definitly NOT taking it any more. So no matter what the dosage this med. is going to give you withdrawals!!!!!!!

Reply
micjoe, Community Member
5/ 7/10 7:27pm

Wish I would have been as smart as you and stopped this sooner.  I agree it doesn't matter the dosage you're on...you still have withdrawal symptoms.  I was on 37.5mg for about 2 years and have been at half of that for 5 months or so.  So, I have to ask you, top...How long did it take you to get through it and did you take anything else?  I really don't want any more meds!! 

Reply
micjoe, Community Member
5/ 7/10 7:27pm

Wish I would have been as smart as you and stopped this sooner.  I agree it doesn't matter the dosage you're on...you still have withdrawal symptoms.  I was on 37.5mg for about 2 years and have been at half of that for 5 months or so.  So, I have to ask you, top...How long did it take you to get through it and did you take anything else?  I really don't want any more meds!! 

Reply
JP, Community Member
5/ 7/10 11:24pm

ok it's been exactly 1 week since I took my last pill and still having symptoms. No more nausea but my head is still not working right. It seems to be floating somewhat, not attached correctly to the rest of me, out of sync some how. How much longer to I have I wonder.

Reply
micjoe, Community Member
5/ 8/10 11:05am

So sorry to hear you're still having the head problems.  I, too am now on day 7 and not as nauseous but bad brain zaps.  Hang in there and hope you are soon symptom free.

Reply
shannon, Community Member
7/ 6/10 8:45pm

try st john's wort, 5 htp, b vitamins. black cohosh it helps with the seritonin levels in the brain and will help get u thru the withdraws ive taken effexor for 20 yrs and have been off for 3 days now not goin cold turkey by choice i have no insurance and can't afford it.I dont feel very good i have the brain shocks and restless sleep diharrea but i do believe the vitamins are helping. Good luck to all and don't forget prayer helps also . 

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CksnSC, Community Member
7/11/10 9:44pm

I have been on effexor now for 4 yrs. and like you lost my insurance and moved to a state (SC) where they say they believe that depression is real but after 20 phone calls I still have not been unable to find a dr to give me another perscription or even to talk to me.  I have been on anti-depressants for 20 yrs and I can tell you for sure that I need something.  But now going into 15 days off meds and still have the "zaps' AND nausea, at day 10 I couldn't leave the bathroom.... I should have checked myself into detox.  I congrat all those that Can live without any kind of anti-depressent.  But I know I can't  not only are the withdrawls from the meds bad but now all those other things that non of you have talked about are coming out.  Such as low self worth, crying all the time. hearing things being said when they aren't, migraine headaches and yes even thoughts of suicide.  Yes great for all of you that can get off this drug.  I just wish there was a Doctor out there that would have seen me BEFORE I went threw all these withdrawls. Perhaps the lighter side is now that I have withdrawn from one of the most expensive anti-depresant out there perhaps I can start on something more reasonable.   Dang, I reread this and I don't even make sense.  Like I said, some can withdraw and live a normal life (makes me wonder who and why they put you on Effexor) while others like myself need some kind of anti-depresent to make it threw the day. C

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SAM, Community Member
1/ 3/11 1:06pm

I feel the same, but what med would be better but work as well?

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rsl, Community Member
4/ 9/11 2:04pm

today is day 28 effexor free, this has been the hardest journey i have ever been on. the only thing  i believe that is getting me through this is my faith and trust in the Lord. the dr. did prescribe a low dose of xanax to help w/ some of withdrawl symptoms it helps some but even be off of the med for 28 days it still is not over. if i ever had any idea that this med could do this to you i would have never had taken it. i do think the public needs more info before starting these kind of meds. i also have been taking vitamins and going to a chiropactor how is very supporting on my journey. when it becomes so bad i just cry to god to save me from this and he does get me through another day. my prayer is one day this will be a memory and i wll be able to say with the help of the Lord i made it!! I wonder how long that will be.

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Kptica, Community Member
4/15/11 11:30am
I have taken effexor for over 4 years on and off, I m been reading your posts and here is my advice, I know that everybody is diferent but this is how it worked for me! I have good and bad things to say about this drug and I know that the side effects and getting off it can be a nightmare but also at some point of my life Effexor saved my life, depression is a real disease and it is not something that u can shake off,there are a lot of diferent stuff that u can try before taking antidepressants but sometimes this drugs are the only solution, of coarse for a while untill you get back on your feed and can funtion on your own. Firstable NEVER EVER EVER try to get off it could turkey, pretty much all this drugs have bad a withdrawl reaction and effexor is one of the worse, the best thing to do first is to switch to Prozac or Zolof and then slowly start going off, this won't happen overnight but it is a proccess and it is better to be safe than sorry! 2 take the following supplements:magnesium,omegas,b complex and calcium. Before,during and after going off. Once you are totally off and if you feel like depression is coming back you can add St johns wort (300 mg) or 5 htp(25 to 50 mg) for me 5htp worked better, this supplements are almost like taking a drug but with none or mildler side effects. 3 therapy to find out the real root of your depression and to learn copying techniques to deal with your problems and feelings, excersise excersise,good and healthy food choices,juicing,homepathic remedies, meditation,yoga,time for your self and life changes. Ask yourself. Why do I feel this way? Is my job killing me? Do I need to get out of a relashionship? What is really on the back of my head? What do I need to change? Very important, find the right moment to go off your meds, if u feel that your life is in order and you can deal with it, go for it! But if you still weak and are under stressful circunstances dont do it. Some good tips for those that need to stay on this med and have the bad sex effects( no libido,no sex drive, no climax or enjoyment) try to add or switch to Wellbutrin usually it does the trick, I was on this combo for a while and I really like it. For those experiencing the withdrawl, try Benadryl, I know it sounds crazy but it works! Do your search and ask your doctor. Don't give up, there is hope! Good luck and God bless u all.( pray and trust the Lord) Reply
Meghan, Community Member
6/15/10 1:25pm

I was on a low dose also because I was having panic attacks problems. I tried everything else before effexor because of everything I heard about it. Effexor was the only thing that got my panic attacks to stop for a while, but then they started creeping up on me again so my doctor upped my dosage to 2 50mg pills a day. I could not tolerate the higher doseage at all. So I stopped cold turkey. I was okay for a couple days, but I noticed I was sleeping around the clock. Now that it has been four days I think (I have completely lost track of time) I am extremely dizzy and light headed. I have actaully been searching for my pill bottle to break a 37.5 in half so I can function right now. I babysit 2 kids and go to school so I really do not have the time to sleep these side effects away. I also noticed I have a very short fuse. The slightests things make me udderly pissed off and I cannot control it. I wish there was another way besides cold turkey and weaning to get off this stuff. I would try and see my doctor, but he is always booked and I can never get in. Go figure, someone who is dealing with a persons mental health has no time for their patients. I am also taking 1mg xanax as needed. I have actually found that has helped with a side effects a little. I am in no way saying you should go get xanax to help you. I have it because of my panic attacks. Conteracting one drug with another addictive drug is never a good idea, but it is helping me function like a "normal" human being.

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JP, Community Member
5/ 3/10 10:42am

I have been on the 37.5 for about 3 mo. and decided to get off of it due to way it was effecting my sex life. 2 days after stopping it I started having the feeling ofcar sickness and an overall  weirdness that is unexplainable until I read every elses symptoms of withdrawel and dreaming like crazy. Definitly NOT taking it any more. So no matter what the dosage this med. is going to give you withdrawals!!!!!!!

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Effexor Hater, Community Member
12/12/09 1:04pm

It has taken me two years to wean myself from the 300 mg dosage my doctor prescribed down to 12.5 mg. The trip was horrendous and my doctor was absolutely no help. He gave me a plan to wean myself down in a matter of a couple of months, and that was just not possible due to the severe withdrawal effects of the drug.

 

Once I got below 100 mg, the anxiety attackes STOPPED. The hot flashes STOPPED (which I had been having for all the time I was on Effexor--and I am not menopausal). The paranoia STOPPED. And for the first time in years, I began to be able to get to sleep without sleeping pills.

 

I was prescribed Effexor because I could not sleep. My doctor said that if I felt better about life, I could relax enough to sleep, and when it didn't help, he just kept adding more to the prescription. I even went to another doctor who concurred with this regimen.

 

I had to give the drug up because my insurance coverage was dropped, and I have never felt better--but it took two years and lots of my own money--I was unable to function if I went any faster getting off this poison. Getting about 20 minutes of sunshine and fresh air per day have helped with the insomnia. And now that I can sleep, I am able to exercise without feeling like I am dying.

 

I am still on the 12.5 mg/day (I chop a 25 mg pill in half) because I still get terrible brain shivers and audio hallucinations without it. I am scared to go cold turkey, because I don't think I could function for a while.

 

Other improvements to my life since reducing my effexor intake by about 90%--better short-term memory, happier, losing weight.

 

I hate, hate, hate this stuff and the doctors who prescribe it. It took nearly three years from my life.

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Danny, Community Member
5/ 3/10 5:33am

I hate what I am going through,,  I have tried to get off this medication for three years.  I was put on it ten years ago due to anxiety over the death of a friend.  At that time I was told there were no side effects or withdraw after taking this medication and I could go off it anytime I wanted.  The withdraw has been horible.  My depression is outrages.  I have never been depressed in my life and now I have trouble functioning.   I want to sue this company! 

Danny In Las Vegas

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Dottie Maxwell, Community Member
10/ 1/10 11:24pm

Chris, it has been over a year now how are you doing? I have been on Effxor ever since it came out about 15 years! I am on 275mg. I have just gone off one 75 mg. about 4 weeks ago. I feel awful, but it is hard to tell what it is as I have fibromyalgia as well. My legs want to fall out from under me if I sit too long and that does not usually happen with my fibro. I also fill sick to my stomach, and dizzy, and forget things I have know how to do for YEARS!! Please tell me your are well now. thank you, Dottie

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Kat, Community Member
10/19/10 12:07am

Wow! I can't believe how many people have gone through the same hellish withdawal nightmare that I have and I agree that this drug company should be sued and every Doctor that prescribes them. Maybe then they would treat the real medical problem we go to see them for and not just turn us into zombies.

I was on 225 mg Effexor, they kept increasing the dosage for every health issue I went in for. With my steady weight gain, constant thoughts of suicide and other problems associated with this drug I finally decided to call it quits. I went cold turkey (not recommended) I did go to a herbalist for supplements to help with withdrawals. Went through 2 weeks of undescribeable horror but am happy to report that I made it and life is looking REAL good, I see a bright future . Best of luck to all of you going through this and remember the withdrawals won't last forever and its worth it!!

 

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Kat, Community Member
10/19/10 12:16am

Wow! I can't believe how many people have gone through the same hellish withdawal nightmare that I have and I agree that this drug company should be sued and every Doctor that prescribes them. Maybe then they would treat the real medical problem we go to see them for and not just turn us into zombies.

I was on 225 mg Effexor, they kept increasing the dosage for every health issue I went in for. With my steady weight gain, constant thoughts of suicide and other problems associated with this drug I finally decided to call it quits. I went cold turkey (not recommended) I did go to a herbalist for supplements to help with withdrawals. Went through 2 weeks of undescribeable horror but am happy to report that I made it and life is looking REAL good, I see a bright future . Best of luck to all of you going through this and remember the withdrawals won't last forever and its worth it!!

 

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Wren, Community Member
7/ 1/09 4:03pm

Danielle:

     I was on Effexor 150mg for over a year.  I spoke with my doctor about getting off the meds too.  He started the decrease from 150mg to 75mg over a three week period.  Then I went to 37.5mg for a full week.  He then prescribed a 90mg Prozac weekly pill.  This pill will distribute the dosage over the week.  Little by little you get something everyday.  During the 37.5mg and the Prozac I did experience a little dizzness, but nothing I couldn't handle.  I suggest that you contact your Dr. about the 37.5mg dosage and the 1 Prozac weekly pill. 

 

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

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maqsood, Community Member
7/11/09 11:41am

Prozac 20 mg not 90 correct it.

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0604, Community Member
7/ 6/09 8:07pm

I was also put on Effexor for migraine treatment.  I have been on 150mg for about 2 years.  I stopped taking it on my own about 3 weeks ago and am misreable!  I've experienced nausea, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal cramping, and horrible hot flashes.  I have now decided to go to my doctor to get off the other two daily meds he has put me on.  Hopefully it won't be as bad.  Thanks to everyone who posted on this site...it helped me to see that it was the Effexor causing these problems.

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manda85984, Community Member
7/ 7/09 7:43pm

I was on Effexor 150mg for about 3 years and decided to get off. My doc and I weaned me off slowly over a month and I took my last 37.5mg pill a week ago. Aside from being dizzy, I didnt experience anything too bad. But that was because my doctor advised me to take Vitamin b complex and antihistamines (benadryl) and I really think it helped! Now I am almost done with all the symptoms, just a little dizzyness here or there. Its possible to get off this drug!

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Liz, Community Member
10/17/09 2:06am

I was on two 75mg of Effexor XR for two years.  My Doctor said Effexor made migraines worse.  I came off it by decreasing it in three weeks.  I still suffered from what felt like electric shocks in my head four days afterwards.  I am now on Fluox two 20mg a day but have only been on it for three weeks so am hoping it will kick in within six weeks otherwise I have to take three tablets.

Never go cold turkey with Effexor Xr.  I know how you are feeling as I tried it once.  I told my Chemist and he told me to start taking it again slowly.  Effexor seems a very difficult drug to come off.

I take Imigran for migraines and they stop them straight away.  I have High Blood Pressure so have to be careful.  I take Seroquel to sleep.  If anyone knows anything about Seroquel could they let me know please.  With Effexor I took one 75mg and one 35mg per day, then one week of 75mg a day, then one week of 35mg a day to get off it.  Now I have hit rock bottom.  Disregard what I said about Effexor-XR giving you migraines I think it was another drug that does that.

I would start the Effexor-XR again and come off it slowly if you wish to come off it.

Good Luck

Liz

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tanya, Community Member
6/16/10 9:17am

Hi I am having bad side effects from celaprex and was just weaned from 300mg effexor , this is the worst ever I have weird feelings like feeling like I am going to go crazy and loose my mind,I feel light headed,dizzy,nausious,tired,lips are always going numb even my eyes r going blurry vision I just feel like I cant do anything anymore and I am always depressed this sucks:( but I saw ur post here and I see that you are going through all of this too, I just hope all of this goes away soon I cant go through this anymore I always say in my my mind that I will feel better it will just take one day at a time and I hope the same for you:) pls get back to me  maybe this will help us get through it by talking to one another

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Sandra, Community Member
2/ 1/11 5:32pm

I've been on EffexorXR for 11 years. It was diagnosed for severe hot flashes that only increased to 15 times a 24 hr period for over 15 years. Effexor definately worked to make them go away. That was a huge relief, but I have a sensitive system, and the drug needed to be built up slowly by breaking a 37.5 mg tablet the size of a baby aspirin into quarters, and making sure it was taken with a full meal or it would cause nausea.

     I eventually built up to 75mg in the capsule. It kept the hot flashes in check, but had it's own side effects, like drowsiness, confusion, and sleep problems along with dizziness. I have never fallen down so many times in my life.

     It took my luggage getting lost with the pills in it for me to realize how severe the symptoms are when you miss your dosage. That's when I decided to reduce the mgs.

     I cut back to 37.5 mg on my own due to a doctors' office problem, and experienced very severe symptoms very much like seratonin syndrome. I had a bad reaction that lasted a week. This happened once a month for 10 months.

     Now I'm trying to reduce the 37.5 mg cap to every other day by using portions of the "generic" venfaxaline tablet being cut down. The symptoms were again very difficult. My pharmacist suggested only a 10% reduction every 2 weeks, so that's what I'm doing now, and I feel much better. It's just difficult to be precise with the tablet cutting, so I guestimate.

     The hot flashes are still being kept away and I'm feeling more like myself, so it's all good.

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Healthy Gal, Community Member
4/24/10 3:15pm

I am on Effexor and am looking to get off with as least amount of withdrawal as possible.

 

In addition to speaking with my western doctor, I am also seeking advice from naturopaths, herbologists and other natural healers to find out what works best for my body.

Seek out a naturopath or go to lef.org (life extension) to get your blood thoroughly tested (hormone levels). The information gathered from these tests will be used to put your body back in balance. It takes WORK and consistency, so don't give up.

 

My belief is that you can work through many of our "western" ailments by changing our diet.

 

Here are some other things that have worked for me so far:

1. Read the labels of everything you eat. Choose organic foods whenever possible. Begin to "google" all of the ingredients that are not familiar to you.

2. Get rid of processed SUGAR in your diet (go search for "Death by Sugar" on utube). This includes high fructose corn syrup and any other name it is called.

3. Get some strips to urinate on to see if your body is acidic or alkaline.

4. Get your body more alkaline... as you get off processed sugar, your body will be less acidic if you also don't ingest artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc.

5. Find a great Herbologist. I found one and he has provided me with some herbal treatments for some of my other ailments.

6. If you smoke or drink heavy amounts of alcohol be diligent to get rid of both of these habits as quickly as possible.

 

If you would like additional info, let me know.

To Your Health!

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gringoloco, Community Member
3/ 5/11 2:58am

I was taking Effexor for 7 1/2 years. I started out with 250-300 if memory serves since its been so long. I also had those intense withdrawal symptoms. Throughout the years I have steadily decreased the dosage until I was breaking the smallest dose of 25mg in half.  I'm taking the generic effexor aka venlafaxine.  The smallest dose of effexor that I know of is 37.5. So if you really want to get off of this rollercoaster ride of withdrawals I suggest you what I did. Going from 50mg to 25mg was tough for about 6 hours. 25mg to 12.5mg was bad for about two hours. Mostly dizzy and plain old feeling crappy. Pretty interesting dreams though. Not like the nightmares on the higher doses. Once I went from 12.5mg to nothing it took about a day for the withdrawal symptoms to disappear.  It should be noted I was on 50mg for about 6 months before dropping to 25mg. The same for 75mg down to 50mg. The 25mg to 12.5 was only for two weeks. I went to the doctor to get my prescription refilled and he suggested I might want to try to get off of it since my dosage wasn't really doing anything for me other than feeding my "addiction." 

As of this writing, I have been off of effexor or its generic cousin for 6 months now and don't have the groggy/dream awake feeling I sometimes had while on the medication. I do get more easily frustrated at daily things. I was initially taking effexor to help with impulse control for my ADD and to also help with the anxiety associated with it. In all fairness it did help me a lot. However, missing a dose or running out and not getting to the drugstore in time was a very harrowing experience. Nobody should have to be subjected to that torture just to help with whatever reason you're taking the medicine for in the first place.

Anyway, try my suggestion of cutting back slowly over time and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Goodluck,

GringoLoco

 

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Jo Jo, Community Member
7/ 9/09 12:29pm

I am sorry, but you sound like you are reading from a pamplet!

No matter how you try to come off this medication, it is going to be a tough go.

I am going through hell, and just keep holding onto the fact that it is going to subside soon.

No Doctor in their right mind would prescribe this medication!  And don't let them prescribe it without additonal counceling.

This is a "give em a pill and everything will be okay" mindset.  Doctors should be ashamed of theirselves!

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e_hand, Community Member
8/ 3/09 8:58am

That's shit.

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Randi, Community Member
8/ 4/09 2:29am

I have been on Effexor for over 8 years.  I have tried to lower the dose, it doesn't work.  I get brain fizzles and dizzyness.  My dr. won't take me off of it because I'm doing fine with it and does not want me to go backward.  Sometimes its not worth it to get off the meds.  If you can't afford it, contact a mental health clinic as they might be able to get it for you free of charge though the company that makes Effexor.  Why do you people want off your meds if they are helping?  Paxil gives the same effect when getting off of it. I went through withdrawls getting off Klonopin too.  One valium took care of that problem.  I'm now off of valium.  Nothing you get off of is going to be easy.  Is it worth it? I have no idea and don't want to even think about it. 

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MichellDee, Community Member
12/11/09 9:47pm

these drugs cause serious long term effects such as vision disruption, breast cancer, there are many more. This is why people want to get off of these drugs. Why did you try to lower your dose. Brain fizzles and dizziness is not normal its addiction.

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Randi, Community Member
12/15/09 1:15am

I've taken off 37.5 mg, in 2 months and I feel great!  Next month I'll take off another 37.5.

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Effexor Hater, Community Member
12/12/09 1:09pm

I couldn't agree with you more.

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Effexor Hater, Community Member
12/12/09 1:09pm

I couldn't agree with you more.

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Kimi, Community Member
8/10/09 12:21pm

Hi,

 

I want to share my experience with Effexor and tapering off, going off, attempting to stop taking this medicine.  My doctor put me on this because he said that although I have BPPV (top end vertigo), my panic attacks and my "dizziness" were also part of having migraine associated dizziness.  So, prescribing Effexor seemed like a good idea....in late 2004. 

 

I have been taking this medicine while trying to figure out why I am dizzy and cannot lean back or lay on my right side.  All the meds that I was given just increased the symptoms but I was PANIC free until I had an "attack" that they couldn't tell me what it was.

 

Several times I have attempted to go off this medicine.  All with the same results.  I guess it's called brain shivers, but feels like my brain is being electrically shocked or it stops for a second and then starts up with three times the amount of impulse it needs.  It's like being jumped with jumper cables about ever 15 seconds.  I was taking 75 mg.  I have been told that my brain is very sensitive, which makes sense because I am very sensitive to most medicines.  Three times of attempting stopping resulted in a near psychotic episode where I was crying, yelling, physically have a fit, having the brain jumping/electrical thing that happens with increasing intensity.  All with the same result, give me a pill and it was okay after about three hours. 

 

On Effexor, I gained weight, binged out on sweets, craved carbohydrates, impulsive purchases, inability to make certain rational decisions, mood swings, excessive sweating, dizziness (beyond my BPPV symptoms) and the list goes on.  Found out that I was going through menopause as well......which is a whole set of extra symptoms that may appear to be related to Effexor side effects.

 

However, once I found a doctor that could help me to deal with my dizziness and actually had me work through the Epley manuever for that problem, the reasons for being on Effexor were null.  So, the last time that I had this script filled, I bumped it down to 37.5 mg capsules.  I had been taking it for six months and my doctor indicated that it makes the BPPV worse, so needed to get off of it.  I found that on this lower dose, I was as compulsive, less sweaty and less weird.

 

So, two weeks ago, because I cannot continue to afford $75 for a three month supply.....I began to take one every other day.  I did find that I had the little shock episodes about 24 hours after I took my last pill.  And those little episodes did begin mild and gradually got worse, but since I had lowered my dose, it wasn't as bad.  I was able to get through the four days of those little shocks.  I had to take a prozac or two to keep me from having heavy shocks.  I begain this 8-4-09 and on Sunday 8-9-09, there wasn't that feeling of shocks in my brain.  A little dizzy or nauseated still.

 

My one doctor said that if you take prozac about two weeks before attempting to stop Effexor, and begin the every other day then just stop, it helps.  I implore anyone that wants to stop.....just do it when you can be at home right at the time of the weekend or take days off from work. 

 

It's amazing what my body has built up in toxins and stress.  I was "itchy" for about 24 hours.  Not from touching things that made me allergic, but just itchy everywhere like the little shocks in my brain went through my nervous system and every nerve ending would occassionally receive a message that I was itchy wherever it ended.

 

That's my story......a long and painful story, and not the end of it for sure.....and I hope it helps someone else attempting to go off this medicine or any other Serotonin Inhibitor like Effexor.  I know Effexor is the worst and I truly believe that it has changed my brain forever.

 

Good luck!

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julie, Community Member
9/ 7/09 3:01am

Hi, I am responding to your experience with Effexor.  I was prescribed Effexor because I hit menopause at a fabulous 40.  It hit hard with horrible hot flashes.  My female nurse practicioner prescribed this med because it counteracts the hot flashes.  The problem is that it also makes me have hives, has made me gain weight and not be able to make good decisions.  I ran out and was out of town.  Oops.  Bad bad thing.  By day three I was dizzy, pukey, and felt plain weird.  I guess I didn't realize this was a dependency drug.  For someone who's never really taken any drugs or many prescriptions, it's hard to deal with.  I am terribly upset that I'm addicted to a drug because I am menopausal.  I'm not depressed, I don't have anxiety, but I was prescribed an anti-depressant for hot flashes.  I have taken it for about 9 months.  Have any idea how bad the withdrawls will be??

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Barb3399, Community Member
9/20/09 2:56pm

I was also put on Effexor for thte same reason, went to a Dr. for arithis and she decided to wean me off the Effexor.  Within 3 days I could barely hold myself upright I was so dizzy and felt like my brain was being buzzed along with constant nausea.  Today I had to cancel going to the movies with my grandduaghters because i literally couldn't function.  I lay in bed crying and thinking I have had enough of feeling bad all the time and would just like to give up.  I finally was able to crawl out of bed to take my meds and today happen to be the day to take the effexor and then slept and actually could get out of bed, still have some of the dizziness.  I am so depressed between the weaning off this med and all the pain I have.  I will go back to taking the effexor because I can't afford to feel this way since I have to go to work.

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Patty, Community Member
9/22/09 1:43pm

Barb--don't get back on it! the effects will go away, promise! Let me give you a short summary on my withdrawal. I was on effexor for 4 years..decided enough was enough. I had no idea how terrible the withdrawals were going to be, I missed work for 2 weeks. I felt awful but was determined to not get back on the drug no matter what. I finally went to my primary doctor and he fixed my withdrawals! This is what he did for me:      I had SEVERE vertigo, could barely stand up-- antivert made it super manageable.

           Heartburn for the first time in my life, it was constant-my doctor put me on pepcid.

           asthma for the first time- took advair and proventil, took care of the shortness of breath.

My withdrawals lasted exactly 6 weeks, after 6 weeks I stopped taking the above medications for the side effects and I was 100% ok! Had I known about this I would have taken them from day 1 of stopping the effexor instead of waiting 2 weeks and missing work over it.

GO TO YOUR PRIMARY DOCTOR, he can prescribe meds to counteract your specific symptoms while you feel them!

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iknowhowufeel, Community Member
9/25/09 12:28am

Thanks for posting the suggestions for the vertigo symptoms.  This has been my worst symptom of withdrawal.  I've been taking Effexor xr for about 6 years for depression/anxiety.  It truly helped me.  But, now that my husband and I have decided we would like to try to get pregnant, I know I had to get off.  There have not been enough studies of the use of it during pregnancy.  I have NO desire to chance it.  I tried once a few months back to get off of the Effexor and the withdrawal symptoms were miserable.  Delayed trying to get pregnant.  I got back on the 150mg I'd been taking forever.  Symptoms went away.

Decided about 6 weeks ago to try and wean off again.  I went about it by opening the pill and removing more and more of the contents each night.  It's been working relatively withdrawal symptom-free.  I got down to the smallest amount about 6 days ago and finally stopped.  BAM!  Here come the nasty symptoms again.  Nausea and vertigo seem to be the most annoying.  Plus, the tears and anxiety have returned.  I've spent the last two days very unproductive and trying to hide it all from my children.  They know mommy has been crying though.  It's kind of hard to hide.

I see my psychiatrist tomorrow and I've given her a heads up on what's going on.  I'm going to request the vertigo meds.  Thanks.

Good luck to all of you going through this.  It's very, very difficult.  Hang in there.

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grammie, Community Member
10/ 9/09 12:38am

I have been reading these posts in a state of total panic.  I have been taking effoxor for 10 years at 75mg for tinnitis and just in January went to 150 due to horrible depression - thought it would help.  The depression got worse and I finally went to a psychiatrist who has me on Wellbutrin as i try to get off the Effexor.  It is horrible - brain surge if I move, horrible anxiety, acute depression.  I don't know what to do

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lovinglabs, Community Member
11/ 9/09 10:25pm

I too have gotten off of effexor after 7 years , my doctor put me on wellbrutin, I went straight from effexor to wellbrutin.  This is day 8 and I still feel like i'm dying.  I have the wierdest symptoms. major anxiety, I feel like my brain is pulsating, I'm having major hot flashes, sweat will just pour off of me. My  whole body aches.  My doctor said to allow atleast 10 days for the wellbrutin to take effect.  I don't know if I'm feeling this way from the well brutin or coming off of the effexor?  I feel like I should switch to something else?  I'm not sure what to do.

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zoodeb, Community Member
5/ 9/10 11:04am

I have been on Effexor for over 12 years - it worked fine as an antidepressant, But, withdrawal symptoms set in after five hours if you forget a dose - if you take it at night and forget, the nightmares are like a bad LSD trip.   I have tried to get off it several times - in addition I have developed high blood pressure -  but just couldn't cope with the sickness.  Three months ago, I decided I'd had enough.  Plus, it wasn't working that well for depression anymore.  I was taking 150 mg at the time.  I tapered off VERY SLOWLY, waiting several weeks between lowered dosages.  I switched to the non XR, so I could take even smaller dosages.  I ended up taking one quarter of the smallest 50mg tablet - ie 12 1/2 mg so small I had trouble picking it up! - for several weeks.  Even with this I would be sick in the morning.  I finally decided to quit it all three days ago.  I have been so ill - vertigo, nausea, disoriented.  Difficult to focus - dangerous to drive.  I could not remember where I was at a stopsign yesterday, on a route I use all the time.  Terrible despair and crying jags over small things.  Dulled yet on edge at the same time.  Very difficult to do anything.  I live alone, and so have NO support with this.  Impossible to get a psychiatrist even to talk to for a minute.   I am in complete despair.  To top it off,  I have had a terrible loss in my life - my boyfriend of the past six years died within a month of a melanoma diagnosis.  But, I was so far in to the tapering off process, I just couldn't contemplate going through it again.  So, life has been a living nightmare.  I never dreamed when I finally found help for my lifelong depression fifteen years ago that the helping drug itself would be a life sentence.  And, I never knew the withdrawal, no matter how cautious and careful, would last so long and be so disabling.  My only encouragement in these dark days is that some of you seem to have finally gotten past it.  If what helps you, ends up killing you, what's the point of anything?????

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zoodeb, Community Member
5/ 9/10 11:07am

I have been on Effexor for over 12 years - it worked fine as an antidepressant, But, withdrawal symptoms set in after five hours if you forget a dose - if you take it at night and forget, the nightmares are like a bad LSD trip.   I have tried to get off it several times - in addition I have developed high blood pressure -  but just couldn't cope with the sickness.  Three months ago, I decided I'd had enough.  Plus, it wasn't working that well for depression anymore.  I was taking 150 mg at the time.  I tapered off VERY SLOWLY, waiting several weeks between lowered dosages.  I switched to the non XR, so I could take even smaller dosages.  I ended up taking one quarter of the smallest 50mg tablet - ie 12 1/2 mg so small I had trouble picking it up! - for several weeks.  Even with this I would be sick in the morning.  I finally decided to quit it all three days ago.  I have been so ill - vertigo, nausea, disoriented.  Difficult to focus - dangerous to drive.  I could not remember where I was at a stopsign yesterday, on a route I use all the time.  Terrible despair and crying jags over small things.  Dulled yet on edge at the same time.  Very difficult to do anything.  I live alone, and so have NO support with this.  Impossible to get a psychiatrist even to talk to for a minute.   I am in complete despair.  To top it off,  I have had a terrible loss in my life - my boyfriend of the past six years died within a month of a melanoma diagnosis.  But, I was so far in to the tapering off process, I just couldn't contemplate going through it again.  So, life has been a living nightmare.  I never dreamed when I finally found help for my lifelong depression fifteen years ago that the helping drug itself would be a life sentence.  And, I never knew the withdrawal, no matter how cautious and careful, would last so long and be so disabling.  My only encouragement in these dark days is that some of you seem to have finally gotten past it.  If what helps you, ends up killing you, what's the point of anything?????

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Dianna, Community Member
8/14/10 6:38am

Hi zoodeb, Sorry to hear you are having such a bad time, I know what it feels like, Two years ago I withdrew from antideppresant Deptran and never suffered anything Like I have with Effexor XR. Wished I'd never started taking them, I find it hard to understand why doctors are using these drugs when there were no worse symptons with the old ones. I didn't get brain shocks, worse depression or vomiting, and the nightmares drive me crazy. Why are they prescribing drugs for people who are at their lowest only to let them become even lower {if possible} when they decide to be strong and stop taking them. I can't help you or myself for that matter all I can do is to wish us all luck in dealing with this demon. I hope oneday they will find a cure for depression that doesn't cause worse depression. Try and stay strong, I guess thats all any of us can do. Easier said than done.Good luck  Dianna

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Dianna, Community Member
8/14/10 6:38am

Hi zoodeb, Sorry to hear you are having such a bad time, I know what it feels like, Two years ago I withdrew from antideppresant Deptran and never suffered anything Like I have with Effexor XR. Wished I'd never started taking them, I find it hard to understand why doctors are using these drugs when there were no worse symptons with the old ones. I didn't get brain shocks, worse depression or vomiting, and the nightmares drive me crazy. Why are they prescribing drugs for people who are at their lowest only to let them become even lower {if possible} when they decide to be strong and stop taking them. I can't help you or myself for that matter all I can do is to wish us all luck in dealing with this demon. I hope oneday they will find a cure for depression that doesn't cause worse depression. Try and stay strong, I guess thats all any of us can do. Easier said than done.Good luck  Dianna

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grammie, Community Member
10/ 9/09 12:38am

I have been reading these posts in a state of total panic.  I have been taking effoxor for 10 years at 75mg for tinnitis and just in January went to 150 due to horrible depression - thought it would help.  The depression got worse and I finally went to a psychiatrist who has me on Wellbutrin as i try to get off the Effexor.  It is horrible - brain surge if I move, horrible anxiety, acute depression.  I don't know what to do

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micjoe, Community Member
5/ 9/10 10:47am

I can very much relate to you.  I was prescribed 37.5 mg effexor 2 and a half years ago for hot flashes.  I tried almost 2 years ago to get off of them and was very sick.  Tried to take one every other day and then went 4 days with none and ended up going back on them.  I have been on half of my 37.5 pill for about 4 months and am now on day 8 off of them completely.  I still have the brain zaps and dizziness.  I have no history of depression or anxiety and did this thinking it would be safer than hormones.  I would tell anyone that doesn't absolutely need this, don't take it!  I'm remaining optomistic that I will get back to normal, but it's very scary to think what it has done to my brain. 

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sojourner8, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:27pm

I wanted to thank you for sharing your well written and content rich post.  It's good to know that ultimately you were able to mange the withdrawal and get to your goal of ending Effexor.  I'm also glad you explained the part Prozac played and how long you had to take it.  Take good care, Lisa

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Jilita, Community Member
10/10/09 2:46pm

I have been on Effexor for 10+ years mostly cause I'm afraid of the withdrawals. I tried to go off in 2003 and titrated down slowly. But the withdrawals were the worst I've ever experienced. I became psychotic and cried all the time and was in so much emotional pain, I couldn't bear it and had to go back on. But it was the catalyst for the biggest depressive episode I've ever had. Lots of panic and anxiety too. I would be very careful with Effexor, especially since a lot of p-docs's say there is no such thing as Effexor withdrawal. They are full of it. I am considering going off Effexor again, as it's not working for me anymore, but my p-doc wants to hospitalize me for it. Be very careful and work with a doctor you trust.

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Liz, Community Member
10/17/09 1:43am

I was on two 75mg tablets of Effexor for two years.  Someone told me this drug was dangerous so I told my Dr I wanted to come off it.  He wasn't pleased but I came off gradually within three weeks.  After stopping I got electric shock feelings in my head for four days.  One day after stopping Effexor I started on Prozac (Fluox) two 20mg a day. 20mg of Prozac is equal to 75mg Effexor.  I have got terribly depressed.  First I just slept, now I can't stand being in my bedroom on my own.  I was told Prozac usually starts to pick you up after six weeks.  I just seem to be getting worse so am hoping I will pick up.  I am also on Seroquel at night to sleep and I want to take this earlier each night.  I just want to take the pain inside away.  I need to see a Counsellor but am scared as I will have to talk about my daughter and she caused the problem so don't know if it will help or make me worse.  I can't seem to take the first step.  I only get depressed when something goes wrong with my grownup children and usually I come right fast but this time its like the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Good luck to you all

 

Liz

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angelflies, Community Member
7/ 7/11 11:27am

Hi I just recently was takin off the effexor as it really made me go insane so to speak. My drpession became worse then it was before I tookd it. Now my dr did give me a 7 day pacl of lexapro to helpwith the withdrawls only problem now is I get the read bad dizzy spell to the point i cant stand with out falling over. Hell just sitting here room spins. It not like my normal vertigo I use to get this is totally dkifferent.

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angelflies, Community Member
7/ 7/11 11:27am

Hi I just recently was takin off the effexor as it really made me go insane so to speak. My drpession became worse then it was before I tookd it. Now my dr did give me a 7 day pacl of lexapro to helpwith the withdrawls only problem now is I get the read bad dizzy spell to the point i cant stand with out falling over. Hell just sitting here room spins. It not like my normal vertigo I use to get this is totally dkifferent.

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kicker, Community Member
7/16/11 10:44am

Hi I have been on 75mg  for a few years I want off so I took 50% of the drug out of the capsule and take approximately 37mg now have 4 days behind me  and have some side effects but nothing really bad can't sleep very well my brain seems a little thick and believe it or not I have some numbness in my little fingers. I will stay on 37mg for a few more days then take 37mg then take 37mg every other day for a week then 37mg every two days for a week then quit and see what happens

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kicker, Community Member
7/16/11 10:44am

Hi I have been on 75mg  for a few years I want off so I took 50% of the drug out of the capsule and take approximately 37mg now have 4 days behind me  and have some side effects but nothing really bad can't sleep very well my brain seems a little thick and believe it or not I have some numbness in my little fingers. I will stay on 37mg for a few more days then take 37mg then take 37mg every other day for a week then 37mg every two days for a week then quit and see what happens

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Susan, Community Member
4/15/14 11:09am

I am beginning to withdraw from Effexor and am under a doctor's care. I experienced horrible withdrawals from Abilify and Cymbalta, so I know what I am in for. I've done a ton of research about controlling symptoms, and have come up with omega 3 (flax), vitamin B, and Benadryl (diphenhydramine). My doctor has also prescribed 50mg of zoloft. I'm wondering about marijuana to help with symptoms? I know it could diminish the nausea and stomach issues. Have you any research on this? Thanks.

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Greg, Community Member
4/25/08 12:26pm

Casey,

 

I have been on and off Effexor for a few years. I taper down in the spring and start again in the fall. I have tried other anti-depressants but the Effexor seems to work the best for my seasonal depression. I am lucky to have only had minor withdrawal symptoms - slight headache, some of the "brain shiver" that others have described, and feeling a bit more tired. I have found that more exercise helps, which I am usually increasing in the summer anyway. Definitely follow your provider's instructions and contact him or her if you feel like you are withdrawing too quickly. Be careful of reading too many "withdrawal is hell" posts on the internet. I am sure the posters are being accurate, but that may not be your experience, and it is probably not a representative sample. (People generally don't post to report that all is well). I also try to remember that some of the symptoms may be from the depression that I am treating in the first place. Side effects from the Effexor and the withdrawal from it are annoying at times, but for me, the depression is hell. I will take the side effects over the depression any day.

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Tim novi michigan, Community Member
7/29/09 7:57pm

I was prescribed effexor (originally 75mg then 150mg) over seven years ago.  It seemed to work for me but I would have brain freezes and slurred speech.  I had to go to three psychiatrists in order to get them to address the problem.  The first doctor left the area, my second doctor was hard to understand because of his strong accent and my third doctor would fall asleep during our sessions and didn't hear my concerns.  I finally found a doctor that has gradually weened me off the medicine.  Since that last day I have been going through a living hell.  My doctor is out of town and nobody seemed to want to help treat the problem.  I went to the emergency room (suggested by my primary care docotr) and the hospital basically turned me away because I was neither suicidal or homicidal.  I continually tried explain the withdrawal symptoms. I spent eight years in the Marines and I have never experienced pain this severe. They would not even admit that I was experiencing withdrawals.  On my release form they stated that I was experiencing anxiety. Anxiety my ***.  I talked to an actual doctor for 30 seconds and she gave me another doctor's name to follow up with.  Guess what?  It was my doctor who was out of town. Did she even read my file? I believe these hospitals are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies?  I'm sure they'll bill my insurance accordingly.  In my opinion don't ever take this medicine unless you plan on staying on it the rest of your life. I can't explain the horrific effects this drug is having on me.  Please do not do it!!!

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LORNA, Community Member
5/ 8/08 5:58pm

I think if is different for everyone.  I was taking 375 mg of effexor and am now on 150 mg...I reduced this overnight and I would not recommend doing his.  You may expect headaches, brain zaps and extreme fatigue.  However I was unable to focus on my job and needed to lower my meds (I had been off work due to depression at the higher dose.)  It is generally recommended to wean off very gradually..I saw an actual dosage decline rate on an Effexor website.  If you are feeling better though with the drug, be happy that it works.  Nobody wants a diabetic to cut back on the insulin as soon as they feel a bit better.  It could be that you feel better due to the drugs.  GOOD LUCK..LORNA

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Suzanne, Community Member
5/21/08 3:32pm

The first piece of advice I will give you is to see your doctor. You will need his/her assistance. I had been taking Effexor for about 8 years and I did not want to be tied to it any longer.  My physician advised me to taper off very, very slowly. 

 

Initially, I was prescribed 225 mg.  Each time I tapered off, I took 37.5 mg less.

 

My plan looked something like this:

First taper: 150 mg + 37.5 mg

Second taper: 150 mg

Third taper: 75 mg + 37.5 mg

Fourth taper: 37.5 mg

Fifth taper: 37.5 mg every other day...

I took my last pill about a week ago.

 

Each taper period, lasted for 2 or more months. I took the drug at the same time each day.  During this time I also took (and am still taking), a high-quality source of Omega-3 fatty acid in very large doses and B-Complex.  I drink lots of water and eat a very balanced diet and try to get fresh air and a walk every day. After I took my last pill I began a detox tea, an herbal nervine in the evening to aid with sleep and relaxation, and last but not least Bach Flower Remedies . . . I am also seeing a Master Herbalist/Naturopath for guidance.

 

Even after all of this I am still experiencing withdrawal, although not as badly as some of the cases I've read here and on other websites. I am experiencing electric shock-like sensations, mood swings, brain fog, anxiety, nausea, balance problems, etc. However, it is bearable and the severity lessens considerably every day.  

 

According to what I've been reading it can take weeks or even a few months to be free of symptoms.  But it's all worth it.  Just to be free of this drug is worth it...

 

 

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Suzanne, Community Member
5/21/08 3:38pm

I forgot this in my previous post . . . the other withdrawal symptom I've had is forgetfulness. The other thing to note is to make sure that you tell those around you that you are going off of these things, i.e., your spouse, close friends, children if they're old enough.  The moral support I received was astounding.  And please, please, do not go off of these things cold-turkey.

 

Take good care.   

 

 

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stephanie, Community Member
8/16/09 12:36pm

I dont have the money to get my effexor xr 150 I ran out dont know when I can get money. Do you think i will be ok? Im going throw something right know I need to go to the hospital not because of the effexor it my kids they are both pushing me and I been so upset they have been calling me a bitch a they have left bruses on me. But I was wondering seens i dont have any effexor what should I do? There was another time when I didnt have the money i had been off of it for a week or two and I felt so bad. I want to be strong to do this then i can lose some pounds the last time i didnt have it I lost 10 pounds. So i dont know what im going to do because I have none and cant just slowly get off of it im sceard and my heart is jumping around. My family wont help me with my med because they think it all in my head and maybe is but im not a docter. Well thanks for reading hope you can understand what I said.

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canuck, Community Member
8/27/09 7:10pm

If you don't keep up the dosage you are going to be a total basket case....call your doctor, any doctor....tell a hospital....there are ways of getting the medication....at least hear in Canada. Every walk in clinic has massive amounts of this medication which doctors pass out free to their patients....It is a living hell getting off this stuff and everyone I knows who takes it will tell you the same. Don't put yourself or your kids through this. I went off Effexor five years ago and the last five years have been a nightmare for me and my son. I started up again  today.

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MICHELLEY, Community Member
12/ 5/09 3:16am

STOP THIS ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR IMMEDIATLY TELL ANYONE THE LAW, FRIENDS , TOTAL STRANGERS UNTIL THEY HEAR ABOUT ALL OF THESE TRAGEDYS U ARE GOING THROUGH STOP THIS ABUSE IMMEDIATLY FROM YOUR CHILDREN GOD SAYS THIS IS NOT OK AND HE HAS THE FINAL WORD. I PROMISE U IF U ASK JESUS TO HELP U TELL HIM SPECIFICALLY HE WILL DO IT I PROMISE U HAVE TO HEAR AND JUST BELIEVE. I HAVE BEEN THROUGH HELL AND HE IS THE ANSWER TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS. PLEASE PLEASE JUST WALK BY FAITH NOT BY WHAT U SEE. SIGNED SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS AND YES CARES.

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mmoore79, Community Member
2/ 8/10 3:33pm

Amen to that!

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linda duefield, Community Member
7/11/08 11:41am

yes i did go off effexor and yes it is horrible...i ended up in er and they game me shots of benadryl.....also a prescription for ativan to try to keep me calm....a pmd that i went to told me that effexor affects the brain the same way cocain does,,,,i ended up in bed for four weeks,,,,,and by the way,,,even 37 mgs is hard to get off...now for the upside of this .....you can do it but wean yourself down as slowly as possible...seek drs not a psychiatrist help......im sorry that you will be going thru some withdrawl but after that is over you will definetely feel better...

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Dawn, Community Member
7/14/08 6:41pm

I can't begin to explain the discomfort and agitation I have experienced since coming off the Effexor.  My MD started titrating down the dose from 225, then to 150, then 75, and finally 37.5mg.  This happened over the courses of two months.  Today, I'm still dizzy.  My stomach almost always hurts, I have chronic diarrhea and my head kills me.  I would feel this if I missed a dose of the Effexor, but you'd think after tapering and finally stopping some two weeks ago that I'd feel better.  Worse yet: my MD never warned me about these side effects prior to starting me, nor titrating me off the meds.  I'm truly sympathetic to you! 

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Rick, Community Member
7/16/08 1:51pm

I had been on Effexor for many years and had tried to stop cold turkey due to the side effects I was experiencing(mainly no sex drive). After many attempts to stop cold turkey and experiencing the horrible side effects, I decided to try to taper off by taking a capsule every other day. Man, what a mistake! The dizziness was unbearable. So I decided to do some research on the internet and discovered that Effexor depletes the body of a major antioxidant called glutathione. I did more extensive research on glutathione and discovered that it is in fact a major antioxidant produced in the body. So I decided to see if glutathione was available in supplement form and it was! So I ordered a bottle of 250 mg capsules and started taking them while stopping the Effexor. Guess what? The side effects were minimal at best!!! It's been two weeks and I have had very minimal dizziness and slight headaches. Best of all, my sex drive is starting to return. I would definitely suggest to anyone trying to get off Effexor to give this a try. We all know our own bodies. My guess is if you suggested this to your doctor, he would tell you to continue to taper off, but from what I understand, this is a very lengthy and painful process. Good Luck to all!

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Been there..., Community Member
7/25/08 9:13pm

i have -- twice -- both times were miserable.  what dose are you on? I always try to plan to have the next couple of days after a decrease free (so if i decrease on Friday, I want to be off Saturday and Sunda to be able to lay low).  the thing is, when its working you feel fine and like you don't need to be on it; then you get halfway through weaning off and realize you don't feel so good anymore -- you realze how much the higher dose was helping.  good luck!

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babs, Community Member
8/20/08 1:23am

The withdrawal is incredible horrible and can land you in the hospital.  I have been on 150 mgs for about 5 years and sometimes forget to refill on time.  In just 24 hours I have diarrhea, electrical like shocks in my brain and vision, sleep 14 hrs a day, foggy mind and anxiety attacks.  I have no desire to go off of them as they work wonderful for me with no side effects.  Make sure you get an Mds advice and care during this process if you decide to stop taking them.  It may save your life.

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Siscokidsgirl, Community Member
9/ 9/08 7:33pm

My husband is now Effexor free.  After we discovered the terrible withdrawal symptoms were exactly that instead of his truly needing the drug, we found a website that explained how to successfully get off of the drug.  He was taking 75mg extended release capsules.  The doctor said it was okay to try to get off of that drug.  Of course he recommended every other day, anyone who takes Effexor knows that doesn't work at all.  We started by dumping out half of the bb's from inside the capsule for two days.  That went very well, so we dumped a few more.  We didn't actually count the number we were removing, but kept it at about the same level for two days at a time.  Each time we lowered the amount of bb's, we never noticed anything.  However we were finally able to reduce it to only 20 bb's.  We were not able to reduce it by even one without side effects.  We told the doctor of our success, but that we were at a stopping place.  He said that the dose was so low that there was no reason to worry about changing drugs.  He prescribed 25mg of Zoloft.  There were no withdrawl symptoms at all.  After being on the Zoloft for a few weeks, his mood stabilizer was increased and we dropped the Zoloft with no side effects at all.  He is now antidepressant free!  Best of all, he is Effexor free!!!

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Amy, Community Member
9/11/08 11:35am

Unfortunately I think I may still be having withdrawls after almost two weeks of stopping effexor.  I'm sure it didn't help that I stopped cold turkey and was taking both 150 of effexor and 150 of wellbutrin.  I continuously feel nauseous, feeling dizzy, having nightmares regularly, exhausted but can't sleep, bowl changes, and this will sound weird but I hear sounds when I blink my eyes and it also feels like it takes a second for my brain to catch up with my eye movement.  I work in the medical field and know better than to stop taking these medications abruptly and have seen the consequences of doing so first hand but did it anyways.  I know it was dumb.  I have a family history of depression and actually just delt with a death (suicide) of a cousin I was very close to all because of depression.  I guess I was just angry with the disease and wanted to prove that I didn't need any of the meds (and I really did just forget to take them for 2 days and figured what the hell, I'll give em up).  Not a good idea.  I feel much better on them but don't plan to take them anymore.

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Heather, Community Member
9/20/08 3:15pm

I have been on 225 mgs of Effexor xr for 7 years and wanted to come off of it for the last year.  I have chronic headaches and don't see that it has been helping them any, but that is why I was originally put on it to begin with.  My Neurologist seemed tothink that it would be okay for me to just take 75 mgs one week and then be done with it, but even I am not that stupid.  BTW, I am not very impressed with the medical community's lack of knowledge when it comes to drugs and their effects anyway.  I would listen to a pharmacist over a doctor any day of the week.  Doctors shouldn't be the ones writing prescriptions anyway.  They should diagnose and pharmacists should write prescriptions.  Back to the story, I have been trying to taper off of the Effexor for over a month and I almost died night before last because of the side effects, even though I am coming off of it extremely slowly......I am still only taking 150 mgs.  I hear my eyes move in my head (it sounds like a light sabre), extreme dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, can't keep food down but at the same time have gained weight, metal taste in my mouth, horrible night terrors and night sweats, sleep paralysis where the entire left side of my body went cold and numb and my breathing and heart beat was so shallow that I almost died, my chest has gone cold.  I realize these are extreme, but they are not to be balked at.   I also have seizures, so if you are also epileptic like I am, you should definitely watch what you let doctors prescribe to you.  They could kill you and not even know what the hell they have just done because they have no clue about medication whatsoever!!!!!!!  They medical laboratories, however, are a different story...they know what all of the side effects are, however miniscule, because they have been testing them for years on people and rats and animals!!!  They just don't inform the doctors or patients!!!

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AnneT, Community Member
9/20/08 7:54pm

Oh yeah...vertigo, loss of balance like being on a rough seas boat, puking...and this is 7 days after lowering from 37.5mg to a little under 30 mg. Man oh man.

 

I'm now going slower, but feel tearful (is it biochemical or just frustration?), exhausted, no motivation, light-headed.

 

I appreciate the on-line support and information I'm finding. Please please post your experiences and info, too. Right now I'm a bit obsessed, maybe, but checking in every few hours. I recommend the loooong strand that is on abchomeopathy, with info from Mikemo (not that I am into homeopathy - but there are some excellent ideas.)

 

I'm trying everything that I know of to help. My big decision is whether to "give in" and take some of the Prozac liquid my doctor gave me to help withdraw. It sounds like it may be the only way for me to get off the Effexor without being in hospital, but I am terrified that I'll just wind up with more side effects.

 

Please, I'm desperate for advice and experience before I'll be brave enough to take it!

Hang in there. AnneT

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calgary69, Community Member
9/28/09 5:27pm

I have been on Effexor for 10 years and was up to 300+ mg. a day.  I was in a state of confusion so badly that I almost killed myself and a friend by sitting on the railroad tracks waiting for a light to change. I ran to my doctor the next day and she cut my effexor to 150 mg. for 6 weeks, then 75 mg. for another year.  Last week I went away on a Knitting Retreat and forgot my Effexor.  I did not realize it for two days so have decided to come off it altogether.  I do not feel the need to be on it but after reading all these letters about coming off Effexor I have decided to call my doctor and get some advice.  I think I should come off it slowly.  Good luck to you in your journey.  Those brain ZZZZZ are sure uncomfortable and I am dizzy at tmes which is not good when driving a car!!!  Thanks for your advice from everyone.

Mary Ann T.

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calgary69, Community Member
9/28/09 5:27pm

I have been on Effexor for 10 years and was up to 300+ mg. a day.  I was in a state of confusion so badly that I almost killed myself and a friend by sitting on the railroad tracks waiting for a light to change. I ran to my doctor the next day and she cut my effexor to 150 mg. for 6 weeks, then 75 mg. for another year.  Last week I went away on a Knitting Retreat and forgot my Effexor.  I did not realize it for two days so have decided to come off it altogether.  I do not feel the need to be on it but after reading all these letters about coming off Effexor I have decided to call my doctor and get some advice.  I think I should come off it slowly.  Good luck to you in your journey.  Those brain ZZZZZ are sure uncomfortable and I am dizzy at tmes which is not good when driving a car!!!  Thanks for your advice from everyone.

Mary Ann T.

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EMILY, Community Member
9/30/08 1:27pm

PLEASE READ. An actual SUCCESS story!!

 

If you taper like you are told, you will experience some serious vertigo, and maybe a little nausea. After about day 4-5 you will feel much better. I took this stuff for about a year at 150mg, then at 75. Did the 75mg for the last month, every other day and just quit. I had read SO much creepy stuff on the internet that I was scared to do it! Could not find any success stories. My doc told me something that I want to share. What you find on the internet about med issuses is usually worst case scenarios. No one is interested in hearing a normal story or posting one for that matter. This is why I feel inclined to share a NORMAL story. Not to say that others don't experience the worst symptoms, but not all will. More than anything, the vertigo and brain shivers is all I experienced. It was more like drinking the night before and not going to sleep. Just foggy and a little slow for a few days. Try it over a weekend and by the 3rd or 4th day you will be a lot closer to normal. I feel GREAT. No more of that zoned out feeling. All in all, the effexor worked great for me, just felt it was no longer necessary and I was ready to get back to ME!

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AMANDARN, Community Member
7/26/09 11:27pm

No offense but I am 2 1/2 weeks out and it still sucks. I am a Nurse with my BSN and thought like you did. Do what I am told by md and what's the worst that could happen. He knows what he is talking about. YEAH RIGHT. You need to be informed of worst case situations so when they do happen you don't think your losing your mind or something far worse. If i had done the research I would have been better prepared and could have prepared my family better. Glad it worked so great for you but please keep in mind not everyone has it that easy.

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Cheryl, Community Member
10/ 7/08 11:01am

Oh my God yes! It was horrific! I vomited everday, all day. Couldn't even keep water down. The tingles finally went away and I had started to withdrawal form Effexor XR over a month ago. I still can't eat, especially not meat. I have lost my ability to eat. I am quite scared. I have lost almost 20lbs in on month. I have contracted a cellulitis infection because I am so weak. I found this site looking for info on what could be wrong and why I cant eat. Dont take Effexor XR. It is too dangerous!!!Cry

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Raffy, Community Member
10/ 7/08 9:31pm

Best med for chronic depression.  Worst depression med to come off of--period.  It's really like detoxing.  I recommend what another person posted--tell the people around you what is going on b/c you will act differently and probably feel sick--no question.

Do it under the watch of your doc.  

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debrad, Community Member
10/ 8/08 5:05pm

I had a hysterectomy September 11, 2006, and my hormones were not right at all. I got put on Effexor (75 mg) by my OBGYN for my anxiety, to take the edge off. Biggest mistake of my life!!! As like most of you I was never told about the withdraw. I have been on it about a year maybe more and I do not have health insurance, my mother-in-law was getting me samples but since she will be retireing I know I cannot afford it so I decided I was going to quit taking it. WOW!!! I can't do that. I feel dizzy, unbalanced, emotional, out of my body, drunk, have insomnia, when I do go to sleep I want to stay asleep for a long while, my eyes are cloudy, etc. I have 2 jobs so it's not like I can just stay home and get off of these. I started this Monday. Tuesday I didn't take one and by today, Wednesday, I felt bad so I had to take a 35 mg. I think the drug company should be responsible for helping anyone get off of these things. I quit smoking January 31, 2007 and I tell you what this is alot worse than quitting smoking. I never thought I would quit smoking but I did so I know I can kick this also but it's going to take a little longer than I expected. Also for Cheryl: you talked about loosing a lot of weight I have been on alot of websites doing my homework and on one website www.join-the-fun.com/effexor-withdrawal.html it said one of the withdrawal's was anorexia so be careful. I guess I will try the Omega next.

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Nichole, Community Member
10/25/08 8:35pm

I was put on Lexapro several years ago for severe PMDD symptoms and anxiety issues.  It seemed to work well for quite a while but stopped working after about two years.  I was then put on Cymbalta.  That seemed to work but my insurance didn't cover it.  My doctor then put me on Effexor.  My husband and I didn't feel like it worked at all.  My doctor had briefly mentioned something about possible withdrawal symptoms.  This summer I got online to figure out how to get off this drug since it wasn't doing anything to relieve my symptoms.  I was on 150 mg from November through the end of July. 

 

I have been Effexor-free for about 1 1/2 weeks now.  That is how long it has taken me to taper off this horrible drug.  I had some mild vertigo and naseau but nothing compared to what I have read.  I went from 150 mg to 75 mg almost immediately.  I was so freaked out about all the horrible withdrawal symptoms that I wanted off of it quickly.  After that it was a slow process.  My husband and I opened up the pills and counted granules daily.  Every four days, I would take about ten fewer granules.  The last two weeks, I took about eight granules daily.

 

Since being off the Effexor, I have a lot more energy.  I am a teacher and mother of two active young elementary-aged children so I need all the energy I can get.  I have also started taking some natural supplements from a health food store to help stabilize my moods.  When I forget to take them, I can tell a difference.

 

I will never take another antidepressant as long as I live.  I get angry every time I think that my doctors treated my hormonal imbalance with antidepressants.  Since getting off the Effexor, I have been somewhat angry and depressed.  My husband and I both feel these are side effects from the withdrawal.  I try to be aware of things that set me off but don't always realize it until after the fact.  I will be very happy when my body can regulate itself again.

 

From everything I have read about Effexor withdrawal, everyone reacts differently.  It is really important to listen to your body.  One day when I was still taking about twenty granules, I forgot to take my Effexor at night.  I purposely didn't take it the next night and couldn't stand myself the next day.  I also got very dizzy and almost passed out at school.  I can be very impatient.  Be patient with yourself and your body. 

 

Good luck and God bless,

Nichole

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Jayne, Community Member
8/13/09 11:23am

Similar experience but what have you use to stabalize your mood. I am extremely tired taking Effexor and I too have active kids and need my energy. but it has helped me less emotional. What natural supplements have you used.

Jayne

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julie, Community Member
9/ 7/09 3:07am

I was prescribed effexor for menopause symptoms.  Mainly hot flashes.  At first I thought it was great I didn't have to take hormones.  Now I am not so happy.  I think it has made me have horrible mood swings and it has made me gain a lot of weight.  I am starting the weening processes this week by myself.  I am sure this is going to be hard but it is necessary.  I am more afraid that this pill is permanently damaging my chemical balance.  I'm a little scared.

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micjoe, Community Member
5/ 6/10 2:22pm

I am sorry for what you went through and wondered if you were able to do it? I have also been on effexor for hot flashes only..no history of depression.  I have never been on a higher dose than 37.5 and for the last 4 months have only taken half of that.  I am on day 5 of withdrawaling and have horrible brain zaps and nasea.  Were you successful at getting off and how long did it take you? 

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Jessiesmom, Community Member
9/14/09 2:20pm

If you can get back to me on what natural pills you are taking that would be great! I am not dealing well with the withdrawal, it almost seems that I am back to were I started with my mood swings, except now I'm dizzy, nauseous, and have horrible vivid dreams. I also seemed to tapped into suppressed memories that were suppressed for a reason! I can't keep myself together! I cry at a drop of a hat along with extreme irritability and I'm so tired. I dropped very gradually figuring that it would help but sadly I gave in after 3 days off of them and took a 35mg just so I could interact with my 2 year old without crying about nothing at all. I was put on it for pmdd, depression and anxiety, I started on pristiq, but it started to get expensive since insurance did not cover much of it. My husband and I were planning on having another baby since I was doing so well. I guess I'm going to have push it back another couple of months. I'm going to call the doctor today to see if they have anything that could help but the whole thing is making me very nervous. How do I know that my doctor knows what to do or just gives me something else with severe side effects?

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battleangel14745, Community Member
11/ 1/08 4:51pm

I've been on and off just about every anti-depressant available and withdrawal from Effexor is literally a living hell.  I am afraid I am stuck on Effexor forever.  I accidentally made the mistake of thinking I could refill my Effexor within 24-48 hours and now know to never make that mistake again being on Effexor.  If I miss a dose 75 + 37.5 I have severe night sweats, nightmares, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, shakes, headache, fatigue, labile, foggy, confused I could on and on.  It's difficult to put into word it feels like being extremely drunk and extremely hung over at the exact same time.        

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Anna, Community Member
11/ 6/08 1:05pm

I was on Effexor was years, one of the side effects is excessive sweating and when you're already prone to sweating that makes it really hard to live with.  Also, my libido could not be any lower and may cause me my relationship so my doctor decided it was time for a change and put me on Pristqu.  I've never heard of it, but he assured me I should not experience any "mental" changes while switching the meds. RIGHT!!! The "brain pings" are driving me crazy, my blood pressure is elevated, I'm afraid to go to sleep because of the very vivid nightmares I experience that stay with me once I wake up.  I feel like I'm being treated like a guinea pig......"here take this and see how it does..." Did the doc even read the info on the Pristqu before prescribing it to me?  And get this, it's only been six day since I changed meds!

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hummingbird_head, Community Member
11/ 9/08 4:05am

I've had to taper off of Effexor 3 times (for getting pregnant and also for switching meds). The first time I went off it I tapered down really slowly (like over a couple months) but it was annoying, but not horrible. I would experience mild dizziness (like when I turned my head, it took an instant for my view to catch up, if that makes sense). I would also get headaches, but minor headaches. Nothing severe, just a bit irritating. Then the second time I went off Effexor it was to switch to Prozac and as I tapered down the Effexor I ramped up the Prozac simultaneously and that really cured the withdrawal symptoms. So maybe ask your doctor about switching first to Prozac, which is easier to come off. Now I'm switching from Effexor to Cymbalta and I'm experiencing all the same dizziness. The doctor didn't recommend taking them simultaneously, but I do think starting on the new med immediately after the last Effexor pill is helping the withdrawal symptoms, but the symptoms are still there. It has been about 4 days and has maybe gotten a little better each day. But mild dizziness and a mild headache is about all I experience of Effexor withdrawal and it is annoying but not that big of a deal. I must also mention that during this change from Effexor to Cymbalta I've been having crying fits for the dumbest reasons. Not sure if that is withdrawal or hormones or just depression, but I do think it has gotten worse while switching meds.  Hope that helps put more info out there.

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carllij, Community Member
5/13/09 11:13am

Paxil did that to me really bad.  I got off all of them and went to counciling and that helped me alot more than all of the meds that the Dr. kept switching me to.

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akm, Community Member
11/15/08 10:17am

I'm at the tail end of the weaning off period of Effexor.  I'm in a living hell, I can't believe how terrible I feel right now.  One of the reasons why I decided to get off this drug, is for this very reason of side-effects.  I had read the good, bad, and ugly reports from people who had decided for various reasons to stop taking this drug.  Unfortunately my story is not a good one.  The side effects are terrible-blurred vision, diareha, mood swings, nausea, time-shifts, electric brain shocks, chills, fever, headache, foggy/forgetful, dizziness, accute sensitivity to everything from light to the clothes I'm wearing right now. 

I'm feeling so dissapointed that doctors flippantly put people already in a state of deppresion on this type of medication; and that they aren't educated on how severe the side effects can be. 

This vicious circle is for some I'm sure an impossible battle.  Right now I feel a tension of trying to be strong, not only mentally but physically; but also more weak than I've ever felt-even with a deppressive break down. 

I can't believe as a society that we would support pharmaceutical companies that would take advantage of people in this way.  I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory-but I truly believe they build these side-effects into their drugs so people will HAVE to continue taking the drugs ergo. . .money in their pockets.

 

I will get off this drug, but I can honestly say it's one of the hardest things I've ever done.

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pussycatgrl, Community Member
11/23/08 9:01pm

Honestly, you have to know yourself.  For me, I am going through withdrawl right now and it isn't plesant, but as every day goes by I feel better and better.  Most of the stuff you have read about withdrawl is true, there are the 'shivers' and the hot/cold sweats, fever, chills, tremors, etc., but trust me, it is totally worth it.  I never knew who I really was until I got off of this medication.  I think much more clearly and am way more productive.  Make sure that you are under the care of a physician because instead of quitting cold turkey they can ween you off of it.  Its much better that way because the withdrawl isn't as severe.  Its also good to talk to people who have gone through it.  Just make a commitment and you can do whatever you want to do.  Good luck but please consult a physician because people online, myself included, are not the sole source of medical advice

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April, Community Member
11/27/08 4:03pm

I've been weaning myself down over the last 2 months from 150 to my last dose which was 2 days ago of 37.5.  I'm on Day 2 of my withdrawal and as usual my digestive system has turned into the express route for anything I eat.  I also have "woo woo head", also known as brain zingers. Fortunately it's the long weekend here in America so I'm gonna lie low and ride it out.  I hate Effexxor with a passion.  The thought of being so addicted to a drug frightens me.  I take 12.5mg of Seroquel at night to help me sleep and to keep my anxiety low.  Good luck with your withdrawal and take care of yourself.

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J., Community Member
11/27/08 11:35pm

I can't believe that I found this website! I take 150mg daily, but I take it because of problems that I have with my MS. I have had the stomach flu and decided myself (how dumb) that it would be okay to stop my Effexor until I was sure that I felt better.  I have cried the entire day for no reason.  I feel like I have low blood sugar and I am going to faint. I have worried all day that I am having a flair of my MS because I am numb in different places.  This really scares me.

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Teri Robert, Health Guide
11/28/08 2:09am

April,

 

Please keep in mind that there's a HUGE difference between addiction and the dependence that can develop when we take a medication we need. You are not addicted to Effexor. Your body has become used to it regulating your serotonin and norepinephrine levels.

 

You discontinued with the help of your doctor, right? Be good to yourself through this process, and don't be afraid to call your doctor if you need more assistance.

 

Teri

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sallyk, Community Member
12/ 4/08 12:32pm

I have been on effexor for 2 years and have been tapering off for the last 6 months.  I was on 112.5mg and then to 75mg and now 37.5.  Each time I lower the dose I do experience the brain shorts (as I call them), insomnia and diarrhea. I also feel some dizziness and feel kind of like I'm drunk.  Not fun! The brain shorts are the worst as I have them constantly for around 4-6 days during each taper. I have gone slowly: 2 months for each taper.  I have stabilized after about a week of the symptoms. 

 

I will cut the tab in half for the next taper and stay on that for 2 months and then off of effexor completely.  It is a great med for depression, but going off isn't fun.  I hope to be effexor free early in the new year. 

 

I reccomend tapering very slowly.  I did not know what the withdrawal symptoms would be until I began to read about it after being on effexor for over a year.

 

It hasn't been horrible, I think you can do it.  Be sure to stay in touch with your MD while going off of it.  Mine has been a great encouragement to me.

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sallyk, Community Member
12/ 4/08 12:37pm

Casey,

 

One more thing.  The tablets I am on are 37.5, not the capsules with bb's.  Easy to cut in half to taper slowly.  They are a generic form of effexor and work just as well.  It will make the withdrawal easier for you. 

 

Hang in there!

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Charlotte84, Community Member
12/ 4/08 9:54pm

hi all,

 

i decided a few months ago that after trying with effexor for a year, it was not a medication that was working for me. my doctor recommend tapering down from my 150 mg dose to 75 mg, and then down to the lowest dose, with a view to being entirely off effexor within a month.

 

i had noted the brain shivers (more like jolts/stabs), nausea, upset stomach, extreme tiredness and dizziness that were experienced whenever i had missed a dose previously, but i had never associated that with 'withdrawal' and certainly neither my doctor nor therapist had mentioned any sort of withdrawal that can be suffered by ceasing usage of this medication.

 

within the first few days of tapering down i went through the whole gamut of symptoms that have been mentioned by others previously. my doctor said that these reactions were to be expected in some people and pretty much belittled my symptoms and told me they would go away soon.

 

in the meantime all i felt like doing was sleeping in order to get away from the brain jolts and nausea. when i decided to have a look in the net and see how others had fared i was shocked at all of the blogs and resources that come up under effexor withdrawal. it was also scary because many people had suffered for some time with the symptoms.

 

regardless, i kept on with it and found that when i was active (mentally and physically) i didn't notice the symptoms so much. of course, the hard part is getting going in the first place, especially when you feel so awful some days. the symptoms ultimately faded out after 2-3 weeks post complete cessation of usage. apart from a handful of really difficult days, i have to say that it has been an ok process. for anyone reading this who wants to get off effexor but is afraid of the symptoms, i would say that the majority of anecdotal evidence you get off the internet will always be negative or extreme, because as many have noted before, you will only go to the trouble of writing a post or searching out these sorts of sites if you have an extreme experience (usually a negative one)

 

it was difficult at times, but ultimately do-able. good luck and all the best to anyone who is struggling with the disease and/or the drug.

 

charlotte 

 

 

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Cristin, Community Member
12/ 5/08 11:32am

I'm currently in withdrawal from Effexor.  I must admit, coming down from 3 37.5 mg tablets to 2 37.5 mg to 1 37.5 mg wasn't bad.  I went from 3 to 2 and stayed on 2 for about 3 weeks, then proceeded to only take 1 for 3 weeks. 

 

Now, I'm off.  And let me tell you, do not do so without informing close friends/family (i.e. spouse) that you are doing so.  The first 3 days were fine, mild headaches and slight nausea.  Then, I went into manic/depressive overload.  The smallest thing set me off to be angry (screaming at the top of my lungs angry), then when I calmed down I'd get so extremely sad and bawl my eyes out, then finally I'd just be sheerly exhausted.  My head feels like I have an extremely bad wine hangover.  My head is pounding, my eyes feel like they're on fire, when i move my head, it takes a few seconds for my vision to catch up, and then I can hear my blood pounding in my eyes.  Ever feel like you've concentrated so badly that you get sick (like motion sickness)?  yup, got that. 

 

My doctor and I are trying different types of things to completely get me ok, such as breaking the capsole and putting one pill in 100 cc's of gatorade, then only taking 90 cc's for a few days and lowing from there.  The other option is to put me on Prosac and get me off Effexor, then taper off of the Prosac. 

 

Talk to your doctor when you come off.  There are a ton of options to go over.  Don't be stubborn and drop them cold turkey.  That is a bad bad bad idea.  Just remember, you aren't "addicted" to the drug, this is just withdrawal.  I highly recommend having someone with you while you go through it, however.

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karen, Community Member
12/11/08 6:14pm

Hi,

After reading all of the horror stories of withdrawal from Effexor I decided after just being on it a few months to go ahead and stop taking it. It did help my anxiety but left me feeling emotionless and like I didn't care about anything. My dosage was 75 mg. a day. I cut it down to 37.5 mg this week and the only side effects that I am noticing is a ringing in my ears. My doctor wants me to take 37.5mg for two weeks, then 37.5mg every other day for two weeks, and finally 37.5 mg every third day for one week and then I can stop completely. I just wanted to offer a little encouragement because most of what you read is so extreme and scary. I have been exercising and drinking plenty of water. So far so good. I hope it continous to be this easy. Good luck to all who discontinue this medication!

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SuperPsycho, Community Member
12/17/08 8:38am

I haven't found on the search engine about trazodone helping with effexor withdrawal, however, today I personally found that when I was having the withdrawal symptoms, I took a trazodone so that I could sleep. However, not only did the trazodone help with the insomnia, but it took away all the side effects! I felt on top of the world. Trazodone itself has been proven by many studies to be an effective trycyclic antidepressant (ssri). I don't know if this is a rare occasion, but it wouldn't hurt to talk to your doctor about switching to trazodone for 1. Also, a little mj helps....a lot.

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Napoleon, Community Member
1/ 4/09 7:08pm

I have been tapering off Effexor for the past few weeks. I went from 150 mg to 75 to 37.5. I've been a little dizzy and naseous at times. Other than that just frustrated that the docs were so eager to prescribe this drug to me without explaining the side effects (weight gain no matter how much exercise!) and how it would feel to go off of it. My first dr said that I'd probably be on it for the rest of my life. I'm hoping the weight will come off and my mood will be stable once I'm off of this drug for good.

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Carol Vezina, Community Member
1/ 9/09 11:16am

Hi i have been on effexor i started at 75 mg my doctor uped it to 150 and now has added another 75.mlg itried cutting down myselt and had very bad shakes could not concentrate terrible nightmares and extreme anger at everyone the side affects are no fun so if you want to quit please talk to your doctor about quitting slowly to prevent these side effects.

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Frank-O, Community Member
1/21/09 8:51pm

I experienced extreme withdrawals.  Huge head aches, vomit, brain zaps (these are the worst).

 

You can share your experience with it on knoweffexor.com

 

 

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Laurie, Community Member
1/22/09 1:51pm

A withdrawal success...

I just wanted to let everyone know that is going through this that people do get through it and it will get better.  I know when I was researching what to expect, I was feeling very desolate by the fact that no one was saying when it would end, etc.  So here is my story:

On effexfor 37.5 for 2 years for panic attacks.  Had another attack after 2 years and doc upped it to 75, which I continued for another 2 years.  Finally had enough - headaches everyday, extreme lethargia, weigh gain.  Told my doc I wanted off, so we switched back to 37.5 and I did that for about 2 months.  Then I asked for a lower dosage and he gave me a 25mg pill to split in half since it was not extended release.  I took that for about 3 weeks and then stopped all together.  The withdrawal hit and it sucked as bad as everyone said it did.  Eyes couldn't keep up with my head, vertigo, dizzyness, crying.  This was on day one and two.  Started taking Omega 3, B-12 and Gingko after reading some success and I do believe that helped tremendously.  On day three I was vomiting all day.  Day 4, slight dizzyness.  I am now at the second week and I have a mild headache everyday, but that is it. 

I am back to the gym everyday, feel great, no longer feel like I can't move in the mornings.  I am so, so happy to be free of this drug.  I will NEVER go back on it and I hope you all will stick through it.  YOU WILL GET BETTER.  I strongly recommend a slow taper, down to 25mg and the Omega 3, B-12 combo.

Good luck

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Napoleon, Community Member
1/25/09 10:35am

I am still tapering off Effexor. I went from 37.5 at the end of my taper and had headaches/naseua/brain zaps when I was off of it, so the dr put me back on 25 a day. I don't feel any of the side effects but I'm still gaining weight. The dr suggested another anti-depressant and I said no. Is everyone on pills? Is that the only solution? They don't tell you all of the side effects and it's a pain getting off.

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vacate, Community Member
1/30/09 12:42am

Thanks to everyone who posted.  I am off the Effexor but I initially thought I had food poisoning when I first went off it. When I actually found out that Effexor withdrawal was causing these side effects, I was relieved and determined to get off Effexor. I found that gravol, drinking lots of water and walking daily helped alot.  I also take vitamins, including a multivitamin that has Choline, B Complex, Fish Oils for the Omego 3, and Ginko.  I also drink a detox tea and eat healthy food.  

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bipolor1, Community Member
2/ 5/09 9:58pm

I am currently going through withdrawals from effexor, due to loss of insurance.  The symptoms are horrible, I am dizzy and cry all day, I feel like things are crawling on me and my legs and arms twitch. I decreasedy meds by half and then none and it wasn't slow enough.  My Psychiatrist says that there is nothing he can do to help me.

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pdxdave, Community Member
2/ 8/09 6:27pm

Hello -

 

I have been taking 300mg/day of Effexor (not XR) for over 6 years.  Approximately 3 years ago, I switched to the generic.  Over the past two months, I started decreasing my dosage incrementally.  About two weeks ago, I took my last dose.  My physician has advised me of the tough time I may have coming off this medication - and I have been following discussions online with similar prediction. 

 

I can confirm my withdrawal experience from Effexor has been, and continues to be fierce.  Mentally, I feel superb and better than I've felt in a very long time.  Physically, however, my body is having a tough time adapting.  I've read a lot of entries about "brain shivers" - I experience something similar, almost like my brain is about a half-second behind the rest of my body when I'm moving my head while in a visually stimulating environment such as driving, watching TV, reading, etc.  I've experimented by moving my head with my eyes open, and with my eyes closed.  I do not experience the "shivers" when my eyes are closed, however I do when they're open.  I can extrapolate a connection between visual stimulus and the movement of my head ... I can't explain it ... but it's there.  The only recent change in my life and environment is the removal of Effexor - so the experiences I'm having must have to do with coming off the medication. 

 

My body, in general, aches like I've been running a marathon.  It's similar to what I feel when noticing that I'm beginning to get the flu.  I often feel nauseous, and I've vomited several times - not from the usual stomach kinds of ailment, but rather from what I think might be a form of motion sickness.  If I weren't aware of the withdrawal symptoms before actually coming off Effexor, I could easily see slipping back into depression simply from these crazy physical symptoms.

 

As I mentioned, however, mentally I feel exceptional.  I have had no further symptoms of depression that I can point to at this juncture.  A near immediate and very positive affect of stopping Effexor, for me, has been the return to normal sexual function.  It's amazing to me what a "depressing" affect Effexor had on my sexual health.  Before, I was rarely in the mood for sex, and it often took a tremendous amount of effort to reach orgasm - and I'm a guy!!!  Although I'm now 40, I feel like I'm 18 again.  This, for me, is truly amazing, and I will be asking myself, in future, whether the side effects of any drug are worth the benefit. 

 

Considering the very negative side effects, and conversely the very positive side effects of removing the drug from my system, I can surmise that Effexor was not a good drug choice for me.  My experiences with the side effects run the extreme - very extreme.  There's not been a middle ground for me.  It's both good and bad that I had to stop taking Effexor to realize these things.

 

My advice to anoyone attempting to come off of Effexor - hang in there.  I am not a medical professional, but in my opinion, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get Effexor out of your system.  Keep close connection with your health professional and be sure to report renewed feelings of depression or loss of hope.  There are lots of anti-depression drugs available - ones that may work better for you than Effexor. 

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Napoleon, Community Member
2/ 8/09 7:17pm

After reading all of the new posts, I find it saddening that physicians still say that there are not many side effects of Effexor, or that there is nothing he/she can do. I've been off of Effexor XR for almost a week and the symptons have slowly disappeared. However, I still have brain shivers and am dizzy at times. My doctor keeps telline me not to read the Internet because of what is posted about the drug. Ha!

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Effexor Free Man, Community Member
2/12/09 12:22pm

Hi Everyone,

 

I think my experience is fairly typical based on conversations with my doctor and other users of Effexor. The problem with boards like this is that people with significant problems are the most consistent contributors. The information becomes skewed and can unfairly frighten people. Read on...

 

I have been on and off Effexor XR twice at this point in my life. I tapered down each time by dropping daily doses in two week periods (75mg for 2 weeks, 37.5mg for 2 weeks, then off completely). Each time I had been using the medication at 150mg for a period of about 2 years.

 

The withdrawl side effects were consistent both times but occurred only after stopping completely: brain zaps, delayed vision/brain coordination issues, minor dizziness, teariness, a little insomnia. What was also consistent is that after about 5 days off the drug the withdrawl symptoms greatly diminished. For me the symptoms were completely gone after about 2 weeks each time. I found that moderate daily excercise seemed to really help alleviate symptoms. Also, telling a trusted friend or loved one what is going on with you can be very helpful (we all need a support system).

 

I took the drug to cope with depression that resulted from stress and some major life traumas. I have to say IT WAS GREAT and worked well for clearing my mind. I also actively participated in counseling to deal with the losses. The first time I stopped I wasn't really ready and should not have. The second time I knew I was ready to face life without Effexor.  I believe counseling should go hand in hand with any anti-depressant so that once you drop the drug you are ready to meet life's challenges without further medical intervention.

 

To sum it up: The withdrawl symptoms are real but are more of a nuisance that lasts a relatively short period of time.

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Michele, Community Member
2/26/09 9:23pm

going off effexor is the worst experience i have ever had.the withdrawl symptoms are horrible and include all of the following ( even if you are weaning off under a drs. care)

extreme agitation, restlessness, rage, anger, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, ringing in the ears, brain fog, dizziness, feeling of passing out at times. sounds of whooshing through your ears and brain, electric shock like feelings in your brain and upper body muscles, inability to concentrate or make decisions. I took a month off from work in order to somewhat be able to function at home. I treated my family, especially my kids horrible due to inability to deal with everday life. also extremely painfull headaches

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Jenodnile, Community Member
2/28/09 9:51am

I got put on effexor for my depression Monday the 23 of Feb, 2009. I took it 3 days and I thought it was ok but hadn't really gotten into my system good enough to have side effects so I went searching Wednesday the 25th for side effects, my gosh at the side effects. I also read on about the withdraw side effects you would have if they pill didn't work for you and you had to come off of it. I can called my dr right then and told her that I could no longer take this pill due to the fact that if it didn't work for me I would have to be wenged off it and after reading the side effects from withdraws I don't want to have to go through that so I told her I wanted on another medication that would not do me this way. I thank god that I look up the information before it was to late to just come right off of.

 

I pray that you will all get off this nasty drug, take care

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starwarzkid, Community Member
2/28/09 11:14pm

I have been off for 5 days now. I took 75 mg for aprox. 6 years. I currently don't have insurance but was able to get it through a patient assistance program through wyeth. I am trying to get off due to the rapid heartbeat I have had with it. (resting 100-110bpm)
I feel like I will be able to cope with life w/o it. I tapered to Aprox. 37.5 mg for a week and then just about 1/2 that for only a few more days.(I wish I would have done it more gradually now)
I have experienced extreme agitation, insomnia, body aches, head aches, crying/tearing up spells, forgetfulness-foggy mind, mood swings, nausea, abdominal pain, and ringing in ears. I got some L-Glutathione omega 3's to help but I just started them yesterday. I want to just be back to my normal self and be completely free of this drug but it has been terrible so far. I hope and pray that it will get better like others have said and when I have finally gotten completely off it, I hope I can continue to cope with life w/o the anti-depressants.

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Liz, Community Member
3/ 5/09 9:18pm

Right now, I can't stop crying.  I am having major withdrawal symptoms.  Everything listed on here and more.  Sunday was my last 37.5 mg pill.  About 2.5 weeks ago I told my Dr I couldn't stand being apathetic about everything anymore and I wanted to taper.  He gave me one week of 75 mg and one week of 37.5 mg.  I was on 150 mg before. When I went to 75 mg I felt no difference at first.  Then I realized I was snapping at the dog ALOT.  Instantly I would feel bad and be almost in tears. ( If I had kids it would have happened to them too I assume.)  Then I got used to that at the end of that week and started on the 37.5 mg for a week.  Same thing... at first I didn't notice a difference, then by about day 3 I felt "snappy" again.  Monday of this week I felt completely fine, until the late afternoon.  Tuesday I felt like crap.  Shaky.  Brain shakes- I feel like I am a walking creation of jello right now.  I also feel drunk most of the time.  Words are coming out of my mouth faster than I can comprehend.  I have to stop talking for a few seconds and compose myself and then continue.  Let me tell you, in a work environment where everyone looks to you for help and support when they can't do something, this is BAD.  I had yesterday off and couldn't get anything done at the house that I needed to.  I was so lethargic.  By about 2 pm I couldn't force myself to stay awake any longer and had to go to bed.  I thought the diahrea I had was from food I was eating.  It actually took me until today to figure out what was going on.  I thought my BP was really high, checked and it was LOWER than it has been the WHOLE time I was on Effexor.  I thought my blood sugar must be low or high.  It wasn't any higher than it is normally.  ( I am a diabetic, so I am kind of wondering if this could be making my withdrawal worse.)  I am trying to power down water, but having the hardest time doing it even though I am so incredibly thirsty.  My withdrawal is getting worse every day.  If it is not better by tomorrow I'm going to have to call my Dr and get something short term to help.  And PRAY that they will give me something.  I'm switching Dr's after this fiasco.

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Roxcar, Community Member
3/10/09 8:52pm

Kicking Effexor, yes, you can do it. This is my experience.

I want to post this in every forum I can find so it can help as many people as possible. I'll share my experience of kicking effexor, but, if someone is reading this right now and experiencing bad withdrawal, stop reading. Go out and buy Omega 3 fish oil. Get the kind that has Omega 3, 6 and 9 in it, chewable antacids and advil. Seriously, go now and get at least the Omega stuff and come back and read my post later. As soon as you pick up the Omega oil, take 4 caps immediately. This stuff really worked for me because I am on day 6 as I type this and I feel fantastic.

First, a little background. I started taking 250mg for about six months then reduced down to 150mg for approximately 8 years. I had been wanting to get off the stuff for a long time but just didn't want to deal with the withdrawal effects. Especially knowing how if feels when you skip just one dose.

Anyway, at first I went from 150 then 75. After two days of 75 and not feeling any adverse reaction I then cut that in half. I remember thinking, "this is gonna be a piece of cake! I don't see what everyone is talking about; I mean, what is so hard about...ZAP! ZZZAP ZAP ZAP...oh...my...god..." I think you get the picture.

So then I did the whole counting out the bbs thing. Total pain. I did 1 day of roughly 37mg and having all the brain zaps and stuff and thinking that this has just got to stop. Screw counting out bbs and tapering down any more, I want this crap out of my body asap. I am not suggesting anyone should go cold turkey or anything, I am just writing about my experience.

Now then, here's what worked for me. Obviously Omega oil played a HUGE part in kicking Effexor. I urge everyone to give it a shot. Special thanks to Leon and everybody else who has posted using Omega to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That's what it seems to do, ease the zaps/shivers from a 10 to a 5. I took huge amounts of the stuff for about 3 days and it really worked for me. I popped 4 caps every 2-3 hours during the day because that is about how long omega seemed to ease the zaps-shivers-Ill feelings for.

For the nausea I chewed up a ton of antacid tabs and that seemed to work. I also took a bunch of liquid filled advil caps for the general "yuckyness". Also, while lying down, a cold wash cloth on my forehead was SO relaxing. I would get hot flashes and cold sweats, fever like symptoms and putting a wash cloth on my head was a welcome relief.

Also, for me, there were two VERY important things that I kept in mind while going through this. Two things that I reminded myself of when I was really feeling like crap.

1. Every single thing that I was physically feeling and every single unpleasant emotion and thought that was going through my head during detox was all due to the withdrawal/detox process. Nothing more. My brain chemistry was all jacked up and detoxing so I tried not to dwell on anything.

2. I can get through this, I WILL feel better.

I can't stress those two points enough. It certainly isn't easy to keep your head together going through withdrawal, but, if it helps to post those things around your place to be reminded then do so.


Here's a breakdown of my withdrawal time line.

For me there was roughly a 48-60 hour period of time that was the absolute worst part. After reading other posts about withdrawal I planned mine out a little bit. Since I couldn't take time off work, I used the weekend to kick. I didn't start on a Saturday, I started on a Friday. I woke up Friday and took Omega, antacids and advil to work with me. This way, when the brain zaps/shivers started I was almost done with work and I could just go home and hunker down for the weekend.
By Friday night I was feeling it pretty bad. Come Saturday withdrawal was in full force. I was pounding Omega and just trying to do as little as possible. Like I said, the cold wash cloth on the head helped a ton. I don't know how but I feel asleep for a few hours then woke up to Sunday morning still feeling pretty awful.
One positive thing I need to mention about this is that with every passing day of kicking, I would wake up with a little less fog in my head. My senses felt a bit more sharp and clear. I still feel that way today on day 6. Makes me look back and think how out of it I had been for about 8 years. Maybe not out of it, perhaps, more like a dull feeling. Kinda blahish. I don't know, hard to explain.
Anyway, I noticed a decrease in the frequency and intensity of the zaps/shivers by late Sunday afternoon.  Still feeling like poop but for sure better than the past two days. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Monday, day 4. Thank the freaking stars this day came. I took 4 omega caps and 4 advil in the morning and that was it. I still popped some advil every now and then but not even close to what I had been taking. Zaps and Shivers where still there but nothing compared to what they had been. Believe me when I say this that having the kind of zaps/shivers, while still annoying as hell, they are tolerable by this point.


Each day keeps getting better and better. As I think over how I feel now as compared to the past 8 years it's like night and day. My thoughts don't feel so bogged down. I liken it to driving in a car, during the day, on a long highway with lots of fog. You can't drive very fast because you can only see so far ahead. You can make out shapes of buildings off to the side but you're not exactly sure what kind of building it is.

And lastly, since the start of detoxing off this horrific drug, a kept thinking of a scene from the Matrix. I'm not a big scifi guy or anything, but this scene just really fit perfectly. I have to admit that it actually brought a little comfort throughout this too. It's the scene where Neo gets dumped out of that pod thing all slimy and then gets put on the operating table with Morpheus looking over him. This is where Neo is first brought into the "real world". He asks Morpheus, "Why do my eyes hurt?" Morpheus says, "Because you've never used them before." I can dig it.

Whew, I think I'm done writing this post. Sorry it's so freaking long but I have had a lot to say about this experience. I want everyone out there to know that, yes, you can get through Effexor withdrawal. Stick with it and don't give up. I want write that I promise you will feel better after kicking, but, everybody is different. I know I feel tons better and look forward to moving forward with my life and not being a slave to Effexor.

Know what the best of kicking Effexor is? Waking up and reminding myself that I don't have to take that little pill anymore. The second best thing? Never having to worry if I forgot to take that little pill in the morning ever again. Third best thing? Flushing what pills I had left down the toilet. Freaking priceless.

Roxcar

Reply
littlelady, Community Member
3/13/09 8:18pm

Roxcar, i am about to try the Omega cure and I hope it works for me as I am quite desperate about my feelings of being dead inside after coming off Effexor.

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shawnee, Community Member
3/15/09 12:31pm

Very very bad. Don't go on it. It is not worth it. BAD

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cookie, Community Member
3/25/09 10:19am

I take benedryl before going to bed while tapering off and my side effects are bareable. Nausea is my biggest complaint. I am going on one week effexor free after taking it since 1999. I think it was also the generic brand not being as effective as the BRAND name made weaning easier. 

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Cathie, Community Member
3/25/09 10:23pm

I have been trying to figure out what this strange sensation inside my head was. I realise it is a side effect of stopping my effexor. I ran out of my RX since I have to order it by mail. I thought I would be OK going off it until my refill arrived. The side effects started after I missed the second dose - which was the weird nightmares. After a couple of days I started experiencing this strange "puff" sensation inside my head- I thought maybe I had a sinus infection until I checked out the withdrawal symptoms. At this point I don't know if I should stick out the withdrawal ang get off the effexor or start taking it again to stop the side effects 

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Drug Free, Community Member
3/31/09 12:16am

I too was on 75mg/day of Effexor. I wanted to stop taking and attempted to go cold turkey twice. The symptoms were so horrible that I had to resume medication. I would cry if someone so much as said "thank you", I had sweating spells (need to be naked in winter sweats), nausea, headache, restlessness, bad dreams, dizziness, etc...I read many online posts/comments when I was experiencing symptoms. I am now effexor free! I never thought that I would get here and it has taken me almost 2 months. The best advice that I can give to anyone coming off of Effexor is to wean yourself off slowly. I did the following: 75mg down to 50mg (tablet) for 1 week, then 37.5mg (tablet) for 2 weeks, then 25mg (split 50mg tablet) for 1 week, then 12.5mg (split 37.5 tablet) then I went to ZERO. I had a few rough days when I finally went to zero, my doctor perscribed me 3 days of Prozac (20mg). This helped with the side effects of effexor leaving my system once and for all. Finally, I am drug free. It can be done, but it takes time and you really need to be patient. Give yourself a week at each dose level. I felt icky everytime I lowered my dose, but not bad enough to miss work, and nothing compared with withdrawlls from cold turkey. Exercise really helps during the detox process. I work 5 days a week and I only missed one day during this whole process. It was my second day at zero. I reccomend taking a B-Complex vitamin during the whole ordeal to help fight fatigue. Best of luck to those detoxing from this terrible medication. Be Strong and spread the word about these side effects so that fewer people end up on this addicting substance.

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NataliaVG, Community Member
4/ 8/09 5:15pm

 

There's no miracles here yet some tips for success.

 

1.- Taper off

2.- Before even start the tapering a month or so before, start preparing your body for what's going to come.

 

Following this 2, the withdrawal effects are minimal, next to none existent.

 

About me:

 

33 years old, female, just divorced.

Diagnosed with depression in 2001 - Took effexor for about a year

Leaving the effexor was the most horrible I ever endure.

Diagnosed with depression in 2008 - Took effexor for about 9 month

            Didn't notice withdrawal. (Learned my lesson: RESEARCH)

 

We all know, depression as a disease, depletes de body of many very important nutrients, medication we take to "get better" depletes the body even more. The things we do when we are sad (drink alcohol as one of the many examples) take care of whatever was left of our health.

 

Then we try to leave the antidepressant, with a body in awful conditions, expecting it to be just fine. I think leaving the effexor is the last strike our bodies are willing to take from us. Plain and simple, loud and clear, our brain says: ENOUGH!

 

So, prepare the body for the battle to come. Pump it with nutrients (vitamins and mineral, amino acids, etc) Specially everything that is food for the brain.

 

Note: I went from 112 to 75 in 7 days, then to 37 in another 7 days, and after a week on 37 mg, went straight to 0.

 

 

Here is my diet, which I started month before starting tapering off.

Numbers on the left are caplets, on the right is the concentration per caplet.

 

Breakfast (gotta eat something, so supplements will be absorbed)

 

  • 1 5-htp 200 mg
  • 1 Biotin 1000mcg
  • 2 Lecithin 1200mg
  • 1 Glutathione
  • 1 Fish Oil 1200 mg
  • 1 Flax seed oil 1300mg
  • 1 coQ10 200mg
  • 1 Super B complex

Lunch (same thing: gotta eat)

 

  • 2 Magnesium 250mg
  • 1 Multivitamins
  • 2 Fish Oil 1200 mg
  • 2 Flax seed oil 1300mg
  • 1 B-Stress complex

1    Folic Acid                                            400mg

1    L-Lysine                                               500mg

 

Tea time

 

  • 1 Selenium 200mg
  • 1 Fiber (any benefiber, chitosan, whatever)
  • 3 Fish Oil 1200 mg
  • 3 Flax seed oil 1300mg
  • 1 Potassium Gluconate 550mg
  • 1 Super B complex

 

Dinner time

 

1    Fish Oil                                                1200mg

1    Flax seed oil                                         1300mg

2    Calcium carbonate

1    Fiber

1    Magnesium                                           250mg

1    Melatonin                                             5mg

1    Glutathione                                          

1    Protein shake (GNC PRO Complex) 1 scoop. (this formula contents the best combination of amino acids)

 

There's a reason for every supplement ej.: Magnesium will keep the headaches away, fiber the constipation, etc, etc. I leave the rest for you to research and understand why this does the trick and how you body works.

 

A chronicle depression is a constant imbalance in the brain that WONT go away with effexor or any other medication, gotta find the problem and solve it, not patch it.

Good luck for you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gracie, Community Member
4/14/09 7:00pm

I am going through this right now.

 

I started at 75 but it wasnt working so in Dec. my doctor brought me to 150. Well at the same time,I lost my joband thought I was not able to sleep from the stress. So in March I went on Ambien. I slept walk the first 3 nights on that (which I never have before) but then that eventually stopped, and I was semi able to sleep. Well I didnt take it for 3 days and the night I did, I slept walked and apparently over dosed on it, took possible vicodin as well,maybe drank alcohol....almost burnt the house down when my parents rushed me to the ER. I have no recollection of anything that night.

 

Well even though it was an accidental overdose, I had to be cleared by the psych. When he came in, we eventually realized theEffexor was making me not able to sleep and I need off this. He was actually the one to cut me cold turkey. I questioned this and hes like, oh we will put you on prozac. You will be fine. My last dose of Eflexor was around 8am Sat am.

 

I wake up Sunday morning, just shaking in chills because my pjs and sheets are soaked from nightsweats. I barely was able to get myself outof bed, and was naseasuated like no other. I had to take pepto to keep anything down. And I also had what I now know are the brain zaps... I hate thoughs.

 

Monday am... same thing, completely soaked in sweat, and chills in the am. I hated life.

 

Today, (tuesday).. the same thing. And originally I was supposed to see my doctor on Friday but I had to see her today because of all this and luckily I got in.

 

When I told her what was going on, she was really pissed that the doctor cut me cold turkey. Shes like, this stuff is power your body is going through really bad withdraw. So shes putting me back on it..but starting at 75 for this week and then next week going to 37.5 and then the week after starting theProzac.

 

Obviously its going to be rough this week and next, sleepless nights, etc..and I told my friends/fam to be patient with me. As horrible as this sounds, I'm kind of happy I dont have a job right now, because there is no way I could work like this.

 

I never want to go on this stuff again (or Ambien).

 

I'm just glad I'm not alone with this.

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DeaafLatina, Community Member
2/25/11 6:00am

Its 5 am today and Im at my dads house because of the sudden " cold turkey" from effoxor and ambien. Im in bad depression  and I was on Effoxer 25 to 75 mg 3x a day the past few weeks. I been taking ambien at night and not realizing what the hell Ive been doing that night, till the next morning  when I realized I was texting people in " made up spanish!" I was scared. When my dr prescribed me activan for the axiety , it was no help at all.. I took ambien plus 5 pills of bendryal! Till the next day I was in  falling asleeping with my kids in the car!! I was so scared and went to therapist and since my pyschatrist was out sick. She told me to stop everything. I never thought about the side effect. I got so sick, throwing up, tingling in my body, crying all the time since yesterday! I started Effoxor 75 mg 3x a day and I thought that was crazy. If I missed a dose, I felt like a drug addict! I just cudnt do it anyore! Ive have not been sleeping the last two nights! Waiting for my dr to email me back! I dont know if going to the ER will be any help. Was my therapist right to tell me to stop immedicaly? My pyschatrist is her boss. He was out sick for few days.  Help! I dont know if I should go back on effoxor and not take Ambien, it does help me sleep thru the night but not remember anything espeicially when im with my kids is scary!

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HeatherZoe, Community Member
4/15/09 5:18pm

Hello,

I wanted to share my story since Ive been reading these testimonials and they have truly helped.

 

I had Effexor prescribed to me by a psychiatrist who saw me at my worst state and hadnt worked with me before. I was diagnosed as having anxious depression. At that point I had been withdrawing from an addiction to Ambien, going through a break up, and my job was literally making me mad. So it was very very situational and at 24 I had never needed the assistance of a medication before.

 

The Effexor did work like a dream I have to admit. I felt very even, happy, and I slept well and even lost some weight at first. Well, fast forward to February and I had noticed my jeans/clothes had been getting tighter and tighter. I rarely weigh myself and have always been around 120 at 5'5 with a fast metabolism and active lifestyle. When I first saw the 135 lbs show up on the scale I thought maybe my metabolism had just significantly slowed down. I didnt think it was the effexor since I had originally lost weight but after reading others testimonials where people lost weight then gained it, I knew it was the Effexor! I immedialtely felt disgusting and wanted to get off the drug fast!

 

About a week and 1/2 ago (4/5 Sunday night) I started tapering off Effexor at 75 mgs down to roughly half. I removed beads every night and didnt feel that bad (just a little sleepy and short of breath). Last Friday was the first night I decided to not take it. I am on Day 5 of being cold turkey with Effexor. At first I felt like sh*t: brain shivers, lethargic, moody, irritable stomach (but no throwing up), very weak and dizzy. From Saturday until Monday (3 days) all I wanted to do was sleep and rest and the brain shivers were awful! However today (day 5) I finally feel better!! I have had a few episodes of light shivers, and although I feel tired I can definitely function.

 

I did all of this without consulting with a DR but it seemed to work out, (but I would recommend talking w a DOC). I think its all relative to how long you have been on the drug and how strong it is. For me, I was on it for 7 months or so at 75 mgs so I knew I would have a different withdrawal experience then others. Although I felt sh*tty it was manageable and worth it in the end to shorten my withdrawal period and start becoming Effexor free. I agree that the withdrawal is kind of like a flu and you should treat it like it is; sleep alot, sleep all day if you need to! It helped me I think recover faster.

 

Question remains: does anyone know how long it takes to get the weight off :(

 

 

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aw1983, Community Member
4/26/09 8:00am

After being on Effexor for 6 years, I decided back in December to see what life could be like without it again.  

 

I had initially been diagnosed with chronic depression back when i was in college, and being on Effexor really did give me the relief I needed when I was at my lowest, and it helped me manage my emotional life in those 6 years enough to make a lot of very positive changes...

 

However, I really noticed a dulling of my mental abilities/memory, especially in the last years I was taking effexor...and it left me with the feeling that I was using a drug to smooth over and repress a lot of difficult emotional things that ultimately I wanted to face up to and learn to deal with in a more natural/drug free way...

 

I talked to my doctor beforehand because I was very concerned both with the physical aspect of getting off the pills (I couldn't be even an hour late taking my dose every day without getting the brain shivers) and the potential to have depression return after 6 years of living a normal life.  He encouraged me to take things very slow and listen to my body/mind very closely.

 

He recommended I start by replacing my 75 mg xr pill with 2 37.5 mg pills per day, spaced 12 hours apart.  Once my body had adjusted to the 12 hours spacing (no brain shivers), I could then start moving back the second dose, an hour or two at a time, until the doses were 24 hours apart, at which point I'd be on 37.5/day. 

 

Then he told me to continue this process by splitting the 37.5 pill into two (break open the capsule, count out the little balls, divide by 2, etc) and repeat the process of spacing out the doses more and more...

 

I'm now down to the step of tapering from 9 mg a day to 4.5 and this is really the first part in the process where I'm starting to notice negative side effects emotionally and physically.  At first I was really thrilled at how easily the process was going; I felt myself getting more brain capacity back and was enjoying coming out of that slight emotional numbness that you feel with Effexor.  But now that I'm almost at the finish line, I feel like I need to slow down a bit because I'm beginning to get daily headaches, mental fatigue, and a kind of buzzed nervousness like what you get when you drink too much coffee or take cocaine/ecstacy, etc...

 

I'm paying a lot of attention to my diet, sleep, and excercise...I practice yoga about 4 times a week and I can't tell you how valuable that's been both for my body and spirit during this entire thing...

 

I think the one advice I would give someone doing this is not to do it alone...you have to let people close to you know what's going on as they'll likely notice some changes in your personality and mood...and the last thing you need to worry about is having to hide this process from the people that are closest to you...make sure you have a support network in place, and don't underestimate what you're doing.  Effexor is a mighty powerful drug and it's a huge transition for your body and mind learning to live without it!  So go easy on and be good to yourself--and take things slow...

 

Thanks for sharing all your stories and tips, everyone--wishing you all good luck and strength!!!!! 

 

 

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oxidar, Community Member
4/27/09 12:03am

This is amazing to find a forum that i can relate to so closely.  Truthfully I am skeptical of taking any kind of psychiatric meds from now on... i simply refuse.  i've been on effexor for five years now and was taking apparently what doctors called a maintenance dose of 75mg extended release.  My father is a cardiologist who put me on antidepressants five years ago and I feel that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Since taking effexor I've attempted suicide twice, once by overdosing and once by slitting my wrists.  Now I am actually under the supervision of a psychiatrist who instead of titrating me off my dose offered me one pill of prozac that was supposed to do the titrating for me since it is such a slow acting medication.  All i can say is that i am on day six now and am feeling awful... can't work, have total mushy brain, and vertigo plus some waves of nausea.  Hopefully these feelings will come to an end soon and I have no other option but to wait it out.  I WILL NOT TAKE ANOTHER PILL just to curb my withdrawal symptoms... I know that once this is over and my serotonin levels have regulated themselves this will all have been worth while.  Stay strong people!  This is just about as bad as it gets!... and it's not permanent, just chemical.  

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LB, Community Member
5/13/09 1:45pm

I wasn't able to get to the pharmacy before it closed last night, and had to wait until this afternoon to pick up my RX of venlafaxine (generic for Effexor).  I worked for Wyeth while this drug was under development and during its subsequent launch in 1994.  It is a wonderful medication; works better than any other that I've tried over the past 40 years for chronic depression.

 

That's the upside.

 

The downside is that the withdrawal symptoms are absolutely monstrous.  Not a word that has been written in this forum exaggerates how horrible the withdrawal effects are.  It's all true.  The best way to describe it, for me, is this way:  imagine that you're coming down with stomach flu - upset stomach, diarrhea, feeling tired and basically "punky."  Then add a big dose of motion sickness, perhaps caused by reading a book as a passenger in a car.

 

Pretty bad, huh?

 

That's why, in the future, I will have a full week's warning in my Dayplanner (or Blackberry, if I ever purchase one):

 

"GET VENLAFAXINE RX REFILLED - NOW!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

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sojourner8, Community Member
11/ 7/10 2:02pm

AMEN brother.  I'm on venlafaxine too.  I had to go through a cold turkey withdrawal for about a week because Blue CRoss Blue Shield NC is telling me Venlafaxine is a brand name drug and I've met my cap for them this year. Sigh.  We are very fortunate that we have some savings put aside so my husband ran to CVS to get me a week's worth of pills.  Bless that poor man. Smile

 

Yesterday afternoon i started puking and getting hot and cold - did that most of last night through early morning.  Yep - just like the flu.  I was freezing and then buring up.  Moved a bucket to my bed so I could put the blankets on and off me depending on my temp.  I thought it might be from a bad sinus infection but no it's definitly a part of the withdrawal party my body didn't know I was having.  Poor body.

 

Perhaps sadly, the brain zaps are disconcerting and can be annoying but they don't bother me as much because I understand how they are happening now.  The zaps were horrible when I was on Effexor - I could feel them in my body walking to work an hour after taking the med.  One friday I missed the pharmacy and the weekend resulted in a kind of hell for me and three friends i went camping with.  Anyway - that's when my dr. gave me venlafaxine - which has been much better on my body.  That being said - the withdrawal is still nasty.  

 

If I ever decided to offically wean off - I want to do it mindfully and with the help of my dr, counselor, family, and close friends, oh and my dog who can lay on the bed with me and won't mind when I sit up to puke.  Wink  I would want a plan to taper off and be as good to my body as i can during the process.  You all are amazing and powerful in my book.  Good luck to those in the weaning off process and may happiness and health come to all ya'll.

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LB, Community Member
11/ 7/10 8:46pm

I agree - I've never had to detox from a street drug ('cause I've never done them), but from what I've read, the withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (venlafaxine) are almost as nasty.   

 

I'm puzzled as to why the insurance companies keep saying that venlafaxine is a brand, when it is actually the compound (generic form) of Effexor, which IS the brand.  I tried to get someone with Aetna to explain it, and all I got was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about "single-source supplier", or some  esoteric "insurance-ese" for which the bottom line was:  tough noogies, whether your co-pay is for Effexor, or for venlafaxine, be prepared to shell out the bucks - sucker!   

 

Here is a suggestion for you:  if you have a Costco in your area, give them a call to find out how much it would cost to get your RX from them.  You may not believe this, but it's true:  at a retail pharmacy, my cost for a month's supply of venlafaxine (in my case, 90 pills) would have been around $85.00.  Now that I do not have insurance, the cost would be about $150.00 for a month's supply.

 

At Costco:  Only $34.00 for a month's supply.  And you do not need to have a membership to buy from their pharmacy (in Pennsylvania, anyway).  Remember though, this is for venlafaxine TABLETS; they are not the extended release form.  And they taste awful, so they need to be swallowed quickly!  Foot in mouth  But that doesn't leave nearly as bad a taste in my mouth as it would to pay 4.5 times more for the same drug.

 

Sigh ... our wonderful health "care" system ... I was watching a movie this week where the story takes place in Sweden.  The heroine was in the hospital day after day after day - if I were to guess, per the story line, around 3 weeks.  I kept thinking "This is crazy; there's no way her insurance would allow that long of a hospital stay - even though she came in with a gunshot wound to the head!  Someone didn't do their research."  Then I remembered:  "Oh, yeah ... this is in Sweden."  In other words, where all human beings have access to healthcare.  And they don't get the boot in 24 hours, whether or not they're still acutely ill or traumatized from an injury.            

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akua420, Community Member
5/18/09 12:43pm

I have been on effexor since July 2008.  I started at 37.5 and in November I upped it to 75.mg.  in March I went back dow nt oa 37.5 and felt no change, no withdrawal.  I was still emotionally stable.  Then in the start of May I went down to one pill every 2 days, I did this not even a week and went off cold turkey.  I have been off now for a week, and have felt no withdrawals.  I feel fine, emotionally the same as when I was on.  I read so many horrible things about it, I was terrified.  But there is hope, I didn't get any withdrawals, so there is on epositive story compared to all the rest.  I decided to go off because I was sick of all the weight I had put on within a year.  35 pounds.  Now i want to lose it!!!  Good luck, and don't be  scared, there is a chance you will be able to go off them like me.

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anxious, Community Member
5/23/09 9:58pm

has anyone experienced w/d symptoms 5 weeks after last dose of effexor xr...i had an awful time w/withdrawal symptoms but...i'm still dealing w/mild depression/anger/irritability/panic attacks/no patience, etc.......i was on this drug for anxiety...now, since going off of it i'm not fun to be around, i'm not myself still...i constantly have panic attacks and feel on the verge of crying all day. The dizziness/brain zaps are gone (the odd time i get dizzy) but...these other side effects are still here. I guess i just want to know when i can seperate the 'true side effects' from the 'true me'...i don't want to go back on meds for anxiety...i'm starting therapy so, i just want to make sure it's possible these effects are still from the drug and not that i have gone crazy!

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fallenstarr, Community Member
6/ 6/09 7:17pm

Hi.  I'm curious how long it took for your brain shocks/zaps to go away?  I'm on week 3 of being off Pristiq (the "new" Effexor), and I am still doing horrible.  The brain shocks are still a daily thing. 

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sharebear, Community Member
5/24/09 12:02am

I was prescribed Effexor in November 2008 due to "depression." It is now May 23, 2009 and I have been off the medication for about 8 days now. My doctor and I agreed to decrease this medication... I was on 150mg, down to 125 for one week, down to 75 for one week and then 37.5 mg for the last. The first week without the medication was HELL. I admit that I have read other websites and have not experienced all the withdrawal symptoms that others and feel grateful for this. During this period I was extremely irritable, nauseous, had sharp pains in my head (the front left side), diarrhea, insomnia, violent dreams, extreme dizziness (vertigo), suicidal thoughts and also extremely tired at times (weird that fatigue and insomnia could be listed as symptoms together). It is the 8th day and I want to give others hope, you will get through the withdrawals. Just keep to it and don't give up. Make sure you have loved ones around to help you through it and if you have any sensitive people in your life, this is not a time for them to be around. I hurt many people because of my extreme irritability... thank God that they "took my ****" and stayed with me through all this c**p. I will NEVER take this pill again (and I have been on other anti-depressants). I will continue to tell anyone I can about this drug. If I felt this after 6 months then how do others feel if they have taken it for years??? Oh and one more thing, the memory loss that I had when I began this medication was ridiculous! This drug should be banned....if anyone knows any class action law suits that are going on I would love to know about it. I reside in ON, Canada. Take care all and don't give up.

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LadyAggie, Community Member
5/24/09 11:09am

I have been on Effexor since about 1992 for chronic fatigue syndrome.  Apparently, it can help with some of the exhaustion, brain fog, etc.  I am having trouble getting my new insurance company to pay for Effexor XR, and so I am out of meds (2 days now).

I was on 150 mg for years and years.... I know going off it cold turkey is stupid, but does anyone have any advice in case I have to do it that way?  It is way too expensive for me to pay for out of pocket. I am on disability for the CFIDS, so I don't have work to worry about.  THANKS!!

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Jumbatronic, Community Member
6/20/09 5:27am

I was initially put on paxil in January 2008 when I was diagnosed with depression but after I felt it was getting worse, my doctor at the time started me on effexor. I can honestly say it did help a lot but I decided in April 2009, I wanted off of it so I decided to taper off from 225mg myself since my next appointment with my psychiatrist wasn't until May. Things went along great and didn't notice anything, except my moods and my head were clearer. 

 

I went from 225mg to 150mg (for one month) and down to 75mg and then to 37.5 and now I have been off of them for 5 days. With the help of sites such as this with an open discussion from other effexor patients, I was able to make a semi-informed decision about how to taper off of it, BUT I DID STILL HAVE HELP FROM MY DOCTOR! He said, however, that I can try to go cold turkey once I've done a month of 37.5 but I would probably go back to it.

 

The only NEGATIVE side effects I am experiencing right now is nausea, diarrhea, fatigue WITH insomnia...not sure if I am getting "brain shivers" since I am not completely sure what it does but I am lying down a lot because I feel dizzy. Luckily, the recession has given me some time to recuperate and let me rest while I am on this withdrawal period. The most POSITIVE side effect is that my sex drive is getting back to normal. I'm able to have orgasms again without any delay but my erections are still hard to come by.

 

I'm currently doing HOT YOGA to help and although I do have to lie down while I'm in a class, I feel it is helping. Although my diet isn't the greatest right now because I'm always trying to sleep off the nausea, I try to do what I can. 

 

So my advice would probably to rest up whenever you feel the need to AND let others know that you are getting off of the meds, INCLUDING YOUR DOCTOR! I'm still waiting for the worst of the withdrawal symptoms and I know my body will take a while to adjust but doing things to actively "replace" the sh*t that the effexor was giving to your brain will probably help. 

 

AND THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ARE GIVING DIET TIPS!! Didn't even know that some other supplements could help! IT IS POSSIBLE!!

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LMKats, Community Member
6/20/09 4:55pm

I've been on Effexor XR for about 6 years, it has been the best for me, but due to a separation, no job, no health care I'm having to go off of it. I'm down to half my dosage and am going nuts. Headaches, not sleeping, crying all the time, anger issues and a terrible itching rash. I cried bitterly for about 2 hours last night and then slept pretty much from midnight to 2:30 p.m. Now I'm back to being depressed and feeling suicidal. No govt. help either, everything costs money. I didn't even wanna go off the stuff, it kept me somewhat sane and in control of myself.

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Phil, Community Member
6/20/09 10:43pm

 

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I had severe withdrawal symptoms with Effexor XL. It took six months to get off of it till my Dr. sent me to a Psychiatric Doctor.

 

I was up to 225mg per day, the symptoms didn't appear as long as I got my 37mg per day. My side effects were sweating and dry mouth and the withdrawl was a hell of combinations. This medication was the only drug that really worked though. However during the good time of not feeling down I would "pick at the wall" because it felt odd not having those feelings of being down. Eventually I was able to knock the wall down and have those feelings again.

 

He came up with a right combo. I was on Effexor for 37.5 mg every other day and Prozac for two weeks followed by Prozac for two weeks, that got me off it. He said I was the worst that he had with withdrawl.


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cindibochs, Community Member
6/24/09 11:58am

There have been a couple of times when I've been without my Effexor for a few days (forgot to pick up the refill, no money to pay for it, etc.) and have had terrible withdrawal symptoms.  The worst is the "zapping or whooshing" feeling in my head when I blink my eyes or move my head. And the sensitivity to sound.  Try reading a book called "The Anti-depressant Solution".  It's eye-opening!  I had no idea I would have withdrawal from and antidepressant!

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cindibochs, Community Member
6/24/09 12:11pm

There have been a couple of times when I've been without my Effexor for a few days (forgot to pick up the refill, no money to pay for it, etc.) and have had terrible withdrawal symptoms.  The worst is the "zapping or whooshing" feeling in my head when I blink my eyes or move my head. And the sensitivity to sound.  Try reading a book called "The Anti-depressant Solution".  It's eye-opening!  I had no idea I would have withdrawal from and antidepressant!

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EffexorWithdralDude, Community Member
6/27/09 7:02pm

YES, Effexor withdrawl is HORRIBLE!!!

 

ABOVE ALL ELSE---before you do this---you need to find a "Buddy" who knows you like the back of their hand. I'm serious...it's like coming off Herion, LSD, or other "hard core drug"---and you will feel MISERABLE.

 

Some people call the effects "Brain Shivers"

 

 

First of all---(you should be discussing this with your Doctor). 

But, with that aside, you ABSOLUTELY MUST!!! "titrate down"

 

Waht this means is take a stair step approach to weaning off the drug. 

If you are on 150MG caps, break them in 1/2----spread them out during the day.

(do that for a week)

Take 75mg and so on. 

 

However, durhing this process...you WILL FEEL HORRIBLE....you need to get this mindset before you start this process (so that you are not suicidal). 

 

As you feel horrible---call on your Buddy---who can "talk you down off the cliff"---and help you make sense of your feeling bad. 

 

However, PLEASE don't stop any drug without talking to your Doctor!

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roberta, Community Member
7/ 2/09 4:11pm

I was on Effexor for about 1 year.  I recently went off of Effexor, with my doctor's  counsel. It's ugly, to be sure, and my withdrawal was mild compared to some folks.  It is now 2 weeks post-Effexor and I am still suffering from dizziness and nausea that remind me of motion sickness. If you move your head too fast, it takes a few seconds for your brain to catch up.  Other people refer to Brain Shivers, which is a more intense version of it.  My whole body, but especially my legs, are jumpy.  Just can't get comfortable.  I'm more weepy now than I ever was before I went on anti-depressants, my temper is shorter, but nothing that is out of control.  So, all in all, I've faired better than many.  And summer was a good time for me to try life without anti-depressants.  Good luck!  Just stay in touch with your doctor and your friends.

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Happy, Community Member
7/11/09 8:17pm

I wanted to get off Effexor XR because of the horrible "brain shivers" I would have if I was just an hour late taking it. I finally talked to my Dr. about going off of it and he acted like it was no big deal. I told him about the things I read on the internet and he said he never heard of such. Anyway, I was on 150mg so he decided to slowly decrease my dosage over a WEEK. The first few days weren't so bad but by the third day it was pure HELL. The "brain shivers" were unbareable and I was crying for no reason. I called the Dr.'s office in tears and told them I couldn't take it. I asked them to phone in Zoloft ( I had taken it previosly before). I left work, drove straight to the pharmacy and picked up the Zoloft (50mg) and took the pill as soon as I got in my car. I went home and cried myself to sleep. The next couple of days weren't the greatest but now I feel wonderful! No more brain shivers. I can miss a dose of Zoloft and have no effects whatsoever. I seriously think you should try this approach. Good Luck! I tell everyone I know about my experience with Effexor XR and I would NOT recommend anyone taking it.

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Ally, Community Member
7/24/09 4:39pm

That is exactly what is happening with me..If I miss my dose, I know right away by the brain zaps and my mood, not to mention my dizziness and nausea..just from one missed dosage. I couldn't remember if I had taken it last night or not. I had extemely bad dreams and as the day went on I felt really awful as thought I was getting the flu. This isn't the first time either. I spoke with my doctor about coming off but said I was worried as I had read the there are withdrawl symptoms and he said he had never heard of such a thing..hello..you are giving this to patients and never researched the withdrawing from this med?  

 

I want to come off of this so bad but I am really scared. If I feel like this now what will I feel like when I miss more than a day? I have other medical problems that complicate matters and I know that I cannot tollerate Zoloft. Should I speak with my other specialist ( for my asthmatic condition) about this as I know my family doctor doesn't really care. ( My specialist is an amazing guy.)

 

I was put on 112.5 mg a day. One 75mg. and one 37.5mg. when my daughter's little 8 month old son past away. That was 3 years ago. Since then my head aches all the time. I have gained weight and I never want to do anything anymore. I am sick of non exsiting. I am not very depressed anymore but everytime I try to come off of this drug I feel awful. And trust me this is a very depressing thought!

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Ellie, Community Member
7/13/09 7:37am

This is the second, and last, time I've experienced withdrawel.  THis time I thought I'd done it right.  I decreased my dose by one-third for three months, and then by another third for a month.  Not good.  Diareha, aches and pains, lethargy, "swimming under water" head were worse than the first time.  Now, I've been off of the 137.5 mg dose for a month.  I'm still struggling with the physical sensations. 

 

My biggest concern for others is this.  THe drug does squash some negative/harmful psychological symptons.  Usually the same ones that caused a person to seek relief in the first place.  So, all the time the person is on the drug, no work was done to isolate, address and minimize the negative symptons, or to establish self-help, or treatment aimed at treating the root of the problem and its consequenses.  So, getting off effexor means you not only have the original situations to contend with, you know also have the very difficult set of physical symptons.  My advise is not to change anything, until you have established a new approach to your symptons and are healthy enough to folllow through.  Ellie

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Tammy_Jane_Doe, Community Member
7/13/09 11:04pm

I am going through effexor withdrawal right now, so I am looking to see if anyone has gone thru what I am currently experiencing. It is awful, my ears are constantly buzzing, my head feels so weird I cant even explain it. I have a constant feeling of nausea. I am having hot flashes, I am constantly tired, my entire body is aching not to mention the crazy dreams I have been having. I called my doctor today to see if I should come in, I was told it was probably the withdrawal and that there is a virus going around with similar symptoms. I feel taking effexor was the biggest mistake of my life. I don't recall it helping much with my depression at all...I just slept all the time.....

 

I don't wish this feeling on anyone but it would make me feel better to know that I am not going thru this alone...

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mattjames, Community Member
7/15/09 8:18am
Ginger capsules help with the nausea, I just got some today. I'm on 37.5MG and i cut them in half. half a day in the evening and it helps when waking up in the morning with the withdrawal symptoms. It's my 2nd day and it's going to be a long road but the end is clear and Im dead set on getting off these. 4 years of hell it's been, my life was ruined by these tablets. Speak to your doctor first no matter what, its important because everyone is differant. Reply
crazy in cali, Community Member
7/15/09 2:21pm

i have been crying all morning after waking to day 5 of withdrawal and finding i am worse each day. i was on eff for 8 years. this is my 3rd time trying to wean. cut from 300 to 75 over 1 1/2 years. so no doubt i did this very slowly. every symptom you read - i have, plus i am getting more discouraged each day - and feel ashamed that i could find myself here. Make sure if you do go off, you have a back up plan for all areas of your life. take a couple weeks off and tell everyone you are going away - except 1 or 2 friends you WILL need. hopefully today i will find some help

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Redreader, Community Member
7/16/09 6:06pm

I am thrilled to have found this site.  I have been searching the net for information about Effexor XR withdrawals.  I have been taking Effexor XR since 2004.  Initially, I took 75mg, but quickly dropped to 37.5mg.  I stayed at 37.5mg for the past four years only b/c I feared withdrawal symptoms.  I have been trying to wean for a year.  I was instructed by my doc to follow the process of decreasing Effexor over a long period of time.  I followed his advice, but when it came to the last stage of the weaning process, I could no longer tolerate the feelings.  I became irritable, depressed, anxious, scared, nauseated, shaky, fatigued; among other things.  After an attempt at 3 days without Effexor XR, I couldn't take the feelings of fear and lack-of-control any longer.  So, I called my doc and shared my desperation.  He acknowledged that Effexor is notorious for it's horrible withdrawal.  He immediately prescribed Prozac 10mg/day.  He told me to stop taking Effexor and to take the prescribed Prozac each day for a week, and then every other day for a week, and then every third day for the remaining two weeks.  I am on my third day of taking Prozac 10mg.  I am experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms, but nothing like I did last week when I tried quitting Effexor w/o Prozac to help.  I am hoping to regain control of my life.  My sense of self has suffered greatly during this trying time.  I feel like a teenager going through an identity crisis.  Anyhow, if all goes as planned, I should be antidepressant free in 3 1/2 weeks!!  I have never shared on a website like this before, but feel it's important for people suffering from Effexor XR withdrawals to consult your doc and consider using Prozac as a bridge to a healthy, happy, Effexor-free you!!

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Strongwithgod, Community Member
7/17/09 5:14pm

I too am trying to get off of Effexor. It's been the 5th day off of it and has gone better than I expected. The brain zaps that I experienced even when I missed one dose when I was taking it regularly have been for the most part minimal. My Dr. had me do this regimin; Week 1 and 2, 20mg prozac a day along with regular effexor, week 3, continue 20mg prozac and cut Effexor dose in half, week 4, prozac only. You have to take prozac before trying to stop effexor because it takes a few weeks until the prozac kicks in unlike effexor which has a much shorter half-life. I'm hoping to regain the memory and cognitive function that I lost on Effexor. Actually I welcomed the libido killing effects of taking it but the mind numbing effect on my emotions, cognition and memory were just too much. I am amazed by the number of people who have been through hell on this drug and very little is written about it in the mainstream media. Good luck. 

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Redreader, Community Member
7/17/09 10:02pm

Here I am, on day 4 w/o Effexor in my life.  Love to be able to write that!  The 10mg of Prozac daily has helped tremendously.  I haven't had many brain zaps, but lots of dizziness, fatigue, and foggy-brain.  Feel like I am one step slower than everything/everyone around me.  Feel like I am VERY drunk.  I am hoping that each day gets better and better.  I will post in a couple of days to update my progress; as I know alot of people have questions regarding the length of time the withdrawal symptoms last.   Please, share your success story, too!

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colby, Community Member
7/21/09 7:43am

i was on effexor for about 2 years. I tried several times to come off but failed with horrible side effects. I tried herbs, programs, vitamins etc. Then my doctor put me on pristiq, whhich didnt help at all. And the withdrawals didnt go away. So i decided to try lovan (prozac) 20mg, and i am getting back to normal (touch wood) the withdrawals have almost gone and im getting happier. And i am pretty sure prozac isnt as bad to get off. Pristiq is a metabolite of effexor so there isnt much difference, dont go on it. but if your really struggling try the lovan, just a small dose. Until the withdrawals ease off and you calm down.

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Redreader, Community Member
7/21/09 4:55pm

I am on day 8 with no Effexor and I feel really good.  Not 100% yet; but much better than I felt this past week.  It CAN be done!!  Days 5 & 7 seemed to be the most challenging.  By challenging, I mean that they definitely provided the most anxiety.  HATE anxiety.  YUCK!  Anyhow, no more dizziness.  Not nauseous.  Stomach is in distress and am still tired.  Anxiety is at a minimum.  Thank goodness.  Tomorrow, I will begin tapering off the small dose of Prozac that my doc prescribed to help with withdrawal.  I definitely recommend it.  Twenty mg of Prozac helped trememdously with withdrawal.  I will update in a few days.  Please share your success stories!! People experiencing withdrawal from Effexor need them.   

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lovemykids, Community Member
7/21/09 8:29pm

I took Effexor XR 225 mg a day for about 4 years...you have to taper off very carefully...there are some meds like Cymbalta that you can transfer to in a pretty short period...but when I stopped cold turkey I was extemely sick...vomiting and severe headache...you can go into a seizure or coma and die from just stopping it suddenly.  Be careful and get medical advice before you do it.

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AMANDARN, Community Member
7/26/09 11:21pm

Wow. I feel like I am reading my life right now through some of the postings. I am 2 and 1/2 weeks out from stopping the effexor 75mg day for about 1 year. It has been the WORST experience of my adult life. Mood swings-psycho screaming over dishes not being done and then bawling my eyes out and being exhausted. Tired to wired and everything in between. My mind is a muddled mess. I will add that I am an RN with my BSN and didn't start taking psych meds until just recently. My md never mentioned any of this.  Also, have weird "buzzing" sensation throughout body at times--researching it I think maybe the brain shivers? I think even at times that I am going to lose my mind that I will never be normal again. PLEASE research the meds b/f you take/go off. If I had known it was going to be this bad I would never have gotten on it. Too many other choices out there. Read the blogs for the real life side--don't just take the doc behind the desk option. Good luck.

My only question would be--DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW LONG THIS LAST???

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Redreader, Community Member
7/28/09 7:43pm

HANG IN THERE!! It WILL go away.  I have been off of Effexor XR for about 14 days now, and feel better each day.  I understand what you mean by being irritable with muscle twitching and many other horrible withdrawal symptoms.  But, please know that it goes away.  Be kind to yourself and give yourself time.  Time helps a bunch.  If your withdrawals get worse, I suggest going to your doc and asking for a small amount of Prozac to help ease what you're feeling.  It works!  Good luck to you. 

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Mom of 3, Community Member
8/ 2/09 7:45pm

I, too, am going through hell with withdrawal from this medication. The main symptom I am having is the brain zappy feeling. I thought I was going nuts until I found so many people online having the same problem.

 

I have been on 150 mg for a couple of years, didn't feel like it was working anymore and my sex drive was extremely low. I adore my husband and I was making him suffer as much as I knew I was. So I asked to come off of it, switch to a new medicine. My doctor's office nurse practitioner told me to come off Effexor cold turkey and switch immediately to Wellbutrin. I have had the most horrible brain zap feelings for over a week now. The crappy part is that I'm at Disney with my family. I've been a bitch to my kids and cried for no reason. My husband doesn't know what to do for me, so he's doing everything (amazing man). Yesterday at Disney World I cried every 20 minutes or so, or at the very least had to grit my teeth really hard to keep from crying. I haven't had the other digestive tract issues that others have mentioned, but the brain zaps and fatigue and mood swings have been quite enough for me (and my poor family).

 

I called the doctor and he said it would "go away in a few days once the Wellbutrin was in my system." Apparently he's never tried this. I'm miserable and I'm miserable to be around.

 

I sure wish my doctor and his nurse practitioner knew more about Effexor and its withdrawal symptoms before they prescribed it to me a few years ago, and knew enough about it to advise me better while coming off of it. It's jacked up.

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Redreader, Community Member
8/ 5/09 12:04pm

So sorry to read your post.  I had a similiar experience a few years ago while at Disneyland.  I forgot to bring my Effexor, and had withdrawal symptoms while trying to enjoy a vacation with my family at the "most magical place on Earth".  Was horrible!  I hope you are doing better now.  It gets better with time.  Time is the key-player in Effexor withdrawal.  I have been off Effexor for 21 days now.  Thank the good Lord.  I used 10mg of Prozac to help me get through the withdrawals.  It helped alot.  Now, I am two days without Prozac.  Feeling a bit dizzy and extremely fatigued.  But, I know I can do this!!  You can too!  Hang in there.  Give yourself time and be knid to yourself.  Don't expect too much, too soon. 

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Who Took My Brain??, Community Member
9/17/09 11:40pm

Oh my gosh, I could have written this very same post (without the Disney part).  I was told to quit cold turkey as well (after taking 150 mg for 8 years) - and substitute Wellbutrin.  I am still waiting for the Wellbutrin to kick in, I guess.  In the meantime, I feel as if I have someone elses brain in my body.  I know it will start to get better, but now I'm afraid of reading about Wellbutrin and it's potential withdrawal effects - am I trading bad for worse?

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e_hand, Community Member
8/ 3/09 8:55am

After a year and a half of being on Effexor, I Was weaned off a month ago and have felt no withdrawal. it's possible not to go through the withdrawal post-antidepressant. I say go for it.

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ItsABigCF, Community Member
8/ 5/09 8:41pm

I was on Effexor XR 75 for only about 3 months. I remember telling my doctor I'd get back to working out when the fatigue/sleepiness wore off. After 3 months I couldn't take it any more and stopped taking them. A day and a half later, I felt like hell. The brain shivers were horrible and the only time I felt decent was laying still with my eyes closed. I tried Dramamine and the like which helped very little. I realized I'd have to keep feeding the withdrawal symptoms, but I'm just trying to keep them barely at bay. I have been trying to taper off as quickly as possible and found that 1/3 of a capsule, which is approx 25 mg, seems to be the set point. I read elsewhere someone got to about 20 and couldn't get past it.

 

I do agree with someone who posted on another board (Google "Mr Wizard" and "effexor withdrawal and you may find his theory) that it isn't the head movement that's the problem, it's the visual stimuli, because I get the zaps when I move my eyes and keep my head still. Try it and see.

 

My understanding is that venlafaxine has a huge impact on vision...I'm going to spend more time researching that area next...

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mikki, Community Member
8/ 7/09 8:07pm

 

I'm on the process of getting off the effexor..I had a horrible, absolutely horrible experience where my Dr. (Psychiatrist) was certain that I had not reached the therapuetic dose of the medication, and we raised it from 150 to 225mg. That dose was unbelievablely excruciating for me, I don't even have words to describe what it was like. BEYOND Anxiety.

 

I've been back down at 150 for about 2 months now, and am in the process of weaning off the medication entirely.

 

The main side effect that I am dealing with is the brain shivers, which are extremely uncomfortable. I have read other people's experiences here at this site and the several that talked about the omega supplements caught my attention. I take flax seed, fish oil and a high quality multi-vitamin daily and what I thought was odd was that around lunch time the shivers and shocks would seem to get worse...now I'm wondering if I take fish oil throughout the day if that might help ease the symptom even further. 

 

I really appreciated one of the posts that used some cognitive skills to help them get through by reminding themselves that they will get through it, that this period of discomfort will pass. I have found that helpful too.

 

I am extremely angry that there isn't more warning about the withdrawl effects, because honestly if I had known, I probably would have made another choice for a medication to try first before starting on effexor. On another note, a new doctor has floated the idea that I might be what is known as 'soft spectrum bipolar', I'm not totally clear if this is the same as Bipolar NOS ...I'm just learning about this, but it's very hard to diagnose apparently because the symptoms don't look like what people think of when they think of bipolar. In my case it is kind of subtle and  manifests as a depression side and an irritibility side...some of this I guess isn't totally accepted by the establishment yet, but what I do know is that if there is a bipolar diagnosis certain classes of anti-depressants can actually 'push' you. In my case this manifested in some very dangerous ways.

 

We have conservatively added a mood stablizer, (completely different class of drug all together) starting at very low dose and very slowy increasing it. It hadn't seemed to change things as of yet, but in just the 4 days since I have been completely off effexor, even with the brain shivers and body shock sensations that I am experiencing, I feel clearer, more balanced, less compulsive, less self-destructive. I'm not super energetic, but so far I'm also not in a completely depressed state either.

 

Hang in there every one, listen to your body, ask a lot of questions and if you can't advocate for yourself, see if a family member or friend can help you be an advocate when talking to about medication. Follow even the subtlest mood changes, look for patterns, hang in there and know you are not alone in this. And thank you for sharing your experiences.

 

 

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Ryse_C, Community Member
8/11/09 3:48am

The withdrawal side effects that you guys are experiencing is happening to me, and I have just started this medication. I am usually an even tempered person, but the day after I started taking effexor, I got to where I was having nightmares that I could not wake myself up from, and my wife could not get me to wake up out of. I have noticed that I have been irritable and extremely angry for no reason whatsoever. I am not sure what a brain frizzle is, could it be the feeling of an ice pick running from the top of my head down my spine when I get up off the couch or off the bed? I am not sure what to do. I have been suffering with these side effects for the last 6 weeks, which my doctor assures me that they will subside in due time, but she can not tell me when 'due time' is. And she does not want me to get off of the medications, because she is scared that the effects of being off the medication might actually be worse than while I am on the medication. And that is from a single 75 mg dose once daily. Could it be the combination of medication's that I am on? I am currently taking 100 mg Zoloft/day, 100 mg Atenolol/day, 3 mg xanax/day, 15 mg buspar/day, 150 mg Amitriptyline/day, and 40 mg Valium/day. I suffer from PTSD from 2 tours of duty, which is why I am on so much. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Redreader, Community Member
8/12/09 11:14am

My personal opinion is to GET OFF EFFEXOR.  I am not a trained medical professional, but I have my own experiences along with many others that have shared theirs.  It seems there must be an alternative to Effexor that your doctor can try.  Effexor has long-lasting side effects and is a nightmare to quit taking.  Yes, Effexor is effective for some people, but, there are other medications that are effective too.  And, the other medications do not come with the side effects/withdrawal symptoms that Effexor does.  Good luck to you.  I wish you the best.

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Skylar, Community Member
8/14/09 8:32am

Yes, Effexor is really a bad drug! I went off cold turkey and had horrible affects, felt paralyzed, i was a wreck!  you have to wean yourself off. My doctor had me on 120mg. you have to step down just as you increased the dosage. If you wean yourself off, you should not have the serious problems that can occur. I wish you the best!

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bnski, Community Member
8/16/09 2:39am

I tapered off from 300 mg. of Effexor when I lost my health insurance (secondary to losing my job).  I had the brain zaps like most everyone has described.  Off course I felt like crap, but that's normal for me.  What I'm curious about is whether anyone else has had what I considred to be a really POSITIVE side-effect that occurred during effexxor withdrawal: I had very vivid dreams and the sensation that I was flying.  This was scary at first because the sensations are so real, but after a while I got used to it.  I knew it was caused by the "withdrawal" of effexxor.  It never happened when I was taking a therapeutic dose, but several times, when I would run out, if I didn't get the prescription refilled for a couple of days, I would have these "dreams."  Got to the point where I actually looked forward to running out of my meds!  I've been off it now for almost two years, but I've not read about about anyone else experiencing this side-effect, so I just thought I'd put it out there. 

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Susieq996, Community Member
8/21/09 4:11am

Thank you all so very much for sharing your experiences!  At least I know now that I am not crazy (although my husband may debate that - ha ha).  Really, it is very helpful to confirm what symptoms are attributable to the Exxexor withdrawl.

 

I am looking for some advice on whether or not to anticipate my brain functioning normally again... 

 

I have been tapering from 187.5 for a couple months and just made the last leap from 37.5 to 0 a week ago.  I felt great on Effexor but am planning to become pregnant.

 

I have dealt with the nausea, hot flashes, tremors BUT I feel as if I've just had a lobotomy which is, of course, quite impactful on the job front. Specifically, 'fogginess', inability to focus, forgetfullness, losing train of thought mid-sentence.  It is night and day from what I consider 'normal'.

 

Do cognitive skills ever return to 'normal'???  If so, how long does it take?  Balancing withdrawl and career is a problem I never anticipated. 

 

Thank you!

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Janet, Community Member
8/23/09 1:57pm

Hi all.  I may have a slightly different perspective on this subject.  Not sure if it will be useful to anyone but here goes.  First, a little background.  I am a 50 year old female going through menopause.  A little over a year ago I was contacted by a research group that was doing a clinical trial to study the effect of Effexor on menopausal symptoms.  At that time, I was having hot flashes that were driving me out of my mind.  So they couldn't get me signed up quick enough!  The trial lasted for 14 months.  For the first two months, I was gradually titrated up to a full daily dosage of 100mg/daily.  By the end of the first month, the flashes were all but gone.  I was thrilled!  I proceeded to have a "menopausal symptom" free year.  On  7/31/09, I was given my last two weeks of medication to titrate me off.  I took the last dose on Friday 8/14/09. 

 

My trouble did not start until the following Monday when I began to have what I now know are called brain "shivers".  For the next five days, I felt absolutely horrible with physical symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headaches.  Then there were the emotional symptoms - CRYING, depression, anxiety etc.  And I even had a few psychotic things going on - like for a split second, I considered throwing my yorkiepoo in the swimming pool because she was barking too loud.  Um Hum......

 

So, here's the good news.  At least for me, the withdrawal symptoms went away almost as quickly as they came on.  Today is 8/23/09 and I feel like my "old" self again - oh yes, including the hot flashes - they are back with a vengence! 

 

For those of you who are going through withdrawal, I truly empathize!  For those considering discontinuing your medication, follow the advice of many others on this site - DON'T go cold turkey.  Consult with your doctor to see if it is a wise thing to do and then see if you can be titrated very gradually.

 

One other thing to note, I happen to be a thin person.  The RN in charge of the clinical trial told me my withdrawal symptoms may have been worse but for a shorter period of time because I metabolized the medicine out of my system very quickly.  So it makes me wonder about any connection between a person's weight and severity of symptoms.  Might make a good study....

 

Take care all.

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rose martin, Community Member
9/ 7/09 3:37pm

Hi all, Im 58yr old woman, single, live alone, disability pension. I have been on various trychlyic Anti-depressants and sedatives for years. when the non addictive SSRIs came in, I was abit sceptical because they said the benzodiazepines were great and non addictive in the 60s. Well folks, anything that alleviates pain,emotional distress or changes uptake of Serotonin,Dopamine,Noradrenaline in the brain is going to be addictive, In not interested in Labels, Addicted to or chemically dependent on or the bodys got used to.. basically is the same thing, sorry ! you go thru withdrawals so your hooked.  Now I was on Seroxat [irish name] {paxil] large dosae for 6years and slowly titrated down. It was v v hard. Usual side effects, but I exercised, ate well, took as much outdoor exercise as possible, put the brain zaps down to Paxil withdrawal. I did very well in that I came off it. I could feel  and cry and my weight went back to being normal. Then before Xmas, for reasons wont go into, camd down with a horrid Depression. 6yrs ago, against my better judgement, I went on Efexor XL firstly 75mls then 150 and finally 300. I was a walking zombie, My BP was very very high and my liver gamma GT was that of someone who drank a bottle of Vodka per day. My shrink panicked and put me back to 150.  I tried some months back to come down off the tabs as I just couldnt take it.   Now I am trying again, this time, I m determined. I gave up Booze,Ciggies, Paxil and other addictive things. There are many reasons why Efexor is physically hard to come down from.     I dont want to be doom and gloom but have done quite abit of research. However, since I read about the effect it can have on ones eyesight over a few years taking it,plus my huge weight problem, my addiction to carbohydrates [another symptom] the awful night sweats from the drug, and the feeling of being chemcially lobotomised, Im giving it a 2nd go. Yes am getting the brain zaps, dizziness, but the tablet has a short life and hence you get the withdrawals coming up to the time youre supposed to take it, unlike other meds, it doesnt stay in the body as long as say, lexapro or Prothiaden or Prozac. It also has a v calming effect so its only natural the body is going to scream for it, Im down to 75mg and was on 200 then 150mg.   My own G.P. said he doesnt prescribe it and i cant say anymore than that. My psychiatrist was the one who did.  Now I just want OFF. Im titrating slowly and am taking a sleeping pill and also Sedation to help eith the awful side effects. Im beginning to feel again, and i look forward to saying adios to this tablet.   I dont think its a good thing to watch out for the symptoms, i prefer to try and exercise and ignore the Dizziness, panic or weird brain zaps. thats all they are,just the brain re adjusting to the lack of this chemical.  I wish you all well

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Larry, Community Member
9/ 7/09 9:55pm

46 yo male and been on effexor for ten yrs and just came completely off.  Served its purpose when going through depression ten years ago.  Never understood why doc kept me on it so long.  Slowly gained weight especially last few years (way too much weight).  My professional drive and motivation, though not gone, was subdued as was my mental edge (not good for anyone but I'm a lawyer).  Started coming off it about sixty days ago.  At each stepdown I felt like i had the flu.  The flu-like symptoms was worse with each stepdown.  Had the fuzzy head going for a few days at each stepown as well.  As I came off it I found I didn't have much of a fuse but did let the family know what was going on.  Not good having a quick temper with kids and wife.  Generally felt like hell for a few days after each stepdown.  Energy level low then slowly comes back up before next stepdown.  Didn't have the bizarre dreams until I quit completely a few days ago.  Pretty ineffective at work for the first few days after each stepdown.  Was on 300 a few years ago then down to 150 for quite awhile.  Stepped down from 150 -> 75 -> 37.5 -> 0.  Good news:  Mental acuity and quick wit came rushing back as did ability to really enjoy an orgasm.  Bottom line:  Served its purpose years ago.  Should have been off it three to five years ago or even before that.  In the end you need to pay close attention to the use of this stuff.  Most family docs are not really aware of the downside of this med.  Educate yourself sooner rather than later like I did.  Now I need to get the weight off and kick my law practice up into high gear (all while being acutely aware of my mental state).  At first, as I was coming off this stuff, I was pissed at what insights/decision-making/critical thinking skills were impaired over the last few years (they were not at the level which I and others were accustomed to).  What you don't realize is how subtlely this and the weight gain happens.  I won't condemn this stuff but you need to educate yourself and others close to you about it before and during its use.  Good luck to all and God bless. 

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dolphin, Community Member
9/ 8/09 8:11pm

How do I wean off Effexor to avoid withdrawal. I'm taking two tablets: 1 - 75mg and

1 - 150mg. I only have three weeks to do this.

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mitzi, Community Member
9/11/09 7:02pm

Hi Casey, I hope you are off Effexor by now. I took it for 2 years and tried once to get off it but after the second day I was ready to either get shot, committed or at least to be put into a straight jacket. Frown

 

For my second attempt I followed the advice of a friend and took 100mg Pregnenolone once a day in the morning. I'm on day 5 now and never felt better. No mood swings, suicide thoughts or bad dreams. Laughing

 

I catch myself singing all day...

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Never Again, Community Member
9/25/09 11:44am

The withdrawal from effexor is HORRIBLE!!!! I was off for 5 days because my prescription didnt come in the mail on time. First day all I did was cry. After that, I would cry and my stomach hurt so bad i thought I was gonna die. i would lay in bed and sob and hide my face under the pillow and covers. I was terrified of everything. I would hide in the closet and not come out sobbing uncontrollably. Only one of my daughters could get me to come out. I would cry when they would go home. Finallly talked myself into going outside. I live by school athletic field and there was a baseball game going on. I could hear the people laughing and I know now they were having a good time, but to me, they were laughing at me. i walked through my yard yelling at them, " what are you laughing at me for?" I wanted to go over and punch them all. i got stopped by one of my loved ones, thank God!

 

It was a nightmare! The physical pain was awful but the mental pain was worse. Please get a drs advice before you do this. I have never been the same since my bout with effexor. No matter what antidepressant they put me on, nothing helps me. Please tell all your loved ones and friends "do not take effexor" as I have told mine. Good luck to you and I pray you will not go thru what I did.

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sis midnite, Community Member
10/ 1/09 6:19pm

I'm sorry to hear about everyone having such a bad time with quitting Effexor.  :(


I'm a 38 year-old female, and I've suffered from chronic anxiety & depression since I was a teenager.  I've tried every antidepressant on the market, including the old-school meds (Imipramine).  Almost none of them have worked for me, except Effexor.  I've been on 150mg for the past six years, and I was thinking of quitting them.  After reading all of your horror stories, I'm not so sure about stopping.  I very seldom have more than a few days off at a time, and I get the brain shivers if I'm even late with a dose.  (I've yet to skip one altogether.)


Sending you all luck for beating the withdrawls. ♥♥♥

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ps4125, Community Member
10/ 2/09 6:01pm
Yes! I was on Effexor for six years. The only reason I was on it for so long was because I didn't want to suffer the withdrawal. I would get so sick if I forgot to take it for even one day. I was on 150mg. Then my doctor titrated me down to 75mg and the 37.5mg. 37.5 is the smallest dose capsule they make. This progression wasn't bad at all. When I tried to stop taking the 37.5 though, I was nauseated, had the brain zaps, headachy, had vertigo, and generally felt like hell. Keep in mind that I am not one of "those" people who makes a big deal of things. I was embarassed that I couldn't get off the stuff without feeling sick. After researching effexor withdrawal, I found that the most successful people getting off effexor, did it very very slowly. I started opening the capsules and removing a few grains each day. I'd take out the grains and replace the top. There are about 120 grains in each 37.5mg capsule. The first day I took out five grains, then six grains, then seven, etc. I'd start each week with five grains less than the last day of the previous week and then bump down one grain a day during the week. I ended with my final capsule containing just five grains. I did have some brain zaps, a little nausea, headche, etc. but it was nothing compared to when I tried to go off the 37.5 cold turkey. These feelings lasted about a week after my last dose and got a little better each day. It's been just over a week now since my last dose and I'm fine. I'm so happy to be off that crap. I'm so happy to no longer be tied to it. No longer have to worry about forgetting to pack it when I go out of town. I have felt emotions more strongly for the first time in six years. This is a good thing. Even though I have felt anger and sadness more profoundly (in an appropriate way, not just randomly), I have also laughed harder and felt more joy. My emotions are no longer masked by a drug. Good luck to you! Reply
Jean, Community Member
10/ 4/09 12:47am

I started taking Effexor approx 9 yrs ago starting at 75m.  Through the years the dosage was increased.  So for about 2 years I was taking 225 mg of effexor.

For the last few months, I have had no drive, passions, etc.  All I did was absolutely nothing.  I asked my doctor to change my prescription from Effexor to something else.  I was given a prescription for Prozac. 20mg.

3 weeks ago on a Monday I stopped cold turkey taking Effexor.  On Tuesday I started on Prozac.

I have been on a roller coaster since then.  In the first week I was afraid to fall asleep.  When I did my son would wake me up immediately.  As soon as I'd go to sleep I would have horrible nightmares.  He would wake me up and I'd go back to sleep and the nightmares would continue where I left off.  I could not close my eyes.  For 2 nights I stayed up afraid to go to sleep.  The night terrors were so vivid that I was afraid that I was going to have a heart attack.  That went on for about 3 to 4 nights.

They finally subsided. I had crying jags for about a week.  Have been depressed.  Have had angry spells. Most of the mental has passed thank God.  I have had anxiety attacks,  shakes, cold sweats,  I'm cold than I'm hot.  I am weak, my balance is off on occassion.  I am afraid to drive.  I've left the house only once to go to the doctor.  My son had to take me. I also have no appitite. I have had diarrhea the entire time and shows no signs of letting up.  I have taken Imodium, Pepto, and the doctor gave me paregoric all to no avail.  I have spent most of my time in the bathroom and am wearing diapers because there is no warning.  My doctor says that if it persists, some tests will have to be run.

I'm heading for my 4th week of withdrawal.  Can any tell me how long this will last?

 

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Mumsey, Community Member
10/ 4/09 2:18am

I am so glad I discovered this website.  I am 70 yrs old, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001.  But my neurologist said my symptoms began in my 20's.  They were light and short, so I attributed them "What was that all about?" and ignored them.

 

I went on Prozac for weight loss in 1993 and, although their was no weight loss, I felt better mentally.  Stayed on Prozac.  In 2000, the MS came at me full force and I was diagnosed and put on disability a year later.  My primary doctor took me off Prozac and I went through a myriad of pain and mind altering drugs.  I was a total banana case with memory blackouts, drugged feeling,etc.  Changed doctors about 3 years ago and was taken off all the brain pills and given Effexor.  Everything seemed okay.  I wasn't really aware in any changes in my brain behavior, and figured my MS and age were causing the dementia symptoms.  Until I forgot to take my pills three nights in a row.  (I remember reminding myself to take them, and remembered taking them- although I hadn't when the fourh night I doubled checked and they were still in the weekly pill box

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Mumsey, Community Member
10/ 4/09 2:57am

I am so glad I discovered this website.  I am 70 yrs old, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001.  But my neurologist said my symptoms began in my 20's.  They were light and short, so I attributed them "What was that all about?" and ignored them.

 

I went on Prozac for weight loss in 1993 and, although their was no weight loss, I felt better mentally.  Stayed on Prozac.  In 2000, the MS came at me full force and I was diagnosed and put on disability a year later.  My primary doctor took me off Prozac and I went through a myriad of pain and mind altering drugs.  I was a total banana case with memory blackouts, drugged feeling, etc.  Changed doctors about three years ago and was taken off all the brain pills and given Effexor.  Everything seemed okay.  I wasn't really aware in any changes in my brain behavior, and figured my MS and age were causing the dementia symptoms.  Until I forgot to take my pills three nights in a row.  (I remember reminding myself to take them, and remembered taking them.)  On the fourth night, I had been having headaches, strange noises in my head and just felt awful.  Although I was sure I had taken my pills, I doubled checked and they were still in the weekly pill box.  Within a few hours after taking them, I felt okay again. But I told my doctor I wanted off the Effexor because I thought it was dangerous.

 

He told me to finish my prescription and then start 20mg of Prozac (my old friend).  About three days into the Prozac and off Effexor - the hell and madness began.  I told my doctor about the loud swishing sounds that actually felt like they were jarring my  head or like the feeling might be after being hit in the head with a sledge hammer.  Plus all the symptoms of those listed before.  I was afraid of a brain tumor and I think the doctor did also because he ordered an MRI.  Which was tumor free. It took about two or three weeks before the worst of the withdrawals were gone and I soon felt a clearness or like coming out of a fog for the first time in years.  The withdrawal misery was worth every minute.

 

I don't think many doctors are aware of some of the side effects of these drugs.  They don't have time to research all of the new diseases and meds and have to rely on the information given to them by the drug sales reps (biased/incomplete) and patients.  I was happy to hear so many of you have done your own research.  I am going to call my doctor and give him this website.

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Koley78, Community Member
10/ 7/09 8:52am

ABSOLUTELY DO NOT GO COLD TURKEY!!  I tried it all.  Switching.  Cold turkey.  Herbals.  The only thing that worked was time and tapering.  I went from 150s to 75s... then after two months on 75s I went to 37s.  After another 2 months, I went to only taking the 37s every other day.  Then after a month, I started taking them every third day.  Before I knew it, I wasn't even getting the "shocks" or withdrawal symptoms.  It's been two months now and I am completely off Effexor!!!  :)

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laura, Community Member
10/15/09 3:02pm

Visiting in Florida and waiting for a refill of my meds.  The Effexor xr 150mg hasn't been in my system for 9 days//My withdrawl exp is unable to sleep and not as patient with family members/I can snap in an instant.  Laura C

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Jill, Community Member
10/15/09 4:56pm

Hi,  I just went on Cimbalta and started reading about withdrawal symptoms.  The

posts here have been really scary as well and ones for Cimbalta.  I went of

Effexor cold turkey and had no symptoms at all.  I had only been taking 25 mil

for a few years.

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ajluvsart, Community Member
10/19/09 3:55am

I am currently weaning off of Effexor. If you do want to go off of Effexor, make sure that a doctor monitors you. In the past two weeks of slowly weaning off of the medication, I have experienced fatigue, DIZZINESS, tingling sensations, light headedness, migraines, and insomnia. My best piece of advice: wean off of this medication if you have a couple week break of some sort. This way, the side effects will not interfere with work/school.

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Babyfacemagee, Community Member
10/21/09 4:16am

Many doctors are NOT aware of the withdrawal problems with Effexor.  They mistakenly think that the withdrawal effects are the return of depression or anxiety when this is NOT the case.  It can take many months...as long as a year for your brain to regrow the serotonin receptors that are atrophied when on Effexor for long periods and you won't feel 100% normal until your brain has a chance to do this.   Your brain also has to ratchet up the production of Serotonin that it has not been doing because it has been relying on the drug to artificially hold serotonin levels up.  Again...this can take a number of months.   DO NOT GET TRICKED INTO STAYING ON THIS AWFUL DRUG.  IT IS ADDICTIVE...regardless of what the pharma company or your doctor says.  There are many class action suits being brought against Wyeth because of the undisclosed dependence and addiction problems with Effexor.  If you do have a serious case of depression you are better off with a longer half life drug like Prozac.  Effexor is being phased out as thousands of people have had horrible withdrawal experiences from it as well as 'light headed' and 'high' and 'disassociated' feelings while on it. 

 

Here is a very good article from the New York Times about one man's experience getting off of Effexor.  Worth the read everyone.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/magazine/06antidepressant-t.html?_r=2&ei=5087%0A&em=&en=cdeb03773a3deee0&ex=1178596800&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin

 

 

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new mom, Community Member
10/27/10 7:18pm

I have been off Effexor for 6 months now.  When I first went off, my doctor told me it was OK to go off cold turkey with 75 er dosage.  He said I would have symptoms up to 5 days if any at all.  He was not concerned and said that if I told him a month later I was having side effects he would tell me "bull".  As soon as I stopped, I had horrid side effects, rushing through my head, vertigo, dizziness, strange feelings like I was outside of myself, heavy/weak legs, migranes, etc.  Sometimes my symptoms would affect my walk and speech.  I saw my doctor, went to a neurologist, a vestiblar therapist, and had a sleep study.  None of them could find a cause.  The neurologist wanted me to go on drugs for anxiety.  I went to a natural medicine specialist who believed me that it wasn't in my head and has been slowly trying to help me detox off this stuff.  I am very sensitive about everything I try and I easily react to meds/chemicals.  The specialist states that some people cant get chemicals out of their system due to poor detoxification through the liver and I am probably one of them.  After starting a stronger detox supplement, my vertigo and symptoms starting to escalate again to the point that I have to support myself when I walk.  I cant stand still and do a task because I feel like I'm going to fall.  I went to the doctor yesterday, explaining how bad my vertigo is and he stated that he believes it is "psychological" and that I need counseling or see a psychiatrist to put me on more drugs.  I left feeling really discouraged.  Furthermore, this has effected my ability to walk.  As I was really discouraged today, I talked to my specialist who suggested I look up blogs such as this on the internet.  I was astounded at what I read, just hundreds of testimonies of this drug.  I searched for any evidence tha these symptoms could be lasting this long.  This blog gave me hope that I could be having withdrawal still.  I pray that I will be able to get through this and feel whole again soon.  I never felt so out of control or in God's hands. 

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new mom, Community Member
10/27/10 7:18pm

I have been off Effexor for 6 months now.  When I first went off, my doctor told me it was OK to go off cold turkey with 75 er dosage.  He said I would have symptoms up to 5 days if any at all.  He was not concerned and said that if I told him a month later I was having side effects he would tell me "bull".  As soon as I stopped, I had horrid side effects, rushing through my head, vertigo, dizziness, strange feelings like I was outside of myself, heavy/weak legs, migranes, etc.  Sometimes my symptoms would affect my walk and speech.  I saw my doctor, went to a neurologist, a vestiblar therapist, and had a sleep study.  None of them could find a cause.  The neurologist wanted me to go on drugs for anxiety.  I went to a natural medicine specialist who believed me that it wasn't in my head and has been slowly trying to help me detox off this stuff.  I am very sensitive about everything I try and I easily react to meds/chemicals.  The specialist states that some people cant get chemicals out of their system due to poor detoxification through the liver and I am probably one of them.  After starting a stronger detox supplement, my vertigo and symptoms starting to escalate again to the point that I have to support myself when I walk.  I cant stand still and do a task because I feel like I'm going to fall.  I went to the doctor yesterday, explaining how bad my vertigo is and he stated that he believes it is "psychological" and that I need counseling or see a psychiatrist to put me on more drugs.  I left feeling really discouraged.  Furthermore, this has effected my ability to walk.  As I was really discouraged today, I talked to my specialist who suggested I look up blogs such as this on the internet.  I was astounded at what I read, just hundreds of testimonies of this drug.  I searched for any evidence tha these symptoms could be lasting this long.  This blog gave me hope that I could be having withdrawal still.  I pray that I will be able to get through this and feel whole again soon.  I never felt so out of control or in God's hands. 

Reply
new mom, Community Member
10/27/10 7:18pm

I have been off Effexor for 6 months now.  When I first went off, my doctor told me it was OK to go off cold turkey with 75 er dosage.  He said I would have symptoms up to 5 days if any at all.  He was not concerned and said that if I told him a month later I was having side effects he would tell me "bull".  As soon as I stopped, I had horrid side effects, rushing through my head, vertigo, dizziness, strange feelings like I was outside of myself, heavy/weak legs, migranes, etc.  Sometimes my symptoms would affect my walk and speech.  I saw my doctor, went to a neurologist, a vestiblar therapist, and had a sleep study.  None of them could find a cause.  The neurologist wanted me to go on drugs for anxiety.  I went to a natural medicine specialist who believed me that it wasn't in my head and has been slowly trying to help me detox off this stuff.  I am very sensitive about everything I try and I easily react to meds/chemicals.  The specialist states that some people cant get chemicals out of their system due to poor detoxification through the liver and I am probably one of them.  After starting a stronger detox supplement, my vertigo and symptoms starting to escalate again to the point that I have to support myself when I walk.  I cant stand still and do a task because I feel like I'm going to fall.  I went to the doctor yesterday, explaining how bad my vertigo is and he stated that he believes it is "psychological" and that I need counseling or see a psychiatrist to put me on more drugs.  I left feeling really discouraged.  Furthermore, this has effected my ability to walk.  As I was really discouraged today, I talked to my specialist who suggested I look up blogs such as this on the internet.  I was astounded at what I read, just hundreds of testimonies of this drug.  I searched for any evidence tha these symptoms could be lasting this long.  This blog gave me hope that I could be having withdrawal still.  I pray that I will be able to get through this and feel whole again soon.  I never felt so out of control or in God's hands. 

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Monica, Community Member
10/29/09 2:12pm

Wow! Before I read all these posts I thought I was totally alone. I have been on effexor for 3 years now. Started on 150mg and went down to 75mg daily. On occasion I skip a dose on accident and the "electric shock" withdrawls effects are so strong. hat each person tends to describe this feeling a little different. At first it was an undescriable feeling. I felt like my head was moving slower then my brain. Made me so sick I was forced to take a dose to feel normal again. I would like to get off of effexor but I am afraid that the withdrawl is too strong for me. I fell trappped by effexor. Thanks to everyone for their personal stories. It has made me feel like i am not the only one experiencing this

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Offeffexor, Community Member
11/10/09 1:14pm

This worked for me-hope it will for you!  I am a certified pharmacy technician and was on Effexor XR 75mg for 5 years.  Tried talking to the doctor and the pharmacists I work with about how to get off of it.  Since there was the usual info out there I had 2 previous unsuccessful attempts.  This was what worked:  First and most important thing I found was getting the doctor to switch me to the regular, immediate-release form of Effexor which comes in a tablet and is alot cheaper since it comes in generic.  Since it is not long acting, and needs to be taken twice a day I spent one week getting used to the twice a day.  Found if I took it after breakfast and dinner it spaced it out right and I could (mostly) remember to take it.  Any later at night seemed to make it harder to get to sleep.  Next I started decreasing my dose by 1/4 tablet at night.  This is what I mean:

 

1 tab am--1 tab pm 

1 tab am--3/4 tab pm

3/4 tab am--3/4 tab pm

3/4 tab pm--1/2 tab pm

1/2 tab pm--1/2 tab pm

1/2 tab am--1/4 tab pm

1/4 tab am--1/4 tab pm

1/4 tab am--1/8 tab pm

1/8 tab am--1/8 tab pm

1/8 tab am--no tab pm

Off it!!!!!!! 

Gave myself 6 months to do it but it went so well I did it in 1 month.  

 

Experienced NO nausea, or other symptoms other than a little of the strange brain dizziness that feels like your brain is catching up to your head whenever it moves too fast.  And that happened only when I got down to the 1/8 tablet! 

Good luck!

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can't stand the zaps, Community Member
12/ 9/09 3:44pm

offeffexor,

 

thanks for the guidance.  i keep trying cold-turkey but that is too horrible and i always return.  do you think your method may work with effexor xr (extended release)?  i only ask because i don't want to spend another dime on this stuff.

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Danielle, Community Member
11/13/09 2:51am

I finally felt ok on 150 Effexor 2x per day.  But my doc thought that was too much and also had some other concerns about me possibly being manic-depressive with the mania part suppressed (I've been diagnosed with major depression for many years so this is a new one on me.)  I told him I would really like to have that mania part just so I could try it out ;) but he said he's seen me in a "bubbly happy mood" before so somehow that means...?  I thought it was ok to be happy sometimes!  Anyway that problem is gone at least for now--after cutting my Effexor dose immediately in half per instructions I don't have to worry about any problems with happiness.  I'm writing this now with tears streaming down my face.  One of the hardest two-week periods I've ever had with no relief in sight.  No, I haven't killed myself yet, but I think about it.  Fortunately I think I am too depressed to actually do it.  But either this is going to get better, or I am going to post my doctor's number somewhere and have perfect strangers call him to tell him that this regimen is not working for me.  I've already told him but I guess I'm just not enough of an impartial witness.

 

Do docs often confuse a sense of humor with being happy?  I know I can be funny, but I also know I am in serious trouble now.  I can't fight this severe of a depression forever.  Even though I remember perfectly well that two weeks ago...I felt normal.  Just hadn't been told to cut my Effexor dose in half yet.  Those were the days!

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melancholybaby, Community Member
11/13/09 10:31am

If I forget to take my 75 mg of Effexor XR for just a day, I feel extremely dizzy (vertigo), irritable, impatient, and cry a lot. It's good to see all of the other answers because I realize I'm not alone.

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jb, Community Member
11/14/09 12:53am

I have been on antidepressants for years. Never mind what got me to this point. I am systematically trying to get off Effexor, Alprazolam, and Trazadone. I am down to 37.5 mg of effexor. One at a time. I know full well the shock feeling and all that stuff that I have read here. The problem is: We, knowing the side effects of withdrawal, are unwilling to take that step. Stepping down is not real easy, but it does work and I am doing it. This crap is worse than the old medicine when it comes to withdrawal. I could have gotten off of Valium easier than this. I will let you all know how I am doing. My next step is to stop my effexor, or take it every other day for a while. 

 

Keep the faith.

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HB, Community Member
12/ 1/09 12:27am

Its funny reading these forum posts because I have been trying to describe, or explain what I have felt since I started Effexor back in 2003.  At first it seemed great, helped with balancing out my "moods" and I felt overall "more there."  I have to say though that I have come to regret ever starting this AD.  I can even say that I FEAR this drug (or lack of it).  A few years ago there was a mix up with my psychiatrist renewing my script so that I could get my refills sent to me.  Basically he thought he had renewed it when I went to see him but I soon realized (and he did too when I was on the other end of the phone "freaking out") that the refill was never sent in and that I was completely out (had been for 2 days by then because my last dose ended on a Friday). Obviously it had remaind just a THOUGHT. Up until these "fateful days" I had had minor "weird feelings" that felt like little electric currents in my brain and body, zigging and zagging, if I missed a dose, what I am finding from other forums to be termed "brain shivers".  I'd feel hotter than usual and sometimes dealt with minor night sweats.  

 

But SHIT! What I felt during those 3 days, I never would wish upon anyone.  I sure hope this is not what dying feels like!!  My ex said that I acted like the inmates he had to deal with at the county jail when they were in the psych wing and going through withdrawls, eyes blazing with fear of what was happening.  From that "episode" I remember not knowing the difference between a reality or dreaming state because both were so hectic at this point and I couldn't figure out which one I had more control of.  At my worst I remember sitting on the couch trying not to move, even the slightest bit because it would trigger all sorts of "weird feelings", only to twitch and wake myself up to "reality", inducing those weird feelings.  But on the parallel, I remember cognitively asking myself if I was now asleep, in a lucid dream, and that the "twitch" was actually my head falling forward as my muscles relaxed! Those weird feelings, as I termed them, were along the lines of feeling "like i'm being shocked in my brain everytime I moved my body" as one mentioned or feeling like I was "flashing" in and out (like zooming in/out on a camera but lightning fast).  The crying fits were accompanied with balling up and screaming into the carpet to tense my whole body as that was the only bodily control I felt I had. The world was loud, any sound was SO LOUD and moving in "slow-motion" yet "fast-forward" at the same time (took me years to put that sensation into words that someone, even myself, could understand). To try and explain all that I felt does not seem practical nor do try to put it all together in words.  I spent a year in Iraq before all of this, on missions 5-6 days a week, dealing with hell-ish situations but as I told my doc, I would rather spend 5 more years in Iraq wondering if i would make it through the day than ever re-live anything close to those 3 days.  

 

Since then, if I am late taking my dose, even within the 1st hour, it is like my body takes the straight shot for withdrawl symptoms.  Maybe a post-traumatic response my brain gives me to remind me that's its ready to take action if I don't do something soon.  Night sweats are more like sweat baths and I know the "hot flashes" are from nothing other than the AD because I am only 27!  So yes, like an addict who hates their dependance to a substance, I wish I could go back in time and decide against starting this AD.   

 

Now that I am done writing this excessively long post, I realize that this has been the first time I have ever written down my experience.  SCARY!  Everyones posts just gave me the excuse to share my experience and feel more in touch with others and the reality of this AD. (or maybe it just gave me the "excuse" to break away from studying for my anatomy exam!)  :)  And as I hate that others may have had experiences like ours, it feels good to know that we can support each other out there and strength builds in numbers.  Maybe one day I can be free from this.

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Franberry, Community Member
2/ 3/10 6:55am

As much as I'd like to post a comment as opposed to a reply, I confess that I can't figure out how. So, this isn't really a reply to the comment above, but a comment in it's own right... (or rather, that's what it aspires to be when it grows up)

 

I wanted to post something here for those people looking to see what they can expect when coming off Effexor (Venlafaxin): keep in mind that many of the people who have posted here are on the extreme side of the scale. From what I understand, somewhere between half and 3/4 of people coming off Venlafaxin have serious problems doing so. The other half has minor problems, I don't think anyone gets off scott-free. 

 

With that in mind I took a week off of work to deal with the more serious physical side effects, got in contact with my doctor (it turns out that doctors in Germany still do house calls. Who knew?), gave my best friend here all of my emergency contact info, ditto my roommates, and gave my mother the contact info for both roommates and two good friends here. I also got contact info for the psychological crisis intervention centre in Munich from the doc, and everything along those lines.  All this I did because I've missed a dose on occation and had crazy fallback (150mg tablets)- the brain shivers and dizziness and an inability to concentrate, from missing one dose, I figured that going off would be rough, so I took all sorts of precautions against it.

 

Thursday night, instead of taking 150mg, I took 3x 37.5mg, same thing Friday night. Saturday I took 2x 37.5 and Sunday one capsule, knowing that I had to work friday, saturday and sunday, and that I had Monday to friday free to be in bed ill.  I had read that the fifth and sixth days were among the worst, which is why I started early and decreased (albeit not gradually, as is recommended), instead of going straight from 150 to 37.5 as I'd planned.

 

What I experienced the first day (Friday) was mild dizziness, so I took a nap at about 4pm and then met a friend later in the evening and all was well.

The second day was (so far) the worst. The dizziness kicked in a couple hours before the end of my shift, bringing nausea with it. I probably could have handled it if my colleague had grasped the "dude, I need you to take it easy on me with the banter today. I know it's all in fun, but just do me the favour. k?" concept. By counting to 100 in several languages I kept the tears in check, but it wasn't easy and by the time I got home that night I was seriously questioning my ability to handle the change, and wondering if I was stong enough to come off at all. Sunday, day three, was surprisingly okay. The dizziness didn't hit until about 7pm, by which time I was most of the way home from work, and knew that I had the week ahead of me off. The nausea was minor.

 

Monday, day four, the first day of 37.5 wasn't great. I had decided the night before that if the withdrawal symptoms came when the meds were wearing off, then the most sensible thing to do was take them in the morning, then the meds would kick in, last most of the day, and the dizziness would begin in the evening. A fair point, but, in retrospect, this is a change I ought to have made before changing the dosage. Once again, though, big dizziness and periods of rough nausea, but none of the other side-effects I've heard so much about.

 

By Tuesday, day five, I was hungry again and felt able to manage a meal. I should point out here that although I was dizzy and nauseous, I didn't vomit, I was just too afraid that I would to eat.  Since the guy in the apartment below mine was hammering and making a lot of noise, I decided to get some errands out of the way and went downtown for about 4 hours- more than I was expecting to be able to manage.

 

Today is Wednesday, day six, and I'm still dizzy but not nauseous. I've also got a bad case of cabin-fever and want to accomplish things, but don't really have anything to do, having taken the week off work.

 

So, to recap: It's felt like a mild case of the flu, my hands are cold but my forehead's warm, mild-moderate dizziness and nausea. Through the day until early evening is fine, were this an illness-thing I'd not have taken the time off work for it, I just don't feel ill enough to rationalise it.

 

What I haven't mentioned so far is the dreams. I've been having strangely vivid dreams, waking up unable to discern what happened and what did not. Not nightmares, mind, just... dreams. I dreamt the other night that I had poured the apple juice from the box into my waterbottle and diluted it. I woke up and reached for the water bottle, only to find it empty and was very confused, because I could so vividly remember pouring it. I also dreamed that I'd talked to my mother on the phone at 3am (here time), which I knew was irrational because my mother is usually in bed asleep by that time (10pm her time), but I could remember everything which was said, so I called her to ask about it. "No," she said, "that didn't happen, but that is what I would have said." Last night I dreamed about having a conversation with a friend of mine about toilet paper. I know this was a dream because the friend in question lives in a different country.

 

I wanted to post a bit about my experiences simply to assuage the fears of those who are only finding the accounts of those having severe reactions. I'm lucky, and I recognise this, but I think that if you go into it expecting to have a horrible go of it, your experience will be worse than if you go in with the knowledge that it could easily go one of two ways.

 

In response to those who've said that this drug should be banned, I would like to respectfully disagree. I was prescribed Effexor when just over 7 years ago, after a year of trying other medications which didn't help. I was young, and I was suicidal. I agree that I was ill-informed of the possible side-effects: I didn't know I would gain weight, I didn't know that I'd become so dependant upon it that missing a day would throw me for a loop every time, I wasn't informed of the possibility of nasty withdrawal when the time came for me to come off. But I think that my doctor was equally uninformed, and I can't/don't hold that against him. That said, on this medication I was no longer trying to kill myself, and I no longer wanted to die. I stopped cutting myself, and I started eating again. I stopped crying all the time, and I started getting some sleep again.  All things considered, the seven years of relative peace weighed against the possibility of a couple of weeks of living hell? Even if I HAD ben informed of the cons to taking this medication, I have to say that they are far outweighed by the pros. I also have to say that when I went on them, I was not expecting to live to adulthood.

 

I hope that you have the patience to read this through, it's long and complicated, but I think it's worth it. I wish you the best of luck with your own withdrawal, chin up, it's not forever.

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sd, Community Member
2/25/10 8:21pm

 If I am reading this correctly, which I may not be considering I am on day 5 off effexor and cannot completely comprehend anything, when writing this you hadn't even come fully off effexor. Day four was the first day of 37.5 mg. for you, right? So it was the 4th day of TAPERING off effexor so no wonder you didn't feel completely terrible! I tapered off also. I took 75 mg for about a year.I tapered off for a week, which probably should have been drawn out longer, but at that point I was over it. I felt bad while tapering off and didn't want to deal with it forever so I quit. DAy 5 and I feel worse than ever!! Of course the brain shivers are the worst! I cant even get off the couch. I slept for 14 hours last night and still couldnt manage to get anything done today. And the depression, crying all the time, sweating profusely while freezing, etc. I can hardly even concentrate enough to write this!! I started taking vitamins yeaterday and felt a little better yeaterday, but not today. I read on another post that Omega 3s are beneficial and I may try dramamine for the dizziness and  brain shivers. I am sorry I hijacked your post, as I also do not know how to post my own comment. If anyone else knows how long the withdrawals will last, please let me know!!!

 

I also wanted to comment on the dreams.. ever since I started taking effexor I had very vivid dreams. I remembered every dream I had in detail. It was very strange, but I also kind of enjoyed it.

 

I also don't necessarily agree about getting the drug banned. I think people are so upset because they were never warned about the awful withdrawals. There are some people who greatly benefit from this drug, and this drug alone. People just need to be educated of what the medications are capable of. I also think that people need to be somewhat held responsible and do their research themselves. After this experiene there is no way in hell that I will ever take another anti-depressant.

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Franberry, Community Member
2/26/10 3:55pm

Fair point: I was (and still am) writing during the tapering-off process. I wrote that last blurb on the fourth day of 37.5 mg. I stuck to 37.5 for a while and then, about a week ago, broke the tablet into four and took 3 of them, which was fine for the first 8 hours of the workday, but then I started getting dizzy and vomited (me, standing over the garbage can, the boss comes in, thinks I'm choking and slaps me on the back. Thanks boss, that was very helpful...). okay by the next day, until I cought a virus a couple of days later. As soon as I'm healthy again with the virus, I think I'll go down to a half tablet. And... stay on that for a while? I don't know yet, I haven't really decided. As I said, the main point of me posting at all is that I'd read so many horror stories- both of tapering and coming off- that I thought it might offer some reassurance to know that it's not necessarily a given. I may, of course, get a nasty kick in the face when I go completely off, but if the tapering has been any indication, I think it'll be okay.

As for how long the withdrawal symptoms last, I think that's very individual. days to months, averaging at weeks, from what I've read.

I maintain, though, that I'm glad Effexor exists. It's been a bloody help, and I don't think I'd've lived this long without it. Yeah, it would have been nice to know about the withdrawal possibilities beforehand, but I don't think it'd've changed things for me.

 

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sd, Community Member
2/25/10 8:21pm

 If I am reading this correctly, which I may not be considering I am on day 5 off effexor and cannot completely comprehend anything, when writing this you hadn't even come fully off effexor. Day four was the first day of 37.5 mg. for you, right? So it was the 4th day of TAPERING off effexor so no wonder you didn't feel completely terrible! I tapered off also. I took 75 mg for about a year.I tapered off for a week, which probably should have been drawn out longer, but at that point I was over it. I felt bad while tapering off and didn't want to deal with it forever so I quit. DAy 5 and I feel worse than ever!! Of course the brain shivers are the worst! I cant even get off the couch. I slept for 14 hours last night and still couldnt manage to get anything done today. And the depression, crying all the time, sweating profusely while freezing, etc. I can hardly even concentrate enough to write this!! I started taking vitamins yeaterday and felt a little better yeaterday, but not today. I read on another post that Omega 3s are beneficial and I may try dramamine for the dizziness and  brain shivers. I am sorry I hijacked your post, as I also do not know how to post my own comment. If anyone else knows how long the withdrawals will last, please let me know!!!

 

I also wanted to comment on the dreams.. ever since I started taking effexor I had very vivid dreams. I remembered every dream I had in detail. It was very strange, but I also kind of enjoyed it.

 

I also don't necessarily agree about getting the drug banned. I think people are so upset because they were never warned about the awful withdrawals. There are some people who greatly benefit from this drug, and this drug alone. People just need to be educated of what the medications are capable of. I also think that people need to be somewhat held responsible and do their research themselves. After this experiene there is no way in hell that I will ever take another anti-depressant.

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Michelley, Community Member
12/ 8/09 9:13pm

HELLO CASEY...YES WITHDRAWAL KAN BE PRETTY BAD...IVE STOPPED TAKING MY EFFEXOR...IT WASNT LONG TILL I STARTED FEELING SO NAUSEAS ''SORRY FOR MY SPELLING''..I WAS ALSO FEELING DIZZY AT TIMES AND IT WAS HARD FOR ME TO SLEEP AT NIGHT SOMETIMES TOO...BUT ID HAVE TO SAY THE WORST PART FOR ME IS THE NAUSEA...IT WOULD SOMETIMES KOME AND GO...BUT IM FEELING IT ALL THE TIME...UGGHHH ITS HORRIBLE..IF YOU WANNA STOP TAKING EFFEXOR...TRY TAKING LOW DOSAGES AT A TIME...LIKE WEAN AWAY FROM IT...LIKE NOW AT IM TYPING THIS, I FEEL NAUSEAS RIGHT NOW...I HATE THIS FEELING...

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Nicole, Community Member
12/28/09 10:40am

I found that Bonine which is an over the counter medicine for motion sickness is helping a LOT with the dizziness/nausea and it doesn't make you tired like Dramamine does.

 

Hope that helps someone get through their withdrawal.

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tigerlily, Community Member
1/10/10 2:03am

Hello,

I was only on Effexor for 2 1/2 weeks but knew it wasn't for me.  The constant tightness in my ribcage and loud ringing in my ears drove me nuts. So I quit cold turkey because I thought, hey I haven't been doing this drug for so long so I won't have to wean off of it. Two days after I stopped I was getting dizzy and feeling like I was going to pass out.  I had to even get off of my bicycle and walk it home from work! So I took about half of the lowest dosage--maybe I took 20 mg?

 

I can say one good thing for this drug. I got super productive on it and was able to work very well and focused and produce wonderful work, but the side effects weren't worth it.  Today is 10 days after I stopped cold turkey, I was so hyper and happy in the morning but then got motion sick in car this afternoon.  Then I totally completely lost it.  I started crying really vigorously (loud soul renching sobs) and threw up even!  I was shaking in my body. No other anti-depressant drug has done this to me--not lexapro, prozac, zoloft. This drug is dangerous, kids!  I will never do another anti-depressant drug again. Just not worth it.  I am resolving to exercise nearly daily and get a dog to love.  Good thing I'm in talk therapy!

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tigerlily, Community Member
1/10/10 2:04am

Plus it Effexor made me feel 'dirty' inside, like I was in a constant hangover inside my body (though my mind was ok).  Very strange. 

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thedancer, Community Member
4/22/12 4:50pm

hello, i have been on it for only 2 1/2 weeks and i feel worse than before I started; I am so very nauseated and cried all day today.  Mine are the capsules, so today I poured out some of the beads.  I have not been able to work; there are days I am too groggy to shower (so unlike me).  My fingers are tingly and numb and i have the shakes inside and out.

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Deb, Community Member
2/11/10 3:19pm

Hi Casey,

 

The withdrawal from Effexor is pretty much as the people here have posted, although I tapered my dosage off, the first time.

 

I was taking 150 mg daily and moved to another state and withdrew from the drug, as I knew I would not have a doctor for a while in my new location. I can't remember the exact specifics as it was 8 years ago, but the dose was lowered for a while, then I took the 37.5 mg dosage every other day for a while.

 

What I do remember, vividly, was the electric shock sensations and dizziness that were quite severe for a while, about 6 to 8 weeks, but decreased gradually for about 3 months - then symptoms finally abated and life went on.

 

While going through the withdrawal, I found that it was difficult to focus on anything other than the withdrawal, because it is all-encompassing, to say the least. I managed to function, but my focus was on keeping my head still to lessen the electric shocks! Any movement of my head brought on the electric shocks and gave me the physical sensation that I was about to fall over, backward.

 

Unfortunately, I've suffered with depression, my entire life, but have always taken a positive thinking approach - which helps dramatically - but takes continuous effort, and only works for a short while, then I have to start all over again. It is exhausting.

 

During the past year, my stress increased to the point that I was no longer able to "cheer lead" myself out of the depression (personal financial strain, along with helping my two stepchildren financially; living half the time in another state to care for my aging parents - my father is legally blind and my mother is in the late middle stages of Alzheimer's disease, all while trying to support myself in a home-based business).

 

I had avoided doctors for the 8 years since my move, but all the strain and depression impelled me seek a doctor so I could address my health and depression issues, in order to better cope with my situation.

 

The doctor prescribed Effexor XR 75 mg, which I've been taking in a generic form (which "only" runs $104 monthly!) for about 3 months. the Effexor has given me back my coping ability and also made my husband much happier, as well, because I had been so stressed-out!

 

Going back and forth as I do, I only realized today that I had one more Effexor tablet and missed yesterday's dose. The only reason I KNOW that I missed yesterday's dose is because, this morning, the electric shock buzzing and zapping and dizziness returned. My husband (while I was out of state) had found one tablet which must have dropped onto the floor. I was overjoyed to take this tablet, to reduce the withdrawal symptoms! A couple hours after taking the tablet, my withdrawal symptoms were considerably reduced.

 

I must add here, that the pharmacy in the other state had mentioned that I had an additional 3 months of all my medicines (I refill the medicines in whichever location I'n in), so I did not realize until today that I had no refill available; I thought I had a prescription "on hold" at the pharmacy. Otherwise, I would not have gotten myself into this withdrawal situation!

 

Meanwhile, I called the doctor's office. He had prescribed three months of the medicine, which I just finished-up today. the Effexor had allowed me to happily cope with all my increased demands, but I had to delay a scheduled appointment for two weeks due to being out of state longer than I'd anticipated, so my doctor's nurse mentioned that he may not prescribe the drug again until he sees me in two weeks. I told her to PLEASE tell him that I am having withdrawal symptoms of electric jolts!

 

Another thing I should add is that my doctor questioned me about my need for a depression med, due to it usually being a chronic condition. I explained how I've always struggled with depression, although I'd only taken medication for it for a short time. Then he questioned my family  history of depression. I also told him about the electric shock/dizziness withdrawal symptoms, and that was my main concern about taking Effexor again, although it allowed me to enjoy life for possibly the first time ever. He questioned me about the withdrawals, "How do you know it was the Effexor (maybe he thought I'd been taking illegal drugs or having neurological problems)?" I told him that I KNEW it was the Effexor, because going off Effexor was the only time I'd experienced any sensations like that - it was too coincidental. (Plus, like all of you here, I was so spooked by it that I researched it on the internet and found it to be an extremely common and disturbing phenomenom!)

 

If my doctor does not prescribe the medication for me today, he's history, and I've been without medical attention for years, until recently. Where's medical help when you need it? That really upset me. Where's compassion in this world? I pay a ton (out of my own pocket) for healthcare, and this is what I get?! But, that was the nurse talking, not the doctor. So I'm not quitting him just yet!

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sd, Community Member
2/26/10 12:27pm

 I just wanted to let everyone know that yesterday I bought omega 3 fish oil and my brain zaps are nearly gone!! I felt considerably better within an hour. I would encourage anyone getting off of effexor to run to the store and pick it up. i felt like I was going to die yesterday (day 5 of no effexor) and today I am actually able to function.

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Davo Collins, Community Member
3/ 2/10 4:10am

don't just stop taking them, I did once when one Doc told me to , because of a rash that my body came out in, and three days later, it was terrible end up in hospital pumping valium in me to calm me down, wean yourselve slowly

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Ken, Community Member
3/ 2/10 12:35pm

Wow, I am sorry to see so many people going through this.  I am relieved to know that I am not the only one and not going crazy.  I have been on Effexor for 12 years.  I was put on it after my mom passed away and my doctor said it would help through the issues I was having with that.  I thought about getting off it many times but never seemed like the right time.  If I would have known the nightmare it would be to get off of it, I would have really never gone on this.  Keep in mind I am a 37 year old man who started his own company and have gone through rough times in my life.  NOTHING like the effexor withdrawl.

 

I recently tried to wean off slowly.  I take 225 mg and started to drop 37.5 every 3-4 weeks.  It was hard and had a lot of side effects but seemed to be able live through them.  I ended up having a tough break up, which I am sure did not help this process, but continued on thinking it was the best thing to do.  Once I hit the 75mg a day, it all went sideways.  I felt like I was living outside my body.  I wanted to cry every second and had panic attacks all day.  I stopped eating and couldn't sleep.  I had nose bleeds.  I dropped 25lbs in a month (which in theory sounds good :) I had night sweats, and other side effects explained.  I tried to make it through a few more days hoping it would go away and it just got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore.  I felt like I had no control of my body, I couldn't work and was just shutting down. I was so irritable and even texted stuff to my ex that I would have never had said and had no recollection until the next day. I tried to explain that I was not myself coming off of this medication, but unless you have been here it is hard for anyone else to understand. I talked to my doctor and increased my dosage to 150 and tried that for a few days and I didn't get any better. The nose bleeds continued, my heart was beating through my chest and I couldn't control my emotions.  I didn't know what to do.....  I went back to 225mg just to hope to feel normal again. 

 

I felt like a failure not making it through this process and feel like all that pain I went through and caused others was wasted. 

 

I have been back to the full dosage for about a week and still feel out of sorts and just not right.  I was hoping to get back to full strength and see another doctor more in tune with getting off Effexor and try to put a better plan together.  It is just hard to imagine going through the horrible side effects again!!

 

I want to wish everyone all the best in your personal struggles with this!!! It actually feels good sharing to others who know the pain.

 

Ken

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Fancynancy, Community Member
3/ 2/10 2:33pm

I was prescribed 75 mg once daily. However, after researching about effexor,i am so glad I didnt not increase my dosage,like my MD wanted me to. I was not informed about the side effects,nor the horrible withdrwal. It should be called side effexor.

 

I have decided to quit cold turkey. I had been taking it for about 2 months. I am also taking omega 3 three times a day and a multivitamin. I plan on taking st. jon wart as well.

 I am on day 1 ,I feel lucky as just have dizziness,ringing in the ears, and tiredness. I truly sympathize for all the horrible results and heartbreaking stories because of this drug.

It should be taken off the market,or at the very least,information should be made mandatory to the patient ,and then an informed decision can be made by the patient.

 

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Pegleg, Community Member
3/ 7/10 10:56pm

I have tried to get off effexor several times. My main pronlem is the squealing in the inner ears.  It starts about the 3rd day after being off the drug. It goes from one side of the head to the other.  Almost sonds like air pressure being squirted from all directions in the head. After a while, like 4-5 days of being off effexor, the squealing in the head gets more intense.  It gets so intense it will make you stagger when you try to walk.

 

I haven't been able to quit Effexor due to this. I try, but I have to give up and get the script filled again, because I can't take the squealing in my head all the time.  The longest I've been able to stay off effexor is 6 days.

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chicagogirl, Community Member
3/ 8/10 10:37am

Hi,

Just wanted to add my experience for what it is worth. I had been taking 150mg of Effexor daily for about a year. I went off Effexor 'cold turkey'. I was/am taking 300mg of Wellbutrin and continued to do so while quitting Effexor. My withdrawal symptoms have been very minimal. I feel a bit groggy, and have been kind of "spacey" (sorry I don't know how else to describe it). If I had to rate my discomfort from 1-10, 10 being the worst, I would say my withdrawal has been a 2.

I think it is important to note that I am on a completely organic diet. No additives, preservatives, added hormones, or pesticides. Also I eat no refined products, such as table sugar or flour. Although there is no type of science to support my opinion, I think my almost non-existent withdrawal symptoms are directly linked to my diet.

My reasons for ceasing my use of Effexor are many, but most importantly I did not want to continue taking a medication that has been so widely exposed for horrible withdrawals/side effects. Especially when there are other options available to us.

I wish you the very best of luck, and continued happiness. Although none of our experiences can predict how you are going to feel, please know that not everyone has had a horror-story experience while withdrawing for Effexor. Good luck whatever your decision!

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tcall, Community Member
3/15/10 2:26pm

Hi,

I am unintentionally getting off of 37.5 mg of Effexor cold turkey for anxiety. I don't have health insurance and don't have the money to pay for the med, but not many others have worked for me (Paxil, Zoloft), so my doctor presribed Effexor. I qualify for a program through the company that allows me to get it free, and they send it right to my home. I filled out a refill request form and was supposed to get it last week, but it still hasn't come in. I've been feeling really weird (dizziness, fatigue, brain shivers, agitation, trouble focusing with my eyes), so I thought I'd look up some withdrawal symptoms for Effexor and found this. There's no way I'm getting back on that med!

I really just wanted to say that I don't know if your organic diet is the sole cause of your lack of withdrawal symptoms. I also eat organic (I'm doing a CSA, so most of my food comes from an organic farm, meaning that much of what I eat is not just organic but also fresh). I was on the lowest dosage of Effexor and am still having crazy side effects.

Whatever the reason, you are certainly lucky.

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Idiot, Community Member
4/ 4/10 3:22pm

I have been abusing effexor for about the last 3 yrs.  Not the xr, the regular. I have taken everything all the way up to about 1000 mg a day.  Sounds like BS I know.  How did I get so much.......easy......you have your wife go to her dr and get some also.  I'm not asking for help....I'm just hoping I survive this, you people are actually scaring me. I've tried getting off it before.....couldn't do it.......worse then the Meth withdrawals I went through.  As I type this, I'm sweating like a hog and its 45 degrees outside.  You'd think I'd know better with the other addictions I've battled.......maybe I did.........just don't give a shit.  Doctors think there helping people by giving them this kind of crap when they have no clue as to how this stuff actually affects each seperate person.  I honestly feel like shooting myself......a little advise.........this shit is worse then what your feeling........

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patty stirling, Community Member
4/14/10 3:48am

It's the return of my original symptoms that keep me addicted to effexor. I couldn't keep living with those again.

 

I've tried to wean myself off effexor xr a few times (once unintentionally during hospitalization after a severe car accident and coma). The only physical side effects were muscle contraction and contortion (my neck trying to twist my head off, arms trying to break off behind my back). Awful mental side effects of severe, constant anxiety, unable to focus, unable to dream, or sleep at all.

 

But those were all symptoms for which I was taking it in the first place (along with long term severe eating disorders and major depression). I'm having to wean myself off again because I no longer have health insurance.

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patty stirling, Community Member
4/14/10 3:51am

It's the return of my original symptoms that keep me addicted to effexor. I couldn't keep living with those again.

 

I've tried to wean myself off effexor xr a few times (once unintentionally during hospitalization after a severe car accident and coma). The only physical side effects were muscle contraction and contortion (my neck trying to twist my head off, arms trying to break off behind my back). Awful mental side effects of severe, constant anxiety, unable to focus, unable to dream, or sleep at all.

 

But those were all symptoms for which I was taking it in the first place (along with long term severe eating disorders and major depression). I'm having to wean myself off again because I no longer have health insurance.

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Danny, Community Member
5/ 3/10 5:28am

It took me several years to get off Effexor.  I want to sue this company.  I'ts been over a year now and I still have side effects.    I was moody, shook, had night mares, you name it,,,,,,,,,,,,I still feel the need to keep some Effexor in my drawer and at times I take it.  I had no choice to get off this product because a year ago I lost my job and lost my health care.  The price was 650.00 a month.  I can be contacted a trube1959@msn.com My name is Danny,,,,,,,,This is an awful medication,,,I was better off with the anxiety I had before starting this medication then the depression I am having now,,,,,,

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JV, Community Member
5/11/10 8:31pm

Ok. Stopped EFXR four days ago. Picking up with Welbutrin. Ishare with all of you:

 

- Nausea

- Extreme dizzyness

- Incredible irritability and emotional instability (weeping for gods sake)

- Some of the worst (waking up screaming) nightmares I've ever had

- And worst of all - almosy continuous brain zap. From mild to causing my entire body to jump.

 

Promethazine works great for the nausea and makes me a bit drowsy, but in a good way. I seem to get some relief for an hour or two.

 

I've missed work due to this already. I feel like total s**t. So from what I've read this could go on for two or more weeks?!?!? Is this what I'm hearing from you folks?

 

I'm worried now. This has to stop.

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Pamela, Community Member
5/15/10 1:42pm

I thought I was getting off the Effexor the way I was supposed to.  I went to every other day for a while, every second day, then third, fourth and now every fifth day.  I have not just experienced withdrawal, I am experiencing hell!  Any drug that can cause the nightmares, nauseousness, dizziness, extreme changes in emotions, just to name a few, when withdrawing from it is not good in my opinion.  My doctor has been on vacation this week and I will be calling him first thing Monday morning.  I have come to far to turn back now, but I don't know how much more I can take of the withdrawal.  This is the way I was told to get it out of my system, but I am in the third month of trying and I am about to lose my mind! 

From this day forward I will discourage everybody I know from taking any drug like this horrible one just in case they ever want to stop!  I have never experienced anything like this before and I pray to God that I never have to again!

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Sandy, Community Member
5/18/10 2:53pm

Yes.  After 5 years on Effexor, I asked my doctor to cut my dose from 150 mg. to 75 mg.  That was April of 2009 and I had no problems. I was less tired and more active.

 

Then six weeks ago, I decided I wanted to go off completely.  Save my liver and be completely drug free.  My doctor's advice was just take it every other day for a few weeks, then stop taking it.  That didn't go so well.  My stomach was upset, my hands were trembling, and my brain started having what I later found out are called "brain shivers".  It felt like mini seizers. They only lasted a few seconds, but happened all day long.  I felt horrible.  My doctor didn't know about the side effects, so she was really no help at all.  I had to go on-line and educated myself.  I found that there is a lower dosage than the 75 mg.  So I asked my doctor to prescribe that for me.  I took the 37.5 mg. everyday for two weeks and then switched to every other day.  I still had a little of the brain shivers, but they came less often.  The other symptoms went away completely. Sunday was my final dose.  It's been two days and the brain shivers are less severe and less frequent. More than a few times I wondered if it was worth the trouble of going off.  Now, I think it was.  I hope my story helps you.  Good luck to you. 

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Tony, Community Member
5/26/10 3:16am

It has been interesting to read the comments posted here and a great help as I now understand what I'm going through. I have been very moody, depressed and with suicidal ideations, I also think I'm going through a dysophia mood. My job has become increasingly stressful even though I've been doing it for 9 years and nothing changes from one year to the next.

 

I was orginally put on Venlafaxin in 1992 and was given 300mg per day. After many years I reduced that 150mg and then, in the last few years, down to 75mg with no significant effects. About two years ago my doctor told me to try and come off them so in 2008 I dropped to 37.5mg and remained on that until January this year. I tried taking them on a 'every other day' basis but started getting the brain zaps, I then started cutting the pill in half and that seemed to work ok. 

 

About two weeks ago I stopped altogether and now find myself in the situation I described above. I am going to carry on with complete withdrawal as I don't want to go back on them and possibly have to go through this again some time in the future.

 

I would realy appreciate if anyone has experienced these moods telling me how long they may continue and when I might feel 'normal' again. 

 

 

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Jacqui Chan, Community Member
7/17/10 2:16pm

I think Sandy's approach would work. I was thinking this myself. I have decided to go to my doctor and ask for the 37.5g. I think Sandy is right. The problem with going from 150 to 75g and then every second day or every few days ...is you are on off on off. I think the trick is to have as low a dosage as possible for a while so the tapering isn't an on/off tapering. You still have your "fix" and then tapering off from 37.5g is easier. This may not work for everyone but I suspect it would for me, just knowing how this works for me. I really think that doctors are not well informed on this front. They put you on something but don't understand how it all works in reality. NOt just because of the withdrawl but for other reasons I would not recommend this drug. I've been on it for a few years and while it has helped a bit, I think overall the other side effects are not worth it and I have often felt that it wasn't worth it..yet coming off it is such a nightmare its hard to keep it up!  I'm determined now though. I also think that if people can manage it, its better to avoid the drugs and try alternative options. I know I have struggled with this debate myself and I am not anti anti-depressants...I'm just saying, as a user of effexor and I have been on others too, that overall for me I feel it has not been worth it. Depression is a really difficult thing and it is so miunderstood. I have found the most helpful moments times when I've heard others who have gone through things themselves and really speak the same language and know what it is.

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Jacqui Chan, Community Member
7/17/10 2:16pm

I think Sandy's approach would work. I was thinking this myself. I have decided to go to my doctor and ask for the 37.5g. I think Sandy is right. The problem with going from 150 to 75g and then every second day or every few days ...is you are on off on off. I think the trick is to have as low a dosage as possible for a while so the tapering isn't an on/off tapering. You still have your "fix" and then tapering off from 37.5g is easier. This may not work for everyone but I suspect it would for me, just knowing how this works for me. I really think that doctors are not well informed on this front. They put you on something but don't understand how it all works in reality. NOt just because of the withdrawl but for other reasons I would not recommend this drug. I've been on it for a few years and while it has helped a bit, I think overall the other side effects are not worth it and I have often felt that it wasn't worth it..yet coming off it is such a nightmare its hard to keep it up!  I'm determined now though. I also think that if people can manage it, its better to avoid the drugs and try alternative options. I know I have struggled with this debate myself and I am not anti anti-depressants...I'm just saying, as a user of effexor and I have been on others too, that overall for me I feel it has not been worth it. Depression is a really difficult thing and it is so miunderstood. I have found the most helpful moments times when I've heard others who have gone through things themselves and really speak the same language and know what it is.

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275IsTheBest, Community Member
5/26/10 8:02pm

I have been on numerous meds since 2002 due to the loss of my mother two years before.  I have been on Effexor for a couple of years and I am now trying to wean myself off the drug (with my doctor's help, of course).

 

I have been taking Effxor every other day (37.5 mg) in order to wean myself off the drug, as I have been having weight gain issues.  I have stopped the drug about a month or so ago and I have been having almost non-stop fear (shivering, etc.) since then.  I am not sure if this is a side effect of stopping Effexor after being on it for so many years along with may other anti-depressants.

 

So, would this be a side effect of getting off of Effexor after I have been on it for many years?

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Ticked in KS, Community Member
5/26/10 11:20pm

I have taken this drug for 4 years due to a my husband's cancer & death in 2006.  I wish my doctor would have told me how bad it would be to get off of the med.  I believe he should not of let me stay on this long.  I worked myself down for a month every other day 75mg then 37.5 mg.  Then went to 37.5mg for a few days then every other day to 72 hrs then stopping totally.  I went from crying to raging mad, dizzy & nauseous.  I read to take dramine and exercise.  I could barely stand how are you supposed to exercise.    I went to my Dr. two days in row & called Pfizer who now makes the drug to see if I could figure out how long I will be like this ?   They really had no answers. (or did not want to give them to me)  Pfizer did want a lot of info on how I was decreasing & feeling to put in their little machine.  I would suggest for NO ONE  to take this drug unless no other options.  NEVER AGAIN!!!   I am feeling a little better on evening #6 this has been awful.  

My Dr. stated it could take 2-3 weeks.  I hope not I have to work and function. I am thinking he is guessing and doesn't really know.   Good luck everyone.  I am so thankful I wasn't taking a stronger mg. 

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Logan, Community Member
5/28/10 9:42am

Hey, everyone. I've skimmed these forums quite frequently over the three years that I've been on Effexor so I felt that I should contribute something, especially some good news, which seems to be severely lacking on withdrawal forums. I'm one week out from my last dose of 150 mg XR (cold turkey, like a moron) and feel great! Well, relatively great, anyway. 48 hours out seems to be the absolute worse - like if I'm not going to die from this anyway then just kill me. A waking nightmare. The nausea, chills, sweats, etc. seem to die down pretty quickly around day 4 or 5, however the brain whooshes and general spaciness seem to continue for another few days. My only advice (and this might seem obvious) is to rest and sleep as much as possible the first 4 days or so - your body needs it - but once you're able to get up and about stay as active as possible. I don't mean climb inside a giant hamster wheel and never stop running, but get out and do things. Organize your closet, run errands (assuming you can drive safely), go to a movie. Whatever. Just don't dwell on the thing and don't constantly check in with yourself every second. I've been playing a lot of tennis and sweating buckets and this has seemed to help tremendously. Avoid alchohol, drugs, etc. and eat well. It DOES and it WILL get better. Dramamine helps with the spins and ginger root capsules are awesome for the nausea. If you've got any comments or questions or just need someone to talk to, email me at logan.garnett@gmail.com and I'll be happy to help out. Best of luck!

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billyboy3810, Community Member
6/ 7/10 11:59am

I completely agee to this post...great advice! In my case, I was on 150 2 times / day. For about 10 days i cut my dose in half and then in half again for another 4-5 days. My doctor likely would not approve, but its been 6-7 days since my last dose.

 

Anyway, I felt pretty awful on day 3/4. I had a lot of vertigo (turning my head and it feels like my eyes don't catch up fast enough so everything's blurry for a moment) just a little of the 'brain freeze' or whatever people are calling it, but alot of shakiness and anxiety. For me that was the worst. But today it seems to have passed.

 

I also started taking 500 mg Glutathione about four days ago. I can't be sure as this was no clinical test but after two days with that, a decrease in the amount of caffein intake (I could drink coffee all day...so i'm talking 2 cups tops now), an increase in the amount of WATER (6 glasses per day), and some exercise/activity I felt MUCH MUCH better. I actually felt the urge to get out and walk, bike, etc. I'm not in the best of shape but biking and walking seemed to really help.

 

So my advice is this...try the Gultathione, lower/ limit caffeine, stay well hydrated and get out and about. It is helping me! I'm still feeling pretty spacey (a fine description in my opinion), but the shaky / panicky feeling has subsided which was the worst.

 

I really hope this helps, if only one person, because going off this drug SUCKS!

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unitedfa1989, Community Member
6/14/10 1:41pm

I am a recovered effexor user. There is hope.  I was on 150mg and then was lowered to 75mg.  Only because the pharmacist gave me the wrong dose.  I did fine on 75mg.  I was on this medication for approximately 2 years.  I was tired of being tired.  I was sluggish and had no energy.  I decided that I wanted to go off the med.  I tried to do it myself.  Every other day worked fine but when I tried to go every 3 days I got the brain jitters and had to get the medicine.  I felt like a drug addict must feel like.  DO NOT try and do this yourself.  I went to another Dr. and he gave me Wellbutrin 150mg and said I should take it everyday.  He lowered my effexor to 37.5mg.  I continued to take that every other day and as of today I havent taken it in 5 days.  I felt a little jittery in my head but nothing I couldnt handle.  IT IS POSSIBLE... 

Good Luck to you all!

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ros, Community Member
6/19/10 8:34am

I recently came off effexor......in the first week ,I found that by the fourth day it was easier to take a 37.5 mg effexor that to go beyond that fourth day,therefore within the first 8 days of trying to come off effexorwould take an effexor

 

The worst for me was the brain shocks and nausea ,which after reading most posts regarding this, it is dizziness. It is this dizziness that made me feel physically sick and  kept me from a sound sleep. Being dizzy, nauseious, and lack of sound sleep made me irritable and leaving me  not fit to talk to.

 

 I refused to go another four days giving in to the withdrawal and taking the 37.5 mg effexor, just to feel better,needless to say, it was an awful day to get through. That night laying awake in bed, not being able to sleep due to the dizziness that created awful nausea, I realised I could fix that sympthom....an anti- nausea and it helped. I got through the day and was able to sleep through the night for the first time in 12 days.

 

It is now the thirteenth day and yes I still have withdrawal but hopefully this day will be more copiable by taking an anti-nausea pill.

 

 

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jrobin80, Community Member
6/26/10 12:14am

I am not going to write my whole story out but here is the short version:

 

2007 perscribed Effexor 75mg later up to 150 mg for a little over a year

 

November 2008 started weening, idiot doctors, I weened for five dam months and never could get off. So at about 5mg I went cold turkey. Thought I was dying, just like everyone else here. Very very slowly over the weeks it got better, but I was having crazy panick attacks, my emotions were changed, the physical aspects were still bad, but nothing like the emotional. I lost my job due to the panic attacks.

 

Here I am June 2010, still sick. That's what my son says now. "Mommy is sick." And that is exactly what I feel like, not me. It's like having the flu for your emotions, brain, and nervous system. I have yet to find a doctor or psychiatrist or anyone who believes me, they all say I am bipolar, yet can't tell why the h_ll the bipolar meds never work.

 

Somedays I thing I should go back on Effexor. I feel like someday that will be my only choice so I can start beig there for my family. Right now I am still too stubborn.

 

ANYWAY!!! I AM ON HERE TRYING TO SEE IF ANYONE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT LAW, AND SUEING THESE SOB's. I KNOW IT WOULD BE SO MUCH MONEY AND WORK. BUT IF THE MILLION PEOPLE IT HAS AFFECTED CAME FORWARD AND EACH BROUGHT A DOLLAR, WE COULD GET A PRETTY GOOD LAWYER!!!

 

Reply
Gilo, Community Member
6/29/10 9:55pm

If you do get a lawyer, please tell me. I have been on this poison for 6 years. started at 37.5mg, then to 75mg, then 150mg. I went to 75mg for about 3 years, then cut to 37.5mg, then tried to quit cold turkey, and got those brain shocks people were talking about, then I would get something that felt like I had a hangover, my brain hurt. I would have to sleep to get some relief. For the past 2 years I have been on 1/4 of the 75mg pill (so, 75mg/4= 18.75mg). Anyhow, for those 2 years, on 3 different occasions I have tried to get off this poison, but I get these damn hellish withdrawal symptoms. I also take 10mg propanolol (to lower my heart rate), perhaps some of you take these beta blockers to help calm you as well. Anyhow, Currently a Phil grad student (doctor saw I was depressed 6 years ago), but now I know that Phil students are generally depress (lol). But yeah, I'm going to try to cut down to 1/8 of 75mg (10mg or so) for a month, then quit this poison prior the semester starts this fall.

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
9/29/10 2:25am

I totally agree, and you sound just like me....

My egomaniacal doctor would not refill my prescription for 4 days, and I had withdrawal symptoms so bad, even worse than whenI was on 75 mg (I am on 37.5 now)! So, I'm thinking it builds in your body to the point that it does something to the wiring of your brain over time..cuz reading these posts, it does seem that the people on it longer have had a tough time.  I've been on it for 8 years but had withdrawal symptoms when I tried to quit after 2 years, and just stuck with it.

 

I am in an environment where I need to make critical decisions, and my boss is a royal bitch and micro-manages us....so withdrawal symptoms are something that could potentially cause me to lose my job, and I don't have the luxury of staying at home for weeks until symptoms subside. 

 

Needless to say, I faxed my dear doctor (now "former" doctor) 5 pages of blogs from Effexor users who were explaining their own horrific experiences. I even faxed him a page that had the actual amount of Effexor Withdrawal searches, and there were over 11 million!

 

This is BULL****!!!!  I am Sooooooooooooooooooo pissed, and yes I am working on a way to find a good lawyer....let me know if you do before I do, and I'll gladly tell my story.

 

If you had no effects, more power to you....the average is over 70% and you were in that 20-something percentile. 

But do NOT minimize the very real and horrendous symptoms the majority of us have had-- and to the guy who said that most of those who wrote negative results had "significant problems"--- I say to you, "get your facts straight, buddy"..... Do you honestly think you are some superior being and all of these hundreds of people who wrote are some sort of troubled individuals?? 

 

Give me a break...I took it to to cope with a husband (now ex) who had O.C.D.!!!  Now I want to die every time I go longer than a couple of days without this stuff....and I am no sissy, and I doubt the others are either!!  Did you not read all the women put on this crap for hot flashes and ended up not being able to get off it????   So, sir, "Off Effexor" or "Effexor Free" (can't remember, but was the one  saying that those of us who have been discussing how bad we felt were just exaggerating!)---  get off your pedestal because you may be lucky, but you're also uninformed and narcisstic if you think you're symptoms were the same as the rest of us.

 

Stepping off soap box now.....


Please write to me if you want to get something together to try to be compensated for the damage that's been caused by this evil "medicine": 1) pain and suffering 2) HAVING to come up with money to continue our "habit" in lieu of going into horrible withdrawal and 3) Becoming victims of drug dependence without prior knowledge of withdrawal.

 

 

Pashiffman@gmail.com

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
9/29/10 2:26am

I totally agree, and you sound just like me....

My egomaniacal doctor would not refill my prescription for 4 days, and I had withdrawal symptoms so bad, even worse than whenI was on 75 mg (I am on 37.5 now)! So, I'm thinking it builds in your body to the point that it does something to the wiring of your brain over time..cuz reading these posts, it does seem that the people on it longer have had a tough time.  I've been on it for 8 years but had withdrawal symptoms when I tried to quit after 2 years, and just stuck with it.

 

I am in an environment where I need to make critical decisions, and my boss is a royal bitch and micro-manages us....so withdrawal symptoms are something that could potentially cause me to lose my job, and I don't have the luxury of staying at home for weeks until symptoms subside. 

 

Needless to say, I faxed my dear doctor (now "former" doctor) 5 pages of blogs from Effexor users who were explaining their own horrific experiences. I even faxed him a page that had the actual amount of Effexor Withdrawal searches, and there were over 11 million!

 

This is BULL****!!!!  I am Sooooooooooooooooooo pissed, and yes I am working on a way to find a good lawyer....let me know if you do before I do, and I'll gladly tell my story.

 

If you had no effects, more power to you....the average is over 70% and you were in that 20-something percentile. 

But do NOT minimize the very real and horrendous symptoms the majority of us have had-- and to the guy who said that most of those who wrote negative results had "significant problems"--- I say to you, "get your facts straight, buddy"..... Do you honestly think you are some superior being and all of these hundreds of people who wrote are some sort of troubled individuals?? 

 

Give me a break...I took it to to cope with a husband (now ex) who had O.C.D.!!!  Now I want to die every time I go longer than a couple of days without this stuff....and I am no sissy, and I doubt the others are either!!  Did you not read all the women put on this crap for hot flashes and ended up not being able to get off it????   So, sir, "Off Effexor" or "Effexor Free" (can't remember, but was the one  saying that those of us who have been discussing how bad we felt were just exaggerating!)---  get off your pedestal because you may be lucky, but you're also uninformed and narcisstic if you think you're symptoms were the same as the rest of us.

 

Stepping off soap box now.....


Please write to me if you want to get something together to try to be compensated for the damage that's been caused by this evil "medicine": 1) pain and suffering 2) HAVING to come up with money to continue our "habit" in lieu of going into horrible withdrawal and 3) Becoming victims of drug dependence without prior knowledge of withdrawal.

 

 

Pashiffman@gmail.com

Reply
KathyW1159, Community Member
6/30/10 8:27pm

I have been taking 75 mg of Effexor for 8 years. I am grateful I had it when I really needed it as it got me back on my feet after a horrendous couple of months with anxiety and depression. I have since been under the long term care of a therapist who has helped me tremendously, mitigating my need to continue taking the drug. However, I tried to quit twice by taking 37.5 mg for several weeks with no luck. Around day 4 I was wacked out- I had horrible withdrawal symptoms as described by everyone else in all the posts. I couldn't quit. It was so discouraging as I didn't want to be on this med for the rest of my life! The weight gain alone sucks, not to mention loss of sex drive, etc. I am currently trying a different strategy with success so far but it is really really slow going. Every two weeks, I remove a set number of beads from each capsule and taper very very slowly. I am down about 10 mg so far with few or no side effects. I had a little dizziness the first few weeks, but that has subsided. I don't know if I can go totally off (my husband is "babysitting" my behavior for me - so far so good) but every mg reduction I can tolerate is a huge victory! I have read where other people have tapered very slowly like this and they said it worked for them so I am giving it a try.

Reply
Scott25, Community Member
7/ 2/10 12:25pm

I have been on 150mg of Efexxor for several years. I went home to Maryland for a visit last week and forgot to pack my medicine before I left to come back. It has now been three days since I had my last dose and, so far, have only had the dizziness/light headed symptoms. How long does it generally take for the worst of the withdrawal symptoms to show up? My wife (still in Maryland) mailed my meds this morning, but it probably won't arrive for four days. I just lost my health insurance and am unemployed, and will eventually have to give up the Efexxor when my current prescription runs out. I'm debating on whether to just knuckle up and quit now, enduring the withdrawal, or start taking it again when it arrives in the mail. With the stress of being unemployed with no prospects and running out of money, this is not the best time to be discontinuing anti-depression medication!

Reply
love33, Community Member
7/ 9/10 7:08pm

I have been on 37.5 milligrams of Effexor for 5 years, I was taking 75 milligrams for 10 years and tried to get off the medicine . I was so sick that after 3 days that I told half and after a couple days started to feel better ..I had 2 children at home and a job so,  since than I have stayed at 37.5 out of fear. Now that my children are grown and in college I would like to try again, but I don't want to give up weeks maybe even months of my life to try again...I feel trapped ...and scared ! Terrible feeling..I get stomach sick easy and the whole time all I can do is lay in one position and throw up...I also start to feel anxious and get a lot of anxiety...not good...If anybody could help I would let you know..I have decided that when I can give up a month or two of my life I will try again !  Somehow I believe I ever will ....Good Luck

 

Reply
Jacqui Chan, Community Member
7/17/10 1:43pm

I'm going through this withdrawal right now. All I can say is that anyone who is thinking of going on Effexor. Don't. The last time I tried to come off I lost my job and my life fell apart. I am trying to come off it now again and I am dizzy, crying, I feel sick and I am not able to do anything except for lie down. The world seems to be falling apart. I feel like i'm cracking up. I'm trying to taper off but its not working. My doctor is useless and I don't think the doctors in general know how bad this is. My doctor didn't seem to even hear what I said yesterday. I felt like murdering her. I am seeing a therapist who is very good but there is nothing she can do right now for this awful dizziness. What a nightmare.

 

 

 

Reply
Jacqui Chan, Community Member
7/17/10 1:47pm

I'm going through this withdrawal right now. All I can say is that anyone who is thinking of going on Effexor. Don't. The last time I tried to come off I lost my job and my life fell apart. I am trying to come off it now again and I am dizzy, crying, I feel sick and I am not able to do anything except for lie down. The world seems to be falling apart. I feel like i'm cracking up. I'm trying to taper off but its not working. My doctor is useless and I don't think the doctors in general know how bad this is. My doctor didn't seem to even hear what I said yesterday. I felt like murdering her. I am seeing a therapist who is very good but there is nothing she can do right now for this awful dizziness. What a nightmare.

 

 

 

Reply
peffy, Community Member
7/21/10 6:15am

I am afraid to go through the w/drawals....I have done that before and its not pretty.  I am on 300 mg of Effexor XR and my insurance will not cover it any longer.  I am a single mom and I dont know what to do...on top of this whole thing, I am moving on Aug 3...a BIG move.

Reply
pamz experience, Community Member
9/29/10 2:38am

Dear Peffy,

 

Do NOT go off this medication right now!!!  I am speaking as a Registered Nurse AND an 8-year Effexor user and hater!  First of all, 300 mg is a LOT, and you cannot just stop or you will not do well....  If you haven't done so already, please ask your doctor to prescribe the generic version of Effexor.  It's not XR, but I went from one to the other with no noticable difference and it is WAY cheaper!  It's also in pill form so if you want to try and reduce it slowly, you can try to cut them in half.  They run around 30 or 40 bucks without insurance.  If you try and just stop that large of a dosage, your E.R. bill will be a lot higher than just making an adjustment so you can afford it.  THEN-- you find a doctor (like I've just started to do) to try and help you withdraw slowly.  I am on 37.5 and was without them for 4 days, and my symptoms were exactly the same as when I was on 75 mg....  It's a horrible drug that cannot be just stopped.  Hope you either got this advice already or you read this!  :o)

Reply
Gilo, Community Member
8/15/10 4:36pm

Hello everyone, I've been off this poison for 2 weeks now after being on it for 6.5 years. I originally began 75mg effexor-xr for about a six months, then on 150mg for about 2 years. then back on 75mg for 1 year. Then I switch to the generic non-extended release form of effexor (75mg) for 1 year. Then I went down to 37.5mg for 6 months, and for the past 2 years I've been on 1/4 of a 75mg tablet of effexor and believed it was time for me to get off this drug. This drug does not cure you, it only gets you back to "normal" for some time before becoming dependent on it. This is what you call "the cure is worste than the disease". I would not recommend anyone taking this med, take prozac(if anything at all) and talk to a therapist (not psychiatrist, they love putting you on many meds). Anyhow, before I went off it, I began to take a multi-vitamin & mineral along with L-Glutathione (anti-oxydent) and exercising. I've not felt as some of you state, however, I do feel dizzy(as I am going to fall forward) like when you don't get enough sleep. I do get nauseous at times and as such I only eat light foods (mainly healthy food; greens, vegies, fruits, lean meats, etc). I've also been getting a runny noise (as if I had allergies) along with my eyes feeling as i've not slept enough. I believe this is do to that Effexor is an SSRI and effects neuron transmission in the head. And since the brain is no longer getting the same amount of serotonin, melanin is used. Melanin causes sleepiness when it is absorbed (I have an MS in Research Psychology). Also, this drug can permantly altered your brain function, cognitive abilities, and behaviors/attitudes. In more simplier words, long usage of this drug, turns you into a zombie. Anyhow, I will be back here in 2 weeks to give a prognosis on how am I doing thus far. However bad I feel, I rather feel it than be on that drug.

Reply
Gilo, Community Member
8/15/10 4:50pm

Forgot to mention. Other than the multi-vitamin and multi-mineral and the L-Glutathione. I am also taking grapeseed oil extract, vitamin E (400 iu), Omega-3 (lab grade). Also, prior to taking this regime, getting a colon cleanse for your sytem to better absorb things. Eating extremely healthy is also important. I bought organic foods (stay away from GMO junk, and fast food poison). EXERCISE (very important as the body release endorphins after working your body out and also keeps cell production at optimum, neurons are cells).This is about getting your system to working properly again. For your anxiety problems, consult a therapist, (clinical psychologist, or counselor) I suggest you practice PMR (progressive Muscle Relaxation), Meditation, Music therapy (google terms for more info). Good luck to all, be back in 2 weeks.

Reply
Gilo, Community Member
8/15/10 4:51pm

Forgot to mention. Other than the multi-vitamin and multi-mineral and the L-Glutathione. I am also taking grapeseed oil extract, vitamin E (400 iu), Omega-3 (lab grade). Also, prior to taking this regime, getting a colon cleanse for your sytem to better absorb things. Eating extremely healthy is also important. I bought organic foods (stay away from GMO junk, and fast food poison). EXERCISE (very important as the body release endorphins after working your body out and also keeps cell production at optimum, neurons are cells).This is about getting your system to working properly again. For your anxiety problems, consult a therapist, (clinical psychologist, or counselor) I suggest you practice PMR (progressive Muscle Relaxation), Meditation, Music therapy (google terms for more info). Good luck to all, be back in 2 weeks.

Reply
Gilo, Community Member
8/15/10 4:51pm

Forgot to mention. Other than the multi-vitamin and multi-mineral and the L-Glutathione. I am also taking grapeseed oil extract, vitamin E (400 iu), Omega-3 (lab grade). Also, prior to taking this regime, getting a colon cleanse for your sytem to better absorb things. Eating extremely healthy is also important. I bought organic foods (stay away from GMO junk, and fast food poison). EXERCISE (very important as the body release endorphins after working your body out and also keeps cell production at optimum, neurons are cells).This is about getting your system to working properly again. For your anxiety problems, consult a therapist, (clinical psychologist, or counselor) I suggest you practice PMR (progressive Muscle Relaxation), Meditation, Music therapy (google terms for more info). Good luck to all, be back in 2 weeks.

Reply
Gilo, Community Member
9/ 4/10 12:12pm

Hello everyone, this is my two week follow up. Just letting you all know that Im doing much better now. I hardly get any of those pesty "brain zaps" that everyone talks about. They mostly happen if you have a lack of sleep. My highest recommendation is for those going off this drug to get PLENTY of sleep. Lack of sleep will make you feel dizzy, off-balance, grouchy, and without energy. Another thing I notice while on Effexor was that of light sensetivity. I used to get alot of this while on effexor. Now, it's no where near as bad.  I am continuing taking all the supplements, doing exercise, following a strick detox diet, and so forth. I can happily report that I am doing all the things I used to without having to depend a drug to "allow" me to do as such. As I mention before, Effexor after taking it soo long, makes you feel like a zombie. Now that im off the drug, I don't feel much like one. I find those things I used to find funny, funny once more.  Anyhow, I will post a 1 month follow up from now. Hope this is helping some of you find that you can get through this too. Regards, Gilo.

Reply
oriole2766, Community Member
10/ 2/10 7:33am

Hi Gilo

 

After reading many, many different websites and forums, I finally feel that I'd like to reply to your post, as it has been really helpful and supplies technical knowledge and sensible advice along with follow-up info. Thanks for that and the encouragement that I'll feel normal again! I see you're due to post your follow-up very soon - I'm very interested in what you have to say.

My story is different to most people's in that I've only been on Effexor 75mg for 6 months for an anxiety disorder which I've hopefully got under control after 6 months of intensive CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy). I was very grateful for the Effexor in that it gave me a space in which to work on my anxiety reactions and change them, but am horrified at the withdrawal side effects. If I had known what I was in for, I would have insisted on Prozac or something else. Even though I questioned my GP on Effexor and its side effects, she assured me that 70% of people come off it completely free of withdrawals. After what I've read, I can't believe someone I trusted said that to my face. Either she's truly ignorant of the truth, or the drug companies have her in their pocket.

I reduced my dosage to 37.5mg for 5 days with only the slightest dizziness, then stopped altogether. WOW! Cue extreme dizziness, nausea, woozy head, noisy brain zaps (a sound inside my head like pieces of paper rubbing against each other every time I get the zap), irritability, detox-ing symptoms and sleepiness.

On the advice of many forum contributors I started taking 1000mg Omega 3 (without Vitamins A, D &E) every few hours to counteract the dizziness/nausea and it certainly seemed to work, but I also took an anti-seasickness pill, so I don't know which helped more!

Definitely the thing that helps the most is rest, sleep, sitting still - whatever I can manage. I'd love to exercise but can hardly walk straight right now.

I've been off Effexor for nearly 3 days and am hoping it won't take as long as most long-term users to feel better, but time will tell. One thing that keeps me going is waking up every day feeling a little bit more normal, less flat emotionally and more enthusiastic about life again.

One thing is for certain: if I ever have to take an anti-anxiety pill again, I will rather live with the anxiety than take Effexor!

Kind regards...

Reply
mmfamily68, Community Member
10/16/10 1:21pm

I was put on Effexor 5 years ago and have tried several times to get off it.  The first time I tried cold turkey having not been warned of the consiquences of the withdrawal effects, I was on 150mg.  I should have studied the medication at least a little before I took this docs word on it and started taking it.  If I would have known even a fraction of how hard it would be to go off of it, I never would have started it.  It was not good when I just stopped taking it, it was like I had the flu and I thought I was losing my mind when the brain shivers started.  I got violently ill.  The brain shivers are scary when you have never had them before.  The worst part was that I saw two different doctors during this time trying to find out what was going on and they had no clue.  Then trying to explain the brain shivers was an entirely different story.  Neither one had any idea of what I was talking about. When I suggested that maybe it was the Effexor they looked at me like I was an idiot.

 

I finally went to an internal medicine doctor and he did know a little about the withdrawal side effects of Effexor.  He had me try the weening off (75mg for a month then every other day for a week then stop) but when it got to the point of trying to stop taking it all together I would start getting the syptoms I had experienced the first time I tried to quit.  He said it would be easier for me if I started taking Wellbutrin and that the Wellbutrin would be easy for me to quit once I was off of the Effexor.  The Wellbutrin did not help at all.

 

Recently I have changed to a general practice Dr.  I am on high blood pressure meds along with effexor and wellbutrin and let him know it was my goal to get off all meds.  He lowered me to 37.5 mg of Effexor and 75 on the Wellbutrin.  I have been taking the 37.5 mg of Effexor every other day for a month and stopped all together 8 days ago.  I started getting the brain shivers, anxiety, head ache, overall fatigue and tiredness 3 days after my last pill.  It was like that for 3 days and now I am coming out of it.  I still get the slight brain shivers but not as constant and more towards the afternoon and evening is when it happens most.  I am tired still but this is nothing like the first time I went off cold turkey.  The symptoms are not as severe by half this time.  They are not fun though and I'm still concerned on how long it will be before I am free of the withdrawal effects completely but I figure i have to bite the bullet at some point and get this over with if I want to be off competely.  I have never had any addictions in my life time and I am 41 now but I have to say this drug is scary.  I have felt controled by Effexor not the other way around.  I feel like it was a newer drug when I was put on it and they didn't know enough about it to prescribe it properly.  The problems of going off of it was never once mentioned when it was prescribed.

 

I pray that anyone thinking about going on it read up on it.  Read these stories and don't allow it!  This is not a good drug.  Depression is bad but find another alternative than going on Effexor.  If you are on it and want to come off communicate with your doctor and get to where your body is handling the lowest dosage with out problems(not talking about the depression condition) then tapper off that.  And not just in one or two weeks of the tappering.  It's a very slow process and I don't think there is a way to get off of it completely without experiencing some withdrawals no matter how slow you go.

 

Good luck!

Reply
mmfamily68, Community Member
10/16/10 1:21pm

I was put on Effexor 5 years ago and have tried several times to get off it.  The first time I tried cold turkey having not been warned of the consiquences of the withdrawal effects, I was on 150mg.  I should have studied the medication at least a little before I took this docs word on it and started taking it.  If I would have known even a fraction of how hard it would be to go off of it, I never would have started it.  It was not good when I just stopped taking it, it was like I had the flu and I thought I was losing my mind when the brain shivers started.  I got violently ill.  The brain shivers are scary when you have never had them before.  The worst part was that I saw two different doctors during this time trying to find out what was going on and they had no clue.  Then trying to explain the brain shivers was an entirely different story.  Neither one had any idea of what I was talking about. When I suggested that maybe it was the Effexor they looked at me like I was an idiot.

 

I finally went to an internal medicine doctor and he did know a little about the withdrawal side effects of Effexor.  He had me try the weening off (75mg for a month then every other day for a week then stop) but when it got to the point of trying to stop taking it all together I would start getting the syptoms I had experienced the first time I tried to quit.  He said it would be easier for me if I started taking Wellbutrin and that the Wellbutrin would be easy for me to quit once I was off of the Effexor.  The Wellbutrin did not help at all.

 

Recently I have changed to a general practice Dr.  I am on high blood pressure meds along with effexor and wellbutrin and let him know it was my goal to get off all meds.  He lowered me to 37.5 mg of Effexor and 75 on the Wellbutrin.  I have been taking the 37.5 mg of Effexor every other day for a month and stopped all together 8 days ago.  I started getting the brain shivers, anxiety, head ache, overall fatigue and tiredness 3 days after my last pill.  It was like that for 3 days and now I am coming out of it.  I still get the slight brain shivers but not as constant and more towards the afternoon and evening is when it happens most.  I am tired still but this is nothing like the first time I went off cold turkey.  The symptoms are not as severe by half this time.  They are not fun though and I'm still concerned on how long it will be before I am free of the withdrawal effects completely but I figure i have to bite the bullet at some point and get this over with if I want to be off competely.  I have never had any addictions in my life time and I am 41 now but I have to say this drug is scary.  I have felt controled by Effexor not the other way around.  I feel like it was a newer drug when I was put on it and they didn't know enough about it to prescribe it properly.  The problems of going off of it was never once mentioned when it was prescribed.

 

I pray that anyone thinking about going on it read up on it.  Read these stories and don't allow it!  This is not a good drug.  Depression is bad but find another alternative than going on Effexor.  If you are on it and want to come off communicate with your doctor and get to where your body is handling the lowest dosage with out problems(not talking about the depression condition) then tapper off that.  And not just in one or two weeks of the tappering.  It's a very slow process and I don't think there is a way to get off of it completely without experiencing some withdrawals no matter how slow you go.

 

Good luck!

Reply
mmfamily68, Community Member
10/17/10 1:57pm

I wanted to add too that I have a couple of other friends that had been on Effexor.  They went off and never had the withdrawal symptoms.  This drug does not effect every person the same way.  Still to me, why take the chance?

 

It's day 10 and I feel pretty good.  It's early in the day but I haven't had any of the brain shivers yet today and physically much better than even yesterday.  Mentally I feel more aware of things.  Not so foggy or numb as before.  Numb may have been a good thing but again, it doesn't out weigh the hell of the tappering/withdrawal symptoms.

 

I'm interested in the "natural" remedies for the wd.  I've seen several differnt suggestions and am curious to know what really helps and what it helps.  Any doctor that I have seen never had a suggestion on these suppliments to help ease the side effects.

Reply
miguel, Community Member
10/16/10 3:55pm

My family physician stated Effexor is the toughest drug to withdraw from that he prescribes. I went from 225 to 150 for six months, then to 75 for a year, then to 37.5 for 3 months, then 37.5 every other day for a month. A real key was having a wise accupuncture therapist and using a chinese herbal formula for calming, XIAO YAO WAN. I would not have been able to go off EFFEXOR without the calming herbal formula. I hope this helps someone.

Reply
John, Community Member
11/ 1/10 6:59pm

As I write this on November 1st, I have been working on getting off of Effexor since mid July.  I missed another day of work today because of dizziness and generally feeling crappy.  I removed myself from the drug very slowly. I split up the pills into smaller and smaller pieces in a very deliberate and careful schedule. I stayed on the smaller doses for about 2 weeks before cutting them down again.   Over the past couple of weeks, I finally got my pills to such small pieces that I really couldn't get them any smaller.  I decided it was time to bite the bullett and stop once and for all. I am paying the price, even though I can't imagine how such a small dose of the medication could be having any effect.  I can only hope that these effects will last only a couple of days.  I am looking forward to feeling well again.  My advice to anyone who is thinking about going on this drug is Don't do it!!  Find another way to deal with your symptoms. This medication, although it works well when you are on it, is horrible to get off.  Unless you plan to stay on it for life, I would avoid it.

Reply
sojourner8, Community Member
11/ 7/10 1:16pm

Hey there lovely folks.  As I continue to comb through the internet regarding Effexor I'll share any interesting info.  I found an About article on withdrawal, causes, and the blogger writers about her on experience getting off the drug.  Hope the article may offer some help/hope.  Peace

Reply
schmeegz, Community Member
11/15/10 11:18pm

I have tried to go off of Effexor several times.  I am on day 3 and I honestly feel like a junky right now.  I don't know of any other medication that causes nausea, brain zaps, intense sweating, vivid nightmares, chills, etc. to people after 3 days of being off of it.  I almost broke down and picked up my prescription tonight, but then I realized I sounded like a total addict.  I picked up omega-3 fish oil, a B complex vitamin, and ginger root--I've heard that they can help.  Supposedly the omega-3 fish oil helps with the brain zaps and the ginger root helps with nausea.  It feels like this hell is never going to end, but I keep holding out hope that I have made it 3 full days and tomorrow will make 4.  The longer I keep holding on, the better the odds are that the withdrawal will decrease.  I mean, it has to eventually, right?!?!  I could use a little encouragement right now, if anyone has any insight on when I will start feeling better, suggestions on how to lessen the withdrawal symptoms, or anything else to help lift my spirits. 

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motogo29, Community Member
12/26/10 12:40pm

i just went off of the effexor a few days ago, and have been experiencing the same things.  i did the same thing last night.  found one capsule left, opened it up and took a few of the "pellets".  and yes, i felt like a total addict, and my kids witnessed me doing it.

i was wondering how you are doing now and if the omega-3 fill oil helped you.

hope you ARE doing better now. 

thank you for any insight that you can provide.

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schmeegz, Community Member
12/26/10 9:42pm

I stayed off the Effexor and am now over a month Effexor free!  The key for me was making it past day 4.  Day 3 and Day 4 I was sick as a dog and thought I might die.  I have never been that sick in my life!  Once I got past the 1st week, it was much easier physically and after the 2nd week, the emotions let up a little bit.  The fish oil did help some.  I managed to make it to work every day during the withdrawal, although I did come in a little late and leave a little early.  They were certainly not my most productive days by any stretch of the imagination, but I needed to force myself to get out and be among other people. 

 

I think what it boiled down to was this:  I was determined to get off this drug and I was willing to go through hell.  I figured if I gave in and took the medication, I would just have to go through it all over again.  You CAN do it.  I found that cola helped ease my stomach upset more than anything else.  I also think the fish oil helped with the brain zaps.  I kept telling myself that I AM strong enough to make it through. 

 

I will tell you---the 2nd week, once the physical withdrawal had calmed a little, I was very emotional.  When I would get emotional, I would force myself to stop, look at the situation, and remind myself that IT WAS THE DRUG withdrawal that was doing this to me and there was NOTHING wrong with me.  Emotions are part of leading a normal, healthy, productive life---EVERYONE has them.  I had to remind myself of those things over and over the 2nd week.

 

Almost a month and a half later, I am doing splendidly.  Every once in awhile I might get a zap, but it is very rare and isn't very intense, so it's no big deal.  I am having to get used to having emotions again---when I was on the Effexor, I was almost in a zombie-like place where my emotions were very toned down.  I sometimes get angry or sad, but for the most part I'm very happy.  I think getting off the Effexor helped me to recognize my emotions for what they are and that they don't last forever.  Sometimes I will find myself watching a sentimental commercial and crying because my heart is touched.  Talk about a weird feeling!  Weird but very good. 

 

Take care of yourself and know that there is hope!!!!  I am living proof that Effexor CAN be beaten!!! 

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motogo29, Community Member
12/26/10 11:59pm

Thank you for your response!  I am also determined to get off of this drug.  It was so bad last night (Christmas) that I called my doctor and said that something has to be done.  She called in a prescription of 20 mg of Prozac to a 24 hr pharmacy, but the problem was -- I was in NO shape to drive.  I did pick it up today and took one.  It seems to have helped some, but now I am afraid that I'll have problems getting off of that.  I did some research about using Prozac to aide with the E w/drawals, and really didn't find TOO much negative info.

I have to go into work tomorrow, and I am not looking forward to that at all.

 

It is very uplifting to know that you are doing well, and provides a ray of hope for me.

 

Thank you again.

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jack from PA USA, Community Member
2/22/11 3:34pm
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Thank you for this post, it has given me hope and inspiration more than you'll ever know

I was on effexore for four years and had never been on any medication previously. I was 37 at the time and in very good health.  My son past away suddenly in his sleep at the age of 9. After four months of agony I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. I was told by my doctor that post traumatic stress caused my brain to be chemically altered and prevented my body from producing serotonin. I was told that once I took it I would be on it for the rest of my life. For me I just wanted something to get me through the day and effexore seem to be the answer.  I needed to function and produce at work to earn a living. I started taking 112mg for 2 years then got down to 75mg.  

I recently stopped because United Healthcare substituted my effexore for a generic brand and I was having a terrible time with it. So I decided to stop, it has been 5 days and I’m dizzy but no brain zaps.

I’m confident that I’ll pull through after reading your words and the other post that people wrote.  Thank you for taking the time to post

Jack from PA USA

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anonymous, Community Member
1/11/11 8:22pm

YOU CAN DO IT! I did get off Effexor!

There is hope for getting off this stuff!

This is a comilation of what I found in several forums and this is what helped me.

I had tried before to get off Effexor and could not until I found this forum and other forums and read what everyone had done to get through each of its bizarre stages.

This is a helpful drug if you have to have it, but it can be bad to try to get off of.

I was on Effexor 150mg per day for about 3 or 4 years. Let me just say that this is one aweful drug to try to get off of. I think the best thing a person can do is look at the posts here and other forums and see what people have done for each of the symptoms. Read what others have done and prepare in advance. That is what I have done. I have tried to get off Effexor before and could not. After reading the posts here and other forums I was able to. I have had no effexor for 4 days now. Woo Hoo! And the only thing I am suffering through now is a mild and controllable headache, which I hope goes away in a few days.

The symptoms I had the other times I tried to get off Effexor are listed here. By listening to the people in the forum, this time I was able to actually quit and with a lot fewer symtoms and milder symptom. The symptoms I had the first few times trying to quit were: headaches, dizziness, joint pain, neck pain, balance issues, brain zaps, itching, anxiety, tension, bizarre and vivid dreams, sleepiness at times and insomnia at times, getting my words that I speak to come out in the right order, blurred vision, confusion, nausea, intestinal/bowel upset, dazed feeling, ringing ears, elevated blood pressure a bit, twitches, sweating and cold at the same time, a little snippy with others, dry mouth, and well as just about any symptom you can imagine.

This time getting off was milder and the symptoms seeemed to come at different stages so I could deal with each as it came around. The first few time I tried over many weeks to quit. This time I was able to do it in days instead. And at least I am off now and did not fail and suffer for months and fail.

The below things I did in only as needed when a bad symtom started. I was afraid of doing all of these thing constantly and without moderation along with effexor and mixing too many things. So I did them on an as needed only basis.

So, you are wondering, how did I did I get off of this evil drug?

The tips in this and other forums is how. Before I started I read a lot of posts and went to the store and bought up a lot supplies and started the journey.

I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. JUST A VICTIM OF THIS DRUG AND TRYING TO QUIT TAKING IT. THIS IS JUST WHAT I DID. I AM NOT GIVING MEDICAL ADVISE JUST MY WHAT I DID TO GET OFF OF EFFEXOR.

This is just from my personal journal I kept. Keeping a journal helped me cope with withdrawals.

My cabinet had these in it (which I read about in many forums) to get me through: Fish Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Dramamine, Multi-Vitamins, Benadryl, Alka-Seltzer, Advil & Tylenol (you never know which will help more - Advil helped me more), Emetrol for nausea.

I took my larger Effexor dose in the morning so I could have its effect all day. The dose I missed was at night as I hoped to sleep through some of the withdrawal symtoms. This seemes to work best for me.

I went from 75mg 2x a day to 75mg morning/half that at night (removed half the amount from the capsule - counted the pellets). Then when I felt I could (reached a plateau) I elliminated the does at night. Then as I felt I could I took a half-dose in the morning and a half does at night. Then when I felt I could I took a half-dose in the morning and none at night. Then I took only a half dose when I felt I absolutely had to. Then when I felt I could I stopped taking any. I really think that to get off this stuff you have to work out a personalized system. I got my Dr's email address and emailed her updates as I felt best to work with medical advise and it just helped to keep in touch with someone. Kinda like a journal friend. If you have a decent Dr they should not object to this.

This is what I did, but do not go beyond what the labels on these say you should take. Causing a problem by taking over the counter medicine to try to get off a prescription medicine is not going to help either and may be just as bad. And check with your Dr to make sure all of these are mixed and ok for you and let them know your plan.

No caffeine to avoid the jitters and insomnia.

I took Advil for the headaches and other pains 3 times a day.

I took Fish Oil gel caps at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Flax Seed Oil upon waking and before bed. This is another type of Omega3 like fish oil.

Benedryl (childrens liquid - could not find an adult liquid): A sip now and then for itching.

Drank lots of water to flush it from my system and keep me hydrated. And to help with the constant dry mouth.

Took the daily Multi-Vitamin at breakfast to just try to throw in something to keep my body well maintained during the withdrawals. And some forums said this would help.

Emetrol as needed for any really bad nausea.

Alka-Seltzer as needed for upset stomach as well as I think the aspirin in it helped with aches and also with by blood pressure and weird awareness of my heart beating.

Dramamine as needed for dizziness and nausea.

Getting off Effexor can be a tough journey, but it was milder when I did all this as compared to the hell I went through the couple times I tried to quit before I found all this in online forums.

Keep up hope!!! It can be done. The first few days are the worst.

I pray for everyone dealing with this!

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hollyj3154, Community Member
1/22/11 6:01pm

I was started with Effexor ER 75 x 2 day in August.  I was also given Klonapin twice a day and slept and slept.  I then went to a psychiatrist who upped the doseage of Effexor to 150 x 2 day and kept on the Klonopin until recently when I wrote the Dr. my increased issues with the drug.  I went to see him and he said I was depressed and upped the doseage to 450 mg.  I refused and he prescribed 375 per day.  Within in 6 days I was a complete mess, worse than I have ever been.  He was out of town when I called to complain and get help and his associate lowered the dose to 300 again.  Still the symptoms persist.  I want to feel human again, so I lowered the dose to 225 mg and then visited my personal physician.  He said he has never prescribed over 225 and that to only one patient.  He said he would help me get to a lower dose and now for the past 3 days I have been at 75 x 2 day and 1/2 xanax 3 times per day if needed.  The withdrawals are horrible.  The jitters, the crying, the feelings of hopelesssness.  I have called the help line each day crying thinking I cannot go on.  The dreams and the feeling of hitting a wall several times in my brain.  The side effects subside with the xanax but it is very short lived.  I visit the same psychiatrist in a week and a half and will report what my family physician and I are doing and that I want off of this stuff for good.  I cannot take much more of this.

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Jan_Ice46, Community Member
1/25/11 9:04pm

Hey Casey,

I was on Effexor a few years ago and the dr. took me off.Now not remembering why they took me off, they put me back on again.I was on for a week and a half and started to feel crappy-really bitchy and not myself.So I stopped taking them cold turkey and it was very bad.I had intense aggression and it was so bad that I almost beat up a co-worker. I was sent to the ER and talked to a doctor cuz I was out of control,literally.

He said you absolutely cannot just stop this drug cold turkey! So I am off to my doctor to get straightened out and I am on medical leave from my job as well.The best anti-depressant I was on was Pristique.So I hope this helps you,it has been a huge eye opener for me..Take care..

 

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Tee, Community Member
2/14/11 1:23pm

Today I'll see my doctor to discuss stopping Effexor. I've been taking it for about 4 years, begun to counter peri-menopause, and have been experiencing many of the side effects mentioned here: I'm constantly hot, sweating, I definitely have increased craving for alcohol, and in particular don't seem to have the "stop drinking now you've had enough" impulse anymore. I, too, feel like life is passing me by and have little incentive to take action. I think of what should be done, but I don't do it. I believe my memory and decision-making skills are reduced. I've also gained about 45 pounds, probably largely due to alcohol overindulgence.

My blood pressure has been bad - as high as 210/100; I've been on meds for that nearly as long as I've been on the Effexor.

My pulse races, so much so that I had to have a heart CT scan three times and take beta blockers before they could successfully scan.

I am borderline diabetic, again due to my weight increase. My cholesterol has been very bad, and I am medicated for that as well. 

Finally, my vision has very seriously deteriorated in the last few years. I have become very far sighted; everything within a range of approximately four feet is nothing but a blur. I don't know to what extent this or any of these symptoms may be related to Effexor, but I do feel a kinship with others who have written here expressing the same experiences.

I am scared. I had a medical trauma when my doctor and I tried to reduce my dosage about a year and a half ago. I was crazy, sick. I've been reading as much as I can and so I appreciate everyone who has contributed here. Thank you!!

T

 

p.s. I may have cross posted this and if so, I'm sorry. :)

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NellieM, Community Member
2/14/11 9:53pm

Hi there,

I have recently undergone Effexor withdrawal. I would suggest that you do so with the support of your GP/and or specialist. I planned my withdrawal with my psychiatrist and started it while I was on holidays (from work, not much of a 'holiday') as I anticipated side effects. I suffered withdrawal symptoms if I was even late with a dose.

My doctor and I devised a stepped withdrawal schedule to reduce my dose from 300mg down to zero. It took 2 weeks to do, and I actually felt the worst once I was 'drug free'. The first 7 days of zero effexor I had head spins, nausea, extreme fatigue, vague-ness and poor judgement/reflexes, to the extent that some days I made the decision not to drive anywhere. The intensity of the symptoms did not appear to follow any predictable pattern, ie they didn't gradually dissapate over time, things were as bad on day 5 of no meds as they were on day 2.

I am now on day 9 of no medication, still feeling slightly odd, back at work and functioning well. Slight euphoric feelings, which I'm, not sure if they are related to pharmacology or just my 'real' underlying personality coming back after being medicated for the past 2.5 years. No issues with my sleep disturbance. Enjoying and marvelling at my children, and my relationship and communication with my husband has improved significantly already.

It's early days but my specialist and I think I may have kicked the black dog for now. (I have had 4 bouts now of major depression, so stats and genetics are not on my side for the long term). I have begun a mood diary/tick chart to be monitor this, rather than just through selective memory.

Best wishes for your journey, provide yourself with the best opportunity for success, utilise the resources and professionals available to you and discuss your symptoms and the management of them with a partner, family member or close friend.

I would have to say, although Effexor has been good at managing my condition, and was the 'safe' option when I was pregnant and breast feeding, it is not a medication I will choose to use again should I develop another bout of depression.

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Rose-Marie, Community Member
2/25/11 3:50am

I went off about 2 years ago before another test for which I had to be off all meds.  The only problem I had was the sick-vertigo brain shocky feelings but it was so bad I couldnt work if I let it go - the last week of coming off of it I had to take literally a crumb of effexor to feel OK. but this time OMG it is terrible! I was taking 400-500 mg/day not XR because that gives me allergic eczema.  I dropped to 200/day with NO problem.  Down to 50/day I got pretty on edge. I also had terrible insomnia - got about 3 hours sleep over 2 days and had to take Ambien to get some sleep.  Dropping below 50 mg/day has resulted in additional moderate to severe muscle and joint pain.  I didnt know it was the Effexor so I took some ibuprofen and it barely made a dent. I ended up taking a 5/500 Vicodin. Then I figured out it was the Effexor withdrawal and a leftover 20 mg Prozac knocked it out fine, better than the Vicodin.  I dont do well on Prozac though. I had some very old Prozac which isnt working at all. The very old Vicodin is pitching in tonight just fine (or maybe it is the tylenol) and tomorrow I'll get some more Prozac 10s or 20s I guess. Benadryl has worked well on the vertigo/"carsick" feelings when I have missed a few doses due to not getting a refill - not sure it can manage this body pain. It hurts just to take a breath and I can hardly get out of a chair or use the stairs.  I have gone back to taking trazodone for sleep when I dont take a Vicodin.  The edginess seems to also be taken care of by whatever I end up using for the pain tho it seems to be caused by more than pain bc it comes on before the pain gets real bad.  Now I am taking 50 or less Effexor every other day and trying to taper. I have been cutting back for about 6 weeks so it is taking much longer than last time and is much harder.  I didnt use ANYthing to help me taper last time.

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Rose-Marie, Community Member
2/25/11 4:04am

Although I am having a tough time getting off of Effexor if I dont need to stay off of it (I am getting some more studies done and seeing if Effexor is causing some of my other problems) I will go back on it - maybe not on that monster dose.  It is a lot easier on me than anything I have taken except maybe Zoloft.  There is a recognized protocol for coming off of it (using prozac) and other alternatives that people have mentioned for easing symptoms.  Granted I have been dealing with "medicine head" etc for over 10 years now and making the tradeoffs between meds and disease for that long may make one realize that one can get through mere physical pain and discomfort better than the mental pain of having the disease being treated.  Effexor is a good drug for depression for some people, maybe the best alternative for some, and people can come off of it without a lot of problems with the right doc and knowing it can be done.  Though I am having a bad time now, and I think my doc started me on WAY too high of a dose (though he had a good reason), I cant deny that it has been the best med so far for depression.  Even better than Pristique which gave me a bit of a temper at unexpected times.  JMHO

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Scary, Community Member
2/27/11 2:53am

I read on the internet that one of the side effects many people have suffered being on Effexor was extreme weight gain.  Several ladies had expressed that they had gained up to 50 pounds being on Effexor, and one in particular described a distended abdomen where she actually looked pregnant.  "That's ME!" I thought.  I decided I wanted off the drug.  I have struggled with my weight all of my life, and had put on 50 pounds over the past 7 years of being on Effexor. 

I cut my dosage in half, on my own, from 150 mg to 75.  I had the brain zzzzzts a bit, but was able to manage.  Then I went to my dr. and told her i wanted off the drug.  SHe prescribed 37.5mg, told me to take them for 5 days, and then stop taking it altogether, which I did.  So I am currently off the drug. 

It has been awful.  I have night terrors.  I think I hear someone trying to break into my house, and consumed with fear, and then realize it is my cat walking in the living room, playing with something.  I am dreaming horrible nightmares that range from someone going around murdering people and then coming after me to a little child being sexually abused by an adult.  (No I have not been sexually abused as a child).

I have been out of control of my emotions that range from crying out of joy ("Oh it's so beautiful!" when I saw some 2nd graders singing at our black history school program) to extreme rage at my eleven year old daughter.  I am screaming at her.  I felt so bad last night, crying in silence for the out of control anger I had felt. 

And now to the brain zzzzzzts.  They are constant.  It feels like I am on a carnival ride, going upside down or spinning.  I am nauseated.  I have been off the drug now for ten days. 

Everything is making me cry.

I hate this drug.  I was on prozac for about 5 years, and did not feel any withdrawal symptoms.  This is horrifying!  I feel like my mind has been numbed for the past 7 or so years, and now all these emotions are coming out, but I know it is the irritability and anxiety of withdrawal symptoms.

THey need to take this drug off the market.  It is like getting off of heroine, I would guess.  If anyone quits cold turkey from a high dosage...PLEASE don't.  Go to your dr.  Ween yourself onto smaller and smaller doses.  I read about someone who went from 200mg a day to nothing.  That is SO DANGEROUS!  I am now on wellbutrin, and I must say that I'm not feeling any better on it, since I am still suffering from Effexor withdrawal.  From what I read, people started feeling better after about 14 days, so I am almost there.  I will never take this drug again!!

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4d33dee, Community Member
3/ 4/11 7:50pm

I actually lost 30 pounds on Effexor.  That was the only reason I stayed on it (after my depression did not get any better).  I got off by using Prozac 20 mg for 1 week and 10mg for 2nd week.  Helps with weaning.  Now I'm worried about gaining weight.  Crazy how this drug works differently for everyone.  I know if you drink alcohol (even 1 drop) while on this drug you will gain weight.  I don't drink and other people that don't have lost weight taking effexor.  Anyhow, thought I'd offer those tips and Prozac wean. 

One last thing for men...get your testosterone checked before going on any antidepressants.  Low testosterone has exact same symptoms as depression.  Google "Low testosterone" symptoms.  That was my problem all along.  3 years later of every antidepressant on the market and it turns out to be low testosterone.  I learned about this thanks to Google. Using androgel and testosternone shots.  Find the right doctor too!

Good Luck all.

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cindy, Community Member
4/20/11 1:38am

I thought that Effexor was a wonder drug, it helped me with my anxiety, dealing with my mood swings, I was so much calmer on it.  Then my insurance cancelled, I had to go off effexor.  I weaned down a bit from 300 mg a day, but I never went any lower than 75mg a day.  Let me tell you it was hell, I cried, threw up, laughed, then cried all in the matter of seconds.  My mind spun, I couldn't stop thinking, it is so hard to describe.  Oh the "brain zaps" those are something, I literally thought I was going to go crazy.  Insomnia, 2 weeks of that too.  When I did sleep I had horrible nightmares, and just weird dreams.  I never showered as much as I did while endouring the withdrawl, I found that hot showers in a dark bathroom helped me, but I survived, and I feel for anyone who has to do this, Effexor, the wonderdrug from HELL!!!  I was lucky I guess, my withdrawl only lasted 2 weeks, but it was the longest, most terrible 2 weeks of my life....  I have been completly off Effexor for 4 weeks, and will NEVER EVER use this drug again, and will caution anyone i know to really think hard about using this poison, it did help me, but I would not have taken it if I had known what it was like to stop.

 

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HisGirl43, Community Member
6/23/11 3:36pm

I am coming of Effexor from being on it for almost a year at 112.5 mg.  I went down from the 112.5 to 75 almost two weeks ago.  At first I new what to expect (Brain shocks, dry mouth, etc)  Today (day 11) I began to get the heat waves and dizziness.  I really wish I had done more research before starting this.  I am going to get through it, my goal is to be completely off before Christmas....I went through a rough patch two years ago with my son-in-law passing, and my daughter moving back home, young people dying an losing my uncle on my 43rd birthday.  I feel so much better with therapy and trusting God for my healing.  But these withdrawals are for the birds.  I hope this is as bad as it gets and doesn't last to long.  God bless and give you the strength to go through.

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M D Cain, Community Member
7/16/11 7:38pm

I am not sure this is relevant; I was on Effexor Xtended for about  7 years. I ran out of my pills while being away from home during my sister's serious head injury surgery. I went crazy!!!  for about a week before I got home.

Got back on my meds when I returned home and was on 75 mg for years.  Then decided I needed to go off entirely.  My Doc said take 37.5 for a month, then 37.5 e very other day for two weeks.  Well, I did.

Now I feel okay, but different.  Ringing in my ears (could be age as I am 69) and now hot flashes 3 or 4 times a day...just the face!!

I sleep longer at night....10:30 to 7:00....but darn it, my appitite is the same; my weight is the same; I get a little antsy in the afternoons...I am hoping  I can stay off everything.  But for you that suffer?  I understand completely!  But please!!!! Don't quit cold turkey!!  That is not healthy and can be dangerous. But what a drug to be on for so many years for so many of you.....Good luck Mcain

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Richo, Community Member
8/11/11 5:28am

I've been off Effexor for about 6 months now, although I did take one pill during that time to alleviate some of the side effects, which i still get even to this day. I was on this drug for 9 years so I'm thinking it will take a while before my body adapts to not being on it anymore. The side effects now are the right side of my head feels like jelly a lot of the time and I have numbness in my left arm/hand/face and foot. Basically my left side just feels weaker than it did previously. My balance is also a bit off when walking. I'm going to see a neurologist who will hopefully order an MRI of the head. It feels like I've been left with MS type symptoms after being on Effexor.

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mom, Community Member
8/21/11 8:35am

I decided to get off Effexor after reading all of these posts about the side effects. I tried last year by cutting down to one pill every other day, every two days etc. I WAS MISERABLE! Brain zaps & dizziness! My Dr gave me 'permission' to go back to my full dose, at the time I was so relieved to get rid of the symptoms, I gladly took her advice. A year later I know that was by no means the answer! This time however, a different Dr gave me a presciption for an Effexor generic,in TABLET form! I HAVE NOT SEEN ANYWHERE IN ALL THESE SITES ABOUT A TABLET FORM!
I was able to break it in half, fourths & eighths. Instead of dropping my dose so dramatically! Half the pill one week, fourth the next etc. After I took the eighth for two days I was haveing SLIGHT dizziness before my next eighth was due to be taken. I decided it was easiest to end it right there. After worrying & postponing the discontinuation, I have to admit, it was NOT a big deal. ASK YOUR DR.
The tablet is Venlafaxine Hydrochloride. It is sold by TEVA Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Effexor.

GOOD LUCK!

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john, Community Member
8/25/11 11:55am

I recently stopped taking Effexor XR (300 mg), along with 750 mg of Depekote, 300 mg of Wellbutrin and 10-20mg of Ambein daily for Bi Polar I, depression, anxiety, insomnia.... and have taken other medications such as seroquin for schizoaffective symptoms, i.e.,  voices and hallucinations.  I cannot recommend to anyone what I did (without phsyciatrist approval) in stopping these medications. I simply decided that I was tired of not being an emotional person and I was not so sure that some of the medications I was taking weren't responsible for some of my symptoms.

Over the period of about a month, I "weened" myself off my medications starting with the Wellbutrin, then the Depakote and finally the Effexor and Ambein.

Fortunately, at the time I was unemployed, which allowed me to work through all the withdrawl symptoms described in other posts. The worst by far, was the Effexor. First came the physical symtoms, nausea, headaches, brain zaps (which at times felt as if there was something trying to eat it's way out of my brain), dizziness, fatigue, vertigo and weight gain...the list could go on. These lasted about 3 weeks until I began to feel "normal" again. Then there were the emotional symptoms, which simply were amplified emotions, sadness, joy, etc., which involved crying at the drop of a hat. I cried watching the news, it was crazy.

I am now 2 months free from these medications and feel much better. The weight gain I expereinced while stopping these medications is still a problem, but I am exercising, watching my diet and hoping that this will eventually bring this under control.

For anyone wanting to stop Effexor, I recommend they work in conjunction with their Doctor. It can be done. It's just one scary, dark ride to get through it, but things will get better. I'm now working with my phsyciatrist and therapist to handle my Bi Polar disorder without medications. I really am hoping that it is something I can do without resorting back to medications again. 

 WARNING: for me, stopping my medications meant that I had to face my disorders again. For anyone wanting to do this, please, please do so under your Doctors care.

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Matt Harrison, Community Member
9/19/11 1:21am
Hello to fellow Effexor withdrawers. I feel your pain. I have something that WILL help the brain shocks. Once your off the meds start to take "St. Johns wort" it will help so much and it is natural. Take 2 pills at bed time (help you sleep). If you feel brain shocks take 1 at noon. My friends it has been over 3 weeks and I am coping just great. If you have questions email me. harrymatty@hotmail.com Reply
Just Jim, Community Member
10/ 1/11 9:35pm

Thanks..on my way to the store. My heart goes out to those that get the symptoms pretty bad, as what happenned to me 3 years ago. St Johns Wart, and up the B-Complexes that I take anyway. have a good one..Jim

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Just Jim, Community Member
10/ 1/11 9:35pm

Thanks..on my way to the store. My heart goes out to those that get the symptoms pretty bad, as what happenned to me 3 years ago. St Johns Wart, and up the B-Complexes that I take anyway. have a good one..Jim

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Just Jim, Community Member
10/ 1/11 9:25pm

Going off Effexor can be dangerous, and at the very least uncomfortable. I googled this a few minutes ago looking for some magic natural formula..lol..I am in the uncomfortable stage, as I weened of it gradually. I was on 75 mg for 5 months, as I will periodically take it for the depressive side of manic depression. Going off Lithium Carbonate, that I will take the rest of my life, is not an option. I did consult with my doctor, as 3 years ago my symptoms were horrible. I went off cold turkey as I left them at home during a camping trip. It was Brutal!!

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Just Jim, Community Member
10/ 1/11 9:25pm

Going off Effexor can be dangerous, and at the very least uncomfortable. I googled this a few minutes ago looking for some magic natural formula..lol..I am in the uncomfortable stage, as I weened of it gradually. I was on 75 mg for 5 months, as I will periodically take it for the depressive side of manic depression. Going off Lithium Carbonate, that I will take the rest of my life, is not an option. I did consult with my doctor, as 3 years ago my symptoms were horrible. I went off cold turkey as I left them at home during a camping trip. It was Brutal!!

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Savra, Community Member
10/ 9/11 8:33am

WOW!! I wish I'd found this page weeks ago. I've been going through the same hell as all the above people since I quit cold turkey 2 weeks ago. I've been on it for 4 years after struggling with depression after my dad died of cancer just 2 weeks after being diagnosed with 4th stage pancreatic cancer and the shock/post tramatic stress of going through the very greedy and extremely cruel verbal and emotional abuse from my disfunctional family members immediately after he died. Mother, sister, & brother have NEVER been nice people before & got worse without my dad holding their behavior back. I knew I needed help to cope, but wish I'd never been put on this particular awful med.  No warnings or cautions were told to me before being prescribed & pharmacy printout just had side effect warnings while taking but not about if you wanted/needed to stop taking them.

I have the terrible brain shocks that feel like suddenly dropping several floors in an elevator, the dripping sweats, insomnia, candy cravings, body achiness, general no energy or desire to do anything, itchiness, dizziness, dry mouth,  and constant diarrhea for the last 2 weeks.

Why stop? My therapist left the practice for another job & I can't get in to see the other therapists for some time but they won't refill unless I see them 1st. Catch 22!! Even when I ran out of pills for a day or two every once in a while because I had to wait for my husband's next paycheck to be able to pay for them, I'd get the brain falls, felt lousy, and didn't want to drive anywhere in case I put someone else in danger from the slow reaction and general ugh feeling. I'd have my son or husband get it for me and felt ok after taking it again after 6 hours or so. Since I couldn't get them, I thought it would just be a matter of not taking any more, but this has truly been horrible. Reading other people's same struggles from withdrawal explains a lot to me about what I'm going through now, but I sure wish they would end soon. I'm not going to ever go back on them now & then try to taper off over months or years. I must get through this and wish the very best to the rest of you, too!!

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Kris M, Community Member
10/12/11 5:10pm

i was taking 300mg of effexor xr for about 3 years when i decided to stop taking it.  i chose to go "cold turkey" and get the withdrawal over as soon as possible.  i spoke with my doctor beforehand so she knew my plan.  i decided to take a week off work and told my family not to contact me during this time. 

 

i had absolutely NO withdrawal symptoms whatsoever!  none.  i did lose weight after stopping though!

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Savra, Community Member
10/13/11 4:14am

You are so lucky!!! I've gotten past the elevator drop sensation. Now it's a milder dj scratching records feeling-a sideways whicka whicka instead, so I guess that's progress. They don't happen every time I move my head, so I know that's good!! No longer have the migraines, but the irritability factor is still there. The constant crummy feeling is gone, so I can see it being over faster than what I believed a week ago. Thank goodness.

 

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SilverWhite88, Community Member
11/17/11 3:25pm

In short, withdrawal from Effexor was a living hell for me.  Ironically, I had stopped it cold turkey a couple of times previously with no problem and then eventually resumed taking following those times.  When I decided to stop it for good to try a more-effective drug, I experienced horrible side effects.  The only thing I can surmise is that I sensitized my system to it somehow with the on / off cycles.  I am a Master's educated healthcare professional but I honestly believe that I know how a junkie feels now.  I missed so much work as I was literally bedridden, nauseated, shaky and unable to form thoughts.  God Bless you and anyone who needs to get off this drug.  I'm still mad at my former PCP for ever prescribing it to me in the first place!

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Dyanne4293, Community Member
12/ 4/11 2:07pm

I took my last dose (225 mg) of EFFEXOR 6 days ago. I did not quit by choice. I lost my job and couldnt afford it. The withdrawals have been HELL! I have worked in mental health for 15 years. I had no idea the side effects were so evil. The Brain shockwaves have been terrible. Nausea is really bad. Night sweats and mild fever are bearable. I vow to never take this drug again. I've been told the withdrawals from Effexor last for 2 weeks. However, the past 24 hours have been much better. I have gotten out of bed and cleaned house. The most disturbing thing to me is that I can no longer drink coffee. It makes me vomit. That never happened until this week. Good luck to anyone discontinuing this medication. Please do consult a physician if at all possible. For me, the expense of see a doctor was not in my budget. I have toughed it out, knowing there is an end in sight. Hope is a good thing!

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Dizzy, Community Member
1/27/12 3:49pm

mmm Make sure you go to the doctor they will try to stop you I know i have been there its not good news I had a full week of vomiting, what I call electric shooks in my brain, still super dizzy and sweats the water is just pouring of me, but I will continue to fight the BAD drug anything that effects you to this degree can not be good for you and I will also work harder to get the 20kg extra weight of me, even though the effects are hanging around and sometimes I would not dare drive a car but I feel more positive about being in control, I know I sufer with depression no dening that, my advise don't do it without your doctor guiding you it worth insisting that you want to come of but be ready for the fight of you life mentaly because the suisidal effects can be very strong. If you are trying don't give up there are many other medications that do not have such strong side effects.Cool  

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nativeco, Community Member
8/30/12 7:54pm

YIKES! I am withdrawing from Effexor; remember reading about how it is 'addictive' and horrible to stop; searched google to see if I'm missing something and now I'm pretty apprehensive. I will be more cautious from here on out.

   My story is: I've been on 350mg. Effexor XR for about 12 years after I 'pooped out' on Prozac. I have had depression (unresolved) for almost 25 years. But my thyroid and hormones are also messed up. My doctor added Wellbutrin to it some time ago to augment, so I'm hoping that helps me 'down' a little easier. I'm also taking BuSpar for anxiety and Klonopin 1 mg. for 25 years. All this for chronic fatique, depression, anxiety and PTSD. Maybe it has helped thus far.

   First, I asked Dr. to go off Effexor and he said no-it is way to difficult to quit; not a good idea. I have HORRIBLE sweating issues with it. 

   Then, a couple of months later (after several months on Wellbutrin), I started getting Seratonin symptom (felt like I was dying etc.) so he started taking me off the Effexor. His instructions were: something like 75 mg. 3xday, then 2Xday the next, then 3...for 10 days. It was kind of complicated so I've forgotten-but it's been more than the 10 days and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have a noticeable difficulties. No nausea, brain shocks etc. (BUT, maybe that's because I had too much seratonin when I started off of it?) I have cried-but I have issues in life that account for some of that-so who know's what's normal sadness or medication issues? AND, I'm still on 75mg. am & pm. So I'm not down to the wire yet. I'm so glad I read this discussion so I can watch for these things and be aware. I have been having some nightmares though-now that I read this. Thought maybe it was just more REM sleep because usually I don't dream.

    I am happily sweating less. I see Dr. next week and will see what my next step is. He may say stay at 150mg. but I will protest and ask him to increase my Wellbutrin first if he thinks that would help. (200mg per day now)

    I will also say

 

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nativeco, Community Member
8/30/12 8:15pm

Nativeco again. Oops! that posted before I finished. Anyway-I did do less than normal (stayed home, tried to keep stress minimal, told others what I was doing and that I would be doing less of other stuff: I'm on disability so didn't have to work) That helped-and I did have some dizziness. I am praying the next 150mg. won't be harder. But I definately want OFF after reading all this. I can say too that I've noticed more body odor than usual (which I usually have none).

  I once tried to taper of the 1mg. of klonopin at a bad time. Was working and under extreme stress-I became really paranoid to the point of almost psychotic. I have also been told stopping any of these cold turkey could cause seizures. I wouldn't recommend doing anything without a doctor. Although sounds like some of your doctors have been really dumb/reckless/ignorant and caused great harm. My psychiatrist is a "5 min. med check & out the door" kind of guy, so he doesn't give me the info I think he should. I asked him what I could expect when coming off the Effexor and all he would tell me was "just do it this way or you are NOT going to like it at all. It won't be good" OH my lordy-now that I think about it I was in a rage oneday and was both homicidal and suicidal with a gun under my bed-but I thought it was just the circumstances and how I would have reacted otherwise with some PTSD stuff.

   Are we having fun yet???? These meds! It's like I can't live with them and I can't live without them! I am trying to step up with the diet, exercise, meditation and believing I can be healed kind of thing-but we'll see! Thank you all for sharing and helping me know I am not alone with this mental illness crap! I am trying to either heal it or learn to embrace it more and use it to my best ability if God doesn't choose to take it from me. Blessings and stay well!

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Jac371, Community Member
10/ 4/12 12:22pm

I was taking 225 mg of it at the highest dose, then became allergic to it!  I would break out in hives on my arms, body, and legs so my doc told me to start tapering off.  She had me go down 75 mg a week, then when I was at 37.5 mg (last wk) I started taking Wellbutrin.  Yesterday was my first day without any Effexor and I was fine, but this morning I felt light-headed so I took another 37.5 mg pill.  I have a docs apptmt this afternoon, so I'll ask her what to do.  I would guess that if I take another pill in 2 days, then 3 days, and so on till I'm out (have 5 left) that might work. :/

 

 

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nocturnalcherub, Community Member
10/26/12 5:47am

you can also cut the tablets in half then quarters.

If you have XR capsules you can divide those too - I emptied out some vitamin capsules I had and poured out the xr capsule which is a bunch of tiny balls onto a clean tissue and divided the amount of balls in each capsule into smaller doses which I put into the empty capsules. I had half doses then 1/3 doses then 1/4 doses and and after those were done I was off. It's rare but you may have to put up with a headache for 2 days but it rarely lasts longer than that. I am so sensitive that I found out I cannot take advil, motrin or high doses of tylenol when I am taking effexor becasue it casues me to have an allergic reaction of my lips and tongue swelling and breaking out in blisters, but I can handle 200mg of tylenol without any problem to take care of the headache.

P.S. The dr. will tell you this is unsafe becasue you can't tell how much you are getting in the divided dose but I never had any bad results doing this. It would be unsafe if you were increasing the dose this way but not decreasing because no matter what, you are getting a smaller dose not a bigger dose and over 3 to 4 weeks time you are taking smaller and smaller amounts. I also skipped a few days in between sometimes and when I felt the headache coming on I took a smaller dose which worked to stop the headache. You don't need to take the regular larger dose to keep the withdrawal symptoms away, a smaller dose works too.

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nocturnalcherub, Community Member
10/26/12 5:27am

I have learned after taking Effexor in various doses over the last 10 years that you must decrease your dosage over a period of weeks and never stop cold turkey. I always have muscular neck pain spreading out from there to my head and back that lasts 1-3 days depending upon the dosage i was on, the lightning bolts in head (mostly when trying to go to sleep) these are so strong they actually make my body physically move, and a flu like feeling if I stop it completely too fast. So when I go off it -after discussing this with my psychiatrist -she gives me 1 prescription for the regular tablets at 75 mg which I take twice a day the first week then I cut them in half to make 37.5 mg for the second week twice a day, Then I swittch to 1 half pill once a day as soon as the headache starts to set in then I quarter them and take it twice a day then only 1 quarter once a day then I can stop after the last week of that. By doing it this way I rarely feel any side effects.

Unfortunately my psychiatric symptoms return after about 6 months. I have been through this roller coaster 3 times in the last 10 years so I have come to accept that I will have to be on meds the rest of my life because I feel fine for awhile but the symptoms always return even though I was still in DBT behavior therapy. It is definately a chemical imbalance. My body just doesn't produce the correct amount of neurotransmitters to make me feel and think normal without some help from medication.

I used to worry that the meds would give me some other bad disease like cancer, diabetes or multiple sclerosis but after 20 years of fighting with this mental disorder I know I'd rather have a few happy years then die than many horrible, unhappy, lonely years and live.

By the way I have tried so many different meds and the only ones that work for my condition are a combo of effexor and geodon.

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Tina C, Community Member
2/ 7/13 2:28am

i am currently going through Effexor withdrawal and it is hell.  I have started a blog about my experience as well as natural remedies i am using to make the detox process easier. Please message me if you have any questions.

 

http://effexorisevil.wordpress.com/

 

i wish you all luck on the journey.

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Tina C, Community Member
2/ 7/13 2:28am

i am currently going through Effexor withdrawal and it is hell.  I have started a blog about my experience as well as natural remedies i am using to make the detox process easier. Please message me if you have any questions.

 

http://effexorisevil.wordpress.com/

 

i wish you all luck on the journey.

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Brob2, Community Member
3/26/14 5:48pm

I have just weaned off of Effexor, successfully I think, so here is my n=1 research reults.

After being on 150mgs for several years, less a short period on 225, I reduced by 37.5 mgs monthly until I reached 75mgs, and then 2 weeks on 37.5 and 2 weeks to 0.

10 days later I feel fine, with a touch of dizziness if I move too quickly, and still a little more emotional than usual. 

Days 3-4 were the worst, with all the normal withdrawal symtioms excluding the brain zap thing, as follows:

Sweats, cold shivers, dizziness, headaches, spinning, nausea, muscle soreness, very poor sleep, ear ringing, irritability, poor emotional regulation.

The spinning, dizziness, and nausea made me somewhat incapicated such that I didn't feel I could drive safely or work and thus I decided to research the issue to find out what was going on and found out these issues are common. My doc had not warned me of this in any fashion.

After doing the online reading I bought some Gravol/Dramamine and almost immediately the spins, nausea, and dizziness were alleviated to the degree where I could at least function reasonably well. Each passing day has been better and I feel pretty much normal now.I only needed the gravol for 3 days or so though I should have started them right away. Still much more emotional than normal but can't say if that is still part of withdrawal or my new natural state now that I am off of the drug.

My learnings:

Carefully consider adding Zoloft/Prozac to the withdrawal process

Slow the step down process, particularly below 100mgs.

Have the Gravol handy and don't be afraid to use it

Long periods of sleep will be the exception so whenever you feel sleepy take a nap for as long as you can.

Do this under the care of a physician who has knowledge around the issues of Effexor witdrawsl or will find it before recommending a course of treatment. 

 

51 year old male, quite fit, 6' 3", 202 lbs. Diabetic but not on insulin, mild Dilated Cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

Taking Beta blockers, Ace inhibitor, Lamotrigine, Digoxin, Lipitor

Started taking Effexor shortly  after my heart failure diagnosis, 2007 I believe.   

As always, your mileage will vary. You all have my very best wishes.

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By Casey, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/18/14, First Published: 04/17/08