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Leslie50 Tapering off 37.5 mg venlafaxine XR


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I am taking 37.5 mg of venlafaxine. I have been on it since March 2015 for treatment of migraines caused by a concussion. My doctor said I could try going off now (no migraines since May) because we want to start trying to conceive again. I could tell that withdrawal wouldn't be easy from a dizzy/vertigo feeling and headaches I get when I take a dose a bit late. I also had a hard time starting the drug- not sleeping for 3 days and lost 7 pounds.


I started taking it every 36 hours, but was feeling quite groggy, no attention span. I found this forum and saw that is never recommended to increase time between doses, which makes sense given the short half life. So I called my dr and pharmacist several times until I finally received a prescription for tablets. I started though by tapering the beads of drug. For the past couple days I removed 6 of the 36 beads. This is more like 26%... But I am giving it a try for now.


I am wondering about the 4 week period between tapers. Is this a conservative timespan meant to apply to all drugs? For something with a short half life, such as venlafaxine would symptoms really appear 2-3 weeks later? I was thinking I would taper 20% every 2-3 weeks and then drop by 3 mg when I hit 12 mg. But even at this rate it would take a minimum of 22 weeks to wean off. That's almost as long as I've been on it!


Any advice from someone who weaned off the lowest dose and how it went for them? The dose is so small, I'm hoping that a 'larger' drop of 6 mg or so would not be so impactful. Why is it important for the drops to keep becoming smaller? I can't imagine, but this plan with a typical dose of 100 mg or more would take years!


As a note I do take a fair amount of supplements that I've found to help with my headaches.. These are Mg, B2, vit E, omega 3, and Co Q10.

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Welcome, Leslie.


Yes, we see that withdrawal symptoms can appear weeks after a dosage reduction.


The 10% taper guideline applies to all psychiatric drugs. The reason it's 10% is that we often see people coming here who've reduced by 25% and gotten terrible withdrawal syndrome. See Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


The dosage level doesn't matter that much. Anyone who's been taking a psychiatric drug at any dosage for more than a month is at risk for withdrawal syndrome.


No one likes the idea of such slow, careful tapering and I can see you don't, either. The final judge is your nervous system. If it complains, you are going too fast. Withdrawal symptoms, of which you've had a sample, are not trivial. See What is withdrawal syndrome?  and read some of the other Intro topics to see what people are going through.


See Tips for tapering off Effexor (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

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Hi Leslie,


I (unfortunately) consider myself a bit of an expert in tapering off Effexor and the effects associated with that. The highest dose I ever took, like you, was 37.5 mg. Very powerful stuff. Please let me know if you have any questions/feel free to PM me. I got off of it by slowly removing beads from the capsule over time. Best wishes to you!

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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