Jump to content

whyOwhy: Newbie & soon to be Effexor XR - ex (hopefully!)


Recommended Posts

Hey!  I just wanted to introduce myself as briefly as possible.  I began taking Effexor XR about 11 years ago.  I had been battling major medical issues 5 years before taking anti-depressants.  I didn't have anyone in my family or knew of anyone who took them.  I began with 75 mg of Effexor XR and soon bumped up to 150 mg. 


I decided in December '13 to stop taking the medication.  I believed that it wasn't really doing anything for me.  I asked my doctor if he could prescribe me another type of medication and this is where the problems began.  I wasn't given any information about tapering off the medication and quit cold turkey.  I became ill with flu-like symptoms almost immediately.  This went on for several days and ended whenever I figured out that it wasn't the flu.  I couldn't get out of bed, eat, and I had severe nausea.  Within hours of taking the medication my withdrawal symptoms vanished.  I called my doctor and began my research immediately.  My doctor's instructions were to wean myself off of the medication by taking it every other day and then every third day.  I decided to go ahead and take the medication every other day.  A little over 3 weeks ago I went to every third day and my last pill was July 4th.  The withdrawal symptoms didn't start occuring until 4 days after my last dose & I am struggling. 


Not quite sure why my doctor chose this method of getting me off this medication because in all my research I haven't seen it as a recommended practice.  Anyway, I just started taking an Omega 3 today and I am hoping to feel better soon!

Effexor XR 150mg/day - 11 years

Dec. '13 - 1st attempt to quit

July 4, 2014 - last pill


Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi whyowhy


Sorry to hear you are struggling. I'm not sure why your dr recommended that strategy either, except to say that many do. It's not great because it destabilises your nervous system


What are your symptoms now? How have they changed over time? Did you have any symptoms when you were tapering down or just after you stopped completely?


We are very happy to provide support, just need a little more info on what's happening for you



Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.


DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017


>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

What dose were you taking every other and then third day?


Probably your best bet right now would be to restart a very, very small dose, just a few mg, take it every day and stabilize, then taper down from that. Depending on what dose you were alternating, probably something like 5 mg.


We just don't see people do well with that alternating doses thing. The nervous system prefers stability.  I don't know why doctors think it makes sense to subject our CNS to continually fluctuating roller coaster doses of drugs, like that's going to somehow help. I think they just suggest it out of ignorance and laziness. There's no scientific basis for it.


You can ride it out for a week or two if you want to see what's going to happen, but my personal thought is that given what I've seen with other people, your safest bet would be to stabilize on a very small dose and then taper slowly off that small dose once you're stable. That is the method that seems to actually work best for people. After 11 years on the meds and an alternating-dose type taper over six months, I think this is your best bet.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.


Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 


I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I wholeheartedly agree with Rhi.  Effexor withdrawal is nothing to mess with and the misery can be drawn out over years.  If I were you I'd do exactly as Rhi says.  Here's our topic on withdrawing from that specific drug:  Tips on Tapering Effexor


Welcome to the forum, whyOwhy. You'll find lots of good information and friendly support here.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy