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Avatar universal

Effexor XR withdrawal symptoms

I am a 47 year old female.  Earlier this year, my Dr. and I decided that the effectiveness of Zoloft for my anxiety had waned after 3-4 years. He choose Effexor XR as a new med.  After taking 150 mg of the Effexor XR for a little over 1 month, I decided it wasn't right for me. My libido became non-existent, I was gained weight, my digestive system seemed out-of-wack, and I'm not sure that it helped my anxiety. I'm not sure it was related to the Effexor XR, but I was bruising very easily, and I was obsessive about spending and "projects" during this time. I should also mention that I am on 30 mg of Adderall XR for ADD.

My Dr. decided to switch me to Wellbutrin XR which would also help me quit smoking. He had me drop down to 75 mg of the Effexor for a few days, then to 37.5 for another 2-3 days. The first day off the Effexor, I experienced increasing nausea, vertigo and a "slushy" head. The next two days, the symptoms increased. There was some confusion as to whether it was the Wellbutrin or the Effexor that was causing the symptoms. I had decided that I was the getting used to the Wellbutrin, and I just had to ride it out with the help of over-the-counter motion sickness meds.  My Dr. never mentioned that Effexor is associated with withdrawal symptoms.

The effects of the Wellbutrin seemed to kick in almost immediately. My libido jumped way up, and just like that I quit smoking cold turkey.  I couldn't stand the smell or taste of cigarettes all of the sudden. Now without the smoking, I also found that my morning coffee was nearly forgotten. (I'm sure that withdrawal from nicotine and caffeine added to my symptoms.)

Nearly two weeks after I stopped the Effexor, I started having extreme irritability & very negative thoughts, followed the next day by nausea and vertigo. Also, I had crying spells. I phoned my Dr. who said that crying wasn't a withdrawal symptom. Since my symptoms worsened the next day, he wanted me to try taking 37.5 mg of the Effexor to see what would happen. Within one hour, I was nearly symptom free. He said that I seemed to be especially sensitive to the drug. He then put me back on 37.5 mg for one week, and then approx. 18.75 mg for another two weeks. Well, the withdrawal symptoms started all over again.  Couldn't have this happening at work. I decided to go back to the 37.5 mg. and taper off very slowly - either that or take time off work to get through the withdrawals. I have literally been counting the granuals (there are about 90 in a 37.5 mg capsule). On July 20, I started at 60 granuals, and decreased by 5 every few days to where now, on August 24, I have been taking 20 granuals a day for the past week. The entire time I have been nauseous. My Dr's phone msg. reply was that vertigo, not nausea, is a withdrawal symptom. Actually, I thought vertigo caused nausea. Over Labor Day weekend, I plan to stop the Effexor I hope that any symptoms will disappear over 3 days. Please help me.
62 Responses
Avatar universal
Greetings everyone, thanks for this great site.  I was searching the Internet for withdrawal symptoms associated with Effexor-XR, and came across this great site.

For several days I couldn't identify the sensation I've been feeling, until I read the term "zapped" and the symptoms which followed.  I immediately called my wife over and told her this is exactly what I'm experiencing.  I've been off Effexor-XR for almost a week, and have been feeling these odd sensations throughout my body ... particularly when I stand up, or turn my head.  Now I have a better understanding of what this is.

I will write more on my situation, and what lead to Effexor-XR (from Serzone), once I know this post went through. I believe the information on this site is great, and most helpful.

Thanks so much for being here.

Warm regards,
Avatar universal
I need help understanding the effects of effexor. My mother is 55 years old and her symptoms are about ready to drive her up a wall and me too. Her Dr. didn't even know that there was withdrawals with the medication that tells me right there that her Dr. is not very smart. I mom has been battling with this now for over a month now and not one Dr. seems to know what to do. Please I need help.
Avatar universal
I need help understanding about the withdraws of effexor
Avatar universal
Did your Mom go off the medicine....that is impo0rtant to know.  i am the same age as she is and took it for 7 years.   I gained a bunch of weight and my pharmecist said it was the Effexor...which other docs say wont do that I wen toff exactly a week ago an dbelieve me it was pure Hell.....BUT I feel so much better, lost a lot of water weight, and no more anxiety FROM th eproduct

if she goes off she should taper very slowly...Some people find that going onto Prozac when you quit effexor a while helps because there arent symptoms from going off of Prozac

The new information about the side affects of Effexor seems to come mostly from the users and the drs seems clueless which is so sad, plus everyone is different

My doc at stanford said i wont gain any weight but gained about 40 pounds....My appetite is gone plus craving for sweets so I know they were wrong

If she is suffering from withdrawals she needs to take a half dose and stay on that for awhile till she feels OK and slowly decrease

if she is on the extended release, she can guage by the granules

I was so pissed off about the whole thing I went off cold turkey and whoo hoo I wouldnt want my worst enemy to have to go thru that...you can wwrite to me at
lindamaupin @ webtv.net and i can write more if you want. You are a good daughter to search help for your Mom...bless you and your mom Linda
Avatar universal
My Dr. put me on Effexor XL to help with hot flashes. I was on Doxepin for 15 years before that. I stopped Doxepin one day and started Effexor the next. I went through two-3 months of hell. I know now it was withdrawal from Doxepin. The biggest issue I had was not being able to sleep. Life was miserible.
I've been having horrible Sweats for years and I thought it had to do with menopause. Little did I know it was a side effect of Doxepin and Effexor. I decided about 6 weeks ago to wean myself off. I was on 150 ml a day. I read about withdrawl symptoms and how to withdraw. I feel I've had great luck coming off. I found a small perfume vile and washed it thoroughly. I poured the granuals from the capsules in the vile. Used a ruler and marked every 8th of an inch. I've gone down 1/8th of an inch each week. I have two weeks to go. The first day I feel a little different but on the whole I feel so much better.
The biggest miracle is that I haven't had a "sweat" in over a week. This is when I felt like someone  poured a bucket over my head as the sweat rolled and rolled. I get hot like other people but no more sweats.
I take a Benedryl to help sleep at night, maybe that's helped. I've not rushed the process and so far so good.
I've only been on since last December. I will never go on anything like this again, I'll find another way to feel better, I don't want anything controlling me like these drugs have for so long. I've had many health issues over the years and now I realize they were the results of Doxepin and now Effexor. Indigestion that suddenly started one day, out of character behavior, so many things. I've gained weight over the years as well. I hope in the next month to be free of these drugs forever.
Avatar universal
I stopped taking Effexor last Thursday...........Whew it has been an awful 6 days.  Thank God I am feeling alittle better today, yesterday was hell day.  My major symptoms were brain zaps, nightmares, agitation, dizziness, nausea, crying spells, confusion and ALL FLU LIKE symptons.  I'm am ready to be my self again.  Please can anyone tell me how long this stuff lasts.  Thanks!
Avatar universal
what is all of the side effects if you stop cold turkey?
Avatar universal
Don't stop it cold turkey, whatever you do! The brain zaps feel like lightning racing through your brain and then your whole body. These are the worst side effects...others are irritability and vertigo (that I have experienced).

Even stepping down slowly has given me severe brain shocks (or zaps). They are so bad that I lose my balance, and experience them with every move that I make. They really hurt. I called Wyeth today to find out what I can do to help this symptom. I didn't get a straight answer...only "withdrawal symptoms" and "sensory disturbances." I want to know what is REALLY going on. I only got bandaid answers. I was also told that this is rare. From what I have seen online, it is not.

Does any one know exactly what is causing this feeling? Is it  neurons misfiring or something else? I want the biological answer so I can find a way to make this stepping down process NOT interfere with my ability to function.

If you have experience these sensory perceptions, please call Wyeth and have them take a report. This needs to be added specifically as a symptom to the prescribing information. If I had known it would be so bad, I would have asked for something else. (I experienced NO side effects from stopping Zoloft, Xanax, and Cymbalta.)

Best wishes.
Avatar universal
Look up "Gwen Olsen" on youtube or google video.
Avatar universal
I ran out of my effexor xr three days ago and have been at EVERYONE'S throat!  I've gone so far as to yelling at people at work, accusing my boyfriend of cheating, blacking out from anger, and bursting into tears!  I was on prozac for four years and didn't feel that it wasn't controling my depression anymore so i asked for something new to see if that worked.  Well...i don't feel any different.  Other than, of course, THE WITHDRAWALS!!!  Dizziness, nausea, sweats, feeling like glass is coming out of my forehead (?!?!?), EXTREME anger, and did i mention the DIZZINESS?!?!?!  My heart also feels like it's going to jump out of my throat, sharp pains go down both left and right arms, and I feel like I'm more "crazy" than I was before I even started it!  I'm extremely disappointed in my doctor for not informing me of the symptoms.  Good luck everyone!  I'm done with this medication.  Nothing is worth this hassle.
217634 tn?1189759420
OMG these withdrawals, even gradually, SUCK!  Patients should be warned about them BEFORE every starting this RX!

Doctors, get a clue!  This is not a casual drug!  In fact, I think it should be a controlled substance!
Avatar universal
thank you!! i thought i was crazy, because i have been OFF Effexor XR for 8 days (yes i tapered but not to the effect of titrating granules). anyway, i figured it was out of my system (the half life is 24 hours, meaning my body has long metabolized any residule components of the medicine right?) anyway, i just ran into an isle in Walmart today as i was experiencing the "walking zaps"... and was ready to call and ask for a friggin MRI to look for a brain tumor or inner ear nodule or something...i guess i'm just another nauseated passenger on this SSRI cruiseship!!??!
Avatar universal
Haven't taken an effexor in 7 weeks, but am still having HORRIBLE sweats and chills....my only symptoms. They're so bad that some days I can't leave the house, other days I might feel better for several hours. Has anyone had this type of continued style of withdrawal? I'm not reading much about the heavy sweats and chills.......Thanks!
Avatar universal
First, I’m glad to know it is not just me.  I threw my effexor in the trash a week ago because I felt it was the cause of many weird problems I had / have.
I started taking effexor approximately six months ago.  At first it was okay (certainly better than I felt).  Then things started getting weird.
1. I was playing with a puppy approximately five months ago who proceeded to bite me in play.  The bites never healed. They just started to heal in the last few days.  
2. My right eye would shut when I got tired.  I would have to hold it open to use it.
3. I gained thirty pounds (something my doctor told me would not happen).
4. I started to live on Excedrin migraine tablets to curve (not cure) the headache.
5. The pressure in my eyes became too much to handle.
6. I kept losing track of what I was doing (makes paying your bills and general life interesting).
7. Everywhere I have nerve damage (from a wreck I was in) became irritated.

Now that I have thrown them out I still have problems:
1. I woke up to eating cake last night at three in the morning (am I doing this more than I know? Was I doing it on the pill without knowing it?).
2. I have cold and hot sweats at the same time.
3. I’m either annoyingly happy or really angry.
4. I intermittently start crying for absolutely no reason at all.
5. My left arm hurts almost all the time.
6. I’m having extreme suicidal and / or homicidal thoughts. (I know me very will so I know the thoughts are coming from the withdrawals and not to take action on them).
7. I’m starting to agree with Tom Cruise (about mental health help).

I feel like I traded one bad thing for another (and back again), but now I can not throw out the problem because I’m not taking anything.  I am annoyed with my doctor because he knows, since my wreck, that I have intermittent high (very high) blood pressure and high cholesterol (hereditary) which is why I wanted something that would not make me gain weight.

How long is this going to last????
Avatar universal
I did forget to tell you about the horrific nightmares (the reason I woke up and found myself eating cake). I also cannot tell if I have the flu or if it is another withdrawal problem.  
Avatar universal
I began to realize recently that the majority of the health problems I've been experiencing are all likely related to my taking 150 mg of Effexor XR daily. I was on the dosage for a few years, but was able to be weaned off of it successfully (no noticable withdrawal symptoms) in late 2004. (My doctor had me take 75 mg for three weeks, followed by 37.5 for another three weeks.)  After starting a new job and additional new life stressors, I reluctantly went back on the medicine in late 2005. I was married in early. Common to both times I've been on the drug is the obliteration of my sex drive, along with digestive problems that my doctor was quick to call IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and hand me a prescription to try - that I never did. All that, in addition to increased headaches, and other symptoms that I found noted as "possible"side effects of Effexor XR, plus the fact that a number of the stressors I was trying to cope with are no longer, I decided I'd like to try and go off the medicine again.

I called my doctor's office last Monday. The doc was on vacation, but a nurse called back and told me to take one pill every other day through Sunday and then take one pill every third day. DON'T TRY THIS. My right eye began twitching the first day I did without the medication. I've been fighting nausea and spells of dizziness on and off for the past week and a half, not to mention crazy crying spells. I actually left work early last Thursday, because I couldn't handle the queasiness and fight off the tears. Today, the nausea got so bad, I stopped by a Doctor's Care (urgent care/after hours) to see if something was wrong with me. Everything checked out normal and the nurse practitioner told me she was almost positive I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the Effexor. As soon as I told her I was trying to go off the medication, she commented that Effexor has the worst withdrawal symptoms of all the anti-depressants. I was appalled to find this out and was angry that the nurse at my doctor's office had offered such terrible guidance. I'm trying to keep in mind that perhaps not everyone may experience withdrawal symptoms like I have, but I still can't help think doctor's should be more responsible .

Thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences here. You have helped calm my fears that I am crazy and that something else is wrong with me other than withdrawal symptoms. After going the last two days without any Effexor, I'm going to start taking 75 mg a day for the next few weeks and see how that works.

Best wishes and may God bless each of you as you face this battle.
Avatar universal
i've been taking this only a few months... i've had soooo many side effects apparently and brushed them off because my doctor told me none of these things were related... i don't know what to think...
Avatar universal
If you can stop taking it do so.  Think your doctor believes the clinical studies - show him / her a print out of this forum and ask "Why?". Why is this not being looked in to more carefully, why does it appear to becausing or irritating nerve damage, and who was paid off to keep the VERY BAD side effects hidden.  Where is Oprah when you need her...lol...
Avatar universal
I can tell you right now that the doctors have no idea what they are putting us through unless they experience it themselves.
I had been on Effexor XR for 15 years prescribed because of an auto accident that resulted in head injury, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Folks, anything would have felt better than the agony I was having  from the pain,  short term memory problems , speech problems, and cognitive issues. I'm here to tell you, "DOCTORS DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH YOU" so they put you on what they think is a quick fix and gets you out of their office. I am in no way running down doctors, because they can't help it...no training they have had will help them deal with a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain injured person. In fact, I was X-rayed and was allowed to what out of that emergency room with no help from the medical profession as to where to get help and how to cope with what I was about to face. Needless to say, I went to several towns, to all kinds of professionals to no avail. If you aren't busted open and bleeding they can't help you. You aren't hurt if they can't see it. I even had one doctor tell me "Unless we can take your brain out of your head and examine it, we cannot tell you what part of you brain was injured in the accident." There are no such tests. I tried to work for a couple of years, but kept loosing jobs because I would just break down and cry if someone said "boo" to me...therefore I did not get along with supervisors. Finally my doctor suggested I file for disability and just cope at home with my deficits left from the brain injury. The psychologist I was seeing only wanted to medicate me....thus the EFFEXOR XR. I got mad, I screamed at the doctor because when I told him I couldn't remember anything, he just said, "Well, you are getting older"...I informed him that I did not get older in 1 years time. Even after spending 2 weeks in a rehabilitation center didn't help, Expecially when they ask me if I was rich, because my insurance would pay no more, they released me and sent me home saying I was cured. I screamed at them too, the day they released me and told them they were just getting rid of me like all the other professionals. After that, I got all the books I could find and with the help of my hubby, relearned everything I had lost, I recovered as much as I could on my own....I did it....not the doctors, but me.
Well, now I get to the part of the Effexor XR withdrawals. I am 63 years old. have been on this stuff for 15 years, I have gained 60 lbs (yes, I too use to be thin) and have tried to come off this stuff three or four times because as I get more healed from the accident, the more I realize that this stuff just isn't good for you. Also, I was started to notice reverse symtoms. Like the help it has once given me was reversing. I mentioned to my doctor that I was ready to try again to come off of it. I was determined there was no going back. I was taking 75mg and she lowered it to 37-1/2 mg for two weeks and told me by the second weekend to go cold turkey. She said if I couldn't make it, she would prescribe Prozac, but I thought why get off one just to go on another to come off of. Folks, it has been three weeks. This past week I have not had anything and you're right...it is HELL. When they doctors tell you withdrawals won't be this or that..THEY ARE WRONG!...I have read many or you symtoms, and I can't believe out of the clear blue we all are having the same symtoms without it being directly linked to the Effexor. I have had the very realistic nightmares you are speaking of, the headaches, nausea, digestive upheaval, tightness in chest, jitters, the zaps in my head which are horrible, go to sleep at the drop of a hat, and oh, VOICES, yes....it sounds like something from a scary movie. Like somewhere above your head there is a droning voice that just briefly says something unaudible. People, I am not crazy...I am a sane, christian person with good scruples, but I will tell you, there is something devilish in this medication. I really think there is something that controls your whole being.
But, I have good news, you can break it...you can beat it...all these symtoms are getting weaker and weaker and I AM GOING TO MAKE IT THIS TIME!. You have to stay determined, you have to tell the voices to go away and you have to stay disiplined to get off this medicine. I am starting to feel like my old smiling happy go lucky self again....THANK GOD....without him I could not have made it.
Good luck to all of you trying to get off of any of this stuff. I will be praying for all of you no matter what your religion or whether you even have a religion...I will be praying for you.
Best Regards, Pearl
Avatar universal
Oh, BTW, I forgot to mention, yes, this med does cause itching and the feeling that something is biting you or pricking you skin. It is even worse for a couple of weeks when you are coming off the Effexor.
Avatar universal
I tried to describe what I experienced after stopped 37.5 Effexor-XR 2 nights ago, brainshock is the word I'm looking for. Thank you.

My doctor told me that the withdrawal symptoms should not be nausea or stomach upset, but rather they should be related to emotional side effects like angry, sad or crying.  What does he know??  I'm glad i'm not alone in this and the reaction from you out there are truly real.  Effector makes me agitated and restless, this is the reason I want to get off and try something new.

I'll try to get off 37.5 gradually, but it is such a pain because i feel so sick without the drug.  Yes, I agree the drug company should put big notes about withdraw symptoms in the instructions.  Also the company should find a solution to the problem.

Another suggestion for Nausea is drinking gingle-ale or ginger water, that should help a bit.

Good luck to everyone and thanks for your help.
Avatar universal
I have been on 150mg Effexor for about 4 years. I noticed that I have also been bruising easily, and my cuts heal very very slowly. I don't know if this is from the Effexor but I have been having the brain shocks and nausea since starting to reduce my dosage. I have cut down to 75mg with some of the common problems, but I am not looking forward to the effects that others describe when going down below 37.5mg. I will be fine for a while then I have a couple of days where I am just mad as a hornet and God help anyone who crosses me. On those days I need to just stay put and avoid people. I own a small business and even gave a customer a piece of my mind and felt horrible about it later. I know my doctor does not understand the power of this medication and hopefully with enough people sharing their nightmares about coming off Effexor it won't be prescribed quite as freely. Oh, the joint pain is definitely hitting me now as it has done others as I have read in these stories. My sex drive has completely dried up. Even Viagra does not help. Honestly, I'd rather deal with depression than with the effects of this medication. Good luck to all of us who are attempting to quit.
Avatar universal
Hi - just wanted to share that I have been on Effexor XR (75mg) for a few years now, and so long as I stay on them, I am fine - no side effects at all.  But if I miss even one day, I feel like a Heroin addict in the first week of withdrawal (not that I have ever taken Heroin, but I've seen it dramatised on TV).  By the second day, I feel as if my emotions have been turned inside out, so that they are all exposed on the surface, raw and bleeding, and someone is constantly rubbing salt into the wounds in my head and all over my body.  That is what the brain zaps and emotional trauma feels like, anyway. I am terrified of coming off them because I have never made it beyond the 2nd day of stopping before, and if it gets worse than that, then I would need to be hospitalised during the process!  Has anyone who posted on here or reading this successfully stopped them, without switching to another one?  For how many days did the symptoms last?
Avatar universal
I HAVE NO MONEY FOR THE PILLS (300-400 a month) as I lost my job and health insurance' HERE COMES THE DEPRESSION, CRYING, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS!  I am so scared what will happen next!
I have been on Effexor for maybe 8 years. They put me on it when I was taking care of my mother whom had cancer. At that time I started having terrible panic attacks. The doc put me on Effexor xr.
At one time when I was still on effexor xr,( 200 mg. I think) I started being really depressed and had suicidal thoughts. The doc upped my dose to 300 mg.
This is the worst drug I have ever been on as far as withdrawl goes. I've been on all kinds of depression pills, never a withdrawl that bothered me. Now a different doc at the same clinic told me to drop to  200 mg.  for a week. Did that. Today I have no pills and I feel like just crying all day! DO NOT LET THEM PUT YOU ON EFFEXOR! It worked great for my panic attacks, but the withdrawls are as bad or worse than panic attacks!
My son had the withdrawls too, only he had them worse... the brain shocks they talk about among other effects! TOLD HIM NOT TO TAKE THEM BUT HE TRUSTED HIS DOC!
When I first started on effexor xr 8 years ago they were $150.00 a month,( I had insurance ) now they are up to $415.00, quite the racket! get them hooked raise the price...  (since they can't get off them)  they try... but they will go back on as they have such terrible side effects!  LEGAL DRUG LAWS! Sorry to ramble... just take care, docs do not even know about drugs they subscribe as they haven't taken them! Was going to tell you more facts but my eyes are getting all weird and I can't remember what I was going to say...
Can anybody help me with these withdrawls? I can't take them!
Thanks, Linda
Avatar universal
I forgot what I was going to say in my last post....
ISide effects:
I have no sex drive at all,( I used to be a very sexual woman, now I feel like a freak) if we do have sex, no matter how long it lasts, I am feeling nothing at all...so I pretend, which makes me feel so bad because it is like a lie to my husband.
I have put on 50 pounds even tho I eat 1 meal a day!
I CANNOT sleep, doc gave me sleeping pills, still no sleep!
I go days with no sleep, then my body gives out and I drop for 16 or more hours!
I had to quit my job because I suppose I was overtired, I got so I couldn't stand anyone or anything.
Customers do not deserve that, they used to come to where I work just to see me, and after I would come back from vacation, I got so many hugs!
My blood pressure top number will not go down no matter what they give me, another side effect of effexor!


Avatar universal
If anyone has any idea to help these withdrawls, please email me at:
Avatar universal
I was put on 75mg of effexor xr 1-1/2 yrs ago..I weaned down to 37.5mg since I thought if wasnt such a great idea to be on any of that stuff....When i tried to go off I kept getting brain zaps..The cancer doctor told me to wean down to one a day for two weeks then one every other day for two weeks..anyway...I am off completely for about three weeks now..The brain zaps are definetly getting lesser but still there but I noticed my heart rate has climbed at least 20 beats..I have to monitor my blood pressure...My primary doctor and the pharmacist both think it is from the effexor...so for now that is my only complaint...no nausea or other symptoms that i know of....guess i am lucky
Avatar universal
I'm a newbie to this forum & I don't take effexor, but my girlfriend does. She has recently reduced her dose to 37.5  (about 4 weeks ago) and it's been a rough ride. My reason for being here is that she just ended our  relationship & says it's the stress of being together coupled with her mom's illness. What I want to know is can anyone recommend a support group for supporters of loved ones & family who are having withdrawl/difficulties with the side effects of effexor? I do understand that she's not feeling well at all, both mentally & physically, so I'm not turning my back completely. My issue isn't to discuss our relationship, but I recognize that she is experiencing many of the symptoms that you folks are courageous enough to share with everybody. Reading your entries helps me better understand what's going on, even though I could never imagine what she's going through. Please help.
Thank you,
Avatar universal
wow.... ive been taking Effexor XR at 150 mgs for about a year now, and i havent taken one since last thursday.... today is monday and the mere thought of these withdrawal effects continuing makes me ill. ive been crying the entire time ive been reading your stories im so scared. its only been 4 days.... but can anyone tell me how much longer this is going to last????

ive done nothing but lay in bed and eat for the past 4 days! i quit my job this weekend bcus i wouldnt handle the nausea, dizziness, sweats, crying spells and vertigo. im freaking out right now!! i feel out of control. ive tried stopping cold turkey with these pills before but i always cave and reorder them so i can go back to just living my normal life. i feel they no longer serve any purpose in my life except avoiding the inevitable withdrawal symptoms!!!!!

im terrified and need advice.... should i go down to 75mg??? should i switch to Zoloft so that i wont have withdrawal syptoms??? my doctor suggested switching to generic to accomidate the price issue (such an expensive pill!!!!), and go down to 75mg of it to help whine me off. after reading this im even more confused and nervous though.

im seriously desperate for any advice that anyone has concerning this....

please email me at  ***@****   if you have any suggestions. i feel like these symptoms are taking over my life but i cant afford to take a $3 pill everyday just to be able to function normally. it doesnt even help with my depression.

some one help please.
Avatar universal
I tapered off my Effexor very slowly and have now been off of it totally for 5 days, I have never felt this horrible.  I do remember feeling this way if I missed a dose by only a few hours but it would last only a day and then I would be fine.  Now here I am on day 5 and I feel just as bad, if not worse, than on day 1, the whooshing feeling in my head and ears as if I am constantly underwater is driving my nuts but to add to my misery is the nausea, dizziness, clumsiness, weakness, sleepiness, bloating/weight gain, the feeling of hundreds or thousands of ants running all over me, and the  feeling of being totally disconnected.

How can this DRUG be on the market?  If your condition doesn't do you in then the withdrawal symptoms will for darn sure.

How can I find relief from these symptoms other than sleep my way through it?

How long will this last?  

I hope someone has the answer because I sure as heck can't find it.  I'm just about ready to throw in the towel and go back to taking a small dose just to be able to feel normal.

Desperate and seeking advice

Avatar universal
I'm on day 2 from trying to slowly withdrawal off this drug for the second time. I feel so very sick. I need advice for these side effects. I'm about to open a capsule and take a few little white balls to feel better, just like you Connie wanting to take some to feel better. This is so gnarly, I feel like I'm trying to W/D off of heroin or something...feels like something pinching on my brain everywhere, I'm extremely dizzy, nauseated, if I turn my head too fast, It feels like a strobe light, my heart offbeats at times, I'm itchy...now I want to cry, This is complete misery!! Last time after day 5 of trying to withdrawal I couldn't handle the symptoms any more and started to take my 75mg. dose again. This time I really want to completely withdrawal so I am determined but as every day goes by the symptoms get stronger and I feel sicker. Nothing is helping.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
I am only just begining my withdrawals as of today. I have missed doses several times and ended up with such severe symptoms of head and body aches & crashes, that I immediately took a pill and said I will do this another time. I have now begun to have so much anxiety and depression and abnormal behaviors ie: gambling away our life savings without a thought to consequences..This has nothing to do with a bad marriage at all, more like It was someone else doing these "things". When I awoke this morning and realized how much I had lost again lastnight, I started looking for some answers as
to why I have been feeling so bad and so strange. I found this site after much searching and it has helped me realize something is more wrong than just getting older as this was originally prescribed for my menopausal night sweats. I hope we all stay supporting one another and will speak of my withdrawal experiences in a few days. Good luck to all.
Avatar universal
I will add this to the above comment. I am 54 years old, have gained aprox. 18lbs & have been on Effx xr. 150 mg for about 10 months.
hang in.
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i urge you all to check out this site..theeffexoractivist.org
Avatar universal
Thank goodness I found your site!  It has been almost a week since I have been off Effexor 300mg XR - My doctor prescribe Wellbutrin - I was suppose to take Wellbutrin and Effexor for about a week and then drop the Effexox.  I have never felt so bad! Tuesday, I stayed home because I thought I had the flu.  I get migraines and thought I was getting a lot of them.  I am a teacher and I went to school today.  1st Period I was confused, not clear with my instructions to the students - very frustrating for them  I have no patience - which is so unusual.  I ended up very grouchy.  I apologized to the class at the end of the period.  2nd period I started to cry & knew I needed a sub.  The office arranged for a sub.  I went out to my car and cried.  I called my doctor's office and they made room for me.  I went and she explained these symptoms were from Effexor withdrawal.  She wants me take the rest of the week off.  I am in no shape to leave lesson plans which makes me feel even worse.  I called the person on call tonight and explained to her what happened.  She said to open up a capsule (150 mg) and divide the pill in half -put half in the capsule and take it.  I did and feel a tiny bit better.  I do not want to go back on Effexor!!!  I wish I could go to a hospital - get the stuff out of my body while they manage how sick I feel - return to teaching feeling like I used to!  Help!
I am so "sick" of taking pills!  Comments?????  I am glad I am not alone!  It is 3 in the morning and I don't want to go to sleep because of the dreams - they are not horrible, but I feel I don't sleep because they are so vivid and strange.
Thanks - more later . . .
Avatar universal
  I was experiencing severe side effects from Effexor XR after being on 150 mg for 8 months so I weaned myself off the same way I went on ...gradually. It's been almost 2 weeks with no drug at all and I'm affraid I will lose my family and friends before I ever see the end of the withdrawals! I have been experiencing all the symptoms you people have described but the anger and crying are the hardest for me to accept. I have reduced my 12 year old son to tears more than once this week with my tirades. I have thought of leaving my husband because there are times when I feel I hate him. We have always had a deeply loving relationship and I know it's the withdrawal causing my emotions to misfire. How much can I expect my family to endure at my expense when they can't possibly understand where this is coming from? I'm so greatful I found this site and people who can understand and perhaps offer the support we all need to get through this. Wishing you all strength and courage.
Avatar universal
I accidently missed two doses of Effexor (not sure the dose but low) and got so terribly sick with flu like symptoms so I didn't take any all week because I thought I had the flu and couldn't keep anything down anyway. I finally put two and two together and realize now what I have been experiencing the last 7 days.  I've gone cold turkey this long I'm not going to take any to alleviate the hell I feel.  I almost feel a little better today (day 7) so I'm going to stick it out.  This drug should be illegal.
Avatar universal
I had to go back to the last comfortable dose ( when I wasn't experiencing withdrawal). I couldn't put my family through any more torture. I have ordered a book called "The Antidepressant Solution" that is supposed to help me get of this poison the right way, if there is such a thing as the right way! I just want a dependant free life. To be the person I was before this nightmare began.
Avatar universal
My doctor put me on a three week weaning schedule to go off my 150 mg of Effexor XR.  The first week was ok, but this second week has been awfull.  I have been constantly vomiting, extreme aggitation, vertigo, brain shocks you name it.  I called my doctor the other day, she said it was not normal to have all of these symptoms going off this medication.  Now reading all of your comments I am mad.  I heard the withdrawal symptoms could last up to a year, once you quit.  I hope not, as I have two babies at home and I was put on this medication for post pardom depression.  What can everyone do?  I hope it gets better.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor XR for 10 years now (wow...) I started when I was 12 and just turned 22... it's been much too long to be on this. Anytime I missed a dose over the years I would experience the brain zaps and nausea.  I have tried going off of it a few times but after a couple weeks of horrible withdraw symptoms and returning depression/suicidal thoughts I give in and take a pill.  I was on 300 mg a day for several years and in the past year after trying to quit once was at least able to get it down to 150 a day and then to 75 and then skipping a day or two in between.  I went for about 5 days without taking any, but then on my birthday felt so horrible that I gave in and took one again.  That was Wednesday (the 19th) so it has been 4 days now and the symptoms are intense - which prompted me to seek out this site again.

I haven't seen a psychiatrist in years - my doctor just continues to write my refills.
I need to do this for myself though because besides not wanting to be on medication for the rest of my life due to major childhood depression and the choices doctors made for me when I couldn't understand the side-effects, I simply can not afford the medication anymore - nor can I afford to see a doctor to help me ease off of this.  

At this moment I'm pretty scared - but it is good to know others have gone through the same thing.  I'm disgusted that neither I nor my parents were ever informed of the withdrawal symptoms - nor were they ever discussed with me throughout my therapy even as the doctor continued to increase the dosage.  When he mentioned cutting back once, the withdrawal symptoms were never brought up.

I doubt that anyone looking to start effexor is looking at  this site now, but I wish people knew how hard and painful it is to stop before they literally get hooked on it.

If anyone is in the Washinton, DC area, I would love to meet up and form a bit of support network for this.  I have told a couple close friends about what I am going through, but not having experienced it themselves it is difficult for them to understand.

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who has shared on here and to the site managers, it is truly a relief to find others going through this.
Avatar universal
Hey all I've been trying to get off this **** for ages now (about 2 years) with no sucsess as of yet.
Each time I try I experience the usual symptoms, brain shocks, vertigo, etc and I always end up giving in. I have quit smoking and drinking which was a walk in the park compared to this.
I cant understand why this drug is still allowed to be sold?  we should all contact wyeth and demand it's discontinuation.!!!
Sorry, but it gets me so angry, they dont even admit to any withdrawwl effects!!. If I was only aware of this before I started taking it......
If anyone is out there reading this and is about to start effexor then, DONT.
Avatar universal
Hi , Ive been on Efexor for 10 Years, 2 months ago i went off them cold turkey, my depression was was never no better my weight was going up and up.depressing me more.
i went to doctors yesterday, i weighed 20st, im now 17,10 lbs, i feel better , phsyicaly, mentally its hell , hard work , with drawl is hard , im getting nightmares , teary eyed, moody, but i was angery more when i took efexor im more relaxed, strange that, i also slow ar reacting to things as if my brain not the same speed as my eyes. The fight continues.....
Avatar universal
5th day off of Effexor... vertigo, brain shocks, nausea, difficulty concentrating, over-reacting, fever..... I'm going to get through this though!!!  

I'm keeping a tally of days I'm off of it on a board and plan to update my symptoms on here (hope ya'll don't mind) to hold myself accountable.

I also got some 5-HTP at the advice of a friend... hopefully that will help.. I'll let you all know if it lessens the pain.

Avatar universal
One thing everyone has to remember is that withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone.  I was on Effexor for a little over a year when I decided that I had enough of this drug and was willing to deal with the unbearable withdrawal effects.  I can assure you that the withdrawal symptoms do go away... but it takes time.  The biggest symptom of all was the brain zaps.  Those lasted about 2.5 months (the severity decreased during that time).  Also during this timeframe, I had tingling sensations, headaches, unusual hunger, excessive saliva (this symptom came after a month of being off of it), moodiness, anxiety, crying episodes, dizziness, irritability, difficulty concentrating/talking, & insomnia.  Rest assured, all of these symptoms go away.  

I have battled with anxiety & depression for almost 10 years, and I finally realized that depression was "really" all in my head.  There was never any reason for it to begin with.  See a therapist.  Don't talk to psychiatrists or doctors because they are simply pill pushers for the problem.  You need to find the root cause of the issue and address it... which is what I did and I've never felt better and I can't see why I will ever be depressed again.  I should have seen a therapist years ago.

For everyone who is fighting withdrawal, don't give up!!!  It all goes away.  Your body has the ability to heal no matter what your doctors tell you.  Medical research studies are based off of statistics.  Don't let statistics tell you that you have a problem.  The human brain is capable of anything.  Like I said, withdrawal is different for everyone.  I am living proof that you can get through it.
Avatar universal
Wondering how you are doing.  I am on my 5 day now and not doing so good. Took med for 10 years up to 225 max. Fourth time trying to get off of it! This is the longest I've been able to go.  Are you feeling any better at this point as you are a little a head of me.   Has the 5-HTP helped?  
Avatar universal
I have been on 75 Effexor for a couple of years and lately have felt numb to any emotional feelings, have no desire for romance, sometimes I feel like I'm in a trance or I'm so tired I have to take a nap. Mainly, I feel disorganized in my mind and can't logically function in my work unless I really concentrate. It's hard to focus or concentrate and I have to really force my self to pay attention and go through details. I'm a project manager and can't organize or direct a team, much less be technically savy. I'm sick of feeling this way, so I've decided to stop taking this drug!

I started 2 weeks ago just skipping 1 dose every 2 days, next week I plan to skip 1 every 3 days. From the sounds of the withdrawl symptoms you all are having, I'm not too anxious to hurry through this.

Can't say I feel better yet, although the need for the naps has happened only once this week, when it used to be daily. I have felt some vertigo and nausea, but it's been managable so far. I hope by taking this very slowly I will not experience the terrible symptoms. I don't think I could handle the stress of that and carry on with my day to day activities.

One thing that I've found does help in depression and anxiety is visualization. Sometimes when I don't think I can do something I close my eyes and just try and visualize myself going through it. It helps, when you do it for real you can remember your visualization and it seems like you've done it before, which gives you confidence.

Good Luck you all - I'll post again and let you know how this works - I'm not feeling warm fuzzies about it since reading some of your posts :(
Avatar universal
I feel your pain and have been through the exact same issues; lack of desire, motivation, decreased cognitive ability, emotional numbness, etc.  What also got the better of me was that I was tired every single day.  I was drinking coffee just to get me by and to heighten my concentration since I too have a job that requires me to be on top of my game.  

I stopped taking Effexor half way into May ’07 and it was the best decision that I made, but it was a very difficult journey.  Prior to abruptly ending this madness, I weaned myself down from 150mg to 75mg (waited until the withdrawal symptoms disappeared before stopping the 75mg dose).  Perhaps I should have weaned myself down to the 37.5mg dose, but, regardless, this is what you should consider doing yourself to endure the withdrawal symptoms.  It’s a shame that there isn’t a smaller dose than the 37.5mg.  What you’ll learn during this experience is that you have to rise above it all.  Tell yourself that you can get through this everyday and resist temptation to take another dose.  If you have a significant other or close friend, it helps to talk about what you’re going through surprisingly.  I was fortunate enough to communicate my suffering to my significant other who comforted me all the way through this whole ordeal.  May, June, and July…. what an interesting experience that was.  

I can’t emphasize how good it felt when the withdrawal symptoms finally ceased, and to finally feel some sense of stability.  I stopped drinking coffee and I wasn’t lethargic anymore.

Don’t let everyone’s withdrawal experience discourage you from stopping.  Everyone is going to experience the withdrawal process differently.  How well you tolerate the symptoms seems to be relative to your own mental threshold for pain and suffering.  I kept a positive outlook as much as possible during times when my symptoms were intolerable.  But, I also had support as well to get me through…. this is key.  What I’m trying to get at is if 2 people experience a withdrawal symptom of the same degree of severity, what makes 1 person breakdown and take a dose of Effexor, and the other to fight through it, is your mental state.  Hang out with friends, watch a movie, talk it out, exercise, engage yourself in some activity to keep your mind off of it.  Don’t go at this alone.        
Avatar universal
reading your posts have helped me understand more what my (ex)girlfriend is going through and has been going through for the past few months. Unfortunately, she didn't want to share with me what she was dealing with on her emotional rollercoaster ride, and I didn't pressure her either.  I am learning more how I can support her while she's weaning herself off  Effexor.
Anyway, all I can do is be there for her if she needs me & be there for her even if she doesn't need me.
Avatar universal
It takes a very understanding person to support someone through this process and you seem to fall in that category.  During withdrawal, your thoughts and emotions can be extremely overwhelming and can cause emotional outbursts or irrational thinking.  Not knowing your girlfriend’s personality type, it may be difficult to say why she’s unable to talk about her symptoms.  She may be afraid to tell you what’s going on in her head due to the nature of her thoughts.  Also, she could be afraid of losing you if she does talk about it.  

Take it one step at a time.  Try asking her about a specific symptom first instead of asking about her overall emotional state.  Perhaps you can ask her about the ‘brain zaps’ (the feeling of electrical pulses crashing into your brain and down through each appendage).  This seems to be a common side effect (I know because I had it a little over 2 months).  If you get her to talk about 1 symptom, that’s a good start.  By taking that first step to break the silence, she may realize the benefit of getting these issues off her chest.  This may also pave the way for her to talk more about her emotions.  Just remember, getting to understand her pain can’t happen in 1 day.  It will take time and plenty of patience.  Give it a shot.  It doesn’t hurt to show that you care.  
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