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How long is Effexor withdrawal supposed to last?
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How long is Effexor withdrawal supposed to last?

A little over two months ago I stopped taking Effexor after slowly weaning off of it.  I had horrible withdrawal symptoms: nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.  After two months I don't feel any better.  Needless to say, I'm really scared.  I can hardly function at my job and am very frustrated and angry.  This medication has ruined my life.  Waking up in the morning is the worst part of my day.  All I have to look forward to is dizziness, fatigue, and attempting  to function.

How long did you symptoms last?  Are they supposed to last this long?
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I am wondering the same thing.  I was on 150 mg Effexor XR for 5 years and weaned myself off of the drug during the course of a month and have been totally off it for 3 weeks now.  I too had nausea, extreme fatigue, horrible body aches, diarreha, short temper, etc. etc.  I am now starting to feel better, but still get those horrible brain shivers and my eyes have a tendency to bounce around when I look from one thing to another real fast.  All I can suggest is that you hang in there, what else can we do.    
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I've been on it for seven years now. I tried to get off of it once. While cutting back on it I was taking lexapro. After a few months of crying all the time I had a major panic attack. My other doc put me back on and said never to quit taking it again. I read that it can take six months to a year to get off of. If I miss a day or two I have horrible headaches and cannot funtion at all. I've never met anyone who has succesfully gotten off of it. I'm sorry that's not very encouraging but I think maybe you should talk to your doc and see if he can put you on something else in the mean time that's not physicaly addictive.
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I was taking Effexor(150 mg) a day as well up to a week ago.Even though I know that coming off medications should be gradual I just could not take it anymore,especially since it stopped doing anything for me,so I gave it up as soon as I took the last damn pill.I was just as miserable and foul tempered while I was on it.Safe to say the psychiatrists played the typical trial and error game on me with various other antidepressants such as: Celexa,Paxil and Lithium.
I am experiencing withdrawal like symptoms but I'm very confused. I still take other prescription meds from the opioids family which are helping me cope with my phantom limb pain. There are 3 of them: Percocet (oxycodne),Lyrica and Fentanyl (transdermal analgesic). Out of those I also dropped the Percocet gradually and now I'm off of it, The Lyrica has been reduced from 150mg-2/day  to 75 mg 1/day and the Fentanyl is the only one that stayed at the same dose 50 ml patch.
My question is : Could it be that the hell I'm going through now (sweating while freezing,severe nausea,fatigue,aches ans pains) is because all these changes happening all in a short period of time or because of quitting Effexor alone?
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Avatar_n_tn
Effexor withdrawal can be accomplished! Please do not give up heart. I have taken Effexor 75 mg time release for several years, with the dose upped 90 days ago to 150 mg. Then, last week, I did what I have wanted to do for so long. I stopped the drug cold turkey. I am not recommending that you do that! Last Tuesday I felt as if I had been run over by a truck, experiencing all the side effects listed in these posts -- and more! But here it is, six days later, and I'm almost entirely free of side effects, resuming work and getting my life back. How did this happen? With the help of a wonderful Christian Science practitioner. You can look at Spirituality.com to start. Please think about it, study, pray, perhaps contact a CS practitioner ... but whatever you do, do not go it alone. AB
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Avatar_n_tn
You really have to take at least one yr to wean off these meds. You can't do it in one month without horrible side effects. I'm coming off paxil and I have a one yr plan to get off of 20mg. It may seem to long, but it's gotta be better than all the awful withdrawels.

Blessings,

jmana
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 3 days into coming off of Effexor. I used to be abcent minded when it came to taking this med regularly and experienced all of the same symptoms as you guys describe. I was ignorant to what was causing this until now. I feel so terrible. moments of nausea, hot flashes followed by cold flashes and worst of all, the repetitive brain ZAPS. I refuse to succumb to this med and will continue to withdraw. Anybody have any idea of an approximate time these symptoms will last. It is virtually impossible to maintain daily life with these effects.
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I was on Effexor XR 150mg for about 5 years, 10 days ago I ran out, my car was in getting repaired when I remembered the script for more tablets was in the glove box of my car, oops what do I do?? Well, I stopped taking it and I have not felt this good since I can remember.  While I was on Effexor I have gained about 40 lbs, I was always feeling fuzzy, had bowel and bladder problems and my doctor put me on tablets for high blood pressure,  is this all a coincidence or was this just what growing older was all about.

Have faith people, you can get off this drug, it is just purely dangerous and I intend never to be on it again.

For the first time in a long time I actually feel motivated and the fuzziness has gone, I dont know if its just me but I haven't had any withdrawal side effects at all.
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I tried to come off of Effexor several years ago when we were going to adopt and I wanted to breast feed.  With the help of my Dr. I got off and was off for about a month, but I felt that I still needed something, nothing else has worked but Effexor(not the XR).  I also found out I couldn't breast feed because I was also taking Thyroid meds which I Can't get off of, so , we decided I'd go back on the Effexor.  Before I came off of it, I was on 150 mg. I'm now taking a sub-theraputic dose of 25 mg and have Never felt better... I don't get sick if I don't eat with the pill, tho I still can get the half-life side effects.  
You might just need a smaller dose... unless you do want to totally get off of it.  Even with the side effects, Effexor is the only thing that's ever worked for me and I've tried several different meds.
Good luck
Lois
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Avatar_n_tn
have faith everyone... when you get those symthoms, go for a walk, talk to a friend or family, watch a funny movie, if you have kids go to the park spend time with them, whatever it takes.... i started painting again it feels great, when i was taking effexor everything was fuzzy, i didn't want to get off the couch i was tired all the time... i guess i rather deal with th horrible nightmares, atleast you knows they are not real, i rather live that than the real nightmare after so many years.

good luck all of you!
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I was placed on Effexor 75mg 6 moths aafter my college student daughter was killed in a car accident  The drug made me so tired and I started having restless leg syndrome, but after 6 moths I decided to discontinue and quit this med cold turkey.  My internist never told how horrible the withdrawel symptoms are.  I have been off the med for 6 days and I am still unable to concentrate, experience brain zaps, feel foggy and dizzy and could cry at anything.  I have read all of the posts and still no one seems to know how long these withdrawel symptoms can last. The first four days were the worst and I truly felt as though I was losing my mind, so I feel like I can't go anywhere by up.  Anyone able to answer how long?
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1st of all, I am so sorry, I clicked "report this" not knowing what it was.  I will do whatever I have to do to correct clicking on "abuse".  
Most of all, I'm so sorry about the tragic loss of your daughter.  You do not need anyone or anything (Effexor withdrawal) making you feel badly.  
After many years of Effexor 225, my dr. is changing me to  Cymbalta.  I completed the taper-down with all the side effects you describe, am now on 3rd day of Cymbalta.  I pace the floor, cry, have tingly feelings all over my body.  
Please, please let me know if you hear of positive comments to time period.  My family hates me right now, but I don't blame them, I hate myself.
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i am going on day 4 of stopping my effexor cold turkey. I was on 300 mg and taking 20 mg of pexeva. I am stopping cold turkey after being on this medication for three years. The withdrawls are terrible, i don't know why any doctor in their right mind would ever prescribe this medication for anyone. I have those wonderful brain zaps every ten seconds, the only thing that momentarily makes me sane is food, as if the 30 pounds this medication has gained me aren't enough, stopping it is going to pack on another 30. I am a bundle of anger and rage directed at anyone within distance. I am at the toilet every night waiting and praying that I can just throw up. When I finally can fall asleep I am jolted awake in a puddle of sweat having just had yet another nightmare. And when I say nightmare, I mean the kind that have me screaming outloud in terror waking my husband. Minor daily tasks are ignored due to the fact that putting one foot in front of the other is too much to handle. I can't stand this feeling and only pray for the day that it will stop. I have no answers to how long and have been searching as well for the answer. All I do know is that the answers I have found can't be quick enough for me.
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I have been weaning since 11-5, when I lost my job an forgot to take my daily dose of 300 mg for four days - because I was not eating either.  Prescribed for hot flashes, my doctor discouraged me from going off effexor a year ago, when I said I did not think I needed it any longer.

I immediately started having strange episodes of dizziness and confusion.  My husband was the one that put two and two together.  We both decided it was time to taper.  We found all sorts of info online - and it was ALL bad.

I am not on 37.5 (third week) and plan on going down more.  This week has been bad.  Flu like symptoms.  My body aches like crazy.  My legs hurt, my joints ache, i am nauseous and dizzy, and to make matters worse, i cannot sleep.

I wonder if Wyeth Pharmaceuticals tested this drug on rats and what their reaction was... im just disgusted that so many people suffer, yet they continue to prescribe this **** on a daily basis.

HAS  ANYONE HAD THE BODY ACHES?
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I was on the 75 mg capsuls of Effexor XR for about 1.5 years. I wanted to see how I would do off b/c I have been doing great for so long, and have become much stronger emotionally. My doc. gave me the half dosage capsuls to wean me off for one week and three days was when I stopped taking it all together. The withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms are getting worse and worse as the days go on. I have a virus on top of it and so it's hard to tell what is caused by what. I usually have tunnel vision, but this is different. I don't know how to explain the symptoms I have, pretty much what everyone else has explained. I almost cried reading all the comments, I don't want to keep feeling like things, things are finally looking up and I don't have any idea what other symptoms I may get or how long these will last. Has anyone figured something out for these withdrawls????
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I am not encouraged by all these posts and not one representative of the medical community has offered some positive comments or help.  I am into my third week of withdrawing from 150 mg.  I am dizzy and tired all the time. I sweat all the time.  My brain zaps annoyingly and frequently.  

Anyone out there who can offer some helpful advice?  Because right about now I am in a mood to sue the pants off someone, and I am not even a lawsuit kind of a person.  
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OMG-  the body aches and the joint swelling has disabled me for 3 months.  It is truly unbelieveable.  I didnt link it to Effexor until I read a few cases online.  I am on day 3 of ZERO effexor, after weaning for 5 weeks.  the withdrawal is painful, but NOTHING compared to the body aches and swollen joints.
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You all have my sincere sympathy...I do believe that I see the light at the end of this ordeal though.Unlike many others ,but, no doubt, just like many  or, perhaps most of us who were given this substance which has poisoned us, I really should NOT have been prescribed  it in the first place !! I have recently read a document from Wyeth to the medical profession in which they clearly declare that effexor should only be prescribed for "severe" depression, a condition that many who get this stuff, do not have !!!  
  Anyway I c that there`s not much space to write here so, I realised that the DRUG was in fact ruining my life so decided to stop. The plan was, 75 mgms for two weeks then 35,etc.The first time i halved the dose I was very rudely awakened to the nightmare of this"non-addictive DRUG" After ten weeks of reducing and suffering constant brain zaps and some of the other symptoms, I quit . That was six weeks ago and finaly, at last, the symptoms seem to be on the wane. Thankfully, I am in touch with creativity again after effexor had subdued that process COMPLETELY while i was on it.. I will write again ina week or so ...Good luck ..P.S. I am starting to enjoy a better communication with my 14 yr. old son which taking effexor had wrecked. It`s back to nature for me, and maybe war with the cold hearted grubs who give us this stuff....Peace....
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My dad was in a study for this drug...  It seemed to work for him...although he went psycho at least one time when the study went off and he got dropped...

Before that happened, his pysc. thought if it worked so well on him, it would for me too. I never thought highly of that assumption. First off you can't assume a med will work the same way on the son/daughter as the father/mother... He didn't take into account I have autism and depression, which may cause a different reaction than someone depressed and not autistic. I wish I could remember what year it was when I was on it, if it was in high school or college.  Whatever it was I didn't feel much different. I was on the 75mgI believe.  I was still tired and needed a nap. The psych's solution was to double the dose...  That lasted for two days... I couldn't think, my thoughts streamed, and I got no sleep...  I went back down, but I thought the med was causing dizzyness and headaches as well as causing an odd shivering feeling in my head... Looking back, I guess that may have been withdrawls or side effects... I took it once a day but not at a set time.  I figured it wasn't working so I quit, c/t by breaking the pills in half and eventually taking every other day.  I didn't give time to taper more than a week.  I guess I was very lucky I did not notice, either that or I didn't know what I was dealing with. I must had just slept a lot more.

Anyways I haven't taken Effexor in years..and hope never to go back on it, now after reading about the horrible effects...
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**Possible Solution for Effexor Withdrawal**

I have been on 150 mg.'s of Effexor for about 6 mo.'s, and after realizing the withdrawal problems when missing a dose by a few hours, asked my prescribing physician to take me off of it. He immediately told me he would switch me to 50 mg. Zoloft for 10 days, and that would be it. The reason being is the "half-life" of the Effexor is very short (missing a dose by the few hours=withdrawals), whereas the Zoloft "half-life" is ~a week. The Zoloft will prevent/minimize the Effexor withdrawals because it is substituting one drug for the other, with a longer "half-life, and not stopping medication all at once. The 2-3 weeks off of Effexor (10 days + 1 week), substituted by the Zoloft, will give me time to ease off the Effexor entirely.

1st week on Zoloft, with no Effexor, there were some withdrawals, but minimal and they passed quickly. 2 days now off everything and I feel fine. The final question will be once the Zoloft is out of my system in a few days.

FYI…my physician, who seems to be experienced and knowledgeable with the Effexor informed me that even if I tried to taper down, I would go through withdrawals. He said “why go through it? Take the Zoloft for 10 days.” Bear in mind, I was only on 150 mg.'s for 6 mo.'s, but talk to your treating physician about the option involving Zoloft.
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I see that you attribute magical powers to your trusty physician.How can anyone possibly know what he is giving you without experiencing it himself?? besides ,taking Zoloft is like six of one, and half a dozen of the other. People react differently to different drugs and u can never know if someone may react badly to Zoloft or any other of the drugs in the gènre. Which one comes after the Zoloft? I believe that anyone wishing to get off effexor should really take the oppotunity to seek alternative solutions to their problems. The internet is full of interesting info. I will never agree to take any "medicine "again without running a thorough check on pros and cons befor I do. At least taking effexor has warned me about poss.consequences of trusting doctors just because they are doctors..There is an online petition with more than sixteen thousand people who have suffered the ill effects of effexor.. It has been going on for many years and yet, knowledgable and experienced doctors continue to dish it out. The light at the end of the tunnel is in your heart. May the force be with you..
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Is it just me or does this look for all intents and purposes like medication slavery. You have a physical addiction to something that feels awful at some point during the process even if it felt a little better for a moment. Then when you want to get off it the WDs make it almost impossible, but taking them makes the discomfort worse?

And how many people actually find this beneficial I wonder, I mean for moe than a year mabey? But you have to keep taking the stuff or feel worse?

Wheres Michael Moore,, somone needs to seriousely look into this. Something really bads going on.

*With respect and apprication for the plight of those looking to be free from the pharmacratic inquisition*      Jennifer
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I thought back and remembered it was 2001. I was in high school when that quack prescribed the stuff to me... I think I was on for at least half a year on 75mg. I was doing some googling and they say it is not for teenagers because of certain risks. Not to mention I don't think my depression was severe enough to warrant such a med. makes me wonder how the hell some psych's get their degree???

Anyways it's been about 6-7 years from taking my last dose and I seem to be ok, so there is some hope. Some of the dizziness I still feel when I get up, but that is a separate issue that occurred before I was on Effexor. I think Effexor just made it worse... Thinking back to it, that year I was taking ibprophin just about every day for headaches.  I wonder sometimes if quacks get kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs for anything... Right now I’m on Welbutrin. I hope that isn’t going to turn out something really nasty.
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quote,'I wonder sometimes if quacks get kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs for anything... Right now I’m on Welbutrin.'

Yes, doctors get gifts for prescribing medications, usually the newer ones. Its been proven in the last few years that pharma spends 100-150 thousand dollars MORE to promote their products than they do to lab study them. Frankly I think we are being used as guinea pigs and while I doubt it applies here,, once I was 'accidently' reffered to a medicade clinic for group therapy to help me with anxiety by an ER doctor who didnt realize I had insurance. There were 8 women plus me in the group and all were on atleast 3 and one lady was on 8 different mind altering chemicals. Intersting to me atleast because I had a hard time just getting the benzopine from my doc for anxiety (these ladies were all divorced and collecting disability and or welfare) and guess who pays for that?? We do... and that stuffs EXPENSIVE...........

Folks can believe what they want,, but I know what Iv seen... I have a friend in texas whos 10 year old foster daughter was on

a daily benzopine, a daily SSRI, a daily amephtamine for ADHD, a daily anti-psychotic (diagnosed also as schizophrenic) and a daily sleeping pill....

Her foster mom finally had to make them take her back when she pulled a knife on my friend when they were aruging in the kitchen. Uppers, downers, sleeping pills and anti-psychotics... thats just asking for a major problem if not death IMO... but its the system and we keep giving them money to do this. Somethings wrong.

And Mj,,, if Wellbutrin is helping you its a good thing... but if you google Wellbutrin psychosis.. you can read stories of people who have had bad reactions to this medication too. Andrea Yates was on Wellbutrin and anouther SSRI together.

*With apprication and respect*

Jennifer
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Avatar_f_tn
I wish you all good luck in trying to quit effexor xr. I have been off of the medication for about seven weeks now and am still having withdrawals. My highest dose was 375mg. I changed physicians and the current one decided that effexor was not very effective and had cause significant weigt gain. I will be honest and say that it is very difficult to quit the drug. I was successful because I had also been usinng wellbutrin 300 mg.and geodon 180 mg. Without these meds, I doubt I would have been able to quit effexor xr.

I am still having great difficulty concentrating and the weight has not come off, yet. Even with concerta 54 mg the concentration has been an issue. I really wished I had stopped the drug when I first noticed weight gain. I would be better off today.

Mike
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Thanks for your reply. I am concerned...right when I got on it kinda disturbed me to read they banned using it in the UK...  There must be something the psycho's are not telling us...  After posting, I looked up Wellbutrin and was scared... But then when I read about the side effects of other meds...  I'd like to make sure I'm not jumping into the fire by switching meds...  

I'm sort of questioning, because I notice a hand/finger tremmor that seems to get better late in the day, when SR is probably wearing off. (from the sites it looks like I would be taking it twice a day, but I'm directed to take it once in the morning)  

I missed a dose one day this week and I noticed my hand was steadier and I could draw better...  Hmmm... could be a coincidence or not...  I'm suspicious about meds in general, but without, I seem to be in a catch...grrr. I'm disgusted with the psycho and Effexor...the place was called "Solutions" and I don't know... he seemed to have some odd questions too... I don't know where they get their training...  Just for fun I ranted in my journal about trying on meds like clothing items...
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I took Effexor XR 75MG for only 6 mths.  Weight gain, nausea and skin rash casued me to want to get off of it.  My doc had me drop to 37.5 mg for two weeks and start taking 150Mg Wellbutrin XR -- only minor withdrawal symptoms.  Then I dropped the Effexor completely and continued the Wellbutrin.  Within 2 days I began to have ringing in my ears, a chugging sensation in my head, diarreah (diarrhea), cold sweats -- and that's not the 1/2 of it.  The irritability, fits of rage, overwhelming sadness, thoughts of death, nightmares and more are the hard part.  It's been almost a month, and I've had no reduction in symptoms.  If anything, the mental symptoms have gotten worse.  I'm determined to "tough it out", but this is the hardest thing I've ever done.   I wish you all success in getting off of this horrible drug.  Oh, and I hope someone/all of us sue Wyeth Labs and bankrupt the greedy bastards -- for marketing this damaging product and ignoring/minimizing the havoc is causes.  
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can someone please tell me how long these wds are going to last....I have been taking 20 beads a day from a 37.5 mg capsule and the dizziness is unbearable.
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I suggest you stop taking any and let the withdrawals take there course.  I stopped completely on April 5.  By Monday I thought I might need to be hospitalized.  They suggested I put a few beads in my system to help me feel better, but I wouldn't touch another pill if you paid me a million dollars.  The symptoms were so bad... sick to my stomach, fatigue, insomina, panic attacks and anxiety, MEAN, frustrated all the time, vertigo, and many others.  Although the symptoms started many weeks before I completely stopped, I was just unaware of what was going wrong with my body.  I took Effexor XR 150 mg for 2 years because of a situational problem.  I tried to come off after a year, but was having bad headaches and they didn't think I could handle the headaches coming off it.  I haven't had the first headache!!!  Although I haven't slept in the bed with my husband for 3 weeks now...Because anything he does wakes me up and then I am up for the day, whether I have been asleep for 1 hours or 5 hours.  I am starting to see alittle improvement.  I have lost 12 pounds in two weeks.  I do sleep for atleast 5 hours with the help of a half of a 5 mg Valium.  I am still very MEAN, and everyone notices because it is so out of character for me.  I am sad most of the time, but feel best when I stay very busy.  Somedays I start my day off at the gym for an hour then work 6-8 hours then go home and push mow our acre of grass, then cook dinner, and sometimes do an exercise tape with my husband when he gets home at 8.  Exercise is a great way to help with the symptoms.  When I finally sit down is when the anxety starts, but I am too tired for anything else.  A friend came off Effexor with no withdrawals....She was very lucky.  I am taking each day one at a time.  Hold in there, you can do it!!!!
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I'm so sorry to read about this drug and the pain that is associated with trying to discontinue its use.
I did some quick research and found this fact:

"Up to 78% of effexor users will experience withdrawal.
This can happen with one missed dose.
Reference: “The Antidepressant Solution”
by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D."

Effexor Activist.org site may be of value for more information, as well as articles by Dr. Peter Breggin, noted psychiatrist and mental health advocate.
I wish all of you success in your tapering and the best in your recovery.

Best,
xan
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i have been on effexor for about 4 years now i started when i was about 14/15years old and well i stopped cold turkey last week and well i feel like hell.  brain zaps fatigue night seats headaches nausea.  I'm not gonna lie this medication has helped me so much that i now feel confidant in my self but i wish there was a way people getting of it who want to try life on their own can do it with out any horrible side affects. even though this is was supposed to be my last year in high school getting off it has made me feel soo weak but i will not take one more pill i know i can do this. it is going to be tough...i just i hope i can live my life...

Joe Raymund Montez  
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432009_tn?1304753441
Are you sure this is the way that you want to taper off of Effexor? Couldn't you set up a taper schedule with your Dr.?

I can understand that you're ready to stop taking them, but this isn't the best way to approach it. I wish you luck with your withdrawal, but I would encourage you to consider discussing how to best approach it to achieve the best results. You wrote that "I wish there were a way people getting off it who want to try life on their own can do it without any horrible side effects..."

By stopping it abruptly, the side effects are extremely difficult...there are better ways to do it. You can also call your pharmacist to ask for some guidance, too.

Good luck to you...you're soon be beginning a new chapter in your life and I hope that you'll be feeling great once this withdrawal is over.
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i have friend on efexor plus her husband and two of their friends none of them have trouble only some nausea if not taken at normal time yet i have severe reactions to everything they also drink with this med and still have no trouble why i dont knoware they just lucky imy life has been ruined due to meds which i didnt need in the first place misdiagnoses
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can nyone give me info on avanza  withdrawal and seroquel withdrawal i no longer feel like a human being have no life and didnt have depression till put on these meds had seizure from coming off ativan drs wouldnt believe and said i was severley depressed forced to go on these meds in mental health unit
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I am so saddened to read about your experience. Google Dr. Peter Breggin - he is a highly regarded psychiatrist with strong academic credentials who is a major advocate for patients suffering with mental health and mistreatment. One of his many books might provide you with guidance, and you could also email him and ask for a referral to help you get your mental health back on track.

Do not despair - you can get your life back!!! Hang in there....
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I was on Paxil for depression and terrible nighttime panic attacks, for about 7 years, wanted to get off of it because of complete lack of interest in sex (tough on my husband)- Doc put me on Wellbutrin (aghh---scaaarrrry!), that was awful,, tried Prozac (gave me racing brain), then Lexapro for a year, which seemed fine. For some reason, the doc decided to switch it to Effexor and I've taken it for about 2 years now, 37.5 mg per day.I have tried 3 times to get off of it, because I'd like to use more healthy way of dealing with my lifelong (moderate) depression, and panic problems.  I'm otherwise a very healthy woman (53) .  Reading these blogs has been a real eye opener!  Why does the medical profession push this drug?  It has been very effective for me, but  how the heck does anyone ever stop taking it?  The withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms are horrible.  The dizziness, disorientation, blurry eyesight and 'zaps' in the head are awful.  Does anyone know if suddenly coming off of the drug is dangerous? (My doc discourages me from going off of it at all- the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'  type of thing).   I'm trying again now and am on my second day- I know this week at work will not be fun, but am going to try every tip in this blog to make it better.  Best of luck to everyone out there!!  If I discover any good tips, I'll post them.  
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***Long post***

I was on 300 mg Effexor XR daily for major depressive disorder (the high point of the year was the death of a pet and two close family members, plus developing a chronic pain condition and getting bullied at work).  I took the medications from 2005 until January 2008. At that time, I wasn't working and decided it was the perfect time to stop taking the medication. I was no longer depressed, and it didn't help the pain part of my issues.

Got my doc's okay. Told her what I'd read and my suggestions. I came out of the appointment with prescription anti-nausea meds (essentially an antihistamine), extra migraine meds, advice on an anti-diarrheal med,  and instructions to call if things get too weird.

Reducing from 300 mg to 225 mg/day was horrible. I had a migraine for nine straight days. I slept for sixteen to twenty hours a day for the better part of a month. I felt like I was being beaten with a baseball bat, I was dizzy, I was queasy, and I had the explosive poos. I used my backup meds. Then I started having mood swings, which I used Xanax to kill the worst of.  

Going from 225 mgs to 150 mgs wasn't bad. I tried alternating doses -- 225 mgs one day, 150 mgs the next. It kept the worst of the effects at bay. It might be an idea to try.

Going from 150 mgs to 75 mgs was horrible again, even with alternating doses, but I muddled through.  

I decided to go to the doc for the drop to 37.5 mg. I showed her information stating that when coming off Effexor XR, it helps to take Prozac 20 mg., then taper off the Prozac. I've come off Prozac before with no problems (and compared to Effexor, it's a walk in the park), so this sounded good. I'm currently on the 37.5 mg Effexor and 20 Prozac combo. I have not had ANY of the mood swings or dizziness or forgetfulness or pain associated with just dropping the Effexor level.  

The next step will be to do Effexor on alternate days, then every 3 days, then stop it.  And after that, stop the Prozac.

Sorry to be so long; I just wanted to post what's helped me. Anti-nausea meds were a godsend. So was Immodium AD.  Coming off Effexor XR triggered migraines, so stock up on extra meds if you get migraines.  Ditto chronic pain, I've heard.

Good luck to everyone trying to come off this medication. And FTR, the manufacturer has been truly unforthcoming about Effexor Withdrawal Syndrome. No doubt they're concerned about their profit margins.  

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I have been taking effexor xr 75mg for about two years and I just found out that I am pregnant. I spoke with my doctor who told me it was fine to just quit cold turkey, today is day four and I am still having withdrawls from this medication, nothing major but the brain jolts are driving me crazy, is there anyone out there who can tell me when this stops??? Please help!!!
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This is the second time I have been on Effexor and gone off of it.  It is horrible.  I have such horrible withdrawls that I thought I had the flu.  The worst part is how it feels like a strobe light every time I move my eyes or head at all.  Even when my eyes are closed I feel the strobe light feeling.  Due to the strobe, I have extreme nausea.  Every time I move my head or eyes, I almost throw up.  I have 2 kids to take care of and am supposed to be working full time and going to college and taking care of my house.  I can't do any of it.  I am so sick I can hardly move.  And after reading so many people's comments of how they still suffer the withdrawls, I again have no hope.  I can't live like this!
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I have the same symptoms as what is stated above.  I have headaches, brain zaps that
feel like my brain is being hit with lightning bolts.  Some days those bolts come every
ten second or so and then they taper off on the following day.  The funny thing is, I have
been on 75mg. for 7 years and I am not trying to come off it.  Is this a common type of
symptom for being on it too long?   It's miserable and my husband thinks that I am nuts.
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I'm experiencing this also. Told my doctor what I thought it was and he said he had never heard of it which I find strange...I knew right away! I've just switch from effexor to wellbrutin so I'm hoping this horrid feeling passes!! soon..been 4 days! terrible brain zapping, dizzy like symptoms.
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Jak49...you mentioned is this common while not coming off it...I know now that I've had similar symptoms while on it even! whether it was not getting enough of the seratonin I'm not sure.
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I think there is a link somewhere they they don't fully know about the pain meds and the effexor.  I weaned off the effexor xr about 1 year ago.  I started feeling rather depressed this summer so I tried to wean back on.  I had a couple of the 37.5 caps and started taking them while also taking my lortab for pain.  Within about one week I was so very sick.  I had problems swallowing, problems breathing, problems with a high pulse rate,  I was having huge huge panic attacks.  I could not regulate my body temp.  Nobody had a clue in 2 dr offices what the problem was.  I think I needed valium or something to cope and instead I took myself off the effexor cold from the lowest dose 37.5  Within days I was back feeling better.  So something goes on with a seritonin reaction between the opiates and the effexor and it's not documented by the professionals much.  It was the worst I have ever felt.
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I stopped taking effexor cold turkey when my insurance ran out about a year ago. I had all the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms too. The worst was the brain zaps like you all have been saying. It took about three months for everything to go away. But once in a while i still get the brain zap things. I also wonder when its all gonna go away.....
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I will make my story as short as possible as I can see most of my symptoms have been covered here. I was on 75 mg of Effexor XR for almost 4 years. After the first year I started to have odd health problems which lead my doctor to run a wide range of tests on my kidneys and thyroid and blood sugar to no avail. At this point we were not aware that the effexor could be the issue. As a couple more years passed my symptoms became gradually worse and were accompanied by a dangersouly increasing blood pressure. Before the effexor I consistantly had a blood pressure of 110/60. It now climbs to around 170/120. Not to meantion the severe fatigue and hypothyroid like symptom that have worsened over the years.

I have gradually weaned off the 75 mg Effexor by take he capsules apart and removing anywhere from 8 to 10 beads per night and leveling off when the withdrawals became too severe. I took my last dosage of 20 beads (in mg I"m not sure... I'd say at most less than 10 mg) two days ago. The brain zap headaches and vertigo are horrible and have been for the last month. I am determined to get off this drug so at this point in time I am refusing to take any of the beads as long as I can possibly stand not to take them.

I have sent my information and story to the email above for the class action suit.

I would also like to give you all a link to a petition that has over 19,000 signatures to date.

http://www.petitiononline.com/effexor/petition.html

Some of you may also want to check out the link below as well.

http://theeffexoractivist.org/links.html

P.S. I also gained about 60 lbs on this medication. In the two months of weaning off I have dropped 20 lbs without even trying.
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i was on effexor xr for 5yrs.  and stopped cold turkey with NO side effects. most of it is in your head. think positive and you'll be fine,.
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I would love it if "positive thinking" is all it took but I have had these "withdrawal symptoms" too many times to think it is all in my head.  I have been on Effexor for 13 years now.  I quit once after 2 years without a lot of the withdrawal symptoms but I had a complete breakdown.  My psychiatrist told me not to get off of it again.  After being on it 4 years, I decided to get pregnant again and the drug was so new, without any research on the use during pregnancy, I stopped it just before getting pregnant and of course stayed off during the entire pregnancy.  I did have a return of my clincial depression but who knows if that was related to my hormone changes during pregnancy.  I started back immediately after birth.  The weight gain has been horrible, I watch everything I eat and excercise at least 4 days a week and still have such a problem with maintaining the weight.  My sexual drive has decreased tremendously and I have a hard time crying when I should be crying.  That may sound crazy but when I had a hard time actually crying at a 12 year old boy's funeral, it really upset me!  I decided to quit 3 weeks ago.  I was on 150mg XR.  I cut in half for 10 days and then went to 1/4 for 4 days.  Today is my first day without anything.  I am having the usual crying at anything and the vertigo (horrible).  A few months ago my luggage did not make it with me and my medicine was in my suitcase.  I had the horrible withdrawal symptoms and couldn't function for a day and a half.  The withdrawal symptoms I have been experiencing are exactly as described by the other "bloggers".  I was never told this would be a problem.  Althought I don't feel good right now, I know it will be worth it in the end because I can't function like this.
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I starting taking Effexor about a month ago, the reason being I had anxiety, & suffered from insomnia after taking one extacy pill at a night club (for weeks after use) I never suffered from this before, I am 26 years old.  My docter started me out of 37.5 MG for a week and then I took 75mg. I am been on the effexor for about a month now and all of my anxiety have really gone away. But I do not like how the effexor makes be me feel very hyper, I have also gained 10 pounds in the past month. What i really do not like about it is my lack of interest in sex. last Saturday I stopped taking it all together cold turkey. By monday I was feeling so dizzyy at work that I had take my 75mg dose. It made me feel much better by the next day. I continued with the 75MG and made an appointment with my doctor. I told me doctor that that I want to wean myself off the effexor he prescribed me with 37.5mg for the next week. and then every other day for the next week. I started taking that dose this past Wednesday. I feel that the insomnia is back, and I feel extremely irritable and depressed. Im not sure if this is from the effexor.
Does anybody have any advise?

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I was wondering if you were able to stop taking the effexor successfully, & how long did the withdrawal symtoms (symptoms) last?  Anybody else reading this please let us all know how you are doing once you are off.
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Try this on for size, how about your doc not refilling your prescription due to not being able to make an appointment which I was required to pay before she would refill, I paid made a new appointment and she still hasn't given me a new prescription, so I basically have been forced into withdrawal, and its not the first time she has done this.
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Effexor withdrawal is excruciating, but there are ways to get through it. My psychiatrist finally helped me get off it for good, and I didn't even have to endure terrible side effects. I wrote an article explaining the steps. You can find it here:

http://www.ehow.com/how_4718650_survive-effexor-withdrawal.html
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started taking effexor about 6mnths into my husband's fight with lung cancer.  started with 75mg.  the day he died i increased the amount to 150mg myself.  now it is three years later.  deceided to stop taking the medicine cold turkey and tough it through the side effects.  No meds since last thursday.  withdrawal is rough, to say the least.  but i keep thinking the end is in sight.  brain shivers, upset stomach, all the posted side effects are happening to me right now.  but each day i feel a little better. So, I'm gonna keep my chin up.
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PLEASE DO NOT GO OFF EFFEXOR COLD TURKEY. Don't even try to do a taper. For one thing your should be supervised by a spychopharmacologist, not just any old MD. There are nuances to coming off this drug.
Here is what I have done successfully:
i was on 75mg.
I dropped to 37.5mg and simultaneously started taking 25mg of zoloft ( you can use prozac as well). I did this combo for 1 week.
Then I stopped the  Effexor and went up to 50mg of Zoloft. I did experience some withdrawal - nausea, headache and dizziness, but it was COMPLETELY TOLERABLE - like a very mild virus. The symptoms slowly disapeared over the course of the next couple of weeks at which point I could come off of the Zoloft.
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO STAY ON ZOLOFT - it is just a much easier drug to come off of so use it to help you get off the Effexor and then drop it when you are ready.
I really hope this helps.
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My doc switched me from 150 mg of Effexor to 40 mg of Prozac. I have heard the Prozac helps as a 'bridge' from the Effexor to freedom. Horrible symptoms anyway, though I can't imagine what they would be like without the Prozac. I plan to discontinue the Prozac once I feel a little more stable.

Things that have helped me: Dramamine before bed; a homeopathic hangover helper called Chaser; avoiding caffeine, refined sugar, and refined carbs (anything that spikes the blood sugar or stimulates); also, nicotine is a pretty powerful drug, so if you smoke, smoke as little as possible (smoking has made me even more dizzy); an EFA supplement and Beta Glucan.

My prescription to myself is this: Plenty of clean water, plenty of rest, healthy whole foods (lots of veggies and fruit), and regular exercise. The exercise is a bit tricky right now, but even sitting on the floor and doing a good stretching routine is good (and there's less chance of falling over if you're sitting on the floor).

The "discontinuation syndrome" as they like to call it, is really just plain old drug withdrawal in my opinion. Nausea, diarrhea, confusion, tremors, anxiety, trouble sleeping, trouble not sleeping, wild dreams and/or nightmares, strange audio/visual things, manic episodes, exhaustion, irritability, bouts of anger... the list goes on. These are all symptoms of drug and/or alcohol withdrawal. Effexor should be prescribed as an absolutely last choice, if at all.

The withdrawal is horrible, but the only way out is through. You WILL get through it. Do try the Dramamine and/or the Chaser. They help with the dizziness and nausea.
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right well i'm very rude i've just joined this little site and on reading this question i've skipped straight to the end without reading anyone else's comments.(sorry about that!)

however, i took effexor for 4 years. and came off it successfully in 2001.
all i can say is that you have to go through it. the head-shocks (brain shivers) are the worst. i remember them lasting around three weeks, that whenever i took a step electricity ran through my head. the anxiety passes... it's not he same as depression anxiety, keep reminding yourself how bad it was before you started the medication. and how much better you have been (and you have been better, else you wouldn't be coming off it).
give yourself the time to do so, and do it gradually as your doctor instructs.
the first week is easiest... stay at work. then take some time off. as much as you need. maybe save up your holiday and sick time for the year. (this will be THE event of the year). the withdrawal symptoms can last up to 3months, but it is different for everyone. these will always be exacerbated by feeling stressed! - so give yourself the time and space you need to do it... and of course, don't attempt to come off them before you're ready or else you will fail, and put yourself back 6 months to a year in doing so.
   "I'm really scared. I can hardly function at my job and am very frustrated and angry.  This medication has ruined my life.  Waking up in the morning is the worst part of my day.  All I have to look forward to is dizziness, fatigue, and attempting  to function. "
take some time off. if you feel rubbish in the morning; stay in bed. arrange life so that you do not need to function for a little while. keep remembering that it is for a purpose and it won't be like it forever. you will get there in the end and will feel better for it eventually.
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oh, and night sweats.... they help you emphasise with your parents' generation. and don't last more than two weeks. (well for me anyhow).

effexor has taking quite a slating on here. i would like to express that if it weren't for effexor i probably wouldn't still be here.... and omg it's nowhere near as bad as seroxat!

st. john's wort can be effective. but seek advice of your doctor about combining it with the effexor... you probably can't do that.
i recommend st. john's wort as a low dose - preventative style - antidepressant, so that once you have come off anti-d's you'll never need to go back on them... plus it's side-effect free!
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Any med that affects your brain WILL cause withdrawal affects, sometimes severe, sometimes not. The most important thing you can be is be an educated consumer. Read about the drug BEFORE you go on it, and be prepared, if you choose, to have so WD effects. Slow weaning off is recommended, I went through an awful time weaning off Cymbalta, but knew it might be difficult. I was down to grains of the capsules. I went out of that drug category altogether because none worked for me. It's important if you can, to have psychiatrist on board. I know it's hard in the U.S with their poor health care system. I took me 2 months to get off Cymbalta, very gradually going down, some need to take even longer to wean.

I have to say though, that some folks are actually feeling depression not WD effects which can make you physically hurt, numb and anxious.When I was on Effexor I switched over to Celexa when I was at a much lower dose. The switch alleviated the symptoms of depression and anxiety. I'm not saying this is the case for all, but it's partly your brain not the drug in some cases.

If you are concerned, consult your doctor or psychiatrist in order to assist weaning off the drug, I know at the beginning, I had the zaps, spins and nausea. I was put on an anti-naueseant and an anti anxiety med to assist as well. It made the WD effects much more bearable when I went off the Cymbalta. .
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Today is day 7. I took 40 mg of Prozac for the first few days, but the withdrawal symptoms of the Effexor have concerned me so much that I quit the Prozac too. I don't want any of this in my system if I can avoid it.

I've gotten through the night sweats, soul-crushing headache, inability to function (including being unable to drive), and such. The audio/visual things are waning. Still have some diarrhea, but not too bad. Still a little shaky and a little 'dizzy', but I feel like I'll be able to go to work on Monday and actually work.

I've been eating a lot of healthy whole foods, cut caffeine intake to 1 cup in the morning, decreased my smoking habit (makes me dizzy), and sleeping a lot. I also added the following supplements per The Road Back website:

- Omega 3
- Beta 1, 3-D Glucan
- Probiotic
- Enzymes
- 400 i.u. Vitamin E
- Vitamin C

I bought these at my local health food store.

And, I've been taking the Chaser which seems to help a lot. Got that at my local grocery store.

Had a few days where it felt like I was going to lose my mind or die or something. Don't know how long it will be before I get my brain back, but I'm surviving this and so happy to be done with this frightening drug. I threw what I had left in the garbage. Couldn't stand to even look at the bottle.

I'm really disappointed with the people in the medical community that I've talked to. They seem to think it's all in my head. My head isn't the problem, it's the drug. Talked with a pharmacist who has never been on Effexor, but has heard similar complaints from people, yet still insisted that discontinuing Effexor would not be causing these symptoms. My doctor seems to think I'm overreacting. Overreacting?! Yeah, sure. Me and the thousands of other relatively sane people who are going through the roller coaster hell of getting off of Effexor; we are all a bunch of overreacting nut jobs. In my opinion, the true nut jobs are the people in the medical community that have no personal experience, but have a plethora of evidence before them, yet insist that the people who are actually experiencing this don't know what they're talking about.

To the thousands of people that are on this ride, take the very best care of your health as possible, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It CAN be done. We are doing it right now.
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The problem I see the most and have personal experience is, it't the family doctor who prscribe these drugs, not the psychiatrist.. GP's don't have enough time to spend researching these drugs. The go by the drug bluebook, well the one they have in Canada, in order to prescribe. It's important to see a psychiatrist, to get diagnosed properly and to wean off the drug, which at times means going onto another drug with lesser issues with WD"s WD's are not in your psychological "head", far from it, your brain has gotten used to the drug, hence the WD's happen.

I have to say that many folks that take AD's need them, and a adding different vitamins alone aren't going to "cure" depression, though can assist in general well-being, I'm all for that. I'm on Omega-3, Multi-B, Multi Vit, low dose iron on top of that. I have for the most part cut down on all my sugars, and processed foods. I also go to  two group therapies,  on top of my psychiatrist. I'm being as proactive as I can.

Slow taper is very important, get the dramamine if you need it, sometimes ativan helps, switching over to zoloft or celexa seems to work really well for Effexor. I did a fast taper off Cymbalta, looking at it in retrospect, 5-6 weeks, but I had some anti-anxiety meds on board and antivan which was a godsend.  Speak to your pdoc, regarding the WD's, most knowledgeable pdocs are fully aware of the WD's.
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I definitely agree with LeftCoastChick about seeing a psychologist instead of a general practitioner. And that if you still suffer from depression, a medication with less side effects is the way to go. I will take the Prozac my doctor switched me to, if I start slipping into a dark abyss. Also, she is right about the supplements. They won't "cure" depression, but they certainly help to support your body in trying to balance things and in helping with general health.

Effexor is meant for severe depression. I told my GP that I'd taken Prozac a number of years ago with no problems, but she said there were newer, better ADs out now, and gave me samples and a scrip for Effexor. Not a mention of possible side effects or potential discontinuation trouble. And I was only mildly depressed.

Next time my doctor prescribes something, I will certainly research BEFORE I start taking it. And I will research beyond the product information in the packaging or on the drug makers website.

Day 8, developed a lovely eye twitch/jitter while I was driving. Thankfully it was only in one eye. That was followed by a nasty headache on the same side, which I had for hours, from the back of my eye, through my head (like a hot knife), and into the base of my neck. The good news is that I can no longer hear my eyeballs moving. I know, sounds weird. I was greatly relieved to read a post from someone on another site that said, "...and I swear I can hear my eyeballs moving." Thought it was just me.

Hang in there, and if you need an antidepressent then take one. Just research first and avoid Effexor and Paxil. I hear Paxil has similar problems.

I'm up on time this morning and going to work. Never thought I would be so happy to be going to work, but after being unable to work for several days, I'm pretty happy about it.
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I have been on effexor xr 225mg for a year. 60 pounds later I have decided to quit cold turkey. Big boo boo. night sweats, chills, irratability, head aches, brain zaps ,ear aches ,fatique beyond belief ,,deprssion has worsened ,suicidal thoughts, diarrhea, anger fits . This drug is the equivalent of withdrawals from any street drug. I know , my daughter was a heroine addict. This as far as I know is the equal.My advice, don't quit cold. I'd do it differently. Tomorrow I'm going to see a new doctor.amandasmom
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I have to agree with you, I was told the WD's are akin to heroine - pretty much identical. I know that I was physically sick to my stomach several times, had the chills and shakes massive mood swings and paranoia. It sounds like what happens when you detox from alcohol as well.  If you can do a very slow taper it's better, and if you are switching to another med in that class or a SSRI it'll be easier.BUT if someone has tried several drugs in that class or ssri's - it may be time to move over to another med class altogether, they work just as well.  
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In reading posts I noticed that no one really answers the question about how long it takes. I think that's because it varies so much from person to person.

I stopped taking Effexor in January. It was absolute hell. It's now mid March and I can say that I am no longer suffering. I added supplements (see Jan 25 post), I've taken up exercising on a regular basis, and I journal a lot. The thing I notice at this point is that I'm much less tolerant of things that I used to shrug off, and I now have about 36 hours every menstrual cycle where I just want to cry and I do. Though after a few cycles I've gotten to where I can laugh about it, even while I'm crying, 'cause I know that it's just unmedicated hormones and it's temporary.

I think that Effexor dumbed me down a lot more than I realized and now I'm having to relearn how to deal fully with my emotions. But, I have no more symptoms. No more feeling sick and no more strange and chronic headaches. I'm thrilled to be free of this drug.

I still have the prescription my doc wrote me for Prozac, and the samples she gave me, and I will start them if I need to. But I'm feeling pretty good and I think that stopping the Effexor was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

There are people who think that Effexor should be taken off the market. I was feeling that way for a while, but I think that it has it's place, it just needs to be prescribed more carefully. It should be used as a last resort and people should be well informed of it's effects and the nightmare of cessation.

Hang in there. Take good care of your health in all ways possible. Communicate with your doctor and if your doctor isn't up on things, either help educate them or find a different doctor if you have that option. Many GPs just don't know or believe that the withdrawal is as bad as we know it is. It really doesn't help when you are dealing with depression and withdrawal symptoms and your doc thinks you are overreacting.

Most importantly, educate yourself and be on your side.
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Coming off Effexor is indeed a very personal thing. It varies greatly between people. I've been on it 3 times, including currently, as it's the most effective med I've had.

The first time I came off it took about 3 months for all side effects to cease. The most severe were hard to describe. Visual distortion, spatial distortion. Enough to say "Don't drive" and don't stand up too quickly. SOrt of dizziness but not really. Sort of like watching something with strobe lights on. The image changes but you don't see the movements. I could not look sideways in the car so had to give that up.

3 months and it was awful. Second time coming off? Not a thing. Nothing at all. 3rd time? Who knows? In the meantime it helps me greatly so it's OK for now.

Many do make the mistake of coming off without asking the doc and doing it alone. Big mistake. Must be supervised in case it goes badly wrong.
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For all those getting off Effexor, Are you planning to do anything about your depression?  I would love to be off of anti-depressants permanently but function so much better on them.
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my husband has been off effexor 30 weeks and 5 days. he has good days, where he is his "old" wonderful self. but the bad days still happen. the last two days have been bad. he feels 'broken', unable to function, lackluster. add to that agitated, defiant, and very mean. he cannot sleep at night, wakes me up because he's angry that i can sleep. when i try to speak, he rants and yells at me,,,it's very unpleasant.  i do not know what to say to make it better, have told him so,,,he says that's a cop-out, says i'm worthless, i'm just "there". it's very frustrating for the both of us. he feels alone, feels i'm not compassionate or caring. i feel alone, not knowing what to do or how to approach the situation. it hurts like hell to see him suffer.
he's been doing what he can, takes appropriate supplements, eating healthier, getting better exercise, tries to stay calm,,,
i know each person is different but it's been over 6 months now. i may not be feeling and experiencing what he is physically, but i'm seeing and experiencing from a different perspective. it's equally scary to me.
i'm open for any and all suggestions to help me be a better support. i know time is a healer but i'd speed up that process if i only could.
damn wyeth for this drug!  as my husband says,,,let them take it then try to get off of it,,,,taste of their own medicine. ha, that'll be the day.
thanks for listening, may God bless everyone going through this too.
signed, a concerned wife
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I started weening off Effexor XR in Jan (very, very slowly) and have been off of it for 2 weeks now. (My last dose was as low as 1/2 pill of 25 mg.)  Weening off wasn't that bad for me, but now that I'm not taking anything I feel irritable one minute and then calm the next. Everything my husband says or does bugs me and I just bite my tongue not to say anything. I spoke w/a nurse friend of mine, who went off Eff. awhile ago, and she said that it took her a few months to feel herself once she was completely off of it. While she was weening off she was crying constantly and angry the next. (I don't think she weened off of it as much as I did.) I feel I would have gone back on it if it wasn't that I talked w/her. While I was on it I felt great. I felt calm and not as anxious. I wanted to go off of it just to be off of meds. (I had thyroid cancer last year and I want to take better care of myself and only be on natural supplements.) Hopefully w/talking to each other we can get through this, even though it sounds like it might take awhile.
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I have no idea if this would help, but my dr told me when I was weening off that if I needed help she could put me on a low dose of something else. I think this other med. doesn't have the w/drawals like Effexor does.
Does your husband go to a doctor who truely understands the w/d and someone he can talk to?
I am going to talk w/the pharmasist of where I get my natural supplements. If he has any suggestions I write back later.
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WOW!  It is so amazing to be (albeit HORRIFYING) that we all have such similar discriptions of our withdrawal symptoms... The BRAIN CHARGES- ZAPS... whatever--- Everytime I have tried to explain them to someone else they look at me like it isn't possible... but it IS!!!

Why aren't we warned before hand about the withdrawals????   I would have said NO- WAY----- I will suffer the depression/ anxiety- whatever.

How can NOT taking the DANGEROUS POISON be WORSE than TAKING THE POISON????  This is so confusing on so many levels.  

Just to let you all know that I indeed relate.... I was on Effexor (Venlafaxin) for over a year- 75mg... two months ago my Dr doubled my dose because the depression symptoms were coming back and he thought it was possible I had built up a tolerance.... So then 150 mg of the POISON !!!  Immediately I developed an itchy rash of what seems like acne all over my back, chest, shoulders, arms and stomach as well as my scalp (under my hair).  It has itched and refused to heal for a month and a half.  I knew it had to be the Effexor- so I weaned myself- down to 75 for a week and then 37.5 for two days- by then I had simply had it!  I felt hostage by this DRUG that was causing me nothing but pain and grief and I just wanted DONE WITH IT- so I stopped cold turkey 2 or 3 days ago---- a bit  fuzzy on the date as that is another side effect of withdrawal.  

Since then I have gotten progressively WORSE... I thought that the poison would continue to PROCESS out and that it would get BETTER the more time that went on.  That is NOT how this works, though, I have come to find.  Needless to say, the LAST thing that I want to do is give in and begin taking the Effexor again. Anything that can wreak this kind of havoc on your personal health and well-being has to be the same as taking a small pill every night filled with DRAIN-O or 4-0-9!  

So here are the symptoms I have been experiencing since withdrawal (or if I had missed a dose):

ACNE RASH- All over- chest, stomach, back, shoulders, under scalp--- itches--- doesn't heal...  

BRAIN ZAPS---- feels like your brain is misfiring

REPETITIVE THOUGHTS OR SONGS- my mind has been playing the same song (not the whole song, mind you, just a 5-10 second clip of the same chorus over and over again---- even in my sleep!)

CHILLS--- even when it is WARM- but of course, I feel cold--- especially my feet.

SHIVERS----  can't sleep my body is shivering so much

DREAMS- crazy and wake you up every 5 minutes

BLURRED VISION---- umhmm

SLURRED SPEECH---- comes and goes

PROCESSING PROBLEMS---- what did you say?  what do you mean?  not understanding what is being said to me or what is happening around me--- even the most SIMPLE THINGS--- this of course, comes and goes as well or else my writing this post right now would look like this

hjasdhoaewh djnalkjdaiuh asdhaj  ljakdm ed? !

FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS- sporatic or day-long aches, pains... feel like you have 103 degree fever, but thermometer doesn't register one... can't get off of the couch.

IRRITABILITY-  I believe this one is because I am so frustrated by the other symptoms and my inability to process information.

VERTIGO- I will turn a corner and about 20 seconds later (delay) I feel like I just got off of the tea cup ride at Disney

CAN'T SLEEP- Even though I am EXHAUSTED--- hence this post at 10pm

Heart Palpatations- Feel like my heart is skipping a beat every now and then

NAUSEA- actually thought about buying a PREGGERS test until I read this can be a related withdrawal side effect.

This is my list for now... Will add more as it reveals itself.

Good Luck to all and know that it can be done!

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Avatar_n_tn
After being weened off very gradually, if I were you since you stopped taking the med. at 37.5 and still feeling miserable, I would cut that pill in half  and take that for awhile and then take even a lower dose for awhile.
Like I said in another post, I was weened down to 25mg a day and then cut the pill in half for a week or so before stopping completely.
I've been off for a couple of weeks now. The symptoms I have is irritability and "bugged" about a lot of things people say or do. My friend told me it took her a couple of months of being completely off of it before she felt like herself. She told me not to go back on and to give it a few more months.
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in january, the doctor prescribed clonazepam,,,to take just in case symptoms became more than tolerable. clonazepam is highly addictive, not to be used  long term and only in extreme need.  so far, he has not used one (which is very commendable!). he does not want to take any further medications. no more pharmaceuticals. he's been taking a 'greens' supplement, fish oil, plus more i can't remember what right now. he's started taking serrapethase. he's taken it before for other reasons,,,he says it seems to be helping with his all-around general health and well-being.
unfortunately, the doctor seen in january doesn't "get it",,,quoted shelf life of the drug,,doesn't seem to think it's "withdrawal". he has not seen another doctor,,partly because he's sick of the medical practice and mostly because of lack of insurance.
you posted that your husband "bugs" you and you bite your tongue to not say anything,,,,well, my husband says everything and anything, (he does not hold back!). it is usually negative and at times very, very hurtful. i want to defend myself but i don't want to fight so i'm the one biting my tongue so i don't say anything to 'add to the fire'. and when i don't say anything, he thinks i don't care. he can't see or won't admit that right now i'm hurting as much as he, just in a different way.
so, i'm just there.
i know in my heart he will get through this, i just wonder when.
  
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I stopped taking Effexor because it was making me stupid. No joke, I was unable to perform my job. I couldn't afford stupid mistakes. I was also becoming very VERY forgetful. So forgetful, in fact, that I would forget to take my meds, and didn't realize it until my head started zapping days later.  It took about 3 days before the symptoms would start. Like many of you have said, it wasn't doing anything for the depression anyway.  When I stopped, I was also taking Wellbutrin.  I had bad headaches, the zapping in my head, dizzy spells. But I didn't have the nausea, and the really bad stuff only lasted for about a week. When I stopped the Wellbutrin, I had no withdrawal symptoms at all. I was on Effexor for about 3 or 4 years, I think. Much if it was a blur. But anyone wanting to wean off should ask the doctor, if only to get something else to make it easier. If symptoms are lasting a LONG time after stopping, definitely see the doctor. I worried about permanent damage from taking it for so long, and why suffer thru side effects when there is probably something else out there to help.
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Along w/your husband, I haven't been pleasant to live w/either. My husband picks up on it because I may not yell at him, but I am grumpy on and off most of the day.
What's frustrating is that before I went on Effexor these weren't my symptoms. I wasn't mad, angry or crying a lot. Mine was anxiety feelings inside, a lot due to we have a 14 year old who is developementally delayed and has had  a lot of health issues/behavior issues. I was so nervous that she was going to get sick and back in the hospital that my nerves were frazzled. I just keep telling myself that since these symptoms I'm having now wasn't what I was experiencing before Effexor, that if I give it time (probably a lot of time) I'll be back to my old self. Like I said before, a RN I know who went off of it was horrible. Crying/angry while at work and w/her husband. She said she was constantly telling her husband that it wasn't him as to why she was angry toward him. If I feel like going back on it, I'm going to talk w/her to remind me that it will get better.
I am going to talk to my dr and a pharmacist, that I highly respect, and if I find out any info on what could help I will write you back.
Michelle
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Hey, just figuring out that the horrible sickness I thought I had due to stress may be related to coming off Effexor. I have been taking 150 mg for about a year for anxiety. I am the single mom of two teenage daughters and have a very demanding job. I was not depressed, just always grumpy and could not handle anyone disagreeing with me. I would get so upset that I would cry at work. Yuk! I went to my GYN because I thought I was menopausal. But, he said no and put me on Effexor. At first it was great. But then, I had some weird side effects like panic attacks, restless leg syndrome, upset stomach, insane dreams, no motivation, tiring easily, being more "blonde" thank usual, craving alcohol and not being able to handle it well. Because I am forgetful anyway, I would forget for a day or two to take it. So, I was always yinging and yanging. I knew I should taper, but I forgot to take it for about 3 days and said why not just go "cold turkey".

Yikes, it got worse. But I am sticking with the withdrawal. I have digestive problems, threw up every meal yesterday, am tired for no reason and have problems sleeping. I have cried and cried. Last night I wondered if I was dying. I knew I was not sick, but did not know what it could be. I do not have the brain misfire, or shivers, thank God. And I can drive. But, today I started researching because I was dizzy (never happens to me) and felt seasick. I thought it was from all the vomiting. But it did not get better after I actually kept down a meal. So it finally occurred to me (being fuzzy and all that), Effexor!

I really have appreciated reading all your comments because I feel like I am not alone. Now that I know what it is, I think I can handle it. I'll try to post back and let you know how long this takes and if the withdrawal actually cures the other problems, just in case I am using the Effexor as an excuse. Good luck to all.
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i hope things are doing fine enough for you to not want to take effexor again. please fight that craving! i don't know how long you've been off of it, but why go back and then have to relive what you're trying to put behind you? every day is another day forward.
anxiety was major factor too when my husband was put on effexor. he was not then what he's like now,,,but it will get better.
i hope things are well with your daughter. we don't have children but as an aunt, i know how tough being a parent can be.
had a pretty nice weekend,,,a big improvement since last week. there's another step in the right direction.
hang in there, michelle. i really appreciate these communications. i've been feeling pretty alone, living my husband's nightmare with him. i'm glad i found this forum.
and today the sun is shining.
joyce

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Hey, it has been about a week and the withdrawal symptoms are getting better. I am not a dizzy as I was before. A wierd non-side effect now is that I can see! I had been on Effexor for about a year. About 5 months ago, I started wearing reading glasses because I thought I had eye strain. I'm 46 and work on computers all day, so this was expected. I thought. But, all of a sudden I can see again without the reading glasses. This is a good side effect of the withdrawal. I had the blurry vision on Effexor. Who knew? I am feeling more like my old self now. So, there is hope. -s
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I've been on multiple different ADs, but the thing is, Effexor XR, seemed like it worked the best for me.  Started with 75mg, then upped it to 150mg and when I upped it, I also added Bupropion HCI (generic of Wellbutrin) 150mg and was on the Effexor XR on a whole about 6 monthes.  On the 31st, lost my job, so no more insurance.  I knew I couldn't afford to stay on this stuff, it's expensive.  There were a couple of times where I missed doses and felt like ****, so I knew what I was in for.  So, on the 31st, sometime in the AM, was my last dosage of both and now it's April 4th, PM, and I feel like ****.  The nausea, brain muddling, I get tingling in my feet if I stand for too long, my depression has gotten pretty bad in just a few days, diarrhea, sometimes crazy dreams is everything I'm experiencing.  The only comfort I can get, is sleeping, which I do a lot now so I can make it to the next day and eating hot foods.  Even though I feel the nausea all the time, if I'm eating, say a pizza that I just took out of the oven, I feel somewhat okay.  The only positive so far that I've noticed, my sexual drive is back and it's not hard for me to urinate like it used to be.  Read once that these can affect things like that, but the percentage was like 3% or something.  This is actually the first time I've gone online to see what the withdrawal symptoms are and how long it lasts.  I just wish my "doctor" wasn't so gun-ho on giving everyone meds.  He even once said that he doesn't like sending people to psychiatrists.  Wonder why?  I'm not going back to him anymore, that's for sure.  I even put on about 15-20 extra pounds during when I was on these.  I had no idea that the meds were doing this, I just thought it was me.  I will NEVER, EVER go back onto these things and if I have to be prescribed for meds, I'll be doing my own research before hand.  I mean, I thought that's why we pay doctors, so they can inform on these kind of things and not just let us find out.  I can't believe that it's gotten to the point nowadays that we need to fully research all of this because we can't trust our own doctors.  Doesn't anybody else see something wrong with this?  I just hope this withdrawal period ends soon.  I can't take it.  I've got a good amount of doses left for my Effexor, but I don't want to have to go back to them because I couldn't take it anymore.  All I can say right now is thanks everyone for your own information and experience with this devil in a capsule and for anyone else like me that's coming off of it, mabye there are better things out there for our depression then popping a pill.  Some of us need them, I know, but, perhaps, one day, we won't need to be taking this kind of **** anymore.
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Timeline: March 16-April 5, 2009

Tried to refill my Effexor XR on March 16, and with my new health insurance I was told at the pharmacy that I now needed something called a Prior Authorization.  I was told this could take up to a week, and paying for them out of pocket was not an option.  So, the withdrawal symptoms started gradually on Tuesday March 17 with a headache and a generally tired feeling, and I barely made it through the workday, which was the last workday for me for a week and a half.  Wednesday morning I woke up with terrible nausea.  I was so dizzy that I stumbled on my way to the bathroom to vomit and hit my head on the wall. Eating was not an option for the next two days.  By Thursday, I was so cold, yet so hot at the same time.  Nightmares.  Waking up day after day with my heart racing painfully after falling asleep for only an hour or two.  Hallucinations started on Friday and stayed with me for four awful days.  I couldn't think straight.  The head zaps were so bad that I tried not to move so much as my eyes at all.  The overall misery was such that I briefly contemplated suicide by the end of the first seven days.  

Driving was not an option.  I felt scared all of the time.  I was firmly convinced that my life was ending.  I spent days crying and feeling much anger at nothing in particular but yet everything in general.  Light hurt my eyes.  I retained almost every drop of water I drank.  I jumped at shadows, yelled at my husband.  Spent two weeks sleeping with the light on so that the pictures and things hanging on my bedroom walls wouldn't move and freak me out.  Sleep is still elusive, even after three weeks.  The nightmares have started to taper off now.  The headaches are milder now.  

Three weeks later, the brain zaps are still here, but much diminished.  I still cannot sleep through the night.  I only cry occasionally during the day.  I will never ever go back on Effexor XR.  
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I am now scared to death to go off of this drug.  I am 47 and have been on it for several years.  I am taking 150mg of Effexor XR.  Like someone stated, I have become stupid - can't remember anything!  It affects not only my job by my entire life!  A few months ago I started on a difference hormone replacement drug because the all natural one I had taken was removed from the market.  Over the last two years I have gained 25 pounds.  Tomorrow I will call my md and have her recommend what I can do.  Has anyone been hospitalized when going off of this?  
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I didn't read all of the posts, but most have a common problem. - Unrecommended cold turkey stopping the use of the drug. It is supposed to be tapered if you go off it, just as you posted.

No wonder you have experienced such a difficult withdrawal. The med rewires your brain to fight the depression, so the body is not designed to deal with an abrupt stop of the med. It is supposed to slowly rewire itself while getting used to having less and less of the drug. I am not passing judgment on why you went cold turkey, but you have to EXPECT huge problems when you did that. So blaming the doctor and the drug are unwarranted, since the info was already in your hands.

For anyone considering going cold turkey, beware! The relatively small expense to get a script big enough to handle usage through the taper period is money well spent.
Also, living with depression is not an alternative if you can afford the meds and they are keeping the depression at bay.
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I understand what you are saying, but the incredible side effects of the drug withdrawal were not explained to me. In fact, my docuter did not warn me about stopping abruptly. So, I was unprepared for what happened to me.  I do hope that word of mouth gets out about stopping this particular drug abruptly. I DO hold my doctor accountable for not telling me how to taper off the drug or to even come back and see him if I did. I DO hold insurance companies accountable for requiring prior auth without advance notice. Do I blame them? No. But, they do have some responsiblity.
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When you got the symptoms, you could still have gone back on at some dosage recommended by your doctor until you stabilized, then started the taper. You probably still had more pain to go through by continuing the cold turkey even after a few days of the torture than if you went to a stable dosage point, under medical guidance, and properly tapered.
Some people can not avoid withdrawal effects, no matter how careful they taper, however I believe you should stop each taper until your effects stabilize at each dosage. It isn't as if you are quitting some powerful addictive drug, so there is no reason to rush into pain. Besides, if your anxiety or depression comes back at a lower dose you know that you need to get back on the med at the higher dose. Suffering the time consuming pain of depression is not an option.


I hope someone who is either in cold turkey or considering it reads this, and maintains contact with their doc or pharmacist.
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No, I could not have gone back and gotten on a lower dosage--my insurance doesn't cover it without the prior authorization--at ANY dosage.  I cannot afford it without insurance.  Very simply, it was not an option.  When I asked my dr about discontinuation symptoms, she gave me a blank stare.  When I asked if there were any samples she could give me to get me through until the prior auth came in, she said no.  My only option at that point was to pay out of pocket or go through withdrawals.  My doctor also did not explain what would happen to me without the drug.  All I am doing here is sharing a common experience, not looking to be chastised for going through a miserable experience.  
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Apr 05, 2009 08:18PM I already said the purpose of my posting was not to pass judgment on why people quit, but to outline options for those considering because there are a lot of misconceptions about withdrawals.
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Well, it's been about 7-8 days for me so far after stopping cold turkey.  I kept no contact with a doctor or anything.  He put me on this stuff, never explained anything to me about it really, so I found no point in contacting him about it.  My prior thing has that I was on 75, then went to 150.  I was wrong on that.  It was 150mg, then I went up to 300mg.  Then, cold turkey.  I can say, after about a week for me, the physical withdrawal symptoms have gotten way better.  Those first few days I was sleeping all the time because I couldn't stand it, but now, it's not so bad.  Emotionally though, I've been getting easily upset and just crying over anything really.  I think, with the physical things, the nausea, dizziness and all of that just kind of kept me focused on that and nothing else, but now that it's not bad and tolerable for me, the mental things have really come into play.  Thing is, that's about all that happens for me though.  I just start crying over little things and it takes a bit to stop, then I have to basically have a cool down time to get out of that mood.  Other than that, I can say I've been doing okay, so it does look like it can go away.  All I can say is that my diet has basically been the same, but I do take 6 different vitamins on a daily basis, so I'm not sure if that contributed to my physical ailments fading as quickly as they did, or not.  A multi vitamin, super B-complex, C, E, Aloe Vera, and Alpha Lipoic Acid.  I've been taking these for some time now, so I'm not sure if they've helped at all or not, but that's just something that might be different from others that are coming off of it that don't take any kind of vitamins or minerals.  On a final note, I have to completely disagree with you birdie.  If doctors are not letting us know about these kind of things and how powerful this drug really is, they should be held accountable for it.  It's almost like going into surgery, having a scalpel sown up inside of you because they were careless and them not saying anything even though they knew about it.  That is what I was paying him for.  That is why he went and got all that schooling so that he could tell us these kind of things.  I never got any kind of paper from him saying, here are the side affects, he never told me them, he just said that it would be my next best bet to go on those.  Didn't even mention anything about tapering, nothing.  I had to find out all of this on my own.  Even that sheet I got from the pharmacy when I got my meds, didn't help.  Nothing on there about it.  It gave the same description as any other AD med, but with a couple of extra side affects.  Extremely vague and unhelpful.  And with what I've read, it sounds like everyone has been having this problem.  Doctors not informing their patients properly.  Isn't that almost a form of malpractice.  Drugs aren't the going to be the answer.  Counseling is the better option to take, since it could find out why you're getting the way you are and some may never have to deal with taking meds to begin with since they've managed to discover the root of the problem.  What did we do back in the day when we didn't have these magic pills?  We talked about it.  I don't plan on going on any other drug for depression again.  I'd rather commit suicide because of depression than have to become dependent on something like this ever again.  May come off as being pretty dramatic here, but, that's how I'm looking at it.  
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I wouldn't go so far as suicide to avoid ADs, but I understand how you feel. I feel fortunate that with all the therapy I have under by belt, and with the diet and exercise changes I've made, that I haven't had to fill the Prozac prescription my doctor gave me to replace the Effexor.

And when I told my doctor about the symptoms I had when I missed a dose of Effexor, she told me that her husband was on Paxil (which is apparently similar in some ways) and when he misses a dose he feels like he's going to die. But then when I went in to talk to her about quitting the Effexor, she told me I shouldn't have much trouble. As you and everyone else on this list know, much trouble is exactly what you have when you quit taking Effexor.

AND my doctor didn't tell me about some of the potential health risks of taking the drug. I've read there is potential for heart problems and I have a family history of heart problems.

I think part of the problem is that doctors aren't educated well on new meds, and part of the problem is that if they haven't taken them so they don't know. Plus the drug companies don't exactly advertise these things. But I would think that with as many people that are out there with severe withdrawal issues, they would get a clue and not pass us off as overreacting.

I will fill my Prozac prescription before offing myself, but I will exhaust ever possible avenue before that.
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If you want to sue your doctor for incompetence, that is a different matter than I contemplated in my original post. I didn't realize that he was as bad as you say, which was an oops on my part.

You might want to have the crying checked with a different professional, if it continues. It could be because you need to be on a med and not a withdrawal issue. It is good that you can stop it, so maybe it is all a good sign. We can't diagnose on this forum so I am not trying to do that.
Some people just need the med due to body chemistry, and if so, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Definitely there are lots of non-med therapies like meditation, cognitive behavior, etc that work, but not very much chance of success with them while you are in a clinical depression. A depression tends to pull you down a bit deeper at a time, so it is very hard to keep coming up to the top while fighting the depression nag all the time. The therapies work best when the nag has disappeared.

Take care, and it is good that you are feeling less pain than the last time.
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This is full day 1 for me without the Effexor, and dear God am I miserable. My dr. tapered me from 150mg to 75 for a month (which was tolerable) to 37.5 for 2 weeks. Like I said, this is my first full day without anything and it's been rather difficult. I've slept 10-15 for the last 2 or 3 days because I can't stand being upright from the dizzy spells. I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of my head, and I'm dreading have to go to work tomorrow. I hate being on pills unnecessarily but if this continues, I might ask to go back on them. Its like your brain it trudging through mud or something; even typing now is difficult. I will say the meds did their job but I think I would've rather been in a funk than feel like this from trying to do the right thing...Melanie
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You said you had no problem with the 75s. All that sleeping on the 37s may mean you need to stay at that dose for a few more days until you stabilize, but that is just my guess.

Perhaps you can now be alternating zeroes with 37s like this 0,37,0,0,37,0,0,0 etc. so your body slowly comes off. That is the pattern my doc told me to use when I went off a different med, so I am just guessing what you should do. Since you had problems with pure 37s I am wondering how you can go to zeroes without a lot of trouble.  

By all means contact your doc, or pharmacist for advice about what to do right now. Maybe your hospital has a hotline for information, as the ones in my city provide that service.
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Many of those posts go back a while but obviously I'd say specifically if people are following doctor's instructions that's between them and their provider but its best to discuss what the alternative medication will be. Not going without medication at all can be a rough landing. We have some good websites linked up such as "Depression Central" for some information you can use to talk over with your psychiatrist about available options. As for anyone having trouble obtaining coverage and that being the reason for not obtaining medications there are a variety of options such as Medicaid (if you are not working) and the Medicaid Buy in for Working People with Disabilities (if your state has it) and others. A good place to find out about coverage options is independent living centers. There's one in every county of every state and some worldwide:
http://www.ilru.org/html/publications/directory/index.html
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I definately know I'm not feeling like myself; just reading your response is bringing me to tears. I already arranged with my job to work only 5 hours a day during the weaning process, but today I don't know if I'm going to make it. I'm nauseous, dizzy, and crying and the drop of a hat, which is totally unlike me. I hate to be whining when I only took my last dose 4 days ago, but this is just awful. I took a long shower last night which helped with the dizzy spells but them swelled up like a balloon so had to take a diuretic. I don't know; just having people here to talk to helps, but I hope this is all over soon. Trying to explain how you feel to someone who's never been there is miserable and hopeless. My husband just thinks I'm crabby.
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Don't depend on support from your spouse. If you get it, that is a benefit, but mine never supported me either.
I still think you should get advice from your pharmacist, if you can't reach your doc. It is just a phone call away. They know all about the meds, and see many people in withdrawal. I don't know if that is what you mean when you say "Trying to explain how you feel to someone who's never been there is miserable and hopeless." or if you are referring to your husband.

It sounds like a difficult withdrawal ahead going to zero when you were not stable at 37, so in my guess, you should have stayed there for a while. That is why you should get professional advice now.
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Justr wanted to let anyone who is out there suffering know that it DOES get better. This has been the week from hell for me, but each day gets a little bit easier. It's officially a week of being Effexor free for me, and while I still have the brain zaps and dizzy spells, the nausea has subsided. Talked to my dr about the side effects; I was pretty much told take some Dramamine and deal with it or we'll put you back on the meds. Hated that answer, but I'm sticking to it and hopefully this time next week I'll be able to say I feel great. Hang in there....
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I started taking effexor when it was first introduce (1993)  and decided to go off it last Feb.  I went through a tapering process that my Dr. prescribed, decreasing by 37.5 mgs. every 2 weeks.  (the pharmacy bill for enough drug to taper from 150 mg to 0 cost  $300.00.  that is the preferred provider cost.  without insurance i have no idea what it would have been.)  I took my last dose of effexor on April 1st.  I experienced the symptoms that are well documented here during the tapering but managed them fairly well.  My husband has been extremely supportive and in addition to my psych/MD, I have been seeing a naturopathic Dr.  who has been very helpful.  Before starting the tapering she recommended that i start taking a tbsp of fish oil everyday, exercise, get plenty of fresh air, etc.  

I can't imagine what it would be like to go off this drug abruptly and w/o help.  

Being totally off the med. is as I expected harder that going off.  As far as w/d symptom relief is concerned a little effexor is better than none.  It seems that as one thing maybe starts to feel better then something else takes over the job of making me miserable.  The brain zaps (what I thought of as lasers shooting through my brain)  have become less.  For the 1st two weeks I lived on ginger (tea, ale, candied, etc) to settle my stomach and it is almost normal now.  Temperature changes so extreme!  Drenching sweats to shivers still.

Right now the worst is pain.  I'm 60 and with that comes some aches and pains.  I was enjoying going to yoga, and started a walking program and felt good doing those things while tapering.  The stretching in yoga seemed to help the aging.  Now I'm waking up painful and staying that way all day.  Soaking in a hot bath in the morning gets me started and  again at night allows me to fall asleep but I hurt all day-all over.  Yoga hurts too.  NSAIDs help only a little.  No position is comfortable.  I have just started taking 5HTP and thought it helped but now the past 2 days I can't get myself to do anything because what ever it is will hurt.  

I started reading today to see if I could find a clue as to how long to expect this phase to last or what else to do to try to relieve it.  It is probably like every other aspect of the process--very individual.  

Some of you posters are very positive and helpful and I thank you for that.  


  
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You mentioned the body aches, and a light went on in my head. I've had a lot of lower joint pain (just finished week 2 of no drugs) and my legs/ankles have been swollen pretty much everyday. It never occurred to me the 2 might be connected until reading your post. Otherwise I feel SO much better than I did the first week; almost no nausea and the brain zaps are becoming less and less. I have noticed I'm finally getting cold (used to sweat horribly at night) and that my emotions have returned. I can finally cry again!!! I'm glad that I stuck it out and didn't go back on the pills, but I really think it's something the dr should warn you about before prescribing. Again, good luck to all!!
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Its day 6 of cutting my effexor in half and i can definatley feel the difference, I am constantly tired, feel like i need to vomit 24/7, pins and needles in my bottom lip and very short tempered. Could cry over spilt milk. I am getting back into my depression mode where i feel horrible about myself. The terrible sleeping pattern and horrid dreams are getting to me.  I just want to know how long this takes to adjust... I am so tempted to get back on the full dose just to feel better again.

If cutting my dose in half feels like this i dont even want to begin to think about what stopping all together is going to be like.
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The fact that you are going back into depression mode and short tempered may mean that you need to stay on meds. There is nothing to be ashamed of, if that is the case, just that your body may lack what the med provides. You should talk this over with your pharmacist if you can't see your doc right now.

How long were you on Effexor and why are you quitting?
Write back.
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You didn't mention what dose you were on before you decreased the dose.  Any decrease in the dose will give you horrible physical symptoms, and cutting the dose in half may be too much of a drop all at once.  The key is to slowly taper the dose.  You are right to be concerned about the return of your depression symptoms.  It is very difficult to sort out what may be an increase in depression and what may be a mental/emotional reaction to feeling physically miserable.  Go slow with the tapering and keep someone who knows you well in the loop to help you determine if you are becoming clinically depressed again or if you are experiencing normal situational depression.  
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I have finally decided to check some of my symptoms with others posted. I was on Effexor at 300mg for nearly ten years. In November I ended up on a trip and without my meds went off of both Effexor and Welbutrin COLD TURKEY. I have to say I have experienced EVERY side effect I have seen on this thread. The "brain Zaps" do go away, your energy does begin to return, thankfully so does the sexual side of things. What has me in it"s grip now is the body aches. That is why I chose to look here. To see If it was an individual thing. Guess not. I am 49 and work as a Dish Network technician climbing ladders and lifting in the the freezing temps all winter and some days I cant even hold my drill. The body aches are flu like and as was mentioned earlier hot baths will get me through the night, although some nights I dont sleep at all. Headaches are lightening up, but feeling like you have the flu everyday really really *****. Heres the good news: the anger and dizziness DOES subside, I am feeling more mentally fit EVERYDAY, I am losing weight again and I CAN see the light at the end of the tunnel...though some days dimmer than others. I DO BELIEVE THAT THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE SUED! I spoke with USC medical center about Effexor. They told me that it was the "most notorious" mind altering drug out there. The earlier comment about it "not being dangerous" couldn't be further from the truth. These are not just "anti-depressants" according to USC, they are called that because the true name "Psychotics" has such a stigma that no one would use them. USC's quote-not mine. The facts are these: Millions of us have been placed on serious mind altering drugs without a full disclosure of the possible side effects by our doctors-if THEY even knew about them. We dont know how long these side effects will go because from what I am reading we are the first generation of people fully walking through this without some other form of drug to mask the real symptoms.

Is it tempting to take something else? Hell yes. But to what OTHER side effect? The GOOD NEWS is that I am feeling better, and YOU WILL TOO! How long will I put up with some of this? Who knows. But I know this...my family tells me weekly how much "more like my old self I am becoming" (in a good sense) and how much healthier I am looking.

Hang in there all of you...we can do this.
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WOW, am I glad I found this site!  I thought I was losing my mind.  I have been on 75 mg of Effexor XR for about 3 years now.  About a month ago, I decided to "wean" myself off of it mainly because I was a few weeks from needing ANOTHER refill and was tired of spending $50 a month for this drug.  I know, stupid reason, but I originally only wanted to be on this drug for a year to get me "thru" a tough time in my life.  I've tried twice before (with my doctor's help) to stop taking Effexor, but had horrible brain shivers, tightening of the throat (trouble swallowing), and headaches.  This 3rd attempt was no exception.  I began with taking one pill every other day.  I did this for a week or so.  Then moved to taking one pill every two days.  I did this for a couple weeks and then quite entirely.  I've experience about every symptom in this post over the past few weeks since my last pill.  The worst thing is I sustained a severe dislocated fracture in my left foot back in December 08.  I've been struggling with aches and pains from the two screws that are left permanently in my foot.  But now, my whole body aches and my joints are sore (especially in the morning and evening).  Will this achiness go away?  I do feel less of the uneasy feeling in my head/eyes.  The brain shivers are almost gone but become more noticeable in the mid-morning after a cup of coffee.  I've been having terrible headaches in the morning when I get up.  They take several hours to subside; even with the help of 4 Advil!  My achiness is the biggest complaint now.  I am still undergoing PT for my foot and feel like I've lost 3 months of mobility in my foot.  How long will this general soreness last?  On a positive note, my thoughts are more positive without the drug!  Ironic, but I am remembering things from my childhood that I totally forgot about.  Fun and happy memories!  I look forward to doing things with the family now.  My wife is very happy to see the new (real) me.  She said I was in a daze for 3 years while on this drug.  Funny thing is I think she's right!  I’ll get through this, it’s just going to take some time.
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I've got the brain zaps as I post this...

Started taking Effexor XR in January 2008, at first 37.5mg but eventually up to 150mg.  The very big positive:  I may never have cried so little before in my adult life.  The only event I can recall summoning forth the waterworks was when I had to put my dog to sleep.  Even when I was diagnosed with a spinal meningioma, I was surprisingly blase about it!  I wasn't too thrilled about having to have major surgery, but I didn't feel anything but optimistic about the outcome.  In my experience, Effexor is fantastic at what it's meant to do--alleviate depression!

The negatives: It's been a little strange to feel so little emotion about relationship upheavals and the like, but the physical side effects of being on the medication--loss of libido, constipation, big leap in bad cholesterol levels, weight gain--are much more disturbing.  And, as so many have here noted, missing a dose out of forgetfulness brings on wooziness, brain zaps, headaches, and, for me at least, pulsating "dizzy" sensations in my arms and fingers (not sure how else to describe it--like feeling the zaps in other body parts).

I haven't taken a pill for the past 4 days--because I forgot to bring them with me when traveling this weekend, and I'm just about out of pills and feel like I don't really need to be medicated any longer for depression anyway.  I haven't discussed this with my doctor, tho may do so soon, if the WDs become too unbearable.  I was surprised to not feel the zaps until today (was hoping to escape without them); I wonder whether my brain had sort of come to expect the occasional overlooked dose, and only just now realized it was undergoing a more significant omission.  I do feel very achy, but it's difficult to say whether that's due primarily to surgical recovery/physical therapy, WD, or...swine flu?  Thankfully I don't feel emotionally distressed as some other posters have reported (and hope I'm not due to soon).

Steps I will take to try to survive my (ill-advised) cold turkey quitting:
1) Daily hot baths or showers to soothe my aching muscles.
2) Tyrosine supplements--I had been thinking of trying them to mellow out my moods, before going on Effexor.  Maybe they will help dull the WDs.
3) Try to get more than 8 hours of sleep a night (bring on the crazy dreams, I say!).
4) Resort to recreational means of nausea alleviation, should it occur.

If I can't stand the suffering, I'll be back in touch with my psychiatrist to update him on my recent activities and solicit his help.  He was upfront from the start that this was a drug with a short half-life, and will be sure to remind me that the cold turkey plan wouldn't have been his recommendation--so the suffering will have to exceed any shame I might feel for knowingly proceeding stupidly...

Best wishes to all trying to free themselves from Effexor!
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For a cold turkey withdrawal, you seem to be not hit too bad so far compared to what others have reported. I would consider going back on it at a reduced dosage and doing some tapering because you should get even less withdrawal effects. Either see a doc or at least talk to your pharmacist if you do that to get the dose right.

I hate to see someone suffer needlessly, when some professional advice right now might help you with the dosage to eliminate the pain.
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I've been taking 250 mg/day of Effexor for about 5 yrs.  I have lost my job & health insurance recently so have had no choice but to cold turkey quit.  I actually did very well for the first 2-3 weeks.  I felt nauseous, but my mood was okay and brain zaps were all I was experiencing.  There was another time I tried slow lowering / stopping and I had immediate irrational rock bottom depression and rage - way out of character and way, way down deep.  I found this time with cold turkey stopping, my mood has been slower to disintigrate, but here I am at week for and all of a sudden I literally don't want to even hear anyone breathe let alone speak.  I am short tempered, over-reactive, just a nightmare to be around.  About a week ago my body started to hurt.  It hurts to move, to walk, to stand.  I feel 80 years old!  If I sit for a minute, when I get up, my bones are screaming - like what I imagine horrible arthritis must feel like.  I've begun crying over EEVERYTHING and am feeling hopeless.  

In other words,  the long and short of why I posted is because I;m at about week 6 and not only are things not improving, but they're taking a huge NOSEDIVE downward.  

I constantly feel like I want to throw up, My brain zaps are constant, my intolerance level for anything and anyone is going to leave me friendless and maybe husbandless if it doesn't let up!  My body / bones are just screaming all the time as if I were 80 years old.  When is the upward turn going to come?  When will I turn the corner?  I started out so good - I thought I can do this - and the longer I go, the worse it gets and more I think I truly can't do this.  

It is so freaking depressing.  Dont ever take this drug. I've read story after story about folks who cannot stop taking it.  They try and try and eventually are forced to go back on it.  I'm terrified that's going to be me.  I want to know what the hell this drug has done to alter my body so much that without it I can't hardly walk!  

Stay away from this drug if you can at all st.
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I was on Effexor XR 150mg for 9 years. I started in college and I'm almost 30 years old now. As part of some major changes and a "no-meds" move I wanted to make, I worked with my psychiatrist to begin slowly tapering off of the meds. I was determined to do it right and aggressively. (and put up with the temporary withdrawl (withdrawal)). I did OK over 3 months, although the night sweats, brain zaps...ridiculous and headaches were awful.

I've now been free and clear of it since Novemeber 2008. Over the last 6 months, I now can actually cry and feel like I have emotions. I have coupled it with weekly therapy. However, I started realizing about a month ago that some too many weird things/symptoms kept recurring and I've finally sought out a specialist to address the following:
-Nausea (severe...)
-Chronic fatigue
-Blurred Vision
-Achy / Feel like I get the flu / swollen glands
-Headaches / Migraines
-Shivers, shivers, shivers...teeth chattering when it's not even cold
-Irregular periods even with the pill
-Irregular, awful bowel movements with no pattern in consistency/regularity
-I've lost 7 pounds without trying (I know most people gain more, but I'm 5'9" and only 119 lbs now (no, not anorexic, just genetic) but I was about 128/130lbs on Effexor.
-Lack of concentration, really really bad short term memory loss and confusion.
-Very irritable and short-tempered. Almost angry at times...very unlike me

My 2 doctors have now done tests for anemia, thyroid, metobolic panel, electrolytes, auto-immune deficiencies, gastro-intestinal, etc, etc etc. the list seriously goes on forever.

At this point, the verdict is that it's related to still suffering "discontinuation" from the Effexor since I was on it for nearly 10 years. My initial doctor never warned me of the side effects...and the withdrawl (withdrawal) if I even missed a dose by a couple of hours was so severe that I just continued to stay on it year after year.

I don't eat sweets, fast food, etc. I mostly maintain fruits/veggies/protein.I'm going to try more homeopathic remedies....increasing my dietary intake of Omega 3, additional vitamins and ginkgo biloba and exercise (thinking about acupuncture for the nausea) hoping that it will continue to aid in treating some of these awful daily symptons. My doctor said I could go back on a low-dose but you couldn't pay me enough money to even consider it.

If anyone has any other suggestions on homeopathic remedies that have helped ease the symptons, I'm all ears.


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OTC remedies are not regulated, so you never know what the purity level of the active ingredients is. Here is an example of the manufacturing problems.
http://depression.about.com/cs/altmed5htp/f/5htp.htm
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An update on the cold turkey process:

Well, the great spirits I enjoyed for the first week or so without Effexor have subsided--I now have more insecure moments, and am INCREDIBLY irritable (to the point of once again cussing at myself in the shower, demonstrating unwarranted aggression to inanimate objects--and thankfully not to my dog!).  I am angry and frowny as I walk down the street, nothing and no one meets my standards... I still can't seem to summon any tears tho; sometimes I feel them coming on, but they never get out.

Also, my concentration is poor; I've timed myself on a few moderately complicated tasks, and have been surprised at how long they've taken.  I'm certain I processed things more quickly before.

AFter an initial period of weight loss, I'm now packing it back on because I feel the need for food almost round the clock--no snack or meal satisfies my hunger, even when it's a double-helping (I of course try to avoid this, but did it a few times just to try to make the hunger feeling go away...no luck!).

All the same, I still am trying to tough it out--because to go back on seems ridiculous at this point.  The brain zaps are almost completely gone!  I am thankful to be aware of the likely cause of all the angst and anger I'm feeling, and try to use my rational powers to maintain stability.  But since it's true I started taking Effexor in the first place to address mild depression, it may be the case that I will still need some sort of chemical intervention to maintain a better mood.  Summer's a good time, tho, to see how well I can do without the mood-altering drugs.


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You went cold turkey 2 weeks ago, but why don't you ask a professional for advice now, if for no other reason for help with the unwanted weight gain? Perhaps there is some med that you could be on to settle things down until the Effexor goes away?
Sorry if I am guessing, but I don't like to se anyone suffer. From what I have read on this board, there aren't many other drugs as bad as Effexor when you try to get off.
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Congratulations on getting through your first two weeks. The insane irritability does eventually go away, though I wasn't so sure at first. I had moments of insta-rage over the smallest of things. Your ability to concentrate will return also.

If you've gotten through two weeks without Effexor I have to agree with you that it would be ridiculous at this point to start again. I have heard that a low dose of Prozac helps a great deal with some of the Effexor withdrawal symptoms, and with mild depression. I took Prozac for the first three days of Effexor cessation and then decided I wanted to test the waters without the drugs.

I changed my diet (a little) to help balance blood sugar, as blood sugar swings can create mood swings. I've added Omega-3s, and I started exercising fairly regularly. I've been off Effexor since January 18th, 2009, and I feel great. Though there was a time I didn't think I would ever be able to say that.

Two things that helped a lot with the dizzy, headachy, queasy, overall feeling sick and hungover stuff were Dramamine, and a hangover remedy called Chaser. I can't recommend them enough in the early stages of "withdrawal".

For the super irritability, my best remedy was plenty of sleep, exercise, take a deep breath (or 20), and do your best to maintain a sense of humor. When a simple irritation made me feel like I wanted to go on a murderous rampage, I had to take a step back and laugh at my ridiculous self. It helped a lot, and I had to do it a lot.
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I am now in about my 3rd month of coming off Effoexor. I was on 150mg for about 5 years, for panic attacks/anxiety.
My GP put me onto 75mg for 2 months. The first week was bad. Crying, brain zaps, really really low mood.
I am now on 37.5 and have been for only 4 days. I am dizzy, feel like my head is full of cotton wool. Get the occasional brain zap. I am nauseous and have diarehha (sp?). I am also really tired. I am hoping these side effects will only last for a week like they did when I went down to 75mg.
Interesting to note though that the side effects were different each time I lowered a dose.
I am really glad I found this forum though, because it makes me feel better knowing that my symptoms are normal, and that hopefully they will go away :-)
Sara
PS While on Effexor, I have got NO sex drive (my poor husband) and I have put on 20kg, which is about 44lb. Hopefully it will be easier to lose once I am off this drug!
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Everything padrida described in the first paragraph is what I felt like when I went off Celexa, except the negative part was such a minor amount that it is usually negligible and I am still off it. A doc wrote on this board that the happy feeling people get when they go off is often from the remnants of the med, so they have to be vigilant to determine if they need another med when the happy period wears off.
People who suffer a second depression have 90% chance of chronic depression the rest of their life, so it is important to stay in touch with your professional when going off.
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I can't remember the exact date as to when I started Effexor. My original doctor had me on Cymbalta and then I started seeing a VA doc who told me I could get on Effexor for free....and it's just like Cymbalta!
Bullcrap!!!
When I was on Cymbalta it took about 2-3 days before I felt the withdrawal effects, and I had no clue what was going on. I really thought I had the flu. I went to the doc and he broke it down for me. Since I've been taking Effexor, I noticed that it takes a day and then the dizziness kicks in.
I've had the fatigue, nausea, dizziness, headaches.......and whatever else gets on that list. Unfortunately it makes me feel like I want to puke all day. And my chest feels kinda tight making my breathing sharp.
So I've decided to officially kick it. I started taking half of my 75 mg pills on Saturday night. I noticed last night the dizziness when I was walking up the stairs......this morning it was so hard for me to get out of bed. I was more than exhausted, and I've been tired all day. Right now I have a headached and my head feels so tight.
I'm not sure how long I will stay on the half a pill, but maybe by this next Saturday I will cut the half a pill in half again and try to cut it out altogether. If my doc had actually told me the truth about this **** I would have been like the rest of these people on the posts and never taken it. Sad part is......I only ever started taking this because I have severe endometriosis and the doc said it would help with the pain. And it did, except lately I am having the sharp pains again. I just think that I would rather deal with that pain than deal with all this excess weight gain, the feeling of having no real personality, being so laid back and whatnot. I know that sounds a little crazy, but I just hate this medicine. I see that everyone keeps asking how long it will take to get thru it. I will update in the next 2 weeks and let you know how I'm feeling.
Good luck to everyone else out there!
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I took Effexor XR 75mg for about a year after my third daughter was born.  I was unstable and over-emotional.  My life was HELL in my head, and out.  I cried at all things and was on an emotional rollarcoaster with no off switch.  Needless to say, when I started this 'horrible drug' that you are all complaining about my life changed for the BETTER!! I was so much more laid back and NEVER cried.  Only at the death of my grandfather did I cry.  I had hellashus moments and survived them BECAUSE of Effexor!!  During an even more horrible time in my life last year I was seeing my need for help again, so we upped my dosage.  I went to 150mg.  It helped.  However, last week I quit. I quit cold turkey because my life is fine, my emotions are fine, and I am more centered in myself.  And guess what..it was horrible.  However, no matter how bad the symptoms are/were, I wont complain about Effexor because it saved my life.  The day before I started this 'nightmare drug' I tried to kill myself..so, yea..with some great things come bad withdrawals..but BE POSITIVE!!  It's not just the drug, and it's not the doctors either!!  BE POSITIVE,..stop complaining!! And search for ways to combat the symptoms naturally..don't keep searching for more sob stories about the symptoms!!
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Hi.  I too have a similar experience with Effexor.  The first time I took it I was about 21 years old, was on it for about 8 months, then stopped abruptly cause I had no insurance and couldn't afford the darn pills, they are ridiculously expensive. Then about 6 months later went back on the pills then stopped 8 months later, withdrawal was like a panic attack mulitplied by 1000 non stop agony, no way out of a free falling unhinged elevator, boxed in.  Then I was off for a while, met someone mid way through college, had a baby, after baby started having anxiety attacks that would take the form of hypochondriac delusions of dyinig of some rare serious disease. This was on and off for about 3 years, still not on any meds, then I went on Buspar, didn't like that made me feel slow. Stopped that abruptly, went into a hypomanic episode, supposedly according to my doctor. Went on Depakote and Lexapro, didn't like that, stopped that after 6 months, had a severe anxiety/panic attack the whole summer, went back on Effexor. Now I have been on it for a year and a half, on 150 mg.  I like it, but don't like the fact that it causes super withdrawals if you stop. I don't like the fact that I can't conceive a baby on it, because I eventually want to have another one, which means I will have to get off the Effexor, which in that case I don't know what I will do. Should I just adopt? I want to be stable if I'm going to have another baby.
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You will feel withdrawal and it's probably unavoidable.
However,   you can make it a little more bearable.

Take it easy......don't stress out, or have any negative thoughts because that activates centers in your brain that will give you "jolts" and make your withdrawal worse. That's from personal experience!!!!

STAY IN THE "NOW" where you can deal with the present situation.....
___ DO NOT have your head in the PAST. Bad stuff happens, but that's over and you CAN'T do anything about it now.
___DO NOT have your head in the future, on all the bad things that MIGHT happen. WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!! Half of the time, they probably won't happen, and it also makes you less empowered cuz  you can only deal with things happening in the presesnt moment.

When I was in withdrawal, I had a big scare. I thought I was going to die!!!!!
When I was dozing off, my breathing was irregular and I felt weird. THen a thought came:.... maybe if I goto sleep, I'll never wake up. I was starting to have a panic attack,
And then I remembered I had a panic attack 10yrs ago and went to the hospital,... and this is what I was having now.  THen I realized from experience, it was just my imagination going wild.   Kind of like throwing gas into the fire. .....SO I opened my eyes really wide, told myself it was JUST a panic attack, and to be in the "NOW" and reminded myself  I don't have to  do  anything I don't want to do, which in turn, made me feel in control of the situation.
I took it easy on myself and I gradually fell asleep.

HERE's another thing that really helps: Imagine a force inside you that has your best interest in mind. It could be a "the higher self", a god, your mom when you were a baby......it could anything. When your withdrawal symptoms are really bad, connect to the higher self,etc, and feel its love, and feel its presence pull for you. Let it fill you to a point where all your negative and stressful thoughts go away  This will calm you. Do what ever you have to. Let it baby you.

For body aches take asprin. You can take tylenol, but it's bad for your liver.

Here's are other tips that might or might not work:
--Take multi-vitamins, healthy foods , a lot of liquids(soup,....)
--Raise you endorphine level by walking, moving,..( I just found out somewhere that having an orgasm increases your endorphines!?!)
--get a lot of sleep...take naps
--get rid of things that will stress you and give yourself a holiday
-- do non-stressful things that will take your mind off of withdrawal

There a lot of other things, I'm sure you find them for yourself.


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You know I do recall taking a zyprexa during the withdrawal of effexor.  I had some left over, from when I used to take it for violent thoughts and bursts of temper, yah, like I'm a child. I did help.  I remember when I got off of the Effexor, cold turkey, no taper I had the brain zaps for a while, they go a way,  I think I even had them for a couple of months but it did go away.  You may want to try low dose lexapro as a temporary fix and prn ativan as needed for anxiety.
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my last post was in march,,,i feel like i've been on a never ending roller coaster ride. my husband has been "effexor" free for 42 weeks now. i'm so proud of him, he's so committed to being anti-depressant drug-free.i had hoped with time, that the withdrawal would get easier for him, but in ways, it seems worse. there are still good days and bad days,,,but the bad days are extreme. he has referred to the bad days as the 'monster' coming out. couldn't be more true. he gets so angry and so despondent, it's scary. and on top of it all, we are dealing with financial worries plus every day life stress.
i have tried to explain that, even though i am not actually feeling the turmoil or anguish he is going through, i am living it with him. he feels he is alone in this world,,,i feel alone in mine. yet, here we are, waiting for it all to 'get better'.
and i don't know what to do to make it better.
some in this post have mentioned lack of support from their spouse. i've never told him he's crabby or anything like that. being on the 'flip side of the coin', it's very hard, if not impossible, to know what to do, what to say, how to act. i've been called stupid, cold, unfeeling,,,,other names/words i won't repeat,,,,i remind myself, it's the "monster" talking, not the man i love. and i'm still here.
God help everyone that goes through withdrawal, those actually getting off the drug, and those who stand beside them,,,,effexor be damned. it does the job it's prescribed for,,,,but in the long run,,,it's so not worth it. and someone needs to take responsibility for that,,someone needs to help those they've damaged.
what more can i do to help my husband?

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After 42 weeks of being off the med, I doubt thosee bad days are withdrawal. I think they indicate the need for a med.
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This is week six of effexor xr withdrawl (withdrawal). continuing nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, jelly brain, just to name a few of the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. Am I going mad? How long is this going to last? At the moment each day is no better than before..I will never take this, or any similar medication again..I cant believe doctors prescribe this stuff..To me it is poison
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I started on 75 mg Effexor XR in January 2009, I got tired of the expensive price and I began to feel it was making me worse than what I was before. So I asked my Psyc. if I could stop taking it. He said because I haven't been on it for but a few months and it was a low dose that I could probably just quit cold turkey. he said if I begin to experience withdrawal symptoms to go back on and slowly go off at my own pace. But oddly enough, after quitting Effexor for 1 week I began becoming happy, I felt I was no longer depressed, and my eating disorder become more under control. But the physical side effects were so horrible. I would just cry and cry about the stomach pains, vertigo, dry mouth, excessive sweating, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I have honestly never had to face a decision like this in my life. Emotionally I was suicidal everyday being on the Effexor, but going off it made everyday a new, beautiful day to start over. I had to decide would I rather be emotionaly happy or physically content. I was completely lost. I was terrified of feeling depressed again. I told myself I would kill myself if the happiness didnt stay. I deserve happiness more than just about anyone, I have been through stuff in my life most people don't ever think of. But I coulnd't take it, so I went and got 37.5 mg tablets of Venlafaxine (generic effexor) and I cut those into fourths! So I was taking less than 10 mgs a day. The first week I was fine, most withdrawal symptoms were very light and liveable. But after that week, the depression hit me, and I began eating out of control once again. I don't know what to do!! I am still trying to figure it out. No doctors can help, they say I have to live through it, why isnt there something out there!! Nothing over the counter does anything.. It's just not fair.. I'm so lost...
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my husband is kind and gentle, he is a good man with a caring heart. he never acted or behaved like this prior to taking effexor. we've been married for 27 years,,trust me, i've witnessed the change. this drug has changed him,,rewired his brain and damaged his feelings and thoughts. he struggles daily with the smallest tasks. it's not fair. taking this or any other medication again is not an option - he won't do it. he's trying to get this nightmare behind him, trying to get back to his old self. but the challenges it's placed are sometimes un-surmountable. yes, 42 weeks seems like a long enough time, but in his case, it's not over and done. we've read in other posts, you can experience withdrawal symptoms for years! no one knows, no one can tell you or pinpoint an end to the madness. that's very scary.
i just want to help him get through this, for his suffering to stop,,,,but i don't know what to do. and that just adds to the frustration for the both of us.
i agree with blubber829, it's a poison.
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There is hope out there, I can attest to that.  Effexor helped me through some very difficult periods in my life and while I enjoyed the serenity it provided me from my anxieties, I knew it was time to stop relying on modern medicine to "cure" me.  I had to pull from the power within and trust a higher power to get me through the tough times without the expense and side effects of an SSRI.  

Effexor was tough to ween off of but I did it and I'm glad I did.  I had many of the side effects that are mentioned in this post such as tiredness, weight game, hair loss, etc...I experienced the typical withdrawal symptoms that everyone notes above but I found myself blaming everything that my body and mind experienced on any given day to Effexor.  Truth is, my withdrawal symptoms lasted about a week and once I had clarity and stopped looking for things to blame on Effexor, I was much better off.  A large part of getting "over it" is simply mind over matter...the more you read forums like this, the more you will convince yourself that Effexor has ruined you.  It hasn't and the human body (and mind) is more than capable of overcoming the side effects of Effexor or any other SSRI.  Our bodies are designed to overcome these things...we just need to have a little more faith in ourselves and know what we are capable of.  ;)

Don't let this drug defeat you...ween yourself from it's grasp and remember that you are much stronger than IT is.  You will be fine and far better off without it.  Turn to friends, God, a hobby...anything to occupy your thoughts and keep you from obsessing over what this drug "might" have done to you.  Just relax!  You have strength within you that may not even realize...show it to the world!
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"Don't let this drug defeat you...ween yourself from it's grasp and remember that you are much stronger than IT is.  You will be fine and far better off without it."

Speaking for yourself, that may be a fine policy. However, there are many who need something to balance their brain chemistry and positive thinking won't do it. There is nothing to be ashamed of if a poster is one of these people who needs a med.
Your cure does not work for all, just as meds will not cure a person who is unhappy with their life but not clinically depressed, in which case your cure may be the best. You have to go to a professional for diagnosis, preferably a psychologist, if a bad situation continues.
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You are exactly correct.  Some people need serious, continuous, and focused professional help due to chemical imbalances that are out of their control.  

I was simply trying to speak to those that *can* ween themselves and be successful at it.  There is so much negativity on these forums that sometimes, I like to spread some good feelings of hope and success.

This is not a battle ground but a place where people can gather and express their thoughts and concerns.  My original post doesn't apply to everyone but I hope do hope that it will ring true to some...that is all.
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I meant Effexor XR, not IV...dummie, that I am...big oops!  :*)
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Getting off of Effexor

I went from;
300mg of Effexor XR- 2 Years
225mg of Effexor XR – 6 months
150mg of Effexor XR – 6 months
75mg + 37.5mg of Effexor XR – 9 months
75mg of Effexor XR for – 10 months
37.5mg of Effexor XR- 3 months
0mg
*Opening the capsules, and counting the grains then adding back half etc. did not work for me, I did make several attempts,- but- all in vain. BUT- That may work for you. There is plenty of research and info on how one should/can do this. – My advice is- Do a ton of research, and then print it out and take it with you when you Talk to your Doctor.
The Doctor: If your Dr. knows nothing about the serious problems of Effexor withdrawal, then I INSIST you find another DR!!! Before you make this journey****There are great and VERY well-informed Doctors, but it is Your job to find them. Make 200 Phone calls if that is what needs to be done. Call depression clinics for references and referrals! But- please find one. Don’t go through this alone!
I highly suggest that you involve a few Very Close friends/family. Keep them informed, so that you have people to cheer you on as you progress! Please! You deserve A LOT of credit for making this happen. You can do it- but please find support Before you begin your journey. You will need your loved ones to take care of you with lots of love and care while you get this “poison” out of your system. People who want to argue with you, give you stress, etc- CUT them out of your life!! If Effexor withdrawal is a catalyst to ending bad relationships, or even figuring out who really Really loves, cares, and is especially kind, Then there is something good that has come from this horrible experience. But- as my Dr says. Avoid making life changing decisions during this process.
Bless You!!
The Plan- Which I am in the midst of trying.
• Water. Our bodies are approximately 70% water. What better way to help rid the body of Years of Toxins.
• Advil/Motrin. Anti-Inflammatory drugs. Not addictive. Helps with head and body aches.
• Tylenol. Non- addictive. Will help with Fevers!! – and the sweating
• More Water.
• Frozen Pedialite Popsicles 1X’s every 6 hours. These are so that your body isn’t depleted of electrolytes by drinking so much water.
• Sleep!! Okay, it may be extremely difficult to sleep while detoxing your body from Effexor XR. Here is what is helping me. Benadryl, Ativan, and warm Milk (if you can stomach it)
• Benadryl 2 pills 2X’s per day
• Ativan – Talk to your Doctor about this one. – you will need a script
• Egg Yolks
• Healthy food, but if you need junk food- GO FOR IT!!!
• Try to exercise. Okay, you may be thinking- I can’t even stand up right now because I am so nausea and dizzy; but IT WILL HELP SO MUCH! Do not push more than 5/10/15/20 minutes of exercise. But really try to even do pushups. Walk down the block. Stretch.
• Have Lots of good TV, Movies, Magazines, (although reading may be extremely difficult)
• Do not try to socialize. Just rest as much as possible, BUT
• IF YOU ARE NOT SLEEPING, - Then Stay OUT of your bedroom- Not just your bed.
• Try to shower 3-4 times per day.
• Blueberries!!
• Omega 3/6/9 Fish Oil!!
• B Complex Vitamins
• Try to stay cool. Set the air conditioning on Very cold. Turn on the fans, turn lights out.
• Put cold wet washcloths on your forehead
• Stay away from diet products!!! (your body is trying to detox) – keep away from Fake sugars
• If you are urinating every 10 minutes, then you are on the right track!! Keep drinking Water!
• Don’t be afraid to cry your eyes out. It is a side effect of coming off of this medication.
• Read eat sleep breathe The Secret. Buy the book, the DVD and the CD’s. Listen watch and read!
• You will need to sleep. Sleep as much as possible. The only thing that is more important than sleep is drinking Water. Plain water!! Not fruit water – Not flavored water.
I will Post an update in a few days as to how I am doing…
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Good luck. Your approach sounds very scientific, other than the warm milk as a sleeping aid. I think that has been disproven to have any effect. I use doxepin 10 mg for sleeping, which is way below the level that is used for depression, its primary use.
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In case my last post was misleading, my doc prescribed the 10 mg of doxepin (an anti depressant at much higher levels) for the purpose I use it for, sleeping.
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Oops. I didn't read your post close enough to see those long timelines you are using. I agree with whodunit, 1 month is long enough.
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i was given 75mg effexor for being tired and having mood swings, the year before i had thyroid cancer and had the thyroid removed, after taking 75mg for 5months felt tired and mood swings again, so the doctor put my dose up to 150mg, i still feel the same so have decided to come of effexor, went back down to 75mg for 10 days, stopped taking effexor 4 days ago and feel like **** very emotional, tied,dizzy, feeling like i'm not in my own body.dose any body know when this will stop, is there anything i can take from the health shop, supposed to be going to a birthday party tomorrow but not sure if this is a good idear but could do with a bit of cheering up, partner doesn't realy understand what this is like, but may be because i always try to deal with things myself, i still think my symptoms are to do with my thyroid.      
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See a professional instead of going off cold turkey like this. There is no need to punish your body so get advice how to come off easier and avoid lots of needless pain.

There is nothing at the health shop that will help, so that is why you should see a doctor or at least read up on how to taper off this med.
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Hi, I'm a 38y.o. male who has been on Effexor for around 3 years for minor depression. I started at 50, was upped to 75, then 150 by my doctor. I have had other issues that my doctor has treated, but I now suspect may have been caused by the Effexor. I stopped taking it 4 days ago cold turkey and my wife found this site while looking up symptoms of my withdrawal. I'm very glad for this site so that I know what to expect for the future.

I'm currently going through the brain zaps. I compare them to a feeling of being very drunk and having the "spins" (remembering my younger days of drinking). My mood is fine, for now, but I am just starting to become very tired. There have been many excellent posts about the symptoms, but I want to post a response to some of the advice I've seen on here.

For those who say NOT to quit cold turkey: Many, many people have posted how no matter how slowly they taper off, once they stop completely they still get the withdrawal symptoms. If I'm going to get the symptoms anyway, I just as soon be done with Effexor.

About not stopping without help from your doctor: This would be the same doctor who put us on this stuff without mentioning any of the more major side effects or withdrawal complications. I have to beg my doctor for help with any issue I have, and his only solution is to pop another pill.

Using another drug to supplement the withdrawal: I'm having enough trouble with the one I'm on, I'm scared to even consider taking something else.

Starting back on Effexor then tapering off: FORGET IT! This is the very drug that is causing me problems. I've made it through 4 days without it. I'm not going to start back up just so i can go through this all over again (as many people who have tapered off end up doing).

Unfortunately I don't have the option of taking time off from work as a mechanic during this. I don't have benefits...my insurance is through my wife's employer...so no sick time, or vacation time. And financially we can't handle losing the income of even a few days off. Today was my first day at work since quitting Effexor, and the bending and lifting, and constant movement, is a nightmare. I started trying Dramamine today, and it seems to help a little. I just keep telling myself that eventually this stuff will be out of my system completely.
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"For those who say NOT to quit cold turkey: Many, many people have posted how no matter how slowly they taper off, once they stop completely they still get the withdrawal symptoms. If I'm going to get the symptoms anyway, I just as soon be done with Effexor. "


You have misunderstood the facts.
The drug affects different people differently, including withdrawal effects. A person is not guaranteed to suffer withdrawal effects if they taper just because some people suffer effects when tapering, but your cold turkey method has increased the chances of the suffering. Your method has increased the chances of missing time off from work too.
The odds are that if someone who tapers and suffers withdrawal effects would have suffered more if they went off cold turkey. Quitting without consulting a professional is not advised, and is sort of like self-medicating.

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In 5 days I will begin my decrease to 50mg of Effexor twice daily for 2 weeks, then after that I will go down to 75 mg once daily. Does anyone think this is too fast of a tapering? Part of me just wants to go through the plan I've made up with my doctor and experience the unpleasant feelings of going down on the dose. Another part of me thinks I should go a bit slower, maybe on a month by month taper, rather than a 2 week decrease. Yet, this is the summer, the time of sun (which can help most people with general mood).  I guess I have to just play it by ear. I have been supplementing with fish oil and vitamin B, and I got received a script for folic acid, so these should be somewhat of a support.
Another question is whether getting off an antidepressant would help me gain weight. I've been thin with a high metabolism all of my life. I have recently begun drinking protein shakes and trying adding healthy high calorie foods to my diet. I hope I'll be able to at least maintain my weight while decreasing the Effexor dose, because I'm expecting to be a little "unstable" with my digestion and concentration while my body adjusts to going down on the dose.
Well, these are just my predictions-I'll see what really happens when I'm actually going through the decrease mode.
Wish me luck, and I'll put on more posts as to how I'm doing. Please let me know of your experiences of going down on your Effexor dosages. Thanks.
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Genetic differences among people are a factor in the large differences in the withdrawal severity, longevity, and symptoms; epigenetic factors (that is, whether a gene is "switched off", say by methylation) and also the number of copies of a gene that a person has, all play a part in determining the impact of a given medication. Additionally, drug interaction effects, diet, gender, pregnancy, and age (ie juvenile, early adult, etc) add to the confusion.

Therefore, what works for one individual may not even slightly resemble what has worked for another. Conversely, what doesn't work may vary greatly among individuals too. However, the beauty of this particular discussion thread having run for so long is that a clearer picture builds up. At the least it helps newcomers to realize that Effexor withdrawal is likely to take an extended period, and that they need to plan for it with their doctor's full involvement.

Personally, I have been using venlafaxine (aka effexor) at 375mg/day for a little over a year. That was under the guidance of a GP *and* psychiatrist working together to assist me in resolving clinical depression. Two things I have learnt in terms of my own reaction to the medication is that a) using it and an opioid at the same time may cause dizzy spells and also brain zaps - the solution for me was to chuck the opioid; and, b) it kicked in quite noticably in the early months, then I sort of felt like I was treading water on the dose of 150mg/day (I think); lifting it to 375mg/day not only improved my general disposition (which is good), it also made me feel like my returning emotions are in a narrow spectrum of the usual emotional range of a healthy individual (which is not so good).

Prozac, on the other hand, nearly killed me. I felt - if that is the word - like a slug without the will or necessary energy to move. Which is why I sensibly moved over to venlafaxine. One day I wish to get off of it - money doesn't grow on trees! My psychiatrist's advice on this was to reduce my dose in 37.5mg decrements, and to stay on that dose level for at least 6 weeks so that I could assess my mood ie whether I felt stable on the decreased dose. If stable at the end of 6-8 weeks, decrease the dose again by 37.5mg and wait for another 6-8 weeks. This is slow going but should reduce the withdrawal effects while watching for any negative changes to disposition.

Other people here have said that they have taken prozac or zoloft just before they make their last reductions to zero of their effexor medication. If you have used one or the other beforehand and hence know how you respond to prozac or zoloft, then this is probably a good strategy. Be aware though that some individuals - such as myself - respond badly to prozac, so a doctor should be closely monitoring you if you try this approach without prior personal experience with prozac or zoloft.

To finish: for me effexor did largely what it was meant to, which was to rescue me from clinical depression - which in my case gave me empty brain, like nothing was going on up there; I was one of the "lucky" ones who didn't get the negative thoughts and attitudes permeating the wetware - and it got me 90% of the way. The last 10% or so is environment and my interactions with it; no drug is going to be of assistance there. It would be good though if GPs knew more about these sorts of medications, especially about the getting off of them and the strategies available.

Regards all,
OtisDaMan
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Just an update to my particular case. 10 days off Effexor, and my life is back. I have done more in the last week than I have since I started taking it 3 years ago. The withdrawal effects have gone way down. I still have a very small amount of dizzy feeling/brain zaps, but instead of the feeling of being extremely drunk, it just feels like I had 2 beers. And no, I don't drink often (why I can feel 2 beers lol). My apetite is back to normal- I'm now full after a normal meal, instead of having the urge to keep stuffing myself. I have ambition that i haven't had in a few years. I get up in the morning instead of sleeping late then laying around in bed until noon. In fact i did more this morning before breakfast than I used to do in a weekend!

Even my wife and other family members have noticed a big change. I'm much more alert, take part in conversations easier now, have more energy, and more enthusiasm for life. And this is after only 10 days without it!

In my particular case I'm glad i went cold turkey. Others are right though...everyone is different, and needs to do what is right for them. One of the things that may be helping me is that back when I was first put on Effexor, I was also put on Trazodone (another AD drug) but i was put on it to help me sleep. It works fine and i haven't noticed any problems from it. But the AD properties may be helping to make the Effexor withdrawal easier. I have no plans to quit the Trazodone, unless it becomes ineffective for my insomnia.

Jim
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Good luck with your program, and write back.
A doc wrote in the Dep forum a while back that many people feel great when they go off a med, but don't realize it is the lingering remnants of the med that are providing that feeling. You need to carefully self-monitor for a while to ensure you really can go off the med.
When I quit Celexa last October I was on top of the world (even more than when I was on it and totally balanced) for weeks, it seemed. Alas, it didn't last. That great edge wore off, and for the last 6 months I have been just a bit better off from my dep experience than before I went into dep thanks to all the reading and hard work I put into being happy. I am fine without a med, but constantly self-monitor for reasons listed below.
He also said a second depression puts you into a 95% probability of chronic dep the rest of your life, so that needs to be avoided. Each dep kind of permanently bruises your personality, weird as that sounds.
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My last post was for nhdiesel, in case it is hard to figure out. I remember telling friends in November that the only problem I had now that I was off Celexa was being overly happy, and was seriously wondering if it could be true.
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I might backtrack slightly on my previous post, 12 July 2009. Effexor has got me more like 80% of the way, not 90%. The drugs all have side-effects which are preventing me from improving beyond about 80% of what I remember "normal" as being like.

Interestingly though, I was recently put on a small dose of amitriptyline in combination with a small dose of lyrica for chronic pain. While the combo did nothing for the pain, after I had increased the dose of amitriptyline to 40gm/day - remember, I'm still on 375mg/day of effexor - I felt a noticeable increase in the range of emotion and general day to day mood had lifted substantially. Now I am on 450mg/day of lyrica as well, which is still not enough to keep the chronic pain down more than a notch or so, but at least I'm feeling more normal in other respects, eg my brain fog has lifted substantially after 2-3 months on amitriptyline. It is suggestive that amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, might have been a better choice for me than either prozac or effexor...
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hi
i to come of effexor cold turkey, it might not be the right thing to do for every one, but i just want to get the drug out of my system, i couldn't take time of work and that was hard bending up and down and having brain zaps, but it was worth it, been of effexor now for 16 days and just get the odd zap now and again, i also was told i had carpal tunnel coz i get server tingling in my right hand, but since stop taking effexor this has improved heaps so i;m not sure if this could have been a side effect. good luck!
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You miss the point that by going into voluntary cold turkey you are virtually guaranteeing the withdrawal effects will be greater than by using a taper program.
You seem to think that your body will have a fixed amount of withdrawal effects (no matter how you stop) and it is better to take all the hits at once instead of spacing them out.
The reality is more like this. The med has created certain of your body functions to have a dependency (like a sleeping pill makes your body not sleep as well for a few days if you quit for instance. It is not like a narcotic where you are addicted.)  so quitting may provoke a reaction. The reality is if you taper, the withdrawal effects may be minor or you may not experience any. If you quit cold turkey, you are intensifying the withdrawal effects and increasing the chances that you will suffer.
Your cold turkey approach to quitting is more appropriate for someone addicted to a narcotic such as heroin. There is a reason professionals will advise you to use a taper approach when quitting effexor.

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Just wanted to say thanks for everyone's posts.  I'm on day 3 of coming off 75mg.  Was on 225 for about 2 years, then 150 for 12 months, 75 for last 5 months and had no issues with each decrease.

Saw my GP on Friday,  and said that felt I was ready now to stop.  We had made a plan of 75 for 5 months then see how i feel.  She said that fine, checked what I thought my warning signs are, gave me a bill and said see you later.  Not once did she suggest to me tapering to a lower dose (didn't know there was one until researching today), didn't mention anything about how bad these side affects are.

I can see the benefit of a tapering program, but it's only as good as the information you're actually given about one.  I came off this drug after consulting my doctor, after discussing it over a period of more than a year, and not once was I ever told how bad these side affects can be.  It's ok for people to post about how you should taper etc... but if you only find out this information after going through 3-4 days of hell, why would you take that step back at the risk of having to go through it again??

sorry about the rant - feeling over emotional at the moment, funny that.  but this site has helped me a great deal today and i just wanted to thank people for sharing their experiences.

nhdeisel - your last post about feeling better after a week has really helped especially.  i'm definately going to stick this out.  

I've made an agreement with my partner, that if after 7 days either of us has any concerns about my behaviour or remaining side effects i'll be straight back to the doctor to find a different solution, but i'll be looking at other options than effexor.
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i was on 150mg for about 10 months, then 75mgs for 2 weeks, then decided to stop taking them altogether, i didn't know how bad the side affects where as i was never told by my doctor, but like novacain didn't want to take that step back,it took about a week and i was feeling good slept a lot when i could,again been of effexor 3 weeks.
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I was just switched from Effexor 250mg XR  to 200mg of Wellbutrin because I am pregnant. I couldn't understand why I was sweating and the dizzyness and brain aches. Thank you all for your comments. I feel like there  is hope in recovering from the withdrawals of stopping Effexor. This drug helped me greatly when I misscarried  twice last summer. Now that I have read more on it, I know that yes it helped me, but when I am done with my pregnancy I will not be going back to Effexor.
The brain fuzzies are not worth it. There must be something better.
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Just following up to my earlier post.  It's now day 8 since finishing the Effexor and I feel soooo much better.  Still a little over emotional - as to be expected when coming off an anti depressent - but no longer dizzy/nauseous.  

If anyone else is still going through this, stick with it if you can, but see your doctor if you need to.
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Novacain, I'm glad its working well for you. I've been enjoying getting remarks from people about how much different I seem (in a good way), and how much better I look, including people who have no idea I was ever on anything. Those are very encouraging words, and really help me to know that I did the right thing.

For the ones who still suggest that I should have tapered off, well I'd much rather have more severe symptoms for a short time than to stretch slightly lesser symptoms out for a much longer period of time.

And again, I want to remind anyone considering how to quit Effexor that I am also on Trazodone, used as a sleeping pill, but its also in the AD family. So this may have helped reduce the withdrawal effects for me. So please don't think that just because my withdrawal was fairly minor that yours will be to. Many, many people on here have gone through hell coming off it, so I consider myself extremely lucky. Good luck to anyone who attempts this.

Jim
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"For the ones who still suggest that I should have tapered off, well I'd much rather have more severe symptoms for a short time than to stretch slightly lesser symptoms out for a much longer period of time."

The science does not work that way at all, as I posted on July 16. Consider that ice cream has a small quantity of rat poison in it. You could probably eat a bowl with every meal for 30 years and experience no adverse effect. Take the total poison in 30 years worth of bowlfulls (32,850 dosages) and eat it all at once with a bowlful of ice cream and see how you feel, should you happen to live. Same with cold turkey, hitting your body with the harsh changes all at once.
You might have experienced just tiny symptoms (instead of what you are claiming would be "lesser than severe") with a proper taper, so your statement that you avoided prolonged painful symptoms is totally a guess, not based on fact.

There is a reason health professionals tell you to taper, and I have provided it. Everyone's effects experienced will be unique to their body, so everyone needs to be cautious about what the withdrawal effects will be.
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I should have changed "Same with cold turkey, hitting your body with the harsh changes all at once."

to the below.

Same with cold turkey, hitting your body with the harsh changes all at once will provoke a much stronger reaction than a series of smaller jolts over a prolonged period, especially if the smaller jolts are not discernible.
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it is an individual decision taper or cold turkey!!!
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The individual decision is best made in conjunction with all the facts that your medical professional can provide, not when based on some imaginatively produced ideas. I am merely letting other readers know the ideas put forth on this board justifying cold turkey withdrawal are just self medication guesses and are not scientifically backed up.
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I have been on effexor now for 2 years, i am am recovering alcoholic and am getting help with AA, i want to come off effexor as its turning me into a zombie, i was on 150mg daily but for the last week i have been taking 75mg every 30 hours until 2 days ago when i stopped completely, Im getting the brain ZAPS blurred vision and in general feeling very apathetic, i do have a prescription for librium atm 10mg 3 times a day so hopefully that will help with any anxiety i get. Ill post again over the next few days

Gareth moses.
***@****
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I have been on Effexor since February of this year and decided this week enough was enough.
It has been 2 days since I took my last dose. I have blurry vision and am agitated, but on a good note I also have noticed I don't feel as bloated as I did.
Here's hoping I can get off this and other anti-depressants. Prozac and Welburtrin were ineffective, Lexapro and Cymbalta were a weight-gain nightmare and this Effexor has just plain scared the tar out of me.
Done, Fini. Good luck to the rest of you are in the same boat as I.
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NEVER stop immediately taking Effexor. If you do, well, what these people experienced happen, extreme dizziness, headaches, loss of balance, sometimes consciousness, everything.


Please talk to your doctor about properly going off of Effexor. It will take many months of tapering off doses before you are fully off it.
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well I suppose it's reassuring that it's not just me who is experiencing all these symptoms! Seriously, thank you all for sharing...

It's brutal though - I was on 225 mg for 4 years, and found it fairly easy to get down to 37.5 mg a day, a dose that I was then at for like 3 weeks.

The strange part to me is that getting off this last bit is by far the worst...after a week now, my symptoms are getting worse: I am nauseous, dizzy, confused and disconnected from the world around me, and feel like I'm going to burst into tears at any minute. Oh, and any eye movements make a weird noise in my head like a lightsaber moving in Star Wars...lovely!
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Just curious, why are you going off it? Were you feeling ok on it and want to see how you do off, or are you planning to go on another med?
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I found that wellbutrin works much better for me (the effexor had never been particularly 'effextive' for me, though I tried for years on it, before a different doctor suggested trying wellbutrin). So the idea is (suggested by my doctor), why not be on only one medication rather than two if the results from one alone are good... Plus I just couldn't deal with the side effects anymore.
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I am 52 yrs old and I had never taken an antidepressant but was prescribed Effexor XR last year for depression. This was the first time in my life I did not research a drug prior to accepting a prescription. Probably because I was somewhat depressed, having lost my job and dealing with 2 separate cancers. I have gained 40 lbs in one year and see no benefit from taking this evil concoction. I asked my dr to help me withdraw and I have tapered from my 150 daily dose to 75 to 37.5 to nothing. I have been sick, sick, sick throughout this withdrawal. I have now been without any meds for a month. My ears will not stop ringing and my brain zaps are driving me nuts! I am angry! I want to know how to join up with other Victims of this poison in a class action lawsuit!!!!!
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I have been on antidepressants for 15 years now. I started 6 years into drug addiction recovery because I had developed a full blown eating disorder, (all related to the addiction thing) so a doctor prescribed prozac back then. It's now been 15 years day after day on some kind of anti depressant and I'm tired of it. I have experienced all of the listed symptons simply by missing one dose of 150 mg Effexxor XR 150 and am now going thru withdrawl (withdrawal) after stopping completely  (after at least 4 years on effexxor)and replacing it with Pristiq 50 mg for 3 days now. I spent the whole day yesterday in bed from the night before to this morning cause I had to work, or I probably would still be in bed. Work was extremely difficult to get thru and as the day went on I decided to get off these meds completely. Im interested in hearing from anyone who has succeeded in doing this. I wonder if I need to go to a detox for a week so I can get thru. I know it's possibe that I may actually NEED these meds for the rest of my life but how do you know? I feel the need to find out if I can live without them. Of course I will consult my MD before I start.
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The first thing to determine is whether you are feeling depressed now or normal. If still depressed, you need to keep testing meds until you find one that works.
Write back with more info.
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birdie0907, your statements over and over point to two things: Blindly following your doctor's orders, and tapering off. Well the doctor you want me to listen to is the same one who put me on this ****, and told me of a couple very minor side effects. Nothing about severe weight gain, turning me into a zombie with no personality any more, leaving me with no energy to do anything, and worse of all- never mentioned any withdrawal effects. When I was having problems (which I later found to be caused by effexor) his solution was to up my dosage. Worse of all, it only worked well for about a month when I first started taking it, then seemed to do nothing for me.

When I had an appointment with him last week I told him about quitting effexor and how great I'm feeling again, he said that its great, that I did the right thing (so why did he prescribe this particular medication then???). He now wants to put me on something else. I asked what for, I'm feeling great? He said I should be on something. I'm still on trazodone, and that alone seems to be working fine. I have begun tapering off that though, so see what happens. So far I'm down from 150mg a night to 75, and some nights I skip it alltogether.

My main point is that many of our doctors don't have any clue about Effexor, and yet you want us to follow their orders. And as I keep seeing over and over reading previous posts, even most people who taper off slowly end up with the withdrawal effects, such as ScrewedSoBad above.

Jim
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If you can't follow your doctor's orders, you need a better doc. There is a reason doctors go to school and hopefully they learn even more when practicing medicine.

Medhelp posting rules do not condone self-prescribing, so I am glad that you say I am consistent.
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I have been off of Effexor XR  for about two weeks and wondered if anyone has felt joint pain?  My whole body aches and it is especially worse in the morning when first getting out of bed?  I am also hoping the aggitation goes away.  My poor kids.  
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I did get some joint pain for a while, but it went away within a few weeks. Hang in there, it will get better.

Jim
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I'd like to thank everyone that has posted on this forum - ur comments have helped me through sooo much! gotta love the net!
I was on effexor xr for about 12 months and it really helped with my mood (i've had depression since I was about 13 but didn't start taking antidepressents until i was 19) I am now 24. the problem with effexor is that it made me diabolically itchy all over but particularly near my glands. there was no rash or anything just a horrible initial feeling of having walked thru a spider's web followed by an intense itch in my underarms, neck and groin
the docs had no idea and get prescribing thrush meds or moisturiser - i felt so alone. i knew there was something really wrong. during this time my eyesight began to suffer as well but i just put it down to working in front of a computer all day.
Finally after 12 months of whinning to my doc we decided to come off the meds. I tapered down slowly but still experienced AWFUL withdrawals. i had a week off work due to the nausea, diahorea, headaches, vertigo and of course the insatiable itch. Not to mention the night fevers and nightmares which i ended up combating with phenergan (a super drowsey antihistamine)

i read the posts on this forum everyday and it helped keep me focused. it helped pull me thru!
YOU CAN DO IT EVERYONE! YOU CAN MAKE IT THRU THIS!
i ended up opening the 75mg capsules and halfing them for a week, then halfing again for another week (taking a quarter of the 75mg) and then halfing them again (an eighth of 75mg)
the doc recommended taking 75mg every second day but this made the withdrawals worse for me.

it has been one week and 4 days off effexor. i still have headaches and nausea but not as bad. my bowl functions are still not normal but it is bearable. the only issue i have currently is that i am soooooooo grouchy. i struggle to shrug things off and become angry and annoyed at the slightest thing
any tips?
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I have been on Effexor XR 75 mg for about 8 and 1/2 years.  I lost my job a few years ago because my blood pressure would sky rocket and the stress became to much.  So I had to find a way of getting the prescription and the company helped me.  I recently sent in my refill only to be told that I had missed the prescription refill by two days.  My prescription ran out.  So I was down to less then a week of pills and it even getting the prescription from the doctors office and then sending it back would take me over 10 days.  I was out of my pills.  It has been almost 2 weeks without my pills (going off cold turkey) and still haven't got the prescription from the doctors office.  So I started looking up withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.  Thats how I found this site and wow what a list.  None of the symptoms were told to me when I was given the prescription and after reading the comments on this page I have decided to not even bother trying to get the prescription refilled at all.  After such a long time of being on the pills, let me tell you that 12 hours after the missed pill and withdrawl (withdrawal) starts.  The more I read the more I cried and then I get angry.  OF course...lol.  I have not been sleeping, so I tried to some tylenol pm medicine.  Just one and I slept for 6 hours straight.  I felt a little better but still have the brain zaps everyone talks about, I think they are the worst.  Over the past 2 weeks I have tried different things and a lot of them help.  I have a pool that is a salt water pool.  This helps with the tired muscles and helps to relax.  Of course the pm medicine (which I only take one of the 500mg tablets a night).  The most important thing I have found is a herbal remedy that may help some of you.  Its called St. Johns Wort.  You take 3 tablets through the day and let me tell you the first time I took it, I felt more in control of myself.  It seems to help and is not at all expensive.  I bought 100 caplets for $3.00.  So $3 a month instead of over $100 i think I like this best.  
I do want to think everyone for their comments, they have really helped so much in making the jump from these pills.  My family now understands what I am going through (I made them read it too) and they are being very supportive.  I wish everyone that has been on this drug and wants off luck and sucess.
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"the only issue i have currently is that i am soooooooo grouchy. i struggle to shrug things off and become angry and annoyed at the slightest thing
any tips? "

It could be the effects of needing but not having a med. You were depressed for 10 years, so that problem may not be going away. You should mention this to your doc for review. Is he a psychiatrist, of just a GP?
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Herbal claims are not reliable, since they did not go through double blinded studies like any prescription drug that goes through trials. The latter part of my sentence provides a not great comparison with meds because depression is tough to deal with but as an example, there are lots of herbal claims to cure baldness, but does anyone with a brain really think they work?

There are no manufacturing standards of purity for over the counter herbals, so the purity is not guaranteed. Thus, you could be getting different dosages with each pill or bottle, despite what the label says.
You could also be getting a placebo effect if you are feeling great with just St Johns, in which case you may not need to be on meds at this point in your life.  

Monitor yourself carefully, because a second depression almost guarantees you will suffer from chronic depression the rest of your life. I read that stat in a book, and a doc on this board posted it a while back. It is almost as if each dep bruises your personality, and makes a permanent dent. Even 1 dep occurence gives you high odds of another, but 2 puts it at 95%. So see a med professional immediately if you are feeling a second dep coming on.
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I didn't mean that the St. John's wort helped with the depression, it helped with the side effects of the withdrawl (withdrawal) of the effexor.  Maybe I worded it wrong.  I was not on effexor for specifically depression, I had severe anxiety and panic attacks.  I sleep better with the st. johns wort because my muscles are not as tense.  I still have the brain zaps from time to time, but I can function better with the effects being softened.  I know that herbal remedies do not have even the power a prescription med does, but it don't have the withdrawl (withdrawal) effects either.  I had to quit the effexor with no help, no weaning me off or putting me on another med.  I had it and then I didn't.  Without the help of the herb I was a walking zombie, an extremely hateful one at that.  I don't want anyone to just go off their meds to take the herbal remedy, I was just trying to offer some help to soften the blows of the withdrawl (withdrawal).  
So don't anyone just quit your medication to go on herbal remedies.  I just thought offering what helped me when my doctor wont, would help someone else.  
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Hi,

Does anyone else think this thread has outlived it's use by date? Over 2 years and once a week or so there is a new post about Effexor which most of you ignore.

Why?

This thread is full of what is now old and irrelevant information as those who were suffering have since recovered and moved on and it's only the newer ones who see it and think everyone on Effexor has the nightmare of nightmares. They don't. And it is by far one of the most succesful anti depressants around. I rely on it but have had to drop it twice so far due to petering out but am currently back on it.

First time off was awful, mainly a visual/dizzy thing I can't describe properly which lasted 3 months. Second time off? Nothing at all. 3rd time? Who knows, I'll wait and see.

I just think 2 year old withdrawal pains are a waste of time and the newer posts should be given attention first.

To MK,

You go to great pains to explain to Birdie that you are not recommending herbal remedies in lieu of prescribed meds. So why mention them at all? You and I both know how useless and normally disappointing they are, if not downright dangerous, for instance when someone mixes St Johns with meds in the body.

You say it helps with the side effects. Actually so does paraceutomol (spelling?? - headache tablets, mild pain relief.)

Why take this damned weed when readily availalable cheap pills for pain relief can be had anywhere? Why?

The only reason is people keep saying it "works", it "helps" when it does not. Just don't push it at people mate, please.

When you find the miracle cure let us all know but until then how about you leave it to the docs huh?

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The original posters have long gone, but new ones who want help show up here. I don't see the harm in anyone keeping this thread alive by answering their questions, especially since some mistakenly think self medicating is the way to go, instead of finding a doc they can trust.


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Hey Birdie,

Of course mate, but I'm really just suggesting we use the same process but with NEW posts, not one old one. Have you noticed how separate posts on this topic are really just ignored by most? That's all I'm getting at. What's oj this thread is, frankly, scary for far too many who are on Effexor but now expect the next thing to death. It ain't necessarily so is it? Of course I'm now keeping this damned thread alive but will desist from here.

MK,

Calm down mate. What nasty comments please? Just reiterating what you yourself wrote and wondering why you say good things about a herbal remedy that fails so many and can harm people if used badly. What is wrong with that?

I'm sure I've responded to you before in a supportive way and would ask you actually consider what others say instead of insisting on your thoughts. If others tell you it is not right it is up to you to justify your comments, not get upset etc.  That's what support is about really. The ability to exchange valid, useful information impartially.
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I don't see why you are leaving this thread. You have taken Effexor, so know something about it. Most who post here do not use MedHelp regularly and see this thread as their only aid, so I see no reason to ignore it.
What does "oj" mean?
The fact most who posted here are terrified about Effexor but you are not indicates a use for the thread.
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Ok so I believe I overreacted.  I am sorry, I just get definsive when I try to say something and I'm told not to tell people what I am thinking.  First like I said I wasn't on effexor for depression only, which does make me different a little.  I have anxiety severly as well as a horrific social problem.  I guess I see that everyone is out to judge me and hurt me.  My panic attacks do take over some.  So I guess I felt as if is was being suffocated.  
My whole thing with the herbs wasn't to conform others to do it and I guess I really don't know how it will effect others for depression.  I just felt that it Softened the effects.  I have to say though except for the anger and crying spells, I don't feel the other symptoms much anymore.  I feel better and just thought it would help others.  It was actually suggested to me by a pharmacist, which of course is not the real doctor but close to it.  After about a week of not having anything, I was alienating everyone and I didn't want to go back on something that makes you feel awesome as long as you take it, but has some extreme negative effects when you don't.  I have learned over these last 8 1/2 years how to control these attacks and not focus on the negative.  
Please accept my apologies for the outburst that has me looking like I should be committed.  
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I quit Effexor cold turkey about 4 days ago.  I realized my physical symptoms were worse than my mental issues and I'd had enough.  Was always stopped up, had horrible dreams, constantly waking up in a pool of sweat, my balance was wonky, you could play connect the dots on my legs from all the bruising I was now so easily prone to, and then all the non stop constant migraines were just too much.  Thought I was going to be doing myself a favor kicking these pills to the curb.  I had no idea that there would be all of these side effects.  Funny, I actually thought I might be pregnant and was going to have my husband pick up a prego test.  God I am so dizzy and the puke-ish feelings are out of control yet I CAN'T puke.... My vision is so blurry and when I wake up it's like I have a hang over or am drunk but without all of the fun.  I have weird ringing in my ears with this flash of light all at once and only for like a second or two.  Maybe these are the zaps I'm reading about?  The only good news for me so far is now I can poo again.  This is awful and I don't know if I should cry or laugh hysterically??  I'm also starting to think I should say F it and go refill my prescription right this second.  Especially if this really is going to last for months....I feel so helpless right now.  Damned if I do and damned if I don't.  
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You didn't say your mental issues have gone away, so perhaps a change of meds will help, otherwise how will you cope? At least call your pharmacist for advice on how to deal with the withdrawal, if you won't see your doc.
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I was on effexor xr for 9 years. It helped my depression at the time but now for many reasons I've decided to go off of it. For most of the 9 years I was on about 150 mgs. I got down to 75mg with only minor withdrawal but now that I've decreased to 37.5 mgs I feel terrible. For about a month I alternated daily between 75 and 37.5 mgs. 10 days ago I decided to try just 37.5. I have been nauseous nearly every moment since then. How long will this nausea last? Is there anything that might help it? I also can't sleep (even with ambien or tylenol pm). I really don't want to go back to 75mg and have the last 10 days be a waste. Any suggestions? Thank you.
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Someone please let this 2 year old post die
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Why it is so helpful, I am glad there is a two year old colum with out it I think I would not have understood how many people have had this issue
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Decreasing at one point and stopping cold turkey at one point did not work for me (75mg of Effexor XR per day). My doctor switched me to 20mg of Celexa a day and I had maybe an eight of the withdrawal symptoms for about 4 days before I was back to normal. My doctor and pharmacist say getting off of Celexa will be much easier than Effexor XR. I would not recommend taking Effexor unless this is going to be a lifelong commitment, I am a 24 year old woman that wants to start a family soon, I really wish the doctors and pharmacists would have told me this. I start the Celexa tapering off this month.
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I tapered off Celexa with no issues, so not everyone has a rough time. My doc got me to cut the 10s into 5s, which the pharmacist said sounded super conservative. If your doc goes down that low, you are virtually off it before you go to zero.
Good luck. Write back only make it a new celexa post so you target those with celexa experience, if you have any questions.
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I CANNOT believe how awful these effexor withdrawal symptoms are. CANNOT believe it. It is so scary to think that 75 mg of this stuff can have that much of an effect on your entire body. I took effexor 75 mg for a year and a half. I wanted to go off because it is not affordable and I work in Africa half of the year, so it's a horrible hassle. I thought I had weened myself off it well because I had no symptoms for a month. Now I feel like I have cancer. My entire body is in so much pain, especially my feet, thighs and stomach. I'm sore and my joints hurt. Feel like I ran a 100 mile marathon. It's difficult for me to walk. I have been to three doctors who all say I'm in perfect health. I felt like I had appendicitus last night and almost went to the emergency room. I'm taking vitamins that people have suggested, but I'm still extremely uncomfortable. Basically this *****. I specifically asked my doctor when I went on this stuff (begrudgingly for panic attacks) about the withdrawal symptoms and she said the withdrawal symptoms people talk about online are bs "you can't believe everything you see online." Over 1000 dollars of doctors bills later (because I had no idea what was happening to me) I'm pissed. The effexor works well while you take it, but after...oh man...it's not worth it. And if it does this to you when you stop taking it it has to mean that this drug is bad, bad, bad for you. I predict law suits and deaths in the future. Beware!
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Hey there, Do you still have joint pain? I'm trying to figure out how long to expect this muscle soreness, pins and needles in my feet and joint pain. Does anyone know if I should try and exercise through the pain or will this make it worse? Are my pains really muscle and joint problems caused by the effexor withdrawal or is it all in my head?  My doctors know nothing about this--two general practice doctors and a psychiatrist...I even went to my gynecologist for help because I thought I might have ovarian cancer or something of the sort based on my stomach pains. How much longer???
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Sounds like you did a thorough job of checking with med professionals, considering a psychiatrist should know all of the effects. When you say, "I thought I had weened myself off it well because I had no symptoms for a month.", do you mean you have been 100% off it since Aug 21?
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Yes, completely stopped since before august 21st actually. I'm worried ;(
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Am I getting this right, that you stopped taking it a month ago and all these pains just started this week, or did they start a month ago? I doubt it is from the Effexor if it took a month after not taking any to manifest, however I am not giving medical advice, just my guess.Everyone on this board seems to say they get the withdrawal effects quite quickly after stopping, and some say in 1 day.
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If you don't trust those docs you saw, check for the effects with Wyeth, the mfgr, which I copied from their site.
1-800-934-5556 Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–6:30 PM EST.
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I guess I'm back to the doctor than, txs for your thoughts.
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Call Wyeth and with your pharmacist since they are free and can be done immediately for some peace of mind. Pharmacists see it all because lots of people talk with theirs since depression/anxiety are so difficult to deal with and lots of times the person suffering needs an immediate peace of mind answer that is not available immediately from the doc. You deserve a free answer from them, and mine was very chatty and helpful.
By the way, how are you coping with the problem now, and is it depression, with another med? You never answered this question, "Am I getting this right, that you stopped taking it a month ago and all these pains just started this week, or did they start a month ago?"
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hi, im a 25 yr old female and have been taking med's for about 10 years now. i decided to come of the meds. i was taking 150 mg. i cut down to 112 for two weeks, 75 for 3 weeks, 37 for three weeks, 37 every other day for 2 weeks, now 37 every two days for 2 weeks, now 37 every 3rd day,,, thats where i am at right now... the dizziness is the worst physical symptom, however, when your emotions are jumping around like crazy, its not fun either, i hate my job, then like it, want to leave the country, then stay,, want to cry all day, cry at stupid things like the ice age movie,, its just crazy... i just cant stand being on edge all day long.. the first two days are okay,, but by the third,, you are counting the hours down until you can take your meds again! advice! come off medication as slowly as possible.. i work full time and go to school and do not have time to withdrawl (withdrawal).. its hard but definately worth it.... need someone to talk to ,, email,, ***@****  keep you spirits up everyone!
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I was on 150 mg of Exr for about 1.5 years and then 75 mg for the last 4 years. I weaned off (one pill every other day)  about 6 weeks ago.  For the past 2 weeks I've noticed one positive - I am not sweating as much and several neg's - extreme fatigue, black stools, a worsening of my seasonal and pet allergies, the munchies, and worse ... a sour mood and hostile feelings towards my partner, kids and coworkers.  I am constantly picking fights then apologizing.  Every little thing gets me aggitated.  I dont want to behave like this, should i go back on 37.5 or what????  

Thanks, Erin
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You can ask those questions on the doctor's forum link below. I believe stool color is dependent on what you eat and irrelevant to health so relax on that one, but you can google to be sure.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Mental-Health/Effexor-XR-Life-without-it/show/268380
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I have been taking around 25 mg of Venlaflaxine/Effexor for a few years now, and stopped taking it four days ago cold turkey because I just found out I'm pregnant. I know you can't take this medication because it does go through the placenta into the baby. I feel horrible and it seems no one in the world knows how long the symptoms last. I will never take this drug again or any drug for that matter. Drugs are not natural and feel very negative right now because of what I'm going through with Effexor. Anyone on here have any idea how long it takes for the withdraws to go away, from a person on the lowest dose?
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You need to see a doctor for information on how to cope with your cold turkey effects. I would contact the pharmacist who sold you the drug as an immediate source of professional advice right now.
Your comment that drugs are not natural needs to be weighed against the fact that depression is not an acceptable alternative when you see the doc.

Good luck and may you have a healthy baby.
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I am 38 female and currently in the process of going off Effexor. I was takin 300 mg daily dosage. My Dr is switching me to Wellbutrin. He had me go down to 150 mg for one week then 75 mg for one week, then start the Wellbuturin at 150 for a week and then the next week 300mg of Welllbutrin and then stay on that for the daily dosage.

I am taking these meds for anxiety. Today is my last day of taking the 75mg of Effexor and tomorrow I will start the Wellbutrin. This was my second time on Effexor and have been on it for about two years now.

I definately have issues such as fatigue, leg cramps, dizziness, insomnia or the opposite where I'll sleep for two days straight, I have IBS which seems to have gotten worse lately, very irritable and depressed.

I am unemployed right now so at least I don't have to drag myself out of bed and try to make it through the day.  I just feel so worthless. I don't want to do anything but sleep most of the time. Things I have planned, I usually end up blowing off. I actuall hope that these are signs of withdrawal and not just my general state of mind. I just want to have some energy and feel like doing things.

I start the Wellbutrin tomorrow, I hope it helps. I know it will take time to see a difference but I just need something to get me going and giving me some hope. I hate feeling like this.  

Donna
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I couldn't get my morning WB to give an effect past 4PM. The pharmacist said that is common for WB, but someone on this board said they took it a few times daily, so it you have a problem maybe that will work. I found something better for me and switched. I think it is easy to go off WB.
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A cnn article today discusses depression and the decisions a pregnant woman on antidepressants must make.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/06/antidepressant.pregnancy.newborn/index.html

I put the article as a journal on my home site in case the link disappears.
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bbaggins
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