Sep 18, 2008
I've been on Effexor XR for 4 years now, and recently felt the need to get off of it. I use to be able to do presentations in front of people, job interviews, etc... no problem. Until one day, I had a massive anxiety attack! After that, I was unable to do anything in public without feeling massive anxiety and fear of another attack. A DR suggested Paxil, which I took for about 6 months and gained a good 5-10 lbs or so as soon as I started it. I hated the way this medication made me feel so I went cold-turkey and just stopped taking the medication. What I didn't know at the time, was that the depression I felt afterward was probably everything to do with the withdrawal! After a year of not being on anything, and going tthrough grad school panicking about every little presentation, I decided I needed to calm my nerves. The only issue was, I didn't want want weight gain! A psychiatrist suggested that I start on Effexor XR (initially at 37.5mg and then eventually to 75mg). After a couple of years and some hard times, I decided to up it to 150mgs.
Now that I've been on the medication for 4 years and gained about 40 lbs, I have decided that enough is enough. I hate the fact that I've 'poisoned' my body with this medication, and I have no idea what "normal" is anymore. I use to be able to keep weight off and I was super active. Now, I'm lethargic all the time, not active and feel like I'm losing my memory!! I read elsewhere on this site that people have felt like they have gotten "stupid" with this medication. I hear ya!
I started Aug 14th to ween myself off of 150mg. My DR has me on a great plan... Initially I was alternating between 150 and 75 every day for two weeks, then I went to 75 for two weeks, and now I'm alternating between 75 and 37.5, which will go on for two weeks. After that, I'm on 37.5 for two weeks and then alternating between 37.5 and nothing for two weeks, and then I'm done! The side effects haven't been all too bad, and quite manageable, compared to some others that I have read! But it's definitely a long drawn out process (10 weeks), and I'm looking forward to being done with it. --I would definitely recommend this schedule for anyone looking to come off of it. Going cold turkey is just NUTS!!
I have some questions:
1) Will my anxiety return? I know I need to exercise, meditate, etc... I'm super scared of this, but I'm even more scared of being on the meds now!!
2) Will I gain even more weight being off the medication????
3) How long does it take for it to be completely out of your system once you finish the weening process??