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Effexor Withdrawal, what techniques are best?
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Effexor Withdrawal, what techniques are best?

First off, I would like to extend my thanks to the doctors who take time out of their scheudales' to answer questions and give advice to the truly needy who post at this website.
My problem is rather complex. I will attempt to explain this situation in its entirerty, though previous attempts to do so have given rise to extranious variables that may cloud a physicians understanding of my situation. I am a member of mensa, and have an IQ in the middle 150's. I'm telling you this non related information only because previous attempts to recieve help have failed. I beleive this failure was related to lack of trust between doctor towards patient, which inevitably becomes patient towards doctor. Not everything can be believed from those suffereing from mental disorders. Not only because of the universal FACT of relativity in regard to perception, but also because perception is believed to be skewed in those with mental health issues. In so saying, I fully understand the paradox of asking you to believe everything I say. In any case, I experience symptoms, whether or not such perception is valid is worthless to me. I only desire to be normal once more.
I am experiencing sympotms that range from body aches, night sweats, slight vertigo, waves of thinking ability(it comes and goes), and extreme fatigue.  
My hypothesis is that these are all related to an abrubt reduction in Effexor XR. My reason for taking Effexor is a misdiagnosis(my fatigue was due to mono). Last Friday, I reduced my morning intake from 225 mgs to 150 mgs. Every day since has been worse. To support my theory, I have noticed some bennifit, though not complete, from Claritan. I have read that anti histamines may help with withdrawal related symptoms. However, my source of information regarding anti histamines and withdrawal is not rock solid. Also, I would like to hear some ideas on how best to complete my taper of effexor XR to 150 mgs. My body is sensitive! Should I try to take a small dose of an SSRI such as Lexapro, or Prosaz to ease the serotinic side effects? Or would a supplemental 5-HT be just as good?
Now, the rest of my story. Starting in early Semptember I contracted mono and had a horrific fatiuge finally subsiding three weeks ago. Three weeks ago, I helped my father with outside work and contracted posien ivy. A medical intern prescribed prednisone. One day later, I had the worst vertigo of my life(prior to Semptember I have been a healthy person never getting sick more than once a year). These effects seemed to linger a week after discontinuation, which conincided with my reduction of Effexor. Such is my difficult diagnostic crossroads!! Do my symptoms continue because of prednisone? Has my mono reactivated due to the immune ruducing properties of prednisone and if so, should I take an anti viral to lessen the severity? Are my symptoms truly of withdrawal? Are my other illnesses that preceded my current maliase nothing more than unfortunate concurrent conicidence?  
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242532_tn?1269553979
I can help you with the withdrawal part of the picture, and dependning on what happens with that, the other possibibilities will easier to sort out.  You should withdraw gradually over a three week period, ending up in the third week with the absolute minimum dose that has been taken every other day, then every third day, then stop.

You might want to switch off of the xr and just use effexor..it will be easier to cut the dose and also be easier to wean yourself in general.  I would go with your first hunch here, the effexor withdrawal.  I would not suggest trying to substitute other medications for this process...it will only confuse the picture.
11 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I am hoping that someone w/ experience answers your posting.  Oddly enough, I quit Effexor cold turkey on January 23, 05 after being on it for 18 months.  The side effects are miserable but I'm doing better than I expected.
My preferred method for getting off Effexor would not have been 'cold turkey' however I ran out of refills and the dr. that originally prescribed them for me would not refill w/out returning to the office.  I am so frusterated that he put me on meds that have these awful side affects, I chose not go back to him.  I do realize that I only hurt myself and not him by not returning.
I am experiencing body aches, dizziness, whoozy feeling, have to turn my head very slowly and try very hard not to move my eyes from side to side.  I am very agitated with how my mind feels.  I have always been a person that has a great memory, detailed memory and currently I can't remember or concentrate on anything.  My husband asked me this morning if my daughter took a bath last night and I told him no.  Then I really had to concentrate and then remembered that she did take a bath.
When I sleep (which I am extremely fatigued) I have bizarre dreams, ringing in my ears, and other strange sounds.  Did I mention nautious?

If I could go back in time, I would never have gone on Effexor.
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Avatar_n_tn
I know what you mean...I've been on Effexor Xr for 14 months.. I can't believe u went cold turkey.  I can't go beyond one day...I give in and take it.  When I stopped taking it...I slept almost 22 hours...I couldn't function
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Avatar_n_tn
I just quit cold turkey four days ago and was on 300 mg for 7 months. I am still really dizzy but my extreme crying bouts are over, and am feeling not too bad considering, how many days did it take for this feeling to go???.  Yesterday was my worst, is there anything that you took to make you feel better? I find gravol helps, what about antihistamines?  jenn
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Avatar_n_tn
If my math is correct I'm on my 12th day being off Effexor.  I know that I am doing much better than I anticipated but this is such a miserable feeling.  I too am so tired.  Don't know about all of you out there but I work 40 hours plus a 90 minute communicate to and from work (on the train) then I come home to my children.  My husband works second shift, so basically I'm on my own at home.  That's besides the point.  I am still going through withdrawls.  The strange thing is, last Friday I felt really good, thought I was past the worst...then Saturday I felt awful again!  Even today I had a 'relapse'.  I felt achey (achy), whoosy, and those darn body zaps.  I'm very frusterated with my thought patterns or lack there of.  I feel like I've lost so much of my intellence.  I'm sitting here right now helping my daughter w/ her math homework and it's a bit of a struggle to focuss (she's only in 1st grade).  I too could cry but it often doesn't come out.  I had to explain to my boss that for the next few weeks, my brain is out of commission.  I have people that work for me, thank god that my boss is a good guy!  But what a humiliating conversation...good thing I haven't lost my sense of humor and can laugh at myself.
I really have not found anything that really helps. The ONLY thing that has helped me and you're going to roll your eyes and wonder about me....Is ICE or ICEY things.  I think it's a combination of the cold and crunching.  I told a friend of mine about this (she went through some withdrawls recently from another antidepressant) and she said that she could relate to eating something crunchy. This is the first time that I have ever taken medication. I don't even like to take tylenol or anything.  I'm the type of person that I just deal w/ it, shake it off, and move on.  So for me to consult a dr. about my struggles and unhappiness in life, it was a big step and it shows that I really wanted help to change.  Now I feel very betrayed because would I have known and understood the severe side affects and withdrawls I would never ever EVER gone on this.  Part of the problem the dr.s run through the side effects like their no big deal and tell you in away that you feel like they are just running though it because they are obligated to.  So basically you never know if they are just covering their @sses or if it is the real deal.  I know that my dr. acted like this was a miracle pill and if it worked I could be on it the rest of my life...well I wish he could know what withdrawl (withdrawal) was really like!  He may not be so casual in his communication or lack there of.
I have pretty much experiencede all of the side effects of withdrawl (withdrawal)...unfortunately the only one I haven't had is the loss of appetite.  When I get nautious, I get hungry.  Go figure!
QUESTION FOR YOU OUT THERE...Again, I was on this for about 18 months.  I never put 2 and 2 together until the last couple of weeks.  About the last year or so, I started forgetting this, not remember conversations, little things nothing major which probably is why I never added things up.  I also use to joke with my family and friends that I feel like the older I get the less intelligent I get.  Everyone laughed and said it's a sign of getting older.  Well, I'm in my early 30's so I didn't think that was it.  I contribute it to Effexor, if I look back on the timeline, it started happening a couple months after I started on it.  Happen to you????
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Avatar_n_tn
p.s.  I was on a 150mgs just for FYI  
To those who think you can't get passed a day of side effects...YOU CAN!  It is difficult but in the long run it is so worth it!  Why put it off for tomorrow when you can start today.  Even through the crummy feeling I am very glad to be off of this.  
To think of putting one of those pills in my mouth gives me the heebie geebies!
GOOD LUCK!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a daughter in grade one also, and the ice thing i can relate, but mine are slushies and fudgscicles, haha. It is hard for me to get my husband to understand, he just seems to think i can go off these like nothing and that my mood swings are what???? pms, sometimes men really............... don't get me started. I am lucky that I am still on maternity for another month or so, but being at home with a nine month old can be challenging in itself minus the brain zaps.... anyways good luck and let me know how it is going. thanks    ....jenn
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Avatar_n_tn
oh yeah, also I read that taking a complex b is supposed to help you
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Avatar_n_tn
I think the worst is over...knock on wood.  Still have some slight head spins and still very tired but better, much better.  
Ice helped, I have had many of slushies, popsicles, and smoothies. Imagine the looks I get...it was in the single digits and I'm walking outside w/ a slushie!
The only thing that my husband seems to be concerned about is making sure that I don't become cranky or b*tchy.  TOO LATE!

Maternity leave still at 9 months?  You are lucky!  12 weeks is the max here.
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Avatar_n_tn
This is my third saturday without a pill. I feel pretty good still get tired fast, house is a disaster(thank goodness for children  haha) I have been walking everyday and have noooooooooo head wooshes or anything like that anymore. Yeah justinshae, in canada you get one year with paid unemployment insurance, its great. I receive top U.I wich is 712.00 every two weeks, gotta love it. take care. jenn
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217634_tn?1189759420
I too am having a lot of withdrawal problems from effexor. It has been a week since my last tapper off dose (37 mgs) and I am having a lot of breathing problems. It feels like someone is choking me (pressure in head) when I try to lie down to sleep. I have intense COLD feeling (constantly) down to my spine accompanies with a feeling of doom (death like).  I crave hot food/liquids to warm up my chest as my bronch tubes are so cold they ache. And of course, foods/drinks I used to love I now cannot stand the taste of. Figures. When the anxiety gets mr really me wound up, I have to resort to valium and melatonin and even pain killers. Please tell me I won't have these symptoms the rest of my life. I am getting very discouraged. I had a blood workup done and all came back normal... for the love of god why don't I feel normal?
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