Aa
A
A
A
Close
Depression/Mental Health Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Currently experiencing withdrawal side effects of Effexor XR

I have been on 75-150 mg of Effexor XR for a little over a year now.  About 4 months ago my hair started falling out in clumps, so my doctor wanted me to stop taking the Effexor cold turkey (I am not taking any other meds).  I asked if I could be weaned because I heard of the nasty withdrawal side effects, but he said that it would make no difference.  This is my 4th night off the drug, and I am losing my mind.  I am constantly seeing things moving out of the corner of my eyes (although nothing is there), and hearing the most horrible noises, especially when I move my eyes or head, and I have never screamed so much in my life as I have the past 3 days, (literally - it stops the noises for a while). I am hot, then I'm cold; I can't stop crying; I am shivering like I have the flu; I can't seem to remember how to breathe. I called my doctor today to see what I can do to relieve myself of the symptoms until the withdrawal passes, and he said to go back on the Effexor.  I am terrified of going back on.  Please tell me there is something I can do.  My doctor is not helping me.  How long will this last?  I'm very scared. Once it is over, what can I go on that does not have withdrawal side effects?  I can't go through this again.
24 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The best thing to do is to go back on and get rid of your acute symptoms, then gradually wean yourself of it over a 3-4 week period, at the end of which you will not have any withdrawal.
Avatar universal
How would you suggest to gradually wean?  Last night I dumped out half of my 75mg capsule (and I feel much better).  Should I continue that way, or should I go every other day?
Avatar universal
i am also going through the withdrawl symptoms of effexor.  over the past 6 weeks i have been tapering off from 150 mg.  2 days ago i went of completly after being on 37.5 for 3 weeks.  right now i'm experiencing what i have seen called 'brain zaps'.  while i realize that i probably just need to stick it out and these will go away eventually, what i want to know is if it safe to drive while experiencing these symptoms.  driving is a big part of my job, so it's kind of important for me to know if i can be driving while having these physical sypmptoms.  thanks for any help you can give.
Avatar universal
I was on effexor for 4 years. It was the worst drug to get off of. I thought I was going to loose my mind. Hang in there to anyone getting off of this drug. It will pass. I am on wellbutrin xl right now. Has anyone had bad side effects when getting off this one?
Avatar universal
I know the living hell that is Effexor withdrawl. After 4 weeks of brain zaps and flu-like symptoms I tried something I'd read in a nurses' web chat-room; I took two 20mg doses of Prozac, one at night and one in the morning. The brain zaps diappeared and the other symptoms eased up. I only wish I had tried it sooner! P-docs need to warn people about this!
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone!
My name is Lori, I am 26, and a healthcare provider. I was placed on Effexor XL 225 (slow, gradual increases) and Wellbutrin 300 about 4 months ago for "agitated depression." (I was really having BAD anxiety attacks...felt the need/urge/compulsion to touch my neck 24/7...it was driving me insane) The Effexor was like a Godsend at first. Gradually reduced the anxiety, to where I wasn't touching my neck at all!! Here's the problem. I've been on the 225mg dose for about 1 1/2months. No problems with it at first...but for the last week...I have had ALL of the side effects. Nausea, constipation, tremor (very bad for my line of work...I have to have a steady hand), sweats, hot flashes, increased nervousness, and the worst of all...insomnia. The insomnia has gradually become worse over the last week. Started with 6 hours of sleep at night...then to 5...then 4...and so on...until last night I didn't sleep at all. This is very distressing to me...and has actually made the compulsion/anxiety come back! I also feel jittery...almost like a manic episode!! I have decided to taper off of this drug. But I am worried about the anxiety returning worse than before. I just cannot stand these side effects anymore!!! However...if the anxiety returns and I have that urge to grab at my neck 24/7...I will go crazy!
Does anyone have suggestions/advice? I am desperate and distraught.
Thanks,
~Lori~
Avatar universal
Hello all

Since it is 2:45 am and I am unable to sleep, I thought I would check the side effects of going off effexor and I am delighted to see that these are all normal side effects.   I have felt "pregnant" and like my head is going in slow motion when I move from side to side.   I was on 37.5mg for the last 6 months and I actually felt great but my life was calming down and I decided to see how I felt when I was off my drugs....and I did not realize until I read your stories that I probably should have gone off the drugs slowly not cold turkey.

To the person before me...my Dr. gave me sleeping pills for those difficult nights.   When I was on the effexor..I did not need them.   You might want to ask your Dr. about taking something while you are going through this difficult time.   I use ambien and like it very much.  We all need sleep to function.

I am very grateful to this site because I was sure I must have some horrible illness to feel this rotten after 2 weeks of coming off this drug.

I may actually try to take one tomorrow and every other day to see if it makes the withdrawal easier.

Good Luck to everyone.  Sleep well.
Avatar universal
I am on Day 4 of switching from Effexor XR to Wellbutrin due to severe weight gain from Prozac, then Effexor.  Mentally, I felt great on Effexor, but I was eating right and gaining weight, 70 lbs total. UGH.  My MD asked me if I wanted to wean off of Effexor and I opted to make the switch without weaning.  Biggest mistake of my life.  I was so anxious to get off Effexor and I assumed that the benefits of Wellbutrin would counteract any "withdrawal" symptoms.  Now I'm so dizzy I can't stand it, my husband thinks I've completely lost it and I've been crying alot.  I feel like I'm in Effexor Prison.  Does it ever end because it seems to be getting alot worse.

What causes this?  Everything I've read says it has to do w/ the short half life.  It seems to me that the withdrawal symptoms should go away quickly with a short half life.  But none of this is logical anyway.

It's the weekend and I have a call into my MD for help.  I'm a professional and I have to be on the top of my game tomorrow (Monday), but I don't see how that's going to happen.

I'm angry at someone for not telling me about these withdrawal symptoms, but I don't know who!  I had zero problems switching from Prozac to Effexor.  

Has anyone lost weight on Wellbutrin SR?  Hope this is worth it.
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone for putting my mind at rest.  I had been on effexor xl since August last year, and my doctor changed me over to Zispin just 2 weeks ago. Effexor worked really well for a short-time (I was on prozac before that which were useless for me) but I just seemed to be taking a nose dive.  Since then I've had really strange side effects, more lucid dreams, strange sensations when moving my eyes, cold type symptoms and tearfulness (I even cried when watching a holiday programme!!!)
Anyway, I am going to stick with it, I am on holiday next week so I don't need to be at work and I can just cry to my hearts content and hopefully the side effects will wear off by then
Good luck to you all in getting better x
Rose
Avatar universal
I have been trying the last of couple weeks to take my effexor 75 mg - just every other day. I want to get off because I have also been losing my hair like crazy!!!!  That is enough to make you depressed without everything else in your life.  I wanted to check in with everyone else and see if you had anymore advice.  Cold Turkey all the way or ween off?  I have really been able to tell a difference in myself, much more emotional, bad and strange dreams, headaches.  I also had thyroid surgery about a month ago to remove a non cancerous cold nodule.  So my emotions/horomones are going crazy.  Any helpful advice out there?
Avatar universal
I have been on anti depressants for 11 years on and off. I have been on prozac mostly as i felt safe on it, i didn't get awful side effects on it but after been on it so long i started feeling emotionless and empty and had no sex drive whatsoever (i am female) so i went to my G.P and he decided that effexor xl might work better. At first i thought it was better as i started to get emotions again and stopped cleaning my house all the time but after a few weeks i had no energy at all (as if i wasn't tired enough) and i was frustrated that i couldn't be bothered to clean my house. I began to have 'angry' dreams and i felt agressive, i started takin mild panic attacks e.g if i was out shopping i would start sweating and feeling faint. I got more and more anxious and impatient, i ended up staying in the house to avoid situations that woukd cause me to get anxious. I have since been back to my G.P and he has now put me on Zispin(mirtazapine) 15 mg at bedtime. I haven't started them yet, i start tonight. Has anyone been on these tablets or had good/bad side effects? I need somthing that works as i will lose my mind if i have to go on  like this much longer.
Avatar universal
I have been on anti depressants for 11 years on and off. I have been on prozac mostly as i felt safe on it, i didn't get awful side effects on it but after been on it so long i started feeling emotionless and empty and had no sex drive whatsoever (i am female) so i went to my G.P and he decided that effexor xl might work better. At first i thought it was better as i started to get emotions again and stopped cleaning my house all the time but after a few weeks i had no energy at all (as if i wasn't tired enough) and i was frustrated that i couldn't be bothered to clean my house. I began to have 'angry' dreams and i felt agressive, i started takin mild panic attacks e.g if i was out shopping i would start sweating and feeling faint. I got more and more anxious and impatient, i ended up staying in the house to avoid situations that woukd cause me to get anxious. I have since been back to my G.P and he has now put me on Zispin(mirtazapine) 15 mg at bedtime. I haven't started them yet, i start tonight. Has anyone been on these tablets or had good/bad side effects? I need somthing that works as i will lose my mind if i have to go on  like this much longer.
Avatar universal
I am reading the recommendations you are giving to mack97 re: withdrawal from Effexor. Gradual titration doesn't seem to be working for me. I have been taking my Effexor dose down since beginning of June due to loss of insurance and no funds to stay on meds until September. I tried planning ahead with what meds I had left and gradually decreased my dose from 70+mg qd to 30+mg (lowest dose)qd, then over last month to 30+mg (lowest dose) every other day, and two weeks ago to 30+mg(lowest dose) every 3rd day (which was about as much as I could tolerate before withdrawal sxs really began to kick in).  I have not had any since August 1st, 2007. Today being August 8,2007 I am still experiencing side effects. On Friday August 3, 2007 I felt like I was loosing my mind. Every day since then, I have been emotionally calmer over the past few days with exception of some general irritability which is usually symptom I experience with my GAD and Dysthymia anyway. The major problem I am having is the flu-like sxs, dizziness (vertigo), problems focusing visually, anhedonia and insomnia.  I am mainly concerned about the flu-like sxs, vertigo and vision problems.  I have never experienced anything like this even coming off of Paxil.  I have left a message on my doctor's voice mail, but have not received a call back in 36 hours now.  I was really okay with being on the meds and they made me feel better. I want to go back on them, but I'm concerned that if I ever have to come off of them in future that these sxs may be worse considering I have only been on Effexor for 4 months this go around.  Is it true that you can take the dosage down even more slowly by counting out the small capsules to decrease them by one every day to ease these sxs? As well, what are the long term associations with visual problems?  I know I need to get ahold of my MD ASAP for my immediate problem, I would just like some insightful answers to these two questions to make an informed decision as to which direction to go in.
Avatar universal
I had the same problems when coming off Effexor a few years ago, despite having reduced the dose gradually over 3 months. The problem is due to the short half-life - but I found that by reducing it to 15mg every two days for a week, and then on the last day taking a single dose of Prozac (lowest possible - ask your Dr.)  was all it took to wean me off - Prozac has a much longer half-life, and I didn't notice any symptoms at all when that wore off.
Good luck!
Avatar universal
I'm trying to get off Effexor. Was on 150 mg for a year. I reduced my dosage very gradually by cutting up the pills & shaving off a little bit every other day. I'm down to 25 mg & feeling some withdrawal. Over the weekend I tried to reduce to 0. I took 13mg on saturday and on Sunday I was a wreck. I had crying fits, panic, acute depression that came and went - DIZZINESS, motion sickness, nausea, I couldn't concentrate, everything was spinning. I just kept thinking "I can't go back to work like this." I could barely function. My body felt like it weighed a ton. Just sitting up with my eyes open seemed to take all my energy. I couldn't take it, so I took 25mg. I felt that I would have a panic attack - which is why I started on Effexor in the first place. I want to get off of it because I have gained 30 lbs. (and I am only 4'10'' tall) and because I thought I could finish recovering from panic disorder without meds. I just want to be normal & stable & happy, and not fat!  I will try Prozac I guess, since I've read that it helps in more than one forum like this.
Avatar universal
Look up "Gwen Olsen" on youtube or google video.
Avatar universal
Hello,
I have been on efflexor for 3 years or so 225 mg, started to see NUTRA- PATTH. DR. AND HENCE NOW HAVE GONE OFF effexlor, but now i am expering dizzyness, and tiredness. dont know what to do - last night i had the chills / thien I wwoke up burnning up
sould I go back on the efflexor??// the dizzieness is pretty bad
Avatar universal
Hi,

I have been on Efexor 300mg for the past 4 years.  I have been feeling better lately and have been feeling better recently. Im down to 150mg and 300mg the next. But... I feel afraid to take the next step because of all the side effects.... has anybody any advice for me..
Avatar universal
Im just wondering has anybody experienced bad sweating, almost to the extent that you would have to change  your clothes, Im only 32 and started Hormone replacement therapy but there not worth anything too me, I also have serious problems sleeping and am very dependent on sleeping tablets, Stilnoct,   Please Please Please can somebody recommend something anything to get some sleep...and also has anybody had this bad sweating...;
Avatar universal
I have been on antidepressants for several years now mostly prozac but about 9 months ago the panic attacks and moodiness started again and my Dr. switched me to Effexor. I started at 75mg and then it was increased to 150mg....I have ran out a couple of times due to lack of funds and the withdrawal started within 1 day with the electrical shock and by day2 I was sick terribly sick to the point where I thought I was losing my mind and dying.Each time I would find the money to get the meds refilled and go back to the usuall routine...Now even taking the medication I am starting to have the "brain shocks" late at night  I don't sleep It's horrible...I want off but am afraid of the withdrawal Can anyone HELP?
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
Hi there,  my name is fiona.  I know exactly what you are talking about. It really is like a brain shock that you are feeling and its not nice.
I have been cutting down, I was on 300mg for just over 3 years. Now after about 5 weeks im taking 150mg one day and 75mg the next.  Its not been easy but it is getting easier. I would advise you to get off them very slowly.  I really think that the effexor are bad news. I too have lost my sleep, I just dread when its time for bed. But over the past few days I can safely say that im getting there and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, its still distant but its there!  Please stay in touch and let me know how you are getting on,  and if I can help please please let me know

Best of Luck  xx
Avatar universal
Hi there,
Ok, now I am scared reading all these comments!! I have just been changed from prozac to Effexor Xl by my Gp.The reason I asked to come off Prozac even though I felt good on it was the incredible sweating I experienced, particularly facial sweating, to the point of not wanting to go out becasue of this. It was so embarassing.
I reduced my prozac dose over three nights and started Effexor just 1 week ago. I have felt ok except for the dreadful insomnia all week and having crazy dreams when I do sleep. I have no sex drive whatsoever but never had on prozac either, this is probably a good thing as I am currently going through a separation!
Reading all these comments I now fear I have been put on something that will be a nightmare to come off? Will this insomnia stop? I need my sleep as a mum of three. Good to read of other people feeling lousy with life and being unable to control it oneself!

Thanks for listening - Amo xx
Avatar universal
I WOULD GET OFF THE EFFEXOR IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY. I GOT ON EFFEXOR APPROX 2 YEARS AGO ONLY BECAUSE I AM A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AND SAMPLES WERE AVAILABLE TO ME. I WAS ON ZOLOFT BEFORE WHICH I HAD A 40 LB WEIGHT GAIN WITH.
MY PSYCH DOC WAS VERY RELUCTANT TO GIVE THIS SCRIPT TO ME, BUT I TOLD HIM I WORKED GREAT FOR MY PANIC ATTACKS AND PPD. I AM ONLY ON 75MGS RIGHT NOW AND HE WANTS TO BUMP ME UP TO 150MGS. I REALLY DON'T WANT TO BECAUSE AT SOME POINT I WOULD LIKE TO GET OFF IT AND HAVE ANOTHER BABY.  I TRIED TO WEAN MYSELF OFF LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME BUT THE FIRST NIGHT, BAM INTO A PANIC ATTACK. AND I GET ELECTRIC SHOCKS EVEN IF I AM 2OR 3 HRS LATE FOR IT. IT'S GOING TO BE VERY HARD TO GET OFF OF IT.  SAVE YOURSELF THE MISERY!!!!!!!!!!!!     I WISH I HAD.
I DON'T RECOMMEND THIS DRUG TO ANYONE UNLESS YOU PLAN ON STAYING ON IT FOREVER...........  
1
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
15 signs that it’s more than just the blues
Can depression and anxiety cause heart disease? Get the facts in this Missouri Medicine report.
Simple, drug-free tips to banish the blues.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Are there grounds to recommend coffee consumption? Recent studies perk interest.
For many, mental health care is prohibitively expensive. Dr. Rebecca Resnik provides a guide on how to find free or reduced-fee treatment in your area