I have read many, many posts about Effexor XR and the hellish experience people have on this medication. My doctor just put me on it after several months of so-so performance by Lexapro. Here is the question...is there anybody out there, any one, who would say "Effexor XR is awesome, it has been a great medication and I am grateful to be on it?" If so, I would love to hear what you have to say, what your experience has been, dosage, etc. My script has been for GAD/depression. I have been in therapy (cognitive with a psychologist) since June. Some progress, but the feelings still remain. I am trying to find some way to turn the volume down on emotions. I take Lorazepam (Ativan) - 1mg - occassionally when anxiety is unbearable. I take Ambien CR to sleep. So...any cocktail stories out there?
Yes, without exception with every medication there are some hellish stories associated. Different people have various tolerances and sensitivities. One person can take 10mg of Valium and feel alert, awake, aware and unaffected, another person can take 1mg of Valium and be so drowsy they cannot function or stay awake. It's more common with alcohol; we all probably know someone who can knock back 5 drinks and still look and act sober, whereas some of us drink one beer and we can't even walk a straight line.
Working in the mental health field, I have seen Effexor XR prescribed and have amazing and wonderful effects. Does it have side-effects, of course! Good and bad side effects come with every drug you will ever be prescribed. I remember a teacher of mine telling a group of students that if a drug (a psychiatric drug) doesn't have any side-effects, then it probably won't do anything for the patient. There is some truth to this but the larger truth is that side-effects are part of the reality of taking medications, period. You can switch meds and you can switch doctors but you cannot avoid medication side-effects.
The hell stories that you read not the common experience of most patients. The more common side effects of most medications are nuisance effects; dry mouth, sleepiness, stimulation, headache, sleep disturbances and most of these side-effects diminish over time. With SSRI's there are sexual side effects for men and women but they can largely be countered and treated so that sexual activity can remain an activity to be enjoyed.
Until you take a medication you don't know what the side-effects are going to be for you. Do not solely go upon what other people have uniquely experienced, that is not a reliable arbitor on how the drug will affect you. If I could offer you any advice: Don't read the stories, don't look up side-effects on the Internet, don't dwell on what could happen. Take the medicine and see what happens; side effects are temporary and reversable, that is the fact - when you read that someone took a medication for a week and stopped and now that person believes the medication has messed them up for life; that is not a realistic appraisal of the situation. When you stop taking a medication, within days it leaves the body and stops working and if you only take it for a short period of time it will not change your genetic code, it will not permanantly change your brainwaves, you won't become addicted and you will not be left with a lifetime of side-effects, it just does not work that way.
Thanks for your comments. They are sane and reasonable. That has pretty much been my position and decision, as well. In an attempt to learn, I sometimes am not as discriminatory as I should be when reading on the web. Again, thanks for your input and your good wishes. Blessings be back to you.
Effexor XR has literally saved my life and my marriage. My doctor put my on Paxil and almost from the beginning, I felt suicidal, did not sleep for 4 days and it was so terrible, I cannot even describe it. Since I have been in the Effexor - for about 9 months now - my life has changed and for the first time in probably 40 years, I am happy again! I know there are good and bad for each medication but this is my experience.
Just started on effexor xr, and am weaning off lexapro at the same time. I do feel better, like you all I can find is the horror stories on effexor. Lexapro worked well on my gad but not my depression. I am already feeling happier and not so blue and down. every drug has its side effects, I trust my doc and just want to be calm and normal. If this works, why would I want to come off of it?
Effexor XR has worked wonderfully for me. I have been taking it for 3 months now. I was in your position 3 months ago, and was rather leery when my doctor suggested effexor because I had read so many negative things about it. I have a sensitive body, particularly my stomach. So I was very concerned about the accompanied nausea I had heard was a major side effect of effexor. I had some mild nausea, but it only lasted for 1 week. I noticed a change (as well as my family and friends) in my behavior within a week and a half. This year I had battled my deepest depression. Depression runs in my family and my brother actually made a suicide attempt this year, was put in a mental hospital, and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He is the closest person so me so this had very heartwrenching effects on me. All I think about was the past event and eventually I lost interest in everything, including bathing, cleaning, work. I now feel POSITIVE. This has helped my brother significantly. He had been extremely worried about me throughout the ordeal, and knowing that I was causing him more stress I knew I needed to get back on track and take care of myself again.
You can't be told enough that sometimes you just have to try things on your own and not rely on the opinions of others. If I had listened to all the negative forums I shudder to think how things would be right now. Everyone is different, meaning certain drugs can affect us all differently.
I wish the best on your experience with effexor!
Effexor saved my life at one point in my treatment when SSRI's such as lexapro were not working.
Effexor is an excellent antidepressant. You hear only the bad and very little of the good. I took Effexor at 350Mgs a day for 4 years and in that time it gave to me 99% remission from my severe depression.
I had to get off it and switch meds after 4 years because it slowly stopped working for me. This may not be the case with you.
I am forever grateful for the 4 years of normalcy that Effexor provided me.
Are there side effects? Oh sure there are, but I will suffer any side effect not to be tormented by my severe depression and anxiety everyday.
Expect that you will feel worse on Effexor before you feel better. It will take at least 6 weeks to work, but IF and when it does the change can be remarkable.
I second what whodunnit said to you. It's like this with Effexor...Hum, yes it's withdrawls are bad, well yea it has side effects, but on the other hand just how bad is your depression. I don't know about you, but I will suffer ANY side effect not to live my life in hell everyday.
It's a damn good antidepressant. Did you knwo that Effexor is the top selling antidepressant in the world? Sales of 3.6 Billion in just one year. Not Million, but as in billions. You know why Effexor XR is the #1 selling antidepressant in the world? Because it works when so many other medications fail to produce relief.
Effexor is also a very time tested and safe drug. Even at high dosages it is time tested and absolutly proven safe.
Will it be rough when and if you every stop Effexor. Yea it will be, but I will take the 4 years of remission that Effexor gave me and say thank you got and thank you Weith for making such an effective antidepressant. That's 4 years of a productive life and I savored every day of it and am thankful for it.
Effexor has saved my life!!! I have tried Paxil, Lexapro and Celexa for my generalized anxiety/panic disorder. With Effexor, I have no residual anxiety as I did when on the other medications. I have heard of the awful side effects when coming off of effexor but as long as you do it in a slow and controlled manner, it should be fine. I plan on staying on effexor though because it has helped me gain my life back!!!
I think Effexor is a great AD if you are very depressed. I found it effective. It's coming OFF Effexor that stinks. I'm doing that right now because I want to have a baby. I also found the libido to be an issue. But, it depends on the level of depression.
I do not think my depression was severe enough to warrant Effexor (it was given to me as Pristiq initially). I think I could have pushed through it or maybe tried prozac?
But, I think it's a great drug if you're really depressed and generally, I don't think the side effects ON Effexor are any worse than any other. Just plan to stay on it.
Effexor XR did not work for me. At all--and I've been on it (mostly at the 150 mg level) for 6 months. I am tapering off of it, as I should have at about the 6-week mark. If it hadn't helped by then, it wasn't going to. Dumb doc I had should have known better; instead he kept trying to "augment" it with various things that only made me feel worse (e.g. terrible anxiety).
I've been on Effexor for a few months and it hasn't done a thing for me. I'm on 225mg's with major physically painful panic attacks and lots of suicidal ideation, and sever IBS. I don't do ADL's. I have a really good therapist and I've been doing CBT on myself for years, I was a former mental health clinican. I have PTSD after workplace bullying and no income for the last 6 months but the psychiatrists keep throwing more and more pills at me and think that they will work and get me back into the victimising workplace. I suppose that's better than signing me off for insurance so I can get an income while I deal with the trauma and get stronger.
Thank you for your comments. It was nice to read a reasonable and sensible response. The last two weeks for me have been hell. I have been taking Effexor Xr for the last five years,and have done wonderfully. Could not be happier. Apparently, I was sent the generic form at the beginning of September, and have started a downward spiral since then. I guess looking back, there were some clues that I wasn't feeling as I normally do, but I also lost my Dad this year, and contributed a lot of it to grief. I am back on the brand name Effexor XR, tonight will be day 7. I am praying for relief from the anxiety that I awake with each morning. Reading through the internet, I had myself convinced it wouldn't work, and that the doctor was wrong. But you are right. Everyone is different and reacts differently. If I could ask one question, if Effexor XR has always worked for me, isn't it logical that it would continue? Thanks for whatever input you can provide.
As I have said before, whatever other people may say, Effexor XR has worked for me. I have been on it on and off for 6 years, but have had depression for 20 years, when I have tried many anti-depressants. Effexor is definitely right for me. No depression, no anxiety, no panic attacks, and NO SIDE EFFECTS.
If a drug works for you, keep taking it. I was put on generic form, and asked to go back to original Effexor. I am so well now thanks to it.
Effexor xr has worked for me for about 11 years. I have no intention of going off of it as I have a chemical imbalance and need it for life. I know this chemical imbalance will not heal itself. I am grateful to this med that lets me lead an wondeful life without depression. I retired from the State of Florida as a welfare caseworker....a good job...Without meds there would have been no chance of any job. I raised three children alone and I am happy. What more could I want!!
Thank you for your comments. I guess I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to reading the internet. I need to stop doing that. Every time I do, I'm looking for the magic answer that will tell me I'll be better within a couple of days.
Tonight with be night 15 that I take Effexor XR. I don't feel great, I am having some nausea during the day, and I am pretty tired. The anxiety attacks during the day seemed to have stopped. The doc gave me Ativan to use for anxiety episodes...which only seem to happen in the early morning...and I've made it to work two days this week. I guess I need to focus on the positive. As I type this, I guess I'm making progress. Do you recall what side effects you had with Effexor XR, if any, and how long they last?
Last week I had episodes of sweating. This week it's nausea. The sweating finally ended, so hopefully the nausea will too. Any supportive information you can provide would be appreciated.
I was put on Effexor almost 3 years ago for GAD, Depression. My Dr. brought my dosage up really slow. 37.5 month, 75 month, 112.5 two months and finally 150 mg. If I had to do it again, I would suck it up and get to the Therapeutic dose sooner (150 mg) I was told that 150 mg and below of Effexor only give you serotonin lift. It takes above that for the other 2 chemicals to kick in.
I was on Effexor for bout a 18 months and did pretty well. Well enough to want to come off it. If you go super slow, the withdrawal isn't so bad.
Try to deal with anx/depress using natural stuff, HTP-5, fish oil, Vitamins, etc.
Didn't work so well. Started back trying Celexa. Been on 20 mg. for 3 weeks, felt some major lift a few weeks in but it disappeared and know I'm in a "funk". Dr. appt in 2 weeks bit he said to stay ay 20 mg until I see him.
Feeling worse now than I did before I started. So I wondering if I should stick it out or go back to Effexor.
I had been on zoloft for over 10 years when it quit working for me Christmas Eve. I was started on Effexor on February 14th and by the fifth day I was my old self - I just felt wonderful, however, I think it was the overlapping of the zoloft and the effexor because as soon as the zoloft was out of my system I was back in the crappy tank. I am now up to 250 mgs. of effexor - and still have anxiety - not as bad as before but still to a point where I feel lethargic and very depressed. So because of how I felt with the overlap of zoloft and effexor my doctor has put me back on zoloft - just 50 mgs. and that was two weeks ago. I still have a lot of anxiety and need to take ativan everyday to function. I am wondering whether they should have upped my effexor instead of adding the zoloft. Zoloft worked wonderfully for me for 10 years but it quit for some reason so I am thinking that it probably won't make much of a difference especially seeing as I was 200 mgs. of zoloft at the time - so 50 mgs. is like a drop in the bucket. Anyone have any ideas?
I am so happy to hear how well this medicine works for most of you. My doctor just prescribed it for me, and your stories give me some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I lost my mother and father in the space of a year and a half, and also during that time someone very dear to me was murdered. In addition, the person I love ended our relationship unexpectedly and without warning. I was blindsided and 8 months later have not even begun to recover from that. Add to that much guilt I have for not spending more time with my parents, and I guess maybe you get some picture of where I am at. I have tried counseling and some other anti-depressants but nothing has helped. So, I feel like effexor is my last hope.
I was just wondering what medication you went to, after Effexor stopped working for you. Also, what was your experience with going off the Effexor, and on to something else? Did you have bad withdrawal symptoms? Thanks so much!
What is wrong with you people yes, I don't want to go back to bad anxiety or not sleeping but this drug Effexor/Venlafaxine made me feel better in some areas and horrible in others. I am afraid to come off of it yes, cuz it helped my mental state than any other drug I was prescribed but it also has made me have a severe skin disorder that gives me open sores that the skin peels easy. So I ask you how do you weigh your mental health for your physical health? I have scarring on my skin as it starts to heal about a couple months later more start. I never had this until I took this med. I am embarrassed to wear tank tops or shorts because of it and on top of that I was 105 before I took this med and now I ballooned to 195! I always have been a thin person. So it works but at what cost is what you should really be asking!! BTW it is NOT a coming off of story it is a FACT of actually just being on it!
hi...i have a lot to say about effexor xr....1st of all i was on it 4 about 5 yrs.....i went from not living to living....it was wonderful....i have always been very shy but effexor opened me right up....i had a very hard time with social anxiety and after going on effexor that all went out the window....i can talk to anyone and i can even talk your ear off.....well the anxiety stayed and the sweating was atrotious, but i was happy and fearless so i decided to stay on it....now i am working and am running around like a looney, the anxiety is terrible and the whole time i am sweating buckets, have had many crying outbursts at work because i feel i am losing control. i think people really must think i am crazy, but im not....so.....i came off the effexor and guess what??? the sweating is still with me.....it hasnt been long at all but i just thought that it would stop right away, i guess i havent given it a chance .....well im just a big old mess right now, i think its only been about a week of the effexor and now taking 15 mg of adderol and i can cry at the drop of a hat....so i guess what i would like to know is when will the sweating stop, please give me some hope.....thanks.....
just wanted to add that i dont know whats going to happen to me now that i am off the effexor xr, will i go back to the old horrible me who couldnt open up unless i had a drink in me....and i was never happy and afraid to do everything, im the opposite of that now but will it all come to an end?im hoping that my problem is with social anxiety and adderol will take care of everything else....am i living in a dream world?i look forward to your answers.....thanks
I know it was a month ago so you have probably got over the worst (or back on). Can only speak from my wifes experiences but:
My wife came off it over the course of four - six weeks and that was from 75mg, moving to a half dose and then none. So yes two weeks sounds quick, although you did say it was doctors advice. I think gps, being generalists may not always be right but they are better than relying on internet advice (like mine) or your own decision when you are not at your best. One of the problem with depression is its effect on decision making.
From your posts it sounds like your having the terrible withdrawal symptoms. My wife got through them in a couple of weeks and I hope by now you feel a lot better.
For my wife, know she didn't turn straight back in to the severely depressed and ill person she was before taking it. However she was susceptible to the next trigger which set depression off again a year later, again treated with effexor.
So yes you may need to go back on it, although possibly on a lower does. But no, its not the start of the slippery slope to a life you can't cope with.
Sorry if I come off sounding less optomistic then I feel. I am a fan of it and the help it gave my wife, when needed is worth the withdrawal symptoms.
I have been on Efffexor for 11 years and It has worked for me. However I have only just come to the realisation (and I think that many of us make this mistake) that I was in the mind frame that because the medication lessoned my depression, that this is how I needed to treat my depression for the rest of my life. My doctor said to me that i may just need to be on medication for the remainder of my life, especiallty if the depression is "hereditory". In reality, I now realise that I need to continue to re-train my mind so that it no longer continues the cycle of depression rather than relying on the medication. I believe that I can do this and that the medication will eventually no longer be needed. I no longer believe that depression can be hereditary in the way that doctors tell us. Rather I think that it is a learned set of behaviours that are passed down from our parents. If our parents live their lives with depressed behaviours and mind patterns then of course this is what we are going to learn.
I say use Effexor if it works for you, but continue to work on re-training your mind so that it no longer creates and continues your depression. Everyone who reads this please read the books written by Eckhart Tolle. They will change your life. When you think you are ready to come off the drugs accupuncture can help to ease the transition.
Hi do not give up ....I was on effexor for 10 yrs 300mg a day.From the 300 to the 75 was good but the last little bit was hell it felt like it was hanging on like grim death.
I have been off them for two months now and now in the process of trying other types of antidepressants but having too many side effects with them so on nothing at the moment.
Feel nauseous and ache all over most of the time but taking sleepers and an Endone at bedtime so at least getting about 5 hours sleep.
And now I have feelings again, dont know if that compensates though.
The Effexor treatment was triggered by tragedies in my life NOT heredity so now things have settled down cannot understand why I feel like this.
What I would like to know is does Effexor change my mind and body to rely on it is it that insidious ??????
I suffer from panic/anxiety attacks. I was on Paxil in 2007 but became pregnant and then was switched to Effexor xr 75 mg. May 2011, I guess my body became tolerant of the drug and stopped working. My PCP increased my dose and still didnt work. He tappered me off of Effexor and started me on Zoloft. I am now taking Zoloft 100 mg for about 3 weeks already and am having panic/anxiety attacks through it. I do take a half of .25 xanax but its hard cause I get so tired at work plus I have a family to take care of. Will I ever get better??? This ***** , I wouldnt wish this upon anyone :(
Hi, Saw your question to chicagoopsy. I have replied above. As I often say, different anti depressants work differently on people. For example Effexor is the best I have ever taken (see my comments above) whereas Prozac was poison to me. I am on 150mgs of generic Effexor and I am really well. No depression, panics or anxiety, and no side effects. Don't know how you will respond, you can only try and see.
Effexor is an insanely good antidepressant. Tried virtually all other SSRIs and nothing comes close to obliterating depression. There are times when depression may try and 'break through' under periods of severe stress, but you'll know to pull back and be kinds to yourself..the Effexor helps you stay realistic about your capabilities to deal with stress. This is one of the rarely talked about benefits. Taken with Pregabalin with general anxiety, I have the perfect treatment that has seen me become normal again for the first time in 40 years....my career is flying as a result!
I can actually say effexor is a good way to ease the rough ride we all experience with this disease. I have depression and generalized anxiety disorder. I was pretty much scared of everyday life. I was weirdly uncomfortable in my own skin...i over thought everything that it keep me from participating in my own life. I was tired of this ridiculous roller coaster ride, that only I was riding. I went to my doctors and was put on effexor, gradually worked up to 150mg a day. Once i reached 150mg i felt amazing, i could talk to anyone and not feel that overwhelming, powerful doubt of others judgments on me. I felt like me again...i never even knew what GAD was until my doctor told me and it made since, i wasnt crazy..unfixable at all. Effexor worked for me..i recently went through a point where i abruptly stopped taking effexor, terrified that a pill was going to control me for the rest of my life. I went through the withdrawals, never felt so terrible in my life. I would find myself punching things then sitting down crying over it. I couldnt think straight and anxiety attacks felt common. I can go into a deep deep description iof how bad the withdrawals really are, but i wont. I went on lexapro thinking i dont want withdrawals again like that but i couldn't go without anything. I was such a mess without something to help my GAD. Lexapro is not for me, makes me sad. I finally figured out why mess with something that is working for me...effexor is worth it even if the withdrawals are killer. I would much rather go through the withdrawals one day again...then to not live my life to its full potential, i am 21 and have many yrs ahead that i want to see and experience and not live in my head scared of life and change. I have pondered every angle of this horrible disease, i have researched and just wanted the best for myself. Effexor has done wonders for me, its worth a try ...only when your ready for a good change.
I so commend you for going back on a medication that works for you. You can't go off of Effexor cold turkey. It needs to be gone off of very very gradually. I've gone off of it and so has a friend of mine without all the horror that has been described. But I need an anti-depressant for life.
I was on Effexor, but on a low dose and was nearly suicidal due to my 24/7 migraine pain, my stroke pain, my fibromyalgia, my need for 12 hours of sleep every night, so I had little quality of life. I argued with my doctor that no drug could possibly help me with such a severe situational problem. But when I increased it, about 5 weeks later, the severe depression was gone!! And I still had close to the same terrible life. Anti-depressants also help with physical pain as well. So I'm a big fan of Effexor. (My doctor also advised me to get therapy which was a big disaster.)
Another thing: Depression is now thought to be a whole body ailment. It also causes a number of physical problems, such as early aging diseases such as osteoporosis, dementia, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. This was reported in more detail in the Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2012.
So before anyone thinks that all medications are evil, think again if you do need them. They can prevent a lot of other diseases.
BTW, I'm terrible at acronyms. What does GAD stand for? And thanks again for your very good, responsible posting. What wisdom you have at a young age.
I have been taking effexor for two months for PTSD anxiety and depression. All from combat experience. It has worked great for me. 150mg every morning and I don't eat with it either. Doc said I don't have go. Within one week of taking this med I lost 5lbs just from my body not stressing so much. It was hard for me to see if it was working because I was on Zoloft for a year and it wore off fast even with increased perc. Just give it a chance. If it works great. But then again I am on many other meds mixed with it. Mainly for pain but I take minipress for sleep and atarax for panic attacks. Kinda hard seeing people die every day in your mind when you are back in the state side and safe with a 9mm by your side :)
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