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Ghstwrtr: SNRI discontinuation venlafaxine (generic Effexor)


Ghstwrtr

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First and foremost I 'm not a great forum participator.  Regardless I recently completed a 111 day taper of Venlafaxine that has been successful and I wanted to share my experiences. 

 

Some back story (possibly a little more at a later date but as I said I'm not a prolific poster); I was on 225mg Venlafaxine ER once daily for 5 years.  I had fallen into a major depression and after numerous trials of different AD’s we got to Venlafaxine and it seemed to be accountable with pulling me out of the hellish depths of major depression.

 

Late last fall my wife pointed out to me that my depression had crept back into our lives again.   I went to my GP in December and he prescribed 150mg of generic Wellbutrin once daily.  Within weeks I was once again on steady ground.  On my next follow up with my GP we discussed that it appeared that the Venlafaxine had pooped out on me and the onset of SAD was our agreed upon diagnosis. 

 

It seriously concerned me that I was now on an AD stack and something needed to change.  Motivated by this situation I began a deep dive study into SNRI discontinuation methods/protocols, how to recognize discontinuation symptoms from a relapse, recorded clinical trial Venlafaxine side effects, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, neurotropics, vitamins etc. etc. etc. I had a huge laugh at the "clinical trial" data suggesting to reduce the daily dose by 75mg at 1 week intervals.  Geez how irresponsible on the part of the manufacturers and the FDA!

 

All of my research reinforced the diagnosis of Venlafaxine poop out.  Additionally illuminating was the realization that symptoms, changes, whatever you want to call them which I was equating to aging might actually be attributable to being on this SNRI for 5 years.  As it turns out it many of these items were attributable to long term Venlafaxine usage since they either stopped/improved or are in the process of changing as of this writing.  But I digress.

 

So armed with a 3 phase - 4 month discontinuation schedule based upon Venlafaxine half-life data and blood plasma levels and numerous articles and studies on all of the aforementioned research I had compiled, I told my GP that I wanted to taper off Venlafaxine with my plan and he agreed (I did have a ton of credible data and info).  After the first phase, which was 3 weeks long, I once again spoke with my GP and we agreed to continue forward. I finished my last Venlafaxine dose on June 15, 2017. 

 

The first 2 phases were fairly easy on me.  The final phase required a major alteration mid-stream due to the onset on some major discontinuation symptoms.  When I started this phase I had some significant second guessing since it was quite different from the first 2 phases.  Consequently, the final phase was filled with many of the FINISH Mnemonic for Recognition of AD Discontinuation Syndrome as well as significant lower GI tract distress which was rather debilitating.  I now have a re worked 3rd phase which should be much, much easier on the body.

 

I’d like to share a lot of what I have learned but my overall reduction protocol included neurotropics, vitamins, supplements as well as the a mixture of ER and SR Venlafaxine and is not in line with the standard reduction recommendations on this forum.  I respect the suggested reduction recommendations.  With that said I will not go into any more details of my tapering schema.

 

I’m now 12 days from my last Venlafaxine dose.  Brain zaps have rapidly decreased in intensity and frequency (I had a few today but they were so mild that I almost didn’t notice them) and I’m adjusting to life without Venlafaxine in my system.  For those who are still reading please do not give up hope.  It is possible to get off of an AD with the caveat that it will be difficult, some days you’ll feel like something from the bottom of your shoe but it can be done and I’m living proof of it.

Edited by bubble
added paragraph breaks
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Ghstwrtr, welcome to Surviving Antidepressants and thank you for sharing your story.

 

I don't know if you have during your research come across the concept of delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms?

 

You can read more about it here:

Maybe you will be an exception but this is something we see so very often on this board. The reason it's not more widely known is that people themselves and their doctors attribute it to "relapse". So people say I had no problem stopping an AD through a fast taper (and 4 months is still very fast)  or a cold turkey and then you see those very same people on a cocktail of drugs a little down the line.

 

I have my own experience before finding this site: I would CT and it would be "successful" for up 2, 3 months. Counterintuitively, symptoms would be getting worse as time went by. In short this is because psychotropic drug withdrawal is not about "flushing the substance out of our bodies" but about regrowing a new brain which has become physiologically changed in their presence (real changes akin to what happens to a leg in a plaster cast).What happens is that initial symptoms which are more physical in nature such as brain zaps or gastrointestinal issues are replaced with more "mental" once which convince a person and their doctors it's the return of the "mental illness". With a really slow taper that takes years we don't see this "mental illness" resurfaces (provided a person has resolved the issues that caused them to start taking drugs in the first place and has developed alternative non drug coping mechanisms). 

 

This post explains the neuroscience behind this in a very simple way:

 

Brain Remodelling

 

Just by looking at the first page here I found  a member with a very similar story to yours. You may want to check it out since he is further down the line: 

 

 

It would also be nice to have a short summary of your drug history in your signature as the rest of us have-- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

It might also be useful for you to go through these threads:

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

 

Brain Remodelling

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Again, you might be an exception. In any case we would like to hear more about your journey.

 

Once again, welcome.

 

Bubble

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Ghstwrtr: SNRI discontinuation venlafaxine (generic Effexor)

Hey Bubble. Thanks for putting up my post and re-formatting it.

 

Yes I have heard of and researched the concept of brain remodeling.  Neuroplasticity.  Thanks for the info links etc.

 

There are many ways to help ourselves and therefore to ensure success;  before, during and after a taper that I purposely did not go into in my original post for the reasons I stated. 

 

An informed brain is a growing and healthy brain.  Take care.

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15 hours ago, Ghstwrtr said:

First and foremost I 'm not a great forum participator.  Regardless I recently completed a 111 day taper of Venlafaxine that has been successful and I wanted to share my experiences. 

 

Some back story (possibly a little more at a later date but as I said I'm not a prolific poster); I was on 225mg Venlafaxine ER once daily for 5 years.  I had fallen into a major depression and after numerous trials of different AD’s we got to Venlafaxine and it seemed to be accountable with pulling me out of the hellish depths of major depression.

 

Late last fall my wife pointed out to me that my depression had crept back into our lives again.   I went to my GP in December and he prescribed 150mg of generic Wellbutrin once daily.  Within weeks I was once again on steady ground.  On my next follow up with my GP we discussed that it appeared that the Venlafaxine had pooped out on me and the onset of SAD was our agreed upon diagnosis. 

 

It seriously concerned me that I was now on an AD stack and something needed to change.  Motivated by this situation I began a deep dive study into SNRI discontinuation methods/protocols, how to recognize discontinuation symptoms from a relapse, recorded clinical trial Venlafaxine side effects, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, neurotropics, vitamins etc. etc. etc. I had a huge laugh at the "clinical trial" data suggesting to reduce the daily dose by 75mg at 1 week intervals.  Geez how irresponsible on the part of the manufacturers and the FDA!

 

All of my research reinforced the diagnosis of Venlafaxine poop out.  Additionally illuminating was the realization that symptoms, changes, whatever you want to call them which I was equating to aging might actually be attributable to being on this SNRI for 5 years.  As it turns out it many of these items were attributable to long term Venlafaxine usage since they either stopped/improved or are in the process of changing as of this writing.  But I digress.

 

So armed with a 3 phase - 4 month discontinuation schedule based upon Venlafaxine half-life data and blood plasma levels and numerous articles and studies on all of the aforementioned research I had compiled, I told my GP that I wanted to taper off Venlafaxine with my plan and he agreed (I did have a ton of credible data and info).  After the first phase, which was 3 weeks long, I once again spoke with my GP and we agreed to continue forward. I finished my last Venlafaxine dose on June 15, 2017. 

 

The first 2 phases were fairly easy on me.  The final phase required a major alteration mid-stream due to the onset on some major discontinuation symptoms.  When I started this phase I had some significant second guessing since it was quite different from the first 2 phases.  Consequently, the final phase was filled with many of the FINISH Mnemonic for Recognition of AD Discontinuation Syndrome as well as significant lower GI tract distress which was rather debilitating.  I now have a re worked 3rd phase which should be much, much easier on the body.

 

I’d like to share a lot of what I have learned but my overall reduction protocol included neurotropics, vitamins, supplements as well as the a mixture of ER and SR Venlafaxine and is not in line with the standard reduction recommendations on this forum.  I respect the suggested reduction recommendations.  With that said I will not go into any more details of my tapering schema.

 

I’m now 12 days from my last Venlafaxine dose.  Brain zaps have rapidly decreased in intensity and frequency (I had a few today but they were so mild that I almost didn’t notice them) and I’m adjusting to life without Venlafaxine in my system.  For those who are still reading please do not give up hope.  It is possible to get off of an AD with the caveat that it will be difficult, some days you’ll feel like something from the bottom of your shoe but it can be done and I’m living proof of it.

welcome from someone that cant wait to get off this devil drug ,I thank you for your story .ile never give up also ,6 months of hell I've had ,definitely poop out for me .good look in your future .

PB

Alcohol free since February 2015 

1MG diazepam

4.5MG PROZAC.

 

 

 

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