A little over two months ago I stopped taking Effexor after slowly weaning off of it. I had horrible withdrawal symptoms: nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. After two months I don't feel any better. Needless to say, I'm really scared. I can hardly function at my job and am very frustrated and angry. This medication has ruined my life. Waking up in the morning is the worst part of my day. All I have to look forward to is dizziness, fatigue, and attempting to function.
How long did you symptoms last? Are they supposed to last this long?
I am on my 8th day off of Effexor after weaning down from 150mg-75mg-37.5. I decided to take my last pill on Christmas day as I was off work and figured this would be the best time. This is the second time that I have had the flu in two months. It appears that several people tend to get the flu while weaning off this drug, why is that? I have to take a sleep test for work that I have to be completely drug free for, for at least two weeks. My test is on Jan.19th 2013. I hope I am still alive to take the test! I cannot believe they allow a drug like this to be on the market. The withdrawal symptoms are way worse than why I went on the drug to begin with. I have tried to wean off several times over the years but found it way too hard. Now that I have to for work, I can't believe how hard it is. I constantly feel like I am going to vomit, my sense of smell seems to have tripled, I am dizzy and have that terrible zapping feeling in my brain. I have not had a solid bowel movement in two months. I completely lack focus and comprehension. I am sure there are several more symptoms but I am such a scatter brain, I can't think of any more. Oh yeah, I cry all the time and have no patients for anything or anyone. I called a little old lady a **** for cutting me off the other day. It wasn't to her face but still, that is so not me. The worst part is apparently there are several law suits for birth defects from being on this drug. I had my third child while still on it. I was never cautioned about birth defects due to this drug. THANK GOD my baby girl is healthy. Does anyone know a good lawyer, cause we need to sue!
yes, the cost for even generic effexor is over $400. i am in the same situation, lost my job, no insurance, do not qualify for medicaid because i get a paultry $287 a wk unemployment. just beginning the withdrawals, been through them before when i was out of meds for a week. they are physically devastating. i dont know how but i have decided i just have to suffer through because i have no other choices right now. so much for obama's health care.
I had been on paxil for 10 years when my new psychiatrist took me off Paxil saying nobody should be on it because of how difficult it is to discontinue. He put me on effexor and went on vacation. It was the closest I ever came to killing myself. I had flu symptoms, brain zaps, insomnia, crying spells. It was the worst month of my 44 years. During that time I found out effector is the same type of drug as Paxil. Why would my Dr do that to me?! But he was away and no one was on call for him! And I was afraid to go cold turkey so I continued the effexor. Even though I titrated off the Paxil and titrated on the effexor, I still went through a month of pure hell. Good news is there was an end to the withdrawals!
Now 2 years later, life is good again and I have spent the last 4 months titrating off the effexor. I went from 150mgs to 75mgs then 37.5mgs. Then I counted the granules and halved it. Then went off completely. Within a few days I came down with horrible flu symptoms, brain zaps, and the worst hot flashes and night sweats. It's now been 2 weeks. The flu symptoms are gone, except for fatigue which I still have. I still have hot flashes...about 2-3 per hour. Thank God for the support of my family which I didn't have last time or I'm not sure I could get through this again. This stuff is poison. And even though I think it's safer to titrate off, in terms of withdrawal symptoms, it doesn't seem to make a difference. I'm just praying these symptoms go away soon.
You are probably the only one who I can relate to on these posts. I, too, was prescribed Effexor XR 75 mg for an "event related" anxiety/depression issue. I began taking the 75 mg in Nov 2012, but really didn't want to take it. After 1-1/2 months, I told my doctor I wanted to wean off. She prescribed 37.5 to begin daily instead of the 75 mg, which I did and didn't notice any withdrawal symptoms. She said to do that for a week, then take the 37.5 every other day for a week, then stop completely. When I took the 37.5 every other day, I again noticed no withdrawal symptoms, so thought I'd be in the clear when it came time to quit altogether. My last dose of 37.5 was Sun. 1/20/13 and then I had neck fusion surgery that had been scheduled. I never noticed any Effexor withdrawal symptoms until about 8 days after my last dose. Since then, I've felt lethargic, with horrible brain zaps and dizziness. At first I thought it was due to my post-operative pain medication and perhaps anesthesia residuals. Now, 9 days after my surgery, I am not taking any pain meds and the brain zapping/dizziness is crazy! I know now that this has nothing to do with my surgery or my pain meds -- it's the damn Effexor withdrawal showing up. I just find it hard to believe that after 11 days of no Effexor, I would still be having these side affects, especially when I only took the drug for 1-1/2 months! I am not sure whether I should tough it out (since I'm off work for 7 more weeks), or start dividing the pellets inside the capsule and continue a weaning process. Any insight would be valuable. Oh, and I might add that I'm an O.R. nurse, studying in an online program to finish my BSN. I was hopeful that once I were off pain meds I could open my next course (Biochemistry), but wonder how I'll do that when I feel so miserable from these withdrawal symptoms. Arrrggghhh!
I hope that you never saw that doctor ever again. What an ignorant, uncaring jerk! And no one even on call for the doctor? To everyone, never agree to see a doctor that does not have anyone on call for them.
Oh god, so scared now reading this, i was thinking the withdrawal would be days not months :( im only 3 days in a feel horrific :(
maybe i should of taken the doctors advice on weaning myself of it, just so bloody annoying, im sick of being on this drug its not even helping my depression! I am on 150mg for a year and a half!
It depends on the individual how long withdrawal takes. We are all different. It took me 2 weeks cold turkey, and I was fine after that. Trouble is the depression came back.
I have been on Effexor 150mg daily now for 5 years, and with the help of a doctor am withdrawing slowly.
it can take days, weeks or months. No set time. No good reading how long it took other people, it could be quite different for you.
Shame Effexor not helping you, as it has got rid of my depression, anxiety and panics. Just after 20 years I feel I don't need anti-depressants any more. Anyway I am going to get off Effexor and see how I go. Last time I lost all the weight I put on. Hoping this will happen again.
Good luck to you. Stick it out. Eventually it will get better.
I had taken Effexor XR for almost two years. I had tried numerous times to stop but wasn't able to because of the withdrawal symptoms.
About two and a half weeks ago I had forgotten to take my pill in the morning so decided that day would be the day. I had a horrible few days/nights. I had sweats and panic attacks. I felt like my heart would beat out of my chest. I had brain zaps and dizziness.
Most of the symptoms went away within the first week and I lost about 5lbs so far....after gaining 30lb since starting on this horrible drug. The only complaint I have now and am wondering if anyone else still experiences it....is anger and panic. I tend to have panic attacks a couple times a day, mainly at night. I also have horrible boats of anger. If nothing is going wrong I will find something to make go wrong. It's starting to ruin my relationship.
I'm also wondering if anyone could give me an average of how long it takes for these horrible symptoms to go away?
That's great for you. As you can see from the many postings above, many people have terrible withdrawal symptoms. If you had had a terrible withdrawal, where would you have been with no doctor and no pills? That's why I offered my posting.
Just wanted to say I am on day 3 of being off Effexor and of course it definitely isnt fun but im hangin in there. I read a lot on forums like these about taking fish oil and i think that it has helped a lot. I tried to get off in October but had horrible "eye bouncing" and dizziness. This time around it doesnt seem as severe as then. I really think it's all the fish oil I have been taking. 3 capsules 300 mg fish oil, 3 times a day. My doc also gave me Concerta, which I'm not exactly sure why, but I have been taking it in the mornings. I have also been working out hard each morning, and keeping busy. Of course, like many of you, I gained about 20 lbs over the last year that I have been on this crazy drug. I am a stay at home mom. Just on here to read what others in our kind of situation have to say about their experiences..hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel..feel free to comment back to me and share experiences...i will share as well :) Vicki
I was Effexor for 18 years. I was doing great for a long time so I wanted to be drug free. I tapered off the drug over a year and finally was totally off by November 2012. For almost 2 months after my last dose I was very irritable, anxious and having insomnia. My Doc has given me some Xanax to deal with the symptoms, but it seems to be getting worse and and now I'm feeling depressed. I'm confused, am I still having withdrawal symptoms after two months? I'm going back to the Doc later this week, but sometimes I don't think they understand the pain of withdrawal from this stuff. Has anyone else felt the withdrawal effects for a long time after stopping?
I was on effexor XR 75mg a day for 10 years. After years of dry mouth, constant sweating, black outs, and trouble reaching orgasm, I realized what else the effexor was doing to me. Because of the dry mouth, I was having a lot of root canals and other dental problems. Somewhat recently, I began to loose hair as well. That was the icing on the cake. Don't get me wrong, Effexor saved me from seriously bad anxiety and panic attacks, and my mild to medium depression because of the anxiety. I started to realize though, when I began exercising daily, that the work outs seemed to help the anxiety even better. So I went to my doctor and told her I wanted off, and she seemed to think I was crazy when the effexor had worked so well. But she told me how to slowly decrease it over two months. I went one step further, and it took me slowly reducing it for 6 months, and now I'm free. I do have the adrenaline rushes, but I run on a treadmill and it takes them away, completely! Without the effexor, my hair is growing in thick again, I have dreams that I can remember, I have wonderful strong orgasms, and I have become much less socially awkward. I will say that effexor definitely is a wonderful drug for the help it gave me. However, physicians seem to think that once someone is on an antidepressant that works, they should stay on it, forever? I don't think long term medicating is the answer, and we must try other outlets and take our health into our own hands sometimes. I really do believe exercising has made a HUGE difference in my mental health, and it should be included in treatment for anyone with anxiety and/or depression. I hope and wish good luck to all of you out there!
Kristin-effexor free for 6 months now and hoping to stay that way:)
I have been on Effexor for about 8 or 9 years at 300 mg. I did do a slow taper, but now that I hit zero, its awful. I am having panic attacks every morning. I am on a low dose of prozac to help (along with now lamictal), but I feel horrible. My dr prescribed some valium to help me get past the panic attacks.
Its been 3 weeks and I am still just dying. Nausea, fatigue, anxiety, crying, guilt, depression. How long will this last?
Sorry, don't mean to reply to just billiebeth, this is just a general post. The person originally wanted to know how long the withdrawal symptoms will last, yet these posts go on and on and on about a variety of things. Can we just focus on answering her question? I have this question too, but don't have time to weed through all of these stories. e.g. Can anyone say Day 1: dizziness and vomiting. Day 2: dizziness. Day 3: done. Or something like that? I've been weaning off 75mgs for about a month. Reducing by 5 mgs every 3 days by separating the pill and taking 5 mgs out, increasing by 5 more every 3 days. I'm down to 9mgs, and every day I am still dizzy and have nausea. Just can believe the symptoms are the same going cold turkey or removing just 5mgs. So how long before the withdrawl is totally gone once I am done in a couple days? 3 days? 5 Days? This has been a trying month, and it's starting to wear on me. Any technical answers would be greatly appreciated.
My GYN put me on Effexor XR to help with hot flashes. Now I'm not one to take pills unless they are medically necessary so I was quite relunctant to take these but the hot flashes had become unbearable (I mean SOAKING wet all day) and I had tried every other natural and over-the-counter solution. She started me on 37.5mg and they worked great; I notice a difference the first day. After about 2 months the hot flashes returned (not as severe though) so she increased my dose to 75mg. Same thing happened, hot flashes went away for about 2 months. I told her that I wasn't going to increase anymore and wanted to come off the pill completely and she agreed. She gave me a 6 week plan to wean off the pills which I've done.
I've been off the pills completely for 9 days and the withdrawal symptons haven't been as bad as some of the folks here have experienced. I did get some of the brain zaps and the vivid dreams but the worst of it has been the low-back, hip joint and foot pain. I can only hope that with more time that too will get better. I experienced this same pain after I started taking the pills and only figured out it was the Effexor after searching the web.
Good luck to everyone who is suffering through withdrawals...
I did not make a conscious decision to stop taking Effexor, I just left town mistakenly not filling my prescription. I felt like I wanted to stay off it and see how dealing with my hormonal cycle depression more naturally would be. Well, super bad idea - I am in absolute hell. I feel like I am being shocked in the head and tongue, I'm really sick - diarrhea and nauseas, my head is really foggy. I feel like Im teetering somewhere between a crackhead and a schitzo. I cant think straight and I cant stop crying. THis was my Dr's FIRST idea for me? Really? I only get depressed right around that time of the month - a day or two - and no joke it is bad, but what the F did she do to me?? And not to mention the weight gain?? I have hovered around the same weight for most of my adult life and now, after taking effexor I am 25 lbs heavier than when I started 4 months ago. I felt like a normal person taking the drug and it really did fend away the depression - but I am asking myself now - at what cost?? What is going on in my brain? What is this drug doing to my body. F this. It is NOT worth it in any way. I am going to do what ever it takes - even if I have to wean off it - but I told my DR to get it done as fast as possible.
I am on day15 off tapering off effexor xr I have the capsules with 2 x 37.5g tablets in them so every 2 weeks I am going to cut an extra 5% of one tablet and so until Iam off completely at the moment I am at minus 10% of 1 tablet, I am finding the mornings the worst I get bad headaches and feel dizzy, I have been taking codeine tablets to take the edge off and by lunchtime feel a lot more normal. I am continuing to work to try and keep my mind occupied I am determined to get off them if it takes suffering a few months like this it will be worth it, I wish I had never started taking them, they should be banned. I also take vitamin d calcium and krill oil to help and drink lots of water, ill keep you posted on how I go.
I have been slowly coming off of Effexor since 6 months ago. I found out the hard way not to go from 150mg to zero in one day. But, now, I just came off of 37.5mg two days ago and I'm having serious withdrawals even from that dose. Brain shivers, chills, nausea... confusion, frustration... etc. I really hope it won't last too long. I'm pretty determined to get off this stupid drug. It never did anything for me anyway!
My last post was November 11 of 2012. In that post, I shared my experiences 6 months post effexor. Now it's March 2013, about 10 months since I've taken any Effexor.
I can happily say that the lingering effects are so rare now that I can't remember the last episode. I have not had any problems regarding withdrawals in many many months.
My life is pretty stressful now so I have to manage my depression in other ways. However, it has been wonderful to not be beholden to this drug.
To any of you struggling with the withdrawals from this medication, it can be done. You have to find the way that's best for you. For me, it was a slow process of gradual reduction in dosage. This caused the least disruption to my mental state and therefore my family and friends.
So true I too having withdraw from this medication after 18 year on it I couldn't stand the sweating from this medication now my dr has me on mirtazapine I on my fourth day feeling lightheaded and some dizziness, but I felt the same way I took venlafaxine I know that it take about 4 week to come to full force.
As I have been on anti-depressants for 20 years, and Effexor XR150mg daily for 5 years, my doctor wants me to wean off over a year or more, to lessen the withdrawals. I did stop cold turkey once, and was OK after 2 weeks, and very well for 1 year. When I felt depression coming back, I was put back on Effexor. My doctor now tells me that it could have been withdrawal symptoms, even after one year off the medication.
this time I will try and ride out symptoms even after a year, and see how I go.
Good luck to everyone who has successfully withdrawn from Effexor.
My story. I was put on Effexor XR about 7 years ago for depression. A few years back I tried going off it cold turkey. Didn't work. After the physical withdrawal was mostly over, I became fixated on something (was it buying a new car? Not sure.) I couldn't concentrate on anything else, so I went back on the Effexor.
I retired 3 years ago, so my stress level is much lower and I'm enjoying life. My doctor wanted to leave me on Effexor since it wasn't doing any harm. I suspect the real reason was that he didn't want to deal with my withdrawal. He moved on to another practice and the mail order pharmacy started sending venlafaxine XR tablets instead of capsules, so I started tapering on my own (I don't recommend this.) I was on 150 mg and started cutting off about 1/8 of a table at a time. Took me about 6 weeks to taper to zero.
Six days since venlafaxine cessation as I write this. Symptoms started after about 24 hrs. Brain zaps, dizziness - mostly gone after 4 days. A few episodes of irregular heartbeat early on; started taking low dose aspirin as a precaution against stroke and made sure my wife was aware of this in case symptoms developed. Headaches, nausea, and sweats on days 2 & 3 - still some lingering nausea. Days 2 thru 4: nightmares (more like severe panic attacks while asleep) - just a few strange dreams now. Difficulty sleeping - fortunately I have a prescription for a sleep med, but I'm sleeping fewer hours less per night. Being retired is no small part of my being able to manage my withdrawal
Things that are helping. I have been active off and on all my life (62 y.o.) but sedentary over the past winter. Started exercising again long walks. 6 - 12 mi. every other day, bike riding, lifting weights. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone else either. A lot of stiffness and soreness, blistered feet, and the malaise that comes with overwork, but I can't tell what is normal pain from adapting to physical activity and what may be Effexor withdrawal. It's working for me because I have done the "getting in shape" thing more than a few times over the years.
The most important for me: Being aware that emotionally I'm not able to tell what's real and what's not. Feeling the urge to say something in reaction to what someone has said or done but keeping my mouth shut because now isn't the time. Keeping busy. always having a next task all day long. Sometimes my task list gets disrupted, but then the disruption becomes the next task.
Next up: Dealing with emotional issues that may arise. Remains to be seen.
I hope you have already solved you need of more effexor, I was getting my generic from a Canadian Pharm, three months was costing me what one month was at a local Pharm. I just had them fax the request to my doc and would send the PX directly to them. I would come in about ten days from Germany. That was the only way to get generic at a good price that I found. Good luck.
Thank you for being the one to answer the question...Ok, so it took you 5 days to feel normal again after your last Effexor pill? That's what I want to know.
I've been tapering for 2 months. I'm down to 37.5 every 58 hours and trying to cut a few hours each time. I'm so sick, mean and miserable that I'm afraid to take one last pill and be done.
I tapered very slowly for over a year and I took the last Effexor 16th of March 2012 - after one month I thought that I was getting over the withdrawal. Roll on June....full on withdrawal - the nightmares, zapping in the head etc. November... not feeling well at all. One thing is for sure - you should have a support plan in place - even if you feel you are okay now. Get a lot of support from friends and family who fully understand that this is serious and is not over in a few months. Get some help from counseling services. I found that Yoga did help and walking.
I am also tapering over a year or more, with help from my doctor. She told me doing it this way lessened the chance of withdrawals. Thing is withdrawal and depression are much the same feelings. Difficult to know which is which. I am so sorry to hear that the withdrawals went on quite a time after you stopped the withdrawal.
How are you now? I have a feeling I will be going through what you are in a year or so. Some people go back on the drug because they cannot stand the withdrawals. Did you ever do this?
When I was unemployed and with no insurance, I contacted the maker of Effexor on line and they provided my prescriptions for free for three months at a time. I completed and form and they sent the prescription to my doctors office where I picked it up. It was quite simple.
This is a wonderful thread. I went on Effexor in Feb 2011 mainly due to panic/anxiety attacks. I started on 37.5 and then upped to 75.5 mg and I've been on that dosage ever since. My anxiety/panic are gone now and in it's place I've put on 30 pounds. Now, that has me quite upset. I feel so ponderous and bloated.
I decided to get off this drug and read as many threads as I could on withdrawl and have taken the plunge - cold turkey. I am on Day 3 and so far the only wicked side effects is the constant zeep-zeep in my head. I find it worse if I walk around, but if I sit quietly it's not so bad. I've had a small headache (which I relieved with 325 mg of aspirin). I've had not been nauseated and have no lack of appetite (darn). I'm sleeping fine because I have zoplicone (sp?). My dreams are rather fun. I mostly feel tired.
I hope the Zeep-Zeeps will go away. Does anyone know whether this weight gain is permanent? I was active, doing aerobics and weight training but the weight just piled on. I'm living in yoga pants since they are the only thing I get on.
Also - should I expect more severe withdrawl in the days to come?
Due to a severe infection, I had to come off Effexor over 5 days after being on 115 mg. for several years. I'm experiencing almost all of the withdrawal symptoms and don't even feel like myself anymore. I'm wondering if I should ask my Doctor to start back on a small dose and then gradually wean off of the Effexor. Has anyone ever been in this situation?
Thank you! It has been so enlightening to finally find people going through the same thing I am currently experiencing. I have been off Effexor for 7 days tomorrow - I have weaned myself off in 37.5mg doses - was on 300mg for 4 years and am feeling just awful! Today I was questioning how I am going to distinguish between withdrawal feelings and depression. It was not good to feel that hopelessness again! Scary in fact. I am determined to hang in there as I believe I can get off these horrible pills! They are not for me! I am getting used to the brain zaps, nausea, irritability and bouts of extreme anger! I have guilt, bouts of crying (haven't cried in years), and am finding it hard to stop taking out my anger on my poor husband! I also have the flu, have been sick for the week but thought it was because I was run down and now I read that flu symptoms are part of this also???? I'm so angry that I was never cautioned or advised about all of this. The medication definitely helped my depression at the start - I have been on and off different types for over 17 years so this was a last resort. Unfortunately it just numbed me to a point that I didn't care about myself or anyone else around me! I just want to be free of this and enjoy feeling again! If anyone else is experiencing what I am and wants to chat please contact me as I could do with some support and I dont feel like I can talk to family and friends as they just dont understand. Thanks :)
i won't cuss at my GP for prescribing these devil pills because in the end i make my final descisions but i wish i had done more research before hand like you i have became the person you described... iv'e just about lost everything iv'e ever worked for my credit score has went from 820 down to under 450 all i want to do is sit around and blame everybody for my demise when in retrospect it was my decision to start and stay on these my last pill was on 3/27/2013 i too feel like hell with all the same symptons as everybody else don't know how long they will last nor do i care for at least for the first time in 2 years i am starting to care and have feeling towards friends and family and that feeling is great i'll take these zaps,pain, nausea,confusion,disorientation, over numbness to family any day... so if there are family members that don't understand this is real be patient and understanding hopefully your loved ones will get better and please warn others about the side effects the dr. won't tell you about get the word out
My name is Ann. I live in UK Scotland. I'm not very computer literate so I struggle, but I am living an Effexor nightmare. I'd appreciate any responses from people struggling also. Its very difficult and I spend a lot of my day in a really dark place.
Hei Maddie, I just read your entry in January about your decision to try and come off Effexor. I have been taking 75 mg Effexor for 13-14 years after having had terrible problems with depression between the ages of 15 and 35. Effexor at that time saved my life, gave me a life and a good one. However, I have been struggling with the long term side effects of Effexor for the past 3-4 years. I have now made the decisison to try and come off and am tapering off at 5 mg per 14 days, now into the 6th week. I am now finding out that this is as hard as people say - a terrible experience and like you can't quite figure out what is side effects and what could be returning depression. I am very interested in linking up with others going through the same process. I see you wrote about a thread. Very interested in joining.
Hei Joro. My apologies for copying and pasting this from another post to give you some background on my story. I just read your entry about your decision to try and come off Effexor. I have been taking 75 mg Effexor for 13-14 years after having had terrible problems with depression between the ages of 15 and 35. Effexor at that time saved my life, gave me a life and a good one. However, I have been struggling with the long term side effects of Effexor for the past 3-4 years. I have now made the decisison to try and come off and am tapering off at 5 mg per 14 days, now into the 6th week. I am now finding out that this is as hard as people say - a terrible experience and like you can't quite figure out what is side effects and what could be returning depression. I am very interested in linking up with others going through the same process, as this is definately not easy. Effexor helped me a lot for the first couple of years, but I have the same experience as you of ending up as (as is described in academic articles) a 'souless zombie'. I (like you) just want to start feeling again. Very interested in linking up with you as we go through this.Only those of us who are going through it can understand what this is really like.
Hei everyone, I am also very interested in talking to anyone who has been thinking around the idea held by many non-clinical therpaists that depression is a choice. I can see that this is possible from my own life, that depression is a survivial strategy that gets locked into the body. I have had terrible problems with depression for many years, but I am even so not convinced this is a 'body defect' - and that we actually can use our minds and our lifestyles to 'choose' a different path than depression. I believe we can empower ourselves and ourselves free us from dependency on this drugs. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who is interested in this way of thinking.
It has been 2 weeks since I've gone cold turkey. The first week was rough - joint pains, cold/flu symptoms, some nausea (but if I ate it would go away). Confusion, disorientation and SEVERE brain zaps. 2nd week - the joint pains were gone, but I still have bouts of confusion and of course brain zaps.
Today - most of the symptoms are gone, with the exception of brain zaps. The zaps are still here but they are not as severe and seem to be more prominent when I am walking. But they are not as "loud". I would say I am a bit angry and don't have much patience - hopefully that will subside.
Anyway - for me the first 2 weeks were not fun, but now, it's not so bad. I don't have any urge now to take a pill to make the symptoms "go away". I sure did the first 2 weeks.
Day 3 of weaning off venlafaxine, feel pretty rough, have experienced all the withdrawal symptoms in the leaflet. Does anyone have any idea how long it takes and do the symtoms become less severe? Phoned the pharmacist but she didn't have much of a clue..
Not really confident in anything the FDA recommends considering they approved this horrific drug and labeled it safe for human consumption in the first place. Please carefully research the connections between the biotech giant Monsanto and the FDA, and then ask yourself if you trust everything they say.
I started taking Effexor 75mg ER about a year and a half ago. I suffered some mild depression and anxiety for a long time because I wanted nothing to do with prescription medications. Eventually, I went into a pretty deep depression and realized I needed some help, so I gave into my Dr.'s suggestion and started on the Effexor. At first, I felt fantastic. I couldn't believe how positive my thinking became, it felt too good to be true. But, after about 6 months, those feelings went away, and then I felt nothing. I was completely numb. I became so blasé, laid-back, and lazy that I went from being an clean, organized, type A and turned into a person who was messy, unorganized, and forgetful. Besides that, I started gaining weight immediately after starting Effexor. I went from being able to eat anything I wanted without gaining a pound, to watching everything I ate and still gaining weight. Scientifically, I should have been losing weight. I was definitely burning more calories than I took in, leaving a deficit that should have equaled weight loss, but nothing. Kept gaining and gaining. It's the most frustrating thing I've ever experienced. Two different doctors told me there was no way Effexor was responsible for this, but I know my body. And there is no way I just woke up one day and my metabolism died (which happened to be the same day I started taking Effexor).
I have decided that I will no longer put this toxic nasty drug in my body any longer. I went from taking the 75mg tabs, and quit cold turkey 1 week ago. The first 3 days, I experienced the super-weird 'brain zaps'. Every time I would move my eyeballs from one side to the other, I would feel the brief split-second blurriness and felt like I could actually hear a zap. Freakiest thing ever! Anyways, everyday after the first three, that symptom went away slowly. Now, after 7 days, I am brain-zap free! I feel amazing. Like myself again. I've also re-gained my urge to clean and organize my house, my desk at work, my MBA projects. I think certain types of anxiety are helpful..like the anxiety that makes me worry that if I don't clean my dishes in a timely manner, then they will start to smell bad. I've learned that I'm not depressed or abnormally anxious. These things are normal and anxiety triggers a response in us. It's all about how we respond.
For anyone who is worried about getting off Effexor, please know that the horrific withdrawal effects are not 'horrific' for everyone. Everyone is different and the physical response to withdrawal will be different for everyone. Maybe my awesome experience with getting off Effexor is the exception, and the horrible stories are the rule. I can't tell you what will happen to you. But, I can just at least let you know that I am one person who had a positive, happy ending to my story...something I did not find when researching withdrawal stories before I quit.
Thanks for writing this informative information. I was on 75mg XL for 2 years approx. I also felt better in the beginning and then started to gain weight and feel numb. I have never been overweight in my life (51)suddenly I was. I'm still having symptoms and insomnia. I have to get off effexor as I was starting to have the early stages of "Serotonin syndrome." I knew I was shaking and people kept asking me if I was cold when I wasn't, didn't realise the seriousness of the situation until visiting the GP with an ear infection and her spotting the shaking.
Hei, I have the same experience as you. Effexor helped alot in the beginning, but in the last 5 years I have been having severe long term side effects - numbness, insomnia, shaking etc. The long term side effects are very, very serious - I started to read about them and was shocked as, despite asking doctors many times, nobody told me about them.
How are the side effects. I am tapering off very slowly, 5 mg per 14 days and the side effects are, in general not too bad and getting less.
Thank you elizabetta for your story. I am on day 4 and my brain zaps are gone. I am still feeling sick to my stomach and a bit off in my ways but I am determined to stay off this drug! I was put on Effexor when I my breast cancer was discovered. I was on HRT and given 75 mg for hot flashes. I had them anyway! It has been 5 years now and I am done! My GP told me to stop cold turkey as I was on 37.5mg for the past three months. Her words "Oh you are on a baby dose, so just stop" Thinking of changing Drs for sure! I am having nightmares (about my ex-husband) and sleeping is not easy. I know this too shall pass.
I started on Effexor because I was having some anxiety issues. I was working full time as a nurse and decided to go back to college full time. I was determined to make a new marriage work with step siblings and a new baby. My grandfather passed away and broke my heart. It tore me apart. My doctor started me on Effexor for the anxiety. I was numb and slept for months both from the Effexor combined with some deppression. One day, I was talking with some old friends. I don't seem them often because I moved from Colorado. They commented on how different I was, and noticed changes in me. One joked I seemed "brainwashed". I decided to stop taking the Effexor. Even as a nurse I was unsure of how to properly wean off and asked my MD and pharmacist. However, I chose to stop.
The first couple months I was in a mania like state. My head buzzed so bad especially at night for over a year- I was worried I was having seizures it became so bad. I gained weight.
I had SEVERE headaches!
My point is I stopped taking it. I have been Effexor free for 5 years, no longer have any symptoms and feel like my old self. Anyone reading this can be successful in stopping Effexor. There is light at the end of the tunnel!?!? Just be smart and safe about it please! Knowledge is power! Research and ask questions so you know what to expect! It won't be so bad if you know what you will experience and why. Ask your MD or pharmacist. Ask a nurse! Explain to your friends and family what is going on and why, so they can be understanding and supportive!
Good luck everyone ;)
Thank you for your post. I have been looking for help but afraid to say what is happening with me. I was put on Effexor three years ago due to a situation in my life I couldn't handle. (75 mg) After a year on it, I began having episodes of what I have found to be detachment. Seeing things like I'm actually there, but know I am not there. They came with a sinking feeling and hot flashes. I thought for a long time that it was menopause as I am at that age. After seveal months of that and researching, I found that it has been noted as a side effect of Effexor. So, I began the journey of tapering off it.
I began the journey in February of last year. The normal symptoms like bain zaps, head aches, etc were experienced and the detachment went away. However, I have not taken any Effexor since June of 2012, but a month before that I began having hot flashes at night followed by several days of paranoia. It subsides for two or three weeks then comes back.
This is still happening and today I am on the second day of this episode of paranoia. It is so bad that being alone is so frightening I can't move. My heart races and get a pit in my stomach that is so hard to deal with. I don't get nausous, or have pain as I have read others to have, but have lost 20 lbs, which I have to say is ok.
I have a wonderful husband who allows me to go everywhere with him during these times. Thank goodness we are self employed. . .Again, at first I thought it was menopause again and began taking Amberin, but after several months stopped as it did absolutely nothing for the hot flashes. Could this be a part of the Effexor withdraw? Or am I just a total nut case. I honestly do not know how much longer I can do this. . .
I tried to not take any medication, but the bouts of anxiety came back so Dr. put me on Welbutrin. I have not seen any symptoms like this for Welburtin. . . Any advise is greatly appreciated.
I have to just respond to Sara12345's comment to jlt382.
Please, please consider consulting a homepathic doctor and using homeopathic medicine to treat the anxiety you are feeling. I feel as though I almost want to beg you to try homeopathy!
I believe the last thing your body needs whilst recovering from a fairly long term Effexor use is more drugs with more toxic effects and serious side effects. A homeopathic doctor will analyse your entire body and will prescribe a medicine that will support your body as it passes through this very difficult withdrawal process. A medicine that promotes your overall health and will help subdue the anxiety.
If your anxiety is very severe, then a pharamaceutical product may be the best solution for you. However, an anxiety medicine will only dampen the symptom (anxiety), not treat the real imbalance in your body and almost certainly have a number of serious side effects.
So, please think seriously about trying this approach, and remember to always use a very experienced homeopathic doctor, as homepathy is so very complicated.
Thank you for the advise. I am in total agreement with you as far as medicines. In more research, I have read that some people who have used Wellbutrin have mentioned serious bouts of anxiety, so am wondering if that may be my problem. . .am seeking homeopathic doctor in my area and will definately check into it.
Just to let you know, non-pharmaceutical meds are not at all tested by the FDA. Many of them have toxins in them like lead or don't have the amounts of the medicine that they are claiming. That's one of the reasons why I joined consumerlabs on-line who check many vitamins and herbal medications. They do reject a lot of them. There are many "natural" things that can act as poison in your system like hemlock, specific mushrooms, etc. I do take an herbal medicine for my migraines with butterburr, but it is made in Germany where the government does evaluate all the herbals. Another form of butterbur is sold that has toxins in it. My nephrologist said NO to any herbals until I found that one because she said that many of them could further deteriorate my kidneys. So be mindful of your reactions to the homeopathic meds, but a kidney problem does not show up to the patient without blood tests until it is too late. If you think that Wellbutrin may be causing your anxiety, then that needs to be addressed.
I am 59 a physician and have suffered from moderate to severe Depression for 25 years. Initially I went on prozac with some trials of buspar and even Ritalin as additives to the prozac. Neither Buspar nor Ritalin had any benefit. I continued on Prozac 40/d with control of anxiety and minor panic problems for some 10 years. Finally went into new internist for consideration of alternatives. He started me on EffexorXR and after some brief reading I found that studies showed most of patients had responses upon 300mg/d. I increased to that and had stayed on it for some 15 years. However recently I had a bad period of loss of interest and felt the Effexor was pooping out. Went into Md to try something else. He started me on Viibryd just three weeks back. As I tapered to 150 EffexorXR (generic) in the second week I started to notice Dizziness that was irregular and got better and worse plus sleeplessness that was getting worse. I decreased my Viibryd then at 20mg down to 10mg as I discontinued the Effexor.
If you read up on Viibryd it often causes nausea and dizziness brain zaps and insomnia too. So at seventeen days with even lowered dosage I stopped the Viibryd. I thought the side effects were from it though I had experienced dizziness even after being only 10-12 hours late on the Effexor. I also had experience the dramatic vividly surprising dreams that make restful sleep challenging anytime a dose was missed till bedtime. Though I have only been on the reduced dosage of effexor for less than 2 weeks and off all Viibryd for three days. I fear the dizziness and wooziness in not related to the Viibryd and virtually all my very uncomfortable drugged out symptoms could be related to Effexor withdrawal. The dizziness varies through the day without any real reason. It has continued despite no medication without substantial improvement for days.
I came in search of info since I had realized that my symptoms are more and more likely to be those of Effexor withdrawal and not related to the Viibryd. I guess what I would like most to know is how long I will need to feel "drugged up" like this before the dizziness subsides. I have not read all 800 + remarks but did see suggestions that people have had very long term withdrawal symptoms even up to a year.
I am happy to relate that I did not put patients upon medications lightly nor did I realize just how unreliable these SSRI drugs were at getting results at any dosage nor all the severe side effects that people have even upon very low dosages. By the way You all should realize the drug companies sell all dosage capsules and pills at the same cost. Roughly $5/pill so on Effexor a 37.5 cost the same as a 150. They have calculated the average patient can afford about $150/month or $5/d so they think if you are only on a very low dosage they should get the same $150/month even if you ar on 37.5 mg EffexorXR or 10mg Viibryd. Now if you are unlucky to want to take a combination of mg pills to get your fix or to adjust the dosage down slowly in withdrawal then you pay $5/day for each of those pills which can be exorbitant as a total. E.g. 300mg taper to 262.5 or (150 + 75 + 37.5 ) or 3 pills $15/d then 225mg a 150 plus two 37.5 ($15/d) so you can also use the 37.5 for the next step down to 187.5mg (a 150 + one 37.5)
They don't care about making a reasonable profit. They want as much as the market will bare. It breaks my heart that the majority of people's stories suggest they have had little choice but to go cold turkey because of just such abusive price gouging where they cannot always afford their medication.
I agree 100% with you when it comes to health products bought in health stores. To be honest, that industry is not as 'honest' as you would hope it to be and the products are absolutely not as pure as you would think.
Homeopathic medicine is however a slightly different matter. You can buy hoemepathic medicine from a pharmacy and testing of homeopathic medicine usually shows the absence of any traceable ingredients rather than the inclusive of unexpected trace elements.
So, don't let health products put you off homeopathy. If you are very honest and open with your homeopathic doctor, then homeopathy can give good help.
I have read very widely around effexor withdrawal - serious documents based on user withdrawal experience and not sanitised main stream medical. My impression is that 300 mg to zero in 2 weeks is way, way too fast. The advice I read is if you try stopping 'cold turkey' and experiece major withdrawl symptoms, then go back to the orginal Effexor does (in your case 300) and start again. Then taper very slowly - i.e. 5 mg per 2 weeks.
My experience reflects everything we read elsewhere that this is going to be a long and unpleasant expereince. Think 1 year.
So, you have to start thinking about the things you are going to do and try to help you through this. Keep fit, stay social, use alternative therapies including meditation wisely and not least - stay focussed on self help.
One of the most important things we all have to do is refuse to play victim and work with our own lives and our own thoughts to stimulate wellbeing and 'happiness'.
We are responsible for our own happiness - and it is time for us to put depression aside and fight for our own wellbeing. The mind is a powerful thing and we can train our minds away from the neagtive to the positive.
Really??? I am on day 4 and feel horrible. I lost my job and am awaiting for my Doctor to call as I am now going through the pharmaceutical company. The meds were supposed to arrive 4 days ago. At first I thought I had the flu? The shock zaps are the worst! I don't know now after reading sooo many negative testimonals if I want to continue taking Efexor????
I originally put a post on here as I was suffering terribly from the withdrawals after being on a 300mg dosage. I wanted to come back on here and say I'm now into week 5 of no pills after tapering off 37.5 mg doses since Jan this year. It has been a rough ride but I'm beginning to feel a bit better now - my one bit of advice is if you don't feel ok PLEASE go and see your regular Dr or psychiatrist. They are there to do a job and that is to make sure you are ok! I was silly and had cold/flu symptoms and joint aches etc... but kept telling myself oh, its just the withdrawals and put up with chest pain for weeks now. I finally went 2 days ago and its ended up that I have pleurisy and am now on antibiotics and rest. Its all very frustrating for me but it did teach me a lesson!!! Other than that the brain zaps are gone :)!!! And I am starting to feel emotions again. I am also getting back my memory!!! yipppeeeeee!!!!!! For those that have just started coming off please know that it does get better over time and it is well worth it in the end. Good luck everyone :) :) :)
Sometimes it is not a matter of positive thoughts. When I was severely depressed, I thought that I had the best job (that I had before or since), many wonderful friends, the most beautiful apt, loved the city that I lived in (which I still miss). Plus I knew that I was smart, attractive, and had plenty of money to travel or buy great clothes. But I was severely depressed, until I got properly treated with an anti-depressant.
SOMETIMES, there is a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected. If you are able to use positive thoughts to correct the depression, good for you, but I couldn't have been any more positive than I was when I was nearly suicidal from the worst pain that I have ever had. That includes my severe migraines which I often have to get treated at the ER and Trigeminal Neuralgia, also known as "suicide disease" due to it's electric shock like pain. The pain from the depression was far worse.
Just to let someone else know so that they don't feel like a failure for not being able to think positively out of depression.
Its very good you wrote this. You are 100% right. Sometimes you have to use a ssri or snri and some of us may have to use these for the rest of their lives. I may be one of them - I won't know for a while. I hope that I can manage without. However - what I really am trying to say is that we who have really struggeld with depression, and I have really struggled with it for 15 years, should not fall into the trap of thinking we are the victims of our bodies. No matter what kind of handicap we have in life, we need to empower oursleves as much as we can, become strong to take control of our lives and master our situations. And that includes accepting ssri/ssni use. But it also includes actively working with ourselves and our life situations to maximise our health.
In the past month I have gained 13# after my dr upped my does to 300 mgs. I am also emotionally numb.. I want off, today I am lowering it back to 225mgs and will be talking to my dr in a couple days. I can't believe a dr could do this.
Hi Kathy - unbelievable!!!!! the exact same thing happened to me but added to the mix was another medication on top of this. I felt numb, did NOT care or feel anything. I felt invincible! I noticed when I lowered my dosage coming off the meds I started to feel things again and I think that should have been my correct dosage. Its really hard to work out especially as we still have everyday life ups and downs! And as for the weight gain! I was warned and didn't even notice until a family member pointed it out to me! I am now off all medication and am struggling to lose anything! It is a continuous battle! I am sick of hearing from Dr's - oh well its better that you are able to function in every day life - half my battle is having this extra weight - would you agree?????? Thoughts anyone????
holly crud.... I forgot to take my pills for 2 days and I had no bad feelings. i used to be on 300 and if i missed 24 hours I would get the brain zaps and be running for a tablet.
I tried to come off 300 once and ended up off work for 6 months.
So now I am down to 150 and decided i would go cold turkey caused I missed 2 days and thought I had beat it.
It is day 3 and I have major nausea and vertigo type feelings. I am also running around like a crazy man. I don't know what to do, should i just pop a pill or man up and hold on for the ride@!
I obviously felt something is wrong so typed in google, how long i should feel bad and am seeing all these posts!
I must say the drug itself has worked awesome for me.
Can someone tell me if i cant hack it, is there a problem with being on these things forever? sorry for sounding like a raving loon (probably in good company) but my whole body is going bonkers after being very stable for the last few years on the drug.
Hei. I read your entry and actually started to become a little worried about how this is going to work out for you. I personally think that stopping Effexor is something that should be well thought through, well planned and tht withdrawal should be stretched over a long period. So, dropping from 300 to zero soulds a little worrying. I see you have gone back onto 75 and I am thinking that if you can stabilize there, then maybe it would be a good idea to stop there a while and then gradually withdraw from there. You need to give your body and you brain time to adapt from the high level of Effexor you have had in your blood for some.
I am currently undergoing withdrawal from Effexor XR. I had only been taking a rather low dose of 75mg maxing out at 112.5 for just a few months of my time on the drug. I was on the drug for an extended period of time - I would estimate for the past 4 years.
Wednesday 23rd April 2013 was the last day I took effexor after discussions with 2 different doctors and a planned reduction/cesation.
I had reduced my 75mg intake to a 1/4 of it's dose to 18.75mg per day over several months. I found that the generic version I was purchasing had 2 small tablets inside the capsule so I first started taking just one of those per day instead of the 2 and stuck with that for a month, then cut each of those in half and took one of those for a month. I suffered few symptoms of withdrawal while doing this. (I also thought doing it this was was cheaper, I could get medication for the same price on PBS - here in Australia and cut it myself instead of getting my doc to prescribe me a lower dose)
As part of my quit plan my doctor did prescribe me 1 x 2mg tablets per day of Valium (Diazepam/Valpam) to take for 2 weeks in place of the Effexor (not to take at the same time!!) I felt after just a few days that the Valium was not really doing anything for me. It did manage to mask the withdrawal symptoms to a degree for the first few days. I have stopped taking them also after just 1 week. I was very concerned about the adictive nature of this drug and as I was having trouble getting off one I didn't want to replace it with another that was difficult to quit!
I was initially suffering brain shocks, sweats, nausea, stomach pains etc, but am glad to report that after just over a week these symptoms are reduced by more than half. I did read in another entry that Omega 3 oils can help and I have been taking these for the past 4 days (just a couple of capsules) and I have no idea if this has impacted upon my withdrawal period/the severity of the symptoms I have suffered.
For those looking for a light at the end of the withdrawal tunnel: If you plan your withdrawal slowly and with the assistance of a doctor then hopefully you won't have to suffer through too much horror. As I think I might be out the other side of the effects I still have in about another week. (I plan to keep taking the Omega 3 - fish/krill oil for the next month to be sure)
thanks for the concern al but I am fine at the moment. I went from 150 to 0. the last time I tried to quit it was 300 to 0. (that was a disaster, I didn't realise these things were addictive at all.)
I am sitting pretty at 75. I think I will try what jilly above says in relation to those two tablets in the generic form (haven't tried generic form yet) but I will sit on 75 for a period of time, prob a few months or so or when I can take a few weeks off work.
I had been on Effexor for over a decade and when I tried getting off of it I had sudden emotional episodes that were fleeting but intense. Like i was about to cry but couldn't. I was up to 225mg. I got a month's refill and then couldn't find it. I looked for day/weeks and couldn't find it. I thought I had placed on the counter in the bathroom. I decided to see if I could ride it out. That was a month ago. I haven't taken it for 6 weeks and the darned bottle was right on the sink all along! I saw it every day. I'm fortunate that I have experienced nothing close to what people have described. I have dizzy spells and concentration is difficult. I'm wondering how how these side effects will last. Or are they what the Effexor was preventing all along?
You will find out in time if the Effexor was helping those problems--the emotional intensity and concentration difficulties. I went off Effexor and went back on as my depression was back again full tilt. To go off cold turkey from the dose that you were taking could certainly cause your symptoms. Good luck.
Ok, 6 weeks off Effexor and still getting there..... I have lost all brain zaps and nausea. Still experiencing headaches and anxiety! I have still had the odd panic attack but I think that is mainly the current stress I'm under with moving countries! Is there anyone else who is still experiencing symptoms at this stage????? Would love to hear from you! Went back to the Dr and of course they said I was unwilling to accept I am depressed with anxiety! I know the difference now of course!!!!
Hei, very interesting to hear from you as we are going through this at about the same rate. Withdrawing at 5 mg reduction every 2 weeks, and its a little over 2 months since I began. The first six weeks were just not fun at all, the confusion, nausia and dizzines being the worst. But the side effects have now completely subsided (after, now I think about, taking a homeopathic medicine). I am crossing my fingers that I can live without Effexor. Maybe in the same position as you - side effects subsidided, hoping can manage without Effexor. P.s. Don't listen to much to doctos, especially GPs, as they know so very little.....
The last time that I offered my advice on your kind of question, I was rebuked by the management on this website. On another website, drugsdotcom, the people offer a lot of detailed accounts of tapering off regiments.
I've actually been on Efexor (Aust sp) X-R for 15 years and for the last 7 (?) on 450mg. Now I know this is a huge dose, but I strongly suspect that my body disposes of drugs extremely efficiently and hence it as taken a large quantity of the drug for me to achieve a truly effective dose. This neutralised my GAD and booted the depression and, yes for those of your concerned out there for my liver, it is coping fine.
Although I have been into exercise for around 20 years now, over the last 2 I have prioritized it and other aspects of my personal well-being and the truly remarkable mental benefits have led me to decide to check out life without the AD.
Before doing so, I read various (extremely alarming) threads about the process of getting off this stuff (thanks to each and everyone of you for doing this) and decided to go Cold Turkey like you Randy. Now, first of all I would never suggest anyone else do this. It's a very personal choce. My reasons are two-fold. The first is that I lived through 30 years of debilitating anxiety and miserable depressive episodes before I finally, out of sheer desperation, succumbed to trying drugs, so I figured I could take whatever withdrawal threw at me; in addition, I had never experienced suicidal ideation and I also have Efexor on hand if I really need it. Secondly, I noticed that a lot of the reported withdrawal symptoms seemed like more extreme versions of symptoms I have experienced for 17 years now, off and on, but had attributed to Irritable Bowell Syndrome.
Qu: has anyone else struggled with IBS?
Anyway, in addition to the classic IBS symptoms of stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, I would get this low grade nausea accompanied by slight dizziness, terrible mud-brain, fatigue and this weird sensation in my head whereby it FELT like stuttering flashes were going off, almost like an inner-ear malfunction.
Anyway, interestingly since from what I've read these brain flashes are some kind of electrical phenomenon, what cured me of the worst of the (allegedly) IBS symptoms (at one point I was virtually dysfunctional and bedridden) was Chinese acupuncture involving an electrical current!
So, now I'm thinking what is what? Have I really just been struggling with symptoms brought on by the drug, or perhaps the IBS and Efexor interacted in some weird way. The gut is directly linked to the nervous system and is
one of the places Anxiety makes its home and, of course, the brain is the next stop along the train line, so it makes a kinda gruesome sense.
So, I am fascinated to see what symptoms are left (hopefully none) once the drug is completely out of my system. Also, from what I've read, tapering off doesn't lessen the severity of the symptoms once they hit, which they always seem to do, so I figure "Bring em on".
I'm well along Day 2 of going Cold Turkey and all I'm experiencing is the kind of fairly mild symptoms of : slight nausea, mud-brain, hyper-emotionalism (Come Home Lassie Weepies), tiredness and the brain flashes - none of which are fun, but they're not as bad as I've experienced in the past when I was also battling chronic IBS (I think). I should also mention that I'm only working 2 days a week temporarily, so I can minimize effort and contact with others, and maximize rest time if I need too. Definitely helps.
So Randy! Sorry I got a bit off track, but what I want to say to you is that these symptoms certainly are NOT what
you took the drug to address in the first place. They are chemical gremlins to be wary of. Since your reaction seems pretty mild compared to most, you should be able to stick it out by being mindful of them, avoiding situations that might inflame them eg I suggest you don't watch the news for a while, and see how you go. If it gets too much, check in with your doc and see if they will give you a low dose of Prozac which on good anecdotal evidence nullifies the withdrawal symptoms and has none of its own. There doesn't seem to be any universal rule on how long the symptoms last, so I guess it comes down to how bad they are and how long you can put up with them. A Pox on your House Pfizer Et Al!
One footnote to all of you brave people out there, I SWEAR by exercise as an invaluable tool in the battle for
mental health, particularly anything cardio. ANY kind of regular exercise is good, but the harder you work your heart the better. One of the best and GOOD side effects of a hard cardio workout is an endorphin high which sets you up for the day and can keep you on Cloud Nine for an hour or longer. And you did it all yourself :-)
Good Luck and remember everyone, you REALLY are not alone.
So Randy! Sorry I got a bit off track! I forgot to mention
Hei, Very interesting blog. Am tapering off at 5mg per 14 days and am now 2 months into it. Yes - that thought has struck me too. Does tapering mean you just prolong the side effects - but I also understand that the main reason for tapering is to reduce the chance of depression when you are completely off effexor.
Yep - agree there too. Exercise is very important. makes all the difference, so recommend regular relatively intense exercise to everyone.
More agreement there too - figuring out what is the depression and what are side effects is not easy. I read around the long term side effects of Effexor and that is a bit of a scary read. You maybe (like me) developed long term Effexor side effects which are as bad or worse than depression/withdrawl symproms.
Agree too, alternative medicine is well worth trying. I personnally believe and experience this as the best help we can get. I use a homeopathic doctor.
And finally - bit of advice. Effexor has a very long half life and it takes a long time to get it out of the system. A lot of people expereince side effects get worse for the first 2-3 weeks. So, don't despair if withdrawal symptoms get worse - its normal. And it will feel just like depression. So, don't go thinking that you are falling back into the old problems, as you most likely are not.
Write what you were going to say. Your advise is always valuable. If you were going to say that this mainline medicine withdrawal program of 75 mg everyother day for 4 days and then stop is just madness, then I'll back up.
Im on day 3 of no effexor, 75mg. My head is so dizzy, and my stomach hurts, but I have to stop. I no longer have insurance and my script ran out. I've only been on it for a little over a yr, so I'm hoping the effects wear off soon. If I had known the side effects of coming off before I started taking them, I would have never started them! I'm always tired and all I want to do is sleep. So I'm hoping that once I'm finally done with the withdrawls I can go back to be a normal mom. I know I can function without it, I was only put on due to postpartum depression, and I was fine before. I just have to stay positive that I can make it past this withdrawl. I'm going to buy me some omega 3 and fish oil vitamins to help.
you give me hope! i have been suffering this horrible withdrawal for almost a month and a half now. I started at 225 mg and am now down to 150 mg. i FEEL LIKE IM DYING. i used to be so smart and now i can hardly function. this has got to be one of the worst drugs out there. I would rather my kids smoke weed then ever be put on an anti-depressant as this. I am almost tempted to email Mr. Wyeth himself to take this thing off the market! i tell you they are in for our wallets rather then treating us. I get horrible heat flashes every second of the day, then within the hour it will switch to cold flashes. my eyes continue to go blurry and i feel as if i star at somEthing too long the light will brighten or my vision will go blurry. i feel like i have the flu, my ears will not stop ringing. I would never wish this upon another human being. my IQ im sure has dropped ! i am having major confusion throughout the day, then times i feel like crying randomly in the blink of an eye tears will come streaming down my face instantly and i wont know why! its very frustrating especially when im trying to have a conversation i will just be so rude and cry during a 5 minute period. its very unlike me. i honestly want to set everyone on fire including myself. this is pure misery. i think i have hit the point of pure insanity.
This is the second time I have withdrawn from Effexor. I was stupid to go on it a second time, and will never ever take it again. My sleep dr. blames Effexor for me developing restless leg syndrome and severe periodic limb movements during sleep.
The first time I withdrew I was pregnant, so went off cold turkey and was very ill for nearly 3 weeks. This time, I tapered down to 37.5 mg, and just ran out of that. I feel sick, but am semi-able to function. But I hate how short-tempered I am and how my personality, thoughts and emotions fluctuate severely throughout the day. I am not behaving like myself at all, and it is really scary.
I hope that it doesn't last 2+ weeks like it did the last time. I am taking ibuprofen, highly-absorbable multi-vitamin, b-12, 5-htp, st. john's wort, and passionflower. I am hoping the supplements help somewhat. The passionflower reduces the severe anxiety, and that one I can tell is helping. So far, jury is still out on st. john's wort and 5-htp.
Ok, its been 2 months now since I had my last tablet! I am feeling depressed again but am hoping my body is still adjusting..... I recently swapped my Quetiapine at night (only 25 mg) for Natures Own Complete Sleep and I am shocked that the natural pills actually work!!!!!!!! Without changing my metabolic rate, I can definitely keep this up! I just want to know if anyone else still experiences depression at all???? And how to cope with this????? I really dont want to go back to the Dr as I dont want to hear i have to go back on the pills!!!!! I am desperate to kick this! I have joined the gym and have been going every day! At the time of excercise and for a few hours after I have the best high.... then I crash again! Can I have some helpful suggestions please??????????
I just wanted to add to the warnings of stopping this med cold turkey. My GP put me on 150mg about 7 months ago for depression from injury/loss of job and I wish I had come across this forum before starting to take Effexor. My GP forgot to refill my presc. at the end of april so I decided that it would be a good time to stop taking, horrible idea. I went through all the side effects everyone else has mentioned and after 5 days I was hoping I had seen the worst and then I woke up 3 days later in a hospital bed after being taken into police custody for trying to harm myself, all of which I have no memory of. This is the only time I have ever experienced anything like this and am now so scared of anti-depressants that I will not take the Cymbalta they now want me take. I am now home and 3 weeks free of Effexor and am still having really awful side effects, the worst being not being able to sleep at all for almost 2 weeks straight, but have been getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep the last couple of days but only from 8 am to noon and am then racing again. I have been back to my GP and he will not give me anything but Cymbalta which I told him I refuse. He actually told me to try Melatonin, I wish I could afford to switch doctors.
I am now on day 5 of withdrawal. My last dose was 37.5 mg. Finally today I am no longer consumed with anger and raging at my kids. I feel so sorry for having yelled at them so much. This evening for the first time in 5days I actually felt emotions other than anger or depression, which have been all consuming.
I started taking omega 3s (I will have to look at whether they are 3s or 3, 6, 9 or whatever. They are 1200 mg capsules and I took 3. It seems to have helped because I feel a percentage of myself coming back. I should mention that I take a dozen other supplements as well, so that is not the only one.
I am so hopeful that this light is leading me to more brightness. There was a time 10years ago when I wasn't on any meds, I exercised daily, ate healthy foods and woke from sleep refreshed. I am keeping that image of myself and my life foremost in my mind. And because of this experience with Effexor withdrawal, I am more determined than ever to get back to the me that I once was.
I am praying for everyone who is going through this.
Hei. We're going through this at about the same rate, you remember? Yes, bad patch here too. The nights are worst and I think that is most because of anxiety. Yes - depression. Some real symptoms right now. Slowness, anxiety and of course pain. Like you am beginning to wonder is this depresssion, am I going to have to go back on Effexor again or will this pass. To be honest, I think it will pass. Gym is a very good idea. Sounds as though I feel very like you do I think. I am right now taking a short homeopathic 10 day course, started yesterday. It seems as thought this does really help.
Don't give ! This is very painful but we can't give up. We have to find a way out of this.
Thanks for the advice, the hospital put me on Cymbalta and my GP (though I no longer trust him) never did refill my Effexor so I am left to deal with this on my own since I have told every Dr. I refuse Cymbalta and they offer no alternative. I am nearly 4 weeks off all meds and hope do be able to be a functioning person again soon.Thanks again
Day 7 of Effexor withdrawal. I thought I was feeling a bit better on Day 5, but Day 6 was horrible and so started Day 7. I kept trying to figure out what I was missing. What did I take on Day 5 that made me feel semi-ok that I didn't take on Day 6 or the start of Day 7?
I remembered wanting to try to boost my nutrition, so I had mixed up some Amazing Grass SuperFood that I had in the cupboard but hadn't taken in a few months. And then I looked on the label and realized that it has barley grass in it. I remember reading somewhere that barley grass helped with Effexor withdrawal (I've been scouring everything I can on this subject). I went back to the supplements store and bought more of the SuperFood mix as well as some tart cherry capsules which are to help reduce inflammation.
I'm hoping that the extra nutrition boost will help. the worst part of this withdrawal for me has been how angry and nasty I am. Someone mentioned in a previous post that they felt like lighting the world including themselves on fire. That is exactly how I feel. I'm angry at everything and everyone and I feel sorry for anyone who has crossed my path over the past few days. I've been raging and yelling, and I feel like I should just lock myself in a padded room and stay away to ensure I don't unleash this wrath on anyone.
I have been taking passionflower supplement to reduce the anxiety that is probably the root of all the anger, but maybe I haven't been taking it often enough. I'm open to any other suggestions for quelling the anger.
For trouble sleeping, the best help for me has been NativeRemedies Pure Calm, which I buy on Amazon. It has lemon balm, lavender and passionflower. I also take additional Passionflower because my major issue is anxiety, so I need more help with that.
Hi there, thanks for your comments. Oh, yes I forgot we were at the same stage... I hope you're doing better now :) Yes actually that was one of the first things I purchased and I have taken the Omega 3 continuously but maybe need to invest in a good multi vitamin! I have found exercise is definitely helping, some days are better than others for sure. I have been on the natures own complete sleep and I have definitely been sleeping better and waking without the fuzzy head, I think it also helps with anxiety.
I stopped going to the doctor who prescribed these pills to me he was my family doctor for many years but when I ran out of pills and he was on vacation and I had to stop cold turkey I decided to just get off them all together without his help .. a week later I called him saying I felt like I was going to die !! I was only on a small dose 75 mgs for about 2 years but the withdraw was like trying to kick a serious drug habit !!!! I told him how I felt he did not believe me and said u don't go through with draws from Effexor you will be fine just get some rest !!
I have never gone back to him again and never will I am outraged that a doctor who has been in practice over 40 years would have this type of opinion on the subject .. he is the one who prescribed it he should have warned me of the possible side effects and real not fake with draw that u go through !! it's been 3 weeks now I am over the upset stomach and brain zapps but now I have constant stomach cramps and my legs ache soo bad I can't walk .. I wish I knew what to do for this ??
Thanks for your post. I'm going into day 6 of withdrawals. I weaned myself off of a 37MG/day dosage over a two week period and my withdrawal is certainly not as bad as a lot of folks seem to have experienced. I have the brain zaps every now and then, the hot flashes, and every now and then feel like crying but not out of sadness but out of looking at a great painting and feeling I might want to cry because something is touching or beautiful. I feel emotions slowly stirring again. The venlafaxine did help me but the increasing memory probelmes, summer sweating to excess and a fast heart rate made me want to quit. I am hoping that using food as medicine and starting to walk again will help. I have had lower back and hip area pain along with strong thigh and calf muscle contraction son my left side for the last 2 months. Can' t really determine a cause. PT is helping somewhat. This started prior to ending my relationship with Venlafaxine. I notice one other person had had these symtoms, anyone else?
I have/had been taking effexor for 10.-15 yrs. The post office returned my mail order scripts last week. The reason is still unknown. The problem now is I ran out and had to go cold turkey for the past 4-5 days. I spent 3 days in tears. (for no good reason) I have been having what seem to be hot flashes for 4 days now. Remember the sound the old metal slinkies would make? Well thats been going on in my head since the first missed dose. I have a Dr appt for tomorrow but I don't think I want to go back on the effexor. Not after all I've been thru the past few days. 10 yrs on this med how do I even know if I'm still depressed or not. So I'm seeing the Dr (a gp) to ask for help coming off of it completely. I feel like I'm over the worse, but how ong does w/d take?
Wanted to share my SLOW withdrawal. Last time I went off Effexor I went cold turkey. My doctor says depression more likely to come back if don't withdraw slowly. I was OK for a year, but then began to feel poorly again, and was put back on Effexor 150mg daily. I am now in 6th month of the slow withdrawal, and expect it to take up to another 8 months to come off it completely, with my doctor's help this time.
Three weeks ago my doc took me from 150mg to 75mg. The first week was bad and the next two weeks were a little better except my joints are swollen and hurting. Today I went to 35 mg (will do this for 7 days then 35mg every other day for 3 days)
I took the 35mg this morning...it's 7:30pm and I'm hurting all over and just got up from a 2 hr. sleep.I feel weak, like my limbs are cement and slightly dizzy. I've no idea how long this will last or if it'll get worse, but I'll never, ever go on this medicine again.
(the reason I decided to come off the medicine is because I've gained so much weight that I was having more anxiety than before I started the medicine)
I'm wondering how long this will last?
When I was on the full dose and I missed just 1 dose - I immediately felt horrible, I mean within hours of missing the dose. So I assumed the medicine did not stay in my system very long...why then does it take so long for it to leave my system when I'm trying to come off of it...
Sorry this sounds scattered, I can't even put together a sentence-my brain is completely scrambled...sigh.
Hei - I am not an expert, so this is just from what I have read. There is something special with Effexor that means that it has severe side effects when withdrawing. Effexor has a very short half-life compared with all other anti-depressants and many people believe that this is one reason why withdrawal is so difficult.
There is something called Prozac Bridge and I recommend you read about it on the Net (Google Prozac Bridge). There is also a document out there by the 'inventor'. Maybe this can help you.
You should also consider tapering off slowly - over many months, also alot of information on this on the net.
I have been tapering and began at the end of February. Side effects come and go. Right now just experienced some days of joint stiffness and diziness/confusion, same as you.
Getting off Effexor is a really rough experience and side effects can continue for some time. So, be prepared for it, take good care of yourself and try some of the tips given here (i.e. Omega 3).
Are you on any benzodiazepine and or Z-drugs like ambien, ambien CR, sonata, temazepam, antivan, Xanax. klonapin. If you are taking any of the above listed drugs has it been for more then 2 to 4 weeks or longer. I took them on and off over a 20 year period. The drugs can cause severe depression and anxiety and can make your insomnia much, much, much worse.
I had a stange exprience last night. I really felt and could see the old me coming back, after 12-13 years on Effexor. It was nice to see myself again after so long. I have been tapering from 75 mg and am now on 37.5. Anyone else had this expereince of the old me coming back?
Well that is really good. May it continue now. I am so pleased for you. When I stopped 150mg Effexor cold turkey before, I was really well for a year. I am tapering off really slowly this time. Lets hope I feel like you do.
It has been 38 days since my last dose of Effexor (I tapered off). Thirty eight days of hell! I wish I knew when this will stop. Recently, I started having anxiety issues on top of the other battles. I'm taking Omega 3 and multi vitamin for the withdrawal, and recently added magnesium and B1 for anxiety. I'm hoping the magnesium will help. Most of the time the Omega 3 helps the withdrawal symptoms. Occasionally, I will have a day where nothing helps though.
I am 1 week and 4 days free of Effexor. What a horrible drug. Was put on it for depression, but if I would of known how dependent your body is on it this would of never happened. The first few days without it was horrible. Out of body experiences, brain zaps and crying uncontrollably. My daughter didn't know what was going on. I do have one question though....did anyone have horrible dry mouth and tingling with this drug? Mine is slowly going away, but it's unreal. I couldn't drink enough, inside of my mouth would stick to my teeth. The tingling in the lips and numbness got so bad that I didn't realize I would be drooling. Glad it's getting better, just want to be back to normal. I didn't realize the community that is here, you are all wonderful.
Hi Jimmy! I am so sorry you are going through this. I know just how you feel. I have been on this awful drug for 8 and a half years. It is awful trying to come off of it. My husband does not have a supportive bone in his body.Hang in there. It will get better. It has to. I am blessed to have my mom to talk to. She was a psychiatric nurse for many years so she is a wealth of knowledge. She did not even know about this crazy withdrawal! How are you doing now? I hope your boys are doing good. They grow up so fast! I live second by second. It helps. Just try to live each second and pray. It really does help.
I have now been off Effexor (Cold turkey, see previous posts) for 60 days and I am now able to sleep at night and am feeling better each day still. For me the worst was sleeplessness, brain zaps and body pain esp. my legs which after 30 days really got bad made worse by kicking all night. I took a 1 hour nap this afternoon for the first time since April and that felt great. I can not stress strong enough to others not to quit the way I did but am writing now to let people know that it does get better, reading these posts here really did help me when I was at the worst. Hang in there!!
I am coming off after 15 years...and yes I am now beginning to see an old me that has been gone for a long time...sticking to my decision this time has been hard going. I am also down to 37.5 and this last step has been brutal...my head feels as if there is a band around it...constant pain. My face hurts, jaw is tense, body aches, irritable to out of control anger and crying...and brain blanks...can't think straight or clear...no wonder I always went back on before....but, I think maybe I would like to give my 15 year old the real me. I just looked today for info on withdrawal and I am so happy to find this site and all of these people who know what I am going through.
i have been on two hundredand twenty five mls of effexor for the last ten yrs. I was first diagnosed with ante-natal depression after my twins were born. With a physically, emotional and mental abusive partner my condition deteriorated until i bacame someone i didnt know anymore. I left my partner five yrs ago knowing being with him i would never improve. Since then family and friends have become tired of trying to help me. I dont know wether i have been hard to help or wether they just gave up to easily. being told continuously by loved ones i was nothing but a lunatic and did nothing to help myself i took drastic action. My family didnt think the tablets were helping, even though they have no idea seeing as they never contact me anymore. I ran out of my prescriptions eight days ago and decided to try cold turkey. Since then i have done nothing but sleep, bouts of crying then laughter. I feel okay while lying down but sitting or standing brings on nausea, dizziness, and i feel i have a bad case of the flu. I have three children to look after, thankfully they were at their dads during the week as it is school holidays. They are due back tomorrow and im scared im not going to be able to look after them properly I would really like someone to be able to tell me how long am i going to feellike this. My mind feels clear for the first time in yrs in a strange way i cant explain but the body is suffering so much. sorry if this post doesnt make much sense but while typing this i have had another bawling attack. Just want this feeling to end soon, someone please tell me it will
The sweating will not go away while you are still on the effexor. I went off for 3 months and the sweating finally stopped. I swear I would sweat just putting on my make up! It was miserable. I had to quit working on clients (massage therapist) because of the sweating, I was like my own little rain forest. Unfortunately, I went back on a low dose because my psychiatrist said that I need to be on something because I was back to feeling suicidal but I don't know if it's worth it. The sweating is miserable and feeling like I'm in a fog, losing memory and having no libido aren't worth it. I'd like to find a more natural way of getting through this and my psychiatrist insists that once you have depression you will always have it. What do I do?
I quit effexor in March cold turkey. There is hope guys! It took about a month to finally get over all the withdrawals but I no longer have any. The brain zaps are completely gone...yahooo.
The downside - I have wicked hot flashes (I am in perimenopause - soon to be menopause) and the one good thing about effexor is that it controlled those.
As far as weight - I've not lost anything and am still fat, fat, fat - which in itself is making me depressed. I am trying to keep positive. I have my bad days in terms of feeling blue. I get twinges of anxiety but nothing like I had before going on effexor.
It has taken me 7 months to reduce from 150mg Effexor XR to 75mg. Now my doctor says there is no lower dose of XR and has prescribed the generic 37.5mg but is not sure how I should reduce. She suggests taking one in the morning and one in the evening, and then take one a day. After that she is not sure what I should do.
I live in the UK, so may be different from USA. Can you get Effexor in pills, so they can be cut? My doctor says slower I reduce I am less likely to get withdrawal symptoms. But this last hurdle is the most difficult, and I am stuck as to what to do. Despite reading about taking out granules from capsules, I have no idea. It has been suggested in a book I read that one should reduce by 10% monthly, but how do I do that?
Because discontinuation can mimic depression, it is difficult to distinguish what is what. I read that discontinuation (withdrawal) symptoms emerge within days to weeks of stopping medication, or lowering the dose, whereas relapse symptoms develop later and more gradually.
The latter happened to me. I stopped Effexor cold turkey, was well for a year - really well, but after that symptoms returned. I was put back on Effexor. This time, hopefully I will know the difference.
Maddie, In the US, Effexor comes in a 25 mg pill which is not XR, meaning it does not go through your system gradually. Since your doctor has no advice for you, that's what I personally used when I went off the Effexor in combination with the 37.5 mg XR. I would think that you shouldn't continue going lower until your depression is gone completely. That way you know that your withdrawal at that dose has stopped.
If your depression completely went away for a year after you stopped Effexor in the past, I wouldn't think that it could possibly be a withdrawal symptom when your depression returned. Once withdrawal symptoms are gone, then your system has recovered. And a whole year later, I think that the depression obviously returned. But this time, you may not need to go back on it. Wish you the best. You've at least gotten the dose way down.
Wow, this is a long thread that goes all the way back to 2007! Because it's become difficult to follow all of the different conversations here, we'll close this thread now.
If you have a question about Effexor withdrawal/effects, please start a new thread by clicking the big "Post a Question" button at the top of the page. This will make it easier for everyone to see your new question, and you're much more likely to get answers from our members quickly. Thanks!
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