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firelizardee

Stopping Effexor

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Hello all

Needing a little help and reassurance here. I have been fighting Anxiety for over 10 years now up and down. I was on Paxil for 6 years and then rebounded into Hell again. Was then put on Effexor 75mg which seemed to work. After 5 years on that in 2009 last April I rebounded again. Was then upped to 150mg which then ended up working fine. After 1 year on 150mg after talking with my doctor and that I want to start having children soon we decided to wean me off. Things were under control and it had been 1 year since my last anxiety attack or problem.

Now we weaned me off very slowly since April i guess. Started 150mg and 112mg alternate days for 1 month. NO problems. Then went to straight 112mg for one month.... long story short 4 months later of weaning I am now down to 37.5mg everyday. everything was going well until 1 week on 37.5mg. Tuesday In the middle of work I got really hot, panic attack fully struck in and then I have massive diarrhea... THis continued all day and I had to leave work. Was in an axiouse state all day and night. The next day I went back to work but fought through the whole days with sweating/ diarrhea and CONSTANT negative thought!( example, im gonna die, my parents are getting old and everyday that goes by its closer to them dying and everyone i know dying etc... just constant negative death thoughts) GOt home after 12 hours of hell and crashed in a weird state. Almost like I couldn't open my eyes if you made me type. Slept fine but then woke up the next day for work in anxiety attack mode again.

To make a long story short its been 5 days now of HELL. Up and down emotions at least the diarrhea has subsided. I have minimal appetite.

Here is what I am thinking of doing. Maybe going back to the 75mg alternate 37.5mg days? I have had to take 0.25mg of clorazepam to help keep me from losing it. I am afraid of what to do . Some people are saying stick with it and things will pass. I just dont want to be on this med anymore :( but i can't live like this everyday either :(...

is 0.25mg of Clorazepam a high dose for addiction? I don't want to get addicted to this either. I don't feel really depressed again just feel Anxious and hopeless ALL the time.

Any help/ advice from anyone who may have come off effexor that would be great. Is it weird though to not experience any withdrawl symptoms for 1week after dropping a dose?

thank you for any help

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Ugh!! It has now been 3 WEEKS since taking my last pill (Pristiq - but basically Effexor). I was feeling dizzy for the 7 weeks I was on it, so I decided to taper off for two weeks.

It has now been 3 WEEKS and I am more dizzy than before, feel stoned, having some memory problems, and have extreme exhaustion. I am so worried because it feels like it isn't getting much better (maybe only 2% better). Can anyone share how long it took them before withdrawal symptoms subsided? I've tried Benadryl, but it only seems to make me even more sleepy. I just feel like I'm going to be *stuck* this way or that I'm permanently brain damaged. I keep telling myself "you will get through this", but I've been saying this for 5 weeks since tapering.

Thanks for relating.

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Hi Zugora

I didn't get over my symptoms completely until at least 4-5 weeks after finishing tapering... and I have a usually high tolerance for most medication.

Have you checked with your doctor as well to make sure they're not concerned?

Hircon

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Hi Zugora

I didn't get over my symptoms completely until at least 4-5 weeks after finishing tapering... and I have a usually high tolerance for most medication.

Have you checked with your doctor as well to make sure they're not concerned?

Hircon

Thanks for sharing your time frame. I spoke with my doctor last week and all he could say was that withdrawal symptoms should last about 1 week. I think he is not informed about Effexor/Pristiq withdrawal.

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Possibly, zugora, it is one of those things that often is overlooked.

I definitely had brain zaps and dizziness for a good 4+ weeks after completely coming off, and a close friend had a similar experience.

If it does go much beyond 4-5 weeks though I'd probably follow it up again, just to be sure!

Hircon

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Possibly, zugora, it is one of those things that often is overlooked.

I definitely had brain zaps and dizziness for a good 4+ weeks after completely coming off, and a close friend had a similar experience. If it does go much beyond 4-5 weeks though I'd probably follow it up again, just to be sure!

Thanks so much, Hircon. I actually took Dramamine yesterday and it definitely seems to be helping with the dizziness.

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Just wanted to give an update on the Pristiq withdrawal. It's been 6 weeks since I stopped Pristiq after only taking the medication 7 weeks (and tapering 2 weeks), and I can finally say that I'm no longer dizzy! I started to feel more human around Week 4 or 5. At this point, I am still an emotional roller-coaster though, my menstrual cycle is really screwed up (one every 2 weeks), and my dry eyes are worse now. But thank goodness the dizziness went away!! Hopefully the hormonal imbalance will straighten itself out, too.

While on Pristiq, I always had some degree of dizziness which is what let me to get off the medication. Thanks again for everyone's support and hang in there for those who going through this exact same thing! One day at a time and try to stay distracted.

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Guest Maddy Sparks

I have been on effexor 75 then 150 for 4 years,

My problem is when i step down dose ever so slightly my nightmares wake me trembling and in a sweat.

The brain zapps are big and sometimes people notice me twitch, but they are bearable.

I wont describe my night mares in detail but they are way out of my character.

My body has woken me before as i dreamt i was being strangled, drowned and or choked, couldn't breathe for real, my kids were ******** (in dream) raped and on and on.

I can normally relate peoples dreams to their worries or day to day activities but mine are just chaotic.

Any ideas to replace effexor are appreciated, i will run them by my Dr of course.

Thanks Maddy

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Hi

I am taking Efexor XR and have been for 2 years (tried lots of different AD's for years for post-natal and major depression). When I was put on Efexor XR I was also diagnosed as Bi-Polar and put on Risperdal as the mood stabiliser. The combination didn't work and I was rapid cycling for weeks. Finally ended up on 300mg Efexor XR daily morning and 300mg Epilim daily nightly for the bi-polar. For about a year everything has been good. I have been able to come to terms with the cancer I was diagnosed with in 2005 and the treatments (thyroid cancer and now have no thyroid and take 200mcg of thyroxine daily too), cope as a single parent with my son who is now 13 yo and work part-time. I was living in Australia and not long ago moved back to England my homeland to start a relationship with my teenage friend, which is amazing and wonderful. He is loving and supportive, even with all my 'baggage' as I call it.

I have now found out I am pregnant. For the last two weeks I cannot sleep at night (it is currently 03:42am), I have racing thoughts, my body when I try to relax and sleep becomes agitated and restless and I am crying way too much, I am dizzy/giddy to the extreme AFTER taking my Efexor XR. It has been so bad I couldn't bear to take it today and although could feel the giddiness and ill feeling of not taking it, it was no where near as bad as when I have these past days. I know I am in a rapid cycling phase and it's scaring me.

Is my pregnancy, the changes in my body causing this? Is the Efexor XR 'banging heads' with my body/pregnancy hormones?

My life has been so good these last 18 months, I had the strength to come home, which I had wanted to do for years, my fiance is giving me all the love and support I have ever dreamt of and I am pregnant with the second child I have longed for. Why does it appear that my bi-polar is now breaking down all the hard work I have done to control it, to live with it, to own it??

I have an 8am appt with my doctor tomorrow (today) to talk about all of this but as sit here at nearly 4am I'm feeling desperate and very wired. I don't think I can do this! Can anyone talk to me and help me?coophelp.gif

Thank you, Poppy xx

Edited by Poppy xx

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I have been tapering off Effexor for the past few weeks. I am down to 37.5mg (from 225) and have started to get a twitch in my left eye. I haven't seen this listed as a side effect, but has anyone experienced eye twitching? If so, how long does it take to pass? Going from 75 down to the 37.5 has been a difficult jump and I have experienced 3 days of horrible dizzyness and brain "delay". This eye twitch doesn't hurt, but it's very annoying!

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I came off cold turkey from 375mg. I don't recommend it. But in my case I felt more suicidal with it than without it.

I spent nearly two weeks in bed trying to sleep through as much of the withdrawal as possible, but after that I had to get up. The worst parts for me were the brain zaps, the tearfulness, and the rage.

Two months on, I'm still losing my temper over very minor things, but less often than at first. I took up smoking (having quit a few months ago) and I find it helps with the rage. Again, not a recommended course of action! But frankly I found it much much easier to give up nicotine than to give up venlafaxine, so I'm confident I can quit again. Just as soon as I get past the &^%*ing rage.

Cheers,

Nick

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I took out 10 granules from 75 to 37.5 then 37.5 to 10 granules. It was a lot of counting but all worth it and still felt the difference when I took the very small amount out. It took me 6 months to get off of it.

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Hi everyone

I'm new here, just browsing around the forums, and I came to this topic because I stopped taking Effexor about a year ago.It really was awful - well, you all know how awful it is.

There's one little thing that helped me, though, I never understood how or why, but it did help me feel better. Everytime I felt dizzy or felt one of those brain zap things, I drank lemon soda or some king of citrus soda (like Fanta lemon or something like that). It always helped make the unpleasant feelings a little less unpleasant. Maybe it was the bubbles (although I'm quite addicted to Died Coke, but not at the time, because it had a weird aftertaste) ; or maybe it was the bitterness of the lemon.

I know it's weird, but maybe it can help some of you too ?

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Is it even remotely possible that after discontinuing this medication 4 months ago it is still in my system or I could still be experiencing side effects or withdrawal symptoms? My libido isn't fully back (I currently have a lot of stress and feel mildly depressed, which could contribute to that) and I also have brain zaps sometimes. I am worried, since I didn't discontinue properly, I did some permanent damage. Possible?

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Wow Im coming off this more slowly then anyone else had it seems

I have a tough time coming off medications. I was on effexor up to 150mg and it didnt work for me so doc took me down to 37.5 mgs and been on that for 6months coz he couldnt be bothered weaning me off. Got a phychrisit and hes weaned mee off it.

ive been weaning for 8 weeks,

37.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

18.75mg every second day for 2 weeks

12.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

now heading into 9.375mg for 2 weeks

and ive still had bad withdrawals.

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Wow Im coming off this more slowly then anyone else had it seems

I have a tough time coming off medications. I was on effexor up to 150mg and it didnt work for me so doc took me down to 37.5 mgs and been on that for 6months coz he couldnt be bothered weaning me off. Got a phychrisit and hes weaned mee off it.

ive been weaning for 8 weeks,

37.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

18.75mg every second day for 2 weeks

12.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

now heading into 9.375mg for 2 weeks

and ive still had bad withdrawals.

I followed a schedule like yours and did not have withdrawal symptoms until a couple of days I had entirely quit taking the drug. The effects were so bad I went back on the medication. At this point I don't think I can survive without it.

My shrink said the brain zap effects have lasted up to a year in some of his patients. I had them bad during my time off the drug. Dramamine may help, according to some posts here.

Edited by LongJohnSilver

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Just wanted to give an update on the Pristiq withdrawal. It's been 6 weeks since I stopped Pristiq after only taking the medication 7 weeks (and tapering 2 weeks), and I can finally say that I'm no longer dizzy! I started to feel more human around Week 4 or 5. At this point, I am still an emotional roller-coaster though, my menstrual cycle is really screwed up (one every 2 weeks), and my dry eyes are worse now. But thank goodness the dizziness went away!! Hopefully the hormonal imbalance will straighten itself out, too.

While on Pristiq, I always had some degree of dizziness which is what let me to get off the medication. Thanks again for everyone's support and hang in there for those who going through this exact same thing! One day at a time and try to stay distracted.

How's it going now, Zugora? It's been at least 6 months. Did all those symptoms go away? Give us an update, please.

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Day 7 of a cold turkey switch form 7 years of effexor 150mg to 50 qristiq. I was hopeful I would have an easy time because they are so similar. Effexor over the years has made me exhausted to the point where it is difficult to hold down a job. Knowing what I know now I would have asked to drop to the 37.5 effexor dose for a week or two until the pistiq gets into my system. On a positive note. I have switched my Pristiq to bed time and I am no long exhausted. With drawl....brain zaps, intestinal troubles, ravenously thursty, moody, random crying, crazy thoughts, and crazy dream. Worst of all my anxiety is through the roof. Physically shakey, nauseated, and crazy thoughts. I will tough it out though and hopefully pristiq will help.

I have been dealing with depression since I was 15years old. I am 33 now. Been to hell and back several times while figuring all this out. I feel it is important to add that I am also attending cognitive-behavior therapy while going through this change. I strongly believe that the medication can only take a person so far and then we have to unlearn any poor coping mechanisms and learning new skills.

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Wow Im coming off this more slowly then anyone else had it seems

I have a tough time coming off medications. I was on effexor up to 150mg and it didnt work for me so doc took me down to 37.5 mgs and been on that for 6months coz he couldnt be bothered weaning me off. Got a phychrisit and hes weaned mee off it.

ive been weaning for 8 weeks,

37.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

18.75mg every second day for 2 weeks

12.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

now heading into 9.375mg for 2 weeks

and ive still had bad withdrawals.

Please keep us posted I am very interested to know how this works out for you and how you are feeling throughout it. Cheers!

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Wow Im coming off this more slowly then anyone else had it seems

I have a tough time coming off medications. I was on effexor up to 150mg and it didnt work for me so doc took me down to 37.5 mgs and been on that for 6months coz he couldnt be bothered weaning me off. Got a phychrisit and hes weaned mee off it.

ive been weaning for 8 weeks,

37.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

18.75mg every second day for 2 weeks

12.5mg every second day for 2 weeks

now heading into 9.375mg for 2 weeks

and ive still had bad withdrawals.

Please keep us posted I am very interested to know how this works out for you and how you are feeling throughout it. Cheers!

I have just joined this forum. I have a history of Anxiety disorder and have been on and off Mirtazapine which made me drowsy. Recent circumstances in my new job caused a relapse of AD and Clinical Depression so I went back to the doctor. She prescribed me Trazodone which completely knocked me out - it was just like a transquliser so reviewed this and she put me on Venlafaxine. It has been really good except two undesirable side effects, one being of a sexual nature, the other being that it worsened the benign essential tremor I already have ! I saw another doctor this week who has now put me on another SNRI called Lofepramine but before I start this, I need to come off Venlafaxine. He told me to take it alternate days, I was taking 75mg each bed time. Last thursday I decided not to take a tablet, the next day I felt dizzy, nauseous, couldnt concentrate etc, so took one when I got home from work and I feel better today. I am now going to take half a tablet and see this through daily for a week then maybe a quarter a tablet a day for a week until it becomes virtually homeopathic. I thought I would start the Lofepramine once the Velafaxine was down to 1/4 a tablet a day to permit cross-over. Does this sound ok ?

thanks.

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Effexor was the worst antidepressant for me to get off of. I had cold sweats, upset stomach, headaches, dizziness, crying spells, and brain zaps. I also ended up with an awful tingling in my hands and feet. It was kind of like when your foot falls asleep, only less intense and longer lasting.

My dad made me go cold turkey not once but twice! The first time was to test for a possible side effect. He tried to put me on Lexapro in place of it. That was a disaster. After a few days of me being too sick to do anything, he tried to taper me off... which also didn't work too well. To top it off I never responded to the Lexapro at all. Then about a year or so later, the drug company stopped sending him free samples of Effexor. That meant it was time for me to change antidepressants again as far as he was concerned. Once again, he made me go cold-turkey. This time I was to go on Pristiq. At least this time it was a little easier to switch meds. But I still went a whole day feeling absolutely awful. He gave me an Effexor that evening and started tapering me down over several days. I guess he forgot what happened the first time he tried this because he seemed very sorry for the whole thing.

Most of the withdrawal side effects went away when I started tapering off instead of going cold turkey. But the tingling remained for six weeks after I got off it. Sometimes I feel like I still get that tingling feeling, and I've been off Effexor for several years now. It's really weird because I didn't have these sorts of problems getting off of Paxil or Prozac. Sure I went thru withdrawal when I stopped Prozac or when I messed a dose, but it was nothing compared to the what I went thru with Effexor! For one thing, the withdrawal from Prozac only lasted a day or two. Effexor's withdrawal effects lasted pretty much the whole time I was on Lexapro (which was about 3 weeks) !

I can't remember my tapering schedule too well. I just remember dad decreasing it slowly over the course of a week or two after he realized I couldn't go cold-turkey. I think I started off taking both Effexor pills, along with one Pristiq, for two or three days, then it was one Effexor and one Pristiq for like 5 days, and then one Effexor every other day and two Pristiq every day for the rest of that 2-week period. And finally the Effexor was removed completely.

Sigh, I'm a bad little druggie. It's a good thing I never got into something like illegal substances!

(Dad's a shrink, so in theory he could have handled my medication regime. However there's a reason doctors aren't supposed to treat their family members, and for me it's that my dad never listens to me and always goes for what he can get for free from drug companies as the choice for my antidepressant. He also does this for his patients who can't afford their medications-- just giving them the free samples--, so he does mean well.)

Edited by lindahurt

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I've been on Effexor XR 75mg since May last year. I am now 10 days free of it. I did try to quit once before and it was difficult enough that I started taking it again. Brain zaps, truly hellish nightmares and an irrational rage that wasn't fueled by anything. At that time I had not read up on "Discontinuation Syndrome" so I had no idea what was going on. I was unhinged and went back on Effexor on the 4th day off of it.

The doc put me in 15mg Remeron and said it would take over for the Effexor and allow me to stop. Similar to how Prozac is used but in my case it didn't work. I tried once again to stop the Effexor and couldn't make it past day 4 again.

Since then, I've been gathering information and just sort of working up the courage to try again. What worked for me was the knowledge that it was the withdrawal from Effexor and not "me" that was causing the chaos. I also tapered a bit this time. I went from 75 to 37.5 until I felt good about it then took half that again for about a week then stopped......sort of. I knew day 4 was going to be hard to take for me so I carried 18.25 mg (approx) with me everywhere I went and did take it on day 4 when it got rough. I have now been 10 days without taking any Effexor and, while still difficult with the "zaps", confusion and rage, it hasn't been debilitating. I have not suffered the intense nightmares either. I have vivid dreams that go from a little creepy to disturbing but not the terrifying nightmares that plagued me before. I've been able to work but I've also been conscious about my emotional unpredictability so I try to keep myself away from social interaction as much as possible. I would hate to burn bridges with some uncalled for outburst of irrational rage.

So, in a nutshell, things are definitely easing up at day 10. This is not an easy med to come off of. Cold turkey was too difficult for me and if I was asked, I would say I don't recommend it unless you can escape from the world while you go through it. The other thing that really helps, even now, is to remember that the feelings you have are due to the Effexor withdrawal and not you. It eases up, believe me :-) The mental fog is the slowest thing to leave so give yourself a break while it's going on and just accept and be ok that you are not going to be at your best for a little while. Your brain will reassert itself after the shock. It just takes a bit of patience, the will to live with some discomfort and the ability to just give yourself a break :-)

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Hi all,

I was on 150mg of Venlafaxine for about 8 months. We decided to come down and the doctor said come down to 75mg. Unfortunately after 3 days I had terrible mood swings and feeling very low. Had to go back to 150mg. I still take it along with Mirtazipine. Thinking of trying 75mg + 37.5mg and keeping it there for a while. Did anyone else find their depressive smytpoms come back after dropping down? Is this is sign of needing to stay longer on the drug?

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