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EPD6893: Tapering Effexor Troubles


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Hi all, I've been taking medications for most of my life as I have conditions like autism, adhd, depression and anxiety. I'm obese and also have issues with emotional eating, binge eating, sleep apnea (though I use cpap for that), possible ptsd.

My journey starts with me in my teen years quickly developing anger issues (likely because that was when I started to get obsessed/addicted with politics and negative news online) and got put on different antidepressants and antipsychotics. I don't remember all the details, but the first antipsychotic I took made me extremely tired and I gained lots of weight, ending in me getting expelled because I couldn't keep up and eventually had a huge panic attack.

Eventually over the years I'm on abilify 5mg and effexor XR 350mg, but I couldn't function back then either due to what feels like chronic fatigue syndrome. Out of desperation in 2020 I asked my psychiatrist about coming off effexor and seeing if it helped the fatigue, so he took me off it by decreasing 75mg every two weeks. In hindsight this was a terrible idea as it gave me bad withdrawal and also functional reflux/ibs (heart burn, bitter taste, insomnia because of the pain, lots of uncontrollable burping). I still have that to this day years later though it's not as bad as I'm not as obese. But it did start about a week after I came off effexor.

I went on 80mg Omeprazole and 40mg Famotadine daily. They didn't help but I've been stuck on them for years, though thankfully have made SOME progress as I've managed to get to 50mg omeprazole last year.

Later in 2021 I tapered myself off abilify 5mg since my psychiatrist and my parents were convinced I needed it for the anger issues. I did it over half a year slowly decreasing it from a liquid form. Thankfully it went ok though I was very scared doing so!! It turned out my "anger issues caused by the autism" was not in fact correct, despite what everyone around me then was telling me.

Unfortunately getting off both drugs did not in fact get rid of my fatigue. The functional reflux makes my sleep worse now.

In 2022 I went back on 37.5mg effexor and later increased to 75mg. I can't tell if it helped, but I did start pushing myself harder in life and making a lot of progress for myself generally. Despite getting new side effects like sexual dsyfunction and worse vision.

Currently I'm thinking of switching to prozac as I've heard about it's long half life, and I think that would be better for me long term. Sadly I've repeatedly tried and failed to taper down. Recently switched from 75mg extended release to the immediate release and gotten bad headaches, worse vision and sexual dsyfunction, more anxiety.

I'd previously read about using half XR and half normal for tapering help, but my doctor wouldn't allow me to continue this as she believes it's making my withdrawal worse, so I'm now on just 75mg immediate. I was previously on half normal and half XR and after a few weeks most of the side effects had either gone or significantly improved. They're worse again now though... ūüėē

Regardless, I feel I want to push on and get through this. After I stabilize I want to slowly decrease my effexor (because my doctor wants me to go from 75mg to 0mg effexor and swap it immediately with prozac, but I don't want to do this as I don't want worse withdrawal).



Anyways, hope I can get along with everyone here :)

 

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. We are a peer support forum to assist in tapering off psychiatric drugs safely, or recovering from psychiatric drug withdrawal.

 

This topic is for anything relating to you, and any questions you have. Please do not start another topic.

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your CURRENT dose each month, to limit withdrawal symptoms. E.g. 10mg --> 9mg --> 8.1mg --> 7.29mg

 

All the answers you are looking for regarding tapering and antidepressant withdrawal are on this site. Please search around and continue to read as much as you can manage. Use the site search function to search for specific words or phrases, such as drugs or symptoms.

 

Here are a few of the most useful links:

 

Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

 

Micro tapering

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

Using a scale to weigh and measure doses

 

We only recommend two supplements. Omega 3 Fish Oil and Magnesium. Both should be introduced separately and increased slowly.

 

Regards

Erimus

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021; 55mg - 23 Feb 2024; 60mg - 20 March 2024; Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 57.93mg  (15 May 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

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  • Moderator
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, EPD6893 said:

I went on 80mg Omeprazole and 40mg Famotadine daily. They didn't help but I've been stuck on them for years, though thankfully have made SOME progress as I've managed to get to 50mg omeprazole last year.

I can relate to your reflux-related issues as a result of antidepressant use. I'd never experienced it before I started them. Omeprazole is best tapered by opening the capsules and decreasing the number of beads.

 

4 hours ago, EPD6893 said:

Regardless, I feel I want to push on and get through this. After I stabilize I want to slowly decrease my effexor (because my doctor wants me to go from 75mg to 0mg effexor and swap it immediately with prozac, but I don't want to do this as I don't want worse withdrawal).

I would suggest sticking with what your body is familiar with, and trying to taper the effexor all the way to zero, unless is becomes absolutely impossible.

 

Please read the following topics, if you haven't already:

 

NEVER SKIP DOSES TO TAPER

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases

 

Tips for tapering off venlafaxine (Effexor)

 

 

Edited by Erimus

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021; 55mg - 23 Feb 2024; 60mg - 20 March 2024; Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 57.93mg  (15 May 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

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  • Mentor
6 hours ago, EPD6893 said:

so I'm now on just 75mg immediate


Are you taking this twice a day? I hope so.

1988-1996  Various AD’s, all classifications.  1996-2019  Effexor XR 37.5mg to 150mg. Jan 2017 onward, 37.5 mg.

2019  Apr 11 - July 24: Trials of Latuda then Rexulti. CT'd off per dr.  Jul 24: CT Effexor (per dr)  Sep 9-19: Viibryd, CT (per dr).  Sep 23-27: Trintellix. CT (per dr).  Sep 28 - Oct 24:  Prozac 10mg.  Oct 24:  Stop Prozac, began Pristiq 25mg->50->25mg.

2020  Feb 1: CT Pristiq. Feb 1: Reinstated Effexor XR (10 large beads) gradually increasing to 22 beads (15L+7M) or 9.072mgai on Mar, 2020.

2021  Started Jan w 21 beads (13L+8M) or 8.47mgai ended Dec: 17 beads (7L+9M+1S) or 6.19mgai. Severe COVID + TIA.

2022  Ended yr w 14 beads (3L+5M+5S+1XS) or 4.5mgai. Major jaw injury during year + family tragedy.

2023  Jan: 13 beads (2L+5M+5S+1XS) or 4.2mgai; Feb: 12 beads (2L+4M+5S+1XS) or 3.9mgai; Mar: 11 beads (2L+4M+4S+1XS) or 3.6mgai, Apr: 10 beads (2L+3M+4S+1XS) or 3.3mgai; Jun: 9 beads (2L+3M+3S+1XS) or 3mgai,

 

Current: July, 2023: Effexor XR -  9 beads (2L+3M+3S+1XS) or 2.7 mgai

Other current meds: Ambien 10mg 3.935mg , clonazepam .125mg .107mg, omeprazole, Synthroid, Premarin.  Supplements: D3, C, probiotic, K2-MK7, Mg Glycinate

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12 hours ago, FindRest said:


Are you taking this twice a day? I hope so.

Yes I am. 

 

15 hours ago, Erimus said:

I would suggest sticking with what your body is familiar with, and trying to taper the effexor all the way to zero, unless is becomes absolutely impossible.

 

Please read the following topics, if you haven't already:

Hmmm maybe. As I said, I plan to stabilise on what I'm taking currently and then just stay there for a while.

 

15 hours ago, Erimus said:

I can relate to your reflux-related issues as a result of antidepressant use. I'd never experienced it before I started them. Omeprazole is best tapered by opening the capsules and decreasing the number of beads.

Sorry to hear you got it too :( reflux sucks. Last night (for the millionth time in a row) I couldn't sleep properly because of my reflux pain.

Also got tinnitus from an ear infection recently. Hope it goes away soon.

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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Day 6. Current symptoms: painful headache, increased anxiety and irritability, erectile dysfunction, worse vision and stinging eyes.

Hope they go away soon. :(

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 12. Erectile dysfunction cycles through better and worse every few days but I think things are slowly improving. Still have a massive headache and stinging eyes, but note this could easily be the TWO INFECTIONS I've gotten ūüíÄear infection and yet another cold.

It's just been cold after cold for the last 2 months. Hope it warms up soon and I can finally get a break.

It's difficult to tell how much/little things have changed with the withdrawals and these bugs affecting me simultaneously. 

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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Day 17. I've been getting worse stinging eyes and worse reflux pain over the last few days. Can't tell if it's the bugs or withdrawal. Ears still hurt. Have headaches (not as bad today slightly but still painful), ear pain, aches and pains everywhere, eyes stinging, worse reflux.

I want to continue and not go back to 75mg extended. I'm sure these problems will eventually go away.

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 25. Stinging eyes and eye sight is the same. Erectile dysfunction still. Pretty much the same as before other than ears not ringing as much (I've been using olive oil ear drops).

I'm hoping I don't have permanent erectile dysfunction. 

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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On 4/20/2024 at 6:29 AM, EPD6893 said:

Day 12. Erectile dysfunction cycles through better and worse every few days but I think things are slowly improving. Still have a massive headache and stinging eyes, but note this could easily be the TWO INFECTIONS I've gotten ūüíÄear infection and yet another cold.

It's just been cold after cold for the last 2 months. Hope it warms up soon and I can finally get a break.

It's difficult to tell how much/little things have changed with the withdrawals and these bugs affecting me simultaneously. 

Hi @EPD6893- I struggle with headaches and stinging eyes too, and because I have long covid, I never know what is causing what.  It's not easy- I'm just going to go nice and slow with things, take as much time as I can to stabilize after changes, and hope that the patterns become more obvious over time.  

 

I can't speak to the ED, being a woman, but I do suffer from SSRI sexual dysfunction, complete lack of libido.  It SUCKS.  I've been following the PSSD thread under symptoms, and someone there recently said that the best way to heal these symptoms is to live your life, don't obsess over it, keep your mind occupied, distractions are good.  Healing happens.   Sadly, I think that this is a symptom that can take a while to heal.  Which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint- when the body and brain are in crisis, reproduction is not high on the priority list.  Be patient, focus on your overall wellness.

 

Hang in there, and keep posting.  Someday, as you heal you'll be able to look back on these early days, and see how far you've come!

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell.

2009- Daughter born ūü•į

2016- Back on escitalopram

2022- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN

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On 5/3/2024 at 9:44 PM, Catwoman73 said:

Hi @EPD6893- I struggle with headaches and stinging eyes too, and because I have long covid, I never know what is causing what.  It's not easy- I'm just going to go nice and slow with things, take as much time as I can to stabilize after changes, and hope that the patterns become more obvious over time.  

 

I can't speak to the ED, being a woman, but I do suffer from SSRI sexual dysfunction, complete lack of libido.  It SUCKS.  I've been following the PSSD thread under symptoms, and someone there recently said that the best way to heal these symptoms is to live your life, don't obsess over it, keep your mind occupied, distractions are good.  Healing happens.   Sadly, I think that this is a symptom that can take a while to heal.  Which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint- when the body and brain are in crisis, reproduction is not high on the priority list.  Be patient, focus on your overall wellness.

 

Hang in there, and keep posting.  Someday, as you heal you'll be able to look back on these early days, and see how far you've come!

Thanks :) hope we both recover eventually.

Late 2020 stop Effexor 350mg in 2 months by psychiatrist. Withdrawal and new disability (functional reflux/ibs)
Late 2021 stop abilify on my own. Goes perfectly fine.
Late 2022 Effexor 37.5mg
Early 2023 Effexor 75mg
Early 2024 Struggling to taper Effexor



Current medications:
-Morning: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, famotadine 20mg
-Evening: effexor 37.5mg immediate release, omeprazole 20mg, omeprazole 10mg, famotadine 20mg, amitriptyline 10mg

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