My doctor put me on Venlafaxine five years ago for hot flashes. I started out at 37.5mg daily and as the hot flashes worsened, the dose was increased. Twelve months ago, I decided I wasn't going to continue chasing the hot flashes with medicine and started weaning off.
I decreased from 150mg to 75mg per day with side effects that lasted three weeks. After two months, I decreased to 37.5 mg per day. After two months of that dose, I stopped the drug. The second day without the drug, I woke up with brain zaps, ringing ears, dizziness, and very foggy headed. I was determined to do this so continued the journey. The third day, I had a headache - sharp on the top of my head, and whole head in pain. I slept most of the day. By mid afternoon, I was in trouble. Brain zaps were constant, couldn't keep my balance, and couldn't think. My husband called the doctor and I had an appointment that afternoon. I struggled taking a shower and kept talking to myself as to what I needed to do next... get a towel to dry yourself off, put on your clothes, etc. My husband took me by the hand and led me to the clinic.
I had a new doctor and she told me that I should continue to take it daily. She didn't understand why I was having such problems, as she hasn't had any other patients with these issues. She said to take my time weaning off... to work at taking the dose every-other day for awhile, then extend the time from there until I'm weaned off. She said she'd give me a 12-month prescription so I have ample time to wean off and wished me luck.
I have been on the every-other day dose since June 1st and every time I try to extend the time between the dose, I get the brain zaps, ringing ears, dizziness, and foggy head - the extreme headache comes the day after these symptoms. Two weeks ago, I took the 37.5mg dose on Monday morning, with the next dose on Thursday morning. Had the symptoms but "ignored" them and pushed on. Went from Thursday morning then to Sunday morning and CRASHED. I am now back to taking the dose every other day and am experiencing the same symptoms the morning the dose is due. Three hours after I take the dose, the symptoms start to subside. I'm concerned that these brain zaps are damaging my brain and there are days that I really have a hard time concentrating at my job. I'm scared.
I'm tempted to just give in and just take the dose every other day, but I've worked 12 months to get to this point and want to be done with this drug! I'm taking the capsule and understand I have no other options. Can you help me??? How do I wean further and what are these symptoms doing to me? I welcome all hot flashes!!