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Cmonster - Effexor taper 1 week in & need advice


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Hello everyone!


Thanks for reading my post -- I'm pretty concerned that I might be cruising straight into a disaster sometime in the coming week. For the last 10 months or so I've been taking 225mg Effexor XR. One week ago I dropped down to 150mg Effexor XR and this past week hasn't been terrible, I've had spells of nauseousness, and some weakness and I seem to be more irritable than usual. But certainly it seems tolerable at this point. However, now that I've started reading people's experiences online I've become concerned that I made too big a cut, and a nightmare scenario awaits me about 1 week from now (many posts indicate that the real withdrawal symptoms begin 2 WEEKS after initiating an Effexor drop).


At this point I am wondering if perhaps I should step back up to about 203mg (225 minus 10%) and try to do a slower 10% per month taper. That seems like a daunting path if it could really take that long! I had been hoping to get off of this in a month or so, but maybe that was naive.


I have been on Paxil, Wellbutrin and celexa in the past, and the only time I remember having a really rough go of it was when I had to stop taking Celexa very quickly after a fast taper when I couldn't afford the medication anymore. That was really rough and I was nonfunctional for a couple days and then got another ssri from a friend and tapered with that (Zoloft I believe).


What I'd like to ask you guys (and gals!) for is feedback regarding what you think would be my best option here, given that its already been 1 week after a 33% drop in dosage.


There is a good post i found about successful Effexor XR tapering (http://m.topix.com/forum/drug/effexor/TRTJS6RIEKTVEMIQM). I bring this up only because he apparently successfully tapered off after an initial drop of 50%. He went from 150 mg to 75.


Regardless, any guidance or reassurance would be massively appreciated!

Your posts have already been very helpful for me so far, just in researching this on my own :)


PS: sorry this isn't more of a real introduction, I'm just feeling a ton of urgency inside of me right now telling me to try to figure out what step to take next because acting quickly may be critical to my mental and emotional health.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Cmonster,


welcome to the forum.


It seems to me that you've done some great research and you're looking for the right way to do things.


Firstly let me say that as you've probably guessed that last drop was way too fast. The good news is, it's only been a week so I would definitely recommend updosing. You may want to start by updosing to a slightly smaller dose than what you've suggested, only because even after a week your CNS may have become sensitised to the drug and an increase that is too high may have adverse effects.


What you could do is increase to 180mg to start with and see if that is enough. If not, you can always go higher. It takes about 4-5 days for the medication to reach steady state in your blood stream.


It's often the case that people have been able to get off medications very quickly in the past but it seems their luck runs out as time goes by. This was true for me also. I have tapered off citalopram before in a matter of weeks in the early days with no symptoms. Nowadays I'm not able to do that. If I were you I wouldn't take the chance.


10% might sound like a slow taper, but I urge you to read the horror stories of debilitating protracted withdrawal from our members before you discount it. Better to be safe than sorry.


Regarding the successful taper you mentioned in your post - you're right that some people can taper very quickly with no adverse effects. The problem is, you don't know whether you fall into the category of 'easy tapers' until you're in the thick of things. And by then it may be too late to reinstate.


If you haven't already, have a read of these links:






Please feel free to add your drug history in your signature:




I wish you the best of luck.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!

****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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One month to get off effexor is a REALLY bad idea. This is an advice forum, and you are able to take the info and make your own choices of course. But there is no one who will tell you getting off effexor in a month is a good idea, especially a hefty dose like you were taking.

I have been tapering this awful drug since october, and you can read my posts for what has worked for me so far (and what has not).

One thing that absolutely is true is that you may not feel anything different at first. But it is possible you will get nailed between 10-15 days after a drop. It is likely this will happen...most people seem to experience this.

My advice differs slightly from most others on this forum one point. I would wait to see how you feel before "updosing" since you're already at 150mg. If you start feeling horrible, you'll know why, and dont be afraid to go back to your original dose for a month to stablize if it happens.

No matter how horrible I've felt, i have never updosed, and I am sitting at about half of my original dose. However I have never gone down by anywhere close to 1/3 before! But everybody is very different.

Keep us updated, and good luck.

2001 september - Effexor XR 75 mg, Seroquel 250 mg
2001 november - Effexor XR 150 mg
2003 - Replaced Seroquel with 20 mg Nozinan
2005 - Discontinued anti-psycotic medications for good
2009 january - Started having panic attacks
2009 - split 150 mg Effexor XR into 75 mg twice daily
2010 - Occasionally Clonazapam and Adivan for panic attacks
2012 - Realization that Effexor no longer works, and may even be having adverse reactions to it.
2012 October 18 - Begin slow taper (1 bead removed from each morning and evening 75mg capsule), February 18, 2013 - 140 beads per pill (X2 per day) (About 65%), 2013 November 16 - 70 beads per pill (X2 per day) (32.5%), 2014 September - 27 beads per pill (X2 per day) (12.5%) November 2 2015 - 1 bead per day (0.23% of original dose) and SLOWLY spacing doses out 25 hours, then 26, 28, currently 29hrs
November 2014 at 200mg Welbutrin

February 21st, 2016 - Last dose of Effexor forever

Monday, March 7, 2016 - Started decreasing Wellbutrin, currently at >25mg once a day

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  • Administrator

Hi Cmonster,


You are feeling the effects of your 33% decrement with the nausea, weakness and irritability ... a really good rule is to observe your system's responses and adjust accordingly. Up-dosing at this point is probably the best advice to avoid worse symptoms. However, you can hold this decrement and see if the symptoms ramp up or not and then decide to up-dose or not, but only give it about 2 weeks. Once withdrawal symptoms set in it can be very uncomfortable until the up-dose kicks in and allows your system to stabilize.


I agree with Basildev's recommendation not to up-dose to your previous full dose, but rather to up-dose at a lesser dose. If you are still feeling symptoms after an up-dose (given some time) you can then increase a little more.


I am coming off of 375 mg of Effexor and it has take me years to get down to 17.6 mg, but I have only had severe withdrawals once and during that time I did up-dose. We are all individuals and our experiences will be different. It is not recommended to attempt to come off of a 225 mg dose of Effexor in one month; the risk of prolonged withdrawal is significant when doing this.


Because the dosage of Effexor is generally so high I have seen people successfully decrement more than 10% in the beginning of their tapers without too much difficulty. But as Basildev pointed out some people can do it and some have difficulties and you don't know which group you will fall into in advance. The best advice is to decrement by 10%.


Welcome to the forum. You will find lots of support here ... there are a number of us coming off of Effexor.



2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg; 12/17 - 75mg; 8/17 - 45 mg; 10/16 40 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 ; 10/16 40mg;

1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor

I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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At this point I am wondering if perhaps I should step back up to about 203mg (225 minus 10%) and try to do a slower 10% per month taper. That seems like a daunting path if it could really take that long! I had been hoping to get off of this in a month or so, but maybe that was naive

I had the same urgency and naivety. People respond differently. There may very well be people who are capable of making it through a large drop in Effexor dose, but that doesn't mean it is right or the whole story of their suffering after the post. It sucks that it takes a while, but as I've been told here numerous times, the structural changes are there and they take time to heal regardless.


75mg seems like a big drop. I have been suffering for two and a half weeks from a drop half that. I'd find your comfort zone for size and time for reduction and stick with it. Don't put yourself through unnecessary suffering.

Tapering Zoloft, Dec 2014

Started Lamictal

Re-started Zoloft mid-Oct 2014, 25-50mg

Stopped Zoloft end of Sept 2014

Started Zoloft July 2014, 50mg

Stopped Prozac from 3mg May 2014

Stopped Effexor Dec '13 Started 10mg Prozac

Reinstated Effexor 15mg on Nov 2013

Stopped from 21mg on Oct 2013
Effexor 112.5mg, since Dec 2012

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