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Avatar universal

Effexor withdrawl

Anyone made it through the withdrawl symptoms yet?
Been completely off effexor (after gradual weaning) for 6 days now. that jolting feeling comes and goes - notice it more in the evening, the nausea has gone away but still have these incredible mood swings. they are different than depression - it's like all of a sudden i am just ANGRY or start crying and can't stop!
when does this end?
110 Responses
Avatar universal
I have come from 225 MG down to 37.5mg of Efexor XR, I totally agree that the drug helped when I needed it, but 2 years later my life has changed and I am ready to get off it.. I stopped taking any 4 days ago, however by day 4 the zaps were that intense, and the dreams were too vivid! I took one 37.5 yesterday which helped dull the zaps a bit, gonna see how long I can last for again... It seems helpful to hear from people that the zaps do stop eventually..
691935 tn?1421030690
i hate the withdrawing.  I'm coming off of lexapro after many years and tapering down very slowly to almost nothing.  Today  (03/20/10) makes 39 days of withdraws, brain zaps, shakiness, anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritability.  BUT, it is getting better, every day the symptoms are of less intensity.  I am very determined to get off of these things.  I'm very tired also but I think it's because I'm not sleeping well.

Ang5050 - please don't go too fast.  If you need to stay on the ADs so be it.
1248259 tn?1269152990
I'm on day 5 of my tapering off Effexor after being on it for the last 6 years.  I've tried in the past to go off this drug and got the same symptoms you all mention; the brain zaps, nausea, anxiety, crying, etc.  It was enough for me to go back on the drug again, and again.  I have been getting some pretty major health issues in the last year which are a side effect from the drug and it's enough for me to want to get clean from Effexor.  

I did some research and talked to a Naturopath and my doctor beforehand.  The brain zaps are managed by taking a good Omega3 supplement.  Don't bother with the drug store or grocery store brands as you need a good quality one highest in EPAs.  Next you need to get a good quality calcium (citrate)/magnesium, and vitamin D.  Try to get the supplements into your body a good 10 days before you start to taper or wean down.  When you get the brain zaps, you can take 5 Omega3 in the morning and 5 again at noon.  You can't overdose on Omega3.  It is recommended that you don't take Omega3 after 4pm.  This has worked for me so far, but it's the nausea and dry mouth today that is catching me off guard.  Eating small amounts of raw foods is helping but the dry mouth is still here no matter how much water I drink.  

One thing that was stressed to me by so many people I've talked to about weaning is that the discontinuance symptoms mimic relapse of depression.  That was the reason why I always went back on the drug.  I thought it was the drepression again and it scared me more than being on the drug.  

From all that I have heard and read, "slow and steady wins the race"!.  I'm prepared for this to be a 6 month or more process for me.  
Avatar universal
I was on effexor for several yaers and as alsways when i feel good I go off my meds.  For those who are wondering why they ever started effexor to begin with, you were probably in such a deep black hole of depression you did not know if you would ever find your way out.  Then we take it and we feel better and we quit and whine about the withdrawl.  Well the depression will always come back in may take a month it may take a year, it may take two but it comes back and the more you start and stop the morte resistant your body becomes to the medication and the deeper the depressions gets.  I am on prestiq, the "cleaner version" of effexor, but get what you get physical withdrawl much much faster than with effexor, miss one day and and by day two you are phycially ill, that is  just from missing a dose.  Prestiq works great but the max dose is 100 mg a day and after a year or so it is not as effective.  Since I have accepted that I have to take a SNRI for the depression for the rest of my life then the withdrawl from coming off should not matter.  I am going to ask my GP to put me back on effexor becuase they can give me 300 mg a day which works better that 100 of the prestiq over the long term.  We suffer from coming off because the medication worked well enought that we arn't depressed and forgot how miserable life was when we were depressed.  This is a rather dumb cycle.  Anyone coming off you will make it past the withdrawl, I did after about a month or so I had stabilzed, the brain shivers finally stopped, but without the medication the depression will be back, it is an illness folks you can't will it away.  If effexor worked for you there are very few SNRI's on the markert that target the areas of the brain that they target so if it works you better think twice before quitting!!
Avatar universal
I appreciate all your insights, and may have helpful suggestions for many of you.  I was at one point on 450mg per day of Effexor XR (along with several other powerful meds, several of which I have eliminated) and I am now down to 37.5mg per day every other day.  I have 4 pills left but feel I might just be delaying the inevitable for another week.  It has gotten much more difficult since getting down to 75mg per day and I want to cut the cord now.  My doctor suggests finishing the process out but I don't see how that will help to just delay another week, especially considering the low dose I am now on.  I have found through experience that cutting down faster than 37.5mg per day per week can amplify withdrawl pain substantially.  3 yrs ago they had me go from 450 per day to 300 per day instantly and that was bad!  300 to 150 was easy by just going down 37.5 per week over 4 weeks.  150 to 75 was also pretty easy at that pace, but the withdrawl pain started after being at 75 for a few days and has gotten progressively worse.  I was at 37.5 per day for a week and now every other day for a week.  This is becoming cumbersome!  
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor for two years for night sweats b/c of tamoxifen (breast cancer drug).  I was only on 75 mg per day.  Once I stopped my tamoxifen, my night sweats stopped so I asked if I could stop my Effexor.   My doc had me take 75mg with 37.5 every two days for two weeks and then 37.5 every day for two weeks and then stop.  She was obviously aware of the w/d symptoms.   Even though I did what she asked me to...I'm having the same horrible experience you all are talking about.  Non-stop crying, insomnia and then horrible fatigue and sleepiness.  I've got mood swings which are scaring my 4 and 6 year old.  Shakes, vomiting, general nausea, the dizziness, headaches and the electric shocks.   It's been 5 days now since I stopped and the horrible stuff didn't really start until yesterday except for some nausea, dizziness and insomnia.  My husband thinks I'm crazy and is mad at me and very unsupportive.  Told me to go to the hospital if I was feeling so bad!  Unfortunately, it's now Sunday and I'm just trying to make it until tomorrow when I can call my doctor.  I tried taking ginko biloba, ginseng and Omega 3 plus some phenergan (anti-emetic) yesterday and it helped a little.  It's worse today and I finally broke down and just took my 37.5mg pill and shook 1/2 out of it and took it along with everything else I mentioned above.  I hope it helps.  My husband thinks I just prolonged the w/d by taking the 1/2 of 37mg again.  But I literally felt I HAD to.  I can't believe this....what the ..?   How can they just allow this to happen to people, there are plenty of other anti-depressants that don't cause this type of reaction.  This should be taken off the market!!  All your stories have helped me through this knowing what I was experiencing was normal, just thought I'd share in case it helps someone else.
Avatar universal
I am getting ready to come off 150mg and my doc has made me start eating right, have a good exercise routine, and ensure family support. All the above items are essential in beating depression. As well as vitamin d, I have also read that taking a high but proper dose of omega 3 fish oil helps too. I do not think it is addictive yes you have withdrawl symptoms but not cravings, that is the difference for me. I missed my dose for four days so I know what I am up against and feel I am ready to taper and then quit. Remember depression does not just go away make sure you have a back up plan should you find it is not better once your withdrawls are gone and you are back to normal. I also have to see my doc every two weeks.
1281001 tn?1271329253
I stopped taking it about six weeks ago. Only reason is because of financial reasons. I experience the zaps, the physical tinitis (high pitched beeping sounds). The first two weeks, I would see something that would make me want to laugh, then would start sobbing. I knew what to expect. Because I stopped taking Paxil cold turkey as well. Cold turkey is very hard. But I feel an accomplishment because of my success. My advice( I am not a doctor so do not take this as reliable because as you see by the other people doing same, symptoms are different) would be to have a couple of weeks of not having to be included into a social gathering. I was able to drive, shop, converse etc. I just have these "beeping sounds" that at the beginning were almost constant. I slept fine, but sharp sounds would make me jumpy. Only way I could get past the beeping was to play music very loud. The "zaps" were the worse part. I could handle the emotional changes, but the zaps suck. Though, when hearing a good funny line in a movie, and the laugh turning very quickly to a sob was something I did not like much. But what the heck was I to expect? The drug is made for emotional problems.
Avatar universal
I'm on my fourth day coming off this drug and I am in hell. Constant zaps, nausea, dizziness and fear I'm going to stop breathing. I won't let myself sleep because i am afraid I will stop breathing.
1110049 tn?1409405744
Stick with it.  I did and it took about 10 days to feel better.  If you don't stick with it, you may never try again.  Good luck.  
1331182 tn?1275479204
Okay, has anyone actually tried to come off this gradually? I mean GRADUALLY? I was on 300 mg. I then began taking 150 every other day for 2 months, then 150mg a day for 2 months, then 75mg every other day for 2 months, then just 75 for 1 month. Then  75mg and 37.5 mg every other day for 2 months. Now have just started 37.5mg every day. I feel mild dizziness occasionally......I know that mine is a very slow tapering, and that is what I wanted....is there anyone else who is tapering off slowly? (Maybe not as slowly as I am) but I have noticed that most people who have these horrid symptoms have either gone cold turkey or tapered really fast......I am nervous about the next few steps. I have missed doses in the past and do not want to feel like that....BRAIN ZAPS? Never had those and I am scared...I need someone to say "hey yeah you shouldn't get it as bad because you tapered slowly" I want some assurance I guess that all this planning and the amount of time it has taken to get this far was worth it. I will be really ticked off if I have waited all this time and go through the same problems everyone else has.
Avatar universal
@chloe115 - one week is NOT gradually or tapered!!

I'll be watching Alanas with great interest!
1331182 tn?1275479204
The thing that is really frustrating is that I can't find posts that say "Yeah I got off effexor 2 years ago and I am doing okay, this is how I did it". They all say something like "I had my last dose 9 days ago and I feel horrible." then they don't post anymore. Did they get over it? Did they go back on? Grrr.

I am attending counselling while withdrawing as an added precaution and to talk about all the crap that made me depressed with a low self esteem in the first place.

I learned in my first session that I am too hard on myself, I feel guilty for taking two weeks off work after finishing a contract that was very difficult me. But I have made a promise to myself that I will allow myself this time to heal. So shrink told me that every time I feel guilty about having a break or taking an afternoon nap etc to tell myself "I DESERVE TO HEAL." And you know what? After a week of telling myself that, I believe it. I believe that I matter.

AND SO DO YOU!
1 Comments
this drug Effexor is about as easy to get off as it is for a heroin addict to stop using. No matter how much you prepare for the day you are going to stop taking Effexor you are still going to go thru the withdrawls no way out of it. Some get them worse than others do. I am on day 5 of cold turkey fromm 150mg/per day to 0.i cannot even begin to explain what my mind and body are going thru. I just want to die that's how bad it is. I usually have a pretty solid pain tolerance not this time. Tylenol 4's with codine have helped me a LITTLE bit but not much. I may as well live in my bathroom cause I don't think I have ever barfed this much in my life. I don't mean to frighten you or anyone looking for comfort/advice on getting off Effexor BUT no matter what you are going to go thru some sort of withdrawls. This drug should be banned outlawed. Last night I was convinced that someone was in my apt. I spent most  of the night making sure my wife and daughter were safe from whomever I thought was here. I also got put on wellbuterin when I was taken off the Effexor. Good news I quit smoking I think. I have not wanted one for oh about 3 days now. Anyhoo it's good we want to get off this awful drug but what happens to us after is really crappy but stick to your guns guys/gals don't let it beat you don't give in and start taking it again if at all possible. Yes there may be some that need to go back to it for many reasons. This is not going to kick my *** I am gonna kick it's ***.
1331182 tn?1275479204
Get your doctor to give you Prozac. Take your last 37.5 mg of Effexor, then the next day replace it with 20mg of Prozac. I did this and I don't even have the dizziness I experienced when I dropped down to 37.5 mg. In a weeks time I will cut down to 10mg of Prozac then off.

For those of you who are going cold turkey please don't. You are causing yourselves pain by doing so. Go and speak to your doctor about switching to another anti depressant that is easier to get off. Effexor has a half life of 5 hours which means that 5 hours after you take it, there is only half of it left in your system, then 5 hours later 1/2 again. This is why you feel so bad if you miss a pill.....if you skip a day then take another 37.5 mg you have just put yourself back where you were the last time you took a pill.

Prozac has a half life of a week! This is why there are no withdrawals with it.

Talk to your doctor and if he or she won't listen then find someone who will!
Avatar universal
I have been weened off of efexor over the last 3 months down to my last dose of 37.5mgs.  I had missed pills before and had already experienced side effects so I knew I wasn't going to be in for an easy time.  I have stopped my dose for about 5 days now and so far it's been a nightmare.  It is taking everything in me not to take a tablet just to make it go away!!!!  I have a week off work and put myself to sleep everynight with a sleeping tablet just to get away from the brain zaps.  I am really frustrated that you are not given a warning about these drugs when you are prescribed them. I well and truly want out and am going to persist and am hopeful that I won't need longer than my week off work, but I'm not holding my breath!!!  The brain zaps are continuous and the most uncomfortable thing I have ever experienced.  I have been lucky enough not to get the nausea, but I cry at the drop of a hat and the brain zaps are crippling me to the point of not being able to function properly.  

If anyone has any other ideas about ways to get me through this I'd love to hear from you.  I am finding the only thing that is giving me the slightest short relief is paracetamol which I am taking every 4 hours.
1331182 tn?1275479204
I am telling you, go to your doctor for help, you would not need time off if you switch meds and then get off. You are experiencing unnecessary withdrawals. You could continue experiencing these problems from anywhere from a week to months. There is a guy on this forum who still gets ringing in his ears when he turns his head and he stopped 5 years ago!
Avatar universal
That is exactly what I have been thinking. I want to find someone who says "I came off 2yrs ago and this is how and i'm still off it" But it seems once people are better they don't come back to tell everyone the good news!
I have taken my last 37.5mg on friday 4th June, I feel fine apart from the dizzyness - I just want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will stop feeling like I am on a boat.
Avatar universal
That is exactly what I have been thinking. I want to find someone who says "I came off 2yrs ago and this is how and i'm still off it" But it seems once people are better they don't come back to tell everyone the good news!
I have taken my last 37.5mg on friday 4th June, I feel fine apart from the dizzyness - I just want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I will stop feeling like I am on a boat.
Anyone with a success story??????
1331182 tn?1275479204
I looked and looked and looked all over the internet for a success story and I found none where a person tapered off and then quit and a year later it was all good. The only success stories are ones where people switched to prozac for a few days and then stopped the prozac. I am on day three off effexor and on prozac and I have had no withdrawal symptoms.
1331182 tn?1275479204
I looked and looked and looked all over the internet for a success story and I found none where a person tapered off and then quit and a year later it was all good. The only success stories are ones where people switched to prozac for a few days and then stopped the prozac. I am on day three off effexor and on prozac and I have had no withdrawal symptoms.
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