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

Effexor XR withdrawal

I started effexor over four years ago and steadied at a 225mg dosage for about three years.  In the past year i've been doing mentally better than ever and have gradually been decreasing my dosage until i was on 75mg for about 4-6 months.  A bit over a month ago i decided to go entirely off and went down to 37.5 for two weeks and then completely off.  I have been off for about 2-3 weeks now.  Initially i felt the physical withdrawal weirdness that i was expecting, and that lasted for about 5 days or so.  But in the past week or two my mood has really taken a turn for the worse.  I'm crying more than ever before, irrationally obsessive about my appearance, and just feelings of helplessness and not being grounded in the world.  Is this an effexor withdrawal effect (and thus will be lessened as time goes on) or is this my natural mood and behavior without effexor?  I don't want to go back on effexor, especially if this may only be temporary, a lag i have to go through, but how long will this last?  are such delayed mood effects from withdrawal possible?  I'm currently not on any other mood affecting drug.  Any insights would be appreciated.
14 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
It does not sound like a physiological withdrawal but can certainly be a psychological withdrawal that is exposing some unfinished business that was masked by the medication. If you can deal with it by yourself for another few weeks, that might be all that is necessary.  If it continues longer, see a therapist who does not prescribed medications to see if you can get to the bottom of this.
Avatar universal
I also take Effexor.  I suffer never ending side effects but did find that mood was much better.  I reduced 1/2 a tablet a month ago to relieve symptoms, but the flip side is deterioration of mood to a depressed state.  Effexor is a powerful drug that has too many side effects for my taste.  Do you know of alternatives to it?
Avatar universal
I, too, discontinued effexor xr after 2 yrs, and suffered physically from the withdrawal symptoms (about 3 1/2 weeks).  I now have almost the same feelings of helplessness, extreme sadness, feeling like I don't belong anywhere on this planet.  I've sought the help of a psychologist (not psychiatrist).  I hope to get to the root of this.  I just don't remember feeling this bad before I went on the drug.  I am beginning to think that this is part of the withdrawal.  I'm a healthy 34 yr old.  I don't want to be on any medication.  Katyaytak -if you come across anything enlightening, please post it on this forum.  Thank you.
Avatar universal
I am taking 75mg effexor a day and it really works for me.  Sure there are unwanted side effects but they're not too bad.  I was prescribed the medicine after 3 years of therapy for PTSD and it took me a while to even consider medication might help.  Only when I couldn't go on anymore and had nothing to loose by taking a little pill did I seriously commit to a medication regime.  I did this carefully with guidance from my GP and recommendations from my therapist (who wrote my GP a letter).
At first I was prescibed cipramil, but that didn't have a big enough effect to stabilise my mood.  Effexor was next, and for me it really does the job.  It just makes me so tired I could almost nap when my son does!

But enough about me my advice is this;

Don't compare scripts with other posts on this site.  Medicine that works well for katyaytak may not neccesarily work well for floydi or goofball.  We all have a different brain chemistry and this is KEY when taking any anti depressants.  Only your doctor can tell you what medicine you should progress to next if you have a big problem with effexor. Taking medicine because it helped 'a friend' is the silliest thing you could do for yourselves - and the wrong reason to be asking for a medicine anyway!!! I'm surprised at all you posters to this particular question!  You should already know this.

Don't wait around to see what other people are taking and don't try to medicate yourselves by asking for specific prescriptions.
All of you need to ring up and make an appointment to review with your prescribing doctor's the medicines that you are currently on.  Let the doctor be the judge of what you should try ... they didn't spend so many hours studying for nothing you know!
Avatar universal
I'm really full of opinions, am I not? Please see other effexor side effects (in first hand posts) on the other 'effexor' question in this forum. It will blow you away how many people are wondering about this drug.  Read their stories and write your own! It is a wealth of information about other's experience with effexor XR and it is a must read, guys!!!

Avatar universal
Well I have to tell you my effexor xr story or should I say nightmare? At first the stuff made me to tired to function, it worked on the constant sadnes I was feeling.  I asked my Dr. to put me on it because supposedly I wouldn't gain weight on it and I was sick and tired of crying all the time!
    To make a long story short I have put on a whopping 50LBS on my tiny patiete bone sructure! I had kidney stones recently and was totally blown away when I asked my uroligist if the kidney stones I was having had anything to do with me gaining weight and not being able to stop it or take it off!  I cried and I was so mad at my regular Doc because I had worked so hard to take off excess baby 190lbs post partum! Any way I weigh that now and I'm not even Preg! He pointed the finger at the effexor, mind you I have knee problem that is agitated even more with this extra poundage! Athsma too! Talk about the odds stacked against me!  Anyways I recently have gone off the effexor all together boom-quik! I couldn't stand knowing this monster chemical was in my viens so I went off in about 3 Weeks. Yeah my body twweeked.  I felt like I was constantly drunk and riding in an elevator! I sleep about 18hrs a day!  Ringing in my ears and trouble holding my bladder that on top of the constant nausea.  It's been 7 days now and today the eighth day I feel almost normal!  Oh yeah I cry a lot and I'm hyper sensitive to sudden and loud noise but I made it.  I beat it!  Yes I am on Welbutrin and have been for about 3 months because I couldn't take the sleepines anymore!  I feel Great and better every day!  Please tell me your story!
Avatar universal
I have just posted a question on Effexor XR. See bgebrbr Nov 19,2004.  I think this drug is awful, I had no idea until I did get off of it.  It has been a month and I still have alot of side effects.  I'm so glad I found this web site, I thought it was me, I thought I was going crazy and maybe I really needed to be put back on this medication.  All side effects seem to be gone at this point except the mood swings and they are awful.
Avatar universal
EFFEXOR XL is the most addictive,trouble from withdrawl,bad side effects ect ever,in the anti-depresant catogory.Here in England a doctor can not prescribe them,it has to be a specialist or phyciciatrist....Typical,they throw them at you for years and then tell you.Im on a 225mg dose and have been from 3 years.Also the life off the drug is only 9 to 12 months now they say.....except nobody can get off.I myself took 2 months cutting down slowly from 300mg 12 weeks i got down to 10mg and i was rushed into hospital with bad withdrawl...Its poison,it dosnt make you feel any better,it just makes you feel as though you are yourself before it was scripted for you,but you try and stop.......f--k you  die,i hate that drug company.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor for 7 years (max 225 then down to 150)

Over the past 8 weeks I have been gradually withdrawing from the drug, very, very slowly. I have been off completly for 7 days and I feel aweful. Brain shivers (electric shock feeling), mood swings, severe and sudden depressive feelings, crying).

Has anyone ever come off this hateful drug sucessfully. Are these withdrawel effects? or long term. Does this med do permanent damage. My GP does'nt seem to have any knowledge of what to expect.

How are drug companies allowed to market such posion. I thought they are governed


Avatar universal
I've been on Effexor XR for 4.5 years.  It has been an absolute miracle for myself in dealing with my autistic son who needs me to be an exceptional mother and then some.  This drug has enabled me to be patient and calm when in my life prior to effexor, I would have thrown him through a wall.  He is doing great and so am I.  The two problems I have are the doses that I have missed, which give me a clue as to how bad the withdrawl is going to be when I finally decide to let go; and second is the fact that I have gained over 40lbs.  It was slow but definite.  I am 30 so I chalked it up to that, but after reading I see this happens to many of us.  I'm scared to let go because of my son, but my own health is starting to suffer because of the weight gain, my cholesterol is up, way up, I've had 3 kidney stones, so large they could not pass and I look awful and I'm very, very tired.  I want to hop onto something else without totally letting go, is that cowardish?  If it were only me, I'd walk from it and deal with it, but when you have children depending on you to more than a great mom, you have to really think about this.  I would appreciate any feed back you may have in dealing with this the most invisible way possible.
Avatar universal
Hi everyone--please my story at Quince 12/16/04 under sandymae 1/11/05--------This whole thing scares me, but I am doing much better. I've been off for about 3 or 4 months now. Dexed..... what do you mean when you say that "they say that the life off the drug now is about 9 months." I don't get it?????
thanks, sandy
Avatar universal
Hello everyone, I had no previous experience with anti-depressants when I was put on effexor.I had little knowledge of it's serious risks and side affects when I started using the drug.  After a few weeks I found that it helped greatly in reducing my anxiety around people and seemed to accelerate many aspects of my life.  There were some minor side affects such as constant sweating, yawning, insomnia/nightmares, ect.  Things were going good so I decided it would be a good idea to up the dose.  Of course, my doctor was quick to agree and wrote the prescription.  Having no knowledge of how these things worked, I would not take one if I was feeling fine.  This is when the problems truly set in.  By the afternoon of a day in which I missed my dose, I would become extremely dizzy, irritable, confused, tired, and overall feel disconnected from the real world.   I brought this up to my doctor and decided I didn't want to go any further if it would be this hard when I had to call it quits.  The next month of weining off was much like everyone has described. The road to freedom from effexor was an extremely frightening one in my case.  I was literally on an emotional roller coaster.  The "brain shivers" had me frightened along with the the seemingly constant feelings of dizzyness, fatigue, confusion, and  even hopelessness.  I am happy to inform you that all of these demons did completely pass after a month or two off of the drug.  After a brief period of drug abuse following this havoc, I am completely free of effexor's nasty grip.  The only affect that I still notice is I can still dream frequently however it is almost always pleasant dreams  =).  So in the end, yes, your withdrawls will diminish. Other than an almost non-existent trust in doctors, everything turns up fine.  Hang in there and god bless.  -free at last
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor XR for over one year to treat my post-partum depression.  I started out at 150 mg and recently have been successful in lowering my dosage (over the past 5 months) to 37.5 mg/day.  However, my OB/GYN said to take the 37.5 mg every other day for a week or two and then I should be able to wean myself completely off.  Ha!  I can't do it.  I skipped one day, and just about died.  not really, but I couldn't function.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  I have two children, 14 mos, and 4 yrs, so sleeping doesn't quite fit in there.  I stuck through it though, and didn't give in and take a pill.  I made it till the next day.  I took my pill...and threw up.  I became so nauseous, tired, irritable that I threw the one thing I wanted up in the toilet.  I am miserable.  I feel like I'm a heroin addict or something.  Do we have to go through detox to get off of this?  Anybody have advise on how to get off of this?  Do I need to lock myself in a room and sleep it off for a week solid?  Does anyone know???
Avatar universal
I was on Effexor for depression for over a year and was feeling good - it was time to wean off.  I did the decreased dosage over time, and by the time I was down to 37mg, I was miserable. I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't work, I couldn't sleep, I was a mess.

I went to see my Doctor, and told her that I couldn't take the symptoms anymore. She actually put me on a different anti depressant (Zoloft) and that took care of the emotional and physical side effects of the Effexor. I don't know if one is better than the other, but I have fewer side effects with this, and if I miss a dose, I don't feel like I'm crawling out of my skin.  

My original doctor prescribed Effexor so quickly, it scares me to know that more people are being given this horrible medication. It needs to be taken off of the market - I don't know anyone who has had a decent experience trying to come off of it.
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