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How long is Effexor withdrawal supposed to last?
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Avatar_m_tn
My story is the same as yours except I think I might be actually depressed and need to go back on it.  My timeline is the same as yours and I am wondering how you are feeling now?  I hate the thoughts of going back on the drug and facing the withdrawal again down the road but I hate being miserable and unhappy too. The other thing is I cannot sleep at night and I hate lying awake for hours on end every night, which just makes me more depressed.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had the EXACT reaction as you.  After being tested for celiac disease, etc because of extreme bloating, weight gain and loss of energy... I came to realize through these boards that it's the damn Effexor!  I tapered for two weeks from 75 mg to 37.5 mg... I took my last 37.5 pill 4 days ago and am in the midst of the withdrawal symptoms.  I couldn't fathom the idea of tapering from 37.5 as I just wanted this poison out of my system.  So far I am experiencing dizziness, light-headedness and just today some nausea and stomach troubles.  Wondering how long this will last.... How are you feeling?
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Avatar_m_tn
I used the same method to taper off of Effexor (very slowly, granules at a time) and have been completely off of the medication since 5/7/12, I too have noticed I am more emotional and quick to anger.  I want to learn to deal with the mood swings by myself but this is horrible.  I'm not a pleasant person to be around, especially when my 4 year old decides he wants to throw a fit or not cooperate.  It's taking a toll on my marriage as well.  This anger overwhelms me and is not "me".  Any advice?  How have you been coping with the anger and mood swings??
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Avatar_m_tn
I am in that very same place.  I had to quit my job... can't drive.... just pretty much taking up space. Have small periods when I can function and try to do housework etc but have to be where I can lay back down immediately without notice.  What supplements are you taking?  Please email it to me incase I don't see it here.... ***@****  Thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been off of Effexor since 5/7/12.  I spend months tapering off slowly, by opening my 37.5mg capsule and removing 3-5 granules every few days.  I really really want to deal with my anxiety and depression in a healthy, non medicated way.  I had tried quitting cold turkey from 150mg and that did not work.  Since a week ago I have experienced mild brain zaps and I am VERY easily angered.  I have no idea where this anger is coming from.
My husband makes me mad just by opening his mouth, my son, who is 4, makes me mad...I am just not myself.  How do I live with this?  I'm scared I am going to ruin my marriage and my relationship with my son because I can't think properly when I get mad and I say mean things.  I had to leave the house last night.  Please help.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi all, I wanted to chime in on my Effexor experience. After having been on it for 7 years at 150mg, I switched to Wellbutrin (actually the generic by Watson). I had tried to stop it cold turkey before with no success like most of you. Taking the Wellbutrin has lessened the withdrawal by about 90% I think. I'm on day 4 now and aside from those awful brain zaps I am doing really well. I tried the Omega 3 for the zaps and didn't notice a difference. I am also taking benadryl periodically. What I really want to share is how different my general outlook is now that I've switched meds. I no longer feel like I am slogging thru mud up to my shoulders just to accomplish the smallest tasks! And the sugar cravings are completely gone! In fact, I took a bite of a cherry pie yesterday and was so grossed out by the sweetness of it that I nearly spit it out! The farther away I get from the awful Effexor the more I realize how damaging it was. It is the worst kind of vicious cycle that the illness/medication prevents you from realizing how ill you are...So I want to send encouragement out there to all of you and impress upon you that the appropriate medication can make all the difference in your life! If you can just get yourself to that point, the rest will take care of itself. :)
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Laurie,

can you please elaborate more on the two years continues symptoms, I have been off this drug for almost 5 months and actually getting worse, started with noghting fot two weeks and then fatigue and then joints pain, sometimes feverish sensation last month I had sore throat and till now I still feel like a ball on my throat senstation. I did all blood tests, vitamin D was foind low but now normal THS is normal I m now thinking about having MS though, that so scary.. I dont know what is going on with me.

any suggestions?
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on day 12 of cold turkey withdrawl (withdrawal).  I have had a few pretty good days but still having terrible hot flashes and my head and eyes feel like they are burning.  After that I get lightheaded.  
I also am feeling less panic but agitated.  Hoping this will go away soon too.  I have lost 10 pounds already.  So I too think my huge weight gain has a lot to do with the Effexor.  I have not started exercising again-have been so lightheaded.  I am thinking maybe it will help when I do.  Still taking the B vitamins Omegas and drinking lots of water and green tea.  
It sounds like all of us are similar but experience different degrees of symptoms and the length of time the withdrawl (withdrawal) lasts is all over the place.  
One more thing....I went to a website The Road Back.  They have lots of tips and encouragement.  I was so sick the first week I decided to order their vitamins.  It was about $125 then I asked for express shipping.  Another $33.  I have not received the vitamins yet!  I am really PO'ed.  My husband went to the Vitamin Shop and picked up some things for me.  Don't waste your money ordering from TRB.  
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Avatar_m_tn
A POSITIVE NOTE :  You can do this!!   :-)

Update on my own progress... went cold turkey 6 nights ago (off 37.5 mg), day 4 was the WORST for me, I contemplated adding back a 1/2 dose I felt so sick... after lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea and even vomiting/diarrhea, day 5 was better - just mild dizziness, and today - day 6 - I feel amazing (very very mild dizziness remains)!  Definitely notice my mood is a bit "harsher" and my patience is quite short with my 2 small kids, but I know I am over the hump of the physical withdrawal.  Feeling better gives me hope and promise that this nasty drug is out of my system... and I am looking no where but up from here.

Do what's right for you, as we are all different, but I did want to share my positive experience.... the last 5 days of quasi-hell are worth the payoff.   Hugs to everyone going through this.  <3
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Avatar_m_tn
Thats great thing to hear though,

I dont really wanna let your excitements down or create a wrong idea on your mind, but be careful as I had exact feelings when I went off this drug 5 months ago and the first two weeks were great for me but things bounce back to the point that it affected me physically.

one thing positive, we all are different and what goes with me not necessary goes with you..

take care and wish you the best of luck
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been on this drug Effexor 75 SR for 8 years and Ive been cold Turkey now for week and what a nightmare literally,dizziness,nausea,restlessness,bad dreams,angry,crying if i knew this before i would have never taked this medication hopefully it wont last to much longer will keep a strong will I feel sorry for my poor wife who has to put up me while i go through this.
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Avatar_m_tn
Please do not go cold turkey, you need to taper off this drug slowly. It has been three weeks for me since my last pill and I am still getting the brainzapps and moodswings.  I went to a doctor for supervision of my withdrawal 150mg to 75mg to 37.5mg I insisted that the 37.5 be in tablet so I could cut them in half (they make them in the generic) it took me approximately 2 months.   It has been a very long hard road.  What did help was Aleve, Omega-3, Vitamin B-complete and when things got very bad Lorazapan.  This drug may work well for what it was prescribed for, however, the FDA should be criticized for allowing this on the market knowing what the effects were for withdrawal.  Good luck, things will get better.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 25 years old and have been on Effexor since I was 16.  It was originally perscribed for depression after I had a bad breakup.  I tried to wean off once in 2010 without any warning withdrawls I would have (Dr. never warned me).  I weaned off very slowly with no problems over 4 months and my 5th day completely off is when the withdrawl (withdrawal) hit me.  Had horrible anxiety and even fainted.  I decided to go back on meds and just live with taking them the rest of my life.  So I went back to evil effexor, tried different dosages, and even tried lexapro and zoloft to no avail.  Now 2 years later I made the step to finally get off effexor for good because I would like to start a family in the near future and do not want to put my baby at risk.  I still had bad anxiety that the effexor wasnt helping, so I figured it wouldnt be any worse off it.  Been completely off now for almost 6 weeks!  I was actually not too bad for the first few weeks, but over the last 2 weeks my anxiety has been pretty severe.  Can't drive and cant exercise like I was before.  And the dizziness is driving me nuts!  I just want a normal med free life.  Will I ever get back to normal and does the dizziness ever go away?  I'm starting to feel a little hopeless and a prisoner to meds :-(
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been on Effexor XR 150mg for about ten years.  Have tried to quit but the withdrawls were just too hard.  I'm once again trying to quit and my Dr has me on 75mg right now.  We are switching from Effexor to Wellbutrin and I agree completely that the generic Wellbutrin has helped SO much with the withdrawls.  I still have a small headache and feel lightheaded but nothing compared to what I've experienced in the past.  What you said about craving sugar really hit me. I had never thought it was the Effexor that could be causing my NEED for sugar all the time!
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Avatar_m_tn
Okay...i am on day four...now just dizzy....not as foggy and headachy...tell me please that you are still feeling better.  No where in anything I read will give me a time frame.  i just want to know that this will be over soon.  Thanks for your post.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on day 30 of Effexor cold turkey withdrawal.  I have good days and bad days but good days are more often.  Sometimes I just feel flat.  I am sure in time my brain chemistry will adjust.  Since I went cold turkey I am sure it was worse than titration.
The hot flashes and dizzy spells are improving and having a few brain zaps especially if I move my head or eyes too quickly.
A main concern is the lack of concentration.  I cannot seem to read a book or concentrate on any one thing for very long.  I am forgetful and noticing memory loss.  One other thing is I fall asleep very quick.  I am falling asleep during the middle of the day and it is almost like someone gave me a drug-I am out quickly and don't hear anything.  I sleep though the night which I am grateful about.  It seems to be a very deep sleep with no recall of dreams or moving.  Almost how it feels when given an anesthetic.  
I have come through this far and would hate to have to take this type of medicine again.  Still have a ways to go but for everyone starting this-there is light at the end of the tunnel.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I think the exercise and getting outdoors really does help.  I am starting to feel very, very tired and trying to do some yoga.  I have heard a lot of people talk about extreme fatigue.  Hoping that exercising will help ward it off.  Day 30 off Effexor for me.  Hoping the month of June will be much better than May.  Hope you are progressing well.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey there, Iv been taking effexor for over a year now and the dr started wein me off a few months ago. things were going ok until i went to fill my prescription and the price went from 58 bucks a month to 160 bucks a month. so much for weining slowly now. i have to go cold turkey and the side effects are so horrible. i have nightmares, i talk in my sleep while having nightmares ( i was told by my 16yr old things i was saying were pretty harsh). im dizzy pretty much all day and my body is very tingly even my lips. my stomach feels like its doing cartwheel almost like when your driving on a hilly road. this is only the first 24-48 hours.  I tell everyone that this is a horrible drug and DO NOT RECCOMEND ANYONE TAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I strongly believe that we will hear in the near  future lawsuits and this drug will be a problem for alot of people. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE AND GOD SPEED
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2207538_tn?1339037922
I am at the end of day five of cold turkey and still going to work. I am hoping this will  not go on much longer. I am a dizzy most of the time, but still driving on in hopes that I will start to feel better soon.
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Avatar_f_tn
I couldn't function at work but I am glad you are able to do so.  I actually was off work for a time so it was the perfect opportunity for me to start the withdrawal.  I believe the supplements really have helped me.  I have had a good week.  Getting up very early and walking has taken away the jittery feelings I was having.  
Rest when you can.  Your brain is trying to restore it's chemical balance and give yourself the time to take care.  
Keep me posted.  
Rhonda
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Avatar_f_tn
I actually bought my supplements through TRB.  If you don't want to get them there you can go to GNC, Vitamin Shop, or even Wal-Mart and get the Omega 3 fish oil with DHA and EPA.  Drink green tea a couple of times a day and B Complex.  It sounds like a lot but I would not have made it this far without them.  
Good Luck and please keep me posted.
Rhonda
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Avatar_f_tn
I am now on day 36 of withdrawal and have to say this has been the best week so far.  The thing that is making a world of difference is walking every morning.  It helps with the jitters I get late in the day and helps me sleep.  I think it is helping with the mood swings too.  I haven't felt like walking or doing much of anything so it was a real struggle the first day or two but now it feels good.  I am only walking 1 mile but will increase as I am going to keep this up.  
Taking the supplements and getting a lot of rest has also helped.  I have been fortunate enough to not have to work through this.  
I must say it has been hell but now I feel like the "real me" is back.  
I am sure there are good and bad days to come but now I think I can handle them.  Going through this withdrawal has made me stronger and I think I can handle much more and much better without the use of antidepressants.  
Having this forum has helped me immensely.  The first few weeks I would read the posts several times a day, knowing that others are going through this same experience.  I appreciate all the time and energy you all have shown by continuing to post.  
Prayers to all of you that are on this journey.  Thank you all for posting and helping me through this.
Rhonda
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so glad that I have read everyones comments  on this awful drug that is so difficult to get off of. My husband was ill for a number of years and I broke my wrist etc. Was on effexor for two years which certainly helped the anxiety. But I found that I would wake up with a hangover and dragged myself around much of the time.  My feelings were flat. As I was on the lowest dosage I  took no effexor one day on and one day off for a week.  Today I woke up with such anxiety that I took an effexor.  Was advised to take it one day on and two days off  next week but as I have become so aggressive  I wonder if  should not stay on my present schedule for a month ? Advise please. In have the feeling that I could be miserable for months
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1110049_tn?1409405744
Hello, one granny to another.  This all started in 2007 and is still going.  I reckon this subject has more postings than any other.

I did stop Effexor cold turkey, and it was over in two weeks.  Un fortunately after a year the depression came back, and I am back on 150mg Effexor.  The best drug I have ever taken, except for the withdrawal.

As I have had depression for 20 years, I know, after many depressive episodes, I must stay on medication.  I have no side effects with Effexor.  

You had better discuss withdrawing with a doctor.  Do you feel you will not get depression again?  Seems effexor is not the drug for you if you have side effects.  I have tried many during my years with depression.  

Although cold turkey is not advised, I found once off it, I did not have to suffer for weeks or months, as some people do.  Will you ask to go onto another anti-depressant when you come off effexor?

Good luck, and let me know how you get on.
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Avatar_f_tn
I stopped Effexor cold turkey mid-February and thought once I got through the horrible withdrawal, I would be in the clear.  I also have strange symptoms  . . . pain/weakness in both calves, weakness in my arms, bilateral stomach pain directly beneath my rib cage (a naturopathic doctor I'm seeing thinks it's my adrenal glands).  It's bad enough trying to deal with the depression, but then to also have all these physical symptoms 4 months after stopping Effexor.  I just want to hear from someone who has had a similar experience and is now healthy!  I need to know there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.  Right now I feel like this is going to be a life sentence.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have was on Effexor for almost a year (since end of July 2011), and was up to 150 mg.  Was tired of farting (bad gas) all the time, and caused me to be constipated and I have gained some weight (partially due to not exercising really).  So, I saw my psychiatrist a few weeks ago and told her I want to try Celexa.  For the past week (as of tomorrow), I dropped down to 75 mg, and started on 20 mg of Celexa.  By Thurs, I'll take the 75 mg of Effexor every other day for a week and continue with 20 mg of Celexa.  Once I stop taking Effexor, I'll take either 20 mg of Celexa once a day or twice daily (total of 40 mg).  Right now, I notice I'm waking up VERY tired...I'm tired most of the time anyway, but I'm really tired, and I don't have my period.  Also, woke up with a headache today, but wasn't sure if it was sinus related.  Hope this gets better as I get off the Effexor.  Sounds like the majority of people have gone through terrible withdrawal.  Hopefully you're doing much better.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been on effexor for 4 years after my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. My doctor at the time felt it would help me deal with her condition better. After two brain surgeries and radiation her condition has vastly improved. I no longer feel that i need to be on effexor and have gradually been weaning myself of it for about a month and a half. The side effects were tolerable brain zaps nausea etc. until three days ago when i went from 37.5 mg to none, now i'm having brain zaps constant mood swings( happy one moment almost in tears the next) and when i woke up today completely out of sorts almost like I had suddenly moved to a new town and everybody were strangers! Thankfully it passed after a few hours, thanks to everybody for sharing their stories it is helping me and others get through this.
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Avatar_f_tn
Some time ago I was on Effexor for two years - 300mg. When I moved I couldn't get a psychiatrist and never thought about going to a GP. As I was much better and my last pdoc suggested that I was ready to get off meds (I was diagnosed with Major Depression at that time). Anyway, when the pills ran out I was off it. I can remember feeling strange for about 4 days, then it stopped. I must be one of the lucky ones.
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Avatar_f_tn
I just came off of Effexor as prescribed by my psych.--was taking 150mg/75/37.5/-now 0 since Sunday. I have been experiencing nausea, dizziness and the weird brain zaps as others have mentioned. The nightmares and crazy dreams still abound.
  I hope withdrawal doesn't take as long as some people have said. I've had this drug in my system for about 2 years. I am happy to be off of it. I hope and pray that my depression will go with it as well. I want my "real" self back, whomever that is.This withdrawal is much worse that the one week of headaches I experienced when I had nicotine withdrawal.
  I will try the Omega-3's as some suggest.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh, and I also hope I lose some weight by going off this medication. Has anyone else gained a lot on Effexor?
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2924162_tn?1339999064
I have been trying to withdraw from Effexor for three weeks.  I feel like I've been on a roller coaster.  I was taking 37.5 for about a year..He took me up and up again to 150...then tried to pair it with Welbutrin..Blood Pressure went through the roof..so then he said let's try Pristique...Seems like Pristique worked for about a week...and I though..Whoooo..I love this ....but then I began to feel horrible...aches, pain, muscle spasms..a head thing..not sure how to describe..it..I can't figure out if this is side effects from Pristique or withdrawals from Effexor...I am now sleeping alot and then I will put up for two days...and then it cycles..and oh the headaches (can anyone describe Brain Zaps?  I would like to know if what I am experiencing it Brain Zaps?)  and also..mad rages of yelling and crying..followed by complete mental exhaustion...Any advice would be great
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2924162_tn?1339999064
Can you describe the Brain Zaps?
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been on Effexor XR for 7 years and managed to get down to the lowest dose, 37.5mg. However I've had such difficulty coming off it, just missing a day brought on agonizing pain and nausea. I've been stuck on 37.5mg for a year now, unable to completely stop taking it.

My doctor finally wrote me a special perscription for a compound pharmacy, which is a pharmacy that makes custom doses of drugs (expensive but covered under my medical plan at work thankfully). My doctor outlined a 8 week plan to ween me off, I'm currently at 22.5mg (it's in liquid form now), after 2 weeks I'll lower down 17.5mg for 2 weeks and so on. I'm just finishing my 2nd week on 22.5mg and it's been relatively ok...no excruciating headaches, a tiny bit of nausea here and there though. But now I'm starting to feel anxious and panicking, mood swings here and there and 'brain zaps', definitely a good phrase to describe that bizarre feeling!

I guess there is really no way to get off Effexor with zero symptoms, but I'm glad the symptoms I'm having seem to at least be common. I feel so out of sorts and want it all to pass. I've been very determined the get off the drug so I think that's what is helping me through this. I've also found relief from symptoms when I go to the gym, I channel all that anxiousness and negative moods into my work out and it really helps. Haven't seen any signs of the depression returning which has been very uplifting, hoping it says that way!
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1110049_tn?1409405744
You will find a lot of posts about weight gain on Effexor.  Seems to be the norm.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I have gained a lot weight when i was on Effexor XR 150 mg (5 years). Now I am first week without it - went on 75 mg for about 6 weeks and then to 0. But I felt agitated today and I was very argumentative and moody - this part worries me the most. I really don't want to go back to Effexor.
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Avatar_f_tn
I forgot to mention that I have no brain zaps so far and Gravol helps me with my nausea and dizziness
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Avatar_m_tn
I am on day 5 of getting off of this drug. I've been on 150mg for about 5 years and have tried many times to come off of it. My symptoms are mostly the same as everyone else's on here.  I have the nausea, hot flashes, sore stomach, headache and sore eyes.  My body tingles... my fingertips and toes. I don't like sitting up as I just get dizzier.  I am sure hoping that I will feel better soon.  Can anyone give me some hope here?
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Avatar_f_tn
To me it felt like static like you hear on a radio only you could feel it. It would happen when I turned my head. Also my vision didn't seem to keep up with my head turning. I had them when getting off Cymbalta although I didn't have much of a taper - one day my normal dose, the next half, the third half again and then off. I needed to go off fast so I could start my new drug while in the hospital.
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes I did the same..half, then the next half, a third, then gone..

Does the dizziness and other symptoms go away...?an dhow much longer...I
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Avatar_m_tn
http://www.pointofreturn.com/brain_zaps.html
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2207538_tn?1339037922
I went from 75mg to 0 cold turkey. Wow! I quit doing my homework, I had mood swings, and head pain, dizziness, and nausea and those crazy brain zaps. I forced myself out to jog and made sure I was hydrating as well as eating healthy. I feel a lot better now. Hot baths really helped when I was feeling so overwhelmed. I really appreciate the stories and experiences that everyone shared, because it really helps!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am able to answer a couple of my own questions and thought that it might help others..

I took 4 days and went from 75 mg to 0 mg.

So last saturday was my first day with none in my system.  I didn't feel miserable until about the afternoon. All symptoms as everyone describes in these posts. The "brain zaps" for me can be described as "body waves."  My brain gets like a  "wave" (kind of like how a wave comes into the ocean) and it goes through to my arms, fingers and legs and toes.  Massive tingling, but it doesn't hurt and seemed rhythmic to me.  Almost every 10-15 minutes.  These were intense until day 4.  When I say intense I don't mean painful, I just mean intensified.   They way the volume on a radio can be turned to the max, I felt these were on the maximum,

Sunday was terrible as I felt so darn dizzy, chills and hot flashes, nauseated and my eyes couldn't keep up with body movements. So I went to the store and bought omega 3 and Vit. B and gravol.  (thanks to this site)

Monday wasn't great, hot flashes and all the other symptoms.  I went home from work at noon.  I almost went back on the effexor because I couldn't see an end to the ill feeling.  I got obsessed with reading everyone's stories on here looking for some hope and somewhere on here, someone mentioned that after day 4 it gets better and it does  !

The symptoms do get less! I took advil for head aches today, and am not as dizzy nor nauseated.  I worked all day and did great.  My eyes are still sore, but are also getting better.  The brain waves are much less and not as intense. I still have very vivid dreams but they are not frightening anymore. I actually think they are interesting and kind of fun.

I don't feel scared anymore about not making it through this withdrawal process, all I feel is hope and excitement for being done with this awful drug.

There is hope! YAY!

Thanks to everyone for posting.  This was what helped me when all I could feel was fear and hopelessness.










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Avatar_f_tn
  I started taking 37.5 effexor for mild anxiety, but really wanted hot flashes to stop.  After taking it for 4 days, I slept well each nite, and the hot flashes started to diminish.  However, I felt lousy, and my blood pressure was really going up and down, (I am on blood pressure meds..10mg) like crazy....mostly down...90/60.  I stopped taking it after reading message boards.  It's been 2 weeks after only taking 4 doses and I am experiencing dizziness/lightheadeness and wondering...is it possible that this drug with a mere 4 doses is STILL wrecking havoc with me???  Is that possible?
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Avatar_f_tn
Why don't you call your pharmacist, who you should have called when you planned to go off it. It seems 4 doses wouldn't last 2 weeks so I can see why you did it on your own, however that is the pharma's job to advise so you should be able to get the info you need there.
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Avatar_f_tn
Sounds like you made a simple withdrawal into a nightmare going cold turkey. I can't imagine why anyone would go thru all that when the drug is not addictive so CT is pointless.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm much better now.  I should never have gone on this med without reading up on it.  Obviously my mistake.  If it works for people, I'm all for it, but for me, not so much.  My heart goes out to all who are suffering.  Good luck to you all.
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Avatar_f_tn
My above post was not meant to reply to birdie....it was meant to be a general post....
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Avatar_m_tn
I am now on day 6 of no effexor. Every day I feel a bit better.  My eyes are now adjusting to motion and body movements and the brain waves (zaps) are much less frequent.  I take advils a couple times a day for headaches and actually, come to think of it, I did not take any gravol today!  So I am not nauseated nor dizzy! YAY!  (i do cry easily, but hey, maybe I'm a crier?)

THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE EFFEXOR WITHDRAWAL TUNNEL!

I hope to start jogging again this weekend and golfing next week.
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Avatar_m_tn
It's nice to find a place where there are people who understand what I am going through.
I quit Effexor XR 75mg over 10 years ago when I learned of my pregnancy with my daughter. I did this cold turkey and although I do remember not feeling well, I don't recall much detail about just how bad it was...until now. I have been on Effexor again for 2 years, 150mg once per day for panic attacks and depression.
Since being on this horrible medication, I have gained weight, have an excessive craving for sweets and have major mood swings. I can't sleep, I have pasties all the time and sometimes I straight up feel like I'm on speed.
I decided to quit again. After weaning myself down to 37.5mg with zero problems over the past 6 weeks I have taken my last dose almost 48 hours ago.
I am doing my best to not cave in and go to the Dr for a refill.
I feel incredibly dizzy and sick to my stomach, I have a "dead head" sensation, almost feel like I'm in a zombie state. I have no appetite to speak of and no motivation to do anything. All I want to do is sleep this horrible gross feeling in my head away. I have had a few little brain "zaps" but nothing substantial. This dizziness though is ridiculous and I have tried taking Gravol to no avail.
What are the supplements that are recommended to help with these gross symptoms? I can't function like this...how long can I expect this to last!?
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Hi rbeau,


I just have to say "Hang in there" because it gets better.  I wasn't sure either last week when I stopped using effexor, but I am sure now.

Based on my experience...

You can expect the symptoms to lesson each day.  The dizziness is awful and it does go away.  I am not dizzy at all today.  All i wanted to do was sleep too.  I had the gravol chewable one...non-drwosy ginger gravol I ate two every couple of hours (as soon as I felt nauseated).  It mostly alleviated a bit, but didn't do too  much.  

I read this site like crazy trying to see if I would get through it.  Lots of people on here recommend OMega 3 and B complex, so that si what i stated with on day 2.   I also went today and bought St. John's wart because today I am feeling very agitated, bitchy and edgy.  I am going to go tomorrow and find 5HTP...that is supposed to help as well.

This is day 7 for me....you can do it.


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St Johns and 5HTP are just quack remedies. They didn't go through trials and there is no regulation of the manufacturers claims or even the pruity of their products. Ask your pharmacist for real advice because they have standards.
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http://www.medhelp.org/user_journals/show/139202/Watch-out-for-those-herbals

"Drugs" are subjected to exacting scientific trial to prove them both safe and also effective. Sellers of dietary supplements are not required to prove that their remedies work. They are not even required to prove them safe -- as "foods" they are presumed safe unless shown otherwise. "Drugs" must disclose any risk of side effect.
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I stopped Effexor cold turkey on 5/21/12 after approx 4 years.  Started on 37.5 and went up until 150mg. On 5/19 my lips and mouth started tingling, then it slowly moved up my face (over the next two weeks) even going into my scalp. My GP sent me to an ENT who prescribed Flonaise because I had a little drainage.  I was already dizzy, this made it worse. The ENT thought I was calcium deficient so he wanted labs. This was the Thursday before Memorial Day. On the Tuesdsy after the holiday (5/29) I go to the ER as my vision is acting up.  Blood tests, cat scan and 8 hours later I am told I'm just stressed and need to take 3 days off of work!  Ok so I'm off and the eyes are getting worse and im nauseaed all the time.  I couldn't stand the smell of food and all I could get down was mandarin oranges and planet smoothie protien drinks.   I have no energy and sleep all the time still very very dizzy.  June 5 I go to my eye DR as my eyes are really bad, she refers me to a neuro ophthalmologist who I see twice a week apart. Nothing wrong with my optic nerve. He tells me something that was very uncalled for-"you know if you're depressed maybe you should go to a psychiatrist.  I immediately told him, Doc I'm not depressed I'm pissed. I asked him how he would feel if he lost his sight?  He said he would be upset I told him that I was pissed not depressed. Still no answers and now mad as hell.  On 6/16 Im driven to the ER, can't see and the migraines I'm having are ripping my head apart.  MRI is done Ike told we are admitting you, possible MS.  9 days in the hospital and still no diagnosis. I will be going to a MS specialist on 7/18 but in the meantime I'm researching Seratonin Toxicity which I believe the Effexor caused.  Pumped full of steroids my facial numbness is gone, eyesight gets better each day and I'm getting an appetite back. Lost 20lbs in 2 weeks but I don't recommended it that way. I've been drinking tons of vitamin water, water and gator ade. Feel better each day and the eyes get better also. I will say this has been hell coming off the meds and I too wish someone could give a timeline on how long all this lasts.
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I've been progressing quite well as I come down off Effexor. I highly recommend going the compound route like I have -- I could not come off the drug from 37.5, torturous. Depending what your medical plan is like it could be expensive, I live in Canada and also have coverage through my job so I basically pay nothing for it.

After 37.5, I went down to 30.5mg (once you go below 37.5 it's given out in liquid form and you get a perscription from your Dr. that can only be filled at a compound pharmacy). After two weeks on 30.5mg I'm now down to 22.5mg. I did have all the symptoms people mentioned but to a lesser extent when going from 37.5 to 30.5 but I've barely felt anything going to 22.5mg. I'm a bit more tired than usual and more emotional but overall doing just fine. It's a slow process, it'll be two months total getting from 37.5mg to 0mg but completely worth it as my life has been unaffected by the symptoms. I'm going down to 15.5mg this weekend, I get more excited every 2 weeks knowing I'm a bit closer to being Effexor-free! If you're suffering through the horrid symptoms, it's definitely worth a chat with your doctor about a compound perscription. Best of luck all!
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OMG - I too had to get tested for Celiac, I had to get admitted to hospital for a colonoscopy and had all sorts of horrid tests done... Only to realise its the damn effexor!!!
I am now tapering off and I have had one hell of a ride. At first I did what my Dr advised... 150 - 75 - 37.5 then over 4 months (which I had no problems with)... But then to alternate my 37.5 days... Now this hurt like hell. Hot flushes, body aches, nausea, electric shocks, dizzyness..... another 4 weeks off work! Argh!!
Anyway I had to eventually go back to 37.5 and I am now tappering again...with the help of JNKL suppliments from the TRB program. They are expensive, but they do work. They work very well. I feel great. I am at week 4 of my taper and I have had no withdrawals to date - except some mild brain shivers over the last few days but this is easily fixed by taking some high EPA omega 3 caps (Blackmores Omega Triple 535EPA).... I have actually been opening my effexor capsules and taking out the little beads, 10 at a time / week for my taper. TRB doesnt suggest doing this, but it has worked very well for me.
What I am hoping is that I will start losing some of the weight I gained during my effexor years. Would be nice to get back to normal size again.
How are you going??? I hope you are doing ok and you are welkl on your road to recovery.
Hugs to you!!!
Poncho
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Hi there
How are you going with yur JNK supps? Are they working. I feel mine are really great. I didn't get my Omega 3 from here. I found a local health food shop that had higher EPA Omega for a fraction of the price, but I got all my other stuff from them. How are you feeling now?
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hey there... have you found the suppliments? go to TRB (The road back). It is all listed. It is expensive but I honestly think they have helped me sooo much!
Good luck!
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Hi there, I just want to see how you re traveling? I really hope you are ok. You poor thing. Sounds like you have had one of the worst times ever. My thoughts are with you and I hope your symptoms are easing and you are felling better.
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All the comments I've read in this forum have been very helpful.  I'm in the process of tapering off Effexor after being on 75 mg for at least 7 years.  I've completed two weeks at 37 mg per day and yesterday was my first everyother day experience.  The side effects were actually getting a little better until I did my first day without yesteday.  My head is so fuzzy and I feel nauseated.  Also, my eyes itch.  That might just be allergies---I don't know.  My skin feels all creepy crawly.  I have little hallucinations too---I'll see things moving out of the corner of my eyes that make me jump.  And, I'm extremely agitated and crabby.  I hope this passes soon.  It really *****.
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I am in day 13 of stopping Effexor. I was only on it for 2 months. I loved it, and it worked wonders for me once it kicked in. But I just couldn't deal with a couple of the side effects e.g. extreme constipation and heart palps.
I should also mention that I had been on Zoloft for over 10 years. But it just eventually seemed to stop working. I am on AD meds to treat depression, anxiety, and OCD.
Anyway, I had been wondering what the brain zaps were all about. I thought they felt something akin to the little static electricity shocks you get, except in the brain. When I found out what they were, I realized that's what I had been having all along. I used to get them if I missed more than 2 doses of my Zoloft.
So now after 2 months on Effexor, I stopped cold turkey to start Wellbutrin. I had no trouble whatsoever switching from zoloft to effexor. But then I realized they both deal with serotonin, whereas Wellbutrin doesn't.
So I guess I am experiencing the serotonin withdrawl (withdrawal) syndrome I have heard about. The first symptom I had was the extreme diarrhea and cramping. I didn't even attribute it to that at first. But everything I eat goes right through me. I have the brain zaps, dizziness, trouble concentrating, I'm depressed (I felt suicidal yesterday), I feel dyslexic when I type, and at time I just want to kill somebody. But please!! When will the diarrhea stop?? Has anyone has experienced that? If so, how long does it last? Oh, I also get periodic waves of nausea. Has anyone else switched from Effexor to Wellbutrin? I'm just worried because I have never taken an AD that wasn't an SSRI or SNRI. Will Welbutrin help depression as well without the serotonin?
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Ive been weaned off over 6 wks from a high dose of 225mg, yesterday was my first day on none from the lowest dose they could give me of 75mg (i am in the UK).  Theve took me off because i am pregnant and not cause my depression has gone, the only other drugs they can give me for my depression don't work, as ive been on them all before.  I understand that i need to do this so my child is healthy, but surely these horrible migraines, upset stomachs, nausea and bad dizziness are not good for the baby?  I am crying all the time, the slightest thing can set me of - is there anything anyone can suggest?
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You think the diarrhea is withdrawal, but I would think it is from the Welbutrin. If so it might go away over time so ask your pharmacist. They are the expert.
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I am on Day 17 of quitting Effexor. (was taking it for hot flashes and mild anxiety)  Was on it for several years @ 75 mg.  I tapered slowly to 37.5 and then, after one week of alternating 37.5 one day - nothing the next, I stopped taking it.  
The first week, especially Days 3 & 4 were horrible!!  Every symptom mentioned in this blogs I experienced.  I think the extreme sweats, alternating with shivers were the worst.  I don't think coming off heroin could have been any worse.  Also, my migraines were frequent and bad.
I can't say that each DAY gets better, but when I compare week to week, each WEEK does get better.  The second full week was better than the first.  After the first week, I usually felt fairly 'normal' in the mornings and then starting at noon I would still get the 'zaps' (I liken them to surges of vertigo) and some nausea at different points for the rest of the day.  
Now, my periods of nausea are less frequent but I still am getting the dizzies if I stand too quickly or turn my head too quickly.

It would have been very easy to have just made the decision to go back on the drug because I felt so sick.  I know a lot of folks do this.  But I started to take it personally, i.e. me against Effexor, and darn it all - Effexor was NOT going to win.  I feel this drug gets such a hold over you that they purposely design it to be almost impossible to quit.

I still am far from being myself since now I am extremely exhausted and everything is a chore.  I think this could be from the fact that I did not leave the house for the first NINE days and spend all that time in either my bed or on the couch.  So it's almost like starting to move again after being sick for a while and it takes some time to get back up to the same energy level as before.  

To anyone who just wants to give up and go back on Effexor - HANG IN THERE!!  It very gradually will get better!  

I will post another update in a couple of weeks.
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"I feel this drug gets such a hold over you that they purposely design it to be almost impossible to quit."
Quite the opposite. If anyone had any ability to design the drug it would be to have no side effects or withdrawal symptoms. There would be far more prescriptions and more eager users if that were the case.
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I respectfully disagree Birdie!  
I have known 4 other people who have taken Effexor and NONE of them (or me) was warned by our doctors of the debillitating withdrawal effects.  Seems these are a well-kept secret UNTIL you decide you want to go off the medication.  
Why is this information not prominently displayed and explained when you decide to go ON Effexor in the first place?

Honestly, I am sure my original comment is not true - But the withdrawal symptoms are so prevelant and common among us that it starts to feel like a conspiracy :)
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Now you have added doctors in the secret conspiracy with drug makers. Who is next?
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i cant believe i missed all these posts the first time i went searching for anwsers about stopping effexor.  Thank u to everyone who shared.  This is going to be a nightmare, but i gotta do it.  At least i know others made it through to to the other side, that gives me some encouragement.
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I thought this forum was to express feelings and get support, not to be  judged for how we are feeling and sarcastically criticized for the manner in which we express ourselves..  I thought my experience may help others who felt they were alone in how they were feeling.

I see I was mistaken and will be discontinuing any further posts.
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You can do it Akitagurl!  There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it will get better!!
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I have quite a story and so similar to all of you..trying to get off Effexor..I've been on it 9 years...I got really fat...that is so disheartening in itself....I really do not need it anymore...I break the capsule open and take half of it a day.  We aren't supposed to...but it works for me.  My dr.had me on 1 pill every other day...but I get too dizzy and can't sleep the day I would leave it off.
I had low blood pressure and then it went up about 6-7 years ago...one of the side effects of it...No one would here of it..that effexor caused it...it was said the meds is working so good for you we don't want to change it...so on BP meds...not alot...but have to take it...Now  I take the 37.5 broke in half each day..When I took the full capsule On the every other day..I was noticing headaches and slight bp rise....I would start to feel some paranoia about 3-4 hours of taking it the whole pill also.  I know I have no reason to be on a anti-depressant anymore...I have cleared out my whole life and got the gold tooth out of my mouth as I was murcury poisioned in 89 from amalgums and immediate bad depression. A Gold tooth will set it up.. I have cleared all of this out  by going to alternative healers.  Now I am a healer...energy healer...(God's healing energy)  when I sing Patsy Cline and gospel songs in my shows people go away with such love in their hearts and will more than likely deal with something...I am so blessed to be doing that.
Anyway...I plan to see a Classical Homepoathy practitioner by 3rd of next month..to come off the rest of this stuff...I'm just living on side effects now..it is not needed anymore and it is doing harm to my body.  Another anti-depressant is not needed....this will also support my adreanals as I go off...May take 6 months...but will help heal all of the things it has harmed.  Oh yes and my cholestrol has elevated...i know its another side effect of effexor...Too long on it...We aught to sue...The pharmisist...said that it wears out like other anti-depressants do after so many years...
Thanks for listeneing.  you wonderful people.  God bless us all as we come off this meds...It did serve it's purpose...now need for it to let us go with good ways..
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Yes you can do it.  For sure.
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I do agree that the drug does get a hold over you and it is soooo difficult to quit.  Pharmaceuticals is a big business.  I wonder how many doctors would take this drug?
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This board is to help people deal with reality, not make up weird accusations that doctors are in business for referrals, drug makers spike their drugs to make them difficult to get off, and drug companies have posters like me boosting the drugs here.
Look at the Welbutrin site, which claims it has less side effects than others and which you can quit cold turkey from. If the competition could do either of that they would.
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I am on day 5 of being off the Effexor 37.5 mg and OMG the mood swings are awful.  The anger is awful...I'm in a new relationship and he's trying to be so supportive yet how much bickering can one person take?  Also, I'll suddenly get dizzy for no apparent reason, and sharp pains in my stomach.
How long does this go on for?
massgirl262
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Call your pharmacist for expert advice if you can. I took my prescription with a 24 hour pharmacy. so I could get advice at any time because these types of drugs often bring on something that is unexpected. Most everyone here is just dealing with their own test data, whereas a pharmacist is a professional.
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I've been off Effexor XR completely for ten days now, having VERY GRADUALLY tapered off per my dr's instructions.  Well, I've been to Hell and back this past week with irritability, unable to think straight, dizziness, diarrhea, nightmares, agitation, suicidal thoughts, a stone's throw away from quitting my job, leaving my husband, etc. etc.  I'm still having visits to Hell and don't think I'll ever see Heaven.
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Yes you will. Hang in there, this too will pass.
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I'm on Effexor XR 225mg, and I've tried to stop numerous times. My parents and psychiatrist don't want me to, though. I can stop for 1-2 days and be fine, but usually with the 3rd day, I have headaches and I'm constantly dizzy. Today is my 5th day without them, and my brain feels tingly randomly. My emotions are also all over the place. I've had other medicines give me withdrawals, but nothing like these. From what I've read on here, it's like that for most others. I don't have time to take 5 separate pills every morning (3 effexor and 2 of another medicine), especially if the result isn't worth it.
My mom has been on Effexor for many years, and it just hit me that even if she wanted to quit, she probably wouldn't be able to.
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Each day gets better, hang in there! Tomorrow is day 5 for me cold turkey  (150 for 10 years!) and my days are great, but my nights are hell. Nightmares are so bad, Im scared to sleep. If dizzyness, nasea and brain zaps were all I had to deal with, which I do (all day and night to some degree) I would be so grateful.

2 weeks I hear is the magic number and I will be passed the worst of it.

I pray its true.

Never give up. My energy level, libito impro
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I am on day 14 of being completely off of Effexor XR (150MG Daily).  I went from 150MG for five years, to 75MG for a week, then to 37.5MG for one week, then nothing, following my doctor's advice.

I really enjoyed reading everyone's comments about the withdrawl (withdrawal) effects.  I had most of them in the last few weeks. It gets better.  Two small pieces of advice.

1.  Watch your spending during this time frame.  I put $10K onto one of my credit cards in the last two weeks.  (I can afford it, but that is not typical for me).

2.  Resolve that you won't make ANY relationship decisions for at least a month.  The second day I was off Effexor I thought I wanted a divorce from my wife of many years.  I didn't voice this or act on it, but it would have been a mistake.

I feel a little better everyday now, and I'm looking forward to feeling normal again.  My wife said it was like being married to Spock, hope she likes the new me because I'm definately feeling some stuff.  Good luck to you all.
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My story is way different then yours i was 2 an a half yrs on effexor 300mg
clonozepam 2mg 3 times a day,clorazepate ,navane and ambien xr yeah not nice but then one day i sad hell with it ...for real got tired to many pills.
so i stop first the navane and then clorazepate 3 x bye the clonozepam,well lets say every thing sucked but hey i kept on going from 300mg of effexor i sad lets do 150mg and yes i had ocassional headaches
but then i said no more lets quit cold turkey and u no what people im still alive no pains cause its was all in my head...but the sad part of the story is that i feel like crap again ,sad,low,depressed and i need all my pills again..so please talk to ur dr before turkey style
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Hi, I'm currently coming off of effexor also, and saw your post. I know everyone is different, but everyone I know has has horrible weight gain with celexa.

Before taking effexor, I was on prozac, but had a severe adverse reaction and lost about 20 lbs in a month. My doctor then switched me to celexa and I gained almost 60 lbs in three months. A friend of mine was put on celexa around the same time and also gained significant amounts of weight in a short time.

The weight gain was too much for me and I was switched to effexor and have been on it for 10 years now. With effexor, I gained a little bit of weight, maybe around 20 lbs, but was never able to lose any weight no matter what diet or exercise I tried. I even trained for and ran two half marathons and lost about five lbs total, which quickly returned.

You may not have such a bad experience with celexa, as everyone is different, but I just wanted to let you know that if weight gain is a concern you should definitely research it and know some of the possible problems.

I wish you the best of luck!

M
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Thank you for a positive note....reading all of the negative I was actually terrified....with only being on this drug for not yet a month I thought it wouldnt affect me so bad....wrong!!! I am only dealing with the lightheadedness & nausea...cant believe that in only a short time of taking this medicine it can cause so much sickness...I am on day 4 & thanks to you I am now feeling better about the next few days....never again will I put myself thru this....I will deal with my issues without meds & with GOD!!!!
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RedApple,
I know what you mean about the rage.  With the help of a psychiatrist (ironically the one who put me on it 14 years ago), I was able to wean myself off over a 4 month period.  Instead of trying to reduce the contents of the capsules, though, he prescribed a tablet form that could be easily cut down and also prescribed Clonazepam to take daily.  I've been off it for almost a year but the meanness and snippiness has not gone away.  Recently, minor events (similar to your husband's opening his mouth) have triggered an intense rage that is indescribable bordering on suicidal and homicidal.  My short-term solution is to just sleep as much as possible, like 15 hours a day although with a 4-year old you won't be able to do that.  I have multiple calls into Northwestern and my psychiatrist (who has since moved) to see if going back on to a low dosage will eliminate the meanness and rage.  I'm willing to do that rather than continuing to be so awful to everyone.  I will keep you posted.  
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Gould was 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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Had been on 150mg daily for 18months, then 1 month on 75mg and 1 month on 37.5mg. Day 6 now without any efexor in my system. Day 3 it hit me like a ton of bricks, brain 'waves' , nausea, the sweats, tremors and crazy dreams. On day four I had an acupuncture session which helped heaps. Would highly recommend it if you know a good one. Today all symptoms are still there but very mild and was close to feeling 'normal'. Here's hoping tomorrow is even brighter. Seriously try some alternate therapies people to help with the transition..seems to have made a huge difference for me. Good luck everyone on your journey to be efexor free....and a happy life.
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Hi all,
I can so much relate to what everyone is saying about symptoms. As I read, I noticed there are no magic numbers as to how long you can feel awful.It does seem that the first week is the worst...i hope.
I was on effexor for about 11 yrs. was up to 225mg for a while but the past year on 150mg. Dr. had me go 1 month of 75, then a month of 37.5. this is day 6 without any. feel so miserable most of the time but i do have windows of time where i feel "normal". it's usually when I'm with friends and/or family and not focused on myself. I've had the stomach issues-gas, bloating, diarreah (diarrhea). Omega 3 seems to help with the brain zaps or waves.
Also, good nutrition and lots of water. as others have said, my eyes can't keep up with my body and I have bouts of anger, meanness, and screaming. Couldn't work on Thursday. Crying a lot. Thought about getting rid of not only my beloved pets, but my kids too! Humor helps! I want so badly to feel healthy and well-adjusted. I think the symptoms have gotten slightly better in the past two days.if down the road i need to try another anti-depressant, I will but I do not want this drug to have a hold on me that I can't let go of. So I'm gonna keep going. Thanks to all for sharing your experiences. It is comforting to know I'm not crazy and others experience the same things. Best wishes to all.  
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Hi! As I read through the threads memories of my withdrawal from Effexor XR come to mind.  I was on 37.5 for 5 years.  I can empathize with each of you.  It took me two years to taper off the 37.5 (call me hyper - sensitive).  I managed to dodge the brain zaps that I have heard so much about... I did manage to experience weight gain, cognitive function issues (word recall, short term memory) and had the opposite effect of most - within a few weeks of being off of it so went my "internal spark".  Irony is that prior to being on it and during the time I was on it the "internal spark" was alive and well.  It has been almost 15 months that I have been off if it and it has certainly not been the smoothest transition.  There is not doubt in my mind that having been on it for an extended # of years it affected the chemical make up and had to accept this by adjusting my life accordingly.   My humble advice to those of you going through the experience... Be patient, positive and proactive.  Taper at the slowest pace - don't be in a rush. Each body and brain is made differently and "cookie cutter" recipes for tapering don't work.  Be aware of your own system. Keep a journal of your experiences, feelings, discontinuing symptoms.  Speak to an ND for complimentary treatments/supplements/methods to help.  Also there is a FANTASTIC book called the MOOD CURE by Julia Ross.  It has some fabulous suggestions for withdrawing from antidepressants.  I wish each you success with your journey to freedom from Effexor or Effexor XR.
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I was curious to see if there were any legal actions against the company that made Effexor and happened to stumble across this.... interesting....
http://www.rotlaw.com/effexor/
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hello there, if you consider the number of people who benifit from this 'entrapment', I wonder why it took so long before one of them roared it's way up here denying the government, big pharma and al are involved in this!  Don't even bother trying to convince anyone of this; deep inside we all know this is a fact.  They just want you to have doubts about it. next thing you know, you'll doubt about yourself and then about pretty much everything including the decision you took by getting rid of the leash they have put around your neck years ago without givingyou all the facts upfront. I am a newbie at this but after years on it, I decided it's do or die....literally! todayis day 5 of what I hope will numbered in the thousands. If I fail i'll die a free man, if I succeed I stand achance to be myself again...and feel it! Whatever happen There's a thing that won't change: My conviction that what look, smell and taste like a fact is a fact nothing else. By the way there's one side effect I realy like: It's tough to describe but I feel no presure on my troat anymore...guess it's the leash I trew away;)  
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Thank you! Your comment was what i was looking for, i am on day five now completely off Effexor, my pharmacist and doctor, informed me only when i was to come off them that it was not going to easy, noone mentioned how hard it would be when they prescribed them to me 6 years ago,  I was originally on 225mg for depression and anxiety, then reduced a year ago to 150mg, then to 75mg i am  told there are many other depressants that DON'T cause these side effects when trying to come off them..My doctor did inform me after i was taking 37.5 one day then 75 the day after then 37.5 again, was messing with my brain too much and the best way was to just go cold turkey, i wish now that i had read this and tried removing granules like others have, but then i suppose it only prolongs the horrible feeling longer. I hope tomorrow is better, as the last 4 days have been awful, brain zaps dizziness vomiting, diarrhea, irritability and headaches.. Today just a mild brain zaps. I pray for myself and all others suffering it will be better tomorrow. Its been a hard 12 months!. Thankyou everyone, i wish i had found this 12 months ago, or better 6 years ago
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This is to no one in particular, just found this forum tonight while searching  to see if the hot flashes I've been having could be related or is it a returne of menopause I thought i was done with a year or 2 ago.  and am seeing that this can be an effexor withdrawal, along with the dizziness and heart palipations and even the itchy eyes and crampy stomache and aching jjoints and feeling slow and underwater and dumb and idiotic.
I was only on effexor a couple of weeks at .75 mg.  I was trying it as a substitute for Pristiq which I'd been on for years but seems to have stopped working and then the cost was going to go up because insurance will no longer pay for pristiq.  afraid of going to no antidepressants at all I tried effexor which is said to be chemically similar.  But, while taking this drug I'm feeling sort of 'vibrat-ey'.  Like a tight yet shaky feeling, unstable and uncomfortable.  Takes me a long time to get going.  This started as I was in the last few weeks of a temporary job (3 months) and my irritability and memory problems contributed a lot to the fact that it ended on a bad note.  I can't use that job as  areference, ever and they will be able to report on how spacy and yet irritable and critical I am.  And I don't blame them.  So, since this being ON effexor was so pathetically bad, I am trying to go OFF.  I still have pristiq quich I've been breaking in 2 but then the last 2 days quiet the 75. mg effexor entirely, and woke up next day wihtout the dizzy, tight, buzzy snaky feeling, which was a relief. but now 2 days without any effextor am getting intense hot flashes and ache all over.  Sounds like I'm lucky that the wavea of dizzyiness and shaky feeling are not worse than they are since luckily now that i'm essentially fired from work, i have the luxury of moving slowly through the day.  Nor do I feel too weepy (yet)  Based on this forum I decided maybe I could go a little slower than just 75 to 0 overnight, and take a couple grains from the capsule tonight in hopes of being less of a wreck tomorrow.  We shall see.  Appreciate the reminders about omega 3's and green t and drinking lots of water, will try.  interestingly I have more cravings for fruits and veggies than usual.  If I get the weepy self hatred that caused me t be on antidepressents in the 1st place I'll becme willing to try something else but effexor had NO improvement on the self hatred and just added a layer of wierd side effects and now I get to deal with the even wierder withdrawal.  what a waste of time.
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i have been off this drug for 3 months and i have brain damage from it. i posted a video on utube pls take the time to see it and share it. im trying to get the word out about how dangerous this drug is
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I'm on my first day of being off Effexor completely, I weaned myself down to 37.5 and then nothing today.  I have to say Effexor has been a lifesaver for me because I am truly clinically depressed and have been hospitalized once, but it's so expensive I decided to try to switch to something else.  But naturally I would LOVE to be off antidepressants completely, maybe I will be?  In the meantime I have the symptom of feeling like my eyes are swishing back and forth when I move my head, can't sleep, too dazed to drive, very light sensitive, and itchy.  And I cry easily (Effexor stopped the crying completely).  The comments which were positive about withdrawal symptoms getting better eventually are very encouraging, which is something you need when you are depressed!  Hopefully it will get better for me too.
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I have been taking Effexor for 10 years. I am now on day 9 with no effexor after tappering off of it very slowly for 4 months. I have tried before to get off of it, but the withdrawl (withdrawal) made me go right back on it. Day 9 is definitely better than day 1. The first 2 days I could not eat without vomitting. The nausea and dizziness was the worst for me. On day 3 I started taking Omega3, a B complex vitamin, and dramamine for the nausea. All of that has seemed to make the withdrawls more manageable. I am very emotional especially in the evening. I have been having many suicidal moments in the last 9 days. I hope is not the real me and this is part of the withdrawl (withdrawal). I will never put that poison back in my body.
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Thank you for the post. I am not in a financial position to spend money  and yet I just recently made really unnecessary purchases.

I am Day 6 of cold turkey after 8 years on Effexor. I truly believe it saved my life and  sanity when I needed the help- now .....not so much. In the past I missed pills and experienced awful results- but like I said, this time ....not so much. I made a decision to follow the path presenting itself and so, it was time to be done.
But the SPENDING- egad I KNOW better- what the heck is up with that craziness.
Sma
Need help- any ideas where how to manage this part of the WD?
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I have been on 75 MG since November 2011. I had mild anxiety attacks, and the doc put me on  effexor. It seemed to help, or maybe life just got a little less hectic. I had a lot going on at the time with cross-training for the military, short-selling my home, raising a family and having a friend living with us. Plus being in the military isnt always easy. I'm glad I've read the personal experiences here about the brain zaps and vertigo feeling. About once a week I get the zoned out feeling that feels almost like Deja Vu. It lasts for about a minute and I get all unfocused and dizzy. A few minutes later I'm fine. I am in training now and am here in Florida by myself. I have a lot in store to deal with later this year, but for the time being I'm pretty relaxed and stress-free. I feel that now would be a good time to get off the meds without the family around and all the day to day craziness that can compound the withdrawal symptoms.

WIth that being said. Today... August 1st 2012 is my first day off the meds. I will try to keep an updated log as to how I am feeling to maybe help others get an idea of what it is like to quit cold turkey.  Wish Me luck
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Well today is my second day without taking Effexor. Last night wasn't that great. I went to bed at about 10PM and laid there tossing and turning  for a while. Right when I finally started to fall asleep, I felt a strong jolt and woke up. I had the sweats really bad and was confused. I was having irrational thoughts and weird images/thoughts. It was like a dream. I went to the bathroom and came back to bed. I got on facebook for a bit to help distract me and make sure I could calm down. I debating on popping a pill, but forced myself to say no, and knew that it wouldn't take effect immediately anyways. I woke up fine this morning, but after breakfast I had bad stomach cramps for about 20 minutes. Not too bad until lunch time. At lunch I had to take some aleve because I had a migraine, and was also feeling nauseous. throughout the day I was also and still am feeling the brian zaps and shakes a bit. I am going to the store in a bit to get some Omega 3 fish oil capsules, and some antacids and more aleve. Hopefully only a few more days of this. From what I have read through numerous forums, the first 4 days are the worst. Hopefully I'm almost there. I will report back tomorrow.
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to all the people stopping effexor cold turkey DO NOT!!! This can cause your symptoms to worsen! Ask your doctor to tapper you off. This can take  six to eight weeks. I have taken effexor for 12 years and decided recently to tapper off. I to have horrible side effects, headaches, major leg cramps, and increased agitation! I have gained A LOT of weight on this medicine and can not seem to loose it. My goal is to try exercise, omega 3 and lots of deep breathing to try to relax! ( if I can get past these leg cramps!) I wish everyone well and good luck!
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I too have a quick temper. when my oldest son was 3, I  went on effexor. I have recently decied to tapper of with the help of a doctor( do not go cold turkey!) My husband is going through the same thing with me. I too fly off the handle and cuss him out. I going to try excercise and omega 3. If my symptoms do not improve in a couple of more weeks I will go on another med with less side effects. I do not really want to but I love my family and my children and this is not healthy for them! So, if you continue with your mood swings and depression please go get some help from a doctor. Us moms live very busy and stressfull lives and sometimes we need as little help:) wishing you and your family well.
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Ok. So here is the deal. Every person is different. From all the research I've done, and stories I've read, I feel I can do this on my own without a doctor. That is for ME to decide. I feel better and better every day. The withdrawal sucked the first 3 days, but I got over it. I started taking 2 fish oil capsules with every meal, and I feel it helped a lot. The zaps are still there a bit, but not nearly as bad. I am 5 days into it now, and the only issues I am having are vivid dreams. Throughout the day I feel fine... sometimes even great. I fell more focused and motivated, and feel that I have less of a cloud in my way.

From what I see, the people that slooooooowly taper off have a harder time because they are going through withdrawal for the entire time. I decided that I just wanted it done and over with. I feel that I am mentally strong enough to do it, and only recommend doing it cold turkey if you have a good support system (friends family etc). I quit smoking cold turkey, and I can do this too. 2 more days and I am flushing my pills.  I feel so relieved to be off of that crap.

So... all in all it wasn't too bad for me.  A few headaches, night sweats, crazy dream and light headedness for a week is worth being off. Again... I was on 75MG since last November. If you are on a higher dosage, and for a longer time I'm sure it will be different and more difficult. If anyone has questions, or just wants to chat, or needs someone to talk to or even listen, feel free to email me at ***@****, and I will be glad to help. I am not a doctor, but I can be there to help. I know this site sure helped me. Thanks to all for the ideas and support, even though I never asked for it, if no one ever posted their stories on here, I never would have had the will power to quit.

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Well I guess my email didn't post. Just message me on here if you'd like to chat.

Also I will note that my temper is back a bit too, then again I never really lost it...lol. I'd rather have a bit of a temper than not be myself. @ mlmason, I'm going to be honest with you... If you go talk to your doc and ask them for help, or try to get on other meds or taper off or whatever, think about what you are doing. Just because they are doctors, does not mean they know everything.... Think back to why they put you on this poison to begin with. It's like having a friend that has never drank alcohol and them telling you you are fine to drive after drinking a 12 pack... How the hell do they know you're ok to drive. Just some food for thought. Another thing that helped me was to not sit around and think about it. Hell I even shyed away from this site for a few days just to not think about it. I found other ways to occupy my time. Running, Music, Researching things I've been interested in, or just going for a drive. If I sat in my hotel room ( I'm away for training for 4 months) I would go nuts.
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I feel like our stories are identical.  I just didn't taper, and it has only taken me about a week.
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I have been off effor 75 for about 1 month now and all I do is cry I am angry irritable and I really thought all this would be over by now. I feel like going back on the drug but don't really want to but I am wondering if I will ever be myself again or was this who I was before going on the drug 6 years ago. If anyone has any advise I would love to here it
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I'm almost through Day 4 of being off of Effexor. The last few days have been tough but I'm pushing on. It took me 12 weeks to go from my starting dosage of 262.5 mg as my psychiatrist had me decrease 37.5 mg every two weeks. I am happy to be at this point but am still having a hard time. My head is fuzzy, I'm irritable, nausea / diarrhea, achy and just overall blah. Some things that have been helpful - drinking warm water with the juice from half a lemon, Epsom salt / himalayan salt baths, yogi calm tea, tons of ice water, calcium magnesium / vitamin B and omega 3 a couple of times a day, meditation and lots of patience and being gentle with myself. Any other suggestions appreciated.
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After a month, the toxins should be out of your body. It may not be the effexor causing your issues now. It could possibly be an underlying issue. I would talk to my doctor, but still try to stay away from meds as well all know what they can lead to.
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Bulleye buddy!

Oh my god I do not know where to start... you sais it all.
Tapper off????
I am a AA stopped cold turkey, haven t drink in 5 years
smoker,tried tapper off (patches etc...) tried4 times...still smoking....why?
I LIKE IT and don t really want to stop...

took this Sh!t (effexor) up to 200mg per day and they wanted to give me more!!!!! I guess they did not see the link between drinking 15-24 beer a day and depression! lol, pathetic!

and now: You guessed it....After a week of living hell and another one pretty much without side effects, I am incline to think.... Will power and cold turkey did it again!

I had 90% of side effects mentioned here,it was really a living hell...Guess what? Cancer patients must live with 10 times worst s.e. ....and they do it so eventough it was tough, I could do it, and I did it!

Hu ho but birdie would say I might not be out of the woods yet...Should askmy doc, pharmacist and a card reader (if they were certified by the all powerfull and benevolent state;-) ....To those parasites I say...You want me to stay alive as a statistic, I want to live as a human being...and feel it, got it?

WOW! Day 15...pretty much no S.E. for a week now... I am alive, I feel it, I cry it (sometimes;) and best of all... I see it in my daughter s eyes. I could die tomorrow and it wouldnt matter...because I would die happy and I FEEL it to the bottom of my heart.

PS: I told my friends and family I might be a pain in the you know where for a while...well they are as much surprised as I am about how well this is going...Let them know in advance, they are thebest support team you ve got...

I might be back here one day but for now I would like to thank everyone who shared their most intimate stories, It is better to be well informed before facing this, just don t get too scared about it...and YES you can all do this...Notice I said YOU, not a drugstore clerk nor any other birdie of this world...You, surrounded by well intentioned familly and friends, YOU can be leash free!  
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       You are in the exact same place I am in. I have been taking Effexor for over 10 years. I have been taking 275mg once a day since I needed to up my dose 5 years ago, and when I got out of prison a month ago I only got enough to last until I could get to a Mental Health clinics that paid for for these meds. Well unfortunately I wasn't able to get into to see a Dr yet and won't see one until the 8th of this month.
      After going through all these withdrawals, and feeling this way now, I don't even want to go through any of this ever again... I was a drug addict for the last 18 years, and have finally been clean for going on  2 years, so like you I feel like going off cold turkey is the best way to go. That was how I quit meth, how I quit pot, and now how I quit smoking. I am so happy to here that you have had such a wonderful support systems with your family, unfortunate I am not having the same experience here at home. I wish to get this all over with and hope that I don't go through any of this again. I am blessed that none of my children are harmed by this drug since I have been taking through all the pregnancies. Thank the lord for that. The only person who has been harmed from this drug seems to be me.
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Well. The week of hell is drawing to an end.  A few zaps per day now... as compared to almost continual when I first went off the effexor. Tomorrow morning I am  waking up, drinking my coffee and taking my fish oil capsule, and dumping the rest of my effexor in the toilet. I feel so much better now. I am a bit more emotional now, but that's a good thing considering I was so absent minded before. I have a bit more temper now, but again that's just me be being me. Id rather have that then all the other crap associated with these pills. Tomorrow will be a good day. and the next and the next. I hope this little blog has helped some people conquer the fear of just doing it and Quit! Hopefully my last post on here will be tomorrow.
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I am on my 3Rd day of withdrawal. My psychiatrist said I need to stop it completely before starting Luxor. Im reduced from 300 to 150 so far and will.stop in a few days altogether. I feel dysphoric, flu like systems, hearts racing and palpitating, body aches and shakes,  psychotic, frightened, paranoid, dizzy, trembling and bouts of suicidal thoughts. I can't tell between withdrawal.symptoms and ocd/anxiety/depression symptoms. I feel like IM constantly on the verge of a panic attack and I have next to no support system yet IM too exhausted and confused to talk anyway. Its taken a huge effort to write this post, I don't know.what to do.
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Hang in there Fleur. I felt the same way. It was hard to tell if I was having a panic attack or if it was meds, or lack there of. It is very confusing and you feel like if you just go take a pill that it will go away. In my opinion (and I'm not a doctor, just someone that quit), it is your body saying I need something (in withdrawal). It gets easier. Yesterday was my 7th day cold turkey and I told myself that once I made it to the week mark I was in the clear and could dump my bottle of pills. Yep they are in the sewage system somewhere new Pensacola, Florida right now. It's hard not having support, because most people you talk to just don't understand how you feel, and what your body feels like. Posting on here every day or so, and setting small goals for myself helped. Just being on here talking to complete strangers feels like I have a support community. I said earlier in one of my posts, if anyone wants to chat or have a shoulder to lean on, to just shoot me an email or a message on here. Good luck and keep your head up Fleur!
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Oh... and go get some Fish oil capsules,tums (for nausea) and some aleve. I was taking 2 fish oil pills with every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner. It helps with the zaps and helps you focus more. Maybe it was a placebo affect, but whatever. As longs as I didn't feel like crap.
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I've been on Venlafaxine 75 mg since January 2011 - found it to be just what I needed to control my depression and irritablity I'd been suffering from for quite a while plus it helped with the hot flashes I started to have.  I did great on it up until May 2012 when I started to put on weight slowly and couldn't loose it even though I tried.  Between May and June I think I must have put on at least 20 lbs all while still trying to control my increase in appetite and sugar cravings and still exercising as much as I could despite the feelings of exhaustion and muscle cramps.  Now that I am becoming more depressed about the fact that I have put on so much weight I have decided to wean myself off slowly.  I started today by removing 2 beads inside the capsule and will remove 1-2 more daily.  I know the feelings of dizziness from not taking my meds for 2 days and hate that feeling but I am nervous about having the brain zaps, nausea and stomach problems as well.  Please wish me luck.
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you can do it!!!!  i stopped effexor about a month ago and now i am certain it was playing around with my metabolism or something.  I gainned about 30 pounds within a year after starting it.  The weight gain combined with high blood pressure and tired of living on autopilot were the reasons i stopped. For the first 2 weeks of no effexor i did gain more weight, but i was eatting more.  Now i feel like everything  is leveling out  & getting back to normal.  i have even noticed that i am starting to lose weight.  I was only gaining while on effexor.  Just be gentle with yourself during this.
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We were on the same dosage for about the same amount of time. after one week I feel great. I would just quite or the withdrawals with just last that much longer.
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Your might want to change from Effexor  to a different medication. I changed to Pristiq which is a tablet. The lowest dose is 50 mg. You can cut it in half and take the 25 mg for a couple of weeks. After that cut the half in half again and take the 12.5 mg.  I think the lower your dose at the end the easier it will be to quit completely.
Good Luck!!!
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I was prescribed Effexor in 1995 after a traumatic event sent me into clinical depression. I feel it really saved my life. However, I had no idea I would still be taking it 17 years later. The traumatic event has long been dealt with and forgotten. Recently I realized that two of my four medications were to ease some of the side effects of Effexor. The other medication is hydrocodone 5 that I take because of a botched surgery that caused a bone to grow through a muscle and is very painful. To correct the problem would take a year of surgeries beginning with bone grafts and I'm too old (72) to lose a year of my life dealing with that. So I willingly take the pain med. My Effexor prescription ran out 12 days ago. I had no refills so just decided that was the time. When I was first on Effexor, I was taking something like 300 mg/day. I had been extremely agitated and crying all the time. Gradually over the past 15 years I went down to 37.5. So I just went cold turkey 12 days ago. No nausea. Some headaches. The dizziness bothers me the worst. My head has hissing sounds like air being released from a balloon with an occasional blast from an air brake. Actually the air brake sound stopped yesterday (day 11). Today I teared up (in happiness) when telling someone about going off Effexor. I hope the crying doesn't continue. What I want to share is that I think the hydrocodone 5's have helped to lessen my withdrawal. I take three a day and can tell within 45 minutes that my head has calmed down. I have also stopped my other two meds though they aren't the kind you get withdrawal from. People say hydrocodone is bad because it is addictive. I have been on and off it for 8 years and never had any serious withdrawal nor did I ever crave more and more as they say you will do. I still want to get the supplement you all have suggested for my dizzies. Oh, and about the dreams/nightmares. I love them. They are like a great scary movie that I don't have to pay to see. I am finding myself sleeping a lot at odd times and then being awake at 3 a.m. But I'm so glad that at age 72 I am taking only one med. I will NEVER go back on Effexor. I may end up at some point having to go on Wellbutrin but never, never, never Effexor. Good luck to us all!!!!
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I stopped taking Effexor 3 days ago.  Am taking the cold turkey route.  It is not for the faint hearted.  The vomitting, brain zaps, vertigo, crying and complete inability to function  are a killer but I am determined never to put that poison back into my body. My husband and my doctor want me to take small doses and try to wean myself off it but I need to do this sooner than later. I'm completely miserable and it's breaking my heart that my ten year old is having to look after her younger siblings the last few days but I know I will be a better mom once I am clean of this drug. I will post again in a few days.
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What dosage were you on? If more than 37.5 you will have a harder time than the rest of us and some of us have been dealing with the withdrawal symptoms for months. Myself--it's been two weeks off the 37.5  and all symptoms are gone except for the air sounds in the head which are weakening, headaches and the drop-dead sleepiness. But the worst is that I've started crying again whenever I talk with someone. Never when I'm alone. This just started yesterday. I'm definitely not in clinical depression nor am I sad. I can be talking about jumping rope to someone and start crying. Any suggestions out there?
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i just saw your question about brain zaps... i was trying to describe my withdrawal to my daughter just this evening and those words describe it to a T... you will feel fine for a short while and then all of a sudden it's like someone zapped you with volts of electricity... ZZZzzzttttt... but without the pain... you can even hear a tiny ZZzzzttt in your ears... and it feels like it's in your brain... your eyesight sometimes will "jump" with the ZZZzzzttt.... i don't even remember how long i was taking Effexor but it was several years... i cut my 75mg pills in half for a couple of months... for 2 days i've been off of the med... so far i haven't experienced anything but the brain zaps and the same thing in my body... seems like if my body was a bunch of rubber bands, someone would come along and pluck them causing that "boing" feeling in my body... guess that sounds weird but that's the only way i can describe it... right now i'm just so glad to know i'm not alone... i think i'll have my family read these posts so they know i'm not crazy!
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Can anyone explain the Wellbutrin to me?  I've seen it mentioned a lot in these posts.  What kind of med is it and why does it sometimes help with the Effexor withdrawal?  If i keep up with these brain zaps would it be good for me to look into that with my doctor?
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I've never had a "brain zap" during these two weeks of withdrawal. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with whether you are on generic or Effexor. I couldn't take the generic. Just didn't work for me. So I'm wondering if the zaps are experienced only by people on generic. Also I have a clue about the crying over nothing. It has happened only in the mornings. I've noticed some of you saying you crave sugar. I'm wondering if a morning blood sugar low could be causing the tears. Comments anyone?
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So long story short - I was out of town and well out of civilization (i was camping) I didnt have any of my meds so I have been accidentally going thru withdrawal.  

It is Day 4 and four days ago I had never heard of a "brain zaps" or even that Effexor had withdrawal symptoms.  OK I mean,  ive been late or missed a few times and had very slight vertigo i guess but 2 days into no meds I was hit like a ton of bricks with (i know now) classic SSRI discontinuation syndrome symptoms all of them -  dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, sweating, nausea, insomnia, tremor, confusion, nightmares, and vertigo.  Most of it was like being halfway between feeling drunk and hungover and mostly tolerable except for the nausea and the nightmares.

I have a fairly iron-clad stomach I can count the times (in adulthood) that I have vomited from being sick.  In the last four days I have puked more times than the last 30 years of vomiting combined.  And it is violent projectile vomit like Ive never known before.  I have not successfully eaten or attempted to eat anything more than just a few crackers and water BUT not been able to keep it down. If I was not in the mountain of Montana I would have gone to the ER.

The nightmares ... what to say ... i almost feel traumatized by them ... they are horrible terrorizing nightmares that are worse than the creepiest horror film you have ever seen.  I seriously can talk about them because it fills me with fear and dread ... and ive been happily sleeping with grizzly bears and wolves for the last 4 days (i dont scare easily).

When I got back to town I googled my symptoms and find all this mess.  In as much as I truly want to someday be free of Effexor and all my mental health meds - I cannot bear it. I am writing this at 3 am and I counting th hours until I can get a refill at the pharmacy.  I admire anyone who can do this because I have failed and am now giving up.

BACKGROUND -
I have considered getting off of Effexor (like all my meds) many times before but never did it.  I have been on meds for Adult ADD and Anxiety in addition to obviously depression since I was a teenager and I am 47 now.  
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Today marks two weeks since last Effexor. This time yesterday I was bawling for no reason. I'm not sad or depressed. So I mentioned in my last post that I wondered if the crying had anything to do with low blood sugar since it was happening only in the mornings. So today I had sweets for breakfast and have not cried at all. Almost all my withdrawal symptoms are gone now. I have had serious benign positional vertigo for years and don't have that anymore so it must have been a side effect of Effexor. I am still a little light-headed from the withdrawal but it's completely different from the vertigo I'd been experiencing. Wow! Am I excited about life without Effexor.
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Thanks so much for your understanding.  I am down to minus 6 granules and am taking it slow.  Once in a while I will stop for a couple of days but just cannot take the dizziness.  I am hoping that if I go slow I will not experience the really bad side effects that everyone has been talking about.  I know it's going to take time and I am ready to get back to my old self again (really? do I want to do that either?) well as far as my weight goes.  I'm tired of feeling like a stuffed sausage!!!! LOL.
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I would quit cold turkey but I can't take the time off work and need to be on my toes at all times - with most of everything going on in my life right now (definitely one of the reasons that I was put on the drug to begin with - the stress is killing me) but I am hoping that if I do it this way I won't suffer as much.
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I am so sorry that you are suffering like this.  This is why I am taking the long, slow road to withdrawl (withdrawal) - one granule at a time.  Good luck with this and I hope you feel beter soon.
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i do not know when it will get better, i still am having body spasms and flu like symptoms after 3 months.. i quit cold turkey too.  because i was having discontiuation symptoms while taking this drug.  seeing 3 doctors right now.  neurologist, reg doc and a phychiatrist....i was told that this was all caused by effexor....hang in there..i was so sick that i thought that i was going to die..this lkasted for about a month.  this is a very dangerous drug.. and no one will listen
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ive been off effexor for 3 months now and my life has totally changed.  i have brain zaps, i have trunk and head spasms, im fatigued and feel like i have the flu.  im so angry that i was not warned about what this drug can do to people. im seeing 3 different docs right now. im on medication to help keep the spasms from being so violent.  they are still with me, just not quite as violent..but they make me tired.  hopefully medhelp will not take this post off...they did not like the last one so they took it off.  im at a loss as to where to go from here. i have written letters to the fda. lawyers, i cannot work anymore,  this medicine nhas destroyed my life..and no one wil listen
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To everyone on this site, thank you.......the more I read here the more I realize that I can get well. I have been on effexor/venlafaxine for 8 years plus colozopam. Weaned off the clozopam.....now doing the effoxor. I am not me!!!! I have no energy, my apt is a mess, I do not want to go anywhere, i was scared even to go to the mail box (untill i got there). I will be done with this. I used to be so active, was a neat freak.....now I could care less. So I am down to 1 75mg tab a day broken in half, one half in a.m and the other late afternoon. Today i am trying 1 half of a half, we will see.  Thank you all again .  
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Good luck. I want to encourage everyone it can be done. Been 2 1/2 weeks for me now and only withdrawal symptom remaining is a little light-headed. And what I had been told was serious benign positional vertigo I've had for years is gone so I assume it was not BPV but rather a side effect of Effexor. I wonder if those trying to get off the generic are having different withdrawal symptoms than those on Effexor. Surely we can come up with some clues. My tearing up stopped when I began eating a sweet breakfast and a little sweet in the afternoon. Actually seems that I've lost a bit of weight. Sure have more energy. All this said, if any of you are still in depression, I wonder what other drug you are planning to use to replace the Effexor. Effexor has helped so many of us but it wasn't right to be prescribed a drug that turns some people into zombies and is almost impossible to go off of.
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I have taken Effexor 37.5 then Venlafaxine 37.5 (generic) for the past 20 yrs or so. In that length of time I have dealt with EXTREMELY high blood pressure and renal failure because of the HBP.  I have seen three different doctors and  not one could figure out why my BP was so high and stayed that way.It was just one BP med after another hoping for the best. When the last dr. found I was in severe renal failure she sent me to a nephrologist where I was given 6 months of intravenous Cytoxin (once a month). But the damages were already done and cannot be reversed. I did not have to have a transplant,of which I am very thankful. Over the years if I missed a dose of Effexor/Venlafaxine  I immediately went into a light headed,tambourine sounding jingle in my head.  Finally, one month ago, I told my Dr. I was getting off this crazy drug, good or bad. Just tired of a drug ruling my life. Within two weeks my blood pressure had fallen tremendously and after a month , my nephrologist has taken me off one of the four BP meds I take daily. Normal BP reading for me has gone from 160/100 to 119/69, which she now says is TOO LOW. Have not heard this ever in my life.  Now, if anyone knows if I can sue the makers of this med, please help. I feel this has taken the greater portion of my life and cannot understand why doctors are not aware of the side effects.  I blame this medication for my HBP and in turn renal failure and all the mental and physical stress I have endured. If you can help...
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Judy, not sure if you live in or near an urban area that might have reputable class action lawyers but if you do, why don't you just show this message board to them. I would be glad to go in on it with you. Be very careful with the accuracy of your stats though. Effexor hasn't been on the market 20 years. Even slight inaccuracies can keep anyone from taking your/our case.

Liz
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I had been on effexor 150xr for a few years.  I also take medication for high blood pressure.  Anyway, I needed to lose weight as I am due a knee replacement so my doctor prescribed duramine 40. I was taking the duramine almost every day and started to feel a bit twitchy.  I googled as we do and read that duramine works on the same neurotransmitters as effexor.  So, I decided that I would cut down the effexor to 75 per day as I had some of them left over from when I was on it first.Good result, no twitching and weight loss great.  After 2 weeks I decided I would quit the effexor based on what I had read online.  I must admit it hasn't been too bad.  Taking the duramine whilst stopping the effexor 75 seems to work for me.  Don't get me wrong, I am getting brain zaps (reminds me of granny in the beverly hillbillies) but it's not too bad.  Today I didn't take any duramine as I was up too late and the zappiness is a bit worse so I took six fish oil capsules with omega 3 and they have helped.  We'll see how it goes but I'm so stubborn and hate failing and hopefully that will help me.  Good luck everyone.  Needless to say I am not advocating that everyone take duramine but just letting you know that I think it helped me.
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Hey, you may be on to something. It's for sure we have to figure this stuff out ourselves since the medical/pharmaceutical communities aren't interested in helping. Best of luck.
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My son died in 2009, and in 2010 my doctor placed my on effexor 150mg. I had been taking effexor 75 mg for menopause symptons,plu I had a hysterectomy at the age of 35. I am now wanting to get off of it-family memeber say I am not having any drive or motivation. So I am now taking Welbutrin as I come off the Effexor effeects. 150 mg in the morning and 150 mg in the evening. It has been about a month of weaning, and now 5 days without.  I am getting brain zaps as well and light headedness, I find if I lay still, I am ok. The welbrutin has really helped  me while getting off of the effexor. Small headaches, though and am taking Tylenol. I am staring to receive some hot flashes as well. I might have top call Dr. to prescribe the 37 mg if I am not feeling any better here in next few days.
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20 days later.

I get maybe one brain zap per day. It is usually when I am tired. I have been more irritable and little things make me more emotional like when I talk to my 3 year old on the phone... or even think about him... like right now my eyes are starting to well up. But it's happy emotional. I'm not depressed. I am lonely, but I am away from my family for a few months so that is natural for anyone. I have had 2 vertigo encounters since I quite cold turkey. The last one was in class on the 15th. I just kind of zoned out for a little bit and got a little dizzy and started to sweat. I was concentrating really hard trying to learn new material, taking notes and trying to focus and I was tired so maybe all that triggered it. Other than that, I sleep much better and all other symptoms are gone. 20 days later I am so glad I got off this crap. I feel that I have more focus and drive to chase after goals and things I want in life.  To all that are contemplating this... it is worth the few days of misery... If you need time off work. Go to your doc, have them write a not saying you have some crazy named contagious virus or something and you need a week off. Do something. Do whatever you feel is necessary to get off this drug. You can do it. It is all in your mind. Your body is on a drug that is taking over your mind and telling it that it needs more and more and more of this crap. From the stories I have read, people continually keep adjusting their dosages higher and higher over the years... It's not because you get more depressed or anxious... it's because your body becomes immune to the drug and it wants more. It's like heroin.

Do it for your friends, family, whoever... But more importantly do it for yourself.

Again, I am no doctor, just some guy that is giving his advice. Take it as you will, and good luck. Obviously if you have any concerns about doing this, consult your physician first.
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You're right it's almost like heroin!  I have been weaning myself off slowly but decided to not take it for a couple of days - and BINGO I started to get the brain zaps!  I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted and I kept getting them every few minutes - so weird.  Then for a short time I must have fallen into a strange quasi sleep stage and I honestly felt like I was dying - can't explain it but it scared me.  Had to jump out of bed and take a pill but I am taking more and more granules out of each capsule daily.  I hope to be off this poison by the fall.
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I have been on Effexor since I was 16 and I tried to stop by weening down over 4 months starting in Jan 2012.  I have taken 225 mg religiously for the entire time, missing maybe a couple days in 12 years.  I finally hit a point in my life where I knew I was not stressed and didn't think depressed, so I went forward with my doctor in weening off.
I was on 75 mg daily for two months (march 25) and in late May, I realized I had massive withdrawal. I was very lethargic and had zero motivation except to sleep.  I barely caught it and was maybe a couple days away from having to go to the hospital.
But...the more I read about Effexor, the more I realized how damaging it was to my life, beyond my wildest dreams.  Besides some of the common sides effects, I had finally realized I have had a zero desire for sex my entire adult life.  Honestly, never connected the drug to that, just thought it was other things.  I also found that things angered me for no reason and I was never able to articulate things.
I talked with my doctor two weeks ago and we made an aggressive plan to stop Effexor and switch to Wellbutrin.  I have not taken Effexor for almost 6 days now, and I am hopefully for the future.  I have ultimately accepted I need to be on something, just not something that will cause issues in my life.

I have handled the last six days well, although, not without help.  I've noticed a general lack of appetite and things I used to eat no longer sound enticing.  In addition, I have been taking B-100 for the last few days and Omega 3, 6, 9 and I think they have helped and lots of Water! Yesterday I took some NyQuil and I felt better today than I can remember in my past.

About 6 days in, Effexor is supposed to be cleared out of your system. I am hopefully for the changes and hoping I may find some answers I never knew.

In this past 2 weeks, my outlook on life has changed 180 degrees and I've realized major mistakes I've made in the past year.  I can honestly go back and look at them and go "what the hell was I thinking?"  Thinking back, I feel very stupid for some of the things I've done within the last two months.  I've also been more emotion in the last two weeks than ever in my life.  It's been a very interesting experience.  I can say I've cried more in the last two weeks than in my entire life.

It's a very hard road as many have experienced, but I've found some comfort in knowing that other people have had similar issues.  I've honestly come to the realization that I do not do well without something, and need to work the best I can with what I got.

I am very hopeful that I will be able to function with this different drug with minimal side effects.  I've found nothing is harder than trying to explain to someone what is wrong and they are just not connecting the dots.  I wish everyone the best of luck with their journey!  I will post again to let everyone know what happens.
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There are much better drugs for hot flashes than Effexor. Talk to another GYN. There are even teas and herbal remedies that work well, I've heard. This doc is ignorant or he/she wouldn't be using Effexor for hot flashes with all the side effects of Effexor when there are such better options. Just my opinion.
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Hi, I have to agree with you. I was put on Efexor 12 1/2 years ago. I was taking a dose of 225mg daily. Not once was I told about the horrible withdrawal effects. My doctor kept me on the Efexor through 3 pregnancies and breast feeding all 3. I complained on 3 or 4 occasions to my doctor about the horrible side effects I was getting from Efexor (weight gain, sweating, lethargy) and not once did my doctor even tell me I had another option of medications. I tapered off the Efexor over several weeks and experienced lots of horrible withdrawals but today is day 3 of having no Efexor whatsoever and I just want to curl up in a ball and never wake up. The constant dizziness, brain zaps, sweats/chills, shivers, emotional outbursts, crying, unable to complete a thought process, having to ask my children 4 times what they want for breakfast because I just can't remember what they said. I can't take much more of this, when will it all stop? Someone please help!!
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I just went of Effexor and read your post.  I feel the same way and I am wondering how you are doing?  Send me a personal message if you would like.  These boards are sometimes frustrating to me as there are a lot of questions asked, but not a lot of answers.  Thanks.
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First of all, everyone is different. I have read on here about people who were still suffering withdrawal months after stopping Effexor. For me--today is day 23 and I don't have ANY withdrawal symptoms. I walk my dog in the mornings and before I went off Effexor, I used to have this physical feeling that I couldn't wait to get back inside to take my daily Effexor XR. Lately I realize that I don't even think about Effexor anymore when I'm walking my dog. I never thought it would happen. Of course it was easier for me as I am retired and live alone. So if I wanted to curl up in a fetal position I could. And one hint I saw on here that helped enormously was to eat something sweet a couple of times a day. I think Effexor may mess with your blood sugar and so during withdrawal your body is a bit confused. Good luck to all but don't feel bad about yourself if you can't make it without Effexor. Like I said, everyone is different and there are probably a lot of us on this board who might not have still been around if we hadn't been prescribed Effexor. I just don't know why doctors are still prescribing it knowing the side effects and withdrawal problems.
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I too have struggled with getting off Effexor.  I was taking the capsules and found the easiest way to do it was to get down to the 37.5 mg capsule, pop it open and remove 1 or 2 of the tiny pill balls every week.  It took me about 2 months of gradually removing the tiny pill balls until I was down to 1 pill ball.  I still had to take the 1 pill ball for a couple of weeks until the tingling feeling down to my fingertips subsided.  I stopped taking the 1 pill ball about 2 weeks ago and still experienced some nausea and headaches for about a week after that.  The brain zaps were very minimal though during this process and I haven't had any feelings of anxiety or depression (however I may just be one of the lucky ones).  I do find now though that I have a lot of achiness in my neck, shoulders and back which I assume is from my body still withdrawing and I am going for massage therapy for help with this.  Hopefully this will all work itself out soon.  I unfortunately experienced major sugar cravings and nightly food binges while on effexor which led to weight gain.  I have noticed that these cravings and the need to binge are slowly going away and I think I might have actually lost a pound or two!  In my experience, the key to withdrawing is doing it as slowly as you can.  It is hard and I know from experience that when you make up your mind to stop, you just want to stop.  But, I discovered that is the worst way to do it - it has to be a gradual thing and the slower the better.  If I hadn't read somewhere to break open the capsule and slowly remove the pill balls, I wouldn't be off them today.  Good luck everyone!
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hi - i was on the generix effexor xr for 9 1/2 months for very bad panic attacks and anxiety. i never felt better than when i was taking it. seriously. about 4 months after starting it i started getting hot flashes - very bad sweating episodes and they had been getting more and more and while sleeping. i have never had hot flashes before - ive always been cold all the time. anyway, i decided maybe it was time to see if i can be off the effexor and my anxiety and panic was better. so i tapered from 75 mg a day over 3 weeks to none. i have been off totally for just over a week and a half. it was really - really rough. very bad joint pains especially in legs and back.nausea, headaches, feeling like someone beat the crap out of me, tired, insomnia, and CONSTANT HOT FLASHES during the day and night. I mean i get DRENCHED, dripping sweat from back, chest, neck, face, head and my skin is on fire and tingling. I can only wear 100% cotton.
i went to the doctor to get labs done to see if i'm in menopause - i am 45 years old. he said the menopause FSH test is slightly elevated he thinks i'm in peri-menopause. but my question to you guys is - is this a common effect from effexor xr? because i read online it can mess up your hypothalmus at the base of your brain which regulates your body temperature. i am so uncomfortable - they are constant. i think i missed one period too this past month. but i am confused is it the damn effexor or menopause????
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I was on effexor xr 300mg for 10 months. Went down to 75mg easy, withdrawal effects were manageable, stayed on 75mg for a week and then went to 37.5 for a week. Then was told to stop taking it all together. Horrible side effects. Always tired, moody, headaches, weightloss, brain zaps, loss of balance, and worst of all noise in my head when I move my eyes! Now on bupropion... Hope withdrawal effects leave soon. This *****!
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This has been a helpful forum although some people could be a little kinder, try to remember all of us went on this drug because of depression, so might be a little fragile under any conditions.
I have been on Effexor for about 6 years, for a long time was taking 300mg, but have been dropping down to 75 mg over past couple of years. Originally taking for trauma and major depression, which are all good now, but had to continue as I have severe chronic pain from spinal degeneration. Main reason I am going off it is because I find tramadol (Ultram in USA) is best pain drug for me, but too much SSRI to take with Evil Effexor, so had to choose one or the other.
I do not buy into the grand conspiracy, but really find it surprising that this drug is still being prescribed given the severity of withdrawal symptoms. I believe my doctor is very ethical. I went through no less than six other anti depressants before finding Effexor, unable to handle side effects of the other available options, or else they just did not work. I had a CAT scan for the brain zaps five years ago as, surprisingly, my doctor had not heard of them! Now she is aware, but it shows how much we, as the drug-taking public, have to inform ourselves and not just trust overworked doctors to know anything beyond what the drug rep and first research tells them.
Okay, so now I am on day 6 of going from 75 to nil. It is likely that the Tramadol (200 mg a day now, which is a lot) has reduced some of the withdrawal symptoms, but I have spent this week thinking I have had a series of migraines: headaches, nausea, exhaustion, body feeling all-over bruised, confusion...and yes, weird dreams. So thank you everyone for your symptom descriptions, which reassure me that I am not crazy and I will get through this!
Tomorrow I plan to get omega3, B complex and an anti nausea so hopefully I'll get on top of the worst symptoms. I am thrilled that I have spent this week not having sugar cravings, as the 40 lbs gained in the last six years is going to have to come off. I didn't realize that weight gain or high BP were side effects, as they were slow to develop.
Good luck to all, stick with it, and continue your talking therapy with counsellor, shrink or buddy, I am alive today to tell you that the Black Dog can be beaten (no offense to any actual dogs).
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Wow it was very interesting reading your post. I have been getting really bad pains under my ribcage - especially on the left hand side! The doctors have no idea what it is and I have had every test done! I am going to follow that up! I have been trying to get off effexor for 6 months - the dizziness, brain zaps and mood swings are the worst bits. I never thought the pains could have been related. thanks heaps!
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Hi,
I appreciated your comments re: Effexor...I have tapered off 150 mg very slowly, reducing 25 mg every few days...I gained weight while on it and despite juicing and ramped up exercise, could not lose wt.  Now that I have tapered off the drug, the wt. is finally coming off.
I have had terrific insomnia, though.  
What helped during the tapering-off phase was lots of calcium/magnesium and B-vitamins.  I have also heard Omega-3's help.
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Hello everyone. I have been reading your experiences and I have a question. My psychiatrist wants to switch me from Sertraline (50 mg) to Effexor (75 mg),  because I've had diarrhea for over three weeks while being on Sertraline. I'm supposed to be on a short treatment for my depression (6 months), but after reading all these messages about the withdrawal syndrome on Effexor, I want to know if I could still have these symptoms if I use it for a short period and then slowly taper it off. My biggest concern is that I will be going to college around the time my treatment will be over, so I definitely don't want to go through all these symptoms.

Thanks in advance :)
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My best friend and I have both gotten off Effexor more than once and neither of us had extreme withdrawal effects, but in my case, my severe depression returned.  But we both did it very gradually.  Decreasing 37.5mg in just a couple weeks?  No, far more gradually.

Why are doctors still prescribing it?  I had tried a number of other anti-depressants that either did nothing for me or gave me such bad side effects that I never was able to find out if they worked.  Effexor works on both seratonin and norepinephrine (SNRI) class.  I apparently needed the full shot.  And what a great medication it has been for me.  While taking it, I had severe depression, nearly suicidal, due to chronic severe pain which causes a lot of suicides.  I felt I had no quality of life since I was able to do so little.  Increasing the Effexor by 37.5mg completely took away my depression 5 weeks later!!!  

Any pill that can do that is a miracle.
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You say, "so now I am on day 6 of going from 75 to nil."  Your doctor is a total ignoramous to advocate that quick a tapering off of it!  Anyone would be a wreck going that fast.  Slow down.  Give at least a couple weeks to go down to 37.5 mg.  Then go to 25 mg pills which they do make.  Then slowly break up that pill which is not extended release.
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I hope that you saw my response to you on another post, advocating that you instead switch to a medication in the same class as the Sertraline.  If your doctor is afraid that any med in that same class will cause you diarrhea, then you can easily go off of Effexor IF you go off of it very gradually as I described above.  

These people going from 75mg to nil or reducing it by 25 mg every few days is NOT the way to taper off without getting major withdrawal symptoms.
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   I have been on Effexor XR since 1999.  I have treatment resistant depression (have depression always more or less no matter what I take). I was on 300 mg. day and Dr. also added up to 200mg. Wellbutrin and up to 60 mg BuSpar for anxiety within last year because of worsening suicidal ideation etc. and PTSD. I've take 1 mg. Klonopin at night (helps with insomnia, PTSD and emotional balance) with 25 mg. benedryl. Lorazapam as needed during very stressful times. 20 mg. Ritalin as needed if HAVE to get through something for focus and concentration.
   I tell you all this because when I started going off of Effexor (HAD to stop ASAP because was getting SERATONIN SYNDROME which has complicated everything) I think the other prescriptions helped my withdrawal symptoms from Effexor. Probably the excess Seratonin helped with withdrawal-although that produced other symptoms but similar (severe brain fog, losing everyday things, feel like I'm dying, nightmares, some dizziness & vertigo, nausea, anger at first....etc.) It's hard to say which caused what.  I'm on disability so I took it easier than usual. Stayed in bed a lot.
   I started slowly and after one month I'm down to 150 mg one day/75. mg. next day. NOW-I can't wake up in the morning. Today I was woken by someone at 11:00 (missed appointment) and am still groggy. 20 mg. ritalin hardly phases me. So-it still may be too much seratonin or it's withdrawing too fast. I have read some people have taken TWO YEARS to get off. Some doctors suggest taking ONE little ball out of capsule at a time!! See at end of this response two sites/articles that address this greatly! They address bi-polar, but most still applies. Of course with bi-polar (and I have "soft" version on the spectrum of bi-polar. Six suicides in family; two other attempted; and tons of alcoholism)
   Yea-I'm mad too! But I wonder if the drug company knew this 13 years ago when it was relatively new???? I am getting off of Effexor no matter what. I have extreme sweating from it. (I also take hormone replacement and synthroid-my body is ALL screwed up)  If needed I will just increase Wellbutrin and add on what is needed. At first the Wellbutrin didn't seem to help-but I think it does now. It is one of, if not THE, best tolerated antidepressants with the least amount of side effects. BuSpar works great for anxiety and is not addictive like the benzodiazipines. I can't do without the Klonopin for PTSD and better mood balance though-even just the 1mg. makes a difference for me.
    Caution: Stevie Nicks said in interview that after her cocaine rehab, she got hooked on Klonopin. (Some need ever increasing doses. If this is true for you, I'd try other avenues like EMDR and Buspar)  She went into rehab and said withdrawals from Klonopin was WAY worse than cocaine.
    Here are some holistic things that have helped me and some I intend to do when I feel good enough again:
1-Sleep 'hygiene' is really important for many people. I have room darkening curtains and do not have any visual lights (not even small dots on things like computers, cell phone chargers, electrical strips: I keep electronics OUT of my room at night and no TV.  Keep temperature between 63-67 constant when I am able with A/C and use it, fan or other 'white noise' on all night. TRY to go to bed at same time and get up same time 7 days a week. Watch what I drink, eat  and do hours before bed (you can find this info on line-what will disturb sleep,etc.) AND use morning light 'simulator' to wake up with and 'sun' light lamp in morning. This is good for SAD, depression and insomnia.
     There is a free quiz on http://.cet-surveys.org/Dialogix/servlet/Dialogix. It's called the AutoMEQ and it will help you figure out what YOUR individual circadian rhythm SHOULD be. This is based on if you are a morning, evening, or 'intermediate' person. It's really cool. It tells me what my natural circadian rhythm is and what time my body would be waking me up and I should be going to sleep. This is messed up in most people and contributes to the rise in depression because of in-home lighting, day-light savings time, etc. You can find almost ANYTHING you want to know on-line!! Just check the reliability of the source.
     Another great site: PsychEducation.org. The previously noted article is called "Stopping Antidepressants in Bipolar Disorder" and it specifically addresses the difficulties of Effexor. He even calls it "Special rules" for Effexor. Apparently Effexor is the worst; although my psychiatrist says Cymbalta is almost the same drug.

2-Diet of course! We all know that but most don't do it. My problem is I can go all day without eating which slows the metabolism. Caffeine in coffee and soft drinks etc., stimulants in nicotine, some food additives, sugar and simple carbs, and anything related to raising and lowering our blood sugar quickly (ie. glycemic food index). Eating 'right' foods etc.

3-EXERCISE!! I am bad. Who feels motivated to exercise or go out into the world when you can barely force yourself out of bed?? Exercise though has been found to be AS EFFECTIVE IF NOT SUPERIOR to anti-depressants in many studies. Best advise is find one that is FUN for you. I love swimming and biking so I plan on going back to the YMCA (on low-income scholarship that reduces rate to $24 a month....you probably spend more than that on Starbucks or whatever!). I will use MUSIC to help motivate me! Otherwise walking is great-get a dog. (Another mood lifter: having a companion pet if you can). I quit listening to music years ago when I was with a non-music lover. But-I know if I listen to uplifting, upbeat music-it helps me tremendously when I use it. Quote I found on Pinterest: "The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought." How great is that?

4-Find support! I have almost no contact with my family (still want to use me as the 'scapegoat.' Broke it off with my abusive, bi-polar partner. Have few friends because I'm not involved in anything. SO-I worked a 1/2 price thing out with my long-time therapist and am going weekly so I have the support of someone which everyone needs. I'm also doing some EMDR for PTSD-on the days I don't end up talking the whole time because I have no one else to talk to that's supportive. When I get off this Effexor and hopefully feel better, I will go to a depression support group or maybe find a 12-step group to attend. I read a lot on depression to help me feel less alone and for encouragement. I have even gone back to church ONCE (don't like organized religion), but hope to find a non-judgemental place to go to feed my Spirit.

5-Miscellaneous ideas: Try to GIVE/SERVE others struggling, when I can, to keep from focusing on ME all the time. Try to practice gratitude for what I can. Get out in nature more: especially like in mountains. This helps me see the 'bigger' picture that all this daily stuff we worry about is really small in comparison to the big, universal picture. I am very low income ($8,000 a YEAR) so I avoid things shopping and corporate brainwashing which makes me depressed regarding all the things I am unable to do financially! I avoid alcohol all together because it is very dangerous for me. Once I was depressed over some things and took just a couple of extra lorazapam and drank COOKING WINE! cause that was all I had (felt like 'numbing out') and accidentally OD. Ended up in psych ward on 72 hour hold. Not fun!

6-I wouldn't be alive today if I did not have the FAITH that there is a God who loves me unconditionally. There is so much stigma in families and the world around mental illness. I struggle constantly with self-esteem, accepting my diagnosis, living the life I do, feeling worthy of anything, being poor, feeling like a failure, rejection from people I love and miss! If I didn't believe that God (or whatever you call 'it,' sees me as worthy and loves me I would have yielded to suicide a long time ago.
    
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Sorry-I wrote the max amount of words this forum allows and couldn't say goodbye. Ha, ha.
   Just wanted to add: I am not successful or haven't done 'all of the above.' I am depressed and not Superwoman. But I have educated myself because my depression has been so bad, for so long, and I have lost almost everything and everyone I have ever 'had.' And this Effexor thing has made me more determined to try some thing else besides PILLS. (Yes-I've tried medical marijuana too-it helps sometimes I agree. But if not careful, it can cause MORE anxiety (mostly Sativa's or too much of a good thing). And my doctor says and I've read that too much use of cannabis can block the effectiveness of other medications you may need. I'm not a 'Ms. Know-it-all,' I'm just mostly desparate.
     I KNOW from experience that all the above is much harder to do than going to a doctor and taking a pill. I know I will most likely need some medications all of my life no matter what else I do. But I KNOW for some these medications don't help AND can cause WORSE medical problems like obesity, diabetes (like Serequel, Abilify-that class of drugs, and lithium etc.) You gotta do what you gotta do. Effexor helped me for a long time, but it has become toxic for me. I am motivated to be healthier, take more responsibility myself for my mental health over 'drugs' and am willing to try whatever it takes!!! It is either my life/or the end of life. I have come to a point where I HAVE to do these things or remain depressed and suicidal. Maybe some will work for you. Good LUCK-some of it IS luck-especially finding just the right meds for our individual body. Hang in there and WIN the Effexor battle IF you need to. Namaste'
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I started tapering off 75mg in February. I decreased my dosage by 8 granules initially.  Every few days to up to a week I would decrease by 2 or 3 granules depending on how I felt.  I'm now up to 46 less granules per capsule.  I'm in no hurry as I can't afford to miss work due to any debilitating side effects.  So far, my brains zaps are still around but not as long or intense.  They do come on more at night about 2 hours before I take the medication. This week I have been feeling a "little out of my skin" and extra sensitive. My thought processes are also much slower. I am attributing that to taking Miraplex for restless legs.  I can't take Benedryl as it makes my RLS almost impossible to bear.
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Love your username! I'm glad you shared that. It seems like that would be such a painstaking process! AND, that the withdrawal is so severe. Two friends of mine on Cymbalta (very similar to Effexor in that it works on seratonin and norepinephrine) both said if they missed one or more doses, they could 'hear' their eyeballs move and got areas of tingling/electrical sensations on their head, among other things. As soon as they got back on track-symptoms disappeared.
     Note: I wanted to add about Wellbutrin: it may not be good if you are susceptible to seizures and there are other contraindications. Always ask the professional because like Dr. Science "I am not a real doctor!" Ha!
     Also alcohol, illegal drug usage and other medications can increase that seizure risk etc.  I did not mean to suggest 'there are no side effects' from ANY drug!
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Day??? of withdrawal. Over 6 weeks. NOW this last week, my most annoying symptom has been not being able to wake up in the morning. I had someone get me up for a couple of days because I had obligations. I was soooo groggy and even after coffee. One of those days I took 20mg. ritalin (prescribed to me for ADD) and it did not even phase me. I've been late to one appointment. Barely got to another. Then on Thursday I didn't get up until 11:15 when my phone rang. I completely 'spaced out' an 11am hair appointment I had. I apologized profusely and set up new appt. for Friday at 4 pm. (Thinking I'll surely be alert by then!) My roommate took Friday off work, so all day Friday-I was thinking it was Saturday. About 7pm that night I realized it was Friday and I missed my 2ND APPT! I felt sooo bad. I am usually ALWAYS on time and NEVER miss appointments. I just burst out crying for the longest time. Again, I called her and left another apologetic message. If I could afford it I'd pay her for 2 appts. But I haven't heard back from her. I am just so frustrated because I can not think straight and feel like I'm walking around like a zombie most of the time. I think I'll go off slower. Like 75mg. am and 37mg.pm for at least a week. Then maybe 37 and 37. This is the pits!
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You are taking a lot of other medications.  I hope that you realize that the seratonin syndrom (syndrome) happens usually because of a conflict between certain other medications, or herbal remedies in combination with Effexor.  These medications are known to be conflicts.  Wellbutrin is one of the known medications that can cause seratonin syndrome when it is combined with Effexor.  Your doctor should have been aware of the conflict before you suffered from it.  You would have a choice to stop any of the other medications that are in conflict instead of stopping the Effexor.

Just some information for you--and your doctor.
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I see you writing, "I think I'll go off slower. Like 75mg. am and 37mg.pm for at least a week. Then maybe 37 and 37. This is the pits! ."  I think that you are still going off of your Effexor way too fast.  It's up to you, how much you want to struggle with the withdrawal.
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Hi, effexor was prescribed to my brother who had epilepsy!  I also am a slave to the evil drug for depresion which I think has only ever been made worse since my gp reccomended prozac!! (wouldnt wish on my worst enemy!) and started me on the medication hellbound rollercoaster! I am currently reduced from 150mg to 37.5mg, was the worst experience. Of my life, I have now tried to half the dose and as a result nearly ended up doing some horrific thing not of my nature! I severely. Hate this drug and the invisible fat cats who proffitt from these evil wrongly and misdiagnosed drugs! my brother went to hell and back also on venelefaxine and comitted suicide in the end after being told by his gp to take an extra dose when feeling down! well as most of you will know that would send u spiralling! not what I Would. Of thought to be the best idea when trying to establish and maintain a stable brain pattern! this drug should be withdrawn in order to save lives. I appreciate I am biased but having been on venelefaxine for at least 3 years and experiencing hellish brainfreezes and horrific side effects I feel I must say and do something about this. I only wish I could sue but im sure It would be as difficult as getting of the stuff!
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I have some experience with Effexor withrawl (4th time)
1st time: nothing significant (I took it for less than a year)
2nd time: Horrible, but I did not recognize it as withrawl, but it eventually messed out my life (lost my job, my girl friend, and worse...)
3rd time: I recognized it as widhtrawl effects, I tryed to go very slowly over more than one month (splitting capsules, taking every other day, etc...) Was a nightmare, phisical and mental. I gave up. A few month later I tried again, more rapidly and specially taking the 37.5 non 'slow release' this helps lowering quickly. I also added 5-HTP supplements and it did help. However it was still quite rough.
At this point you may ask why I started again, well, because I still belive Effexor is a very effective drug. And I felt (after about 2 years out of it) it could help. It did but after 2 years it again start to loose effectiveness and I refuse to upper to 150mg as doctors advice. So I decided to give Zoloft a try. I stared Zoloft 50mg with 75mg effexor (2X 37.5 short release) after 3 days I lowered to 37.5 (no side effects at all) I actually felt quite ok. After 4 days I stopped Effexor and upped Zoloft to 75mg. Side effects (physical are noticeable and quite disturbing) adding 0.5mg Xanax greatly improves (almost no more side effects). However don't ever forget Xanax it's a ***** diguised as princess. So better be carefull and never up your dose (It will loose effectiveness by itself fast enough!) and give up Xanax as soon as you do not need it anymore.
But as we are all different this may not be the solution for others. But for me what has worked the best was Effexor 37.5 (non XR), 5-HTP once and now Xanax.    
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Well since my last posting I am officially off this poison.  I gradually cut down a granule or 2 at a time until I got to 35mg.  Then I just decided to stop taking it - this is Day 4.  I am experiencing a little dizzyness but not like I would get if I was stopping it at 75mg.  I am exhausted, achy, cranky and more like myself (God help us all) but still able to work upright.  I had a few slight brainzaps last night before I fell asleep and I am getting this feeling that my brain going in fast foward for a second or two otherwise I think I just might actually survive this.  Thanks to all that have posted to this Board, I truly appreciate everyone's honesty and candor and encouragment.  I wish you all the serenity you seek.  Please be good to yourselves.
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You have the option of being even better to yourself by not abruptly stopping the medication at 35mg.  That's way too fast.  But the timing is up to you. Hope this might be helpful to you.  NO one should go off of this medication that quickly.  Wish you a better time with this.
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Sara, I read your comment: "Wellbutrin is one of the known medications that can cause seratonin syndrome when it is combined with Effexor. Your doctor should have been aware of the conflict before you suffered from it."

I was surprised because my doctor is extremely up on things and prescribed Wellbutrin to me to counter some of the side effects of Effexor. I have searched reputable sites on the internet and cannot find any medical people who say this is not acceptable treatment but rather it is a common acceptable practice. Could you please repost with some valid attribution to your statement? Thank you.
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I was on Effexor and geodon for awhile for depression after my wife left me in 2005 the withdrawl (withdrawal) effect was absolutely horrible for me i had night sweats - really messed up dreams some bordering on nightmares - if i looked in any direction it felt like my head turned but it took my brain a few seconds to catch up i called that my swimmy headed feeling so i hated running out and besides that i felt high 24/7 my parents noticed a huge change in me i didnt have a care in the world if they needed something done i did it no questions asked (they liked that lol) but it was the day before thanksgiving i was having a great day my dad walked in asked me to straighten up a bit i said ok sure thing he shut the door and thats when my mind went i decided to try to commit suicide and had no reason to but i went about cleaning up after i had taken the rest of the effexor and geodon i had (not alot but when ur high u dont always think logically) i called my wife told her goodbye she said dont do it i saud too late and hung up on her. at that time i decided to take out the garbage well when i put it in the can outside it had a snap lid and when it snapped shut my mind also snapped back to reality and the first thought that went through my mind was oh my god what have i done? at that point i started to think logically again and headed straight for the bathroom to try to get myself to vomit but i was so numb at that point i could practically shove my fist down my throat so next thing i thought of was a trick that was played on my old boss someome had put dishwashing liquid in his drink one time and that will make you vomit. i must of drank 3-4 glasses of soapy water before it had a little effect after that all i wanted to do was lay down so i went to bed and it wasnt a minute later my wife came rushing into my parents house with 1 of her friends and 1 of mine my wife and her friend called 911 while my friend sat beside me trying to keep me awake i remember i could barely move and was passing out the last thing i remember was saying don't touch me get away and blackout well it wasnt a blackout because (and i dont remember this this is what i was told happened) i sat up put my back against the wall and stood up i walked to the middle of the room and stood there looking at the floor and occasionally out the window my wife thought i was going to fall over and she walked up behind me and apparently before she could put her hand on my back i turned and swung my fist at her around that time the police and medic rescue showed up the guy from medic rescue came up behind me and same results before he could touch me i turned and swung with everything i had and my friend said if he hadnt grabbed the paramedic from behind and pulled him out of the way i prolly would of killed the guy it was a few minutes later i started to come back to myself i couldnt figure out how i got to a standing position and walked out to the livingroom and got an even bigger surprise the police/ paramedics/ my parents and after my little display of force the cops are standing there with thier hands on thier guns and people moved in front of them and said get ur hand away from your gun before he sees you he's so close u wont have time to pull it (of course i didnt see that thank god) but they took me to the hospital had the psych eval come in and after it was all said and done they discovered it was that combo of medicine that caused the whole incident i was told to go back home and to take the meds as prescribed until they could slowly ween me off them i didnt take that advice i quit cold turkey and to anyone who is thinking of doing the same thing by just up and quitting them all i can say is prepare for hell because thats exactly what i thought i was going through and its not like it lasted a couple days it was more like months and the part where it felt like when i moved my head and my brain stayed where it was til it realized my head had moved well that tool close to a year for that to stop and heres the funny thing its now 2012 and that feeling still comes back occasionally its very rare but it still does happen. so anyone taking those drugs please be carefull because it happened to someone else i met a couple years later
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What reputable site shows the seratonin syndrome occuring from Effexor plus Wellbutron?  How about Mayo Clinic dated 2/11/2011.  Punch in those three words--seratonin syndrome, Effexor and Wellbutron and you will find it on-line since I can't put in website addresses here I believe.

The reason why I mentioned it to the person was because she was in the position of thinking that she had to go off a very high dose of Effexor right away which can cause extreme reactions from going off quickly when the Wellbutron could have been stopped instead.

It's not to say that you can't take the conflicting medications together.  I'm taking 2 of the medications on the list daily as well as a third one sometimes. My doctor said that it's fairly rare and if I was to get the seratonin syndrome, I can go to the ER and have it treated.  So I wouldn't fault your doctor for giving the two meds to you.  I may have been amiss in stating that the doctor should have known about the conflict, but doses DO MATTER with this seratonin syndrome.  She is taking a very high dose of the Effexor (300 mg) and I have no idea what the usual dose of Wellbutron is.   The highest dose of Effexor that I ever took was 112.5.

I was just really annoyed that the doctor had her reduce such a high dose of Effexor so quickly without thinking about the Wellbutron AND for putting her on such a high dose of it along with a known conflicting medication.  

Hope that helps.
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Hi
I am on my 3rd day of being tapered down to 37.5.  I was taking 75mg for about the last 5 years.  I am going to try for another baby so I wanted to get off of this stuff once and for all.  I feel fine right now, but feel like I may work myself into a tizzy working about if I am gonna go nuts getting off of this.  I am glad I came across this blog.  
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I totally agree.  I had been on antidepressants since my youngest, who is now 23, was born.  I was on Effexor for the past 5+ years and had an extrememly difficult time coming off until my doctor gave me Welbutrin to help with the side effects.  That was the trick!!  The side effects were about 90% lessened taking Welbutin.  After I felt safe to stop taking the Welbutrin also I did it with no problems.  Now it has been almost 1 month since I have taken Effexor and about 2 weeks since I took Welbutrin.  I am doing great without either of them.  The only problems I am having now are sporadic bouts with anger and getting used to thinking for myself.
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That's great that the Welbutrin helped you so much.  I have long term severe depression, so there is no way for me to get off Effexor, and now the improved Pristiq.  Also they have helped me so incredibly with an extremely painful and disabled life now.  But you are not clinically depressed and needing anti-depressants, which is great for you to be able to not take them.  

I am interested in your comment above, about " and getting used to thinking for myself."  Had you not been thinking for yourself before, or what do you mean?  

Thanks for sharing.
Sara
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Went through a divorce in 1999 and didn't want to GET depressed so I asked my doc to put me on Effexor.  How stupid of both of us. Been taking 75mg/day ever since and have developed high blood pressure. I tried often to stop but couldn't make it more than a day with the withdrawal symptoms.  I'm on a 10 day vacation from work so today is DAY 3 of my war against this drug.  I feel constantly light headed (like you do when you stand up too fast) and I'm nauseated. I'm taking Wellbutrin to ease the withdrawal symptoms. Walking or riding my stationary bike really seems to help.  The more I lay down or stay still the worse it is when I get up and move around.  My goal is to be drug free by 2013.  Glad you all are here so I know I'm not alone in this.
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Went through a divorce in 1999 and didn't want to GET depressed so I asked my doc to put me on Effexor.  How stupid of both of us. Been taking 75mg/day ever since and have developed high blood pressure. I tried often to stop but couldn't make it more than a day with the withdrawal symptoms.  I'm on a 10 day vacation from work so today is DAY 3 of my war against this drug.  I feel constantly light headed (like you do when you stand up too fast) and I'm nauseated. I'm taking Wellbutrin to ease the withdrawal symptoms. Walking or riding my stationary bike really seems to help.  The more I lay down or stay still the worse it is when I get up and move around.  My goal is to be drug free by 2013.  Glad you all are here so I know I'm not alone in this.
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I'm glad I found this discussion board, and the number of people who are getting off of Effexor /XR.  I started taking EXR back 75mg in 2007.  It never did help with reduction in depression episodes or moments of rage.  I think, mentally or subconsciously it was helping.  This past May, I thought maybe I needed to increase the dosage, so up to 150mg...and I just went through one of my most depressive moments, ever and it was a solid two weeks.  Plus, I have gained 35/40 lbs, going through menopause and I feel worse.  Although the depression still happens, the crying doesn't.  

I can't stand the weight gain, and not only does my workout regimens suffer now, I have had other complications arise from the weight gain.  I have a physical job that I in/uninstall computer/printer equipment with lots of time behind the wheel of a vehicle.  In May 2010, my back went out from moving heavy equipment and this put me basically out of exercising for almost year.  Finally, my back is better with a needed fix once-a-month and I can now workout again, but with all the weight gain, and trying to get back into the physical shape, I now am experiencing planter fasciitis.  Very Frustrating!!!! To sum it all up, and I feel like I'm falling apart, and I'm only 55. It’s crazy, I should be strong and physically fit with all my years of working out and mtn biking, running, etc.  I started working out at 25 with body building and aerobics, kickboxing, and std mtn biking in ’94.  I live in Colorado so lots of mountain trails to explore over and over.  I sure didn't expect all these problems at such a young age – and I now feel so incredibly old with all these added complications, and it has all started within the last five years of taking Effexor XR.  I think this med depletes muscle tissues, oxygen uptake, bone density, etc.  

So, I'm done.  I am on my 3rd day of taking 37.5mg of EXR and I feel slight withdrawls...but, I am ready to get off this "demon" drug (as others have said) for good.  Years ago - 2002, I did try Wellbutrin but I had to stop after I losing employment.  I did not know that Wellbutrin could help with EXR withdrawls.  But, I don't want to go that way.  My doctor does want me to go on another AD, one that is new to the market--name of it escapes me right now; supposedly claims there is no weight gain.

Funny thing I learned from this site and others are the "Brain Zings."  I had no clue what this was until I googled it.  Man, I used to have serious brain zings when I would forget taking my 75mg for one day, or as described also as "brain shocks," especially when I would get all wound up and feeling pissed off.  It’s really a weird feeling, and not one I like.

As for the vertigo, I have had this in my earlier years, and learned it was more related to my tinnitus and stress level at the time.  I learned that if I choose a focus point (ex: if I was doing a bench press I would focus on a spot on the ceiling), I could get the vertigo to stop.  And, vertigo does stop when you focus on only one object – just focus, don’t let your eyes wander or let your mind go anywhere else with thoughts; just focus!  I also read in Louise Hayes, "You Can Heal Your Life" to use this focus technique and it does help.  After almost 15 years without a vertigo episode, I recently had one of my worst bouts of vertigo I can remember.  It would wake me up.  Then I remembered to pick a spot and focus, and now it is gone.  Having a serious bout of vertigo – the uncontrollable spinning, even though I’m sitting or standing still will leave me feeling like I have bad hangover for a day.

I agree that with other posts, eating healthy nutritional meals, high in Omega 3, and taking supplements will help with anxiety levels, and with withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.  Looking back, I always felt best when I was eating healthier and maintained low body fat percentage.  Analyzing my recent events, are enhanced with my (now) low nutritional diet, worrying about things I cannot control, i.e. the economy and will I lose my home or job, and how will I pay for my student loans is not helping me move forward.  I’m helping the med cartel get richer and probably my doctor is getting a commission to tell me to try this new drug to keep my anxiety levels from piquing.
Additionally, I was heavily into narcotics in my mid-teens to early 30s, and I never experienced withdraws like I have with this Effexor—altho, I did have happy side effects.  Regardless, I never tried Heroin because even during my druggie years, I did not want to get caught up in that mess.  I have been narcotic free since early 90s, including I stopped smoking ciggs in ’92 and later in 2003 I stopped smoking Marijuana.  Mostly due to the fact my lungs cannot handle inhaling smoke anymore and I have shortness of breath; esp after having two rounds of pneumonia.  I enjoy working out and mtn biking and I need to have high oxygen uptake for me to increase my VO2 levels that will support the type of aerobic fitness I like and the level of mtn biking I enjoy.  All-in-all, I need all my muscles and organs working healthy as possible so I can continue to enjoy this into my old older age – hopefully 90s and onward.

I want to live a happy healthy life without mft meds that create side effects.  I do see a cognitive behavioral therapist that is helping me to work through some of the negative mind chatter that seems non-stop (most my life), but I hold on to the belief that someday I will have peace of mind and that I will be and feel happy --subconsciously within -- and without pretentious drivers.
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Everyone is different.  I have clinical, long term depression and absolutely need an anti-depresssant and Effexor was the only one that helped me over a 30 year time period.  Now I'm 60 years.  

By the time I was in my early 30s, I had mostly positive self talk, but was severely depressed to the point of being suicidal for years.  That was 30 years ago.  I thought I had the best, more exciting job, which I still think that it was.  I thought that I was pretty.  I could date any man that I wanted to, loved the city where I lived, loved my apartment, thought I was bright, had enough money, had wonderful friends, etc., etc.  I went through therapist after therapist who did me absolutely no good except to make me feel that there must be something wrong with me.  And again I was severely depressed.  Back then it was all supposed to be in your mind, not a chemical imbalance.

Effexor (and now the newer one, Pristiq) has saved my life.  I got severely depressed from no quality of life and 24/7 migraines which were often severe over a year ago. Just increasing my Effexor completely took away my depression.  

It's great if you can get along without medication. I envy you.  But some of us DO need the anti-depressant and not the therapy.
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re: serotonin syndrome

Sara, I don't want to be an alarmist or give incorrect information on this site.

I checked that Mayo Clinic article. It gives a long list of drugs and supplements including some antibiotics and some cough medicine that MAY cause serotonin syndrome. It mentions taking them in large amounts. I quote:

A common cause of serotonin syndrome is intentional overdose of antidepressant medications.

A number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs may be associated with serotonin syndrome, especially antidepressants. Illicit drugs and dietary supplements also may be associated with the condition. These drugs and supplements include:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antidepressants such as citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine, paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft)
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), antidepressants such as trazodone and venlafaxine (Effexor)
Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), an antidepressant and tobacco-addiction medication
Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline (Pamelor)
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), antidepressants such as isocarboxazid (Marplan) and phenelzine (Nardil)
Anti-migraine medications such as triptans (Axert, Amerge, Imitrex), carbamazepine (Tegretol) and valproic acid (Depakene)
Pain medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fentanyl (Duragesic), meperidine (Demerol) and tramadol (Ultram)
Lithium (Lithobid), a mood stabilizer
Illicit drugs, including LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines
Herbal supplements, including St. John's wort and ginseng
Over-the-counter cough and cold medications containing dextromethorphan (Delsym, Robitussin DM, others)
Anti-nausea medications such as granisetron (Kytril), metoclopramide (Reglan) and ondansetron (Zofran)
Linezolid (Zyvox), an antibiotic
Ritonavir (Norvir), an anti-retroviral medication used to treat HIV/AIDS

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Yes, thanks for providing the full information.  And yes, the large amounts are important.  

As I stated previously, I am currently taking two of the conflicting meds along with a 3rd one sometimes.  My doctor and specialist pharmacist were both in agreement about me taking these meds.  They did have me stop taking Tramadol however, also on the list.
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I was on Effexor XR 75mg for a year for anxiety.. Worked great. Apart from the almost non existent sex drive, which sucked. For this reason alone I wanted to get of Effexor for good.
My Dr's advice was to stop taking the capsules for 3 days and then continue with a new drug called Moclobemide, which aparently is now half of what I was taking. To be honest I didnt feel like I needed any of these meds, the whole thing spawned from a bad event at work, which naturally I got over. However Dr said most people need to be on the drug for a year. So I did. I am very happy in life, no worries or anything.

Thats the back story.

It has been 10 days since I last took Effexor, and like everyone here who has tried to stop, it fucknig hurt. It messed me up big time. Dizzy, Zaps, emotional, nausea, BAD headaches but the worst MY LEGS AND FEET!
My god it is so bad, it is a tickly kind of surge that builds up like and old camera flash, then BOOM it shoots to the end of my feet. Clench your fist. This is how my feet feel, to the point I think the bones will snap. I cant sleep in my bed, its too comfortable. I'm pulling a soft coffee table up to the couch and sleeping across the 2, I need to, I need it to be uncomfortable to take away the feeling in my feet.
I really really hope this goes away, I can deal with the dizzyness easy, the feet thing can F O and D.

After 10 days though on a whole I do feel a lot better, the headaches are still there, but they'll pass.

If anyone has tips on ANYTHING to do with this comedown I and I'm sure everyone else reading this page will apreciate it!
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Yes, your doctor should NEVER have had you get off of Effexor so quickly.  You need to look up on-line withdrawal effects from stopping Effexor abruptly.  The FDA cautions against abruptly stopping it because it can even cause psychosis.  You need to go off of it far more slowly, or the side effects from withdrawal can last a long time.  

And you are now taking Moclobemide?  That's an MAO Inhibitor if I read up on it correctly.  Is that the medication that you can't have a number of different foods with it?  It's extremely unusual for doctors to prescribe MAO Inhibitors.  I loved that medication.  I felt absolutely terrific on it.  Unfortunately I developed a bad side effect and had to stop it.  I would be interested if that is what you are taking.

For your information, the new improved Effexor is called Pristiq which I changed to for the exact same reason that you wanted off of the Effexor.  Now my sex drive has returned.  When I looked up many user reviews of Pristiq on another website, it showed a number of people saying the same thing--that their sex drive was great.  A few said that they still had the problem, but then sexual problems are extremely common in the general population.

Good luck with the nasty way that your doctor had you stop the Effexor.
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I weaned off of Effexor (75 mg) for depression. Had been taking it for a few ears.  I weaned off by dropping down to 37.5 mg daily, then every other day, then ever 3 days, etc.  It helped by eliminating the weird feeling, insomnia, etc.  However, about a month after being off, I experienced a full week of rapid/skipped heart beats and extremely high blood pressure.  I went to the ER and was admitted overnight. Had never experienced anxiety before, so thought it was my heart. After several tests and visits to a cardiologist, found that it is a symptom of the Effexor.  My heart is very strong.  What the hell? I have also experienced the joint pain, weird dreams and headaches that others have  have posted about.  I am not going back on the drug, no matter what.  I am now taking bio-identical hormones, which have pretty much wiped out the depression.  I just need to live thru the side effects of weaning off effexor.
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What ever you do never ever go back on this insidious drug ,there are plenty of other antidepressants available apart from Efexor,I was on 300mg a day and became a walking zombie I came off them like most of the other victims (yes thats how I felt)by also cutting down a few granules at a time.

The side affects were not the best but I rose above them and thought positive I looked at it like a battle of wills and I was prepared for the fight.
I had  then had trouble sleeping and got  a bit depressed so finally went  to my GP and he put me on Endep I am on two 50mg a day and they really help, it took a few weeks to find the ones that suited me best but I got there' I also take one third of the sleeper Stildem and it works well.
Forgot a couple of times to take Endep but just felt a bit edgy thats all as there are minimal side affects coming off them for most.

Imagine that Effexor is no longer available(I wish)  go to your GP and explain how you feel 'I am sure you will find one that suits you and above all be strong
because if I could do it' I assure you most of you will be able to as well.

The main thing is I have my mind back again.
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Oh my goodness I have just seen all the posts here and everywhere I look on the web.

WHAT THE HECK is this drug still doing on the market it should be put in the same category as the worst addictive drugs out there' are the Medical Practitioners blind to all this terrible feedback  that has been out there for years.
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Blame your doctor.  The recommended highest dose for Effexor is 225 mg and that's high.  You said that you were taking 300 mg
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Hi Sara 'can be up to 600mg dosage in Australia ( see depressionNet .com )
at the time I was in severe depression because of a tragedy in my life.
At that time it was not widely known about the consequences of coming off Effexor.
The strange thing is  its just as hard coming off it even if it is a smaller dosage.

Now all the Medical Practitioners should be able to see this is a drug of dependence and the damage it can do.yet they still prescribe it.

This is the point I was making.
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Yes, they still prescribe it because it helps many people.  No other anti-depressant that I tried over a 30 year time period helped me, except an MAO Inhibitor that I had to stop due to an extreme side effect.  I would be dead by now without it, since I've suffered from severe depression--suicidal for years.

I have gone off of it, very slowly, twice without major problems.  Plus 3 other friends went off of it without any problems.  I do understand that some people do have problems getting off of it, but in every case, except perhaps you, since I have no information on how long you took to taper off of it, the people get off very quickly.  This is the prescribing doctors' faults to not instruct and warn people that you may need to go off of it very slowly.  (Except that my friends did not go off very slowly without any problems.)

I still think that you were on an extremely high dose according to the manufacturer.  Did you feel that you needed that high a dose?
There are millions of other people who take Effexor without any problems.  But those with problems always post in anguish BECAUSE they don't taper off properly.  
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I too stopped the effexor and went on wellbutrin. I am very moody, achy, and have those brain zaps. I noticed I have had diareha, feel very depressed, and can not sleep thru the night or sleep late as I did taking the effexor.  I took wellbutrin for years and it was the only drug that did not interfere with my libido. I hope all these weird things stop soon or I will call my Dr. and figure where to go from here.
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Do you work for Wyeth?  I've been on Effexor for 15 years and am now getting off it.  I thought things were going o.k. until about 3 weeks into the withdrawl (withdrawal).  I tapered off the drug for about 9 months and am now very ill.  My mood is the last thing that concerns me (even though I have BP1).  My physical health is deteorating very quickly.  I have swollen glands in my neck that are so large I can see them even in my shadow.  It feels like I'm wasting away.  Effexor xr has put me into hypomania and mixed states with extreme anxiety (even when combined with lithium).  Depression in its worst stages doesn't touch what I'm going through now.  I have been pretty depressed too (had 17 consecutive bilateral ECT treatments about 10 years ago).  This drug needs to be taken off the market.  It is like putting a lead band-aid on a bullet wound (covering the problem, but eventually creating more problems).  The hard truth about pysch meds is that they all do this, but Effexor is by far the worst.  Now it is being sold under the name Pristiq and it is almost identical (too many people are buying the generic).  They don't know anything about the long term side effects of any of these SSNI/SSRI's.  We are all guinea pigs...  
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Don't go back to the doctor. WTF can they do ? All they know is what the drugs can do. They are just administrators of chemicals. They are paid to dish out drugs and get rid of us. Even the good ones have severely limited understanding of depression and do not know what to do about it.The fact is that we have all been damaged in one way or another and need regular therapy to unburden us, to clear out the debris, and feel we are ok. But this is not possible unless we are rich. The NHS here in UK have offered me about 3 weeks of free therapy in over 40 years of chronic depression ! I have seen a psychiatrist once ! She advised giving me another pill ! I have been left to cope alone.
I weaned off Effexor from March this year. I have been off it totally for 1 month now. The flu symptoms have gone but I am left now with a dodgy stomach which gives me agony, swelling up, constipation etc. But then my guts were always my weakest point. Trying to eat stuff to loosen it up but nothing seems to work. I cry a lot, get tired very quick. Not able to exercise yet as I am still very weak. I walk most days which helps. I have awful thoughts when alone. Emptiness creeps over me a lot and I just have to stand it.
I am hoping that the body will eventually settle down and that there is no permanent damage.
My whole life has been a battle with depression and the drugs that do not cure it, doctors that do not doctor, and most people who still think that I just need to look on the bright side of life !  
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Don't go back to the doctor. WTF can they do ? All they know is what the drugs can do. They are just administrators of chemicals. They are paid to dish out drugs and get rid of us. Even the good ones have severely limited understanding of depression and do not know what to do about it.The fact is that we have all been damaged in one way or another and need regular therapy to unburden us, to clear out the debris, and feel we are ok. But this is not possible unless we are rich. The NHS here in UK have offered me about 3 weeks of free therapy in over 40 years of chronic depression ! I have seen a psychiatrist once ! She advised giving me another pill ! I have been left to cope alone.
I weaned off Effexor from March this year. I have been off it totally for 1 month now. The flu symptoms have gone but I am left now with a dodgy stomach which gives me agony, swelling up, constipation etc. But then my guts were always my weakest point. Trying to eat stuff to loosen it up but nothing seems to work. I cry a lot, get tired very quick. Not able to exercise yet as I am still very weak. I walk most days which helps. I have awful thoughts when alone. Emptiness creeps over me a lot and I just have to stand it.
I am hoping that the body will eventually settle down and that there is no permanent damage.
My whole life has been a battle with depression and the drugs that do not cure it, doctors that do not doctor, and most people who still think that I just need to look on the bright side of life !  
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I've been off Effexor for 2 1/2 months now after being on it since 1995. My dosage has varied from 150/day to 37.5/day. I did not taper off as gradually as some on here--counting the little pills inside or anything. I had been on 37.5 for several months and just quit cold turkey. It took about five weeks to not have any withdrawal symptoms. I feel so bad for those of you who have had depression for life. I went into sudden clinical depression after a traumatic experience and couldn't stop crying. I lost a lot of weight very quickly and finally checked myself into the local hospital where I had to be given large doses of trazadone to function at all because I was highly agitated. But by the time the trauma was over and I should have been healing, I was hooked on Effexor. So I am not having a problem returning to depression that some of you are. That must be so bad. Personally I don't think I would have ever chosen to go off Effexor if I knew I had a continuing problem with depression. As bad as the drug is, it does work at controlling most depression and I don't know why a person with chronic depression would want to go off it. And no, I don't work for Wyeth and I thank goodness that I don't have to take it anymore. My chronic benign positional vertigo has quit for the first time in a decade.My balance is better, my libido is better and I have more energy. But if I were in serious depression I would be glad to give those things up to control the depression. Best of luck to all.
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So sorry to hear about your medical problems.  You should not be suffering so much.  Have never heard of someone going through what you are describing from going off of Effexor.   You should go on-line to the FDA if you live in the US and let them know your symptoms.

No, I am not able to work for anyone since my stroke 4 years ago which gave me severe 24/7 migraines plus many other disabilities.  I'm wondering, why did you go off the Effexor?  It sounds like you have had a long difficult history with depression including 17 ECT treatments.  Are you aware that depression goes far beyond being productive and happy?  Depression is linked with major health conditions, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, disability, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis and obesity. It is now known to be a disease of the whole body.  Look up telomeres and depression on-line to confirm this. You don't mention whether you went onto a different medication to treat your depression.  Could any of your problems be from the other medication or if you went off of medication altogether, you could be having extreme problems.  

I have also had severe depression for many years and am living proof of the whole body problems from suffering with depression for so long before I got an effective anti-depressant.  There are no free lunches with any of these meds, but the lack of them causes far more body deterioration as mentioned above.  

And again, Effexor is the only anti-depressant that helped me in 30 years.  Without it I would be dead.
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I have been on Efexor for approximately 12 years for chronic depression.  I started off at 75 mg, which was quickly increased to 150 mg which worked okay until about 5 years ago when I was going through a tough time at home and at work and my doctor increased it to 300 mg.  About 18 months ago, I was once again going through a tough time at work and my doctor increased it to 450 mg.  

I stopped working about 12 months ago and thought this would be a good opportunity (less stress and all that) to try and drop myself back to 150 mg.  (My doctor had previously advised me that I should resign myself to the fact that I would probably have to take anti-depressants for the rest of my life, so my goal was just to reduce the dose rather than to stop altogether.)  I managed the drop back to 300 mg with minimal discomfort, however couldn't manage the drop back to 150 mg - not because of the withdrawal symptoms but just because my depression wasn't held in check.  


After about 8 months on the 300 mg dose, I felt my depression slowly creeping back so decided to talk to a psychologist.  She suggested that perhaps the Efexor was no longer working for me and that I should see a doctor for a review of my medication.  I probably should also mention here that I had to see a totally new doctor for this review as I have moved far away from my previous longstanding GP.   This new GP seemed quite au fait with anti-depressants and suggested that I stop taking Efexor completely and replace it with 30 mg Mirtazapine.  He advised that whilst I might have a bad first week or two as far as mood swings go, I shouldn't experience the bad withdrawal effects of coming off Efexor.  

Unfortunately, I beg to differ.  I am on my third day off Efexor and on Mirtazapine, and I feel terrible.  I am experiencing all the withdrawal symptoms that I would normally get if I had forgottoen to take my Efexor (dizziness, a shivery feeling in my head which I believe you refer to as a 'brain zap' and nausea), but I am also experiencing extreme depression.  Today I have cried all day and have been thinking that life isn't worth living.  Reading the posts here hasn't really given me much hope either, given that most people seem to experience withdrawal symptoms well after ceasing to take Efexor.

My psychologist already has me on Omega 3, but I am also going to try taking B Vitamins (if I can manage to drive myself up town tomorrow to buy some), and also try going for a walk in the morning (if I can manage it with the dizziness I have been experiencing).  Hopefully, these things will all help.

I think I may have to go back to my GP ASAP though and see if there is anything else he can do to make this transition easier.  My psychologist did suggest seeing a psychiatrist for my medication review, simply because all they do is prescribe medication for emotional disorders, and therefore may have a better knowledge of what might make this transition easier.  I will also raise this with my GP.

The other thing I wonder, is this transition necessary?  Perhaps I should remain on Efexor after all?  Perhaps it could be supplemented with another medication?

Has anyone else made the transition from Efexor to Mirtazapine, or is there anyone who has their Efexor dosage supplemented with another medication for chronic depression?
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I went off Effexor ER 150mg after being on it for six years after my son passed away and I divorced my husband.  I went on this drug for depression and cronic (chronic) pain.  I decided to go off Effexor and weined by self off in 9-2012 by going from 150mg to 75mg for two weeks then down to 37.5mg for another two weeks.  I then went to everyother day for a week but I felt like I had the flu on the days I didn't take the pill.  My doctor told me at that time to just go off cold turkey, which I did.  I had hot flashes, brain zapps, nausua, my vision has gone from 2.25 to 1.00 reading glasses (off and on) I never know which glasses to wear, the withdraw symtoms (symptoms) were getting better but I have started up the nausua every other day, leg aches almost like the zapping in my brain.  I have lost weight but the pain in my legs hurt and I'm not sure if this is from the withdrawals or something else.  This has been going on for the past two and half months I hope someone out there knows how long you have to go through this.  I will never go on anything like this again.  The positive is my thinking is so much clearer, weight loss, and I don't crave sweets. My hot flashes are calming down.  If anyone how long these symtoms (symptoms) continue please let me know so I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  
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OMG what are they doing to you ?
I was on Mirtazapan and effexor after depression breaking through, like you. The psychiatrist recommended it. It made me feel better but The weight gain was unbearable so I cam off it.
The truth is, they don't know what to do at this stage, when the most powerful ant-. ds stop working.  So they just bung another one in to augment it. None of it works because the root problem has not been dealt with. The tabs just wallpaper over it.
Sooner or later the underlying problem will come through.
My advice for what its worth is to push them for therapy. That is the only thing which may help.
They have seriously underestimated the withdrawal of effexor. On 300mg you are in for a rough ride. Don't know if the mirtaz. will ease that at all. But 300mg is a big one to get off. They just do not know what this drug does. The drug companies are not telling them, and they refuse to read all this stuff we are writing, (because we are just the victims !).
Unfortunately they are floundering and do not have a clue what to do with you.
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Thank you...I NEEDED to hear this!!!
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I was prescribed Effexor 75mg ER about 2 months ago because of "work related anxiety".   Not depression.  STUPID STUPID STUPID.   After 2 weeks, he bumped me up to 150mg, after I indicated I felt a bit better (MORE STUPID).  
I stopped taking it because I quit my job and moved away from my situation...  things were looking great.   THEN... the withdrawals arrived.  
hooooooly crap.   wasn't till I googled "why do I hear things when I move my eyes?" that I found these threads and realized the issue.    I cant believe ive only taken it for 2 months and have this much misery upon withdrawal.   most people on this site have taken it for YEARS with higher doses.  
Ive stopped taking it for about a week, and am hoping it dies down soon.   Not a lot of encouraging posts here regarding actual success!!

Needless to say, I am calling my doc tomorrow and telling him to NEVER prescribe this crap to someone who isn't SEVERELY DEPRESSED.  God...  he should have given me a mild tranquilizer or something.  

ZZZAAPPPP.   Ugh.   I am so sorry for all of you who have it worse than I do, because mine is pretty miserable.   I will update when I am successful in losing the withdrawal issues.
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