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Side Effects of Getting off Effexor XR

I have been on Effexor XR 75 mg for 12 months.  Two weeks ago I went to my doctor and discussed the possibilty of becoming pregnant in the near future, and if I should get off the medicine first.  He said I need to get off the medicine first, and now for two weeks I've been on 37.5 mg which the Dr. said to do for a month, and after a month go back to decide whether then to get completely off it, or if I should take one every other day.  For the last week, however, I've been having awful muscle cramps and spasms in my legs that are painful, and preventing me from sleeping through the nite. My legs jump at nite and its hard to relax them.  I am using a heating pad and I now take a Tylenol PM at night to help with pain and to help me sleep.  Is this a withdrawal symptom from Effexor?  Thank you.
31 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
The discontinuation syndrome usually consists of nausea and somnolence, but leg cramps and almost any other new sensation can occur in the withdrawal phase, and these are temporary as long as you continue to withdraw slowly over a month. You might experiment by doing 75 mg. every other day, alternating with 37.5 mg, and do this for a week to see if leg cramps go away; or you might continue what you are doing for a few more days to see if they will go away on their own as your body accomdates to the lower dose.
Avatar universal
I haven't had any experience with Effexor... but i have experienced the exact same leg cramps/spasms you mentioned. Mine were the result of a mineral deficency, Potassium. After a day or two of supplements, the symptoms vanished. Bananas are high in potassium too, might want to just eat a couple of those for a couple days and see if it helps. I've also heard that other mineral deficencies, like Magnesium, can cause similar symptoms, but Potassium is the most common. Anyway, just something to consider... perhaps might give you some relief until you can find out if it's part of the Effexor withdrawl. Even if Potassium works, those symptoms are surely worth reporting to your doctor when you're altering your medication. I hope you get some relief soon. :)
Avatar universal
Did you find that the 75mg Effexor helped you over the course of the 12 months?
Avatar universal
I have been suffering from cramping in the legs as well.The GP said it was due to lack of exercise.Being a devoted E.C teacher I couln't quite understand that diagnosis. Thank you for the suggestion of mineral supplements.
Avatar universal
those leg cramps can also result if you exercise a lot and thus sweat a lot... that was my problem. not too much exercise though, just not taking enough minerals, esp Poatissium. I've heard that potasium supplements can be hard to come by in the USA, something about if you take insanely HUGE amouts in can be toxic. Bananas and Papayas are among the highest i believe, and its found in many friuts. here's a complet list:


I work-out(weight-training, running, etc) 5-6 days a week for at least 2 hours a day- So I both sweat a lot and drink loads of water. This really flushes the minerals out of your body. So i've found it nessesary supllement my diet with a lot of miniarals.

hope it helps you out. those leg cramps are absolute hell!
Avatar universal
Thanks for the reply.It makes sense about mineral loss. I'm a dreadful eater . In the past I could just throw myself into my work and not have these reprocussions. 300mgs of E-XR over a long period probably doesn't help either.I'm looking into the info you gave me.I feel really hopeful... Thanks
Avatar universal
If your interested in how different vitimins, minerals, and amino acids affect the levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals, as well as guidelines for developing your own program. I've found it very interesting and am trying to develop my own program so i can avoid the world of anti-dpressents and hopefully not stay on anti-anxiety meds for too long. I'm not too fond of the side-effects, i'm clumsy enough naturally! ;)

Anyway, There's a free e-book written by an MD that describes all this stuff:
Avatar universal
I just discontinued taking Effexor XR and it was the most difficult and painful thing I have ever done!  The side effects for me were:  increased depression, confusion, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, and on and on and on...
I am so angry that the drug company (Wyeth) and the doctor didn't know what I was talking about!  How can they not know?  They do clinical trials.  
Just ridiculous!  I signed the petition to have it reviewed by the FDA (I was about # 4,500, so I know I'm not alone).  The only relief I am getting is by switching to an SSRI (Celexa).  I just ate my first meal in three days!  Hopefully, the discontinuation of it will be less disruptive.  So, I say, get off the Effexor, it's bad!

Avatar universal
Hello, I'm glad I found this forum. I have been on Effexor xl for about 4 yrs. I've had terrible bouts with depression while on Effexor, wishing the lord would just take me. When I told my doctor that he just put me on a higher dose.....with no improvement. Anyway, I've been trying to take myself off of it.
I've been taking one every other day. Then last month I quit taking effexor. I had terrible dizziness that would bring on such nausea I felt I would throw up. The whole room would spin (frontword.)This went on for 2 weeks.
I thought maybe I had a brain tumor or something!! Then my dad said maybe I should start the effexor again and see if it's the culprit. Well here I am, no more spins. I've been back on it for about a month.
RANKSTER are you still off of the effexor?? How are you doing?
How long did your symptoms last? How is your depression??
Thanks in advance for letting me share, God bless, Wendy
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor SR 150 mg for approximately 3 years.  I tried weaning following MD recommendations...took 75 mg for 1 wk then 37.5 mg for one week.  Have now been totally off for 4 days.  During the weaning my mood was fine, but now that I'm taking nothing, the side effects are awful:  vertigo, my brain feels like it is "sloshing" in my head, ears are ringing, nausea, tremors, abd and leg cramps, diarrhea, can't focus, can't comprehend what I hear, and feel on the verge of just falling down and seizing.  I believed my depression was situational so decided to forego changing meds.  It is so bad, that I changed my mind and just took the first Lexpro in my sample pill pack...am afraid this is a life-long disease and will be on meds til the end...
Avatar universal
Hello everyone. I was on Effexor XR for about 2 months to help treat my OCD,  and my doctor has weaned me totally off of the 37.5 dosage. Now I can bearly even stay awake, the side effects are awful, I constantly feel dizzy during the day, my heart beats really irregular, all I want to do is cry.  I feel like Im losing my mind, Im only 21 years old and it feels like Im going crazy, now the doctor has put me on Xanax to help with these effects, but it is not working. If anyone has been in a similar situation I would really like to hear how long this will last, I feel like I will end up in a mental hospital my emotions are out of control! Help!
Avatar universal

I know exactly what you are feeling.  I was on 150mg for 2 yrs and last month I wanted off.  I talked with the Dr. and I did 75mg for a week and 37.5mg for a week.  Well it didn't work.  At this moment I have a horrible feeling in my head that is similar to a popping feeling and sound, this happens when I blink or turn my head or do nothing.  I constantly have a sick feeling.  I am so on edge it's not funny and I just want to be left alone.  I have experience the emotional feelings also but not the crying.  I haven't cried in God nows how many years, right now I could if I tried just a little.
I hope this all goes away soon.  I feel like I can't handle it!

Avatar universal
Hello, i have been on effexor for probably 2 years now, and i've suddenly had to get off due to insurance problems.
Ive turned into a psycho.
i didnt think this had bad side effects while trying to get off, i thought it was mainly all my xanax, wich without insurance is only 17 bucks.
I dont know what to do..this is just my first day so far, and i've done a total circle and now i feel like i did at 18 (totally helpless and not exactly sane)
i'm now 22, have been on almost everything. but getting off this one is a huge kick in the *ss.
does anyone have any info on what i'm supposed to do now, or what i could do?
thanks so much,
Avatar universal
hi, i was on prozac for about 3 years ( im 22 by the way), when i felt it was no longer helping my depression the doctor switched me to effexor 1x75mg daily. i must admit i no longer feel as depressed, but i have been experiencing really bad episodes of dizziness, tiredness and sickness. Anyway i never thought it could be the tablets, so i went to my doctor who took some bloods to check for things like anaemia and thyroid trouble. The results were normal. I haven't seen the doctor again.
It wasn't untill i came on this sight that i have realised that it may be the tablets ( i am actually quiet upset that the dr didn't even realise or chech that this was an option).
My symptoms have been:
a feeling as if my heart is beating really loudly and hard
a 'weird' feeling in my head, that i get when i get up or move my head quickly, kinda as if my brain is dancing about
i have been really emotional without been depressed, for example, iv been crying at the silliest things on tv

do u think these may be related to me taking effexor?? and do u think i should go back and see my doctor ( i dont want him to think im being a pain in the bum)
Avatar universal
Hi, I understand that Effexor is horrid to get off.
But if you want to get off Effexor what advise do you have?
Can anyone advise how to make this withdrawel period easier?
Is it possible to hold down a professional job whiles coming off the drug?
Excuse my ignornace, but I am not all too familiar with ways to make coming off Effexor easier - or is the best advise to stay on it, as the side effects are so terrible?
Avatar universal
I have just joined this thread and I wanted to say to anyone/everyone trying to wean off Effexor or any other anti-depressant - (I took Paxil for 5 years and I am now taking 300mg of Effexor XR for almost a year) - if you have ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT IT, no matter how dumb you think they are, ASK YOUR DOCTOR!!!  And try to get information on your own as well - the main thing is the doctor's definition of "weaning" is usually not the same as your body's definition and everyone is different - if you are not switching to something else, that is the hardest thing to do - and yes, all of those symptoms happen and it's a living hell but the key is to TAPER, TAPER, TAPER - i don't care if you have to take one granule from inside a capsule out once a week and reduce it like that, you have to make it so GRADUAL that your body doesn't go through so much trauma - it shouldn't have to be that awful - make it as easy on yourself as possible - i have been told that with Effexor, if you need to half or quarter what is in a capsule, you can ask a pharmacist to compound it - or buy veggie caps and pour half of what's in a capsule into one of those and reduce slowly that way.  Just keep SMALL reductions happening at regular intervals - it will take a lot longer but it won't be as traumatic.

Now here is my question to anyone out there, have any of you had problems with your blood pressure increasing with Effexor?? I had read about it but my doctor never said anything about it.  Then one day I had a physical and my b.p. was 150/110 !!!!! (that's high for someone who is always normal 120/80) - I now may have to switch off of Effexor which has been very effective for me - has anyone else had this problem with blood pressure?
Avatar universal
I too am coming off effexor and agree the withdrawals are horrible.  I have discovered that if I take extra Bcomplex 100(natural, not synthetic stuff), natural multivitamins with lutein and lycopene and Omega 3 fish oil, it helps a lot.  Also, I take a natural sleep pill with valeran, melatonin, chamomile,skullcap, and hops; it helps.  These were recommended by a nutritionist and seem to REALLY help. I try to skip as many days as possible before finally having to take an effexor capsule. I started at three days, then finally went to four after about 3 weeks, and now I'm at 5, but am having trouble today and will probably take one tonight. It seems to be a slow process, but I honestly can see improvement.  I joined a class action law suit about this, too. for a med to be non-addicting, this certainly seems to me to be pretty addicting.
Avatar universal
I too am coming off effexor and agree the withdrawals are HORRIBLE.  I have discovered that if I take extra Bcomplex 100(natural, not synthetic stuff), natural multivitamins with lutein and lycopene and Omega 3 fish oil, it helps a lot.  Also, I take a natural sleep pill with valeran, melatonin, chamomile,skullcap, and hops; it helps.  These were recommended by a nutritionist and seem to REALLY help. I try to skip as many days as possible before finally having to take an effexor capsule. I started at three days, then finally went to four after about 3 weeks, and now I'm at 5, but am having trouble today and will probably take one tonight. It seems to be a slow process, but I honestly can see improvement.  I joined a class action law suit about this, too. for a med to be non-addicting, this certainly seems to me to be pretty addicting.Yes, you can hold down a professional job, but you have to wean yourself VERY slowly. Start with skipping one day;  do that for a couple of weeks, then skip two days, etc.  I go as long as a can without taking one, then take one.  The need gets farther and farther apart.
Avatar universal
Yes, you can hold down a professional job, but you have to wean yourself very, very slowly. Try skipping one day, then after a few weeks, try skipping two days, etc.  SLOW!!!  I have been weaning myself from effexor for 1 1/2 months and am up to five days without the med. I push it as far out as I can, then when I really need to take an effexor, I do. I also am taking (at the suggestion of a nutritionist) extra b complex 100, multivitamin with lutein and lycopene, omega 3 fish oil, valerlan, melatonin, chamomile, hops, and skullcap. ALL NATURAL, not synthetic. They definitely help me.
The withdrawal symptoms are horrible, but going slowly, you can do it. My worst has been the pain in my eyes and the swishing sounds and electrical-like impulses in my head. I gained 30 pounds on this drug and I hate it.  I have joined a class action law suit. Good luck to each of you.
Avatar universal
I am also in the process of getting off Effexor XR. I have been having almost the same side effects as Berly.  However, it is not so much a cramp, but rather an inability to keep my legs still.  I also am dealing with insomnia.  In fact, I am writing this because I can't relax enough to go to sleep.  Is there anything I can do to relieve these symptons so that I can get some rest?  Thank you.....roger
Avatar universal
I am currently 25 weeks pregnant, and i am still taking effexor xr but i am on the lowest dose, 37.5 mg. I am really concerned about staying on it, and how to get myself off. My obgyn doctor had told me it was safe, but i don't feel as though she listens to anything i say. Everything I have been reading on the internet about this medicine is starting to concern me. Is it safe to stay on it? Or should i stop taking it? and how do you get yourself off of it once your on the lowest dose? Because it does have horrible side effects, and i don't want this to effect my baby.
Avatar universal
I am also in the process of getting off Effexor 75mg I have been very nervous and dizzy. I will like to know if this is normal.
Avatar universal
I am getting off Effexor XR 75 mg and I am taking one every other day right now and I've started feeling dizzy, too and a little disoriented. I would also like to know if this is normal. I'm thinking it is since Jali has the same symptom.
Avatar universal
I too, am weaning off Effexor XR. From 75 mg to 37.5 mg and I am 14 weeks pregnant. My obgyn doesn't seemed concerned that I was taking Effexor and even said I should breastefeed. But right now I am really dizzy: how long will this last?
Avatar universal
You should check out these pages on EFFEXOR


Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor 150mg for about a year and a half now.  I went to my OB/GYN because my husband and I want to try and get pregnant.  The doc told me I need to come off the meds because it wasn't safe for a baby.  Today I started taking 75mg and will do so for 2 weeks and then drop down to 37.5mg for another two weeks.  So far today I've been okay.  I had a mild headache earlier but it could have been from anything.  If I was going to start feeling side effects when would I.  I honestly feel like I am too stubborn to feel side effects.  I like to do the opposite of most so by reading all these forums and the nasty side effects I hope I don't get them.  Any thoughts?
Avatar universal
I thought I could handle this weaning process without incident, but I was very wrong.  I am on the verge of tears much of the time, feel nauseous, have diarrhea and dizzy spells.....and generally just feel horrible.  What an awful drug!  If I had known about the difficulty in getting off Effexor, I would NEVER have started taking it.  I only needed it for an acute, situational bout of depression but was told it would help with menopausal symptoms as well.....Well, I can tell you that hot flashes are NOTHING compared to the dreadful side effects I am exeriencing as I get off this drug!  Oh well.
I'm glad I found this blog and very glad to know that I'm not alone in this....and very, VERY glad to know that I will eventually feel OK again!    
Avatar universal
You asked if anyone has had any problems with their blood pressure since getting off the medication, and I have. It has raised my blood pressure significantly. I am on my fourth day of no effexor now and it is pretty miserable, but I am fighting through it (I tapered down but effexor xr only goes to 37.5 and then your off) because I absolutely REFUSE to get back on this drug. I am 24 and have never had any problems with my blood pressure, I know it is from Effexor. I started doing some research about this, (go to wyeths site, http://www.effexorxr.com/faqs.asp#9) they state "Tell your health care professional right away if you have: increases in blood pressure or heart rate. " Can you believe that? My doctor didn't even know that effexor was the reason for my newly raised blood pressure, it took me five seconds to figure that out, ridiculous. The side effects have been ridiculous on this medication. I originally got on it because I was having panic attacks, and I must say that Effexor took those away. But even as bad as the panic attacks were the side effects are NOT worth it!!! I have gained over fifty pounds in two years and I have NEVER had any problems with my weight (of course the doctor says there is no way it could be Effexor) unbelievable! I have horrible night sweats, vivid dreams that are just plain scary and keep me from going to sleep because I know I am going to have horrible dreams, increased blood pressure, weight gain, no emotions ( I literally could not cry no matter what while on the drug) now that I am coming off I could cry about anything, horrible brain zaps. These are only the side effects that I can feel now, what about long term side effects from this medication that we have no idea about? This drug should seriously be illegal. If a medication can cause you to have vivid dreams and raise your blood pressure, it just flat out cannot be good for you.
Avatar universal
This was revealing:


Avatar universal
So I'm not alone.  I have been on effexor for 7 years...yes, 7.  I'm trying to get off of it, and I feel like a zombie.  I can't sleep, have nausea, my brain feels like it's rolling in my head, my eyesight seems to go in and out of focus, I'm crying randomly and excessively, and my whole body is just aching.  I have fibromyalgia...that is why they put me on this god awful drug to start with.  I can't determine now if I am just having withdrawal symptoms or if it is the fibromyalgia at full force.  There has to be a better solution...I've been off for four days now and I  am absolutely miserable.
Avatar universal
i am actually quite CONCERNED/ Just reading everyones articles on effexor, and coming off of these. Well, i have been on effexor 75mg xr/xl for nearly five years, To be honest, when i first went on them, after getting over the initial shock of taking these, and feeling like id been pumped full of some illegal drug, the effects were actually good, and it did relieve my anxiety/depression, and gav eme slight energy. Last year, my Dr put me up to 150mg a day, due to another failed relationship and me being at the end of the world. I have now decided i want off of these tablets, as i have lost all drive, be it sexual or personal, any feelings of anything have gone, no energy, happy to just sit and let time fly by. No tears, cant show any sadness. My Dr said that maybe i should have the dosage increased, but i said NO. So, she recomended i just half the dose one week, then stop it the week after?!?? madness, and i know that would kill me, so, i am realy really slowly reducing the dose. I have done 2 weeks where every 3rd day i take one 75mg slow release, and one 37.5 tablet, and now i am down ro 1 slow release and 1 tablet every day. Going to do this for a week or to. One thing i have noticed, slight headaches started and pretty bad nausea, that even gives me that lump in the throat like im going to be sick. Part from that , i am coping at the moment, but only really just beginning. Any advice?????? colls10 at hotmail *******
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