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Withdrawal from Effexor XR

A was on 300mg Effexor XR for a year, and have been tapering off to 150mg, then 75mg and for the past 5 days have been off cold turkey.  Other than a strange unbalancing feeling when I shift my eyes right or left, I don't have any other withdrawal effects.  I am wondering how long the unbalanced weird feeling and occasional tingle in my fingers will last.

I have been sleeping much better and not eating so much, which is a nice change, too!

I have lithium here which they put me on about 6 months ago but it made me so out of it, I stopped taking it within a few weeks with no problem.  My doctors never spent more than 15 minutes to evaluate me on 3 separate occasions and a large part of my mood swings and issues when I started "treatment" was my excessive drinking. All I had to do was tell them what I wanted to be put on and they gave it to me.  

I have now been sober over a year now and fully believe the drinking had everything to do with the poor decisions and mood swings - I used a mental health disorder as a crutch to blame the consequences of my drinking problem.

Either way, I am fully clean now and want to be off of the drugs.  I no longer see the same doctors since my insurance expired Dec 31 and now have to start over with a new doctor and insurance.  But that is something I dont want to have to do if its not necessary.  If it is necessary I would rather start from scratch with a new doctor to evaluate me while Im alcohol free.

Anyways thats my story and I am just trying to get some advice on how long these feelings will last.  I just want a chance to go back to normal with all of the positive changes Ihave made in my life over the past year.

Thanks for your help!
Shel
15 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Good for you, you are on the right pathway. I believe that medications are over prescribed in just the way you described, and people will feel and function much better if they can get off of the medications and deal with the underlying problems.

You should expect to be symptoms free within ten more days...
Avatar universal
I had the same weird eye twitching thing, like something was behind my eyeballs. It took about 1 week. I just found this website hope you are well by now. I hated EFFEXOR.
Avatar universal
Just an update - I have been feeling side effect free for about a week - total of withdrawals was about 2 weeks.  I feel much better now completely off the meds - except I cry very easily during tv shows and commercials that are sad or emotional *smile*
Avatar universal
From experience, your withdrawal symptoms are totally valid and relate to you not taking your effexor the night before. This has happened to me, and my shrink told me it was withdrawal due to effexor having a very short half life (or something like that). I was drowsy, couldn't wake and felt like I'd been hit with a truck. I've been on effexor about 8 years (or as long as it's been available) and I've experienced these symptoms twice, missing my dose twice.
Avatar universal
I have just stopped taking Effexor. I am now on the second day. I can honestly say that I have never been in a crappier mood than I am right now. I have very unusual side affects. Twitches, frequent bowel movements, irritability. I would be OK if I didn't feel these twitches. I can't sleep at night. Is there anything that can be done to control them? I know that I don't need this drug at all and will be anxious when all of this is over. I hate Effexor. I didn't even want to have sex when I was on it. That is very unusual for me.
Avatar universal
Wyeth is a disgrace.  To know that they were and are fully aware of the physiological addiction of Effexor XR and have not made such information publically available is sickening.  When starting Effexor a year ago, I was brought up to a dose of 300mg/day.  I was not told of any withdrawal syndromes or addictive potentials of this drug - I checked WebMD and of course that site says nothing because who sponsors it but the pharmecutial companies themselves.  My pharmacist knew nothing of its addictive potential and had not heard of the effects of Effexor on simple things like circulation (blood pressure and 'tingling' extremeties).  The fact simply remains : Effexor IS PHYSIOLOGICALLY ADDICTIVE.  It may be 'non habit forming' because it does not provide the user with a feeling of euphoria - but studies have proven Effexor's addictive qualities.  Mothers who took Effexor for brief periods of time during the pregnancy had neo-natal fetuses suffering from Withdrawal Syndrome.  Who was on Effexor withdrawal but Andrea Yates herself when she drowned her children (supposedly, anyways).  I have tried three times unsuccessfully to taper Effexor.  The last time I tapered to 265 mg/day for a week and it was miserable - I know what it feels like now to be an addict going through rehab.  I was crippled with nausea, vomiting, headaches, spinning head, vertigo, the 'electrical' impulse feeling (like I could sense my nervous system conducting action potentials when my eyes would move).  Several lawsuits exist currently to fight this evil - some that involve sufferers who experience seizures and neuropathy because of this ****.  SIGN THE PETITION, GET YOUR VOICE ACROSS. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. We can not let the pharmeceutical companies reap the benefit of getting addicts to their medications.  Is there no justice? I am 19 years old. In college and graduate school concurrently; I must take off my fall semester and find a way of support to get myself off this medication starting immediately this summer... after 3 days cold turkey one time I was about to physically die from the withdrawl effects - I could not get out of bed, kept hearing buzzing in my head, had a fever of over 102 and hot/cold spells. My breathing was depressed, and I was at my wit's end.  THIS CAN NOT CONTINUE TO PLAGUE INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO FIGHT DEPRESSION, NOT ADD A DRUG ADDICTION TO THEIR LIST OF WORRIES.
Avatar universal
Wyeth is a disgrace.  To know that they were and are fully aware of the physiological addiction of Effexor XR and have not made such information publically available is sickening.  When starting Effexor a year ago, I was brought up to a dose of 300mg/day.  I was not told of any withdrawal syndromes or addictive potentials of this drug - I checked WebMD and of course that site says nothing because who sponsors it but the pharmecutial companies themselves.  My pharmacist knew nothing of its addictive potential and had not heard of the effects of Effexor on simple things like circulation (blood pressure and 'tingling' extremeties).  The fact simply remains : Effexor IS PHYSIOLOGICALLY ADDICTIVE.  It may be 'non habit forming' because it does not provide the user with a feeling of euphoria - but studies have proven Effexor's addictive qualities.  Mothers who took Effexor for brief periods of time during the pregnancy had neo-natal fetuses suffering from Withdrawal Syndrome.  Who was on Effexor withdrawal but Andrea Yates herself when she drowned her children (supposedly, anyways).  I have tried three times unsuccessfully to taper Effexor.  The last time I tapered to 265 mg/day for a week and it was miserable - I know what it feels like now to be an addict going through rehab.  I was crippled with nausea, vomiting, headaches, spinning head, vertigo, the 'electrical' impulse feeling (like I could sense my nervous system conducting action potentials when my eyes would move).  Several lawsuits exist currently to fight this evil - some that involve sufferers who experience seizures and neuropathy because of this ****.  SIGN THE PETITION, GET YOUR VOICE ACROSS. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. We can not let the pharmeceutical companies reap the benefit of getting addicts to their medications.  Is there no justice? I am 19 years old. In college and graduate school concurrently; I must take off my fall semester and find a way of support to get myself off this medication starting immediately this summer... after 3 days cold turkey one time I was about to physically die from the withdrawl effects - I could not get out of bed, kept hearing buzzing in my head, had a fever of over 102 and hot/cold spells. My breathing was depressed, and I was at my wit's end.  THIS CAN NOT CONTINUE TO PLAGUE INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO FIGHT DEPRESSION, NOT ADD A DRUG ADDICTION TO THEIR LIST OF WORRIES.
Avatar universal
Reading about the side effects of coming off of Effexor scares me to death.  I will begin tapering off of this drug tonight... dropping my dosage to 37.5 mg for one week and then off for good.

I am in the process of interviewing for a new job and I'm totally freaked out because I am afraid the side effects will effect my ability to sell myself in a positive way.  What if I forget what to say or start to shake?  This is awful timing for me, but being unemployed, I cannot afford the high cost of this drug, nor do I feel that remaining on the drug is healthy for me.  

Has anyone had a positive experience coming off of this "addictive" drug?  I have read many posts and see that some have used over-the-counter stuff like Benadryl and Equate.  Any others that will help me through this transition?

Your shared advice and experiences are greatly appreciated.

Good luck.

Kim
Avatar universal
i've just stopped taking effexor cold turkey and i'm experiencing vertigo, nausea and excessive tiredness right now.  but i was feeling so toxic on it that i'm willing to put up with this for a bit...its good to be able to read people's personal experiences with this horrible drug. and i'm mad that no one told me it was addictive and had such evil withdrawal effects. i believe that the doctor prescribed me effexor without ever actually considering whether or not i needed it. good luck to all of you who are coming off effexor and i hope i will lose these side-effects soon.i sympathise with those of you who are suffering really badly. the advice i would give to anyone considering taking this drug is DONT!!it creates more problems than it solves.
Avatar universal
I have a question that I hope someone can answer.  I have been on Effexor XR for 2 1/2 years now.  I have tried unsuccessfully two times to get off of this drug.  I am now on my third try.  My DR. put me on wellbutrin while he tapered me off effexor.  I have not taken effexor for about 5 days now.  I know the withdrawal from effexor is horrible, but this time I am experiencing something that I am not sure if is from the effexor or from the wellbutrin.  I have a feeling in my head like my brain is being squished.  While this happens, my jaw seem to twitch as if it is locking up.  I am not sure if this is a symptom of a seizure or if I am having more withdrawal.  I am also experiencing severe nausea, headaches, anxiety, paranoia, mood swings... you name it, I feel it.  but mostly I am so scared.  I feel like I am dying.  I truly feel like my body is giving out and this is the end.  Can someone tell me if this is from the effexor or wellbutrin.  I really need help, and my DR swares that this is all in my head.  All info welcome, someone please respond.
Avatar universal
First, my heart goes out to all who have posted their stories of horrible withdrawal symptoms as a result of discontinuing usage of Effexor XR.  I started on Effexor XR about ten months ago due to severe depression and anxiety.  Just over two weeks ago, I started to wean myself off of my maximum daily dosage of 112.5 mg.  For 8 days, I took 75 mg per day, and then lowered it to 37.5 mg for another 8 days.  Perhaps I should have taken it more slowly because I am so sensitive to medication in general, but my dosage was relatively low and I thought that I would be okay.
My descent into hell started the day after I stopped my meds completely (I am not taking any other medications at all).  The electric shocks, paranoia, uncontrollable crying, nausea, mood swings, swishing sound in my ears, vertigo, and extreme irritability combined have almost succeeded in making me think that I have lost my mind.  My shrink failed to inform me of these potentially havoc-wreaking side effects and even told me that it was safe to take this drug while pregnant. Thank God, I didn't conceive while taking this medication.  It frustrates me that I was not forewarned about the evils of this drug, and that I found this website only out of desperation.  Unfortunately, I can barely function at work in my present condition and driving a car is definitely terrifying when my brain goes on delay when I turn my head or round a corner.  As a result, I caved and took one 37.5 mg capsule.  I will attempt to follow another forum participant's lead by counting each granule in each capsule and wean myself off at a rate of 5 granules per day.  Please, we need to tell everyone we know about the harm this drug can do.  Wyeth clearly doesn't care about us, but my prayers are with all of you who are suffering.
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh!! I just read all of your comments and have had a similiar experience going off Effexor XR recently.  It has been the worst experience of my life!  

I am so angry that the drug company (Wyeth) and the doctor (an MD) didn't know what I was talking about!  How can they not know?  The pharmaceutical companies CONDUCT clinical trials!!  Why didn't they tell us it would be this difficult to discontinue? The side effects for me were:  increased depression, confusion, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, and on and on and on...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).  

But I am feeling better now. I went back to my doctor. The only relief I am getting is by switching to an SSRI. I'm trying Celexa 10 mg per day and so far it has been a miracle!!  All of the symptoms are slooooooooowly going away.  I just ate my first meal in three days!  I heard Prozac also comes in a generic form (cheaper) and also has the same effect as Celexa and a longer half-life than Effexor XR.  Now I hope when I eventually go off the Celexa, it doesn't kill me!  I was promised it wouldn't.  My heart goes out to you.  Hang in there and lets keep support one another!
Avatar universal
After 15 Months on 75 Mg of Effexor every morning, I finally talked my Dr into getting off this ****. I am in my first full week of taking the dose one day on one day off. I have the equivalent of a million bees buzzing in my head. I have electrical discharges going off in my body and my pressure has climbed from 155/87 whilst on the drug to 170/110 for the last 3 days. From sex 3 to 4 times a week I am down to a painfully slow once a month. The underlying reasons for going on to the medication have not been improved, I have simply existed for 15 months in a limbo of not worrying about stuff I should be dealing with, so my career is down the tube, my savings are exhausted, I have missed several real estate deals and am now sidelined from the boomed out housing market due to inaction.
This stuff should be banned except for seriously ill people who have no alternative and might top themselves if not helped. Effexor is not a good or effective drug for my brand of depression, it does not "cure" anything and as I said above, some things you should worry about and deal with just don't get a chance. Think seriously about starting this treatment, it is a beast to get off.
Avatar universal
I've been on Effexor for a few months. Due to a stupid mistake I stopped taking it one day because I couldn't afford the prescription for another week. Almost immediatley I started getting dizzy, but what really threw me were the hallucinogenic dreams I started to have. I was waking up in a cold sweat then chills. I actually thought I was going into menopause as I didn't equate the 2.
After the 3rd day I got scared to go to sleep. I "googled" it and called my doctor immediately. They had a glass of water and pills ready for me when I walked in. I wish I would have know the immediate effects of not taking it. I feel stupid that I didn't think about side effects, but I am much smarter now. I have learned so much about this drug that I didn't know before.
I've been waking up with my arms tingling, finger too. Is this a side effect? It's so weird.
Avatar universal
I am hooked. I am in the Army and my Dr. gave this med to help my other pain meds work. He told me "take it for 2 months and if it doesn't work you can quit." I have tapered down twice. Each time I actually quit I feel like I am going crazy, mentally insane. I'm scared to quit because I don't know what I might do if left in this crazed state for a long time. I can't control myself. I pace the floors in what seems to be a sureal state.I take a dose of effexor and a couple hours later everything is ok , I'm normal. If you lnow anyone who may consider taking this junk PLEASE do not let them. Nowq I'm going to a head shrink who tells me I can't be addicted to this med. I am so glad I found this forum. I am also sad to find this forum because it means there is a big problem with this drug.
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