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Mcmamaof3: Effexor withdrawal. And norco issues


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I have been on Effexor for 6 years. Since my stroke may 2010.


I started weaning my self off about 3 months ago. Finally 2 weeks ago. I was able to stop taking them completely. My issue is I still feel like crap. Depressed. Brain fog. (Granted I had a stroke so this may just be the norm). I don't sleep. I have rls bad.


I also have been on norco for that many years or more. Been attempting to get off of them every month. Now my doc says I am not taking them. Like I am selling them or something. What?!? I take at least 2 a day.


I must also say I have a pretty stressful life with my family. Honestly. I dont know what I want from this. Maybe just some help. Some reassurance. I feel pretty lost. And I am normally a positive and happy person. But not lately.

Thank you for reading.


Edited by ChessieCat
Added drug tags & paragraph breaks for ease of reading
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Mcmama,


Welcome to SA.  It seems you, like another member, posted your introduction post during a quiet period and there has been a small delay in us welcoming you.  Sorry about that.  We are staffed by volunteers from around the world, some of whom work, and occasionally there are times when none or only 1 or 2 are around.


You've come to the right place and have found SA early in the process, which is really good.  This site has lots of really good information.  I'll be posting links below for you to read and then you can ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic and also use it as a journal of your progress.


The first thing we ask all members to do is to Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Please include ALL drugs, dates, doses and how you decreased/increased.  Please included how you reduced your dose (eg did you skip days, alternate doses? - this is important information for us).  Details of the last year and a summary of anything prior is helpful for us to offer suggestions based on your individual situation.


Have all of the symptoms, feel like crap. Depressed. Brain fog. I don't sleep. I have rls bad, appeared since you started reducing Effexor?  If so, then they are more than likely withdrawal symptoms.


When we take the AD our brain adapts to getting the drug, when we suddenly reduce or stop the drug, the brain has problems coping with not getting the drug it is used to getting which sets of the symptoms.  We have become physiologically (not physically) dependant on the drug.  SA recommends a slow taper of 10% of the previous dose with a 4-6 week hold to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drugs.  It also helps to keep withdrawal symptoms to a minimum in most people.  It's a harm/withdrawal symptom reduction method.


If you decide to reinstate, please post here that you want to reinstate and we can suggest a small dose to try.  Because you have reduced the drug over 3 months, your brain will have already made some adaptations so the original dose will be too much.  After reinstating you would hold on a dose to stabilise (may take several months) and then you could commence tapering at 10%.


Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist


Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)


These helped me to understand why SA recommends the 10% tapering method and have stopped me from trying to taper too quickly:


Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


These are also very helpful:


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Mcmama -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)


I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need information withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing Effexor, but am glad that you found us. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums enlightening and helpful.


ChessieCat has provided you with great information.  If you haven't read the first two topics, "Introduction to withdrawal" and "About reinstating," please find the time to read at least the first post of each.


I hope that you'll consider reinstating a teeny tiny dose of Effexor. Doctors often dismiss these small amounts as do-nothing doses because they are "sub-therapeutic." Despite doctors' opinions, some people do get relief from their withdrawal symptoms by taking a very small amount.


Post any questions you have about this.


Your doctor's suspicions about your norco (acetaminophen + hydrocodone) use aren't personal. S/He's probably having the same conversation with all patients taking an opiate. Public health authorities are very concerned about opiate addiction and abuse and regulators are "leaning on" doctors about their prescription rates. Please know that the norco can be safely tapered as well. In fact, I think a fair number of techniques for tapering came from opiate harm reduction work.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey MCMama - my husband had a stroke in 2010, too.


But they didn't put him on any drugs!  Did they think that an antidepressant would help with neurogenesis or something?  Or were there other stressors that caused them to think "antidepressant"?


He still struggles, but I am the only one who knows.  He has a golf ball sized hole in his brain, right where language is.  Very frustrating for me because I like for language & communication to be clear - and humour has become positively impossible because we can't always understand each other, even when we can see faces.  But we still find things to laugh about.


To meet him you wouldn't know that he has this hole in his head.  He can walk and talk and builds a beautiful spreadsheet.  He organizes trips (flights, accomodations, car rentals, schedules, concerts, etc.) and handles all the functional stuff about our home:  bills, income, expenses, assets, investments, etc.  


I am a firm believer in neuroplasticity, as a result of what I have experienced with him.  He could speak, but he couldn't read.  He could walk and play guitar, but couldn't understand graphics or the computer.  And - he made his living with the computer - it was a seemingly insurmountable challenge.  He had to work hard to get his language back, and he still works at it.


We watched videos and read Norman Doidge, "The Brain that Heals Itself."  You might also enjoy Jill-Bolte Taylor's TED talk, where she describe stroke from within.  https://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en



If you are having symptoms, then you have tapered too fast.  We can deal with the Norco later, but I believe it will help your symptoms to reinstate a teeny tiny (thanks for that Scally) amount of Effexor to soothe your symptoms.  Stabilise on the smallest possible dose.


How did you "come down" off of the Effexor?  Did you just use decreasing capsules and then "jump" from 37.5?  Or did you do an alternating days?  Did you count beads?  That's how we taper Effexor in here.  (were you on generic or brand name?)


Please, if you want to feel better, it's best to take the hair of the dog that bit you.  Just a few tiny beads - we've had successful reinstatements from 4-5 beads - but I'd like to know more about your tapering schedule before suggesting a dose.


Please, complete your signature, so we know how you got here. 


Welcome to SA!

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna


Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.


My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.


A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.

The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/



I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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