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Effexor, Lexapro.....Help
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Effexor, Lexapro.....Help

I have been on Effexor XR for the past 2 years.  I was taking 300 mg a day with Lamictal 200mg/day and Seroquel 100mg to sleep.  The Effexor wasn't working so my psychiatrist wanted to drop the Effexor and replace it with Lexapro 10mg/day.  He told me to "just" drop my Effexor dose by one 75 mg pill a day and I would be "off" of the Effexor in 4 days.  Yeah, right!!!  
Having once before attempted to "stop" Effexor, I knew it wasn't going to be that easy.  A very close family member is a supervisor for the company that makes Effexor.  He gave me "advice" on how to "quit" by gradually decreasing the dose by 37.5mg over every 2 days.  The last week I should break open the 75 mg caps and take fewer and fewer granuales until I was "weaned".  I thought I had done everything to a T until yesterday when I had gone without my "fix" for 2 days and hurled all over my kitchen after staying in bed all day.  The only thing that made me feel better was taking a few granuales of Effexor.  I have almost a week off soon and plan on "detoxing" during my vacation.
I had been researching Lexapro to see the side effects and wonder if this drug is even worse that Effexor (which I would NEVER recommend to anyone)?  I read the testaments and have found several even going as far as saying they (or a loved one) were suicidal after taking Lexapro when they had never been before.  HELP...now what do I do.
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What you described seems to be true of all the antidepressant medications, and especially those ssri's.  You have to wean carefully once you have been taking them as long as you have, and at the dose you have.  And you have to make sure your underlying depression is resolved, not just dampened down, so that does not reappear.  Its best to be in therapy and take mediations, and gradually diminsih your medications.  Lexapro is a little less likely but you will stay have to wean yourself carefully.
26 Comments
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You had been on a high dose of Effexor XR for 2 years and you should taper it off over 3 weeks time instead of 8 days and watch out for discontinuation symptoms even after the withdrawal. Anyway you are over with Effexor XR. Effexor is an SNRI while Lexapro is SSRI. But they are more or less the same with regards to classification, efficacy and side effects. Lexapro claims to be an improved formula of Celexa, which is another SSRI. The pharmaceutical companies that launches these products tends to include an exhaustive list of possible side effects from the established papers to safeguard themselves from possible litigation. Remember each paper reveals its own profile of untoward effects from its set of patients. If you look at that list, one will probably be scared and shy away from the drugs. By and large, SSRI are much saver than older antidepressants like tricyclics and tetracyclics. If you know how to use your drugs or take them according the advice of a psychiatrist, these drugs work wonders. If you quit it in 8 days instead of 3 weeks it makes you hate it. And everyone has a idiosyncratic interaction with a certain drug which may not be in the literature. So, step up Lexapro slowly and taper off in 3 weeks time for stopping it. Or if you are scare of SSRI, you can try another class, e.g. Wellbutrin.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks for the advice.  i am just so scared of having to go this withdrawl (withdrawal) again.  i have been on prozac and zoloft before but they didn't see to do much.  was also on wellbutrin but it made my blood pressure too high.  still felt crappy yesterday on about 37.5mg of effexor.  took about 50 last night.  let's see how this works.  i just hopre lexapro makes me feel more energy that effexor.  all i do now is work and sleep.  again, thanks for your advice.
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Avatar_n_tn
I quitted my Luvox (an SSRI) 50mg without any problem after 10 years. I reduced my Klonopin (an addictive Benzo) very slowly from 2mg to 1.25mg after 10 years. I read a lot about cognitive-behavioral therapy and its help me a lot. Why don
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Avatar_n_tn
Will taking the Lexapro before I am completely off of the Effexor ease the withdrawls efects of the Effexor?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, you can step up Lexapro while taper off Effexor at the same time. That is most people do.
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Avatar_n_tn
am thinking of just not taking anything for awhile....
1st.....are there any withdrwal effects from lamictal?
2nd.....am i making a mistake?  don't want to have same thing happen to me with lexapro.
3rd.....have been to a couple of therapists.  last one (only one covered by my insurance) stunk.  is insurance required to have more than one in an area?
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I don
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thnaks for taking the time you have with me.  i was diagnosed with depression not bipolar.  i have been on the effexxor for 2 years, the lamictal for about 10 months, and the seroquel for about 2 months.  the seroquel is for the insomnia and i don't take that on a regular basis.
you are right...i am angry about the effexor withdrawl (withdrawal). had i known about this from the beginning i NEVER would have taken it.  right now, i, also, don't have much faith in my psychiatrist, who told me to wean myself off of the effexor over 3-4 DAYS.  while i know, i am not "cured", since i have cut down the effexor to about 50 mg daily (just to function) i feel better emotionally/mentally.  i am not as tired, sad, solemn.  am thinking very strongly about going to an accupuncturist.  a friend tried it (for other reasons) and asked if it worked for depression.  the dr. said yes...along with joint pain, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, asthma, weight loss and smoking cessation.  i figure what the heck.  right now am still on 200 mg hs and the occasional seroquel.  have appt. with psych. in 2 weeks.
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Avatar_n_tn
No body is perfect, including a psychiatrist, who is human and is therefore bound to err. Forgive your psychiatrist, who may have seen many patients without withdrawal symptoms after a quick discontinuation. Your psychiatrist has been helping you for more than 2 years. First, grieve. This includes your anger, mistrust, dissuading other not to take Effexor, turning to acupuncturist, disregarding traditional psychiatry.
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Avatar_n_tn
Please refer to the link below, paying particular attention to the key points in red, italic and big print.

http://www.psychiatrist.com/audiograph/nemeroff/jcpbook.pdf  
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Avatar_n_tn
Having been on Effexor on and off since 1996, I can attest to the unforgiving nature of this drug. The longer you are on it and the higher the dose, the worse the effects when a dose is missed or decreased.
I suffer from clinical depression, and have a family history of bi-polar disorder.
I originally began taking Effexor as part of a double blind drug study for the Univ. of Pennsylvania.  The purpose of the study was to gauge the effects of the drug when rapidly loaded into the system at high doses.  The other drug being studied was Prozac.  Having taken Prozac, Zoloft and Wellbutrin to no avail, I knew immediately I was on Effexor.
The reeling, dizziness, nausea, double vision....horrible.  I eventually got used to it, and after the study, stayed on the drug, at 300 mg. a day.
It got to the point that I didn't want to continue, but was afraid to stop.  Not only could I not miss a dose, I had to take it at the exact same time every day, or suffer the consequences.
I quit Effexor in 1998, but began again in 2001, taking 75 mg. 2xday.  This time, I was on the SR capsules, which never gave me the problems the pills did.  However, it also did not lift my depression as the pills did.
I recently changed family Dr.s, and the new one determined I was under-medicated and prescribed 100 mg. 2xday.  The awful old feelings are back.  I have been ill for the past three days.  Afraid to take the meds, afraid not to.
Does Effexor come in 100 mg. SR?  If so, has anyone noticed any difference between regular 100 mg. Effexor and the 100 mg. SR?
Thanks for any help and insight you might have.

Ellie3
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Avatar_n_tn
For the difference between Effexor XR and Effexor, please refer to the following links.

http://www.athealth.com/Practitioner/mcabinet/EffexorXR.html

http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/20010725/msgs/72243.html
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the info.  I researched the site you referred me to, then called my Dr. and had him change the prescription to XR 225 mg./day.
Thanks again.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have found to have major depression and anxiety last year and I have tried plenty of antidepressant and anxiety and sleeping pills. I have been taking effexor rx (300 mg) for about nine months (along with other anxiety pills) and it seems to be working better than other medicines. Better but not enough. I am still very depressed, I feel very hopeless, I have obsessive thoughts and so on. I have been also seeing a psycotheraphy, but she was worse than me. So I recently changed. I am starting over again. I would like to stop all these medicines because they are messing up my brain, but I got suicidal whenever I stopped any medication. I think I put myself in a circle without an exit, and when I read all your comments about antidepressant I got very scared. No one seems to get better. We all get dependent on these drugs. But do you know anybody that got out of depression and stopped taking all this ****? Please, tell me you do.
Thank you
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I totally understand what you are saying. I was on effexor for 4 years and got off it and was so depressed and had so much anxiety so they put me on wellbutrin and I have been on it for 3 years. I am really thinking of getting off of everything. I don't think it does my body any good to use these drugs. I am scared because It seems like i can barely get through on my antidepressents let alone off them. It really suck haveing a andiety depression problem....
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Hi again and thanks to all who have offered their thoughts on my "question".  I am STILL  attempting to "get off" of the effexor...am down to 37.5g HS and am going to psychiatrist tomorrow.  I have yet to start the Lexapro but am still on 200mg HS of Lamictal and 100mg HS of Seroquel (to sleep).  Am  feeling pretty good mentally and am thinking of just staying on what i am on now.  Any comments?
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Avatar_n_tn
It is good news that you are feeling pretty good in your current regimen. If you feel you are in complete recovery, you still have to continue the regimen for a period of time that is the length of your last episode of depression. I have cut down my Klonopin from 2mg to 1.0625mg for sleep after 10 years. I am reducing Klonopin very slowly at the rate of 0.0625mg at a time to avoid the withdrawal symptoms of anxiety. It is a good idea to find out the cause of your insomnia. Is it due to your depression or something else? If the insomnia is due to depression, you depression may not be in full remission. If it is due to something else, you have to address to it. Since Seroquel is an antipsychotic and is useful for bipolar depression, it is a good idea to find out the reason why you are given Seroquel 100mg instead of the usual hypnotic such as Ambien. If your insomnia is only very occasional, the concern is not so great. Since Lamictal is for bipolar depression, it is also important to find out why Lamictal 200mg is indicated in your unipolar depression. It is also important to understand why the adjuvant, namely Lamictal 200mg and occasional Seroquel 100mg, is much higher in dose than your Effexor 37.5mg.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
I take Seroquel as well for insomnia and for anxiety. I take it because before I was given Klonopin and I got addicted. When I stopped, oh my gosh! It was horrible. I stopped sleeping, I was very anxious and the nerves of my body were moving by theiselves. Since that time I refuse to take any addictive medicine ( I also changed psychiatrist). But you know what worked? Acupunture. Please, try it if you can. They day after I did the first treatment, I woke up and I felt like something loosened insime me. I was feeling so good after 3 months of no sleep with 300 mg of Seroquel at night and after about 3 weeks I stopped taking any medication to sleep. Unfortunately, now I can't afford it, but I will go back to it as soon as I can.
Good luck if you try it.
Orchids
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i went to my doctor and told him that i have been smoking weed for 15 years, cause it helped me relax.the place i work at is doing random drug testing is the reason i did this.my doctor gave me 10mg lexapro . since i have stopped smoking i have had a hard time sleeping if getting any sleep at all it seems. i guess what i want to know is should i be taking lexapro for my problem or should i be doing something different
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I have to say this- and forgive me if I sound cranky but I"m suffering massive pain from missing two doses of effexor. Never has an ssri affected me so fast and bad from missing it... BUT overall I love it. I feel "brighter" than I did on the celexa that I took for two years (it stopped working)... yes the withdrawal was agony.. but it's the results that count...

But for the person asking if anyone ever "recovered" and got off these drugs.

I'm pretty sure I suffer from an imbalance that's existed my whole life. Otherwise I wouldn't have considered taking this route in the first place...There may NEVER be a time when I don't need these drugs or one like them... sometimes that's the way it is... scary eh? Beyond that scenario they're really only coping mechanisms for short term relief, not cures... and if you balance the type of misery that can occur to call for them against the withdrawal, it's a give and take really...

just my two cents... PS Love to know how long the naseau and stuff goes on after catching up on the dose after missing a day or two. This sucks.
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I have been on Effexor for about 14 months now, 300 mg, and I just found out I was pregnant.  I was also on seroquel, 200 mg, for that period of time.  When I found out I was pregnant my psych doc told me to stop cold turkey.  I hate him.  I have been off of everthing for a week now and I feel like ****!!!  I can not function.  I was on these meds for post partum depression...go figure.  How long am I going to feel like this.  With the pregnancy sickness and withdrawal I can not hardly take it.  Any advice?
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JUST AN UPDATE:    am off of the effexor.  am still on the200 mg lamictal for depression and 100mg seroquel for sleep.  the seroquel is an anti-psychotic but was prescribed for sleep because it is non-addicting.  in the past, i have taken ambien but felt drugged the next day.  i quit smoking january 1st. am crabby big time.  trying to get thru it without taking the lexapro.  thanks for all who replied.
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Pregoeffexor-I had started Effexor right before I found out I was expecting my first child.  I discontinued cold turkey, but was on a low dose for a short amount of time.  No problems.  

I restarted Effexor after I stopped breastfeeding my first and was on 225mg/day for maybe a couple of months when I found out I was expecting again.  I discontinued again, but when I became very irritable in the first trimester, I restarted and had good results.  I've continued with Effexor since and have a healthy 2 month old boy who at this point doesn't seem to have any side effects--and my marriage is still healthy.
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Hi.  Just found all your comments on Effexor and Lexapro.  I was on 300 mg of Effexor for over a year.  It was not working well, and other things were added to augment (wellbutrin) without much success.  High BP made it critical I get off the Effexor quickly.  Once I started decreasing dosage, I had the most violent vomiting I ever experienced.  I then realized that the twelve or so days I spent in bed vomiting over the last year were all a result of the Effexor, and not some strange flu bug.  My GP was about to do a battery of tests to determine the cause of this violent, projectile vomiting (sorry to be graphic, but it was the most bizarre thing I'd ever experienced).  I wish I had known that was a side effect, as I believe were the migraines that accompanied them.

Once I got violently sick from the reduction in the dose of Effexor, the Psych. said I could just quit taking it all together, as I had gone through the worst of it, and would probably not experience much discontinuing it at this point.  She was right.

I am now on Lexapro (20 mg) and really feel the best I've felt in years.  I know that I may have to go through the same sort of thing again and agin as I switch meds, but the days of hell I spent being depressed are worse.  The hardest time was when I was almost off the Effexor, and just starting Lexapro.  That was the worst I've ever been.  

My partner is trying to get off Lexapro, and, having done a great job weaning herself, is experiencing some difficult withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.  She's handling it, but I think it drives the point home as to how powerful these drugs are.  I wish I could walk away from them, but know it's not even a remote possibility, given the severe depression and suicides that my family has endured.

To all...hang in there.  As these meds are so much better than the old ones, hopefully newer, improved ones will continue to come on line, with fewer side effects.

By the way, anybody had any experience with the use of brain scans to determine what area of the brain may be involved with depressive disorder?  Sounds like a great way to cut out the trial and error method for determining the right meds.
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Hi.  Just found all your comments on Effexor and Lexapro.  I was on 300 mg of Effexor for over a year.  It was not working well, and other things were added to augment (wellbutrin) without much success.  High BP made it critical I get off the Effexor quickly.  Once I started decreasing dosage, I had the most violent vomiting I ever experienced.  I then realized that the twelve or so days I spent in bed vomiting over the last year were all a result of the Effexor, and not some strange flu bug.  My GP was about to do a battery of tests to determine the cause of this violent, projectile vomiting (sorry to be graphic, but it was the most bizarre thing I'd ever experienced).  I wish I had known that was a side effect, as I believe were the migraines that accompanied them.

Once I got violently sick from the reduction in the dose of Effexor, the Psych. said I could just quit taking it all together, as I had gone through the worst of it, and would probably not experience much discontinuing it at this point.  She was right.

I am now on Lexapro (20 mg) and really feel the best I've felt in years.  I know that I may have to go through the same sort of thing again and agin as I switch meds, but the days of hell I spent being depressed are worse.  The hardest time was when I was almost off the Effexor, and just starting Lexapro.  That was the worst I've ever been.  

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