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Avatar universal

Does Effexor XR really work for anybody???

I have read many, many posts about Effexor XR and the hellish experience people have on this medication.  My doctor just put me on it after several months of so-so performance by Lexapro.  Here is the question...is there anybody out there, any one, who would say "Effexor XR is awesome, it has been a great medication and I am grateful to be on it?"  If so, I would love to hear what you have to say, what your experience has been, dosage, etc.  My script has been for GAD/depression.  I have been in therapy (cognitive with a psychologist) since June.  Some progress, but the feelings still remain.  I am trying to find some way to turn the volume down on emotions.  I take Lorazepam (Ativan) - 1mg - occassionally when anxiety is unbearable.  I take Ambien CR to sleep.  So...any cocktail stories out there?
66 Responses
Avatar universal
Yes, without exception with every medication there are some  hellish stories associated.  Different people have various tolerances and sensitivities.  One person can take 10mg of Valium and feel alert, awake, aware and unaffected, another person can take 1mg of Valium and be so drowsy they cannot function or stay awake.  It's more common with alcohol; we all probably know someone who can knock back 5 drinks and still look and act sober, whereas some of us drink one beer and we can't even walk a straight line.

Working in the mental health field, I have seen Effexor XR prescribed and have amazing and wonderful effects.  Does it have side-effects, of course!  Good and bad side effects come with every drug you will ever be prescribed.   I remember a teacher of mine telling a group of students that if a drug (a psychiatric drug) doesn't have any side-effects, then it probably won't do anything for the patient.  There is some truth to this but the larger truth is that side-effects are part of the reality of taking medications, period.  You can switch meds and you can switch doctors but you cannot avoid medication side-effects.  

The hell stories that you read not the common experience of most patients.  The more common side effects of most medications are nuisance effects; dry mouth, sleepiness, stimulation, headache, sleep disturbances and most of these side-effects diminish over time.  With SSRI's there are sexual side effects for men and women but they can largely be countered and treated so that sexual activity can remain an activity to be enjoyed.

Until you take a medication you don't know what the side-effects are going to be for you.   Do not solely go upon what other people have uniquely experienced, that is not a reliable arbitor on how the drug will affect you.   If I could offer you any advice: Don't read the stories, don't look up side-effects on the Internet, don't dwell on what could happen.   Take the medicine and see what happens; side effects are temporary and reversable, that is the fact - when you read that someone took a medication for a week and stopped and now that person believes the medication has messed them up for life; that is not a realistic appraisal of the situation.  When you stop taking a medication, within days it leaves the body and stops working and if you only take it for a short period of time it will not change your genetic code, it will not permanantly change your brainwaves, you won't become addicted and you will not be left with a lifetime of side-effects, it just does not work that way.  

Totally agree with you C-psy. I have been on antidepressants for many years and am now on Effexor XR 225mg. I was back to my normal self on this dosage, until I took on something that became very stressful for me. I am now suffering depression symptoms again. I have learned a lot over the years and one thing I found is that I have to avoid stress where possible (stress is my trigger) When you go on antidepressants, you have to make lifestyle changes to avoid what made you depressed in the first place. I did the counseling, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc etc and finally realised that my body simply cannot cope with stress, like most people can. I am at a point now where I know when I am on antidepressants I have to make lifestyle changes....to be able to cut down the dosage or go off it. If this one does not work for you.....simply try another one. There are many others. I had to try a lot of different ones before I found one that suited me.
i agree totally ^5
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments.  They are sane and reasonable.  That has pretty much been my position and decision, as well.  In an attempt to learn, I sometimes am not as discriminatory as I should be when reading on the web.  Again, thanks for your input and your good wishes.  Blessings be back to you.
Avatar universal
Effexor XR has literally saved my life and my marriage.  My doctor put my on Paxil and almost from the beginning, I felt suicidal, did not sleep for 4 days and it was so terrible, I cannot even describe it.  Since I have been in the Effexor - for about 9 months now - my life has changed and for the first time in probably 40 years, I am happy again!  I know there are good and bad for each medication but this is my experience.
Did you suffer with anxiety and depression and on manxiety day for those 40 years ??  My depression has lasted 2 years with no relief.  Praying the Effexor helps me
Meant on medication for those 40 years ?  My marriage is suffering as well .  This is my third depression.
Avatar universal
Just started on effexor xr, and am weaning off lexapro at the same time.  I do feel better, like you all I can find is the horror stories on effexor.  Lexapro worked well on my gad but not my depression.  I am already feeling happier and not so blue and down.  every drug has its side effects, I trust my doc and just want to be calm and normal.  If this works, why would I want to come off of it?
Avatar universal
Effexor XR has worked wonderfully for me. I have been taking it for 3 months now. I was in your position 3 months ago, and was rather leery when my doctor suggested effexor because I had read so many negative things about it. I have a sensitive body, particularly my stomach. So I was very concerned about the accompanied nausea I had heard was a major side effect of effexor. I had some mild nausea, but it only lasted for 1 week. I noticed a change (as well as my family and friends) in my behavior within a week and a half. This year I had battled my deepest depression. Depression runs in my family and my brother actually made a suicide attempt this year, was put in a mental hospital, and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He is the closest person so me so this had very heartwrenching effects on me. All I think about was the past event and eventually I lost interest in everything, including bathing, cleaning, work. I now feel POSITIVE. This has helped my brother significantly. He had been extremely worried about me throughout the ordeal, and knowing that I was causing him more stress I knew I needed to get back on track and take care of myself again.
You can't be told enough that sometimes you just have to try things on your own and not rely on the opinions of others. If I had listened to all the negative forums I shudder to think how things would be right now. Everyone is different, meaning certain drugs can affect us all differently.
I wish the best on your experience with effexor!
Avatar universal
Effexor saved my life at one point in my treatment when SSRI's such as lexapro were not working.

Effexor is an excellent antidepressant. You hear only the bad and very little of the good. I took Effexor at 350Mgs a day for 4 years and in that time it gave to me 99% remission from my severe depression.

I had to get off it and switch meds after 4 years because it slowly stopped working for me. This may not be the case with you.

I am forever grateful for the 4 years of normalcy that Effexor provided me.
Are there side effects? Oh sure there are, but I will suffer any side effect not to be tormented by my severe depression and anxiety everyday.

Expect that you will feel worse on Effexor before you feel better. It will take at least 6 weeks to work, but IF and when it does the change can be remarkable.
Avatar universal
Hi Wolf,

A few have said what happened for me. It saved my life, I was ready to go until FX was prescribed.

I suspect you are confusing the coming off stories with the being on reality as EFFexor is about the most succesful of all anti depressants. Tried and true.

It can be a nasty time coming off it and I went through that too. But I've since gone back on it twice, including now.

Why? Coz I know it works and does the job I need done, until it wears off.

If you are looking for a med to reduce anxiety and help with depression then FX is it. Nope, I'm not on commission but I wish I was as selling a certainty is always a winner.

Forget the coming off issues as that's later. Now is when you need help. Just don't come off without docs advice and monitoring and do it slowly.
Avatar universal
I second what whodunnit said to you. It's like this with Effexor...Hum, yes it's withdrawls are bad, well yea it has side effects, but on the other hand just how bad is your depression. I don't know about you, but I will suffer ANY side effect not to live my life in hell everyday.

It's a damn good antidepressant. Did you knwo that Effexor is the top selling antidepressant in the world? Sales of 3.6 Billion in just one year. Not Million, but as in billions. You know why Effexor XR is the #1 selling antidepressant in the world? Because it works when so many other medications fail to produce relief.

Effexor is also a very time tested and safe drug. Even at high dosages it is time tested and absolutly proven safe.

Will it be rough when and if you every stop Effexor. Yea it will be, but I will take the 4 years of remission that Effexor gave me and say thank you got and thank you Weith for making such an effective antidepressant. That's 4 years of a productive life and I savored every day of it and am thankful for it.

I sure just wish it still worked for me.
Avatar universal
Effexor has saved my life!!!  I have tried Paxil, Lexapro and Celexa for my generalized anxiety/panic disorder.  With Effexor, I have no residual anxiety as I did when on the other medications.  I have heard of the awful side effects when coming off of effexor but as long as you do it in a slow and controlled manner, it should be fine.  I plan on staying on effexor though because it has helped me gain my life back!!!
Avatar universal
I think Effexor is a great AD if you are very depressed.  I found it effective.  It's coming OFF Effexor that stinks.  I'm doing that right now because I want to have a baby.  I also found the libido to be an issue.  But, it depends on the level of depression.

I do not think my depression was severe enough to warrant Effexor (it was given to me as Pristiq initially).  I think I could have pushed through it or maybe tried prozac?

But, I think it's a great drug if you're really depressed and generally, I don't think the side effects ON Effexor are any worse than any other.  Just plan to stay on it.
Avatar universal
Effexor XR did not work for me.  At all--and I've been on it (mostly at the 150 mg level) for 6 months.  I am tapering off of it, as I should have at about the 6-week mark.  If it hadn't helped by then, it wasn't going to.  Dumb doc I had should have known better; instead he kept trying to "augment" it with various things that only made me feel worse (e.g. terrible anxiety).
1192491 tn?1265031829
Yes! It is the very best antidepressant I have been on.  
Avatar universal
I've been on Effexor for a few months and it hasn't done a thing for me.  I'm on 225mg's with major physically painful panic attacks and lots of suicidal ideation, and sever IBS.  I don't do ADL's.  I have a really good therapist and I've been doing CBT on myself for years, I was a former mental health clinican.  I have PTSD after workplace bullying and no income for the last 6 months but the psychiatrists keep throwing more and more pills at me and think that they will work and get me back into the victimising workplace.  I suppose that's better than signing me off for insurance so I can get an income while I deal with the trauma and get stronger.  
Avatar universal
I don't know if this helps much. but it probably saved my dad's life. he's really happy with it other than sexual side effects.
1110049 tn?1409402144
Yes to me Effexor is an awesome drug.  It is my life saver.  It is a miracle.  I will never stop taking it.  Saved my life.

I have no side effects.  I think it is wonderful.  Tried many other anti-depressants, most with awful side effects.  Effexor is the right one for me.

Babbs49External User
Yes, it really works for me. I have been on it for many years after Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Prozac.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments. It was nice to read a reasonable and sensible response.  The last two weeks for me have been hell.  I have been taking Effexor Xr for the last five years,and have done wonderfully.  Could not be happier.  Apparently, I was sent the generic form at the beginning of September, and have started a downward spiral since then.  I guess looking back, there were some clues that I wasn't feeling as I normally do, but I also lost my Dad this year, and contributed a lot of it to grief.  I am back on the brand name Effexor XR, tonight will be day 7.  I am praying for relief from the anxiety that I awake with each morning.  Reading through the internet, I had myself convinced it wouldn't work, and that the doctor was wrong.  But you are right.  Everyone is different and reacts differently.  If I could ask one question, if Effexor XR has always worked for me, isn't it logical that it would continue?  Thanks for whatever input you can provide.
1110049 tn?1409402144
As I have said before, whatever other people may say, Effexor XR has worked for me.  I have been on it on and off for 6 years, but have had depression for 20 years, when I have tried many anti-depressants.  Effexor is definitely right for me.  No depression, no anxiety, no panic attacks, and NO SIDE EFFECTS.

If a drug works for you, keep taking it.  I was put on generic form, and asked to go back to original Effexor.  I am so well now thanks to it.

Hope you feel the same
997349 tn?1288347731
Effexor xr has worked for me for about 11 years. I have no intention of going off of it as I have a chemical imbalance and need it for life. I know this chemical imbalance will not heal itself. I am grateful to this med that lets me lead an wondeful life without depression. I retired from the State of Florida as a welfare caseworker....a good job...Without meds there would have been no chance of any job. I raised three children alone and I am happy. What more could I want!!

Avatar universal
Hi Maddie,
Thank you for your comments.  I guess I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to reading the internet.  I need to stop doing that.  Every time I do, I'm looking for the magic answer that will tell me I'll be better within a couple of days.

Tonight with be night 15 that I take Effexor XR.  I don't feel great, I am having some nausea during the day, and I am pretty tired.  The anxiety attacks during the day seemed to have stopped.  The doc gave me Ativan to use for anxiety episodes...which only seem to happen in the early morning...and I've made it to work two days this week.  I guess I need to focus on the positive.  As I type this, I guess I'm making progress.  Do you recall what side effects you had with Effexor XR, if any, and how long they last?

Last week I had episodes of sweating.  This week it's nausea.  The sweating finally ended, so hopefully the nausea will too.  Any supportive information you can provide would be appreciated.  
Avatar universal
I was put on Effexor  almost 3 years ago for GAD, Depression. My Dr. brought my dosage up really slow. 37.5 month, 75 month, 112.5 two months and finally 150 mg.  If I had to do it again, I would suck it up and get to the Therapeutic dose sooner (150 mg) I was told that 150 mg and below of Effexor only give you serotonin lift. It takes above that for the other 2 chemicals to kick in.
I was on Effexor for bout a 18 months and did pretty well. Well enough to want to come off it. If you go super slow, the withdrawal isn't so bad.
Try to deal with anx/depress using natural stuff, HTP-5, fish oil, Vitamins, etc.
Didn't work so well.  Started back trying Celexa.  Been on 20 mg. for 3 weeks, felt some major lift a few weeks in but it disappeared and know I'm in a "funk". Dr. appt in 2 weeks bit he said to stay ay 20 mg until I see him.
Feeling worse now than I did before I started. So I wondering if I should stick it out or go back to Effexor.
Any Advise???
I  believe that if the Effexor worked for you, and you feel as if you're in a place in your life where you need it, then go back on. Stick with what works. Obviously, talk to your doctor first. But, if put on an antidepressant and you feel better, stick with it! You feel better because it's working and you found a medication that works for you which is SO hard to find! If you go off, you'll most likely start to struggling with anxiety and depression again since you are no longer medicated. I know it sucks to have our happiness become reliant on a little pill but, at least in my case, I'd rather the pill. I have also tried to deal with depression with more natural remedies and it definitely doesn't work in my case. I think talk to your doctor about going back on Effexor on a low dose and then gradually go up to where you remember it was the most effective. The best of luck to you!!!
Avatar universal
It is fantastic, it worked for me when all else failed and thank god for that
Avatar universal
I had been on zoloft for over 10 years when it quit working for me Christmas Eve.  I was started on Effexor on February 14th and by the fifth day I was my old self - I just felt wonderful, however, I think it was the overlapping of the zoloft and the effexor because as soon as the zoloft was out of my system I was back in the crappy tank.  I am now up to 250 mgs. of effexor - and still have anxiety - not as bad as before but still to a point where I feel lethargic and very depressed.  So because of how I felt with the overlap of zoloft and effexor my doctor has put me back on zoloft - just 50 mgs. and that was two weeks ago.  I still have a lot of anxiety and need to take ativan everyday to function.  I am wondering whether they should have upped my effexor instead of adding the zoloft.  Zoloft worked wonderfully for me for 10 years but it quit for some reason so I am thinking that it probably won't make much of a difference especially seeing as I was 200 mgs. of zoloft at the time - so 50 mgs. is like a drop in the bucket.  Anyone have any ideas?
Avatar universal
I am so happy to hear how well this medicine works for most of you.  My doctor just prescribed it for me, and your stories give me some hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I lost my mother and father in the space of a year and a half, and also during that time someone very dear to me was murdered.  In addition, the person I love ended our relationship unexpectedly and without warning.  I was blindsided and 8 months later have not even begun to recover from that.  Add to that much guilt I have for not spending more time with my parents, and I guess maybe you get some picture of where I am at.  I have tried counseling and some other anti-depressants but nothing has helped.  So, I feel like effexor is my last hope.
Avatar universal
I was just wondering what medication you went to, after Effexor stopped working for you.  Also, what was your experience with going off the Effexor, and on to something else?  Did you have bad withdrawal symptoms?  Thanks so much!
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