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10 things not to do on Effexor

2 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post  


This topic was first started on 28 Feb 2002.

Please read all this post, you might not like what it says but you should be aware of the following:

10.    Be careful of what drugs / vitamins / over the counter drugs you what to take along with Effexor.  Some can increase the side effects or even cause Seratonin Syndrome.  Check with your dr/pharmacist when you get/buy other prescriptions / items.

9.     Try and take you dose at about the same time of the day and after food or at the least some milk (should prevent the sicky feeling that some folk get).

8.     If you take your drugs in the evening and you have problems sleeping talk to your dr and see if you can take them in the morning.

7.     Alcohol / recreational drugs - avoid drinking alcohol whilst on Effexor, this can increase your side effects from the effexor, increase the effects of the alcohol and the next day you will feel so bad.   Who needs a bad hangover?

Here's an article which mentions Depression and illegal drug use and why it is not good.

Recreational drugs - why play with fire?  You are on anti-depressants for a REASON, your mental health is important to you don't screw around with it.  

6.     Do not YoYo with your pills, for any antidepressant to work it has to be taken over a period of time.   ADs do not work like painkillers (oh I feel depressed today so I'll take a tablet - sorry kiddo wont work - effexor takes from 3 to 6 weeks for most folk to feel the benefit.)

5.    If you are on the extended release version Effexor XR (Efexor XL in the uk) do not open the capsules and take the little white beads on their own, don't chew them - they will stick in your teeth and they taste really, really bad (yeah I've done it).

4.   If you have been diagnosed as Manic Depressive / BiPolar take extra care, Effexor might cause a manic episode.  Talk to your dr if you are unsure about whether effexor is for you or talk to your dr ASAP if you feel an episode coming on.

3.     If you are trying to become pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your dr before taking Effexor.   The drug was not tested on pregnant women or on women breastfeeding.

2. DO NOT OVERDOSE on your Effexor.   I did and I had a seizure and threw up all night and as my pdoc says I wouldn't have killed myself anyway.  

Other effects from this was I had to take other medication to heal my stomach, since I was in so much pain and my GP banned me from driving.  Still waiting to hear if my licence is going to be taken away from me.  

[DVLA eventually put me on a 3 year licence and then after  another OD and seizure was given a 1 year licence.  This was after months of waiting for them to review my GP and Psychiatrist report. ]

and in the No 1 Spot

1.    Nobody should ever STOP ANTIDEPRESSANTS COLD TURKEY.  You MIGHT experience what is known as discontinuation side effects (applies to all ADs). This can be similar to the side effects you got when you started effexor and may also include strange feelings in your brain/body, dizzyness, weird feelings with your eyes.   You might have problems sleeping, including horrendous nightmares (believe me you do not want these nightmare), hallucinations, you may have crying fits, feel very unreal and generally have a really shi**y time.   Oh and quite possibly extremely irritable - and I MEAN IRRITABLE makes PMS look like a sunday school picnic.

If you do COLD TURKEY the effects might last for a few days to a few weeks.  You might be lucky and not suffer too badly but do you want to risk it?   Tell you dr why you want to stop taking effexor - especially if you can't stand the side effects.  It might be that Effexor is not the right AD for you.  Remember we are all different so what works for me might not work for you.

If you want to come off Effexor you should use the tapering schedule as specified by your prescribing Dr.

My psychiatrist recommended that I drop by 37.5mg each step at 2 to 4 week intervals.  When you have been on  37.5mg for the 2 or 4 weeks you then need to take 37.5mg on alternate days for 2 to 4 weeks and then stop.   So if you are on 225mg and reduce every 4 weeks it should take 6 months.  I'm doing my reduction in steps of 2 weeks so will be off effexor in 3 months.

0  Okay its more than 10 but its important.  If you experience something unusual when you take effexor and you are not sure if its a 'normal' side effect or its one that might mean you are allergic to effexor TALK TO YOUR DR ASAP.  Do not just sit on it, phone your DR.  

Always read the drug information leaflet so that you understand what side effects you might get and which side effects to watch out for that might indicate you have an allergy.  Talk to the pharmacist when you get the pills, ask them for info.  They will have a data sheet with more information on it than they put out with the drugs.

Thanks for reading this.


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Posted · Report post  

Seratonin Syndrome is a condition where we have far too much serotonin, such as for instance if you take  MAOIs and SSRIs at the same time.  

Heres a few articles about it on the web.  Please be aware that this post was first put in this thread March 2002 and as the internet is not guaranteed to stay the same, any links may no longer work after a time.   You may have to search hard to find the same doc.

Medical Emergencies in Psychiatry

Gerard Clancy, M.D.

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed


4. Serotonin Syndrome

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOls) in combination with other antidepressants such as selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRls - Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil or Luvox), Wellbutrin (Bupropion), Tryptophan or tricyclic antidepressants can lead to a sudden build up of serotonin systemically. This condition can be life threatening.

Signs and symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome

Hyperthermia, diaphoresis, excitement or confusion, hyper-reflexic, hypotension, tremor. Complications include Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (D.I.C.), Rhabdomyolisis and cardiovascular comprimise.

Treatment ot Serotonin Syndrome

This condition warrants medical consultation. Initial steps include discontinuing the offending agents and supporting the patients vitals. Dantrolene (a potent muscle relaxant) and Periactin (Cyproheptadine - a potent antihistamine and serotonin antagonist).


Serotonin syndrome alert.

Author/s: Joel Shuster

Issue: July, 1999

Serotonin syndrome alert


A 45-YEAR-OLD MAN WAS BROUGHT INTO THE ED BY HIS coworkers, who reported that he'd returned from his lunch break acting "drunk" and later admitted he'd done a few lines of illegal drug. The patient's symptoms were similar to those of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, including elevated temperature, confusion, and muscle rigidity. But he was taking fluoxetine (Prozac), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), not a neuroleptic drag. The nurse suspected serotonin syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal adverse reaction to serotoninergic drags.

What went wrong?

First described in the 1950s, serotonin syndrome--an excess of serotonin in the bloodstream is a rare condition that has become more prevalent with the widespread use of SSRI antidepressants. Serotoninergic drags--including fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine--are used to treat depression, migraine, and anxiety disorders. Serotomimetic drags include dextromethorphan, meperidine, and street drags such as illegal drug and LSD. The combination most frequently leading to serotonin syndrome is a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor given with an SSRI.

Signs and symptoms fall into three categories:

* mental status and behavioral changes, such as disorientation, confusion, and agitation

* motor system changes, such as myoclonus, rigidity, hyperreflexia, and tremor

* autonomic nervous system instability, such as shivering, diaphoresis, fever, diarrhea, dyspnea, and tachycardia.

In severe cases, serotonin syndrome can progress to seizures, disseminated intravascular coagulation, renal failure, coma, and death.

What precautions can you take?

Warn patients and their families about the possibility of serotonin syndrome. Encourage them to tell their health care providers about all the medications they're taking, including over-the-counter and street drugs, and to report any subtle changes such as increasing confusion, unusual behavior, or agitation, which may be early signs of serotonin syndrome. Tell patients to stop using an MAO inhibitor 14 days before starting SSRI therapy.

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