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Effexor XR and Serotonin Syndrome

This is the first time I
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242532 tn?1269553979
These symptoms are so hard to diagnose like this. yes it may be a serotonin effect or it may be not enough. Both could cause the same kind of symptoms.  The only way is to experiment.  In order to be perfectly safe,you might ask your doctor to experiment with lowering the dose first to see what happens.

There are no good data for very long term use, but you are certainly in the safe zone now.
Avatar universal
I have never heard of serotonin syndrome!! Really makes me wonder! i've been taking 150 mg of effexor xr for a year and half, and have had some strange side effects, much like feeling manic for about 4 hours after i take it. I get the shakes, my hands tremble and i feel so hyper sometimes i cant stand it!!! And this drug is supposed to help with depression. I dont get it. Where did you read about  serotonin syndrome? I am interested in reading about this.
Avatar universal
I initially came across serotonin syndrome under "Postmarketing Results" in the Effexor XR product insert (because I was trying to find some reference to long-term effects).  Since I hadn't heard of it either, I looked it up on the internet and found a brief description in Wikipedia and then went on to find some other articles elsewhere.  The info certainly made me nervous, which is why I posted a question -- I don't want to jump to conclusions or cause anyone else to either!  I will say, though, that I once experience symptoms like you're describing when I started Zoloft with too high of a dose...I went off of it not long after and switched to something else (don't remember what) before ending up with Effexor.
Avatar universal
When my friend suffered from Serotonin Syndrome it was because the dose was increased too quickly.  She had to endure withdrawal and then another SSRI was used.  This time the dose was kept low and increased very slowly.
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Avatar universal
After having been on Welbutrin for a year for depression and having decent results a HMFNP, Mental Health Family Nurse Practioner , and I decided to try some other meds to treat my newly diagnosed ADD. I play the piano each day for about 1 hour and this is the best place for me to see if I am in balance. We 1st tried Zoloft, which worked well for 2 days and then my music notes appeared to stack on top of each other. We also tried a Welbutrin, Adderall, Lexapro combo I thought might work. Even though it makes me wide awake late at night, I was now able to get up easily in the morning ( otherwise it is a struggle). After 3 months it dawns on me bruising on my thighs and arms have been appearing since I started these drugs.  My MHFNP informed me I must stop the Lexapro as this sometimes happens.  Then the Welbutrin Adderal combo (now w/o Lexapro) made me so aggitated, my kids were saying mommy your mean.
So I stopped all those meds and my MHFNP suggested I start Effexor XR at 37.5 mg 1st week and 75 mg 2nd week and to return to see how things were going.After 2 weeks I'm back in her office saying I have painful bloating and gas, drowsiness and shortness of breath. She asked me when the shortness of breath started and I advised her that it started when I started the Effexor XR. She checked her palm pilot for side effects and said there was not data showing shortness of breath as a side effect and ended up sending me home with a prescription for Effexor XR 150mg.  I went home and typed in EFFEXOR and shortness of breath and thank God I did because there were many sites addressing this issue. I called my MHFNP back on Friday to try and advise her I saw this on the internet. I was unable to speak with her Friday but based on the information I saw online I did not take the Effexor 150mg. I've been off the Effexor for almost 1 week now and my shortness of breath is not completely gone and I have been having that mild electric-shock feeling others are describing. I describe and compare it to an old TV with static going accross it, like after the stations have signed off. It has also been difficult to drive.  I have to really concentrate when driving as it is still affecting my reaction time and focus. I was so concerned that something might happen to me that I made my 5 !/2 year old memorize our home phone number and taught him how to dial our number on my cell phone. That static feel makes me feel like I might not make it to finish daily errands like grocery shopping. I told my son, now if you see mommy laying on the ground and can't talk to you and looks like she needs help while she's grocery shopping I want you to call daddy.  This is after the starter doses and 2 weeks!!!  I'm glad I didn't increase my dose! Oh to boot, my HMFNP calles her Effexor drug rep about my case and her rep tells her no one has reported shortness of breath and that the are going to report mine and that it will be the first one reported.Hmm what is wrong with this? It's all over the internet. Also, why doesn't the Effexor information paper in the Effexor sample box address shortness of breath as a side effect? They say it's an allergy? Not! It's a side effect, just like the static tv feeling that perpetuates on and off throughout the day now. Has anyone had this feeling and then had it stop after 1 week?
Avatar universal
I've just stopped taking Effexor XR 7 days ago....and it's been the worst seven days of my life. I started off taking 150mg for about 2 years and have been tapering off the last couple of months, down to 75mg, 37.5mg, then cold turkey.
I am so mad at my shrink for not ever informing me of the horrible side effects I was someday going to face. I have been experiencing nausea, vomiting, uncontrollable crying, body sweats, hot/cold spells, severe headaches, diahrrea, mood swings, body aches and my hands and feet turned bright red and itch like a mother...and that's just what I can name off the top of my head. Which still is not all there. I can barely focus enough to come to work and driving is extremely scary. I don't know whether I'm coming or going. Please, if anybody is going through this or has already gone through this. How long do these withdrawal symptoms last?? I am trying so hard not to go pop another pill just to make all this go away.
Avatar universal
I thought I was going to lose my mind and still wonder.  I was on Effexor XR 75 mg. for 18 mo's +.   Effexor's recommendation is 6 -8 months max. (My doc told me after the fact)  I am very sensitive to meds. Maybe that is why even the low dose got me so
hard.  I tapered off then quit.  The day I started tapering off the symptoms began. Horrible, closest thing to death I have experienced.  Head shocks, stomache spasms, inner thigh spasms, severe short term memory loss, confusion, dizziness, (shouldnt have been driving)CRYING, sobbing every hour on the hour, suicide thoughts, screaming at other drivers, MAD!! (not me at all)..and so on...this went on for two weeks steady, then started to taper off BUT....still cry every day...feel like I have lost my mind in a sense.  I am unable to work with my Insurance as I am so confused.  Cant add/subtract right now.  Scared...HOPING IT WILL GET BETTER....  Went to Psychiatrist and she said I have rapid cycling bi polar. Hey, I am 57 years old and never had that ****.  So I just got it after Effexor.  We should sue this company.  My life is poo poo from it.  I wonder how many people are in prison from taking this stuff and getting out of control.  I am a serious christian woman who smiles and is kind to all. Or I was.  The other month a nice policeman tried to give me a ticket.  I said awful things to him and when he was finished told him, "I hope you die." (what scared me is I didnt care what happened to me) Come on, not me in the least way...What I did frightened me very much.  I am over that part of the EVIL EFFEXOR thank God....But something has happened to me from it.  Any hope?  I dont think I am bi polar/rapid cycling.  I think I am still in withdrawal. I am in the fourth week of withdrawal.  Any hope would be appreciated.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor XR 150mg, for a year now. In the beginning I had the electric shock feeling. About six months ago, I forgot to re-fill my prescription, and was off for a couple of days. My daughter was auditioning for a play and didn't get the part she wanted (this has happened before, never has bothered me) I COMPLETELY LOST IT. The director of the play, not only got an earfull, I was screaming at him, at the top of my lungs. The day before this happened, my husband and daughter kept asking if I was o.k., cause I was sweating profusely, snapping at them, not rational at all. As, soon as I went back on, I wa fine again, although for a few days I felt that electric shock thing going on.

So, I broke my neck a few years ago, and have chronic acute pain. On Effexor Xr I do relatively well, that's why I'm on it, it's not only for depression, but they also use it for people like me who have chonic severe acute pain, I guess the electrodes are the same in the brain as depression, they have found. Well, because one of the side affects is also weight gain, I deceided to go off, but this time talked with doc, developed a plan. He instructed me on how to ween myself off of it, so I did exactly what he said, we replaced the Effexor XR with Wellbuterin XL. Anyway, a day or two after I had completely stopped taking the Effexore, I was snapping again, but worse than that, my pain was so bad, I could literally hardly walk, lift my arm, get out of bed. Even with my broken neck and 10.5 hrs of surgery, last year I was walking 6 miles per day...so obviously, this was really over the edge. Went back on the Effexor...I'm fine.

Frankly, I'm scared to death. I too, experience rapid cycling, even painted our retreat off of our bedroom, this bright orange color swirled with yellow and burgundy. My husband came home from business trip, and obviously hated it, but was like "What is going on with you?" I stayed up for 18 hrs straight, slept for a few more, than up again for 18 hrs.
I do not slepp well on it, and have also gained 40 lbs, but "no" pain, and if I have to live in this "new" level of pain when I finally do get off of it. Honestly, I know I will not be able to live that way!

So doc, are you out there???? Any sound advice, doesn't seem like anyone really knows the longterm affects, and that it does these things to the brain!
Avatar universal
My goodness girl.....so it sounds to me like you have the bi polar issues.  The anger and the awake too long etc.  
I have lost weight already since off Effexor.  This is the fifth week now and I am much much better.  Not out of the woods totally but I am me again.  I do need something, but will take it slow as to what I let them put me on again.  There are some good natural anti depressants and pain killer plants out there.  I have read about some of these on these type sights. I went to "withdrawal from Effexor" and found tons...(In the Google search bar)   Good luck and dont stay on meds that do that to you and your family.  I was told when people on anti depressants act like they are bi polar....they are.  We react differently to the meds than if we are truly depressed.  I hope you followed that.  
Sorry about the back.  I saw a nurse yesterday with a small back brace on.  ALmost looked like one of those "wrap around the waist bands" or one of those lifting wieght bands.  You might check into it.  Good luck and keep up posted.  
Avatar universal
Please help!!
My husband will be going on antidepessants and I would like comments on Lexapro and Lexapro vs Effexor Xr. All comments are heplful.
Thank you!
Avatar universal
To sandratarium, keeponkeepingon, and kittykat3658

I was on Effexor (25mg/day) for 18 months, then successfully weaned myself off of it without pain, and after an 8-month slide back into depression while trying every natural remedy I had researched (none of which worked, contrary to all the glowing studies I had read about), I went back on it and have been using it without incident for the past 16 months.  (I am a 57-year-old man and I take the Effexor--with 450 mg/day of Wellbutrin--to treat my particular form of depression: brain-fog...the inability to think clearly when untreated.)

HOW I STOPPED EFFEXOR: Took the last Effexor pill one day and began 10 mg/day of Lexapro the next.  No brain shocks!  (The doc had told me to add half of an Effexor pill daily for a few days if needed, but I didn't need to.)  Note: the Lexapro did me no good whatsoever...my depression slowly came back full force AND I had the sexual side-effects (numb, like getting a shot of Novocain that blocks all sensation).  The worst of both worlds!  I have read that others have been helped significantly by Lexapro, but that wasn't the case with me.  And while the new drug gave me a pleasant "comfortable-all-over" feeling while on it, quitting it caused the opposite effect--feeling run-down and achy all over like I had the flu.  That was preferable to the brain-zaps of quitting Effexor, though, and it quickly passed.  Another method of Effexor-weaning I've read about is by replacing it with 50-100mg/day of 5-HTP (from any drug store).  And finally, if you can't or don't want to replace Effexor with something else, then S-L-O-W-L-Y taper it off, cutting your dose by 1/3 to 1/2 every few days or each week.  When you're down to one 25mg or 37.5mg pill a day, start cutting the pill in half for a few days, then into quarters for a few days, then take the quarter-pill two days and skip a day, then take it every other day, then every third day.  At that point you should be able to stop completely; if not, do what my friend did: for the last week or so, he literally just LICKED the pill once or twice a day!  The point is, you should NEVER try to quit Effexor cold turkey.

Keep in mind that for most people, the full, devastating force of depression will swoop back down on you unless you get on a new med.

SWITCHING FROM EFFEXOR TO WELLBUTRIN: keeponkeepingon, frankly I am amazed from the posts I read at how little so many of the doctors know about the conditions and meds they deal with!  If an antidepressant like Effexor is working for you, you can't switch to Wellbutrin and expect the same result.  Effexor, an
Avatar universal
Hello I just started taking effexor xr with my adderall and trileptal! After reading the comments here on this site i feel like I want to stop taking the effexor before i get any more of it into my system. I called to see if I could take these meds together and i was told that you shouldn't take any thing like effexor ect.. with adderall cause it will cause problems.
also i don't want to gain any weight. also i have been on the effexor for less then a week and my body has felt numb with some kind of shock feeling but i thought it was just me never thought i could feel any effects this fast
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor for about 2 years now and love it. However, I have been taking 300 mg for a couple months and now I am suffering from uncontrollable overheating and sweating. I know this side effect doesn't seem like such a big deal after overcoming the initial side effects of the drug but it has gotten so bad that I am considering trying something else. I am reluctant to do this because I have had such success with Effexor but this side effect has become unbearable. I will be at work and for no particular reason I will start feeling really hot and flushed in my face (also a little anxious and feeling out-of-control) and soon my face is dripping sweat (i know, gross).Is this maybe due to the high dosage or this Serotonin Syndrome thing? Anyone else had similar experience? Suggestions?
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor for several years and I am trying to get off since I want to get pregnant (being a class C drug, NOT good).  I was doing alright until I took my last 37.5 pill a few days ago and I have felt horrible having all the vertigo sensations; etc magnified! I am so mad that my doctor didn't warn me about the complications of coming off the 37.5, and that I might need a smaller dose before getting off completely.  It is absurd that that doctors don't inform us better, and it is outrageously absurd that WE, the patients, have to "play" with granules!  I really wanted to start trying for a baby; I have waited so very long, but there is just no way!  I am so thankful for the internet with forums like this!  It does help.
Avatar universal
I was following this thread closely in May because I wanted to get off Effexor after 8 years of use.  I was taking 3 each 75 mg per day. I had been put on this drug after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and declared clinically depressed.  Over those 7 years, I had gained 50 pounds.  I had never had a weight problem prior to being put on Effexor.  I also sweated profusely, even in the winter. Again, prior to this drug, never had a problem. My pain doctor had told me the sweating was from the pain medicines I am taking.  As soon as I stopped the Effexor, the sweating stopped and in the month since quitting I have lost 7 pounds. I also have experienced the inability to find the words I am looking for, struggling to complete a sentence for loss of words.  

I was really scared to attempt to stop using Effexor after reading everyone's comments.  I reduced from 225 mg to 75 in two days.  Then I took one tablet (75 mg) daily for a week, 1/2 a tablet daily for a week, then 1/2 tablet every other day for a week, then every 3rd day, then off totally. It went smoothly without a hitch.  The biggest problem I have experienced is my emotions being very close to the surface.  I will cry at the drop of a hat.  

I have some other things happening, and don't know why and wanted to ask if anyone else has experienced any of these problems when they quit taking Effexor.  I have severe nausea and my taste buds have changed where nothing taste the same and most things taste awful! This has been going on for just over a month with no relief.  Even my mountain dew taste like ****! Has anyone had similar experience?

Avatar universal
about 5 weeks ago I stopped taking effexor cold turkey after several months at 225mg a day. I've never experienced anything like it, (Crying, suicidal thoughts, severe mood swings, frustration, "brain zaps," hot/cold flashes etc.) At times I too was seriously considering taking another pill just to stop the side effects, but im glad i didnt. I just recently stopped experiencing these effects, and the only advice I can offer to anyone else going off of this medication is to stick with it. I have also heard that a small dose of wellbutrin can alleviate the effects, but I cannot speak to that personally. Good luck.
Avatar universal
i cannot believe i have stumbled upon this site today. i have been on effexor for over a year the common dosage it seems 150mg a day. 75mg in morning and 75mg at night. due to the fourth of july holiday i did not get my prescription filled, it totally slipped my mind. i went six days without my medicine. i also take 200mg of topamax in the morning. for the past couple of days i have had EXTREME pressure behind my eyes. Everytime i'd move my eyes i would get so dizzy. the only relief i felt was when i was lying down. Nausea and diahrea were horrible as well for four days straight. I was scared all this was happening because of the topamax and the recent risks/side effect of glaucoma. I am twenty three. I having been taking anti-depressants since i was sixteen. i have no life without them. Not a happy one anyway. I've tried. I have never been told by any of the three psychiatrists i have seen in my treatment of this serotonin syndrome. I scheduled an eye examine i was so scared about the pain in my eyes. I still feel so sick. I just got my medicine today. I have been hospitalized a month and a half ago with dehydration  the topamax and or effexor i don't know anymore kills my appetite. But in the long run, it helps me get up in the morning, it helps me have the energy and mood to be the mother to my two year old, these things are priceless to me.
Avatar universal
Hi Everyone,
I've been reading tons of comments on effexor xr today.  In a few days I'm going to start tapering it (one 150 mg effexor xr for just over a year, and previously different doses of prozac), to hopefully wean myself off for good.  It seems I've read alot of horror stories about withdrawal from it.  I was wondering if anyone has suggestions of things to arm myself with to combat the withdrawal?  (i.e., certain herbal supplements, etc.)  Any info would be appreciated!  Thanks!
Avatar universal
I'm glad to have stumbled on this site because I identify with most of what I've read.  While on Effexor...

1. I have noticed more episodes of violent verbal explosions
2. I seem to be more "amped" with a greater level of adrenaline
3. I need to set my thermastat at 69 degrees in order to be comfortable.

I decided to stop cold turkey despite what I have heard some of you say. I am going on day three and have most of the syptoms you speak of - especially the zaps in the brain and tingles throughout my extremities.  But, I getting through it while ingesting Milk Thistle, Ginko Biloba and my daily vitamins.  I think I am going to be ok - so far so good.  Yes, the feeling is uncomfortable and last night my nightmares were intense and caused me restless sleep but I think I can handle that.

I will keep you guys posted but I have a feeling that after this passes, I will feel much more like me again.
Avatar universal
Hello everyone,

I'm a 32 year old women who has been on Effexor for 6years after having my third child.  I've been wanting to stop for awhile but was unable to handle the side effects.  Today is my 4th day off the medication and everything so far is ok, just everything is slow and having trouble jump starting in the morning, sleeping so far has been my problem I think I'm asleep but I can still hear everything going on.  I've decide to start a diet and walk every evening just so I can keep my mind occupied.  Alot of the side effect I've been through,  so now I don't feel alone.  
OrlandoMan, I think we are both in the same boat right now so if its ok with you I would like to sail with you supporting each other on trying to get off.  If anyone can give me any other advise on how to stay off the med I would greatly appreciate it.  

Avatar universal

Don't let this pill take your life, your not alone there are many out there experiencing what your going through, stay strong and think of all that you will be leaving behind because a stupid pill.  Your young and you can beat this.  Keep your head up.  If you have to just ween your self off then do it that way just don't quit cold turkey.  One thing i've noticed is when I'm busy cleaning or playing with my kids it doesn't bother me, but when i'm relaxed thats when all the withdrawl get to me, Ive even though about doing Yoga. These are just suggestions.  

A friend going through what your going through
I'm a 32 yr old women with kids to live for.
Avatar universal
I'm right with you wantmylifeback!  We will work this out together.  I'm still going strong here and it's getting better.  Still a little pressure in the head (headache like) and still got the zaps but it's getting better overall.  I noticed I don't need my A/C on as much as when I was on the med.

I gotta run to work but let's share more later ok?
Avatar universal
i have been on effexor xr for about three years.. i was first on paxil for two years and was looking for something without the extreme side effects and withdrawals if i forgot to take it.. i didnt want to feel dependent i suppose.. anyways.. i have noticed i have a terrible time getting very close to anyone because i experience terrible mood swings and irritability.  a year ago i had my first overwhelming attack of anxiety and depression while on meds.. it was horrible and after three days i went to the er and was given a shot of something like phenergen which knocked me out.. last night i experienced yet another horrible attack and this time was given xanax .5 mg at the er.. i followed up today with a doctor visit and the woman told me all about billy graham and the power of prayer.. i will try about anything but at this time i just need something to get me to sleep until i can get to a psychiatrist.. i am so sick of feeling this way.. i sabotaged a relationship with someone who was probably my soulmate because i couldnt control my moods.. i am being a crazy person and that is not what i am.. no doctors seem to take me very seriously ( i think because of my appearance as a 21 yr old party girl with piercings and tattoos) and i need help.. yesterday i seriously thought about killing myself and this scares the **** out of me..i have asked multiple times to switch meds and my doctor blows me off.. does anyone have any advice for me?
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