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Forum Name: Antidepressants

Question: Effexor Withdrawal


 moxieami - Wed Mar 03, 2004 5:57 pm

I am currently experiencing terrible withdrawal symptoms from Effexor XR. Starting a family has been a dream of mine as well as my fiancés until now. To prepare for a future with this man I investigated the effects Effexor XR may have on a pregnancy. Once I discovered the potential harm to an unborn child it was decided I would discontinue taking Effexor XR. It is important to state I was never told nor could I have discovered the facts regarding this drug and it's withdrawal effects. I am currently experiencing dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, major headaches, nervousness, tremors, vertigo, vomiting, agitation, abdominal pain, confusion and various other effects. After it was apparent to me that these were in direct response to my discontinuing taking the Effexor XR. It is impossible to me to work at this time due to the withdrawal symptoms. There are thousands upon thousands of people suffering from these effects to the point of remaining on the drug to avoid them. This to me seems more like a systematic way to keep people on this drug to increase profits than a drug to help people who are ill.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:09 am

User avatar Moieami,
Effexor or venlafaxine is known to have disturbing withdrawal effects after more than 6 weeks of use. On discontinuing the drug you should taper its use over a period of two weeks. For a previous discussion on the effects and outcome of effexor withdrawal please check this page!

For more info on effexor antidepressants/ssri/venlafaxine.htm" class="postlink">click here!
 john frey - Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:18 am

Dr. Fouad's advice is directly off the manufacturers web page and is very wrong.

My experience and the experience of everyone I know personally as well as that of many people posting to various web sites suggests that a much longer tapering off is needed.

I tried to taper off by my doctors recommendation and ended up in the psych ward. This time I tapered off over a 3 month period and although I experienced side effects throughout that time they were manageable. When I finally stopped taking it altogether the withdrawal effects were still more severe than during the tapering off process but remained manageable.

I wish doctors would have available more research and more independent research to advise patients with. Also a doctor might want to advise patients to use their own judgement when tapering off. The withdrawal symptoms are so severe that sticking blindly to a prescribed regime of withdrawal can be very harmful, to the point of being life threatening.

My advice to anyone is take it slow and remember you know your body and how the withdrawal is affecting you better than anyone else and you need to make your own decisions about how fast or slow you can cut back
 Taylynn - Wed Nov 17, 2004 12:52 pm

Hi,
I too had a horrible time getting off of the effexor xr :shock:
I took me around 10 weeks to finally get off them. I ended up taking 2-3 "beads" out of each capsule every day or so, till I finally was down to around 15 beads in a pill!! NEVER NEVER AGAIN
I was not told either about the withdrawal side effects.
When I first tapered down, I was fine until around 5-6 days without them. Then the vomiting, lightheadedness, dizzy, etc. hit me like a brick. It dawned on me it might be the effexor, so I took a 1/2 a capsule, and sure enough felt better within around 6 hours. That is when I started taking a bead or 2 out of each pill.
I think there is around 180 "beads" in each capsule....
That rx should be banned.
Nasty stuff.
 kam_lem - Mon Mar 21, 2005 11:09 am

I agree with all of the above (except the Doctor)! I actually had a doctor tell me there were no side effects whatsoever from this medication. What a load of CRAP! I have been opening up each 37.5 mg capsule and then taking 1/3 of that every other day for three weeks. Now I'm on day 3 of not taking any of the medication and feeling rotten as hell. I'm dizzy and can hardly keep my head upright. I'm having trouble functioning at work. I'm nauseous and woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat sick as a dog the other night. I'm having trouble seeing straight. I feel like a herion addict trying to kick a nasty drug habit.

Sure the medication helped me get over a tough time, but I gained weight and now I'm suffering withdrawal sickness like a regular street drug addict. To me, that's not worth it. There are plenty of other medications that can do the same thing without these debilitating side effects. It's a crime that the FDA approved this medication and that physicians actually perscribe it without telling patients the HORRIBLE withdrawal problems it has.

I will never take another anti-depressant again no matter how suicidal or depressed I get again. It's a shame that I can't even trust the medical community to be honest and upright about what the drugs they perscribe actualy do to my body. And I believe the side effects are a way of keeping people hooked on the medication so the drug company can make a bundle of us. Why would they want us to get any better when they can have a bunch of addicted crazies on their medication who can't get of it?
 ericpete - Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:45 pm

I have been on Effexor 150mg for 5 months and I thought it was great. Only problem was I couldn't cum when I was having sex. Doc recommended I tapor my dose for the weekend and I decided to just stop for the weekend. I started to feel the brain shivers on Saturday afternoon and it was a bit uncomfortable but nothing to write home about. Saturday night when I had sex with my girlfriend it was great so I decided to just quit taking effexor. It's only been 3 days since I stopped but it isn't that bad for me. I feel the brain shiffers constantly, but it's not THAT bad. When I was reading about how bad it was from everyone on the internet I was assuming it would be like coming down from a weekend binge of coke or something. Nothing like that at all. I mean the brain shivers are a bit strange, but not that bad. I am curious how long the brain shivers last, but honestly all you people who are complaining about how bad this is really should try coming down from a party drug. Effexor come down is easy in comparison. Can someone tell me how long these electrical shocks through my brain are going to last?
 Taylynn - Mon Mar 28, 2005 1:43 am

ericpete,
It's been over a week since you posted.
Did your brains shivers end yet? Also, how about other symptoms?
If you got off the effexor without them, consider yourself lucky! :)
 ericpete - Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:49 pm

So on Thursday I went back to see my Doc and he was a bit concerned that I just decided to stop Effexor cold turkey. He said I had a chance of getting depressed again so he said I should continue taking it, but taper off gradually. He said to just slow down, but do it over a few weeks so I don't get the shivers. Also he upped my dose of Wellbutrin to the regular dose for depression. So now I am taking 150mg Wellbutrin XL twice a day. I took 75mg (half my usual dose) of Effexor on friday. Skipped saturday, took 75mg on Sunday, and today I took 75mg. I feel totally normal, in fact I feel pretty freaking good today. My sex drive is definitely up because I had sex with my girlfriend this morning. I plan on stepping down to ~ 37.5mg tomorrow and trying that for the rest of the week. I might increase it if I get the shivers, but will only increase it to stop the shivers (per my doc's recommendations). I will give and update next week. I can't wait to get off Effextor so my sex drive is normal again and I get horney every time I see a girl.
 rivers9 - Mon May 23, 2005 4:27 am

I would first like to say that everyone is an individual and medication effects people differently, so there is no one way to wean off of antidepressants. I know, personally, that effexor can take longer than a few weeks to get out of your system. The problem with these doctors replying is that most of them have never been on an anti depressant and have never experienced withdrawal side effects, and thus have no idea of what others are going through. My best advice is to taper off SLOWLY and if you start having withdrawal effects, then go back to the next highest dose and stay another week on it before going down to the next lowest dose again.

prayers to all who fight depression,

:lol:
 bevan_9 - Sat Jun 18, 2005 12:23 pm

I have been on effexor xr for about 10 years. I was takeing 150 mg daily. 75mg in am and in pm. I was put on this for stess due to my wifes depression. My Dr. said I was depressed but I never thought I was. Anyway this is my 3rd attempt to get off effexor. First time just couldnt take the withdrawel side effects so wemt back up just to feel better. The second time my Dr. took me off all at once and gave me wellbuterin to take in its place. That was the wosrt experience I have ever gone through. I cried at the drop off a dime. Did I mention that I am a 49 year old male ? This time I tapered by reducing my dose by 37.5mg every 2 weeks and it didnt seem to bad until I was on my final 37.5 that is when i started noticing the headaches, dizziness, tremors and so forth but they were managable. Now it has been 3 days with no effexor and I am really feeling the above mentioned effects plus the slightest head movement sends my head spinningand I and smapping at my wife and 12year old daughter for the stupidest things. I really want to be off this drug because of the sexual side effects and the weight gain plus I am not bepressed and don't feel I need to be on unnessecary medication.

Are there thing we can do to help eleviate some of the withdrawl effects? I am desperate because I do not want to have to go back on this nasty drug just to eleviate the side effects :(
 colouredmind - Tue Aug 02, 2005 4:42 am

hi.. i've been on effexor 75mg for a year now, my doctor prescribed me to it when i was 15. he failed to warn me about the side effects i would be suffering from when he started me on them, and now i'm suffering more than i was before. the withdrawal is something i never would want anyone to suffer from and i'm sure you guys would agree. i've wanted to come off them for around four months now and i'm now taking them every third day, and i'm suffering from 80% of the syptoms i've read. it's messing with my entire body and mind, i want it to end. i'm sixteen! i just want an actual way to come completely free of my medication without these side effects :(
 skipper - Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:53 pm

Withdrawal from Effexor is the worst feeling I have ever experienced. I have tried tapering off of it from 150mg down to 75mg then to 37.5mg but got too many nerve shocks/tremors and nausea so went back on it but now I am pregnant and must go off of it and the withdrawal is so bad I ended up in the hospital two days ago. I am seriously thinking of suing my two doctors and the makers of effexor because NO ONE told me that the withdrawal would be this bad. If they did I would have never started taking it. My doctor said there would be "flu-like symptoms"...obviously he has never tried to stop taking effexor. This is a nightmare and these people should be better informed and tell their patients THE TRUTH. I would like to know if there has been any negative effects on my unborn child from this horrible withdrawal.
 warning to all - Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:51 pm

I took my husband to see a neurologist today for headaches of unknown orign. Note my husband a former baseball nut in highschool has had numerous concusions from ball to head type injury. Also work related injuries to side of head. This is also where he develops his headache. With all of this information before him and an unremarkable CT scan of the brain I was full of hope. The doctor gave him orders for MRI with and without contrast, EEG, and Effexor XR. I questioned the prescription because I am not only a nurse but know people who have taken this med for depression/anxiety. He pretty much told us side effects were rare and that effexor has been NOTED to help with chronic headaches. :evil: :twisted: :!: People beware the drug companies are screwing you... Thank God I have some background because if not I would have let him take the DRUG!!!!
 susieque129 - Tue Aug 02, 2005 8:18 pm

I have been taking Effexor XR since 1999, that's six years. I was up to 225 mg per day but for the past year I've been taking 150 mg. I have attempted to get off it under my Drs direction by tapering off gradually twice previous. I always ended up taking it full time again because the withdrawal symptoms were so bad, or should I use Wyeth's terminology - discontinuation symptoms, HORSE PUCKY!!!

This is my third attempt and this time - COLD TURKEY. I am on day 4 with no effexor having been consumed. The electric shocks started as soon as my next dose was due. They have increased in occurence as well as severity. I have no appetite, feel sick and dizzy. This I could handle, it is the uncontrollable crying, the wild whirling thoughts in my head, the anger, did I say anger, I mean rage at times is overwhelming. This morning at 8:00 am, I was out mowing my lawn, that by the way i had just mowed 2 days ago, trying to burn off the hostile energy. I was crying the whole time. It was how you would cry if you were just told your father has died or something. I cried, bawled & sobbed for about five hours and 2 boxes of kleenex. Tonight, I am not too bad, but I have had a couple of small crying jags this afternoon. The zings - electric shocks go from my head to my chest and arms sometimes, and often from the tips of my toes up into my abodomen. I hope I can make it once and for all.

This drug and others like it should not be allowed to be sold. I called Wyeth Canada today @1-800-268-1946, ext 3662 and spoke to a nurse. I told her of my attempts in the past to stop this drug and my withdrawal. I gavve her an ear full. She said "a small number of patients do get adverse effects or discontinuation symptoms." I let her have it, I said a few, bulls&#t. I have been on the internet all morning looking for information on Effexor withdrawal and there are THOUSANDS of people and the worst of it is that our Doctors are not even fully informed of what kind of drug they are working with. This is CRIMINAL. We are living, breathing human beings, not test animals and there are real repercussions because of this drug. Even in the insert from Wyeth that came with my first few sample packs from my Doctor, there was absolutely no mention of the side effects of withdrawal from this drug. For heaven's sake, I knew as soon as I missed my dose because the electric shocks would start whizzing through my body. I told her that I had contacted Health Canada and the Fifth Estate (CBC TV news show) and that I was going to take my soap box and tell anyone that will listen that this drug should not be allowed to be sold in all the world. If I had known then what I know now, I would never have taken it in the first place. I also said to the Wyeth Nurse, you say it is not addictive, well I am going through hell right now, I may not be on the corner selling my body to get a fix, but i am suffering severely due to something that is NOT ADDICTIVE
Thanks, I needed to vent. But, if you feel lead to, contact Health Canada adverse drug reactions department, or in the states the FDA and any other governing body you can think of. This drug has to be stopped.
thanks, 6 year Effexor Addcit, in rehab, lol
 susieque129 - Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:50 pm

I posted yesterday, very determined that I would never take another effexor. Well, I'm sorry to say, I have taken another effexor. I had a terrible episode this morning. I cried and howled all morning off and on. We had to drive 50 miles on a 4 lane highway, so I got my sister-in-law to drive as I was too dizzy and mournful. I was so dizzy and naseous during the drive. I had to have the radio turned off as it was getting on my nerves. The further we drove, the more agitated I felt, I was sobbing uncontrollably, I just had to get out of the vehicle. My sister-in-law pulled over on the 401 highway, one of the busiest in Ontario, I stumbled and bolted from the vehicle staggering, I was so dizzy. I threw myself in the tall grass on the side of the highway with tractor trrailers whizzing by and was screaming, crying, praying and begging to God to pleaase help me. when I got home, I called and went to the Doctor who insisted that I take 3/4 at least of the 150 dosage I was taking, get myself under control and then try tapering off again, GET THIS over a 2 week period. I laughed and explained that I had tried tapering for 2 months once about 3 years ago, unsuccessfully.
My son was upset this morning, he had never seen his mom so manic and out of control. I took the effexor for his sake. I will try to taper off AGAIN, beginning next week. The point of this, cold turkey is not the answer. I will admit, the withdrawal was much worse than when I tapered off. The electric shocks , I can handle, nausea, OK. But the manic episodes were increasing with severity each day, what would have happend tomorrow if I did not take Effexor today. I have a little boy and a husband and it was killing them to see me in such agony. Just thought someone might want to know. Good luck everyone.
 susieque129 - Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:34 pm

Here is an online petition I found that will be sent to Wyeth-Ayerst for Effexor if anyone is interested in having this drug banned

http://www.petitiononline.com/effexor/petition.html
 Acrobat - Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:13 pm

ericpete wrote:I have been on Effexor 150mg for 5 months and I thought it was great. Only problem was I couldn't cum when I was having sex. Doc recommended I tapor my dose for the weekend and I decided to just stop for the weekend. I started to feel the brain shivers on Saturday afternoon and it was a bit uncomfortable but nothing to write home about. Saturday night when I had sex with my girlfriend it was great so I decided to just quit taking effexor. It's only been 3 days since I stopped but it isn't that bad for me. I feel the brain shiffers constantly, but it's not THAT bad. When I was reading about how bad it was from everyone on the internet I was assuming it would be like coming down from a weekend binge of coke or something. Nothing like that at all. I mean the brain shivers are a bit strange, but not that bad. I am curious how long the brain shivers last, but honestly all you people who are complaining about how bad this is really should try coming down from a party drug. Effexor come down is easy in comparison. Can someone tell me how long these electrical shocks through my brain are going to last?
i had that sex problem too with effexor. It was a pain.

As for withdrawl, i came off it a bit too fast and i went REALLY depressed. Felt like i was in a dream world and all i wanted to do was kill myself. I had really violent thoughts too.... i considered killing a bunch of people i hated and then killing myself in gruesome way...

Im amazed i survived that few weeks and am still here. I feel great now, but thats because i stopped using effexor and went back to an old reliable drug. Which im now coming off, gradually.

Im not sure effexor should be banned, but its definatly dangerous.
 poopymimi - Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:02 pm

I have been on effexor for about 3 years. I was very depress after getting sick with a disorder that has left me physically disabled. I have tried several time getting off this drug. I don't need it anymore, but I keep taking it because I can't handle the side effects. I am disabled with 2 small children at home, my husband works two jobs to take care of us and this medication is too expensive. My insurance only covers part of it and I don't need it anymore. I am no longer depressed.

I am going to take a few beads out at a time. Say 3 a day for one week. Then the next week 4, then so on. I will check back and let you know what my progess is. I am going over night with my husband on a little aniversary date, so I will wait until Monday, Aug. 22 to start. I miss one day, and I am ill. I'm dizzy and I feel like puking and I have terible bowel movements that cause so much pain. I can barely take care of my kids.

Good luck to everyone!!! :shock:
 grapequeen - Thu Aug 18, 2005 12:32 pm

I am currently in withdrawal from the Evil Effexor. I was on 150mg and tapered down gradually (75mg for 2 wks, 37.5mg for 2 wks and I've been off it completely for about a week) and my withdrawal symptoms are better but still there. I tried going off cold turkey several months ago, but the nausea, vertigo and brain zaps were so terrible that I was sobbing in the office and couldn't take it any longer. I took a 150mg capsule and felt better in several hours. My withdrawal has been MUCH better after tapering. Not great, but MUCH MUCH better. PLEASE do not go off this medication cold turkey! It really should be banned... :evil:

My symptoms: dizziness, brain zaps, clumsiness (bumping into walls, tripping over my own feet), sight problems, extreme irritability over small things, crying at the drop of a hat, nausea, headaches, scary scary dreams where I'm being chased by ax murderers, weight gain, a major craving for vegetables (esp. broccoli) :o

But I am gladly dealing w/ these symptoms because I now have my emotions back. When I was on the medication, I was numb. I didn't get angry or sad, but I also wasn't really elated or super happy about things. I have always been an extrovert, and when I was on Effexor I was a wallflower and quiet in social situations. I felt awkward all the time. This is gone now that I'm off the medicine! I'm already starting to feel like my old passionate, exuberant self.

General practioners are clueless, y'all. They hand out these drugs like candy without warning patients of their side effects or withdrawal symptoms. This is because they aren't aware of them themselves. It has been my experience that we often know much more than GP's about medical science. From this point forward, I will be self-diagnosing myself using medical dictionaries. Yes, surgeons and specialists are extremely important! They can save lives. But GP's are pretty much useless.
 DeLWolcott - Fri Aug 19, 2005 8:55 am

Susie, how are you doing? I missed your last post as I was out of the country and I'm rather shocked that no medical professional responded to your distress.

I hope things are better. If not, you need to get in contact with your physician that is regulating your Effexor. If they are not being supportive with your withdrawal and sympathetic to your withdrawal symptoms, find another doctor. Withdrawal can be very dangerous for some people, and you sound as if you were in that group a couple of weeks ago.

I understand what you're saying about the manic episodes. I had those, plus I didn't feel safe to drive because I kept feeling like I was coming out of a dream, having to snap myself back into the realization that "this" was reality.

It can be a long process, but the slower the better for everyone involved, including you and the people around you. Get in touch with a physician or local mental health clinic to help you through this. You are not alone and do not let anyone try to tell you that it's just you.

Best wishes and hopes for your condition now and your success in withdrawal!
 nzilla - Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:15 am

Here's my story:

I started Effexor in 2003 to manage some awful post-partum depression. My son is now three and a half and the offending hormones seem to have stabilized yet I carried on with Effexor because I could not quit. I started on a 75 mg dose after attempting Paxil for a couple of months. Paxil was okay but knocked me out so my doctor suggested Effexor. The dose was just fine and I had very little side effects so I carried on merrily until last summer when I decided to quit. My doctor suggested I come off it over a month's time. I went down to 37.5 mg a day for a couple of weeks - fine, then every other day - no good. It seems I needed a daily fix no matter how small. I was able to get some 37.5 mg pills that could be cut in half so I was then taking an itty bitty pill. Then I tried the every other day thing which meant that I felt sick as hell every other day. After about 36 hours from my last dose I got severe dizziness, headaches and hot flashes. As a mom to a preschooler, I just couldn't afford to be incapacitated like that. Another pill and I was fine.

I then saw another doctor who suggested that I had come off too fast. I ended up back on 37.5 mg a day. I am a full-time university student so I simply could not afford to try quitting again during school. But with two weeks to go before next semester, I have gone precisely 57 hours since my last pill. I hadn't planned to try to quit right now but (yes, this is stupid) I ran out of pills at the end of last week and just didn't get around to calling the doctor for a refill. Normally, I'm a little more responsible about such things but frankly, I really want to quit. The thing is, I'm feeling okay aside from being a little light-headed and pretty tired. Plus, I have a doctor's appointment in the morning - I should at least survive until then (hopefully). I'm hoping that I'm going to finally get off these things but I know that I could get hit with ugly symptoms at any time. Luckily, both my husband and I are off work and school respectively for the next two weeks so I can take naps if I need to and so far I have - I've slept away half of the last two days.

I'll post again and let you know how it's going. Wouldn't it be nice to have a success story on quitting Effexor?

:) Hopeful

P.S. Susie - I'd like to hear how you are doing, too.
 kendyl - Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:31 pm

I AM CURRENTLY TRYING TO TAPER OFF EFFEXOR XR 75 MG. I WORK FOR A DOCTOR , SO HE WARNED ME TO TAPER.I DID EXAXCTLY WHAT HE SAID. LET ME TELL YOU, NOTHING IS TEXT BOOK!! I AM LIVING HELL RIGHT NOW. I HAVE BEEN OUT OF WORK NOW FOR 2 DAYS. THE ELECTRIC SHOCKS ARE HORRIBLE ALONG WITH NAUSEA. EXTREME DIZZINESS,NIGHTMARES,WEAKNESS, MANIC EPISODES. THIS IS MY THIRD DAY WITHOUTEFFEXOR. I ENDED UP TAKING A 37.5 THIS AFTERNOON BECAUSE I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE.THIS DRUG WORKED WELL FOR ME . MY HUSBAND AND I DECIDED TO HAVE OUR SECOND CHILD SO I WANTED OFF OF THE DRUG.
I WILL SAY RIGHT NOW THAT I WILL NEVER , EVER ,EVER TAKE THIS AGAIN . THE WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS ARE THE WORST THING I HAVE EXPEREINCED IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.
IT DIDI MAKE ME FEEL BETTER TO KNOW THAT I AM NOT GOING THROUGH THIS ALONE.
THE DRUG SHOULD BE TAKEN OFF THE MARKET!!!![/b]
 DeLWolcott - Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:43 am

Kendyl is absolutely right. Nothing is textbook. You have to listen to your own body and mind during this process.

If/When you begin to feel the withdrawal symptoms again, you need to get an Effexor that is scored you can go down slower. Liquid would be the ultimate way to taper if it is available to you through any pharmacy. Check with hospital out-patient pharmacies if needed.

I wish you the best of luck during this next attempt. Total withdrawal is attainable and may it be quick for you. Patience is not only a virtue, but a must during AD withdrawal for MANY. Remember that in no way should you ever consider yourself as failing if you have to go back up just a bit. It can be like dancing the 2-step...2 steps forward, one step back or even the other way around. Eventually the goal will/can be reached. And always keep your doc informed of everything you're feeling. They may suggest going on another AD to help with the symptoms of Effexor withdrawal, but you do your research and have all of your questions answered before beginning anything new.
 DeLWolcott - Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:54 am

Kendyl, you are definitely not alone!! It can be the most difficult situation a person has been through, making the original cause for going on the medication seem trivial. I, in fact, am still going through the withdrawal process, 90% down from my original dosage.

I know it can be done. I know it's incredibly hard for some of us. I know the majority of the physician community needs more education in the problems that these medications are causing on a larger scale than they can imagine. I am working on that through different lines, along with trying to offer support to those who need it along the way.

Banning the medications at this point would be detrimental to the world at this point. Can you imagine the entire world (or the estimated 8 to 13% of the world on these medications) going through withdrawal all at the same time? :shock: We have to get the education out to the general and medical public. We have to get the drug companies to admit what they have known for years in their research. It's going to be a long road.

Also, these medications have their place. Counseling is a must during AD therapy as the medications do not CURE the problem. So the problem must be gone before withdrawal has any chance. Proper withdrawal must be worked with between the patient and the physician.

On the good side, physicians are beginning to listen and learn, through educational resources and through observations of their patients. Progress is being made.

Best wishes to you and yours also!
 moonbeams - Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:07 pm

I've read this thread and others in this forum with great interest. Its good to know that there are others out there trying to get off this drug.

I started a blog this week on my daily dealings with getting off the Effexor XR and if anyone wants to read it over and has any suggestions for me I'd be happy to have them.

Today is day 3 and so far its ok. I'm going very slow, taking just a few beads out of one pill. I tried in the past to go off by 1/4 of the dose and about lost it from the withdrawal effects. I keep reading here and other places that the bead idea might work. I'm going to give it a try. I want off this stuff.

My blog link is http://effexorsucks.blogspot.com/

Best of luck to everyone else getting off this stuff. Know your not the only one.
 lotsofsugar14 - Fri Aug 26, 2005 11:38 am

The situation that I am currently dealing with is one that I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy! About 6 years ago I was diagnosed with "Anxiety disorder" after collapsing in my local Wal-mart store. They recommended my taking Paxil and talking to a mediator/counselor. To no avail none of that worked so I decided to come off of paxil and take control of my life again. The side effects of those pills were so horrible that it felt like I was constantly walking on a trampaline and and being shaken. I didnt want to talk or be around anyone. After finally dealing with it for 2 weeks I was O.K. again. (or at least i thought). About a year later my life became so topsy-turvy that I was too scared to leave the house, I wouldnt even check the mail alone. Finally my mom dragged me to the doctor and she put me on Effexor XR 150mg. At first it seamed to work but I think its all in my head. So now I am trying to get off of this and never take pills again! Im not going back to the doctor this time because all they want to do is up my meds and keep me dosile. Thats not what I want. I want to live a normal life and have kids (which you cant do while taking Effexor RX). If you are reading this wondering wheather or not you should take pills, I would definatly not! To the doctors-what is your take on this? I don't think i had anxiety at all, just low blood sugar that morning. I beleave Paxil made me more anxious than I was prior to that eppisode.
 ILove2Teach - Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:56 pm

About five years ago I went to my doctor for a routine check up for my thyroid. My doctor was alarmed at my weight loss. I am 5'6" amd was about 110 pounds and 45 years old. He asked me what was going on in my life. I told him that my father was dying of a terminal illness and because I was very close to him, it had caused some anxiety. My doctor suggested that I go on the anti-depressant Effexor. I told him that I was not depressed. He replied by saying that there is a fine line between anxiety and depression and I just needed to trust him. So, I began taking 75MG a day. After one month, I told my husband that I didn't feel any different, so I was going to quit taking them. His reply shocked me. He said, "Please don't. You seem so much happier and less irriated with _________ (our ADHD teen)." So, I said, "Okay, if you see a difference, I'll take it for you and the kids." After a year on the drug, I gained 30 pounds and I went to the doctor and said that I wanted to get off of the Effexor because I was actually starting to feel depressed. I can't believe that I let him talk me into doubling my dosage, but soon I did start feeling normal again. However, that year I put on an additional 30 pounds, for a total of a sixty pound gain! I had to start wearing my mother's clothes and buying new ones. Though I felt fine emotionally, I felt terrible about my appearance. I also didn't like the fact that it totally took away my ability to enjoy sexual satisfaction. So, I tried several times to wean myself off the drug, only to get headaches, nausea, funny brain sensations and incredible irritablility that was out of proportion to the situations that brought it on. I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss this, and he told me that it was all my imagination because "Effexor is little more than a vitamin." Every time I tried to quit, I couldn't stand the nausea or irritablility that it caused and I'd go right back on it. Then I started to search the internet and discovered that these symptoms were not all "in my head." I decided to ask my pharmacist for help and he suggested a slower program of withdrawl. The first week, I cut my evening tablet in half, so that I was taking 3/4 of my daily dose. After two days, I got an very upset stomach which lasted for several days, but I stuck it out because I wasn't having the irritablility. The second week, I cut my evening dose in half again and again suffered stomach flu-like symptoms on and off throughout the week. Yesterday, I started my third week and I totally eliminated my evening dose all together, so that I'm now taking only 75MG per day. I expect that I won't feel wonderful this week either, but I'm going to follow through. At this rate, I'm not experiencing the irritability at all. Do you think that it's wise to keep going at this pace? Am I going to quickly? I start teaching 5th/6th grade the day after labor day and do not want to be sick when school starts. Any suggestions for me would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
 moonbeams - Mon Aug 29, 2005 5:23 pm

Love2Teach~

This is my 3rd time trying to get off Effexor, and so far this has been the most tolerable to me. I'm opening up the capsules and removing some of the beads, I started with around 10-12 a week ago and I took out just over 30 today. I was on 150mg for a year, then last April my doctor talked me into more using the same theory, that it would help me sleep..blah..blah..blah. So since April I've been on 225mg.

The weight gain has been insane. I never had a weight issue in my life, was not so fit before I got pregnant with my now 3 year old, and since his birth I've gained nearly 50lbs. Just crazy. I too have no feelings, and sex is a joke (my poor husband!)

I think you have to do what is best for you on this, I think there is no perfect cutting back dose that covers everyone. I personally can't feel yucky, I have three kids, babysit two others, one of my children has autism, and I am in constant motion running him to his daily program and making sure that the afternoon one here at home goes smoothly, along with taking care of the rest of the family. I have to be at my best 120% of the time.

I don't want to tell you what to do, because I'm not you. I think you should listen to your body and adapt as you see fit. Good luck! I hope you are able to wean off successfully.
 DeLWolcott - Thu Sep 01, 2005 9:10 pm

ILove2Teach, taper as you feel you can and stay in contact with your physician. If you come to a point where the withdrawal is too much to handle with the beginning of school, do not feel bad for going up a tad to get over the hump.

There is no withdrawal schedule set in stone anywhere. You have to listen to your mind and body to know when you are ready for your next step down, or when that last step down may have been too much and you need to edge back up for a few days.

This goal can be reached and it's not fun for anyone. Keep up your patience and courage, but be patient with yourself also. Do what you need to do to make your return to school as pleasant as possible without the added anxiety of "I have to complete this by such-in-such date!"

Good luck and have a great year!
 barrygirl - Mon Sep 05, 2005 9:40 pm

wow...just google'd on effexor withdrawal...and read all your posts. I am in the throes of only one 75mg. capsule every other day...and trying to stop. I never took more than 2 per day...as it worried me..and the out of body experience was NO FUN....I also have no highs or lows...never cry...but never laugh much now...and my poor hubby is wondering where his sexy mama went.

Yes, it is horrible..(I'd rather go thru labor again...even BREACH!)..than deal w/ the evil of EFFEXOR WITHDRAWAL.

my dr. also said nothing about it's usage or withdrawal...and i refuse to go back to the quack! I will try to take some of the capsules apart ,...REDUCE THE DOSE and continue down that road...i had said that earlier to hubby...and we agreed to give me 2-3 days of no expectations...i will have to not schedule any work...etc.

it is criminal to do this to all of the well-intentioned patients!
 DeLWolcott - Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:07 pm

Do NOT give up! Successful withdrawal is attainable. A slow taper is the answer.

It's easy to be angry with your physician for not having the knowledge about the possilbilities with these medications, but it's truly not their fault. The drug companies have covered up the parts of their research they don't want anyone to see. (I have copies.) They teach their drug reps how to side-step questions. The doctors are so busy when the reps visit that they only hear the great things and have to move on to their next patient. The drug companies are still denying these problems that so many people are reporting, but keep doing your research. Print out the most relevant information to your situation if you are able, or copy down the website addresses to pass along.

If your physician refuses to take your symptoms seriously, it's time to find another physician. If you have to go to this step, call the physicians' offices beforehand and specifically ask them if they have dealt with SSRI or SNRI withdrawals. If the receptionist has no idea what you are talking about, ask to speak to one of the nurses. There are still many physicians who have not realized that these problems really do exist, but many more are becoming aware and know that tapering has to be flexible to fit each patient. One patient may be able to taper within a month or less. Another patient may take as long as a year.

Cold turkey is NOT the way to go and the drug companies do actually admit to this. They just don't admit how long or give a clue how to do it...because they really don't know themselves. You can do this and you can do this safely and slowly. No one knew what they were getting into when they started these medications, but you have the abiity to educate yourself on how to taper.

Now let your physician know immediately what is going on, how you are feeling, and what you want to do with you medication schedule. You have control of what you put in your system. You don't like what this has done to your system and you have the right to demand to be taken off safely.

Good luck!
 mom0f3 - Tue Sep 06, 2005 6:29 pm

I remember 2 years ago coming to a website like this one myself looking for help for the horrible withdrawls from effexor xr I was on the drug for a year and a half I quit cold turkey and like I see alot of people posting it has to be as bad as coming off of heroin it is the worse thing I've been thru but I made it thru the withdrawls, it took me 2 weeks before the worse was over and then slowly disapated. the only thing that took the edge off the withdrawls was ativan (lorazepam)seemed to help some, I managed to get thru that horrible time, nasty drug Hang in there it gets better :lol:
 DeLWolcott - Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:13 pm

These reactions are becoming more public and it is great because people are learning that they are not alone! It's not "just them" and the symptoms don't necessarily mean that the dosage needs to be increased or another medication needs to be added. A support system that understands is a MUST during withdrawal.

Personal education about the medications and close contact with a physician who is fully familiar with these medications (i.e., psychiatrist preferably) is very important. With an understanding physician and a social-type support system, a person can be successful with more ease.

Thanks for your input MomOf3. It's good for people to hear that success is possible from someone who has actually succeeded. :D
 screampal - Sat Sep 17, 2005 6:02 pm

Please! Anyone getting off effexor: TAKE A LONG TIME TO DO IT! Don't listen to your doctore when they say it only takes two weeks. I spent four weeks getting of it and was down to half a 37.5 mg pill, but when i stopped all together it was horrible! Dizziness, aches, fatigue, sleeplessness, vision impaired! I am taking a fourth of a pill now just to deal with the symptoms. I would strongly reccomend taking a very long time to get off. I will never again take this medicine- it helped me when I was very depressed, but these withdrawal symtoms are horrific. I can't wait until I no longer have to put this stuff in my body. I wish anyone going through this too the best of luck! Just remember it takes a lot of time!
 all2JC - Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:21 pm

Doctors are clueless and too decieved by the drug companies info. I have been on Effexor xr for 9 yrs and the past 4 at the highest dose of 375mg. I have gotten myself down to 150mg through colonics, all organic diet, and low impact exercise combination. This has been indescribable...the horrific side effects and I thought this drug was not addictive although getting down to a lower dosage has put my body into utter chaos! No one can comprehend unless you have been on Effexor. I have a hard time functioning in a given day. My only hope is that the Lord God will miraculously heal me. I believe this drug has nothing good to offer and should be taken off pharmacy shelves, but we all know the greedy drug co. will not tell the TRUTH irregardless of how many people they hurt. So , to those who intentionally put out harmful drugs...you WILL reap what you sow! God help us who have been lured into and physically harmed by the lies.
 DeLWolcott - Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:05 pm

Oh, these drugs aren't "addictive" according to the drug companies. We just develop a "dependence".

It's all very frustrating and I have always said (in other circles) that the drug company lords and their shareholders should have to take these medications they push, specifically the AD's, for a month or two, then try to quit them.

But alas, they won't take me up on my offer.

Ooh. Evil/angry professional coming out. Sorry. 8)
 hock1 - Mon Sep 26, 2005 6:17 pm

Can anyone give me some idea how long to expect this awful dizzness? I've only been on 75mg. of Effexor since this past July and decided to just stop taking it -- I had to leave work today, I thought I was going to faint.
 DeLWolcott - Tue Sep 27, 2005 9:48 am

There is no set time of withdrawal symptoms. Every person has different reactions. I'm sorry that there isn't anything more definitive that I can give you.
 IamMe - Wed Sep 28, 2005 5:32 pm

I have been trying to get off Effexor for quite awhile now after being on 300mgs daily for almost 3 years. (Is it just me or is that a high dose???) I compeltely believe that this whole effexor thing is stupid, the side effects and withdrawal defintally make me question the sucess of the drug. Especially when the Drs never told me about any of them!!

Okay, so I have a question, 3 days ago I cut down on my dosgae again and since then my heart has been racing. Has anyone else experienced this? My resting heart rate is above 90 beats a minute! Its crazy! Its a normal beat, just very very fast! Any suggestions or comments?

Also, although I have been suffereing the horrible side effects such as brain zaps, nausea, crying, headaches, dizieness, bumping in to things and all the like, I have defintally not had it so bad that I want to go back on the meds. I think the difference between my case and worst case senerios is that i am tapering off realllllllly slow. I had read posts about withdrawals before and am not taking any chances. I have been waiting around 8 weeks after I lower my dosage before I lower it again. Last time I waited 16 weeks coz it took awhile to get use to it. This way although the withdrawal effects SUX at the time, by the time I am ready to lower my dosage again I have had at least 2 weeks with mild withdrawals so I have the mental and physical strenght to go through them again! I know it is dragging it out but if it means taking 12 months and actually getting off this stupid pill them I am all for it!!!! So maybe if you are having trouble try leaving it longer for your body to adjust before you drop down again. Hope that helps someone!

May everyone who needs strenght to fight this find it.
Take Care.
 DeLWolcott - Wed Sep 28, 2005 10:00 pm

Yes, withdrawal can cause a racing heart. This will calm down with time. Sometimes you can slow it down with controlled breathing exercises.

The doctors never told us about these side effects and withdrawal symptoms because they were never told about them. They (the doctors and the drug companies) are now having to acknowledge the existence of these two phenomenons because there are so many reports of them...and new studies coming out all of the time with new warnings.

Slowly, but surely, the information is getting out thanks to people like yourself and others in the medical community paying attention. Everyone starting these medications have the right to know the side effects and proper withdrawal methods. One day, it will be common knowledge. :D
 highhopes - Sat Oct 08, 2005 8:56 pm

I am currently taking 300 mg of Effexor per day. Because of a mix up with my prescription I was without medication Thursday, Friday, & part of Today (Saturday). Thursday was really no big deal. I mean, I felt a little tired but no other withdrawal symptoms. Friday I was exhausted and spent most of the day on the couch. I had a slight headache and was definitely cranky but gave my family fair warning and they were wise enough to stay away from me. I had laid around all of Friday but still felt the need to go to bed around 10:00 Friday night (very early for me - also headache developed into pounding and I was experiencing dizziness whenever I moved) I drug my butt out of bed at 10:45 this morning. The only reason I got out of bed at that time was because I had to drop my daughter off at soccer. I drove very slowly because my head was pounding, every time I moved my eyes I would feel like I was spinning, I was naseous but managed not to vomit, I couldn't focus or maintain a train of thought. I finally got my medication at noon, took the pills, then went home and slept for another 4 1/2 hours. The headache started to get better within an hour but the dizziness and nausea stayed with me all through the afternoon. I am feeling almost normal now (approximately 7 hours after getting my medicine). I knew from previous experience of skipping a couple of doses that this medicine doesn't play around but I never realized that so many other people were effected in the same way. This is some scarry stuff and I plan on having a nice long talk with my psych about it. I doubt if she is even aware of how severe the withdrawal symptoms are. I seriously felt like I had been out drinking all night instead of sleeping for 12 + hours. Thanks everyone for getting the word out there!
 jc baker - Sat Oct 08, 2005 11:22 pm

my girlfriend and i recently found out she is pregnant and she has been on effexor for seven months. She is three days cold turkey and is not doing well. She says that i cant understand how she feels. Can someone help me to understand the side effects and withdrawal symptoms and the dangers for pregnancy.
 DeLWolcott - Sun Oct 09, 2005 12:57 am

Possible withdrawal symptoms - racing heart; low blood pressure; feelings of small electrical zaps beginning in the brain area and then progressing throughout the body; flu-like illness with vomiting/diarrhea/lethargy; aches in the joints while taking serotonin medications, hopefully alleviating with decrease in dosage; emotions/anxiety/depression worse than when medication was started as the brain is a lot more sensitive to stimulators; risk of suicidal thoughts; loss of concentration, depersonalization or feelings of being in a dream; "whooshes" - you're looking at one object, turn to look at another, and it takes a second or two before the eyes catch up - think of Star Trek and the way the stars look when they go into warp speed; over-sensitivity to light, sound and touch; muscle spasms, most noticeable at night when in bed - so don't take it personally if you get kicked or punched for no reason, entire body can jump without any warning to the person going through withdrawal; possible hallucinations or hearing of voices; paranois; stomach problems - aches, cramping, nausea, loss or gain of appetite; chills alternating with hot flashes; feelings of skin tinglilng or tickling - usually skin that is exposed to air - always kind of figured it was related to the over-sensatization of the nerves; feelings of chest heaviness - sometimes to the extreme of feeling that you are possibly having a heart attack;

Unfortunately these are only a small number of reported withdrawal symptoms. Do a search for "discontinuance syndrome" and see what all you come up with.

Effexor in pregnancy -
 DeLWolcott - Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:34 am

Oops. Hit submit WAY too early. Side effects - for more, do search for Effexor and Paxil withdrawal as these are the two worst when it comes to "discontinuance syndrome", more lovinly referred to as PaxHell by Paxil users.

Now Effexor and Pregnancy. My core knowledge is with Paxil use, but there is plenty of information out there about Effexor. According to the Effexor website, the 3rd trimester is the most dangerous in development of the fetus if the mother is taking Effexor. Paxil has just issued a major warning about the dangers during the FIRST trimester.
The company said preliminary results from a retrospective analysis of women taking antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy found more birth defects associated with Paxil than other medications. The birth defects were typical of those in the general population, with the most common being holes in the wall that separates the ventricles of the heart.
Effexor and Paxil can also be passed through the breas milk. There have even been a few reports of infants having to go through a discontiuance syndrome of their after birth if the mother had been taking the medication.

The most important thing is to be sure to TAPER slowly down off of the medication. This lessens the withdrawal effects. It may take quite a while to taper completely off, but it can and has been done. You need to be an understanding support system, even though there is no way you can understand unless you have gone through withdrawsal yourself. It is reported that 68% to 90% of serotonin medication users experience these withdrawals. Make sure that she knows that she is not alone. There are support groups out there, many online, that can give advice and support during the withdrawal process. Fish oil (Omega-30 and magnesium are highly recommended on most of the sites I have reviewed. Stay away from St. John's Wort and 5-HTP during the withdrawal process as they seem to increase anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure while still taking SSRI's or SNRI's.

The best thing to do is to find a support group or a website loaded with information on "discontinuance syndrome." Drug companies are still trying to deny the existence of these symptoms, but there are thousand of patients out there that willl testify differently. Reinforce that she is not alone during this proceess. Be patient with her. I can't imagine how difficult it is going to be with the combination of withdrawal symptoms and hormonal changes that come with pregnancy. My heart and hope goes out to you also because you are going to receive the brunt of most of the effects. In one way we can't get to overly mad at the physicians because they have been going on what the drug reps have been taught to say to them when promoting their drugs. At the same time, the doctors HAVE to start admitting and educating themselves on how to help patients get off of these medciations because - 1. These drugs do not cure ANYTHING. They only cover up the symptoms. Without another form of therapy to learn coping strategies for the symptoms that caused the patient to begin the medication so they can successfully wean off of the medication and have learned responses to triggers. and 2. No one should be on these medications long term as they cause definite damage to the liver and guy in general, not to mention the brain's functioning when it comes to dealing with life in general.

I apologize for this being so long, but as I said, this is my newly found area of expertise for which I am putting up a huge fight for the truth to be told by the pharmaceutical companies. Google as much informatio as you can so you can understand and also so she can truly understand that SHE IS NOT ALONE IN THIS FIGHT!.

Feel free to contact me at dewolcott@email.com for any personal issues during this time. It's going to be a long, tough ride for both of you. Also, family and friends need to be informed of what is occurring in her life at the moment with withdrawal because outbursts could very possibly occur that they won't understand along with severely hurt feelings. Do not allow the physician to put her on more medication during withdrawal. They tend to think the withdrawal is a sign that either more medication needs to be given or another type of medictaion needs to be given. What she needs right now is time to deal with these symptoms, alone - but with close proximity for when she desperately needs someone there.

I cetainly broke the first rule listed above: Be brief. I have experienced too much and know too much to put these answers into a compact matter. I wish you both the best and truly contact me if you need any further information or just a line of support or advice during this time. I've been through it with Paxil - just took my final dose of 1 week ago today. 25mg CR cold turkey for 12 days - total hell. Went back to 12.5mg CR and tapered down to 2.5mg liquid in 10 days. Stayed at 2.5mg for 4 months, then tapered down to zero within a week. Have slight symptoms occurring, but nothing in comparison to the cold turkey from 25mg. ACK!

Again, good luck and chin up. Withdrawal will be accomplished and it will be worth it for both Mom and Baby. :D
 jc baker - Sun Oct 09, 2005 4:15 am

Do you know by chance what the lowest dosage is? She has been taking 37.5mg per day for roughly eight months. For the last three months she has been trying to skip as many days as possible. She really wants to go cold turkey for the sake of the babies health. It is early first trimester and we would be devastated if something happened to the fetus. Should we fight through it cold turkey just to be safe?
 DeLWolcott - Sun Oct 09, 2005 10:45 am

Oh, if only you could see my face right now. It's all screwed up like a kid's face when asked if he'd rather have cooked cauliflower or spinach. I don't know what the best answer is. The medication has its risks. The stress from cold-turkey withdrawal "probably" has more risks.

37.5mg - are these tablets or capsules? If tablets, are they scored? If capsules, do you have some time to help with a more gradual withdrawal?
 goingcrazy - Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:06 pm

:evil: I am in the the process of trying to get off of effexor and onto a new drug which works the same neuro channels, but supposedly doesn't have the same awful side effects. I was medicating myself at 450 mg Effexor RX a day. I recently changed doctor's and when I told him how much I was taking he felt this was too much. I have been going through a bad break up recently which was my reason for deciding to up my dosage. My doctor told me to stop cold turkey for three days and start on the new medication.

After one day of not taking the medication I was beginning to feel some of the weird side effects that others often feel: brain shocks, nausea, depression, trembling. But last night was one of the worst nights I think I've ever had. I woke up screaming continually with night terrors throughout the night. My brother finally forced me to come up and sleep with him and he said I continued crying out through the night. I woke up this morning and feel like i'm going schizophrenic or soemthing. I don't feel like I trust my environment, I feel really edgy and agitated, and the brain shocks are even worse today. I do not intend to keep withdrawing like this. I've called my doctor and I've decided to taper off for about three weeks. But has anyone esle coming off of effexor experienced these crazy night terrors and waking up in your own house not knowing where you are?
 missdiagnosed - Sun Oct 09, 2005 5:40 pm

This is my third day off of Effexor (150mg). It is not by choice that I am off of this drug. On Friday, I realized that my prescription was expired. My doctor didn't get a prescription to the pharmacy in time so... that was that. I do not feel I need it but have stayed on it because of the withdrawal symptoms I have experienced when trying to get off of it before. I have been ill for about 2 1/2 years. I have been to a few different doctors and one (a total idiot) couldn't find anything wrong with the usual blood tests and said I was depressed. She put me on Effexor without telling me anything about what I would have to go through during withdrawal. When I went back to her a month later and told her that nothing had changed, she left me on the Effexor and added Wellbutrin! If I had known the full story on these drugs, I would have said no. After going through a couple more doctors, I have been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Now that I am not on the drug, I have had some brain shivers (not sure what else to call them) and have been a little nauseated with a headache. Tomorrow I am going to see my doctor (my new wonderful doctor) and see if I should risk staying off of the Effexor or if she wants to slowly lower the dosage. I am totally disgusted with physicians that assume someone is depressed and hand out these anti-depressants like they are harmless. If anyone I know were to ask me my opinion of this drug (or any drug like it), I would tell them that for me to take this stuff again, I would have to be about to slit my wrists.

Good Luck to us all in trying to get off this drug.
 DeLWolcott - Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:57 pm

Tapering is a MUST. Cold turkey can be horrendous.

1. Going cold turkey for 3 days and switching to another medication, as you've learned, is not a acceptable, nor safe treatment.
2. Be aware that withdrawal will still occur even if you just switch medications without missing a day of medications. Each medication affects different neurotransmitters, so each medication must be tapered for your safety, physically and mentally.
3. Tapering - the slower, the better.

I believe the "brain shivers" you are referring to are probably what most refer to as "zaps". Feels like a small electrical shock in the brain. Day 3 of no medication - be watchful of other flu-like symptoms. These can include all over achiness, nausea & vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, sweating, and shaking chills to name a few. This "flu" will pass over the course of a couple of days usually and you need to rest/sleep as much as you can through this time. Tylenol, ibuprofen and such OTC medications can help a little with the symptoms, but time is the best healer. After that, expect your emotions to blow way out of proportion, probably to an extent much more magnified than when you started the medication. Possible chest pains and trouble breathing.

The reason I'm telling you this is so you don't freak out thinking you are having a heart attack. If the symptoms get too severe, certainly do get yourself to an ER to have it checked out, but these symptoms are common and scary.

We all have to remember that when we were put on the medications the doctors knew nothing about these side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Now that the information is coming out, they don't understand them because they haven't experienced them personally. I liked the way a person put it to her physician when she was describing her withdrawal symptoms. He said the medication was gone, so she should be feeling nothing from them. She calmly asked him, "If I hit you with a brick in the head and threw the brick in the trash, would your head not hurt anymore because the brick wasn't there anymore?" He may not have fallen for the comparison, but it certainly made him think.

Be patient. Omega-3's and magnesium are touted as helping with the symptoms of withdrawal. Taper. And no, going from one SSRI or SNRI to another because the first one isn't working is not a well thought out solution.

I personally believe that the researchers who came up with these medications and the people who are making all the money on these medications should have to take them for 2 months, then stop. But I'm evil that way, not to mention angry as we all learn about how the companies covered up adverse effects in their clinical trials. Our glimmer of light is that the truth is coming out and their day is coming. Be a survivor and watch them squirm.

I will also mention that I do believe these medications have their place and they are truly lifesavers for a portion of the population. I do not believe that portion is 11+ million as have been prescribed, but they can help patients as long as they are used in conjunction with other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and such. Alone, they cure nothing.
 missdiagnosed - Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:14 am

You seem very knowledgable about withdrawal from Effexor. To clarify, I am not going on a different med. I do not need anti-depressants. I have Lyme disease. Some symptoms of Lyme led to the doctor putting me on anti-depressants such as fatigue and aches in joints and muscles. My question is... since I have been off of the Effexor (this is the start of my 4th day) and my symptoms have not been all that bad, should I still taper? I have been on 150 mg a day for about 2 years. I think I was on a higher dose at one point but can't remember. I am also wondering if the treatment for Lyme (anti-biotics) and a small dose of thyroid med that my current doctor put me on is dulling the withdrawal effects any. I am going to see my doctor today and will follow any advice she gives on this of course. I just really want off of this stuff. I feel like going back on it - even in a lower dose - is a step back.

Thanks
 Ickle_nicki_1983 - Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:24 am

Hey all,

I have been on the drug since i was 18 i am now 22. it was a life saver at the time and in that respect i am glad i took it. however i have tried and failed to come off it twice, being so dizzy once i fainted and hit my head badly. My Dr threatened to have me in hospital while i withdraw. 2 yrs on ive decided tot ry again as i am doing much better. I am so scared of the dizziness and the other nasty side effects that i am now in month 4 of coming off the drug. i am doing it very slowl and it seems to be working, i am now down to 37.5g a day. The dizziness i can cope with this time around, but it still a problem. My moods are bad, i am cranky and snappy, ive lost my sex drive. being a newly wed this is not good on my hubby!! Im sleeping 10 hrs a day. the side effects are like the depression symptoms i felt before going on Effexor.

Ugh i can't wait to be off it, but i will say this, i think it helped save my life at one point, just a shame the withdrawal is so bad.
 andyrew - Tue Oct 11, 2005 5:16 am

I am currently trying to come off of these tablets which I was put on when I was 19 (I'm now 26) because I felt a 'little down'. I have been trying for about 6 months now and got down to 37.5mg morning and evening.

The withdrawal effects to this stage weren't too bad, I’ve got used to the head rushes, dizziness and sickness now!

Reducing further was a nightmare; I get all of the symptoms everyone else explains!

So I shelled out nearly £200 for some drug scales that would measure 1mg!

To my surprise the 37.5mg tablets are actually 150mg (all the other rubbish they put in them I suppose!) :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Anyway I started obviously at 150mg and am now down to 135mg in the morning and 85mg in the evening (bare in mind this is tablet weight, not dose)

I reduce by 5mg every 10 days and the illness I feel is still there and sucks big time but is manageable!

I'm 26 and have become allergic to nearly everything over the years I have been taking this, like chocolate, fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, crisps, jelly sweets etc etc, it is rubbish!

I also have the sex drive of a 10 week old ham sandwich (The ‘I can’t be bothered’ feeling that I’m sure everyone knows about!) which is a big reason why I want to get off them!
 makkiwhip - Thu Oct 13, 2005 8:14 am

Hi Everyone...

I've been taking Effexor XR (225) for 4 years now. In addition to this I've been taking Klonopin as well.

I am just coming off Klonopin and this is now day 5. I've finally gotten over the rivers of sweat and dizziness associated with that med, and after reading a lot of your posts I am even more determined to get off the Effexor.

I've unfortunately gone through Paxil withdrawal about 2 months before I began taking Effexor XR, so I know what the Paxil withdrawal is like. The 'zaps' and 'electric shocks' almost killed me coming off Paxil - since it is the same class of meds I am curious if anyone else has taken another SSRI and has already come down just to be placed on Effexor.

So far so good, I've got about 2 weeks or so of pills left and today I took 150. I know cold turkey is bad news (been there) and I'm just hoping to God this isn't as bad as Paxil.

Ugh.

Thanks everyone...
 speela - Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:20 am

Just to add on to anyone's story about a terrible withdrawal experience, I myself experienced "Serotonin Syndrome" after being given too high a dose of Effexor. I was only on it for around one month. After two weeks of slowly weaning off, I became so ill with withdrawal I thought I wouldnt make it through. Fever and chills, vomiting, "brain zaps", insomnia, extreme depression, heart palpitations, moodswings, vertigo, I "forgot my words", my memory was shot, I could barely perform daily tasks...the list goes on. I was finally given a 2 week small dose of prozac which helped ease the withdrawal symptoms. It is now exactly 2 months later, and my sympotoms still include insomnia, mild depression, and a racing heart. I was recently given Pamelor as a new trial as an anti-depressant, but my heart is still racing all day and night so I am stopping that for the time being. I am not sure if the Pamelor is effecting my heart or if the Effexor is still in my system. My fear is that this has caused some kind of permanent damage that may not yet be identifiable. I am also trying to stay informed of any lawsuits that may come up against the manufacturer.
 speela - Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:20 am

Just to add on to anyone's story about a terrible withdrawal experience, I myself experienced "Serotonin Syndrome" after being given too high a dose of Effexor. I was only on it for around one month. After two weeks of slowly weaning off, I became so ill with withdrawal I thought I wouldnt make it through. Fever and chills, vomiting, "brain zaps", insomnia, extreme depression, heart palpitations, moodswings, vertigo, I "forgot my words", my memory was shot, I could barely perform daily tasks...the list goes on. I was finally given a 2 week small dose of prozac which helped ease the withdrawal symptoms. It is now exactly 2 months later, and my sympotoms still include insomnia, mild depression, and a racing heart. I was recently given Pamelor as a new trial as an anti-depressant, but my heart is still racing all day and night so I am stopping that for the time being. I am not sure if the Pamelor is effecting my heart or if the Effexor is still in my system. My fear is that this has caused some kind of permanent damage that may not yet be identifiable. I am also trying to stay informed of any lawsuits that may come up against the manufacturer.
 whiteston - Thu Oct 13, 2005 4:32 pm

I quit Effexor 2 days ago - cold turkey. So far it hasn't been too bad, but after reading the posts about people trying to get off of it, I am glad I am quitting. I didn't have much of a choice -- I ran out of money and no longer have insurance.

So far it seems to be okay. I've been dizzy and my stomach has been upset, but that's about it. I just took an ativan to help with the nausea and I've tried to eat healthy.

The most surprising part is that I am feeling no marked emotional effects. I was on 75mg a day for anxiety, but I'm not really sure that effexor did all that much for me.

For the record, paxil withdrawal was a lot worse. No more drugs. I think I'll stick to prayer and perseverence to get beyond my anxiety.

Man, I hope I'm not eating these words tomorrow.
 imdizzy - Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:45 am

I have been on Effexor XR for almost five years for anxity and depression. My dose is a 225mg per day. I can say that It helped my anxity. But thats about it. I still feel the same as far as the emotions. I have never been able to take the meds at the same thime everyday. I have experienced some of the side effects as a result. If I forget to take it before I fall asleep, I have crazy dreams and it's hard to wake up. It takes a few hours to recover.

I have been wanting to get off these for a long time, but have dreaded the side effect. I decided a couple of weeks ago to stop. I talked to my doctor and we agreed I would wean off. He has no clue as to how these meds are. I have no respect for him.

Today I started 75mg per day. So far it sucks today. I took it about two hours ago, and I feel sick. My body aches, dizzy, tingly,cold and hot flashes, shortness of breath, confusion,and irritated!! I really want to continue the proccess though. I am scared. I don't want to feel like I'm going crazy. And the "brain zaps", well I haven't gotten that yet. I don't want to. These posting have been some comfort. I don't feel alone anymore. I wish I knew before I ever took these. My doc said they are not addictive, but my body and mind are freaking out without the Effexor.

Thanks for the support. I'll let you know how it goes. An earlier posting said that the makers of Effexor should have to take it for awhile, and then stop. I totally agree.
 thetattedcat - Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:18 am

So, I thought I was dying today. At least I was smart enough to put two and two together to figure out what was really wrong with me. I was suffering the effects of Effexor withdrawal. I had run out of my medicaiton and was awaiting my new prescription of Effexor XR in the mail through my mail order service. I have been taking Effexor XR for over 3 years now and have never had a problem with it until yesterday. I missed two pills (due to shipping delay to Hawaii) and had almost a complete meltdown to the point I thought I was going to have to check myself into the hospital. Here were the withdrawal effects I suffered from being without my Effexor for just TWO DAYS: Severe nausea, severe dizziness, ringing in my ears, horrible headache, body aches, sweat pouring off my body, uncontrollable crying, nearly uncontrollable rage and irritability, suicidal ideation, nystagmus (eyes twitching uncontrollably), a feeling like my brain was going to slide right out of my head, clumsiness, difficulty finding words, mania, coughing, fatigue, body tremors, and feeling like I was coming down with the flu. I was so miserably sick last night that I had to call in sick to work (I am a registered nurse in an intensive care unit). It was a miracle that my Effexor arrived in the mail today. I immediately took double my usual dosage along with 50mg of Benadryl for the nausea, dizziness, and dry heaves. If I hadn't gone online in my utter desperation to find out what was wrong with me, I would undoubtedly have been hospitalized right now with the doctors trying to figure out why I was so sick. Now I am sitting here about 15 hours after taking my double dosage of Effexor. It took the whole day to feel like a normal sane human being again. Right now I just feel like I got hit by a truck because I am so tired, but at least the dizziness and nausea are almost gone. I just feel like I could sleep for about 24 hours though. Here's my advice: DON'T EVER GO COLD TURKEY FROM EFFEXOR!!!! It could be very dangerous if you don't really know what is happening to you and how to stop the process (by taking more Effexor). Good luck to any of you trying to come off this drug. I will NEVER let myself run out of it again.
 whiteston - Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:43 pm

It is now day 4 with no Effexor. Last night after I wrote my entry here I started to go downhill, but I think the ativan helped me to maintain. I punched that up with a couple of benadryl before bedtime and even though I was horribly uncompfrtable, and had the weirdest night's sleep, I woke up today at around 11AM feeling pretty good.

I am still dizzy as all get out (which precludes me from doing the things I need to get done today) but I feel more or less normal.

I guess I'll just have to imagine myself on roller skates all day or something. All in all, I think the worst is past. It was like one quick psychotic flu episode and then that was it.

This OBVIOUSLY isn't the case for everyone, but it was for me. Try to stay positive as you go through your withdrawals, that seemed to be the biggest help to me.

Quick facts:
75 mg daily in the morning
220lbs, 6 feet tall
moderate exerciser
horrible eater
 whiteston - Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:27 pm

Ok, days 5 and 6 SUCKED. I was an awful dizzy, nauseus mess. I really wanted to sleep and not get out of bed. Except that laying in bed made me sick, getting up made me sick. Pretty much everything that I did made me sick.

Then I started getting the brain zaps and I could swear that on one occasion I heard my eyeballs move.

I'm on the other end though. I've made it pretty much through the day with very little dizzyness and I no longer want to die because of this stuff. I think it's over. Thank God I'm done with this stuff.

There is hope. There will still likely be a lot of pain and sickness, but there is hope!

8 days of hell, but I never have to have that stuff in my body again.
 Sunny420 - Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:51 pm

I'm currently on effexor.. (gotta go take it) for depression anxiety and ocd.
I withdrew from paxil years ago, then tried lexapro and switched to effexor from that. I went from 37.5 to 225. then I weaned myself off, the ideal way is by 75s, down to 37.5 and then off. I noticed a lot of positive things when I got off of it. my hands shook less, I had less of a fuzzy gray anxious cloud... but then I got ###### up somehow.. getting real depressed, feeling anxious, crying at work, lost my job and then started drinking too much. I got an interview at the job I'm currently at and started taking effexor again.. 75 mg. when I couldn't get it from the freeworld anymore, I went to clinic and they wanted me to go up doses but I only wanted to take 75. but I started taking 150 because I was feeling low and not being productive. they say it's best used with psychiatric direction but I'm not currently getting any. mainly cuz I'm too lazy. I still have no ambition, afraid to pursue possible enterprises and could sleep all day. I smoke pot on and off. I've had better experiences with it on effexor, in general.. I have to do stuff today so I better go. that's my input for now.
 warm_rain_on_cool_grasses - Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:26 pm

I too have been having awful withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (dreadful stuff).
I was on it for about 2 years and after finally convincing my psychpharm that it was makiing me feel terrible (disconnected, tired, weight gain), she tapered me off while putting me on Wellbutrin. Even after 2 months or so after I've stopped the Effexor I am feeling irritable and quick-tempered and keep getting what I can only describe as 'head-rushes' - like when you've gotten up too quickly - except that I could just be sitting down and watching telly or riding on the train. The real worry for me right now is the quick-temper as it's really hurting my marriage. I seem to be reacting as if I've had too much coffee & keep 'barking' at my wife (and others) for really small things.
I am seeing a therapist and doing visualisation, meditation and exercise but I want this to stop.
I've been reading up and see that effects can last up to a year (?) after stopping. I can't do this for a year and have a hard time believeing that my wife will also (although we are talking and such but it's really a hard time).
Does anyone have any other suggestions or thoughts?
 missmary - Sun Oct 23, 2005 8:28 pm

I am so grateful to have found this website. I am also completely devastated. I too am having an impossible time trying to get off of Effexor. I have never been on any medication in my life. Nothing..... but a little over a year ago, my sister's daughter died during delivery. As a result, she became suicidal. I was so scared and upset about her state of mind that my doctor thought it was a good idea for me to trysomething to calm me down - take the edge off. Well - unfortunately, he put me on Effexor. After the first 2 weeks of getting over the initial sickness of taking this kind of medication, things seem to be going well. I did relax quite a bit. Then - I could not stop gaining weight. Within the first 4 months I had gained 20 pounds. I went back to my doctor and told him about the weight gain, and he just noted it in his chart. He said to wait another 6 months and see how things went. Six months later, I am still heavier than I have ever been in my life. At this point I tell him I want off. He tells me to taper off a week at a time from 150 mg to 75 mg to 37.5mg.... Actually, I stepped down to 37.5 relatively easy. And then I tried my first day without anything. I have never been in so much agony in my life. Extreme dizziness, nauseau, vomiting, mind blowing headaches ...etc.. It has been over 5 months and I am STILL trying to find a way off of this stuff. After that 1st day withdrawal experience, I had to take at least 150 mg to become somewhat sane again - which of course brought me back to square one. I am now at the point of breaking open the individual capsules, and counting them in an effort to save myself. I just don't know how long I can deal with something like this. I am at 37.5 mg's now, but cannot seem to get any lower - and am still quite sick at this dose. My doctor has now put me on Wellbutrin 300 mg's as a "bridge" - but I have been told Wellbrutrin does not have the level of Seratonin to help me. Should I get off the Wellbutrin now and get on Prozac?? Does any one in the medical community have any answers or medical treatment for this?? At this point, I am wondering if I can be put in somekind of comma while I detox. The side effects are absoltely inhuman. CAN ANYONE HELP ??? :cry:
 asteroids12 - Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:08 pm

and others (same forte 400) natural product easily takes care of the mood swings.i been 4days off effexor and am copin well.
 asteroids12 - Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:12 pm

taper from 75mg to 34mg in 2weeks then 10 in one week then none.the serotonone levels will be messed up so your moods will be all over the place.
as for nausea mine has faded after 3days you gotta eat someth solid .drink lots water.and at night to help me sleep only st.johns wort tea has helped there and it is natural
 krs1 - Mon Oct 24, 2005 7:29 pm

Hi I am krs1 and i have been taking the antidepressant effexor xr 150mg daily for at least 3 months. I recently, as of 3 days ago stopped taking this medication cold turkey.. I am more and more having panic/anxiety attacks. My brain feels funny.. I really can't explain it. It's like my head is detached from my body.. I know this sounds crazy but that is the best way to describe my feeling. I am nauseous., I have lost appetite. and I am constantly tired, also i feel off balanced, dizzy as if my equilibrium is off.. Every few minutes or so my brain appears to stop functioning and then it goes back to regular activity again. Its hard for me to work because I am extra agitated and irritable. And i work in customer service so this is not good. Thank God I am not feeling suicidal. I just feel blah... I don't want to do anything it is a task to take a shower and brush my teeth in the mornings. I don't want to do anything but lay down. I have no energy. I have been takin xanax to make the panic/anxiety attacks subside. I would really like to know if this was the best thing for me to do. The real reason I stopped was because of the weird,unexplainable and horrid nightmares. I know that I am not a doctor and I probably should have got my doctor's permission.. but all my doctors want me to do is to keep medicating my depression and anxiety. I want a natural way to cope with these conditions.. Please somebody talk to me tell me, something.. please... :cry:
 asteroids12 - Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:31 pm

i can help u
first of all u don't need xanax is it?
and i was getting all these effects u said but found away of dealing with it and now am on day 5 effexor free and able to live normally.so please let me know if u wanna chat
.please specify the questions u need answered.
 asteroids12 - Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:35 pm

krs1,
u should of never gone down that fast off effexor,cold turkey is not the answer .u have to taper over 2week periods usually.
 krs1 - Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:28 pm

Well asteroids... I knew there would be some withdrawals but none like this and I thought I could handle it.. I hate that I did it this way.. meaning stopping the effexor xr 150mg cold turkey.. I am now in day 4 and feel horrible. I missed work today.. I couldn't wake up and when I finally woke up my son had missed school.. and I guess I called in to work.. I sure hope so.. I woke up around 2pm today... I had taken another antidepressant to go to sleep called mirtazapine 30 mg coupled with one xanax0.5 mg and i was out like a light... The doctor told me to take the mirtazapine which is also a antidepressant for my insomnia... So I really was taking two antidepressants at one point when I was on the effexor xr .. I am just scared that these withdrawal effects will never go away.. Please tell me what it felt like for you when you were coming down off of the effexor.. and how did u cope with the withdrawals..and yes i would love to chat with you one on one.. but for some reason every time i go to pm anyone it says this feature has been disabled.. so i guess for now we will have to keep posting on the forum boards.. but please let me know how you coped.. thanks.

thanks,

krs1
 whiteston - Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:32 pm

KRS1

It's different for everyone. For me, it was jsut this horrible pressing feeling of nausea dizziness, etc.

You'll get through it, but call your doctor. You need his/her advice.

I'm two weeks out and its not affecting me at all anymore.
 asteroids12 - Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:38 pm

yes u cant just go turkey.
and another depressant to help sleep ?.try st.johns wort tea two tea bgs.yes i had the nausea when i went cold turkey once and the unable to get out of bed .and the nightmares and the electric brain shocks dizziness .and violent mood .so i decided to taper slowly and these symptons were able to be handled.now i am 6days off effexor.
 whiteston - Tue Oct 25, 2005 10:33 pm

I would disagree for the most part. If you read back through all of the posts it really doesn't seem like it makes a difference if you taper the medication off or not. IT seems to be more dependent on the person, not the technique.

I went cold turkey. The initial withdrawal sucked, but I feel great now.
 xbadlydrawngirlx - Mon Nov 21, 2005 11:45 pm

hi all..

I am 16 weeks pregnant... My OB perscribed me Effexor XR for my depression.

Now, im reading about all these.. horrible stories..

Will my baby have withdrawl symptoms as bad as the ones everyone is talking about?

I read that one person knows something effexor can do to the unborn child.. ive heard that they don't know of anything it can do.

i don't know what to do.
 4tadpole - Wed Nov 23, 2005 2:36 pm

Hi,

Today we just confirmed that we are pregnant and I stopped taking effexor on Monday, cold turkey on my Drs. advisement.

I am on day two and had to take a few beads out of one of the capsules to even cope with the head shivers that I am going through. My OB GYN gave me a small dose of praozac to help with the side effects.

I have been told that this could last 3-7 days. Can anyone confirm? I was on 150 mgs.

I have read that it is not advisable to stay on this drug through delivery as the child will be born w/ w/drawls. Does anyone have information on how this drug can effect a developing fetus.
 asteroids12 - Wed Nov 23, 2005 5:44 pm

HI I WAS TOLD THAT EFFEXOR WAS safe during my pregnancy.
but my child baby didnt sleep was very hyper still is and well i didnt get any sleep for a yr after he was born .i really thk this is because of the effexor running into his bloodstream and then when i stopped breast feeding which was 2weeks after he was born the effexor would be withdrawing from his body and he became hard to settle and irritable .
 peeweefirepup - Tue Nov 29, 2005 6:30 pm

I have been reading all of the replys for effexor. my doctor switched me to effexor from welbutrin, He told me that wellbutrin doesn't have a high sucess rate and that effexor is geared more twords wemon. I had a little bit of nauseia when i started the med. It has gone away I have no desire to eat. I have ate twice since thanksgiving and that was 6 days ago. Reading everyones storys I wish you all luck, and my prayers are with you all. I hope that I don't ever have to go through any of those problems if I ever come off the medication. I have noticed that there has been a severe decrease in my sex drive. I use to have a verry high sex drive and now I could care less. Once again good luck to all and I wish you all happieness and good health.
 sunfiresar - Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:48 pm

I know this thread is a little old but I just thought I would share my experiences. I have spent about a year and half at a 75mg dose, I thank god it has been any longer than that or any higher of a dose. I have been off effexor for 7 days now and it's been going so so. So far I think that days 1 and 3 have been the worst. The biggest issues that I have been having are nausea, dizziness and just this weird tingley feeling in my head. This morning I woke up feeling ok but things have been deteriorating through out the day. When I decided to stop taking effexor I knew I would have to taper it down slowly. I was taking the tablets so I just started by cutting part of them off, then in half, then in quarters. I know that it is not a good thing to do on ones own but I don't have health insurance anymore and can't afford to go to the doctor multiple times to try to deal with this. So far things have been tolerable. I know I read someone's post about taking st johns wart tea to help sleep, has anyone found any other natural ways to help alleviate the side effects of this hell drug.? Right now it's the dizziness, which in turn usually leads to the nausea, that is the worst part for me right now. If I could just get past that life would be much better.
 Terry - Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:49 pm

I have suffered with depression all my life and finally went on Prozac 10 years ago. I remarried just over 2 years ago and my husband talked me into going off Prozac and on Effexor because it had less sexual side effects. I was on Effexor for a year or so when he had heard that Wellbutrin had even less sexual side effects than Effexor so I went to see my doctor. She told me to stop taking them for one week (cold turkey) and then start taking Wellbutrin. The first and second days off the drug I didn't really feel any different. The third and fourth days I felt dizzy and started having the head zings. The fifth day I couldn't stop crying and wanted to kill myself. I called my daughter and told her that I was going to do it and to please not be mad at me. I went into the bathroom with a knife determined to end my pain but my husband stopped me. He was very unsympathetic telling me to just get over it. That just enraged me so I left the house screaming hysterically, got in the car (big mistake) and started driving 90 mph down the road. I tried to run my car into a tree but ended up in a ditch instead. I just sat there in the car screaming until my voice finally gave out. I drove back home and got on the phone to my doctors office. They could hardly understand me through all the crying. I was told that my doctor was on vacation but that I needed to come in immediately to see one of the other doctors. I asked my husband, who was as calm as could be and looked at me as if I was crazy, to drive me. The doctor that I saw told me that it was a big mistake to go off this drug cold turkey. He wanted to put me in the hospital but my loving husband (who is now my ex-husband) talked him out of it. The doctor gave me a sample dose to get me feeling better and my husband protested saying that he wanted me off the drug so "he" could have more sex. He argued with the doctor for about 10 mins until the doctor finally lost his temper and told my husband "IT'S NOT WORTH IT!!" He finally shut up. I took the pill and we went home. I slept for the next two days determined that I would never ever try to go off it again.

Lately, I have been thinking about going off the drug and going back on Prozac but I am absolutely terrified to go through what I did the last time!! I have this sinking feeling that one day I will not be able to fill my Rx due to lack of money and will end up killing myself. I would be safe with Prozac because I never experienced any withdrawal symptoms with it. I have been reading all the posting on this and other sites and I had no idea that Effexor caused such a problem with so many people!! It sure pays to educate ones self before taking a new drug. Unfortunately I did not do that and now find myself a prisoner to the drug.

What really makes me angry is the fact that the drug company KNOWS about the effects of getting off the drug and still continues to sell it!!! And the FDA is right in there with them!!!! It's all about money!! There needs to be public awareness about this. How is the word getting out? Who is trying to fix this? What can I do? How many of us have to die before something is done?
 randomhouse - Sun Feb 05, 2006 3:54 pm

I am a 42 year old male who was diagnosed with OCD years ago and had had no prior surgeries other than wisdom tooth extraction at age 15. I am currently on NO medications per a horrible time with Effexor and Effexor XR, both of which left me with damaged vision and hemorrhaging behind one eye, fear and anxiety related to a racing heart, horrific withdrawals and suicide ideation and attempts, and a host of other issues, needless to say.

Is there anyone who can help me litigate individually against Wyeth Corporation?
 ktpaco - Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:55 pm

I am a 35 year old female, and went on Effexor in June 2005. I went through a clinical depression (which was the only time I had experienced something like that), and was put on the intial dose for one week, then the 75 mg. In January, I found that the benificial side effects of Effexor seemed to go away - and felt that maybe it was the time to wean off. My dr. agreed with that. We discussed the specifics on tapering off. I'm now off of it completely - haven't had any for a week. The whole time I've been tapering off, I've had nausea, severe headaches, feeling disoriented, and very agitated. I guess it must have been about day three with no effexor that I begin to get the gitters, my brain feels like it's having shock waves, and my body temp seems to be on the colder side. At day seven, I see a slight decrease in frequency, but the episodes are worse when they happen. Also, my right eye is constantly hurting/aching... like there's a pressure build-up inside it - is the only way I can explain it.

These ticks, shock waves, extreme irratablity, extreme sensitivity to touch, headaches, flight of thoughts, and now just the "why did I do this" sense of doom that is overcoming me.... I'm not going to get back on it - but it feels like it's not going to end. I don't take anything else - so this couldn't be due to some other medication. This really is an evil drug - I'm surprised it hasn't been banned yet. Can anyone give me a realistic time frame on when this is going to end? Or did I just mess up my body for the rest of my life?
 syedhussain - Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:18 am

Dear Madam: I have read your statement, and, current Psycho-Physiological status due to medicine withdrawl. The first question is Why you started the medicine? The second question is WHO presribed the medicine? The third question is WHY you stopped taking it?.
Fisrt let me reassure you that the state you are suffering from is treatable, provided you consult the right source and that source is a Psychiatrist. Consult him/her. Give detailed history keepin in view the 3 fundamental questions mentioned above. Let the Psychiatrist evaluate and intervene without further delay, and, let me assure you your sufferings would be taken care off!
Thank you/regards.SH.
 ktpaco - Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:12 pm

If you read my post - I've answered all the questions you have asked me. The more details I give, the longer the post. So I'm going to keep it simple try and keep it simple. A family practice doctor conducted blood tests when I explained what was happening (approx. 1 month long bout of a typical depression with symptoms). He started me on effexor. (The blood tests were close to normal, but a little off) Then I went to a mental health specialist - I explained that this began when I started to have an "all work, no play - lots of stress" lifestyle - and she too believed that this is what was causing the chemical imbalance. To get me over this period, since my lifesytle couldn't change at that time - that a pill would be ok, until I could change that lifestyle. By December - things were back to normal, and effexor wasn't working the way it had, so I called my doc, and she felt that getting off effexor was the right time. She told me how to wean off slowly - with specific time increments & med mgs. We both understood that I wasn't on this for a lifetime, and I wasn't going to take a different pill to help combat any side effects - I don't want to be on any type of medication for life (except when/if I devolp a condition that causes me to take it for life).

My question was, and still remains - how long will this withdrawal period happen. Typically how short to maximum duration withdrawal lasts. If I can at least mark that on my calander - I have a goal.

BTW - told my female doc about the withdrawal, and since she perscribes it alot, she's going to look further into this. I'm the first follow-up patient that wants to get off, and doesn't take anything else. She deals with drug addicts mostly - so she was surprised by this too.
 muppets - Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:20 am

hi i've been on 150mg, then i went down to 75mg, which i'm on now. my husband and i would like to get pregnant. so i just quite cold turkey, that is whay my doc told me to do, and it was complete HELL. i couldn't handle it anymore so today i took a pill. i want a baby so bad but i don't know if i can do this again, if i did i would defenetly have to quit my job which isn't really an option. and my daughter suffers too. i read skipper story and wonder how she is coping with her pregnancy? i need help badly as if i can't have another baby i don't know what i will do
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:26 am

User avatar Muppets:

The withdrawal from this medication is wicked! I'm sorry you're having so much difficulty.

The accounts of withdrawal symptoms that I read on the forum are accurate. The way to get off is to go VERY slowly, and be prepared to feel crummy.

Some doctors are not completely "hip" to this problem, NOT because they are incompetent, but because the severity of the withdrawal is so variable between individuals.

Sometimes a low dose of Effexor taken for awhile produces a horrible withdrawal, sometimes it's very mild. Ditto for all other range of doses. Unless your doctor has prescribed A LOT of this medication, he/she may not know what you're in for.

Hope this helps.
 momofTWO - Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:49 am

I am a 40 year old female quitting 450mg cold turkey... has any one else tried this and been successful?
 Dr. K. Eisele - Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:33 pm

User avatar Dear momofTWO:

This reply assumes that Effexor has not had a bad effect on your health, such that you do not have to quit taking the medicine in order to avoid other dire consequences because of continued use of Effexor.

I really think you should talk to the doctor who prescribed the Effexor before doing that. Once you have that physician's blessing, then I would say "more power to you!", with the hope that your physician will be watching after you pretty closely.

If my patient came to me and said "I'm quitting 450 mg Effexor, cold turkey, starting tomorrow," I would invite him/her into my office and dissuade them from not doing that. The patient will be miserable for weeks, literally, and depending on that person's support system at home/work, I think this could be a big mistake.

Now, if a patient came to me and said, "I decided to quit Effexor 450 mg cold turkey two days ago," and he/she looked perfectly calm and collected, I'd congratulate that patient for doing so well. In my mind, though, I'd be questioning whether the pills were even being taken at all.

It is never advisable to just quit a medication, cold turkey, without the advice of your personal physician.

Good luck, and I sincerely hope you re-consider your decision.
 lbcampbell - Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:27 pm

I've read all the sad, sad stories about withdrawal from Effexor, and was relieved (and angered) to finally know why I've been feeling the way that I have. I could add my stories to those posted, but it would just be more of the same. I am a 54 year old female who has been on various antidepressants for over twenty years. They have all "pooped out" eventually. The most recent antidepressant was Celexa, which I was able to take for six years. I was then given Wellbutrin XL, then when that caused rage and anxiety, I was given Cymbalta, which also caused anxiety. Finally I was given Effexor, which I was able to handle and which seemed to help for about three months. Then the anxiety kicked in and so my doctor decreased my dosage from 150 mg. to 112.5 mg. to 75 mg. to 37.5 over the course of several weeks and have been without any effexor for three days. I have the tremors, nausea, rage, tears, and brain shivers. I need to know that there's an end to the withdrawals in sight.[/b]
 Dr. K. Eisele - Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:58 am

User avatar lbcampbell:

Yes, there is an end in sight. If you feel like the withdrawals are not getting any better or are getting worse, then I urge you to talk to your physician about some of the possibilities for easing these symptoms.

There are people who say that the use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) simultaneously is very helpful. If you are able to take either drug without complications, you might give that a try. Your physician should direct you as to what dose of each would be most beneficial.

There are patients who've only been able to get relief from the discontinuation syndrome by using a fairly complicated, albeit scientifically sound, regimen, which involves the administration of another medication while tapering down the Effexor. Commonly, the other medication that is given is one with a much longer half-life than Effexor, which isn't at all hard to find. This medication is given for a period of time (usually about 3 weeks) before the Effexor dose is even changed. Then the other medicine is co-administered with Effexor, while the Effexor is gradually tapered down. Once there are no more withdrawal symptoms, the other medicine is stopped as well. This works because the other medicine (I usually choose fluoxetine) is flushed from the body so slowly that it "tapers itself."

Hope this helps.
 lbcampbell - Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:28 pm

Thank you so much for your prompt response. It helps just to know that I'll feel like myself again!
 Felicitypink - Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:55 pm

Hi,

I really feel for anyone who is either going through or experiencing withdrawel symptoms from effexor.

I am 29 and have never experienced anything so bombastic and overwhelmingly horrific. Until reading this discussion I was completely unaware anyone else had these problems.

I am on day three, changing from effexor to mirtazapine with one days complete cold turkey in between. I have experienced, brain shocks, confusion, overwhelming fatigue, dizzyness, nausea, auditory hallucinations, night sweats, antihedonism, mania, unstoppable crying, mood swings, violent outbursts, a sense of being trapped in a bad dream, detachment from reality, pins and needles racing through my fingertips, body and lips and slurred speech. I haven't wanted to talk to anyone, freaked out everytime the phone rung and generally thought wierdly disturbed thoughts and feelings of wanting to commit suicide!

Its not right, is it.

I would never recommend effexor to anyone and am now very worried about the new medication I have been put on as well as the copious amounts of diazepam I have had to take today to dull the extreme angryness and suicidal thoughts. I think after all this is over i'd rather be deppressed than like this taking no pills at all!

I would love to hear others comments on this.

P S its valentines day and my husband probably would rather be out with a block of dripping than out with a gibbering wreck!
 Dr. K. Eisele - Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:36 am

User avatar FelicityPink:

Effexor is associated with a nasty withdrawal, worse than with most other medications of its kind. Mirtazepine, on the other hand, is a much milder medication with very little withdrawal.

The more potent the medicine, the more difficult the withdrawal from it, and it doesn't matter if we're talking about an antidepressant or a pain pill. Effexor is a very effective antidepressant, and is potent. Mirtazepine is an effective antidepressant, but does not work as quickly as Effexor typically does.

Good luck with the switch to mirtazepine, and allow yourself to withdraw from the Effexor slowly.

Please let us know how you're doing.
 Felicitypink - Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:37 pm

Hi there, Flick again!

Now a few days further down the line and on my Doctors advice safely not taking anything, I have actually started feeling......wait for it........happy! Quite unbelievable after the effexor withdrawel nightmare. I am aware that I am not out of the woods yet but hopeful and positive that I can be happy without chemicals. It begs the question, why was I on these evil things?

I hope it gives you hope and maybe this is typical of the part of the UK I live in (funky & full of original hippies, rich ones at that) would recommend reading lots of books about how diet, particurlarly foods rich in trytpphan (chicken, turkey, tahini, avocado etc) can help, hey, even my psychiatrist is hot on this subject!

I have also found to get rid of the hideous amounts of pent up emotion I started feeling, going to the gym and swimming everyday (not at the same time) really helps to burn off the adrenaline and helps with the dotty sleep patterns I have had. As a woman of 29 with all the physical baggage of having two children the results can only be positive.

I know the demands on modern women restrict this sort of activity but compared to losing so much time feeling so depressed i'd say its well worth it.

Good luck and remember, although it feels like it will never end, it will, I hope everyone feels better very soon.
 jouezmoi - Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:15 pm

All .... I have great news. After suffering for 2 months trying to get off of this drug, I finally got my doc to do something. He did some thinking and some research and came up with the simplest thing that worked immediately.

Tranxene. This drug is also used for severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and for some reason it worked perfectly for me.

I started with Tranxene T, 10mg twice daily. By the 3rd day, the symptoms were gone ... gone ... no brain shocks, no brain shivers, no nausea, no nightmares .. back to normal. The regimen in 10mg twice daily for 1 week, then once daily for the 2nd week and thats it.

I am finally free of this Effexor withdrawal nightmare, I have my life back, and tranxene is a cheap drug.

You gotta try this.
 lily118 - Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:52 am

I was on 300mg Effexor for over a year and I tapered off Effexor with no side effects. This is the schedule my psychiatrist used:

Days 1-4 - decrease pm dose by 37.5 mg
Days 5-8 - decrease am dose by 37.5 mg
Continue for 30 days until done

I was expecting terrible withdrawal symptoms but surprisingly had none. Hopefully this might work for others too.
 Kram - Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:06 am

It's a real relief to hear from others about withdrawal symptoms of Effexor, not that I wish harm to anyone. It's just reassuring to know I'm not imagining all this! I've been on it for lord I don't know how long. Dr. had me taking 600mg a day. I wasn't feeling any better and told him I wanted off it. He said cut down by 150 mg. a week then 75mg for the last week. Wow.....throw my brain in a hurricane!!!!
Next He wants me to start taking Emsam. Now I'm nervious as a $hit house rat thinking about that!! Endevor to persevere....
 generica234 - Sun Mar 25, 2007 4:21 pm

Hi you all,

I just wanted to say I'm three weeks out from going off the last tiny bit of effexor (I opened the 37.5 mg capsules and reduced that over a week).

Here's what it looked like for me: the first two weeks was by far the worst, physically and emotionally. The rage I felt was unbelievable and unprecedented and frightening, on top of all the physical symptom which you all know so I won't repeat.

The rage declined after two weeks and the brain shivers and all the rest have gotten quieter, except when I get tired. But I've had a couple of days since then of incredible depression (despite the fact that I switched to wellbutrin while coming off effexor). This is depression like I have never experienced in my life and feels chemical and entirely tied to the withdrawal. We're talking really really black hole depression. It passes but when it hits it's like a freight train.

After reading various postings at this site and others, I tried Benadryl, Tranxene, and Ativan and found that none of them significantly helped with the withdrawal symptoms. I was already taking Omega 3 supplements and eating well. It has just been a very rough ride.

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist this coming Tuesday but am so mad at her that I don't think I'll be able to go yet to tell her about the last three weeks.

In the last few weeks I've read hundreds and hundreds of postings on a dozen different message boards about people's experiences coming off Effexor -- from different doses, at different times, after different lengths of taking it -- and it strikes me how common everyone's experiences are across all those differences. Obviously, people who found coming off it a piece of cake probably aren't posting on these message boards. BUT, this withdrawal nightmare is clearly affecting enough people that Wyeth and psychiatrists should be informing their patients better before putting them on effexor and preparing them better for coming off it.

I've now heard from a number of other psychiatrists who say they NEVER take their patients off Effexor without putting them on Prozac first and then weaning them off Prozac.

In the UK, there's a commonly agreed protocol that NO ONE should be prescribed Effexor until at least two other SSRIs have been tried thoroughly -- because this drug is known to have such serious side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

Anyway, it does get better -- slowly, unevenly. I think if you have good support for the first couple of weeks, you can make it through.

Those of you not going off yet, might ask your docs about transitioning to prozac first.

I wonder how many people out there are staying on effexor because they've tried and simply can't get off it. I wonder how many people have lost work time (or their spouses have lost work time) because they couldn't function or drive or whatever during the withdrawal period. It's a story that should be told and I'm planning on figuring out how to get it told.

Best to you all.
 jlkitty - Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:52 pm

I'm a 20 yr/old female and have been taking Effexor XR (225mg) for about 7 months now. I just recently ran out an am only on my second day without...
I can barely concentrate, these "brain shivers" are so frequent that I feel like I'm having a constant seizure. Then of course I have the headaches, vomiting, lack of coordination, and "numbness" feeling... also the abdominal pain. How long is this going to last? I feel for anyone who has had to come off this med..
 Dr. K. Eisele - Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:13 am

User avatar jlkitty:

I'm sorry you're not feeling well right now. Unfortunately, the Effexor withdrawal is unpredictable as to severity and duration. The "brain shivers," as you no doubt read all about, are an extremely common symptom of withdrawal.

As unpredictable as the severity and duration are, one feature is very consistent: the withdrawal is not dangerous in and of itself. The only way to avoid the withdrawal is to taper it very slowly; even then, many people do have some withdrawal symptoms, with varying degrees of severity, usually mild.

I would recommend that you call your physician for more Effexor so you can gradually withdraw and spread the symptoms out over a much longer period of time.

Good Luck!
 psycho dad - Thu May 17, 2007 4:53 pm

I was on 450 mg for 10 years. When I told my Dr it wasn't working anymore he upped the dose to 600 mg/ day. I went to another Dr and he said to cut my dose of effexor down to 300/day and gave me 150 mg/day of desiperamine. I am losing my mind, want to die, hallucinating, dizzy, sick to my stomach, etc. I have to laugh at the predicament I allowed the Dr's to get me into otherwise I will go crazy for sure.
 sanewoman - Tue May 29, 2007 11:56 pm

I am a 58 year old woman. I have stopped taking Effexor after 8 years. I gradually weaned off as recommended. I have been completely off for about 3 weeks. I did experience most of the usual symptoms mildly and seem to be OK. BUT THERE IS JUST ONE THING.... Since I have been completely off, I have had very loose and stinky bowel movements, the kind you have when you have stomach flu. I don't see this symptom mentioned by anyone else. But I'm thinking it must be a symptom because it started just as I completely stopped taking Effexor. I know that change in bowel movements is a red flag that something is very wrong and you should see your Dr about it. So since I don't see this symptom mentioned by anyone else, this is kind of scary for me. Maybe other people have this too, but I haven't been able to find it in their posts. So my question is, does anyone else out there have this symptom? Or is it just me?
 Dr. K. Eisele - Tue Jun 19, 2007 11:28 pm

User avatar Dear SaneWoman:

I'm sorry to take so long getting back to you, but I was sure that I had answered this one before.

Anyway, I do think this may be cause for concern. Many of the antidepressants cause constipation, especially in middle-aged women. Since you've discontinued Effexor now, and have your current symptoms, I'm wondering if the Effexor was simply masking something.

Good luck!
 serenity_17 - Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:15 am

I decided to do some research yesterday about the medications I am on: Effexor 300mg, Lamictal 300mg, Campral 333mg * 3 times a day, and Trazodone 150mg. I wanted to see how these medications would effect me if I were to get pregnant. I was in for a rude awakening as I read the many posts on this site. I'm actually scared to death due to the fact I already may be pregnant and the high dosage that I am on. I haven't seen anyone that is on 300mg of effexor, not to mention the other medications I am on are extremely high as well (for ex. most people on trazodone take 25mg - I take 150mg WOW!). I am a 27 year old student, finishing a degree in Graphic Design/Advertising. I was diagnosed to be Bi-Polar when I entered a substance abuse treatment center in November of 2005. I have remained sober and clean, however now I'm learning that I am still on medications, obviously highly addictive, whether it is stated on the information packet or not! I am left between a rock and a hard place, being that I am a recovering addict and alcoholic already with a highly addictive personality. Goodness, when I think of the doses I am on and my past problems I'm so nervous, almost in tears now! I must be free from these med's!!!! Last night I only took 100mg of Trazodone and 100mg of Lamictol determined to free myself and today dropping the effexor from 300 to 150 while cutting the others down as well. I already feel tension, a bit shaky, very nervous and I must say, on a positive note, hopeful, thanks to all of you on here! Maybe just maybe I may be able to experience the Serenity I long for...
 serenity_17 - Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:02 am

After I submitted my last post on this topic, I re-posted on a new topic... I changed my mind on how to go about getting off my med's. The subject I posted was "Going cold turkey off medications of high dosages", if you happen to have any feedback.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:08 pm

User avatar Dear Serenity_17:

What you are doing is EXTREMELY dangerous. Do not take advice from anyone but a licensed physician about this issue. You are taking these medications for a very serious illness--Bipolar Disorder. One of your medications, lamotrigine (Lamictal) is an anticonvulsant. When you suddenly stop an anticonvulsant you take the risk of having a Seizure.

IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY KNOW, Seizures CAN BE DEADLY, FOR YOU AND YOUR FETUS!!!!!!!!!

What you are doing is potentially more dangerous than staying on your medications.

There is a way to withdraw from your medications safely. You must see your physician immediately!
 BigTySmitty - Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:21 pm

I have a serious problem, from ages 14 to 21 I was a huge pothead and drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes like most people I grew up with, I told myself I would never try any other drugs because I thought weed was ok and it wasnt a drug. Then one of my so called friends convinced me to do mushrooms and the first couple times I didnt really trip or feel anything, and then I ended up doing them a total of 8 times. The first 6 times were great like everyone says they are but I have a history of anxiety and depression in my family and it was stupid of me to have done them, especially when the 7th time I did them made me feel really weird, but anyways the 8th and final time I did mushrooms I had my first ever anxiety attack and I thought I was going to die, I puked up the caps that I ate and locked myself in my friends bathroom for 4 hours literally tripping my face off because I could not even look in the mirror or keep my face still, I came down off it and smoked some weed with my friends and everything was ok for about 3 months. This was in july of 2005 and in october 2005 I ate a cold and not cooked all the way burger from wendys on break at work and had a serious case of food poisoning, after the vomiting and diarrhea subsided after a few days I went to my philosophy class thinking everything was fine, we were on the subject of cancer, death, evil, and ***** like that. I got really hot and took off my hoodie then had to run outside and get some fresh air, my heart was racing and my palms were sweaty and I called my mom to tell her and she said I was having an anxiety attack. I tried going to the naval academy doctor but they kept wanting to take my blood before prescribing me any medicine, so I landed on a place called Oasis Mental health Clinic, which was very expensive but was exactly what I was looking for. I was prescribed effexor and instantly I started feeling better, even high at times when the doctor began increasing the dosage, I was not aware it would have side effects and withdrawal symptoms if i quit taking it cold turkey and didnt ween myself off of it. I took up to 300mg of effexor starting with one 75mg capsule a day from december of 2005 until about October of 2007, almost 2 years on this medicine then i quit cold turkey and switched to xanax xr 2mg a day, the xanax worked fine and helped me relieve anxiety but I woke up everyday, fatigued, with brain shivers, somedays nausea and diarrhea, no vomiting, but really just made me feel like ***** everyday even on the 2mg of xanax, because of these withdrawal symptoms, and constant flashbacks to thay day on mushrooms, I have had countless anxiety attacks and has gotten me fired or quit from over 10 jobs and is making me feel like I should be in a mental institution because Im afraid to leave my own house, I know this is a combination of family anxiety, hallucinogen perception persisting disorder and the effexor withdrawal symptoms, Ive been on xanax now for almost 6 months, should i start taking the effexor again to ween myself off of it? Can anyone help me?
 Dr. E. Seigle - Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:05 pm

Dear BigTySmitty,

Your situation is one that will need you to work closely with your, or a psychiatrist. It sounds like you are most likely having panic attacks with anxiety and other body symptoms in between the full-fledged panic attacks. It is unlikely that you are still having withdrawal symptoms from Effexor, though not, I suppose, impossible. Be sure you are not using any drugs or alcohol. You and your psychiatrist will want to consider whether you should:

1.Try to switch from Xanax to a long-acting anti-anxiety agent such as Klonopin;
2. Use an SSRI or SNRI medication other than Effexor (eg, Prozac, Zoloft);
3. Cautiously go back to using the Effexor, since it appears that this was quite helpful to you, but you then have the considerable down side of being on a medication that is difficult to get off of.

Talk carefully with your doctor of these and perhaps other options with their associated pros and cons. Remember the ideas I gave above are not recommendations since I am not your doctor. Good luck!
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:20 pm

User avatar Dear BigTySmitty:

You are correct when you say that your current problems are due to a combination of everything. What may also be happening is reboud anxiety. Effexor is an excellent medication for anxiety and anxiety attacks. You should go to your doctor and ask if you could re-start the Effexor, to wean off or even to simply to continue your treatment.

You may also need an antipsychotic medication. It's difficult for me to tell by what you've written, but you could also be experiencing general paranoia, which is best treated with an antipsychotic medication, such as risperidone (Risperdal), ziprasidone (Geodon), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel), or aripiprazole (Abilify). If I were to treat you with one of these medicines, I would choose either Geodon or Risperdal, because of their favorable adverse effect profiles, and antidepressant effects.

Best wishes, and come back to let us know how you're doing.
 shannon24 - Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:03 pm

Im 24 years old and im taking effexor xr and I HATE it, I gained weight off this drug and can not even miss a dose or i will not fuction i will feel like im going to die! I started to take these type of drugs when i was 18 im a female so at 5'8 i was 115 pounds yeah i was too skinny and under weight but now im 148 pounds all i want to do is eat eat eat, i know that at 5'8 and 148 is okay for my height they tell me but i know i could be obess if i did not watch what i eat and work out so i want to know if i get off this awful drug will i lose weight, or can i ever get off this med and just stay on my wellbrutrin xl??? so i will give you a little of my history 18 started zolft then paxle,lexapro now effexor xl and take that with wellbrutin xl........... oh yeah been taking effexor for 4 years now.. ps. has any one on here gained off this effexor??
 Dr. K. Eisele - Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:43 am

User avatar Dear Shannon:

It is difficult to stop taking Effexor, especially after 4 years, and the higher your dose is, the more difficult the withdrawal, in general. There are some people who seem to able to taper gradually with only minor discomfort which can be relieved by substituting a very long acting antidepressant, such as Prozac. This is one of those solutions that should work, theoretically, and sometimes does. Unfortunately it does not work for everyone.

The best thing I can tell you is to go very, very slowly with gradual discontinuation of Effexor. The smallest unit dose of Effexor is 37.5 mg. There is a 75 mg strength and the highest available is 150 mg. You undoubtedly know some of this already. Your doctor should be able to help you decrease your dose by 37.5 mg at a time, which seems to be necessary for a lot of people. Consider making only one decrease per week, at least at first.

Hope this helps.
 shannon24 - Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:38 am

Thanks for the reply, but since I gaind weight off these meds, you think I might lose since I used to be underweight??
 Dr. E. Seigle - Tue Apr 01, 2008 5:00 pm

Are you saying that you gained weight while taking the medications and now you are overweight, or are you saying something else? Please clarify.

-Eliot Seigle MD
 shannon24 - Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:27 pm

oh no im so sorry, before I took these meds at 5'8 I was 114 pounds I used to be underweight now im 148 pounds and I was wanting to know if i got off my effexor will i lose the weight I gained , I have been on effexor xr for 4 years now.
 Dr. K. Eisele - Sat Apr 05, 2008 10:39 pm

User avatar Dear Shannon:

Not necessarily. Just because you put on weight while you were taking the medicine does not mean it CAUSED you to gain. It is positively correlated with your weight gain, however, so there is a chance that it caused it and there is, then, a chance you will lose it when you discontinue the medicine.

Good luck!
 Aconite - Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:16 am

I tapered off of Effexor, then went completely off of it in February 2008. It's been over a month now, coming on two months, and I'm still in horrible shape. I'm in alot of pain physically and have had alot of side effects other people have said they had. But what really, REALLY scares the CRAP out of me is that I can't think anymore. I can barely form sentences. I feel like I'm mentally retarded. I use to have a good attention span. I use to spend my days reading and studying because I actually enjoy that kind of thing. I use to be able to write books and essays. Now I can't even comprehend or concentrate on a book. WHAT HAPPENED? I went off Effexor, and now I'm an idiot with shooting head pains. I also have NO sex drive at all. None. Whatsoever. Has anybody else experienced this? Is this permanent? Am I going to be stuck a sex-less idiot for life? Or will these symptoms go away? And when? Please help me. I'm terrified that I've lost my ability to think, comprehend, and my talent to write. My dreams are to be a writer and pursue a higher education. If my dreams are dead, I might as well be. Please help.
 jbackey - Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:10 am

Dear All,
I was on Effexor for 5 years and I have been mentally stable for 2 yrs, so my therapist, psychiatrist, and I felt I should try to go off the med. I tapered off of the med and I was fine until I stopped it. I had the awful side effects like blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, crying and rage. I have similar feeling to most of the posts in this forum. Now, a month later I am not feeling comfortable in my own skin. I feel anxious in the morning and at night. I still cry a lot and have rage. I do feel normal at times during the day. Does anyone know how long this will continue based on their own experiences?
 sailor281 - Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:26 am

I have been on effesxor for 4 years now. Doses of 225 at the highest but for the last 6 months 75. I've had enough of all my meds. So 3 days ago, I gave them up. There has to be a better solution. I've had gambling problems, gained weight, weird sex, family fights etc....But if I can I would like to share this with everyone. I woke up today with a larger erection than normal. Side effect? Who knows? So being a curious guy, I wanted to find out if my orgasms were any better. Let me tell you, it was the best I have had in 4 years. I know it's a funny story but I wanted to share it.
 jbackey - Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:51 am

sanewoman wrote:I am a 58 year old woman. I have stopped taking Effexor after 8 years. I gradually weaned off as recommended. I have been completely off for about 3 weeks. I did experience most of the usual symptoms mildly and seem to be OK. BUT THERE IS JUST ONE THING.... Since I have been completely off, I have had very loose and stinky bowel movements, the kind you have when you have stomach flu. I don't see this symptom mentioned by anyone else. But I'm thinking it must be a symptom because it started just as I completely stopped taking Effexor. I know that change in bowel movements is a red flag that something is very wrong and you should see your Dr about it. So since I don't see this symptom mentioned by anyone else, this is kind of scary for me. Maybe other people have this too, but I haven't been able to find it in their posts. So my question is, does anyone else out there have this symptom? Or is it just me?

I have the same symptoms as well
 shannon24 - Sun Apr 13, 2008 6:31 am

Hey sailor281....... Did you lose the weight you gained?
 sailor281 - Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:23 pm

Shannon,
I haven't lost the weight yet....and I do say yet. Since going off, I have walked, biked, flown kites, just kept busy busy busy......and I will continue to enjoy life now on my playing field. I will lose the weight because I want to be more active, effexor took me down, now I am taking control.
Thanks for the time to ask, keep in touch, caring is important for us all.
 Bubbly81 - Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:09 pm

Hi all. I started on Effexor XR about 4 weeks ago in March. I started with one week of 37.5mg then moved on to the 75mg. I saw my FNP for a 1 month follow up on Tuesday and she wanted me to go up to 150mg since I stated I only noticed a slight/subtle change. I tried 1 day of 150mg and freaked out. I called today and told her I will be continuing with 75mg.

After reading about everyone's horrible withdrawal experiences I want to get off of this drug ASAP!

My fiancee is a medical resident and he thinks it's okay that I take the 75mg's once daily. I take it for anxiety, not depression. I have dealt with my anxiety long enough on it's own. I think I can handle going off of effexor. However I am scared!

I am hoping to avoid these terrible w/d symptoms because I haven't been on it for long. Advice?
 Dr. K. Eisele - Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:22 am

User avatar Dear Bubbly 81:

Many people who take and stay with the smaller doses of Effexor avoid the withdrawal effects. I think if the 75 mg is beneficial you should continue to take it. However, everything in life is relative, and most things are a trade-off. You have to decide for yourself if the anxiety is worse or the threat of withdrawal once you do stop the Effexor is worse. Remember, the withdrawal is only a possibility, not "a given."

Good luck to you.
 Bubbly81 - Tue Apr 22, 2008 6:52 am

Hi Dr. K. Thank you for your response. I decided that it is best I get off of venlafaxine aka effxor 75mg. It's the first and last anti-depressant that I ever want to take. I have GAD and I feel I should be dealing with it in therapy not with a pill.

I called my doctor's office and they all seemed unsure of how to taper me off. I have only been on it since 3/18. I took 7 days of 37.5mg before moving on to the 75mg. They told me to cut the tablets in half and take that for 2 weeks. 37.5mg for 2 weeks then cold turkey?! Seemed odd. I figured I will make up my own schedule based on how I feel.
 sailor281 - Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:34 am

How long do the withcrawal symptons go on?
I've been off for 3 weeks now, feeling better and better.
 Sammi - Mon May 05, 2008 5:15 am

I identify strongly with the posting from Acconite. I too have had severe withdrawal effects from effexor. I would love to hear from one of the doctors on the site.
 mandy82 - Mon May 12, 2008 7:31 pm

I've been on Effexor XR for going on 6 years. My dose has been upto 300mg after giving birth to my first child when i was 20. My situation was stressful, now resolved to some degree. I am now only using 150mg. I feel like I am finally in control of my life and emotions enough now to finnally wean off, although i am quite apprehensive of the thought.
I agree that there is a horrible affect when you miss a dose or get fast tracked off the medication, but i strongly disagree that there is a positive use for weed/dope.
I tried so this is not just a nieve point of view. I found it was then my dependancey and a form of escapism, not a hand in learning to deal with what life had to give me. I found my sleeping more irregular and my dreaming very disturbing, more than normal. I also have a friend who used it as a "med" while dealing with a messy relationship break up. She became less aware of her own doings and their affect on others and a lot more distracted from her daughters needs. I have also found that my husband when using become a lot less attentive to me and our son. He was lethargic and uncooperative. I find the posts of people using it as a way to get off their meds very nieve and promoting possible worsening of other peoples situations. SOME PEOPLE DO SUFFER PSYCOSIS FROM MARAJUANA!!!
 IStars - Thu May 15, 2008 2:42 pm

I'm withdrawing... hard. From 150 everyday to 0... with tapering = hell.

And I have done a very slow taper down... even while still taking a lower dose the withdrawal symptoms started kicking in.

One of the ways I dealt with my PTSD was by developing Anorexia... ummm then no one told me a withdrawal symptom of Effexor is ANOREXIA. Now as I am trying to go to no meds, my eating disorder is going out of wack... so Im forcing myself to eat even when i know I am just going to puke it back up. Not just because of ED, but the side effects of Effexor withdrawal that cause so much nausea people at work wonder if I am pregnant.

I decided to stop Effexor because it was dulling me out so much emotionally. It was helpful when I was suicidal and cutting, but as I went through therapy, I noticed how much I hated how I couldn't be myself on it. The harmful stages of PTSD behind me, I no longer need the sex drive killing drug to get me through the days. Plus I am an Artist.. and creativity went out the window when I went on Effexor. I was also put on Topomax for my nerves, but I stopped that with no ill side effects except suddenly I was afraid of spiders again.

If I had been told the side effects of withdrawal included Anorexia, I would never have stopped. And I am not the only one that has had this problem. I have one good friend who cannot ever get off Effexor because it triggers her bulimia when she tries to stop even from the smallest dose.

I have heard that you can take benedryl to help with the side effects... I think i will try this at night because the side effects of Nightmares are specifically harsh with me. I had night terrors as a child, and it was the main reason I ended up in the psych ward to begin with was because I could not sleep. So having the withdrawal side effect of nightmares is killing me.

I could get past the crying because I know it is not real. It is just a side effect.

But I can't take the appetite changes, or the nightmares. Well I have to take them, because I can't give up... I refuse to take drugs again for my brain inadequacies. I would have much rather taken the Behavior modifying therapy route, which is what I am doing now after much arguing with my psychiatrist.

The headache makes me feel like I am going to split into two... and the dizzyness is gross... like my brain can't catch up with my eyes!!!

Anyone have a good way to deal with the appetite change and nausea... cause Im afraid I am going to end up back in deep with anorexia...

and my psychiatrist doesn't seem to give a care about how horrible withdrawal is... she just tells me to take Effexor... ummm no.

Ok I'm gonna go throw up.
 samttsamer - Thu May 15, 2008 10:03 pm

I have been off effexor xr for 3 weeks now and am wondering how long withdrawals can last! I have been through the worst of the withdrawals but am still left with extreme agitation and massive headaches! Before I went on the drug I didn't have the agitation or the headaches so I know it is related to the absence of the drug. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression 3 years ago and when I told my doctor I was still on the effexor and wanted off, he was suprised I was still on the drug! It was always easier to just keep taking it. I have two children and a busy husband, I literally didn't have time to withdrawal. Now that I am pregnant we made time. It was the worst experience of my life but crucial to the babies wellbeing! I know, some doctor is going to reply that not all babies go through the withdrawals but then I ask, how do you know. Speaking of percentages of withdrawals where are all the people that don't experience any withdrawals? Thats B.S. Do you know any? I can only hope that it ends soon, Im miserable and I will never go on another antidepressant again. The symptoms of my postpartum were nothing compared to the withdrawals and this. I wish I had never listened to my doctor!
 gallagher715 - Wed May 21, 2008 6:37 pm

Hi, I weaned myself off of Effexor 37.5 over three weeks like my doctor told me to, and I felt fine. I was always only taking the smallest dose 37.5. Once I went four days from the last day I took the pill I started with the brain shivers, nausea, sever dizzy spells, metallic taste in my mouth. Luckily I am not vomiting, but I am still very sick to my stomach, with migraine like headaches daily. I went on this pill after my mom’s unexpected death during surgery, five months ago. When I first started taking the pill for approx 10 days I felt like I was on a severe caffeine buzz, or I guess speed. Now it’s been only 4 days since I have been completely off these pills and it feels like hell. I used up all of my sick days sitting in a hospital watching my healthy 50 year old mothers body die, and I just wanted to know how long an average person lasts with these withdrawal symptoms. I know everyone is different, but I would like a bit of hope. I spoke with my doctor and she examined me, and said oh this is normal and should last about a week. I was wondering if anyone could share there own experiences with how long there withdrawal symptoms lasted. Thank you
 kdpeddie - Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:15 pm

I am a 57 year old woman. I have a history of migraine headaches and Effexor is the fourth medication tested to see if it would help lessen them. I took the 75 dose twice daily for over two years. I wasn't making the difference we had hoped for, so with my Dr.'s approval I went for a month on 37.5 twice daily then 18.75 twice a day for a month. On a Thursday, two weeks ago, my Dr. gave me the go ahead to go cold turkey over a long weekend. It has not gone well.

I hurt all over. My thoughts either race or I can't put together a coherent sentence at times. I forget from one second to another what I'm going to do (honestly second to second). I cry for long stretches over very minor things. I'm irritable which is most unusual for me. The sounds of wild electricity in my head, especiall with eye movement, is the most disconcerting. I have times of repeated diahrea, some constipation, I've vomited, had awful headaches but only one true migraine. My Dr. gave me oxyconten to take and it does help but I'm concerned about becoming dependent although I only take 1/2 a tablet and hope it lasts until I go to sleep. When I take the prescription, I'm able to function to almost normal and the pain level goes down as well as the electrical sounds in the head. If taking this powerful pain medication will get me through it without becoming dependent, then I'm all for it. I do, however, wonder if there is any other option to help me seek normalcy while withdrawing.

I really need advice and to know if my experiences are shared by others. I will check the forum daily in hopes of answers.

Kay
 IUfan98 - Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:29 pm

Hi all. A couple of questions regarding Effexor withdrawal. I was prescribed Effexor XR for anxiety / depression about a year and a half ago while I was in battling a pretty severe case of "mono." (No I'm not a teenager, and no, I wasn't kissing anyone but my husband...adults get it too!). I took it for about 6 months at 150 mg and it was bad even getting on it (throwing up, sleeplessness, etc.). I was also taking Florinef (.1 mg) because I have a history of low blood pressure, and the mono virus had bumped my bp even lower. After about 6 months, I was feeling so good that my primary care physician and I made the decision to wean me off all of the meds. I substituted salt tablets for the Florinef and started weaning off the Effexor. I went down in dose for a month at a time and felt great each time I went down. By January I was ready to go down from the 37.5. And, as many posters have said, that's when all hell broke loose. I spent February going every other day for a couple of weeks, then every 3 days, 4 days, and 5 days. My last dose of Effexor I threw up for 12 hours straight...I took that as a sign it was time to stop.

It's now June, so count it...4 months of having withdrawal symptoms...no ability to concentrate, dizziness, bad fatigue, chest and back muscle aches, headaches, you name it. The worst part is that a couple of times over the last months my blood pressure has gotten so low that I feel like fainting. When I have these episodes it puts me in bed for 10 days or more with really bad fatigue and dizziness. I've been checked by my cardiologist and there is are no structural or arrythmia issues.

I've been back to my PCP and she's tested me for everything -- reoccurance of the mono, thyroid, some other infection, Addison's disease, and we've come to the determination that all the symptoms are "just" the Effexor withdrawal. I feel awful and am starting the buckshot approach this next week -- I have appointments with my cardiologist (for the bp), therapist, accupuncturist, and a psychiatrist the week following.

Long way of getting to my questions...can Effexor withdrawal last this long? Can Effexor be wreaking havoc with my blood pressure (I've read elsewhere that maybe yes)? And, now that I'm off the Effexor, what is the solution to getting to feeling better? 4 months of withdrawal is enough for me...my PCP kept encouraging me to "wait a little longer, it will go away," but it hasn't. I'm NOT going back on the Effexor, and not willing to suffer more months of brain and body fatigue. Any suggestions that I should explore with the psychiatrist (including alternative therapies like accupuncture) would be GREATLY appreciated so that I can make the most of my upcoming appointment. I'm not a pill taker, but am now seriously considering taking something to help with this. THANKS!!!!
 SheikYerbouhti - Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:26 pm

Okay; if you're reading this it is in a way, too late for you. Yes, you can still get off of the drug wth all the requisite trials and tribulations but what I mean to say is if you're in this forum looking for answers, Effexor already has it's evil hooks in your ribcage. KNOW THIS: Your doctor KNEW when he prescribed Effexor (or any other psychotropic), exactlly what you would be going through whenever either a.) Your prescription ran out and you needed to renew it, or b.) You accidentally left your pills behind while on a 3 or 4 hundred mile jaunt out of town, or c.) Tried to wean yourself off of the medication. That's your friend, your protector, your healer we're talking about; that's who did this to you my unfortunate friend. As they say in the movies... "I'll be back" (to speak further on this topic) but if you're not hooked in heavily right now, QUIT! Now I've got to use this computer to watch a DVD with my wife because our home is torn apart due to flooding. Imagine coping with that (as I am) while coming off a psychotropic cocktail (as I am). Later Kids!
 Anon1234 - Wed Jun 25, 2008 8:25 pm

Ok folks, i'm gonna start by saying i'm not a medical professional by any means, but I am coming off this drug... and i just thought id share some of my personal experiences and some of the thing's ive been doing to feel better through the disgustingly severe withdrawal effects of Effexor.

i was on Effexor 75mg for about a year. pretty short in some respects... so keep in mind my experience may be different than yours, that and different people react differently. right now i've been completely without the drug for 5 days now, and weaning off for about 2 weeks before that. the method of weaning my doctor chose was to take a full dose one day, and skip the next. it was annoying, but kept the withdrawal symptoms down to minor headaches and dry mouth, etc. this is my first attempt at quitting so i'm not sure how the other methods fare... but i think this one worked for me. a couple days in there were pretty bad, once i was 2 or 3 days in without having anything at all. i couldnt sleep at night and couldnt function at day.

the first thing i did was to really try to stick as close to my pre-existing routine as possible, i still went to work, i still worked out when i could stand it, i didnt change meal times, i tried to sleep at normal times... let your body fall back on the familiar and try not to change too many things at once--the lack of medication is enough of a change.

Try to keep alcohol and other depressants at a minimum, i noticed that these seemed to only make things worse... even a beer with supper would make me absolutely miserable with headaches and dizziness.

This may sound funny, but chocolate can offer a minimum of relief. seriously. chocolate, its not gonna cure everything but it can give you a little relief of the headaches, dizziness, and more extreme 'brain shivers' that I've seen described here and elsewhere online. but only so long as its in your mouth basically. I've also heard that chocolate can stimulate the brain with serotonin, though too. so that might have something to do with it.

another thing that ive found helps, is working out... but also i was pretty physically active before changing my medication, so it may have something to do with the routine aspect, or fulfilling a runner's high or whatnot, but i had NO symptoms whatsoever when working out... no brain shivers, no tremors, no headaches, nothing... it also seemed to take the edge off of the rest of the day. a warning, though... as i started off with my workout my balance would be a bit off until i got into it, so starting on the treadmill or something similar right away might not be advisable, stick with a stationary bike or something a little more stable until you're sure your balance is ok.

Cold compresses on the head, neck or forehead ive found to work wonder on the headaches, as long as you don't mind holding an icepack to your head...

I hope this helps some of you folks, its just my experience, it may or may not work for you-- but i hope this can help some of you folks. just stick with it, it gets better gradually, very slowly... but it does.
 Heathseeker - Sat Jul 12, 2008 10:38 pm

Can someone please summarize all the recommendations to tapper off effexor?

So far I am able to be without it 2 days, but I take it every 3rd day.

I started taking fish oil and B complex before going to sleep.Not finding any noticeable improvement with it, that I can notice, at least.

I have sometimes a very agitated sleep time, and some days I am really very agitated and irascible.

What else can I do: Will prozac help? Can anyone make any other recommendation or summary based on previous posts?
 AnneT - Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:29 am

Hello,
I am here as a patient, but also happen to be a Family Physician, trying to get off Effexor because it makes me drowsy and dries out my mouth so badly I got nasty dental problems. I've been able to taper down to various fractions of the 37.5 mg capsule. Unfortunately, everytime I have a withdrawal episode it is worse than the previous one. So here is what I've learned so far:

Various taper methods: One patient who had seen a psychopharmacologist had been suggested this routine. Take your usual dose 2 days, 1/2 dose 1 day and repeat for 4 weeks. Then take 1/2, 1/2, 1 for 4 weeks. Then level out at 1/2 for 4 weeks. Then start over.

Another taper method is suggested by "mikemo" abchomeopathy dot com. Or if you search "effexor-splitting capsules method" you should find it. It sounds a bit fast to me - I guess it just depends on your brain, your dose, etc.

Exercise, even 30 minutes of walking daily, can work nearly as well as many antidepressants for the treatment of depression.

Chocolate can help withdrawal, because it boosts dopamine in the brain.

Benadry can help, because it slows down the metabolism of Effexor, essentially making it a longer-acting med.

Prozac can help, because it is so long acting it does it's own natural taper.

Fish oils should be taken by any person with psychiatric/brain difficulties.

Some have suggested taking a serotonin supplement, 5HTP, which makes sense to me also.

Use only brand name Effexor, NOT GENERIC, especially when you get down to pretty low doses. Generics are allowed up to 20% inaccuracy in effective dose, which is enough to give someone withdrawal, even though they don't think they changed their dose.

Taper when life is not too stressful. Pamper yourself.

ALWAYS CARRY an extra dose or two with you, in case you get withdrawal away from home. (I once had to have an emergency delivery of Effexor from a pharmacy to a roadside location, because I literally could not walk, let alone drive any further. I literally thanked God for my cell-phone that day.) It is okay to chew the granules in this sort of emergency, to give quick relief. The taste is bitter, but that's okay.

Hope this helps many of you! Let me know what works for you.
AnneT.
 AnneT - Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:22 pm

Started my taper from 37.5 mg today. Took 22 mg. Got a little woozy, so took some Benadryl and had a wonderful nap. I'll take 33 mg at my next dose, then settle out at 30 mg for at least 1 week. (For me, I seem to bottom out with the nasty vertigo, puking, loss of balance & coordination at the 1 week mark after lowering my dose). Maybe I'll take another "booster" dose of 33 on day 6.

I'll try to keep you posted.
AnneT.
 Bubbles1969 - Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:00 am

This is my first time here. I have been thinking it was time to get off Effexor ER 75 mg. for a couple of months now. I got on line Monday night and began to read the horror stories of the withdrawl symptoms. Now, I am extremely concerned about actually doing it. I am having some side effects now from being on the med: hot flashes, sweating, constipation, weight gain, light sensitivity, hearing sensitivity (everything is amplified). My husband wakes me at least once a month because I'm either kicking him or jerking in my sleep. These are some of the reasons I have been considering getting off Effexor. Any advice?
 AnneT - Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:28 pm

Hi Bubbles,
Welcome to the Effexor Adventure! Not everyone has such a rough time getting off Effexor, but definitely take it slowly. I've heard of 2 tapering methods. One you can check out at www abchomeopathy com.

The other one is slower.
Month 1: 75, 75, 37.5, and keep repeating
Month 2: 75, 37.5, 37.5 (or maybe try 75, 37.5 alternating for the first couple weeks)
Month 3: 37.5 daily.

Then do the same pattern, only with 1/2 the 37.5. It seems like it gets tougher as the doses go lower.

Other things that have helped various post-ers -- chocolate (boosts dopamine), 5HTP supplements (but only if you are experiencing withdrawal), Benadryl, Gravol/Dramamine, walks, rest, keep your stress low, melatonin, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, 1500 mg of fish oil/omega 3's especially EPA three times a day or more, multivitamins. If all else fails, get some Prozac or duloxetine - they are longer acting and are much less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms. Some have found benzodiazepines helpful too, but they can be truly addictive (Valium etc.)

If your depression or anxiety recur, don't be afraid of taking meds if you need them. Just stay away from the short-acting ones (Effexor and Paxil).

Good luck! Please keep us posted -- how you do, what works, what doesn't.
 skaza4nik - Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:25 pm

When buy Effexor?
Can I buy this drug in the site XXXXXXX
 AnneT - Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:01 pm

Skaza,
Are you trying SELL effexor here????
 Shelley C. - Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:08 am

Ann T.
Thank you so much for the information about how one can take effexor in tiny dosages. I called in my renewal on Friday, took my last pill on Saturday morning and today (Monday) my doctor still hadn't called it in. At two I was experiencing anxiety, by 4:30 I tried paging my doctor. By five I had sent my husband to pick up emergency pills to use. I was a wreck. I called my daughter down to sit with me until my husband came home---weepy, little electric shocks in feet, nausea, head feeling disjointed. I took a pill when my husband got home with some banana but got sick to my stomach. Not knowing what to do I looked here and saw your post. I am slowly, very slowly chewing the little insides of the capsule and gradually feeling normal.

For me, I was shocked at what happened. I had been on Paxil for years. I have bipolar disorder and did a nasty go round with SAD a year and a half ago. I feel more normal on Effexor with natural light when available and the best Seasonal Affective Disorder light around when it is not. So, changing really isn't an option.

Please people, do not ever try to go off one of these without notifying and talking with your doctor. Good luck to all. Hope you all can get off medication if that is what is best for you and for those who can't.........well, to all good luck and take care.
 AnneT - Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:35 pm

Shelley,
Glad to help. It sounds like you sometimes can afford the Effexor and sometimes not, is that right? If that's the case...as you can see, Effexor is definitely not the one for going on and off. Prozac may have a cheap generic, and has the longest half-life, so is the least dangerous in terms of missed doses and discontinuation syndromes.
Other non-drug remedies that I've found helpful have been dragging my bones out for fun exercise, getting together weekly with some friends just to support each other in parenting, life, creativity. Some books: Mind over Mood. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron absolutely changed my life. It's not specifically designed for depression, but is a great cure! Excellent mid-life crisis stuff for me, a closet artist.
Blessings,
AnneT
 Philthyphil - Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:26 pm

I have been on multiple antidepressants (celexa, prozac, zoloft, lexapro to name a few...) Until stumbling on to Effexor. I have been on 150 MG a day for 3 years now for my depression and anxiety. Effexor has worked for me relatively well but the side effects and withdrawl are the most horrid I have ever experienced with any drug (worse then heroin perhaps?) I have recently stopped cold turkey due to insurance change and Im out of the drug. Let me tell you I jave never felt more sick dizzy and emotional in my entire life. I feel like crying for no reason Im nauesous through most of the day although I feel like Im going to vomit I never do. I run fevers and feel my general energy level has completely decreased. Ive attempted tapering off in the past but still I always go back to Effexor just because the side effects are so damn bad I force myself to take it to feel "normal". I desperately want to change prescriptions but, it feels like even months off the drug wont cure the side effects. I believe effexor has its positives and it does work for some people. Overall the negatives outweigh the positives very heavily. I would not recomend anyone to start this drug unless you want to feel like ***** everyday to come off of it.
Sincerely Philip Jones
 weesie38 - Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:36 am

This is the first time I have ever posted to a website, so please be patient if I don't seem to know what I am doing :)
I am frankly terrified, I have been on Effexor 75 mg for a little over 6 years and I am currently weaning myself ( with the assistance of my doc). I started out with reducing the dosage to 37.5 everyday for 2 weeks and staring 4 days ago, I am taking 37.5 every other day. I had no idea I would feel this bad. I am dizzy, nauseaus, jumpy and want to cry constantly. I am work right now and my co-workers probably think someone I love died. Everyone keeps asking what is wrong, but I know I will start bawling if I attempt to expalin what I am going through right now. I am the HR Manager here and I don't think it looks real professional for me to be walking with tears in my eyes all the time so I just stay in my office with the door closed. Please tell me this won't last much longer, it is scaring the daylights out of me to have such "out of body" feelings. Anyone out there??
Weesie
 AnneT - Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:27 pm

Weesie,
I would suggest that you go back up the 37.5 daily for a few days, at least until you feel better. Why do you want to get off the Effexor? Are you on anything else? Did you have any problems with Prozac? How long had you been on the 37.5 before going to every 2nd day?

It was when I went below 37.5 that I also ran into problems. Here is what I've done: Fold a piece of paper. On the fold, measure out 10 (or whatever makes sense to you) equal marks. Open the capsules and spread the granules evenly over your marks. I use a cardboard business card or a toothpick to do this. Slide the portion that you want onto another piece of paper. Slide the rest into a dosette or bottle. I keep track of how much is in the dosette - 2/10, or 4/10 or whatever for future use so I don't waste any of the expensive stuff.

Even going insanely slowly, I would get incapacitating vertigo so I could barely move, couldn't close my eyes. So I am on a small dose of Prozac to aid the tapering, and it definitely makes it bearable and not so dangerous.

I also take the Effexor twice daily to even out the blood levels. So I was at 8/10 (4/10ths of 37.5 twice a day) for about a week, then 6/10 for about a week, then 4/10 for about a week. I am now on 3/10 this week and we'll see how she goes.

Benadryl, melatonin and Imovane have helped my sleep. I'm taking fish oils too.

I hope this helps. Be kind to yourself - go slowly. There's no rush!
 Mfeierstein - Thu Oct 23, 2008 11:48 am

My wife has been off of Effexor for about 2 weeks now and she has been sick, irritated ans non-stop been abusing me for no apparent reason. I have tried to be tolerant but it is getting to the point where the abuse is deeply personal and I am losing my patience. Is any other spouse going through this sort of reaction from their spouse who has withdrawn from Effexor? I really need to know what to do. Leave, stay and wait it out....help!
 AnneT - Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:29 am

Mfeirstein,
Would your wife be open to reading some of these posts? Maybe she would go back on her Effexor and taper gradually. If you don't want her seeing your post, maybe have her look at some other forum. If she wanted my advice, I would recommend going back onto her last dose before she quit, or no less than 1/2 of that, daily until she's feeling back to her normal self. Then taper more gradually, consider staying on (why did she want to quit?) or switching to a different med. It would be awesome if you could attend a doctor's appointment with her.
AnneT.
 ladybadger166 - Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:34 pm

I am 25 years old, and have been taking an antidepressant of one form or another since age 16. Three years ago I was switched from lexapro 20 mg to Effexor XR 150 mg, along with the addition of clonazopam 1mg/day as needed and 100mg of trazadone for insomnia. At this juncture of my life, I am starting to prepare to start a family. It sounds like many of you on this forum are aware that Effexor has potentially fatal effects to an unborn fetus.

Several times over the last year I have attempted to stop taking Effexor, every time with horrible side effects. Even without trying to wean off of Effexor, I have had horrible side effects -- if I am more than a few hours late taking my meds, I start feeling the brain shivers, emotional turmoil, manic-depressive mood swings within seconds of each other.

The idea of switching from 150mg to 75mg scares me: I know it will be hell. I am going to try counting out the singular grains in my transition to 75mg, and further on down. I am curious though -- I'm assuming that the "left over" grains cannot be taken unless they are in a capsule?

I know I was in a rough patch when a psychiatrist (who had only seen me once, and then left the practice after switching my meds) decided this transition was in my best interest, but where is the culpability and responsibility when it comes to doctors fully informing us patients about the (at the very least) potential for horrible side effects if we decide to come off of the medication?
 ihateeffexor - Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:59 pm

I am so glad i found this site. I truly think im going insane. I have been on Effexor for 11 years (since my son was born). Over the past 3 years i have weaned myself down from 300mg/day to 37.5mg every other day. I finally stopped entirely 7 days ago...it is not getting better but worse. I feel sooo sick and all i want to do is lye in my bed. I have a full time career that will not allow me to lay in bed all day - which im sure most of you can relate to.

I am dizzy, i have this weird buzzing sound in my brain sometimes, im tired but cant really sleep, i go to the washroom nonstop and when i do sleep the dreams are horrible and i am sweating all night. I cant believe that these medications have not been taken off the market. I am terrified to find out what long term effects there will be.

Just as an fyi, this is not my first attempt at trying to get off effexor...there has been many but i usually cave because i cant stand to feel so unwell.

Can anyone at all tell me how long this sickness lasts? I feel like im coming off something major like heroin (no i have never done it but have heard how bad it is).
 AnneT - Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:54 pm

Ladybadger,
It is fine to take the left over granules without the capsule. Instead of driving yourself mad with the counting, fold a piece of paper. Draw a line with, say, 10 equal measurements. Dump your capsule onto that line and spread the granules out as evenly as possible (so you get little shortacting and bigger long acting granules.) Then you can take as much or as little as you want. You can go really gradually - 10% of the dose every week or so.
Read back on this forum and others to get other ideas. You may want to talk to your doctor.
Keep asking questions! We seem to be in this together.

"Ihateeffexor",
Hang in there! You may want to go back to the 37.5, or try 1/2 or some portion of the 37.5. I have even chewed some granules to get rid of severe withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes I would be better in 5 minutes, sometimes it would still take hours.
It seems like most of us have the greatest difficulty below 37.5 mg. I am now on 1/8th of 37.5 mg twice daily, with Prozac 10 mg. Previous to this dose of Effexor, I was able to drop 3-5mg per week. I've now been at this dose for 2 1/2 weeks, and can feel that I am not quite ready for another drop.

To both of you...I tried Mikemo's spike drop method (on a website called abchomeopathy. I felt very ill and scary mood drops, but it seems that it has helped some other folks on these forums. He also outlines the way to measure the gradual tapering dose. If you can't find the link, let me know.
AnneT
 jbuf03 - Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:29 pm

Glad I decided to Google this whole ordeal I'm going through. I'm on day 4 of no pills at all after weeks of tapering and it's good to hear I'm not the only one. It's a brutal challenge just to bang out these sentences. I can somewhat tolerate the "whooshing" sounds and dizziness when I close my eyes, the headaches and nausea.. it's the uncontrollable rage and temper flares that really have me reaching out to these posts to find some sort of insight and hope. I find myself flying off the handle and screaming obscenities outloud in a local Walgreen's store because they only sell AAA batteries in packs of four when all I need is two. And then there's the dollar store can opener I wanted to break in half and throw out the window because it kept chewing up the lid of a can of beans instead of opening it. So thanks to all of you for your thorough posts and sharing. It helped me so I thought I'd do my part to help out with the cause. I'm not going to give up and remain a slave to these things but I will take people's advice and give it some time to taper off. Like I read a previous post, it seems to be a matter of 2 steps forward and one step back. My heart goes out to everyone suffering from this, hang in there and best of luck...
 ladybadger166 - Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:52 pm

AnneT:

Thanks so much for the paper folding advice -- I'm sure it was insanely (no pun intended) comical watching me before I read your post! Due to some uncontrollable life situations, I didn't start weaning off until this week. I'm thankful for all the empathy and advise I've found here. Yay internet!
 sammijane - Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:18 pm

Coming off of effexor is a nightmare. I just wanted to let you all know that I found taking dramamine once a day really helped with the vertigo. Also made me a bit sleepy so also helped with insomnia.

I can't believe this rotten drug is still being prescribed! My docter told me "you may feel a bit woozy coming off of it" A bit woozy my butt!!! I called him at his office hysterical and said "does this sound a bit woozy to you" I think I scared the crap out of him!

Try the dramamine. Hang in there. It really does get better!!

BTW I tapered down over 4 months from 350mg. I will NEVER take any other meds because of this.
 sarahmarie43 - Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:15 pm

IUfan98 wrote:Hi all. A couple of questions regarding Effexor withdrawal. I was prescribed Effexor XR for anxiety / depression about a year and a half ago while I was in battling a pretty severe case of "mono." (No I'm not a teenager, and no, I wasn't kissing anyone but my husband...adults get it too!). I took it for about 6 months at 150 mg and it was bad even getting on it (throwing up, sleeplessness, etc.). I was also taking Florinef (.1 mg) because I have a history of low blood pressure, and the mono virus had bumped my bp even lower. After about 6 months, I was feeling so good that my primary care physician and I made the decision to wean me off all of the meds. I substituted salt tablets for the Florinef and started weaning off the Effexor. I went down in dose for a month at a time and felt great each time I went down. By January I was ready to go down from the 37.5. And, as many posters have said, that's when all hell broke loose. I spent February going every other day for a couple of weeks, then every 3 days, 4 days, and 5 days. My last dose of Effexor I threw up for 12 hours straight...I took that as a sign it was time to stop.

It's now June, so count it...4 months of having withdrawal symptoms...no ability to concentrate, dizziness, bad fatigue, chest and back muscle aches, headaches, you name it. The worst part is that a couple of times over the last months my blood pressure has gotten so low that I feel like fainting. When I have these episodes it puts me in bed for 10 days or more with really bad fatigue and dizziness. I've been checked by my cardiologist and there is are no structural or arrythmia issues.

I've been back to my PCP and she's tested me for everything -- reoccurance of the mono, thyroid, some other infection, Addison's disease, and we've come to the determination that all the symptoms are "just" the Effexor withdrawal. I feel awful and am starting the buckshot approach this next week -- I have appointments with my cardiologist (for the bp), therapist, accupuncturist, and a psychiatrist the week following.

Long way of getting to my questions...can Effexor withdrawal last this long? Can Effexor be wreaking havoc with my blood pressure (I've read elsewhere that maybe yes)? And, now that I'm off the Effexor, what is the solution to getting to feeling better? 4 months of withdrawal is enough for me...my PCP kept encouraging me to "wait a little longer, it will go away," but it hasn't. I'm NOT going back on the Effexor, and not willing to suffer more months of brain and body fatigue. Any suggestions that I should explore with the psychiatrist (including alternative therapies like accupuncture) would be GREATLY appreciated so that I can make the most of my upcoming appointment. I'm not a pill taker, but am now seriously considering taking something to help with this. THANKS!!!!



Hi IUfan98, I don't know if you are still active on this website, but I came across your post, as I am on my 6th day without Effexor and was looking for ways to cope with the side effects. I am also on Florinef, so I was reading about your symptoms, and I was thinking that it sounds like you could have an autonomic nervous system disorder. I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Neurocardiogenic Syncope, and it sounds to me like you might have it too. It is common, but a lot of doctors don't know about it for some reason, but it seems like we have A LOT in common medically. I am new to this website, but feel free to contact me through the website if you know how (I don't think it will let me post my email address here). I hope you are feeling better, along with everyone else who has posted here. Effexor withdrawal is pretty nasty.
 AnneT - Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:59 pm

I know you don't want to go back on effexor, but if you have any left, it might be worth a try, almost like a test, to try even 5 or so granules, and just see if that changes anything. If you have a big improvement, at least you know the cause. Then you have more information for you and your PCP & psychiatrist.

Below 37.5, I got the severe vertigo and puking, too. With every episode, it seemed like it took longer to resolve, and required a larger dose to get me out of it. So my doc put me on 10 mg of Prozac (liquid). I still have to taper the effexor slowly, but at least the dizziness I get is tolerable. I've gone (gradually) from 37.5 in September, to 3.75 mg twice a day. It's a slow go, but I'm getting there. The drowsiness & dry I had while on higher doses is improving.

I have read other posts about people having discontinuation symptoms for a very long time. It's frightening. Keep us posted.
 nolaughter - Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:01 pm

so i'm still on effexor.
75 mg x 3/day. and i want this to end.
but i'm terrified.
i was late on my dose today - and flipped out on my son.
my 2 1/2 year old son.
help?
how have those of you already on this journey begun?
where have you found the strength to not be psycho?
i'm not sure i'm gonna be able to do this.
 AnneT - Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:34 pm

Dear Nolaughter,
Is your depression or anxiety controlled on this dose of Effexor? Do you think you'll need to go on a different med? Have you done counselling, blood work, etc? How long have you been on the Effexor?
From my experience, the first thing is to make sure you never miss a dose! (as you found out the hard way, like most of us.) I always carry some extra with me, just in case.
Next thing...is life stable enough to start reducing? Besides counselling, regular visits with my family doc, stopping my toxic job I found the following useful: regular fun exercise (when I was up to it), stopped depriving myself in the food department (but still try to make sure I eat my fruit and veggies), funny movies and books, "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron (and a support group of other creative slightly crazy women to work through the book with me), and some hard work in a book called "Mind over Mood." Sometimes when I get the aches and pains I use fish oils, multi-vits and other supplements.
I've seen a few different approaches to tapering, but the key to all of them seems to be: go slllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwlllllllllyyyyyy! From where you are, you may be able to go right to 75 mg twice a day, or you may need to try that a few days, with your 3x/day interspersed. I have found that I need a couple of weeks at a lowered dose before I drop again; some need shorter or longer.
Oh yeah - Benadryl or Gravol/dramamine have helped many of us.
Hope this helps. Let us know how you are doing...
 nolaughter - Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:27 pm

Thanks Anne,

Has anyone noticed any effects from taking antibiotics while on the effexor?
i've been on a generic augmentin for a few days and i'm noticing the simmering rage that i usually only feel with missing a dose or two.
of course, i was also late by a few hours yesterday, but...
this is freaking me out.

so very grateful to have found this forum,
 AnneT - Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:31 pm

Nolaughter,
No, I haven't been on antibiotics while on Effexor. You could check with your pharmacist about interactions?
I dropped from 3.75 mg twice a day to 3 mg twice a day, and have been low in mood since, sleeping lots. I am trying to be patient. I lose motivation, so don't eat properly, drink more, exercise less, which of course is a vicious cycle. Guess I should just go to bed, and try again tomorrow.
AnneT
 MentalFlower - Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:27 am

I am currently on 525mg of Effexor. I am planning to wean myself off it, but before I do, I wanted to know if anyone has ever gotten off this drug after taking a dose as high as 525mg. And yes, I've talked to my doctor, and he said to get off the drug at my own pace.
 AnneT - Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:11 pm

No, I haven't heard of anyone going up that high. I'm curious to know if you've had any side effects at that dose? As you taper, please let us know if you have any problems from that.
AnneT
 Sickkid - Thu Dec 04, 2008 2:28 pm

At the age of 19 I was prescribed this drug after battling a severely traumatic time, that my psychologist would compare to that of someone who was a POW (prisoner of war). At about 18 I was a heavy cocaine and oxycontin user. Violence and pain are common factors in my life. After only being on the drug for a year my doctor had me taking 375mg. I've experienced a lot of trauma in my life growing up with a pyschotic mother and raising my older brother causing severe depression. I had my 20th birthday a few days ago and decided that I was going to stop taking effexor. Wow! The withdrawl symptoms are WORSE then any drugs I've ever done. I stopped taking it, a cold turkey, it's intense. I'm on day 4 and my pupils are about the size of a pin head. I'm experiencing nausea, vommiting, diahreah, dizziness, shaking, cold sweats, mood swings, loss of reality, and constant pain all over. Good luck to those battling this and hopefully I can get through it like some of the other success stories on here.
 Sickkid - Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:38 pm

Insanity, my irritability is through the roof. After some serious battling I decided to take 1 75mg effexor (not by choice). The brain shakes are the worst, the vomitting isn't stopping. My mother and father want me to go to the hospital but I refuse. I can't imagine someone trying to get off these drugs that had anything going on in there life (kids, a job). I'm either going to go get some weed or some pain killers because this is horrible. Good luck from a sick kid.
 Sickkid - Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:14 pm

After some back tracking I'm down to 75mg a day, which I take in the morning. By around 8 o'clock I start losing it though. It feels good to be able to be angry again though! I'm actually getting stuff done instead of just sitting around and smoking weed. The pain will be worth it in the end I think, next step is getting off Zopiclone.
 alleygal - Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:09 pm

I have been dealing with diagnosed stress anxiety disorder and depression for the last six years. After trying Paxil and Wellburtin my F.N.P. perscribed Effexor, and it helped so much! Until the last couple weeks I thought myself blessed to have a wonderful health care provider to help me deal with my depression. To a certain extent this is still true, but I find myself resenting her and any other medical practitioner who has ever prescribed Effexor. My husband and I want to start a family, and I have been advised to go off my meds during pregancy. I had been taking 75mg twice a day. Two weeks ago my FNP had me set up a 3 week plan for stepping down, halfing pills, alternating doses and days, and has warned me that she has patients that take a month before being fully off the meds. She says that whenever I feel the need to take an extra half a pill I should, even if it has been 3-4 days since my last pill. Yet even with the stepping down, the withdrawl has been absolutely terrible, and in fact terrifying! My mantra throughout this has been "mind over mood or crash and burn!" However, with the combination insomnia and fatigue, abdominal cramps, dizziness, an upset stomach, mood swings, and brain shivers it's hard to focus on "mind over mood!" I have missed half a ay of work already, and as today was the first day I tried to go without a pill (and failed) I am pretty sure it won't be the last. I told my coworker this morning that it took all the strength I had to act happy because all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball on the floor and cry myslef to sleep, and I am the lead teacher in a room of 21 toddlers. Yikes! Fortunately my husband is also going off Effexor, so we are doing it together, just like we quit smoking together 4 months ago :) He also experiencing withdrawl, so we don't have to waste time explaining just how awful it is to go through. There are also people like you readers out there who share their experiences, and I wanted to thank you for helping me (and my husband) know that we aren't alone in this. Hopefully my husband and I will get pregnant soon, so that means I have to get off the meds, but for all of you out there who aren't on a time line take it slow!!! Also, please tell your doc about your symptoms so that even one less doctor out there in this great big world with prescribe Effexor. Good luck to all, and take Omega 3!
 Sickkid - Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:03 pm

I refuse to see a doctor or go to a hospital. Last time I had feelings like this I was committed for 4 days. I know that if I go see my Dr. she's going to try and give me some more pills. I'm not sure what day I'm on but things are going great. I feel like my old self, and not a puppet where my meds are holding the strings. I don't even feel the need to take my pill this morning. I'm sure I will later but the withdrawl symptoms are getting smaller by the day. The first few days are the toughest but once there over you'll be so happy you got off this death drug.
 thayer - Sun Dec 21, 2008 2:36 am

I have been off 75mg of Effexor for about a week now, cold turkey.

The withdrawl symptoms have been pretty mild. I do have one odd one that I wonder, is it associated with witddrawl?

Sometimes I hear a whoosing sound, like cars going by a distant freeway. Have others experiences this?

Thanks,

Thayer
 dys4kids - Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:03 am

HI,

My prescription ran out 6 days ago. Due to a huge snowstorm here, I can't get a refill. I feel motion sick all the time. Thursday and Friday, I was throwing up. Thought I had the stomach flu. I cry at the drop of a hat. Had a big depression day today. I am like a time bomb waiting to explode. We are still covered in snow, so I can't get to the dr. I want to know how long the withdrawl symptoms usually last. After reading this,now I know why. I am not one to usually have side effects from medication. It is very surprising to me. Can anyone tell me, how long before I am "me" again, or at least closer to it.
 survivor - Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:22 am

FIrst and foremost, I would like to thank-you all for posting your responses to the topic of Effexor withdrawl. Your comments have helpled me through a tough time in my life. I had been taking effexor for about 5 years. My daily dosage was 225mg. I recently spoke to a counselor about the effects Effexor was having on my life - primarily my lack of a sex drive. He suggested I see a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist told me to weed off Effexor and prescribed Wellbutrin. That is what I did. I maintained my regular dosage for the first week after seeing the psychiatrist as well as take 150mg of Wellburtin. The next week I dropped down to 150mg of Effexor while stile taking the Wellbutrin. Basically every week I dropped 75mg of Effexor. I was doing well. I stopped taking Effexor and thought this was easy. I was in for quite a shock. After a few days of being off Effexor, I started to feel dizzy. I went through the majority of symptoms that have been spoken of in this forum. It has been an extremely difficult time. My work has suffered. I have stayed away from my friends because i don't want to say anything that would offend them because of all the ***** that is going through my head. I felt a constant hunger for about a week. It's been almost 2 weeks now and I am doing better. I am at the stage where I cry at almost anything. On my trip back from Hong Kong, I started to cry because of a song I heard on my ipod. This lasted a half an hour. I do believe this will pass. My body I believe is adjusting itself to not having Effexor in it. I am now taking 150mg of Wellbutrin twice a day. I can't say if it is as effective as Effexor because I am still going through withdrawl symptoms. I like to think the Wellbutrin has made my withdrawl from Effexor easier. I can't say for certain. I wrote this post because I wanted to let others know that they are not alone in this. As well as to thank the many of you for writing all the posts that you have. I wish all of you, the best of luck and I do believe there is life after Effexor. For anyone who is reading this and considering taking Effexor DON'T. There are many other anti-depressants that will help you with out all the side effects of Effexor. God bless you all!
 KarenMcP - Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:56 pm

I found the information on here to be most helpful - I wanted to let others who are going through this that you can withdraw from this medication; it just takes a lot of time for some.

I was at 75mg/day and found a compounding pharmacy that reformulated the prescription, reducing it by 7.5mg/week. It was relatively uneventful unless I was late taking my medication. Then I would have the dizzy spells and irritability very soon after the missed dose. I found the process fairly easy until the last two weeks. The dizziness, brain zaps and mood swings were awful. I also was incredibly tense. I would notice my shoulders up around my ears a lot of times!

It took a couple of months to get off them completely. I took my last dose on Christmas Day and haven't had one since although I was terribly tempted. Thankfully I had a quiet holiday season and was able to work from home for two weeks so I didn't have to be 'nice' to people.

Things I found helpful were Gravol and Gravol ginger chews. Both helped with the unending nausea and the regular Gravol helped with the headachey dizziness that appeared. I still feel queasy now and then but overall I'd say I'm doing pretty well, and I'd like others to know that it IS possible to get off of Effexor - it just takes time and determination.
 SomeoneSunshine - Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:40 pm

2008 was a horrible year for me. I was failing at school even after attaining a seperate degree and graduating in May of 07'. I moved home with my parents to go to college in the city they live to make my cost of school a little cheaper. At the time my sisters were both highschool seniors and my parents were fighting constantly. My dad had a stint put in his heart and he became depressed and angry at our whole family. About midway through the summer after learning of my loss of loan money for school and the possibility of losing my insurance because of this I had a breakdown. I finally saw a psychiatrist and he put me on 150mg of Effexor XR as well as Xanax 2mg XR.( I also have year round allergies to just about everything but food and animals so I take 3 different allergy medicines as well as the 2 rx's the psych. prescribed) Apparently my life long addiction to picking at my fingers and chewing my nails was a sign of extreme anxiety, I was having panic attacks constantly and making my fingers bleed. It became embarassing and I was tired of it and had tried everything in my power to stop, but even though I was aware of what I was doing I couldn't stop, so I tried the Effexor. It's been a little over 6 months now and the social anxiety has decreased dramatically but I'm not sure if its the effexor or the xanax. I'd taken xanax before that my sig. other gave me during a panic attack and that worked wonders.
A few days ago my mother approached me begging me to get off the effexor because she was tired of me walking around like a zombie and constantly being tired. She said I wasn't her daughter anymore, and I couldn't react to her crying. I wanted to be sad, but It was an unemotional stare that I could only return. So that's when I decided I couldn't take this effexor sh** anymore. I quit cold turkey 4 days ago, but still have my xanax and my panic attack xanax so it help with the nervousness and calms me to a point, but otherwise I'm a complete nut job and can't think straight.
My bosses went to New York for a week and I'm the only one at work for 6 days. I brought my rat with me to help, but God I hope no one comes into my job. I feel like if they say something to me I might cry.
I'm determined to do this cold turkey because I've only been on it for a little over 6 months. I was so glad to find this site and read exactly what I've been going through the last couple days. My boyfriend supports me fully and knows what its like to come off of a depression medicine, so hopefully I won't be too nasty to him in the coming weeks.
You guys give me hope :)
 Jeffreytn - Thu Jan 08, 2009 3:02 am

I just spent the last couple hours reading through this entire thread, and I have to say I'm incredibly relieved, but not everything is matching up. Something that I've noticed in a couple of posts but that no one else has caught on to: for some people, the initial withdrawal symptoms of effexor are actually positive. This would account for all of the "I've been off for x days and doing great" posts followed by the usual nightmarish withdrawal symptoms. But even with that in mind, I'm still not sure about my own case. When I go off effexor, I feel more emotional, but it's a good thing compared to the numbness the med caused (i was a crybaby before i was on it, and for the 6 years i was on the med i can count the times I've cried on one hand). I experience an increased sense of confidence and overall well-being. The thing I haven't read about anywhere here though is that this lasts for more than just 6 days. The first time I tried going cold turkey from 225mg it took me a full 3 weeks before my mood started to drop, irritability set in, etc. I was slowly weaning myself off of effexor (see below for my doctor's plan) and I was at 37.5 effexor and 300mg Wellbutrin when I recklessly decided I was fed up and took my last 7 Wellbutrin pills and cut them in half and just stopped taking my effexor altogether. Honestly I was more worried about the Wellbutrin, as that was the med which I felt the most crappy from missing even a single dose. That was almost 8 weeks ago, and I just started showing the negative symptoms of withdrawal 5 days ago. Has anyone had similar experiences coming off Wellbutrin and Effexor simultaneously? And does anyone have any idea why it would take a full 8 weeks before the negative symptoms of withdrawal start to show up? And does anyone else experience the initial "honeymoon" period of increased productivity, confidence, general well-being, etc after going off the med? Could this be an effect of the Wellbutrin?

Also I just have to add, I'm appalled at the recklessness of even the more informed doctors (not the ones posting in here). When I told my psychiatrist I wanted to get off of my meds I was taking 300mg of Wellbutrin and 75mg of Effexor. He asked me which I wanted off first and I said Effexor, because I actually felt better at first when I went off it. He had me bump my dosage from 75 to approximately 50mg (had me take two 37.5mg and empty out half of one) and kept me on that for a MINIMUM OF 3 MONTHS before he even considered changing it. Then he bumped me down to 37.5 for another 3 months.

Thanks,
Jeffrey
 trying2besane - Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:17 pm

I, too, have read through all of the posts and have experienced many of the symptoms everyone has described...the "whooshing" sound in my ears, vertigo, the shivers, the sweats, the temper, the tears, being green around the edges and craving foods. I was up for 36 hours straight after taking my last 37.5 dose - no caffeine, no chocolate, no alcohol - just awake - I think I was afraid to go to sleep. It is frightening that so many are/have experienced all this with Effexor. I remember my dr telling me Effexor used to be called "side-effexor" for what I am sure is what we are all experiencing.

I took Effexor for about 6 years and at one point was taking 225mg a day(150 in am and 75 at lunch) as well as Adderallxr - 30mg. I had a hard time remebering to take the mid-day dose since my schedule is pretty hectic and I work in a school - seeing students primarily during lunch. If I took it too late then I couldn't go to sleep at night. I started tapering off both mid-December, dropping the Adderall first. I have been without either since January 3rd. The Effexor has been much harder than the Adderall.

I decided with my husband and the doctor I've seen for the last 9 years, to taper off and try something else because I just havent' been "feeling" anything for anyone or anything. Not an easy feat since I have an eight year old and a 12 year old. The flip side is that not feeling helped tremendously when dealing with the closing of my business and a family crisis with my now 12 year old. I don't think I would have been able to function at all without the meds.

My concern is that we have talked about trying an MAOI next. I don't have not problem with the food "restrictions" and since we don't plan on having any more children, that isn't an issue. I'd love to try some of the "remedies" like benadryl, but don't want to mess up starting the MAOI late next week and won't see my dr until next Friday. I sure as hell don't want to go through this again and I surely don't want this to last for weeks or months. I will go insane. I am shivering as I type and I am sure that in about 5 minutes I will be sweating like it is 110 degrees outside and even though my doc said this wasnt' going to be easy, I don't think I can do this again. I'm not sure I can make it - live day to day - without something.

Thanks for letting me tell my story as best I can this afternoon. I wish I'd found this site a week ago.

 ladybadger166 - Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:49 pm

Today is day number five at 0mg of Effexor. I am truly torn right now: I've been working on coming off of Effexor for several months, and feel it is the right time to be done... but feeling the time is right and knowing the time is right are two different things. While the withdrawals are not as intense as they were when I would miss a dose at 150mg, I am worried about how long they will last. The "they" I am specifically referring to is the brain shiver/intense dizziness that, though less intense, occurs every few seconds.

I start student teaching on the 26th, but wanted to start going into the classroom this week. Tomorrow I was planning to go in, but I can't meet 100 kids and dozens of staff members in this state. I can't concentrate, half of everything I say is filled with stuttering and stammering, and every few seconds it looks like I'm going cross-eyed from trying to refocus (the brain shivers really mess with my eyes). This makes everything super difficult right now. I feel stuck in my house because I'm afraid to drive; I can't even go for a walk because it's -10 outside today. Even if it weren't, I'm sure I'd slip on ice with my continued dizziness.

The irony is that while I have physiological symptoms, and that I am a bit consumed by the frustration of these symptoms, my overall mental health--at least so far--is doing alright. Saturday was a little dicey: my fiance and I went to a wedding and I spent the day ranging from crabby bitch to near tears. Surprisingly, my fiance didn't think I was as outrageous as I thought I was. He (pretty rationally, really) explained that he was being a bit of a jerk, and that I do sometimes get emotional at weddings, and, given that we just got engaged, it makes sense that I might be a little more emotional about weddings.

Any way, I am hopeful that the next week goes better than the last several days, otherwise I am worried that I'll have to go back on at least a small dose until summer break.

Keeping my fingers crossed....
 ladybadger166 - Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:24 am

Thayer,

I read your post last night and was initially clueless as to what you were talking about; though, after trying to sleep, I think I understand. My guess is that it goes hand-in-hand with the dizziness, given that the inner ear controls the sense of balance... but it is just a guess.

It's a bit ironic that I'm starting to acclimate to the withdrawals to the extent that I didn't realize I, too, was experiencing the symptom of which you spoke.

I've found that the "whooshing" gets worse as I get increasingly tired or as I try to concentrate on motor tasks--especially driving.

I can't be of any help as to how to reduce them, but I can completely empathize with your plight.

Welcome to the battle :/
 CanadianGrl - Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:18 pm

I have been on 300 mg Effexor for close to 10 years. I tried going off twice before - both times with disastrous results (one time I actually went off cold turkey). My Dr. told me after my last attempt to go off (several years ago) that I would likely need to be on the drug for life. I have never accepted this, and my mother has constantly been reminding me how much of this toxic drug I am on and that I need to try to get off of it. I think before now I was just so afraid of the withdrawal process and afraid of a relapse. Today is day 1 of my tapering off. Yesterday I took my usual 150 mg in the morning, followed by 112.5 in the afternoon. My Dr's plan is for me to reduce by 37.5 every 2 weeks. I think, like many psychiatrists, that he really has no idea how to properly taper a patient off this drug - especially from such a high dose. My mom thinks it is criminal that he has had me on this high dose for so long, especially without any monitoring in recent years (until this week I hadn't been to see him in 3 years - he just renewed my prescription by phone).
Day 1 - I had some trouble waking up - did not have any of the "withdrawal dreams" that I usually have if I sleep in too late, but I am definitely groggy. My head feels a little fuzzy.
I am trying to decide whether I should take the lower dose (1 150, + 1 75 + 1 37.5) every other day (alternated with my usual dose of 2x 150's a day) or whether I should break the 37.5's in half and take just slightly less than 300 each day until I feel less side effects.
I am not working right now but my employment insurance is paying enough of the bills that I don't have to look too hard for work right away. That's why I figured it was the perfect time to try to go off (or at least down to a reduced dose). Also I've been so successful lately in my personal growth journey - I am consistent with my exercise program and even thinking of increasing it, and I have a positive attitude and outlook unlike ever before. I've doing things that I've been procrastinating about for ages, and it feels so good.
I have started a journal this morning to record my experiences with tapering off of this drug. I am so thankful for all the other posters sharing their experiences. I know I can do this (or at least taper way way down), but am aware I will have to do it slowly and carefully.
 Jeffreytn - Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:13 am

CanadianGrl

It's very encouraging to hear someone with an actual success story (so far) about coming off of this godawful med. I am going to offer a word of caution and suggest you continue to take it very slow, however. I had a very similar experience when I went off the med 2 months ago. Going off the meds is an empowering feeling, I personally believe that going off the meds does something to increase your mood and work ethic (ironic that it's a symptom of STOPPING a med that's supposed do just that) but after a few days/weeks there is a chance that your mood will start to drop a little. So take it slow, and I'd say wait at least 4-8 weeks before adjusting your dose again with your doctor's permission. Sometimes with us "honeymooners" it really does take that long to even show some of the really bad withdrawal symptoms, and it really throws things off if you're already bumping the dose down again before you even know how the worst of your first reduction is. You can read my post above and see how it compares to your experience as it unfolds, I'm actually kind of interested in seeing if your case is similar to mine, though i sincerely hope not.

Best of wishes, and best of luck :)
 pavel - Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:03 am

Living hell, what the hell is going on with my brain? I feel like I'm in a nightmare and can't stop. A seriously dangerous drug I was prescribed to help me through a difficult time. I've only been taking it for 2 months!! Started when I missed a day and felt great so I missed another day then day 3, wham! Now I'm too scared ro go forward or back. I was on 225 and the docs wanted me on 300! god help me
 CanadianGrl - Fri Jan 16, 2009 8:30 pm

Jeffreytn,

My post was a bit premature - later that day had a few ups and downs. The last 3 days have been a whole series of ups and downs.
Here's a brief list of the withdrawal symptoms I've experienced so far:
grogginess, dizziness, plugged ears (kind of similar to the 'whooshing' in the ears that an earlier poster mentioned), minor nausea, emotional - crying over little things, self-doubt, decreased appetite, funny taste in mouth (almost constant), chills and trouble warming up, and the worst - slowed down thinking/brain functioning.
Today I feel like I've accomplished nothing at all, but I know I have to accept where I'm at and that there will be days like these. I have hope that tomorrow will be better.
I'm journaling every day (sometimes several times a day) to record my withdrawal symptoms and mood swings. I have faith that the confidence and self assurance that I felt before starting the reduction of the drug will return.
 bellabambinogirl - Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:53 pm

Hi, i decided to come off effexor 2 weeks before christmas. I was originally on 150mg per day. By new years eve i was off effexor, waited a complete 24 hours then commenced back on my original medication cipramil. It has now been nearly 3 weeks completely off effexor.... my anxiety has been incredibly high, loss of appetite, sense of doom, sleepless nights and just a deep seated sense of sadness and fear. How much longer before the cipramil kicks in and the effexor completely out of my system ? I am not sure how much strength i have left to keep going through this.
 John Doherty - Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:59 pm

Withdrawal of Effexor is awful. The suicidal thoughts, the brain zaps, head aches, vomit, etc. The list goes on and on. Check out knoweffexor.com. You can share your experiences there.
 Sickkid - Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:18 am

An update, well after my disastrous attempt at going cold turkey from 375mg a day I'm down to taking 1 75mg pill each morning. For now I'm pleased with that and within the near future I'm considering halfing that. My doctor was pissed off that I discontinued my medication and refused to take any other pills so should cut off my supply of effexor completely. Hopefully the last bits I have left will be enough to ween completely off this. I'm sure the withdrawl effects won't be that bad as now my body is used to only taking 75mg instead of the max dose of 375mg. Good luck to those trying to get off these drugs, You can get through it, and it's so worth it in the end.
 bosswild - Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:17 pm

Here's the drug deal:
I'm on Day 14 of Cold Turkey
I'm 34 years old
Was taking Efexor XR for 12 weeks (4 weeks at 75mg and then the rest on 150mg)
I was suicidal, and was completely destroying my family when I started taking them
I gained 7kg, that's about 15 pound and chilled out.

Here is the current (negative) fall-out:
I've lost my job (Production Manager on a good salary)
I've broken my hand and require rehab and ct scans after bludgeoning some guy (this happened on day 5, by all accounts the guy had it coming, I have nightmares about what his face looked like)
It's 4am here now and I woke from nightmares to scramble out of bed and run for the Vodka.

Positives
I don't want to kill anyone at this point in time
My Anger, Anxiety and Depression is manageable for the first time in years.

Why Cold Turkey?
My situation is a bit different to a lot of peoples. I came to a realization that the stresses that caused me to be mentally stuffed up were cause by people that need a shrink and their own medication. So, why should I be the one on meds? I have a history of taking responsibility for everyone else's issues, regardless. I decided that everyone else can go 'jump', i don't care, and I will not be medicated so I can deal with morons. It's really a perspective thing I know.

I'll be back here when my hand heals and I can type properly to give all you people a complete story. A tong lashing for some, words of understanding and advice for others.
BTW. all you dealing with that electric shock feeling, get over it, wait until you are lying on the floor screaming to the black ghosts walking around the room that you're having a heart attack whilst in a semi lucid state experiencing your first epileptic type fit.
 dwnw/effxr - Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:34 pm

So, I have decided to stop taking my effexor cold turkey, kind of. I have been taking half of my presciption every other day for the past 4 months. In addition, I hve lost my medical insurance and do not want to spend another $200.00 for 30 pills. Anyways, my expierence with quitting has been less than easy. I have been expierencing electric shocks throughout my entire body for days when ever I move about. Last night the electric shock went through my heart and it felt like my heart stopped. I got a little scared so, today I started looking up how long I should expect these withdrawls to last. I'm starting a new career nxt week and hope this will be easier by then. The first time I took Effexor it was in 2003 when my mother passed and I had uncontrollable anxiety. I took it for 2 years and had no trouble with quitting. This time I took the Effexor XR and can't believe what I'am going through. Wish me luck and I will up date everyone on how this goes and when I am finally free of the withdrawls.
 dwnw/effxr - Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:33 pm

Hello everyone!
Like everyone else, I was experiencing the very uncomfortable symptoms from quitting Effexor. For me the worst was the electric shocks that went throughout my entire body, including my heart, which felt as though my heart was stopping for a split second. This experience would occur whenever I would get up from the couch, you could imagine that I did not want to move at all.
I finally was able to make myself get up and go to the gym, which I had not done in a week because of the withdrawals.
When I got there, I stretched for 15 min, then went to the elliptical machine, and went at it for a little over an hour. By the time I was done, the electric shocks were gone and I did not experience them for the remainder of the night. Today I have not felt one shock. The only symptom I am having is the feeling that I need to cry for no reason and of course the anxiety that started me on the Effexor in the first place.
My belief is that the Effexor was boosting my natural chemicals and in turn my body would stop producing my good chemicals because it didn’t need too. When you stop the Effexor your body is dependent on the Effexor to provide these chemicals and with out it your body literally goes HAYWIRE!!!!! When I went to the gym my body kicked in the chemicals all on its own and I honestly hope that it stays that way. I’m gearing up to go to the gym and do another hour to insure my body continues to produce these chemicals without the Effexor’s help.
Therefore, whether or not you like to work out I think it is necessary to get your body to quickly start producing those good chemicals that are essential to your body to function properly.
Good luck everyone!! I will keep you all posted on my progress. I wish I had only done this sooner!
 OCTOBER - Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:58 pm

I've been on Effexor XR for almost 2 years. 150 mg daily. I want to get off this medication as well and spoke to my doctor this past Tuesday. She has said to go to 75mg of sustained release for one week then to 37.5 mg sustained release for 2 weeks. I was originally put on this medication for what I thought might have been a combination of seasonal affective disorder and anxiety/depression. I feel good now and my life circumstances are much more stable and happy, but like others have mentioned, I have gained weight in spite of exercising and after reading about these horrible withdrawals I just want to get this over with.
I was going to wait until I had a day off from work to drop down to the 75mg but decided I will do that tomorrow. When I was originally prescribed the meds (by a physician's assistant with my doctor's blessing apparently) she said there would be side affects to going off it, but she certainly didn't mention anything the likes of which I've seen here.
My doctor told me about the possible side effects from withdrawal, and she specifically mentioned feeling very jittery (so she advised me to cut way down on coffee consumption) and possibly getting headaches. She suggested that I keep up my exercise program throughout. The pharmacist said the same thing. So I am going to give it a go and post here how it goes. I'm really frightened as I've not seen one post about mild symptoms of withdrawal. It's all these horror stories.
That being said, I notice that many of you went off this medication on your own, cold turkey, with no dose-down and I wouldn't recommend that to anyone for any drug. I've always thought you should work with your physician on things like this.
Wish me luck!!!
October
 OCTOBER - Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:00 pm

So, I'm on my 2nd day of 'dosing down' or 'titrating' as I've heard it called, from my Effexor XR. I've been on 150 mg for almost 2 years. To help me with the cost of medication, my doctor prescribed 37.5 mg capsules. I take 2 of those daily now, and will for the next week - so 75 mg daily, 1/2 of what I've been taking. First day was pretty painless. The only thing I felt was tired at the end of the day and I slept like a rock last night.
I am making the commitment to exercise for at least 45 mins daily and exert at least enough to work up a sweat.
I'm optimistic, but it is also early. I figure I might feel something more when I go down to the 37.5 mg daily. And my doctor recommended that for 2 weeks before I completely discontinue the medication.
I've never blogged about anything before but I've read so many horror stories I wanted to put my own story out there, hopefully it will be different. I also hope I don't have such serious side effects from discontinuation.

October
 OCTOBER - Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:06 am

Days 3 and 4 on my slow weaning off Effexor XR went fine. The only symptom I seem to have is fatigue and occasional irritability. I am quite tired at the end of the day, but I'm exercising and taking good care of myself and am happy so far. I sleep like a rock and have no nightmares or strange dreams.
I've had NO headaches or shocks or any of the other symptoms I've seen described on this forum.
I do wonder if I will experience anything else once I go from the 75mg a day down to the 37.5 which happens on day 8. I can totally live with what I'm experiencing now.
October
 OCTOBER - Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:45 pm

Day 7. last day on 75 mg, move to 37.5 tomorrow. I am a bit irritable but less tired than I've been. I'm guessing when I'm on the medication I don't get so highly annoyed with stupid people :) Gee. I mean, honestly, do I have to be medicated because I have to deal with idiots? :) Must put some coping mechanisms in place. soon. haha
 NataliaVG - Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:14 am

There's no miracles here yet some tips for success.

1.- Taper off
2.- Before even start the tapering a month or so before, start preparing your body for what's going to come.

Following this 2, the withdrawal effects are minimal, next to none existent.

About me:

33 years old, female, just divorced.
Diagnosed with depression in 2001 - Took effexor for about a year
Leaving the effexor was the most horrible I ever endure.
Diagnosed with depression in 2008 – Took effexor for about 9 month
Didn’t notice withdrawal. (Learned my lesson: RESEARCH)

We all know, depression as a disease, depletes de body of many very important nutrients, medication we take to “get better” depletes the body even more. The things we do when we are sad (drink alcohol as one of the many examples) take care of whatever was left of our health.

Then we try to leave the antidepressant, with a body in awful conditions, expecting it to be just fine. I think leaving the effexor is the last strike our bodies are willing to take from us. Plain and simple, loud and clear, our brain says: ENOUGH!

So, prepare the body for the battle to come. Pump it with nutrients (vitamins and mineral, amino acids, etc) Specially everything that is food for the brain.

Note: I went from 112 to 75 in 7 days, then to 37 in another 7 days, and after a week on 37 mg, went straight to 0.


Here is my diet, which I started month before starting tapering off.
Numbers on the left are caplets, on the right is the concentration per caplet.

Breakfast (gotta eat something, so supplements will be absorbed)

1 5-htp 200 mg
1 Biotin 1000mcg
2 Lecithin 1200mg
1 Glutathione
1 Fish Oil 1200 mg
1 Flax seed oil 1300mg
1 coQ10 200mg
1 Super B complex
Lunch (same thing: gotta eat)

2 Magnesium 250mg
1 Multivitamins
2 Fish Oil 1200 mg
2 Flax seed oil 1300mg
1 B-Stress complex
1 Folic Acid 400mg
1 L-Lysine 500mg

Tea time

1 Selenium 200mg
1 Fiber (any benefiber, chitosan, whatever)
3 Fish Oil 1200 mg
3 Flax seed oil 1300mg
1 Potassium Gluconate 550mg
1 Super B complex

Dinner time

1 Fish Oil 1200mg
1 Flax seed oil 1300mg
2 Calcium carbonate
1 Fiber
1 Magnesium 250mg
1 Melatonin 5mg
1 Glutathione
1 Protein shake (GNC PRO Complex) 1 scoop. (this formula contents the best combination of amino acids)

There’s a reason for every supplement ej.: Magnesium will keep the headaches away, fiber the constipation, etc, etc. I leave the rest for you to research and understand why this does the trick and how you body works.

A chronicle depression is a constant imbalance in the brain that WONT go away with effexor or any other medication, gotta find the problem and solve it, not patch it.
Good luck for you all.
 OCTOBER - Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:56 pm

Day 14 of my 'withdrawal.' I've not posted because I would say I've been virtually symptom free. As you know, I was on 150 mg daily for 2 years. Went to 75mg for a week, and 37.5 mg for 2 weeks, of which I'm on day 7. Other than fatigue (which is remedied with exercise and proper diet) I have had none of the symptoms I've seen described on this site. No headaches, nightmares, etc. I don't anticipate any problems going to 0. I have taken no other supplements than my regular multi-vitamin, but I have allowed myself naps when I felt tired and was aware that I might experience a bit more irritability (which I did for about 2 days but that is gone).
Of course, I DID consult with my doctor and the dose down was done with her approval. THIS HAS TO BE THE FIRST THING YOU DO.
I can only say that those of you with the hideous side effects must have gone off them cold turkey,or have other issues that I don't have. I would never recommend going off a medication you've been on long term cold turkey.
This medication served me well when I needed it and now I will be done with it. For those who've had a less than good experience, I hope things go better for you.

Thanks for allowing me to share my experience.

October
 fuzzyfriend - Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:26 pm

I am a 48 year old woman with lifelong major depression. I landed with Effexor after being unable to tolerate any SSRI and quite a few other attempted meds. I'm lucky; I have almost no side effects from taking it. It doesn't exacerbate migraines, which is a huge deal for me as I also have fairly crippling, treatment-resistant migraines, and the sexual side effects are minimal. It has been a godsend and a lifesaver for me.

I recently, accidentally took myself off cold turkey from 300 mg a day (XR) due to drug bottle confusion. It took me nine days to figure out what had happened. I've been feeling awful and until the lightbulb went on, I was sure I had some kind of horrible systemic autoimmune diseased or cancer. My list will sound painfully familiar: nausea, diarrhea, lightheadedness, muscle aches and stiffness and some other flulike symptoms, confusion and inability to concentrate, and mania. At times I felt it was unsafe for me to drive (but I had to!).

The mania was striking; I felt out of control but it was quite enjoyable in some ways to be super-eloquent and funny, even at 3 a.m. I can see why bipolar people often do not want to take their meds because the feel so effective and powerful during a manic phase. I've never had anything close to mania before (not with my history!) so this was interesting. However, the mania was somewhat disguised because my bottle mixup meant that I was taking two trazodone at bedtime when I thought I was taking the Effexor... they look fairly similar if assume one's the other and you don't need to look closely. I slept very hard and soundly (though with pretty bad nightmares) so it couldn't be mania, right? Wrong. I do suggest trazodone or appropriate benzodiazepines might be helpful for those who are withdrawing on purpose -- ask a dr.

I am so glad to have read this thread to see that I wasn't nuts, wasn't imagining all this stuff, and wasn't making it up. Big relief!

By the way I do NOT think this drug should be banned. It has a use and it may have saved my life. I also intentionally withdrew from it once before during my endless attempts to find the right meds and did fine with an intellligent taper. I am happily going right back on now that I've got my bottles sorted (and a new labeling scheme !!!). I do think that disclosure of the side effects and withdrawal dangers needs to much, much better so that folks can make informed decisions, but banning this drug would, functionally, kill a few people. Please don't try to take away the one and only drug that has kept me much healthier, happier and saner than ever before....
 Alexsondra - Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:02 am

So far I have had very little side effects, irritability and tension is all I have noticed, but then that was one of the reasons I was given the drug (perimenopause).
I'm not off the Effexor as of yet, I am down to approx. 25 mg. per day, note that this process has taken me FOUR MONTHS. I started with 150mg and the taper off process was accidental when I ran out of this horrendous drug. I found that i could go a day or two with out side effects. I started skipping doses everyother day or two until I felt the onset of side effects, what I refer to as the 'woowoos' you know the head swimming feeling. Once this feeling came on I would only TAKE HALF of the 150mg in this case and cont. with 75mg daily for a couple of weeks. Then I repeated the above process. Pushing to see how long I could go without the 75mg I again waited for the onset of side effects before taking HALF of that dose daily for a few weeks before missing doses until onset of side effects at which point gave myself half a dose and so on repeating this process.
IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that when weaning off you are at the same time testing your body to see how long it can go for before side effects hit, this is how you gage each step down. Granted it takes awhile but beside the irritability, tension, anxiety, which my husband finds fun I'm sure, it beats giving my doctor's office and the Pharmaceutical company any monitary kickbacks and I end up DRUG FREE!!!!!
As of today I taking approx. 37mg and doing this for a week or two, depending how I feel, again letting my body speak to me.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!! You can do this just take it SLOW.

ps, during this time I have been detoxing my body of this F'n drug I quit smoking and drinking any alcohol and caffine. I walk regularly, meditate and I take naps whenever I get the chance, this helps keep the body rested and relaxed.
I may not be the person I was while taking the Effexor XR but at the least I am drug free and healthy.
 wreckerpanda - Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:50 pm

I HAVE BEEN TAKING EFFEXOR FOR MAYBE 10 YEARS AND I WANT TO GET OFF OF IT BUT I AM PETRIFIED AS TO THE SIDE EFFECTS. I WAS MADE TO GO OFF OF IT FOR 14 DAYS AND IT WAS THE MOST HORRIBLE FEELING!!! IT TOOK NEARLY 3 MONTHS OF TAKING IT AGAIN TO FEEL SOME WHAT HUMAN. I AM 42 THIS MONTH AND I'VE BEEN MARRIED LESS THAN A YEAR AND WE HAVE A 9 MONTH OLD GIRL. I AM THE STAY AT HOME DAD BECAUSE I AM ON DISABILITY FOR DEPRESSION. I FEEL AS IF I CAN NOT BE 100% IN SOME FAMILY ACTIVITIES DUE TO FEELING LIKE CRAP. PLUS IT'S TERRIBLE TO HAVE TO DEPEND ON THIS MED. ANY HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS?

MM
 insane - Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:55 pm

it hasd been since last june 08that i have not taken effexor. now i am emotionless,stutter or have a lot of trouble talking,not depressed,no anxiety, confusion, memory problems. this stuff has given me permanent brain damage.cant drive. screwed up my life what can id do?
 pkjnb - Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:46 pm

Where is everyone? I just found this site. I just went from 75 to 37.5 today. I'm hoping it goes smoothly. Sickkid how are you? Anne T. thanks for all the info, I've bookmarked some of your recommendations. Wish me luck!
 jlccrh - Sun May 03, 2009 9:17 pm

OK here is my story. I went on Paxil in 2000 due to depression. I took it for about 6 years. It made me feel great, like my normal happy self again. At one point I tried to get off of it with in 7 days...no no!! I was completely lost in this big world. I had the brain shivers or zaps, feeling lost and confused, lips always numb. I couldn't even safely drive and trust that I would be ok. It ended up that I was admitted into the mental ward...WOW!! Those people in there really had major issues, I was just there for a chemical imbalance. So they explained to me that it could take a total of 6 months to get off of the drug. A very slow weening process. I managed to do it right!! WOO HOO!! I told myself that I would never get on another depression drug again, no matter what.

Well....during the summer of 2008, I started having some sucidal thoughts and was alway moody. I though, great its back!! I called my doc and he chose to put me on Cymbalta, which I have heard good things about...but it made my jaw hurt...and hurt bad. It was like my jaw was alway locked up. I do have TMJ, but it was much much worse.

So I was then switched to Effexor XR. I have felt great on it. No complaints! I am not ready to ween myself quite yet. But I will say today is Sunday, and I took my last pill on Friday, due to needing it refilled. Our local pharmacy closed at 3 yesterday afternoon, which I didn't know. At about 5 last night, I was starting to feel all of the withdrawal symptoms. I made it through the night, I don't know how actually...And this morning woke up lost and I didn't know if I was taking two steps back or two steps forward. The brain shivers or zaps were horrible. I called the hospital and my doc called me in an emergency pill to go get at the Walgreens at the next town over. I got in my car to go get it...and I was lost, didn't know if I was coming or going!! I had to send my sister to go get it for me. I took it at 3 today and by 6 I was 100% better.

Since I have experienced all of this, I knew what was going on, but no matter what, it is not a good feeling, and very hard to explain how you are feeling. So the important thing here is that weening is the hidden ingredent here. It is sad that a person can become so dependant on a drug...but unfortantally it does happen. I wish everyone the best being on or off of this. It really has helped me, you just have to be very careful on how you get off of it!!
 OzScarecrow - Wed May 20, 2009 12:16 am

This site really is a comfort; thank you to everyone who has posted.

My question concerns the posting from Acconite regarding how long the 'lack of cognition' lasts. It's been more than a year since the original post, so I'm hoping against hope that he/she is still checking this site.

I took Effexor XR (150 mg daily) for almost 5 years, and my dr has helped me to taper off slowly over several months. So thankfully I've not experienced some of the w/d symptoms as dramatically as many have, even though I have experienced almost everything listed in some fashion. But the symptom I'm really starting to panic about is the absence of mental faculty (hence my screen name).

I really feel brainless, lobotomized. Memory loss, concentration loss, language loss----I have a hard time remembering things past a few minutes. I'm even experiencing reading comprehension difficulty, eg, I looked intensely for a file for 15 minutes and never found it, though it apparently was in the proper place the entire time? The only thing that this feels comparable to is post-migraine intelligence----nonexistent, but at least temporary.

Maybe this is my GAD talking, but can Effexor cause some kind of cognitive damage? As I've only been completely Effexor-free for 4 days, I'm reminding myself that w/d is still in a baby stage, so HOPEfully each day will get better.

Has anyone else experienced this as a primary w/d symptom and how long did it last? I desperately hope that after a year, Acconite has recovered from this, and therefore so might I...
 bobolaba - Sat May 30, 2009 3:24 am

I've tried the full buffet of antidepressants for 15 years (I'm 41, male). In my opinion Effexor is the hillbilly heroin of antidepressants. Coming off slowly (tapering) only prolongs the pain. Yes, stopping cold turkey is VERY hard but so are weeks of awful side effects as you s-l-o-w-l-y come of this malicious drug. I got past the worst in about 7-10 days. I've done it both ways, I'll never go back on it.

Dr's don't know and they don't want your opinion (stupid patients). Yes, I also believe, as some other posts, that the drug company 'builds in' side effects to keep you on the drug as it is ridiculously expensive.

Do this for yourself - GET OFF! It will suck like nothing you've ever dealt with before. Being a slave to a drug that removes ALL your emotions and addicts you through pain is far worse than depression. There are other formulas and meds to treat the hell that is depression. One should not swap one hell for another.

-bless all
 littlekat - Sat May 30, 2009 3:55 pm

I started taking effexor about a year ago, 150mg once or twice a day for extreme anxiety. The fear was terrible, it was debilitating. I don't know what cause the fear. Effexor worked wonderfully. No more fear. I could work, I could talk, I could drive. It was great. The first side effect I noticed was at 300mg a day I had NO fear what so ever. I was even ready to take on my boss who I thought was a jerk. Not a good thing if one wants to stay employed. So I cut down to 150mg a day. The only real issue I had was I became a VERY Agressive driver. Luckily I don't have to drive much. But then I noticed I gained 15 lbs. Not a good thing when I was already struggling with being heavy. At 5'2" my "normal" weight was 180 lbs. Not good. Now I way 195 lbs and I have a kock pouch which is not very happy with all the extra weight. I don't eat that much but I do drink quite a bit. I tend to drink a bit, 3 beers a night. Now on effexor I drink 8 shots of vodka with 7up a night or more. I've never been able to drink that much before. So I am going to try to stop the effexor. I have experienced the brain zaps, they are something else. I have some wellbutrin which I have read helps with effexor withdrawal. But my question...sorry, I tend to be long winded. My question is how do I stop the fear that made me start taking effexor in the first place. I've been through a bit of agraphobia one before that xanax barely helped. Does anyone know of another anxiety medicine or herbal remedy that helps with fear or anxiety disorder? Thank you and good luck to one and all.
 RichardB - Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:12 pm

Scary stuff! I only came looking because I'd stupidly fogotten to get a script and had run out for two days, and wondered if there was anything I could do to alleviate the gross insomnia and subsequent intense very disturbing dreaming that makes me wish that the insomnia would last! Seems like I'm having it easy, so far.

My own personal story is that with Dr. approval I have gone up and down around 37.5mg /day to 150mg/day, over a few years. Currently on 75mg/day. Never an issue when changing a dose. Only ever an issue when I miss a dose. If I lie awake a couple of hours I soon realise I've forgotten to take a dose, getup, take one, and almost instantly am able to get to sleep!

But this is the first time I've missed two doses. Feel like I've been several rounds in a boxing ring! And those dreams are SCARY indeed. But it's scary to see the full range of symptoms I could experience if I decide, as I have been contemplating, to come off altogether. Seems like reducing down to a low dose might be easy, but that last bit sounds like a big problem. But, who knows, it seems everyone is different.

Meanwhile, has anyone got any suggestions for those occasions when you have simply run out and have to wait a couple of days to get resupply ? I'm thinking deliberately staying awake two days might be better than suffering the dreams!

Meanwhile, perhaps we should suggest this drug dependency as a means of torture for use by the CIA!
 lostinsugar - Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:23 am

i have been on 225mg of Effexor ever since i had my daughter 6 months ago and i had quit taking the drug due to elevated blood pressure and excessive body sweats along with anger issues. i tapered myself off for the last week like i was told to do, but i am constantly crying and i too have the brain shivers and cant stand up straight. i don't feel sane enough to even take care of my daughter and i am the only parent she has. should i try the psych ward? i have severe emotional outbursts and cannot stop crying. i am also not getting any sleep. i am a full time college student and i don't even feel like i can even attempt to go to class right now. i am just so confused, and i feel like i want to pass out. Please help.
 kimberlyk - Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:06 pm

DAY 4 of my "weaning off" process...
the dizzy thing is like having non stop spins, the brain shivers are like electric shocks every 30 seconds, the nausesness is worse than morning sickness and crackers don't help. I am having difficulty with my vision and the crying spells started yesterday.
I am so glad I found this web site today. I am at awe to see that for 10 YEARS people have been leaving posts re: the horrific experience of detoxing from Effexor XR. If I had only known. I read a post saying it wasn't "that bad", and I beg to differ.
I am 40 and have been on 350 mg for 4 years after my husband suddenly passed away. I have no choice in going off as my Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan cancelled me because I moved to Florida to support my sister after her 15 year old daughter was killed in a car accident. A months supply for me would cost nearly $600.00! I had great success with Effexor XR only side effects I experienced were terrible graphic nitemares which the ambien & zanax seemed to subside.
Please someone out there with this in thier past PLEASE tell me how long this lasts? I'm not even to the worst of it yet as I am on 75mg every other day. I tried to go "cold turkey" but by the 2nd day I couldn't take it anymore and started my search for EFFEXOR XR with no insurance. This drug is THE WORST! It's awful that we have to go through this. Dr's all use a handful of book terms and that's about the only thing available to get patients through this!? I am losing my MIND! HELP!!!!
 medmannot - Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:47 pm

I am 53. I have been on Effexor XR for nearly 7 years. There was a time about 5 years ago, I began monitoring my body very closely because, My MD had me on 150 mg once a day and he wanted me to try 150 in morning and 75 at night because of my letargic mood. I noticed that the higher my dosages got the more lethargic I became. I decided to tell him I do not like the tiredness and lethargic feelings I was having. I believe I felt the depression was manageable at 150mg so he agreed. So I had been on 150 for about 4 months and I believe my depression was getting worse because of my tiredness and lethargic way of life. I could laugh again and enjoy not caring about getting things done. I guess that is a sign of concurred depression. I also did not care anymore how other people perceived me. I did not worry for their approval of me. Again a sign of depression being concurred. The problem was I would have close friends and relatives pass away and I had no feelings about their passing. I became an uncaring person. I wasn't who I thought God wanted me to behave. I then decided "I want off of Effexor XR!!!" "I can manage my depression". So on my own I cut myself back to taking 75 MG every other day for about 5 weeks. After the next 5 weeks I cut back to 75 MG a day. I stayed on that a while. It was not difficult to do. I did have some slight side effects but it stablized in 2 weeks. My depression was more manageable and I felt I was getting better and my lethargic life was slightly going away. After trying to stay on 75 MG a day for 1 year, I again started getting lethargic. I said to myself "I must be improving because it is taking a lower dose now to make me lethargic. So under my new MD's supervision 4 weeks ago a started emptying one half a capsule out every other day for 1.5 weeks. After 1.5 weeks I was taking just half a capsule a day for 1.5 weeks. After 3 weeks I was down to at 1/4 capsule a day. This week I am on 1/8 capsule everyday. Next week I will take 1/8 capsule every other day for 1 week. The following week I will be on 1/8 capsule every 3 rd day until my body no longer feels the slight brain zaps and the slight nausea. Oh yeah you will have these feelings, but with a very slow and gradual weening process you can make it through. Your body and brain is trying to readjust.

My MD told me and I agree. She told me that it took 5 weeks to get Effexor XR to be at its full effect when you first started taking it, but coming off will take at least 5 weeks. She said to very slightly reduce the dosage. You may even have the same withdrawal side effects periodically on 1 or 2 days a week after several months of totally being off the Effexor XR, for me I am a fighter and it will be a huge victory once I have taken my last dose.

So I will try to remember to get back on this blog and let you know how it went. I know it will be very tough for those of you who have been on dosages over 150 MG or more for a sustained period of time, but gradual reduction, preferably under doctors supervision, I am sure you and I can beat this drug and any other antidepressant that causes these symptoms.

Good luck and God Bless!
 Alberta Mommy - Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:06 pm

I feel so overwhelmed from reading some of these post ..But now realize that im not going crazy that what im feeling is caused from the withdrawl...I am so scared now and don't have an appointment with my doc for another month my husband and I found out we were expecting again and didnt know I was preganat till I was 7 weeks and have been on the effexor for 1 yr (dose was 112.5 ) ..I have gradually stopped taking it for the last 3 months.. last week was my last dose at 37.5 I was at 37.5 for atleast a month...I was told that I should stop taking the effexor while being pregnant because of the side effects on the baby but was not told about some of the serious side effects I could have after I stopped taking it..Now I have the "brain shivers" headaches severely for the last 4 days ...crying over everything...And even being so angry at my spouse and my 2 children for nothing..Now I am affraid of what its doing to my poor baby in my stomach that I have been blaming for all of these horrible feelings im feeling...I just want to thank everyone who has posted thier expierences on here without you I would still be feeling like I need to be going on a sych ward...I am just praying that these side effects don't last much longer...
 Billvis - Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:37 pm

Tried to come of 75mg a few months ago and it was one of the worst weeks of my life.

I was crying for no reason and the head zaps were insane.

And, what about them dreams!

Anyway, after going back to the doc and getting another script I was fine an hour later.

Problem is for me I don't sleep well on these tablets. So, I have started drinking at night. This is something I haven't done in many years.

I took these tablets to treat myself after a minor breakdown due to stress last year and now I am in a worse state than where I started!

I will be taking time off in January 2010, so I am going to attempt to taper off them then.

Having said that, they have helped my anxiety, but the price (side effects) is too high IMO.
 archp2009 - Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:03 pm

Hello all,

I have been taking Effexor and Clonazepam for the past five years. They were prescribed for me by the resident psychiatrist at a general hospital due to excessive anxiety following my cardiac bypass surgery five years ago. I am not sure to what extent the withdrawal from morphine and other drugs during my recovery intensified my condition, but I know I have sought help off and on for depression and anxiety for 30 years. I felt that they were the best medications I had ever taken. I enjoyed a short period of intense euphoria. To some extent, I have been a lot more relaxed ever since, so I'm not sure if I need to be on them or not. It was intended that I come off these two drugs after a short term (some weeks or months). My psychiatrist tried switching me from Effexor to Wellbutrin but I found it too difficult. I went back on the Effexor. My psychiatrist has since left this geographic region. I am planning to talk to my GP about tapering off my Effexor and Clonazepam. My main complaints now are sexual dysfunction and short term memory loss including inability to judge elapsed time and dates. I may think that something that happened 6 months ago was only a month past. Some of my sexual function has returned, but only to around 50 percent or less. I am mainly concerned that the drugs may ulitmately cause damage to my organs. Any suggestions and/or comments would be much appreciated.
 hatingeffexor73 - Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:13 am

[quote="Alberta Mommy"]I feel so overwhelmed from reading some of these post ..But now realize that im not going crazy that what im feeling is caused from the withdrawl...I am so scared now and don't have an appointment with my doc for another month my husband and I found out we were expecting again and didnt know I was preganat till I was 7 weeks and have been on the effexor for 1 yr (dose was 112.5 ) ..I have gradually stopped taking it for the last 3 months.. last week was my last dose at 37.5 I was at 37.5 for atleast a month...I was told that I should stop taking the effexor while being pregnant because of the side effects on the baby but was not told about some of the serious side effects I could have after I stopped taking it..Now I have the "brain shivers" headaches severely for the last 4 days ...crying over everything...And even being so angry at my spouse and my 2 children for nothing..Now I am affraid of what its doing to my poor baby in my stomach that I have been blaming for all of these horrible feelings im feeling...I just want to thank everyone who has posted thier expierences on here without you I would still be feeling like I need to be going on a sych ward...I am just praying that these side effects don't last much longer...[/quote][b][/b]I beleive we get these symtoms due to the lack of serotonin, i researched for two whole days, one thing i found was a pain killer(non-narcotic) called tramadol, could not be mixed with effexor, so since i have been off effexor for 4 days, and going through every withdrawal, i tried the tramadol. i figured since they couldn't be used together due to serotonin syndrome, too much serotonin, maybe this tramadol could help maybe? i tried an average dose of tramadol today, you know what? completely withdrawl FREE. no symptoms whatsoever. perhaps you can try this, i pray you can. and hopefully havee a doc thats willing to step over their "standard" line.
 kazi - Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:05 am

Hello All,

I am a 48 y.o. male who has been taking Effexor XR for about 8 years for depression. My doses have fluctuated between 75mg and 150mg per day and I must say that the drug does its job.
I was introduced to the horrible withdrawal effects from this drug when I ran out while on a hiking trip in the summer of 2006 and spent almost 48 hours in hiking hell. I had no idea that I was experiencing withdrawal from Effexor. I thought I was just really, really sick. After learning why I felt like I did, I went to the NET to see if there was a way to avoid this horror and I came across this forum thread and several others which gave little indication of hope for anyone who wants to calmly walk away from Effexor. I decided to just take Effexor for the rest of my life so I would never feel that horrible again. Since then I have accidentally missed a dose here and there and revisited hell for a few hours.
Being a fan of the TV show "Lost" I've imagined how awful it would be: to be stranded on a deserted island... WITHOUT my Effexor refills!
To make a long story short, I recently started seeing a new psychiatrist and he told me that he has helped several patients ween from Effexor with little to none of the withdrawal symptoms that so many of us have suffered. He has each patient, over a period of weeks, slowly reduce their dosage (sounds familiar) until it reaches 37.5 mg per day. After a week on 37.5 mg daily he said to stop the Effexor and take 20mg of Prozac in it's place. I'm not sure for how long yet.
Anyway, I decided to follow his advice and I reached the 37.5mg daily dose about a month ago. It's been skepticism and fear that has made me procrastinate for over 3 weeks but I finally stopped the Effexor yesterday morning and took the Prozac and... nothing! No withdrawal symptoms at all! Same thing for today! I can't believe it...
I do feel different (it's far from euphoria) because I am off the positive effects of the Effexor and wont reach an effective Prozac level for about 2 weeks but most importantly I stopped the Effexor AND I can drive, work, sleep, socialize and function.
As soon as I knew this was working for me I had to post this here. Of course, first tell your doctor about this before you attempt it and I hope this will work for all of you the way it is working for me.
As long as everything continues positively for me with this I will probably not post much here but I'll keep checking to see some posts from others similar to mine today.

Take care and good luck.
 lhp62 - Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:38 am

Help With Effexor XR Withdrawal

Hi. I am a 33 yr old female that has been taking Effexor Xr 75mg for 30 days. My dr prescribed this for PMDD. I have never had a history of depression nor have I ever taken medication for depression. Since my child was born, managing my pms became more difficult. My dr decided to switch me to Fluoxetine 10mg per day 3 days ago. She said to quit the Effexor XR cold turkey, that replacing it with the Fluoxetine should elliminate any withdrawal symptoms.
Quiet the contrary. I have been suffering from vertigo, dizziness, nausea, slightly blurred vision, a feeling of "heaviness" in my face and head, night sweats.....
After consulting with her yesterday, she said to up the Fluoxetine to 20mg per day. I have done that but I also had to purchase Dramamine for the vertigo, thanks to reading some threads and blogs on Effexor XR withdrawals.
I am scared that these symptoms are not going to subside and the impared state that I am in so frustrating. Please help.
Thank you.
 edinburgh - Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:02 am

Can I just first say how comforting to finally find out I'm not alone. My 'nightmare' with Effexor has been going on for 6 years.

I've been repeatedly told by doctors that there is no such thing as a withdrawal symptom for this drug, despite what I'd been suffering. All it takes is for me to be a few hours late with this drug before the symptoms start.

The symptoms are generally as follows: Around 2 hours late, my stomach is swollen; 3-4 hours late a mild feeling of nausea; 6 hours late diarrhoea starts. 6-9 hours, the 'whizzing' noise (sorry, can't think of a better way to describe it) inside my head whenever I turn a little sharply. Also, by that point, I'm generally on the Sofa with the same effects as motion sickness. If I'm stupid enough to go 12 hours, that's when the extreme depression starts and I start to feel incredibly emotional. All this from a drug that was prescribed to prevent depression.

In addition to the withdrawal symptoms, since taking this drug there have been numerous side-effects. I now look 'puffy' in the face and have gained around 10-15 pounds. I have incredible difficulty concentrating on anything for long periods. I sweat a ridiculous amount from the least bit exertion. I also have really bad concentration.

Thank you Dear Doctor for prescribing me to this addiction.
 severina - Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:16 am

i came off Effexor in 2005. i was on 225mg daily and after increasing memory loss and not feeling any different i had a breakdown in the June, i carried on taking it till the july (by this point i was being cared for 24/7 by friends and my parents were having to care for my daughter. i came off it because my psych wanted to up the dose futher (here in the uk at the time 225mg was the max recomended dose) i informed him i was stopping it and did so cold turkey.

For the next 2 weeks i was under total supervision from 2 dear friends as i was awful, the worst of it was the blackouts though. they would just hear a thud and find me out on the floor, sometimes it was taking over 10 mins for me to come around properly. i had to have my hair cut as the shakes were so bad i couldn't brush it and the head pain had me in tears frequently. it was like caring for a baby i've been told, everything scared me.

Since then i've not touched another anti depressant, and with alot of work with my carer i'm awaiting a diagnosis of Aspergers not the varying personality disorders Dr's have seemed to pick out of a hat over the years (they have changed their mind so often)

i still have complete memory loss for the 6 months before and after my breakdown and stopping Effexor, and still suffer with continued memory loss to a level where i'm not able to work at the moment. If i'd been told about the side affects i would have never concented to taking this drug, it destoyed a relationship and almost the one with my child who was 3 during this time. my life would be totally different.
 rae1979 - Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:54 am

I'm 18 years old and have been on effexor from the age of 17. I take 150mg daily, and tomorow is the last time I will ever have to do so. 'm going to a clinic to detox off the meds, once and for all. Its a twenty one day program and I'm scared but happy. They use oxygen body machines and a healthy eating plan (vitamins etc) to help you cope with the side effects, but I've been through withdrawel and I know that its going to be rough. The first time I tried to stop cold turkey it took less then a day before the nausea and head aches kicked in. The brain shivers carried on straight through my finals, even though i had been back on the medication for a week before. I do believe the medicine got me through some difficulties, as I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was fourteen and took cymbalta up until the changover. However, it also ruined my close relationship and altered my personality completely in that i felt totally dependant on everything else but my self. My boyfriend gets worried when he feels how fast my heart starts pacing after ive miss my dose by a couple of hours. I'm only 18, and the fatigue which is now a part of my everyday life has stopped me from enjoying alot of matric and teen activities. I feel everyones pain, and I don't want to be this prson anymore. I cant remember what it feels like to be healthy and pain free? Wish me luck for friday, when i book in.

thanks guys
 nomoresweats! - Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:03 pm

Hi,
I decided to quit Effexor ER 75mg 2 days ago, I was on it for 7 months. I could not stand the sweating, even in the middle of an English winter in snow, as well as the wierd jaw things that were happening.
It's been over 48 hours, & I almost feel normal today, the first night was terrible, hot & cold sweats, soaked everything, yesterday was bad, but better, I took 2 Excedrin PM last night & slept well for the first time in months, I ususally would sleep with my head changing from elft to right all night.
I really think Effexor is similar to an Amphetamine in it's operation, I lost loads of weight & had tons more energy, but the sweating was humiliating.
My belief is if you can quit cold turkey, do it, it's brutal, but, at least for me, quick.
I hope this helps & good luck!
 richkat - Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:32 pm

Hi,
I'm currently coming off Effexor - down from a 450 dose. I came down 75mg at a time and I'm currently on 0mg (I'm about to start on a different anti-depressant). It is hell and I can relate to the comments that many people have written. In fact, the final reduction has been the worst - and I'm feeling REALLY ill.

HOWEVER, I'm really glad that I've been on it for the last four years. It's been a life saver and I don't know what I would have done without it. So, the fact that I've actually had a life for four years - been able to function as a good mum and wife, I've been competent in the workforce, I've achieved so much that I couldn't have done otherwise - this makes the withdrawal symptoms worthwhile.

In short, I know that the withdrawal symptoms will pass - and I've been able to plan around it. But if I had not been on the antidepressants, I would have been unpredictably unstable indefinitely. So, in my mind, it's all worth it!
 pigeons - Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:38 am

I'm a 24 year old female and I've been taking 150mg effexor-xr for two years now for panic attacks, anxiety and depression.

I was previously on zoloft but I asked to try an alternative as I had horrible acid reflux on zoloft. Effexor was what my psychiatrist at the time prescribed.

I am now seeing a new doctor, and she wishes to increase my dosage to 300mg.

I haven't started taking my new dosage yet, as I felt uneasy about it. I have been noticing the side effects increasing for me. I feel nauseous and have a dry mouth 24-7. Occasionally I feel feverish with hot/cold flushes or get pins and needles in my hands. I can only describe how I feel as being similar to taking ecstasy - minus the high.

I know first hand how ###### horrible the withdrawal from this drug is. I remember when I first started I would occasionally miss a pill and hardly notice. Now I feel the brain zaps as soon as my next dosage is due. I can't describe how much they affect me. The sensation of an electric current going 'ZZZZ' in my brain in a throb for a few seconds is horrible.

I would really like to stop taking these pills, as they are making me physically sick and I have become aware of how much I have changed since I started taking them. (I have loved to paint and draw my entire life and was attending an art school when i started, but I haven't so much as doodled a stick man in over a year, whereas I used to constantly be thinking of things I wanted to paint or draw. I don't leave my house, I don't want to go out or see anyone or even answer my phone.) - but I'm scared, going 2 days without a pill is bad enough, I'm not sure if I could face a month of brain zaps.

A part of me wonders if the reasons my Dr wants to increase my dosage aren't perhaps effexor related anyway.

I have never taken any other prescription drugs and I don't know a whole lot about them. What I'd like to know is if anyone has heard of drugs that can be taken short term during the withdrawal phase? I intend to speak to my Dr about this, but I'd like a chance to do a little research so I don't end up being prescribed another drug with such nasty surprises waiting for me. She has mentioned xanax to me, but due to my honesty in admitting I have taken recreational drugs in the past, (I haven't since I started on the efexor, and was never a regular drug user) she is unwilling to prescribe me anything 'addictive' (IRONY)
 pinkpetals - Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:24 pm

I've been on Effexor about 4 years and the 4 years before that I was on Paxil.

I must say both of these drugs were wonderful to me. I was so far from depressed or anxious. Effexor/Paxil were good to me (while ON them!)

I no longer needed to be on an anti-depressent so I weaned off slowly (150 mg for 1 month, 75 mg for 1 month, 37.5 for 1 month, then nothing)

I must say I was *somewhat* prepared but the withdrawals have been very very very difficult. Dizziness, vertigo, brain fuzz, exhaustion, it's been terrible. I have not taken a pill for about 10 days now and I'm wondering when this bone-aching exhaustion and fatigue will end? I am almost over the dizziness and vertigo. That part is 85% better but I'm having physical pain, like an all over ache, as if I'm getting the flu and have a fever. I've been taking Advil for the pain but it's not doing much. I came here to ask if others know how much longer this lasts? 10 days Effexor-free and I just want to get over this. I know I'll eventually be fine but I need an idea of the length of withdrawal effects, so I have an idea of what I'm in for!

Thank you.
 Nikitimbo - Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:06 am

I just want to echo the sentiments of previous-posters and say Thank You! To everyone here for taking the time to post your experiences, with the coming-off-of-Effexor thing.

I can't begin to tell you how much you guys have just helped me, to know that there's an explanation for why my brain just decided to dislodge itself from my skull this afternoon, and rattle around in my head at a few thousand knots.

I've never written down my experiences/what I've learned in my 28 year-long (from age 11 to 39) dealings with the medical profession. I should be working (I work from home as a legal writer), but the help/relief I just got from all the previous posts on this thread have spurred me to make my own contribution.

Turns out (from what I've read) that my usual stupid habit of stopping one anti-depressent (Effexor) to start another (Stablon), by going cold turkey on the former, was not such a genious idea this time around.

I've never 'tapered' on/off anything. I'm seriously impatient and my long line of shrinks have just come to accept it (I also don't trust a word they say so I tend to go with my own dosage regimen). I typically start/stop taking something within a period of, say, 1-4 days. I spend a bit of time suffering through the side effects, then get on with things.

Boy did I not expect what just happened to me, to happen to me. This is the first time I've ever caved-in, and gone back on my medication.

It's now 6pm on Monday in Sydney Australia. I reduced my Effexor dosage last Friday morning, from 225mg to 75mg. On Saturday I reduced it again to 0mg. I started the Stablon on Friday, 1 pill 3 x per day.

I saw my Doctor on Friday at 3pm (about 6 hours after I reduced the Effexor & took the 1st Stablon pill). I felt great. He did his usual "you've reduced it by how much???????" Then said, "well if you were going to have withdrawals they would have hit by now".

Apart from some serious night-sweats and a very fast beating heart before bed, I felt wonderful over the weekend. No headaches or anything really...right up until this afternoon (Monday - 3 days after the big reduction).

Around 2pm today, I got this wave of nausea (that's not unusual for me - see my med history further down). I then started feeling light-headed. Again, no big deal. Then the nausea got worse, then i got a bad headache (which is unusual for me, I'm not normally a headache sufferer). Then the brain rattling started. I then lay down on the couch and that's when my heart started to go way too fast and all weird. I was thinking, I'm about to have a heart attack, and....what the HELL is going on with my brain!

It was incredibly scary. I don't get scared easily. In fact, nothing really scares me. Eg - I used to enjoy job -interviewing when i wasn't self-employed, I do loads of public-speaking for my work (which I love) and I can count on a single hand the number of people on this planet I hold in enough esteem to have any chance of getting nervous around. But Oh..My..Lord, did that just shake me up.

So...after about 15 mins of it, I took 150mg of Effexor. I've since eaten something & feel much better. A bit of nausea is still lingering but my brain has decided to keep still. Knowing that this has happened to others has (in that knowing-you're-not-alone way) helped enormously.

I'm going to be completely honest and that I don't trust doctors with anything less than say a fracture or cancer. I especially don't trust psychiatrists. My current shrink is the only one I've ever actually respected (or not thought that they must have got their medical degree from a christmas cracker).

I guess there's a reason for my attitude. My history is way to long/boring to detail, but suffice to say that it took the medical profession 15 years to finally, correctly diagnose something that had me in chronic/severe pain for much of my childhood/20s. When they did finally find the problem, they stuffed up the treatment so badly that I almost died (got down to 31 kilograms - Uh, I think that's around 68-69lbs in USA-speak). I was in hospital for long stretches after that & I haven't felt the sensations of hunger or thirst for about 12 years (I have to be reminded to eat/drink). I've also had severe, "treatment resistant" depression & (probably not surprisingly) I've developed bad (although now under control) OCD/ADD over my lifetime.

My bit of advice for anyone who's new to AD's (apart from, "don't EVER do what I do with getting on/off meds") - don't take as gospel what your doctor tells you about how a medication is going to affect you. That is, if a doctor tells you that you "will" have a certain response from a medication, take that with a very healthy grain of salt. Make sure you do a lot of research into exactly what's going into your mouth, so you're prepared (and when I say research, I mean read other patient's posts, on forums etc). Also try to understand the current consensus on what brain chemicals are being nudged by the drug you're taking (although no one's really sure yet, they've at least documented what they think might be going on).

A very wise neurologist once said to me that the only people who really appreciate how little we know about the brain, are neurologists. My shrink (who's also, very unusually, a wise and honest man) has admitted to me that the psychiatric field is the most corrupt within the medical profession (in that there's no independence b/w the doctors and the pharm companies). Shrinks also have egos, which means that you'll rarely find one who's willing to admit that he's flying blind.

Every single person is different and unfortunately, at the moment, finding an individual treatment is just about trial and error. It's as much up to the patient as the doctor (just - unlike me - be sensible about it!!!).

By the way - Stablon (my new med) is an SSRE. It works in the opposite way from an SSRI. It actually reduces the amount of Serotonin in your brain. By doing so, it boosts dopamine and other depression-related chemicals. It's not registered in Australia, the US or the UK. The reason - Servier (the pharm co that discovered it, by accident) didn't discover its efficacy for depression (they were testing it for schizophrenia, which it doesn't much help) until near the end of its patent. The cost of getting a medicine registered is enormous, so no one had any incentive to register it anywhere (it's only available in France & a couple of other countries).

It's been around for around 10 years and not many people know about it, simply b/c no one has had any incentive to market it. Servier (amazingly) is now run as a charity and is not profit driven (they've sold the rights to a new, updated SSRE which is apparently no where near as good as Stablon).

According to my shrink, there is absolutely no other reason why SSRI's have taken a foothold as the treatment for depression, other than for economic reasons. Nb - he writes a Stablon script for me and I order the stuff online, from a verified (by Pharmacy Check)/registered pharmacy in Canada.

My shrink (and I) believe that there are no untreatable depressive people. There are just persons who aren't getting the right medication. I have ADD, OCD and depression. I have a shortage of dopamine apparently, serotonin isn't necessarily my problem. For anyone who hasn't had success with conventional meds - have a read on forums about peoples' experiences with Stablon and have a chat to your shrinks. I so far haven't found one person who's been on it, who hasn't raved about it. A couple of other bonuses - the side effects are (apparently) minimal, there's no reduction in sex-drive (that sort of thing) and it starts working straight away.

It's early days yet, and this may be a placebo effect but, despite my Effexor-withdrawal woes today, I've felt (in the last couple of days) alive for the first time in about 12 years.

All the best to everyone here & in extricating yourself from Effexor. For anyone still struggling with their depression - it's my view that scientists will work the brain out & find a cure eventually. In the meantime, please don't give up hope and don't stop looking until you find something that helps you (don't leave it up to your Dr - nb. I found out about Stablon, not my shrink, but he's now getting special permission to provide it to his other patients).
 dshzkm6 - Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:54 am

sadly to say, everyone is different, so is their effexor withdrawl. I have been on anti depressant medication since 2004. I decided that i wanted to try no medication since i have been on something or another for six years. I was on 100mg daily, which did not help much with my depression. I took 50 mg for one week and then stopped (just as my doc told me to do) I have really bad vertigo, im freaking out on my family, i cry, not just cry but sob at the slightest thing, am shaky and confused and out of it. I called my doctors office and they told me that there was nothing they could do for me unless i wanted to get back on my medication!!! what crap! I am going on day five and some symptoms have gotten slightly better but i feel like this will never end! I am only twenty years old and i just want to have a normal life. so i would love to be able to help and tell you that you will feel better soon- but the doctors don't even know. effexor withdrawal is the worst i have ever had and i have been on over 10 medications. I do not recommend this drug at all. I just wanted something to help me, and it ended up making me feel worse. ARe there any success stories out there??? im desperate
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:13 pm

Hello dshzkm6,

I am sorry to hear of the trouble you're having with Effexor withdrawal. The effects are lessened if you do go back on it and then very slowly decrease it over a 2 month period, although for some people it does take longer. Another possibility is to have your doctor prescribe a different type of antidepressant known as a tricyclic. Once you have stabilized on that, you can titrate it downward over 3 to 4 weeks, or more if needed. Others have had success with this method. Not everyone has difficulty discontinuing Effexor, but some have more sensitivity to it, and there currently is no way to know who will be more sensitive. Some medical centers are now having patients sign waivers acknowledging that this and some other antidepressants can have difficult discontinuation experiences.

I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck.

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