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Forum Name: Antidepressants

Question: Effexor withdrawl is killing me!


 snakeoil - Mon May 02, 2005 5:49 pm

I tapered off with my dr's supervision and am still having:

1) Brain shocks so bad I cannot concentrate
2) nausea

Is there any over the counter products that can perhaps dull these symptoms... I hate taking a pill to overcome another one .. but Im getting desperate. I have been off the pill totally for only 6 days and its getting worse with each day. I can barely function at work.
 Danelion - Tue May 03, 2005 2:54 pm

I too am looking for something to help me through withdrawal, I have an appointment with my specialist in 8 days and will post again with details of any over the counter medications she reccomends.

I'm hoping the expense will not be too high or that Canadabestrx.com is going to save me some coin. I miss my low prescription costs from when I lived in the UK
 stonephillips - Sat May 07, 2005 12:24 am

I don't have any advice, but I too am having horrible withdrawl from Effexor XR. I took 225mg for over a year and finally went off of it on April 14. I constantly feel like my brain is our of wack and shivering or something. You are not alone in this horrid feeling. I am going to try to take some Zinc and Milk Thisle from the natural food store, per thier recomendation. My doctor refuses to acknoledge the fact that I have these symptoms or that they exist for anyone. Both my regular doctor and my neurologist say there are no side effects to getting off Effexor and that I am just imagining this. You can imagine my frustration. Let me know if you find anything new that helps.
 emconner - Thu Jun 16, 2005 8:52 pm

I've been on Effexor for a year, I think I was at 300mg or 350 (not sure), but I was weaned of by going to 75 mg for a week and then 35mg the next. It's been 4 days since completely being off of it, and I have never felt so mind boggled in my life. I get these fast (someone described it really good in an earlier post) shocks or palpatations in my brain and heart. It usually happens about the time I am going to bed. I am extremely worried I'm going to have a heart attack or something (I'm only 27yrs old). I was just expecting some headaches from coming off of it, but having these effects certainly worry me.
Does anyone know how long these will last?
 mishka029 - Wed Aug 10, 2005 3:03 pm

i have been on for 18 months and off now for 4 days i am incredibly dizzy getting brain shocks and throwing up. besides that i am crying constantly and SO uncomfortable. i have tried calling effexors helplines but guess what? there is all kinds of help for you if you want to START taking effexor..but nothing if you want to come off and if you are going cold turkey FORGET about it. my doctor was pissed i missed my appt so he wouldnt call in a prescription for me. Go figure. I hate Effexor XR but I think I am going to go back on it the withdrawal is just too darn much for me. I am in hell
 DeLWolcott - Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:26 pm

Cold turkey is not a safe method of withdrawing from these medications. Reschedule your appointment as soon as you can and ask for a prescription to last you until that date, then DO NOT MISS THAT APPOINTMENT. Doctors get in trouble for prescribing medications without seeing the patient, so there's a liability issue for them. You have to keep in mind that it is very important to stay under the close supervision of a physician while on these medications and during withdrawal for your safety and for the safety of those around you.

If you are unable to get back in with your doctor on a timely basis and/or they refuse to give you a prescription to last until the next appointment (that you WILL make), contact your city health clinics or mental organizations to find referrals available. Don't go this alone.
 mishka029 - Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:21 pm

Ok, I have come to the conclusion that cold turkey was not that smart...and just for the record..if you DO go cold turkey and arent going onto something new, that your life will barely resemble the one that you had on your meds. I still hate my meds but I am back on them and feeling somewhat human again. I am going to try and wean off of them with my doc's help but right now I am just so happy to be feeling normal again that I am not thinking about it.
Just to comment, I think that there isnt enough information out there for patients when they first start taking this med. I have been on other anitdepressants before, but this one is very different when it comes to withdrawal. My doc when I first told him I was depressed gave me a bunch of samples and worked me up to 150 mg a day. He never told me that I might be on it for a long time..to be completely accurate, he didnt tell me ANYTHING about Effexor XR other than the dosage. I would definately reccommend that patients ask many many questions when they see their doctor. That was my mistake..
Thanks for your help!
 DeLWolcott - Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:31 pm

Unfortunately, doctors were not given all the information that they needed to know by the drug reps and companies. Slowly the problems and the seriousness of the need for slow weaning are becoming apparent and publicized to a larger audience.The best effect I have noticed over the past several months is that more and more physicians are getting the true information through the media and through watching their patients.

It can be done and it will be done. It may take a while and patience is definitely a virtue during this process. Realize that there are going to be major ups and downs throughout the process, but always remember that the "downs" will decrease and diminish in strength over time. Keep a journal if you are able of exactly what you're feeling at different times so you can share this with your doctor during the process and you can look back on how you've progressed down the road.

Good luck!
 mishka029 - Thu Aug 11, 2005 1:38 pm

Thanks...
things sure have changed in the last 10 years..when I was 15 I was on Imipramine, which always involved a lot of blood work and level-checking. Of couse it made you sleep all the time too..I was on 650 mg a day..the new stuff does work better but the side effects are remarkably different..
thanks again for your help!
 BelgianDude - Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:35 am

Hello,
I have been on Effexor XR (75mgx5/day) for over a year. Actually, I was only taking 4/day, just in case or until I decided to get off it and I would have some extra's.

I did not accept my doc.'s defeatism: "We'll see in about a year. If you suffer then from withdrawal trying to get off of it, you may have to take the REST of YOUR LIFE". What is that for a statement? Pills don't change you, YOU DO! They are there to help you like gas runs cars but you are still driving. Anyway... I tried to wean off of it, but no success. Besides being "uncomfortable", you know you are not as "performant" as being on it. But do I want to stay a zombie or be in charge?
I have a family though. My daughter is turning 5 and my wife is so frustated w/ me she wants...

I noticed really early on Effexor that, after exercising hard (20-100 miles bike ride), I would feel like a million bucks and would forgot to take my dose for the rest of the day. The following day or day after, I would then feel the affects being: lethargic, depressed, no motivation... So I always when back on Effexor. If I DID take the dose before a ride, I would feel like S...: having cold sweat, short breath. Because of life's demand, I am not in position to go and train 5 hrs at a time. So I became more & more morose and stopped exercising all together, put on a few extra FATTY pounds, etc..

It's ONLY a few weeks ago, around Sept 01, 2005, that I went COLD Turkey on Effexor. I had been for a few day now working in my backyard building a patio. My wife was helping the best she could but injured herself in the process. The heat (GA) had been torrid for the past FEW weeks but I was like a "machine" (I used to race Ironman and Adventure Races). After working the yard, I would then do my 8hr evening shift at a VERY busy Starbucks (on your feet and go-go-go) and do it all over the next day. On Sept 4th, I realized I had not been taking my Meds. I knew I was overheating faster than before, had dizzy spells and had a hard time to run the Drive-Through @ Starbucks and to stay focus. I contributed it to having already moved about 1500 Pounds of Mortar Mix and Stones into the backyard, 40 feet above the driveway and build a 6'x15' area. By Sept.10, I moved another Ton of supplies, was sleeping about 1-3hrs a night and went on a bike ride for Multiple Sclerosis Raising Funds. NOW, Sept. 15, my wife is about to divorce me, my daughter is 5 and my mental faculties are seriously diminished (right<>wrong, uncontrolled emotion, focus, background noise, bad channeling). BUT I FEEL ALIVE. I know I can make it and I hope the rest of my family can too.

I was given some Lunestra to help me sleep and I try to read some more about ADD. My wife and I are convinced I was miss-diagnosed w/ depression and that I ALWAYS suffered, mildly "maybe", of ADD-Deep Limbic. So I will be hard pressed to believe any "Mental" doctors unless...

I'll keep posting as I am going through Effexor-Detox.

My program consist of Physical exertion (Adrenalin Function), St. John's Worth (1000mg/day), L-Tyrosine 500mg (Mental Function), Thyroid & L-Tyrosine Complex (2 capsules). :twisted:
 Normie - Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:29 am

I took Effexor 75 ER for a little over a year .. During that time my systolic pressure has run very, but variably, highover the day - but my research indicates Effexor affects diastolic pressure. My doctor finally prescibed Dyazide for BP. When I read about drug interactions with Dyazide and Nabumetone, A NSAID I was prescribed, I tpered off of the Effexor. Coincidentally, I started re-corresponding with my sister, also on Effexor. Her systolic pressure had also jumped, but not as high as mine, (140-150s), despite our common long history of low BP. During the year I took Effexor, my mulit-site arthitis and muscle pain got substantially worse - which I started to connect to Effexor this spring. I have been off Effexor for 2 weeks.I have had no seriously bad side effects except a headache and very early morning wake ups. However, a bulging stomach quite suddenly deflated. My sister has grown enormous breasts and can't figure out why. Neither of us gained more than 5 pounds, but "blew up" in different places. My bones feel substantially better and my blood pressure today is 110/68. Did we experience very uncommon side effects of Effexor? I have not read any anecdotal information about them.
 DeLWolcott - Thu Sep 15, 2005 10:09 am

They may be undocumented side effects, or are more common than they would appear in their "adverse reactions" sections, but they have been reported among serotonin-related medications.
 pain in the sunshine stat - Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:41 pm

I have been on Efexxor for over a year at 225mg at bedtime. I have become disabled and my psychiatrist is not covered with my SSI benefits. She has been giving me samples of Efexxor. About three weeks ago she told me had did not have any more samples. After three days without medication I thought I was going to die. I believe I had a very bad panic attack...I think. I become uncontrillably hysterical hyperventilating, vomiting and trembling. It was the worst experience in my life. My aunt which the doctor prescribes Effexor and chose not to use it gave me hers. It was an immediate transformation. I have enough pills for about two months. But my inclanation to post is because since I have been taking Efexxor my stomache has BULGED incredibly. My diet has not changed but my stomach has. Is anyone else experiencing swollen body parts?????? :cry:
 tylerk36 - Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:47 pm

I have been taking effexor for about 10 yerars. I have tried to get off it twice. Once the side effects were so bad that I could net stand it. I went back on it and later in 2003 I tried again with the supervision of a doctor. I got down to one pill 37.5 mg and eventually ended up in the emergency room. I was suicidal. I feel like a junkie. Hooked on this stuff. I talked to a new doctor today and they are going to try to ge tme off slower than befor in smaller increments. This drug is very powerful. I advise that only severly depressed (clinically) be on this medication. I was severly depress and before I started taking this med I had quit eating and was going to die. At the time it helped. But the Veterans Administration didn't want me to come off of effexor. I do know that the pharmacudical companies pay the VA and or doctors to use thier meds. At the same time they require notes on the progress of these meds while the are being taken. The companies know about these things but they also balance out the cost of keeping this from others so that they can make billions off of it. We are the test sunjects and they are the ones who benifit. If I was a pharmacudical comany and made a med that made people feel better and said that the side effects in test subjects is weight loss and sleep loss as well as a matabalism issue over a long term use. And the FDA approved it and then people took it and it became wonderfull for them but eventually destroyed thier livelyness and they became dependant I guess you can say that my company gave you cocain. Becauls it does some of the same things. It makes you feel good and it makes you function. But it also causes dependance and also withdrawal simpoms as well as when you get off it you feel miserable. Maybe I am wrong but I feel like I am addicted to a drug more than I am getting help. I don't need to take this medication anymore. But i have to for reasons other than what it was intended for. I am angry and I feel like I have been misled.

Ty. 42yrs old.
 Torey - Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:49 am

But the Veterans Administration didn't want me to come off of effexor. I do know that the pharmacudical companies pay the VA and or doctors to use thier meds.


I know how you feel. This is what I am dealing with. I am 27, a disabled vet, and on Effexor XR - a small dose of 75mg/day. My doctor won't let me come off.. She taps at her keyboard and looks at me gravely and tells me its not a good time for me to want to change things.

But I do want to change things! I don't think I need it anymore. Withdrawal symptoms start right away - within a few hours of missing a dose. Muzzy-headedness, dizziness, confusion, lethargy, nausea. I don't eat, I don't want to move.. My whole body starts aching, especially around the joints. I'm not particularly anxious or depressed.. I just feel sick.

I hate being a junkie. I know, its a prescription, but I am equating my addiction with being a junkie. When I am in the withdrawal state.. I would do anything for my pill. I want to be off of these, but without my doctor to work with me, and without the money to see another doctor.. I just have to keep taking it, or go cold turkey.
 skywater3 - Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:10 am

I have somewhat recently gone off of Effexor myself. Apart from a somewhat upset stomach and occasionally feeling somewhat foggy, I haven't had the severe problems I've been reading about. I think that is partly because my dr. used a program in which I took a small dose of Prozac while also tapering off of the Effexor, which helped to control many of the EXTREMELY unpleasant symptoms, which I have felt before, esp. the headaches. After I was successfully off of the Effexor, I also tapered the low dose of Prozac, and that wasn't difficult at all. Someone mentioned the short half life of Effexor, which I was also told about, and my doc said that the Prozac has a much longer half life, and she'd found that this method was the best way to control the discomfort of stopping the Effexor. I don't understand the science of it, what I wrote above is about all i undertood, but I do know that it worked for me. So I wanted to put it out there for others, if they wanted to try discussing it with they're own docs.
 undeniable.dilemma - Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:05 pm

I have been on effexor twice. The first time I went off cold turkey... I thought I was going to die, one of the worst experiences ever. This time I am nearly off, I have done it really slowly by pulling the pill apart and pouring first a quarter then half out now I'm down to a tiny little bit in the bottom of them pill and no withdrawals!! (the less you pour out each time I found the easier it it) I loved the fact that it made me better but hated that I couldn't even miss one dose without feeling like crap!!
 Katabonz - Wed May 13, 2009 8:08 pm

I can not believe how messed up I feel. I can only attribute this horrible dizziness to the fact I stopped taking Effexor. I have been on 75mg. for 4 years.,Over the course of 2 months, I have gone from half, then 1/4.,then 1/8, then 1/16, then 6 or 7 grains on my tongue every other day. Then I just stopped., and every afternoon and throughout the evening I am so dizzy. It has been 7 days and I am so sick of it that I want to sue somebody for doing this to me!! UCKKKKKKKKK.
 zenvalkyjrie - Fri May 15, 2009 9:13 pm

I could keep reading these posts and continue to read everything aloud to my husband, as my complete disbelief grows at the number of people who are suffering so greatly by trying to come off of this horrid medication. Instead, I'm just going to write.

My story differs only slightly as my "Going Cold Turkey" was NOT my decision. I received a letter from my Health Care Office this Monday (today is Friday), stating that I had missed or RESCHEDULED 4 appointments in almost 2 years, therefore they would not be seeing me anymore. The letter stated that my Primary Care Provider had "gone over my charts" and that she deemed I would suffer no "life threatening" results from not receiving their care any longer. Um. What? My prescriptions had JUST ran out of refills. So here I am. My brain is a constant "stop-motion" movie with electrical explosions that effect almost all my muscle groups, thus far. I am only on day 4 here folks!!! I am scared to death. The crying jags have just started and I feel like a blithering idiot.

Up until 4 days ago, I was on 150mg of Effexor XR (6 months)and 5mg of Abilify (1 month) daily...not to mention the 50mg of Motoprolol and 50mg of HCTZ (2 years) daily that I now am having to go without as well for my Hypertension. Lovely.

I'm pretty bitter at the moment, which I am finding is NOT helpful what-so-ever with trying to keep my mind calm. I'm doing breathing techniques, drinking tons of water and stretching often to keep my body going. Along with the fireworks in my brain, I'm walking and moving as if I have Parkinson's Disease, I'm sick to my stomach and, as I mentioned above, the emotional end of it all is starting to take hold.

If ANYONE has some homeopathic and/or naturopathic remedies or suggestions, PLEASE post! I'm really scared and can't function like this. I'm a 45 year old female, live in the country and am a semi-retired massage therapist. I can't work like this. Gardening has proven to be somewhat helpful, but I need more.

Many thanks in advance!
~Bonnie (who is NOT very Zen at the moment!!!)
 randomone - Sat May 16, 2009 1:14 pm

Dr had me on 75mg. He does not want me to change med. I do not want to continue EffexorXR. I am lowering my intake down to about 10mg or so. If i don't estimate correctly i get the brain shakes after 12 hours. I agree my lame depression was better than being a junkie.

Mild lifelong depression is not fun but brain shakes are worse.
 Keiki - Tue May 26, 2009 3:12 pm

I have been on Effexor xr 75 mg for almost 6 years for panic attacks,
I decided on my last refill to try and taper off, and had my last complete pill 3 days ago. Not sure if this is just mind over matter, but I do feel very confused, my hands feel tingling, sick to my stomach, and just want to sleep, I am also very sad, like I have just lost a best friend.
went searching for some help and found this forum, the though of having panic attacks again scares me so much, but taking pills for the rest of my life is not what I want to do.
does anybody know how long it takes to get our of your system?
 Keiki - Tue May 26, 2009 9:05 pm

Hi Bonnie, Please check your Phone book for any clinics or emergercy care, Let them know your Medical history when you go in, most of the time, they do have samples of effexor, I do know how you are feeling, after 4 days, I had to give up and call my clinic and get a refill, I wanted to stop taking them, but couldn't handle the withdraws, I am concerned for you, Please Update us on how you are doing.
Jackie (Keiki)

zenvalkyjrie wrote:I could keep reading these posts and continue to read everything aloud to my husband, as my complete disbelief grows at the number of people who are suffering so greatly by trying to come off of this horrid medication. Instead, I'm just going to write.

My story differs only slightly as my "Going Cold Turkey" was NOT my decision. I received a letter from my Health Care Office this Monday (today is Friday), stating that I had missed or RESCHEDULED 4 appointments in almost 2 years, therefore they would not be seeing me anymore. The letter stated that my Primary Care Provider had "gone over my charts" and that she deemed I would suffer no "life threatening" results from not receiving their care any longer. Um. What? My prescriptions had JUST ran out of refills. So here I am. My brain is a constant "stop-motion" movie with electrical explosions that effect almost all my muscle groups, thus far. I am only on day 4 here folks!!! I am scared to death. The crying jags have just started and I feel like a blithering idiot.

Up until 4 days ago, I was on 150mg of Effexor XR (6 months)and 5mg of Abilify (1 month) daily...not to mention the 50mg of Motoprolol and 50mg of HCTZ (2 years) daily that I now am having to go without as well for my Hypertension. Lovely.

I'm pretty bitter at the moment, which I am finding is NOT helpful what-so-ever with trying to keep my mind calm. I'm doing breathing techniques, drinking tons of water and stretching often to keep my body going. Along with the fireworks in my brain, I'm walking and moving as if I have Parkinson's Disease, I'm sick to my stomach and, as I mentioned above, the emotional end of it all is starting to take hold.

If ANYONE has some homeopathic and/or naturopathic remedies or suggestions, PLEASE post! I'm really scared and can't function like this. I'm a 45 year old female, live in the country and am a semi-retired massage therapist. I can't work like this. Gardening has proven to be somewhat helpful, but I need more.

Many thanks in advance!
~Bonnie (who is NOT very Zen at the moment!!!)


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