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Can I sue my doctor for Effexor addiction?
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Can I sue my doctor for Effexor addiction?

I am addicted to Effexor. I know that a class action lawsuit will take many years. I was maybe mildly depressed. Actually, I am chronically fatigued, I think. I am thinking of suing my doctor in small claims court, and use the funds to go to a rehab clinic for withdrawal treatment. Even if I forget to take a pill one day, I will have vivid nightmares when sleeping. This is a common withdrawal symptom I hear. Then I am really exhausted the next day. I am age 62. When I have had these nightmares, sometimes I will awaken in the middle of the night with my heart pounding. Probably people have died of heart attacks from Effexor at 3 am and no one knows it. In the past,  I have refused drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. Both my parents committed suicide. I did not want to take any addictive drug, or a drug likely to cause suicide. I do not take any illegal drugs, or cigarettes or alcohol. My doctor assured me that Effexor was non-addictive, and posed no suicide risk. Now I am reading that Effexor has been linked to addiction and suicide! I think the limit is small claims court in my state is $3500. At least I could go thru a supervised withdrawal. I would be afraid to go cold turkey. I hear you can get angry and suicidal. Also, I now have a costly drug habit of $5 a day, and I only get $610 a month social security. Has anyone sued their doctor in small claims court for getting them addicted to Effexor?
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33 Comments Post a Comment
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454371_tn?1221300985
Don't know a thing about that!!!

Sorry no help...
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340590_tn?1290955741
that is why it is so important to do our homework on any drug the dr prescribes.   drs are so often influenced by the drug companies to believe that these drugs are okay, when in fact they are not.  good luck
cathy
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter is a doctor and takes effexxor. I'm going to ask her about that this evening.
I didn't know it was addictive. I know if she doesn't take hers regularly she gets crying spells. I'm so sorry about your parents. Most doctors don't know tramadol is addictive either.
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424675_tn?1260544950
Hi, can you go to a rehab with your medical insurance?  I think that the doctor was trying to help you in the best way he knew how. I dont think sueing is such a good idea because of that. If he were a greedy uncaring doctor, maybe it would be something to consider. I just think that with all the law suits now a days it really makes it hard for doctors to help people who really need help. There a so many factors to take into consideration. I am so sorry you have had to live through both of your parents committing suicide.  That is a terrible situation to live thru. I hope and pray Gods peace will comfort your heart and mind. ~ PEACE
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401786_tn?1309155634
I THINK, it's more of a dependency issue.
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with Jaqui about it being more of a dependency issue.I'm sorry for your situation and your family history.I think alot of us have learned here that we bare some responsibility when it comes to knowing what we are putting in our bodies and how it could effect us later on down the road,I know I sure have.Doctors are not God ,we need to ask questions,research,if in doubt get a second opinion,and we also need to let the doctor know when we are having any adverse reactions to the prescribed medication.Although I know there are some doctors who don't,I truly believe that the majority of doctors try to do their best to help their patients and not harm them in any way.I wish you luck and pray that you find peace.
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480448_tn?1403547723
I'm so sorry about your parents.

I have to agree that what you experiencing is more of a tolerance/dependency issue more than an "addiction".  Addiction is more generally classified as someone who takes a drug or medication differently that prescribed (inappropriately), usually to obtain a "high".  That is not to say you cannot become "dependent" on a med.

Honestly?  While I certainly feel for your situation, I strongly feel that suing your doc would be wrong....it wasn't like he prescribed it with malice.  He was trying to help you.  There ARE other options out there for you.  I think you should obtain another opinion....if you are properly tapered off the med, while perhaps adding a completely different medication, you may be surprised at the results.

While doctors certainly have a responsibility prescribing meds, the patient also assumes a level of responsibility as well, to know what they are taking...and to weigh the risks, side effects, etc.  The things you have read about Effexor are definitely not the "norm".  I think what you are reading is the more rare side effects...I don't believe what you are describing are side effects, more your body's reaction to trying to discontinue the medication, which is why I suggest speaking with another doctor about your options.

All of this is simply my opinion, but I just don't feel that suing is the answer here.  Generally, in order to be successful in a malpractice type suit, there has to be some sort of permanent damage, disability, etc...as a result of a physician's clear malice or mistake.

Best of luck to you...think it through and first and foremost, take care of yourself by seeing another doctor so you can address the issues you are having.
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454371_tn?1221300985
I would also be very careful about saying things about sueing a DR. I had one who really messed me up. Then she didn't care or maybe didn't believe me. But I had the pictures from another DR. to prove it. I said something about sueing. Now I have been black ball from that entire hospital... No kidding.. No DR. that is with them will treat me... She is the reason I had to get back on the Pills. I had been clean over a year!!! SUCKS BIG TIME!!!

                       Lady
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319766_tn?1198945534
I think you should concentrate on your recovery and stop trying to blame someone.
Suing a doctor is not going to get you better not to mention that it is not as easy as you may think.
Effexor(Venlafaxine) is not narcotic or sedative it is a antidepressant(serotonine-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) and it is used to treat clinical depression,severe anxiety etc.All those meds have side-effects(all meds do) but you are using them for a specific indications balancing benefits vs risks.
In my opinion...you have no chance of winning anything and it may distract you from what you really need to do...trying to get better.
Johann
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401095_tn?1351395370
I know a couple of people at work and my next door neighbor who have taken effexor or related ADs...they had no problems getting off of it but I do know some people do...anything that changes our chemistry can become something our body may depend on to some degree...for some more so than others...good luck and be safe
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Avatar_f_tn
I am going to have to go with the majority here. I don't think suing the dr is going to  help you. I do think maybe you should find a new dr to help you get off this medicine and maybe find one that works better for you. -- just my 2 cents. JoAnn
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on effexor for a little over a year.The withdrawls from it were brutal but you wont die.have you asked your doctor about lexipro it worked great 4 me and wasn't hard to get off.I am sorry about your situation .Have you tried to slowly cut back on the amount you take? you may want to try that. best of luckā™„
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452063_tn?1324078516
I was on Effexor for over a year with little or no side effects. Antidepressants act differently on different peaple. You should never just stop taking any antidepressant. You need to be weaned off of them. This is different from addiction to say opiates as you don't crave them or have any of the mental addiction afterward.You may experience depression or sadness but that is more from the underlying depression that your experiencing in the first place. My event that caused my depression was resolved so I didn't experience any sadness or depression. Antidepressants are difficult drugs as it takes weeks to feel the effect, and sometimes the side effects go away and sometimes they don't. They sometimes have to experiment with different ones to find out which is right for each individual. Going through all of this may or may not be worth it depending on how bad your depression is. I'm thinking about going back on one and I'm taking my time and thinking about whether I want to go through finding the right one. I'm not sure if Effexor helped me or not. Good luck to you. Corey
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429432_tn?1343597790
Effexor worked good for me except that it gave me high bp. I was told to wean off of it, but I just quit c/t. I didn't want any part of it anymore. Except for a few days of brain zaps, I was ok. Every time I'm prescribed a new med, I do my own research and make my own decision. I was prescribed vioxx years back, read the leaflet that came with them, and decided they had too many risks. I was right, they were pulled off the market later on. Most of the time, I trust my Dr.'s opinion, but if I have a bad feeling about something , I won't take it...that's just me though...
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502686_tn?1210503477
I can completely empathize with your nightmares etc. when trying to discontinue medication. Effexor withdrawl (withdrawal) is different for everyone but I don't think it should be taken lightly.
I will agree with everyone by saying it would be best not to sue. However, he TOLD you that it wasn't addictive (i'm using the term as physically addictive, because it really is) and posed no suicide risk. This is innacurate information! The FDA requires that antidepressants come with a suicide warning. The "black box rule" or something. It is very true that it comes with suicidal risks and has brutal withdrawl (withdrawal) syndrome. I think he was very wrong in telling you it didn't, and if he didn't know then he shouldn't be prescribing meds.
I don't really know, but I'm pretty sure it makes sense that Effexor has even more risks for older patients.
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472139_tn?1211336163
Effexor was awfull i tried it 1month extreme nausea for me so stopped it vivid dreams yes
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477746_tn?1254788147
I have to agree with some of the points already made but wanted to sum it up:

1. There is a big difference between 'addiction' and 'dependence'. But the most commonly understood part of addiction is it results in over-powering drug-seeking behavior. Addiction arises from abuse or in other words, not taking a medication as prescribed or beyond it's specific purpose - and has a different psychological and social impact than what you described. And there really isn't any abuse potential to this medication... so I don't think you claim a doctor is guilty of malpractice for telling you it's not addictive - it isn't.

2. The previously thought increased risk of suicide completion (a 1.2 - 1.3% higher risk) compared to a placebo has been shown to not apply to adults in any way with the most recent clinical trials. For adolescents there has always been shown to be a greatly increased risk, as much as a 5 X greater risk of suicide completion and it is has always been contraindicated for adolescents. If your doctor prescribed Effexor to you and you are under the age of 25 - you may have some argument if you weren't advised of that risk. If you are older than the age of 25 - there just isn't really anything you can claim as malpractice.

To clarify, the 'black box' label warning only applies to adolescents and young adults.

3. Effexor does have a known impact on increasing blood pressure. The increased risk of heart problems with use of Effexor are all linked to people that had pre-existing medical conditions with their hearts. So by itself this isn't grounds for malpractice as the increase of blood pressure it causes can't be expected to harm a healthy person. So unless you had a diagnosed problem with your heart or blood pressure issue that your doctor was aware of, and the medication caused you damage to your heart - there isn't much of an argument for malpractice.
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Avatar_f_tn
Has Effexor helped you at all, besides when you forget to take it? Sometimes when we read things about a certain drug we can get really scared and "take on" it's side effects..Although you must do your research on anything your taking ,you need to first decide , is this medication helping, do you really have the side effects that your reading about etc..My sister in-law takes effexor and is a complete mess when she doesn't have it..I don't know how much of that is really from that drug. I do notice a difference in her when she does not have it (due to no insurance) This anti-depreesant helps her quite a bit she says..You often have to try several different ones to find one that works for you..I agree that suing is not the answer here and will only cause you more grief..I really would share your concerns with your dr. Best of luck to you..
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460948_tn?1232305722
My husband took Effexor a few years back and was also told there was no risk of addiction, yada yada, but when he tried to come off of it he had terrible nightmares, was extremely sad, and had rages. It took him about a week after he went CT off of the med to start feeling better.
Now ever since that happened he's really anti pill so you can imagine what he thought of me, LOL!! No seriously I think in your case, as with my husband, it's a situation of dependancy and not addiction. Also if the doctor is giving you a script why is this costing you $5 per day? That's an expensive co pay if you have insurance!
I would suggest that you not sue the doctor because I think he gave you this medication to help you not hurt you. Perhaps you could talk to him about how you're feeling and he could change your medication. You have to ask yourself why you were put on this medication in the first place and if it has helped you in any way. Good luck to you and I will say a prayer for you!!
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Avatar_n_tn
hey eddy from aus here  mate go for it i was on oxycontin for 5 years and know drs told me it was addictive i onely found out obout 6monts later when i tryed to stop now becouse of a failed sue-aside atemt so theve put me on methadone and i dont wont to be now ther holding my life in there hands and dont give a **** how i feel is in some bad **** i dont know how to get out of
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Avatar_m_tn
O M G!!! that gets me livid!!! my current pain management doctor had me on effexor at very high doeses and then i told him bout the effexor not working......i didn't know it was an addictive one ; / but he took me off of it cause it made me more suicidal than i was normally.  Hey switched me from effexor to 100mgs of zoloft twice daily.  said that usually they put people in hospitals to do that and i would have liked to but he said " I think you can do this on your own" given i was also taking morphine at the time, AND well.  Keep in mind that right now at this very minute, i'm in SErious withdraw so i'm not, by ANY means, Sane or of sound mind. :P  But i was like super major disfunctional for bout a week or 2 during my transition.  untill i started reading this forum i didn't know that zoloft and effexor were/are addictive : /

-Billy B

p.s.  Read my post if anyone wants to support me through my trials..... i for one am in a very bad way.   Decision to Change, need support    is the name of my post.  thx all.  and try to stay positive!
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Avatar_n_tn
Effexor is without a doubt a very nasty drug to get off of ~ I will tell you that my own doctor was not aware of the side effects or the withdrawals that come with coming off of effexor (even when tapering) - I wish I had never heard of effexor - almost ironic that the drug I can't get off of because I can't stand the withdrawals is the one that was prescribed to me.  The nightmares are horrendous, the headaches worse, the dizziness, and the throwing up are horrible.......however the WORST is BRAIN SHIVERS.  I could deal with all the rest the brain shivers make me want to scream.  I don't blame my doctor I blame the manufacturer who put it out there without giving even our doctors a clue has to what coming off the medicine would be like.  I pay sixty dollars a month for my prescription and I have insurance so I understand that it is a very expensive drug ~ I am thankful insurance at least covers it.  I am in the process of weaning myself off and doing "ok" - I wait until the 3rd day to take one and every 3rd day I open the capsule prior to taking it and remove a few beads.........once I get down to no beads I will go to every 4th day of taking it.  I have dealt with oxycotin addiction and I will tell everyone this - the relief that you get when you take your effexor after having missed a dose is felt within an hour - there is no buzz but the relief you feel once you feel better is similiar to that first time I ever snorted an oxy.  Sad......... :(

adco88 - I wish you the best - I truly feel and believe that even your doctor was not aware of the withdrawals you would experience from trying to come off effexors.  I will tell you this do not quit taking them cold turkey - and do not go through the weaning process without the help of your doctor.  I wish you the best and please feel free to contact me.

greyghost9094
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762581_tn?1235183868
Good luck in suing them.  Doubt that it gets far seeing how they got lawyers out the yin/yang. But the thing is
Doctors should teach nutrition not pharmaceutical addiction
  All drugs are toxic to the liver. Physician do no harm.  That is an axiom from the beginning. The doctor feigns ignorance but have you ever seen any medication without side effects?  There are alternatives.  Dependency vs Liberation
Self Help vs. Control.  True health comes from taking responsibility for your own health. Becoming your own doctor.  Pharmaceutical drugs kill, try the holistic alternative.
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Avatar_m_tn
forget about the money and worry about your health.one thing is for sure,we are ginny pigs.the end   steveo
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Avatar_f_tn
By the time the law suit goes thru you will probably get a check for $25.00!  We have to take responsibility for what we take, and have an understanding, at least a basic one, of the meds we are prescribed.  As far as a health risk, as long as we use the same pharmacy they usually keep track well of meds that are compatible.  As far as what the drug is for, WE need to know that, read the inserts that come with our meds.  If you don't ask your doctor, you are doing yourself a disservice also.
I don't think the tobacco industry should be sued by people that smoked when they knew it was health risk.  
I know I take full responsibility for the meds I put in my mouth.  When it became stronger then my own willpower I knew I had an addiction problem.  I could have continued to get prescriptions, it was ME that decided i would not refill my prescription and flushed 42 1/2 hydrocodones down my toilet ( I sang a sad little song, it was a sad day) I knew they were addictive, my body knew they were addictive.  No one will save me, but me.  
And no one is going to save you but you, and you know what?  It takes every ounce of energy and spirit and perserverence and guy wrenching withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms sometimes to stop.  I would not have the energy to fight with the stupid legal system.  Save yourself.
good luck, Keeping myself clean makes me see things a bit clearer everyday.  It's another perk to being clean.
PEACE
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711224_tn?1344775287
When you talk about holistic alternative, are you again trying to sell a durug treatment program in your "safe haven" retreat?
You are the director of this retreat and are trying to drum up business on this substance abuse forum. As already mentioned before.
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198154_tn?1337790865
NO
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Avatar_m_tn
It is hard to wean off effexor, i took it years ago and had vertigo getting off of them.  Take the capsule in half and take half for a week, then a quarter for a week and then a feww pellets.  For me I had vertigo for a couple of days.

You can sue anyone for anything BUT I doubt you will win a law suit.
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Avatar_f_tn
My dr has me on 150mg Effexor XR every morning for my p.t.s.d. Had no idea it was addictive, now im nervous. I also take 100mg of seroquel at night to sleep. As far as nightmares go, i highly recommend asking about  Prazosin  it is usually for enlarged prostate, i know... i laughed so hard when the dr told me that but IT REALLY WORKS!!
I started at 1mg and now i take 2mg and i used to have the most awful nightmares, just living the day my ex tried to kill me every night over and over again. Once my behavioral health dr started giving me that, within a week they were gone!! Hope this helps!
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Avatar_m_tn
I JUST WANTED TO SAY THAT I AM ALSO  ADDICTED TO EFFEXOR. I HAVE THE SAME WITHDRAWL (withdrawal) SYMPTOMS AS YOU BUT i ALSO BEGIN TREMBLING AND HAVING NIGHT SWEATS. tHIS HAPPENS EVEN IF I MISS A SINGLE DAY. I HATE LIVING THIS WAY. i WAS TOLD BY MY DOCTOR YEARS AGO THAT EFFEXOR IS NOT ADDICTIVE. ALSO SINCE i HAVE BEEN ONE IT FOR 4 YEARS, I HAVE GAINED 67 LBS.
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1580085_tn?1400944438
hi, you have posted on a very old thread, if you go to top of page, and hit on ask a question, you will get more responces, i dont think the people you are speaking to are here any more. best wishes sudie
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Avatar_m_tn
Nursegirl6572,

I have to disagree with your definition of addiction. Cigarettes are considered addictive and people go for years without increasing their dose (the amount they smoke). After a period of time, you don't smoke them for pleasure anymore but you smoke them to avoid the displeasure of nicotine withdrawl (withdrawal). The same can be said for Effexor. I take it at this point to avoid the displeasure of the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms which includes just an overall yucky feeling as well as zaps that are hard for me to describe. I honestly believe that it is as difficult, if not more difficut to stop Effexor as it was to stop cigarettes. If I had known this I never would have started it. I have tapered off to the point of cutting a 37.5 mg tablet in eighths to avoid withdrawl (withdrawal) and still no luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have to agree with some of the points already made but wanted to sum it up:

1. There is a big difference between 'addiction' and 'dependence'. But the most commonly understood part of addiction is it results in over-powering drug-seeking behavior. Addiction arises from abuse or in other words, not taking a medication as prescribed or beyond it's specific purpose - and has a different psychological and social impact than what you described. And there really isn't any abuse potential to this medication... so I don't think you claim a doctor is guilty of malpractice for telling you it's not addictive - it isn't.

This is why Effexor is addicting. If it wasn't readily available through the pahrmacy you would see drug seeking activities for it. I would anyway and that's what scares me about this drug. If they statrted controlloing it like oxy people wuld seek it. The withdrawls asre as bad as oxy.

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