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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
Been on 150mg for 7 years. Recently trying to change from Effexor XR to Wellbutrin. Dropped down to 112.5 for two and a half weeks then 75 for two weeks then 37.5 for three weeks. Three days ago I stopped. Yesterday I had leave work early because I starting feeling really nauseated and threw up. When I got home I started throwing up more, and started sweating, I felt hot(stuffy) and cold (shivers) at the same time, started having sever anxiety issues, hyperventilating, and my extremities were going dumb. I also started passing out then would wake up to throwing up and panicking. Emotionally I was flat. The nausea was extreme. My mother came over and my husband came home early to take me to the emergency room. He called my doctor and he told me to go ahead and take the 37.5. I'm going back to see him soon. Is there any dose lower than 37.5mg and are there any drugs to help with the withdrawal symptoms? This stuff is EVIL!!
This drug should have not been approved by the FDA and any doctor that prescribes it should be sued. So here I am stuck on it again and I'm wondering whether I'll ever get off it. HAS ANYONE TAKEN ANY LEGAL ACTION? If so let me know. I'll thinking about it.
Avatar universal
Right now, I hardly feel like posting, but I will selfishly take this opportunity!.  I don't know which I am more afraid of, the E or the depression.  But right now, I have to say the E!  A year ago, I tried to ween myself off, by extending the time between doses of the 150 mg. Not the right way to go.  after the last dose, I really freaked out, crying uncontrollably, and a swimmy head.  I went to the doctor in the throughs of the crying episode, and sort of freaked her out, I think.  She sent me immediately to the hospital.  After waiting there crying for about 2 hours, I was finally examined.  And the end result for that visit was to get back on the E at 300 mg.  Really didn't make much sense, since the effects I came with were withdrawals.  But I did because they said so.  Ok, as this was very expensive, after 2 months, I went back down to 150mg, and stayed there for the last year. Since then, I have eliminatesd some stress, and gone on a fixed income, and decided to try again, to quit, this time with Dr. guidance. Went on a step down program, ending in the 37.5mg.  I had my last dose a few days ago, and I'm feeling really crappy! Buzzing and light headed, loose stools, nightmares and generally awful, coupled with a lot of fear.  At least, so far, I haven't had the crying. Is this going to end? and how will I feel, if I ever get past this withdrawing process?. I too, feel this is a mind blowing med, and have serious questions about it.
997349 tn?1288351331
I can't comment on the Effexor withdrawl(by the way I take it) but I can comment on the lipitor. I developed serious side effects from the drug inc. severe muscle and joint pain and brown urine. I took myself off the drug and things returned to normal. Statins are dangerous and I will never take a statin again.I researched and talked to my Dr. re: my symptoms and Dr. agreed that my symptoms were indeed a dangerous sign.
Please research lipitor on the internet.
Avatar universal
I took EfexorXR 75mg for the past 3 years or so.  At the beginning of this summer, I began to have symptoms of being over medicated, almost to the point of narcolepsy.  I couldn't function during the day at work because I was
so tired.  I started to wean myself off after my doctor advised it wasn't in my best interest to stop taking the drug.  It wasn't in my best interest to crash my car driving home from work when I was asleep either.  My experience of withdrawl has been going on for about 2 months.  I am hoping that I am nearing the end of it.  The worst part of my withdrawl has been the headaches.   More like migraine headaches and with that, blurred vision, nausea and lack of energy.   I contemplated several times going back on the meds but after reading the information on this site, I'm going to tough it out.   It's been very helpful to me to know that there are others who are going through the same thing.  I would also be interesting in hearing from anyone who has successfully withdrawn from using the drug as to what their
experiences were like, how long it took, etc.
Avatar universal
I am genuinely puzzled why people attempt quick withdrawal from Effexor when everybody knows that it is nigh on impossible to cope with the side effects.  It can be done successfully with a slow withdrawal over several months.  I took 9 months by steadily reducing the dosage every day but I had been taking it for 15 years and I did not want to stop suddenly.  I experienced zero side effects and have been off it for 2  months.  The sad thing is that I am often very depressed again which I was spared for 15 years.  Some days I can barely get out of bed.  I am monitoring the situation and resisting starting the Effexor again but some days I have to ask 'why?'  I did so very well on 75mg of Effexor with no weight gain beyond normal and for this reason I will not condemn the drug.  I recently tried Cymbalta at the doctor's suggestion but for me it was like being on speed!  I felt totally wired and was unable to sleep.  Weird how different drugs affect different people.  Anyway Effexor is much maligned but for many people like me it truly is the answer to a prayer.  I'm hanging in there med free for now but that could change unless I can successfully get past this depressive episode.  Best wishes to all.
Avatar universal
Hi, everyone. I too am experiencing severe Effexor withdrawal. I've been having all symptoms under the sun for the past week, as I've been titrating down at the direction of my (soon-to-be-ex) doc, though the symptoms didn't occur until I got to the smallest two dosages. I was fine going from 150mg to 75mg, but 75 to 37.5 and 37.5 to 18.25? It's ben a nightmare. And I was only on it for about 6 weeks--including the time I was titrating UP and DOWN. It's miserable. I feel like I constantly want to DIE. I missed two days of work this week because of it and it's been impossible to function properly. Last night it was so bad I almost took myself to the ER.

Through all this though--with reading everyone's experiences and talking to some people I know personally--I've decided to do something about it. My objective is to write an in-depth piece on the subject and try to get it out through some media source, with the hope of causing at least some form of change, whether if be lowering the incidence of prescription of a particular drug, getting patients to think more fully about a drug before agreeing to take it, or even getting the FDA and/or pharmacies to list withdrawal information in their literature when distributing a drug. Some of these are very high hopes, I know, and maybe nothing will come of it at all, but I have to try. (I guess there was a reason I got all that investigative journalism training way back when after all!)

If anyone on the site here would be willing to go on the record with their experiences (whether with name included or anonymously by location), I've created a questionnaire to pool some first-hand accounts. Please private message me if you'd like to contribute. I, for one, would greatly appreciate it. Thanks! My best to you all...
Avatar universal
I just want to say THANK YOU!  I had no idea what was going on with my body.  I followed what little direction my doctor gave on weening myself off the drug.  I have to say I will never just ignorantly listen to the docs suggestion before taking any medication.  She ever mentioned any of the withdrawal systems.  Unfortunately, My first battle with the 'flu' came shortly after my last dosage of E.  Friday was the last dosage for weening purposes and then Sunday night I suddenly became ill.  I was out for the next four days with aches, soar throat, light headedness, headaches, fever, nausea and diarrhea.  Once all that went away I thought I was on my way back to a normal healthy life.

Until suddenly I felt cloudy, weak, light headed and warm but worst of all were the buzzing sounds.  What is going on???  What do I do?  Is it just fatigue?  Do I waste money and head to urgent care for them to perform tests and still have no clue?

While debating I was talking to a relative and he said it, "sounds like drug withdrawal symptoms."  So here I am googling for an answer of how to make the zapping stop.  I really appreciate the internet tonight. Thank you all for your posts.  I am still not certained how I can get it to stop but at least I know why and that it will.  I even got laughter out of reading some posts especially those that felt as I did that had I known that this medication would give me brain zaps while quitting I would have NEVER agreed to take it.
Avatar universal
I have Bipolar and have been recently taking Lithium Carbonate, Effexor XR, Geodon, and Klonopin. My psychatrist has been lowering my Effexor dose over the last few months. And I have been having issues with some dizziness with each decrease in dose. A little over  two weeks ago, I took my last Effexor dose. Since then I've been having problems with severe vertigo, nausea, and "brain zaps." My psychiatrist says it can't be the Effexor, although the timing fits, since she says Effexor withdrawal doesn't generally result in dizziness.

I have had to go to the ER twice because of the inability to keep anything down. I've had a CAT scan, MRI, and blood work (esp. to check my lithium level), and all have come back normal. The ER docs suggested a neurologist appointment, but I can't get in to see one for over 2 more weeks. I am miserable, and not sure a neurologist can even help. If it is Effexor withdrawal, what could a neurologist do about it? And if the psychatrist is right, what else could it be?
Avatar universal
thank you so much to everyone for sharing their experiences.  To read them initially was really scary for me, but as I have gone through the withdrawal process I have drawn a lot of strength from knowing that it is related to going off my drugs, even though my doctor has been dubious as to whether or not it relates.

thanks to the person who suggested ginger tea for the nausea - i am going to get some today.

I would like to suggest that anyone tapering off this drug organise some time off work... will tell you my experience.

I was on 150 mg for one year and after undertaking counselling and some of the situations i was in changing I felt ready to come off with my doctor's help.

My first step was to 75 mg - for me, the side effects were minimal, in fact i felt a lot (!) better than i had begun to feel on 150 mg... i started getting my energy back.  I had become really tired, and read somewhere online about someone who went to a sleep doctor, and discovered that the efexor was stopping them from going into the deepest level of sleep which is why they were so tired, so i was happy not to be so tired... had the occasional brain zap (where it felt like my tongue would be electric zapped) but they were not a problem.  Also I was occasionally a bit dyslexic (has never been a problem for me before)  where i would say for instance 'i'm trying to find a karp' instead of 'i'm trying to find a park'.  This went away

Two to three weeks later I tapered down to 37.5 mg.  The first day was fine.  The second day I felt a bit woozy.  The fourth day I had a headahce all day.  The 5th, 6th, and 7th day I had to have away from work because I had what I could only liken to a migraine - had a massive headache - which was made worse by being in the light.  I spent three days in bed, with a wet cloth on my head, sleeping as much as i could and listening to the tv because i was bored and the tv was to obright to watch (and i couldn't do anything else).  Any movement made the symptoms worse.. laying about made them less bad.  I felt quite sick in my belly and had loose stools and nausea  I began taking fish oil tablets (4-5 twice a day) as per advice from someone on the internet - not sure if they helped or not but i'm sure they didn't hurt!

On Day 8 I was fine in the morning, but in the afternoon became woozy again.  ON Day 9, felt a lot better and could move about again without it creating brain zaps and sick feelngs etc.  

Then two weeks after going onto 37.5 mg (so less than a week after i finished the withdrawal symptoms) I moved to 0.  I did not want to continue taking a drug that has such terrible withdrawals.  I timed this for holidays so I wouldn't need to take sick days off work...

It has been worse than the step from 75 to 37.5, but bearable with support and i see a light at the end of the tunnel.  The symptoms began on Day 3 of no tablets.  I developed wooziness, swimmy head, nausea, headaches, dizziness, etc - think massive hangover x 20 but continuous (doesn't end after a day).  I have found movement makes it worse, so try not to move around so much.  I certainly don't exercise because of this. It has not been safe for me to drive.  I have stayed out of the light as much as possible because my eyes feel sensitive and strained and achy/tight.  My mind has not been good - as in I have trouble thinking of words and my memory isn't good.  It is now day 6 and I think the worst day was day 4 this time round...  I now have some moments without sore head, sore eyes, but usually once i'm doing stuff  i get sick, tired, headahcey etc (eg doing stuff like cooking etc).  Someone on this list recommended doing something to help you through, i agree, but you need to do it within your energy and pain levels..  I have been concentrating on having good healthy eating and so this has given me something to focus on but it also makes me tired and headachey/woozy...

Something I didn't expect that i noticed yesterday was increased sensitivity to smells that made me feel nauseous (i could smell the bin from the next room).  That only lasted a couple of hours...  AND
This morning I could hear my eyelashes inside my head as i blinked!!  wow.. if that doesn't sound like coming off some full on, illegal drug i don't know what does...  

So, I'm sitting here feeling crappy, but less crappy than before... but am so happy i have come off this drug.  I am scared that there may be some permanent change to my brain that isn't so good because it is obvious, from the withdrawal symptoms, that it is a strong drug!  

I read somewhere not to count the beads because the beads all have different things in them, some are one part, others are another part - and that yo udon't know which parts you are counting out - it's random - so i didn't do that...

If you are scared about coming off, please don't be.  Please do it under the guidance of your doctor.   Please don't go cold turkey when I imagine these symptoms are unbearably worse.  Please make your change to level on a saturay and plan ahead of time with your employer to have the following week off so that you are taking care of yourself and you are not feeling bad about all the physical effects I recommend this fro the move from 70 to 37.5 and for the move from 37.5 to 0.

Then when you take the next step down, etc, again take another week (or even two if you can when you go 37.5 to 0).  I know it's not idea but it is taking care of yourself and ensuring that your employer is not left in the lurch - so keeps a good relationship.

I would suggest not going off the drugs until you have been to counselling and tried to deal with some of the issues that led you to go on it in the first place - and then continue to see your counsellor/psychologist so you are supported if the issues come up again.

Whilst it is a terrible comedown at this stage i don't reget going on efexor as it got me through a terrible time where i couldn't work or function daily properly due to some extreme difficulties in my life at the time.  However, in saying that, one of the advantages of the withdrawals of efexor is that it has made me decide to use healthy eating, exercise and counselling to ensure i never need drugs again...  that's how full on the come down has been...

good luck to everyone else, i will try to come back and let you know if the symptoms have gone away - because i know when i was looking for information - that's what i wanted to know!  how long will this last for!!
Information can help you plan so that even though you may get symptoms you are supporting yourself the best through it with fish oil tablets, good diet, rest, time off work and people around you who can drive to get thnigs for you - because for me i cannot drive yet - head too swimmy, doesn't seem safe.

will keep you posted

1331182 tn?1275479204
Hi everyone!

Need to update you all. I took my last effexor in july and then took prozac for a few days then came off. I started feeling some light headedness and so I took some more prozac in early august, then I tapered off again and in late September I came off it. I was okay for about 2 weeks and then began getting high anxiety (flight or fight response causing adrenaline and hormone rushes) which made me dizzy and foggy headed. I felt sick in the stomach too. I went back to the doctors and he said to go back on effexor but I refused and said I would rather try prozac. I have been taking 20mg a day now for about a week and the anxiety is better and the foggy head has gone but I still get these massive dizzy spells that can last hours, I think this is withdraawal. I am going to stick to this though. I will not go back on effexor. While I do believe that my slow taper (over a year) and switch to prozac saved me from these "brain zaps" I am not with out withdrawal symptoms. I believe the high anxiety and the dizziness are withdrawal, because while I did have some anxiety before going on the effexor 8 years ago IT WAS NOTHING LIKE THIS! Something simple like "I still haven't tidied up that corner in the backyard" would bring on that fight or flight response with the squeezing in my chest and pounding heart. It is really frustrating because I know it is irrational but it is still happening. This is why I think it is withdrawal...thanks to the prozac though, the axnxiety is much better. It has been 3.5 months since my last effexor, and while this hasn't been easy I am still functioning and going to work etc.
Avatar universal
Nope, I stopped taking Effexor XR and some of the symptoms lasted at least three months for me.
The brain zaps, crying, etc.
Now that those symptoms are gone they have been replaced with worse ones, or at least for me anyways.
I cannot sleep, I have much worse anxiety and very deep feelings of despair and idea's of death.
I hate this and I wish I never started taking it in the first place.
When I was on Lexapro I had no side effects compared to this stuff.
I have to take Effexor XR again now so I can go back to how I was hopefully and then replace it with something else.
Then when I come off whatever is next, I will be sure to do it the right way because last time I did it on my own.
I feel ten times worse than before I started taking it.
The good thing is I know I am not alone in this and will eventually pull through and reclaim my life.
Avatar universal
I just typed out a super long post and it disappeared before I could send it...so I want to make sure this is going to work before I try it again.
Avatar universal
Ok...let's try this again!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Crap the post I had typed up had everything I wanted to tell you....hope I am able to remember it all.

The last time I posted anything on here was in August.  I had weaned myself down to 37.5 mg and one foolish day decided that I would be able to just stop taking this drug....I figured that because it was such a low dose...it shouldn't be too hard!  I went about 4 days not feeling really too good and went back on the 37.5 dose.

I have read in someone elses post on here that it is a good idea to try to get off this drug when you know you will be on holidays and not have to work.  I couldn't agree more.  I began taking my 37.5 mg dose every other day starting December 8, 2010.  Had no withdrawls at all.  I knew that I would be taking Christmas holidays from December 24 to January 3/11.  I have not taken a pill now since December 23.  The only real difference I have noticed is that I am not sleeping as good as I usually do but because I don't have to worry about getting up and going to work in the morning...it makes me feel less stressed about not getting enough sleep.  I had a wonderful little cat nap this afternoon so it all worked out wonderful....I honestly believe that if you can get alot of sleep while you are trying to get this drug out of your system, you will be successful at getting off of it.

One thing that I reccommend is that when you are cutting back or trying to get off the drug completely it is better not to share this information with loved ones or friends.  I found that someone close to you will make some sort of little comment like..."you've been kind of cranky today....maybe you better go back on those pills".  Now....when I am trying to do something as difficult as getting off something compared to getting off of heroin....saying something like that to me is not a helpful thing!!!!!  Also...if my only withdrawl symptom is a little crankiness...well so be it!

I went and joined a gym yesterday as I believe that it is important to keep your mind busy and not give it time to collect negative thoughts.  Also, as I have been on Effexor for four years...I need to lose the 40 pounds it made me gain.

I hope I have helped anyone trying to get off of this drug and hope you can all feel as good as I do after being drug free for 5 days.  Good luck to you all :)
1546072 tn?1293666284
I am on Effexor 300 mg a day, Cymbalta 120 mg a day along with oxycotin 120mg a day , ambien nightly, and  and need to take laxatives because of the onxycotin. plus a few other medicarions, well, now my new problem, today is my 10day off effexor, cold turkey due to worker's comp not approving it when I have been on it awhile now, I am afraid of the systoms . Thanks for listening..... Hate the cold turkey withdrawals..
Avatar universal
Hi all.  7 days now without Effexor....each day  gets better and better.  

There was one important thing that I forgot to share with everyone the other day.  The first time I went off of Effexor, it was my last pill and I had none left.  That drug does weird things to your mind....all I kept thinking was....crap...I have no more pills left.  Just knowing that stressed me out big time and sure enough, within a few days I was right back on it.  This time although I have no intentions of going back on this drug I still carry a bottle of 37.5's with me in my purse...for some strange reason just knowing I have some in my purse creates less stress in my mind.  
1604515 tn?1297803255
I was on 300mg a day and because of the weight and sexual side effects decided to switch to Wellbutron.  My doctor gave me instructions on how to cut down and said I would have to be completely off of them for 2 weeks before starting the Wellbutron.  I am currently on day 3 of the two weeks without and the side effects are horrible; loss of balance, nausea, dizziness, sleeplessness, drained of energy, blah, blah, blah.  I have a full-time job and am in my last semester of my Master's degree and this is terrible.  Makes me wonder if I really want to go on another med at all.  I have fibromyalgia and take Lyrica (causes weight gain, too) and have noticiably increased symptoms while cutting down on Effexor.  Thanks for all of your posts, so I know that I'm not imagining all of this and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Avatar universal
I've been on Effexor XR 150mg for about 7 years now and I'm absolutely terrified of coming off them. Both because of the withdrawals and also because I'm afraid I'll collapse mentally without them. So far the longest I've gone without them was 6 days as some kind of self-destructive masochism and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Constant sweating, fever, those weird brain *zaps*, dizziness, loss of coordination and balance, itchy skin, huge mood swings. I found I became a lot more emotionally aware and found myself on the verge of tears any time anything even remotely sad happened. I was ALWAYS hungry, even 10 minutes after eating a whole pizza I'd be scowering the kitchen for more food, however I didn't gain any weight despite all the food which leads me to believe my metabolism also went ballistic.

I'm afraid I've become to totally dependent on what I'm coming to see as an awful drug, and while I wont deny it helped when I started taking XR I'm not sure it does anything any more other than make me emotionally numb and I'm still not sure whether or not that's a bad thing or whether or not the things I feel when I stop taking them are because of the withdrawals or what I'd actually feel without the drug. I tried dropping down to 75mg for a week and it was almost as bad. I find myself thinking about terrible things, like I'll be walking home from work and just suddenly have an almost uncontrollable urge to scream at a complete stranger or throw myself in front of a bus.

I guess I'm just terrified of anything and everything to do with what has become the bane of my existence.
Avatar universal
After reading all these, I am really scared about this.  I've been on 150 mg for about 2 and 1/2 years now since I was diagnosed with SAD.  It helped tremendously, but I am hoping to get pregnant by year-end and everything I had read suggests that this drug is very dangerous to take while pregnant.  

I certainly had my fair share of symptoms when starting up - I remember I was foggy, had brain zaps, bad memory, and dizzy for about 3 days each when switching up.  So I do know the symptoms you all talk about and they are scary.  It's definitely not possible to live anything approaching a normal life while going through them.  

I like the drug - at least, I did before reading all this - it certainly helped my depression and I haven't had a single migraine since going on it, but I really want to get pregnant.  I've got about 7 months until I want to start trying - I've read here that a little bit of prozac helps, and I've read that vitamin D, and Omega 3 will help with symptoms.  I'm willing to try all those things.

Is there anyone out there who can give some positive news about weaning off this drug?  Is it really possible to get off this thing if you wean yourself off slowly and stay off of it with no physical symptoms afterward?  I think my SAD symptoms can be managed going forward with Vitamin D and light therapy, so I'm not worried about that, but I am terrified about how badly weaning myself off this could mess up my life.  I really wish my doctor had told me about this before putting me on it - but I appreciate that I was in a really bad state by the time I went to her and was willing to do ANYTHING to improve the depression.  

I just need to hear some good news from someone and not more of these terrifying stories!

Avatar universal
oh my does effexsor really do all that... is it really a bad drug to be on?   my doctor just put me on that yesterday and its 75mg a day.  if it is not a good drug i dont want it... i have only took one and i dont like the feeling,  i feel high and confused... i am constantly thristy and i think i am hungry but not sure its like i am totally confused..  i feel like i am going to throw up and just feel so funny... is this normal???

imput very appreciated       crazygirl (jennifer)

1664626 tn?1303035094
hi i am just like everyone else on the site. i have just gone off 150mg cold turkey and am on my 4th day things are not good. i am going to my docs on wed to see if i can get a prescription for Prozac as i have been reading it helps with the withdrawals. any way just letting you know that i have been doing a lot of research on this and have been reading that the drug you have just started to take has almost as bad symptoms as effexor not that i have been on this drug myself just thought i would give you the heads up. good luck.
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