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Joel Rivard: Effexor taper


JoelRivard

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Hi,

 

Was on Effexor for 8 years following a divorce. It was causing anxiety and weird moods so I started a taper last summer.

Started at 300mg single dose daily. Tapered 25mg each week and added 10mg of prozac to bridge.

About 10 weeks later I was off effexor and on 40 mg Prozac. The taper was rough but not too bad, I slept a lot.

 

Next 6 weeks I had moderate to severe brain zaps which faded away and then I started getting body aches, mood swings and a general crappy, tired, depressed feeling.

That started Dec1, it's now 5 weeks later and possibly a bit worse. Also feeling slightly sick to my stomach and am eating a bit less.

 

Right along I've been lifting and doing daily cardio. I eat only lean protein, good complex carbs, healthy fats (omega 6,9,3,) lots of vegetables and fruit and water. No sugar or excess complex carbs. Several small meals daily. Not really a health nut I just want to have a nice body. Very lean, muscular, good 6-pack. Once the body aches started lifting has been hard because it basically gets worse. So for  the last few weeks I'm just doing cardio and eating clean but to be honest none of this helps at all with withdrawals as far as I can tell.

 

I feel like crap and being jacked and eating plants and chicken breast all day doesn't help one damn bit. I think the overemphasis on working out and eating good is misleading when it comes to withdrawals. It's super important for health otherwise and it's great to have a killer physique but I'm not seeing any benefit with these protracted withdrawals.

 

I started using ativan a few days ago, just a dose here and there to not feel so crummy all the time. But I'm going to have to try prozac soon to see if it will reverse these flu-like symptoms. The body aches are one thing but I'm getting some anxiety and depression as well and I've simply had enough. It's been over 2 months and if anything it's getting worse so I'm just about ready to give up and take some prozac.

 

Very disappointing, I wanted to be free of these crap drugs. I've only held out this long because I'm working very part time. If I was working full time I would have had to have given up even sooner. The fatigue alone is crazy, I sleep all the time. Every day I wake up and feel great and slowly the body aches come then the anxiety. So stupid.

 

None of my doctors have any clue either.

 

 

 

Started Venlaflaxine 2008 for situational depression, 300mg 1 dose daily

2010 started experiencing anxiety and depression from Venlaflaxine. 2010 tried taper but side effects were too severe.

July 2017 started taper, reduce 25mg every week or 2 weeks. Added Prozac 10 mg in August 2017.

Finished Venlaflaxine taper Oct 15 2017, began Prozac taper (40mg daily).

Nov 1 2017 finished Prozac taper.

1st 6 weeks experienced brain zaps and tiredness. Dec 2017 brain zaps end and body aches start, also very tired and lousy mood swings.

Jan 2018 begin Lorazapam 3mg single dose every 3 or 4 days for general relief of low mood.

Jan 12 considering taking low dose of Prozac if symptoms persist  much longer.

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  • scallywag changed the title to username pending: Effexor taper

I was on Effexor for ~10 years, 300mg daily. Last summer I did a taper with a Prozac bridge. In Oct I finished the Effexor taper and was up to 40mg Prozac.

The taper was hard but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

 

I tapered the Prozac over 2 weeks (rushed it, was sick of tapering) and was done. I had major brain zaps and was tired for 6 weeks but the anxiety and weird depression the Effexor was actually causing completely went away.

 

Week 7 I started feeling very achey and moody - very annoyed, angry, crying spells. Ibuprofen has helped with the aches but emotionally I just feel crappy.

I've now had those symptoms for 7 weeks. I eat great and do cardio/lift but I'm taking a few weeks off from lifting because the body aches get too severe. So over the last 2 weeks I've just done cardio. I'm eating a bit less also because of slight nausea. The stomach sickness is probably from caffeine because when I stop taking that I don't feel sick.

 

But the flip side is I'm super tired all the time so sometimes to get things done I have to have some caffeine pills.

I actually had a cheat day yesterday and had ice cream, skittles, cookies, pizza, I felt SUPER GOOD. Almost like I was on oxycodone. It lasted several hours also?

Unbelievable?!?

 

Anyway, yes I could eat sugar all day and feel great but goddamit I worked so hard to get in shape! UGH!

Today I ate clean and did cardio and am back to feeling weird.

 

My question is regarding going back on Prozac, will it ruin all my progress? I know it might mitigate some of my symptoms but then as time goes by I worry I will have the same effect that Effexor had - extreme brain zaps, anxiety between doses, a general uneasy and lack of well being feeling, like I was uninterested in everything and felt blah..

I took Effexor only for heartache from a breakup (stupid idea) not for general chemical imbalance depression. Effexor numbed me up for a year or so but then just reaked havock on my nervous system and I was stuck on it.

 

I'm so glad to be off those drugs that I'm hesitant to try Prozac, I feel like I should just wait it out but I'm losing my patience.

If Prozac doesn't help and I stop could it make things worse?

 

My therapist is all about trying drugs. She wants me to try Prozac again and said if things got really bad my doctor might consider EVEN MORE drugs like a benzo to help with anxiety??

Well, I have benzos and they don't actually help that much. I just use them here and there. I also don't want to be on any drugs, a fact that many doctors and the like can't seem to understand?

Somehow the Regan era "Just say NO" doesnt' apply to prescription drugs?

Edited by scallywag
remove pre-approval moderator note

Started Venlaflaxine 2008 for situational depression, 300mg 1 dose daily

2010 started experiencing anxiety and depression from Venlaflaxine. 2010 tried taper but side effects were too severe.

July 2017 started taper, reduce 25mg every week or 2 weeks. Added Prozac 10 mg in August 2017.

Finished Venlaflaxine taper Oct 15 2017, began Prozac taper (40mg daily).

Nov 1 2017 finished Prozac taper.

1st 6 weeks experienced brain zaps and tiredness. Dec 2017 brain zaps end and body aches start, also very tired and lousy mood swings.

Jan 2018 begin Lorazapam 3mg single dose every 3 or 4 days for general relief of low mood.

Jan 12 considering taking low dose of Prozac if symptoms persist  much longer.

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  • scallywag changed the title to Joel Rivard: Effexor taper
  • Moderator Emeritus

JR -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

I've combined the two topics you started into one introduction. Please use this "thread" to post your questions and updates so that all your information remains in one place.

 

Your symptoms are, from our perspective, very common for someone who discontinued 2 SSRI medications in ten weeks.  Your CNS (central nervous system) made changes to adapt to the medication in order to maintain homeostasis or balance. Unfortunately these changes take much longer than 10 weeks to undo.  I sent you these links by email and am, somewhat redundantly, posting them here:

One theory of anti-depressant withdrawal syndrome

How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"

Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

 

The only known and effective way of treating SSRI withdrawal symptoms is reinstating the medication, usually at a dose that is much lower than originally prescribed. Reinstatement works for many people but not all. If there is no adverse reaction to the reinstatement, then we suggest that a person at the reinstated dose for a 6-8 weeks to give symptoms and the CNS time to settle down. At that point, one can continue or make small dose adjustments up or down. Eventually when sufficiently stable, the reinstated dose can be tapered at a gentle rate of 10% per month. Please read at least the first few posts of this topic to understand the benefits and risks.

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

 

Please do not start taking your previous full dose of fluoxetine (prozac).  Your CNS may be ABSOLUTELY ROCKED by that dose because it's been a while since you were taking even a small amount of the drug. If reinstatement is something you'd like to try, let us know and we'll suggest a dose to test -- cautiously -- whether you'll have an adverse reaction.

 

Other topics relevant to your situation:

Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

Your experience with sugar and fats after weeks of much more limited consumption is not uncommon.  Sugar and refined carbohydrates activate the same neurotransmitter systems as alcohol and opiates.  Abstinence "upregulates" the cells and they are more sensitive. When the substance (sugar, vodka, oxy) is re-introduced, the "starved" receptor cells get flooded and you get a case of HAPPY.

 

One last thing: A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- 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.

 

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to post

Thank you, I put a summary in my signature. Thanks for the links, interesting information.

 

The drug I used, Venlaflaxine, was causing anxiety and depression so going back on that would be a last choice move. But I used Prozac to taper and it seemed to help with side effects. I don't know 100% of course, maybe the Prozac did nothing and the taper just wasn't that bad?

But I feel the taper should have been worse because as it was every day withing 3 or 4 hours of my Effexor dose I would get brain zaps and depression/anxiety that would slowly increase until it was dose time.

If I was late on the dose the side effects would get extreme, ridiculous deep depression. Splitting my dose did not help at all, I had to take 1 300mg dose every day at the same time. The brain zaps and deep depression would go away but I would still feel fairly depressed.

 

Over the years I tried adding other anti-depressants but nothing worked. I really only felt ok when I was self medicating. I just kept the self medicating to a minimum and when I stopped those I was lucky that I hadn't developed a dependancy.

 

When I finished the Effexor taper all of that anxiety and depression actually went away, so I know it was the cause.

But now a few months out I am having some depression with the body aches.

 

So the med I would start with is Prozac. If that didn't help I would have to try something new. I can't see going back to Effexor when I know how bad the side effects are. It actually gave me significant anxiety and depression.

 

Luckily I'm not working too much right now so I can sleep a lot. I'm just taking it day by day.

Started Venlaflaxine 2008 for situational depression, 300mg 1 dose daily

2010 started experiencing anxiety and depression from Venlaflaxine. 2010 tried taper but side effects were too severe.

July 2017 started taper, reduce 25mg every week or 2 weeks. Added Prozac 10 mg in August 2017.

Finished Venlaflaxine taper Oct 15 2017, began Prozac taper (40mg daily).

Nov 1 2017 finished Prozac taper.

1st 6 weeks experienced brain zaps and tiredness. Dec 2017 brain zaps end and body aches start, also very tired and lousy mood swings.

Jan 2018 begin Lorazapam 3mg single dose every 3 or 4 days for general relief of low mood.

Jan 12 considering taking low dose of Prozac if symptoms persist  much longer.

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