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luarvik: tapering venlafaxine


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I was hospitalized for full manic episode with psyhotic features in July and I was put on  lamictal 50 mg  and clozapine 25 mg. I stayed in the hospital for a 3 weeks which for me was a horrible experience. The doctors did not giv e me any diagnosis at the time and after I got out I felt very dull and I decided to got off the medicine to feel emotions again.


So I started to taper both medicines very quickly which ended very badly as I sunk into the deep suicidal depression and in august I ended up in the hospital again. I just wanted a doctor to write me an antidepressant(of course I knew nothing about antidepressants back then) but he said that it is probably better to stay in the hospital to see if it works.


So I was in the hospital again with  lamictal 100, clozapine 50  and the new psyhiatrist added 150 mg  of venlafaxine. He also diagnosed me as bipolar( back then I did not know an ything about bipolar disorder ). I felt psyhotic, had nightmares and the whole hospital experience was depressive anyway. They also made me 2 ECT-s.


After 3 weeks I got out and googled about bipolarity and everything made sense - the manic episode and the depression that follows it. I also found that I most certainly have to stay on lamictal. But I was not so sure about the others. I was very sleepy and dizzy all the time.


The doctor advised to reduce clozapine. I cold turkeyd it and did not sleep a minute about 7 nights straight. The doctor of course did not believe that this is caused by the clozapine withdrawal.


Then one day I decided to reduce the venlafaxine – instead of two tablets I took one and a half. Then in the evening I found out how terrible are the withdrawals from AD-s( migraine and throwing up).


So I just continued taking them and have taken them for 3,5 month.


I now started tapering again. My question – can I taper faster as I have been on AD-s for relatively short time?


So far I have come down from 150 to 110 mg in a week and the withdrawal symptoms have been minimum. After  the first day 10%  cut I could not fell asleep as normally but no other physical symptoms. Yesterday I started to feel a little bit nauseous.


My plan is to taper as quickly as possible from 150 to 37,5  and if I get withdrawal symptoms I slow down and hold. According to the graph of the SERToccupancy it should be relatively easy to taper down to 75 mg or maybe even to 37,5 mg. Then the fun part begins and I start to taper as slow as necessary. 


Edited by scallywag
highlight medications, add white space + tags

From late June to late July 2016: lamictal 50 mg, clozapine 25 mg

From August to September 2016: lamictal 100 mg, clozapine 50 mg, venlafaxine 150 mg

From Semptember to 15 November 2016 : lamictal 100 mg, venlafaxine 150mg 

From 15 November to 22 November : lamictal 100 mg, venlafaxine tapered from 150 mg to 110 mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

luarvik -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
Thank you for posting an introduction so that we can get to know you.  It helps us -- moderators and other members -- when we can see your medication and withdrawal history at a glance in a signature below each of your posts.

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly?

  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Any drugs prior to 18 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please do not include symptoms or diagnoses. One exception: the initial condition that led to prescribing the first drug.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature
  • If you are using a phone or mobile device, you need to switch to the "full" or desktop version of the site. Instructions are in Post 8 and Post 9

Please do not taper rapidly from 110 mg venlafaxine to 37.5 mg. You have been on the medications since July, 5 months. Your brain and the rest of your CNS (central nervous system) start to make changes in as little as 2 weeks on the medication. Your CNS has recently experienced a hard shock of the abrupt stop of clozapine so your with large dose decreases *may* be significantly worse than the 5HTT occupancy study participants.


If you want to minimize the risks you would be wise to taper one medication at a time and to taper it gently.

Some links that explain what I mean when I write "taper gently" and why that is preferable to tapering more rapidly:
Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

When a someone is taking multiple medications, we ask that that you post an interactions report. Follow the link below to get your report. Just select the text, copy it and paste it in a post here.
Drugs-dot-com Drugs Interactions Checker.

To help you choose which drug to taper first, venlafaxine or clozapine, please read this topic:
Taking multiple drugs? Which to taper first.

Information about tapering:
Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

We don't have a topic for clozapine; the "decrease by 10% or less" guideline works with neuroleptic ("anti-psychotic) medications.


I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

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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  • 1 year later...

luarvik any update.

I would seriously doubt the bipolar diagnosis.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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