I've been on Effexor xr for 9 weeks now starting at 37.5 and now on 150mg for the last 3 weeks. I have pretty severe anxiety and resulting depression. I had been on Celexa prior to that with great sucess, but it stopped working this past summer. I had tried Zoloft after that with no sucess and now I'm on Effexor. I was starting to feel better for about a week after upping to 150, but then a week later I went down hill. Waking with anxiety, no appetite, sad, sweaty palms etc... I am terrified that I won't find a med that worked as well as celexa did. I was told to increase it again, but I'm reluctant to, for fear that it will work for a week again, then poop out. I know all the horrid withdrawl (withdrawal) stories, so I would rather not hear those now because I am sensitive about this right now. Please is there any Effexor users who have had a similar experience with good endings? Whether that be increasing, or changing etc... I need to know that I will find relief again!!! Please help!!!!!!! And thank you!!
I'm sorry you're going through this - anxiety is just hard.
How long were you on celexa and zoloft? I'm not on Effexor - I take zoloft myself. And I can tell you that first starting and when I upped, side effects always crept up on me after the first week or two.
Have you discussed your symptoms with your prescriber? Side effects with increased dosage are one thing, but them lasting to the degree you're describing is something I would ask him/her about.
Are you getting any counseling? That might be of some benefit to go with the medication. I know you're worried, but hang in there - relief is on the horizon!
Hi, I was on Celexa 20mg for 8 wonderful anxiety free years, and it pooped out on July 1st. I weaned from that and on to zoloft. I was up to 100mg on zoloft. I tried zoloft for 6 weeks, and felt worse. I then weaned from the zoloft and on to the Effexor at the end of September. My doctor wants me to increase it to 187.5 and see what happens, then to 225 after, if there is no relief. I dont want to keep increasing if it's not going to maintain. I was wondering if increasing "should"work, or maybe trying something else? I'm really scared that I wont ever feel relief from this monster again!!!!!
This must be so hard for you! I'm sorry. Since I have no experience with effexor, I can't comment on that drug. You might try messaging "paxiled" or "nursegirl6572" - they are much more knowledgable than I.
There is a concern with Effexor, besides the horrors of trying to stop taking it. It is a stimulating antidepressant and is generally used for people who have depression as the primary problem. If anxiety is the primary problem, this drug can make it worse because it targets norepinephrine (basically adrenaline) as well as serotonin. While there are people with primary anxiety who have been helped by this medication, more have been adversely affected because it's so stimulating. This is something you might want to discuss with your psychiatrist. If it were me, I'd do something a little off -- something my psychiatrist tried with me. When Lexapro didn't work, she tried Celexa. While it didn't work for me, my problems are very complex and medication related and your aren't. Lexapro is very similar to Celexa but just a bit different, enough so that people do have different experiences on them sometimes. It would be a pain-free thing to try since it's so close to Celexa, if the Effexor turns out to be a dead-end.
Thank you for your responses! I had mentioned to my doctor to try Lexapro after the Celexa quit, and he said that it's too similar to the Celexa, and it wont be effective. I see a general practitioner, and don't see a pdoc till Feb. My GP is not too well versed in mental health, so I'm not very confident in his choices. I had to see a different doctor to discuss why the Effexor just stopped helping, and he said to increase it, as it should help at the higher levels, and because I've invested 9 weeks, I should stick with it. This is very confusing and frustrating to me!! Did you ever find a med that worked??
I was on Effexor XR and can only tell you my experience with it: I have been off of it for about six months now and never been better. I, too, was told to increase the dosage. I was up to 150mg and told to increase to 225mg. The meds made me miserable and I had tried to quit them before. However, the withdrawals are horrible. I got a second opinion from another doctor, who weened me off of effexor. You HAVE TO WEEN OFF. Trust me, when I say this. I will never, ever, go back on that medication ever again. It ruined my life for a long time and glad to be free of it. With that said. This is only my experience with it. I am not a doctor and cannot give professional advice. Hope this helps and I'm here if you have any questions.
Working with doctors will always be frustrating to you. It's good to have this done by a psychiatrist rather than a GP, but don't expect most psychiatrists to be all that expert either. Some are much better at this than others. The problem is the drugs -- they are hard to administer correctly, hard to help people stop taking them correctly, and most doctors don't do hard, especially if they take insurance. Most simply see too many patients every day and don't like doing homework to educate themselves. That's why it's important to do your shopping as seriously for your doctors as you do your car or computer, especially in the largely unknown world of mental health. Good for you for seeking out a psychiatrist.
I agree with the replies you've gotten thus far. I definitely would encourage you to have your p-doc handle this, not your PCP. Like Paxiled said, typically, they are more knowledgeable. Even the "not so great" p-doc is a better option than a PCP in my opinion, just because they have a lot more experience with these meds on a daily basis.
I too think it's a good idea to ask about Lexapro. Lexapro was created as basically a "cleaner" version of Celexa, and most people tolerate the Lexapro a little better. While they're similar, they're not identical, so it's very possible it may work for you. You may need to give it a little longer than you would like (8+ weeks) just because you may end up requiring a higher dose than most, with your history of Celexa. What dose of Celexa were you on when you started tapering off? In my opinion, that would be a more appropriate plan than going to Effexor.
I know it's hard, try not to get discouraged. Finding the right medication regimen can sometimes be a real pain, and I've found, the longer a person has been on a med in the past, they typically have a little harder time adjusting to the start-up side effects. It's hard to push through those I know. Just remember that there are TONS of options when it comes to medications. There are different classes of medications to try, and sometimes a regimen with a combination of medications will do the trick...so don't feel like you're a hopeless case. You've just started the trial and error process. You've still got plenty of options. It just may require some time and patience, and the help of a (hopefully) good p-doc who knows his/'her medications.
Hang in there and please keep us updated. You're not alone!
Thank you for your response! The withdrawl (withdrawal) is what I'm most terrified of! I never had a problem with celexa, and I had assumed that it would be no problem to switch and feel better again. I never imagined that it would be like this!! Did you have to go through anything like this? Did you find relief again? I'm so tired of this jittery anxious hopeless feeling!!! I desperately want to feel that joy,and passion for life again. Even the thought of the holiday season gives me nothing but anxious feelings, because I don't feel joyous. Is the withdrawl (withdrawal) that bad if you are tapering on to something else? Please tell me there is a solution!!!!!
Withdrawal is a very individual thing, though some drugs have worse reputations than others. But I have some theories here based on experience and reading. The older you are, the harder it is. As with everything else. The shorter time you're on a drug, the easier it is to quit, as your body isn't that used to it. The worse a drug works, the easier it is to quit, because you probably didn't metabolize it all that well. You've only been on Effexor a short time and it hasn't worked, so don't expect the worst. Just be careful to taper as slowly as you need to if stopping Effexor is what you choose to do.
I agree with Paxiled's theory. I was first prescribed Effexor when I was 30 and only took it for less than a year. I weened a little fast. However, the side effects were minimal. I was 37 when I was prescribed effexor again and took it for two years. I had to ween gradually this time as the side effects were more severe at 39, then they were when I originally stopped at 31. I also agree that withdrawal is a very individual thing, as is the medicinal effect of certain medications. I agree with what nursegirl6572 with regards to a P-Doc handling this. Find the right P-Doc that suits your needs and take it from there.
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