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Chris14: My battle against Efexor


Chris14

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Hello all, My name is Chris, a 24 year old student currently living in the Netherlands. 

 

I started taking 37,5 mg of Efexor about 2,5 years ago, after being addicted to weed for about 5 years (I live in the Netherlands). I was suffering from heavy anxiety, making it impossible to function properly at school. The Efexor put me back on track and made me feel good again, up to the point where, about 4 months ago,  i felt so good i did not think i needed the Efexor anymore. I discussed with my doctor about going off the medicine, after which he suggested that i first started taking efexor every other day. 

 

Right around the same time I started taking efexor every other day, me and my ex girlfriend were getting back together to give it another go. She said she supported me all the way on this, i felt good about it and after taking it every other day for about a month, i quit the efexor entirely. That's were it started to go wrong. due to the light withdrawal symptoms i was getting i was not able to give my (now ex girlfriend again) enough attention as i used to before (she really, really needs a lot of attention) and we had quite a couple of fights, resulting in her leaving me. But still, all in all, I felt like i could pull through and beat this thing on my own. 

 

Then, after about 2,5 months being entirely off the efexor I suddenly started feeling down again, did not have any will or energy at all to perform whatever tasks i needed to do.. the withdrawal symptoms had suddenly hit me with all its power. I went back to my doctor, and started taking methylphenidate to help me remain calm, as I also have been diagnosed with ADHD. This has helped a little, but i still don't feel anywhere near how i felt 6 months ago, when i was a social, fun guy with high confidence. Right now i'm having some relatively good days where i just get through my day without feeling large amounts of anxiety, but thats about it. My breathing is almost always way too heavy (im diagnosed with chronic hyperventilation) since quitting the antidepressants, i have bags under my eyes on a daily basis and sometimes i have chest pains. 

 

I dont even exactly know why i came here, or what my goal is by posting this, but it would just be nice to talk to people that understand what i'm going through right now. I sometimes think about just going back to the Efexor and start living the good life again, but wouldn't that be the easy way out?

Edited by scallywag
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Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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SquirrellyGirl

Welcome to SA, Chris.  I think you found us at a good time.

 

Yes, you are in withdrawal, but you are not so far out that reinstatement wouldn't be an option, right on the cusp, in fact.

 

Thank you for filling out your signature block!  Maybe you could add your pot history in there, and the other meds you mentioned.  It helps everyone see your history at a glance as your thread grows.

 

Bookmark your thread so that you can find it easily.  Use it as a place to document your journey, ask questions, give updates, etc.  by clicking "Follow" you will be notified any time someone responds on your thread.

 

Thankfully, you never went higher in dose.  37.5 mg is the minimum effective dose (according to the manufacturer).  At that dose, your receptors are 80% blocked.  Reducing by small amounts from there opens up huge numbers of receptors, causing an IMBALANCE of neurochemistry.  We don't advocate the alternating dose method here on SA because one day it's a cold turkey and the next day the full dose, so what is your nervous system supposed to do with that?  It may help to read the following links to understand what is really going on with withdrawal.

 

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

Article illustrating why a slow taper is especially important towards the end of a taper

 

That's a lot to start with.

 

When people are suffering and still within the time frame that reinstatement can help, we usually recommend a very small reinstatement dose to alleviate symptoms.  Once the person is stable for a good couple of months, he or she can then resume a very slow taper.  The whole idea of the 10% taper is to keep the descent off the drug as comfortable and non-disruptive as possible, allowing the nervous system to heal gradually.  By the time you jump off, most of the recovery will hopefully already happened, so resulting withdrawal should be much milder than it might be otherwise, if at all.  Fast tapers and cold turkeys (which is what your taper really amounted to) cause total chaos and severe symptoms, with waves hitting months out.  If you decide to not reinstate, recovery will follow a window and waves pattern that can go on for months or even years.  

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

As I said, you were on the lowest dose, but because that dosage blocks 80% of receptors there is no predicting how long waves will last or how often they will happen.

 

If you should decide to reinstate so that you can get on with your life the way you were on the drug, we recommend taking a tiny amount to start with so as not to exceed the level of healing you have already done and to not trigger an adverse reaction.  That might mean taking 5 mg.  What form of Effexor were you on?  If it was the extended release with the little balls inside, it is fairly easy to take such a small amount using the ball-counting method.  See this topic:

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

 

Well I've overwhelmed you with reading materials!  Once you have processed all of this, come back here and ask questions :-)

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Chris , welcome to the site.

 

You ask " I sometimes think about just going back to the Efexor and start living the good life again, but wouldn't that be the easy way out?"

 

The answer to that is no , it's probably the very best decision you can make in these circumstances.

Reinstating a tiny amount , like 1 or 2 mg , may save you many months of suffering. Some members here who stopped

like you did are still having debilitating symptoms literally years later.

 

Please read the link SquirrellyGirl provided on reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

 

Once you are stable again (2 to 3 months) you can taper off very slowly and carefully , and not get sick like

this.

If you click FOLLOW at the top right , you'll receive an email each time someone posts.

 

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 so much for your quick responses, i'll start reading the posts you shared tomorrow as it's getting quite late here already (1:52). Just have one quick question: If i do decide to take, lets say 5 mg a day to make the withdrawal a lot easier, would that affect my daily use of methylphenidate?

 

I'll also add some more info on my signature tomorrow! 

 

Just wanted to say, you guys are awesome, taking the time out to welcome everybody here and providing them with possible lifesaving tips and tricks is really an amazing thing to do. Keep up the good work!

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I checked on www.drugs.com , there are no interactions between effexor and methylphenidate.

 

We can advise you how get exactly 5mg from your tablets or capsules.

 

Sleep well , 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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome from me too Chris - I'm also tapering Effexor. 

 

You'll be fine once you get your head around all the new info, and then make a plan.  For the next little while be really gentle with yourself, and take things day by day.

 

Best wishes,

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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Thanks for all the information and responses! Had quite a busy weekend so was not able to respond sooner. As to the question regarding the type of efexor, it's the venlafaxine extended release with the little balls on the inside. I never realised it would be this hard to quit the antidepressants..

 

However, i do have plans to study abroad after the summer (from september - december) and i'm really hoping it will be better at that time. I'm currently thinking about taking a small dose (5mg and then slowly reducing it too ensure i will recover from it). So i should just open the capsules, count all the little balls inside (they should be 37,5 mg in total) and then make dosages of 5 mg? 

 

Also i was wondering if maybe i should start with just 1-2 mg and see if that helps? instead of going straight to 5 mg.

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Chris, I tapered effexor too fast and reinstated. I started with 5 beads, (1mg) which was actually too much so reduced to 4 and stabilised on that eventually. Open the capsule and count the beads, the number of beads varies between brands, and some are quite even in size but others vary a lot. 

Here is how I reduced from 4 beads. I opened a capsule and tilled the beads into a little container, then each day took the 4 LARGEST beads I could find. This meant that they were becoming gradually smaller. When I took the last ones ( I discarded the tiniest like grains of salt. ) I did the same again but with 3 beads. It took a long time to work that out because dropping 1 bead was too much, it meant 25%  and I had withdrawal .  Taking the largest beads meant they got progressively smaller.  If you can get hold of them tablets can be made into a liquid. but would need to be taken 2 or 3 times a day. The beads cant be crushed and have a coating that makes them slow release. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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So, you started with 1 mg to reduce withdrawal symptoms? How did you know it was too much? I'm sorry for all these questions, English is not my native language so sometimes it is taking me a while to fully understand everything on this website. 

 

Given my history (2,5 years of 37,5 mg) i'm thinking i'll start with reinstating a tiny amount (1mg) and see where that takes me.

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I reinstated with 5 beads from a capsule which was around 1mg. I got new symptoms added to the withdrawal and Alto ( the founder of SA ) suggested reducing to 4 beads. That did the trick and in a few days I was fine with barely any of the withdrawal symptoms. I had some periods when I felt withdrawal followed by some good days ( windows and waves). I waited until I had been stable for 2 months before starting to taper again,7 -  8 months in total. I couldn't go any higher because the side effects were awful, I had been very ill for years before tapering.  I can't remember the new symptoms now but I became worse after reinstating 5 beads, but better after reducing them to 4. That is why it is better to start very low. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thanks so much for your quick reply. I'll have a talk with my doctor tomorrow, see what he thinks about reinstating a tiny amount (It'll be my own choice in the end but still). I'll also talk about it with some friends and family, see what their view is and then maybe i'll start with reinstating 0.5 - 1mg and see what happens after a week. If more symptoms appear i'll take it down a notch, like you did. Anyhow i will keep you guys posted on my progress and what i'm going to do. Any tips/tricks are always welcome:)

 

Thank you all so much! 

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Don't expect the doctor or family etc to understand that such a tiny dose will make a difference. Most doctors don't believe in withdrawal and most people believe what doctors are saying. I and any others just do it ourselves as long as we can get the prescription. Of course you should discuss it with your doctor but he might not support it and probably  want you to go straight back on the full dose. He can't prescribe such a tiny dose because they can't recommend opening a capsule. I recently told my new doctor that I tapered off effexor myself by opening the capsule and removing beads. and that it took 3 years. She looked at me in shock and said I had come a long way from where I was when I was on it. In my notes it says how ill I was when taking it and she could see that I was much better than what she was reading! 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Yes, i had thought of that. At least it's good to know it's actually possible to get off them entirely. Now i used to take the venlafaxine daily before i went to bed, should i just keep doing this? (provided i'll go through with my idea of starting at 1mg and then slowly tapering off) oh, and i'm wondering.. how do you insert the little balls into your system? just drink them with water or put them back in the capsule?

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

Hi Chris, 

I'm also tapering Effexor and deal with the little balls.  I put them in empty gel capsules, but I've also popped a few balls in my mouth, like I did last night after having forgotten to take my dose in the morning.  I didn't want to throw myself into insomnia by taking the usual dosage so took a few beads out and popped them in my mouth.  Nothing bad happened!  The gel capsules dissolve very quickly in the stomach so hardly make a difference in how the drug is processed.  The little balls themselves have time released coatings that allow the drug to slowly be released as it passes through the digestive tract.

 

I hope the reinstatement works for you!

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Capsules probably are better, I swallowed the beads but sometimes they would get stuck in my teeth and would discover them when flossing! 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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How about getting a scale that weighs milligrams? making sure i get exactly 1 mg each day for about 2 weeks, then seeing what the effect is? I'll just put the little balls in a gel capsule just to be sure. Still having some doubts about going back to the efexor.. i've got good and bad days.. and when the days are good i just think 'oh well, maybe it will be fine from now on' and start doubting about reinstating altogether. Does this sound familiar? 

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

Well yes, the milligram scale is the final touch on getting exact, at least down to the final couple of mgs.  I use the scale to aim for the same weight AND count balls, trying to get all the large balls in the dosage and using the smaller balls to get to the target weight when near it with the large ones.  My Teva brand venlafaxine averages about 100 mg per 37.5 mg active ingredient, so I used 100 as my starting point.  I'm now at 26 balls and 68 mg gross weight. 

 

These scales are accurate +/-3 mg.  So, when you get down to 10 mg gross weight you can see that +/-3 mg would be a lot of variance.  That is another reason I put the 10G calibration weight on the weigh pan when measuring my dosages, to keep the scale up in the more accurate range.

 

All I can say is that it got pretty darn ugly for me from 6 to 10 months before reinstating.  I was lucky that it worked that late out.  Had I known what was in store, I would have reinstated earlier, but I just didn't even know I was in protracted withdrawal and hadn't found this site!  I didn't find it until AFTER I reinstated, thinking my brain just had to have these drugs because I was a damaged person with a mental health problem, a chemical imbalance, yadayada!

 

Had I known about all of this when I first came off and did the 10% taper, I'd be well ahead of where I am now, without all the suffering along the way.

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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''My Teva brand venlafaxine averages about 100 mg per 37.5 mg active ingredient, so I used 100 as my starting point.  I'm now at 26 balls and 68 mg gross weight. '' I'm sorry but i don't fully understand what you mean by this. 

 

So basically, if i want to reinstate 1mg the scale will not be accurate?

 

I'm sorry you had to suffer the way you did.. hope it's going better now:) For me, some days are good, others are not so much.. but still i get everything done that i should get done. Im just more distracted most of the time and can suddenly get sad and tired.. which then goes away after an hour as long as i dont think about it too much (That's the hard part though, isn't it). 

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

The dosage amount (37.5 mg) is the active ingredient in the pill but there are always fillers, so the actual weight is more.  So, when weighing 1 mg active ingredient, you are not weighing 1 mg!  For mine, 1 mg gross weight has 0.375 mg active ingredient.  Once I figured out the starting gross weight, I really only deal in percentages of the gross weight since 10% of 100 mg is the same as 10% of 37.5 mg active ingredient.  I hope I am not confusing you more!

 

I hope that helps :-)

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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SquirrellyGirl

Sorry, "gross" equates to "actual."

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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I could never work that stuff out and stuck with counting beads!  Hopeless with numbers  :blush:

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Ah yes I think I understand. Are the fillers inside the capsule or inside the beads? If they are in the capsule, i could just weigh the beads until they amount to 1 mg? I'll think about what is the best way for me (using a scale or counting the beads). Thanks for all the info and i'll keep you guys posted!

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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Each little bead is a mixture of filler and drug.  Because of the different sizes of the little beads, some people prefer to weigh them as it gives a more precise amount.  For some that is more important - for instance I need things to be extremely exact, but my husband can handle small differences in dosage. 

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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So, a little update: Today, I decided to count the little balls and take a small dosage of 1 mg. There were about 150 little balls in one capsule of 37,5 mg, meaning i had to take 4 to reach an amount of 1mg. I took 4 of the larger balls and put them back in the capsule. Soon after i had taken the small dosage i felt better: no more chestpain/pressure and basically it just felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. So im going to continue taking 1 mg for the next couple of weeks/months until i feel i've reached a stable level, at which point i'll think about tapering it down a little. 

 

I'd like to thank you all for giving me the knowledge, insight and courage to take this step, as i was not sure whether to reinstate the efexor. But by reinstating a tiny amount, it seems the withdrawal symptoms will be taken care of and it's given me a starting point from where i can continue working towards a better, brighter me. 

 

I'll keep you guys posted :)

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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That's a very encouraging result Chris - you must be relieved.  And when you are good and stable, 1mg is such a nice small amount to taper from.  I'm jealous ;).

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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Today, i decided to try and just swallow the little balls without a capsule. Results: it's like there's no effect from the little balls at all. Could this be because i did not take them in a capsule or is it simple a logical reaction from my body, adjusting to the effects?

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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Or could it be because i've taken the same balls from pill number one? I've got them laying in a little bowl, which is not closed off. Should i just take 4 balls from each pill and discard the rest? That would also solve my capsule problem.

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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Chris.....just dropping in to say I am so glad that you found this site and are on the track that you are. I quit Effexor far too rapidly and am 

still going through it 13 months later..I have only just found this group now. The better brighter you is in touching distance...very best wishes. 

 

Bruin.

Anti Depressants for  25 years. Valium between 2006 to 7 tapered off over a month without too bad withdrawals.

For last 15 years 150 mg of Effexor and 30 mg of Mirtazapine. Occasional short term benzo use without habituation.

March 2015 stopped Effexor after rapid taper. 6 weeks. 

One month fluoxetine June 2015...stopped CT July 2015.

October 2013 to December 2015 Zopiclone 15 mg at night,

Dec 2015 to Early March 2016 Lyrica 75 mg at night. 

Stopped too quickly as  adverse side effects.

January to May 2016 tapered Zopiclone to 7.5mg 

Crossed over to Valium and now ..March 28th 2017 Benzo Free.

Also on 30 mg Mirtazapine and holding until have finished Benzo taper.

IN protracted WD from Effexor.

 

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SquirrellyGirl

Today, i decided to try and just swallow the little balls without a capsule. Results: it's like there's no effect from the little balls at all. Could this be because i did not take them in a capsule or is it simple a logical reaction from my body, adjusting to the effects?

 

Hi Chris, 

 

I'm just curious what "effect" you were missing, capsule vs no capsule?  If I am stable, I don't feel anything after taking my doses, and they are in capsules.  

 

I suggest ordering empty gel capsules (perhaps your pharmacist has them?).  I get mine, "00" size, from Amazon pretty cheaply.  You could probably get smaller ones since your dosage is so small.  This allows me to prepare two weeks' doses at a time so that I can just take my pill every morning without fanfare or obsession about tapering :-)

 

http://www.amazon.com/NOW-Foods-Gelatin-Capsules-caps/dp/B000CFKMKG/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1461601425&sr=8-1&keywords=gel+capsules+1

 

Those are the "1" size but they come even smaller - 2 through 5 with 5 being the smallest.

 

I would not leave the little balls in an open container.  They should be stored in a dark container with the drying agent they may have come with (mine does).  I wouldn't discard the whole capsule's worth after pulling your four balls out because they can be used for future doses. That's up to you, of course, but opening the capsule won't necessarily make the balls null and void if stored properly :-)

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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Chris.....just dropping in to say I am so glad that you found this site and are on the track that you are. I quit Effexor far too rapidly and am 

still going through it 13 months later..I have only just found this group now. The better brighter you is in touching distance...very best wishes. 

 

Bruin.

 

Thanks for your response, hope you're doing okay now! 

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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Well, it just did not seem to work as well as it did yesterday.. meaning i felt down again, quickly tired and so on. It did come in phases though.. so maybe it's just my brain getting used to the small amount of efexor again?

 

Sadly, there's no drying agent in my capsules.. i'll figure out a way to store them properly. Also i ordered the gell capsules right after my own post.. ordered size 1:)  Until i've got the capsules and found a way to store them i'll just take 4 balls out of each pil and discard the rest just to be sure.. i've got tons of pills left anyway. I'll keep you guys posted!

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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If you have enough pills then it would be fine to discard the unused ones, and probably help to stabilise as you can take the same size beads each time. It will take a while to stabilise properly but it is encouraging that you had a good response to reinstating. When I tapered effexor I found it hard to go down from 3-2, because it was a 25% cut.  Once I was stable after reinstating, I opened a capsule and took the 3 largest beads, I had to use a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass!  This meant that as I took the largest ones they were getting smaller. When that capsule was finished I opened a new one and took the 2 largest, which were roughly the equivalent of the 3 smaller ones I had finished with from the previous capsule. I didn't feel the drops that way and it was the only way I could get past 3 beads. Same again with 2-1, then the 1 I just took the largest one which got smaller and smaller.:)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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For the second day now, it's like the efexor has not had any positive effect. All I have right now is an extreme headache which beams right through to my eyes. I'm basically at a loss whether to continue on this path, to take more or less or whether to quit  them entirely again. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

 

Extra info: I took the 1mg about 7 hours ago. the first 5 hours were fine until they were abrubtly followed by this headache and heavy breathing. Does this mean i'm not taking enough? or maybe too much?

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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Can anyone please respond so I know what to do? I'm at a loss

Took 37,5 mg of efexor for 2,5 years. In january 2016 i quit cold turkey for 3 months, then reinstated 1mg. Right now i'm taking 2mg of efexor daily, as well as 25 mg methylphenidate

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SquirrellyGirl

I'm checking with other mods, so please hang tight.  If it is a matter of what to do for this minute, I would continue with what you have been doing.  I'm sorry that you are still having problems.  Are you drinking plenty of water?  That is something I don't do enough but many have emphasized staying really well hydrated.

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

Just a reminder, Chris, that it takes four days for any dosage change to reach a steady state in the blood, and we urge people to wait longer than that before making any more changes.  Going back off means back to withdrawal as before.  Sometimes reinstatement takes time to work, longer for some than others. I would try to hang on for a week, and then perhaps add another 1 mg.  It may be a matter of titrating up to a level that is acceptable to you.  We don't want to overshoot that level and have an adverse reaction, which is why we sneak up on the minimum effective dose to bring an acceptable level of relief.

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

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

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