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help switching from Effexor to Wellbutrin
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help switching from Effexor to Wellbutrin

I've been using Effexor XR at 75mg for approx a year-prescribed for depression symptoms and night sweats/hot flashes (am 42 yo female).  I want to switch to Wellbutrin, but am extremely concerned about withdrawal side effects.  Ran out of prescription for 4 days once and it was horrible!
I also have RA-and sleep issues related to pain are a constant for me. Can you please advise on how to effectively reduce the Effexor-how much and at what rate?  Also-I have been prescribed Wellbutrin xl 150mg that I can take with the Effexor.  How long should I do that before I attempt to reduce the Effexor?
Any info/help would be VERY appreciated...
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I would suggest to your doctor that you take the Welllbutrin for a full month before you totally quit the Effexor. You can start cutting down the Effexor but starting with every other day for a week, then every third day for next week, and keep on diminishing until month is over...then no problem.
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Avatar_n_tn
hey lisa, okay i just got back from seeing my shrink (asked her if she minds being called that, but she said not at all... just a little levity, but that's one of the most important things, to find a doc that you like, i know when you're going through something it's tough to gauge) -- i've been on effexor xr for approximately 4 years at 225 mg.  never really thought it was the right drug for me.  i'm now switching after talking to my shrink to wellbutrin.  if i missed a dose of effexor, i would get wicked headaches.  effexor needs to be tapered off with care -- are you seeing a doctor that is helping you out?  for the first week, i went down to 150mg.  now that it's the second week, i'm down to 75mg of effexor but taking 150mg of wellbutrin as well.  the third week, i'll hopefully be on 300 mg of wellbutrin and the effexor will be phased out completely.

i hope this helped.  and if you want to chat more, please do so.


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Avatar_n_tn
Hey thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.  I have had my dr tell me to just gradually adjust the Effexor, but not really give me any indication of when to start doing that after adding the Wellbutrin to minimize any withdrawal side effects from the Effexor.
Basically, I have a hard time getting in touch with my dr(s) and since I can be very sensitive to the effects of meds, they often just don't know what to say.
This looked like a good place to find out some specific info from people who have experience with these meds.  I haven't even started the Wellbutrin yet - sometimes I just get so tense about potential side effects, I try to start something new when I know I have a couple of days to deal with anything.  I was thinking of starting it Labor Day weekend, when at least I don't have to go to work....
Take care, and thanks for taking the time to reply!
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Avatar_n_tn
I decided to stop taking effexor last week.  I was taking 37.5mg extended release.  I asked my doctor to prescribe wellbutrin to help with withdrawl (withdrawal) and to give me a more mild anti-depressant, as I wish to get off of them all together.  I've heard that wellbutrin is a good way to help get off of effexor....and I needed help to quit smoking.  I'm not a heavy smoker, but can't get past having the 3 or 4 cigarettes per night.
I quit taking the effexor 37.5 all together with no tapering, and by day 3 I was feeling pretty terrible.  Major vertigo, and feeling like bawling all of the time.  I started taking 150mg wellbutrin, and it didn't even touch it, so I tok one more to equal 300mg, and felt a little better. The wellbutrin makes me not sleep well, but other than that I don't know how it's working, other than I think it's helping the withdrawls quite a bit.  I know the Effexor withdrawls can last 10 days to 2 weeks, and my plan is to stop taking the wellbutrin as the side effects get better.  I'm also taking good vitamins everytime I put a pill in my mouth, and drinking alot of water.  I've indulged in a few glasses of wine, and ambien to help me get a little sleep.  I know this is not healthy, but it seems to help. The dizziness/vertigo is still there, but not so unbearable that I can't take care of my kids, or go to work.  I don't LIKE functioning...sitting on the couch and not moving is much more appealing, but I'm forcing myself to get through this. (I am usually a busy body) I just read that effexor is in a class all it's own...not even considered an SSRI.  The reason it's so effective initially is not known, and it's a very new drug.  This is alarming to me, and 80% of people who take it experience terrible withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. I will say that even though getting off it it is not a picnic, I feel better already.  Things are looking a little more clear, and I've been feeling a little joy along with the emotional episodes, and it makes me very hopeful.  I've just decided to stop numbing and deal with the real issues.  I may be babbling because thinking is a bit jumbled right now, but I felt I needed to record my experience.  Thanks, and I hope to hear more from others!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much for your reply, I will mention that to my dr, and give it a try.  I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question. lisa
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Avatar_n_tn
hi everyone-i have been on 75 mg of effexor for over a year, recently switched to 150 mg. this didn't seem to be working out. i am also going through menopause due to a hystectomy (which has not been fun either) last week my Dr.? took me completely off effexor and changed to 75 mg of wellbutrinxl. Thursday i started feeling lousy, not knowing what was coming. last night i thought was the last night of my life. i didn't know what was happening to me. sweats, this very weird feeling in my head, my stomach felt horrible and then i got a horrible headache. slept off and on with nightmares and very strange dreams. my hands shook, i was very dizzy and had to keep the blinds closed all day. by the way, if all of you haven't figured this out yet--my doctor NEVER mentioned anything about withdrawal. i was grasping at straws on the computer and i found you. it does make me feel better to know there are many out there like me, but the truth is, i feel horrible. i'm not functioning. my good friend offered to come and get me to stay at her house last night, but i couldn't. i actually beleieved i was going to die last night. i copied a lot of information off the computer today and i'd really like to slap it in my doctors' face. how long does this go on? how am i going to work tomorrow. sorry about this being so long, but i'm desperate for answers. help????
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Avatar_n_tn
wow, i just reread my post from aug 31 -- and i feel like it's totally night and day from where i was -- first off, deanno -- what the hell is wrong with your doctor???  jeeesh.  hang in there -- i am proof that it does get better -- can you go back to the 75mg of effexor? and taper off gradually -- week to week.  along with the wellbutrin?  get a different doctor or shrink -- is that possible?  also my shrink had me on 5mg of zyprexa for about two weeks as i was tapering off the effexor.  boy, it was total agony.  the zyprexa kicked my butt and dr. shrink told me that there would be side-effects as in gaining weight and feeling tired.

ok, so here is what i did
first week -- from 225mg to 150mg of effexor -- and that was sheer agony -- very anxious, even suicidal -- gawd -- it was the first time seeing the shrink and she wanted to learn what was up with me and effexor.
second week -- went from 150mg to 75mg of effexor, plus 5 mg of zyprexa and 150 of wellbutrin -- better -- having bad days but good days as well.
third week -- down to 37.5 of effexor and up to 300mg of wellbutrin -- cut out the zyprexa -- made me chunk the heck up and i was eating like a ravenous pig -- which the doc said would happen, so she didn't want me on it for that long.  i'm feeling pretty good right now.  okay, so the end result is this -- 300 mg of wellbutrin -- where my shrink wants me to be at -- and when i see her in about two weeks, i'll be off the effexor -- have 7 days left of the 37.5 -- i'll probably do 4 days, then go every other day.

i know that this is a pretty long post -- but i just wanted you guys to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel -- you guys know that -- i know, i know, the ol' hurry up and wait routine.  believe me -- agonizing.  but seriously hang in there.  i can totally relate!

also, spague -- i was a half a pack/sometimes a pack a day smoker (especially if i was out drinking some beers...) the wellbutrin seems to help -- i mean, i am nowhere near out of the woods, it's only been 2 weeks -- but i am total living proof that anyone can do it -- and even if you do have one or two or even a pack -- so what -- try quiting again -- and if you slip again -- so what -- try again -- once you get out of that habit, your body is going to let you know that you don't need it.  

anyhoo, hope you guys are okay!




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Avatar_n_tn
just a couple of things -- my wife has come to the sessions with me and dr. shrink -- it's great to have a second pair of eyes and especially ears!  another thing, i've always felt like a walking drugstore and i've always wanted to stop taking these antidepressants because hey, i never was on them before and i felt like a "freak."  but just like a diabetic needs his/her insulin, sometimes you need to be on an antidepressant -- and wellbutrin (supposedly...) has really low side effects!  

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Avatar_n_tn
one last comment, my bro is a doctor and his wife is one also, i think the best advice i can give -- which my brother imparted to me, and it finally stuck in my thick skull -- meds and psychotherapy go hand in hand.  don't try and do it alone -- professional help does work!

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Avatar_n_tn
kanny
(18-Sep-04)  . one last comment, my bro is a doctor and his wife is one also, i think the best advice i can give -- which my brother imparted to me, and it finally stuck in my thick skull -- meds and psychotherapy go hand in hand. don't try and do it alone -- professional help does work!

Kanny your statement posted above is so very important.:These is hope for recovery and it revolves aroudn a doctor somewhere in your life. What I went through in my illness should not happen in anyone's life and yet it did. And there was a doctor who cared and knew what to do to resolve it. But before I found that doctor I went through five ohter doctors who either did not know or had no clue what to do wiht clinical depression who tortured me wiht a variety of drugs and finally gave up on me and abandoned me as a hopeless case.The I stumbled upon the doctor who made a difference.I am back to normal with the help of Effecsor and Tracydome and a doctor who cares.So dont give up and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck and God bless
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Avatar_n_tn
I am still in the throes of feeling whatever the heck happened with regard to my experience in switching from effexor to wellbutrin .It's Tues. , I switched cold turkey last Friday to wellbutrin, my doctor never mentioned a tapering off at all. I had horrendous dreams, I woke up all weekend feeling exhausted and not looking forward to going back to sleep. I sweated all night long, immensely and had waves of hot flashes all day the last 3 days. My head felt so unbalanced. I've never felt that way before...really scary. I stopped the wellbutrin after 3 days. I'm afraid to even take the effexor again just yet being that I'm still experiencing this flush sensation intermittently through my head. Yikes. I'd advise anyone to get clear instructions on weaning off one drug before going on to the next but then again ...they say everyone reacts differently. Interestingly enough, Deanno - don't know how this factored in , or not, but possibly hormone related as in your scenario, I was premenstrual the last few days too. My head is actually still swimming and I've been reading blogs to try to find out what the heck happened. Yours came closest to what I've been experiencing. I think I'll try effexor again before consulting a psych who will better know what class of drugs I should go with, more than an internist. I'm almost thinking st. johns wort though now too having looked into this all night tonight. I felt clinically nuts the last few days - it's terrifying. I was glad to read your comments, thank you.
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