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ruthruthruth - Venlafaxine withdrawals


ruthruthruth

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I have been on Venlafaxine for about 8 years, I have been on the highest dose, but by Nov last year (and for the year or more previous) I was on 37.5mg. I was taking one each day, then a began to take every other day, then after about 6 weeks I cut down to every 3rd day, and then after a further 6 weeks every 4th day, and then i stopped. The last time I took one was 5th Nov. For the first 6 weeks after I was feeling the usual brain zaps, dizziness etc, after that had mostly passed, at the beginning of this year (around 7 weeks after stopping the tablets) my anxiety levels soared. I am really struggling. I am wondering if I should try a different tablet, a small dose for a while, to take 'the edge of things'. I don't feel that my doc gives good advice, he originally told me that I should just stop taking them as 'they are probably not having any effect anymore at 37.5mg', which is obviously ridiculous advice.

I am struggling with a continuous narrative of anxiety thoughts, from which I cannot find peace, a very changing apetite, often feeling completely hopeless wondering how I can go on, shaking and cold spells, difficulty getting to sleep, not being in the present, just feeling that I'm continually back and forth all day.

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Moderator

Hi ruth or should I call you ruth? -- Welcome to the group.  I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a tough time of it right now.  We do not recommend the taper schedule you followed because it really causes confusion to the ol' brain, basically throwing it into withdrawal every other day.  What you're feeling now is full on WD.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 

 

I would not recommend trying another drug, as it would probably cause more problems than it would help.  Trying a reinstatement of a small amount of the original drug should, however, help take the edge off.  By small I'm talking 1-2mg.  It will take four days before the drug becomes steady state in your blood so the symptoms will be inconsistent during that time.  Once steady state happens then the symptoms can start to work them selves out.  Some people get results quickly but many frequently have to wait several weeks to several months for things to start to settle.  But it does happen, in fact I was just reading Freeby60's thread about how her RI is finally settling in.

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

Once we get you stable then we can look into starting a nice slow taper to get you off more comfortably.

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Thank you for adding a signature block, it really helps us to help you.

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 very much for you reply. I have just looked through all of the links, they are very helpful. I can really see now, that coming off the tablets in the way which I did was a bad idea! The tablets are called - Venlablue XL 37.5mg prolonger release capsule hard venlafaxine. I just opened 3 of them to see what's inside and each contain 3 little white circles. So I guess that would be 12.5mg each. Is it possible do you think to cut them so small into 1-2mg each like you suggest?

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Ruth, from another venlafaxine taperer,

 

It could be a good idea to get your doctor to prescribe venlafaxine in the capsule form which has hundreds of little balls inside.  That's what I've got, and then you can weigh them on a micro-scale for accurate dosing. 

 

Cutting gets too inaccurate, especially at lower doses where your Central Nervous System is much more sensitive to change. 

 

The sooner the better, to provide you some relief.  And if your current doctor won't help, try another doctor and explain the situation. 

 

Good luck!!  Let us know how you get on, and what you decide to do.

 

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Welcome Ruth, from another venlafaxine taperer,

 

It could be a good idea to get your doctor to prescribe venlafaxine in the capsule form which has hundreds of little balls inside.  That's what I've got, and then you can weigh them on a micro-scale for accurate dosing. 

 

Cutting gets too inaccurate, especially at lower doses where your Central Nervous System is much more sensitive to change. 

 

The sooner the better, to provide you some relief.  And if your current doctor won't help, try another doctor and explain the situation. 

 

Good luck!!  Let us know how you get on, and what you decide to do.

 

Karen

Thanks Karen. I am going to call doc tomorrow and make an appointment, and I will see if he can give me capsule form. I am pretty nervous about even trying a very small dose again, incase it makes things worse. My mood is changing hundreds of times per day, a thought could make me positive, but the next minute another thought could bring me so low, I am emotionally drained from being back and forth all day.

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Ruth ,   welcome.

 

You can get 1 or 2 mg from a capsule or tablet by dissolving it in water , then using a plastic syringe to draw up a

small amount.

" I just opened 3 of them to see what's inside and each contain 3 little white circles. So I guess that would be 12.5mg each. Is it possible do you think to cut them so small into 1-2mg each like you suggest?"

 

Cutting is not a very accurate way of measuring small doses.

You can dissolve one 12.5mg circle in 12.5mls of water.  Then each ml of water contains 1mg of medicine.

See   

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

Some people get relief within hours of reinstating just a tiny dose.  It's simply the quickest way to get you feeling

better as soon as possible.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Thanks Fresh! thats a great idea!

I have got an appointment with doc tomorrow afternoon.

I am finding meditation very helpful, and binaural beats, with helping me to  calm down at least

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Administrator

Welcome, ruth.

 

Please note: You cannot make a liquid from the extended-release form of venlafaxine, which is what you have.

 

If you wish to use a liquid, you will need to make it from the immediate-release form of venlafaxine and take it more than once a day. At this point, it's probably best if you work with the extended-release type as that's what you're used to.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Apologies Ruth  , thanks Alto.   My mistake , I didn't realize.

 

"Please note: You cannot make a liquid from the extended-release form of venlafaxine, which is what you have"

From How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

"(Some medications, however, cannot be made into a liquid. Extended-release drugs such as Effexor XR, Cymbalta, and Pristiq are protected by a coating that cannot be broken."

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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ok thanks everyone. So do you feel my best option would be to do what KarenB said above, to get the venlafaxine capsule which has hundreds of little balls inside? Does anyone know the exact name of that

Also, I am experiencing continuous narratives of anxiety thoughts, doubts, questions, it seems that when one 'set' finishes, which could take a week or more/less, then another set appears of new things, all the things relate to the 8years when I was on the venlafaxine. Does anyone else experience that sort of thing?

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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Ok, so just back from the doc, explained everything to her, she has suggested for me to take Citalopram 10mg. I don't know what to do. I asked her about opening up the tablets and making up a small dosage through the balls, but she said it wouldn't be a good idea

:/

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Moderator

she has suggested for me to take Citalopram 10mg.

 

Is she suggesting that in addition to the Venlafaxine or in lieu of?  Either way it's a bad idea.

 

The former will put you at risk for serotonin syndrome and the latter will constitute a Venlafaxine cold turkey.  The only possibly prudent advice would be to set up a taper schedule off the Venlafaxine and a titration schedule up on the Citalopram.  I'm not sure I see any rationale for switching you from an SNRI to an SSRI at this stage so I'm not sure how that helps your situation.

 

Is this a psychiatrist or a general doc?

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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A general doc. Not in addition to Venlafaxine, she suggests citalopram by itself to help take the edge of my venlafaxine withdrawals

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Moderator

"Also, I am experiencing continuous narratives of anxiety thoughts, doubts, questions, it seems that when one 'set' finishes, which could take a week or more/less, then another set appears of new things, all the things relate to the 8years when I was on the venlafaxine. Does anyone else experience that sort of thing?"

 

This is what we refer to as ruminating thoughts and just about everyone in WD experiences them.  There isn't much that can be done to make them go away as they are triggered by the brain trying to heal itself and then they are modified by the drug, often in unpleasant ways.  The trick is to recognize that they are just a manifestation of WD and have nothing to do with the "real you".  Left to their own devices they will eventually go away.  There is a technique referred to as AAF (Acknowledge, Accept. Float) that many find helpful.  Acknowledge that the thoughts are there, explore them, get familiar with them, get grossed out by them (sometimes they can be pretty upsetting and make you really question your true self).  Accept that they are there, that they are only a manifestation of the drugs and WD and not your true self, and that there isn't anything that you can do about them.  Let them Float off as you go on about your life as best as you can in spite of them.

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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This is what we refer to as ruminating thoughts and just about everyone in WD experiences them.  There isn't much that can be done to make them go away as they are triggered by the brain trying to heal itself and then they are modified by the drug, often in unpleasant ways.  The trick is to recognize that they are just a manifestation of WD and have nothing to do with the "real you".  Left to their own devices they will eventually go away. 

Thank you, I had not considered that I was ruminating, but what you have explained makes complete sense to me!

8 years on Venlafaxine, Tapered of by Nov 2015. 6 weeks of brainzaps, dizziness, then severe anxiety and panic attacks hit on the 7th week

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Ruth , the best option is as Karen suggested , to get the capsules that contain hundreds of beads , and weigh them.

For that , you need a digital scale - you can buy jewellers' scales on ebay for about $30 that weigh to 0.000.

With a digital scale you could chip off 1mg worth of venlafaxine.

 

You would need to weigh each of the 3 inside tablets , and divide the weight by 12.5 to find the weight of each mg

of medicine (it's going to be more than 1mg because it contains buffers and fillers).

 

Is it possible to go to another gp and request a script for venlafaxine XR ?

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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