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Help777

Effexor x12 years. Added lithium in sept 2015. Added prozac in october to help bridge taper from effexor as i started having symptoms. Started withdrawing effexor in September 2014. Over last 4 months i went From 112.5 to 14mg as of last week.. Last week I seemed to all of a sudden hit a wall. Crying uncontrollably constantly. Shaking, nausea, extreme fear and overwhelming need to cry. Ive read your site. Ive reinstated to 20 mg of effexor for last 3 days but absolutely no improvement. Im so scared. I cant go to work like this. Continuing prozac 20 and lithium 300. Please help.

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brassmonkey

Hi Help---  Welcome to the group.   I'm so sorry to hear that yo hit the wall an are having such bad symptoms.  It looks like you have taken some of our teachings to heart wit the quick updose.  It will take a while to kick in, but should help a lot.  It takes four days for the dose change to become steady state in the blood, once that happens you CNS can begin to stabilize, which could take several more weeks.  Don't panic it will happen.  Here's some links, you may have already read them, but a review would be a good idea:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

If you would please fill in a signature block with information about your drug history it would be really helpful.

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

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Help777

Thank you. I re-read those links. I still feel so scared that these feelings won't go away. My dr suggested i come off of effexor because he thinks i have bipolar 2. That's why he added lithium. Has anyone else had lithium added and if so did it help with the withdrawals?

Thank you.

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KarenB

Welcome Help,

 

It's a scary place to be in for sure, but please be reassured that you will start to feel better.  It's just a bit rough while you're stabilising and getting yourself on a good gentle plan.  And when it happens you'll feel such relief :)

 

Guess what?  Many people who are on or withdrawing from AD's get mis-diagonsed bipolar because doctors don't recognise the symptoms as w/d.  So there's a good chance you aren't actually bipolar at all.  Though of course lithium will now be an extra thing to taper...

 

Anyway, Brass gave you good links and the first step is waiting a few more days to see if you'll stabilise at that dose.  Let us know how it goes. 

 

It's good to have you here,

Karen

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Help777

I feel so alone, isolated, misunderstood, scared this will never end. I feel ashamed of this secret I can't talk to anyone about. I feel weak. What if this never ends. How will my kids ever understand. What if the people that do know judge me or treat me differently. I feel so so sad, as if i was the only person to blame for this and that no one else could possibly understand how this feels. I have reinstated a few effexor but it hasn't helped yet.

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Petunia

I'm sorry, I think most of us here feel the same way, to some extent. I know I do, this is such an isolating experience. Its impossible for anyone to understand what this is like, unless they've been through it. I stopped trying to explain and just come here now for support and understanding.

 

We're not to blame, we trusted our doctors and were harmed in ways that are not yet widely recognized.

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Petunia

Welcome Help,

I'm sorry you are going through this, it sounds like you are in withdrawal from Effexor, how have you been tapering it?

 

It also looks like bridging with Prozac hasn't helped, unfortunately it doesn't always work and we usually recommend a slow, careful taper from the original drug.

 

How are you feeling now that you have updosed Effexor slightly?

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Altostrata

Welcome, Help?

 

You are not bipolar, you have withdrawal syndrome. How long have you been taking the lithium? Has it made any difference?

 

Did you feel better on the Prozac-Effexor combination when you were taking more than 14mg Effexor?

 

Please put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and copy and paste the results in this topic.

 

Don't worry about adding 20mg Effexor.

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Help777

Thank you so much. I feel better since increasing the Effexor to 20 mg 4 days ago. Not 100% but at least not sobbing and nauseous. Dr said to stay on lithium and Prozac and to taper Effexor more slowly. I think my dr thinks I have bp and that that is the reason that Effexor was causing unstable moods. That's why he added lithium and had me start weaning the Effexor. Please tell me your thoughts.

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Help777

Thank you so much for your words.

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Fresh

Hi Help ,   good to hear that updosing the effexor has helped.

Lots of us here have been told we had a bipolar illness when we displayed hypomanic behaviour in the context of ssri's.

The recommendation here is to decrease by no more than 10% at a time.  You've gone so fast with the effexor taper that you're getting the delayed fallout - the very thing a slow taper aims to avoid.

 

You might consider sticking on the 20mg of effexor for quite some months.

 

 

From drugs.com , this is the effexor / prozac interaction warning:

 

Major fluoxetine  venlafaxine

Applies to: Prozac (fluoxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine)

Using FLUoxetine together with venlafaxine can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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Help777

*topic moved from tapering forum

 

Hi,

I was assuming that my 37.5 Effexor XR capsule contained 37.5 beads.  I was subtracting 20 beads for about a month.  Then I decided to taper to 15.  My thinking was that instead of having to count 25 beads to throw out that it would be easier to just count the 15 that I needed to swallow so I changed to this method.  One week after taking what I thought was 15 mg I developed my major withdrawal symptoms and couldn't function.  It dawned on me this morning that I should count the number of beads and so I did and there were 106! Not 37 like I had thought.  Therefore I figure I went from 96 beads to 15 beads overnight and that that may have been the reason for the extreme sudden withdrawal symptoms.  Previous to that I had reduced the 106 to 96 over about 3 months and didn't have any problems with that.  I knew 10% was my goal and I thought I was staying within that until I counted the beads.

 

Does this make sense?  Should I go back upto 96 beads?

 

Thank you for your expertise and experience.

Edited by Petunia
added note

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peggy

if you have only been on the 15 beads for a week i would go back up to 78 beads - that is the 86 beads minus the 8 you should have removed.. (note that 106 beads minus 20 is actually 86, not 96).

 

so, you are actually taking out 30 beads.

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Petunia

I moved your topic from the tapering section, its best to ask this kind of question here on your own thread so that your history and previous updates can be taken into consideration when you get replies.

 

I'm a little confused, you wrote that you had increased your dose 4 days ago and were feeling better.

 

How much are you taking now?

 

Please read through:   Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

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KarenB

Also, there are differing numbers of beads in each capsule - they can vary quite a lot actually.  When I started weighing mine, I ended up weighing 10 capsules then working out the average weight. 

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Help777

Where can I find a good scale for this? I've checked shoppers drug mart and shoppers home health with no success I'm in Canada.

I was on 14 beads when I hit a crisis of withdrawal symptoms. I then increased it to 37.5 and felt a bit better. But the. Realized my math error and realized I went from about 86 beads to 14. So I then went back upto 80 beads a few days ago. Feeling so much better! Maybe I didn't need to go all the way upto 80 since my body was on 14 beads for about 10 days albeit in a state of crisis. Thoughts???

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Fresh

Well , maybe you didn't need to go that far up , but it's done now and you're feeling significantly better.  Jumping around isn't helpful , I'd stay right there for a good stretch , around 2 months , before tapering anything else.

 

Have you seen this discussion about using scales?  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1596-using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses/

 

I used a digital jewellers' sclae bought on ebay for $30:00.   You need one accurate to 3 decimal places after 0.  The first one I bought only went to 2 and wasn't accurate enough.

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Help777

Hi,

I have bad body aches for the last few days. I reinstated effexor to 66 beads from 14 beads a week ago. I have had an improvement emotionally and with physical symptoms except for the body aches. Could these be from the withdrawal? Should i reinstate more or will these subside?

Thank you.

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apace41

Hi, Help.

 

Body aches can certainly be a symptom of withdrawal. They can, of course, be a symptom of a lot of things.  Rather than jump around too much, I would suggest you see how you are doing in a few days.  The goal of tapering is not to remove every last possible symptom because if that were the case you could wind up jumping around in dose dramatically.  That is not good for the stability of the CNS.  The goal is to allow you to remain stable as you taper so that you can function in society and live your life as you hopefully continue to improve.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Andy

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Help777

Thank you, Andy. That's very helpful.

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SquirrellyGirl

Hi Help777, 

 

I just wanted to say hello from another Effexor taperer.  I am glad you are here.  I am using the Gemini20 scale and count AND weigh beads.  I went through a failed attempt to get off a year ago and now am very sensitive to cuts, so have to crawl my way along.  Having been on for 12 years will do that to you ;-)  

 

These little scales can be testy, so when you get yours, check back in and ask questions.  The main thing I learned about mine is that I must calibrate it before every weighing session, and use the provided weights to check that the scale is reading true throughout.  I forget who it was, KarenB?  who said she leaves the 10g weight on the weigh pan and weighs the beads with it on there because the scale seems to be more accurate at higher weights.  

 

If the scale doesn't read the 10 g weight as 10.000 then I tare (zero the scale minus the weight) and then put the weight on again, and only proceed if it is still reading 10.000 g.  Sometimes I have to go through the calibration steps mid session because the bugger lost calibration!  This all sounds pretty crazy, I know, but when you have WD symptoms and then finally discover that your doses don't weigh what you they did, you'll go the extra mile, too LOL!

 

Many of us buy the "00" empty gel caps available on Amazon and elsewhere, to put a couple of weeks' worth of doses in.  That helps keep things constant as well, and I find it removes the temptation to cut again when maybe it isn't the best idea.

 

Anyway, I am glad you are feeling better now after your mishap with beads!

 

SG

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Fresh

Help , I'm a little confused about your meds.

You started prozac as a bridge to taper effexor.   When this technique is used , we don't recommend staying on both for longer than 2 weeks.  See our thread on "The Prozac Switch"  here  

 

Prey 2012 method for Prozac switch

Another knowledgeable doctor (whom I trust) explained his technique to me (this is the technique I personally would prefer if I had to do it, it seems much gentler):

  • For a "normal" dose of Effexor (150mg per day or more) or Paxil or Cymbalta, he would switch to 10mg Prozacwith a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Effexor. Lower doses of Effexor or other antidepressant require lower doses of Prozac as a "bridge."
  • The lower dose of Prozac reduces the risk of excessive serotoninergic stimulation from the combination of the two antidepressants during the overlap period.
  • Do not stay on the combination of the first antidepressant and Prozac for more than 2 weeks, or you run the risk of your nervous system accommodating to the combination and having difficulty tapering off both antidepressants.

From drugs.com , this is the effexor / prozac interaction warning:

 

Major fluoxetine  venlafaxine

Applies to: Prozac (fluoxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine)

Using FLUoxetine together with venlafaxine can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea."

 

Muscle spasm or stiffness  . . . some of your symptoms may be from the interaction between the effexor and prozac.    The sooner you can get off the effexor the better.

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Help777

Hi, I had no idea that the bridge should be short. My doctor recommended starting prozac when i experienced my first symptoms of withdrawal. As you see, i started prozac 4 months ago! I am at 66 beads of effexor. What should I do? This depression is cycling every week to 10 days lasting 3 or more days at a time. I can't do this anymore. What should I do? Thank you to you and everyone 's knowledge. I had no idea how long the prozac bridge should last and i do feel it has worsened my symptoms lately.

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brassmonkey

The purpose of the "Prozac Bridge" is not to use the prozac to cover up the symptoms of the effexor taper, but to switch from one drug to the other because prozac is generally held to be easier to get off of than the Effexor.  The switch, or bridge, from effexor to prozac is made by cross tapering one to the other over a period of several weeks.  Decreasing the Effexor to zero while increasing the prozac to the target dose over a period of two weeks. The simultaneous decrease/increase is needed to keep the risk of serotonin syndrome at a minimum.

 

It's quite possible the the depression cycling that you're experiencing is being caused by the combination of the three drugs you're currently taking. If you wish to continue with the prozac then you need to "fast taper" the effexor over the next few weeks.

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Help777

Thank you for the help. I have been taking prozac 20 mg for 4 months. I will likely have to increase this in order to decrease the effexor? I am a mess. I don't know how to go to work like this. Your info makes sense as i felt really good for a few weeks after he added the prozac but now i feel even more terrible with symptoms and i havent lowered the dose at all in the last few weeks of the effexor. I dont know how quickly to do this.

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brassmonkey

Very good question about increasing the prozac, I'm getting a second opinion.

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Help777

Thank you so much.

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Altostrata

Hello, Help.

 

If I were you, I would keep the 20mg Prozac and 66 beads Effexor XR for a month or a few until your nervous system settles down from withdrawal symptoms.

 

These may come and go for a while, see The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

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Help777

Once I stabilize at 66 beads of Effexor XR and 20 mg Prozac then should I increase prozac so that I reduce effexor?  Or keep prozac at 20 and just try and get rid of the effexor?

Thank you to everyone for your help.  This forum is invaluable.

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Fresh

Once you stabilize ,  the next job is to get off the effexor.    Keep the prozac the same.  And in due course , start

to taper the prozac.

 

:)

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AliG

Help . I'm sure we have all felt like this at times,  but there is a lot of support here and It's nice to feel understood by those going through the same experience. Anyone that loves you , will hopefully try to understand and those that don't are perhaps not worth worrying yourself too much over. I think we all understand how you feel. You are not alone.  

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Help777

How long do you typically feel depressed when it hits after a withdrawal. Few days? Can someone send me a good link to diet changes to make to help with withdrawal depression?
Thank you. Feeling pretty down.

Edited by Fresh
moved from Symptoms forum

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Petunia

I'm sorry you're not feeling so good at the moment. Withdrawal depression is like any other withdrawal symptom, its impossible to say how long it will last. Seeing as you are still tapering, it might be a sign you need to slow your taper down, it may be best if you write about this and ask for help on your introduction topic. Please add to existing topics rather than start new ones about the same thing.

Here are some relevant threads:  Depression      SCD/GAPS/Paleo Diets

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blazesboylan

Hi there Help777,

 

How are you doing now? How are you feeling? I hope that things are a bit better anyhow  :)

 

Blazes.

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Help777

Thank you, Blazes. I in the middle of a low following a small reduction. I've been finding they last a few days. It's not as bad as how I felt when I reduced too quickly though. I am still scared about continuing to have these depression cycles after i am off of effexor. Not sure what that will mean...that I have bipolar maybe. The lows can feel pretty low. Co-workers notice although I try to mask it. Thanks for asking. How are you doing?

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blazesboylan

Hi there,

 

I am sorry for the long delay in getting back to you. I haven't logged on here in a while.

 

Maybe you are feeling a little better now? I see that you are tapering Effexor. I am currently in the middle of an Effexor taper. In general it has been going relatively smoothly for me. However, one day at a time and all that.

 

I hope that you are doing well anyway! Enjoy the weekend.  :)

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