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  1. I was starting my third effexor taper 7/2015 -6/2016 and down to 3 mg untill nerve conditions of numbness, buzzing, tingling, burning and buzzing sensations in limbs started. I didn't know what was happening and neither did my doctors and thought I had some other illness such as MS, fibromyalgia etc. Did numerous tests with no diagnosis. Anxiety and insomnia was at an all time high so Doctor reinstated full 37.5 mg dose on 6/30 and up to 75 mg in 1 week. Because the nerve conditions also were not allowing me to sleep the doc gave me clonazepam. Later I was then given lyrica to help with the nerve conditions. but After a one week trail of lyrica in August I discontinued immediately due to some paradoxical effects of jerks and muscle fasciculations and also decided the clonazepam might also be a culprit and started a 4 week taper with the help of mirtazapine for sleep. While this was going on only through the course of my own research did I come to the conclusion that the nerve conditions I was suffering were initially from SNRI withdrawal symptoms. September faired better as the initial withdrawal symptoms seemed like they were being resolved after a few months back on effexor so then I figured the effexor was helping with that...Great! but.... As soon as I was done with the clonazepam some of the initial nerve symptoms I experienced in June have returned. Not sure if the clonazepam was masking it. So now my issue is that I'm at a higher dose of the effexor than when I started and the withdrawal symptoms has not been entirely reversed and don't know what to do at this point? Taper off effexor? I'm still using mirtazapine for sleep because because the nerve condition of either a jerk, adrenaline surge, numbness etc will keep me up. Please help me I'm desperate!!!
  2. Hello to all. Thank you for this site. I'm sorry to all who are suffering through this. Back in August I was down to 112.5 mg of effexor from 187.5 when my doctor put me on 30 mg of prozac to help with my taper. Over a few weeks I developed seratonin syndrome and had to stop both at once on Sept 19th. I've been going through withdrawal ever since with it getting worse every morning. It is extreme in the mornings now. I found a fb group and started reintroducing effexor starting with 8 beads on Thursday Oct 15th. My main most disabling symptoms are extreme nausea, vomiting, dry heaving, diarrhea, and feeling extremely hot and prickly electric type shocks to my body. Any advice that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. I plan to hold at this dose for a week and then go up if not stable.
  3. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
  4. Hello, Thank you so much for this site. It is really a lifesaver. I am trying to taper off of Effexor XR (Venlafaxine) after 17 years of use. In the past I unsuccessfully tried to get off of Effexor XR. My doctor attempted to taper me off in only one month. The withdrawal symptoms were so horrible that I went I back on the drug and the symptoms immediately stopped. I finally got up the courage to try to taper again. This time I tapered 4 times as slow as before, but clearly not slow enough. I was desperate to find relief from the severe anxiety attacks and insomnia side effect that I got when my Effexor was increased above 150 mg. The anxiety and insomnia immediately improved after each reduction. However, I still experience some anxiety attacks from the drug withdrawal. I am currently holding steady at 112.5 mg. of Effexor XR. I tapered from 187.5 mg. Effexor XR plus 10 mg. Viibryd, 300 Gabapentin and 25 mg. Amitriptyline (Elavil) down to 112.5 mg. Effexor XR. over the course of approximately 7 months. Gabapentin and Elavil were relatively easy for me to get off of. Probably because I was only on them for a year or two. The withdrawal only lasted 1 week after each dose reduction. The antidepressants however, were a different story. They have been hell to get of! Especially the Effexor. I reduced the antidepressant every 3 to 5 weeks by reducing by the lowest dosage pill. In June I had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This treatment helped me immensely. In fact I believe that it saved me. Before the treatment my depression was severe. The TMS decreased it to mild. It also helped with the anxiety a lot. It also helped some with sleep, fatigue and sexual dysfunction. If it was not for the drug withdrawal I really think that the depression would be in remission. I am happy that I am making forward progress, but I am frustrated that I continue to suffer withdrawal symptoms and it has been 6 months since I last reduced the Effexor. I am positive that I have PAWS. I am not sure but I suspect that I may have Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction. The withdrawal symptoms are no longer severe like they were but they are still significant. I read your post on up-dosing and reinstating. Thank you! for the advice! I would have not known better and tried to up dose way too much had I not read this. Based on the recommendation I decided to be cautious and up-dose at the lowest dose possible (1 beadlet or 0.4 mg.) It has been 1 week since up-dosing. The first night that I up-dosed I noticed that my heart raced when I drank a glass of wine and I had insomnia. I don't really know if these things had anything to do with the up-dose or if it was an effect from the alcohol. Other then this I did not notice any difference at all until today. Today I had more intense head zaps. It might be too soon to jump to any conclusions just yet. I am thinking at holding steady for 1 more week and then assessing. What do you think? Also, how would you recommend storing the beadlets? Do you think they need to be kept out of light? P.S. I hope my signature is not too confusing. Did I put it in the right place? I am very glad that I found this site and I hope that I can help others as well. Signature: 2002-2005- Effexor XR. 150 mg. 2006- (Jan.- June) increased to 225 mg. Effexor XR, July 2006? decreased to 150 mg. 2007- 2018- Effexor XR.- 150 mg. 2018- increased to 225 mg. Effexor XR, added Gabapentin 900 mg., added Amitriptyline (Elavil25 mg. 2018- (Sept.) Decreased Effexor XR to 187.5mg, added Zoloft 10 mg., (Nov.) tapered off Elavil, (Dec.) tapered off Gabapentin 2019- (Jan.) switched Zoloft to 10 mg. Viibryd., (Feb.) decreased Effexor to 150 mg., (March) tapered off Viibryd, (April) switched 37.5 mg. Effexor to 10 mg. Prozac then tapered off of Prozac.
  5. Hi everyone, After many months of reading and gaining some hope and encouragement from the stories here I decided to join your great forum. Sorry, but this is a very long story. Im a 39 year old male from Australia and I have been taking ssri’s for GAD for the last 10 years. I started on Paxil 20mg for around 18 months and was switched to lexapro 10mg due to weight gain, sexual dysfunction and fatigue. Lexapro was a little better but I really didn’t feel like it was doing much apart from keeping the weight up and the motivation down. I am 6’2 and was always skinny, I never could bulk up. Paxil took me from 78kg and healthy to 100kg and always sweaty in around 12 months. I tried a few times to simply stop the meds but had no idea about withdrawal or tapering and always ended up reinstating due to awful side effects (rage, crying spells etc). The drs always said thats just how you are off the meds...... keep taking them for the rest of your life. They also upped my dosage a few times but I quickly went back to 10mg. In 2017 I felt lexapro wasn’t being effective so the dr straight swapped me to Valdoxan for a few weeks and I felt awful. They then straight swapped me to Prozac and around 4 days into taking that I woke in the middle of the night to terrible ringing in my ears. This was my first introduction to tinnitus. I freaked out and asked to be put back on lexapro. I reinstated at 10mg again and everything calmed down after about 7-8 weeks of hell. The tinnitus that was in both ears and the middle of my head reduced to a tiny amount only in my left ear. I now know this was likely my last chance at reinstatement working for me..... more on that soon. So another few years went past and the side effects of weight gain, heat intolerance, sexual dysfunction and the general feeling of “blah” were just too much for me to handle. I began a taper in January of 2019 and went from 10mg to 7.5mg for 4 weeks. I then went to 5mg for 4 weeks and finally 2.5mg for 4 weeks. I felt okay during the taper, my tinnitus was a little bit louder but not enough to bother me, I was more irritable and I had brain zaps. The real “fun” began around 12 weeks after the taper off the medication...... I had a panic attack and fell into one of the episodes that put me on meds in the first place. These were purely anxiety driven and I never felt depressed. I’ve had them since about 13 years of age and I always recovered from them and they lasted from 1 to 3 months usually. They would encompass intrusive thoughts, shakes and shivers, anxiety and panic only. So I decided to jump straight back on the lexapro 10mg thinking all these drs are right and I’m doomed to be on meds for the rest of my life. But something happened that didn’t happen before..... they didn’t work. After a few weeks I felt worse and my ears started to really scream, I had awful insomnia and a really bad eczema rash appeared on my chest and legs. I now know this as a severe reaction to the meds after too fast a taper and too fast of a reinstatement. If I had not jumped straight back on the meds I likely would have had to deal with wd symptoms only and not so many physical ones as well. So after 6 weeks of hell my dr upped my dose to 20mg and I waited another 5 weeks. That didn’t work either, just got worse. My dr referred me to a psychiatrist at this point and things got really bad. He upped my dose to 40mg lexapro, I stuck this out for another 5-6 weeks and it made me no better, actually worse. He then said ssri’s don’t seem to work for you now so let’s try Effexor. We cross tapered that with the lexapro over only a two week period and then all the way to 150mg of Effexor in only 3 weeks. I was desperate and wanted the pain and suffering to just stop. I did consider suicide a lot during this period and I had never been like this before when taking medication. My beautiful partner kept me here with her love and grace. I stuck with the Effexor for 7 weeks and it was just hell, dizziness, insomnia and mini seizure type things were a daily occurrence. I was couch bound and I still had tinnitus screaming away every day. He wanted to up the dose more but by this stage I knew that my body was not accepting any of these meds, I even said to him I think I am having a reaction to these meds. His answer was always that they just make you feel worse before better and that we can keep upping the dose...... That was the last time I saw him, I went back to my GP and asked to try Zoloft in a last ditch attempt to gain some stability and sanity. She cross tapered me to Zoloft and it seemed to calm things down a tiny bit but I was still so, so sick. I made it up to 100mg and was on Zoloft for 3 months before massive amounts of diarrhoea hit me (colitis) plus I was still struggling with SI, tinnitus and now bad depression for the first time in my life. All the fun stuff that comes along with bad reactions to these meds. My Dr CT’d me off the Zoloft and started me on Remeron 30mg..... this one was ok for my sleep issues but made me irritable as hell and didn’t have any effect on the SI, depression and tinnitus. I lasted 6 weeks on it before breaking down again and seeing the Dr. She mentioned Paxil...... like I said, I was desperate and since it worked 10 years ago maybe it would pull me out of this living hell I was in. Since the first episode after WD in June of 2019 and the living hell my life has been, I started Paxil 20mg in April 2020..... this lasted all of 12 weeks and I CT’d the Paxil in July 2020 due to all the above still happening. I happened to come across the SA website in June this year After desperately searching for answers. I’ve read and learnt a lot from everyone and now understand what has happened to me the last 12 months. How I should have tapered waaayyyy slower, how I should have reinstated waaayyy slower and how screwed up our medical system and the makers of these drugs are. I have been med free for 9 weeks and even though I still have loud tinnitus, depression and a host of other Awful symptoms, I have improved more then any time I was on meds. I’m bloody scared of what’s ahead but I will NEVER touch another psych med again in my life. I assume reinstatement is beyond my body now after what it has endured. I hope to be able to vent a little here on my bad days and keep reading the encouraging stories of success whilst pushing on with my life and the healing process. Thanks for taking the time to read my book.... 😂 And thanks to the creators of such a great site.
  6. Greetings to all! It took 5 years for my brain and nervous system to rebalance and heal after taking Effexor for 14 years. Nasty stuff. One of the hardest to discontinue. But it is possible! I tried to d/c it a few times over those 14 years but had to keep going back on it because I couldn't function. I didn't understand enough about withdrawal and how all this works. But as we all know we reach a point where our souls know we do not need this drug and will do whatever it takes to get off it and stay off it. It's a ride through hell that's for sure but you can do it!! As we all know, it's a lot worse at the beginning of withdrawal. I only had about 3 days of windows over the years. But I could feel symptoms slowly getting better over the last year till it starts being noticeable that the crud may still be there but it's more manageable. And the last 6 months it kept improving until I couldn't believe that the buzzing in my head was gone and the fear and anxiety were gone. The brain fog and fatigue also slowly start improving. There may always be a little residual fatigue and brain fog but I'm also 66 yrs old - ha! We have no idea how brave we are to go through this to live an authentic life drug free. It finally happened this year around May. And as you know it was many years of a nightmare I could not have imagined. But it will happen!! I am here as proof. I have my life back and am finally able to travel to see my family out of town and live a normal life again. Acceptance, perseverance, surrender, humor, love - it's all part of living each day well. Just continue to take care of yourself the best you can. Walking in nature is SO HEALING. That is what saved me. And taking every stress out that you possibly can. And lots and lots of prayer. My heart goes out to you - Hang in there - you will make it. 🙏😘
  7. I'm here to share my experience as I attempt to get this horrible drug out of my system. I've been on Effexor XR since 2001, started on 75 mg, up to 150 mg in 2002, and have been there for 10 years. In about 2009 I realized it was no longer working properly, and at the suggestion of my doctor, I split it into 75 mg twice daily instead of 150 mg in the morning. It helped with the strange morning symptoms I was getting (I'll explain in another topic, or later in this one). However over the last two years it has become clear the drug is no longer working as it once did. So I have decided to begin the process of tapering off, hopefully down to nothing. It's so nice to meet all of you! So many posts to read through on this very topic! It's great not to feel so alone. Looking forward to learning more from everyone here, hope I can help somebody else out soon as well.
  8. Hi All, I've been reading up on the forum for the last few months and decided i might put a post in as would be keen to hear your thoughts and also share my experience. I've been on Effexor XR for around 10 years in total. Original condition was OCD - obsessive thoughts about food poisoning and my food being drugged - didn't help that i would feel strange after eating food & then become anxious / paranoid about it. This resulted in depression along with inability to function in social settings and a downward spiral. Originally was on Paxil in the beginning which didn't really work and then was transferred to Effexor XR 150mg. Have been on 75mg for the last few years though. In all honesty the effexor worked great and it helped me pull myself together and make a good life for myself. Education, job, family etc. Then about 2 years ago i thought that my life was going really well, so i didn't need the effexor any more. Attempted to stop it without tapering which didn't last long due to the brain zaps. Then tried a second time by a slow tapering process over 6 months from 75mg to nothing. Got off it without too many side effects (brain zaps and irritability, brain fog mainly). The brain fog was a bit of an issue and i just didn't cope well with stress any more. An incident last year at work got me back on to the effexor and i started to feel better. Until.... About 3 months into starting the effexor again i started getting strange physical symptoms including numbness and tingling, nausea and the OCD returned - would only get the symptoms around 2-3 hours a night after eating and taking my effexor. Now i did change brands of effexor (generic) during that period and to be honest i cant remember if i took generic effexor or the branded one for the previous 9 years. I honestly don't know if these symptoms were caused by the effexor though or by something else. With the strange physical symptoms and resurgence of OCD i decided i would quickly taper off the effexor. I went down 60mg to nothing (erratically cutting dose amounts as quick as i could) in about 4 weeks. Its now been 2 months and i have had plenty of strange symptoms including hives, numbness / tingling in limbs, memory loss / confusion, headaches & constant pressure in forehead, some nausea, tightness in chest, strange physical sensations and stabbing pains, feeling like ive had allergic reactions. The WORST symptom i have experienced is derealization - I've been in a state where everything i see seems surreal and often wondered if i was actually in a coma. This seems to have gotten a little better over the last week so i hope to god that its not a permanent thing. The brain fog is quite annoying and affecting my ability to do my job - i work in IT so not being able to concentrate is a real problem. From what i have read on the forum i wouldn't class my experience anywhere near as bad as what some other people have been through. I would say the symptoms have ranged from mild to moderate, but i guess without knowing how long this is going to go on for its a bit depressing. I've been using fish oil and magnesium / b vitamins which seems to have helped - fish oil got rid of most of the brain zaps. I do have some questions for other people who might have gone through similar experiences. Has anyone tried using st johns wort during the withdrawal phase to counter effect the effexor withdrawal? Is a small re-instatement of effexor likely to result in a bad medication reaction after 2 months of not having it? Has anyone had the derealization symptom during withdrawal? Is this likely to improve? I had a cholesterol level test whilst i was on effexor which returned a high result. After coming off the effexor i had a second test done and my cholesterol was back to normal - no diet change or new medications etc. I read somewhere that effexor can increase cholesterol levels? I guess im at an impasse at the moment. Ive got a bit to loose if i cant 'pull' myself together. Getting off medications all together would be great, but if it means i need to battle this for a long time and possibly loose my job and have it affect my home life i may need to consider re-instatement of at-least a small dose or some other alternative. Im reluctant to try other drugs as effexor is the devil i know. I also know that if i restart the effexor and the symptoms go away and everything returns to normal im likely to stay on it for the rest of my life as i wont want to gamble with coming off it again. Anyways thanks for reading & if you have any thoughts or similar experiences feel free to share =)
  9. Hi all, Thank you for letting me join this wonderful fountain of knowledge. I have been on Effexor since late 2008, when I was 20 years old. My first long term relationship had just ended and I was understandably an emotional mess. I was also alcoholic at the time and using a lot of recreational drugs, which didn't stop the doctor from providing me 75mg of Effexor XR. I loved it at first because I literally felt high. I had tried other antidepressants in the past but none had worked, whereas with Effexor I just seemed to have so much energy. Fast forward to 2011, I am in residential rehab for my alcohol and drug addiction problem. The counsellors there suggest it might be a good time to try coming off my meds- 300mg Effexor and I also taking 25mg Seroquel at this point, as I was unable to sleep on the Effexor. I am referred to a completely incompetent psychiatrist who gives me a taper programme which takes me from 300mg to nothing in a month. Not knowing any better, I complied with his insane schedule. Within a few weeks I was kicked out of rehab for out of character, rageful behaviour. Back home, I slowly lost my mind. Couldn't leave the house without feeling like I had a target sign painted on me- I felt everyone was looking at me and talking about me. I lost my temper at the drop of a hat over minuscule things. No one around me realised what was happening. My memory of this time is hazy, but I do remember being home alone one night and suddenly becoming obsessed that there was a government conspiracy to give people heart attacks by putting too much salt in food. I was walking around the kitchen in circles screaming, unable to stop. I considered the possibility of hanging myself to make it stop. Luckily I called my boyfriend instead and found another website which is no longer active, who advised me to go straight to a doctor and resume the Effexor at a maintenance dose. I did this and was put back on 75mg. The damage was already done and I fell into clinical depression. A month later I decided I couldn't be more miserable that I was and relapsed on alcohol. Luckily I got straight back into a 12 step programme and have been sober since that relapse. But I struggled with the after effects of that withdrawal for many months. i have been absolutely petrified to try coming off Effexor again since, despite many side effects including palpitations, mental confusion, dry mouth, bad breath, constant clenched jaw and every type of stomach complaint. I fell pregnant in 2014 and came down to a quarter of a 37.5mg tablet during pregnancy. I wanted to come off it entirely, but my relationship was very unstable and I was being constantly triggered (we have now split up). I was devastated to not be able to breastfeed my daughter, but I felt the Effexor presented too much of a risk to do so. I went back up to 37.5mg shortly after her birth. She is fine and healthy today, but the responsibilities of single motherhood have left me terrified to attempt withdrawal again. However, since giving birth I have found that the Effexor now has a sedative effect on me. I now have to take it at night time, or I am almost passing out during the day. Sometimes I forget (I'm insanely forgetful now, which fairly sure is a side effect of long term antidepressant use) and then I have a choice of spending the whole day "shocking" or being a half passed out zombie fighting to keep my eyes open. I realised I can't carry on my life like this, I want and need my energy back. I've become completely reliant on coffee to have any kind of energy, so I'm always up or crashing back down. My daughter needs me to be fully present in her life, which I don't feel like I am a lot of the time due to this horrid side effect. I found this website and have been reading up on safe tapering, and on June 14th began the 10% reduction method. At the moment it looks like it's going to take about 3 years in total. I'm in no rush after my last withdrawal experience, I can't risk ending up in such a bad way as I'm all my little girl has. I have been dissolving the 37.5mg tablet in 75ml water, making sure it's all evenly dispersed, then removing 7.5ml (equal to 3.75mg) with an oral syringe. In the UK they no longer prescribe the slow release Effexor so as I can't do the bead method, this is the only accurate way I can really do it. Yesterday I had tingling in both hands all day then at night I had some brain zaps when I was trying to sleep which went all down my left side, which has made me wonder if I should maybe hold this dose for longer that a month. If anyone could advise me on this, I would appreciate it. I find my daily meditation practice my most valuable asset in keeping me sane so I'm hoping it will aid me in my withdrawal. If you have made it this far in my mammoth post, you are truly amazing! Love and healing light to you all x L
  10. Hi. About 5 years ago I was prescribed Effexor 75mg for mild GAD. It seemed to work ok, but I was never really that bad to begin with. To make a long story (sort of) short, in July of 2010, I quit the effexor cold turkey. Shortly after I began having panic attacks which I now know was from withdrawals, and also head zaps. These seemed to of disappeared in August 2010. Then in September of 2010, I had a hair transplant. Minor surgery, but was given large doses of Keflex, and had local anasthesia injected that contained adrenaline to prevent excess bleeding. This made my heart race, but its a normal side effect. This is a second procedure that I had with the first being 2 years before this one. 2 days after the procedure, I was sitting at home and all of a sudden starting feeling a feeling I never in my life had before. I Although I had panic attacks from the Effexor withdrawals, these feelings were different. They felt like feeling of doom, dread, and all thoughts good or bad seemed to be amplified by 100 fold. I would be breaking out in sweats, then alternate with being freezing cold. My neck was streaked with a flushed red color, my eyelid constantly twitched, and my appetite disappeared. I lost about 25lbs in a few weeks. My mouth was constantly dry, and although I have perfect eyesight, it looked as if I was looking through a sheer veil. I would usually wake in the morning being ok, yet within a few minutes begin the cycle all over again. At work to subconciously run from the feeling, I would constantly be moving; I would walk around the block, move about the building all day, and avoid the lunchroom so I didnt have to sit in one place. I went to a psyciatrist for the first time, and he didnt act as though anything was odd. He tried to prescribe me ssris and xanax. I refused it and started going to a holistic therapist which was useless. At this point it was December of 2010. I caved in and saw another psyciatrist who prescribed me Effexor 75mg. I took this for about 3 1/2 months while seeing a psycologist who diagnosed my with anxiety NOS, and still had no relief. Then come April 2011, and I started to sporatically feel better. Not great, but I did notice improvement. My appetite returned, and I began regaining the weight I had lost, and began enjoying things once again. In June of 2011, I discontinued the psycologist, who said that it couldnt of been the Effexor giving relief since I would of seen improvement much earlier than 3 1/2 months. As the summer months of went on, I continued to improve, with many small bouts of "spells"; some larger than others. Now its Oct/Nov/Dec 2011. There are times where the feelings were completely gone for days, sometimes for weeks at a time. Christmas came and went, then the day before news years eve came and I regressed back to the way I felt many months ago. I seems like all my recovery has been thrown out the window. Thank you for reading this, as this has been a very long post. Any insights on what this can be? And what do you think has happened? I would like to add that im still on the Effexor, and am not taking any other meds or have ever done so.
  11. Hey everyone, This has been the most informative and useful website I have found thus far, so I was inclined to register. Kudos to the site Administrator and moderators for their hard work and time spent helping others while we collectively try to get through this nightmare. I have been on 150mg of Effexor XR for about 7 years now, for anxiety. I am 28 years old and I would like to be fully weaned off by the time I am 30. I want children in a few years, and I refuse to have this poison in my body during pregnancy. This is the only anti-depressant I have ever been on, originally on a 75mg dose but that stopped working after a month and my dose was increased to the 150mg. I really don't feel like he drug has done anything to help me since then. It's been a series of ups and downs which I'm sure many can relate. I began my taper just over a week ago. It's been a bit of a rough start, due to my own tardiness and ignorance, moving from Canada to the US. When I had my prescription filled here in the US for the first time, they gave me the generic brand Teva Venlafaxine. I did not foresee any issues, but it caused me panic attacks almost immediately. A permanent dizziness, headache, and heartburn, plus I was very irritable. After a week of that, and realizing the side effects weren't getting any better, I had my pharmacy order the brand name Effexor XR for me and they did so without hesitation or a Dr's note. I want to make a suggestion to those who do not have insurance. You can get a free discount card from the manufacturer (Pfizer) and get it for $30/month at participating pharmacies. I was very nervous they wouldn't accept the card. It seemed to good to be true but I can confirm, it worked for me and I purchased my months prescription for just $30 instead of the $350+ full price. You can get your discount card here: https://www.effexorxr.com/choice-card Anyways, I made a silly mistake when I received my first generic prescription. I was ready to start my taper and take some of the beads out. There were exactly 150 beads in each capsule, I started by removing 5. There were no withdrawal symptoms other than drowsiness, but the side effects I described above meant I couldn't stay on the generic brand. Since moving back to the brand name stuff, I notice there are way more beads, I stopped counting at 200 when I realized I wasn't even half way through them. Plus the beads are all different sizes. I got a really good jewelers scale from Amazon.com for just $20 which I would like to use for the remainder of my taper. I calculated 3.3% was the reduction I made by taking 5 beads out of the generic capsule. An unfortunate number to work with, since I am no good with math and neither is my partner. But I would like to maintain that 3.3% for at least a week and then bump it up to either 5 or 10% and stabilize there for a month as Admin suggests. My only concern stems from the fact that the brand name pill has an inconsistent weight, and number of beads. The number of beads don't really matter to me since I am doing it by weight anyways... but the weights vary slightly. Should I do my % calculation based on the average pill weight? Or should I be removing the beads based on the weight of each individual capsule? This is pretty much the only area where I am stumped right now. Last night I based it on that pills weight... and I don't know what to do tonight. From what I've read here it looks like I should just go by the average weight? http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/ Any suggestions or advice is appreciated. I've no major withdrawal as of right now... just drowsiness. A bit of heartburn on and off and Tums do help with that. But when I focus too much on the heartburn, I begin to think I'm having a heart-attack and this causes me to (almost) panic! And frightens me when I am trying to sleep. Has this medication/withdrawal been known to cause any major heart problems? Or am I just being silly by worrying about a little bit of heartburn. Thank you in advance and I am very happy to be here.
  12. Hi all,[/size] My name is Lisa, I am a 30 year old female and I believe I've experienced protracted withdrawal. I plan on starting to taper off Effexor XR in July. Here is some of my history: [/size] Starting in 2005, I began taking Lexapro after my father got cancer and passed away 4 months later as I started having panic attacks. I am not sure when I went off Lexapro, but I know I was put on Celexa for a while as Lexapro stopped working and I have now been on Effexor XR for 6 years. In the past, when I go off an SSRI/SNRI, I end up going back on after some time because my panic attacks come back. After 6 months of therapy, I went off Effexor XR in March 2014 with a week of a half dose (37.5 mg) and then completely off, by the advice of a psychiatrist. Actually, the book she referred to recommended 2 days of a half dose and then completely off, but she extended it.[/size] Withdrawal was horrendous. Insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, dizzy, not able to concentrate, felt just SO out of it. Finally it was over in a week or so. But in late May 2015 (3 months later, thinking it was all out of my system and I was good), I had just gotten home from vacation and was about to get into the shower when BAM, I was suddenly so dizzy that I couldn't tell which way was up or down. This remained for 3 months day in and out and after a ton of tests (took meclizine (anti-dizziness pill) which did nothing, ENT looked at my sinuses/ears which were clear, inner ear tests which were normal, brain MRI which was normal), until I went back on Effexor XR in August 2014 by recommendation of a neurologist who said it was my anxiety coming back. During what I'm thinking was protracted withdrawal, I was dizzy constantly. I'd wake up from a deep sleep completely dizzy, it did not go away. I also had excruciating headaches at night and could barely sleep 2-3 hours a night because of this (I NEVER get headaches). I was also severely exhausted because of the dizziness - everything was harder, and the low amounts of sleep due to headaches. I did not understand because other than being upset of my state of being constantly dizzy, I really was not anxious. I was meditating, exercising (as much as I could - it was a feat with being dizzy), nothing significant going on in my life. I had also been going to therapy and made huge strides.. I still continue to go to therapy weekly and it's been about a year and a half now. I was so confused as to how this could be anxiety. Now I'm reading this site and I'm learning this was probably protracted withdrawal. After I started taking the Effexor XR again, within 2 weeks I felt totally better. Now that I have been back on Effexor XR since August 2014, and after learning what I've read on this site, I want to start a slow taper in July after my next vacation. My therapist believes I am ready and now I know I am after having a great suspicion that those symptoms were not due to my anxiety. I have read the advice boards and will be doing the 10% per month taper. I also will be going to the recommended doctor in Farmington, MI and have an appt with him at the end of this month.[/size] Has anyone else experienced the protracted withdrawal symptoms that I had? Any other advice or tips that you can share? I will be coming here often and hoping to make friends [/size] Thanks![/size]
  13. Hello Nice to meet you all! I'm here for two reasons. 1) I've been on Venlafaxine 150 mg for 1.5 years and I want to taper it safely but still didn't figure out the best way to do it. Every time I forget to take my daily dose I get sick for more than one full day. It's scary! I've seen a recommendation to taper antidepressants at a rate of 10% per month but isn't that unreasonably slow? It would take me more than three years to taper a medication I've been taking for only 1.5 years! Furthermore, I use generic 150mg Venlafaxine capsules that have three large beads inside, and I know there are 75mg capsules available from the same brand. So, the smallest dose is a 25mg bead that I can take from these 75mg capsules. However, 25mg seems too big a cut. I'm afraid I'll have significant withdrawal symptoms and I really need to remain functional. I would appreciate some advice. 2) I have a teenage child that was a A student but now refuses to go to school. Doctors wanted to put her on antidepressants, but we chose to take her out of school instead. She's homeschooling but still not OK. She's well in almost every other aspect (social, etc.) but gets terribly anxious at the thought of having a simple one-on-one lesson with a tutor. We think she may have had a kind of burnout event (she's very dedicated and always wants to excel) and, as any adult in this kind of situation, needs time to recover rather than be put on ADs and sent back to school. But would like to hear your opinion. Thanks in advance PS - I'm currently tapering a benzodiazepine, Ativan. I took 1mg/day for 10 years but had already hit tolerance and it was causing me horrible symptoms like brain fog. I suspect the depressive issues that led to the Venlafaxine prescription were also in part caused by this benzo.
  14. Hi I took effaxor for 5 months 75mg. I stopped 4.5 months ago and still stuck with PSSD. How hopeful should I be, do people here recover substantially from PSSD?
  15. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (If you've just quit Pristiq and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to reinstate a LOWER dose of Effexor XR, such as 37.5mg, to start. This may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms and avoid a kindling reaction.) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  16. Hey. So I’ve been on Effexor for around 13 years. I decided this year I was going to try and taper off. All went well at first, although I should have tapered for longer. Had my last pill in June. Since then I’ve had only very little withdrawal symptoms up until about 2 weeks ago. It started with tingling skin all over, pins and needles, a little panic, hot/cold flushes etc. so I decided to reinstate to try and deal with the withdrawals. My doctor advised I go back to my original dose of 37.5 mg. I did that Wednesday and since then my withdrawals have been out of control! I have had insomnia for the past 3 nights (no sleep at all) panic, heart racing, sweating, shakes, tremors, constant ringing in my ears. Horrible. So instead of taking a full dose again I tried to cut it down to half. Ended up in the ED last night. They said to stop the Effexor all together and use Valium until my withdrawals get better. But my doctor today said he thinks I stay on a low dose of Effexor and use Valium when needed. I’m confused on what to do, but can’t keep going like this with no sleep! Anyone else had this happen??
  17. I was tood by my doctor to stop my Effexor cold turkey as my side effects were bad and she said that as i was obly on it for 8 months it shouldn't be an issue. I was on citalopram for 8 years before that. That was on 2dec, i was ok very irritated argumentative and bad brain zaps but mentally i was fine. Then Christmas came and some bad news brought me down and I couldn't grt out of my bed for three days then rhe panic came stronger than i have ever felt. I am so frightened and dont know how to cope. I started taking the Effexor 75 again 4 days ago but im still struggling and dont know what to do. Please help
  18. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
  19. Hi, I'm new here I'm a 32-year-old woman from Denmark. I found you because I want to safely taper off of my low-dose Amitriptyline 10 mg. But as I read about withdrawal, I came across "post-acute withdrawal syndrome" or "protracted withdrawal" and I got chills because suddenly what has been happening since 2017 made sense! Long story short(er), I was on Venlafaxine/Effexor for 8 years because of generalized anxiety and body pains. In 2017 I tapered off from 2 capsules/150 mg, reducing with 1/4 pill every 2 weeks, so I was off them after a little under 4 months. (I didn't know about safely tapering off, only now have I come across your guide :)). By going off so "slowly" - well, compared to my doctor who told me I could do it cold turkey(!) - I didn't get the extreme side effects i would normally get when I would go up or down in dose. I felt the same when I stopped my dose and for the next 2 months, I was completely fine. But 2 months after I had taken my last dose, I started getting pain in my body, and after 2 more months, at the end of January 2018, from one day to the next I started having an extreme inner shaking/hightened fight-flight-response. It was like I had gotten a shock and I just stayed in that state every second of every day. Never being able to rest was so bad that I wanted to kill myself. It's so difficult to explain the sensation to anyone, so I usually use sleep deprivation as a related example: Sleep deprivation should be the worst form of torture and I get it now - stressing your body every second of every day is completely unbearable and you just want to die. I did sleep, though, but only 4-5 hours every night and I was never tired. My cortisol levels were high so I was checked for Cushing's (cortisol producing tumor) which meant I couldn't take any medicine to help me for 7 months because I needed accurate cortisol results (I didn't have any tumor, though). And also, nothing helped me, not benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, CBD oil or high doses of beta-blockers. After 7 months, my friend who had experienced the same "shaking" after a whiplash and after only a week had wanted to jump out the window from her apartment on the 3rd floor, recommended a low dose of Amitriptyline and that reduced the shaking by 30 % and after a month by 50 % (I only took 5 mg to begin with, though, and it worked after just a few hours, very weird). My symptoms then started to become predominantly psychological instead, like I would cry all the time. It opened up a deep developmental trauma wound that I started therapy for in December 2018. After that and body therapy like The Rosen Method, my symptoms are gradually decreasing. (I also have like 20 other symptoms, like body pain, fatigue etc.). Now, almost 2 years after I came off venlafaxin, I'm 50 % better than I was in December 2018, but my sympathetic nervous system is still firing too much. I thought that being on antidepressants for so many years, from I was 22 until I was 30 had made me so numb that I couldn't process all the stuff I had been through earlier in my life - and I still think that's partly the case - but now I see that there's an entire half of the picture I didn't know about!! That this must have been post-acute withdrawal syndrome!! So not only did I have all the past trauma that came up now that I didn't have something to artificially shut it down, at the same time my brain was also struggling with getting chemically back in balance! Woooow... #MindBlown! I don't even know what I feel... I feel so angry and want to sue someone, but that's not really possible I guess. I have missed work for almost 2 years, I'm only now starting a 10-hour internship. I can't believe you can go from feeling fine to 4 months AFTER you stopped the medicine get these extreme reactions. Has anyone else experienced something like that? And I still want to come off of the Amitriptyline, but slowly. It's only 10 mg, and this week I'm taking 9 mg. After I've done this for 2 days, I do feel some side effects like a bit of insomnia and hightened fight-flight, but it's minor. And might be because I made an oral solution from my tablets and now I read you should try to stay on your dose for 4 days before you reduce it. I did calculations based on the advice of the 10 % reductions of the new dose every month, and if I jump off at 0,1 mg, it will take me 43 months. It seems like a long time, but I would rather do this safely this time! Wow, I'm still in shock that it was protracted withdrawal symptoms that almost had me commit suicide, because no doctor could tell me what I was experiencing. I'm so glad I found you! And I also want to ask you if anyone has ever gotten completely over this syndrome, can your brain adjust completely? TIA
  20. Hi, I was on Effexor for 2.5 years (the last year only on 37.5 mg ) and also combined with Wellbutrin 150mg. I went off both in February 2019 with no taper because I was unaware at all that we could just not stop. There its been been a year of worsening conditions then the ones I even wanted to get off the medication for. I took some Effexor and Wellb a few times during the year, but usually just for a day or two (which I also know now is bad). I really don’t want to go back on meds, but I have sever dry eye, very lethargic, and worst of all a very flat and sad melancholy baseline. For those who were not aware of tapering and have been withdrawing for almost a year, does anyone have recommendations? I have already been eating pretty clean, exercise, and supplement with D, Mag, and Omega, but I basically feel awful every day. Anyone been thru this as well?
  21. Hello, I am a 50 year old woman with a history of depression. Here is my story and it is a long one, be warned - if you aren't in the mood for a long history, skip this now LOL! I'm one of those people whose family relations have also had histories of depression, and depression became an issue for me from maybe 10 years old and up, though no one really recognized it. I became bulimic at 16 and remained so for much of my adult life until about eight years ago. My adult-hood has been one of perfectionism, low self-esteem and under-performing, with all the self-hatred that that generates. My first experience with medication came after a rough relationship where I ended up feeling suicidal. I was put on Prozac. I think back to that being the beginning of the rest of my adulthood with virtually no libido. A major move after marriage led me to more depression, and at that time Wellbutrin was being marketed heavily, so I asked my GP to put me on it. No tapering of the Prozac, if I recall. Wellbutrin didn't work, but now I realize it was probably in part because I was having withdrawal from the Prozac - not sure and I don't have a lot of memories about that period one way or another. I forget if I continued the Wellbutrin up to the next change, but I had gotten the flu which turned into pneumonia for a month, and when I went to the doctor after that long of not getting better, he said "you are depressed." Well, yes, I said, I am depressed because of being sick this long! And he said, No, you are clearly a generally depressed person and you should see a p-doc. So, I did, and that doc put me on Effexor. This was somewhere back around 11 years ago. I upped the dose as they directed. I never felt like my depression was well-controlled because none of the therapy I had over the years was CBT - talk therapy would make me feel better for the moment but no change took place, so the low self-esteem and negative thinking remained. I guess the Effexor somehow made my life more tolerable, but I never felt happy or satisfied with myself. Somewhere along the line I began to taper down on the Effexor, and I have very few memories of when, how or why, other than that I hated needing ADs, and my libido sucked. A move and the loss of an old dog sent me into another bad depression, but this well could have coincided with stepping down the Effexor. Three years ago, I lost my job, and then my husband lost his, but then he got a new one which required relocating to a very hot climate where we were able to afford a home with acreage, the first time we were ever able to own, but it was very rural and the isolation quickly got to me, with anxiety increasing for various reasons. Again, I don't remember the stepping down process, but two years ago a new GP refilled my Effexor but prescribed the non-extended release version. Since these tablets were able to be broken, I began taking just half (37.5 mg). Last summer I had a bought of shingles and became very depressed and stressed again from the pain. I also was clearly in menopause and having severe hot flashes. My whole adult life had been marred by low libido since going on Prozac way back when, and the shingles were actually on my private parts (tested positive for zoster, not herpes) and I became very concerned that I didn't want the rest of my life to be joyless where sex was concerned, so I decided to go off BCPs and Effexor. In hind sight, that was madness! I stepped down the Effexor, going to every other day with the 37.5 mg. I wasn't aware of any severe symptoms, and this was last summer. Well, meanwhile, I was going through some stresses regarding a health crisis with one of my dogs. I found myself totally scatter-brained, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and also I had trouble articulating myself, unable to complete thoughts when talking with people, words hard to reach. A friend told me he always thought I was ADD, and indeed at this time I was losing things, forgetting what I was doing halfway through doing it, easily distracted, etc. I'm also a total clutter-bug who can't face doing the dishes or cleaning the house, though I've been that way for years. I had started taking Sam-e and tryptophan as a way to up serotonin. I was having a terrible time with insomnia. So, I went to get tested for ADD. I tested negative, but the psychologist doing the testing said I didn't have ADD, but that I did have OCD, depression, and GAD. He said, the good news is that there are medications that can make you "normal!" I bit, and went to a p-doc on a list he gave me. She put me on Viibryd. I stopped the serotonergic supplements. The first week at 10 mg was ok, but when I went up to 20 mg as instructed, all hell broke loose! My insomnia worsened, with the most severe anxiety I think I had ever experienced! All night I was thrashing around with racing, troubling thoughts. During the day, I would have squirts of adrenalin for no reason. I had days where I was so distressed and troubled, I couldn't stand to exist. I had global anxiety about climate change, getting old, my parents getting old losing them some day, the drought and how horrible life was! I have never experienced anxiety like that in my life! I stepped the Viibryd back down to 10 mg for about a week and then stopped it, and went back on the supplements. This time I was trying to follow the supplement plan laid out in the Mood Cure, adding GABA and some other stuff. I'd do ok for awhile, but the insomnia was still bad, and the general feeling of being ill-at-ease was so disturbing, I just couldn't stand it. So, I stopped the supplements and started taking 37.5 mg of Effexor again. After three days, I was in serotonin syndrome almost to the point of having to go to the ER! I stopped the Effexor and got an appointment with another p-doc who is a DO and actually not into psych meds. He said I'd been through about 3 years' worth of med changes in a very short period of time and that my nerves were very sensitive and that I needed consistency. He went through the meds and supplements I had a history with, and told me which supplements were safe to take (non-serotonergic). Since I had not been able to eat and lost weight, and the insomnia was so bad, he put me on Remeron, saying it was a very gentle med that worked on a different part of the serotonin pathway, and that it would help with sleep and appetite. He started me on 7.5 mg and said I could step it up as needed, that it was safe up to 60 mg. Well, I felt much better and it was nice to sleep all through the night without anxiety again. Yeah! But after a week, I was feeling down again so started upping the dose. Two weeks later I was at 37.5 mg, feeling totally apathetic and on the couch, unable to do anything I had previously enjoyed in life. I couldn't understand why the med wasn't working anymore! I was in a desperate way and called this p-doc's assistant, the fastest way to get to him, he said. I left four messages and never heard back! I suffered through to my next scheduled appointment with him two weeks later, and suffering it was! My family members were greatly concerned. The only thing that kept me going through this spell was the fact that a therapist I had recently seen told me about Emotional Brain Training, which I joined. It was developed by Laurel Mellin at UCSF and is based on neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain. It was perfect for me because I lived in the country, was isolated, and the city is 40 minutes away, so I was able to get support from home with weekly phone-in meetings with a coach and group members, daily work online, and daily phone-connections with group members. I am not hawking this, but if you want to learn more about it, go to www.ebt.org. Anyway, EBT kept me from going down the tubes through all of this. When I saw my p-doc, he said "let's add Effexor back to the remeron since you tolerated it well in the past." I started on 37.5 mg. The day I took it, I was having a non-functional couch day, and I would say within an hour of taking it, my mood lifted, like a light switch had been flipped! It was miraculous! Now, everyone knows that ADs are supposed to take weeks to start working. I now realize that the reason it worked so fast was because I was in withdrawal and it was like a junkie getting a hit of the drug they are withdrawing from - instant fix! Ok, I know my story is long but the final chapter is here: I added the Effexor back about 12 days ago. I actually had one day, about a week into it, where I was on the couch again. The next day, I saw a third p-doc my therapist said I should see since I had such a bad experience with the last guy's non-responsiveness when I left those messages. So, I saw this new guy on Wednesday. I didn't yet realize that all of the craziness I had endured since last fall was because of the withdrawal. I was convinced that genetically, I just had to be on ADs, that I had relapsed in a big way. I did think that the Viibryd had damaged me, since I had never experienced anxiety to that degree before, nor had I had depression this debilitating. This new guy said, "let's stick with this for now, since you haven't been on the Effexor long enough to see how it will work for you, but I want to up it to 75 mg (thanks to that couch day). We may end up changing you to other meds, but let's see how this goes for now." So, I began taking 75 mg Effexor ER on Thursday. It just so happens that one of my EBT connection buddies is going through withdrawal from ADs that she was put on for post-partum depression 8 years ago. She told me about this, and referred me to a neat video about neuroplasticity on beyondmeds.com. Her point in doing so was to point out about how EBT is so dead-on about retraining the brain, but in fact I had locked on to concept of withdrawal, and I began to realize that this was so much of what I had and am still going through, and this is why the Effexor worked immediately! So, I am faced with the fact that I am now back on the drug that I was hooked on. For now, I need to be consistent and not change anything, though I am going back to 37.5 mg Effexor since I'd only been on the higher dose for a couple of days. I will ride this out until my next appointment with the p-doc in five weeks. I am worried that he will be one to poo-poo withdrawal. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am getting the cognitive help I need to eliminate the poor self-esteem and my negative black and white thinking that has ruined my life and got me started on ADs to begin with. I feel this will be critical to getting off these drugs some day. I feel so grateful to the universe for bringing me together with my connection buddy who brought this all to light for me. And beyondmeds.com brought me here.
  22. dowdaller

    dowdaller: Hello

    Hi everyone my name is pete I am from Ireland, I am currently med free for the last 8 months I was on a cocktail of meds before that including zanex, olanzaipine, and Effexor I weaned off these meds over a two year period under supervision. I found this tough but I made it, I am currently finding it tough at the moment hence I joined the forum. I suffer from anxiety ocd and depression.
  23. Do/did you have depression as wd symptom? Sometimes I'm in an extremely bad mood and very exhausted - it is in fact very similar to my original depression. It always gets better in the evening.
  24. Hi guys I just wanted to start by saying thank you so much for putting this site together. I can't begin to tell you how much it has helped and educated me in a short time. Im roughly 23 weeks cold turkey from 37.5mg effexor, I was on that for maybe 5 years before that 75mg for roughly 12 years. I don't have any medical history records available and can't remember the exact times because my memory is so screwed. I honestly could be years off when estimating the dosage changes. I stopped cold turkey because I initially forgot to take it and didn't feel as though it was of any therapeutic benefit to me anymore anyway. Doctors had previously told me I was on a "baby" dose. A relationship had ended a few months before and I wanted to start a new life. I was going to take back control not put anymore of this crap (efexor) in my body, reclaim it from the drug company and start doing all the things I really wanted to do with my life. I realised there would be discontinuation symptoms because of previous reductions and times I had forgotten to take it in the past. I thought maybe a month or 2 at most and I would be back to normal. I could do this, besides I was on the lowest dose available, positive about the future, I had quit other (recreational) drugs throughout my life, I'd worked my way through depression and anxiety years ago and I could get through this. I can be very stubborn when it comes to some things and I'd decided in my head no matter how bad it got I wouldn't be taking another efexor for the rest of my life. I hated the doctors for prescribing it and telling me to stay on it or trying to get me to raise it even. The drug companies for making it. And both for making me feel like I needed to take it so it was a kinda "up yours" to them all. 5 months later I'm still suffering major symptoms and my life is still on hold. Although some have faded others seem to get worse particularly the insomnia and anxiety even suicidal thoughts I think this may be also due to the fact I've realised that its not going anyway and I may be like this for years or maybe forever? Makes it bloody hard to relax. I get it now that it was pretty reckless to stop so suddenly like that after such a long time. So I hate to say it but after not being able to go to work the last couple of weeks Im coming to the realisation that I may need to go back on to a very low dose and slowly taper of that. Is this a good idea? Do you think it would ease discon symptoms for me to just start taking maybe half again and taper at 10%? If so how long before tapering? Will getting back on efexor have any side effects in itself? And also theoretically will discon symptoms last longer because I stopped so suddenly? whether I start taking it again or not. I read a lot in the tapering of efexor thread but I'm finding it very hard to concentrate at the moment and find the answers amongst all the good info there. Thank you to anyone who has taken the time read all this and reply. Your awesome.
  25. I'm desperate for help and advice. I've been in protracted withdrawals for almost 4 years caused by Effexor. Doctors tried to cover up the withdrawls with different drugs which made it worse. I reinstated Effexor after being drug free for 6 months as the wd were unbearable (I didn't know at the time that it was to late to reinstate) I managed to stabilize a bit but it also made things worse. After the reinstatement I became hyperactive, developed akathisia and became suicidal. I'm at 14 mg now but I've hit tolerance. I'm dreading every time I take the dose cause I start to hallucinate when the drug kicks in. Any advice of what to do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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