firelizardee

Stopping Effexor

259 posts in this topic

Posted

I'm on 150mg a day now, and have been for a week, after alternating days of 225mg and 150mg for a week.

Late last night I began sobbing uncontrollably on and off for a couple of hours. Today on the way home in the street it hit me again. It was awful.

I've been seriously contemplating suicide for the last week or so. I can't wait to see my psychiatrist in a few days to sort this out, although last night in particular I doubted I would make it that far.

No physical side effects at all though. Just the blackest depression I've ever had.

Dan mate,

Hang in there.....

Can't u get a psych appt sooner.....

I nearly took myself off to the psych ward on Saturday night. Just couldn't cope with the suicidal thoughts.

I talked to my psych and he told me to up the dose again immediately. So I've done that.

Am feeling a bit better, but also a bit pi**ed off that I'm back to where I started with this drug.

Back on 150Mg? I though the psych said that effexor was causing part of the problem because you were bipolar ???

No Paul

I'm back up to 225mg, which is right back where I started.

Meeting with the psych tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

Tell you what, though, that increase in dose must have played havoc with my levels cos I've never felt as good as I did yesterday in my entire life. Euphoria is the only way I could describe it.

Didn't last long. Back to a bit blue today, but nowhere near the suicidal mood I was in just two days ago.

Cheers

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Posted

No Paul

I'm back up to 225mg, which is right back where I started.

Meeting with the psych tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

Tell you what, though, that increase in dose must have played havoc with my levels cos I've never felt as good as I did yesterday in my entire life. Euphoria is the only way I could describe it.

Didn't last long. Back to a bit blue today, but nowhere near the suicidal mood I was in just two days ago.

Cheers

Glad things are a bit better for you...

Let us know how the psych appt goes.

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Posted

With my Dr I have just weaned off Effexor, my last pill was on Sunday and today is Friday. I went to see my Dr on Wednesday because about a week after I went down to 37.5 I started breaking out in hives, all day every day. Apparently it is a result of a hormone imbalance caused by the drug. I was told to take Claritin and will just have to ride it out. I really didn't seem to have any other side effects.....until later that day. I am suffering with nausea, dizziness, brain freeze, feeling in a fog and bouts of crying to the point I haven't been able to go to work. I figure I am this far into it I want to stick it out. The hives have settled down but I would gladly have the hives back and for go all this other stuff. I am feeling helpless and hopeless, not a good place to be. Wish me luck. Can't wait to be on the other side of this.

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Posted

With my Dr I have just weaned off Effexor, my last pill was on Sunday and today is Friday. I went to see my Dr on Wednesday because about a week after I went down to 37.5 I started breaking out in hives, all day every day. Apparently it is a result of a hormone imbalance caused by the drug. I was told to take Claritin and will just have to ride it out. I really didn't seem to have any other side effects.....until later that day. I am suffering with nausea, dizziness, brain freeze, feeling in a fog and bouts of crying to the point I haven't been able to go to work. I figure I am this far into it I want to stick it out. The hives have settled down but I would gladly have the hives back and for go all this other stuff. I am feeling helpless and hopeless, not a good place to be. Wish me luck. Can't wait to be on the other side of this.

((( sweetblue )))

I know exactly how you feel. I think it's great you've come this far, and you're so close to making it. Just make sure you have plenty of support over the next 10 days or so.

Even though mentally we know it's the drug that's causing this feeling of despair, I found that knowledge didn't help me at all. Only the support of people that cared got me through the suicidal phase I went through last weekend.

Wishing you lots of positive thoughts and encouragement.

Please keep us posted on how you're doing

Dan

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Posted

Hi. I'm new here. I started taking Effexor XR and got up to 150mg/day dosage and started having sexual side effects that I can't live with long-term so decided to go down off that and try something different. Went down to 112.5, then 75, then 37.5, then 0 over 3 weeks.

I know a lot of people have a rough time getting off Effexor; however I really didn't have a problem with it at all. I had a headache one day and felt a little clammy and weird but that was about it and it was only one day on one of the weeks that I stepped down. I'm completely off now and moving on to Pristiq to see about the sexual side effects. I have heard so many horror stories about getting off Effexor that I just want to reach out and say it isn't awful for everyone. I feel awful for those who have a hard time getting off the Effexor but my experience was different.

Just thought I would share my experience

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Posted

Hi. I'm new here. I started taking Effexor XR and got up to 150mg/day dosage and started having sexual side effects that I can't live with long-term so decided to go down off that and try something different. Went down to 112.5, then 75, then 37.5, then 0 over 3 weeks.

I know a lot of people have a rough time getting off Effexor; however I really didn't have a problem with it at all. I had a headache one day and felt a little clammy and weird but that was about it and it was only one day on one of the weeks that I stepped down. I'm completely off now and moving on to Pristiq to see about the sexual side effects. I have heard so many horror stories about getting off Effexor that I just want to reach out and say it isn't awful for everyone. I feel awful for those who have a hard time getting off the Effexor but my experience was different.

Just thought I would share my experience

Firey,

Yeh. Everyones different so I think you were lucky to have so few problems. Think it was a bit quick the way you did it - you could have caused yourself a few problems there.

Pity about the side effects with effexor. Chances are they would have calmed down a bit after a while though....

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Posted

Coming off Effexor does sound awful! im currently taking 375mg my pdoc said most people can coap with coming down by 75mg every 5 days in my case that would take about 25days but after reading im not so sure! Hope I dont have to come off it soon!! Its really odd tho these drugs are to help us get better but coming off them is so bad you wounder if they are really worth it!!!

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Posted

Coming off Effexor does sound awful! im currently taking 375mg my pdoc said most people can coap with coming down by 75mg every 5 days in my case that would take about 25days but after reading im not so sure! Hope I dont have to come off it soon!! Its really odd tho these drugs are to help us get better but coming off them is so bad you wounder if they are really worth it!!!

Hi ja4445

I think you'll find that there are some good Efexor withdrawal stories too. I think I've read as many good as bad, so it's totally subjective.

In my case, I had no physical symptoms (shakes, brain zaps, nausea etc) at all, but couldn't handle the depression it brought on, so have gone back up again until my pdoc and I can work out a new strategy.

I think if you go slowly enough, when the time comes, you'll be fine :hearts:

Cheers

Dan

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Posted

Coming off Effexor does sound awful! im currently taking 375mg my pdoc said most people can coap with coming down by 75mg every 5 days in my case that would take about 25days but after reading im not so sure! Hope I dont have to come off it soon!! Its really odd tho these drugs are to help us get better but coming off them is so bad you wounder if they are really worth it!!!

Hi ja4445

I think you'll find that there are some good Efexor withdrawal stories too. I think I've read as many good as bad, so it's totally subjective.

In my case, I had no physical symptoms (shakes, brain zaps, nausea etc) at all, but couldn't handle the depression it brought on, so have gone back up again until my pdoc and I can work out a new strategy.

I think if you go slowly enough, when the time comes, you'll be fine :hearts:

Cheers

Dan

Hey thanx for the reply! I hope so!!

xx

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Posted

I feel out of place and awkward posting this because I haven't really read any stories about people quitting Effexor painlessly... and to be honest I feel kind of weirded out that I haven't felt any horrible effects. It's been about 5 days since I stopped cold turkey.

Although, at the point when I stopped I couldn't possibly have felt any worse - I seemed to be experiencing a delayed side-effect reaction to a dosage increase. These side-effects were the most horrible and most violent of any I had experienced in my 11 weeks on Effexor - much like the effects that people go through in withdrawal rather than with increase. (muscle spasms, brain tremors, intense migraine, jittery, tense, teeth grinding, nausea, vision weirdness, etc...) I hadn't experienced anything close to the sort of pain I was in, and I found it extremely worrying that these started only 7 days into the dose increase and didn't show much signs of letting up. So I was at 300mg for 12 or so days at this point.

Freaking out that I was going to end up in a worse place (e.g. brain damage or swallowing my tongue or walking out in traffic - all which seemed real or came close) I just couldn't take it and decided I would reduce my meds. Being as I only had 150mg pills, any "tapering" seemed out of the question. I neurotically scoured the internet looking for help for hours until my body gave out in sheer exhaustion/delirium and I passed out on my bed fully clothed having taken NO dose. (Usually 100% night dose. And on 300mg I was usually meticulous about taking it regularly fearing extreme complications otherwise.) By the time I woke up the next day it was about evening again. That had been the longest continuous sleep since I had started on the meds.

I realized over 2 days had effectively gone by without my 300mg. I actually felt much better than I had in weeks in terms of side-effects. I decided to forego the Effexor indefinitely and braced myself for some harsh withdrawal "pangs" since I would usually feel negative effects immediately if I missed even one dose at a lower level. But strangely I've felt just fine.

Maybe I've just jinxed myself and tomorrow I'll experience another "delayed" attack. But I'm not counting on it. I have no idea what happened... it's almost as though the 300mg level pushed me through a "twilight zone" where everything started happening backwards: like the effexor was all of a sudden giving me withdrawal effects and being off it was my relief. Or maybe I've just forgotten what 'normal' feels like after that intense episode of pain.

~

I've mulled over and over this situation and I can't really explain it. I wouldn't advise anybody else to quit cold turkey but I just had to say that not everybody has a bad experience. (Or in my case, I didn't have a bad experience stopping after my bad experience upping.)

The only single other change I've made during this whole episode of stopping Effexor is that one day before I stopped the Eff I started taking omega3 supplements (am and pm). So for the past 5 days I've been taking only omega3 and I feel just fine (relatively). I'm sure this couldn't account for everything. I am almost back to square one. My sleeping returned to usual 10+ hours immediately and I can almost feel the mollasses 'lowness' settling back in place. Just an occassional very mild headache and some faint occassional muscle spasms linger. Physically & emotionally it feels almost like I was never on anything. If it weren't for the $$ worth of Effexor leftovers and receipts sitting here that I feel guilty about wasting, I might start doubting whether I was even on it. And I know my pdoc is going to be extremely upset at next appt. I'm so impulsive sometimes. In a flash I negated 11 weeks. And I've got no idea where to go from here. Wow I feel like a headcase...

I don't know if this forum was a good idea for me. It's just a reminder of how indecisive and longwinded and ultimately pointless all my thinking about everything really is. I write essays about everything and still nothing gets explained and still nothing comes of anything and still I remain as I've always been - but I guess at least I can stop worrying that my head is going to explode on effexor? for now? And I'm happy about pursuing omega3... although now I've gone ahead and reduced it to my only "treatment"... what am I doing? :flowers:

Hi!!

New to the site too, I have been on Effexor for 5 years, within the last 2 years have been having migraines. Had major surgery May 7, was taken off the drug on surgery date, was off it for 6 weeks, had NO HEADACHES!! Did however have other side effects now that I look back at my recovery, nighmares, anxiety, mood swings, etc. Had major onset of depression, went back on effexor, and migraines are back. Am off the drug cold turkey, have told my Dr, am at day 3, no side effects yet. Feel like I am waiting for the first shoe to drop. Will let you know.

:hearts::hearts:

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Posted

Hello all, I am a 35 yo male, I have been on Effexor XR for about 6 years now, most of the time at 450 mg. I recently went down to 300 mg and would like to continue to reduce to 0. Two days ago I dropped to 150 and feel like crap. The brain zaps (I never heard them called that but I guess its what they are) are awful. Any eye movement at all causes these pulses of dizziness.

I recently moved and had to change doctors, from a department head at Johns Hopkins to a doctor in a strip mall...I asked him about reducing Effexor and he suggested 'I just stop.' Reading through this forum, it's clear that this guy is very wrong.

A couple of questions,

1. Has anyone tried any products made to ease the burden of the FXR withdrawal, I found one called label me sane (http://www.labelmesane.com/effexor_withdrawal.html)?

2. How do I find a doctor that can help me with the withdrawal?

3. I read about tapering/benadryl/etc, but I also found that some get relief with low dose valium, any thougths there?

thank you all

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Posted

I am currently twenty and was put on effexor when I was sixteen. I have always been sensitive to drugs, so for the majority of my time on effexor I was on 75mg, but at my highest I was on 150mg. The went off effexor in January, eight months ago. Effexor was really helpful for me, killed my anxiety like a magic bullet and really helped my depression. It probably saved my life. But it came with it's side effects, irritability, restlessness, general Biotchiness, lack of patience, 'brain static' as I called it. I couldn't concentrate or stay on task. I yelled at the drop of the hat and couldn't cry for the life of me. So eventually I went off. Going off the effexor was not that hard for me, it felt like a prolonged case of the flu. I lost ten pounds because I couldn't stomach anything but apple sauce 0.o but was largely able to get on with my life.

The problem is some of the side effects didn't go away. I'm not restless or brain static-y any more, but I can't concentrate. I have trouble remembering things, they just seem to slip away. I'll end up checking for my keys again and again because I can't remember putting them in my pocket. I'll read a chapter in a book, put it down, and have trouble remembering what it is I just read. I always used to have a great memory, and the memories I made before I was on the effexor and even during the time I took it are still normal for me. I can remember the exact wording of conversations I had, remember extraneous facts, and remember exactly what something felt, smelled, or tasted like. It's all easy and accessible to me.

But I can't seem to form new memories. Sometimes trying to remember things feels like grabbing at fish in murky water, it's all so indistinct and slippery. I was diagnosed with a learning disability in the time since I stopped taking the effexor. I've taken ritalin and it helps, the modafinil I'm currently taking for anxiety also helps a bit. Even while I'm having an experience I can FEEL the absence of my mind, like there's nobody taking notes. I feel myself losing things as soon as I get a chance to have them. I feel like my brain has fallen out from under me.

My doctors believe it's a product of anxiety and the lack of structure that has inhabited my life for the past two years. There are so many factors involved, it's hard to tell what caused what. But the change has been so distinct, and so linked in timeline to the effexor, I just wish there was SOME information. I haven't been able to find literature one way or the other on the issue of long-term effects of any anti-depressant. The symptoms I've described have been linked to short-term withdrawal from Effexor, but this is getting ridiculous!

I need an anti-depressant, and I need to be able to think, but I'm scared of taking more drugs without figuring out what's going on! I don't want to cause more damage, but I can't help feeling like I should just go back on the effexor because my memory was a little better then than it is now. My doctors don't know anything more than I do.

Has this happened to anyone else? Did it ever get better? Did your doctors have any ideas? Is there anything I can do? I exercise regularly, soak up sunshine, and eat an alright diet. I keep trying to force myself to sit down and concentrate and remember things in the hope that practice will help. But it's SO hard.

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Posted

My memory has been rubbish on Venla, but that could be because of the depression. Sorry I can't help there :(

I have managed to get down from 225mg to 112.5mg in the last 3 months. 3 months sounds like a joke when I see on here other folk are managing that in a few weeks.

I have been alternating doses between days, say 225 one day and about 190 the next, up and down. This has resulted in the old brain farts, constantly, for anything up to two weeks, as my body gets used to it. The fizzy blood feeling spreads from my brain to my whole body, I can't wiggle a toe without feeling sick. It's been very hard. Friends have brought my books, dvds, games.. all sorts, bless em, but I can't cope with moving images!

I have stabilised at 112, and feel pretty normal. My sleep is getting much better, sometimes doing a whole 8 hours with no dreams, which was unheard of for 6 years whilst taking the venla :). My appetite has reduced a lot, which is odd, wasn't expecting that. Going to carry on taking this dose for a month or two, while mum has an operation (cancer) and I go for a holiday, before putting a month or two of my life aside to go to bed and try to get down to 0. Really enjoying all those books and games atm hehe. I feel more like "me", I have.. presence of mind? Some days I can even go for walks, and am really, really looking forward to going swimming (although psyche says I can't do more than 20 minutes exercise at a time, as more will exhaust me after months in bed, and set me back sleep wise etc). This week i was even brave enough to get trains to see my mum. I feel like a different person, it's amazing. I still can't do too much - I cleaned my kitchen and polished a table today and I was shattered, had to sleep. But I feel on the right track.

Just wondering if there are any hints and tips for my next bout of withdrawal? I think my psyche will **** me if I go to bed for a month, but it's just not possible for me to move with things as they are when I cut back. Is there anyone one can do to help with the "zaps"? The nausea and crying I imagine will just have to be taken as they come.

Thanks heaps. It's worth the effort, those who are trying to get off this crap, it really is. And I am uber-jealous of you guys with no problems with it! This battle will mean I won't be able to get a job until almost Christmas now :(.

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Posted

I wish I didn't go back on Efexor. I thought the first time coming off of it after being on it for 2 years was hell... well at least I could manage a couple of days cold turkey b4 I felt like utter crap.

This time i've been on it for 3 months, and it's been working against me, mainly with the dreams being too intense for me and it not working as well as it could be. Anyhow i'm on 150mg, and am meant to be going onto Prozac, and the last two days I split the beads to not even half a capsule and I already feel like s***.

I want to throw up constantly... not much comes up but the thought its constantly there. I didn't have this last time but it appears it can happen. No brain zaps yet, but this throwing up feeling is so horrible I think I have to go back on the 150mg or just take out less beads. Either way i'm venting and feel crud :(

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Posted (edited)

I've started decreasing from 150mg to 75mg, alternating daily for a few wks to start with then hopefully further. But i have to admit that i feel so utterly rubbish already. I seem to burst into tears alot, often at random. I also have dizziness and a slow brain so much so that i cant read anything longer than two lines long. And my stomach churns so i need the toilet very often! But it is strange, it is not putting me off food like some people are saying if anything i'm craving foods. Specific foods like crisps and coke. I just want to eat them all constantly which i did on sat night and ended with my head in the toilet bowl. :hearts: Worst of all though is the constant exhaustion, stiff neck and horrid headaches i have all the time. I'm so tired that it's hard to get up and go to work, i can't cycle there anymore as i'm so tired so i have to get a lift in, i'm having to take full hour breaks instead of my usual half hour and when i get home i feel like i could nap forever. It isn't that feeling you get when you have gone on a really long walk or something, that exhaustion is good, it is a sluggish feeling that makes my whole body feel like it isn't alive. Sorry for whineing on tonight, i was just really tired and burst into tears and i'm just trying to recover but i feel guilty too because i told my lil sis i'd go for a drink with her tonight and i just can't....and i don't even have the energy to explain why so she probably thinks that i'm just flaking out on her but i can't. There is something else too but my brain cant move and reach what it is, it'll probably come to me after i post this! Just feeling pretty poo.

---oh yeh i remembered, pretty dumb to even forget this....but i know things get bad when i cannot even be bothered to shower, i know i should but it involves washing and then drying...too much---

Edited by bigblackdog

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Posted

Glad to know that after 8 hours I'm not the only one that has to take a nap.

People who are not on it just don't get us. Sad to say but I go to bed at 8pm cant stay awake. If it was up to me I would sleep all day. I got off the stuff but nothing worked.

I know when I haven't taken it at my normal time I feel like i'm drunk.

I'm losing health insurance so I'm very scared of what is going to happen I need my drugs plus I'm starting a new job I really need it

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Posted

you still out there?

what is contuation of your story?

I was on Effexor & Depoke for years, got of Depokote in Jan, then last Effexor beg of Sept,

totaled my car two wks later, maybe it was just an accident

feeling really loose & yucky inside digestively

don't know if that was side affect of coming off - it's been going on like this for 6 wks now.

got back onto a new drug (EMSAM MAOI patch)

feel like I've backlashed

like I didn't give being off effexor a long enough try

I'm confused about my body's reaction

tired of playing the game anymore

My Dr. was going to give me more serotonin or just more during certain time of month because I am cyclical w/period

but I asked him how he knows I need more serotonin, why not Noradrenaline or ?

he said they don't know - can't measure, would require brain piece adn that's not ok to take to measure

so I said forget it, don't want to play anymore. let's try nothing

so I got there and then I brought in a whole committee of people because I was arguing with self internally

back on new thing, don't know about it, again, can't tell, what causes what

hate self & situation

have your fear to try another thing too

just want to talk to others who . . . are similar to me

maybe I'll go back on effx, but I don't trust any of them - don't believe in this crap & yet need help

~~~~~

Hey all,

I have been on 225 of E for almost three years now. About four months ago I started to think I could taper off the drugs and see how I could handle it. I took 187.5 for about 5 weeks and then down to 150 for about another 5 weeks. The only thing was I started to have unmotivating thoughts, anxiety, and 'old' thoughts about 'what is the point?' So I gradually increased back up to 225. The only problem is that it has been about 2 months and I still feel bummed. I know my job is hectic and coworkers are also tired etc. but I seem to be at my worst when it is hectic (try and sleep a lot but am still tired/unmotivated)

Anyway, if I go to my doctor I know he will just say "it's time to try another one" which kind of scares me with just quitting this one and trying another. I feel I will spaz out or something. I know he has mentioned in the past that you may have a psychological dependance on these pills-so I know he will just say to start another one and all will be good. Should I ask him to taper of E while starting another.....confused and scared....thanks for any insight

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Posted

Those Brain Zaps are hell. I came off of these pills a long time back now but sill remember the hell. It seems like every time I moved my eyes...ZAP!!! It lasted for what seemed like a month but was probaly only a week :P Anyone else been through this?

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Posted (edited)

Hi all. after about 8 years on Effexor XR, i had had enough of the SE's (nausea, hot flushes, lethargy etc), so decided to take the plunge and try some new meds. My doc suggested Cymbalta - set up a bit like Effexor XR, we thought it was worth a go.

Let's just say that weening off of Effexor is bad enough, but having to introduce a new med at the same time is hell.

i was tapering, much like the first post on this Forum - we had a kind of 5 week plan - but this was ruined when i became a physical and mental wreck. was it just coming off the effexor? was it mixing the 2 drugs in my system? these things we never know.

so, after only a week, i ended up taking 75mg of effexor for another 2 days and then stopped, increasing the Cymbalta to full dose.

Depression hit me like a tonne of bricks - that horrible heavy but empty feeling i am sure you all know.

i gave the cymbalta 6 weeks and things were getting worse not better. constant crying and not wanting to move from my bed.

Back to the doc. Try another med. Zoloft - i have been on zoloft for a week now. depression is no better. still wondering why the hell we actually go through the constant day to day struggle that is life, but i am hoping it will get better....i know it has to get better...

to everyone out there suffering from this horrible, all consuming illness. we must all just live in hope mustn't we? just try and remember that we have had good times in our lives and we can have them again. even if we feel like those moments were from another life.

i'll try soon to write another post in a couple of weeks and hopefully it will be a post of happiness and excitement towards the future.

:hearts:

Edited by starynowski

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Posted

Well I was on Effexor XR 150mg for about 2 years before I came off so thought I'd give a bit of info on how I did it incase it helps anyone.

I initially read all the horror stories about trying to come off Effexor so wasn't looking foward to stopping it. I had read people opening the capsule and removing 1-5 beads per day until you are right off. I initially started doing this and noticed some very minor mood changes so I started to drastically cut out more beads. I probably started going from 5-10-15-30-50 and seemed like I was almost doubling the amount of beads I would take out each day. I probably started noticing the brain zaps around 100 beads gone. After about 10 days I was down to about 115 beads (roughly 475 in a 150mg pill). Over the next 5 days I went from 115 - 100 - 50 - 25 - 10(beads) and was off of Effexor XR 150mg.

During the last 5 days the brain zaps were pretty intense and happened very frequently but apart from some mild irritability I really didn't have any other side effects. The brain zaps do suck pretty bad but I was able to handle them and after 3 weeks of being Effexor free and not on any other meds they were pretty much gone.

Obviously everyone has different reactions and tolerance levels and I realize that there are people on higher doses and have been on it for years and years but I honestly didn't find the weening too terrible , especially considering how quickly I thought I was able to drop doses down.

While I'm sure there is tons of great info in this thread and not having read through much I'll still give my quick advice. Start removing 10 beads per day (ex 10 then 20 then 30) from your capsule. If you are finding it's not so bad then double your last bead removal and keep doubling the amount you take off. If during any of this you find it's giving you too many or too intense side effects then start lowering your dose from there at a slower rate until your done.

Hopefully everyone out there weening off Effexor is doing alright and for anyone else thinking of starting I would try some others instead :D After being off Effexor and now trying some other meds I realize how many side effects you get starting , stopping and just overall drugged feeling you have while being on it.

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Posted

For anyone coming off Efexor I have to say that Fluoxetine made it soooooooo much easier for me the second time!! Completely wiped the brain zaps and majority of side effects.

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Posted (edited)

Nasty business, stopping Effexor.

My wife has been on it for a month and a half (150 mg). It's really working well for her but, here's the thing, she's always been poor at complying with meds and she recently missed 2 days running. Wow! She was up at night puking, and felt miserable for about 3 days after.

2 missed pills did more to get her to comply than all my nagging. It was REALLY hard not to say "I told you so."

Edited by Maedhros

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Posted

Thank you all so much for the info! My Dr has me on 300, and just added Depakote. She is planning on removing the effexor and just sticking with the Depakote. I am so scared of the withdrawals..... No one told me about them at first, so when I missed a dose I was seriously screwed.... I thought I had a tumor growing in there....

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Posted

Hi Merle :hearts:

I am so scared of the withdrawals..... No one told me about them at first, so when I missed a dose I was seriously screwed.... I thought I had a tumour growing in there....

I'm on Epilim (similar to Depakote) and Lamictal, and my pdoc recently stopped my Efexor and more recently my Wellbutrin too. So far so good, as far as depression goes. Sadly not so good with the withdrawals.

It's very sucky that no-one warns us about this! Grumble Grumble. And that the Pharma companies don't make "withdraw-packs", like you can get Lamictal "start-up packs. Really, it would save so many of us such grief and heartache. Profit, profit, profit.

It's not that I'm anti-Efexor - stuff saved my life - but I'm in week 3 of stopping and these brain zaps are getting to me! We don't have a 37.5 dose here, but you'd think from 150mg to 75mg, then two weeks, then stop would be adequate? No way. I wish I had done what I did with Cymbalta - open capsules and cut back real slow over many more weeks. Anyways, may as well stick it out now - and at least I'm also comforted by knowing there aren't tumours going on in there either. Without having heard about brain zaps, I would've been seriously worried.

I'm told they pass.

We need an emoticon for a desperate li'l face hanging on for dear life to the end of a rope! (No NOT that kind of hanging...)

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Posted

Hello,

I'm relatively new to this forum.

I've been taking Effexor XR for almost one year. I'm on 300 mg/day and have been for the majority of my time on it. I really want to stop using it, but know that slow is the name of the game regarding its discontinuation. I spent the majority of 2008 titrating myself off of a nasty benzodiazepine that I had been on for more than four years called clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) and had awful withdrawal side effects, however, I did do it slowly, so, while nasty and horrible, the withdrawal effects were bearable and just something I had to learn to live with. I have also noticed that if I miss a dose of Effexor XR, I get very sick pretty quickly, within a matter of hours. To be honest I don't know why I'm on such a high dose and why my general practitioner (who originally prescribed me this much for my depression) and my psychiatrist have kept me on such an amount. My psychiatrist and I have tried halving the dose (to 150 mg/day), but after about 1/2 a week of being at the 150 mg/day (from 300) I couldn't handle it anymore, immediately went back up to 300 mg/day and made an appointment to see my psychiatrist. Since I'm done with my clonazepam taper (I finished on 12/30), I want to give my brain about two months time to rest and find equilibrium before I begin my taper of Effexor. What I want to know is, though, is the taper, if done properly and slowly, really going to be as bad as the stories I read on these boards and on the Internet? I am deathly afraid of the taper for this reason. Does anyone have a successful taper story they can share with me, some pointers and perhaps a rough taper schedule of what worked for them so that I can live with minimal side effects? I know that side effects are really going to be an inevitable part of life, but I do want to keep them as minimal as possible. I've been thinking about a taper schedule like this:

300 mg/day (morning)

switch to tablet form (non XR form of Effexor, for ease of cutting the pills)

drop 25 mg to 275 mg/day for one month

drop 25 mg more to 250 mg/day for one month

drop 25 mg more to 225 mg/day for one month

drop 25 mg more to 200 mg/day for one month

drop 25 mg more to 175 mg/day for one month

drop 25 mg more to 150 mg/day for one month

(continue till at about 50 mg/day and perhaps begin pill cutting so reduction is even more gradual)

So, this will be a nearly year process, no doubt, but I know that my brain chemistry has had to have been seriously altered after having been on such a high dose for nearly a year. What do you guys think of this?

Also, I'm considering a move to Italy with a friend who's offered to help me out. This would be a good opportunity for me, and could help me potentially rest while I'm coming off the drug. My question is, has anyone been abroad while getting their meds? I could conceivably fly back anytime I'd need to see my psychiatrist and check in on my progress, but I do have a bit of hesitation about doing this because what if the taper isn't working well and I need an emergency appointment and need to fly home (Phoenix, btw) to have a refill done? I wouldn't want to fly while sick on this stuff. Of course, I do have A LOT of clonazepam left over for such emergencies, I suppose.

What do you all think of this? So, I need:

1) some example stories of people who tapered their med and had MINIMAL SIDE EFFECTS so that I can stop freaking myself out with all these horror stories. If there aren't any, then I'll just believe that it's going to have to be horrific, make sense?

2) a taper schedule - how does mine look above? is there anything "standard"? I have heard that initial reductions should not exceed 10% of the original dose at taper-onset. How long should it stay at or around 10%?

3) some advice, if any, about living abroad and making sure you always have access to your meds. Is Effexor available in tablet form in Italy? I know it's in the UK as "Efexor," so, one would assume it'd be in other European countries.

Thank you in advance!

Regards,

Jason

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