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Effexor XR and muscle twitch
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Effexor XR and muscle twitch

I switched to Effexor XR about a year ago because Zoloft was not doing enough for my depression. I was and still am taking Wellbutrin XL to combat the sexual side effects. Shortly after I started Effexor my doctor also put me on Seroquel. So I have been on these 3 drugs for the past year. Last month my doctor suggested I up my dosage of Effexor from 150mg to 225 mg. I was hesitant about increasing my medication but she seemed to encourage it bc it was the winter months and I was experiencing mild SAD symptoms. After taking 225mg for about 5 days I went back to 150 mg bc I was waking up every morning at 5:30 feeling very jittery. My doctor said it was okay for me to go back to 150. But right when I was downing my dose I started to experience muscle twitches in my legs and torso. They happen quite frequently and only when my muscles are relaxed, such as sitting or lying down and especially before sleeping.  I told my doctor last week about it and she told me to stop taking Seroquel bc she has had some patients experience muscle twitching after several months of having been on Seroquel. I haven't taken Seroquel for 5 days now and the twitching has not stopped. So I just looked up Effexor and muscle twitches and found that several others have had this problem. Have you heard of this and if so is this permanent? I would like to wean off of Effexor because of this in addition to its strong addictiveness. The twitching is a big concern of mine. I am also curious about the underlying mechanism responsible for the strong withdrawal effects of Effexor. I am a neuroscience major and will be attending medical school this fall so please feel free to be as specific as possible as I really want to know why.

Thank you so much.
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Funny that you wrote that.  I am actually having a similar problem as I am weaning myself off Effexor right now.  I was on 225mg and have worked down to 37.5mg now because it didn't work great for me and it skyrocketed my blood pressure.  I am starting Prozac 20mg and decreasing the Effexor.  Here's the thing.  What do you mean by muscle twitches?  Are they involuntary?  Because I have voluntary muscle twitching that I just noticed as I began decreasing the effexor.  Mine is an uncontrollable feeling that I need to tighten my muscles.  I tighten them quickly, like a twitch to eliminate this feeling.  My mother has told me to stop doing it because I look like I have Tourettes syndrome.  It makes me crazy.  I am finishing nursing school and currently work in a hospital and am having a hard time doing procedures because I am constantly twiching my arms.  Ive probably done it 25 times since Ive been writing.  Let me know if this is similar bc I am curious too.  
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LisaAnn678,

My muscle twitches are involuntary. If I'm relaxed my legs will just spasm at different spots very often. They are always strong enough to cause noticeable movement. It's a little scary. It happens all the time when I'm sitting in class, especially if I happen to be dozing off. I don't know it's going to happen. All of a sudden certain muscles in my leg will just twitch and it feels like when you have a knee jerk reflex. I haven't experienced voluntary twitching but I've heard of people having muscle tightness after stopping Effexor. Maybe that's what you're experiencing? Either way, I wish I'd known about how strong Effexor was before I started because I definitely would have tried other drugs. I'm going to discuss this with my doctor on Tuesday and talk about getting off Effexor. I hope you are able to resolve your twitching; I have total empathy for you. I'll let you know how the twitching goes when I start weaning off of it. And I hope everyone learns from all of these horrifying stories about withdrawal that you need to find out EVERYTHING about a drug before you start taking it. The consequences can sometimes be permanent. Isn't that what they say about suicide? A permanent solution to a temporary problem. Sadly, this may easily be applied to the few people who have worst-case withdrawal symptoms. PLEASE, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!
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Hi,
Could it be the Wellbutrin that is causing the twitching?
I'm also a neuorscience premed student..just recently went on seroquel..working up to a 550 mg dose, as the 50 mg only made me tired but didn't reduce hallucinations/delusions.

also went on wellbutrin, to reduce depressive symptoms and to quit smoking, managed to quit smoking but have been having some involuntary tics and I'm worried that it may be permanent or tardive dyskinesia from sero..but the numbers are low and its basically reallly rare and i'm told occurs more with older women using sero..

so..if its the wellbutrin then what to do?
is there something that can counter the muscle twicthing..i'm guessing its wellburtrins DA agonist activity..which incidentally should be countered by Sero's DA antagonism..but..maybe seroquel is antagonising different DA receptors than are being agonized by wellbutrin..
the effects of wellbutrin are great..when its working on the NE systems..but I'm guessing there's a problem with the nigrostriatal DA systems..and I'm worried since I want to be surgeon..can't afford permanent twicthes..I'll speak to my psychiatrist this week..and post..hopefully you guys have come up with somethin..

J
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I discontinued Effexor a few years ago, after having taken it for a year and a half or so. I experienced a lot of muscle twitching while on it, though I don't remember when I started to notice it. I don't remember if it was before or after I started to decrease my doses. The highest dose I took was 225mg. A while after I'd been free of the drug and was still experiencing the twitching, I asked a doctor about it, who said that they should go away after a while. I don't think she really knew, though. I still have them to this day, and although they're not as frequent overall as they used to be, sometimes they are very frequent. As you said, they happen a lot more when I'm relaxed or falling asleep. I get them all over my body, but most often in my hands, then arms and legs. It's annoying sometimes, mostly because of the reactions I get from people when my leg suddenly spazes out on me or something, but I could have much worse residual symptoms.

Also, if you haven't gotten off the Effexor yet, I wish you the best of luck. My doctors didn't warn me at all about the effects or addictiveness of the drug (and they also gave it to me when I was 12 or 13, and it's only supposed to be for patients 18 and older), so I found out the hard way how troublesome it can be to discontinue it. Purportedly, Effexor withdrawals are worse than Heroin withdrawals. I've never taken Heroin, but I do remember lying in bed for two weeks feeling like I was dying while I weened off of the last low dose of Effexor. This was my second attempt at quitting; the first time I got so sick that I wasn't able to do it. The second time I got sicker, but I knew I had to go through with it. It's hard, but it can be done. I really hope the best for you, and anyone else dealing with the same thing.
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There are two issues here and they must be seperated. The first is extra-pyramidal side effects such as akathesia and dystonia. Those are nothing to be concerned about and you can take a side effect pill for that. SSRI's commonly cause that. The second is tardive dyskinesia (which I have in advanced forms but I had akathesia before so I know what it is). There are no clinically confirmed cases of SSRI's causing tardive dyskinesia (which is permanent) but they can easily cause akathesia. Its hard for me to tell the two apart by description so it could easily be akathesia but tardive dyskinesia should be ruled out, considering that you took Seroquel (all antipsychotics can cause it except for Clozaril and the antipsychotics in development such as the one I am on glycine, a glutamate antagonist in Phase II FDA study, a new class of antipsychotic that promotes a fuller recovery and will not cause tardive dyskinesia or diabetes). The only anti-depressent that's of concern for tardive dyskinesia is Tradazone. Almost all other anti-depressents do not cause it. The best thing is to look at this clinically accurate website "patient education tardive dyskinesia" and if you took or are taking a medication on the list (and remember the list says "some of these medications may be neccessary") have your psychiatrist refer you to a movement disorders specialist to be tested for that (and there is treatment to mitigate it) and in addition you could post the question in the neurology forum.
   That would not apply to anyone who only took an SSRI anti-depressent but as for the original poster you have to distinguish between extra-pyramidal side effects (which the Effexor can cause) and tardive dyskinesia (which it can't but Seroquel can). If the movements worsen when you take the Effexor and then mitigate during the day as it wears off that's one thing but if they are random and uncontrollable and never stop then that's of concern. Don't make any changes without speaking to your psychiatrist. But do speak to your psychiatrist about it. And if its akathesia there are many medications that help with it or if you want to know more about the wide variety of anti-depressents and their options google "Depression Central".
   And if you are a neuroscience major look up my Wikipedia entries on "glycine as a novel antipsychotic agent" and "tardive psychosis". I did both and they had the approval of my provider and clinical studies will be published on me in a psychiatric journal as I am under study for both. PM me if you want more details.
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Effexor causes involuntary muscle twitching.  I've never heard that about Seroquil, but I don't know that much about it.  I got Serotonin Syndrome while on Effexor XR and some other drugs.  It started with muscle twitching.  My psychologist insisted I could control it -- I could not!  He also insisted that despite having being diagnosed with Serotonin Syndrome and hospitalized for it -- my limbs were flailing all over the place and muscles were clenching and twitching everywhere and I was extremely dizzy.  My pych took me to the psychiatric emergency room.  I was released and the next day his supervisor saw me and ran me down to the medical emergency room where they took me seriously.  

Well, all that is to say that yes Effexor causes muscle twitching, clenching, tics and it is known for that.  You may want to switch to another medication.  The symptoms will most likely go away once the Effexor is out of your system.  But Effexor also has a reknown horrible withdrawal syndrome, so make sure you discontinue the drug under the supervision of a good psychiatrist who knows what they are doing (if you can find one).
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