A little over two months ago I stopped taking Effexor after slowly weaning off of it. I had horrible withdrawal symptoms: nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. After two months I don't feel any better. Needless to say, I'm really scared. I can hardly function at my job and am very frustrated and angry. This medication has ruined my life. Waking up in the morning is the worst part of my day. All I have to look forward to is dizziness, fatigue, and attempting to function.
How long did you symptoms last? Are they supposed to last this long?
I think there is a link somewhere they they don't fully know about the pain meds and the effexor. I weaned off the effexor xr about 1 year ago. I started feeling rather depressed this summer so I tried to wean back on. I had a couple of the 37.5 caps and started taking them while also taking my lortab for pain. Within about one week I was so very sick. I had problems swallowing, problems breathing, problems with a high pulse rate, I was having huge huge panic attacks. I could not regulate my body temp. Nobody had a clue in 2 dr offices what the problem was. I think I needed valium or something to cope and instead I took myself off the effexor cold from the lowest dose 37.5 Within days I was back feeling better. So something goes on with a seritonin reaction between the opiates and the effexor and it's not documented by the professionals much. It was the worst I have ever felt.
I stopped taking effexor cold turkey when my insurance ran out about a year ago. I had all the withdrawl symptoms too. The worst was the brain zaps like you all have been saying. It took about three months for everything to go away. But once in a while i still get the brain zap things. I also wonder when its all gonna go away.....
I will make my story as short as possible as I can see most of my symptoms have been covered here. I was on 75 mg of Effexor XR for almost 4 years. After the first year I started to have odd health problems which lead my doctor to run a wide range of tests on my kidneys and thyroid and blood sugar to no avail. At this point we were not aware that the effexor could be the issue. As a couple more years passed my symptoms became gradually worse and were accompanied by a dangersouly increasing blood pressure. Before the effexor I consistantly had a blood pressure of 110/60. It now climbs to around 170/120. Not to meantion the severe fatigue and hypothyroid like symptom that have worsened over the years.
I have gradually weaned off the 75 mg Effexor by take he capsules apart and removing anywhere from 8 to 10 beads per night and leveling off when the withdrawals became too severe. I took my last dosage of 20 beads (in mg I"m not sure... I'd say at most less than 10 mg) two days ago. The brain zap headaches and vertigo are horrible and have been for the last month. I am determined to get off this drug so at this point in time I am refusing to take any of the beads as long as I can possibly stand not to take them.
I have sent my information and story to the email above for the class action suit.
I would also like to give you all a link to a petition that has over 19,000 signatures to date.
I would love it if "positive thinking" is all it took but I have had these "withdrawal symptoms" too many times to think it is all in my head. I have been on Effexor for 13 years now. I quit once after 2 years without a lot of the withdrawal symptoms but I had a complete breakdown. My psychiatrist told me not to get off of it again. After being on it 4 years, I decided to get pregnant again and the drug was so new, without any research on the use during pregnancy, I stopped it just before getting pregnant and of course stayed off during the entire pregnancy. I did have a return of my clincial depression but who knows if that was related to my hormone changes during pregnancy. I started back immediately after birth. The weight gain has been horrible, I watch everything I eat and excercise at least 4 days a week and still have such a problem with maintaining the weight. My sexual drive has decreased tremendously and I have a hard time crying when I should be crying. That may sound crazy but when I had a hard time actually crying at a 12 year old boy's funeral, it really upset me! I decided to quit 3 weeks ago. I was on 150mg XR. I cut in half for 10 days and then went to 1/4 for 4 days. Today is my first day without anything. I am having the usual crying at anything and the vertigo (horrible). A few months ago my luggage did not make it with me and my medicine was in my suitcase. I had the horrible withdrawal symptoms and couldn't function for a day and a half. The withdrawal symptoms I have been experiencing are exactly as described by the other "bloggers". I was never told this would be a problem. Althought I don't feel good right now, I know it will be worth it in the end because I can't function like this.
I starting taking Effexor about a month ago, the reason being I had anxiety, & suffered from insomnia after taking one extacy pill at a night club (for weeks after use) I never suffered from this before, I am 26 years old. My docter started me out of 37.5 MG for a week and then I took 75mg. I am been on the effexor for about a month now and all of my anxiety have really gone away. But I do not like how the effexor makes be me feel very hyper, I have also gained 10 pounds in the past month. What i really do not like about it is my lack of interest in sex. last Saturday I stopped taking it all together cold turkey. By monday I was feeling so dizzyy at work that I had take my 75mg dose. It made me feel much better by the next day. I continued with the 75MG and made an appointment with my doctor. I told me doctor that that I want to wean myself off the effexor he prescribed me with 37.5mg for the next week. and then every other day for the next week. I started taking that dose this past Wednesday. I feel that the insomnia is back, and I feel extremely irritable and depressed. Im not sure if this is from the effexor.
Does anybody have any advise?
I was wondering if you were able to stop taking the effexor successfully, & how long did the withdrawal symtoms last? Anybody else reading this please let us all know how you are doing once you are off.
Try this on for size, how about your doc not refilling your prescription due to not being able to make an appointment which I was required to pay before she would refill, I paid made a new appointment and she still hasn't given me a new prescription, so I basically have been forced into withdrawal, and its not the first time she has done this.
Effexor withdrawal is excruciating, but there are ways to get through it. My psychiatrist finally helped me get off it for good, and I didn't even have to endure terrible side effects. I wrote an article explaining the steps. You can find it here:
started taking effexor about 6mnths into my husband's fight with lung cancer. started with 75mg. the day he died i increased the amount to 150mg myself. now it is three years later. deceided to stop taking the medicine cold turkey and tough it through the side effects. No meds since last thursday. withdrawal is rough, to say the least. but i keep thinking the end is in sight. brain shivers, upset stomach, all the posted side effects are happening to me right now. but each day i feel a little better. So, I'm gonna keep my chin up.
PLEASE DO NOT GO OFF EFFEXOR COLD TURKEY. Don't even try to do a taper. For one thing your should be supervised by a spychopharmacologist, not just any old MD. There are nuances to coming off this drug.
Here is what I have done successfully:
i was on 75mg.
I dropped to 37.5mg and simultaneously started taking 25mg of zoloft ( you can use prozac as well). I did this combo for 1 week.
Then I stopped the Effexor and went up to 50mg of Zoloft. I did experience some withdrawal - nausea, headache and dizziness, but it was COMPLETELY TOLERABLE - like a very mild virus. The symptoms slowly disapeared over the course of the next couple of weeks at which point I could come off of the Zoloft.
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO STAY ON ZOLOFT - it is just a much easier drug to come off of so use it to help you get off the Effexor and then drop it when you are ready.
I really hope this helps.
My doc switched me from 150 mg of Effexor to 40 mg of Prozac. I have heard the Prozac helps as a 'bridge' from the Effexor to freedom. Horrible symptoms anyway, though I can't imagine what they would be like without the Prozac. I plan to discontinue the Prozac once I feel a little more stable.
Things that have helped me: Dramamine before bed; a homeopathic hangover helper called Chaser; avoiding caffeine, refined sugar, and refined carbs (anything that spikes the blood sugar or stimulates); also, nicotine is a pretty powerful drug, so if you smoke, smoke as little as possible (smoking has made me even more dizzy); an EFA supplement and Beta Glucan.
My prescription to myself is this: Plenty of clean water, plenty of rest, healthy whole foods (lots of veggies and fruit), and regular exercise. The exercise is a bit tricky right now, but even sitting on the floor and doing a good stretching routine is good (and there's less chance of falling over if you're sitting on the floor).
The "discontinuation syndrome" as they like to call it, is really just plain old drug withdrawal in my opinion. Nausea, diarrhea, confusion, tremors, anxiety, trouble sleeping, trouble not sleeping, wild dreams and/or nightmares, strange audio/visual things, manic episodes, exhaustion, irritability, bouts of anger... the list goes on. These are all symptoms of drug and/or alcohol withdrawal. Effexor should be prescribed as an absolutely last choice, if at all.
The withdrawal is horrible, but the only way out is through. You WILL get through it. Do try the Dramamine and/or the Chaser. They help with the dizziness and nausea.
right well i'm very rude i've just joined this little site and on reading this question i've skipped straight to the end without reading anyone else's comments.(sorry about that!)
however, i took effexor for 4 years. and came off it successfully in 2001.
all i can say is that you have to go through it. the head-shocks (brain shivers) are the worst. i remember them lasting around three weeks, that whenever i took a step electricity ran through my head. the anxiety passes... it's not he same as depression anxiety, keep reminding yourself how bad it was before you started the medication. and how much better you have been (and you have been better, else you wouldn't be coming off it).
give yourself the time to do so, and do it gradually as your doctor instructs.
the first week is easiest... stay at work. then take some time off. as much as you need. maybe save up your holiday and sick time for the year. (this will be THE event of the year). the withdrawal symptoms can last up to 3months, but it is different for everyone. these will always be exacerbated by feeling stressed! - so give yourself the time and space you need to do it... and of course, don't attempt to come off them before you're ready or else you will fail, and put yourself back 6 months to a year in doing so.
"I'm really scared. I can hardly function at my job and am very frustrated and angry. This medication has ruined my life. Waking up in the morning is the worst part of my day. All I have to look forward to is dizziness, fatigue, and attempting to function. "
take some time off. if you feel rubbish in the morning; stay in bed. arrange life so that you do not need to function for a little while. keep remembering that it is for a purpose and it won't be like it forever. you will get there in the end and will feel better for it eventually.
oh, and night sweats.... they help you emphasise with your parents' generation. and don't last more than two weeks. (well for me anyhow).
effexor has taking quite a slating on here. i would like to express that if it weren't for effexor i probably wouldn't still be here.... and omg it's nowhere near as bad as seroxat!
st. john's wort can be effective. but seek advice of your doctor about combining it with the effexor... you probably can't do that.
i recommend st. john's wort as a low dose - preventative style - antidepressant, so that once you have come off anti-d's you'll never need to go back on them... plus it's side-effect free!
Any med that affects your brain WILL cause withdrawal affects, sometimes severe, sometimes not. The most important thing you can be is be an educated consumer. Read about the drug BEFORE you go on it, and be prepared, if you choose, to have so WD effects. Slow weaning off is recommended, I went through an awful time weaning off Cymbalta, but knew it might be difficult. I was down to grains of the capsules. I went out of that drug category altogether because none worked for me. It's important if you can, to have psychiatrist on board. I know it's hard in the U.S with their poor health care system. I took me 2 months to get off Cymbalta, very gradually going down, some need to take even longer to wean.
I have to say though, that some folks are actually feeling depression not WD effects which can make you physically hurt, numb and anxious.When I was on Effexor I switched over to Celexa when I was at a much lower dose. The switch alleviated the symptoms of depression and anxiety. I'm not saying this is the case for all, but it's partly your brain not the drug in some cases.
If you are concerned, consult your doctor or psychiatrist in order to assist weaning off the drug, I know at the beginning, I had the zaps, spins and nausea. I was put on an anti-naueseant and an anti anxiety med to assist as well. It made the WD effects much more bearable when I went off the Cymbalta. .
Today is day 7. I took 40 mg of Prozac for the first few days, but the withdrawal symptoms of the Effexor have concerned me so much that I quit the Prozac too. I don't want any of this in my system if I can avoid it.
I've gotten through the night sweats, soul-crushing headache, inability to function (including being unable to drive), and such. The audio/visual things are waning. Still have some diarrhea, but not too bad. Still a little shaky and a little 'dizzy', but I feel like I'll be able to go to work on Monday and actually work.
I've been eating a lot of healthy whole foods, cut caffeine intake to 1 cup in the morning, decreased my smoking habit (makes me dizzy), and sleeping a lot. I also added the following supplements per The Road Back website:
- Omega 3
- Beta 1, 3-D Glucan
- 400 i.u. Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
I bought these at my local health food store.
And, I've been taking the Chaser which seems to help a lot. Got that at my local grocery store.
Had a few days where it felt like I was going to lose my mind or die or something. Don't know how long it will be before I get my brain back, but I'm surviving this and so happy to be done with this frightening drug. I threw what I had left in the garbage. Couldn't stand to even look at the bottle.
I'm really disappointed with the people in the medical community that I've talked to. They seem to think it's all in my head. My head isn't the problem, it's the drug. Talked with a pharmacist who has never been on Effexor, but has heard similar complaints from people, yet still insisted that discontinuing Effexor would not be causing these symptoms. My doctor seems to think I'm overreacting. Overreacting?! Yeah, sure. Me and the thousands of other relatively sane people who are going through the roller coaster hell of getting off of Effexor; we are all a bunch of overreacting nut jobs. In my opinion, the true nut jobs are the people in the medical community that have no personal experience, but have a plethora of evidence before them, yet insist that the people who are actually experiencing this don't know what they're talking about.
To the thousands of people that are on this ride, take the very best care of your health as possible, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. It CAN be done. We are doing it right now.
The problem I see the most and have personal experience is, it't the family doctor who prscribe these drugs, not the psychiatrist.. GP's don't have enough time to spend researching these drugs. The go by the drug bluebook, well the one they have in Canada, in order to prescribe. It's important to see a psychiatrist, to get diagnosed properly and to wean off the drug, which at times means going onto another drug with lesser issues with WD"s WD's are not in your psychological "head", far from it, your brain has gotten used to the drug, hence the WD's happen.
I have to say that many folks that take AD's need them, and a adding different vitamins alone aren't going to "cure" depression, though can assist in general well-being, I'm all for that. I'm on Omega-3, Multi-B, Multi Vit, low dose iron on top of that. I have for the most part cut down on all my sugars, and processed foods. I also go to two group therapies, on top of my psychiatrist. I'm being as proactive as I can.
Slow taper is very important, get the dramamine if you need it, sometimes ativan helps, switching over to zoloft or celexa seems to work really well for Effexor. I did a fast taper off Cymbalta, looking at it in retrospect, 5-6 weeks, but I had some anti-anxiety meds on board and antivan which was a godsend. Speak to your pdoc, regarding the WD's, most knowledgeable pdocs are fully aware of the WD's.
I definitely agree with LeftCoastChick about seeing a psychologist instead of a general practitioner. And that if you still suffer from depression, a medication with less side effects is the way to go. I will take the Prozac my doctor switched me to, if I start slipping into a dark abyss. Also, she is right about the supplements. They won't "cure" depression, but they certainly help to support your body in trying to balance things and in helping with general health.
Effexor is meant for severe depression. I told my GP that I'd taken Prozac a number of years ago with no problems, but she said there were newer, better ADs out now, and gave me samples and a scrip for Effexor. Not a mention of possible side effects or potential discontinuation trouble. And I was only mildly depressed.
Next time my doctor prescribes something, I will certainly research BEFORE I start taking it. And I will research beyond the product information in the packaging or on the drug makers website.
Day 8, developed a lovely eye twitch/jitter while I was driving. Thankfully it was only in one eye. That was followed by a nasty headache on the same side, which I had for hours, from the back of my eye, through my head (like a hot knife), and into the base of my neck. The good news is that I can no longer hear my eyeballs moving. I know, sounds weird. I was greatly relieved to read a post from someone on another site that said, "...and I swear I can hear my eyeballs moving." Thought it was just me.
Hang in there, and if you need an antidepressent then take one. Just research first and avoid Effexor and Paxil. I hear Paxil has similar problems.
I'm up on time this morning and going to work. Never thought I would be so happy to be going to work, but after being unable to work for several days, I'm pretty happy about it.
I have been on effexor xr 225mg for a year. 60 pounds later I have decided to quit cold turkey. Big boo boo. night sweats, chills, irratability, head aches, brain zaps ,ear aches ,fatique beyond belief ,,deprssion has worsened ,suicidal thoughts, diarrhea, anger fits . This drug is the equivalent of withdrawals from any street drug. I know , my daughter was a heroine addict. This as far as I know is the equal.My advice, don't quit cold. I'd do it differently. Tomorrow I'm going to see a new doctor.amandasmom
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