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Effexor withdrawl(withdrawal)
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Effexor withdrawl(withdrawal)

Anyone made it through the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms yet?
Been completely off effexor (after gradual weaning) for 6 days now. that jolting feeling comes and goes - notice it more in the evening, the nausea has gone away but still have these incredible mood swings. they are different than depression - it's like all of a sudden i am just ANGRY or start crying and can't stop!
when does this end?
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been off of mine for 4 days now and I don't know I would have started on it in the first place had I known what the withdrawal would be like.  I've been on Zoloft and Wellbutrin in the past and neither were even close to the severity of coming off of this one.  The zapping feeling in my head and eyes is awful as well as the tingling in my hands.  I haven't slept more than 4 hours a night in about a week so it's just hitting me all around. Being a single mom of 2 who also works full time, this is definitely not what I signed up for! I have some of the rx left and have given serious thought to taking one and just asking my doc to start me on a small dose of something else that's not as hard to come off of. From what I've read on here a lot of people have had decreased to no withdrawal symptoms if they were able to take a second med at the same time they were coming off of Effexor.  I need some sleep and to just feel like a human being again!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been totally off of my Effexor for 4 days now.  I would often forget to take it sometimes, so I felt like perhaps the withdrawal wouldn't be too bad.  The only real problem, so far, is the constant dizziness.  I'm hoping that's all that I experience.  I was on Lexapro before this and never had any problems while on it or off of it.  Fortunately, I'm retired and do not have to get out or drive or anything, until next week's doctor's appointment.  I'm hoping the dizziness will subside soon.  While taking Effexor, I developed joint pain, especially in my knees and ankles.  I thought it might be because of the Lipitor I take for cholesterol, but I'm beginning to think it's the Effexor that caused it?  Also, weight has increased even more since Effexor.  Not a good drug to me.
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG ..i experience effexor XR withdrawl (withdrawal)..i became very suicidal..it was horrible..it took about one week to get it out of my system...if effexor helps u then one week of withdrawl (withdrawal) is worth it
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Avatar_n_tn
I have gone from 150mg to 75mg for about 5 days ow, I am trying to wean because i am so scared of the withdrawls. I started Wellbutrin and cut Effexor out cold turkey. I got the withdrawls from the Effexor and thought i would die! I thought that since I was going right on another antidepressant it wouldn't have any effects. WRONG! My doctor old me that because these two meds work on different parts of the brain i was experiencing w/d from the Effexor- needless to say- I stopped the Wellbutrin and started taking th Effexor again. Now I want off all meds and am really not looking forward to the dizziness, crying fits, emotional outbursts and brain zaps.
Here's to a hopefully short withdrawl (withdrawal)!
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1110049_tn?1384640486
Took me about 10 days to withdraw from Effexor last year.  Lots of electric charges in my head.  I put up with it, but now, un fortunately I am starting on it again as depression has returned in a big way.  I could never go through that withdrawal again.  Once you have started stick with it as it does get better.  i was well for a year after I withdrew.
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1179357_tn?1263926586
I have been trying trying to get off Effexor for 3yrs now I have been on 150 milligrams for 5yrs. I am down to 12 and 1/2 milligrams a day and I am still getting sick. I always fill dizzy sick I am not making this up. I fill flueish light headed all the time. Is there any way I ease this filling. If I just stop taking at it at this point will it go away? Or do I have to keep lowering my dosage. I am very patient but this is getting ridiculous. Can anyone help.

PS I am an addict and have been in the program and off
drugs and alcohol for 5 yr. and am afraid of taking and other meds that my take me back out.
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1183112_tn?1264145347
I tried coming off aropax (paxil) cold turkey once. The serotonin syndrome only lasted about a week (as hideous as it was), but the extreme mood swings (constant crying, rage, mental confusion and chronic suicide ideation for 3 weeks) meant that I was forced to go back on it by my parents who were looking after me during this time. It was like going cold turkey on heroin or something (and they say it's not addictive!). I have not been brave enough to try getting off since.
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Avatar_f_tn
It takes three weeks,  I did it once.
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Avatar_n_tn
I havent been taking my effexor for 3-4 days now..i feel awful..im sitting here crying as i type this..i have that zapping feeling in my head and i feel it on my face..how long will it take for these feelings to go away? will it get worse over the next few days????
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1110049_tn?1384640486
Hi, I can't pretend coming off Effexor was easy, and I would never do it again now that I am back on it.  My withdrawal took 10 days, so if you can stick it out, you should feel better after about 2 weeks.  The zapping is the worse.  I just lay down for 10 days and let it happen.  I don't think it will get any worse.  Do you think you can stick it out?  If you don't you will never try again to come off it again.  Hang in there.

Let us know how you get on.
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1118884_tn?1338596450
You've already hear you are experiencing what all of us who were prescribed Effexor went thru.  I had to stop taking after a year or more, when I developed a severe facial acne, plus the 50 lb weight gain. Neither helped my depression or raised my self esteem.

Does your doc know you are coming off med?  Haven't read all posts so don't know why it seems to be time to come off it.

It is very important to do this gradually.

I am still angry at times that no one told me this drug would be so painful to quit!
My shrink ignored my concerns.  Got better support online.

Have taken dozens of meds...none were this hard to get off.

It helps many people, as Maddie mentioned.

My nephew is a counselor @ group home and says many of his clients are on it.
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Avatar_n_tn
well 3 days later and i feel way better!!! the zapping is not as severe ..still there though..and the dizziness still there a bit too..i have drank lots and lotsss of water to help flush it out of my system...hoping in the next few days or so all withdraw symtoms (symptoms) will be gone...and hopefully i can stay off that evil drug...even being off it for this little period of time..my body even feels better...will keep yas posted...
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Avatar_n_tn
lol ok..spoke a tad too soon..feeling like crap this afternoon..lottsa zapping and dizziness...i really hate feeling like this!!! i wonder if it will ever stop?? I am so tempted just to go get prescription refilled and stay on it for the rest of my life...im 41 and have been on effexor..mostly 37.5..for 6 years...ughhh what to do...
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Avatar_m_tn
I just started trying to kick Effexor XR 3 days ago, I'm in my last semester of college and I don't think I realized the hell I was going to put myself through with this. Can't get this feeling of nausea out of my gut. Lexapro was hard to kick, this is tens times as hard.
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Avatar_f_tn
Did you taper the XR?  I just finished a taper (I hope).  I have 24 hours without Effexor now.  It *****, but it's been bad the whole taper.  I expect it to get worse.  The nausea is bad and feels a bit like motion sickness.  I've been taking dramamine and benadryl at home.  Don't ask me how that works, but I've seen others recommend it.  It seems to help.

I agree, I had a hard time with Celexa, but not like this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on Effexor for about 4 years along with other meds to help with depression and PTSD. I took 150 mlg per day, and really just got sick of being on so many meds. When my script ran out I didn't refill it. For about two weeks I was exhausted and felt sick. It was like motion sickness to me. Also had brain snaps, which o haven't had in forever, and really bad migraines. I feel fine now, but it took a good month to get this way. However, some of the anxieties I had before the meds have come back. I personally am willing to deal with them with support from my husband and family. We are wanting to have a baby and I will not take meds while pregnant. Also, I did not stop my other meds as they are not found to be harmful to a fetus. Also, I don't work so I was able to sleep through a lot of the sickness. I will say I was able to also stop taking Ambien. I had terrible sleeping problems due to the effexor, but after a month off I am sleeping on my own. Everyone is different though, and I would not just stop without a plan between you and your doctor. It did make me pretty sick, and at one point was ready to go to the hospital, but I kept in contact with my doctor and stuck through it.    
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1192491_tn?1265035429
I have never weaned off Effexor but went from Effexor to Cymbalta one time and did not have a withdrawal.  Once I went "cold turkey" off Effexor and it was brutal.  I was disoriented, depressed, suicidal, headaches, brain zaps, nauseated and finally went into a mixed episode of my Bipolar shortly after.  I would not ever suggest that!  I am back on Effexor now with other medications.  Effexor XR is the only antidepressant I have found that helps me.  I beleive it takes a good 2 wks. to really get pass the withdrawal but if things don't get better soon, I would consult my doctor.
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1110049_tn?1384640486
I don't know why I stopped taking Effexor XL.  I suppose I thought I could manage without it.  But I know I can't.  I am on it again and I think it is a wonderful drug, as I am so well now.  I will never stop taking it again.  It truly has helped me back to "living" again.  I can honestly say in my case, it has helped.  I know everyone is different.
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1249034_tn?1317604369
Sounds like I am in the same boat as everyone. I gradually tapered of Effexor over one week. I was at 187.5 then went to 150, then 75, then 35. I am now completely off it. I didn't think I would get any withdrawal symptoms because I was only on it for a little over a month and a half.

Wow, was I wrong...
The biggest thing is the electric shocks I get through my arms and legs. I am also incredibly dizzy and nauseous all the time. I get confused and can't sleep...
I've lost a ton of weight too...I lost 10 pounds in one week but didn't change eating or exercising habits at all..in fact, I've been eating more than usual.
I am 5'10 and 130lbs so that 10lbs makes a huge difference...i feel pretty weak.

Any suggestions?
One doctor told me you can take Prozac over 3 days because of its long half life, it can reduce withdrawal symptoms.
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1249034_tn?1317604369
Should also have mentioned that I stopped with Effexor because of terrible headaches. I have switched to Wellbutrin 300mg once daily and it seems good but I can't really tell because of the withdrawal...
I cry a lot easier for no reason but I was told that can be a w/d effect as well..
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Avatar_m_tn
I have come from 225 MG down to 37.5mg of Efexor XR, I totally agree that the drug helped when I needed it, but 2 years later my life has changed and I am ready to get off it.. I stopped taking any 4 days ago, however by day 4 the zaps were that intense, and the dreams were too vivid! I took one 37.5 yesterday which helped dull the zaps a bit, gonna see how long I can last for again... It seems helpful to hear from people that the zaps do stop eventually..
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691935_tn?1282008141
i hate the withdrawing.  I'm coming off of lexapro after many years and tapering down very slowly to almost nothing.  Today  (03/20/10) makes 39 days of withdraws, brain zaps, shakiness, anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritability.  BUT, it is getting better, every day the symptoms are of less intensity.  I am very determined to get off of these things.  I'm very tired also but I think it's because I'm not sleeping well.

Ang5050 - please don't go too fast.  If you need to stay on the ADs so be it.
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1248259_tn?1269152990
I'm on day 5 of my tapering off Effexor after being on it for the last 6 years.  I've tried in the past to go off this drug and got the same symptoms you all mention; the brain zaps, nausea, anxiety, crying, etc.  It was enough for me to go back on the drug again, and again.  I have been getting some pretty major health issues in the last year which are a side effect from the drug and it's enough for me to want to get clean from Effexor.  

I did some research and talked to a Naturopath and my doctor beforehand.  The brain zaps are managed by taking a good Omega3 supplement.  Don't bother with the drug store or grocery store brands as you need a good quality one highest in EPAs.  Next you need to get a good quality calcium (citrate)/magnesium, and vitamin D.  Try to get the supplements into your body a good 10 days before you start to taper or wean down.  When you get the brain zaps, you can take 5 Omega3 in the morning and 5 again at noon.  You can't overdose on Omega3.  It is recommended that you don't take Omega3 after 4pm.  This has worked for me so far, but it's the nausea and dry mouth today that is catching me off guard.  Eating small amounts of raw foods is helping but the dry mouth is still here no matter how much water I drink.  

One thing that was stressed to me by so many people I've talked to about weaning is that the discontinuance symptoms mimic relapse of depression.  That was the reason why I always went back on the drug.  I thought it was the drepression again and it scared me more than being on the drug.  

From all that I have heard and read, "slow and steady wins the race"!.  I'm prepared for this to be a 6 month or more process for me.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on effexor for several yaers and as alsways when i feel good I go off my meds.  For those who are wondering why they ever started effexor to begin with, you were probably in such a deep black hole of depression you did not know if you would ever find your way out.  Then we take it and we feel better and we quit and whine about the withdrawl (withdrawal).  Well the depression will always come back in may take a month it may take a year, it may take two but it comes back and the more you start and stop the morte resistant your body becomes to the medication and the deeper the depressions gets.  I am on prestiq, the "cleaner version" of effexor, but get what you get physical withdrawl (withdrawal) much much faster than with effexor, miss one day and and by day two you are phycially ill, that is  just from missing a dose.  Prestiq works great but the max dose is 100 mg a day and after a year or so it is not as effective.  Since I have accepted that I have to take a SNRI for the depression for the rest of my life then the withdrawl (withdrawal) from coming off should not matter.  I am going to ask my GP to put me back on effexor becuase they can give me 300 mg a day which works better that 100 of the prestiq over the long term.  We suffer from coming off because the medication worked well enought that we arn't depressed and forgot how miserable life was when we were depressed.  This is a rather dumb cycle.  Anyone coming off you will make it past the withdrawl (withdrawal), I did after about a month or so I had stabilzed, the brain shivers finally stopped, but without the medication the depression will be back, it is an illness folks you can't will it away.  If effexor worked for you there are very few SNRI's on the markert that target the areas of the brain that they target so if it works you better think twice before quitting!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I appreciate all your insights, and may have helpful suggestions for many of you.  I was at one point on 450mg per day of Effexor XR (along with several other powerful meds, several of which I have eliminated) and I am now down to 37.5mg per day every other day.  I have 4 pills left but feel I might just be delaying the inevitable for another week.  It has gotten much more difficult since getting down to 75mg per day and I want to cut the cord now.  My doctor suggests finishing the process out but I don't see how that will help to just delay another week, especially considering the low dose I am now on.  I have found through experience that cutting down faster than 37.5mg per day per week can amplify withdrawl (withdrawal) pain substantially.  3 yrs ago they had me go from 450 per day to 300 per day instantly and that was bad!  300 to 150 was easy by just going down 37.5 per week over 4 weeks.  150 to 75 was also pretty easy at that pace, but the withdrawl (withdrawal) pain started after being at 75 for a few days and has gotten progressively worse.  I was at 37.5 per day for a week and now every other day for a week.  This is becoming cumbersome!  
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on Effexor for two years for night sweats b/c of tamoxifen (breast cancer drug).  I was only on 75 mg per day.  Once I stopped my tamoxifen, my night sweats stopped so I asked if I could stop my Effexor.   My doc had me take 75mg with 37.5 every two days for two weeks and then 37.5 every day for two weeks and then stop.  She was obviously aware of the w/d symptoms.   Even though I did what she asked me to...I'm having the same horrible experience you all are talking about.  Non-stop crying, insomnia and then horrible fatigue and sleepiness.  I've got mood swings which are scaring my 4 and 6 year old.  Shakes, vomiting, general nausea, the dizziness, headaches and the electric shocks.   It's been 5 days now since I stopped and the horrible stuff didn't really start until yesterday except for some nausea, dizziness and insomnia.  My husband thinks I'm crazy and is mad at me and very unsupportive.  Told me to go to the hospital if I was feeling so bad!  Unfortunately, it's now Sunday and I'm just trying to make it until tomorrow when I can call my doctor.  I tried taking ginko biloba, ginseng and Omega 3 plus some phenergan (anti-emetic) yesterday and it helped a little.  It's worse today and I finally broke down and just took my 37.5mg pill and shook 1/2 out of it and took it along with everything else I mentioned above.  I hope it helps.  My husband thinks I just prolonged the w/d by taking the 1/2 of 37mg again.  But I literally felt I HAD to.  I can't believe this....what the ..?   How can they just allow this to happen to people, there are plenty of other anti-depressants that don't cause this type of reaction.  This should be taken off the market!!  All your stories have helped me through this knowing what I was experiencing was normal, just thought I'd share in case it helps someone else.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am getting ready to come off 150mg and my doc has made me start eating right, have a good exercise routine, and ensure family support. All the above items are essential in beating depression. As well as vitamin d, I have also read that taking a high but proper dose of omega 3 fish oil helps too. I do not think it is addictive yes you have withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms but not cravings, that is the difference for me. I missed my dose for four days so I know what I am up against and feel I am ready to taper and then quit. Remember depression does not just go away make sure you have a back up plan should you find it is not better once your withdrawls are gone and you are back to normal. I also have to see my doc every two weeks.
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1281001_tn?1271329253
I stopped taking it about six weeks ago. Only reason is because of financial reasons. I experience the zaps, the physical tinitis (high pitched beeping sounds). The first two weeks, I would see something that would make me want to laugh, then would start sobbing. I knew what to expect. Because I stopped taking Paxil cold turkey as well. Cold turkey is very hard. But I feel an accomplishment because of my success. My advice( I am not a doctor so do not take this as reliable because as you see by the other people doing same, symptoms are different) would be to have a couple of weeks of not having to be included into a social gathering. I was able to drive, shop, converse etc. I just have these "beeping sounds" that at the beginning were almost constant. I slept fine, but sharp sounds would make me jumpy. Only way I could get past the beeping was to play music very loud. The "zaps" were the worse part. I could handle the emotional changes, but the zaps suck. Though, when hearing a good funny line in a movie, and the laugh turning very quickly to a sob was something I did not like much. But what the heck was I to expect? The drug is made for emotional problems.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm on my fourth day coming off this drug and I am in hell. Constant zaps, nausea, dizziness and fear I'm going to stop breathing. I won't let myself sleep because i am afraid I will stop breathing.
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1110049_tn?1384640486
Stick with it.  I did and it took about 10 days to feel better.  If you don't stick with it, you may never try again.  Good luck.  
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1331182_tn?1275479204
Okay, has anyone actually tried to come off this gradually? I mean GRADUALLY? I was on 300 mg. I then began taking 150 every other day for 2 months, then 150mg a day for 2 months, then 75mg every other day for 2 months, then just 75 for 1 month. Then  75mg and 37.5 mg every other day for 2 months. Now have just started 37.5mg every day. I feel mild dizziness occasionally......I know that mine is a very slow tapering, and that is what I wanted....is there anyone else who is tapering off slowly? (Maybe not as slowly as I am) but I have noticed that most people who have these horrid symptoms have either gone cold turkey or tapered really fast......I am nervous about the next few steps. I have missed doses in the past and do not want to feel like that....BRAIN ZAPS? Never had those and I am scared...I need someone to say "hey yeah you shouldn't get it as bad because you tapered slowly" I want some assurance I guess that all this planning and the amount of time it has taken to get this far was worth it. I will be really ticked off if I have waited all this time and go through the same problems everyone else has.
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Avatar_f_tn
@chloe115 - one week is NOT gradually or tapered!!

I'll be watching Alanas with great interest!
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1331182_tn?1275479204
The thing that is really frustrating is that I can't find posts that say "Yeah I got off effexor 2 years ago and I am doing okay, this is how I did it". They all say something like "I had my last dose 9 days ago and I feel horrible." then they don't post anymore. Did they get over it? Did they go back on? Grrr.

I am attending counselling while withdrawing as an added precaution and to talk about all the crap that made me depressed with a low self esteem in the first place.

I learned in my first session that I am too hard on myself, I feel guilty for taking two weeks off work after finishing a contract that was very difficult me. But I have made a promise to myself that I will allow myself this time to heal. So shrink told me that every time I feel guilty about having a break or taking an afternoon nap etc to tell myself "I DESERVE TO HEAL." And you know what? After a week of telling myself that, I believe it. I believe that I matter.

AND SO DO YOU!
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1331182_tn?1275479204
Get your doctor to give you Prozac. Take your last 37.5 mg of Effexor, then the next day replace it with 20mg of Prozac. I did this and I don't even have the dizziness I experienced when I dropped down to 37.5 mg. In a weeks time I will cut down to 10mg of Prozac then off.

For those of you who are going cold turkey please don't. You are causing yourselves pain by doing so. Go and speak to your doctor about switching to another anti depressant that is easier to get off. Effexor has a half life of 5 hours which means that 5 hours after you take it, there is only half of it left in your system, then 5 hours later 1/2 again. This is why you feel so bad if you miss a pill.....if you skip a day then take another 37.5 mg you have just put yourself back where you were the last time you took a pill.

Prozac has a half life of a week! This is why there are no withdrawals with it.

Talk to your doctor and if he or she won't listen then find someone who will!
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been weened off of efexor over the last 3 months down to my last dose of 37.5mgs.  I had missed pills before and had already experienced side effects so I knew I wasn't going to be in for an easy time.  I have stopped my dose for about 5 days now and so far it's been a nightmare.  It is taking everything in me not to take a tablet just to make it go away!!!!  I have a week off work and put myself to sleep everynight with a sleeping tablet just to get away from the brain zaps.  I am really frustrated that you are not given a warning about these drugs when you are prescribed them. I well and truly want out and am going to persist and am hopeful that I won't need longer than my week off work, but I'm not holding my breath!!!  The brain zaps are continuous and the most uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced.  I have been lucky enough not to get the nausea, but I cry at the drop of a hat and the brain zaps are crippling me to the point of not being able to function properly.  

If anyone has any other ideas about ways to get me through this I'd love to hear from you.  I am finding the only thing that is giving me the slightest short relief is paracetamol which I am taking every 4 hours.
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1331182_tn?1275479204
I am telling you, go to your doctor for help, you would not need time off if you switch meds and then get off. You are experiencing unnecessary withdrawals. You could continue experiencing these problems from anywhere from a week to months. There is a guy on this forum who still gets ringing in his ears when he turns his head and he stopped 5 years ago!
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Avatar_f_tn
That is exactly what I have been thinking. I want to find someone who says "I came off 2yrs ago and this is how and i'm still off it" But it seems once people are better they don't come back to tell everyone the good news!
I have taken my last 37.5mg on friday 4th June, I feel fine apart from the dizzyness - I just want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will stop feeling like I am on a boat.
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Avatar_f_tn
That is exactly what I have been thinking. I want to find someone who says "I came off 2yrs ago and this is how and i'm still off it" But it seems once people are better they don't come back to tell everyone the good news!
I have taken my last 37.5mg on friday 4th June, I feel fine apart from the dizzyness - I just want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will stop feeling like I am on a boat.
Anyone with a success story??????
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1331182_tn?1275479204
I looked and looked and looked all over the internet for a success story and I found none where a person tapered off and then quit and a year later it was all good. The only success stories are ones where people switched to prozac for a few days and then stopped the prozac. I am on day three off effexor and on prozac and I have had no withdrawal symptoms.
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1331182_tn?1275479204
I looked and looked and looked all over the internet for a success story and I found none where a person tapered off and then quit and a year later it was all good. The only success stories are ones where people switched to prozac for a few days and then stopped the prozac. I am on day three off effexor and on prozac and I have had no withdrawal symptoms.
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Avatar_f_tn
how long will you stay on the prozac?
I am just worried I will get the same coming off them.
I am just so bored of it now !
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
I am the same as you - has been about 5days since 37.5mg and I have the week off work. Tried to go on Monday but ended up in tears within a few hours and too dizzy.
Being Dizzy is my main problem....I am so so worried it will never stop.
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Avatar_f_tn
I quit Effexor 75mg cold turkey 1 week ago. I went through menopause at 39 and I was unable to take HRT's so my Dr. gave me Effexor. I had no idea of Effexor's side effects at the time, I was suffering from hot flashes and sleepless nights. Needless to say that was nothing compared to what I have been experiencing this past week. The good news is the dizziness is gone for the most part! But,  the mood swings are really bad today, but I have no intentions of taking this drug again!  
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Avatar_f_tn
I hope you keep us informed on here about how you are getting on....Just woken up to day 6 and hoping for the best. I have not even thought about mood swings etc...I guess i'll deal with that later. just want the dizzy to stop.
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1331182_tn?1275479204
You do not get withdrawals from prozac because prozac has a very long half life of a week meaning that if you take your last pill of prozac on monday it takes a whole week for the prozac to get down to half the amount left in your body.

Effexor has a half life of 5 hours meaning that 5 hours after you take it, you are already down to half the amount, that is why you get withdrawals....because as soon as you miss a pill all of that serotonin that was being kept in your brain by the effexor starts going away very quickly.....

With the prozac taking so long to get out of your system the serotonin isn't suddenly gone. That is why there are no withdrawals.

You only need to take prozac for about 3 days.
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Avatar_f_tn
have you stopped the Prozac then?  
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1331182_tn?1275479204
Tomorrow I will stop....I cut a pill in half and took half today and half tomorrow.....just because I felt like it.

I will let you know how I go.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks - I thought it might be today or tomorrow.
I look forward to hearing from you over the next few days then  - Good luck !!
I am going to try and go back to work tomorrow and ignore the dizzyness hopefully.
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i was prescribed so much of this crap....combinations of crap in fact...within the first 4 days i realized how much it blew chunks and stopped taking it...i am so glad i have and will never get in this cycle...

i have borderline personality disorder....the only thing that going on meds that were supposedly going to 'cure' me did was made me realize that the pharmaceutical insdustry is just a whole big bunch of more crap and reading everything you guys right and are going through is HORRIBLE.

unless you just stop and deal with a couple of weeks of hell to let it run out of your system completely you are DOOMED for a life of pill regime and complaining about how much worse you felt than the way god actually created you.

pills don't help. the make you a zombie and shell of what you used to be...once you are free and clear of them you realize how nice it is to actually feel again and not feel like you are going completely insane.

are brains are a total mystery we know some things like we know some things about space but you dont see us building houses on mars to....see what happens.

that's what dr's do...they prescribe these meds to 'see what happens' for $$$$ reasons and experiments to try and figure out how much more deeply our brains do work.

mean while millions of people are going thru exactly what is described in every thread above mine and are just walking robots...lab rats and dont even realize it.

i will gladly live border line...than spend the rest of my life maxing out dosages of death and then having to change meds cause my body starts blocking out the one i have pumped in to my system for 3 years. and then the new med stops working because i maxed out on that ...vicious cycle...

DOES NO ONE ELSE REALIZE THIS
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and if these meds were so 'helpful' and a 'cure' than why would our own bodies reject them?  

because our bodies were not designed to ingest some man made 'happy pill' we were designed the way we were for a reason.

since the beginning of invention money has been a driving force and people will go to any length to get it, even if that means hurting others, mentally, physically.

for us to be prescribed meds diagnosed to treat our brains something we don't even understand fully is completely and totally absurd...and whether short term or very very very long term...the outcome will NEVER be good....that is my conclusion.

i am going to give myself therapy...so thank you dr's because the only thing that your 'treatment' did for me was realize i don't need any 'treatment' at all.
everything happens for a reason.
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Today is my first drug free day! So far so good!

Kmb22 I think that if life is bad then a pill is not going to fix it. I was depressed because my life sucked. A pill doesn't make you feel better.

I am now going to a naturopath to help get my body in order after being on meds for so long.
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Well done, I tried to go back to work today. My boss was horrible so ended in an argument and me crying and my husband coming to get me. So not a good day but still no Effexor at least. I will keep going.
Still no withdrawals?
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I think the withdrawal symptoms are kind of the same for almost all antidepressants. I have been in them for 3 years, first cymbalta, then celexa, wellbutrin, effexor, pristiq and then a COMBO¨: 60 mg of cymbalta and 120 of wellbutrin in the mornings and amytryptilin at nights, went off COLD TURKEY last week and I still feel AWFUL and MISERABLE. Brain zaps 2 (2 every minute), diarrhea, dizziness, my HOLE body terribly aches and I cry for nothing. I have been reading and most of people said this is gonna last at least 3 weeks!!!!! Sometimes I feel I can not go through this and want to call my doc and say that i want to go back to them and suddenly I notice that would be the WORST thing to do! I just want to pass this.... but I wonder.... am I going to feel better on my depression? Also I am willing to loose all the 35 pounds I gained!
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Don't go off effexor cold turkey.  I switched to cymbalta after being on effexor xr 75 x 3/day.  It was pretty easy.  The cymbalta didn't seem to do anything for me so I tapered off of it.  Now several months later my depression has returned, and they have placed me on lexapro 10mg/day.  Hope this is better.
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I have been on Effexor XR for approximately 3 1/2 years. The entire duration of my treatment I have suffered terrible and consistent night sweats along with intermittent vivid nightmares. I have finally become so sick of the side effects (mostly the sweating) that I have decided to taper off of the Effexor entirely. After discussing it with my doctor, I took his recommendation of tapering off the medication gradually. About 2 months ago, I began tapering down from 150 mg. I took 112.5 mg (75 + 37.5) for approximately a week and experienced only mild dizziness and headache. Then I went down to 75 mg and stayed at that dosage for roughly 2 1/2 weeks (I would have gone down sooner, but I came down with a full-on cold and decided to let that pass before decreasing my dosage further). Upon going down to 75 mg I felt the same dizziness and headaches in addition to body aches and some fatigue.

I picked up on a pattern to the symptoms: The first 2 or 3 days after decreasing the dosage I would feel lightheaded/dizzy. The headache, fatigue and flu-like symptoms didn't set in until day 4 and would last through day 7 or 8 at which point I would feel a little better. At that time I would decrease my dose again. I went down to 37.5 and stayed at that for about a week or a week and a half. The withdrawal symptoms were slightly worse than in previous weeks and the pattern I had noticed didn't quite hold. I started to feel crummy pretty much from day 1. Once the symptoms leveled out I tried to stop taking it altogether. The withdrawal became drastically worse.  After a day or two of suffering, I opened the 37.5 mg capsules and emptied about half of the granules out. I took these ~18.75 mg modified capsules for 4 or 5 days (until I ran out of the capsules). At that point, I went off of the Effexor completely. That was almost a week ago and the withdrawal I have experienced in the last week has been horrible. Perhaps I have not tapered correctly, but I followed my doctor's instructions and felt ok during the initial tapering. It is this final stretch that is becoming debilitating. Withdrawal symptoms that have developed since I stopped taking the Effexor altogether include the following:

1. Dizziness/ Vertigo/ Feeling out of it
2. Uncontrollable emotional extremes (intense anger, crying at the drop of a hat, irritability)
3. Persistent Nausea (I also suffer from Celiac Disease and assumed that I had ingested gluten which would account for the nausea until I read this message board. Apparently the nausea is a product of the withdrawal).
4. Extreme Fatigue (having withstood extreme fatigue before my Celiac diagnosis, I am no stranger to being tired ALL the time, but this withdrawal fatigue is just ridiculous!!)
5. Tremors that seem to emanate from my chest/ a sensation of my chest seizing up as though I am very cold (except I don't feel cold at all). At times it feels like my heart is leaping out of my chest as though I'm nervous.
6. The night sweats that I considered a side effect of the Effexor while I was on it, have not subsided at all. I still wake up in the middle of the night to change my soaked pajamas, just to wake up in the morning soaking wet yet again.
7. Loose stool (again, my Celiac situation complicates things here. But it sounds like others have experienced digestive issues coming off of Effexor as well).

Fortunately I have not experienced the brain zaps many of you have described. And while I am ridiculously emotional, I agree that the withdrawal symptoms seem to mimic the initial depression that led me to Effexor in the first place. This can be very misleading it seems. I will not be fooled into jumping back on the Effexor for fear that my depression will return. I will cleanse my body completely of this drug first and then see if the depression is again an issue for me.

I am going to continue on with everything and see how I fare. My boyfriend was on Effexor at one point years ago and experienced similar withdrawal symptoms so it definitely helps to have someone who knows exactly what you're going through. Getting support from friends and/or family is essential while going through something like this, especially given the emotional unpredictability. You need someone in your camp. As cliched as it sounds, it is so true!!

I am dedicated to sticking this out and I plan to update my progress for those who are interested. I hope this offers a useful perspective of someone who tapered somewhat gradually off of the medication. I can't even imagine doing this cold turkey. It's hard enough to deal with day to day life having approached this gradually. I'll let you all know how I fair over the next few weeks. Good luck to everyone struggling with this horrible experience.
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Also check out these useful and interesting resources for undergoing withdrawal and coming off of antidepressants:

www.GwenOlsen.com
www.theeffexoractivist.org
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It has been a week since my last effexor and 3 days since my last prozac...........NO WITHDRAWALS! WOOHOO!

I have a bad case of Pustular Tonsillitis though.
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Alanas - YOU ROCK - WELL DONE!

Everyone - I am on day 12 since my last effexor and the dizzyness has GONE!!!!!
I feel physically normal again. The mental aspects are still yet to be dealt with ie. being at work but at least I can now go to the pub and be "normal" without feeling like I am on a boat all the time.
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I am on day 11 of withdrawl (withdrawal) from Effexor.  It took me 8 months of weaning to get here. A few "swirly" feelings in my head at times but no more zaps.  The odd mood swing but I hope that resolves. I am trying 1000mg of Tyrosine to help reduce the effects.
I will NEVER recommend this drug because of the withdrawl (withdrawal).  
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Someone said "the depression always comes back"

NOT TRUE

You can recover from depression and live a happy and healthy life,
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Earlier this year I ran into a friend who I hadn't seen for a long time (had been living in different states and cities). She had been on a solid dose of effexor for depression, fairly severe case I believe. Anyway, she said that she had gone through the slow taper down to the last 37.5mg okay, but that last step of going to zero was when the whole shebang happened, brain zaps being particularly annoying. She has been off effexor and fine for long enough to say that she was well and truly free of effexor without a return of major depression (she had stopped using it well before we bumped into each other).

So for at least a sample of one, it is possible to get free of effexor's withdrawal claws, and to continue living on happily enough. Hopefully this gives at least some assurance to others here. I too am interested to hear if anyone has remained depression free for a significant time - at least 12 months - after the end of the withdrawal from effexor. I'm on 375mg/day, and have been for 3 years or so; a long taper period when I decide to quit!
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how do you know it does not come back? I have kicked the effexor but the emotions / depression / anger has come back
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Yes, I am withdrawing from Effexor for the 3rd. time.  I was on a hig dose, 300 mg., and I was expecting the worse.  It's been 3 wks. now and I believe I am out of the woods.  This time the withdrawal has not been as brutal and I believe it is because I  was put on Prozac and Lamictal.  No brain zaps this time, headaches not as bad but still some nausea.Mood swings, yes.  I was dx. with major depression for 20 yrs. only to be redx with bipolar a couple of years ago.  Mood swings have been hitting me at a drop of a hat.  I am not sure how much is due to Effexor and how much is due to Bipolar.

I can tell you the prozac has kept a big part of the Effexor withdrawal at bay.  Hope you start feeling better soon.
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I'm following up on very long post of mine from about 2 weeks ago -- at the time I was in the midst of horrible withdrawal from Effexor. I had tapered slowly off of it and been off completely for a week when I made my previous post.  As of today I have been Effexor free for about 3 weeks. I have to say, there is light at the end of the tunnel!!!  Nearly all of my side effects have subsided gradually -- the dizziness/vertigo, nausea, mood swings, etc.  I do still get bouts of anger and am experiencing a loosening of the stool that I only noticed when I went off of the Effexor (strange side effect -- has anyone else experienced this??), but otherwise I feel sooo much better and much more functional.  As a word of advice to those coming off of this drug, it is best to keep busy! Even if you don't feel great, get yourself focused on something -- a book or something creative, perhaps involving another person.  I found that even when I felt crummy, I wouldn't notice it nearly as much when I threw myself into an activity. I had to will myself to do this at times, however. It isn't easy.
      As for depression returning, I haven't noticed that at all so far.  I will have to wait and see, though. I will say that I have been in therapy the entire duration of my treatment with Effexor (about 3 1/2 years) and that has helped tremendously!!! I highly recommend the combo of meds and therapy. I think they work best together.
     I hope this helps someone out there. At the very least you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of withdrawal. Good luck to everyone struggling with this!
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Thanks to everyone for their posts!

I have been on Effexor for 14 years!  I had religiously taken my meds (up to 300 mg/day) for all this time.  It has been a great medication for me, and has helped me to be mostly symptom free from chronic major depression.  Periodically over the last few years, my doc has requested that I go off of it.  I have been afraid to!  I also have been living overseas in Africa for a few years, which is another reason I have wanted to just stay on it and not mess with it.  I am back at home in the States now and had been in communication with my doc via e-mail prior to coming home.  I started the weaning process a couple of months ago...which went well until I went fully off about 2 weeks ago.

I am so disappointed with how I am feeling!  I am home for a few weeks (and won't be back again for 2 years). I had no idea I would be feeling so crappy!!!  In hind-sight I don't think I would have gone off meds.  My head feels "full" and my brain is so foggy!  I could easily just sleep for about 20 hours a day, but we are so busy seeing family, friends, doctors, dentists, etc...that there is very little time for rest.  At this moment in time, I am asking myself.."what the heck was I thinking"????    
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Hi all.  Thank you for posting all of your comments.  I have found them to be a great help.

I have been on Effexor (150 mg) now for about 3 1/2 years and have tried to go off of the drug twice now with no success.

The first time I was stupid and tried to do it myself cold turkey....well that turned out to be a big mistake.  It's hard to even explain what I went through.  When I think back to it, it seems so cloudy and hazy, but I recall the sick feeling in my stomach, the nightmares that would continue from where they left off when I would be lucky enough to fall back asleep, the aromas of certain foods that would make me feel like throwing up, the crying and the thoughts of wishing I were dead as it would be alot better than feeling the way I was feeling.  My doctor had me go back on them two days later.  I was so desperate to feel better that I didn't argue with him.  This happened only after being on the drug for four months....that's pretty scarey!

After about a year I thought I would try again.  This time I went to the doctor and he said we would slowly try to get me off of it this time.  From the 150 mg I had started with, he cut me back to 102.5 mg for three weeks.  I had no withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms at that dose.  Then he cut me back to 75 mg for two weeks....was also fine on that dose.  Then I was down to 37.5 for about a week...was still ok...until the first day that I went without anything....I was right back to where I started with those awful withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.  I have read in everyone's comments about how the doctors should be warning us about how hard it is to get off of this drug before they so easily put us on it.  And I agree 100%.  Had I known what I know now....I really don't know if I would have gone on this drug.  Sure it made me feel better...but it also helped me gain nearly 40 pounds, makes me sweat some days so bad I feel like I am melting, makes me want to sleep 24/7 and sometimes I think it has made me too relaxed!

So I am here to tell you all that I am trying this again.  I went to the doctor last week, told him I want to get off of this drug and I suggested that when I got down to the 37.5 mg dose that maybe he could switch me to something else, also a low dose, that wasn't as difficult to get off of.  His response...."Oh they are all the same".  You know, after a while you just get too tired to argue with them!!!!!

So this is what I am doing.  He told me to start out with 3 x 37.5 mg pills a day for 3 weeks.  Being stubborn...I have started out with 2 x 37.5 mg a day.  Today is Tuesday and I started this on Saturday so its been 4 days now and I am feeling fine...was a little cranky today at work...but other than that....nothing too bad.  I have also noticed that in the past few days I am not sweating like I was when I was on the 150 mg.

I am going to stay on this dose for 3 weeks and then will cut back to the 37.5 mg dose for 3-4 weeks.  After that, will try taking 37.5 mg every other day.

I will keep you all posted on my journey and hope that something I have said or something I do will help someone out there...cuz I know how bad this drug is.
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An inspiring and informative discussion.  I have been diagnosed with Dysthemia ( a chronic low-grade and long term depression) and Anxiety.  The Doc's have had me  on a variety of AD meds over the past 3 years and had me on Effexor XR 150mgs/day plus Ritalin 5-10mgs/day for the past six months.  I've experienced little benefit from the meds I've been on and Effexor is no different.  On the Effexor I experienced bloating; not  weight gain but more a retention of fluids, excessive perspiration and nausea.  The nausea was the worst for me.  The Effexor/Ritalin combo also increased my blood pressure which was already borderline.  One week ago I had tapered down to 37.5mgs/day and have spent 5 days off the meds; both Effexor and Ritalin.  I too have the "brain zaps" but it's not too bad, I can deal with it.  The Ritalin added to the manic sensation that I had with this combo.  I decided to quit the meds mainly because I hated being dependent on them and the side effects were really bothersome.  I felt that they gave me a false sense of self.  My healthcare provider is the Kaiser Permanente group.  They come across to me as being very pill happy and procedure intensive.  Got a probelm, take a pill......have a symptom, let's do a test.  It really aggravates me since I feel that they treat the symptom rather than the root problem.  I go to a few support groups and one guy in one group close to my age stated that he'd rather deal with the depression rather than the pill induced sense of well being.  I can relate to that.  Thx for letting me vent.  TJ.
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I was on Effexor for nearly a year a few years back and was weened off of them slowly.

The best thing to do is lower your dose slowly and when you get to the lowest dose then start taking them every other day and then eventually not at all.

Also, it helps to have some Xanax or Ativan on hand just in case the withdrawal symptoms get nasty.

The tics and jolts lasted a little while, but they eventually fade away. I do tend to start getting tics again, though, when I get stressed a lot. Sometimes they're nearly a seizure, but I haven't had one of those in a long time.
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I cold turkey off Effexor but within a year the depression came back.  I must be one of the few people who seem to tolerate Effexor well.

I only came off it because of the weight gain.  But I don't care so much about it now.  I have no side effects with Effexor, and my 150mg dose suits me.  Prozac was really, REALLY bad for me.  Never again.

So you see, different drugs for different people.  

Effexor for me is great.  I will not stop it again.  All I can say is, we have to try different anti-depressants to find the one that suits us best.  I have had bad reactions with others, but I don't with Effexor.  Obviously each person reacts differently to different drugs.
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I tried Prozac about 12 years ago and ended up w/violent dreams and violent daytime hallucinations.  I did some investigation and told my MD I'd like to try Wellbutrin.  Worked wonders for me and took it for many years.

Last year I felt that it wasn't working for me any longer and asked  the doc if I could try Effexor.  My (generic) dose was 37.5 mg twice a day . I didn't wean off of W and felt "funny"(hard to describe) for a couple of weeks, then really felt fine.  This was in August of 2009.

In April of this year I had an eye examination w/dilation for contact lenses  (I hadn't worn them for years).  Everything was fine until July when suddenly the vision in my right eye was blurry.  Needless to say, I returned to the eye doc to find out what was going on.  He examined my eyes (again w/dilation) and he told me I had developed a cataract!  Not bad enough yet for surgery, but I could suddenly see it in my not-too-distant future.  He was mystified, and, of course I was quite concerned.  I asked if it might be a stroke & he said that that wouldn't be the cause.  

After I got home I tried to figure out what could possibly be the cause of this.  The only new medication I had taken was E so I did some online investigation.  Lo and behold, one of the side effects of E is a 33% increase for the risk of cataracts!  I immediately called my MD and said I wanted to stop E and go back on W and why.  She didn’t mention withdrawal symptoms and said I could start W.  I was off E for two days and then started W.

The brain zaps (they seem like the sound “zhunn” going back and forth, in my brain, between my ears!) started the first day being off of E.  A lot of the other withdrawal symptoms that have been described here started soon afterward.  I work from home and I’m divorced, so I haven’t had to deal w/co-workers, a boss, husband, kids, etc.  I did, however, have to cancel out a BD party tonight that I had been looking forward to.  I’ve just stayed in my house since – about 7 days now.

Today, it felt like I had a bad case of the flu.  Yesterday, I felt pretty good for the first half of the day, but then back to the side-effects.  I’m trying to be as calm as I can about all of this; especially since there is absolutely no way I would go back on E again.  I haven’t had much of an appetite (today, I’ve had mashed potatoes the ice cream) and I’ve been watching funny shows on tv and reading funny books.  Don’t laugh – it helps!  I’ve also upped my dose of Omega3 and have been drinking lots of iced drinks.

The reason I’ve gone on so long-windedly is that I haven’t read anyone mentioning cataracts.  I encourage you to get your eyes checked if you’ve had blurred vision.  Good luck everyone!


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Hi I have been reading all your posts on EffexorXR I have been on 150mg for coming up four years along with Mirtazapine 45mg and Zopiclone 15mg. I have put on over 60 pounds in weight, I have started to have focal seizures, I have pain in my right temple and headaches all the time and migraine every few days. It wasn't until i read your posts that I began to look at what this drug could be doing to me, I have depression and PTSD but i can't really say that Effexor XR has helped, I still have really low moods,self harm and inability to concentrate. My Docs are good and listen to me and I would like to come off Effexor now I know what it can do but I am a little worried about what sounds like horrendous withdrawals. Any advice would be welcomed
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UPDATE

I have noticed that on here people don't seem to give progress reports after they have given up effexor so I am doing that.

I had my last pill of effexor about 6 weeks ago. The day after I stopped effexor I took prozac 20mg a day for 3 days and then stopped. I did get some dizziness after a few days so I took more prozac, 20mg for a week and then 10mg for a week and then off. Now I am feeling good. No depression or irrational anxiety. However, I am occasionally experiencing mild light headedness. I recommend switching to prozac for two weeks after stopping effexor....I have been able to go to work and be fine. From what I have read about others going off it without switching, they couldn't go to work and could barely function.

I am pretty good! Work is fine, I have't had any mood swings. I know this because I am a teacher and the kids tell me if I am being a grouch! lol They are like "Miss? Why are you so crabby today?" No one has asked me that....I think the last time they asked me that was a few months ago when I had PMS and a headache :)

Good Luck to you all!
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Hi all.  Well it's been nearly 2 weeks now since I have cut my dose down from 150 mg to 75mg.  Probably the only thing I have noticed is that I have been a bit cranky and while watching a movie a bit weepy.  I use to cry so easily it wasn't funny....even watching commercials on tv.  After being on Effexor for a few years....never cried...not even at sad movies!

Other than that....nothing too bad.  I think I will continue for another couple of weeks on this dose and then will cut it back to 37.5 mg.

Hope everyone else trying to get off of this doing good!

P.S. Thank you Alanas for the Prozac tip...may just try that when I am ready to take my last 37.5 of Effexor.
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After 15 years on Effexor XR 75mg I have just come off it without withdrawal symptoms.  No big secret - I did it VERY SLOWLY over 8 months using the bead counting method.  I think I could have gone a little faster however.  There is supposed to be 180 beads in a capsule (I've never counted) but I made up a spreadsheet on that basis and stuck it on the fridge.

I recommend removing 5 beads from each capsule for the first week, 10 for the second, 15 for the third etc until you are down to 30 beads a day dose.  Then over that last month, take one less bead per day until you are down to zero eg 30, 29, 28 etc.
In the last week and for a week after stopping, I felt vaguely light headed when I was tired.  No nausea, no brain zaps, no nothing!

I previously tried coming off it using 37.5 mg tablets and breaking them up but this was not successful for me.  I suffered withdrawal symptoms if I was a few hours late in taking part of a tablet.  While tedious, the bead counting method works.  

Tip:  find a shallowl dark colored container (I used a washed black polystyrene tray some steak came in) and remove beads with a pointed skewer or toothpick by lifting the top off the capsule, licking the end and dipping it inside.  If you remove too many put them back.  You can count the beads on a dark surface easily.  I stored the beads I removed in a small jar with a screw top and in the last few months I took my daily dose out of the stored beads.  Easier to count out 40 beads than remove 140!  I put them straight in my mouth to no ill effect.  Plus no further need to fill prescription and fork out $$.

My husband kindly counted beads for me from time to time which was a big help. Yes it's tedious, and yes it takes a long time but it is worth it.  There is no need to suffer - it just takes patience and perseverance.  It now remains to be seen if the depression returns but I have transformed myself slowly over the last 10 years from a person with low self esteem and no sense of entitlement to a confident, assertive woman with few insecurities.  Effexor transformed my life and helped me do it.  I gained no weight beyond normal weight gain with age eg about 1 pound a year and maintain Effexor is a wonderful, wonderful drug.  Just hard to get off but the method described, while not a quick fix,  is painless.
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I tapered off my Effexor (after being on 300 mg for fifteen years) and have been completely off it for two weeks. I started feeling the withdrawal symptoms once I went from 75 mg to nothing. I am still very uncomfortable, but I stopped feeling like I was going to die and like I was drunk and hung over at the same time once I started taking Benedryl, vitamin B complex, omega-3 fish oil supplements, and Tums and drinking A LOT of ginger tea everyday. (I know vitamin E has been recommended too, but you must be careful not to take too much; it can make you very sick. I've also heard that it is a good idea to eat a lot of meat and leafy green vegetables. I've been eating a lot of the latter, but I'm not sure how much it's contributed to my feeling better.) Once I got sick of the ginger tea, I started eating pickled ginger, the kind you get with sushi (you can buy it in a jar at the grocery store).  I cannot begin to describe how much it's helped--I'm still waiting to feel completely better, but I can honestly don't think I could have gotten this far without all the vitamins and pills and ginger tea--the way I was feeling, I really could not function. This is such a hellish process, but I was so grateful when I found these tips posted online, and I hope that this information helps someone else.
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On July 23 2010 there was a post on this forum regarding cataracts and Effexor connection.  While I don't doubt that there is a connection if the research supports it, it is important to remember that age-related cataracts - the most common type of cataract - affect about 50 percent of all Americans by the age of 65, and the number grows to approximately three-quarters of all 75-year-olds. Around that age, about half of the men and women suffering from cataracts will have significant enough changes in their vision to warrant treatment to restore their vision.  So 3/4 of us, if we live long enough, will eventually develop a cataract whether we are on Effexor or not.  I'm in my late 50s and have a tiny cataract which my opthalmologist told me was extremely common for my age.  I wouldn't stress too much about the Effexor connection - and cataract operations are  non-invasive and quick (eg 10 minutes) these days.
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Oh boy, I just started taking Effexor a month ago. I was on lexapro and I am premrin due to a complete hysterectomy and doc felt I needed a bit of an anti depressing to help with mood swings. Put me on effexor with the hopes of getting me off the premrin seeing effexor has estrogen in it. But ready this makes me nervous.
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Hi again everyone, another update:

I stayed on the 75 mg dose for 3 weeks and 1 day and seemed fine.  I am now on the 37.5 mg pill.  First day I took it.....felt great. Second day not so good.....crampy, upset stomach, foggy head and just didn't feel like myself.  Third day...upset stomach and head still a little foggy.  Fourth day....feeling better and gettng back to feeling more like my old self.  It almost seems like if you can handle about 3 days of feeling crappy your system will adjust to the new dose.  

Talk to you all soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
Okay after reading all the posts - I am going to get off this stuff. I have been taking Effexor since June and have put on 9 pounds. Like many others I have not changed my eating habits - yet every morning a new pound seems to appear. Heaviness runs in my family - like 450 pound people. I cannot take this new weight and feel like an elephant. I also experience instability when standing. Falling down hard too. So I start tomorrow - no more Effexor. Wish me luck and weight loss. I hope to deal with the emotional side of this with help from family and friends.
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UPDATE- I've been off of Effexor for 6 weeks.  Overall I feel "O.K." and only have the occassional brain zap but they're not painfull... just annoying when they do happen.  I feel like I've come full circle from 3 years ago when I was put on meds.  I don't feel any better nor do I feel any worse.  I feel like cr@p most days with the constant pain, stiffness and blah feelings that I had before.  I've requested copies of all my GP and Mental Health report summaries so that I can read and understand what the doc's were trying to diagnos.  Time will tell.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Been on 150mg for 7 years. Recently trying to change from Effexor XR to Wellbutrin. Dropped down to 112.5 for two and a half weeks then 75 for two weeks then 37.5 for three weeks. Three days ago I stopped. Yesterday I had leave work early because I starting feeling really nauseated and threw up. When I got home I started throwing up more, and started sweating, I felt hot(stuffy) and cold (shivers) at the same time, started having sever anxiety issues, hyperventilating, and my extremities were going dumb. I also started passing out then would wake up to throwing up and panicking. Emotionally I was flat. The nausea was extreme. My mother came over and my husband came home early to take me to the emergency room. He called my doctor and he told me to go ahead and take the 37.5. I'm going back to see him soon. Is there any dose lower than 37.5mg and are there any drugs to help with the withdrawal symptoms? This stuff is EVIL!!
This drug should have not been approved by the FDA and any doctor that prescribes it should be sued. So here I am stuck on it again and I'm wondering whether I'll ever get off it. HAS ANYONE TAKEN ANY LEGAL ACTION? If so let me know. I'll thinking about it.
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Avatar_n_tn
Right now, I hardly feel like posting, but I will selfishly take this opportunity!.  I don't know which I am more afraid of, the E or the depression.  But right now, I have to say the E!  A year ago, I tried to ween myself off, by extending the time between doses of the 150 mg. Not the right way to go.  after the last dose, I really freaked out, crying uncontrollably, and a swimmy head.  I went to the doctor in the throughs of the crying episode, and sort of freaked her out, I think.  She sent me immediately to the hospital.  After waiting there crying for about 2 hours, I was finally examined.  And the end result for that visit was to get back on the E at 300 mg.  Really didn't make much sense, since the effects I came with were withdrawals.  But I did because they said so.  Ok, as this was very expensive, after 2 months, I went back down to 150mg, and stayed there for the last year. Since then, I have eliminatesd some stress, and gone on a fixed income, and decided to try again, to quit, this time with Dr. guidance. Went on a step down program, ending in the 37.5mg.  I had my last dose a few days ago, and I'm feeling really crappy! Buzzing and light headed, loose stools, nightmares and generally awful, coupled with a lot of fear.  At least, so far, I haven't had the crying. Is this going to end? and how will I feel, if I ever get past this withdrawing process?. I too, feel this is a mind blowing med, and have serious questions about it.
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I can't comment on the Effexor withdrawl (withdrawal)(by the way I take it) but I can comment on the lipitor. I developed serious side effects from the drug inc. severe muscle and joint pain and brown urine. I took myself off the drug and things returned to normal. Statins are dangerous and I will never take a statin again.I researched and talked to my Dr. re: my symptoms and Dr. agreed that my symptoms were indeed a dangerous sign.
Please research lipitor on the internet.
Blessings;
Dee
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Avatar_n_tn
I took EfexorXR 75mg for the past 3 years or so.  At the beginning of this summer, I began to have symptoms of being over medicated, almost to the point of narcolepsy.  I couldn't function during the day at work because I was
so tired.  I started to wean myself off after my doctor advised it wasn't in my best interest to stop taking the drug.  It wasn't in my best interest to crash my car driving home from work when I was asleep either.  My experience of withdrawl (withdrawal) has been going on for about 2 months.  I am hoping that I am nearing the end of it.  The worst part of my withdrawl (withdrawal) has been the headaches.   More like migraine headaches and with that, blurred vision, nausea and lack of energy.   I contemplated several times going back on the meds but after reading the information on this site, I'm going to tough it out.   It's been very helpful to me to know that there are others who are going through the same thing.  I would also be interesting in hearing from anyone who has successfully withdrawn from using the drug as to what their
experiences were like, how long it took, etc.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am genuinely puzzled why people attempt quick withdrawal from Effexor when everybody knows that it is nigh on impossible to cope with the side effects.  It can be done successfully with a slow withdrawal over several months.  I took 9 months by steadily reducing the dosage every day but I had been taking it for 15 years and I did not want to stop suddenly.  I experienced zero side effects and have been off it for 2  months.  The sad thing is that I am often very depressed again which I was spared for 15 years.  Some days I can barely get out of bed.  I am monitoring the situation and resisting starting the Effexor again but some days I have to ask 'why?'  I did so very well on 75mg of Effexor with no weight gain beyond normal and for this reason I will not condemn the drug.  I recently tried Cymbalta at the doctor's suggestion but for me it was like being on speed!  I felt totally wired and was unable to sleep.  Weird how different drugs affect different people.  Anyway Effexor is much maligned but for many people like me it truly is the answer to a prayer.  I'm hanging in there med free for now but that could change unless I can successfully get past this depressive episode.  Best wishes to all.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, everyone. I too am experiencing severe Effexor withdrawal. I've been having all symptoms under the sun for the past week, as I've been titrating down at the direction of my (soon-to-be-ex) doc, though the symptoms didn't occur until I got to the smallest two dosages. I was fine going from 150mg to 75mg, but 75 to 37.5 and 37.5 to 18.25? It's ben a nightmare. And I was only on it for about 6 weeks--including the time I was titrating UP and DOWN. It's miserable. I feel like I constantly want to DIE. I missed two days of work this week because of it and it's been impossible to function properly. Last night it was so bad I almost took myself to the ER.

Through all this though--with reading everyone's experiences and talking to some people I know personally--I've decided to do something about it. My objective is to write an in-depth piece on the subject and try to get it out through some media source, with the hope of causing at least some form of change, whether if be lowering the incidence of prescription of a particular drug, getting patients to think more fully about a drug before agreeing to take it, or even getting the FDA and/or pharmacies to list withdrawal information in their literature when distributing a drug. Some of these are very high hopes, I know, and maybe nothing will come of it at all, but I have to try. (I guess there was a reason I got all that investigative journalism training way back when after all!)

If anyone on the site here would be willing to go on the record with their experiences (whether with name included or anonymously by location), I've created a questionnaire to pool some first-hand accounts. Please private message me if you'd like to contribute. I, for one, would greatly appreciate it. Thanks! My best to you all...
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Avatar_f_tn
I just want to say THANK YOU!  I had no idea what was going on with my body.  I followed what little direction my doctor gave on weening myself off the drug.  I have to say I will never just ignorantly listen to the docs suggestion before taking any medication.  She ever mentioned any of the withdrawal systems.  Unfortunately, My first battle with the 'flu' came shortly after my last dosage of E.  Friday was the last dosage for weening purposes and then Sunday night I suddenly became ill.  I was out for the next four days with aches, soar throat, light headedness, headaches, fever, nausea and diarrhea.  Once all that went away I thought I was on my way back to a normal healthy life.

Until suddenly I felt cloudy, weak, light headed and warm but worst of all were the buzzing sounds.  What is going on???  What do I do?  Is it just fatigue?  Do I waste money and head to urgent care for them to perform tests and still have no clue?

While debating I was talking to a relative and he said it, "sounds like drug withdrawal symptoms."  So here I am googling for an answer of how to make the zapping stop.  I really appreciate the internet tonight. Thank you all for your posts.  I am still not certained how I can get it to stop but at least I know why and that it will.  I even got laughter out of reading some posts especially those that felt as I did that had I known that this medication would give me brain zaps while quitting I would have NEVER agreed to take it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have Bipolar and have been recently taking Lithium Carbonate, Effexor XR, Geodon, and Klonopin. My psychatrist has been lowering my Effexor dose over the last few months. And I have been having issues with some dizziness with each decrease in dose. A little over  two weeks ago, I took my last Effexor dose. Since then I've been having problems with severe vertigo, nausea, and "brain zaps." My psychiatrist says it can't be the Effexor, although the timing fits, since she says Effexor withdrawal doesn't generally result in dizziness.

I have had to go to the ER twice because of the inability to keep anything down. I've had a CAT scan, MRI, and blood work (esp. to check my lithium level), and all have come back normal. The ER docs suggested a neurologist appointment, but I can't get in to see one for over 2 more weeks. I am miserable, and not sure a neurologist can even help. If it is Effexor withdrawal, what could a neurologist do about it? And if the psychatrist is right, what else could it be?
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Avatar_f_tn
thank you so much to everyone for sharing their experiences.  To read them initially was really scary for me, but as I have gone through the withdrawal process I have drawn a lot of strength from knowing that it is related to going off my drugs, even though my doctor has been dubious as to whether or not it relates.

thanks to the person who suggested ginger tea for the nausea - i am going to get some today.

I would like to suggest that anyone tapering off this drug organise some time off work... will tell you my experience.

I was on 150 mg for one year and after undertaking counselling and some of the situations i was in changing I felt ready to come off with my doctor's help.

My first step was to 75 mg - for me, the side effects were minimal, in fact i felt a lot (!) better than i had begun to feel on 150 mg... i started getting my energy back.  I had become really tired, and read somewhere online about someone who went to a sleep doctor, and discovered that the efexor was stopping them from going into the deepest level of sleep which is why they were so tired, so i was happy not to be so tired... had the occasional brain zap (where it felt like my tongue would be electric zapped) but they were not a problem.  Also I was occasionally a bit dyslexic (has never been a problem for me before)  where i would say for instance 'i'm trying to find a karp' instead of 'i'm trying to find a park'.  This went away

Two to three weeks later I tapered down to 37.5 mg.  The first day was fine.  The second day I felt a bit woozy.  The fourth day I had a headahce all day.  The 5th, 6th, and 7th day I had to have away from work because I had what I could only liken to a migraine - had a massive headache - which was made worse by being in the light.  I spent three days in bed, with a wet cloth on my head, sleeping as much as i could and listening to the tv because i was bored and the tv was to obright to watch (and i couldn't do anything else).  Any movement made the symptoms worse.. laying about made them less bad.  I felt quite sick in my belly and had loose stools and nausea  I began taking fish oil tablets (4-5 twice a day) as per advice from someone on the internet - not sure if they helped or not but i'm sure they didn't hurt!

On Day 8 I was fine in the morning, but in the afternoon became woozy again.  ON Day 9, felt a lot better and could move about again without it creating brain zaps and sick feelngs etc.  


Then two weeks after going onto 37.5 mg (so less than a week after i finished the withdrawal symptoms) I moved to 0.  I did not want to continue taking a drug that has such terrible withdrawals.  I timed this for holidays so I wouldn't need to take sick days off work...

It has been worse than the step from 75 to 37.5, but bearable with support and i see a light at the end of the tunnel.  The symptoms began on Day 3 of no tablets.  I developed wooziness, swimmy head, nausea, headaches, dizziness, etc - think massive hangover x 20 but continuous (doesn't end after a day).  I have found movement makes it worse, so try not to move around so much.  I certainly don't exercise because of this. It has not been safe for me to drive.  I have stayed out of the light as much as possible because my eyes feel sensitive and strained and achy/tight.  My mind has not been good - as in I have trouble thinking of words and my memory isn't good.  It is now day 6 and I think the worst day was day 4 this time round...  I now have some moments without sore head, sore eyes, but usually once i'm doing stuff  i get sick, tired, headahcey etc (eg doing stuff like cooking etc).  Someone on this list recommended doing something to help you through, i agree, but you need to do it within your energy and pain levels..  I have been concentrating on having good healthy eating and so this has given me something to focus on but it also makes me tired and headachey/woozy...

Something I didn't expect that i noticed yesterday was increased sensitivity to smells that made me feel nauseous (i could smell the bin from the next room).  That only lasted a couple of hours...  AND
This morning I could hear my eyelashes inside my head as i blinked!!  wow.. if that doesn't sound like coming off some full on, illegal drug i don't know what does...  

So, I'm sitting here feeling crappy, but less crappy than before... but am so happy i have come off this drug.  I am scared that there may be some permanent change to my brain that isn't so good because it is obvious, from the withdrawal symptoms, that it is a strong drug!  

I read somewhere not to count the beads because the beads all have different things in them, some are one part, others are another part - and that yo udon't know which parts you are counting out - it's random - so i didn't do that...

If you are scared about coming off, please don't be.  Please do it under the guidance of your doctor.   Please don't go cold turkey when I imagine these symptoms are unbearably worse.  Please make your change to level on a saturay and plan ahead of time with your employer to have the following week off so that you are taking care of yourself and you are not feeling bad about all the physical effects I recommend this fro the move from 70 to 37.5 and for the move from 37.5 to 0.



Then when you take the next step down, etc, again take another week (or even two if you can when you go 37.5 to 0).  I know it's not idea but it is taking care of yourself and ensuring that your employer is not left in the lurch - so keeps a good relationship.

I would suggest not going off the drugs until you have been to counselling and tried to deal with some of the issues that led you to go on it in the first place - and then continue to see your counsellor/psychologist so you are supported if the issues come up again.

Whilst it is a terrible comedown at this stage i don't reget going on efexor as it got me through a terrible time where i couldn't work or function daily properly due to some extreme difficulties in my life at the time.  However, in saying that, one of the advantages of the withdrawals of efexor is that it has made me decide to use healthy eating, exercise and counselling to ensure i never need drugs again...  that's how full on the come down has been...

good luck to everyone else, i will try to come back and let you know if the symptoms have gone away - because i know when i was looking for information - that's what i wanted to know!  how long will this last for!!
Information can help you plan so that even though you may get symptoms you are supporting yourself the best through it with fish oil tablets, good diet, rest, time off work and people around you who can drive to get thnigs for you - because for me i cannot drive yet - head too swimmy, doesn't seem safe.

will keep you posted
xxx
michelle

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Hi everyone!

Need to update you all. I took my last effexor in july and then took prozac for a few days then came off. I started feeling some light headedness and so I took some more prozac in early august, then I tapered off again and in late September I came off it. I was okay for about 2 weeks and then began getting high anxiety (flight or fight response causing adrenaline and hormone rushes) which made me dizzy and foggy headed. I felt sick in the stomach too. I went back to the doctors and he said to go back on effexor but I refused and said I would rather try prozac. I have been taking 20mg a day now for about a week and the anxiety is better and the foggy head has gone but I still get these massive dizzy spells that can last hours, I think this is withdraawal. I am going to stick to this though. I will not go back on effexor. While I do believe that my slow taper (over a year) and switch to prozac saved me from these "brain zaps" I am not with out withdrawal symptoms. I believe the high anxiety and the dizziness are withdrawal, because while I did have some anxiety before going on the effexor 8 years ago IT WAS NOTHING LIKE THIS! Something simple like "I still haven't tidied up that corner in the backyard" would bring on that fight or flight response with the squeezing in my chest and pounding heart. It is really frustrating because I know it is irrational but it is still happening. This is why I think it is withdrawal...thanks to the prozac though, the axnxiety is much better. It has been 3.5 months since my last effexor, and while this hasn't been easy I am still functioning and going to work etc.
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Avatar_m_tn
Nope, I stopped taking Effexor XR and some of the symptoms lasted at least three months for me.
The brain zaps, crying, etc.
Now that those symptoms are gone they have been replaced with worse ones, or at least for me anyways.
I cannot sleep, I have much worse anxiety and very deep feelings of despair and idea's of death.
I hate this and I wish I never started taking it in the first place.
When I was on Lexapro I had no side effects compared to this stuff.
I have to take Effexor XR again now so I can go back to how I was hopefully and then replace it with something else.
Then when I come off whatever is next, I will be sure to do it the right way because last time I did it on my own.
I feel ten times worse than before I started taking it.
The good thing is I know I am not alone in this and will eventually pull through and reclaim my life.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just typed out a super long post and it disappeared before I could send it...so I want to make sure this is going to work before I try it again.
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Avatar_n_tn
Ok...let's try this again!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Crap the post I had typed up had everything I wanted to tell you....hope I am able to remember it all.

The last time I posted anything on here was in August.  I had weaned myself down to 37.5 mg and one foolish day decided that I would be able to just stop taking this drug....I figured that because it was such a low dose...it shouldn't be too hard!  I went about 4 days not feeling really too good and went back on the 37.5 dose.

I have read in someone elses post on here that it is a good idea to try to get off this drug when you know you will be on holidays and not have to work.  I couldn't agree more.  I began taking my 37.5 mg dose every other day starting December 8, 2010.  Had no withdrawls at all.  I knew that I would be taking Christmas holidays from December 24 to January 3/11.  I have not taken a pill now since December 23.  The only real difference I have noticed is that I am not sleeping as good as I usually do but because I don't have to worry about getting up and going to work in the morning...it makes me feel less stressed about not getting enough sleep.  I had a wonderful little cat nap this afternoon so it all worked out wonderful....I honestly believe that if you can get alot of sleep while you are trying to get this drug out of your system, you will be successful at getting off of it.

One thing that I reccommend is that when you are cutting back or trying to get off the drug completely it is better not to share this information with loved ones or friends.  I found that someone close to you will make some sort of little comment like..."you've been kind of cranky today....maybe you better go back on those pills".  Now....when I am trying to do something as difficult as getting off something compared to getting off of heroin....saying something like that to me is not a helpful thing!!!!!  Also...if my only withdrawl (withdrawal) symptom is a little crankiness...well so be it!

I went and joined a gym yesterday as I believe that it is important to keep your mind busy and not give it time to collect negative thoughts.  Also, as I have been on Effexor for four years...I need to lose the 40 pounds it made me gain.


I hope I have helped anyone trying to get off of this drug and hope you can all feel as good as I do after being drug free for 5 days.  Good luck to you all :)
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I am on Effexor 300 mg a day, Cymbalta 120 mg a day along with oxycotin 120mg a day , ambien nightly, and  and need to take laxatives because of the onxycotin. plus a few other medicarions, well, now my new problem, today is my 10day off effexor, cold turkey due to worker's comp not approving it when I have been on it awhile now, I am afraid of the systoms . Thanks for listening..... Hate the cold turkey withdrawals..
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi all.  7 days now without Effexor....each day  gets better and better.  

There was one important thing that I forgot to share with everyone the other day.  The first time I went off of Effexor, it was my last pill and I had none left.  That drug does weird things to your mind....all I kept thinking was....crap...I have no more pills left.  Just knowing that stressed me out big time and sure enough, within a few days I was right back on it.  This time although I have no intentions of going back on this drug I still carry a bottle of 37.5's with me in my purse...for some strange reason just knowing I have some in my purse creates less stress in my mind.  
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I was on 300mg a day and because of the weight and sexual side effects decided to switch to Wellbutron.  My doctor gave me instructions on how to cut down and said I would have to be completely off of them for 2 weeks before starting the Wellbutron.  I am currently on day 3 of the two weeks without and the side effects are horrible; loss of balance, nausea, dizziness, sleeplessness, drained of energy, blah, blah, blah.  I have a full-time job and am in my last semester of my Master's degree and this is terrible.  Makes me wonder if I really want to go on another med at all.  I have fibromyalgia and take Lyrica (causes weight gain, too) and have noticiably increased symptoms while cutting down on Effexor.  Thanks for all of your posts, so I know that I'm not imagining all of this and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been on Effexor XR 150mg for about 7 years now and I'm absolutely terrified of coming off them. Both because of the withdrawals and also because I'm afraid I'll collapse mentally without them. So far the longest I've gone without them was 6 days as some kind of self-destructive masochism and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Constant sweating, fever, those weird brain *zaps*, dizziness, loss of coordination and balance, itchy skin, huge mood swings. I found I became a lot more emotionally aware and found myself on the verge of tears any time anything even remotely sad happened. I was ALWAYS hungry, even 10 minutes after eating a whole pizza I'd be scowering the kitchen for more food, however I didn't gain any weight despite all the food which leads me to believe my metabolism also went ballistic.

I'm afraid I've become to totally dependent on what I'm coming to see as an awful drug, and while I wont deny it helped when I started taking XR I'm not sure it does anything any more other than make me emotionally numb and I'm still not sure whether or not that's a bad thing or whether or not the things I feel when I stop taking them are because of the withdrawals or what I'd actually feel without the drug. I tried dropping down to 75mg for a week and it was almost as bad. I find myself thinking about terrible things, like I'll be walking home from work and just suddenly have an almost uncontrollable urge to scream at a complete stranger or throw myself in front of a bus.

I guess I'm just terrified of anything and everything to do with what has become the bane of my existence.
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Avatar_f_tn
After reading all these, I am really scared about this.  I've been on 150 mg for about 2 and 1/2 years now since I was diagnosed with SAD.  It helped tremendously, but I am hoping to get pregnant by year-end and everything I had read suggests that this drug is very dangerous to take while pregnant.  

I certainly had my fair share of symptoms when starting up - I remember I was foggy, had brain zaps, bad memory, and dizzy for about 3 days each when switching up.  So I do know the symptoms you all talk about and they are scary.  It's definitely not possible to live anything approaching a normal life while going through them.  

I like the drug - at least, I did before reading all this - it certainly helped my depression and I haven't had a single migraine since going on it, but I really want to get pregnant.  I've got about 7 months until I want to start trying - I've read here that a little bit of prozac helps, and I've read that vitamin D, and Omega 3 will help with symptoms.  I'm willing to try all those things.

Is there anyone out there who can give some positive news about weaning off this drug?  Is it really possible to get off this thing if you wean yourself off slowly and stay off of it with no physical symptoms afterward?  I think my SAD symptoms can be managed going forward with Vitamin D and light therapy, so I'm not worried about that, but I am terrified about how badly weaning myself off this could mess up my life.  I really wish my doctor had told me about this before putting me on it - but I appreciate that I was in a really bad state by the time I went to her and was willing to do ANYTHING to improve the depression.  

I just need to hear some good news from someone and not more of these terrifying stories!

Thanks!,
Cindy
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Avatar_f_tn
oh my does effexsor really do all that... is it really a bad drug to be on?   my doctor just put me on that yesterday and its 75mg a day.  if it is not a good drug i dont want it... i have only took one and i dont like the feeling,  i feel high and confused... i am constantly thristy and i think i am hungry but not sure its like i am totally confused..  i feel like i am going to throw up and just feel so funny... is this normal???

imput very appreciated       crazygirl (jennifer)


















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hi i am just like everyone else on the site. i have just gone off 150mg cold turkey and am on my 4th day things are not good. i am going to my docs on wed to see if i can get a prescription for Prozac as i have been reading it helps with the withdrawals. any way just letting you know that i have been doing a lot of research on this and have been reading that the drug you have just started to take has almost as bad symptoms as effexor not that i have been on this drug myself just thought i would give you the heads up. good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn

I find it interesting that most of the people on here who have tried to go off of Effexor, ended up going on it...whether it was shortly after or a year later.  I have yet to read anyone say that they successfully weaned themselves off and STAYED off.

MY EXPERIENCE WITH EFFEXOR:
I have been on it for about 7 YEARS, I take 150mg/day. I've tried to go off of it 3 times now, by slowly weaning my prescription over several weeks, but failed to ever successfully be off of it because I had terrible mood swings, uncontrollable crying, depression and anxiety attacks.  I tried to wait it out and see how long I could go to see if things would get better. I think I went a month without Effexor, but the withdrawal symptoms did not let up so I always ended up going back on.  
The good thing about me trying to wean myself off...was that my tolerance had decreased, so it became more effective once I started taking it again. The bad news is, I'm still on it and don't know when or if I will ever be able to successfully stop taking it. :( And I'm only 25, what if I want to have kids someday :(
Effexor helps me with my depression, but it certainly does not CURE it. It decreases my energy level substantially, but I guess that is a side effect I have been willing to endure to help my depression
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Avatar_f_tn
I stopped taking effexor xr 150mg 7 days ago. I stopped cold turkey.  The withdrawal is horrendous. I have had severe withdrawals from nausea, vomiting, brain and eye zaps, brain tremors, insomnia even though I am so tired, massive mood swings from rage, anger, irritability, constant hysterical  crying, I am seriously suicidal several times a day, sometimes all day, struggling to keep myself from actually killing myself daily. Violent thoughts towards my most loved ones. My doctor had given me some valium to help with my severe side effects and is hoping they should subside in a few days. I am a full time uni student with essays and exams due. I am a single parent with 3 young children, my eldest child is 8 yrs old as suffers with autism. All I can say is god please help me through this and please stop  this emotional, moody, angry, suicidal rollercoaster ride. Or I will have to stop it myself.
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I have been on Effexor XR 150 mg for almost 9 years now and about 5 years ago I did try to wean myself off...took the 75 mg capsule and the 37.5 mg tablet for a few weeks and though this helped to not have the crazy shakes/veritgo I did really start to have bad mood swings and crazy anxiety. At that point I did not want to have another depressive episode so I not only went back on the 150 mg of Effexor but then added 10 mg of Lexapro.

While I'm definitely stable mood wise and feel good (mentally) I am always tired, have gained weight, have the night sweats, etc. I would be fine staying like this though I don't like being dependent on drugs but have recently been thinking about becoming pregnant in the next 2 years. I'm getting older, in a great relationship and feeling pretty good.

Both Lexapro and Effexor are not ok to be on while pregnant or trying to become pregnant. So I'm going to make an appt with my psychiatrist to discuss. Very interested in seeing what he says about this. Will definitely share if I learn anything new.
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Im so glad im not the only one suffering this nightmare from hell trying to get off effexor.  I think I know more than the GP so that doesnt help.  He suggests strategies and they fail, like a lot of you I feel stuck on them, since Ive been on anti-depressants i feel as though I only half alive, kind of going through lifes motions but not really living it.  Anyone else feel like this.
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Hi everyone.  I just wanted to let you all know that I have now been Effexor free for almost 6 months and am feeling like my old self again.  For all of you who are trying to get off of this drug, please read my previous messages.  I think what helped me the most was I did not rush to get off of the pills this last time.  Once I got down to 37.5 mg, I took that amount daily for two weeks.  Then I started taking 37.5 mg every other day for two weeks.  When the two weeks were up, I stopped but I made sure I still had some pills left over and carried those damn things with me for about a month.  It just gave me comfort knowing I had some just in case.  I would suggest to some of you that you may want to take a 37.5 mg dose every two days after that.....if you feel like you need to.  Like I had previously said, if at all possible, plan to take your final pill the day before you go on holidays....as it is much easier knowing that you don't have to go to work the next day and that you can sleep in if you've had a bad night.

As most of you know, Effexor makes you gain weight.  I have now lost 1/2 of the weight I had gained and hopefully can lose the other 1/2 soon.  I am going to the gym about 3 times a week and that in itself makes you feel much better.

If any of you have questions and I can help you, please feel free to email me at sportlover_70***@****

Sandi
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Hi Alana,  I am experiencing the horrible side affects of w/d from effexor and tempted to try the prozac.  Just wondering how you are holding up and how long it has been since you stopped?  Did you switch to any other anti-depressant?  My doc has put me on 300mg of wellbutrin and I am now on 37.5mg of effexor every 3rd day for over a month!!
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I'm so grateful I found this forum.

I ran out of Venlafaxine (Effexor in US) last Thursday and can't get a new script till today, Monday.  Since then I have sweated enought to saturate the bed every night, then froze and shivered till the next attack of sweating.  I'm reeling around as if I'm drunk.  My eyes don't focus.  My stomach feels like I've eaten a whole whale without chewing.  I have these fizzy feelings inside my brain and even in my legs, like someone has filled me up with sherbet which is slowly dissolving.  And the nausea, don't get me started!  Even feeding the cats makes me puke.  Anything to do with meat - even the smell of cooking from next door's barbie - will make me nauseous.

I've been eating sunflower seeds, at least I can get them down, but a small packet of them leaves me feeling bloated and sick.  

Then there's the sudden shortness of breath and the coughing.  (One good side effect - I'm a 20 a day smoker, now down to 5!)

One other complicating factor: I'm a diabetic so the lack of food is compounding the dizziness as I'm going into hypos quite regularly.  I'm counter-acting this with glucose tablets and the occasional lolly (popsicle) which keeps me from falling over altogether.

BUT, I'm nearly there.   I know from this forum that the worst is over and I'm not going back on those horrible tablets again.  I was on 225mg at one point, got that down to 150mg, and that's what I'm withdrawing from after five years.  I won't be picking up my script today - I haven't gone through all this just to start taking them again and maybe face the withdrawal all over again sometime in the future.

Cold turkey is definitely not the way to stop taking the tablets - the physical effects are like nothing I've ever experienced.  But as I said, this withdrawal was accidental.  For those of you who are going to try and get off them in a staged withdrawal, can I recommend the following:

1.  Get some herbal tablets to help you sleep.  Don't take pharmaceutical drugs, you're only pouring more heavy duty compounds into your system.  Over here in the UK we have a chain called Holland & Barratt which sells a tablet called Peaceful Night with hops, valerian and passion flower in it.  Something like that will help you get through the worst of the sweating at night.

2.  Get some lavender or geranium essential oil.  Put it on your pillows and bedding, and smooth some on your chest before you go to bed.  It will help you relax at night.

3.  You won't be able to eat much so get in fruit to have ready when you start your withdrawal.  Your system won't react so badly to that.  (I've just had a banana and it feels like I've eaten a sofa, but that's not half as bad as the constant nausea from 'real' food like bread, cheese, meat, milk etc)

4.  Drink loads - not booze, that's just going to make you dizzier.  Tea, good English tea without milk - or herbal tea.  And real fruit juice, diluted so you don't spend your entire day in the toilet!  Cranberry juice is a good one - it'll help flush out your system.  Or lemon barley water.  The aim is to wee those toxins out asap!

5.  Have some treats.  Mine is lollies (popsicles).  Yours might be ice-cream or sweeties.  Have some sucky-sweets like barley sugar which will help with the nausea.  Be good to yourself.

6.  If you're working, phone in sick.  You are sick, very sick.  Don't force yourself into work where you'll be no use to man or beast.  You'll be clumsy and your eyes will not focus properly.  If you work with machinery or drive, you're a menace.  If you work with people in a shop or office, they'll be the ones who'll have to carry you.  So take a few days off till you're over the worse - three or four days should do it.

7.  If you're at home, read, watch comedy (someone else suggested this and it's a great idea), go on the shopping channels online and fill your basket with stuff - then delete it all and start again!  The very act of looking at things and making choices will take your mind off your withdrawal symptoms.  (Don't do this if you have a compulsive personality though - you'll end up bankrupt!).  Watch sport.  Have a small bet on the horsies - same reservations apply as for the shopping channels!  And if you follow a really bad football team like I do, shouting and swearing at the screen is a great distraction!

8.  And if you have a God, pray to Him/Her/Them.  Don't start wailing and crying about how bad it is - just ask for the strength to get by.  

If you don't have a God, remember someone who you loved and who has passed.  Draw strength from the memory of them.  (I'm crying now, but that's fine).  Take strength from whatever source you can.

8.  Don't sleep during the day.  Night time is worst.  You need to be asleep as much as possible during the night.  If you can get out and do a bit of walking or maybe go to the pool, do so.   Tire yourself as much as you can during the day.

I hope this helps some of you out there.  I haven't had particularly bad emotional side effects - just the odd fit of crying several times a day.  And, for the first time in five years, I had a sexual feeling the other day.  (Prior to this I had no libido whatsoever).  

Please see there's light at the end of the tunnel.  You can get off this drug - withdrawing is horrible, but in its own way, it's no worse than root canal treatment.  Keep things in perspective - the symptoms will pass, and the great benefit of this drug, its short half life, means you will be physically free of it in a week.  Expect emotional relapses - cry all you want without shame.  Just let it out.  Warn others to expect this and to just ignore you.  You don't need sympathy.  Because YOU'RE WINNING!   You're beating it!  How many of you haven't been able to cry for years because of this flippin' drug!  You're feeling something.  HURRAH!  Celebrate it and cry and laugh and know you're getting better.

Big love to all fellow Venlafaxine survivors.  God bless.  Es xxx





8.  

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Guys you can do it easy with Prozac, no withdrawals, just switch to Prozac then slowly come off the Prozac! It works , I tried cold turkey with Effexor, was sobbing a whole day and wanted to die, the a psych friend told me to use Prozac.
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day three no effexor and lucky me i also started my period perfect... i have all symptoms and i feel so sorry for my fiance the hell he as well is going through...i cant stand this i really cant...i wish i was never on the drug
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