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Avatar universal

How long is Effexor withdrawal supposed to last?

A little over two months ago I stopped taking Effexor after slowly weaning off of it.  I had horrible withdrawal symptoms: nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.  After two months I don't feel any better.  Needless to say, I'm really scared.  I can hardly function at my job and am very frustrated and angry.  This medication has ruined my life.  Waking up in the morning is the worst part of my day.  All I have to look forward to is dizziness, fatigue, and attempting  to function.

How long did you symptoms last?  Are they supposed to last this long?
931 Responses
Avatar universal
I am wondering the same thing.  I was on 150 mg Effexor XR for 5 years and weaned myself off of the drug during the course of a month and have been totally off it for 3 weeks now.  I too had nausea, extreme fatigue, horrible body aches, diarreha, short temper, etc. etc.  I am now starting to feel better, but still get those horrible brain shivers and my eyes have a tendency to bounce around when I look from one thing to another real fast.  All I can suggest is that you hang in there, what else can we do.    
238084 tn?1218239986
I've been on it for seven years now. I tried to get off of it once. While cutting back on it I was taking lexapro. After a few months of crying all the time I had a major panic attack. My other doc put me back on and said never to quit taking it again. I read that it can take six months to a year to get off of. If I miss a day or two I have horrible headaches and cannot funtion at all. I've never met anyone who has succesfully gotten off of it. I'm sorry that's not very encouraging but I think maybe you should talk to your doc and see if he can put you on something else in the mean time that's not physicaly addictive.
Avatar universal
I was taking Effexor(150 mg) a day as well up to a week ago.Even though I know that coming off medications should be gradual I just could not take it anymore,especially since it stopped doing anything for me,so I gave it up as soon as I took the last damn pill.I was just as miserable and foul tempered while I was on it.Safe to say the psychiatrists played the typical trial and error game on me with various other antidepressants such as: Celexa,Paxil and Lithium.
I am experiencing withdrawal like symptoms but I'm very confused. I still take other prescription meds from the opioids family which are helping me cope with my phantom limb pain. There are 3 of them: Percocet (oxycodne),Lyrica and Fentanyl (transdermal analgesic). Out of those I also dropped the Percocet gradually and now I'm off of it, The Lyrica has been reduced from 150mg-2/day  to 75 mg 1/day and the Fentanyl is the only one that stayed at the same dose 50 ml patch.
My question is : Could it be that the hell I'm going through now (sweating while freezing,severe nausea,fatigue,aches ans pains) is because all these changes happening all in a short period of time or because of quitting Effexor alone?
Avatar universal
Effexor withdrawal can be accomplished! Please do not give up heart. I have taken Effexor 75 mg time release for several years, with the dose upped 90 days ago to 150 mg. Then, last week, I did what I have wanted to do for so long. I stopped the drug cold turkey. I am not recommending that you do that! Last Tuesday I felt as if I had been run over by a truck, experiencing all the side effects listed in these posts -- and more! But here it is, six days later, and I'm almost entirely free of side effects, resuming work and getting my life back. How did this happen? With the help of a wonderful Christian Science practitioner. You can look at Spirituality.com to start. Please think about it, study, pray, perhaps contact a CS practitioner ... but whatever you do, do not go it alone. AB
Avatar universal
You really have to take at least one yr to wean off these meds. You can't do it in one month without horrible side effects. I'm coming off paxil and I have a one yr plan to get off of 20mg. It may seem to long, but it's gotta be better than all the awful withdrawels.


Avatar universal
I am 3 days into coming off of Effexor. I used to be abcent minded when it came to taking this med regularly and experienced all of the same symptoms as you guys describe. I was ignorant to what was causing this until now. I feel so terrible. moments of nausea, hot flashes followed by cold flashes and worst of all, the repetitive brain ZAPS. I refuse to succumb to this med and will continue to withdraw. Anybody have any idea of an approximate time these symptoms will last. It is virtually impossible to maintain daily life with these effects.
Avatar universal
I was on Effexor XR 150mg for about 5 years, 10 days ago I ran out, my car was in getting repaired when I remembered the script for more tablets was in the glove box of my car, oops what do I do?? Well, I stopped taking it and I have not felt this good since I can remember.  While I was on Effexor I have gained about 40 lbs, I was always feeling fuzzy, had bowel and bladder problems and my doctor put me on tablets for high blood pressure,  is this all a coincidence or was this just what growing older was all about.

Have faith people, you can get off this drug, it is just purely dangerous and I intend never to be on it again.

For the first time in a long time I actually feel motivated and the fuzziness has gone, I dont know if its just me but I haven't had any withdrawal side effects at all.
Avatar universal
I tried to come off of Effexor several years ago when we were going to adopt and I wanted to breast feed.  With the help of my Dr. I got off and was off for about a month, but I felt that I still needed something, nothing else has worked but Effexor(not the XR).  I also found out I couldn't breast feed because I was also taking Thyroid meds which I Can't get off of, so , we decided I'd go back on the Effexor.  Before I came off of it, I was on 150 mg. I'm now taking a sub-theraputic dose of 25 mg and have Never felt better... I don't get sick if I don't eat with the pill, tho I still can get the half-life side effects.  
You might just need a smaller dose... unless you do want to totally get off of it.  Even with the side effects, Effexor is the only thing that's ever worked for me and I've tried several different meds.
Good luck
Avatar universal
have faith everyone... when you get those symthoms, go for a walk, talk to a friend or family, watch a funny movie, if you have kids go to the park spend time with them, whatever it takes.... i started painting again it feels great, when i was taking effexor everything was fuzzy, i didn't want to get off the couch i was tired all the time... i guess i rather deal with th horrible nightmares, atleast you knows they are not real, i rather live that than the real nightmare after so many years.

good luck all of you!
Avatar universal
I was placed on Effexor 75mg 6 moths aafter my college student daughter was killed in a car accident  The drug made me so tired and I started having restless leg syndrome, but after 6 moths I decided to discontinue and quit this med cold turkey.  My internist never told how horrible the withdrawel symptoms are.  I have been off the med for 6 days and I am still unable to concentrate, experience brain zaps, feel foggy and dizzy and could cry at anything.  I have read all of the posts and still no one seems to know how long these withdrawel symptoms can last. The first four days were the worst and I truly felt as though I was losing my mind, so I feel like I can't go anywhere by up.  Anyone able to answer how long?
Avatar universal
1st of all, I am so sorry, I clicked "report this" not knowing what it was.  I will do whatever I have to do to correct clicking on "abuse".  
Most of all, I'm so sorry about the tragic loss of your daughter.  You do not need anyone or anything (Effexor withdrawal) making you feel badly.  
After many years of Effexor 225, my dr. is changing me to  Cymbalta.  I completed the taper-down with all the side effects you describe, am now on 3rd day of Cymbalta.  I pace the floor, cry, have tingly feelings all over my body.  
Please, please let me know if you hear of positive comments to time period.  My family hates me right now, but I don't blame them, I hate myself.
394200 tn?1200878785
i am going on day 4 of stopping my effexor cold turkey. I was on 300 mg and taking 20 mg of pexeva. I am stopping cold turkey after being on this medication for three years. The withdrawls are terrible, i don't know why any doctor in their right mind would ever prescribe this medication for anyone. I have those wonderful brain zaps every ten seconds, the only thing that momentarily makes me sane is food, as if the 30 pounds this medication has gained me aren't enough, stopping it is going to pack on another 30. I am a bundle of anger and rage directed at anyone within distance. I am at the toilet every night waiting and praying that I can just throw up. When I finally can fall asleep I am jolted awake in a puddle of sweat having just had yet another nightmare. And when I say nightmare, I mean the kind that have me screaming outloud in terror waking my husband. Minor daily tasks are ignored due to the fact that putting one foot in front of the other is too much to handle. I can't stand this feeling and only pray for the day that it will stop. I have no answers to how long and have been searching as well for the answer. All I do know is that the answers I have found can't be quick enough for me.
Avatar universal
I have been weaning since 11-5, when I lost my job an forgot to take my daily dose of 300 mg for four days - because I was not eating either.  Prescribed for hot flashes, my doctor discouraged me from going off effexor a year ago, when I said I did not think I needed it any longer.

I immediately started having strange episodes of dizziness and confusion.  My husband was the one that put two and two together.  We both decided it was time to taper.  We found all sorts of info online - and it was ALL bad.

I am not on 37.5 (third week) and plan on going down more.  This week has been bad.  Flu like symptoms.  My body aches like crazy.  My legs hurt, my joints ache, i am nauseous and dizzy, and to make matters worse, i cannot sleep.

I wonder if Wyeth Pharmaceuticals tested this drug on rats and what their reaction was... im just disgusted that so many people suffer, yet they continue to prescribe this **** on a daily basis.

Avatar universal
I was on the 75 mg capsuls of Effexor XR for about 1.5 years. I wanted to see how I would do off b/c I have been doing great for so long, and have become much stronger emotionally. My doc. gave me the half dosage capsuls to wean me off for one week and three days was when I stopped taking it all together. The withdrawl symptoms are getting worse and worse as the days go on. I have a virus on top of it and so it's hard to tell what is caused by what. I usually have tunnel vision, but this is different. I don't know how to explain the symptoms I have, pretty much what everyone else has explained. I almost cried reading all the comments, I don't want to keep feeling like things, things are finally looking up and I don't have any idea what other symptoms I may get or how long these will last. Has anyone figured something out for these withdrawls????
Avatar universal
I am not encouraged by all these posts and not one representative of the medical community has offered some positive comments or help.  I am into my third week of withdrawing from 150 mg.  I am dizzy and tired all the time. I sweat all the time.  My brain zaps annoyingly and frequently.  

Anyone out there who can offer some helpful advice?  Because right about now I am in a mood to sue the pants off someone, and I am not even a lawsuit kind of a person.  
Avatar universal
OMG-  the body aches and the joint swelling has disabled me for 3 months.  It is truly unbelieveable.  I didnt link it to Effexor until I read a few cases online.  I am on day 3 of ZERO effexor, after weaning for 5 weeks.  the withdrawal is painful, but NOTHING compared to the body aches and swollen joints.
Avatar universal
You all have my sincere sympathy...I do believe that I see the light at the end of this ordeal though.Unlike many others ,but, no doubt, just like many  or, perhaps most of us who were given this substance which has poisoned us, I really should NOT have been prescribed  it in the first place !! I have recently read a document from Wyeth to the medical profession in which they clearly declare that effexor should only be prescribed for "severe" depression, a condition that many who get this stuff, do not have !!!  
  Anyway I c that there`s not much space to write here so, I realised that the DRUG was in fact ruining my life so decided to stop. The plan was, 75 mgms for two weeks then 35,etc.The first time i halved the dose I was very rudely awakened to the nightmare of this"non-addictive DRUG" After ten weeks of reducing and suffering constant brain zaps and some of the other symptoms, I quit . That was six weeks ago and finaly, at last, the symptoms seem to be on the wane. Thankfully, I am in touch with creativity again after effexor had subdued that process COMPLETELY while i was on it.. I will write again ina week or so ...Good luck ..P.S. I am starting to enjoy a better communication with my 14 yr. old son which taking effexor had wrecked. It`s back to nature for me, and maybe war with the cold hearted grubs who give us this stuff....Peace....
365714 tn?1292199108
My dad was in a study for this drug...  It seemed to work for him...although he went psycho at least one time when the study went off and he got dropped...

Before that happened, his pysc. thought if it worked so well on him, it would for me too. I never thought highly of that assumption. First off you can't assume a med will work the same way on the son/daughter as the father/mother... He didn't take into account I have autism and depression, which may cause a different reaction than someone depressed and not autistic. I wish I could remember what year it was when I was on it, if it was in high school or college.  Whatever it was I didn't feel much different. I was on the 75mgI believe.  I was still tired and needed a nap. The psych's solution was to double the dose...  That lasted for two days... I couldn't think, my thoughts streamed, and I got no sleep...  I went back down, but I thought the med was causing dizzyness and headaches as well as causing an odd shivering feeling in my head... Looking back, I guess that may have been withdrawls or side effects... I took it once a day but not at a set time.  I figured it wasn't working so I quit, c/t by breaking the pills in half and eventually taking every other day.  I didn't give time to taper more than a week.  I guess I was very lucky I did not notice, either that or I didn't know what I was dealing with. I must had just slept a lot more.

Anyways I haven't taken Effexor in years..and hope never to go back on it, now after reading about the horrible effects...
Avatar universal
**Possible Solution for Effexor Withdrawal**

I have been on 150 mg.'s of Effexor for about 6 mo.'s, and after realizing the withdrawal problems when missing a dose by a few hours, asked my prescribing physician to take me off of it. He immediately told me he would switch me to 50 mg. Zoloft for 10 days, and that would be it. The reason being is the "half-life" of the Effexor is very short (missing a dose by the few hours=withdrawals), whereas the Zoloft "half-life" is ~a week. The Zoloft will prevent/minimize the Effexor withdrawals because it is substituting one drug for the other, with a longer "half-life, and not stopping medication all at once. The 2-3 weeks off of Effexor (10 days + 1 week), substituted by the Zoloft, will give me time to ease off the Effexor entirely.

1st week on Zoloft, with no Effexor, there were some withdrawals, but minimal and they passed quickly. 2 days now off everything and I feel fine. The final question will be once the Zoloft is out of my system in a few days.

FYI…my physician, who seems to be experienced and knowledgeable with the Effexor informed me that even if I tried to taper down, I would go through withdrawals. He said “why go through it? Take the Zoloft for 10 days.” Bear in mind, I was only on 150 mg.'s for 6 mo.'s, but talk to your treating physician about the option involving Zoloft.
Avatar universal
I see that you attribute magical powers to your trusty physician.How can anyone possibly know what he is giving you without experiencing it himself?? besides ,taking Zoloft is like six of one, and half a dozen of the other. People react differently to different drugs and u can never know if someone may react badly to Zoloft or any other of the drugs in the gènre. Which one comes after the Zoloft? I believe that anyone wishing to get off effexor should really take the oppotunity to seek alternative solutions to their problems. The internet is full of interesting info. I will never agree to take any "medicine "again without running a thorough check on pros and cons befor I do. At least taking effexor has warned me about poss.consequences of trusting doctors just because they are doctors..There is an online petition with more than sixteen thousand people who have suffered the ill effects of effexor.. It has been going on for many years and yet, knowledgable and experienced doctors continue to dish it out. The light at the end of the tunnel is in your heart. May the force be with you..
Avatar universal
Is it just me or does this look for all intents and purposes like medication slavery. You have a physical addiction to something that feels awful at some point during the process even if it felt a little better for a moment. Then when you want to get off it the WDs make it almost impossible, but taking them makes the discomfort worse?

And how many people actually find this beneficial I wonder, I mean for moe than a year mabey? But you have to keep taking the stuff or feel worse?

Wheres Michael Moore,, somone needs to seriousely look into this. Something really bads going on.

*With respect and apprication for the plight of those looking to be free from the pharmacratic inquisition*      Jennifer
365714 tn?1292199108
I thought back and remembered it was 2001. I was in high school when that quack prescribed the stuff to me... I think I was on for at least half a year on 75mg. I was doing some googling and they say it is not for teenagers because of certain risks. Not to mention I don't think my depression was severe enough to warrant such a med. makes me wonder how the hell some psych's get their degree???

Anyways it's been about 6-7 years from taking my last dose and I seem to be ok, so there is some hope. Some of the dizziness I still feel when I get up, but that is a separate issue that occurred before I was on Effexor. I think Effexor just made it worse... Thinking back to it, that year I was taking ibprophin just about every day for headaches.  I wonder sometimes if quacks get kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs for anything... Right now I’m on Welbutrin. I hope that isn’t going to turn out something really nasty.
Avatar universal
quote,'I wonder sometimes if quacks get kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs for anything... Right now I’m on Welbutrin.'

Yes, doctors get gifts for prescribing medications, usually the newer ones. Its been proven in the last few years that pharma spends 100-150 thousand dollars MORE to promote their products than they do to lab study them. Frankly I think we are being used as guinea pigs and while I doubt it applies here,, once I was 'accidently' reffered to a medicade clinic for group therapy to help me with anxiety by an ER doctor who didnt realize I had insurance. There were 8 women plus me in the group and all were on atleast 3 and one lady was on 8 different mind altering chemicals. Intersting to me atleast because I had a hard time just getting the benzopine from my doc for anxiety (these ladies were all divorced and collecting disability and or welfare) and guess who pays for that?? We do... and that stuffs EXPENSIVE...........

Folks can believe what they want,, but I know what Iv seen... I have a friend in texas whos 10 year old foster daughter was on

a daily benzopine, a daily SSRI, a daily amephtamine for ADHD, a daily anti-psychotic (diagnosed also as schizophrenic) and a daily sleeping pill....

Her foster mom finally had to make them take her back when she pulled a knife on my friend when they were aruging in the kitchen. Uppers, downers, sleeping pills and anti-psychotics... thats just asking for a major problem if not death IMO... but its the system and we keep giving them money to do this. Somethings wrong.

And Mj,,, if Wellbutrin is helping you its a good thing... but if you google Wellbutrin psychosis.. you can read stories of people who have had bad reactions to this medication too. Andrea Yates was on Wellbutrin and anouther SSRI together.

*With apprication and respect*

Avatar universal
I wish you all good luck in trying to quit effexor xr. I have been off of the medication for about seven weeks now and am still having withdrawals. My highest dose was 375mg. I changed physicians and the current one decided that effexor was not very effective and had cause significant weigt gain. I will be honest and say that it is very difficult to quit the drug. I was successful because I had also been usinng wellbutrin 300 mg.and geodon 180 mg. Without these meds, I doubt I would have been able to quit effexor xr.

I am still having great difficulty concentrating and the weight has not come off, yet. Even with concerta 54 mg the concentration has been an issue. I really wished I had stopped the drug when I first noticed weight gain. I would be better off today.

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