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How long is Effexor withdrawal supposed to last?
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Avatar_m_tn
You asked "what can I do to help?".
I have posted on January 14, 2011, some relaxing techniques, and this will help you very much. Follow the pranayam and let me know how you feel after 9 days. Your feedback will help others, as kdd363 has done.
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Avatar_n_tn
I tapered off of Effexor for three months after insurance didnt pay for it. I was on 375 mg, I slowly went to 300, then 225 and made my way down to 75 mg after reading the posts of tapering off. my doctor gave me incorrect advice and told me to taper off it in few weeks. I am on week 2 without it. I am feeling better each today. the first 4 days, I was vomiting and dizzy, depressed and a crying wreck. I still have the brain zaps and occassional nausea. I suggest anyone who has stopped Effexor to take fish oil tablets, vitamin c, and I ordered a headache relief system from the bluespring wellness aka blue stuff. And it has helped a lot with headache and brain zaps. Withdrawal is awful and I understand it is hard, but each day it will get better. God bless
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1656661_tn?1302185277
I am on effexor xr for about 5 years. I am on 75mg. I experienced the brain zaps when I first went on the effexor xr. I am wanting to get off this drug. Have been hearing about the brain zaps when stopping this drug, and dreading them. Hoping to decrease to 37.5mg then onto 17.375 for a few weeks. Hoping to have less withdrawal symptoms that way. Wish me luck, and say a little prayer for my success.
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Avatar_n_tn
Well I decided at the beginning of march to go off effexor. First, I did it on my own without talking to my dr, had i know about the hell i have gone through i would have definetly talked to him and done it properly. I was on the 37.5 dose, i went to every other day for 2 weeks, and then off completely. So the first 2 weeks were HELL! Holy moly, did not expect that! The insaine nausea was unbearable, the brain zaps, the dizzies, the spaced out feeling, and the headaches! SO the first 2.5 weeks was terrible, and now 2.5 weeks later its starting to taper off. I am nauseous from the moment I wake up, i have lots of trips to the bathroom in the first few hours of being awake, spending time leaning over the toilet and sitting on it. The brain zaps have pretty much gone now, no more dizzies, which is great! However I still have not returned to work, i am too nauseous, on good days its nice to be able to get out for a couple of hours to feel human again, but it never lasts the entire day.
I went to my dr's yesterday and he told me that I should be done with the withdrawal and its probably just the flu now. HE says the w.d only lasts a couple of weeks and its most likely not that anymore. I don't believe that! It is different for everyone, some people don't get anything and some get it severe and for a long time. I don't wish this upon anyone, if i was educated about the w.d of this drug i would have never have gone on it. It actually never occured to me that there would be a wd from a med that is suppose to make you feel better.  Had i known, never would have started this drug in particular. One thing I have found to get relief from the horrible symptoms was marijuana. It can immediately stop the nausea! It helps a bit with the pain and it give me some time in the day to feel productive, like making a meal, or vacuuming.  Well i wish everyone the best in their individual recovery from taking themselves off this horrible drug! Good luck and it WILL get better, just not as fast as you would like.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on 75mg since November 2011 for anxiety and mild depression. At the time, I would have taken anything. Now, I wish I never went on it! After reading this blog and many others I am going cold turkey as of today. I bought Omega 3, Ginko Bilboa, St. John's Wart, Vitamin D, E, B-Complex, & Passion Flower. I hope these will help the horrible withdrawals I've read so much about. I no longer have emotions, stay in doors more than ever, find it hard to workout (I've always been very active biking, running, yoga, & dance). I believe this drug causes memory loss, makes it difficult to concentrate, and makes me tired! My doctor never warned me about any of the withdrawals and has not even called me back since I left him a message saying I was going off of it. Please do not take this drug! It should be band! Wish me luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on 75mg since November 2011 for anxiety and mild depression. At the time, I would have taken anything. Now, I wish I never went on it! After reading this blog and many others I am going cold turkey as of today. I bought Omega 3, Ginko Bilboa, St. John's Wart, Vitamin D, E, B-Complex, & Passion Flower. I hope these will help the horrible withdrawals I've read so much about. I no longer have emotions, stay in doors more than ever, find it hard to workout (I've always been very active biking, running, yoga, & dance). I believe this drug causes memory loss, makes it difficult to concentrate, and makes me tired! My doctor never warned me about any of the withdrawals and has not even called me back since I left him a message saying I was going off of it. Please do not take this drug! It should be band! Wish me luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
what else can help with withdrawal symptoms?
I have posted on January 14, 2011, some relaxing techniques, and this will help you very much. Follow the pranayam and let me know how you feel after 28 days.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on effexor 150 for eight years. My doctor put me on it for anxiety attacks and migraines. For the last eight years I have taken effexor not because it helped with my symptoms but because if I didnt take it I would withdrawal. If I even waited an hour after my usual time taking the pill I would start having brian zaps. I knew I neeed to get off of this medicine. I tried cold turkey from the 150 does and of course that didnt work. I had never felt so sick even after surgery. I couldnt stand without wanting to vomit and the brain zaps were horrible. So my doctor gave me 75 mg to take for one month then down to 37.5 for a month. Then I opend my capsule and poured out half of that for a couple of nights. I havent taken any since my birthday on April 12th. Its my fourth day now and Im sticking to it. The brain zaps are no where near when I tried to quit before. I still have them but as I said on a much smaller leverl. The second and third day I felt like I could kill anyone in my way. I have treated my husband and great aunt like crap. Ive even snaped at my daughter.The constant anger is the worst part but Im very lucky to have family who loves me no matter what. Its really hard to sleep at night. My heart will stat beating really fast and it feels funny to breath. The first couple of nights I had really vivid dreams. Its always worse when I wake up in the morning. Taking fishoil first thing seems to help. On day four and the withdrawal symptoms are still here. I will return and make another post when I have an answer as to how long and what helped with this hell.
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Avatar_m_tn
Do the anulom vilom breathing technique described in my post(Jan 14, 2011) and the brain zaps will go down. As extra oxygen goes into the left and right brain, you will notice the difference in days and your anger will be controlled as well.
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Avatar_n_tn
End of day 3 after quitting cold turkey:
I decided to go on a three day juice cleanse at the same time. I am taking Omega 3, Ginko Bilboa, St. John's Wart, Vitamin D, E, B-Complex, & Passion Flower. Surprisingly I am not experiencing too many horrible side effects. I feel nausea at times and ginger tea helps. I have been tired and have allowed myself a two hour nap in the afternoon and this gives me energy to go on a long walk. Since I am on this cleanse I drink lots of water and do not drink any caffeine, which I read were bad for withdrawals. I hope it does not get worse. I have one more day of my juice cleanse and will resume to working out (running and yoga). I am staying positive and glad I am getting off this horrible drug.
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Avatar_n_tn
Also, I am experiencing bloating; however, I am not sure if that is the withdrawals or juice cleanse. Has anyone experienced stomach bloating coming off?  
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Avatar_m_tn
cold turkey with this got i wish you luck as it seems that you've read up upon it a lot which is something one must do before taking this course of action as the "zaps etc" are nothing but pleasurable and pretty a horrendous experience. take it easy if you can through the initial stages mind considering possible off days from work etc.
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Avatar_m_tn
The KEY - is the prozac bridge - it helps remove the symptons of effexor withdrawl (withdrawal). Prozac has a long life of 2-3 weeks and takes 5-6 to get into your system. Effexor has a short life so when you reduce the effexor slowly you increase the prozac to 25 mg. When you remove the effexor from your schedule you survive on the prozac. Now you start the reduction of the Prozac until you are down to the smallest level and then quit, the Prozac will then continue to slow action of weaning it from your system. Also follow the vitamin suggestions from the site below they wiall also help with your withdrawls. Help is out their!

http://www.***********.org/
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm going to join in for the sake of misery loves company.. I tapered off for 3 weeks.  Decided today was the day to stop..as I was at about 30mg and not feeling much in the way of side effects.. I don't think I have it nearly as bad as some of you, but I'm not looking forward to feeling like this for weeks.. I don't know if I'm feeling the "brain zaps", I call it wonkiness... like waves constantly going through my head.. it's annoying but not debilitating.  I hope it goes away soon.

I agree that with symptoms like this, this medication should be banned. I plan to write the FDA.  I have stopped taking other stuff in the past with effects for a few days.  This is unacceptable - there are medications that work just as well and don't have these side effects upon cessation.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been completely off effexor for 4 weeks now after tapering down from 300 mg/day. My doc and I decided to switch me to Wellbutrin to help me quit smoking, and because my insurance didn't cover all if the effexor. I was paying $150 a month for the generic venlafaxine, not XR. now, Wellbutrin is $30 a month and much more affordable. Also quit smoking after ten years with so much ease it's ridiculous. But that's another story. My withdrawals from effexor were pretty bad for a while. I had terrible brain zaps, sleep paralysis, night terrors, severe paranoia, anxiety, and I'd start crying for no reason. Once the Wellbutrin was in my system, the anxiety and crying abated. The night terrors and brain zaps are gone as well. I started taking flax seed oil and b-complex vitamins which have also helped with my low energy. I found that sleeping with the tv on very low volume helped with the terrors and sleep paralysis. My main issue is that I've been nauseous for the past three weeks. I have only actually thrown up once (while brushing my teeth, which does make me gag and wretch almost every time, but only once did anything come up). Before coming off effexor, I always had pretty regular bowels, but since I stopped I have gone back and forth between diarrhea and constipation. I have nearly cut dairy out of my diet completely, was already vegetarian, have been eating as many fresh veggies and fruit as I can. I just don't know what to do anymore. My doc gave me phenergan for nausea but I can't take it during the day because it knocks me out. I am a restaurant manager and it is really hard to cope with this nausea during a busy dinner shift! Anybody have any suggestions to help with the nausea and irregularity?
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 57 year old male. I started taking Effexor XR after my father died and I went into a depressive stage. I continued on just over a year when I started the slow taper process. I eventually came off with little withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.
Last October 30, we lost our 13 year old Jack Russell terrier to cancer. The trauma and final end of out beloved pet had sent me back into a depressive state in which my Dr. placed me back on Effexor XR 150mg. January of this year I started a painfully pill splitting ordeal of decreasing 5mg. every 3 days. I must say that this method although tedious went with little side effects until near the last 75mg's where the brain zaps started to set in. This was about the only real withdrawl (withdrawal) to speak of.
April 16 2011, I took my last 5mg dose and felt great. Two days ago (April 25) I woke up at 3a.m. and felt a wave of anxiety settling in. I went through the day coping with it not understanding why I have this symptom. Today as I write this, I am still feeling the strong effects of anxiety, nausea, weakness etc. I was afraid I was sinking back into a depressive state but after  searching Effexor withdrawl (withdrawal) sites I  can now see that indeed I am having what I think are withdrawls from the Effexor. I am hoping I can cope until this passes without seeking a Dr. who will probably want to put me back on some other drug. Can anyone relate to this?
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Avatar_m_tn
Do the anulom vilom and kapalbhati breathing technique described in my post(Jan 14, 2011) and you will be able fight off the withdrawal symptoms and get back to normal life.Come back to report your progress so others may benefit.
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Avatar_f_tn
First I'd like to thank everyone for posting their story, It makes me feel not so alone. I am 31 years old and have been on antidepressants since i was in my early 20's for depression, anxiety and nervousness. You name the med and chances are I've tried it. Now I'm on Effexor, Abilify, Buspirone and Klonopin. I've been on Effexor 300mgs for years and now I've lost my insurance. I'm taking this opportunity to stop all my meds starting with the Effexor, I went down by half (150mgs) a couple of days ago. Not only am I terrified of not being on it anymore, but now I have to worry about the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. Whenever I skip a dose I get the brain chills and get really paranoid. So far I feel really out of it, emotional and this really weird feeling when I move my head, expecting more to come. I only have 150 mg pills. Someone on here posted that they have opened the caps and taken out some of the little white balls to lower the dose, I plan to try that and thank you for the idea. Antidepressants have helped the mood swings i used to have but it has also effected my memory, concentration and energy. Kinda can't wait to see who I am without them. I really needed them when I started them because I had just gotten out of a really horrible situation and drove my new boyfriend (now fiance) up the wall with my mood swings and picking fights. I'm glad I found this site and I wish you all the best of luck and hope to read some good outcomes from you. Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
Heres the story. I've always been a nervous person (once in while my hands would get shaky when writing in front of someone or pouring a drink in front of someone, etc.) but something has been going on for a few weeks now and I'm really getting concerned. First of all, i was on the generic for Effexor XR from July 2007-January 2011...then in January, i went down to two pills a week and I believe it was about a month ago, I stopped taking it altogether. My doctor was no help, she refused to help me wean off this stuff and told me to go to a psychiatrist ( I don't have money, health insurance or time to take off work for that--fairly new at the job). Anyway, when I stopped taking the medicine, for the first couple days, I had minor symptoms (those brain zaps which actually weren't so bad this time around, neausea, fatigue, irritability, etc)..it wasn't so bad as to where I had to take a pill, so I dealt with it. I was fine (pretty much symptom free) then for about a week or two. Now to my current dilemma. After the week or two of not having any withdrawal symptoms, out of nowhere, I got terribly nervous about grabbing things from people (my hands got super shaky when I would have to do this.)...this happened randomly it sucked, but I figured, okay, maybe it is another symptom of not taking the meds...the following week, the fear got more intense, to the point where I was so afraid to go to the store or hand something to someone at work. Now, for the past week, I have been having multiple panic attacks a day, I have severe anxiety, I cannot concentrate at work, I'm at the point where I am considering breaking up with my boyfriend because I feel so crazy (that is if he doesn't break up with me first). Anytime I hear someone come thru the door at work, my stomach is in flutters, heart starts racing and my hands get shaky. This is all I can think about. A few days ago, i started taking a friends Wellbutrin (one a day) just to try and cope with this or try to get it to stop...I don't think it is working. I have nothing in my life to be so anxious about rite now...everything is great..I have a wonderful daughter, my own place, a good job, a boyfriend that loves me...I'm happy..but this anxiety thing is preventing me from enjoying myself. BTW, I am 25 years old. I made an appointment to see a psychiatrist next Monday...but what can I do till then?? I'm at my wits end...why is this happening??

Update: I posted all of that yesterday in Yahoo Answers.  Last nite when I got home, I took an Effexor (I still have 4 left).  Today, I feel as equally bad as I've been feeling (panicky, anxious, fluttering stomach, fast heartbeat, etc)...I can feel panic attacks coming on, but it is like the Effexor is blocking them from FULLY coming.  New symptoms today, my hands have not stopped shaking since I woke up this morning..even during the few times I have felt calm today.  Also, my feet are extremely sweaty today.  I swear, I am at the point where I think I'm just going to admit myself into the hospital..i'm trapped with no insurance.
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Avatar_m_tn
What you can do to help your self - Start this breathing techniques 3 times a day, and let me know your progress, everyday for 9 days. First do anulom vilom for 2 days, and then all the pranayam. You will get out of this, but you have to help your body with the pranayam.
Do not stop the pranayam.There are no side effects.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Kapalbhati pranayam -(Do it before eating) Push air forcefully out through the nose about once per second. Stomach will itself go in(contract in). The breathing in(through the nose) will happen automatically. Establish a rhythm and do for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
Not for pregnant women. Seriously ill people do it gently.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.

Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close ears with thumb, index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Duration : 5 to 21  times.
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Avatar_f_tn
Just how long does it take to be completely free from all withdrawal symptoms?  

I keep reading and reading posts for the answer.  I know everyone is different.  I started taking Effexor 75mg eleven years ago after the birth of my fifth daughter sent me into postpartum depression.  I have tried unsuccessfully to wean off of it several times in the past.  Two months or so ago, I was determined to succeed.  I tapered very slowly.  Within the last year, my doc upped my prescription to 150mg, so I tapered back down to 75mg without much difficulty.  After a couple weeks, I went to 37mg, and still didn't experience any withdrawal symptoms.  In fact, I liked the way I felt.  My emotions came back.  I realized I had been living an emotionless zombie-like life for eleven years.  After another couple of weeks, I started emptying the beads from the capsule to slowly taper from the 37mg, going down to what I thought to be 15/20mg, then to 10, then to 5.  The monday after Easter, two weeks ago, I took my last dose of 5mg, and the withdrawal set in.  

I have experienced all of the above symptoms, dizziness, brain zaps, nauseousness, emotional outbursts, anger, crying, insomnia, vivid dreams, weight gain (although eating seems to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, so I can live with this one.)  I'm afraid to make any kind of serious decisions because I just don't feel like I'm thinking straight.  Clumsiness.  I trip over things and run into things constantly.  Driving scares me because I don't feel focused on the road.  Three nights ago, I had an angry outburst at a couple young girls who mouthed off at my newly licensed daughter over her parking ability in a parking lot.  Almost got arrested.  I am a 43-year-old woman with no criminal record whatsoever.

I've read several posts about helpful hints.  The most helpful to me has been the Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements.  I take 1000 mg a couple times a day and they seem to help with the brain zaps and the dizziness.  I haven't tried the Benedryl but plan to.

So back to my original question....how much longer?  It's been almost two weeks.  I've seen posts anywhere from three weeks to a couple months to one that said "after a couple years, I'm back to normal."  That one scared me.  I'm determined never to take this wicked drug again, but am anxious for this madness to stop.
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Avatar_f_tn
I also was looking for an answer to "how long" will the withdrawals symptoms last.  I think for everyone, it is different.  I was "pleased" to see that eating seems to "help" with the symptoms, tho I do not want to gain weight, I thought I was really losing it, as I continually want to eat to "stop" the head fuzzies.  My dr. mentioned putting me on zoloft if the withdrawals were too much for me to handle.  I have been on zoloft in the past and don't recall having any withdrawal symptoms, so I am considering it. I AM MISERABLE right now. I am a runner - that is almost a joke. I can't run for any length of time. Its as tho my mind can't handle the movement. Lifting weights is much the same. I sat on the couch and cried at OPRAH yesterday - I couldn't comprehend her show not being on forever! (really!) I hate the fuzzy feeling in my head, the upset stomach (did NOT know I shouldnt drink coffee, so I wil stop, tho I am only able to get 2 cups down lately - used to be able to drink a pot of it!)  Ok, I have nothing to contribute, other than THIS ***** and my dr. STILL, to this day says "I never knew anyone who had withdrawals" ?? REALLY?  THANK GOD I have only been on it since Dec. 24th!  Oh, I went on the Effexor to help with menopause symptoms (I thought THOSE were bad! HA!) NOW, the hot flashes have returned, the night sweats, too and I just want to laugh or cry - it depends on the situation.  The next person that says "God is a woman" - I will mame. NO WOMAN would put another woman thru menopause, FOR THAT I am sure!  As for the FDA, they need to be aware of the withdrawal symptoms of this drug.  It is HORRIBLE.  I read someones post yesterday and it brings me some comfort. They said "for all those who are suffering withdrawals, KNOW that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.  And it is NOT a train!"
that gives me hope.  Please let this all pass soon. Today is day 4 of cold turkey after tapering from 150mgs. to 75 mgs for 3 weeks and then for about a week of every other day, to BAM. NOTHING. I am NOT going backwards, so I guess I will just tough this out.
May the force be with me. (and LOTS of tissues)
Loislane97
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Avatar_f_tn
Aren't you glad you've only been on it since December?  I will tell you, I'm at probably Day 17 or so (I'm losing track of tme) and I woke up feeling pretty good this morning.  I didn't want to do anything to change that, because the last two days were pretty bad still with the dizziness and headaches and moodiness, so I didn't take any fish oil supplements or 5HTP, and overall I had a pretty good day.  Really felt pretty clear-headed and didn't notice any brain zaps until this evening.  I did keep busy outside doing yard work, though.  The fresh air, sunshine and exercise all seem to help.  
The weight gain is crazy though.  I think a lot of it is water retention because I'm not eating that abnormally much.   My feet are swelling and beginning to look like Fred Flinstone's feet.  Will worry about that coming off when I feel physically better.  Running Schmunning....just get through this!
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Avatar_n_tn
It's like there is a little rat inside my head, trying to scratch it's way out!

My doctor put me on Efexor, I started taking it on the 11th April.  And within a week was up to a dose of 150mg.

I did'nt necessarily want to go on 'another drug', but sort help from the GP due to my current medication taken for the past 5 yrs (for long term depression and anxiety), not seeming to work that well, like i was still really feeling massive surges of hormones with pmt...

I explained to the Dr that i was very worried about changing medication due to the fact that before taking the current one that I had to withdraw off Aropax as it was adversly effecting my liver function.  The withdrawals off Aropax were horrific and i remember them rawly like it was yesterday.  I had taken Aropax for 6 yrs.

.....No problems said the Dr "I have this one it is should really work good for you".... well "I don't want anything too strong that is going to mess with me, I explained... I can't be on anything that might wreck my liver again..." I went on to explain about having to withdraw of Aropax and how it nearly killed me... like I think I could have easily killed myself through it...

....Anyway ...I started taking Efexor on the 11th April... within 24 hours I was having allergic reactions to it,  I was told by local MH to continue and up the dose,... just a few little side effects of starting the drug...

....Jaw clenching, gums bleeding, tingling teeth and gums, slurry words, can't get sentences out, ITCHY... everywhere, unable to sleep ALL night, sleepy all day, vivid repeditive dreams, difficulty staying focused, sores now forming probably due to scratching so much, heart racing, patchy dry skin, gasy stomach, DIZZY and weight gain.... just to meantion a few.

... so now local mental health lady says, oh maybe your allergic to this.  Now you should stop, well you can't stop, WITHDRAW ARRRRRRR....

All i can say is that if i didn't have my kids (that I know I have to live for) I would definately topped myself by now.  

I went on to the internet this afternoon in search of HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON FOR... I don't , can't keep it up for much longer... All of the above mentioned postings for withdrawals i am experiencing.  I am thinking I am going mad, turning into a monster, or a monster raging wanting to get out of me... Is it because I have been on antidepressants for so long that now all my anger wants to excape. Or is it the person who is under this (i couldn't live with myself if it is).  

A friend phoned today.  How are you she said.  Oh good, really she knew I had gone to the doctor recently when I asked her to mind my daughter as I rushed to a last minute booked appt.  .......Well if you want to know.... and I started with what it is like to WITHDRAW .....I sure i have convinced her i am completly mad. "do you mean to say you can't drive to the shops?" she asked yes i said and I can't look sideways, up or down or talk to anyone without yelling, I am so dizzy I avoid moving, so hungry i am eating so much, I think it helps when i eat, i am sure I will regret that soon.  The worst is the constant brain fuzzy noise, it feels like an electrical connection just touching chchchc sa as adfdad a rat in my head scratching its way out....

So now it is the17th of May, it seems i have really lost 'all face' all time, and i am not sure of the future... I have been completely off effexor for 5 days.  After not having any at all for 2 days, I couldn't cope with 'being' anymore.  Cracked open one capsual dipped my finger into it put it on my tounge.  I am only getting sleep if I take 2 zopicone.  But that night I couldn't even sleep with that.  I went straight back into allergic reaction and itched and jerked about all night.  The next day was a Sunday, knowing that I couldnt go on I telephoned the crisis team who dispacted a nurse to bring to me some amitriptyline 10mg to help with the withdrawal process. F**** now i read today that I will now also have to go through a process of withdrawing off that arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

So the amitriptyline takes just a tenny wenny edge off the withdrawals. But I now don't want to take it any more cause then I will be on that.

I am so angry with my Dr for putting me on Efexor! I was very clear to him about my sensitivity to previous drugs and was really worried about having to withdraw baddly off some thing again. And basically he does not know F all about Efexor.  This is such a crime.  It is cruel and inhuman to expect people or anything to feel the effects of such a drug.  It should not be available.  

I have no idea how long I will continue to feel so bad, how long will i hear these fuzz scratching noises in my head and be so dizzy i cant drive or go to the shops and so angry.???????? Where are the answers.  I wish i could give my doctor a dose of this.
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Avatar_f_tn
hang in there.  you will make it.  benedryl seems to help, and should help with your itching.  take some fish oil supplements as well.  you weren't on the effexor long, so withdrawal shouldn't last too long.  
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Avatar_f_tn
IM 28 MOTHER OF THREE I CAME OFF THE DRUG 6 MTHS AGO EVERY SINCE IVE HAVE PAINS DOWN MY ARM, DIZZY SPELLS, SEVERE ANXIETY, AND DEPRESION, CHEST PAINS INFACT PAINS EVERYWERE. ZAPPING IN WEIRD SPOTS LIKE HEAD LEGS FEET ARMS AND FEELING OF FALLING OR MY BRIN NOT KEEPING UP WITH MY BODY AND THOUGHTS. PLEASE CAN ANYONE TELL ME HOW LONG THIS IS GOING TO GO ON FOR. I HAVE REFLUX OR BURPING HARD OUT ALL DAY AND IM ANGRY ALL THE TIME. IVE JUST STARTED ZOLOFT ONLY 50MG BUT ITS ONLY TAKEN AWAY PART OF THE ANXIETY. PLEASE HELP
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Avatar_m_tn
This pranayam will help to take away the anxiety. Do it for 15 minutes 3 times a day, with eyes closed. Let me know how you feel after 9 days.Your anger and other symptoms will go down gradually and you will get to know your body.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.
May 21, 2011
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, I am amazed at reading all of these entries here.  

I was put on Effexor XR a year ago and quickly bumped up to 225 mg daily.  I had sweating quite bad and then several months into it I started having strange "spells" of mild dizziness/faintness with numbness and tingling in my tongue, gums, and lips that would last less than a couple of seconds.  As months went by this began to occur more frequently.  Finally, two months ago I mentioned these to one of my doctors because they were occurring many times a day and often many within short periods of time (say within 15 - 20 minutes, I would have 10 of these spells).  The spells also got a bit longer, but still around 1 - 3 seconds.  Some were more intense where I had to stop til it was over for fear of falling over.  I noticed the numbness and tingling was also in my hands and feet.  It occurred when sitting, standing, laying, and while doing activities such as walking, driving, and climbing stairs.  I was advised to stop driving, just in case.

I went to a neurologist who reviewed MRI results and EEG results and did full neuro exam.  His gut feel was that it was the Effexor causing the spells.  He said he had seen one other case where a patient experienced strange episodes while taking Effexor.  So the plan was to begin tapering off the Effexor to see if it helped to reduce my spells.  I went from 225 mg down to 150 mg for two weeks, then down to 75 mg for two weeks, and then down to 37.5 mg for two weeks and then revisited my neurologist.  I am happy to report that in the two weeks at 37.5 mg of Effexor XR I only had a couple of the spells and they were over multiple days.  In my tapering off of this medication though, I have had an onslaught of severe withdrawal symptoms.  At each step down the first week was the worst.  Stepping down to 37.5 mg it was bad for the first week and a half, then seemed much better, but now I am having symptoms hit me at random and at varying intensities.  After explaining this to my neurologist he suggested staying at 37.5 mg for another couple of weeks and then stopping the medication all together.

I have been working with a wonderful counselor for the last 9 months that has been working with me on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and have made much progress on the roots of my depression and anxiety.  I continue to meet with him and have noticed some of my negative thinking rebounding only a small amount since starting to taper the Effexor, and am staying on top of it using the therapy methods.  

My withdrawal symptoms cover a wide range.  I have had headaches that feel like large rods are being jabbed into my temple regions over and over and over...  Headaches where it feels like a meat cleaver is being shoved down into the back section of my skull.  I have had these icy stabbing feelings around my forehead region - always in different places.  (perhaps the zaps others mention?)  I have noticed mild confusion, difficulty expressing myself with words, difficulty now in reading words correctly, difficulty typing even (skipping letters, making more errors, going much more slowly).  I have had large mood swings - from euphoric to very depressed and crying uncontrollably (which vanish in a matter of an hour).  I have been quick to burst into anger and yelling.  I have been very dizzy.  I will be sitting completely still and feel seasickness, feel like I am moving, or feel like I will fall over in a head dive / somersault.  I have felt swelling and itchiness too.  I have not been able to go to sleep until very early in the a.m. and then wake up earlier than usual as well.  Other times I am incredibly sleepy and cannot keep my eyes open.  I have had hot flashes (I'm only 30).  Cold sweats that soak my shirts.  Shaking or "tremors" in my hands.  Feeling faint.  Feeling achy and all around yucky.  Having lots of acids in my stomach, lots of very bad nausea, and bowel issues (diarrhea).  Feeling like I am going to vomit.  No patience.  Difficulty remembering things.  Feeling like I've blacked out.  Confused thinking and associations.  Aches and pains in random places around my body.  Feeling like I've got multiple bricks on my chest making it difficult to breathe.  Very long strange vivid dreams.  Initially I had reflex like twitches in my arms and legs (one that woke me up where both legs shook violently side to side from my hip region).  Strange things occurring with my vision where it's like I have white streaks or spots right in the center of my vision (when coloring with my kids I couldn't tell if my crayon was actually putting color on the paper or not and had to look at the spot from the side rather than straight on).  Feeling really drowsy or like I'm on a different planet.

My husband fortunately has been able to work from home during this withdrawal process.  The first day he left me at home with our girls was day 13 on 37.5 mg and mid-morning I began shaking, feeling faint, feeling weak, feeling cold, sweating.  He came home and I went to the doctor and after the exam was told it must be from the Effexor withdrawal.  I had no fever and my heart and breathing and oxygenation was all good.  The doctor said to keep an eye out for fever.  

So, I am still not driving - which has made it difficult for us to get our daughter to preschool and get any errands done.  I have not been leaving our house because of fear that the withdrawal symptoms will cause me to faint or other.  

I spoke with my brother in law who is becoming a psychiatrist and he said his mother had taken Effexor at one time and that it was hell.  Off the top of his head he said that it has a rather long half life and could take up to 4 weeks to be completely out of your system.  I am continuing on this regimen of another week or so on 37.5 mg and then will work down to none...all in hopes that these symptoms will be gone about 5 weeks from now.  Fingers crossed.

Good news, the initial "spells" seem to be all but gone.
Bad news, I've got a whole myriad of other stuff to try to deal with...  And I'm still not driving.
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Wow, I'm taken back by the amount of comments regarding Effexor withdrawal.  I started on Effexor about 4 years ago.  Although it put me in a better mood, I gained approximately 30 lb. over those 4 years while continuing workouts.  Eventually the workouts went to heck as I was carrying a 40 lb. vest with me.  With the weight gain and on again off again workout injuries I started researching the side effects.  Yep, weight gain was one of the biggest complaints I found regarding Effexor.  What really got my attention was hair loss.  I thought my thinning hair was just my age and heredity.  My Dr. fought my concerns continually for about six months.  I took my self off of my 225 mg dosage  and had gotten down to 75 mg/day when the bottom fell out.  Brain zaps like you wouldn't believe and felt like crap.  I went into the Dr. and my blood pressure was 170/100.  My Dr. began a more gradual withdrawl (withdrawal) and I began to feel better.  I transitioned over to Bupropion HCL XL and ended Effexor May 15.  I'm still feeling faint and experiencing the brain zaps.  HOW LONG WILL THIS LAST!  
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At 4 weeks and 4 days of no Effexor....brain zaps are few and far between.  My head is heavy, though, constant headache.  Very low or down mood, which I really hope is still withdrawal and not a symptom of depression.

I haven't seen anyone else post anything about swelling and circulation issues in their legs.  By late afternoon, my legs and feet are so tired and aching, and my feet start swelling.  I don't spend a lot of time on my feet, I sit at a computer and do housework.  Not sure what to do about that except put my feet up.  Anyone else experience this?

Still having digestive system problems also.
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For your tired feet, do the kapalbhati pranayam described in my post of May 6, 2011.Doing all the pranayam will help you cope with the withdrawal.
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I'm also amazed at the number of posts regarding this. I was on 150mg Effexor for over a year. I weaned myself slowly off, from 150mg to 75mg, to ~40mg, ~20mg, then off completely.

Effexor was the 5th SSRI I have been on, and by FAR, the hardest to come off of. Today is I believe my 4th day completely off the drug (I've lost track of time a bit).

My main complaint is the vertigo-like/dizziness symptoms, which is overwhelming in my case. I find it extremely difficult to move my eyes around my head without feeling like my whole head is in the spin cycle, and this crunching noise in my ears, accompanied by mild to medium nausea. I find myself having to move around very, very slowly in order to avoid crazy dizziness.

I'm also -constantly- sweating, a cold sweat making my skin ice cold. My entire body is clammy and freezing (my hands especially), while also feeling hot. Putting on clothes makes me sweat more and thus colder, taking them off is just insanely cold. There is simply no comfortable zone. I'm covered in cold sweat day and night. So far Effexor has been the hardest SSRI to kick off, and I'm very much regretting having started taking the drug.

The brain zaps are few, I have had more coming off Prozac than I did Effexor, though they weren't particularly as bad as the vertigo and nausea.

This is it for me and antidepressants, after having been on 5, I realize I'm one of the 30-40% of people who don't respond to them. Their side effects (low libido, anorgasmia) far outweigh the potential benefits they bring (which in my case were none).

If anyone is on this drug and plans on stopping it, I STRONGLY recommend getting a doctor's help to manage the withdrawal symptoms, for instance prochloroperazine (Stemetil) which is used to treat nausea and dizziness from a variety of causes.

At the same time it's comforting to see we're not alone going through this hellish experience.
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I have been of Effexor for 3 Months, I am still finding it very difficult. Brain Zaps, constant feeling of being hung over. After I did some of my own research I asked my Dr. for Tramadol. He obliged and within an hour of taking it I was perfectly normal. I continued with the Tramadol for about 2 months and while on it I was only ever bad during the mornings. I was even able to get through exams. However Dr. took me off the tramdol as he said it was highly addictive. the withdrawal symptoms returned. He gave me Mefenamic acid and then some anti inflammatory dysopan or something like that but neither worked. I went back to him today and he was completely flummoxed. He consulted with a colleague. He told me because the Effexor has a short life it should be well out of my system and i may have a psychological dependence. I nearly swung for him. He prescribed prozac with I took this morning. I am now in bed feeling very low, I guess the prozac will take a while to adjust to. I was very reluctant to go back on an antidepressant because my mood is fine or as fine as it can be living with a hangover 24/7. My problems are purely physical now from the withdrawal but cant think of another solution.
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SSRI discontinuation is a funny thing. As it's not well understood, a general practitioner might have a hard time coming up with a solution (as opposed to a psychiatrist). Though I'm not sure if your doctor plans on keeping you on Prozac for a long time. Did you ask? Using another antidepressant to ease the withdrawal symptoms while they last, is a common solution.

I think you should definitely tell him your concerns about not wanting to go on another antidepressant.
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Thank you for posting and reposting your breathing exercises.  This will be one more tool in my toolbox to ease what I know will be the upcoming withdrawals.  

Here are some other tools I am adding after researching as many sites as I can on the interenet and from previous experience.

B-Complex
Fish oil
vitamin E
choline
Anti-Vert (anti vertigo meds)
Hava's breathing exercises.
High protein diet with lots of eggs (also high in choline)

I took myself off of Effexor about 10 years ago. Back then doctors neither new about or admitted to what we all call withdrawal and they call.....I don't some kind of syndrome.  The name is not important, but the symptoms are. I won't relist them all here as they are nearly the same for every post. But taking myself off cold turkey was truly hellish.  I won't go that route again. It is also dangerous because the rebound depression was so severe. This was complicated I think by a doctor who insisted I needed to be on prednizone.  I believe I was pretty close to psychotic for a few days.  Scary stuff.

I hold myself responsible for not only not tapering the first time, which I am sure made my symptoms that much worse, but also for allowing myself to go back on 9 years later, even as I knew what lay ahead.  Talk about not trusting your inner wisdom!!  But I am ready to face the music and come off, am willing to taper slowly, and am much more responsible about how I will actively participate in my own  return to wellness.

By far the most difficult symptom to manage was the vertigo as this left me totally incapacitated.  As others stated I couldn't move my head.  The Anti-Vert was a God send and I will be asking for that specifically when I go to see my doctor.

This time things are more complicated as I am working a job where taking time off is much more difficult.  I was able to lay in bed for a few days the last time, but I'll be lucky to have 2 days at home before I return to my job as a massage therapist.  Not exactly a sit at your desk situation.  Still, this needs to happen.  I've decided to come back each day or at least each week as I begin the process to chronical the experience.  What I'm hoping is that I will have a manageable approach that others may try to lessen the severity and trauma of the experience.  I've printed off some info to take to my physician.  She is young and she is just starting out (Dr. Azeem!) and I am hoping she will listen and work to help me find ways to deal.  I am also not ruling out the "go on prozac" approach.  If that is what it takes to make this transition.  My goal is to be drug free by  Labor Day 2011. that's 6 months. If I don't make that goal, then we'll try for Christmas.  But traditionally my job is less busy in the summer, so I'd like to get it done before things start gearing up again.  I'll be back.  
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oops!  back already.  It's not 6 months it's 3.  To the end of the year will be 6 months.  Again, whatever it takes.
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Just wanted to share my experiences with every one.  I have been on Effexor 75mg twice a day since Aug/2002.  This past Feb I decided to try and ween myself off of the drug.  I got a scrip for Wellbutrin to help me get off the Effexor.  I slowly started tapering off the Effexor and I do mean slow.  Then also bringing the Wellbutrin up slowly.  I have a pill cutter that I would cut the effexor and Wellbutrin in 4ths.  I took  3/4ths a pill twice a day for a month then 1/2 for a month the 1/4 for a month then 1/4 of a pill once a day for a month and 4 days ago I quit taking it all together.  The whole time I was tapering off the Effexor I was ramping up on the Wellbutrin the same way.  I am having the brain zapps now that I have totally quit taking it which I didnt have the whole time I was lowering the dose.  My symptoms are more annoying than anything.  My plan is to slowly ween myself off the Wellbutrin this fall.  To be free for Antidepresents all together.  I think the best action for getting off of the Evil drug is slowly weening off over time.  I have taken it for almost 9 years and if I can do it I know the rest of you can just take your time and go slow.
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I was put on effexor by a doctor about 4 years ago...it was unmonitored (very dangerous!) for 3.75 of those years.
I recently saw a brilliant psychiatrist who told me I do not need them and need to go off them, I went from 130mg to 35mg in the space of two weeks, it was very traumatic onb my body.
I have been moody,have been having hot and cold flushes & sweating- the most horrendous nightmares.
I saw the psychiatrist on Monday and he said I should now try and get off it (he said if need be take a few granules in each tablet out- and have that to wean myself off the 35mg).
Although I have been through enough bloody frustration with this drug and decided to go cold turkey and get it out of my system. Since Monday I have not had any effexor at all. It is now Thursday- and today is the first day I am feeling a little bit better, (the past few days have been completely horrendous) and my fiance’ is going nuts as a result. Yesterday was possibly the worst day so far as I work full time, and  am finding it shocking to concentrate and even wake up in the morning. I constantly feel myself wanting to cry at just about everything- and there have been times that I have uncontrollably- like someone has told me news of a family death, that type of horrendous crying.) all the time I have had terrible mood swings, sweating, nightmares, and oh my g-d the dizzyness I think is the worst bit...I have not really experienced head aches but feel a bit like I am living in a dream sometimes (as everything is fuzzy and warped). I have been forgetful, weak and literally to make the bed seems like a big task.
Saying that day 4 of no effexor has been the best so far. I am a lot LESS dizzy today and even though I woke up and had an emotional crying attack, I feel not nearly as bad as I was on Monday!
What I can say is EAT HEALTHY- mainly lots of proteins, and WALK- taking deep breathes in and out- try to relax your mind and your body- GET LOADS of sleep (at minimum 8 hours a night) as you will find this rests your body heaps! I cant wait to get this TERRIBLE medication out of my system- even though I am a bit nuts- I feel much more REAL and CLEARER without it!
Good luck to all of you that are coming out of this nightmare- stay strong and be positive...I am trying. *Cry*
Luck and love.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was put on effexor by a doctor about 4 years ago...it was unmonitored (very dangerous!) for 3.75 of those years.
I recently saw a brilliant psychiatrist who told me I do not need them and need to go off them, I went from 130mg to 35mg in the space of two weeks, it was very traumatic onb my body.
I have been moody,have been having hot and cold flushes & sweating- the most horrendous nightmares.
I saw the psychiatrist on Monday and he said I should now try and get off it (he said if need be take a few granules in each tablet out- and have that to wean myself off the 35mg).
Although I have been through enough bloody frustration with this drug and decided to go cold turkey and get it out of my system. Since Monday I have not had any effexor at all. It is now Thursday- and today is the first day I am feeling a little bit better, (the past few days have been completely horrendous) and my fiance’ is going nuts as a result. Yesterday was possibly the worst day so far as I work full time, and  am finding it shocking to concentrate and even wake up in the morning. I constantly feel myself wanting to cry at just about everything- and there have been times that I have uncontrollably- like someone has told me news of a family death, that type of horrendous crying.) all the time I have had terrible mood swings, sweating, nightmares, and oh my g-d the dizzyness I think is the worst bit...I have not really experienced head aches but feel a bit like I am living in a dream sometimes (as everything is fuzzy and warped). I have been forgetful, weak and literally to make the bed seems like a big task.
Saying that day 4 of no effexor has been the best so far. I am a lot LESS dizzy today and even though I woke up and had an emotional crying attack, I feel not nearly as bad as I was on Monday!
What I can say is EAT HEALTHY- mainly lots of proteins, and WALK- taking deep breathes in and out- try to relax your mind and your body- GET LOADS of sleep (at minimum 8 hours a night) as you will find this rests your body heaps! I cant wait to get this TERRIBLE medication out of my system- even though I am a bit nuts- I feel much more REAL and CLEARER without it!
Good luck to all of you that are coming out of this nightmare- stay strong and be positive...I am trying. *Cry*
Luck and love.
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Thank you so much for the advise and blogs!! I thought I was going crazy!! I've been on Effexor 225 mg for about three years.  It started out as 37.5 then the doctor increased it as she thought I needed more meds...Well looking back, I do believe had I went to counseling and other alternatives instead of increasing the dosage I wouldn't be where I am today.  All of you out there think about other alternatives before increasing the dosages of these meds!! Its just a bandaid sometimes!!! I'm a law Enforcement officer and the stressors of the job, home and raising children can be tough...FIND SOMEONE TO TALK TO before turning to this horrible solution.. my new doctor tappered me off until just recentley where I've stopped taking them..The vertigo is horrible, Try coming to work in my careerfieldand fixing other peoples problems when allyou want to do is stand there and CRY like a big baby!!

Does the Dramamine work and fish oil work?? I just want to be free of this stuff!!!

Thank you, this has been a help just knowing I'm not alone and there are people who understand!!
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I ran out out of my effexor xr 150mg a few days ago and had a huge urge not to to fill the new script. I've wanted to be off them for some time now and thought I have to start somewhere. I feel like my head is well and doesn't need this drug anymore. I saw a psychologist for many appointments over the past year and believe I have worked through many "issues" and self improvement. Reading the tapering of anti-depressant medications, I wonder if I should of tried this. However in Australia we can only get the drug in 75mg incriments, and this costs the same as the 150mg pack as well. I always feel fuzzy headed on this medication which I went on a few years ago due to extreme moods and suicidal thoughts.I told my partner I had stopped taking the meds and he asked what's going to happen, what side effects so he knows what he and the kids have to deal with. I said I didn't want to look up anything as it would put ideas into my head. Over the past few years on effexor I have steadily gained weight and my hair has thinned despite eating well and exercising regularly. Now I read other people have the same conditions, I always thought it was me, not the drug. Anyway, probably day 2 of no meds I couldn't sleep at all, the worst insomnia I've ever had. I wasn't stressed about anything to cause this slepplessness. The next day I had diarrhoea several times in the morning, stomach cramps contiued throughout the day, dizziness/vertigo/head spins, abrupt impatiance, and extreme diarrhoea in the afternoon. I had an afternoon sleep, felt nauseous and fluey. In fact I thought I had come down with a stomach bug. Last night I would fall asleep and within 10 minutes wake up screaming out from the worst nightmares I have ever had, and I have a lot of nightmares. But these were horrid and very vivid and made me affraid to go back to sleep. Does effexor cause nightmares? Then today I put two and two together and have read everyone's posts. OMG!! How I feel is from going off this horrid drug. It made me sad, but on the otherhand relieved. Relieved that I'm not coming down with a stomach bug or flu, it's my bodies reaction to not having this drug. Has anyone had improved/faster withdrawal side effects from taking detoxing herbs? I can't wait to be free.
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I was on Effexor XR for a little over 4 years. I quit it cold turkey back in February of this year. The withdrawals were debilitating, needless to say. I did call out of work for a whole week. I couldn't function. However, after about two weeks, I noticed a change. Everything was brighter, more clear. My head felt better. The brain zaps were dissipating. Most importantly: I felt alive.

This drug, this addiction (that never should have been) CAN be beat. I promise all of you who are trying to come off of this horrible pill. You can do it, you just need to stay strong, and think as positively as possible (which, trust me, I know is very difficult).

My only problem now, which, I am not sure if this is even related to the Effexor anymore, is the past few weeks I have been experiencing panic attacks. I recognize them now, and can usually calm myself down. But the side effects of these are what concerns me. I talked to my doctor, and diagnosed me with GAD. He wanted to start me on a regiment of Xanax, but I only take one when absolutely needed (after this Effexor nightmare, I would rather not start back on pills). The tension headaches are constant, with a migraine thrown in the mix a couple weeks ago, accompanied by lightheadedness and a feeling of going crazy. I researched this, and yes these are all symptoms of anxiety.

However, I guess my question is...has anyone made it this far? It's been almost 6 months since I have been off of Effexor, and it is only now that these symptoms are showing up. I thought I was past the withdrawal stage. Has this happened to anyone else?

Any input is appreciated! And please remember to stay strong! We can beat this drug!
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My husband and I just found out we are expecting our 1st child. We are so excited! I had been on effexor for 3 years and was undergoing the process of weaning myself off. I got down to 75 mg when we found out I was pregnant. I went cold turkey about 7 days ago and it's been hell!!!! I have brain shivers about every 3 mins and feel like garbage all the time.  I can't take other meds to ease symptoms because of the baby. Any help would be a blessing!!!
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Feedback after quitting effexor xr 150mg 3 weeks ago cold turkey and feeling more "normal" in control of my emotions, the second week was horrible, I was unable to control outbursts and even unaware of them at the time, I've been nuturing my nervous system with lot's B vitamins. Might look into 5HTP for support or SAMe if need more if not coping with stress, but I must let others out there know, life appears clearer, I have more clarity. It's been tough, and my body has been unwell with bizzare illnessess that no other member of my family contracted, the vertigo is nearly completly gone, the nightmares have ceased, I've even had pleasant dreams, still see some halucinations so obviously still crude kicking around/ body sorting oyt new chemical balance. Totally worth quitting.
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I am jus about to go cold turkey feel so rubbish taking this drug I'm going to get off it!! Was on 225mg now down to 94mg stopped taking them today will update if side effects lick in!
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Avatar_m_tn
Follow my breathing techniques(May 6, 2011 post) to keep the brain oxygenated, and it will  help your taper down and reduce side effects.
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Hello everyone!!  This past week well since sunday, I was on 150mg I took 2 pills daily.  I know exactly what everyone is going through.  I've decided to get off the med myself.  I've been on it before and know the side effects of getting off again.  I am very scared to do it again, but I cant keep having these symptoms.  I slowly started to lower my dose this past week and decided that this weekend I would just cut it all together...yikes I am feeling horrible.  My symptoms are:  everything from feeling sick to feeling dizzy.  I cant think straight, I just want this to stop.  I know what your talking about when you say this could be the worst thing ever.  Everytime I turn my head I hear weird things...cant explain it but it drives me crazy.  I just want to go to bed, close my eyes and wish this all away, but reality of it will be that when I wake up it will still be there.  I just got married two months ago and my husband really saw a withdrawl (withdrawal) in my behavior.  I am not the same person, he said that I have pulled away completely emotionally and physically...I agree but cant help it, that is my main reason why I am getting off this med.  I hope the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms end soon so I can just be done with all of this.  Good luck to everyone getting off, I know what you are going through.
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I have been on Effexor 37.5 twice a day for over year and it has been a miracle for me.  I have suffered from major depressive disorder for most of my life.  My husband and I have decided to try for our first child and I feel the risk to the baby is too great to continue on this medication.  

My doctor advised to just start cutting the pills in half.  "It'll half the risks to your baby."  So I took half pills for four weeks and stopped taking any pills 4 days ago.  So far I am having primarily the gastrointestinal symptoms, including severe nausea.  The worst symptom right now is the awful dizzy feeling.  It makes you slow and forgetful, messes with your vision, makes you feel like you're living underwater.  I had to leave work today because it got so bad, and more time off is out of the question in my line of work.

I am thankful that I was on a rather low dose.  Has anyone been on a similar dose and made it through the withdrawals?  I just don't know how long I can keep this up.  It would be nice to hear from someone how long it took to feel a little better.
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Avatar_m_tn
Follow the breathing techniques in my earlier posts to keep the heart, lungs and brain oxygenated. This will allow you to keep working - but you have to do the pranayam for 30 minutes.
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I have been reading about all the awful side effects of Effexor the web is full of them.
The conclusions I have come to are.

Every one has different withdrawl (withdrawal) syptoms (symptoms) but a common thread  HELL....

Why hasent this insidious drug been taken off the market or at least put on the highly addictive list.

Doctors should be informed of the hidden dangers and proceed with caution.WHY HAVENT THEY done this.

Is the Medical profession Blind to the feedback or do they put it down to MASS HYSTERIA.

  What is it with this dangerous drug.

  I am sure there are many like me who want answers.


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I have been taking Effexor XR (150mg) since 2005. At some point, at least 2 years ago, I started taking the 75 mg dose. I recently decided that I am ready to stop taking it, so I went to my doctor and he gave me 30 days supply of 37.5mg dose. I took one daily for the first 2 weeks, and did great. I can't really say I experienced much of the withdrawal symptoms that people have noted. I would say I noticed very little difference between the 75mg and 37.5mg daily dose. Also, let me note that I'm an attorney and stress is part of my daily routine. Just this past weekend, I moved to the 37.5mg dose every other day. Wow....did not expect the withdrawal to come on so strong. I often break out in a sweat and have the weird fuzzy feeling, not really nausea, but just fuzzy feeling in my head. I will say that when I'm active, such as running, riding my bike, or just moving around outside, I feel the best. I leave this weekend for 2 weeks of travel in Europe, and I'm thankful that I will continue to have withdrawal while on vacation rather than trying to deal with it sitting in an office working. I just keep telling myself that I can't expect to feel great instantly when I've depended on this medication to stay in my system for the last several years. It's like gaining weight. If you've been putting it on for years, you can't expect to drop it in days.
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Follow my pranayam - breathing techniques in my earlier posts, to help overcome the withdrawal effects. Keep the pranayam methods with you, on your travels in Europe and you will feel good, and maybe help someone else as well.The extra oxygen going into the brain, will keep the head clear.

September 2, 2011
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I've been on efexor around 4 months now, in that time i gained 6 kg's, and constantly felt bloated and full even when i was starving hungry. I decided to cut my dosage from 150mgs to 75mgs, then finally went cold turkey. Its been 5 days since i stopped, I've had bad brain wobbles,irritability, and trouble sleeping, oh and VERY vivid dreams. Today has been the worst, i woke up extremely agitated, and moody, ive been yelling at everyone, and crying uncontrollably pretty much all day, im having some not very nice thoughts (like beating people) and even of suicide. Ive decided to go and see my doctor, im worried that im gonna let rip at her though.
I was very wary about starting this drug, and asked her what the side effects were, and if they could make me gain weight,being a recovering bulimic/anorexic i have to be careful of this, as i have come along way and dont want to get sick again, she assured me that the side effects were very minor, and that efexor DOES NOT cause weight gain, if anything it does the opposite!!!!
this sux =(
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For anyone going through effexor withdraws, take magnesium!!! I stopped my effexor Sunday, and it is now Wednesday and my withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms are almost gone. I take 3 pills in the morning and 3 at night. Now that the symptoms are decreasing, im gonna decrease the dose of magnesium. Im a nurse, and I had to find a quick fix for these terrible withdrawls because I can't take care of patients feeling like that! I hope that helps.
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I have taken Effexor for 7 years. Yes SEVEN!!! I was up to 225 mg and have been slowly going off. I've tried all the different ways to do it and I wanted to die from all of them. Then I talked to a psychiatrist and he told me to just cut 37 mg out each time I go down a dose. Not a whole 75 mg like all the other drs think we should do. And then he said to take a full dose one day and then the full does minus the 37 mg the next. and do that until you feel ok, which for me took about a week, then I've gone straight for a week of the full dose minus the 37 mg. Then start that cycle all over again with the next step down. I figured it will take about 6 months to get off, but so far the only side effects i've had are headaches and a little anxiety. NOTHING like when I tried to go down a full dose- where I was throwing up everything and lost 7 lbs in 5 days. so far so good, and I feel hopeful that it will be good. I'm now at a steady 150 mg from 225 and things are going ok.
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I have been on 450mg of effexor for over a year now, and in general around the 300mg+ mark for 2 years before that.  Before that I was on cipramil, but I maxed that out and it wasn't enough for me.  As much as effexor XR is hard to come off, it got me through a very tough time, so I am thankful for that.  I fall into the very small sub category of people who have a marked elevation of cholesterol from being on effexor, and after having my GP and psychiatrist being unable to decided for the last 2 years to change me off effexor or keep me on and put me on cholesterol medication, I put my foot down and asked to change off it - mainly because I do eventually want more children and I will need to come off effexor some time.

I have spent the last 14 days tapering down, and 2 days ago was my last dose.  I am on a new a/d.  

My question is how long people found the 'brain seizures' last for once they are off it, and onto something else.  I have being using Valium a little bit to get me though when it is really hard, but am very conscious of the addictive nature of this.

My biggest problem is I can't drive with the way my head it, as I feel very nauseous and sick.  I have a special needs child, and of course, it is impossible to get an respite or additional care for him, so it is up to me whether I feel like I can or not.  

I know everyone is different and hence their withdrawals are different, but I just want to get some indication if this will be over in a matter or weeks or months.  If there is some documentation in medical journals I may have a better chance at proving my point in needing additional help to care for my child.  

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! It's hard enough having depression (which I had before I had my child), or being a special needs mummy, but add them together and it is beyond hard!
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I have been taking Effexor since the mid 1990's. LONG time. Have tried unsuccessfully several times to get off of it. Been working on it this last attempt two years now, extremely gradual decrease in dose, down to 1/2 of 37.5 even, and half of that....terrible withdrawal. Would love a success story.
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Effexor XR affects people in so many different ways.  I get no side effects whatsoever.  I can start immediately on 300mg and also just stop the 300mg immediately and get no side effects and absolutely no withdrawal effects whatsoever.  Of course when I forget a dose I cannot tell until I find the next day I have not taken the previous days tablets.
Maybe this has something to do with the fact that after a couple of months the drug just stops being any help at all.
Yet with some drugs I find intolerable after only one low-dose tablet.  It's all trial and error.
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I began tapering off Effexor XR 150 mg with my doctor's help in August. I started by reducing to 75 mg per day for a week, then 37.5 mg.  I realized I would be having withdrawals and I accepted that.  I finally went off completely on September 3rd.  Almost all of the side effects are gone except I still have a nagging headache behind my eyes and continuous "white noise".  I also still have some residual zaps. I am taking it day by day until hopefully this too, is gone.  I will never even mention this drug to anyone and will advise against it.  I am not a depressed person and was prescribed this by my doctor for menopausal symptoms. I truly wish I would be able to get my doctor "hooked" on this. Good Luck to you and I hope you are coping better than I.
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Just read your comment, like everyone else i didn"t know just how bad this drug is, i have just taken my self off it, i was on 75 mg, at the moment i am having the brain shocks, they are awful, as i do shift work i hope i can cope with it.Like you i will be taking the tablets that your on I do hope they help me. I hope my eye sight is not effected by me going cold turkey as i have read that it can have an effect on your eye sight. I do wish everybody that's going off it all the best of luck and good health, as it is not  a pleasant experience to go through, as i am only on the 4th day now and i am not feeling the best, so good luck everyone.
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To cope with the brain shocks, follow the breathing techniques (in my earlier posts in this thread), to supply extra oxygen to the brain. Something you can do yourself to ease the withdrawal effects.
October 11, 2011
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I'm on day 5 cold turkey after 8 years on Effexor.  I'm experiencing nausea, dizziness, irregularity, rapid heartbeat and a stifling feeling like someone sitting on my chest. My dreams are very vibrant, some good, others horrible. I tried to work today but had to come home mid day. Very emotional and irritable.  Happy not to have brain shocks or shivers but extremely uncomfortable, foggy and frustrated.  Im taking B vitamins and will add fish oil tomorrow after reading in a lot of posts that they can help
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Hello all.
I have been on Effexor ER for 11 years, intially 225 mg daily,now down to 75 mg per day. Several years ago, if I missed a dose or 2 ( hadn't picked up refill or forgot to take) I wouldn't feel w/d symptoms until day 2, and then only mild, "flu-like" symptoms. However, twice during this past year I missed only ONE dose (had not picked up refill yet) and became very ill before the day was out... extreme headache, nausea, vertigo. The first time it happened, I had to leave work and go home sick. The second time was last week, I ended up in bed for 2 days due to severe headache, nausea, dizzyness. Felt better when I resumed my dose next day. Although Effexor has been the first med I have used that has really helped my depression, I am feeling very uncomfortable continuing with this med. The severity of withdrawal symptoms seem to increase along with the duration of therapy. I am like an addict.... unable to function without my "fix" even for one day.

So, I have decided to slowly taper down the dose on my own. Going from 75 mg tp 37.5 mg to 0 sounds like hell to me although that's what the MD's seem to advise. I bet they have never been on Effexor!
I have read about the bead counting method, but I am using the generic version, venlafaxine ER 75 mg. There seems to be slightly different numbers of beads in each capsule... some have 75, some 77,etc. Must be based upon total weight of dose. Has anyone else used the bead counting method with the generic version. I figured I would count out the beads in each capsule and decrease by 10% depending on the original # of beads in that capsule and adjust rate of detox accordlingly. May not be exact, but sure beats decreasing dose by 50%! Has anyone else tried this method with the generic er??
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May 24, 2011
At 4 weeks and 4 days of no Effexor....brain zaps are few and far between.  My head is heavy, though, constant headache.  Very low or down mood, which I really hope is still withdrawal and not a symptom of depression.

I haven't seen anyone else post anything about swelling and circulation issues in their legs.  By late afternoon, my legs and feet are so tired and aching, and my feet start swelling.  I don't spend a lot of time on my feet, I sit at a computer and do housework.  Not sure what to do about that except put my feet up.  Anyone else experience this?

Still having digestive system problems also.


I have experienced the same things.  It was about a month before the brain zaps & general yucky feeling to subside.  I went off this medication in December 2010, but recently I am starting to feel ill again.  I was just wondering if you are feeling back to normal yourself?  I am wondering if there are any long term effects to this?  Oh & I also did have problems with my legs.  I felt like they would fall asleep/pins & needles often and sometimes they would feel like numb and/or cold. My feet felt so swollen all the time.  Feet & hands had a tingle feeling.  I originally went off the Effexor because I developed a feeling in my throat like there was a lump in there when I swallowed, although you could not see anything in there (been to ENT & gastro doc).  So I went off the meds because Doc though I might be having an allergic reaction.  To this day, I still have that lump in throat feeling EVERY single time I swallow.  Which started when I was on Effexor.  I am currently having some issues with headaches, dizzy, lose bm's, neck & knee aches, anxiety, very tired, hard time with simple words.  So anyway with all the problems I had going off it & the awful withdraw from this medication my husband recently suggested to me to try looking up long term effects.  Just wondering how you & others are feeling after being off it for some time.  (End of Dec 2011 will be 1 year that I will be off Effexor)  Feeling helpless & hopeless and wanted to try to reach out.  It does help that others share their experiences.  I must say that the withdraw sypmtoms from going of the Effexor (Venlafexine) was the worst thing I have been through.  (i would of rather gon through child birth again!)  I was in bed for days and if I could of gotten out of bed, I would of went to the hospital.  I felt like I was dying!  I was able to get out of bed after about 4 days, still didn't feel all that great, but every day after that I started to feel a little bit better.  After about 4 weeks the brain zaps & general illness went away.  (I stopped the med cold turkey & after reading all these posts, it seems likes if you are weaned off that it just prolongs the symptoms/withdraw)  Now months later, im not feeling so well again & just trying to find out the long term effects or is this a whole new set of symptoms??  And why is this feeling still in my throat?  Doc's think it has to do with acid.  Anyone on here get more than usual heartburn or acid issues?  Thanks
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Hi everyone - so glad I've found you...
I have been on Effexor for about 8 or 9 years - the last 2 years experiencing withdrawal symptoms everyday even when I didn't miss my dose or take it late.  I guess the drug just "stopped working" for me.  I've seen other people post about this happening.
I tapered down, and took my last dose 2 - 3 months ago.  I wish I would have written the day on my calendar.
To this day, I'm still suffering the headaches (everyday), dizziness (everyday), joint pain (almost everyday) and sight disturbances (almost everyday).

I just want to know when it's going to stop.  I have good days and bad days.  The bad days still being really bad.  "Heavy brain" and dizziness.  Can't think straight.  Can't drive.  

I can't work.  And I'm a single mom - it's a good thing my boy is 13, and not 3.  He's good at coping on his own somewhat.  But I feel guilty when I can't do stuff with him.

This drug has caused me to be unable to work.  My debts are all in collections now.  I'm happy that I'm finally off of it - just anxious to feel *better*.  I need to work.  I need to be a good mom.

Thanks for letting me vent...I hope I can lean on you all.  Sometimes this all feels really lonely.
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You can reduce the withdrawal effects you are suffering, by following the breathing techniques in my post of May 6, 2011. You will feel the benefit in weeks as extra oxygen gets into the brain. Do the anulom vilom first.
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Thank you this has givin me hope... I have been on Effexor XR for over 10 years and have been up to 300mg., than down to 225mg, and now I am on 75mg, and a long dose of prozac. I am praying and hoping that I can get off Effexor XR, I have tried in the past a few different times and i couldnt do it. It was horrible. Brain zaps, feeling so abnormal and not myself and even more severe anxiety and panic attacks. I have however never  tried to get off of it with prozac and i hear it works pretty well. So wish me luck everyone and I really hope to conquer this once and for all!!
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I have reduced my dose from 75g for just over a month. I dropped beads then tried to go more days without anything at all. I get so scared that I won't be able to cope with day to day and relationships with out the drugs effect. I know it is something I want to stop and doing lots of pilates an meditation helps a lot. Do the zaps just fade away or does it come back unexpectedly?
I'm on day 5 nothing at all and just feel like crying all the time and no appetite. Please say this is just part of withdrawal and not depression returning. Gets worse before it gets better right?
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Hi my Doc/Psych, adviced me to come off of the Effexor while hospitalized so it could be done in a controlled atmosphere. I was taking 150mg AM and 75mg PM: right away it was changed to 112.5mg during the first 4 days in the hospital - the brian zaps/migranes were a killer but being in the hospital, they gave me meds to help with them.
After 4 days I noticed my thinking was becoming much clearer and I could smile easiler. Then they lower it to 75mg a day...this is when the chills started and then the sweats, dizziness, and the 'runs'. I also suffer from digestive system problems after having gall bladder disease for years until it was removed and everyone who has had their gall bladder removed knows what I am talking about...the 'RUNS'.
After 4 more days the Dr. lower the Effexor to 37.5mg a day...I felt amazing except for the chills, aches, joint pain, 'runs', and migranes (migraines) in the evenings. Over the 4 days the symptoms gradually lessened, except for the mucsle aches and joint pain, and some sensory acuteness.
When I read another post:
"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."
She was wondering if anyone else felt the joint pain???  I DO!!!  No one prepares you for this. I find 2 Extra Strength Tylenol & 2 Advil help alot.
I still needed to be on an antidepressant, so I started a new pill and am still experiencing some side effects and was sent home from the hospital and told I would probably experience the withdrawal symptoms of Effexor for the next 4 to 5 weeks.  So there is HOPE!

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I took four months to withdraw slowly from Effexor. I was on the low dose of 37.5 mg for about 5 years.  Well, after opening my capsules and taking less and less of each capsule till I was down to a couple of the balls, I suddenly had my first panic attack.  It was horrible and something I have never experienced before. I continued on my withdrawal system though and a week later I took the last little bit.  Again a panic attack - was sure I was going to die.  Was up all night pacing thru my house.  Third time my husband took me to the ER in the middle of the night but they did nothing for me but tell me to take benedryl.  The next morning I went straight to my family Dr. who seeing  the wreck I was told me to go back on the Effexor but she would set me up with a psychiatrist as he knew more about this.  I went to see him and he told me that pretty much a path had seen set by the Effexor for panic attacks and they would probably never stop now.  I went on Effexor on the advise of my gyn to help with my hot flashes.  Because of this drug I can now never stop it because it has now caused me to have a panic disorder! Now what do I do????
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Hi I came off 150 mg's of effexor cold turkey my GP's fault he swopped me to one that works on a different part of the brain !
You do not have a panic disorder effexor w/drawals do not go away because you go back on it infact they usually go worse because second time round your brain remebers the drug,
I could not function for 4 months i had ibs, palps, anxiety, nausea, body jerks. I am now weaning off dolsulipin very very slowly as advised by my support group CITA they do it much slower than the Dr's.
Please note w/drawals mimic depression, anxiety out adrenaline is switched off while we are on them then goes awal especially when we come off too quick. We have to withdraw very gradually and trick the brain.
When you stabilise which you will in time contact Cita and they will advise you how to do it or you can keep in touch with me. Just hoping and praying they have not upped your dose or combined meds. Your brain needs to adjust to going back on and any changes as well !
But remember it can be done but you have to remain very strong as its a bumpy rd to travel but seeing the real you emerge is reward beyond belief !!
God Bless
Love
Lorraine xx
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i have been off effexor since september, it is now november.  the withdrawel was aweful, but i worked with my doctor and was determined to get off.  i cut pills, and eventually made it within a few weeks.  problem is, since then it started with extreme hip/knee pain.  had an xray, nothing.  now i am having panic attacks like crazy and am exhausted and contstantly nautious.  all i want to do is lay in bed.  i have 2 kids.  tried welbutrin b/c i thought these pains were due to depression - but today went back on the effexor with a side of a happy pill to get me through.  2 months and i feel like i am going to fall on the floor - feel that overwhelming hot/cold feeling, terrible headaches.  feel like i have the flu with no symptoms.  it is debilitating and i am not sure if i should start up on the effexor again.  did take one today, but may just use the happy pill and go back to the doctor for the 5th time in 3 weeks.  they must think i am crazy there.  i was about to admit myself to the er it was so bad.  now today, with the happy pill, i forced myself to eat a little.  i am enjoying a glass of wine and planning to crawl in bed shortly for an early night.  hope thigs work out.  keep me posted.
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I want to quit venlafaxine but I dont know how, it just doesn't seem to work and I am desperate to stop. I been taking this drug for 2 years now I am on the lowest dose and I try hard to be two days off. In the second day I feel very bad if I have any arguing with anybody I just take the tablet strait away. I wish that I would never start to take this horrible drug. In the meantime I have to work as well because nobody will pay the bills for me. I am just desperate. I feel 5 minutes fine in the next five minutes I just feel like i need to smash something.
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Effexor is a nightmare!!! On the med I had severe contipation which resulted in a colon ulceration. As soon as I stopped the drug the constipation resolved. The most scarey was the effect on my blood lipid panel.  On the drug cholesterol up to 230 off one month 180. On the drug I had increased resting heart rate and max exercising heart rate easily when into the dangerous over 200 bpm level. That has improved about 50 bpm off the meds. Effexor was setting me up for a heart attack. Very scarey. Withdrawl (withdrawal) was horrific. I don't think it's over yet. It's been 3 months. I'm agitated easily. The brain zaps are gone. But now I'm having severe hip pain. The most frustrating part is that other medical professionals do not believe the severity of the side effects and withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms. I am a doctor, and they don't listen to me either. I am reading withdrawl (withdrawal) threads to see if the joint pain will resolve. Based on my presentation I believe it is an inflammatory OA. Other joints became swollen and painful, however they quickly resolved with conservative RICE.  I have a history of hip bursitis and it seems to have severely effected that joint. There is one minor study showing increased joint pain on Effexor. I would like to learn your experience with joint pain post  Effexor withdrawl (withdrawal). Please share.

My heart goes out to each and everyone of you. (I am still hyper emotional & can fly into a rage at the drop of a hat.) I found 10mg of Prozac during the final taper and 4 weeks post discontinuation helpful to successfully getting off the drug. I wish I could hug you all. This is a really rough thing to go through.  
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i quit revotril .5 mg and amytriptiline 10 mg by one month tapper off....i felt knee pain and brain zap....my ni8mare has gone...i can sleep at night....i m facing lack of energy....disorientation and hudgeeeee memory problem.... i just want my energy back and remove my brain zap.....
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Send extra oxygen to the left and right brain, with this alternate nostril breathing technique, and the brain zaps will reduce gradually. Do it twice a day with maximum duration, with eyes closed. Drink warm water, and avoid cold drinks.When you start to notice the difference let me know.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.
November 14, 2011
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You wrote my story almost to a T. I have had horrid constipation and am hoping that I do not have an ulcer but fairly certain I do. I have constant pain on my upper left side right under my ribs. My BP has steadily increased over the almost two years I have been on this dreadful drug which was supposed to take care of that problem. My dr who really is a good guy, evidently has no idea of the withdrawal symptoms, but I will share with him soon. He cut me from 150 to 75 mg about three weeks ago, and I've been going along fine till this weekend when I've flipped out on my poor husband. Going to work today was a joke - my brain zaps are endless; I can't move my eyes; I have to hold onto something to be able to walk. How I drove back and forth to work is a miracle. I also have bursitis in my left hip which I can control with diet most of the time, but it has been getting worse, and now my left knee has been really bad for the last three weeks. Interesting coincidence, isn't it? I am aching horribly all over thinking it was the flu, but after reading this.... well, along with the headache, hot/cold flashes, 'feeling stupid', and incredible sense of vertigo, I think I know it's not the flu. So it looks like the entire holiday season will be spent in a hellish fog, but I'll do it just to get off this evil drug. I will repeat, as I did today, "I can do it, I can do it." No one should have to go through this.
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and my energy problem plus i m feeling headache on upper back of head like sinus headache.....? and  what about my memory...?
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Might as well join in on this blog.  Call me stupid - this will be my 2nd time withdrawing from Effexor.  After the first time, which I was never forwarned about, I swore I would never take this stuff again.  Here I am 5 years later and I just went cold turkey.  The first time I weaned and it did not seem to lesson the withdrawals - so I figured why not just stop.  I was only taking 75mg.  I kick myself for going back on this drug when I knew.  The first time I was on Effexor for years - and it does help my disposition - but as I hit my 40's it started increasing my blood pressure (190/110) and so I stopped 5 years ago and went medication free for a time - unsuccessfully.  Tried other newer drugs but Cymbalta (great drug!) started to affect my eyesight so went off.  Then did Lexapro - this worked until my company changed insurance carriers and it was no longer a covered drug - the doc suggested Effexor - I told him it had raised my BP but he said to try it again.  No use crying over spilt milk - but I should have never followed doctors advice.  It has only been 6 months but my BP is sky high again.  So doc says take BP medicine.  I just do not want to become a pharmaceutical junkie.  There is just something wrong with taking another pill to fix what the first pill is breaking.  And so I prayed for healing - and this past sunday during a very intense time of worship at my church I asked God to heal the chemical imbalance in my brain - and then I could feel His healing power pouring into my body - it was not like any manifestation of the Holy Spirit I had ever felt before - and it poured in all day.  And so I have stepped out in faith - I am healed and stopped the effexor.  I feel some withdrawals - but not too bad (3 days off), nothing a positive attitude can't overcome.  Headache, worse when I lay down, have not slept well for two nights - and feel a little loopy - I think I am more tired from not sleeping than anything.  Checked the BP this morning - 148/110   Not good but the top number has come down.  I figure the bottom number is a result of the withdrawal.  I'll check again in a week.
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Yes the pranayam works gradually to improve your body systems and your immune system. Allow months to notice benefits. You need to do anulom vilom for 30 minutes, twice a day, everyday, to face the sunlight and improve the vertigo problem, headache and memory problem.
For the energy problem, do kapalbhati for 30 minutes, twice a day. This increases your metabolism and expels  the toxins, as the body's organs are exercised by the stomach movement.
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thanks for your advice...i like it and trying...
but negative thought which become anxiety and for this vertigo created.....so how can i remove all of my negative thought....?
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Seriously!  Get off of here!  Nobody wants your stupid breathing techniques.  You post after practically every entry.  
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that means u want to say it wont work.... !!????
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Has anyone been on a cocktail of three anti-depressants (Effexor, Busbar, Mirtazapine)for their depression? How has it worked??? ***@****
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Effexor withdrawals are real and doctors do a real disservice to their patients by not informing them of problems they could have by getting off of it. I was having problems and simply asked my doctor for a script. He said sure, without any mention of 'brain zaps', nausea, etc.

Anyway, as I'm on day 5 without any effexor, the brain zaps are about the only real symptom I continue to have. I did do a 2 week taper from 75 to 37.5, but since 5 days ago I've had none.  During the taper, I had bad headaches and brain zaps, but after a few days, both symptoms subsided. Now, my body is trying to adjust to zero effexor in my system and I'm going through some of the same symptoms...as I said before, mostly brain zaps....which are really frightening.

This withdrawal from Effexor actually does have a clinical name "SSRI discontinuation syndrome". There's a good wikipedia article on it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SSRI_discontinuation_syndrome).

One thing I can say about getting off this crap is the return of my libido! The stress and problems the loss of libido caused between my girlfriend and I was one of the main reasons I wanted off. I am very happy to say after only a few days of stepping down, I felt my libido returning ( and without sounding like I'm patting myself on the back ... lol) my girlfriend is happy too!

I'm hopeful, based on what I've read, that these symptoms are temporary and its only a matter of a few days or weeks before life returns to a 'pre-effexor' existence.

:)
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Hi Everyone..I am a 48 year old female, married with three children (14, 19 and 22)
I am stunned with the number of post regarding Effexor.   I cannot believe that there are so many of us suffering from the horrid effects of this drug and yet it continues to be prescribed to unsuspecting patients.

My story started in 1999 when I was prescribed effexor xr for clinical depression and General Anxiety disorder. To make a long story short, I was taking 300mg at it's peak and then 37.5 at the lowest.  I was advised by my doctor to continue to take Effexor xr at a dose of 75mg per day as a preventative. I have been depression free and anxiety free for 5 years now. I decided that It was time to stop the Effexor over a two years ago, but was convinced by my GP to keep taking it. Like many of you though, I knew deep down that something was not right with this drug.  If I was even a few hours late taking it in the morning I would be severely ill with nausea, tingling in my lips and arm, joint pain and brain zaps for the entire day.  Missing it for more than a day was just out of the question.  

In May 2011 I took matters into my own hands and started to wean myself off the drug. I informed my GP who was not happy.  I started by taking 75 mg for three days and then one 37.5 followed by 3 days of 75mg. I continued this for a month and then took 75mg two days, then a 37.5mg, then a 75mg for two days, then 37.5.  The next step was to take a 75mg one day and 37.5 the next day etc...I did this for two months.  In September of this year I was taking 37.5 daily until Sunday November 20th.  

I saw my GP last Thursday (24th) and she is very unhappy with my decision to stop the Effexor. Her reason is that she is worried that the depression will return. I've tried to explain to her that my depression returning is the least of my worries but she simply does not believe the severity of my symptoms. I told her that during this time of tapering I had stomach discomfort (i.e. nausea, gas, loose bm) mild brain zaps and fairly significant joint pain (including my hips).
  
Since stopping the drug 7 days ago it's been fairly hellish.  Constant brain zaps, tingling in my face, arms and legs, very loose bowels, nausea, sweats and chills, trouble focusing, trouble forming my thoughts into sentences, extreme agitation, crying very easily (even during commercials!), my joints are extremely tender, night sweats, nightmares, confusion (last night I woke up convinced that I had vomited in bed and tried to clean it up, but there was nothing there!).

I would also like to note that 6 years ago I had a heart attack, at the age of 42. Coincidentally I had missed three doses of Effexor XR due to flu like symptoms. I presented at the emergency with shortness of breath, nausea, buzzing in my head, tingling in my face and arm (left side). While reporting these symptoms I collapsed and had a full tonic seizure in the ER.  I was eventually diagnosed as having had a heart attack caused by Coronary Artery Disease. They were unsure as to why I had the seizure.  Now I don't think the effexor necessarily caused the Heart attack, but I definitely feel there is link to the seizure and the effexor.

I want to share my experience with this group so that we can all be assured that we are not alone in this nightmare.  Although I have a crazy two weeks coming up with many assignments due and busy times at work  I am determined to never take another Effexor XR again.  
Thank you for providing a place to vent and to share my experience.
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I took my last Effexor XR on February 25, 2011.  I had been on the drug for 10 years.  It was prescribed by my GP for peri-menopausal panic attacks.  Two years ago I starting I needed to get off of this drug.  Was not feeling well, had put on 40 pounds, was already on blood pressure medication and my blood pressure had starting going back up. Was also experiencing foot pain, and pain in my left leg/buttock.  Well, withdrawal was a nightmare.  I am on fish oil, JNK supplement, 5-HTP, B vitamins and other supplements.  I have been left with severe pain in my lower back, left buttock, down into my left leg and left foot.  Right foot has plantar fasciitis.  I have been undergoing physical therapy for the hip pain for almost 5 months now and deep tissue massage once a week also.

This drug has devastated my life and almost killed me.  I am still suffering recurring anxiety attacks and life-threatening depression.  The bouts of this seems to last for a couple of weeks at a time.  A horrible drug!!
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I thought I'd take a moment and provide an update.

Today is Day 7 without Effexor. It's tough to tell whether the withdrawal symptoms are easing or not. I can say that the remaining symptoms are brain shivers and a foggy head/mild depression.

I do think the brain shivers are subsiding slowly. I have also noticed that fish oil does seem to help...not sure why, but it does. So my anecdotal recommendation is to supplement your diet with it.

Aside from the brain zaps (which at times were so bad I could "hear" them), the remaining symptoms remind me exactly of a hangover....foggy head, difficulty thinking, depressive mood. If you compare removing Effexor from the body to the effects of removing alcohol, they are symptomatically very similar in my case. Alcohol of course takes mere hours to dissipate and the body to re-balance whereas Effexor, even with a short half-life (5 days), appears to take a lot longer to dissipate and therefore the "hangover" lasts longer.

The mornings are by far the toughest. I find that having a bad nights sleep also makes it much worse. By late afternoon and into the evening, I'm almost feeling normal again.

My mood is very unbalanced, I get angry very quickly...I cry easily. However, I believe this is all part of the withdrawal process and I'm determined to go 4 weeks without a dose so I can make an objective review of my progress. Right now, 7 days is not enough time. It would be a lot easier if my job weren't so technically demanding...it's hard to engineer things when my brain has trouble connecting the dots.

I should also add that I am working through this with my Psychiatrist. I was tapered from 75 to 37.5 for two weeks before stopping completely 7 days ago. I do not believe a general physician has adequate knowledge of these drugs to be able to prescribe them effectively. Stick to a shrink.
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Hi there...today is day 8 for me, so I thought I would also check in with everyone on how it's going.  I certainly don't wish this hell on anyone, but it does seem to be a tiny bit better than a few days ago.  I still have occasional brain zaps, but they are definately lessening and seem to be worse when I'm tired.  Hmm, actually I'm feeling tired all the time, but I guess I mean when I'm REALLY tired.  I've also been supplementing with Omega 3's along with B complex, magnesium, 5HTP and St. John's Wort.  I read somewhere though that it may be dangerous to take the 5HTP and St. johns wort so now I'm feeling a little anxious about continuing those. I did ask the pharmacist about taking them to help with the withdrawal symptoms of Effexor XR and he said they were fine.  Hard to trust him though since even my GP didn't have a clue as to how sever the withdrawal symptoms of Effexor xr are.  
My challenge is that I am trying to finish two courses (I"m doing a masters degree part time) and have several assignments due over the next two weeks, yet my brain feels like it is swimming in pudding. I can't stay focussed on anything and whenever I try to read I fall asleep.  
I refuse to give up though...I will NEVER take another Effexor xr as long as I live.  
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i have passed 16 weeks of off antidepressant.....i did face all symptom which u faced....i m still fighting against my brain zap....but all other symptom are vanished.....just waiting when i will b normal again....
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........after quit antidepressant for two months........

my knee pain has gone....
i can sleep at night....
i am going outside now...
i m playing football...
my vocal power is coming back....
improve a little bit of my nervous...

but when i try to sleep at daytime i feel inflammation in my body and in my head....and still a little bit of brain zap in my head....i cant take stress or cant think much more....and looking for my ex personality.... :-)
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u r rai8...whenever i try to read i fall asleep....and i cant focus...i cant talk to much..i cant give pressure to my brain...everything become desultory....when i try to study i see weird,hallucination....after reading 4-5 times it become clear that what is correct....
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Hi my name is kelly and i have been on 75mg slow release venlafaxin for around 4 years now, I am now on day 3 from going cold turkey I have had dizziness and tiredness, i have had 3 5min spells of crying then wonder why i was crying after, so far i have been able to deal with the withdrawals although the dizziness is the worst but i am determined not to take this drug again. i'm just wondering how long other people withdrawals lasted and if any one has any suggestions to help with the dizziness?
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Hi my name is kelly and i have been on 75mg slow release venlafaxin for around 4 years now, I am now on day 3 from going cold turkey I have had dizziness and tiredness, i have had 3 5min spells of crying then wonder why i was crying after, so far i have been able to deal with the withdrawals although the dizziness is the worst but i am determined not to take this drug again. i'm just wondering how long other people withdrawals lasted and if any one has any suggestions to help with the dizziness?
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Well its day six from going cold turkey and feeling good, the last two days I have woken up with nearly no dizziness i did feel little bit of rage yesterday but okay today. One thing that didn't help my dizziness was being at work or supermarket with their tube lighting - my advice avoid for few days at least!  Well my husband thinks all his xmas have come at once after the first couple of days of not taking my meds my sex drive came back after 4 long years, overall things are looking good I even feel I have more patience with my two little girls and you never know there may be another next year x
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I have stopped effexor xr 75mg cold turkey because I had no money to purchase the drug.  I ended up trying to get a script filled with an online pharmacy, but they never sent the script.  

I am nauseous, dizzy, I fall a lot, can keep food down, but feel sick when I eat. Really sick all the time.  I have a hard time concentrating and can't get through a conversation without staring at the ground.  I have a very hard time focusing and feel like I've been on a roller coaster for hours on end.

Someone mentioned Vitamin C?  What other natural ways can I help myself?  This is the worst I've felt ever and I can't wait till it ends.  Any ideas how long it takes to get 'off' this drug and be normal again?  days, weeks, months years?  The more info. I have the better.  Especially when it's not doctor given - I want to know from the patients who experience it, like myself.

Thanks NJ
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I am on day 7 of withdrawl (withdrawal), let me just say this is not fun!! I have been taking effexor for 7 years, I hate I have become dependent on this as well as the cost. It is crazy, I find my self sleeping or napping more than sleeping but each day gets better. I take a daily vitamin, B-12, fish oil and motrin, 600 mg, three times aday. I feel good today, yesterday not so much, it seems like I have a good day then a bad day. I feel like for the most part the brain zaps have slowed to almost none. I do find myself crying over nothing, but I would take crying over the brain zaps anyday. It is a struggle but you can do it. They need to remove this medication from the market, maybe if we start a petition it can happen. Good luck everyone from this horrible withdrawl (withdrawal).
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Follow this technique to keep the brain supplied with extra oxygen, and the dizzy feeling and brain zaps will come down. Do the anulom vilom for more than 10 minutes, two to six times a day. You will get over the withdrawal symptoms in weeks.Something to help yourself. Let me know how you progress, then I can suggest more techniques.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.
December 10 ,2011
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How about effexor to help with hot flashes after a mastectomy.  
It was bad enough losing my breast, but now I have to go through withdrawl (withdrawal) from the med.
I didn't know that the funny, weird, way my brian would not follow me was called "zaps" but that is a very good way to put it. You feel like you are being zapped as you cry and feel nauseous.
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Another update...my last post was on the 28th of Novemvber (2011).

That very same day, my symptoms got worse...my depression deepened, I was snapping at people around me, and couldn't focus on anything. The zaps were still bothering me too.

I decided that I didn't taper off slowly enough and it was silly to "tough it out". So I started splitting the capsules. Originally, I was on a 75mg dose, then the doc and I decreased tht to 37.5. That night, I split a capsule and counted out half of a 37.5mg dose, or 18.75mg. After an hour or two, my symptoms disappeared completely and I felt "normal" again.

I continued on this regiment for the next week. Then the following week, December 5th, I decreased the dosage again. Still no withdrawal symptoms, so the small dosage was apparently enough to keep them at bay.

Currently, I'm down to 30 "balls" which I think is about 11mg(?)...not sure, but it's irrelavent anyway. I'm sticking with this plan and each week I'm going to subtract 5 balls from the previous week.

For me, this plan seems to be working. I'm able to decrease my dosage while not having to endure the brain zaps. Depression has returned, but I don't know if that is due to the changes I'm making or it just the normal depression returning. I'm waiting to see what it's like after a few weeks completely "clean" (lol).


I
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Hi hava, sorry to hear your depression has come back. Not good!!!

Last time I went off effexor my depression came back - causing me go back to using effexor. Other antidepressants aren't helpful.
I am again in the process of coming of effexor at the moment - stretching process out over two months. The longer the withdrawal time - probably the easier on the system. Splitting open capsules is a good idea to reduce the 37mg still lower.

I wouldn't blame doctors for prescribing this med. as for me it was a life saver.

hava, maybe try taking fish oil supplements (omega 3) and magnesium in recommended doses and look to diet.

I have been off venlafaxine completely for 4 days - and I will restart this med.  to treat depression if it recurs.

I cannot live with sypmtoms of depression, but I am determined - eventually - taking plenty of time ----
to be free of this medication.

If the depression returns I will look to diet and more natural remedies in an effort to treat the depression.

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the post above was meant for Dark horse ^^^^
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Good for you! I am still in the process of coming off my antidepressants, but am definitely getting there!  It's been two months so far, and although I'm still having the brain zaps, I am improving. I am not completely off them yet, but almost there. If anyone is interested I began a blog last night where I am doing a journal of my experiences and symptoms while coming off ADs. The url is:  http://****.blogspot.com/

Hope you all get through this, and come out the other end smiling!!!
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Just need to talk about what I'm going through to people who understand. I've been on 225 Effexor for about 2 years now, but 75 for the 8 years before that (I was considering suicide for a while which is why I went back to the doctor and steadily increased to the maximum dose). Before Dec. 1 I had been suicide-thoughts free for at least a year and feeling quite happy and content. I've been seeing a great psychologist and doing psychoanalysis 2x/week for the last 2 years which has really helped. Anyway, I thought to myself "why am I still taking Effexor?" so I decided to go off, discussed with my psychologist and then did a google search to see if there were any effects from coming off Effexor and found this forum, among others, which got my a little scared to say the least. I tapered down 37.5 on Dec. 1 and of course immediately felt the effects that everyone does and I won't repeat, except for depression. At first anyway. I found myself getting into huge fights at work which is not good, but I didn't feel sad until around Christmas. I stayed at my in-laws overnight and was such a zombie I forgot my Effexor, so most of the next day I was "cold turkey" and that was very weird indeed. I decided to go down another 37.5 at that moment. Why? Who knows. Anyway, here I am 2.5 weeks later and the really bad physical effects and nightmares are gone but I feel a little like I'm losing my mind, and I'm really scared that my brain is permanently screwed up. I don't know what a lobotomy feels like but I'd imagine it's a lot like how I feel right now. Anyway, I'm so anxious to get off this stuff I want to taper again, but I'm really wondering if I'd be able to function. No, I'm not going to. I need someone to tell me this is temporary and not permanent. Lie if you have to, I need to hear it.
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Hi, I think withdrawal from Effexor is one of the most common questions on this ite.

I was on 150mg daily, reduced to 75mg over 2 weeks, thought what the hell, and stopped it completely.  Very bad withdrawal symptoms for about 2 weeks.  I was fine for a year without any medication, but the symptoms came back, so here I am on 150mgs again and doing well.  

No, the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms do go, I think it varies from person to person as to how long it takes.  Once I was off and feeling well, I did manage depression free.  I think Effexor works for me, and I wish I had never stopped it.  I won't stop again.

Good luck with your withdrawal.
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I am currently on my 12th day being Effexor (demon drug) Free. I has been hell. I had nothing but negative effects while taking it since July 2009 up until 12 days ago. I spent last night vomitting my guts out while my husband held my hand. We have been married for 22 years and he has only ever seen me vomit twice (one of those last night). I do not have a soft stomach. I do get the brain rolling and wavy thing it does which makes my stomach upset. I get this heated rush start at the top of my head and then this huge surge of sweat covers my body. I have all the vitamins (Omega 3, Magnesium, B-Complex, and St. John's Wort). I have the Benedryll, Dramanine, ibuprophen, and the ginger you get from the healthfood store that you chew for upset tummy. However, the thought of taking any of those makes me want to vomit. I find being outside (even if it is 32 degrees) feels good. I get out to walk and ride my scooter. I have only had one terrible nightmare (huge scary arms trying to take me under the bed). I have such a wonderful family and I could not do this without them. My husband has taken over doing the meals and cleaning, my children help out after school, and I just try to survive. My vision is horrible. I had lasik surgery a couple of years ago and had 20-10 vision. It doesn't get much better than that. I know that it is bad because of this demon drug. I am too scared to say that today has been better than yesterday, because I don't want tomorrow to be horrible (and I know that is how this stuff works). I would like to know from others if they have found that once a symptom is doing better that is continues to do better? I do the crying at silly things. My husband can be cooking and I will start crying because I feel like I am not being a good wife and mother. Now isn't that stupid. If it weren't for this stinky drug I wouldn't cry at stuff like this. I just know that I am not looking back. I have made it for 12 days of agonizing pain and I will not throw those days away. Effexor will no longer pain my life. I am taking my life back completely demon drug free. So hang in there because I have seen repeatedly that it does get better. I will post back in a few days and let you know how it is going.
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I just wanted to ask anyone if they have had this particular symptom along with their list of withdrawals. When I am trying to read a book and then look up out the window and try to focus; I feel this awful pulling on the back of my eyes and I get this sensation of sleep. It is a focusing thing that is tied in with sleep. It feels really weird and I just want to smack around on my head a bit when it happens. Okay, going into day 13 and holding on. It is challenging, but I am determined to not allow this drug to ruin my life for one more day. Good luck my friends.
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I have been withdrawing from this drug (225mg daily) and sertraline (225mg daily) since early December 2011.  I found my moods were getting worse (been on venleflaxine for 5 years) despite the high amount of drugs and have actually attempted to take my own life.  Jointly with my support team we decided to wean of sertraline to enable me to take another drug in conjunction with the venlafaxine.  We then decided to have a break from all meds.  My last tablet (venlafaxine) was 06/01/12 after weaning for 3 weeks.  On 08/01 I got flu like symptoms, went to bed at 330pm and for the 112 hours that followed I slept for about 92 of them.  When I was awake I was cycling through hot sweats, cold flushes, extreme dislike of light/noise, feeling sick, head ache and motion sickness/hangover symptoms.  IT WAS HELLISH.
I still have sloppy stools, slight motion sickness type symptoms, and feel spacey and this is 2 weeks post cessation.  BUT over the past 2 days I have noticed that my health has improved daily.  For me, it's about as much self care as possible and remaining focused on the fact that the polar experiences I'm having are due to the drug withdrawal!
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Follow the alternate nostril breathing technique, described in my December 10 ,2011 post, and you will notice the brain calms down.

January 20 ,2012
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i was put on this drug for 2 months and the headaches ,body pains in legs and arms were awful .i went to hospital thought mabe my sinus was causing the headaches.and the dr.asked me if i was on anything and when i told him the effexor he said its the drug he asked me how much i was on i said 37.5 he said to just stop it dizzy headaches 10 days straight and still having them after 3 weeks and pains in my body kinda scares me,still getting feelings of stilllll wanting to throw up and VERYYYYYYYYYY tired ,the brain zaps and dizziness was awful.does anyone know how long it really takes to leave your body....please  help. i even had pains in my tounge,and the tip of it turned black
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So you have been off of Effexor for 2 weeks now? I have been off for 15 days. I am still getting the nausea in my sleep and the brain sickness in my sleep (which is why I think I get nausea). I also have this problem with focusing with my eyes. When I look down and then look up I get this tug feeling on my brain and behind my eyes. Could this be a brain zap? It feels weird and it makes me incredibly nausea. Would love to hear from you on your progress. We are both so close to quitting the same day that it would be nice to have someone to communicate with. This is hell, but I know it will get better we just have to hold on.
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Hi Amber, I get that same damn scratchy sound in my head when i move my eyes, it drives me up the wall and i think my fiance thinks I am nuts or something .... My Doctor gave me Lorazepam to help with the withdraw and it does work ...... the only bad thing it makes me tired after awhile but it doeshelp with the withdraw and it is chaep.  Not only does it help with the withdraw but nights when i can't sleep It helps with that as well.
Hope this helps
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My Withdraws from this Effexor are ? Scratyness in my brain and I said to amber when I move my eyes I hear this scratchy sound in my head WEIRD, lol , I feel tired, Nasusea and Diarriea ...... I take Lorazepam up to 3 times a day and it has helped me so much ...... I don't want to rely on it but there is no withdraw affects from it either and the Lorazepam is cheap since I don't have any drug coverage , a lot cheap then the effexor was that is for sure.
When you first take a Lorazepam it makes you feel stoned but then for me I get tired and need a nap other then that it works so good and again no withdraw from that drug at all, lots of people take Lorazepam for Anixity , sleepness nights , panic attacks and it has worked for all for me.
I can take it or not take it for a long time , best to be put under yout tounge and let it desolve there , it works faster, i have a wonderful doctor and I trust him.
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Going on day 20 without the demon drug. I need some help. I need to know if anyone going through withdrawal feels like their carcadian clock has gotten messed up. What I feel like is when I go to bed I lay my head on the pillow and my brain doesnt really know if it has gone to sleep, needs sleep, etc. I dream so I know I have gone to sleep, I just mentally don't feel rested. Then of a day I will get this weird sensation in my head of sleep, but I am not really sleepy. I have started taking Melatonin. I also have very poor vision and before I had 20/10 vision. My focusing is off. I also get this weird heavy feeling in my head and then I will break out into a sweat. Can anyone offer any suggestions or their own personnel experience with this type of crap. I am taking Omega Three fromt the Road Back Program. I do take lithium as prescribed by my psychyistrist which I found out is also something prescribed to assist with carcadian clocks. However, it doesn't work on everyone (which would be my luck). I know that withdrawal can last longer than 20 days and I know I have some days left to get through this. You are the experts. I get told to talk to my doctor. Well, the doctors aren't the experts when it comes to withdrawal. I feel your pain and we will get through this. I find myself doubting sometimes that I will make it. Ecspecially when your brain feels like it is gonna explode in your head. Thanks
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To get the brain function back to normal, follow this alternative nostril breathing technique. This will send extra oxygen to the left and right brain and you will notice the difference. Do anulom vilom for 20 minutes, before breakfast and before going to bed(or in bed). Come back with your feedback, so others may benefit in controlling the brain.

Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril  
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril  
then -keeping the left nostril closed  deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30  minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.
January 25 ,2012
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I'm slowly tapering off and it's been about 26 days since my last taper and i'm just now starting to feel normal again. I'm still on 150mg and the taper was by only 37.5 so this is definitely not a palles to oranges compare. I haven't had brain zaps ever but I think it's because I'm on Dilantin for a seizure disorder I've had my whole life. It's the only thing I can think of because I've gotten every other symptom really heavily. Anyway, I really hope you feel better soon. I will be where you are in a few months.
Jeremy
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Today marks Day 15 without Effexor!- which I was on for one year (37.5mg). First week had me in cold sweats, hot flashes, stomach aches, then flash hysterics...then by the end of the week the shaking and hyperventilating started-saw my doctor right away who had me take Clonazepam right away in her office-it was like someone had pushed the STOP button on my internal treadmill-I crashed & slept for the first time in a long time! I now take it in little pieces which I break up and self dose depending on how bad Im feeling- makes me a little drowsy/its also extremely addictive-which Im trying to get away from!
This week brought along less sweats-but has now hit my nervous system like crazy (stuttering, shakes, tourettes-like symptoms) so much so-came back home from work yesterday feeling like I had done a 1000 crunches-from all the body spasms I had all day. Took today off to take a full pill and give my muscles a break-my back muscles a killing me. Might go to hot yoga later to try and relax my body/mind a bit-Im a little concerned my involuntary vocal huhs /spasms might come out during class! But hurts to keep them in check..we'll see.
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Hi all. I am on day 3 of effexxor wirthdrawal. My two main problems are the brain zaps and the hot flashes. I could live with the brain zaps, but the hot flashes are driving me absolutely insane. I feel like my torso, arms and face are on fire 24/7.

Any advice on how to mitigate this? At home is more bearable because I can leave the door open and let in the winter air lol... but at work I am so hot in the office that I cannot get a thing done.
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Today has been 3 weeks and one day. I count the days one by one because each day is hell. The doctors in my small town don't understand anything and they don't even know what a "brain zap" is. I would like to take some of those demon pills and shove them down their throats. I am having extreme difficulties with sleep and weird sensations I get in the back of my eyes and the back of my head that seem to pull and then this nauseating feeling of sleep (even though I am not sleep) sets in. I get nauseated when this pulling sensation sets in (which is pretty much all day long). At night I fight naseation, chills, sweats and my brain can't tell if I have slept or not. It is a sickening feeling. I am scared that this hell won't end. I want to be myself again. I want to be a good mother and a good wife again. Right now all I do is feel the pain of withdrawal 24/7 and my mind doesn't focus on anything else. Okay; what is with this horrid yawning all the time. I can't stand it. I spoke with a psychyistrist online today and he told me that some people get the severe withdrawal. He said 10-12 weeks. I am 3 weeks off and if I have to live this constant pain for another 7-8weeks someone just knock me in the head now and be done with it. The doctor online said I should start to get some relief in the next 1-3 weeks. I pray to God he is correct because this hell can't last it is wearing me out and in a hurry. Am I the only one who lives in such hell around the clock? Does anyone out there relate to what I am saying? I need a really good strong companion who is living the hell with me. I need anyone out there who has gone through this and who is now normal. I need to see hope. A body has got to get some relief after a while; I pray mine comes soon. The doctor did say that the worst is over because I am off of the demon drug. Now I need my brain back.
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My brain ahs been too zapped to even write as effectively as all these other posts.  I cannot believe how many people are commenting on this medication.  I am hoping that it is the withdrawal of this drug is what i am going through.  My gp is refferring me to an endocrinologist, it didn't enter his head that i could be going through wd's of venaflaxine/effexor.  Was taking 150mg in morning (but still had breakdown at christmas- I am wondering if i am bipolar, but gp has not referred me to a psychologist,why not? I was once referred but they were not interested because \I did not admit to suicidal thought, or was not on recreational drugs or an alcoholic!  Anyway went to docs at xmas only for him to change my meds from effexor 150mg to tryazadone hydrochloride. I now think i have been going through cold turkey after reading all these comments.  I have not been able to function in any way. Severe anxiety, panic attacks in morning,unable to go to work, exhaustion, my first monthly off the meds was awful, my body and brain not fundtioning at all.  Does anyone out there still get clinical depression bouts whilst taking effxor? I am now in my 4th week of coming off effexor, it has been awful.  Today I am feeling slightly more normal but who knows what tomorrow will be like?
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Follow the alternate nostril breathing technique described in my Jan 25 ,2012 post - this will calm the brain and you will notice the difference in days.The extra oxygen going into the left and right brain will help you cope.
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Ash: I feel your pain. It has been three weeks and three days for me and I am living in hell. My brain does this rolling sensation feeling and it is like it has vomited in my head. I get no relief (none). From the time I get up in the morning and place my feet on the floor it is a struggle. I chill and night and sweat and I have these sores that have come up on my arms and face, but you know I could live with the sores and chills and stuff like that; it is this sicking thing that is going on inside my head and this hideous yawning. It is like a gag reflex and this yawn will come and it makes me want to choke. What is happening to me. I am scared to death that I have some type of brain infection or that the effexor has changed my brain and I will be stuck like this. I read where people suffer 2 weeks and they are feeling better (that just makes me even more depressed). I pray every night that the next day I will get some relief, but it doesn't come. One day feels like 20 years OMG will this get better?
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Glad to hear that someone out there is taking what seems to be the researched approach. I am on day 2 of being off Effexor (10 years at 150 mg). I weaned off by taking 5 beads out per day for the 1st month and then 10 beads out until gone.

I exercise with weights and run on a regular basis. As well, I am off all caffiene and most sugars and alchohol. Have been on a ortho-molecular regime of vitamins. Also taking passion flower, 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine.

Getting zaps but not as bad as other people who have wrote in on various websites. Feeling better all the time and loving it...
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Okay: I am at 4 weeks off Effexor XR. My withdrawal symptoms are Brain rolling sensations (which feel sickening), a horrid yawning reflex thing that is horrid, not enjoying anything, chills and sweating. I was at 150 mg and with the schedule of a small town doc tapered down over 2 months. Now I believe I was tapered to quickly. What do I do? I need your help. Do I go back on 20 mgs and try to get rid of some of these horrid symptoms and then bead count off of that, or do I stick it out with the chance that tomorrow these horrid, miserable, stinking things will start to go away? I need to hear from those who have been there and can offer me their opinions. This will be my decision because these idiot doctors here have never even heard of a brain zap. I have gone through 4 weeks of pure hell and I will be taking your suggestions to heart. I need your HELP. Thanks
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Have you got the means to see a neurologist and phychiatrist?  Do you have NHS, I am in Wales U.K.  When you say small town doc, I do not understand how your medical services work?  I am going to phone a clinic this morning near my home that is supposed to deal in adult mental health.  I am definatley going to question everything about the after effects of finishing any anti-depressant.
I was on venlafaxine for quite a few years at 75mg then the past year 150mg but during that year had 3 episodes of clinical depression.  I have been also reading how neurologists believe that viral infections in the brain can cause chemical reactions in the brain to cause depression, and how they wish psychiatrists would look more into these virus' rather than dish out anti-depressants. If i can relay your story and get some answers will let you know.
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I started Effexor XR in 2005 for anxiety attacks.  I was slowly upgraded to 300 mg a day.  At some point, I went down to 150 mg and felt pretty good.  For me, the Effexor was a life saver.  I hear horror stories about withdrawals and symptoms that in actuality go hand in hand with any anti-depressant.  It's just part of the methodology.  I would strongly suggest anyone coming off these types of medicines to do it at the guidance of their doctor; never should anyone go "cold turkey".  That will cause severe symptoms and withdrawal more painful.  What bothers me about reading some of these posts is the way in which people blame the medicine, calling it horrific, demon drug, and the like.  Our brains respond to these medicines because we evidently "need" them at some point in our lives.  I wanted to get help for my ADD, which was not under control for over 20 years.  When I started taking the Effexor I chastised myself for not having done this sooner. I could have spared my family the embarrassment of my anxiety attacks, "volcanic eruptions" from the inability to control situations that I needed to, the spaciness I felt when I couldn't concentrate.  Since 2005 I have improved my life in so many ways and yes, I give credit to the medicine discovered by highly intelligent scientists who put two and two together.  If I must take this indefinitely, I will; not to escape the withdrawals (because that comes with the territory) but because I am a better person having solved the panic attacks and freeing my brain to function at a higher and better level.  I, too, have experienced the withdrawals and they are terrible, to say the least; however, I made a choice...do I really want to go back to the panic attacks or do I want to stay healthy?  I choose the latter.  Everyone is different and everyone's tolerance of this drug is different.  To blame the doctor, the medicine, and/or withdrawals is simply ignorance.  Along my journey, I did plenty of research on the brain, how it works, and just what was missing in mine that the Effexor helped.  Try that and you'd be surprised at "why" these drugs exist and why doctors use them to help, not hinder us.





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I do so agree with you.  Everything you say applies to me too.  It annoys me when people call Effexor a demon drug, and other such things.  It is not if it helps a person lead a normal life, like you and me.

I have been on many different anti depressants over the last 20 years, and Effexor is the one that suits me best.  It has got rid of my depression, anxiety and panics.

yes I have come off it cold turkey, and it was hard, but I had to go back on it when my depression came back.

I am on 150mg and have no side effects as such.  I live a reasonable life now.

Effexor withdrawal is very hard, but I think it is a really good drug for how it has helped me.

We all react differently to drugs, but take as you find.

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I think it's great you didn't have that much of an issue tapering and if Effexor is helping you with your life then that is great. People on this forum, myself included, are mad because their doctors didn't tell them anything about the horrors of withdrawal, in my case never made any attempt to take me off it, and to this day are minimizing our problems and not being helpful at all. A doctor telling someone to come off the maximum dose of Effexor in 2 weeks or that the withdrawal is mild and should go away anytime soon is dangerously ignorant and should not be a doctor. I'm really scared because I've been on a drug for 10 years that is now causing worse withdrawal than heroin, and unfortunately I know that first hand. I feel like I have permanent brain damage. Doctors never told us this and aren't helping us and frankly don't seem to care. I literally feel like I'm losing my mind and I'm only halfway through the tapering process. To me and many people here Effexor IS a demon drug and if you ever decide to go all the way off I wager you would feel the same way. Effexor helped me through a couple tough times in my life and I am grateful for that, and maybe I would have taken it anyway, but I should have been given this very important piece of information. I don't blame the drug companies, I blame the worthless doctors who write prescriptions for things they know nothing about. Sorry, nothing against you I'm just really really pissed that I and my family are having to go through this and will be dealing with it for a long time more.
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Hi I was put on effexor following my mums death last year.  I now am desperate to come off it.  The odd occasion when i have forgotten to take a tablet the effect is so horrible.  my dr has said to take every other day for the time being - am on 75mg - does anyone have any comment on this?
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I have been off for about 21 months now and still feel the side effects.  Not daily but once every 2 weeks or so, the light headed ness, the clumsiness and the shivers.  The brain zaps are gone now but I wouldn't be surprised if they recurred infrequently.  

I'm glad I went off anti depressants.  Was taking them from 1995-mid 2010.

I feel much better and try to take things one day at a time but it's always a struggle to deal with depression.  I'm able to do it without medication and that's a positive for me.

Good luck to you.
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You have to slowly wean yourself off.  I used to take everyday.  Then for the next month I would take every other day.  Then went to every 3 days and so on til I was completely off.  Am still going through a little withdrawals (about once every 2-3 weeks) and its been about 21 months that i have completely stopprd taking it. I was only on the 37.5 dosage.   Good luck to you.
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I have been off it for a week, cold turkey.  I now understand what it is like to be a crazy person.  Brain zaps, nausea, diarrhea, exhaustion, insomnia irritability, and racing thoughts, including suicidal ones.  I have been this crazy person for a week and blame my psychologist, whom I called on Friday. I canceled all future appointments with him because I am not crazy he is the crazy one to put me on this god awful medication.  Just a side note over  10 percent of our population is on medication like this and very few receive any actual therapy from these so called doctors. :(  
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Going off cold turkey is very hard on your body, mind, and nervous system so a slow taper is really the safest way to go. I'm coming off 225mg of Effexor - I'm down to 112.5 - and I'm becoming an expert in this subject. Any doctor that doesn't recommend a slow taper is dangerously ignorant and shouldn't be practicing medicine. What gets me so mad about these doctors is they don't know about withdrawal and tapering, they KNOW they don't know about it, and yet they still go ahead and give you terrible advice about it as though they are experts. Ever hear a doctor say "hmmm, I really don't know the answer to your question and don't feel I should be advising you on this"? Me neither. And the fact that all they do is prescribe medicine would lead you to believe they are at least very knowledgeable about the medications, specifically the devastation it does to your body, mind, and nervous system when you try to get off them, but that's not the case. Which begs the question: if they're not even providing basic factual information to their patients then why are they in this business? The money? Is that all it is? If my pill-prescriber (formerly known as a psychiatrist) would dedicate half his attention to the drugs he's prescribing as he does on his billing and reimbursement systems he might be halfway decent at his job.
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I am trying to quite after many years too..and suffering..could we talk?
god bless-
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Going off cold turkey is as crazy as it gets. You should get help from someone knowledgeable, like your pharmacist if you don't believe in medical doctors.
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I don't see what good it does being mad at your doctor, or anyone else's either. Lots of patients forget what they are told, or don't read the medication alerts that tell them not to quit cold turkey, so it is not possible to even determine if the doctor made an error.
The only important thing at this point is to get help if you want off this drug.
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No, actually it's more important that people know how incompetent doctors are when they prescribe these dangerous drugs. Regarding "Lots of patients forget what they are told, or don't read the medication alerts that tell them not to quit cold turkey" the whole point is that I was most certainly NOT told about this, and I'm not sure what you're talking about by "medical alerts". Also, even if someone had delivered me a "medical alert" I didn't go off cold turkey, I tapered by about 18% (225mg -> 187.5mg) and my withdrawals were worse than heroin withdrawal, and unfortunately I know that first hand.

No, when a doctor prescribes you a medication whose withdrawals are worse than heroin withdrawal just for tapering by a small amount and tells you NOTHING about that fact, that doctor should lose his medical license.
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I thought it was only me!..iching!..rashes..take care
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i seized too..dear god help us all..I will never take it again. I am very grateful to have read your post.Thank you for sharing.I am not alone anymore.god bless
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I tryed cold turkey a few times. Eventually my body couldnt take the shock/punishment of the withdrawl (withdrawal) and started having grand-mal siezers.ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! IT TOOK ME 2 YEARS TO SAFELY TAPPER OFF EFFEXOR. I was forced to take an ultimadum of Effexor or lock-up in 1990..I should have choosen shock-treatments. This drug has taken my good vision..hearing and over all health..almost killing me numerous times.
My new doctor told me this.
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Wow, I didn't know about the vision and hearing issues and hopefully this was just a short term effect.  I am on week 2 of cold turkey and I am feeling much better.  I think because I was only on the drug for a month.  Now I am having trouble with the Dr.'s office because they want to bill me in full for missing appointments that I actually canceled ahead of time.  What a joke, and they wanted me on Adderall (adderrall) which nobody or I should say pharmacists are having trouble getting.  Now I'm meditating, doing yoga, and becoming my own Dr. Thank you very much!
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I went cold turkey and it took 3 weeks.  I never had any after effects.  My doctor told me off, he is a good doctor, but I thought I might  as well take myself off.  He would have liked me to taper I expect, but I did not ask him, just went ahead.  

After a year the depression came back, and I have been put back on Effexor.  

Don't blame a bad doctor.  Don't blame the drug.  It is life!!  
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Sorry I did not mean to upset anyone with my above remarks.

I am an old lady and have had depression for over 20 years.  I suppose I have more experience of depression that you younger people.

I have taken an overdose, been in a psychiatric hospital.  I have seen numerous psychiatrists, doctors, psychologists and counsellors.  I have been on may different anti depressants over the years, and had side affects from some of them.  I have lost two jobs because of major breakdowns.  Had to give up a house because could not pay mortgage when I lost my job.

I suppose I have accepted all that goes with depression, and as it has been part of my life for so long, I feel I understand it.

I know how you all feel, and I do understand.

I won't rant on again.  Forgive me if I have upset anyone.
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Cold turkey or tapper-off, there was still withdrawl (withdrawal) for me. (on Effexor till 40'sthen I started having GRAND-MAL seizers..high blood pressure..vision loss .. ringing in the ears..on and on) The new doc said it was the Effexor that was the cause.I tryed to very slowly tapper from 150mg(xr) Then by opening capsules and got down to 5 pelits of Exxexor xr. I still couldnt stop the 5 pelits after almost 20 months.If I stopped the 5 little pelits of Effexor I would start getting dizzy-virtigo-nausia and all the rest. It made no difference to tapper-off for me the withdrawl (withdrawal) is the same. I have tryed using "Prozac to help with the transition" as told by the old 'doc' by that is a lie. It did NOT make any difference for me. Once your brain experiences an SSRI or specifically NOREPINEPHORINE!!! RI (found in Effexor) it changes brains chemistry..perhaps perminantly in my experience.
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cant live with it..cant live without it. Hopelessly stuck on a drug that is not helping ..but killing me. The Norepinephrine is the culprit my doc told me.(causes seizers..over stimulates)This compound is similar to what is used in cold meds to make meth from what I've been told by the doctors. Its stimulates and is very addiction like meth. Another addictive compund found in Effexor is similar to pain killers..like narcotics. Thats why they use narcotics to help releave some of the Effexor withdrawl (withdrawal).I have pulled weeds in yard for hours at a time only to find my hands were covered with blisters afterwords. I didnt stop when the first blister appeared because the Effexor was blocking all my pain! I had been pushing my body beyond its capability because of the "stimulant/narcotic" effects of Effexor.

Stopping Effexor must be similar ..
but worse than going cold turkey from 'narcotic AND meth' addiction at the same time..(though I have never/will never use meth)

From my experience Effexor creates 'mulltiple' withdrawl (withdrawal) syptoms (symptoms) when discontinued..
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lol..MEDHELP read my posts and went through and corrected my spelling error of "withdrawal' ..and today all the spelling error corrections have been removed.
NOTE: Thanks for the help!..not.
TO: MEDHELP SITE ADMINISTRATORS
Its true, I am not puuuurfect.
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Hi there -

We didn't correct any errors, so I'm not sure what happened?  If you'd like to talk to me further about this, feel free to send me a PM.  :)

Emily
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When you get a prescription for the first time at any pharmacy, they enclose a pamphlet advising you about all the known dangers, side effects, meds to avoid while on the drug etc. That is what I meant by a "medication alert".
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www.clinical-depression.co.uk
malcolm huyyat and his wifes story
Take a look it may just be the answer

hi i am also trying to get my life back from Venlafaxine XL i have gone from 225mg to 150mg with withdrawel for 2 weeks, waited a few more weeks then went from 150mg to 75mg in the morning to 37.5 in the evening i am having withdrawel again but i have found this fantastic website i am going to follow the plan, will keep you posted
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I couldn't figure out why I was sick the last few days I thought maybe I had the flu but you know when you are sick with the flu then It came to me that it was from quitting taking my Effexor I can't believe how damn sick I have been Oh my god talk about nausea,  and being dizzy,  I feel like I could pass out any time it is the worst ever.  I finally just got it filled again I just could not take the sickness anymore.  I am still a little sick but getting there.  I hope no one will have to experience this it is really a terrible thing they should warn you before putting you on something so haard to get off of.  I have been on other depressents and never had this problem like I have had with this.  Sorry to hear about everyone else that had to experience this horrible demon Hope you all get better soon Good luck
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I was on effexor for about 1 year.  The last 8 months at 150mg, then tapering off by blocks of 37.5 mg every two weeks. (so from 150mg to 0 in about 1.5 months).

When I started effexor, the second day of taking it (I was at 37.5mg at that point) I thought I was going to get a heart attack (I'm young and active).  I went to a walking clinic, and they listened to my heart and took my pressure.  The Dr said everything seemed fine and recommended I stick with it because everybody gets through some very weird side effects at the beginning (you get worse before you get better).  Also, it messes up with your head (literary.. that's what it's supposed to do) so I'm guessing that some of my side effects were more brain chemistry related than anything else.  It took me about 3 weeks to actually feel the benefits of the medication.  I am so happy I stuck with it!

I am on my second day without taking any, and I am feeling alright.  I have vertigo, but that's about it.  A few brain zaps, but for me those are not so bad;  I just feel like everything is in slow motion for a few seconds and then I'm back to normal. I don't really mind them so much.

This medication honestly saved my life (I took it for depression), so I don't mind going through little withdrawal.  When I started taking it, I did my research, and my Dr. was also pretty well informed about withdrawal symptoms and made me promise to go see him before I decide to stop.

About weaning off: take your time!  It's not a race.  Every time I dropped by 37.5 mg, I'd have a headache the next day (nothing that advil couldn't take care of).  Also, my Dr recommended I lower my dose (every two weeks) on a Thursday or Friday so that I'd have the weekend to recover.  To be honest, I really didn't feel that terrible so it didn't really matter that much.

That being said, I understand that everybody will react differently.  Also, If you go cold turkey from anything but 37.5mg you are really asking for trouble. Doing that would really scare the bejebus out of me.  If you want a taste of what going cold turkey might feel like, try skipping one dose.  It does not feel very good.

Anyways, I am still in withdrawal, but it's only been two days.  It might get worse before it gets better... I don't know, but right now it's really not so bad for me.
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Okay, today is March 8, 2012. It's been about 2 months since my last post. I'm happy to say that I have successfully gotten off Efexxor ER.

In an earlier post, I said that I going cold turkey didn't work for me. What I ended up doing was splitting the capsule contents and week by week decreasing the dosage. The first week I started with X amount, the next week I decreased it by 5 granules. The following week, decrease it by another 5 granules...and so on. This was an extremely tedious process.

Finally about 3 weeks ago I was down to 5 granules. It's seems ridiculous, but going from 10 to 0 caused me problems...so I kept it up with 5. I don't think that the few granules I was taking had ANY effect on my mood. But I am CERTAIN that it kept my brain zaps at bay. Going this slowly really helped me.

After I completely stopped, it took a week for my everything to balance out. This included my sleep patterns (remember Effexor affects neurotransmitters that regulate sleep) and my mood. Since then, my mood has been pretty stable. I am more "up and down" but I knew that would be the case. It ***** that my lows are lower, but it's nice that I "feel" again. The sexual side effects have completely disappeared as well.

I may need to be medicated in the future, but I know for certain it WON'T be this medication again.

I can't recommend a specific course of action for anyone else, I can only talk about my experience. For me, the way out of this was to decrease my dosage slowly....VERY slowly. I think going cold turkey from a high dosage was too much of a shock to my system and gradually getting off of it was the only way my mind/body could do it.

I can tell you that right now, I do have greater mood swings. I do get angry faster and I do feel more emotional. But I think it is a good thing. I'd much rather learn methods to cope with my moods than suffer the side effects of this drug. I've been able to talk about this with my significant other and having that support has been very important. Aside from moods, the brain zaps have all but disappeared. I will occasionally have them, even 3 weeks off this stuff, when I'm really tired. But when I do, they're not that bad and don't last long at all. Definitely something I can live with.

If it is your goal to get off of Effexor, I can tell you that it can be done. It won't happen over night, but you can do it. Everyone is different and some may be fine with going cold turkey from 150mg to 0, but not others. I for one needed to do it this way because that it what I learned works for me.

Overall, I am happier now that I am off :)
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I am completely miserable! I spent the last 24 hours in the hospital trying to withdrawal from Effexor! Will I ever feel normal again? I have no energy and the brain zaps are killing me!
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Yes you will feel yourself again once the drug is completely out of your system. When I went off it I had withdrawal symptoms for about a week.
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I am currently on 75 mg for hot flashes after bilateral oopherectomy.  2 years on this medication and now I am ready to stop taking it.  The hot flashes are not as intense or frequent as I have been introduced to Peridin-C, which is a vitamin C derivative.  
I went thru my capsules and tapered them down by 5, times 5 days.  So it should take me 2 months to wean off, if all goes well.  The horror stories are scaring me, but I am willing to endure to be Effexor free.  You have all been a wealth of information on this subject!  Thank you!
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When I went off Effexor I took all the little white balls out of the capsules and counted them out everyday. I took the same amount for a few days and then decreased it slowly till I was down to 1 ball. If I went down to fast I would get the electronic zaps and feel awful. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands. You know your body better than you doctor.
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Being frustrated and upset with weight gain I have taken myself off this medication. I am now on day 3 of no medication after weaning down my dose on my own.  I am happy to say that the only thing I am having is the dizziness and slow motion feeling if I move my head too fast.   I am convinced that my 15lbs of "unexplained" weight gain was caused by this even though my doctor said that this medication is "weight neutral" and it probably is not the reason for the gain.  I am avid exerciser and a my diet is 85-90% clean foods.    Now to see if the weight comes off as well, so just I can say to my doc "I told the you so" :).  Did anyone else experience the unexplained weight gain and did you lose it after stopping the medication?  I would love to hear from anyone, you can post on this forum or send me an email with your story.
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I took myself off Effexor because of large weight gain.  I lost all the excess weight, but I simply lost my appetite then.  I think the drug made me hungrier, but it seems in your case this was not so.

After a year I had to go back on Effexor because of breakdown and bad depression, anxiety and panics.  Effexor takes these away.  The only grumble I have with this drug is the weight gain, otherwise it suits me very well with no side effects.

I put all the weight back on, and more.  I am still on  the drug and really watching my diet this time, but I don't think I will lose the weight while I keep taking the drug.

Difficult to know what to do.  I know I don't want to have another breakdown, so I have to stay on the drug.

Fat and happy or depressed and thinner?????
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Today is a good day, spaciness is almost gone....I feel lucky compared to some of these people and their withdrawal symptoms.  I am not sure what dose you are on but have you ever thought of a herbal supplement or have read up on 5-HTP?  

I appreciate the feedback about the weight gain and gives me hope of getting rid of this 15lbs (just enough so all my dress pants dont fit, but not enough to make me really look any bigger)
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Gould used to be a MH doctor.

by Roger Gould, M.D., Jul 18, 2005 12:00AM
You have to make sure that your weight gain is fat gain or water retention, if in fact, your caloric intake is as low as you think.  Its impossible to gain real fat without an excess of calories so be sure that you are counting everything. The other explanation is that the emotions of withdrawal sometimes lead you to change of your regular habits, i.e. caloric expenditure.  Have you been exercising less or been sedentary more.  The other explanation is a consequence of large doses for a long time since the appetite hormones are regulated in part by the dopamine, and serotonin, which are the targets of Effexor.

This will not be a lifetime pattern and you will get over it.  If it is an emotional eating issue...eating as a form of self medication, then go to www.masteringfood.com
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Hi, I am on 150mg Effexor daily which I take at breakfast time.

I have in the past, when not on anti-depressants, taken St John's Wort and 5HTP, but these had no effect.  I will not take anything else if I am on antidepressants, as I do not want interaction.  As I have had serious clinical depression for 20 years,  I have been through everything there is.

As for weight gain, I shall just have to watch my calorie intake closely.
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OTC meds are not regulated in any way including claims, not even for dosage.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/11/23/frum.supplements.drugs/index.html


STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    * Consumers get constant pitches for herbal supplements as remedies
    * David Frum says a 1994 law exempted supplements from scientific review
    * He says people who try to be their own doctor take on unnecessary risk
    * Frum: Government should regulate supplements as it does drugs
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I meant not even for purity, not dosage.
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omg !! i am having the same issues!!!!!!! this drug is the worse drug i have ever been on , i am trying to go cold turkey, and i just found out i am recently pregnet and dont know what to do , this drug causes birth defects and i am in the world of panic, please wish me luck
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I was on 150mg of effexor xr for more than 5 years.  Last September I dropped to 75mg without much issue (except irritability which I recognize now)... and then in October I went to 37.5mg.   Since then I've become more emotional and anxious.  It's been SIX months!  ...and actually it feels a little worse now.  I've also made some major life changes during this time so I assume that could make things worse... but is it possible to still feel withdrawal symptoms 6 months later?
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Thanks for that Birdie, but I have not gotten "lazier" I am still very quite active at the gym and do watch my calories and types of food I eat rigorously.  My diet has not changed much since starting the pills last summer, in fact it is cleaner than it has been in a while.
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Well I am sorry that alternate options did not work out for you.  I am like you though and do not like to mix up medications either.
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I was on 75 mg for 3 years and over the xmas period due to sooo many things, had my dr increase me to 150mg - stayed on that for approx 6 weeks then back down to 75mg.  Decided enough is enough and began cutting the tabs in half.  After 2 weeks, stopped completely and spent 2 days unable to get my brain to stay at same speed as my motions: as in dropping things and reaching out to get something and finding i was at least 5 inches away from desired coffee cup or aplle or whatev er i was reaching for.  Of course the electrical sensations were awful and lets not talk about the crying and then intense anger.
I am now day 6 and have been taking fish oil and a couple of valiums here and there.  No 1 for me was exercise-outdoors walking and running amongst as much nature as possible helped alot.  
I will never take anti depressants again!!!! I origianlly took for anti anxiety as i had been de frauded and court cases etc took 22 months.  So in short.....fish oil, valium for sleep when REALLY needed, exercise and lots of green veges and steamed fish.  Positive attitude that u are stronger than a measely little pill and support from your loved ones.  Good luck to everyone stuck on this ****.  
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I am 46 years old and have been on almost every pill out there for anxiety/panic disorder since I was 22 years old. I went through these WD symptoms before, But none as bad as this evil drug called Effexor.I have only been on this drug for about a month.75mg and the side effects were unimaginable that its the first time I wanted off a drug so fast. I thought that after only 30 days I wouldnt WD so bad. So wrong.I opened the capsules for about a week then stopped. The next morning, Brain zaps,dizziness,Severe depression and crying spells,nausea.Day 2 same symptoms but worse with severe anger,restlessness and fatigue.cant function.Day 3 feeling the same except less angry just irritable.cant eat from severe nauses,zaps and dizziness. I had to work days 2-3.Only made through it by the grace of God.Tomorrow is day 4 and I think I will call the Dr.I saw your post and needed to share. Be very careful.I thought I would be fine while tapering because I had no WD symptoms but It hit like lightning the next day. I suggest only going through an expert if you want off this drug or else expect to take a week -10 days off work because it is imbearable. You feel like you have a severe Flu virus is the best way to describe it along with crying then anger. and yes,horrible dreams,and being hot and cold. God bless us all and keep a hand on us as we rid this evil drug from our body. :)
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I have been on Eflexor for many years and recently came off it gradually with help from my GP. I really thought I was alone in my symptoms until I read all of your posts. Thank you for sharing them. I have been prescribed Duloxitine 20mgs. now for the past 2 weeks but don't really seem to be making much of a difference. I'm wondering if I should stop taking it? My GP gave me Zopiclone after 5 nights of no sleep and having hallucinations. I really screamed at her to give me saomething to help me sleep. She told me to only take them occasionally but I find I can't sleep at all without them. My main problem seems to be a constant humming in my brain that won't let me concentrate on anything. I watch the clock and look forward to night-time when I can take a Zopiclone and get some sleep. When I wake in the morning I just want to the day to go by quickly. If it weren't for my 2 Labradors I wouldn't get out of the house at all. I am trying the breathing exercises when my nose isn't blocked as I have a horrid cold right now. It feels more like the flu with the WD. God bless all of you and I hope we manage to feel better at some point in the near future.
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This is exactly what happened to me. Went from a high dose then decreased to lower dose. There is a 25mg pill that I cut in half and take every 3 days. I have been on many different anxiety/depression drugs and have never experienced w/d like I have with this horrible drug. I can not get past 3 days. My head spins like I just got off a rollercoaster. I never ever want to take this crap again. It's 3mths and still trying to stop completely. It's the worse feeling ever. I don't know what to do to get myself past 3 days. It's crazy. ugh so annoyed....any suggestions?? I feel like I'm never going to be able to stop taking it.
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I was on Effexor for 9 days and stopped cold turkey.  I'ts been 5 days.  How long do you think the symptoms will last?
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I can't believe you stopped cold turkey! That  is very brave. I have stopped for 2 weeks and still have major symptoms from WD. What symptoms are you having? However you weren't on it for very long so I don't expect it should be too bad for you. Good luck anyway. Lyssiemarie....there is no way to get round stopping altogether but it takes bravery. Can't you see your GP to get something to alleviate your symptoms?
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Some techniques to help you cope with withdrawal symptoms.
Follow the alternate nostril breathing technique daily(with eyes closed),described in my Jan 25 ,2012 post - this will calm the brain and you will notice the difference in days.The extra oxygen going into the left and right brain will help you cope.
Also do the bhramri pranayam, to tone down the vibrations from the brain.

If you have blocked nose, keep 3 whole black pepper and 2 almonds in your mouth, and chew very slowly.
Keep a note of what you experience, and share with the forum.

Bhramri Pranayam -Close eyes. Close little flap of ears with thumb,place  index finger on forehead, and rest three fingers on base of nose touching eyes. Breathe in through nose. And now breathe out through nose while humming like a bee.
Repeat this  5 to 21 times.
April 12 ,2012
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Hello! I have been following your comments for a few weeks now. I have been on Effexor for 5 years. I was put on this drug for depression and anxiety afer losing both my parents. I recently have been going to therapy to help me through some difficult times and the pychiatrist decided that weaning off the effexor was the best thing to do. I was taking 150mg 1x daily. Reduced to 112.5mg for a week, 75mg for the next week, and am now taking 37.5mg for a week which ends in 2 days. I have never felt worse in my life. I have the symptoms that most of you are experiencing, but I am unable to eat very much due to severe nausea. I am actually losing weight. I am so angry for the Dr's that have put anyone of us on this demon drug.I need to do something about it, so no one else needs to go through this hell when maybe there is other options.I read this everyday, and enjoy knowing that I am not the only one going CRAZY!!!!!
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Hello! I have been following your comments for a few weeks now. I have been on Effexor for 5 years. I was put on this drug for depression and anxiety afer losing both my parents. I recently have been going to therapy to help me through some difficult times and the pychiatrist decided that weaning off the effexor was the best thing to do. I was taking 150mg 1x daily. Reduced to 112.5mg for a week, 75mg for the next week, and am now taking 37.5mg for a week which ends in 2 days. I have never felt worse in my life. I have the symptoms that most of you are experiencing, but I am unable to eat very much due to severe nausea. I am actually losing weight. I am so angry for the Dr's that have put anyone of us on this demon drug.I need to do something about it, so no one else needs to go through this hell when maybe there is other options.I read this everyday, and enjoy knowing that I am not the only one going CRAZY!!!!!
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Make the brain zaps stop!!!!!!! How can I help it decrease or go away all together? Its been 4 days of 24/7 brain zaps. I have had nausea and diarrhea but those symptoms seem wonderful compared to this zapping feeling. Any suggestions?
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Thanks for this post . I have been off Effexor  since 3/15 and was wondering when I will ever feel better. Any doctor who says I am only suffering from the flu is trying to cover up for their dispensing a dangerous drug. I am keeping my left over prescription because I firmly believe there will be a law suit filed in the near future over this drug .
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I am currently coming off of Effexor XR and amongst the many other horrid withdrawal symptoms, yes, I have also experienced extreme bloating.  I had been thinking that maybe it was something else, but when I saw your post I realized that it must be from that, thought it was just me!
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I am currently coming off of Effexor XR and amongst the many other horrid withdrawal symptoms, yes, I have also experienced extreme bloating.  I had been thinking that maybe it was something else, but when I saw your post I realized that it must be from that, thought it was just me!
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I was on Effexor ER 75mg for about 4 months. After reading how long some people have been on this drug I feel lucky that I found out how bad it can be to come off, especially after long periods.

I eventually switched to IR Effexor as I did not want to worry about the extended release getting in the way of my tapering schedule.I went down to 37.5 IR eventually, and then slowly dosed down from there...and I have been off of it for about 4 nights now, and I didn't really experience many w.d., only when I tried to lower too fast, but luckly with the IR it is easier to take a small dose as they can be split up and it quickly gets in your system compared to ER or XR.

I have noticed some possible w.d. that I had not associated with the effexor until I read these comments..namely the nausea, although like someone else said, if you are OK with doing it, marijuana can defintiely help, although I am not as hungry during the day or get the "munchies" even much after I smoke. But it is a proven medicine for pain and nausea among other things

After reading about Effexor I decided to switch to IR because of how short the drug lasts in your system. The ER version takes longer for the effexor to get into your blood, however once there your body still eliminates it just as quickly, which in my opinion makes the IR easier to taper and then get off of, but I am not a doctor, I just like to do my own research into these things because most providers dont know as much as they act like they do about what script they are writing for you...ask them a question or two about it and then look it up and see if they were really correct..more often than not youll see what I mean.

But after reading about effexor, I learned that this is one of the main problems, its half life (aka how much of the drug gets removed from your system at a time, the half life is how long it takes for half of it to be removed). Effexor has a half life of only 5 hours, which is very short and why we experience such quick and harsh w.d. symptoms. It is actually the shortest acting SSNRI (selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibtior, with dopamine reuptake inhibition at higher doses like 150mg or more I believe). That is not good, it is like Xanax (for panic attacks), horrible w.d. because of how short it lasts...Valium is like xanax but lasts much longer...comparable to effexor vs say prozac... which has an active metabolite with a half life much longer. In fact I have read that it is sometimes helpful to take a dose of prozac when you are lowering your dose or decide to go cold turkey from effexor. Unfortunately many doctors dont know everything about the drugs they are giving out because they have to know about everything...so sometimes we have to do our own research and then ask our doctors if they would try it or at least look it up for you right there on the spot.

I am finally done with effexor...and the damn side effects especially the sexual ones...no fun! I wish everyone all the best in trying to get off this drug and sorry for the long post...I know what is it like and I hope people will take some of the things I said into consideration, because they do play a huge impact on getting off this crap. Effexor is extremely EFFective (lol), but it also has the shortest half life of any anti depressant and is therefore very tough to get off of!
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I tapered my effexor from75 to 0 in 1 month. I did feel like crap for a good 3 weeks , now all I have are the brain zaps,didnt know so many people had them, or what they were.they get less every day.good luck to all.
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Hi oh my god i feel like i am in hell. i have been on Effexor xr for 6mnths.
After finding a new Phyc, he suggested that this proberly wasnt the right medication for me, he put me on Lamictal for mood stabilization, and then once i had reached 35mg i was off the effexor, well i feel like i am in the worst place on earth, straight away i started getting severe nausa, brain zaps, foggy head so bad i couldnt see properly and fatigue.
I am a super active person and the best i have done for 5 days now is walk to the toilet and back.
I did take suggestion from one of the other people on this blog and got someone to get me Vitamin B and at the health shop they also suggested Brahm, this is to help the brain zaps and the foggy health, well i am happy to say this morning i woke feeling better than i have in days thank god, as quite honestly i was ready to join my beautiful husband who i lost 16mnths ago. I too believe this drug is the drug from hell, please please anyone who knows anyone who wants to start this drug DONT. I agree with others this drug needs to be stopped and now.
Good luck to all and thankyou for your advice.
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I hope that things get better for you. I was on Effexor for 2 years and it took me 2 years to get off of it. The depression that returned when I was finally off was terrible, almost worse than the original situational depression that got me on the stuff. I credit it with saving my life at the time of my divorce but it is a very powerful drug and hard to get out of your system. I didn't have the nausea or headaches, mine was more of the severe returning depression and anxiety.
I definitely recommend adding the vitamins to your regimen but would also recommend marijuana for the nausea and general wonkiness. I know that's risky to say, but it is what it is.

Laurie
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After reading everyone's comments about the withdrawal symptoms they've experienced whilst trying to get off of effexor xr, I was right there with everyone. i was on 400 mg of effexor xr, I started to reduce my dosage in the beginning of march of 2012. When I went from 400mg to 150mg all I experienced were the brain zaps ( head zingers as I call them ), which in the grand scheme of side effects, really weren't that bad compared to what came later on. After about 2 weeks I dropped down to 37.5mg of effexor xr a day from 150mg, the first couple of days weren't any different than usual. On the 3rd day I started feeling like I wanted to make a toilet my new best friend. Dizziness set in as well, but I'm used to being dizzy since i take Neurontin ( it dulls neuropathic pain ); for fibromyalgia and it happens to make me dizzy 24/7. As I progressed to day 4 of just taking 37.5mg I started getting the chills and then what seemed to me (at the time), hot flashes a.k.a fever. Insomnia followed shortly there after. I weighed 120 pounds when I started to ween off of Effexor... by the time I was done I dropped down to 102 and I'm 5'7" by the way. the nausea completely extinguished my appetite, but I never ended up vomiting... ( though there were times I wish I would have ). I tried many things to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms and arrived at a cocktail of various vitamin supplements and other pharmaceuticals. Xanax ( to help me sleep ), liquor to get rid of my nausea ( which worked rather well, weird I know ). I also drank a lot of vitamin water which contains high amounts of essential B-vitamins, among other healthy nutrients. I bought tyrosine (L-tyrosine not d) and phenylalanine (DLPA) to help with my abysmal mental state. ( I would air on the side of caution when taking DLPA (( D/L Phenylalanine acid)) as some people don't produce the necessary enzyme to process it, which can cause an allergic reaction and possibly a coma if not caught early on ) which are then converted to dopamine and then nor-epinephrine which are two key neurotransmitters in how high or low a persons' mood is. Now i know most people probably can't handle drinking vodka everyday, as it took me almost two months to finally feel normal again ( and believe me, after two months of drinking straight ethanol, I still never go used the taste, and never wanted to touch the stuff again. ) Effexor Xr is the worst medication, by far, to come off of. It's worse then nicotine withdrawal, opiate withdrawal, and benzodiazepine withdrawal ( valium and xanax are considered the most potent benzos; and I've experienced all of them, ), combined. I also did some research on antidepressants and their effectiveness in treating depression, after the nuclear fallout settled; Mostly SSRI's and SSNRI's. Numerous new case studies and medical journals on depression, have come forward that provide substantial evidence pointing towards taking medications such as Effexor and others like it, actually cause a person to become even more depressed over time; ( the drug seems to inhibit the adequate production and utilization of dopamine, which is the neurotransmitter that actually works the best for treating depression, and the longer an individual takes it , the worse off, then before starting the drug, one becomes. ) an antidepressant that makes you more depressed, ironic huh.
I hope my many hours of research can help at least one person ease their way off of effexor. It may take a long time to get off of it, but it's well worth going through Armageddon for a week then to be stuck taking it for life.
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I am quitting cold turkey. After my horrible weight gain and no energy I would rather go thru the withdrawals. After reading many forums I feel relieved that I finally have an answer for my weight gain after my doctor kept saying it wouldn't do that. Good luck to all of you.
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I have just come out of hospital from needing treatment for effexor withdrawal syndrome.  I had what you have all described times 10 my dr has put me on half a tab(10mg I think )daily  prozac for a week then one every two days for a week.  . Then off it completely I am finally feeling human again.  The prozac has a long half life and this removes the effexor side effects completely.  . Im pleased to say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hugs to all fellow sufferers Xxx
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I started tapering off of this drug about two months ago and had successfully backed myself down to 37.5 mg and just went off of it cold turkey now on day four and I have to say that I have had tremendous success using essential oils (namely doTERRA as their quality far surpasses others I've tried).  Frankincense is a HUGE help and has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier which immediately offers comfort from the brain fogs/zaps many experience.  I use several other oils as well to help control mood swings, nausea and fatigue.  If you haven't tried essential oils I highly suggest them.  I honestly hope this helps others!  
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I am with you all.  I am on day 5 of cold turkey.  Had no choice my prescription was lost in the mail.  Have taken 150 mg of Effexor XR for 15 years.  Have tried many, many times to stop taking but my physician insisted I must need it if my withdraw was that bad.  So like a good patient I continued to take it.  
I too have not been out of the house since last Wednesday when the first dizzy spells started.  Now it is hot flashes, crying, can't focus eyes, nausea, palpitations, panic-like feeling, headache.....I know I am just getting started on this withdraw.  Thank God for finding this information.  I thought I was dying or going crazy.  
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I agree with you completely.  I am not the same person I used to be.  I have gained a huge amount of weight and don't take care of myself like I used to.  It has so many side effects!  How do these drugs get into our pharmacies.  It is as bad as heroine or cocaine addiction!
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I am on my 4th day.  I too am experiencing the things you are.  It is hell but I have gotten this far and don't want to ever do this again.  I will deal with depression by exercise and holistic approach.  
I am very angry at the medical profession for allowing these drugs into our mainstream treatment.  This is no medication for mild depression or stress!
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wow i am off the meds for just 4 weeks i am going throw everting u just said i need help plz i been on it for 4 weeks how long will this take i have cider point coming on this friday i need better
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You have to follow the pranayam I have described, for 4 to 8 months, to feel the benefit. No phone communication.
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I am on day five of cold turkey.  It has been awful!  Just started taking the vitamins and supplements and think I am starting to feel a little better today.  I couldn't begin to drive a car or do anything physical yet.  All I can do is walk slowly around the house.  I have these episodes of panic-like feelings.  Hoping they go away soon.  
I wish you much luck with this journey.  I know what you are going through.  I have had moments when I think it would be easier to just take the pills but I have come this far and don't want to go back on that awful med.  
Keep in touch, it helps to chat with others.
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Yes, I too am having panic-like attacks.  I don't know what to use to eliminate them and would very much like some help with this too.  
I agree with you that a physician will just want you to take Buspar or another anti-anxiety drug.  
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