About 12 years ago I was diagnosed with mild depression and prescribed 75 mg effexor. I did achieve relief from my symptoms on this dose. Later, maybe a few years, my dose was increased to 150 mg when my job became more stressful. There was no discussion about duration of treatment.
I used to be an excellent sleeper. Whilst I couldn’t say my sleep pattern changed immediately after commencing Effexor, I did notice that around that time the quality of my sleep diminished.
The next thing I knew 10 years had passed. I approached my Family Doctor about my sleep difficulties and was prescribed temazepam, which was very helpful. My doctor said my sleep difficulties were unlikely to be caused by Effexor after all the time I’d been taking it. I could take 10mg of temazepam when needed and achieve a good nights sleep.
About 2 years ago, I decided to come off Effexor as I had convinced myself that it was disturbing my sleep patterns. I couldn’t come up with any other reason.
I was tapered off over about 3-4 months. I can’t remember the exact tapering regime but it was something like 37.5 mg every 2 – 3 weeks. When I dropped to 75 mg problems started. Initially the withdrawal symptoms were brain zaps that I had had in a mild form before. But these were manageable and I knew they would pass so I wasn’t worried.
It wasn’t until toward the end of my 3 weeks on 75 mg that the withdrawal effects really kicked in. My mood started to change – I was starting to feel sad.
I noticed a feeling in my hands as if they were dry and I kept applying cream. I didn’t connect the dry hands feeling to Effexor and just thought my hands were dry. However, I kept applying cream but the dry feeling persisted. At this stage, the dry hands feeling was manageable and not distressing as such.
I then dropped my dose again to 37.5 mg. That’s when things really started to go downhill. My mood continued to get worse. I believed this was a withdrawal symptom and that it would pass.
The sensation in my hands worsened. The feeling was now on my feet and body overall. It’s so difficult to describe. It was a feeling of dryness and the feeling of clothing against my skin was irritating in the way when someone scratches their nails on a chalkboard – a combination of dry, scaly, prickly, sandpaper feeling from the inside. It’s now all over my face and body. I find it incredibly distressing.
Also, whilst on 37.5 the brain zaps became more frequent and sleep was impossible without temazepam. I wasn’t concerned about these symptoms still believing they were transient.
I was on 37.5 for probably 3 weeks and, as directed by my GP, I stopped taking Effexor altogether. This was some time in May, 2018.
That’s when things got distressing. My mood went from sad to depressed. I couldn’t stand anything. I couldn’t concentrate, felt mad, couldn’t talk to anyone. Every day felt like groundhog day and I lost hope that things would ever improve.
Meanwhile, the skin sensations became unrelentingly distressing. It felt like my entire skin was dry, scaly, prickly, sandpaper. Like I was constantly wearing itchy wool but 1000 times worse. Like I was constantly dirty. Even straight after a shower. Getting into bed felt like I had just been to the gym, not taken a shower and got straight into bed. It felt utterly disgusting. I felt some relief in the shower and would sometimes take a shower to just to feel some relief. Otherwise, there was no relief. Ever.
If you touched my skin, it felt completely normal. and it looked normal. I didn’t actually have dry skin. It was like the feeling was inside my body but I felt it in my skin. Otherwise, the brain zaps continued but with time they became less intense and reduced in frequency.
I withdrew from life. The one thing I did make myself do was exercise. I would spend one hour at the gym, then would go for a free run for about 40 minutes. I was exercising more than ever but even that didn’t make me feel better. In fact, it had no impact on my mood whatsoever. In the past exercise always helped me. the more I exercised, the better I felt. I persisted with exercise even when, for example, the socks against my skin felt horrible.
Sleep was still impossible without temazepam. The skin sensation was also somewhat eased if I took 5 mg of temazepam during the day.
I saw 3 different doctors about my skin feeling and trouble sleeping. In relation to the skin sensations, all three simply said “that’s not something which is normally reported as an Effexor withdrawal symptom”. They told me it was probably transient and that my sleep should improve. It never did. One doctor said the skin thing sounded like an allergic reaction and suggested I try an antihistamine. I did. It did nothing.
I existed in this state for about 6 months. I was essentially bound to my bed and the TV. I couldn’t do anything. I could barely feed myself. I had no appetite whatsoever.
I researched everything I could trying to find some reference to or answers as to what this skin feeling was and will it pass. I couldn’t find anything. The only thing that came close was when I watched a documentary about people withdrawing from drugs like heroin. One lady described how she felt clothing against her skin was uncomfortable
I decided that I needed to see someone who was an expert in antidepressants and figured that would have to be a psychiatrist.
I first starting seeing my psychiatrist in January, 2019. I explained my history. She had never heard of the skin problem. She said that I had suffered relapse depression and said it was major depression. In describing my skin feeling, I said it felt like I was trapped, like it’s a physical manifestation of depression but it’s a very physical feeling. My psychiatrist told me that people can experience depression in a very physical way. For example, some people get back pain even though there is nothing wrong with their back. She said my skin feeling was my version of that.
By this stage, I was desperate and willing to do anything to make the skin feeling go away so when she told me I would have to go back on Effexor I didn’t object. I was put back on 37.5 mg initially, which was increased by 37.5 every 3 or so days until I was up to what I am on now which is 375 mg.
I was put on other drugs to augment Effexor. I can’t remember the name of the first one she gave me but I suffered serotonin syndrome the first night I took it. She switched that to Zyprexa 2.5 mg. Initially I felt euphoric but that feeling didn’t last.
Over time my skin feeling improved as did my mood. Sleep however did not. My psychiatrist said if I don’t sleep, I won’t get better. She put me on imovane to get me to fall asleep and gabapentin to make me stay asleep. Gabapentin did help but it also gave me constipation. Over some months gapapentin stopped working. I could go weeks without a full nights sleep. She then put me on Lyrica which does work but also gives me constipation. It’s a daily choice, painful constipation or a complete lack of sleep.
My psychiatrist said the constipation should pass. It’s been about 5 months on Lyrica with no sign of the constipation passing. I have to use Movical every day.
I feel like a drug addict. I don’t want to be on these drugs. Without reference to my psychiatrist, I have tried reducing my Effexor dose. I thought that maybe I came off Effexor the first time too quickly and that if I did it in very small reductions over a long period of time perhaps I would have a different result. I tried breaking the tablet open, taking out just one pellet but after only a few days the skin feeling starts up. I get scared and go back to the full dose. It takes a few days but then the skin feeling recedes again. I have even tried cutting the one pellet in half, but I get the same result.
In the last 6 months, I’ve started getting red pin point dots all over arms, tops of my legs and abdomen. They increase each day. I had my blood tested but was told everything is normal. My psychiatrist doesn’t know what is causing the red dots.
Even on 375 mg Effexor, I am in a much worse way than when I was initially put on this drug. If I had my time again, I would never have started it. At the time I wasn’t exercising much, had a stressful and sedentary job and stopped eating meat without properly researching how to ensure I was getting the right nutrition.
It’s probably impossible to know if those factors caused my initial mild depression but I wish I knew then what I know now – that exercise is as effective as an antidepressant without the side effects.
H sought help from the RxISK eConsult service. It’s difficult to manage something like this through an eConsult service – it would require regular engagement over months or years which would be prohibitively expensive.
Instead, we came up with the idea of approaching experts in the area with some questions:
Those we consulted got back to us quickly. The plan was to post their responses here but they are so interesting and detailed it seems better to post them in their own right – hoping the series of posts will provide something that others affected as H. was, is, and will be, can have something to show doctors, family, politicians or others.
Efexor is Effexor in some countries. Whether F or FF its the same drug as Pristiq and closely related to Tramadol.
More to Follow – see the following 3 posts.
This post had its 91st comment, which was important enough to bring forward and include in the body of the post.
Hello everyone, I am H. I thought I should post an update in case it helped someone.
I finally had a very frank conversation with my psychiatrist about how I was feeling. She concluded that despite the high dose of effexor (375) my depression was still resistant to the drug for treatment.
She put me on a tapering off effexor whilst introducing a new antidepressant, Dosulepin. She said it has been around for a long time and was one of the first antidepressants to become available for depressed patients. She told me that ‘on paper’ it isn’t advised for patients to take effexor and dosulepin concurrently due to adverse side effects. However, fortunately I didn’t have an interaction problem (my psychiatrist joked my liver must be doing a good job). I take dosulepin at night and effexor in the morning.
The effexor was tapered in doses of 75 each week whilst taking dosulepin at night. To my delight, I had no adverse side effects from tapering effexor like I did the first time. I am now down to 37.5 of effexor. Soon I will stop effexor altogether.
David and his colleagues were right, people like me (who have difficulties with effexor) can sometimes taper by introducing a different antidepressant.
The new antidepressant is certainly doing more for me than effexor ever did. So far so good.
I have been reading some of the other posts about what a nightmare (and frankly a poison) effexor is. I wish I had never met it! Effexor is no joke and with other more effective treatments available, in my opinion, Effexor should not be the first medication prescribed. It seems to be the ‘go to’ medication in the medical community.
I am so excited to finally be (almost) free of Effexor!
I have written to the producers of Effexor with my story. I will be following up. It would be great if they included in the very long list of side effects the traumatic problems some patients have when trying to get off Effexor!
This development is fascinating for a few reasons. First it runs counter to the most commonly supported views – tapering and hyperbolic withdrawal that feature in the next posts.
Second, dosulepin, which used to be called dothiepin, was the most popular antidepressant in Britain in the late 1980s just as the SSRIs came on the market. The SSRI makers worked hard to tell doctors that it was pure poison and really should be banned – lethal in overdose etc.
It is available in Britain still but most doctors scared by propaganda are reluctant to use it or even know about it. Its clearly also available in Australia – but not in Canada or the USA.
Interesting post. I just want to add just in case it might help anyone, when I was on mirtazapine and when I was withdrawing from it I used to get the odd boil appear on my face. It used to start with itching and I also had itchy skin all over my body but the boils only appeared on my face.
Well I tried every cream going I even tried an over the counter facial cream from boots (recommended by pharmacist) I think the name was something like “freedom” but it gave me terrible acne so I stopped using it. I was then told by another pharmacist that the same cream had had the same affect on her skin too and she advised me to stop using it.
Anyway to cut a long story short I then came across teatree oil and witch hazel night gel treatment. I used this with E45 moisturising lotion and it improved my skin beyond belief. I still had the odd boil try to appear but teetree oil and E54 moisturising lotion reduced it significantly until I was well over my withdrawral which I would say was about a year and a half after stopping the medication.
I no longer get itchy facial boils and my skin is no longer dry and itchy. I now know this was down to mirtazapine.
If it helps try to use something like E45 or Diprobase for dry crawly itchy skin if withdrawing from any medication you feel could be causing your skin problems.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE: I was on Effexor 75 mg for 4 months. I was prescribed it by a general practitioner. I went to her with complaints of insomnia. Instead of suggesting Benadryl, natural herbs, or a calcium fizzy drink, she prescribed me 75 mg of Effexor. The starting dose is 37.5 mg. I felt GREAT taking 75 mg and was hooked from the first day. I was too ignorant to realize I was hypomanic. Four months later, I crashed. This is natural when you get used to being on a drug you don’t need. So, this general practitioner with a specialty in Internal Medicine, doubled the dose to 150 mg. She claimed my depression was a relapse. (I wasn’t depressed to begin with, however. This was now the fallout of being hypomanic for 3 months.) From that point forward 6 years, I was a zombie. I had to rely upon the “kindness” of strangers for housing and help. I functioned as a person with mental illness and lived like a ghost in society. If you don’t need psychotropic drugs and you take them, it induces artificial mental illness. All I needed to do AFTER I CRASHED was down dose the drug. Instead my GP doubled the dose. Unfortunately, I believed her and taking 150 mg ruined my life.
During those 6 years on 150 mg of Effexor, I had scales on my scalp, enlarged tonsils, frequent runny nose, little bumps on my neck, constipation, dry skin, cravings for sugar and alcohol, blurred vision, and a very bloated stomach. I also gained abdominal fat for the 1st time in my life. Those were just the physical symptoms. I had psychological ones, too, such as nightmares and blunted cognition and blunted affect.
Once I saw real psychiatrist and talked with him about these symptoms, he told me that I was poisoning myself with Effexor and I had a fatty acid deficiency. This was indicated by my scales, tonsils, runny nose, and mysterious neck bumps.
Once I came off the Effexor, I realized that I had permanent damage to my brain and limbic system. I literally cannot function more than a week without half an adult dose of an anti-seizure medication used off-label as a mood stabilizer. I also take half the amount of a mild anti-anxiety medication. I take these 2 meds with a calcium fizzy drink at BEDTIME only because they knock me out and if I take them in the morning, I fall back to sleep. If I don’t take meds, I become suicidal. I was never like this before taking Effexor… for insomnia.
I think you are POISONING YOURSELF and I think that your symptoms could be lessened by down dosing to the lowest amount of Effexor you “need” to function. Effexor does really weird stuff to our bodies and brains, and some Effexor survivors NEVER come off of the drug because they’re permanently hooked. However, you need to reduce your intake of this powerful drug. Your skin issues may go away (?) if you down dose and add essential fatty acid supplements to your diet. Research brain health diet plans & supplements. You could have inflammation from the Effexor so reducing your intake & following an anti-inflammatory diet could help reduce your symptoms.
Effexor is a nasty drug. I’ve been trying to taper for months. I ended up in the hospital for several days because the doctors do not believe this is due to withdrawal. I know without a doubt what I experience is because of this drug. I have to continue low dose it because I’m not in a position in my life to be sick for months. I have to continue to take a small amount everyday just to survive. The saddest thing is, I was prescribed this to alleviate anxiety which was occasional but extreme. No anxiety medicine tho, just this crap that they say is not addictive. I think every single doctor who wants to prescribe it should have to take it, and then come off of it before they do.
I AM DOWN TO 150 EFFEXOR WITH A DRUG CALLED SEREQUEL I DID NOT SUFFER WITHDRAWAL, BUT SEREQUEL CAUSES A PERSON TO BE VERY SLEEPY AND WEIGHT GAIN. IF I AM GOING TO REDUCE TO O EFEXOE I WILL TAKE SEREQUEL AGAIN MAYBE FOR 3 WEEKS AND START SERTRALINE OR PROZAC TO KEEP DEPRESSION AWAY FOR A WHILE WHILE MY BRAIN AJUSTS , I DON,T WANT TO GET SUICIDE IDEATION.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY PLAN?
Holy shit I’m in shock reading these horror stories! I’ve been on 60mg of Effexor for about 3 months, and I’m trying to stop all these fucking meds I hate them, I’m currently into 5 weeks of *the most miserable* withdrawal from Klonopin! I stopped taking the Effexor because it made the Klonopin withdrawal less severe, and now I have shooting nerve shocks!
all so very interesting to read but I am on effexor 37.5 and tapering off to every other day then I will empty 20% of beads for months .
Sorry to hear all that!
My doctor has told me to go off in increments through 2 weeks but I deceided cold turkey as the first day of 50% was hell, so I thought, if I have to go through hell, why bother making it slow?
Anyway, I have been clinically depressed since I was 11 years old, but it wasn’t after postnatal depression kicked in, that I got this med.
I have to say, however terrible I’m currently feeling – this drug saved my life and very probably also my child’s. Anxiet and anger and confusion was off the charts and had I not received that drug, I wouldn’t be here to talk about it. So I m grateful as it did save my life.
Coming off now though cold turkey is very difficult. I am sweating profusely at the tiniest physical effort, my eyes and nose have been itchy I am ungodly tired, WHILE taking mirtazapin AND zolpidem to sleep.
Anyone else experiencing weird dreams? Not necessarily in what they are, but I wake up and I have to go through pictures and talk to my husband to be able to know what’s real and what’s not. I feel like I am literally going a bit crazy and I am so incredibly scared about that.
I took care of 2 grandparents with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and this morning routine with my husband reminded me of those early days I had with them. Fully there, but doubts and little stories started to pop up. I’m only 30, reason I’m stopping this is because we d like another child.
But again, I wouldn’t have survived without this drug so far. Even if now it may be the death of me
Oh my god! Same here! I’m in the US , where our primary care doctors don’t pay much attention to what we say is wrong. I started working from home during the pandemic shutdown last January 2020, and the stress was bad. All of our work processes had to very quickly transfer from paper to all online electronic processes. My staff was panicking, and I had to figure something out quickly. I was never depressed at all, just very stressed. Also, I had a new doctor that I went to see and meet, as I had started going through menopause. She prescribed Effexor ‘fir menopause symptoms’, at 37.5mg x 3 pills per day. I thought that that was normal for menopausal women. I’m the oldest woman in my family, so I didn’t question it. Here I am, over a year later, trying to wean myself off of this poison. I refuse to ever go back to see her again. I tried once, and she started talking about ‘Socialism’ and that she was from Texas and hated socialism. No idea what she was talking about. I’m an engineer and could care less. Crazy doctor. No other doctors who are available to accept patients on my company’s insurance plan, as they are all full right now. So I’ve tapered it down to a half tablet (18.75mg) every 12 hrs and decided to go cold turkey. It’s been over 3 days. Brain zaps galore, difficulty concentrating, and more brain zaps. But I will get off of this poison, even if on my own. There’s no one but me to assist myself otherwise. no family, it I have a very cute cat who loves me, so I’m ok.
hi i’m right there with you. i’m on day 2 after a rather short taper down, and all i’ve got is my cute cat to help me through the brain zaps.
was on effexor for 3 years, and i’ve been on prozac, to assist with the taper + to help with pmdd, for about 1 month. can’t say it’s helped much but your comment made me smile
After 3 years I decided I wanted off the Effexor (150mg). Weight just would not come off. Plus, when I started to read up on side effects to coming off the meds, I found out that Effexor can have an impact on blood pressure (which was an issue for me, although no one ever pointed out the possible link). I’ll admit that I did not dive deep enough down into the side effects because I never saw how bad withdrawal could be, I just wanted to stop the medication. I figured if things started to get difficult again, I would now need to see a psychiatrist, my PCP had done all they could do. I figured that might be somewhere down the road, but also likely. I know I need mental health support.
My PCP had started me on Effexor so that’s where I went to come off. I let them know I was aware that cold turkey stopping was not a good idea and they agreed, so they gave me a 2 week step down. Week 1 I’d do 75mg and week 2 I’d do 37.5. ( After reading all I’ve read I am ASTOUNDED that they did this over 2 weeks, some people takes months and even years).
I am day 5 after coming off all Effexor and I feel like I’ve opened the gates to hell. My poor family.
Over time I’ve forgotten to take my Effexor and my 3pm I knew it. My head would have this constant swooshing sound. Day 2 reducing Effexor the swooshing started and has not stopped. Now it’s so bad that when I turn my head I swear it sounds the Jaime Sommers using her strength as the Bionic Woman. I explained it to my husband that it also sound like when you’re on the highway and you just put down one window and it makes that weird noise. Today I don’t think I should even drive; I heard someone explain it as their “tracking” was off and that made sense. I feel like my head moves a half second behind my body. My balance is way off and now my leg muscles are feeling so tight I can’t step down the stairs or curb.
I’d been feeling like crud for a while and it’s always because “you’re fat” or “you’re old”. My body was not in the greater shape when I started Effexor but I I still felt human. A human with the start of arthritis and aches due to weight. But as soon as I started experiencing breakthrough mental health struggles late last fall I started feeling it physically, and it evolved rapidly. And since reducing and then eliminating Effexor? Right down the tubes.
I went on Effexor due to anxiety. I just needed a buoy in life, something that helps slow my crazy/over thinking brain. Effexor worked. But…Throw in a pandemic and everything that came with it? Effexor stopped working so well. I didn’t connect how I was feeling then to break through issues on my meds (full disclosure, my therapist was on maternity leave, I wasn’t doing my regular processing. I just now recognize what was really going on).
I’m 48, perimenopausal and overweight, but also just finished a masters, work in the mental health field, and consider myself smarter than the average bear (just average). I knew I needed help, immediately. No suicidal ideation but dear God, the just instant wall of depression (remember, my issue had originally been anxiety, this depression this was WAY out side what I was expecting). Crying? I hate to cry and when I do it’s at dumb things like awards shows. I have not stopped crying for days. I barely made it around the block, walking my dog, without completely melting.
I’ve been working as a clinician for a few years and am ready to get my own license. I refer people for supports and referrals ALL the time. Today I tried to do that for myself and I was horrified. Our mental healthcare system is beyond broken. My own PCP could not help me (didnt even ask me to come on, but did suggest going back on the Effexor until I could find someone to help me get off it. I read it was rare that issues could occur with going back on Effexor, but so are, apparently, the side effects I am currentl feeling. Going back on seemed a BAD idea. But do you know how hard it is to find someone to help with med management? I do. Very hard. Looks like about a 6 month wait in the NorthEast area I live in. 6 months. Took a simple lil appointment to get on this holy hell medication, but 6 months before I can see someone (not even someone I want to see, just first available) to help me deal with the fucking side effects of this medications. The irony is cold.
I prefer offering solutions after such a rant, but I have none. I am plum out of ideas. I don’t know what to do for myself about this and I don’t even know how to help others with this, in my professional role.
I’m really sorry other people are feeling this much pain right now too. This does suck, this does hurt, I’m not sure how I’m going to yank my head off the pillow tomorrow morning but I’m going to do it. Then I’m going to curse the decision to ever start this medication. Then I’m going to try and figure it out.
I’m going through the discontinuence of the mg of venlafaxlaline(Effexor). after years on it, asked for tapering and did. Have had sporatic symptoms of comng off which have been mild to severely uncomfortable and missed work or been at work when out of nowhere I’d begin to feel , hot, sweating, confused, catonic, dazed, nauseous, bowels, concetration, speech impaired, not able to function at my normal capacity. My gut feeling hunger but like pain from an ulcer. Eating yogurt or ice cream were what I crave when this happens. Laying down and sleeping will help and when I wake up from vivid dreams, I will have slurred speech. This has been happening at random times over the months since tapering off and during the tapering period. There is some research I found that has shown that some people take years to recover from all these post effexor side effects and it sounds like this drug has the ability to cause changes in our brains that effect the way our bodies normally function to the point of permanant damage. Irreversible. No way of knowing whether the episodes will ever cease to reappear. It is totally irresponsible of the pharm company to have made a drug and for the FDA to approve with knowing all of the known effects of it and not knowing the longterm effects of what devastating debilitating effcts this drug is capable of causing the people who they market it to!
Similar situation here. I have been on 300 mg for over 10 years now. I’ve been too afraid to come off because I have missed a dose before, and it’s hell. But I think it stopped working at some point this year, so I have decided to come off of it. I’m already on wellbutrin as well, so Dr couldn’t add another anti depressant. I am coming down 75mg at a time. I’ve been at 225mg for a few days and wondering if I should just speed up the process? I just want to get to the part where either I get something new or just know I need to stay on this forever.
I’m currently on a leave from work due to depression and meds stopped working, so I figure I might as well get this done before going back to work in 4 weeks. Any advice?
I was on Zoloft for a few years. Started going through a divorce and my doctor switched me to 75 mg of Effexor. I stayed on that for about 6 years and it did help me. I decided (on my own) to go down to 37.5 mg and did that successfully. I had severe brain zaps for weeks until the change kicked in.
I decided (with my doctor) that since I had been on Effexor for 12 years I wanted to go off. She initially gave me 12 pills, not tablets, and told me one a day for 5 days and then break apart and one every other day. I panicked and called her and she gave me a 3 month supply. I tapered down and then off after about 6 weeks. I had zaps and mood swings but I handled it ok.
I’m totally off now but if feel so sad and anxious about everything. I could cry at any given moment. I have a very sick family member and focus on that constantly. I have what I have diagnosed as “empathy disorder”. I am taking their pain and suffering and making it my own. If I forget for a moment and laugh or enjoy myself I feel so guilty. I don’t sleep and think of him consistently.
I am normally a very sensitive and empathetic person but this is ridiculous and not healthy for you me at all. I’m thinking about going back to doctor and getting on another anxiety medicine (not Effexor) but one part of me says I just need to get a grip and handle this myself,
I have had weird and creative dreams while on this drug. Trying to wean off and have massive itching throughout my scalp + lesions starting on my face
I have just begun to taper because I am tired of the brain zaps, overproduction of sweat and doom dreams every night. It feels like the same dream that’s just extended every night and either consists of the world ending or an animal attacking. I know it’s not real, for now but they feel so clear and true.
I am currently tapering off of Effexor XR and am nearing the end of it. I’ve been on some sort of antidepressant since my early 20s…I’m now about to turn 47. For me, antidepressants have been a life saver as I suffer from depression and generalized anxiety.
I was on 75 mg of Effexor XR and because I have always had ED issues from it I was looking for alternatives. The APRN to manages my mental health prescriptions suggested I go on 150 mg of Bupropion (Wellbutrin) because it has less of a sexual side effect. When I began on the Bupropion I did feel a bit of a pep up mood wise. My primary doctor said that if I was having a positive effect from the Bupropion that I should consider coming off of the Effexor XR because taking them together was not going to help the ED issues. My APRN did tell me that Effexor is one of the hardest drugs antidepressants to come off of, similar to caffeine withdrawal.
This was my taper plan:
First 20 days go from 75mg to 37.5mg.
For the final 10 pills (20 days) take 37.5mg every other day until I reach my final pill.
Going from 75 to 37.5mg I did have a couple days of withdrawal. Very mild; light sensitivity, mild sour stomach.
But when I began taking the 37.5mg every other day is when the withdrawal symptoms really hit. My anxiety, which had been alleviated for years, returned. I’ve had nausea which has caused me not to eat as much as I have been, fatigue, feeling like I had flu-like symptoms, muscle aches. But the worst of it has been the overall general feeling of melancholy. I just feel overall blah all the time. I have no spark of joy.
What has been getting me through is a lot of self-care; resting a lot, use of my weighted blanket, staying hydrated, talking with family, journaling, and just constantly reminding myself that I can do this and that what I’m feeling is only temporary.
My final Effexor XR will be next Thursday (July 1st) and luckily I begin a 2-week vacation on the 3rd because I anticipate a few really bad days when my body realizes that it’s not going to get any more Effexor XR. I just had a follow-up appointment this past Wednesday and we did decide to increase the Bupropion from 150 to 300 mg for the depression and I have started on Buspar for the anxiety (15 days of half dose then to the full dose). My hope is that as the Effexor is finally leaving my system the Buspar will be built up enough to begin getting a benefit from it.
I will say that this has been very hard and at times I ask myself was it worth it. Everything in my life was running smoothly, as I said, I hadn’t had anxiety for years (my Xanax prescription was from 2016). I caused all of this upset in my life just to try to have a “normal” sex life. But after 20+ years of having ED issues I really felt it was worth a try.
I have really appreciated reading the comments and seeing that I’m not alone. And I thought that maybe my words might be able to help someone else.
There have been several comments by email. This from James Moore who ran a very influential Let’s Talk Withdrawal podcast and who now has links to Mad in America.
Thank you for sharing this all too familiar predicament. I don’t have enough experience to add anything particularly helpful, but I view this situation as essentially boiling down to one of two approaches. Neither will be easy and this poor person may have to come to terms with living a somewhat compromised life. Something I am personally struggling to accept myself.
The first is to manage symptoms while maintaining on the Effexor at the lowest effective dosage, though whether this can be done for life is anyone’s guess. The second is an incredibly slow and gentle taper using a liquid form (if available). This also is a complete unknown. As this person has already been sensitised by a fairly rapid taper, any follow up taper needs to be agonisingly slow. Then, of course, there is the complication of the other drugs to address.
The first objective in any treatment plan I would recommend is stabilisation before changes are attempted very slowly and gradually.
I would be very interested in what the experts you have approached recommend and I hope this person manages to find a way forward that reduces their distress while also being something they can live with.
With best wishes as always
I have been on venlafaxine modified release for over 2 years 75 mg. I contacted my doctor about coming off it and she said as it was a modified release I could go to 37.5 mg for 2 weeks then stop completely. 1 week in I feel nauseous and tearful with long earful periods at night and fatigue in the day. Is this period of only 2 weeks too quick or I can you indeed come off the MR Venlafaxine this quickly?? Has anyone else got experience of coming off the MR Venlafaxine??
Two weeks in your case self-evidently is a lot too quick. Any kind of venlafaxine can be desperately difficult to get off.
I had a third episode of MDD. Dr gave me effexor. Within a week I felt great, wanted to get out of bed and even had energy. Side effects were terrible: sweating day and night, started having acid reflux, and had sexual effects. I was only on a month and tapered off. I still have the sweating, reflux, and other’s. Why are these side effects continuing?
I’m under my drs care of tapering off. Bad headaches, nausea, dizzy. Much more. Wish I never started taking this
I absolutely hate that i ever took this medication. Coming off it has been extremely difficult. Suffered from Rem Behavior Disorder because of Effexor. It’s a terrible terrible drug. Now I’m having nausea and vomitting, horrible brain shocks
I’ve been on Effexor XR for 19 years. I was put on it for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and PTSD. Last week I forgot to refill it & then pharmacy was closed. By then I had been 3 days without it so I tried to cold-turkey off of it. I had terrible nightmares night 2, hallucination day 3, brain zaps days 1-3, by day 4 I was afraid to be alone so my sister came to stay with me. Day 5 I started crying and by day 6 I had suicidal ideation. Night 6 I woke up violently shivering/shaking with a body temp of 95.9°f. I didn’t want to see what day 7 would bring. I went back on Effexor XR. I’m 55 and doubt I’ll ever be able to get off of this poison.
I am also 55. Was put on Effexor XR about 5 years ago for hot flashes. I was also having quite a bit of anxiety (I believe hormone related) and in hindsight was probably mildly depressed after the death of my Mom. I don’t regret going on the medication, as I do believe it helped me through a tough time. But getting off is really tough and both my Dr. and I believe it is no longer needed.
My Dr. gave me a few suggestions but didn’t really have a taper plan. This Is what I have done.
Phase 1 reduce from 75 to 37.5
A) 3 Days at 75, 4th day at 37.5 for 2 weeks (I had very little side effects)
B) 2 Days 75, 3rd day 37.5 for 2 weeks (again very few side effects)
C) Alternate days of 75 and 37.5 for 2 weeks (had a few brain zaps here but tolerable)
D) 2 days 37.5 and 3rd day 75 for a week
E) 3 Days 37.5 and 4th day 75 for a week
F) 37.5 daily
I stayed on 37.5 for 5 months made sure my body and brain were fully adjusted before tapering any further
Phase 2- this is where things get a bit tricky. I ordered some empty capsules (Amazon I think) and followed a very similar plan. I would cut open the 37..5 capsule (poured the little balls into a small dish) and divide it into the empty capsules.
A) 3 Days at 37.5, 4th day at 1/2 for 1 week
B) 2 Days 37.5, 3rd day 1/2 for 1 week
C) Alternate days of 37.5 and 1/2 for 2 weeks (since this was where I had some issues previously I did 2 weeks instead of one)
D) 2 days 1/2 and 3rd day 37.5 for a week
E) 3 Days 1/2 and 4th day37.5 for a week
F) 1/2 daily for 2 weeks
Next I started to make 1/4 capsules also
A) 3 Days at 1/2, 4th day at 1/4 for 1 week
B) 2 Days 1/2, 3rd day 1/4 for 1 week
C) Alternate days of 1/2 and 1/4 for 2 weeks
D) 2 days 1/4 and 3rd day 1/2 for a week
E) 3 Days 1/4 and 4th day 1/2 for a week
F) 1/4 daily for 2 weeks
All of this took time.. but for me had very few side effects.
Now the hard part… going off completely. I’m not sure if this is the best plan, but with all my research I really couldn’t find a better answer.
I started to only take 1/4 when I started having brain zaps. For the most part I was taking one every 2 days and and the time did not seem to be getting further than 48 hours before the zaps would start, So I had to just stop taking the 1/4. I am at 4 days without any at this point. Having some brain zaps but mostly only when moving my head quickly. I am having moments of nausea, sweating and my body is sore at times. I am not thinking as clearly as I would like but I am able to think. I am functional. I am going to work and making dinner. I would best describe it as just generally feeling unwell, but not really sick. I hope the little side effects I am feeling will subside in the next couple weeks. I hope this may help you, or someone like me who searched these forums for an answer.
I’m 63 years old, I went on Effexor XR (75 mg) 21 years ago after the death of my father. I’d always been able to handle death and high stress situation my entire life, but the death of my Dad and just couldn’t shake. Effexor made my mood stable , my wife even called them my “happy pills” for when I got grumpy.
Life was pretty good up till my Mothers passing 4 years ago. At that time and the days following and even months after, I realized I felt no sadness or even empathy of her passing. I loved my mother dearly and we were always close, closer then me and my father ever were. After sometime I really reflected on my true feelings, I found I really felt nothing, not love, not anger. Even though I love my wife, kids and family, I was incapable of actually feeling it, felt empty. That’s when I decided to discontinue the Effexor XR. I tried once before to just go “cold turkey” which did not go well. The “brain zaps”, the overreactions, mood swings, everything just became worse. Today, I’m going on week 4 of the withdrawal, The clarity of my thinking has improved immensely, I’m in a calm state of mind, no anger, mood seems stable but the daily waves of emotions, sudden bouts of tears.
the on and off “brain zaps” and all they entail are a real challenge and the urge to take another dose just to get by are strong. I’m going to make it through this as I hope those of you in the same predicament will too. I wish my PCP would of never prescribed it to me and I would of allowed myself to power through those difficult times on my own.
I was on same 75mg pills from hell for only 2 months, if I had known what I do now….
I reduced by tipping half down the sink for a week and a further week later here I am after stopping, forgotten what sleep 💤 is… even with 20mg tamazepan every night.
Ringing in my ears brain zaps are easing, maybe I’ll eat soon! Praying this unbelievable evil comedown ends very soon, I wasn’t warned about this!
This is not the way I would advise you to do it so please get some help of a pro.
I wish you all the best.
I have been on the same medication as you but I was increased to 225mg taking it in the morning for the past 2 years for anxiety .
The past 10 months I experienced bloating and extended tummy so bad it hurt to walk , sit and I couldn’t lay in a position properly to sleep , I wasn’t sleeping anyway since being put on this drug and I was put on many sleeping tablets and the side effects were so bad on all of them that I refused to go on any of them . I asked my GP to help me come off them because of the pain I had been experiencing and that outwayed the benefits of being on the drug and he agreed to slowly gone off it 75mg at a time 3/4 weeks intervals . I managed to do it successfully at 2 weeks intervals. However at the last hurdle now the week I am off it , eventually no extended tummy I am tearful, my depression is at its lowest and I am awake until 3am every day and I cannot wake in the morning and find myself still in bed by the afternoon . I have nothing but bad thoughts in my mind . My psychiatrist told me this medication was the best one after pregablin because I was ill after that and very suicidal , now we have parted ways because of trust issues I refuse to go back on this drug .
I have also been on it for 2.5 years. Trying to very slowly work off a daily dose of 225mg which was prescribed to me as a prophylactic for chronic migraines and I cry. ALOT. The brain zaps, vertigo, joint pain, exhaustion all day and inability to sleep well at night has made me go back up to my full dosage after a week or so every time. It’s destroying my life. Not to mention the 45 pounds I’ve gained. This drug is a nightmare. All I can say is I hope we find a way off it successfully.
I was on venlor xr75mg for a week…then progressed to 150XR for three weeks…I was constantly vomiting…body aches..flu symptoms and about to lose my mind. I’m now on 37.5mg a day with 20mg Prozac will will be replacing venlor xr entirely…I have 2 days left on 37.5mg I feel like a new person
On it for 15 years. Tapered off over 3 1/2 months. SEVERE TERROR WITHDRAWALS 24/7. It’s like I entered another dimension and pretended to be okay on my job but it was torture. Found out too late that FDA recommends when withdrawals are so horrible the psychiatrist should immediately put you back on previous dose and taper slower. My psychiatrist didn’t do that and my brain fried. That was in 2012. Went to 7 psychiatrists and no one could help. Tried dozens of meds, a neurologist, TMS consultation but never recovered. Only klonopin helped keep me from suicide. So now I’m dependent on benzos. Feel like I died. Was disagnosied with PTSD, Neurotoxicity (by Dr Stuart Shipko) from it and now suffer medication induced Anhedonia. I’m dead. They put me back on Effexor too late and I want off. Tried a bead taper -One bead out a month. Got up to 19 beads out plus 2 – 37.5 capsules and it was too much. Can NEVER HET OFF THIS DRUG. I have to pay Pfizer for the rest of my life for a med that destroyed me and can no longer help me. It’s insanity. I filed many complaints with Pfizer and the FDA but no one cares.
My life has been destroyed. I lost my successful career in television and on Disability for several years. Lost my personality and ability to feel happiness, creativity or motivation from the Anhedonia. I’m not the same person. Dependent on benzos. Memory loss and cognitive confusion. I isolate and have suicidal ideation. Uncomfortable around people. This drug in the hands of an incompetent psychiatrist killed “me”. The Medical Board didn’t care. My sister didn’t believe me and estranged me. Heartbreaking. Effexor is EVIL.
This comment is from Stevie Lewis who has played a big part in the raising the issues in Wales and in liaising with Marion Brown and colleagues in Scotland to present patient centred evidence to government and regulators.
My heart sank when I read the story you sent through. How many times have we seen the same thing?
“I was given an AD for a mild problem. I was on it a long time at various doses. Whilst on it or in withdrawal I developed deeply unpleasant symptoms no-one can explain. When I went to ‘an expert’ for help they gave me even more drugs and now I’m worse”. Sooooo predictable.
I’ve just seen James’ reply to you and there’s not much for me to add. This poor woman wants to know what to do now, today, to feel better. My input is really an overview:
– get all the chemicals out of your system slowly and steadily.
– accept you are going to be ill for an indeterminate amount of time. I had to live with and through the terror, the phobias, the extreme jerking to get to the other side of it, there was no alternative.
– believe your nervous system (and whatever other bodily systems have been compromised) will heal once it is left to its own devices, and most if not all mystery and/or unpleasant symptoms will go
This means avoiding “taking” anything – most pleas for help usually are framed around “what can I take today to make me feel better” and the answer has to be – nothing.
That’s your body. As for your mind, you have to learn to befriend the fear that you might never get better, as anyone with chronic illness does.
This is a long game, which no-one wants to hear.
It’s refreshing and your words drum up fear but also hope . My wife suffers from PTSD and Depression, and has been put on venlafaxine….on 300mg a day , hindsight we wish we had opted for alternative drug or treatment as she’s wanting to get off it , but reduction in dosage has its own evils…it seems like an awful drug .
But she wants to try her best and is prepared for the worst, whatever that maybe.
How important it is when withdrawing from a drug that the person drawing up the plan knows what they are doing. In so many cases the presenting person is not believed when they describe symptoms they have never had before. Then what happens is usually the signing off of other prescriptions and before you know it, the original drug is lost and confused amongst the mix.
This situation can often times become extremely difficult to unravel.
What started off as a withdrawal from one drug has now morphed and it will be almost impossible for someone to sort this out. Especially the initial prescribing doctor.
This situation is unfortunately what most doctors do, not knowing enough about each drug and can land the patient in a perilous position with a very difficult way out.
This patient’s life has become so miserable and become a much worse situation than it should be.
A very long slow taper is ideal.
If the patient becomes uncomfortable and distressed at various points, then they should revert to the previous level and stay on that for a month or two until they feel happy to reduce a tiny bit more.
So many doctors have different ideas, but, if the patient is distressed, then clearly a plan needs to be drawn up which doesn’t involve random and often times reckless additional drugs, leaving everyone confused as to the right way forward.
Reducing from 40 mg Paroxetine involved reducing with tablets and liquid over a year and even with this plan, a steely determination is necessary to ride through what can be months and even years of adjustments and most importantly, at this point, to try not to be cajoled, by the doctor, in to starting right back at the beginning or to take thoughtless additions, and this can be the hardest part of the merry-go-round of Complex Withdrawal.
I would add that, as simple as it may sound, trying to remain calm is also important. By this, I mean all who are concerned with the patient’s care. The person in withdrawal is obviously dealing with feelings and sensations that are overwhelming; having family or friends who can take things in their stride without an element of panic or bewilderment can be of great support to the sufferer. Having a ‘professional’ who is also calm and taking everything in his stride brings the whole situation together so that progress is possible.
We saw the other side of matters too – a professional who was overwhelmed and failed to listen to family, created a raft of problems whereby the patient ( without a hint of getting support to withdraw) was ready to give up his life due to no hope of recovery.
Thankfully, we were shown a better way. Not an ‘easy way’, just better!
I wonder if getting in touch with someone who has found ways of dealing with pain would provide different ways of dealing with the immediate need of “something to make me feel better today”? I know of a young person (through Twitter) who has been quite successful in dealing with her own physical pain and mental anguish. Could ask permission to share her details if it would be useful. This would be together with all James and Stevie suggest of course.
May 9, 2023
To Mary H
I see your suggestion to request from a young person on Twitter who was successful in dealing with the horrific withdrawal symptoms from discontinuing Effexor (Venlafaxine). Did you share the info anywhere that I can find? I’m overwhelmed with all of the physical and mental effects!!
Thank you! 🙏
When I was prescribed more medicines and told to go through more futile procedures especially after I went to hell and back, I decided to turn by back on Western Medicine completely and I have never looked back.
I knew that if I did not listen to my instincts, I would not be here writing on RXISK today.
Victims of misdiagnosis, overmedication, life threatening procedures can go through unnecessary toxicity, cardiomyopathy, heart arrhythmia, coma, and sudden death.
A lot of medicines and unnecessary procedures is similar to ‘A jab in the dark’ medicine and if you get severely harmed, no one cares! ~ You are on your own!
The patient who is prescribed medication or unnecessary procedures, should understand without any ambiguity, the indications for use and the risks, side effects, adverse reactions and warnings associated with the medication(s) and procedures.
Patients should not have to go on a witch hunt for information regarding what medicines they are prescribed. Even if they had the MIMS bible, I am sure that a lot of the information would not be in there!
Patients should not feel guilty for questioning what they are being prescribed and Clinicians should inform their patients of all the rxisks regarding procedures not just a selected few. If patients are well informed they may be spared a lot of unnecessary suffering.
If a health clinician fails to warn patients of all these things, they have failed in their ‘duty to care!’
The family should be able to question all health care professionals because through the gathering of vital information patients and loved ones can make better informed decisions.
The cure is worse than the disease and you should never give anyone consent to do anything to your beautiful body without knowing all the perilous implications.
My heart goes out to so many people who have put all their faith and trust in the system, only to be duped many times over.
This is so unethical and morally degrading to the human/animal species. When profits are more important than people, we have to question how did medicine become so delinquent and pervasive. CB
“The market for truth is very small. Comfortis in great demand.” Harold Foster
Another article telling us how millions are going to be suffering from anxiety and stress, and how are mental health is going to deteriorate because of the pandemic.
Not a surprise to see Simon Wessely jumping on the band wagon again.
Simon ‘exploitative’ Wessely.
Selling your grandmother for a song …
Great Comments on this Blog …
‘Perhaps a study ought to be conducted into the number of times Sir Simon Wessely has been involved in positing some kind of psychiatric condition which avoids the British state from recognising medical damage or having to pay out benefits. A knighthood is small recompense for his services – he should be an Earl or a Duke.’
To repeat what I wrote then, the powers that be (AF, SW etc) are scared silly of the people. Their reactions scream guilt. They scream that if we ever found out what they had done to us, we would rise up and they would be in trouble. Just to be clear, I am not advocating anyone rise up, I am describing the body language of the Bishops and Cardinals of medicine.
“No, Dr. Wessely, that’s not what it means”
Time for Wendy, Simon, Dinesh and others to Man Up? They can’t say this is news. Successive presidents of the British Psychiatric College have been told about this problem for over 20 years since Charles Medawar first wrote to them. They are in great part personally responsible for ongoing injuries from disbelief to thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people.
Great Comments on this Blog …
Oh, to be a fly-on-the-wall …
Path to Publication
Children of the Cure
Less than an hour left – your chance to put questions to @fgodlee and Howard Bauchner @JAMA_current – retractions, preprints, coverage, scandals, top papers, peer review, open access, future of journals …whatever. #rsmlive
– retractions, preprints, coverage, scandals, top papers, peer review, open access, future of journals
Restoring Study 329
Missing Data, Lost Lives and Antidepressants
It has become the most famous clinical trial ever,
that has two publications in the academic literature –
9 Rounds, with the BMJ
I have often wondered with Simon Wessely having so much power and influence within psychiatry, and with the Royal College of Psychiatry’s campaign to get more and more of us on antidepressants, how many cases of life ruining PSSD, protracted withdrawal where people suffer sometimes very badly for many years, and occasionally for decades, and deaths from SSRI’s via akathisia, Simon Wesseley is either directly, or indirectly responsible for.
I genuinely believe if the truth was known, he is a man responsible for a lot of human suffering, including deaths, and that he likely has a lot of blood on his hands.
After its acquisition of Wyeth, Pfizer assumed responsibility for Effexor liability including lawsuits filed due to medical injury. Pfizer has faced multiple lawsuits after Effexor was used during pregnancy and may have caused birth defects. The company may also have faced lawsuits for other side effects or medical injuries.
In 2007, Effexor’s manufacturer, Wyeth was given a warning by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding misleading advertising which had minimized the risks of Effexor and overstated the effectiveness. Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer in 2009 and now manufactures Effexor XR and similar medications
Everyday HealthDrugsSSNRI AntidepressantsVenlafaxineReviews
1918 people have reviewed this drug Here’s a few – the majority had an horrific experience on it –
Posted 0 months ago (6/13/2020)
Rated Venlafaxine for Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)Report
I have anxiety associated with advanced Parkinson’s Disease (stage 4). Along with the anxiety I also have pain from PD rigidity and dystonia. The side effects trying to get started on the drug are vicious. I experienced nausea, dizziness, insomnia, my tremors were worsened and headaches. This was at the 37.5 mg starting dose for the XR version of the drug – I can’t imagine what a higher dose would do. As a result of the PD I am down to 40 kg body weight – maybe someone twice my size could tolerate it. I definitely do not recommend this drug.
Posted 1 months ago (6/4/2020)
Rated Venlafaxine for AnxietyReport
My GP prescribed this to me and it was my first antidepressant I’ve ever been on. I have no idea what she was thinking but she prescribed me 75mg to start. I didn’t think to say anything as I was naive and didn’t know much about them. Worst decision I’ve ever made. The nausea and diarrhea and also stomach cramps plus much more are horrific. Do not take this.
Posted 1 months ago (5/31/2020)
Rated Venlafaxine for DepressionReport
Prescribed 37.5mg of Venlafaxine about 5/6 weeks ago. Quickly discovered I can’t take it during the day, as it makes me nauseous. So I started to take it at night which was working fine. Soon notice if I forgot a day, I’d end up in agony by 2pm the next day. Throbbing headache, stomach pains, extremely nauseous, diarrhoea, light headed.. All of which were so bad, I am left unable to stand up right or eat/drink. I have now decided that, as someone who is forgetful and may miss a day here & there, that this drug is NOT worth it. I’m currently bed bound due to not having my dose last night (ran out), and I’m calling it quits. I’ve tried more antidepressants than I can remember and I’m now at the point where I want to give up. The side effects aren’t worth it. The only drug I’ve ever had zero side effects from was Sertraline (200mg daily), and only stopped taking it as I found my overall mood wasn’t improving. I’m ending my journey with antidepressants after trying Venlafaxine. I can’t physically take it anymore. It’s ruining my physically & mental well-being.
Posted 1 months ago (5/17/2020)
Rated Venlafaxine for MigraineReport
I had an intractable hemiplegic migraine which was drug resistant – responded in 12 hours to this drug after 4 months – amazing response
Posted 1 months ago (5/15/2020)
Rated Venlafaxine for Postpartum depressionReport
The side effects are absolutely horrible if you are a little late taking your dose. Turns out that the “side effects” are withdrawal symptoms. Due to this I asked my doctor to come off of this drug. I have been being “zapped” (feels like I’m being electrocuted briefly) then immediately experience vertigo and a sharp headache until my next “zap” which can occur every few minutes until you take you next dose and it kicks in… I am gradually coming off but the withdrawal is more intense and frequent trying to come off of it. I would never recommend drug to anyone. Also I still had PP anxiety while on this drug so it didn’t help me much to begin with. Ask for an alternative if your doctor recommends this drug.
Rated Venlafaxine for Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS; CFIDS; M.E.Report (On same site – I don’t know if the group took off)
all of those that have experienced VENLOR/ VENLAFAXlNE – need all negative reviews, please can you make contact: firstname.lastname@example.org we want to get a group going and this will help us all tremendously. Let’s get chatting. We could form a group on Facebook however want to start here to see response 🙂
I help Admin a Facebook withdrawal group just for those tapering venlafaxine. We have 6,200 members, with a constant stream of people wanting to join. There are many others struggling in different ways with this medication, such as side effects etc, who we have to turn away due to lack of knowledge, manpower and time (40% of people are turned away!).
What is described in this article is common. Long term use, often off label for pain and menopause symptoms. Fast tapers using the standard doses which fail in the vast majority of cases and if they don’t fail, they suffer withdrawal after stopping the medication rather than during the taper. Symptoms can be severe. Those we catch in time usually reinstate and taper much more slowly, and usually successfully (using the well documented 10% of the previous dose per month or what is comfortable for them). But even some cannot get of this medication due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, even tapering at 5% of the previous months dose or less.
It is so disheartening to read an article like this where someone is subjected to a prescription cascade because of misdiagnosed withdrawal. This happens too much and must stop. Facebook groups take up so many of these cases. There are tens of thousands of people being helped to taper off various psychiatric medications, mainly ADs. Its a travesty.
Experts fear people will end up on antidepressants they don’t need https://dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8448487/Experts-fear-vast-numbers-people-end-antidepressants-dont-need.html?ito=amp_twitter_share-top… via
John Read, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of East London, adds: ‘Being scared at the moment is normal. It is a social problem, not a mental health one. We fear we are about to see a big rise in prescribed medication. Already in the U.S., there has been a 30 per cent increase in drug prescriptions for depression and anxiety since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.’
Tidal wave of mental woes?
Meanwhile, are we really about to suffer a ‘tsunami’ of depressive, anxious mental illnesses, as the Royal College of Psychiatrists sensationally predicts?
‘end up on prescription pills they don’t need (possibly causing crippling side-effects and withdrawal problems)’
Will drug firms cash in on our Covid anxiety? Experts fear vast numbers of people will end up on antidepressants they don’t need
By JOHN NAISH FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 22:07, 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 22:21, 22 June 2020
As if the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t enough, unprecedented numbers of people are suffering emotional fallout from isolation, money worries and fear of coronavirus infection, leaving Britain facing a tidal wave of anxiety and depression.
That’s the stark warning from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, with the organisation’s president, Professor Wendy Burn, declaring: ‘Our fear is that lockdown is storing up problems which could lead to a tsunami of referrals.’
The Royal College of Psychiatrists predicts that many of those affected will be people who have never before been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
Dr Read said he found the paper’s intent ‘disturbing’.
‘We are already concerned about a further increase in unnecessary antidepressant prescribing during the pandemic,’ he says.
‘The bizarre notion of using drugs to prevent depressive reactions happening could push prescribing rates through the roof. This is very worrying when we already have one in six adults taking antidepressants.
‘The paper also makes no mention of problems withdrawing from antidepressants.’
Last October, Dr Read co-authored a review of evidence, in the journal Addictive Behaviors, which found that 56 per cent of those who attempt to come off antidepressants suffer withdrawal effects.
I have been on effexor xr 75 mg for almost a yr and felt about the same TBH. However , I had ran out and cldnt make it to my Dr to get a refill script. She stated to me an appt and by that time I had been out for approx 3 days. The next spot she had open was a week later and so I wld have been without my meds still. The withdrawal was almost immediate, as I tried to explain to her the headache was horrific. Anyway long story short , I basically was forced to quit alone , cold turkey. It has NOT been easy, and side effects are NOT something anyone wld wish for willingly I’m sure. , But I have managed to be without effexor for 13 days now and the worst I think may be over with the exception of the brain zaps, numbness in my lips and face, some short of breath at times, fatigue, and dizziness. I keep doing my daily routine and break when I just get to sick at my stomach and wanna puke, or the constant daily diarrhea makes me weak. It’s not easy, but I’m a tough gal so I’m gonna keep on doing my best. I get no slack time or much support during any sickness so this isn’t much diff at this stage in life. So saying that, just know, if ya wanna stop it, you HV to be willing to deal with all that comes with that choice. #staytoughenedup
Hi , can u tell me the name of the group of Facebook .. im tryng to quit venlafaxina
Dear Dr. White,
I am a 64 year old woman. I asked my ob/gyn to put me on venlafaxine, to help with hot flashes. I have been on it for 6 years. I would love to get off it. I have been taking 37.5mg the entire time. I have tried a few times to come me off it but always go back on due to terrible withdrawals. I don’t want to be on this nasty drug any longer. Any suggestions how to get off of this low dose and once and for all? Thank you, Lori
I am in a similar situation and need advice about titrating off of this med. I’ve been on 37.5 mg for two or three years. Primary care physician prescribed it for me as I had insomnia and stress due to a divorce. It never helped with insomnia and now I just want to get off of it. It is in capsule form so I can’t just pour out some and hope that its the correct mixture. Prescribing doctor told me to just take one every other day but I definitely had negative effects trying that. Any ideas?
My son is trying to get off of psychiatric medications and having severe withdrawals. Can he talk with someone for support.
thebmj carries a massive advert for Spravato today -it was flagged up in Rxisk a while ago https://rxisk.org/assisted-dying-going-gentle-or-not-so-gentle/
Venaflaxine /Effexor used in trials is referred to below with other ADs
On another planet If medical journals are advertising dodgy meds they should be considered partly culpable for the harms being caused
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* Following the development and approval of the SSRI fluoxetine in 1987, approved treatments (including ‘atypical’ antidepressants such as mirtazapine, agomelatine, etc.) have either focused, or continued to have at least some effect on, the monoaminergic system.3–7
** As assessed by difference in MADRS total score, SPRAVATO® + oral AD demonstrated a 4.0 point superiority vs placebo nasal spray + oral AD at Day 28; p=0.02. 28.8
There’s another wadge of warnings about Spravato on Johanna’s post Susanne
“The scariest thing possible in a new-drug trial, I’ve heard some cynics say, is that people start dying – but the second scariest thing is that people start getting better. Where’s your revenue stream then? Spravato may do little or nothing for depressed people who have tried other treatments without success. But as a guarantor of future profits, it may be just the “game changer” the drug companies have been yearning for.”
Bait and Switch …
It’s strange how the same person can sometimes experience both genital numbness and extreme itching.Two opposite extremes of sensation caused by the one drug.The reaction being to try sometimes extreme stimulation to activate the ‘deadened’ nerves and also seeking ways to deactivate the over active cause of itching. One cold ,one hot.
I’ve been on Effexor Xr for over a year and a half now for PMDd. I have decided that I do not want to depend on this medication (even though it’s been helpful). The decision came when I missed a dose and became aware that the symptoms I was having were extreme! The dizziness, the headaches, and nausea was horrendous; and now any thought of missing a dose puts me in a panic. I have tried to be diligent on taking it every night as I do, but of course I am human and forget. I dont know what is worse this withdrawal feeling or the manic episodes i have with pmdd. Theres also gotta be other anti depressants that can help, until I find those I have decided to come off the Effexor xr with the guidance of my Dr. I was at 37.5 for a year and recently changed to 75mg, but now am back to 37.5 mg and I am feeling the worst symptoms.
A history of my time on effexor also made me notice that my already disturbed sleep was even worse with effexor. I dont take any sleeping pills because that’s another thing I dont want to depend on. Anyway, other symptoms I’ve noticed is a brain fog, I definitely feel numb on the meds, at times I cannot compute a conversation, all I can hear is jibberish (like snoopy from the peanuts talk, is how I can explain it).
Hopefully, I can flush this medication quickly and start a new form of antidepressant, or something more natural. If a medication makes you feel this bad when trying to come off it, it cannot be good.
I’ve been taking omega 3s and a brain formula to help the tapering effect. Hopefully that eases the transition. Good luck to anyone on the same boat, it’s not pleasant hang in there!
I can completely relate to the skin sensations you are experiencing from Effexor withdrawal. After finding out that my Effexor was most likely the cause of my extreme weight gain I decided (incredibly stupidly) to stop taking it. I tried to taper myself from it but I only had the 150 mg strength. My insurance had been terminated and I couldn’t get a tapering dose without an office visit. I tried to skip days between doses, gradually skipping longer periods until I could stop completely. I might as well have quit cold-turkey. The sleep deprivation is the worst symptom. I’ve tried all over the counter sleep aids but rarely sleep longer than an hour without waking up. I got brain zaps frequently during the first week. They feel almost as if my brain is cringing or tingling. The closest comparison I can think of is the sensation of your foot falling asleep except it only lasts for a second or so. My appetite completely vanished. I lost 3 pounds of pure fat within a week. I have had a constant dizzy/lightheaded/headache. It’s comparable to a bad sinus headache. My mood started as grumpy… I’d get irritated at the slightest thing. It then transitioned into emotional. Surprisingly I don’t feel depressed, but even the simplest song or tv commercial makes me cry. The worst symptom would be the skin tingling. I relate it to the Effexor withdrawal because the timing coincides perfectly and I’ve never experienced this before. It’s mainly at night. After sleeping for an hour I wake up to an itchy/tingling sensation, mainly in my feet but it eventually spreads throughout my body. It is a pins-and-needles feeling and feels like the itch exists below my skin. It is unbearable. I’ve tried anti-itch creams and lotions, Benadryl, warm baths… nothing relieves it. During the day it is dormant… almost as if it’s related to circulation or something resulting from lying prone. It is a very restless feeling. I find myself taking baths at two am and pacing my bedroom hoping for some kind of relief. I’ve found nothing relating it to the withdrawal until I stumbled across this post. I’m hoping the symptoms eventually subside. I was only on 150 mg/day for a year. if anyone reading this is thinking of stopping Effexor DO NOT STOP COLD-TURKEY! It’s not worth it. If you are considering beginning Effexor please explore all other options first. It is one of the hardest SSRIs to stop taking.
Hi Nikki ,
I was initially put on 75mg and that was increased to 150mg and increased to 225mg . Once on 225mg that’s when the trouble started really for me, distended tummy , bloated so badly that I couldn’t walk without being in severe pain . I didn’t sleep for the 4 years that I have been on it , I am awake until 3am, then I lay in bed watching Netflix and I must drift off but I am not sure when I do .
I have come off it now with the help of my GP 75mg over 3/4 weeks , however because of the pain I did it over 2 weeks and it was ok , now I am drug free it is now I am suffering , I am on 500mg of topirate for migraines/blackouts that worked brilliantly until veneflaxine was added to the mix , now off venaflaxin my migraines are so bad I can’t get out of bad , I feel sick. I don’t eat . My mood is so severe I have to stay away or not talk to my family because anything they say I attack them verbally, I feel suicidal, I cry continually at anything and I am in pain every day .
Damn, that is a high dose! I’m so sorry for all your up and downs. In regards to something not necessarily being a common symptom, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a rare symptom that only appears in you and a few others. I’ve had that with multiple SRRI’s. I will say that I do feel like I have VERY DRY SKIN on the 75mg even though I’m moisturizing. I also experienced strange deep bruises on my legs which is another rare side effect.
I’m on Effexor but only needed it for 8 months (postpartum anxiety) and went up to 75mg XR. I am not taking that every other day until I no longer feel withdrawal symptoms then going back to 37.5 and tapering off that slowly (every other day, then every 2 days, every 3…etc.) per my doctor.
Only thing I get are headaches at night and like the feeling that my brain is trying to float out of my skull (similar to that feeling you get at the top of a roller coaster except instead of your stomach, in your head). I actually like that feeling so it isn’t a nuance beyond the fact that it lasts continuously. I ran two miles because the feeling is also like runners high and that helped. Eating well and drinking water, keeping in motion, all helps A LOT. I didn’t have any symptoms when I started beyond intense vision brightness the first week around the moment I took them. I’ve had similar things happen in my youth and it seems the higher the dose, the more I felt i was a teenager again which isn’t a good thing for me haha.
Anywho, I hope it gets better for you.
I too have the skin issues, but there is nothing there. No one seems to be taking me seriously. I didn’t even do cold turkey. Have been weaning from 75mgs for 2 months now and am finally at the end, but my w/d effects are getting worse. Complete insomnia, body aches, restless leg and the total body itching. I’m a psychotherapist with much person experience trying medications, staying on some for years and then coming off eventually. And it wasn’t ever easy, but it’s never been this hard. And I’ve been on Effexor before for 4 years and came off and it was ok. This time I was only on for a handful of months and I’m falling apart from the withdrawals. I don’t know what to do. I also have insurance issues right now and won’t be covered until a couple of months from now.
I was on 75 mg of Effexor and then was put on 37.5 mg for one month and then would be off completely. I was not told that there would be side effects. Trintellix was increased from 10 mg to 20 mg. Which is a fairly new med for be. I am on 125 mg of Topamax. The Topamax and Effexor I have been almost completely migraine and pain free. Decreasing the Effexor Immediately brought back the pain between my shoulder blade. I am falling asleep continually during the day and I did see that narcolepsy can be a side effect of going off Effexor and extreme itchiness. I’m very surprised that I was not told about these side effects. The Trintillex and Effexor can cause serotonin syndrome. I think they should’ve just left me on Effexor and Topamax because not having pain has improved my life greatly and forget about the Trintellex.
I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I’ve been to hell myself last year. I had to quit suddenly with a tricyclic antidepressant because of harmful side effects. My doctor thought it was ok, since I had the lowest dose. After six weeks of no withdrawal at all, I suddenly started to have strange muscle contractions. The ones you feel and see when you work out a lot. And then the dizziness and nausea started and the horrible brain zaps and over sensitivity for sound. I couldn’t function anymore. Nobody knew what was going on, I’ve seen by so many doctors and neurologists, run so many tests, but they couldn’t find anything. Then the parasthesia started. Nerve pain but also strange sensations on my skin. Crawling, burning, tickling, tingling, electric sensations. I had to start duloxetine to help me with it. When I got on Duloxetine my problems started to fade and after six months I was functioning normal again. De doctors still denied it had to do with withdrawal but by that time I was convinced it was withdrawal. I found out a pharmacy here in the Netherlands that offers tapering kits for heavy anti depressants (Regenboog apotheek). My doctor agreed for me to do it, and since April I started a very slow tapering schedule. I first had to switch from duloxetine to venlafexine. Even with the help of the slow tapering I’m still experiencing withdrawal, but it’s not as worse as what I experienced last year. Your skin issues might be parasthesia caused by a fast tapering. There’s not much knowledge about severe withdrawal symptoms. Every week I’m experiencing a new one. I had terrible bruises from venlafaxine, insomnia (I used strong melatonin tablets instead of sleeping pills), my period was extremely painful and lasted for two weeks, restless leg syndrome, sexual dysfunction, brain zaps (luckily not with the over sensitivity that paralyzed me last year), constipation, bloating, and many many more. Right now I’m experiencing some of the parasthesia. But due to the slow tapering I’m not experiencing them all at the same time and in full effect. I just can’t believe your doctor gave you such a high dose again and even added lyrica and all the other heavy stuff. If they only knew how to tapper off slowly….Try to find a pharmacy that offers tapering kit for anti depressant. I have my life back again, and I really, really hope you’ll get there one day too. Wishing you all the luck and good health.
Hi, I’m starting Effexor xr , today is my second day, but after reading all these posts I’m really scared to continue this medication. Any thoughts? Should I stop and be on something else ?
Effexor is one of the hardest drugs to get off
Esme see if you can try something else first.
I was on it 2 years & gradually tapered off.
The side effects from stopping are not nice, I’m 5 days in & have stomach pain when I eat, diarrhoea, brain zaps & worse of all I hate going to bed as I seem to get really anxious & have trouble getting to sleep. I wasn’t warned about anything to do with withdrawal when I started it.
Only positive is I’m losing weight I put on when I went on it. Good luck.
I’m going thru withdrawal now. W/out giving you my entire story with Effexor, the MOST IMPORTANT statement to you: DON’T CONTINUE! Effexor is THE HARDEST ONE TO WITHDRAW FROM! I’ve researched it very well. If you have to take a an antidepressant, DON’T TAKE EFFEXOR. AKA: Venlafexaline.
Hello! Stay at 75mg and you’ll get relief from anxiety, depression and some pain relief. Helps me a lot. Good luck!
I started in June for mild depression, lack of motivation, 37.5 mg. A short time later I felt it wasn’t working & this happened twice so my dose was increased to 75 then again to 125mg. That did not go well, I was constantly tired, didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, yawned all day & GI issues. Now I am tapering off & it’s no fun. Currently back down to 37.5 every other day and going thru withdrawal experiencing many of effects others have mentioned. I can’t wait to get this out of my system. I would not have taken it had I known what I know now.
I had been on Effexor 75mg for 15 years and was given a plan to taper by my Psychiatrist and GP. I had ceased the Admantadine and Effexor within nearly 3 months which certainly wasn’t long enough. I have neuropathic pain and take Oxycontin and Oxynorm. It wasn’t long before my whole body was engulfed with pain. I lost nearly a stone within a week which is what I had put on but I looked annorexic. It has been over a year and I have suffered unbearable symptoms. Dry skin gave me dermatitis of the hands where my skin would blister if in contact with water. This lasted 4 months. I developed a tremor with my hands. I wasn’t sleeping. The nerves were firing in the back of my legs. I had really painful spasms in my lower back. I noticed I was then dealing with worse pain down one side of my body. Xrays revealed bursitis of the shoulder and a spur of my heel both being annoying. My shoulder will not heal. My GP claims he hasn’t seen any withdrawal symptoms like mine and even tried to increase my dose of Effexor. I had gone on 37.5mg just to see if my problems were helped but I was determined not to increase the dose. Nothing changed. I am now only taking one of six small tablets after opening the Effexor capsule. This antidepressant makes me so hot and people have commented on the heat from my body. I cannot cope with another summer so I need to be rid of this awful drug. In order to not lose weight it’s another low dose antidepressant which I despise taking. I know the neurons in my brain are damaged from all I have read as well as other awful things. I don’t have Parkinson’s Disease yet Amantadine helps with pain. I know all the drugs I take affect my brain.
I hope anyone reading what I have written will think twice about taking Effexor or any antidepressant.
I am just existing and hope I will improve over time. I try and think of happier times.
I am currently in the slow tapering process of Effexor XR from 187 mg down to 112mg (75 + 37.5). For Major depression and anxiety/panic/GAD, migraine and perimenopausal symptoms. Every 2-3 weeks (if feeling better from all withdrawal symptoms) I reduce by 37.5mg.
Getting to the point…tramadol is a lot like effexor xr as they are both SNRI’S. In order to completely come off tramadol(brand name ultram). I tapered for months from 300 ER down to 50mg daily. Get an understanding doctor and maybe try what worked for me??
Over one months time, I had the blessed crutch of small (quarter to halves) of Percocet 5 mg for all body pains and Ativan 1mg for muscle relaxing and calming ability and for sleep. Also, Bonine or Zofran and Seabands for nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Ate lots of saltines and drank tons of water to flush out toxins. Simple and bland diet. I had one month off of work and it was totally manageable and I will not take that drug again. For now, ill stick with lower dose of effexor bc it helps. Ativan (lorazepam) for sleep and anxiety. Keep up daily light outdoor exercise if possible.
As far as the red dots go, look carefully at your strong constipation medicine. I was once given a prescription strength Medicine for constipation and the ingredients were similar to those used to clean a car engine!! Made me sick and gave me migraine and terrible stomach pain. Chances are those chemicals could cause rashes of all kinds. Try adding 2-3 chewable Vitamin C gummies and double your water intake. Hoping you heal up quickly…these are just suggestions…im not a medical expert…just trying to offer ideas to H who is suffering. Warmest regards, Angel
Thank you so much for your comment and I am very sorry I haven’t responded sooner. I have only just now read thru a lot of these comments.
Unfortunately I am still on the same medication regime. Tapering even the tiniest amount of effexor starts the horrible skin feeling. I am considering my options but thought I would share the following in case it helped someone out there.
In relation to the constipation, by happenstance, I decided to start taking turmeric supplements for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Turns out, it also relieves constipation, Yay! So I no longer need to take movical etc. I also noticed an improvement in my mood, so who knows!
I still want to come off, or at least reduce my very high dose of effexor. I just need to find a strategy that works.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your suggestions.
I am going through an accidental withdrawal as I changed doctors and he is requiring more visits to keep the meds. I missed making an appointment. It’s the weekend, day three of no Effexor (150 mgs). I have the same feeling of dry skin with my hands and generally a feeling of poor circulation in my hands and feet, which I believe is the cause of the discomfort, along with the brain zaps. I’m seriously considering continuing to work through this. I don’t like feeling like a drug addict, either. I also don’t like being dependent on a dismissive drug dealer (psychiatrist) for relief. My mood is ok at this point.
Like I thought that doctors were not suppose to make you sick. I took effexor for 5 years ans i still have some issues and that was along long long time ago. I think i know what they made that effexor stuff from and it is a poison. We all got fooled.
it was a huge money maker billions and billions of dollars.
ok so the antidote for effexor may be small small amounts of fruit wine when needed.
I used this several times. You will never get this in a hospital sort of place. but it did work. They the beloved doctor slammed me with depakote and resipdol after my er trip to one hospital i was then place in this other place and really slammed with some horrible pills which caused me to drool for like 2 days and i could not talk in this (hospital). There is a game here and it can only be played here near where i am.
I changed from Zoloft to Effexor after only nine months because of side effects. Unfortunately, the side effects of Effexor were even worse. Shocking constipation, cramps in legs, peripheral neurology, and intense pain all along my left side at night which was, essentially, coming from arthritis in my ankle and hip.
I resorted to sleeping on my back with two pillows under my knees.
After 1 month of starting Effexor I decided to radically change my diet, from absolute junk food to an almost carnivore diet. My mood change completely. I felt so good I decided to wean myself off Effexor without my doctor knowing.
I hate my doctor. He is a pompous arrogant man who told me that I had to stay on antidepressants for the rest of my life. At the time I believed him and it was actually a relief to be told that.
After only one day of reducing the Effexor by 75 mg, the withdrawal symptoms started in full force – exhaustion, worse arthritis and nerve pain.
I am determined to soldier on. I hate this drug and all antidepressants. I’m angry with doctors for not suggesting other strategies first, like a healthy diet and exercise.
I am having many of the same issues and I was only on Effexor for a few months. Last week my Dr switched me to Wellbutrin, saying that I would not suffer Effexor withdrawal because Wellbutrin was in the same class of drugs. 3 days after replacing the effexor my world crashed. I was fine before except for lack of energy and trouble falling sleep. Now I have these constant skin sensations, it feels like my skin is dry and dirty and is being hit with waves of tingles, tickles and chills. If I move my eyes side to side it gets even worse. I haven’t slept and I’ve been sobbing for no reason at all, then I’ll alternate to being extremely angry. I’m in a fog and keep forgetting simple words and losing my train of thought. I initially thought it was the Wellbutrin causing this but I have stopped taking it and these problems just worse. I believe that my Dr was wrong about Wellbutrin stopping Effexor withdrawal. He called it in to the pharmacy and I’m picking it up tomorrow and then doing a taper to get off this horrible drug.
I am going through withdrawal now from Effexor but luckily I’m not experiencing as intense withdrawal as you. Being on Lithium as well really takes the edge off. I feel like your doctors have let you down a bit. It sounds to me like you have a paraesthesia as a result of withdrawing. This can absolutely occur and is very common with Effexor withdrawal. I don’t know how your psych team doesn’t know this. Also, it doesn’t make sense that you are experiencing a relapse that severe when your depression was initially mild. It is obviously due to the introduction of a very powerful med – I don’t see how adding every drug under the sun helps you with that. I’m sorry you’ve had to go thru this. I’d suggest you find a doctor that will switch you to Prozac / fluoxetine which has the longest half life and try to wean that way. Eventually you just stop the Prozac and it just slowly leaves your system … it’s much gentler. Remember you are the patient. You know you. And you don’t have to agree to take anything you feel won’t help you
I was given veneflaxine for anxiety 75mg then increased to 225mg for major depression. I came off it this year after 4 years after terrible side effects . I weaned myself off successfully but now after on no tablets , this being my first week , I am not sleeping , moody, crying at anything , severe cramps , and my memory is terrible .
I’ve been experiencing the same thing after weaning off after 4 years. I hope it gets better for you quickly though since it’s only been one week!
I was on 75 mg of Effexor XR when my doc wanted to switch me to Lexapro. I weaned to 37.25 for one week and then introduced 5mg of Lexapro. Too, the two meds together for one week and then dropped the Effexor. What a nightmare. I stayed on Lexapro for an additional two weeks and then decided to stop as it was making me sicker. It’s been 10 weeks since I stopped Effexor and 8 weeks since I stopped Lexapro and I’m STILL suffering. The worst of all are the early morning panic attacks. I awake between 5 and 7 am in the midst of panic and then immediately have to have a bowel movement. I haven’t seen this strange withdrawal effect anywhere in these comments. Has anyone experienced this? I’m at my wits end. My anxiety has returned in full force, I’m agitated, nauseous and sad.
I most definitely have experienced the same. I have been weaning off Effexor 75mg with 37.5mg for the past month. Suddenly last week my digestion changed rapidly and I had to use the bathroom continuously. After that settled, the night time panic set in and it REALLY sucks. Waking suddenly at 2am with a racing heart and thinking I’m going to die, then 10 minutes later it goes away then need to go to the bathroom. After that, my anxiety has also returned with a vengeance along with headaches. I gotta say this is much worse than quitting smoking which I did 2 years ago. It feels like everything is going ok but then, bam! it hits like a freight train. I wish you all the best and I hope you succeed it getting off this horrid medication.
Could you please respond to me how you are doing now
I had the same symptoms with my skin
I stopped taking Effexor after 4 years back in August and since then my anxiety has been through the ROOF, I’m not even really experiencing side effects anymore but it’s just crazy to me because I’ve been having regular panic attacks and before starting Effexor I’d never had one in my life. I definitely think this medication has made my mental health worse and now I’m incredibly dependent on it and I hate it. Have tried Wellbutrin and lexapro and both made me feel terrible so at this point I’m not even sure what to do. I don’t want to go back to Effexor but I’m afraid it might be my only choice if I want to start functioning like a human being again. I’ve been too anxious to even exercise because the anxiety has caused me chest pains that sent me to the ER one night. Effexor is definitely evil and I wish I’d never taken it but it seems I’m stuck at this point. I started taking it because I’d been recovering from an eating disorder and having very depressed thoughts that were making me anxious, I probably could’ve just taken 37.5 for a few months and been fine going off it. Wish I could go back.
Well this is all quite terrifying! I’ve been on Effexor XR 20 years. Initially 450mg, I now take 300mg.
I drink a lot of alcohol, and believe that is linked to Effexor.
My cardiologist has requested my does be reduced or stopped. I have Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. My recent ECG’s have shown an increasing QT. Not dangerous at this point, but apparently Effexor has been linked to this.
I’m seeing a psychiatrist on Monday to discuss this.
From what I am reading it’s near impossible!
I have been taking antidepressants for chronic depression since I was 17, and I’m 31 now. I was moved onto Venlafaxine when I was 20 and so it has essentially owned what should have been my truly formative years – my 20s. I’ve been trying to find the best time to stop because it’s come to a point where I’m not even sure who I am or could be without this drug. I don’t know who I am.
Prior to Venlafaxine I had previously been on Paroxetine which made me feel terrible. I was recommended Venlafaxine by a psychotherapist as a relatively new and promising drug on the market. I started on 75mg and my dose was quickly doubled before going up to 225mg. I stayed 225mg for around 4 years before I was upped to 300mg in my mid 20s due to extreme anxiety from work and stress. Over the years I have suffered several of the side affects mentioned here but never thought to associate them with this drug. I have been on bisoprolol 10mg a day for super ventricular tachycardia for 10 years because my heart palpitations were such that I thought I was going to collapse. I was given a monitor to trace my heart rate for a week and the results showed that my heart would reach up to 150bpm in my sleep. I couldn’t do a basic uphill walking treadmill test without my heart rate exceeding 200bpm and the sense I was going to stop breathing. I was of a normal healthy weight.
I lack energy on a daily basis and find the smallest physical exertion totally debilitating. I’ve gained so much weight as a result, because I simply find the concept of exercise too exhausting and I injure easily. I haven’t had sex with my partner in over a year and even before that it has been next to non existent. I simply have no desire and feel completely numb at the thought of being intimate. I sweat profusely from something as simple as walking down the road. Heavy, cold sweat. I’m exhausted all the time. I simply put some of the more psychological symptoms I’ve had down to the fact I’m a diagnosed with chronic depression and thought this was just part of the hand I’ve been dealt – with Venlafaxine simply muting or suppressing other symptoms in their more severe form. Now I just don’t know. Again it leads me back to the issue of having no idea who I am or what state my mind is actually in.
Reading all of these posts is devastating and my thoughts are with everybody else who’s suffering like this. I desperately want to find out who I am again, but after seeing how much everyone has suffered I fear I may never be able to do that. I am self employed and run my own business and if I stop being able to function then it’s game over for me. The whole process of coming off the pills doesn’t seem like a tenable or manageable option given the risks involved. I don’t know what to do and I’m scared. I feel like my fate has been sealed by this drug and I have to bury this idea of finding who I really am and whether there’s a fuller, healthier and happier life out there for me.
G. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. I do empathize with you. I too have been on effexor 6 years.
I am very concerned for you as you seem to exude defeat. Please do not let others experiences noted on here give you the false impression that there is no hope. THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. There are always answers. The right answer for you lies in a bit more research. Maybe it’s gonna be a hell of a fight to win the battle, but you will.
Thank you for sharing and know that you have me in your corner!!
I tapered off Effexor a little over a year ago. It took me 4 months to taper and I did not do it the way my physician recommended. Luckily, my doctor trusted me to do it the way it worked for me. When I got down to 37.5 mg, I started taking out beads, a little at a time. Then I added 10 mg of Prozac, just for a bit. I ended the Prozac just 2 weeks after completely stopping Effexor, no problem. Honestly, adding that little bit of Prozac at the end is what helped me completely wean. I no longer had the dizziness and brain zaps and felt somewhat normal again. My doctor was not the one that recommended it, I found that method on my own, but I wish more doctors would be aware of how much it can help. Now a year later, I’m dealing with sleep issues and horrible anxiety, but I will never go back on Effexor.
Came across this site while helping my husband get off Effexor. His situation is eerily similar to others… what a damn shame. It truly is baffling how much this medication is prescribed without much thought being put into how patients may respond to such treatment. It’s heartbreaking and maddening. This world is so f**ked up. Anyways, i heard an NPR episode on depression and the groundbreaking studies performed at John Hopkins using psilocybin (I’m NOT saying that anyone should just go and do this on their own, please understand that this is something that MUST be done in the proper setting, with professionals! Lets not ruin this breakthrough by thinking that eating mushrooms you found in the backyard is a magic cure, don’t inadvertently poison yourself! If this is what you want then i strongly encourage you to proceed with awareness and diligence! DO YOUR RESEARCH, seek out medical professionals familiar with this, then check their licenses and DO NOT be blindsided by those seeking to simply make a quick buck, do not let anyone take advantage of your pain, DO YOUR DILIGENCE!)
On a note of caution several people have tried ketamine in controlled circumstances to see if it would help with SSRI withdrawal and with PSSD – and it doesn’t. Ketamine has many similar effects to mushrooms and psilocybin
It’s the Effexor, it takes 12-18 months but those wierd unexplainable feelings will gradually and I mean gradually stop!
Does the nausea stop before 12-18 months?? Because I don’t know if I can handle 12-18 months of full on withdrawal symptoms like I’m having!! I went to my doctor today to ask for any help because I’m finally off venlafaxine for one week so far!!! And it’s been hell already!!! The nausea is the worst. I can’t sleep, if I eat I still feel nauseous! Will that go away soon. I really need to know! Because my doctor said to go back on it again even though I’m already a week through the withdrawals!!!?
I hope so. I have BPD. I was only on Venlafaxine for 8 weeks, 150mg. Its been 6 days and I can’t sleep for more than an hour due to shaking mainly, if I do fall asleep I have nightmares and i get flashbacks from them during the day. I feel sick constantly. I go from hot and sweating if I try and do housework etc to freezing cold and shaking at night. My anxiety is 100x worse and I cry violently with no warning. Then of course are the brain zaps – remember Independence Day when the helicopter tries to communicate with the spaceship by flashing lights? That noise the lights make is my brain zap noise. Oh and vertigo that can make me fall over. I’m going to try and go out today and get ginger for the nausea. This drug needs to be SEVERELY regulated.
I was put on Effexor for the side effects of my breast cancer treatment. I have tried weaning off but I experience horrible anxiety, depression and feeling like every day is a struggle to keep myself together. I have never had issues but I am certain that Effexor has changed my wiring in some way that I don’t know if I can ever stop. Why is this medication prescribed for bearable cancer treatment side effects but ultimately leave you changed and addicted to it. Never once was I warned about the possibility. I too have zaps every time I try to go off. My skin feels like little needles picking me along with the small barely noticeable red dots that appear. I’ve been kept awake many nights feeling like the constant needling is driving me mad. I sweat like I’ve never sweat in my life. My whole body is drenched from head to foot with just the slightest exertion. I’m trying to wean now and I feel like My life if in shambles and feel like crying every second of the day. I’ve beat cancer and my life is actually great. This absolutely sucks and should not be given to cancer patients who are not suffering from depression. I won a battle but I’ve lost myself to a drug that now controls me.
The drugs definitely cause these side effects. I still have brain and full body zaps – a month later. My left hand and left knee were constantly itchy where I would only lotion those two areas. I would get terrible acne in my hair line where I never did before.
I was on 225mg of effexor and 600mg of oxcarbazepine for 6 months. I was smoking 2.5ozs a month, just to FEEL SOMETHING!
One night smoking 12 full bowls of weed and downing a heroic dose of shrooms and not feeling anything, I knew I wasnt on the right drugs. I went off cold turkey. The next day seemed more clear. I could smoke weed and feel something, emotions came crashing back over me. The next few weeks are a blur. Definitely not the proper or safe way, but I didnt want the “autopilot emotion” engaged anymore. During all of this I was also talking with a therapist that allowed me to expose all of my demons, but the meds wouldnt let me process. I was stuck in my own head with exposed demons that I wasnt equipped to deal with emotionally due to the drugs.
I should have checked in someplace and done a complete blood transfusion to get to where I am now quicker, but no matter the journey, you have ended up here. Time to deal with it.
Ive been off since March 25th 2021. I now smoke weed to control my physical pain vice my mental pain. Im not on any anti-depressants or anything else other than vitamins, AND I have never felt better! There is hope for you! You have to figure out why you went on the meds before you can truly be free of them. Mine was pain and trauma that I never dealt with. Im now living my best life, I have become a better husband, better father and a better man.
Maybe my journey can help you find your way back. Good luck.
Working out why you went on the meds before you can be free of them is not true. Healthy volunteers put on them – women to stop menopausal hot flashes can’t stop them. Raising a why issue is all wrong
In SOME cases of “mental distress” it could be useful though. Perhaps if one can see some “deeper” reason for their “distress/state of mind” which can be perhaps be dealt with more naturally then this could give some strength and hope in coping with coming off the drugs. Mind and body are interconnected after all.
I am currently withdrawing from Effexor and I am having the same issue with my skin! My hands and feet feel so prickly! I keep scratching at them but it does absolutely nothing! I feel like I am crawling out of my skin.
Well that story is terrifying. I’ve been on venlafaxine (effexor) for about 5 or 6 years. I know…way too long. I recently went through therapy/counseling for about 1.5 year. About a year after that, I decided I wanted to reduce my pills from. 187.5 to 150, and so on. I only dropped 37.5 for 3 days and on the 4th day I wanted to just lose my mind. I was so irritated!! And quickly turned back. I feel terribly defeated.
I came off this drug 8 months ago on the advice of a doctor. I was on it for 18 years at the lowest dose of 37.5. I halved then quartered my tablets over a couple of weeks. No side effects at all until 2 months later when I crashed and anxiety through the roof and stopped sleeping I went back on it but it didn’t work. 3 changes in antidepressants since then and numerous sleeping medications I am living in hell I have lost my job and am now on a psychiatric ward trying to keep going for my daughters sake.
I have also developed severe body tremors when I shake constantly sometimes for hours. My psychiatrist refuses to believe this drug has caused these problems stating life stressors are to blame. I was very happy until I came off this drug.
Has anyone else experienced the shaking as no one will believe it’s caused by this withdrawal. I also have developed tinnitus and from researching I find another woman also experienced this.
I pray for a cure as I can’t go on much longer.
There are posts on RxISK that speak to this – see https://rxisk.org/my-doctor-thinks-im-faking-it-ssri-movement-disorders/
I am so sorry to read about what you are going through. You are not alone in losing voluntary muscle control as a result of an adverse drug reaction and drug withdrawal. DH has pointed you to an article I wrote for Rxisk describing my and other women’s drug induced movement disorders. It includes two short videos of the jerking and shaking we experience. Please show these to your psychiatrist. It is very important that he/she grasps that this is down to the impact of the drugs on your central nervous system, and not something in your personal life. What will help is a very very slow taper from the drugs you are on. This will enable your nervous system to slowly adjust and heal.
I’ve been taking Effexuar XR For about four years now.
My GP prescribed Effexuar for anxiety. I started with a dose of 75mg daily , this was increased around a year to 150mg around two years it was increased to 225mg then around 2.5 years to 300mg
Initially I found some relief from my anxiety. But I began experiencing other issues trouble sleeping and insomnia, dry skin where I had had oily skin my entire life, out breaks that looked like acne but was not.
Around the 2.5 year mark I began having nose bleeds mostly one nostril short lived bleeds Just before each noise bleed I would have sudden and severe Pain and pressure in my head that stopped shortly after my noise bleed started The nose bleeds continued and worsened, around 2.5 years I was having multiple noise bleed ever day, from both nostrils sudden heavy bleeding that drenched the shirts I had worn before I even realized i had a bleeding noise.
At 2.5 years I was experiencing insomnia
Severe bloody nose bleeds
Blurry vision – no cause found
High blood pressure
Skin sores that took months to heal
There were other side effects as well but I had no idea that it was because of Effexuar and despite reporting these and other side effects to my prescribing GP she never said that what I was dealing with was because of taking Effexuar, for several of the side effects my GO even told me they were side effects of Mental Illness and ignored and outright refused to look into anything further.
At 2.5 years on Effexuar, she upped my daily dose to 300mg then took a leave of abscesses and afterwards went on maternity leave. Her fill in was not any better. During my visits she did not even check my blood pressure once , etc. and her and my GPS notes are Very vague and incomplete. I recently obtained a copy of my medical file.
Until I landed in the ER I had no idea I had such high blood pressure despite having regular check ups with my gp or her fill in. My doctor did not treat me for high blood pressure or even say she was monitoring it.
Until 2 months ago I was unaware of any of problems I was dealing with were caused and known side effects of Effexuar and to be honest I did not research Effexuar before going on it.
Two months ago I was rushed to and admitted to hospital because of extremely high blood pressure and excessive bleeding.
I have unbeknownst to me dealing with hypertension and while in hospital the doctor and specialist made me fully aware that it was the Effexuar and that my GP and her fill in should have been monitoring me well on Effexuar.
While in hospital I was completely taken off Effexuar and I am going through withdrawal, brain zaps, headaches, irritable as hell but off of it I wasn’t allowed to come home until they got my blood pressure down. Am I still dealing with Anxiety? I’m not sure with the withdrawal I’ve been dealing with I deal with slot of short tempered irritability and a bit of nervousness Will I ever go back on Effexuar? No it’s not a risk I will ever take again, nor am I willing to be prescribed an alternate medical to help with the withdrawal and it’s symptoms.
The anxiety I had dealt with was due to trauma I had experienced and had been dealing with through counselling.
I nearly died because of the dangerous side effects of Effexuar and GP who was not qualified nor responsible when prescribing it.
Ok people…hang in there and follow along. I promise I’m going somewhere with this. It’s not about growing boobs. Lol Here we go. — I understand the possibility may be small, but effexor has a side effect of increasing breast size. I don’t recall the study giving a specific reason why. In fact, I think at the time it was an effect they did not understand, but generally speaking, breast tissue would increase with changes in estrogen or progesterone. Let’s entertain the idea that the original poster could not go off of the effexor because the effexor was stimulating estrogen. In fact, she also stated she gained weight so I’m guessing some of that would be in the breasts. Anyway, stopping the effexor entirely would then reduce whatever is going on with estrogen that causes the mentioned side effect. Additionally, when estrogen is low or when someone is estrogen dominant, (you can actually have low estrogen and be estrogen dominant at the same time depending on its relationship with progesterone), there’s a symptom for some women described as a sensation of bugs crawling on the skin. Side note, symptoms of both low estrogen and estrogen dominance can mimic each other. Anyway, she mentioned having strong skin sensations. That got my mind thinking about all of this. Furthermore, without a full understanding of how or why effexor increases breast size, but we know it is likely going to be hormone related, it’s safe to assume it’s possible that whatever was being affected by the medication may have set her own hormonal balance out of whack or if it was out of whack already, even more out of whack. (Holy run on sentence!) Hormonal disturbances can affect sleep. As we age and our sex hormones keep decreasing, sleep issues become more and more of a problem little by little over time until women are finally going nuts from the insomnia and go talk to their doctors. This would make sense because she said she did not have issues sleeping on the medication originally so the doctor’s best guess was that it had happened over the years because of taking it for so long. How do we know this isn’t as simple as effexor was affecting her hormones, years have gone by so hormones do their natural depletions schedule, and now trying to come off it will simply require some bioidentical hormone therapy? Even if age and hormones doesn’t make sense at first thought, we should remember that even the young ladies can have hormone imbalances, and with low and dominant estrogen symptoms mimicking each other, it’s truly hard to tell as women move into premenopause years, let alone trying to figure out postmenopause. Add a medication into it that likely affects the female sex hormones, and I think you’re set up for a mess when you try to come off it. It feels like whatever doctor checks those levels should automatically be involved whenever women are coming off of effexor. So this long-winded response probably could have been written much cleaner by somebody else, but my wheels were turning quickly and this is what the ramble brought on. I wonder what we will learn about effexor. It seems to me it would be worth looking into hormones since all of these tiny little details paint a picture of heavy coincidence.
Been on effexor for 10years. 75mg to 150mg to 75mg.
– on 150mg i needed at least 10 hours sleep a night or u was sleepy in the day. I thought i was grom having little kids. But i went back down to 75mg after 5years on 150mg and now i not so sleepy.
-went from 75mg to nothing. Felt very disconnected from myself, and my kids, feeling ‘whats the point of anything’, constant existential questioning.
Wanted to feel joy, and my personality again.
-now on nothing for 2 weeks.
– feel joy again or at least ‘full’ and not ‘empty’.
– symptoms: muscles weakness, increase in physical sensetivity (teeth sensetive, bones, finger tips, feet feel like chalk, cant look at blood/ sore if my child is hurt).
Hopefully symptoms will lessen
Happy to have my personality back.
But an thankful effexor existed because it helped me with anxiety and depresssion.
But when life feels less stressful, or too bleak on meds, we are finally brave enough or desperate to get off our meds for some other relief? Maybe life without meds is who we are meant to be.
How long did the withdrawal symptoms last?
Did you suffer ringing in your ears, insomnia, heart palpitations, tremors, restlessness, irritability, anxiety during the withdrawal symptoms?
When did you finally know you were no longer effected by the antidepressant discontinuation syndrome? How long does it take to finally be over the withdrawal symptoms when you stopped taking this medication?
I’ve been using Efexor for the last10 years due to anxiety. I started with 75mg and stayed on that for almost 5 years. Then I reduced the dose to 37,5 for other 5 years. The last month I’ve gone down to 18mg. As I’ve been without any anxiety issue since 2015 (I was never depressed btw) I decided to come off. As told, 18 mg one day and then I wait 48 hours for the next 18 mg. I’m still experiencing those “brain zaps” but they are “bearable”. My mood gets kind of down during this time. This shit is really heavy drug. Probably you won’t agree but in my case, Cannabis does those brain zapps be less invasive. I take a microdose of weed of high THC-values and this makes those zaps much easier to cope with. Yeah, Effexor is a pretty hard mother fucker to get rid of but we’ll eventually do it. A big huge to all my Effexor brothers and sisters! (btw I’m not native english speaker so I apologize for any grammatical error)
Hi all, thought I would share my (so far positive) tapering story!
I have been on this drug for about 3 years at 225mg. I decided I wanted to come off it a couple of months ago.
Month 1 I went to 150mg – no issues
Month 2 I went to 75mg – bit of vertigo but nothing debilitating
Month 2 week 2, I planned on halving my 75 and taking 1 in the morning and 1 at night, but I forgot the second pill and was fine! So basically went to 37.5. Again tiny bit of vertigo but nothing major/
Month 3, thought I may as well continue with this halving every 2 week strategy. So started halving 37.5mg and therefore for the last 2 weeks I’ve been on 18.75mg. I’ve been absolutely fine no vertigo and no symptoms.
On Friday I’m going to take quarter tablet for 2 weeks therefore 9.35ish mg. from there im going to start leaving 28 hours between pills so that il only take 6 in a week. Then leave more space.
But honestly guys, I’ve been FINE!
I have been weaning off 150 mg Effexor since Oct 2021. My 150mg went to one 75mg + 37.5mg (112.5mg) for 4 weeks, then 75mg for 4 weeks, then 37.5mg for 4 weeks, then 37.5 every other day for 4 weeks. All that went fine until last week when I stopped the 37.5mg all together. I have been sick for 10 days now – nausea every day, can’t eat, nervous, crying over nothing, etc. I have read everything I can get hold of & there is no help/suggestions on how to stop being sick. My dr suggested I go back on it for another 4 weeks – seriously? There has to be a way to wean from 37.5 mg before totally stopping. It’s a capsule you can’t cut it in half!
Have you noticed the mention of using dosulepin? I don;t know how hard this would be to get where you live, but if you do get it let us know if it helps
Hello. I know I am doing exactly what I shouldn’t be doing but I don’t care anymore.
I was on 300mg of Effexor XR. I went off it cold turkey a few days ago. No taper.
Right now I am experiencing:
-my arms feel super tight like I have elevated blood pressure.
-suicidal thoughts (no plan or intent)
It feels difficult but I have gone through worse withdrawals before.
Done with psych meds and mood altering meds.
Good luck to everyone withdrawing from Effexor. It’s rough.
I was hospitalized once and they took me off Effexor cold turkey and I couldn’t function for 2 months. The only thing that gave me some reprieve was taking a hot bath a couple times a day. I’m hoping this time it won’t be as bad.
There are little beads in the capsule. You can open the capsule and count the beads and then cut them in half.
There are 3 little pills in the. Capsule
Hello everyone, I am H. David and I thought I should post an update in case it helped someone.
I finally had a very frank conversation with my psychiatrist about how I was feeling. She concluded that despite the high dose of effexor (375) my depression was still resistant to the drug for treatment.
She put me on a tapering off effexor whilst introducing a new antidepressant, Dosulepin. She said it has been around for a long time and was one of the first antidepressants to become available for depressed patients. She told me that ‘on paper’ it isn’t advised for patients to take effexor and dosulepin concurrently due to adverse side effects. However, fortunately I didn’t have an interaction problem (my psychiatrist joked my liver must be doing a good job) . I take dosulepin at night and effexor in the morning.
The effexor was tapered in doses of 75 each week whilst taking dosulepin at night. To my delight, I had no adverse side effects from tapering effexor like I did the first time. I am now down to 37.5 of effexor. Soon I will stop effexor altogether.
David and his colleagues were right, people like me (who have difficulties with effexor) need to taper whilst introducing a different antidepressant.
The new antidepressant is certainly doing more for me than effexor ever did. So far so good.
I have been reading some of the other posts about what a nightmare (and frankly a poison) effexor is. I wish I had never met it! Effexor is no joke and with other more effective treatments available, in my opinion, Effexor should not be the first medication prescribed. It seems to be the ‘go to’ medication in the medical community.
Thank heavens there are medical professionals like David and his team who understand the adverse effects of Effexor.
I am so excited to finally be (almost) free of Effexor!
I have written to the producers of Effexor with my story. I will be following up. It would be great if they included in the very long list of side effects the traumatic problems some patients have when trying to get off Effexor!
Hey H, how are you doing now? Were you able to discontinue the Effexor?
Oh my days, my heart goes out to each and every one of you who posted on here. I was on 75mgs of Effexor – 1 tablet each morning- for probably about a year. I knew if I missed a dose because my head fell like it was going to explode only hours after I “should” have taken it. The effects from forgetting to take a tablet were SO BAD that I set an alarm on my phone to remind me. I have never before felt hostage to a tablet. Because of this, I spoke with my Doctor about coming off Effexor altogether. She agreed and I took 37mgs for a few weeks and then the Doctor said to just stop taking it and that I’d feel fine.
I AM IN HELL.
Today is day 1 of no Effexor.
These brain zaps are every few minutes and are SO STRONG I honestly think the next one WILL kill me.
I’m shaking, sweating, throwing up, miserable, angry and can’t stop crying.
This is not me!!!
I’m determined to continue with NOT taking any more Effexor and as so many of you have said, I wish I had NEVER taken this evil drug to begin with. I really do.
I had my first vivid nightmare that a man was breaking into my home saying he’d rape me. I could open my eyes but couldn’t move my body. I have suffered this TERRIFYING PARALYSIS every hour for a few minutes all f**king day.
How much longer is this going to go on?
I honestly think I’m going to die.
How are you doing now? I just started taking 75mg last month for menopausal hot flashes and was out for 2 days – I have never felt so bad! After reading these blogs, I am scared to death and want to quit taking this and just deal with the hot flashes. I am curious how you are doing now?
I’ve been a scientist most of my life. I also thought venlafaxine (V)was good for me.
It was in recovering from a long-term traumatic event that I went to see my GP. He didn’t understand why I was on venlafaxine, and replaced it with fluoxetine, with a 3 week withdrawal of V. I then slid into a nightmare state and my GP spoke to a psychiatrist, who slammed me back on V. But I needed a higher dose – ended up on 225. I felt better, but nowhere near ‘normal’.
I also experienced these brain zaps. I did not make any connection initially with V, but I noticed it was whenever I accidentally missed just one pill (which I put down to the short half-life of V). That’s a pretty nasty withdrawal syndrome IMO.
At present I’m still on V at 225. It died me no good (unless it stops me feeling worse – who knows). I think (am I wrong?),that there are v few studies of long term use of V (I mean years, even over a decade. They’re just looking at 2 or 3 months.
I too, like others, feel this drug has significant problems. I feel very angry about it’s withdrawal difficulties, and that this is not studied.
I would like to try a taper down to lower levels, done over months or a year plus. For example, in Netherlands, there’s a place where you can buy tapered strips, with very gradual decreases.
It’s not easy to do it oneself as it depends on the formulation.
I’ll leave it at that. I’m impressed at the stories I’ve heard, and feel for you all. Don’t give up!
I have been on effexor for about 20 years. Twice I stopped taking it because I lost my insurance and at that time they didn’t offer a generic. I could afford $160 a month. After extream withdrawals, confusion, fear of puting my feet on the floor, nightmares, inability to distinguish reality when I woke up, thought my dog was planning on eating me and lastly a neighbor called and complained that I was outside naked weeding the garden. ( I have no recollection of that one.) And uncontrollable diarrhea, I all but begged to barrow the money for the prescription. Fast forward 15-16 years and my antidepressants are not working! I cry every day! Multiple times a day! Suicidal thoughts. I just can function! My psychiatrist/nurse practitioners decided to decrease my effexor leave my welbuten the same. The very first day dropping from 150mg to 75mg and I was loosing my mind! I got it into my head that my boyfriend had been eaten by a bear and was crying hysterically! By the next day I was still crying but would have intense bouts of anger. By the 3rd day I hated everyone and was afraid I might get violent. They immediately up my dose to 150mg when I called. 2 days back on and I had the weirdest thing happen! I was getting ready for bed and all of a sudden I heard a horrible loud ear piercing screeching. I covered my ears but it was unbearable. I was looking around everywhere for my phone. A radio anything that would cause this noise! It was definitely in my bathroom! Not outside. Then it stopped and immediately I heard soft instrumental elevator music. I was terrified and ran into my bedroom. The music stopped. I called my son and asked him to come to my house asap! I explained what happened. He believes that I did not actually hear the noise and music. That it was in my head. My left ear was hurting terribly and continued to hurt until this morning. Has anyone had something like this happen? I was afraid to begin with but now that he thinks I might not have heard anything I am afraid I am loosing my mind! And I am back on my effexor!
I wrote a post on here many years ago after spending 14 years on venalaxafine 150 mg my doctor cut me down to 75 mg before just stopping it and just starting another all I can say is it has ruin my life forever it’s over 7 years now that I have been of the ven and nearly 6 years of any medication pills or supplements I take nothing and I’m worse now than back then my symptoms are extreme fatigue crushing depression and apathy that sucks the life out you I have only slept 2-3 hours a night in all this time and I still wake to adrenaline and cortisol spikes that surge through my body my hands feet and mouth constantly burn and lately it’s spreading up my arms
I have no control over my body temperature often feeling so hot I want to pass out I get so dizzy and faint upon standing exercise is out of the question even a small walk makes my body sweat and exhausted which results in me having to lay down I have lived with suicidal idealations for most of this time which I still find hard to live with as I have a wonderful family and two children who I am very proud of
I had a great life full of passion and friends I enjoyed fishing with a passion going out just general doing stuff I loved life like most normal people but this drug took it all away
I hit tolerance on the ven so even though I was taking it I was still getting full blown withdrawals then over the next 18 months I was given 12 plus different meds kept being swapped from one to another being told the chemical Inbalance theory until the doctors said no more so they basically forced 12 sessions of ECT on me which is a barbaric treatment and left me to this day traumatised
My only advice to anyone who is on Effexor is if you are feeling well and you want to reduce go a slow as possible even if it takes years to come of so be it if you feel like you are slipping hold at that dose until you feel you are stable enough to drop again
If you have hit tolerance you still need to slow taper as the damage you may do may end up very long term
It’s not very often you see many people cross taper successfully so adding drugs can make things a lot worse as I found out
To day like every other day I just cry and look forward to crawling into my bed for those couple of hours sleep before it all starts again I didn’t think that it was humanly possible to feel so sick for so long I feel for everyone going through Effexor withdrawal truly I do
Just a note I was placed on meds because of food poisoning after a holiday abroad I would take that food poisoning over what I go through now any day of the week and I’m soon to be 8 years off
I know I only posted yesterday but I am at end point I believe from this eternal suffering I think after nearly 6 years of endless suffering and crippling depression that I either try another med to help with the depression or I go right back to venalaxafine the drug I stopped 8 years ago as I hit tolerance maybe it would work again I cannot go on much longer like this suffering everyday they say people heal but for me it’s been far to long do you think reinstalling another drug will help or trying the ven again I think that I have come to the point of no return I appreciate any words of help
Terry, I think you should do whatever makes your quality of life improve. So if taking Effexor makes you feel better then do it. There are so many forever chemicals in our food and water that it’s thought to cause this depression/anxiety surge in the public in the last 10 years. So without the drugs improving our quality of life, the chemicals will cause the mood issues. I say you just take the pills and be happy because if we don’t, then the chemicals in all of our household goods will cause our issues to arise anyway. Originally I found this post while searching Effexor side effects because I’m about to start it. I’m currently on lexapro (have been for 10 years) but my sex drive has been super low since starting and I hate it. I’ve come off my lexapro before and felt the brain zaps and had flu like symptoms for weeks only to discover (after the withdrawal) my crippling anxiety and OCD felt worse than before. That’s when I tried medical marijuana and it just made me feel like a junky and I had to use several times per day to alleviate my anxiety and obsessive thoughts. So I started my lexapro again after going off it for a few months and that was a few years ago. So overall I’ve decided to not switch to Effexor (based on this blog and others) and have decided I will taper off my lexapro (which will probably take a year) and then take 1-2 heroic doses of shrooms every year to combat my anxiety. I would self pay ketamine infusions but they’re several thousands of dollars and shrooms are more natural anyway. So I encourage everyone to look into the clinical trials of shrooms in veterans with PTSD and anxiety because they look very promising!!! Good luck everyone.
Having had to come off this awful drug quickly I sympathize with anyone trying too. I made it though but it was most unpleasant to put it nicely. If any of you guys might be interested, a writing about my experience has been shared in the world tapering day site. You guys might relate to parts of it. It’s called “Good Riddance Effexor” which I dedicated to my friend who very sadly didn’t make it through the withdrawal effects, his must’ve been worse. There’s also a better piece called “The Beast”, written by a lady who also suffered worse wd effects than me, if one searched the name of my writing and clicked on the MITUK link, “the beast” is in the comments. My first version of my writing was first shared by MITUK. Have a read of the beast, it’s very good.
It’s been two weeks since I took my last venlafaxine pill(effexor). I started taking it to treat anxiety as recommended by my physician three years ago. Two back surgeries, worker’s compensation and the unknown future was the cause. The ONLY reason I was able to quit is because I am on worker’s compensation and am unable to work. Anyone who has to face the world outside of their home on a daily basis simply CAN NOT get off of this medication. Functioning at an acceptable level as a human is not possible when withdrawal symptoms start. This drug is a curse once a person is tricked into taking it and should be taken off the market. Any unpleasant bodingly ailment is possible when withdrawing from this medication. The end does not justify the means when it comes to this drug. If you think anxiety/depression is bad? Add total body Extreme itching, impending doom, extreme irritability, diarrhea, memory loss(short and long term) debilitating brain waves, vertigo, trouble communicating, extreme stomach pains, constant muscle cramps….(insert any negative bodingly ailment here) And expect these symptoms for at least 2 months while gradually weaning of of this drug. Do yourself a favour……DO NOT START A REGIMENT ON THIS DRUG and warn as many people as you can against it (if you care for them). Like I said the only way I got off of this drug is from not having to function in society on a daily basis. I couldn’t imagine trying to withdraw from this curse with responsibilities and without loved ones to help me out. Finally after a dreadful two weeks I can live my life half normal and will definitely DO MY OWN RESEARCH before trusting a physician on prescribing medications. Oh, and yeah, anxiety was not a problem while on this drug. But the thick impenetrable layer of “unemotion” can have far worse effects on your personal/love life and cause scars that cannot heal. Also be prepared for intense emotional experiences you haven’t felt since starting this drug.
I have been on this med since 2015. I can’t get off it. Every time I try, I go nuts. Brain zaps, distorted vision, severe nausea, dizziness, racing heart, ( even though not a mentioned side effect, I get them) and I become an emotional mess. I hate it. It’s not what I want or like. I guess it doesn’t matter 😭😭
Both of my daughters recently got off of Effexor. The secret is tapering/replacing with Prozac. That was an idea from my daughter’s psychiatrist when she had a hard time getting off of it. It helped a lot. I hope this helps someone.