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Rogue84 Tapered off Effexor, experiencing severe stomach discomfort, is this withdrawal?


Rogue84

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Hey everyone, i subscribed here because i am worried after tapering off Venlafaxine (Effexor). I feel an almost constant discomfort and pain in my stomach (blood check and ultrasound came out clean) and am also emotionally very unstable at the moment.

Been on it for about 4 years, 75mg. Tried to taper off gradually (about 3 months) from 75mg to 0 a couple weeks back. As i tapered off the stomach ache and discomfort got worse an worse and more frequent and now it's there almost constantly. (Digestion, gas, bloating). Starting to feel extremely depressed as well. Brainzaps are almost gone now but i do feel feverish (temperature is normal when i measure it though). I'm wondering if anyone has experienced the same, especially the stomach thing, because i have not found anything about that specific symptom yet and i kind of am at a loss as to what to do. Seems like i react to every kind of food, even just water. I know that for me the medication caused motion sickness and gas so it definitely did something with my stomach. Now i'm off the Effexor the motion sickness is gone (yay thats a positive thing!!)

But tbh i am starting to feel very worried if something is damaged because i did not taper off slowly enough perhaps. (At the beginning when i didnt know tapering off gradually was necessay i went from 75mg to 37,5mg in one go. From then on, 15-20% off every 10 days and 20% off every 5 days on the last 15 beads.) My doctor doesnt know a thing about it (suggested cold turkey after 37,5mg for goodness sake) so i am kind of on my own in this.

Joining this forum hoping to get some advise on my stomach issue (if this is a withdrawal symptom to begin with) or some encouragement that all of this will go away from people who experienced the same perhaps. It's hard to hang in there on my own and not knowing right now.

I've noticed i have forgotten a lot of things during the time i was on Venlafaxine. Looking back now i feel like i did not experience or take in that much in that time. It is a frightening feeling.

 

Long story short: i feel like i am experiencing withdrawal symptoms but i am not sure:

- severe, almost constant stomach discomfort (digestion part)

- very very depressed and finding it very hard to snap out of it, i seem to be seeing everything in a pessimistic light. Feeling very hopeless. (My life is a mess at the moment and has been for a long time though, perhaps being off Effexor is making me feel it more? So perhaps not a withdrawal symptom?)

- difficulty being creative (was the main reason i quit using this stuff in the first place, halfway the tapering off i was doing great on this, felt so creative and happy as well)

- feverish feeling, face feeling hot

- occasionally some brainzaps and i know this is a withdrawal symptom for sure.

- much more worried (then again i used to be a kind of worried person before taking the meds, not as much as now though)

 

I am starting to get worried and confused aa to what to do and think and tell myself to hang in there. Will this go away?

 

For anyone reading this, thanks so much for your time. I know it's a longwinded story. I would be super grateful for any advice or encouragement.

 

Jeske

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Hi Jeske,

 

I too had severe stomach discomfort after tapering off effexor. I was very bloated ( I was asked several times if I was pregnant, and I am a slim female!), had constant nausea that would start 30-60 minutes into my day and usually fade away in the evening, and also pain under my ribcage and in the stomach area. There was also a lot of burping and a feeling as though my stomach was no longer able to growl when hungry. Just a tense, bloated feeling. I had blood tests, ultrasound, and visited a GI specialist and all came out normal. It took about 4 months for the GI problems to resolve. I thought they would last forever, but they eventually did go away 100%. One thing that helped me was drinking ice cold ginger ale during the day, and ginger tea in the evening. Definately took the edge off. Good luck to you, try not to let these scary physical symptoms bother you, they feel concerning and unpleasant but are not dangerous to you and will resolve. Try to increase your exercise to help with the mood stuff, it helped me a lot. As much sunshine as possible, too.

September 2011: Doctor prescribed xanaxx, ambien and zoloft due to work stress. Terrible side effects from zoloft, so tried mirtazapine and lexapro, which were discontinued after 2-4 weeks due to terrible side effects. Developed buzzing arms and legs from lexapro withdrawal and was prescribed effexor 37.5 mg. Did okay on this, buzzing went away. Attempted to withdraw per doctors instructions after 4 months- debilitating withdrawal. Started back on effexor 37.5 for 1 month, then weaned off over 4 months- still horrible withdrawal. Started back up and weaned off over 7 or 8 months- tolerable withdrawal. 100% effexor free for 19 months now. April 2015 got hit with a horrible withdrawal wave or new anxiety/depression. Started Prozac 5 mg around 5/1/15, as well as Clonazepam 0.5 mg as needed (have taken about 8 total doses over the past couple of months), as well as mirtazapine 7.5 mg (took only 3 doses over the past 2 months), and trazadone (took 2 doses). As of 6/15/15, am on Prozac 4 mg and nothing else. Am hoping to continue with my efforts to be 100% drug free...things are straightening out and I am hopeful! 8/22/15- have tapered Prozac to 0.8 mg.

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I just got through tapering and now post taper for 11 months and am back to normal.

Yes, you are undoubtedly experiencing withdrawal symptoms from a too fast taper. Your Dr. wanted you to CT and you were smart enough to know that was a bad idea, but you also couldn't have known on your own what a slow taper would actually look like. Believe it or not, a 3 month taper is really the equivalent of a cold turkey as far as the effects of it go. It's common to feel very good after a fast taper-for a short while before withdrawal sets in. Many say they actually feel "better than ever" for a time.

 

You probably need to reinstate part or all of your 75mgs, then wait until you stabilize (feel OK again) and then start a new much slower taper. You should make 10% drops every 6 weeks-this gives plenty of time to stabilize on each new lower dose, and plenty of time for any withdrawal symptoms to show up.

 

I'm afraid there is no other way to stop withdrawal symptoms other than reinstatement.

 

What I would tell you from experience is that you shouldn't try and "ride out" your current symptoms (which by the way are all very common withdrawal symptoms). Trying to hang in there usually results in months and many times years of suffering.

I tried this and got as far as a month and a half. It was True Hell. Then I reinstated, felt better in a few weeks, and proceeded much slower in my tapering, and had manageable withdrawal symptoms after that, as well as a very smooth post taper.

 

 

 

Reinstatement doesn't always work, but it's your best bet, and most times it does work.

 

I'm very sorry you're going through this, but know that I went through very much the same thing (also Venlafaxine)and got through it all and am now fine.

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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  • Moderator

Hi Jeske-- welcome to the group.  I'm sorry to hear that you're having a tough time of it, stomach trouble is no fun, my wife has it and it is very unpleasant to see what she is going through.  From what you wrote above  it looks like your taper was way too fast and you are getting WD from it now.  An I correct that you have been off for three months now?  If so, it would not be a good idea to reinstate at your full dose, that could cause a real shock to your system and bring on even more problems.  I would be looking to try 25mgs a day and let that settle out for a couple of months to get stable, then start a slow 10% taper.  There is more information on it here;

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

If you would please add a short history of your drug use in a signature block, it would really help us to help you.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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thank you all so much for the kind replies, you have no idea how much they meant to me.

First of all, i feel relieved that my stomach issues are probably caused by the tapering off medication (i was starting to worry about something life-threatening, you know what anxiety can do.... :|). That i am not the only one having this is helping too. (strange, but it does, even though i hate the idea of other people going through the same thing!) Knowing that it will go away eventually, is probably the main reason why.

 

Since a couple days i actually feel much better. It's strange, when i wrote my message i was in the United States for a short visit of two weeks, and those weeks i have had the most stomach pain. Now i am back in the Netherlands since a couple days, i feel much better. So the stress of being away from home and having to adjust to a different time zone might also have made it worse. I am 100% off the meds since a couple days before going to the US. Perhaps not a very good idea :) it's strange, apart from the stomach, i didn't feel any other withdrawal symtoms before tapering off the last beads. Also because i believed my stomach issues had to do with a sudden lactose intolerance. So i was kind of in for a suprise during my stay in the US.

 

I am now trying to decide to go back to part of the full dosage and do a much slower taper or just sit this out. Especially since i feel so much better the past couple days. But i am still leaning toward the first, to reinstate part of the dosage, just to be safe. 25mg doesn't sound too much of a big step. I have actually started to taper off about 3 months ago. To go back to 75mg after 3 months i think is a pretty big step too. 

 

It's difficult to put into words how grateful i am for your replies brassmonkeys, hudgens and naturegirl. They took a great load of my shoulders. That i am not alone in this. Thank you so much. I will keep you posted!

 

Jeske 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Rogue84,

I know what you're going through. I've been having the exact same issues for over a year now since coming off Effexor.

I was on 75mg for about 4 years and my doc took me off it too quick over 3 months, I wasn't to know what he was doing, he told me I'd be fine afterwards. 16 months later and I'm still messed up.

 

The stomach issues started for me a few weeks after I quit it and haven't let up. I'm doing lots of things and been getting some answers on here too about what's up with me. All stomach tests and scans have come back ok and this just started as soon as I came off Effexor, so looks like that's the cause.

 

Just know you're not the only one out there this has happened to, loads of us in the same position, we didn't know what was ahead of us. If you want to see my full story and symptoms it's in the introduction section.

 

Let's hope we get over this eventually, it's a long process.

I was on Effexor 75mg for 4 years.

Started to taper off it in May 2014 over 12 weeks until August 2014. Developed stomach issues in October 2014 which I suspected was from Effexor withdrawals. That also led to constant dizziness too a couple of months later.

Also I was given an antibiotic (Clarithromycin) in September 2015 for 10 days which I had a really bad reaction to, worsening my withdrawal effects and almost killed me.

A few years later, I’m still off Effexor completely and still feeling the withdrawal effects from both Effexor and the antibiotic reaction.

Currently taking no prescribed medication at all.

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