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EfxDub

EfxDub : looking for help about Effexor withdrawal

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EfxDub

Hi all, I'm new here and was hoping that I could get some help, opinions and information about what I've been experiencing since coming off Effexor 16 months ago. This is a long post, so bear with me...

 

I've had anxiety and depression since my teens, I'm in my mid 30's now. I'm not the type of person who has it 24/7, I'm always a bit hyper and anxious but nothing too bad that I can't handle, the depression comes and goes. My issue is, I could be fine for months and then if something goes wrong in my life I can't cope with it and then the anxiety kicks in bad and then as it gets worse the depression kicks in too then I hit rock bottom. I get over this and get back to normal over the next few months and then could be a year and then something bad happens and then the depression and anxiety kicks in again. My coping methods is the problem, need to cope with things better, but the anxiety doesn't help. I've always tried to avoid going down the meds route, I know some people have really bad depression and totally need them to survive and function and that's perfectly fine. I just think there's a nasty side to antidepressants and the likes of anxiety medication and I'd rather not take them when I don't need them all the time.

 

A few years ago I had a really bad bout of depression, total breakdown and hit rock bottom. I was hospitalised and put on the usual benzo's for anxiety and put on anti depressants for the first time in my life which for 14 years previous I always refused to start taking. I was put on lexapro for a few months and that didn't work then I was put on another antidepressant, which I can't recall the name of, along with that and that worked for a while and then the depression came back big time for no reason, as if the anti d's were making it worse. I went to see another doctor and he suggested I change to another antidepressant to see if that helped. I agreed to this, as I was so bad I was willing to try anything and also I didn't realise the after effects of these different antidepressants. So he put me on 75mg of Effexor. Over the next few weeks the Effexor made me wired and got my energy and mood back and then I settled into it. Back to normal again.

I could have stopped it sooner but as it wasn't doing too much harm I thought, I kept taking it. I was on it for 4 years and decided that I didn't need it anymore or want to be on it for the rest of my life either, so decided to come off it.

 

I went to my doctor and told him I wanted to come off it, I didn't need it anymore. Got my mood back, focus on work, healthy eating and lifestyle, keeping fit a few times a week in the gym, no problems.

He agreed to this and got me to wean off it over 12 weeks, starting from sometime in May 2014 to Aug 2014. Needless to say, as many people who are withdrawing from Effexor know, it wasn't a good time coming off, but I persevered and stuck with it. The doc was useless, telling me that I shouldn't have too bad a time coming off it, but it was awful. It was only by Googling through various sites and forums about coming off Effexor and other antidepressants I was able to realise what was happening and what I was going through. Dizzy head, feeling awful, sick to my stomach, low mood, agitation, nausea, anxious, all the usual symptoms.

I was off them completely in Aug 2014 and when I stopped them my mood dropped big time. I knew it was due to coming off the Effexor and nothing else was causing this. I was back at my doc and he was telling me that I should be fine, there's no after effects. I was telling him that I've been reading about other peoples same experiences on various sites and forums and he was telling me that I shouldn't do that and it's nonsense.

He couldn't do anything to help me so I saw on a few of the antidepressant forums that people were saying to try vitamin b and omega 3 supplements daily and that helped them with the withdrawals. I gave it a go, anything is better then what I was feeling at the time. And sure enough, I was taking the vitamin and omega supplements and after a little while started to feel a lot better. Now this is where the sickness starts...

 

Two months later since I stopped my last Effexor, in Oct 2014, I started to get some abdominal / stomach pain out of the blue. I thought it might have been a side effect of the vitamin b so I tried to keep taking them as it was worth it seeing as my mood was ok. But the abdominal pain sort of niggled away, coming and going every so often, even when I stopped the vitamin b supplements just to be sure. This would come and go for the next few months. I decided to go and see the doc about it, as I did have stomach issues in my teens from excessive drinking and partying, but that cleared up years ago and now I lead a totally different lifestyle, calmed down with the drinking, eat healthy and look after my body now. And also my dad had stomach cancer and passed away from it, so just wanted to get checked out to be on the safe side.

 

The doc tried me on various antacids and proton pump inhibitors, but nothing seemed to work. Then he contacted the hospital for me to go and have a urea breath test to see if I had bacteria in my stomach, that came back normal. And after that the next step was to have an endoscopy.

The endoscopy appointment was for this year, Aug 2015. And in July 2015, my stomach flared up again after being ok or not too bad for a few weeks. But this time when it flared up I got a constant dizziness to go along with it. When I say dizziness, was more of a lightheaded feeling, like when you have 2 or 3 drinks and the buzzed feeling comes over you.

I got worried about this, thought it could be something in my stomach causing the lightheadedness, bleeding ulcer or something, so I went to my local emergency department and got checked out there. They said my bloods were ok and after the bit of testing they did, they said all seemed normal and just to wait it out for a few weeks and go and get the endoscopy in Aug.

 

The dizziness and the stomach issues continued for the next few weeks, and I went to my endoscopy appointment in Aug as planned. That came back normal, I was really surprised. The doctor said my stomach looked OK. I was actually sitting on the trolley waiting to have the endoscopy and telling the doc that my stomach was flaring up really bad, which it was, hoping that he saw some inflammation or something and finally be able to get to the cause of the stomach issues, then a minute or two later after it was done the doc said all is fine. They couldn't say what could be causing the stomach discomfort, just said go back to my local doc and take it from there.

 

The dizziness was constant for the next few weeks, I was researching everything and not getting any answers. I was thinking was I training too hard in the gym and not eating enough? Was it the multivitamins I was taking causing the stomach issues and dizziness? So I adjusted things around with the gym, eating, stopped some supplements to see if that helped. Nothing.

 

I then went to my doc and asked him for a referral letter to go for an mri on my head to see if there was anything serious going on with my brain. Got the letter, went for the mri and that came back as normal, apart from a bit of a sinus infection that showed up.

The doc decided to put me on a dose of antibiotics to clear the sinus infection and he said that it could be the reason for the lightheadedness over the past couple of months. I said go for it, I'll try it to try and get rid of the lightheadedness once and for all. He prescribed me clarithromycin (biaxin) for 10 days, and as soon as I started taking them they really had a bad effect on me, chest palpitations, headaches, sick stomach, not sleeping, rash on my body. One night the whole left side of my back went totally numb, didn't know what was going on, it was scary. I should have stopped them, but was so determined to try and get rid of the lightheadedness that I continued on taking them till they were finished.

 

Meanwhile, my stomach / abdominal issues were not getting any better either, no answers or solutions from the docs or scans.

I happened to be watching a tv show and there was a bit on it about people with food intolerances, people with various sicknesses and health issues for years and then got checked out and found out that they were intolerant to certain foods.

I looked into it and booked an appointment to go and get checked out to see if that showed up anything. Got a bit of blood taken and sent off to the lab and two weeks later the results were in.

Turns out that apparently I'm intolerant to a good few foods, dairy, eggs, wheat, gluten, chocolate, some fruits, some vegetables, nuts and a few other things. Most of the foods I have been eating daily for the past while.

Could this be the answer to my stomach issues? I'll give it a try.

But the odd thing is, I've ate all these "problem" foods all my life and never noticed anything bad happening to me after eating them. But I'll give it a go anyway.

So after the dose of clarithromycin antibiotics and the food intolerance test results I was hoping that something good will happen. No luck there.

 

For weeks after taking the antibiotics I felt awful, chest pain, headache, back pain, no energy, stabbing pain in my side, feeling run down and sick / groggy feeling. I was thinking that they messed me up somehow, seeing as they didn't agree with me in the first place. Felt a lot worse after taking them, then before I took them in the first place. And I'd finished the dose weeks previous. They didn't even fix the problem of lightheadedness that I was having, it's still there along with ringing in my ears.

Back and forward to the doc and trying me on anti inflammatory pills and gel for the back pain, hooking me up to the heart monitor to see if anything is up with the pain in my chest and nothing is working, helping or showing up.

 

Finally, about 2 weeks ago I got them to send me for a ct scan of my abdomen to see if my kidneys, stomach, liver had been affected or was anything going on, and that came back clear, nothing unusual apart from something small on my liver that looked like a cyst that they said didn't seem serious. I got bloods done which came back ok, and an X-ray of my chest which came back ok too.

 

It's now the 14th month after stopping Effexor, I still have the stomach issues, dizzy head, back pain all up and down my back, tinnitus. I'm unable to work or go training at the gym because of this, and I'm feeling much worse since taking those antibiotics a few months ago. I've been following the food intolerance test results too for the last few months, cutting out all dairy and the rest of the problem foods, but my stomach issues are worse then ever. And like I said, I've ate all the so called "problem" foods all my life and never noticed any stomach issues or reactions to them before. The stomach issues started a few weeks after coming off Effexor last Aug.

My mood is ok, considering what's going on. The longer I go without finding out what's going on with my body and going from perfectly healthy and fit to getting all these random illnesses over the space of a few months is making me more anxious as it goes on. I don't want to turn into a hypochondriac, getting test after test and running back and forward to the docs and hospitals. I just want to feel well again and able to get back to my normal life.

 

The docs are refusing to let me get any more tests, saying that I don't need them. Now they're suggesting to me that I go back on Effexor to see if that gets rid of all these symptoms. This is after them telling me at the start that it's no way got to do with Effexor withdrawals and that the Effexor would be out of my system about a week after I stopped taking it last Aug 2014.

There's no way that I'd want to go back on it ever again, seeing as I'm off it over a year and if it has caused these symptoms then I certainly never want it back in my system again.

 

After some more googling, I discovered this place and other people on various antidepressant forums and blogs taking about protracted ssri withdrawal syndrome.

I wanted to get some opinions about my story, could it be protracted withdrawal? Has anyone else experienced this and similar symptoms? I know they say it can take anywhere from 5 months to 5 years to get over it. Could a 75mg dose of Effexor over 4 years and coming off it have anything to do with this? And is there any suggestions on managing this, if it is protracted withdrawal syndrome I'm going through?

 

Thanks for reading my long post, hope you can help me out on this one.

 

Thanks

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brassmonkey

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

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brassmonkey

Hi EfxDub-- Welcome to the group. After such a long post I thought I'b be a smarta** and give very short answers.  I'm very glad you found us and glad to hear that you're handling things pretty well.  The 12 week taper you did was way too fast and has thrown you into withdrawal syndrome.  Like you have read it will take some time but you will recover from it.  We can't put a time on it but the range you mentioned covers a most of the possibilities.  Having made it to 14 months you are well on your way and should see significant improvements over the next year.  I would not recommend reinstating any of the effexor unless the symptoms become unbearable.  If that is the case let's talk it over carefully before you do.  This link will help explain what is happening:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 

 

Thank you for filling in a signature block, it really helps us to see what is going on.

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KarenB

Hello efxdub and welcome to s/a,

 

So good you are here, there'll be lots of info and support for you, and you can definately find ways to manage this protracted w/d.

 

Stomach meds and antibiotics can cause problems for your vagus nerve, which (ironically) can cause further stomach and depression issues among other things.  There are things you can do to heal your vagus nerve here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3173-vagus-nerve-stimulation/

 

All your tests are coming back normal because it's all down to withdrawal. 

 

Now that it's too far out for reinstatement to be a good option, you probably want to work on building up your self care.  You already take fish oil, which is great.  The other thing many people find useful is magnesium.  It helps with relaxing and sleep.  B-Vitamins can be troublesome for people in w/d, unless you started them before w/d.  You can build up your own personal collection of things that works for you.  Maybe counseling, meditation, yoga, walking - heaps of ideas in the self-care thread.  

 

Food is really important, and I know you've been experimenting with that heaps to find some relief.  Animal protein, eggs, fish cheese, nuts, seeds, pro-biotic yoghurt, raw foods.  See what your body will accept.  Many people have stomach issues in w/d, and there are threads on that too.   

 

Gentle exercise is useful, just find the level that doesn't activate your CNS too much.  I had to stop going to dance, buy can still do gentle yoga. 

 

I am tapering Effexor and have had many of the symptoms you list - anxiety, dizziness, light-headed, depression.   And like you, I started SSRIs when I hit rock-bottom one too many times and became utterly desparate.  Previously I'd always refused them.  I switched around as one after the other stopped 'working', then my depression got much worse after I eventually started Effexor.  Adverse effects and w/d from Effexor became my new 'rock-bottom.' 

 

These days I am really enjoying finding the strength which comes with learning to manage depression/anxiety/crap life throws at me ;).

 

Well, thats a lot of info for one post.  Take your time, have a read around, and come back to this thread with any more questions.  This thread will be your journal to record your healing progress.

 

Best wishes,

KarenB

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EfxDub

First of all, thanks for reading my long post and for the replies. I've been trying to get solid answers for months and months now and never had any success.

 

Brassmonkey, you say that the 12 week taper was too soon, what should have been the correct timeframe for coming off my dosage.

It does make sense, seeing as the stomach issues started literally a few weeks after coming off Effexor completely.

I don't have any desire to go back on it after being off it for so long now, I'm just going to try and manage my symptoms with other methods.

 

And KarenB, thank you for pointing the vagus nerve problem after antibiotics out to me. I felt like I was going crazy, and docs treating me like a total nutcase after me saying to them all these new symptoms started after I took that dose of clarithromycin antibiotics a few months ago.

This is actually my bad struggle now, before I took the antibiotics I had the usual stomach discomfort that I've had for the past year and the lightheadedness since July that I'm seeing an ear doc about and an ear physio that suspects that it's an inner ear problem, caused by a virus, but who knows what it is. But now my symptoms are ten times worse, my body feels like it's physically sick to the core. I'm having chest pains on and off, fatigue, back pains all up and down my back, stomach pain has got worse, and still have the lightheadedness 24/7 too. Finding it hard to function and get on with my daily life. Where as before I took the antibiotics, I had some stomach symptoms but could still do my work and keeping fit and function.

I'm going to look more into the vagus nerve link you gave me and see can I get some relief from that.

 

 

I've been taking magnesium every morning and keeping up with my good quality fish oil too. I've been seeing a nutritionist and she has me on a few other supplements too to heal my body, some probiotics, digestive enzymes and things like that. I'm trying everything at the moment and hoping that something works.

 

As I said, my overall mood isn't too bad or low, just as time goes on and I'm finding it dropping bit by bit as I'm able to get out and do my daily life, which is at a standstill.

 

I'm going to read through the info on here and hopefully get some help from it, there's a lot to go through! Seems like a good place.

 

Appreciate it, thanks again

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nz11

 Brassmonkey you say that the 12 week taper was too soon, what should have been the correct timeframe for coming off my dosage.

 

Sorry Brassmonkey insomnia is really bad tonight its now 2.23 am been up since 1.30 am so couldnt resist answering

 

All things being equal (though they arent) it depends on what taper reduction percentage you use ..

 

This site and others have found that a taper of 10% per month of previous dose is giving people the best chance of getting off while allowing them to have a life in the process. Some are going even slower.

 

So assuming you had tapered at the rec rate of 10%of previous dose then all going well to get from 75 mg to 1mg you would have needed to taper for 42 months ...or 3.5 years.

Obviously a person who has only taken it for a month shouldnt have to taper for that time ..but then again who knows.

 

Dont worry about it most of us had no idea what we were doing (except for the Brassmonkeys of this world...note he is in his 5th yr of tapering) i broke all the rules in the taper book. so you are not alone. If doctors are so clueless how on earth can a patient be expected to be aware of it. Its not our fault.

 

I think being one year off to decide to stay the course drug free is a great idea.

 

You have done well to survive the first year many report improvements in the second.

 

Hang in there. You have a great attitude you are doing amazing.

 

As Karen says lets concentrate on self care.

( You may have noted that she is currently tapering at 1.6 % per month (a slower version of the Brassmonkey slide -a variation on the 10% method being 2.5% reduction per week for four weeks and then hold for two) and holding for a month ...the timeframe she is looking at in order to get from 135mg to 1mg at this current rate is 50.8 years (only) (gulp!)....she is doing all she can to ensure her effexor divorce idoesnt turn nasty...its making 'songbird' look impatient).

 

nz11

2.42am 3.03am (= 6am BM time).

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brassmonkey

NZ11-- you can beat me anytime. (That didn't come out right). Sorry to hear that the sleep problems have been kicking up again.  Wouldn't that be 6am yesterday, proving I really am behind the times? LOL

 

EfxDub-- Although your taper is in hindsight now, we have found through the bitter experience of many thousands of people that a four month taper is just too fast for the old brain to handle comfortably.  That is how we came up with the 10% taper method that NZ11 explained.  It allows for the removal of the drugs at a rate that most people can handle with a minimum of WD symptoms, which as you are finding out can be quite harsh.  I have several friends on this board who CTed Effexor at the same time I started tapering Paxil, although I'm not pain free so to speak to a person they are doing a lot, lot worse than myself.  I am very pleased that you're doing so well after 16 months, and equally pleased that you have no desire to reinstate.  There is a lot of very good information on the site, so please help yourself to it.

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nz11

NZ11--   Wouldn't that be 6am yesterday, proving I really am behind the times? LOL

 

oops you are right ...6am yesterday ! You and i must be the bookends of sa.

Hey Brass i missed you this morning, what happened traffic bad ?? lol. ...hold on a minute you are not in monday you are in sunday.....ahhhh maybe you slept in! 

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KarenB

This is actually my bad struggle now, before I took the antibiotics I had the usual stomach discomfort that I've had for the past year and the lightheadedness since July that I'm seeing an ear doc about and an ear physio that suspects that it's an inner ear problem, caused by a virus, but who knows what it is. But now my symptoms are ten times worse, my body feels like it's physically sick to the core. I'm having chest pains on and off, fatigue, back pains all up and down my back, stomach pain has got worse, and still have the lightheadedness 24/7 too. Finding it hard to function and get on with my daily life. Where as before I took the antibiotics, I had some stomach symptoms but could still do my work and keeping fit and function.

 

Something I've come to realise over the course of this year, is that our brain, heart, guts/digestive system are all connected via that vagus nerve.  Instead of looking at healing just one thing, we can go more holistic and heal all of them.  So if we want our brain to heal we can also think how we can help it by healing our gut, and so on. 

 

You mention having light stomach trouble for the year prior to tapering.  That may have been caused by the Effexor playing havoc with your gut, and then it got amplified by the antibiotics. 

 

The 'inner ear' thing is ringing bells for me too.  Basically, stress leads to body tension, leads to clenched teeth/jaw, leads to ear pain.  You can google about TMJ for more detail.  I sorted much of my ear pain out by learning ways to relax my jaw (after repeatedly having the doctor check my ears and tell me they were fine).  Light-headedness is one of the side-effects people can get when their body stops tolerating SSRIs.   

 

Well, that's just some more food for thought...enjoy digesting.  Be interesting to hear what your ear-doc says.

KarenB

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EfxDub

Nz11, brassmonkey...

I didn't realise that it should have taken that long for me to reduce down and get off Effexor. My clueless doc said I'd be fine in a few weeks and back to normal after coming off it, what a joke. So the 3 month taper for me obviously wasn't ok.

He also did the take one every other day method too while I was dropping down, and reading into it, the was not a good idea either?

If I knew then what I did now then I probably wouldn't be in this position. All the info I got prior to being on here, I had to google and learn for myself about Withdrawl effects, symptoms and supplements to try to help it.

 

KarenB...

Those antibiotics either did something really bad to me while taking them, leading to by back pain, chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, and worse stomach issues. If it wasn't caused directly by the antibiotics, then maybe they were the straw that broke the camels back. But all I know is these symptoms started as soon as I took the antibiotics and haven't let up since. It's really putting a stop on things for me at the moment.

So this is why I'm going to look into vagus nerve healing, but what exactly do I go for? When I've been looking around I've seen some people go to see a neurologist chiropractor, and then on the link you gave me at the start it mentions acupuncture?

I'm totally new to all this, but willing to try every angle so that this problem gets fixed and I can get back on with my life.

 

About the inner ear problem, the doc suspected it was vestibular neuritis, said it could be caused by a cold sore virus. And then when the virus goes, the lightheadedness stays around. So he gave me exercises to do 3 times a day to train my brain into compensating for the lightheadedness. I'm due back in a few weeks, so see if it's working or not.

I've so many different things going on at the moment and no answers for them, that I don't know what's causing what.

At least I can pinpoint the withdrawl thing finally, and just get this vagus nerve thing under control, I'll be happy.

 

Thanks again, appreciate all your help guys.

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KarenB

I have been working on vagus nerve healing with things I can do at home.  I do back-bends (I like yoga moves such as cat/cow and side stretches) to stretch out my spine.  I also do slow breathing - 3 counts in, 6 counts out.  Another option is ujaii breathing.  Naturally increasing your dopamine also stimulates the nerve, so eating fish, meditating, playing - anything to feel happy for a while.  I play with my dog :).  You can also sing, dip your face in cold water, cough, chant, get your legs up higher than your head...

 

Personally I wanted to start with building this into my life and see if it helped - and it has.  I haven't felt the need to see a practitioner of any kind.  I do know that others on this site have had success for varying things with acupuncture.  I think it needs to be built into your daily practice even if you do see a specialist, so that the effects are on-going.  You want your vagus nerve to be well-stimulated and sending clear messages round your body all the time.  In your situation you might benefit from both - get a good kick start from an acupuncturist, and also build it into your life.   

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Lexy

Hi

I too went to the dr for the chest pains. Everything came back ok. Are you still experiencing this?

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EfxDub

Hi

I too went to the dr for the chest pains. Everything came back ok. Are you still experiencing this?

Hi Lexy, just to answer your question and to update everyone else on my situation too here...

Still experiencing chest pains, really fatigued too. And stomach issues/discomfort is not going away either.

 

For the last few months I've been having back pain in spurts, started around October and comes and goes every few weeks, sometimes it stays for a long time, then ok for a bit and then back again.

Currently for the last few weeks the back pain is getting worse, it's also going around into my abdomen area too and I'm having intermittent sharp stabbing pains directly under my rib cab on the right hand side and a bit of pain, not as severe, on the opposite side. I've been to the emergency dept again last week and they did more tests, bloods, X-ray of my chest and spine, ultrasound of my abdomen, but all came back negative, they couldn't find any issues.

 

This has been going on now and getting worse since last September when I was put on the clairythomycin (biaxin) antibiotics for the supposed sinus infection that I had, and to see would it fix the inner ear problem that started last July which is making me constantly lightheaded 24/7.

The antibiotic didn't solve anything, just made me ten times worse off and on top of that has left me with really bad tinnitus too.

 

So I still have the original stomach discomfort / issues that started in October 2014 just after I came off Effexor, then I got the inner ear problem in July 2015, and then since September 2015 and currently 100% worse off since all this began.

My gp denied everything that I was taken off Effexor too quickly, and said that I'd only be experiencing withdrawl symptoms for a short time as I was coming off it, but not for this long. They also were pushing and pushing me into going back on it. They refuse to do anything else for me, just want me to go back on Effexor again. There's no way I'm going back on it again, I've been totally off it sinceaugust 2014 and have no desire to reintroduce it back into my system again. Apart from these physical symptoms, my mood is stable and I don't need it in my life. I am done with that doctor now and left that practice, I'm in the middle of changing to a new doctor now, hoping they are better then what I had for the last few years.

 

I came back here to see can I get a bit more info from the people on the board, is there any supplements that may be of use to me, or any treatments that might help?

With the back pain and general fatigue, I can't do anything, no work, no keeping fit, nothing. I'm not taking any supplements at the moment, as a nutritionist had me on a load of them a few weeks ago and they didn't seem to be doing much, so I stopped. I want to try again, but want to keep it minimal, nothing too much. I've got a good quality omega 3 supplement with vitamin d added, and was thinking that a decent quality multivitamin might help too? Or would a vitamin b complex be better than the multivitamin? I know Karen was saying that vitamin b supplements can have a bad effect on some people, but when I took them in the past I can't say I had that much of a bad reaction to them, just suspected that one of the ingredients in that particular brand was something that I had an intolerance too and was upsetting my stomach.

And Karen also mentioned acupuncture too, could that help in any way, go for a massage too on my back?

I'm just trying to get even a bit better so I can start going about my daily routine again, get back to the gym and start back working a bit. I miss doing things, I feel like a prisoner now and I'm not being lazy, I want to do these things but physically can't do anything without feeling sick or pain.

 

Hope someone can throw some suggestions my way, thanks for reading all this.

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EfxDub

Anyone?

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Altostrata

Hello, Efx.

 

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?

 

It sounds to me like the antibiotic treatment might have killed off some of your gut bacteria, which are necessary to digest food properly. Without them, you can get gas pains, which can be intense and stabbing. You can also have difficulty absorbing nutrients.

 

Have you tried ingesting kefir, yogurt with live cultures, or sauerkraut? They can help restore gut bacteria. Start with a little bit each day, then build up.

 

Otherwise, it's possible you also still have withdrawal syndrome. How are your other symptoms?

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EfxDub

Hi Altostrata,

It has been a while.

 

Looking into it more and more, it does seem that I do have toxicity symptoms from the antibiotic I was given.

Since last September 2015 when I took them I've been worse off since, currently experiencing chest pain, eye twitching, back pain, fatigue, tinnitus, stabbing pains under my right rib cage. It's been a nightmare.

 

I think I've figured out about the dizziness, a trip to the ear doctor showed some inner ear problem, likely vestibular neuritis. I'm attending a physio now every few weeks for this, and been given exercises to do a few times a day to re-train my brain to cope with the dizzy feeling. Few weeks in and I can't say if it's good or bad yet, just have to keep at it and hope for the best.

 

But still have no answer for my original stomach issue that started back in October 2014, two months after I came off Effexor in August 2014. The discomfort right between the bottom of my rib cage and belly button, and unwell feeling in my stomach.

That's the original issue, and I think the dizziness from July 2015 and the antibiotic toxicity from September 2015 have been explained now and it's just a matter of rehabbing them.

 

Came back on here today to see if anyone else had stomach issues that started after stopping Effexor?

I've been for a food intolerance test and quit the so called culprit foods like wheat, dairy, gluten, and others. But made zero difference at all. Just want to see if it looks like the Effexor caused these stomach issues or not.

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Lexy

I haven't taken any antibiotics and have been having the back shoulder and rib cage pain. Also pain on knees and legs.

I can relate to the feeling of being imprisoned in your own body.

There's not much I'm able to do with the pain and fatigue.

By the way how is your sleep?

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EfxDub

See, that's what's messing me up too, not sure if this back and rib pain is down to antibiotics or Effexor. Can't get a solid answer anywhere. All I know is major stuff happened when I took the clairythomycin 7 months ago and have been on a downhill slope ever since. I'll be off Effexor 2 years now in a few months, in August. So I figured that I'd be getting less of the protracted withdrawals, if that's what I was getting to cause my stomach issues in the first place.

 

My sleep for the most part is fine. I've always been a light sleeper anyway so I can wake up at the sound of a moth farting in my room at night. But I'm sticking to my routine of getting up at a regular time every morning and not staying up late at night and all seems to be good. I've started to take a magnesium supplement to try and counter some of the clairythomycin damage, started to get a bad eye twitch after taking it and magnesium supplements were recommended for it. I take it in the evening, close to bed and then I do feel a bit more chilled after that and have been sleeping all through the night.

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KerryMM

Hey ExfDub,

Thanks for sharing and I know exactly what you mean - I have had nausea and vomiting for 4 months now after stopping and its making me go crazy.

If I don't take motion sickness meds, I will vomit - every day, regardless of whether there is any motion or not.

Did you get this symptom too? I can't live on motion sickness meds, but I can't do without them and its driving me crazy!

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blazesboylan

Hi EfxDub,

 

I see that you are in Dublin also. :) Anyhow, I am tapering Effexor at the moment. I am tapering olanzapine as well though.

 

I don't think that I have had any of the exact symptoms that you are reporting though. I did read your first post fully by the way.

 

In my case these has been a pressure in my forehead which varies in intensity. It seems to get worse by evening time. I also have a tingling/numbness in my left ear which comes and goes. I did have an MRI brain scan for this and nothing showed up. The pressure and the tingling have been going on for a long time now. Probably since I started tapering which was back in 2014.

 

Apart from the physical symptoms I can get quite anxious and very often my mood is can be low. However, it is rarely so bad that I skip work. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. Other times I sleep very heavily and struggle to get up. Anyhow, as per my signature I am currently down to 100 mgs Effexor. I was on 300 mgs once.

 

Well, there you go. I hope that you are having a good weekend.

 

Blazes.

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EfxDub

Hey ExfDub,

Thanks for sharing and I know exactly what you mean - I have had nausea and vomiting for 4 months now after stopping and its making me go crazy.

If I don't take motion sickness meds, I will vomit - every day, regardless of whether there is any motion or not.

Did you get this symptom too? I can't live on motion sickness meds, but I can't do without them and its driving me crazy!

Hey Kerry,

I can say I had the nausea and sickness when I was coming off the Effexor. I'm prone to motion sickness usually, and coming off the Effexor it was worse. I can remember the dizziness and sick stomach feeling. I wasn't as bad as you vomiting or anything, but still was awful with the symptoms I did have. I didn't take any motion sickness pills, I just drank herbal teas like peppermint to settle me down a bit, but if I had of been voimitimg daily then I'd probably have to go down the meds route. I've learned that Mrs don't agree with me, so rather go down the health store / vitamin supplement route.

The nausea and sickness did pass after a few weeks, so hopefully it will b the same for you. I was on a 75mg a day dose of Effexor so I don't know what you're on, that might be different for you if you're on a higher dose. Just stick with it though, it'll pass.

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EfxDub

Hi EfxDub,

 

I see that you are in Dublin also. :) Anyhow, I am tapering Effexor at the moment. I am tapering olanzapine as well though.

 

I don't think that I have had any of the exact symptoms that you are reporting though. I did read your first post fully by the way.

 

In my case these has been a pressure in my forehead which varies in intensity. It seems to get worse by evening time. I also have a tingling/numbness in my left ear which comes and goes. I did have an MRI brain scan for this and nothing showed up. The pressure and the tingling have been going on for a long time now. Probably since I started tapering which was back in 2014.

 

Apart from the physical symptoms I can get quite anxious and very often my mood is can be low. However, it is rarely so bad that I skip work. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. Other times I sleep very heavily and struggle to get up. Anyhow, as per my signature I am currently down to 100 mgs Effexor. I was on 300 mgs once.

 

Well, there you go. I hope that you are having a good weekend.

 

Blazes.

Hey Blazes,

Can't really comment on your symptoms, you're on a higher dose then me and taking some other stuff too, so I'm not sure.

Symptoms vary from person to person, and I tapered over a few months which was wrong, but was just on a single dose of Effexor at the time.

There's plenty of people on here that might be able to help you better then I can and explain your symptoms. There's loads of info on here that you'll find really helpful.

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EfxDub

*topic moved from symptoms forum

 

Developed stomach issues a few weeks after coming off Effexor. Trying to heal now, help needed.

 

 

Hi all, just looking for some information.
I've been dealing with GI / stomach issues since I came off Effexor back in August 2014. Around October 2014 I started to have stomach issues that I never had before.
At first the docs denied it was the Effexor that caused it, but that's a whole other story.

I've had tests done and so far have come back ok, still can't figure out what's up. I've done a food intolerance test and that came back positive to the main culprits like wheat, dairy, gluten and some other foods. I've quit all those foods months ago and that didn't help one bit.

I know when I was on Effexor I had awful sugar cravings and ate a lot of sugar due to this, and was wondering if it could have caused candida overgrowth in my gut?
I've tested negative for h-pylori. But I'm wondering could it be leaky gut or something else caused by Effexor.

So my question is, does anyone know what stomach issues Effexor causes, the likes of SIBO, candida, leaky gut?
I'm seeing the gastro doc in a few days again and would like to be able to suggest to them to check for bacteria or other stuff in my stomach that could be the issue that started when I came off Effexor almost two years ago.
I've seen the long post here, loads of pages long, about the stomach issues. But would like to hear something a bit specific to Effexor.

Thanks for the help, really appreciate it.

Edited by Petunia
topic moved and note added

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btdt

Gee you have done a lot more than I have and in a much shorter time.  Please think too about any other drug you have taken since or with effexor I think it may be part of the fallout I have. 

Did you have any bleeding issues is the next question with your stomach or any other body part?  I don't have a lot of time now but will check back with this thread later. When I first went off effexor I could not digest food at all it had the flu as they say that lasted months... over time I ended up with green jello stool sorry but facts are facts... treated that with probiotics  the other thing to do about it was a stool transplant from a healthy family member... there is a lot of research into this lately.  I wonder if it would work they say transplanting livers will transplant food sensitivites with the liver not understanding how it all works but it is a good topic to research for those of us with gut issues. Maybe it would work if there were enough docs doing it so far I think they are few and far between. I am not sure transplanting would fix this whatever it is... but it would seem I have tried everything else.  The newest idea is to take reactin when the guts go off I have not tried this yet but will let you know what happens when I do....if I do and I can't rule out I will have a worse reaction from reactin that the symptoms I am trying to treat as often that is what happens with me and my sensitivities.

peace

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EfxDub

I haven't taken really anything after I stopped Effexor, apart from a few ppi's and anti spasmodic meds this I tried for a few weeks to see if they helped my stomach issues, which they didn't.

I didn't have any bleeding anywhere either, so that was clear.

I'm not one to take prescription meds after my Effexor experience, I just take some omega 3's and multivitamins and go down the natural route.

 

The discomfort was happening between under my rib cage and down to my belly button, that area.

I just wanted to see if anyone was aware of Effexor causing like bacterial overgrowth or leaky gut, something like that. If someone says ibs then that's a bit vague and could be anything.

 

I'm looking into getting a stool analysis test done, to test for parasites and bacteria in my gut that might be causing this, but wanted to see if I could narrow things down a bit before I get unecessary tests done.

 

I'm currently in the middle of being poisoned (floxed) by a dose of clarithromycin antibiotics that I was given 8 months ago, another long story. But that messed up my stomach even more then it was when I came off Effexor. So I'm tying now to finally get to the bottom of these stomach issues and put them to bed. Just want to get a clearer pic of what it could be rather then throwing the kitchen sink at things like I've been doing for the last few months. I've tried probiotics, but made symptoms worse so had to stop them, was suggested to me by a nutritionist that small bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) could be the cause of that.

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btdt

I have done recent research into different probiotics but have not found or tried the ones I would like to try yet. 

 

I was looking at the antihistamine approach here.

http://www.nutramed.com/allergy/antihistamines.htm

 

Found this bit interesting:

Other antihistamines and related drugs :

Ketotifen Adult dosage : 1-2 mg bd. 
Tricyclic antidepressants - most of the first and second generation antidepressants have antihistaminic activity. Doxepin is a tricyclic antidepressant with marked antihistamine activity. Suitable for administration at night. There is drug interaction with MAOIs, and can cause cardiac arrthythmia. Dosage : 10 mg

H2-Receptor Blockers

The H2 receptor blocker, cimetidine, first marketed as "Tagamet", joins Valium as one of the best-selling drugs of all time. The H2 block reduces stomach acid secretion. This acid reduction helps to prevent and to heal peptic ulcers. Cimetadine may be thought of as an allergy reaction modifier and antacid combined.

Cimetidine - 400 mg bd 
Ranitidine - 150 mg bd

I recall taking this many years ago... ranitidine I think was ok but cimetidine I had a reaction to. 

 

I hope some others come on to tell about their experience.  

I tried a few other drugs pariet I took while still on Effexor for sores in my oesophagus  and the stomach bleed Domperidone did not agree with me as I was in wd... may be ok to get things moving for those not in wd. Leaky gut is an interesting topic they are learning more every day about probiotics 

From my research lately

 

Lactobacilius Plantarum  - histamine degrading bacteria 

 

others on that list are Bifido infantis and Bifido longum 

 

Others increase histamine I do not want that

my notes are a bit sketchy... 

they say for to take these for suggested issues

 

Brain lacto brevis increases BDNF Kills vaginosis and helps cellular immunity 

 

Bifido Longum helps anxiety 

 

on my list to find are these from the lacto family... plantarum, acidophilus brevis ... Bifido lactis or alternate name animalis ... and longum ...

 

from here

www.biodentistrydrivzcarra.com

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SquirrellyGirl

Hi EfxDub, 

 

I don't know of anything specific to Effexor, never was a problem for me when in withdrawal, though Remeron is another matter!  When you say the issue is between your rib cage and belly button, what specifically are you referring to?  Pain?  Do you have loose stools?

 

I did have trouble years back while on Effexor though perhaps in conjunction with cutting the dose, don't remember, where I would get a stabbing pain on my right side abdomen just under the lowest rib.  It would nail me out of the blue, but I would notice it at night more often than other times.  Since I am a recovered bulimic, I thought it had to do with purging.  But I have since seen others mention a right side pain on this forum, and it got me thinking that maybe it was another Effexor side effect or withdrawal effect.  

 

I hadn't had this pain very much in recent years, so it surprised me when it came back briefly last year.  I don't remember if that was before or after reinstating.  Effexor has trashed my memory and Remeron isn't helping that!  I get loose stools in the morning with cramping from the Remeron.

 

SG

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EfxDub

Hi SG,

The pain between my rib cage and belly button area is more of a discomfort feeling rather then full on agony pain. It's hard to explain it.

Like, it's under the bottom of my rip cage and when I fold my arms watching tv or lying in bed resting my iPad in that area is when I notice it bad and have to stop.

Stools wise, hard and soft, never consistent.

 

I've actually got that sharp stabbing pain in the right side under my rib cage too. It's been happening on and off over the last few months. But like I said in my post above, I'm also dealing with antibiotic poisoning right now and figured that was why I was getting the sharp pain in my side. I don't think I ever got it when I was on Effexor or coming off it.

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btdt

I have done recent research into different probiotics but have not found or tried the ones I would like to try yet. 

 

I was looking at the antihistamine approach here.

http://www.nutramed.com/allergy/antihistamines.htm

 

Found this bit interesting:

Other antihistamines and related drugs :

Ketotifen Adult dosage : 1-2 mg bd. 

Tricyclic antidepressants - most of the first and second generation antidepressants have antihistaminic activity. Doxepin is a tricyclic antidepressant with marked antihistamine activity. Suitable for administration at night. There is drug interaction with MAOIs, and can cause cardiac arrthythmia. Dosage : 10 mg

H2-Receptor Blockers

The H2 receptor blocker, cimetidine, first marketed as "Tagamet", joins Valium as one of the best-selling drugs of all time. The H2 block reduces stomach acid secretion. This acid reduction helps to prevent and to heal peptic ulcers. Cimetadine may be thought of as an allergy reaction modifier and antacid combined.

Cimetidine - 400 mg bd 

Ranitidine - 150 mg bd

I recall taking this many years ago... ranitidine I think was ok but cimetidine I had a reaction to. 

 

I hope some others come on to tell about their experience.  

I tried a few other drugs pariet I took while still on Effexor for sores in my oesophagus  and the stomach bleed Domperidone did not agree with me as I was in wd... may be ok to get things moving for those not in wd. Leaky gut is an interesting topic they are learning more every day about probiotics 

From my research lately

 

Lactobacilius Plantarum  - histamine degrading bacteria 

 

others on that list are Bifido infantis and Bifido longum 

 

Others increase histamine I do not want that

my notes are a bit sketchy... 

they say for to take these for suggested issues

 

Brain lacto brevis increases BDNF Kills vaginosis and helps cellular immunity 

 

Bifido Longum helps anxiety 

 

on my list to find are these from the lacto family... plantarum, acidophilus brevis ... Bifido lactis or alternate name animalis ... and longum ...

 

from here

www.biodentistrydrivzcarra.com

http://www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk/faq/which-probiotic-for-histamine-intolerance

 

at the update link new info says that L. Reuteri 

"

Historically it’s been recommended that people with histamine intolerance should avoid this particular strain as it increases histamine production. However a recent study suggests that it raises the production of a type of histamine that is actually anti-inflammatory and therefore could be beneficial to those with histamine intolerance5."

5. Thomas CM, Hong T, van Pijkeren JP, Hemarajata P, Trinh DV, et al. (2012) Histamine Derived from Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Suppresses TNF via Modulation of PKA and ERK Signaling. PLoS ONE 7(2): e31951. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031951

 

Species thought to be beneficial:

Based on limited research into probiotics and histamine intolerance, the strains considered to be beneficial as they are thought to downgrade biogenic amines (of which histamine is one) are Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum, and possibly Lactobacillus reuteri*

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btdt

That side pain has been varying degrees of intolerable to me... I had extreme GI problems after stopping effexor I had a gastro bleed while on it.  

 

I tried everything under the sun including med to help pariet may have been in the mix and I can't be sure as I was off and on pariet over the years and can't recall if it heal that problem or not I am going to say not. Tho it may have helped when gut issues were severe the side effects are not really worth it to me... unless I am in agony.  

 

What I would suggest you try is a magnesium bath in the form of epsom salts that is the first thing that helped me... if that is too bother some soak your feet in it.  Try a mag supplement start low and slow. There are plenty of links here about magnesium if you want input on which kind to take citrate is cheep and works but some of us can only handle it in very small doses... hence the bath I tolerate magnesium best in the bath tho I do take small amounts during the day. 

 

Probiotics mag my best ideas for this. 

peace

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Petunia

Hi efxdub,

I moved the topic you started in the symptoms forum to your introduction thread here because it was related to your own situation specifically. You can use this thread to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Please bookmark it or follow it so you can find it again.

 

I'm sorry to hear you are having stomach pain after being off effexor for almost 2 years. Protracted withdrawal can last this long and stomach issues are common during the recovery period. But having said that, it could be unrelated, so getting it checked out is a good idea.

 

Here is our related topic: Digestive problems: Nausea, Diarrhea, Bloating, GERD - Sympto

 

We have another member who also has similar issues after coming off Effexor, here is a link to her intro thread: Samantha: Effexor withdrawal developed stomach pain/gerd ...

 

How long ago did you take antibiotics? Did this pain start only after taking the ABs? Antibiotics can unbalance gut flora, which can cause some of these symptoms, as BTDT mentioned, taking a course of probiotics can sometimes help to re-establish the good bacteria.

 

Here's some more information you might like to read:  Probiotics and gut health - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

Petunia.

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btdt

Hi EfxDub, 

 

I don't know of anything specific to Effexor, never was a problem for me when in withdrawal, though Remeron is another matter!  When you say the issue is between your rib cage and belly button, what specifically are you referring to?  Pain?  Do you have loose stools?

 

I did have trouble years back while on Effexor though perhaps in conjunction with cutting the dose, don't remember, where I would get a stabbing pain on my right side abdomen just under the lowest rib.  It would nail me out of the blue, but I would notice it at night more often than other times.  Since I am a recovered bulimic, I thought it had to do with purging.  But I have since seen others mention a right side pain on this forum, and it got me thinking that maybe it was another Effexor side effect or withdrawal effect.  

 

I hadn't had this pain very much in recent years, so it surprised me when it came back briefly last year.  I don't remember if that was before or after reinstating.  Effexor has trashed my memory and Remeron isn't helping that!  I get loose stools in the morning with cramping from the Remeron.

 

SG

You have not been off Effexor too long to say what your having is not in part E wd.. in my opinion it can hit a long time after you stop.

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Bruin

Hi Efxdub, 

 

Just stopping by to say that I am another one in protracted WD  from Effexor and also have the discomfort under the ribs , 

at certain times  more pronounced than at others when it almost disappears. 

I am now 14 months away from my last Effexor and have had some days when I have tasted recovery. 

My WD was made a great deal worse when I took Lyrica for 3 months....so at this stage I am not sure what  the Effexor 

is responsible for and what the Lyrica. The important thing is that I am healing, albeit much slower than I would like. 

I do believe that we all recover in the end.

 

With all best wishes 

 

Bruin

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EfxDub

Brian, as you probably read my updates above, I'm in a bad way after being poisoned by antibiotics so I'm not sure what's part of the protracted withdrawal and what's due to the antibiotic.

All I know is the stomach issues that started after coming off Effexor over a year and a half ago have multiplied drastically since I took the antibiotic 8 months ago. Wish I never put that crap into my mouth, and also listened to the doc telling me to keep taking it too. He also told me that there's no such thing as Effexor withdrawal, how do these people get away with this?

 

When you say you have discomfort under your ribs, are you talking about the stabbing pain in the side that I get from time to time or is it in the centre of your body under the rib cage and can go down as far as your belly button? That's been the main problem area for me, the stabbing pain in my side comes and goes and is not there all the time or has been there all the time.

 

And, I think we both can agree that taking more prescription meds during Effexor withdrawal can only make things worse. Hang in there, we're both in the same time frame off Effexor.

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btdt

I think you both should get some blood work done to be sure your ok. 

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EfxDub

Hi all,

Checking in to ask a few questions about SSRI (Effexor) withdrawal.

Basically, when I came off Effexor in August 2014 over 12 weeks after being on them for 4 years, I started to have stomach / digestive problems about 6-8 weeks after stopping. Always figured that it was due to coming off Effexor, never had anything like that in the past.

 

But basically almost 1 year later in July 2015 out of the blue I developed this lightheaded / dizzy feeling 24/7 and a year later it's still here and my health has taken a major dive.

I was given an antibiotic (clairithromycin) by my then gp just to see if it helped the dizziness, he thought it was a sinus infection, and it almost killed me and am still feeling the effects from it today. The best way for me to describe the experience is like trying to throw petrol on a fire to put it out.

So right now I'm dealing with suspected Effexor withdrawal and also been floxed by the antibiotic, my body is a total mess.

 

I wanted to ask here is it possible to get additional withdrawal symptoms 1 year later after stopping Effexor? I'm trying to figure out where this dizziness came from, I've had an MRI and came back clear. I'm trying to figure out if it could be connected to the Effexor withdrawal, but because it happened 11 months after I stopped it I'm thinking to myself is it even possible or connected to the Effexor withdrawal.

That's why I'd like to speak to a few people on here and maybe see what they have to say about it.

 

If anyone can shed some light on this, please comment or drop me a pm, really would like to get to the bottom of it.

Thanks for reading.

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