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Introducing ecsaow -- tapering off Effexor XR


ecsaow

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Hi all, it's comforting finding a site like this that can connect people who are suffering from the same experiences with SSRIs and other medications.

I've been on Effexor XR for 10 years, spent 4 years taking 450mg doses, then reduced abruptly to 300mg doses, which was a huge mistake.

I remained on 300mg of the medication for a further 4 years, and over the last 2 years have managed to gradually taper off to a dose of 75mg.

In Australia we aren't able to obtain the tablet variety and are stuck with the capsules which come in 37.5mg, 75mg and 150mg.

I'm going to have to source a compound pharmacist that can compound the medication so that I can try to reduce in much smaller increments.

 

Like most people on this site I've suffered the whole gamut of side effects, from the most severe to mild and most inbetween, both physical, and psychological.

Just recently I've been informed of a class action that may be underway in Australia and am seriously considering getting involved. I figure it's a productive way to channel my frustrations after 10 years of suffering.

 

After having read some of the posts on this site, I think I'm pretty safe in assuming that most of us have become frustrated with the medical establishment and there ignorance to side effects and withdrawal symptoms and in general their blind faith in the big pharmaceutical companies. This ignorance will most likely continue I feel unless people like us, who have suffered the consequences decide to act to at least create awareness and lobby governments, the medical profession and final big pharma on the realities and experiences of taking such medications at least for a percentage of the population.

 

My guess is it will be a slow and ardous process and probably take a generation before the medical establishment accept that some medications for some people can be not only ineffective but toxic and dangerous.

 

ecsaow

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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Hello Ecsaow... welcome to Surviving Antidepressants, where you will certainly find like minded people.

 

There are many here who are tapering Effexor and perhaps can offer some helpful suggestions. I know many count the pellets, which is not an easy task.

 

It would be helpful if you would put your med history in your signature. Thank you!

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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Welcome, Escaow.

 

I like your spirit!

 

This ignorance will most likely continue I feel unless people like us, who have suffered the consequences decide to act to at least create awareness and lobby governments, the medical profession and final big pharma on the realities and experiences of taking such medications at least for a percentage of the population.

Exellent statement and I fully agree.

Off Lexapro since 3rd November 2011.

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Hi Summer,

 

I actually tried your suggestion for a few months opening up the capusules and counting the granules. I don't feel it was so good for me though, I think the dosages I ended up with were pretty irregular. I had some pretty severe side effects using this method.

 

ecsaow

Effexor XR

from 450 to 75mg

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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Hi Phil,

 

Seems like your almost done with your withdrawal ? How is it all going ?

 

Ecsaow

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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Hi again Summer,

How do I go about adding a signature to my name, is it somewhere in the settings, or profile section ?

 

ecsaow

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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Welcome, Ecsaow!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Hi again Summer,

How do I go about adding a signature to my name, is it somewhere in the settings, or profile section ?

 

ecsaow

 

Go into settings...

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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Hi ecsaow,

 

I just came off Effexor after 10 years on 37.5mg and from my own experience and that of many others it can be a brutal one.

Both Paxil and Effexor are notorious for a hideous withdrawal if done too fast.

I have tried numerous times over the years to get off and always failed.

I can't get hard pills either where I live so I was stuck with the capsules as well.

On this site the moderators have mentioned several ways to do an Effexor taper...

one is counting the beads in a step down fashion..another is making it into a liquid and yet another a switch to Prozac.

All 3 worth looking at.

 

I switched to another type of antidepressant which was a mistake...it did not cover the Effexor withdrawal symptoms and so it was pretty brutal for a while.

For the electric shocks in the head I found high amounts of EPA ( close to 3600mg of EPA ) in an Omega 3 supplement really working..it did made the shocks less acute.

I take a lot more than just Omegas and have been for years but for some people they can cause side effects or adverse reactions so be careful with anything you add in.

 

Other than the above I have no more wisdom to share for now since I am still in withdrawal myself but it is quite bearable at the moment.

No more shocks, no more burning which both were awful for a while.

My husband forces me to hop on my bike everyday and ride some 15+ miles up and down hills till I sweat bullets and feel I am about to drop and to attend my regular water aerobic classes..

I have cut out coffee and wine and try to stay distracted and occupied...

but some days it is going through all the way kicking and screaming..hating the world.

Today is a good day.

10 yrs on 37.5 Effexor

came off too quicky June 2011+ at the same time put on 150mg Wellbutrin.

Things not working out and started to taper off Wellbutrin July 21.

Schedule is:

Week 1: 37.5mg 3 times a day ( total of 112.5 mg)

Week 2: 37.5 mg 2 times a day ( total of 75mg)

Week 3: 18.75mg 2 times a day ( total of 37.5mg)

Week 4: 18.75mg once day

Week 5: off

 

As of July 27th...reinstated on Effexor 37.5mg

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Thanks Summer,

I found the "settings" section, I think I've worked it out, am a bit tech illiterate though!

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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HI Nadia,

Wow you've been a guinea pig for the pharmaceutical companies, so just many years on the wretched stuff, my heart goes out to you. Do you think now that you are off everything that your experiences of feeling worse before you feel better is your body just trying to get rid of all the toxins. They've been in your system for 15 years. I have a feeling that when I finally come off my medication that things will actually get worse before they get better. I figure each body has it's own time period of flushing out all the toxins that have accumulated over the years. At the moment how are you feeling, can you see the light at the end of the tunnel ?

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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  • Administrator

ecs, you've already made a signature, with your tapering info in it. Well done!

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi aaa50

I was just reading your post and just clicked something at the bottom of it, and the "0" turned into a "1", not sure what I did, not that tech savvy, so apologies.

 

So you are finally off the drug, that's great to hear. I had a look last night at the different methods of tapering, actually tried the counting granules one for a few months. Am seriously considering getting it compunded although it is XR and it's not as easy to do. Am actually reluctant to use another medication to start another taper.

Am glad you've discovered the Omega 3 I've been using that aswell for my tapers, found it helped a little, or even if it doesn't, maybe the pacebo effect of thinking something might help.

 

I think it's great that you've been trying the physical exercise, I think I need someone to force me to start doing some, it's been so long !!!

So are you finding that the exercise is helping ?

I suppose the sweating would be good at eliminating the toxins, and just the general health and well being can't be bad for us ?

 

And the coffee aswell ? Oh dear, don't know if I could cut that out...

 

So how long is it since you've been actually off all the medications ?

How often do you get the "hate the world" - type days...?

 

Am glad to hear that your having some good days though.

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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Hi Altostrata,

 

I did ? I must have fluked it then, I feel like a kid in school getting a star for good work !

So how long is it since you've been off your medication ?

How has it been for you since then ?

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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I found the "settings" section, I think I've worked it out, am a bit tech illiterate though!

 

You're not alone... so am I!

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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  • Administrator

ecs, the way people do it with the Effexor XR granules, they take out, say 10 granules from a capsule, then put the capsule back together and take the rest. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Alto,

I actually used that method for a few tapers. when I was coming off larger doses. I would count them, but had some pretty ba side effects. Not sure if some of the granules are just fillers and they are different sizes, so I'm sort of hesitant to try this method for my next drop. I have found a compound pharmacist that can take my existing capsules and reconfigure them in smaller doses, maybe he would be doing a similar thing to what we do when we count granules, but am thinking that he may be a little more accurate and consistent with reformulating the dosages. Technically you can't really compound XR from what pharmacists and some scientists have explained to me.

I suppose I'll try both methods to get off the remaining 75mg and just see which method gives me the least grief.

I'm going to see this compound pharmacist again so he can explain to me how exactly he measures these granules and reconfigures them into 10mg, 5mg doses. Had some genetic tests done last year that determined I was missing an enzyme that helps metabolize this stuff. Have you come across this type of testing in your research ? It might be helpful for some as the testing let's you know what type of medications your body may have difficulty metabolizing.

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

Link to comment

Hi aaa50

I was just reading your post and just clicked something at the bottom of it, and the "0" turned into a "1", not sure what I did, not that tech savvy, so apologies.

 

So you are finally off the drug, that's great to hear. I had a look last night at the different methods of tapering, actually tried the counting granules one for a few months. Am seriously considering getting it compunded although it is XR and it's not as easy to do. Am actually reluctant to use another medication to start another taper.

Am glad you've discovered the Omega 3 I've been using that aswell for my tapers, found it helped a little, or even if it doesn't, maybe the pacebo effect of thinking something might help.

 

I think it's great that you've been trying the physical exercise, I think I need someone to force me to start doing some, it's been so long !!!

So are you finding that the exercise is helping ?

I suppose the sweating would be good at eliminating the toxins, and just the general health and well being can't be bad for us ?

 

And the coffee aswell ? Oh dear, don't know if I could cut that out...

 

So how long is it since you've been actually off all the medications ?

How often do you get the "hate the world" - type days...?

 

Am glad to hear that your having some good days though.

 

Hi ecsaow,

 

I am off Effexor now 6 weeks and on Wellbutrin for the same amount of time.

So I am really not off all medications.

Today is a bad day with a very high amount of anxiety....the first time since off Effexor have I felt this anxious.......probably induced by a lot of outside caused emotional stress yesterday.

I have had all the way through the night a lot of palpitations and got up at 1pm to go to the living room where I stayed till day light came in.

Now I am shaking, my heart rate is up and feel as if I no longer have any control over myself and my mind and thoughts and my life.

Very confused too..my nervous system has taken off in a bad way it seems.

very much the way I felt for 2 years prior to any drugs back in 1984.

I don't feel the wellbutrin is a good one for me..it does not seem to do much although if I did not have it, god only knows how much worse I possible could feel.

So all in all no good news to report.

yes, I did stop all coffee and anything that can arouse the nervous system..however, by the looks of it, with or without, it can revve up anyway.

10 yrs on 37.5 Effexor

came off too quicky June 2011+ at the same time put on 150mg Wellbutrin.

Things not working out and started to taper off Wellbutrin July 21.

Schedule is:

Week 1: 37.5mg 3 times a day ( total of 112.5 mg)

Week 2: 37.5 mg 2 times a day ( total of 75mg)

Week 3: 18.75mg 2 times a day ( total of 37.5mg)

Week 4: 18.75mg once day

Week 5: off

 

As of July 27th...reinstated on Effexor 37.5mg

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  • Administrator

Hi Alto,

I actually used that method for a few tapers. when I was coming off larger doses. I would count them, but had some pretty ba side effects. Not sure if some of the granules are just fillers and they are different sizes, so I'm sort of hesitant to try this method for my next drop....

That's exactly the problem with this counting granules method, it's inexact, and if you are very sensitive -- which it seems you are -- it may not be a smooth enough taper.

 

I'm going to see this compound pharmacist again so he can explain to me how exactly he measures these granules and reconfigures them into 10mg, 5mg doses. Had some genetic tests done last year that determined I was missing an enzyme that helps metabolize this stuff. Have you come across this type of testing in your research ? It might be helpful for some as the testing let's you know what type of medications your body may have difficulty metabolizing.

 

When you get this info from the druggist, please post it in Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine) Every factoid helps!!

 

Yes, we know about the liver enzyme issue. This is called the P450 cytochrome system. If you are a poor metabolizer via a liver enzyme used by these drugs, they can cause even worse problems for you. There are a lot of P450 cyp drug-drug conflict issues, too. This can go to liver damage. (This happened to me, with Paxil and oral Lamisil, an anti-fungal. It took my liver a year to recover.)

 

Oh, by the way, that little number at the bottom of posts is "reputation." You can give a thumbs-up to a member and add to their reputation. No harm done to aaa!

 

Hi ecsaow,

 

I am off Effexor now 6 weeks and on Wellbutrin for the same amount of time.

So I am really not off all medications.

Today is a bad day with a very high amount of anxiety....the first time since off Effexor have I felt this anxious.......probably induced by a lot of outside caused emotional stress yesterday.

I have had all the way through the night a lot of palpitations and got up at 1pm to go to the living room where I stayed till day light came in.

Now I am shaking, my heart rate is up and feel as if I no longer have any control over myself and my mind and thoughts and my life.

Very confused too..my nervous system has taken off in a bad way it seems.

very much the way I felt for 2 years prior to any drugs back in 1984.

I don't feel the wellbutrin is a good one for me..it does not seem to do much although if I did not have it, god only knows how much worse I possible could feel.

So all in all no good news to report.

yes, I did stop all coffee and anything that can arouse the nervous system..however, by the looks of it, with or without, it can revve up anyway.

 

Those symptoms can also be side effects of Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin is not a good medication for people to take when they have antidepressant withdrawal symptoms. Wellbutrin itself is a noradrenergic that can arouse the nervous system.

 

aaa, the Wellbutrin is likely making your symptoms worse.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to comment

Hi ecsaow,

 

I am off Effexor now 6 weeks and on Wellbutrin for the same amount of time.

So I am really not off all medications.

Today is a bad day with a very high amount of anxiety....the first time since off Effexor have I felt this anxious.......probably induced by a lot of outside caused emotional stress yesterday.

I have had all the way through the night a lot of palpitations and got up at 1pm to go to the living room where I stayed till day light came in.

Now I am shaking, my heart rate is up and feel as if I no longer have any control over myself and my mind and thoughts and my life.

Very confused too..my nervous system has taken off in a bad way it seems.

very much the way I felt for 2 years prior to any drugs back in 1984.

I don't feel the wellbutrin is a good one for me..it does not seem to do much although if I did not have it, god only knows how much worse I possible could feel.

So all in all no good news to report.

yes, I did stop all coffee and anything that can arouse the nervous system..however, by the looks of it, with or without, it can revve up anyway.

 

 

Hi aaa

 

You poor thing, it sounds like the body has gone into nervous overload.

 

It happens! but have you noticed it happening more frequently on the Wellburtin, or is this the first time in the 6 weeks since you’ve started taking it ?

 

Do you keep a journal about your daily experiences so you can check and compare with other days?

 

 

It’s difficult sometimes when external stresses happen to differentiate between drug induced effects.

 

Try not to focus too much on the big picture of life when your mind attacks you like this.

 

 

You haven’t lost control over your life although emotionally you might feel like you have.

 

When we get in ‘states’ like this it’s difficult though not to start thinking about the big picture of our lives and get frustrated, overwhelmed and feel that we have lost complete control.

 

 

Even when we can’t control these emotions, it’s OK, because in a day or so, you will feel more in control, mentally and emotionally.

 

Today though, do whatever you can to distract yourself from your thoughts, try and make yourself laugh, go and shop for something, or whatever it is that may give you an ounce of pleasure,

 

 

try and make yourself laugh if you can, even though that may sound impossible!

 

Remember to be GENTLE with yourself on days like this; don’t attack yourself about your life, the past, the future and everything in between.

 

You will get through this day !

 

Keep me posted

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

Link to comment

When you get this info from the druggist, please post it in Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine) Every factoid helps!!

 

Yes, we know about the liver enzyme issue. This is called the P450 cytochrome system. If you are a poor metabolizer via a liver enzyme used by these drugs, they can cause even worse problems for you. There are a lot of P450 cyp drug-drug conflict issues, too. This can go to liver damage. (This happened to me, with Paxil and oral Lamisil, an anti-fungal. It took my liver a year to recover.)

 

Oh, by the way, that little number at the bottom of posts is "reputation." You can give a thumbs-up to a member and add to their reputation. No harm done to aaa!

 

 

Alto,

Will do, this pharmacist says that he has tried this method several times, and I would like to know exactly what he does, and will post it, I think it would be helpful for fellow Australians on this site, that don't have access to the tablet form Effexor. Yes, the P450 testing is what I had done, and the scientists at the lab explained to me the make up of the granules in the medication along with some pharmcists that had an awareness of people trying to withdraw from these meds, but I had tried the granule counting method before hand and realised that for my system it was pretty volatile. I hear you with the LIver damage thing, mines not holding up to well along with some other organs after 10 years of this stuff,

thanks for the 'take action' email have followed some of it up.

EffexorXR(10yrs)

450mg down to 75mg

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