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LarryS

LarryS: tapering off venlafaxine / Effexor 225mg

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LarryS

Proceeding with next 10% drop February 14, 2019 to 89 mg.  Three week wait time, a sweetheart deal.  Fatigue seems to be my only factor which slows me down, other than back pain.  Lethargy and Anhedonia are lessening.  Continuing to patiently track each day and feelings of my condition.

Departing to Mexico soon, warmth and sunshine.  We have been experiencing day after day of snow showers in the great northwest, an unusually long 10 day storm.  Beginning to melt now.  This is the perfect storm to run away from, to Mexico.

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Carmie

Hi Larry, 

 

I hope you have an amazing holiday! Mexico sounds fabulous! You all sound like you’re freezing over there in America. I just wanted to say please don’t taper yet, wait at least another week to do so. I remember tapering after three weeks once n withdrawals ended up hitting me like a ton of bricks later on. You may not get them straight away, but they can catch up with you. A minimum of four weeks of holding is recommended.

 

Please be careful, slow and steady does it, Sending hugs🤗

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LarryS

Our Vacation

My wife and I have returned from our vacation in Mexico.  Been home for awhile.  We both appreciated the time away and the things we did.  We luckily left for Mexico during a 3 day lull in the snow storms.  We made a quick transition from cold snow weather to 100 plus degree weather on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.  We spent 8 days on a bus tour with 30 other people.  We visited three Myan Ruin sites and learned about the culture.  We had a great guide who is a Myan decendant and has studied his history.  We also visited other  places along the way which added interesting looks into the current culture of Mexico, for instance a panama hat making business that has been in one families line for generations.  The whole family works it.  At end of tour, stayed in a nice resort for 3 days in Cancun, Mexico, relaxing, swimming, sunning and eating.  On the day we were to depart to Cozumel, MX, came down with an ear infection.  I had planned 5 days on the island of Cozumel, famous for its scuba diving opportunities.  The ear infection nixed the scuba diving, which I was so looking forward to.  So I took my wife on a submarine ride that dives down more than 100 feet with portholes for us tourists to look out of.  This was a fantastic alternative which my wife loved.  She does no more than wade, when she is around water.  We were at a very high end resort on Cozumel and enjoyed our stay there.  The food was fantastic.  The beach and warm ocean water was also great. The view from our 2nd story balcony was fantastic.  Alas, we did depart.

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LarryS

Just started taking the single 75 mg Venlefaxine capsule. I intend to hold here for 4 to 6 weeks.

I have been caught up in nursing myself back to health from an ear infection, which started 24 days ago.  I have also developed some lung congestion the past week.  I'm more fatigued than usual.  Optimistic that I may be starting to feel a little better.  You can not believe the sharp piercing pain that comes with ear infection, unless you have experienced it personally.

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LarryS

Day 16 since starting 75 mg venlefaxine dose.  As far as I can tell, I'm doing OK.  I'm at the end of healing from a very serious ear infection and lung infection.  Fatigue is my main issue, always.  

Lethargy, Anhedonia, Spacy, Dizzy, and Headache symptoms have dissipated to the point that I am now stopping the tracking of them.  I will continue to track insomnia and fatigue.  My wife says my mood has been much better, and I believe I do feel much better regarding past venlefaxine related symptoms.  I will continue to update on this web site.

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LarryS

To Staff/ Moderators

I have been on venlafaxine since July, 2014.  I was at 225 milligams for 4 years, and have been tapering now almost a year to current 75 milligrams.  I'm age 71, retired, and still want to be somewhat active. I have a few questions that may help me decide what my future course of action may look like.

Having been on venlafaxine for five years now, am I essentially in the same senario as someone who has been on this for 10, 20 or more years?

As we get older, our bodies by nature are not as healthy, flexible and vibrant, so are you finding people of my age range have more difficulty or no different difficulty in getting fully off antidepressants?

My general practice doctor has said that I should consider finding a good level and be content therewith.  However, he will not hold me back from trying to get fully off.  I view 75 mg as a full dose.  Knowing this is an individual choice, any information you could point me to on making this choice would be helpful.

I've come across one piece of information on the web that stated that venlafaxine was a toxic substance to human and aquatic life.  Do you have anything on this topic?

Thank you for help.

 

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Gridley
1 hour ago, LarryS said:

As we get older, our bodies by nature are not as healthy, flexible and vibrant, so are you finding people of my age range have more difficulty or no different difficulty in getting fully off antidepressants?

 

Altostrata, the founder of this site, has written that as we get older everything slows down, including healing.  This doesn't mean that healing won't occur, only that it might not happen as quickly as in someone younger.

 

Regarding your question about whether being on the drug for 5 years puts you in the same position as someone at 10, 20, or more years, the short answer is no.  Five years is not that long.  

 

All the antidepressants are toxic to human and aquatic life.  

 

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LarryS
On 4/11/2019 at 4:48 PM, LarryS said:

I've come across one piece of information on the web that stated that venlafaxine was a toxic substance to human and aquatic life.  Do you have anything on this topic?

 

Can someone provide links to websites which provide information regarding venlafaxine as a toxic substance?

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LarryS

No need to provide links regarding my previous question.  I have found plenty of information which talks about the toxicity of antidepressants.  Amazing, sadly.  :unsure:

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LarryS

Today I continue onward with my tapering from toxic short acting addicting Venlafaxine.  I have read more recently about it's toxicity, and confirmed in my mind the necessity to continue this journey.  I have been able to decrease from 225 mg to 75 mg in 10.5 months approximately.  Now the decreases become even smaller and the potential for impatience, causing serotonin syndrome, greater.  I was put on this drug in a relatively short time frame, a month or so.  It seems counter intuitive to have to get off so slow, but the avoidance of pain and suffering must be maintained in my mind with on going vigilance. 

 

I can gladly report that my cognitive well being is much better than it was when I started this taper.  In other words, I can concentrate and think better without haze.  I do seem to be still in the healing process since my ear and lung infection.  I no longer have any pain associated directly with either my ear or lung.  However, I have been experiencing bowel issues, back pain and considerable fatigue.  Sleep has not been satisfactory overall.  I have been getting back down to the gym more regularly, to keep from loosing too much of my previous body dynamics.  Working my way back, hopefully.  I do need to mow the lawn today, I've let it go far to long.  I'll try to be careful, not to strain any muscles, picking up any tree debris.

 

My wife has now decided to taper off Fluoxetine (Prozac) starting from 30 mg.  I'm working to educate her on why it is important to go slower than what her doctor thinks is reasonable.  She is more sensitive to drugs than I am.

 

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LarryS

Tomorrow I take my next step down from Venlafaxine.  I believe that I'm ready.  My average scores (1 to 10) are:  Insomnia 2.5; Fatigue 5.5.

This past 28 days I have been dealing with some severe low back pain.  The pain  effects the following muscles:  back, gluteal, upper legs.  Also, I have had occasional stomach uneasiness, a kind of nausea without vomiting.  Also occasional diarrhea.  I have been to the doctor twice now about symptoms.  X-rays reveal some degeneration due to my age, 71. I have an appointment to see the doctor again next week.  I hope to get an MRI scan and possibly more information about potential ways to deal with it.  I have had low grade back pain for years, and this is a third flair up of higher level pain.

 

I have returned to being more attentive to doing my physical therapy exercises at home.  I have been also taking various pain medications.  I have also kept going to the gym, even when I don't feel like it, because movement is good.

Pain can be a good thing, IF you learn from it.  No need to feel sorry for me, I'm learning many good things, like how to be more sympathetic toward my wife and others.

Cheers to ALL who persevere.

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LarryS

I'm on my fourth day at 55 mg of Venlafaxine.  

I continue with severe back pain, which currently effects my whole body.  I see a back specialist tomorrow.  Fatigue has also been severe.

All the above some what masks what is going on due to the drops in Venlefaxine.

Cheers to All who persevere.

 

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LarryS

I'm dropping now to 49 mg venlafaxine.  I previously held at 55 mg for 31 days.  My symptoms have been a little more difficult over this most recent drop period.  I have noticed some anhedonia during this last month, so began tracking this symptom again.  I have also gone back through my daily notes and find that I have been dealing with back and neck pain significant enough to mention 67% of the days over the last 6 months.  So I have started tracking both back pain and neck pain.  I write in a journal each day.

 

I've been giving a number from 1 to 10 regarding my symptoms, but have had no real definition for what each number means.  I have recently decided to make up my own definition for the grades of each symptom (a work in progress).  Defining what each symptom number represents, will help me do a better more defined method of tracking.  I know that everyone here has different symptoms and how they would describe each symptom.  I'm wondering if any one else has felt the need to try and describe their symptoms by numbers from one (1) to ten (10) ( or 1 to 5)?  I then record my daily symptoms by number in an excel spreadsheet.  This gives me a quick overview of how my symptoms are reacting over various time frames such as weekly or monthly.  I know that using the Microsoft "Excel" program is not what a lot of people would choose to use for tracking but it is what I was able to come up with at the beginning of my taper.

 

I have recently had an MRI of my lumbar spine, and will be receiving an epidural steroid injection, to hopefully calm the low back pain from a pinched nerve.

 

An example of how I define my "Fatigue" symptom follows.

0-1 None to very slight

2-3 Minor fatigue after noon

4-6 Mild to moderate fatigue ALL day

7-8 Fatigue effects ability to think/ concentrate

  9   Naps on and off ALL day

10   Bed ridden fatigue

 

The following is the average level number of the symptoms experienced over this last month.

Anhedonia 4.2

Insomnia    2.9

Fatigue       7.1

Back Pain   6.0

Neck Pain   5.5

 

Goal:  Relaxed with Perseverance

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LarryS

On August 13 dropped to 44 mg venlafaxine. 

Previous month was a bit more taxing on me than normal. 

I had a shot in my mid back for pain radiating down my right leg.   This right leg pain subsided over time, but still have mid back and left hip pain.

My wife Nancy had her left knee replaced, so I'm taking care of her.   She is in great pain, which transfers stress onto me.

My daughter, her husband and three children under age 4 have been living temporarily with us while they sell their home.

Finished defining my 1 to 10 tracking levels, for the 5 elements below.  Will be interested to see which direction the average will go for each element.

 

Anhedonia    4.8       Up

Insomnia       2.8       Down

Fatigue          4.5        Down

Back Pain      5.3        Down

Neck Pain      4.9        Down

 

Goal:  Relaxed with Perseverance

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ChessieCat

It is usually recommended to hold during times of stress and/or sickness, which in your case is leg pain.

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LarryS

Due to some extra stressors in my life at this time, and increased fatigue, I have decided to go back up to 49 mg for awhile.  

Thanks ChessieCat

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LarryS

I think going up from 44 mm to 49 mg didn't do anything, except spend time.  In two days I'm going back down to 44 mg.  Stress is lessening due to wife feeling better after knee surgery.  

My back pain is lessening also after second steroid shot.

I have been fatigued and my brain has been feeling soar, but I felt the same thing at 44 mg.  So I will have spent an extra 6 weeks by the time I give 44 mg another 4 weeks hold.

So time to see how this plays out.  Getting past this stage is critical in my mind.  Less toxic drug in system.  I'm going slow.

 

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LarryS

Proceeding.  Made revised improvements to definitions of each level of Anhedonia.

Average score of last month.

Anhedonia   5.0  up

Insomnia      2.2  down

Fatigue         5.1  up

Goal:  Relaxed with Perseverance

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LarryS

Dropped yesterday to 40 mg.  Have been having increased back pain and neck pain the last 28 days.  Most days my head has felt achy foggy.  This is either caused by the painful neck or from  dropping down on venlafaxine, not sure which or both.  I believe I am in the difficult phase of getting off venlafaxine because others have related their difficulty below 60 mg.  I previously felt quite good at 75 mg, which I take to be a full dose.

Healing will probably take longer due to my age of 71 and accumulating symptoms of the elderly.  I continue to push myself to the gym three times per week.  

Wife is becoming more active after knee surgery and starting to help with some chores.

Average score for past 28 days, with 10 being worst case.

Anhedonia = 5.2 up

Insomnia   = 1.9 down

Fatigue      = 5.0 down

Goal:  Relaxed with Perseverance

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Gridley
12 minutes ago, LarryS said:

painful neck

 

Painful stiff neck is one of my symptoms.  In my case, it is definitely withdrawal and comes and goes.

 

Regarding the exercise, if your program is working for you, that's fine.  Many members find strenuous exercise ramps up their symptoms and prefer more gentle exercise such as a walk in nature.  Again, whatever works better for you.

 

 

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LarryS

Gridley,           Thanks for reply.  I do a low impact, none strenuous workout with the simple goal of moving the body and elevating the heart rate.  Swimming is one of my favorite parts of the work out.

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LarryS

I have constant significant fatigue, lethargy, head ache pressure, anhedonia, back pain and neck pain.  These issues, while slowly withdrawing from venlafaxine, have become harder to bear.  They have gradually become worse throughout this process.  I'm wondering if I have chosen to do the right thing for me.  I'm re-evaluating.  I'm re-reading.  I'm looking again.  I have little energy to do this re-evaluation.  

I have recently put together a medical history, and it reveals some things I have forgotten.  I was put on Celexa in 1999 due to herniated disc back pain and fatigue.  My spine problems are degenerating and will never improve.  I'm currently doing treatments with a spine specialist.

Fatigue is also something that I have lived with for a long while prior to getting sleep apnea treatment beginning in November 1996.

My wife tells me I have always had somewhat of a depressed demeanor.  I thought of it as a serious demeanor.

In my self evaluation, I don't feel depressed at this time, in the sense that I understand it.  I have actually felt depressed on occasion for short periods of time, and I think I know the difference.  But my list of issues above apparently are parts of major depression.  No matter the issues, will the drug lessen my issues?

I'm holding for now at the smallest capsule dose available, until I can again feel good about my path, what ever that may be.

 

Anhedonia is 5.5;    Insomnia is 1.8;     Fatigue is 5.6;     Back pain is 6.3;     Neck pain is 6.7

Goal:  Relaxed, Keep Learning

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LarryS

Just took a depression screening test.  Score 19 out of 27. Indicates moderately severe clinical depression.

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Altostrata

When one is suffering an adverse drug effect, those tests are invalid.

 

Have you ever had coaching in non-drug methods to cope with your physical pain issues? You need this.

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LarryS

Yes, Altostata I use the following non-drug methods to cope with pain:

1. Physical therapy movements, done for about 25 minutes per day.

2. No impact 1.5 hour work out at gym three times per week.

3. Massage therapy about once per week.

Are these the type of methods your are talking about?

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Altostrata

There are also CBT, meditation, and other psychotherapeutic techniques for pain management.

 

On 11/10/2019 at 9:30 AM, LarryS said:

I have constant significant fatigue, lethargy, head ache pressure, anhedonia, back pain and neck pain.  These issues, while slowly withdrawing from venlafaxine, have become harder to bear.  They have gradually become worse throughout this process.

 

When people report increased symptoms during their taper, we need to know the context. Are they better or worse at any times of day? Do your symptoms follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes of times of day you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms throughout the day. You can post 24 hours of notes at a time in this topic, with a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom or drug and dosage) on the right.

 

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LarryS

OK, I am honored to implement your request.  This will also provide me some stimulus and motivation.

 

I have utilized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Meditation in the past, but not specifically directed toward pain management.  I can look into meditation for pain management.

The two medications I take have no interaction with venlafaxine.

I am stopping my multi-Vitamin since is has many B type vitamins in it to see if this does anything.

And I am more seriously working on stopping my alcohol consumption.  Has been one drink per day.  I have now gone 5 days without alcohol.  I have known all along that this is a black box warning thing.  

I have been recording my day on paper since the beginning, rating my symptoms daily, and then transferring ratings and high level analysis to an excel spreadsheet monthly.  I periodically review the data to see how this process is going.  I've recently analyzed my notes regarding pain.

Lately there has been very little variability between daily ratings.

 

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Altostrata
2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Please keep daily notes of times of day you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms throughout the day. You can post 24 hours of notes at a time in this topic, with a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom or drug and dosage) on the right.

 

need this info for all drugs

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LarryS

Nov. 12, 2019 Tuesday, Day 7 at 37.5 mg Venlafaxine

5:15 AM Sleep with CPAP 7:35 hrs, 1 Interruption

5:16 AM Lethargy (L) = 5, Anhedonia (A) = 7, Fatigue (F) = 5, Back Pain (BP) = 5 Neck Pain (NP) = 5

7:30 Breakfast: Take Venlafaxine HCL ER 37.5 mg, Amlodipine 5 mg, Tamsulosin HCL 0.4 mg, Vit. C 1,000 mg; Vit. D3 50 mcg; Probiotic 218 mg; Fish Oil 1,600 mg; Magnesium Glycinate 120 mg

8:30 AM  At Home Physical Therapy (PT) BP = 5, NP = 5

9:20 AM 5 minute back massage, and shower:  Lethargy (L) =5, Anhedonia (A) = 6, Fatigue (F) =6, Headache (H) =5

10:50 AM H = 6

1:00 PM Lunch

Learned that I'm experiencing some "Avolition"

9:20 AM to 2:30 PM Use computer in home office.

2:30 PM PT BP = 6

5:30 PM End 1.5 hr nap with CPAP

6:10 PM Dinner, Soar Rt. Back muscle

8:30 PM Take Red Yeast Rice 600 mg, CoQ10 100 mg, Magnesium Glycinate 120 mg

9:00 PM H = 7     NO Alcohol

9:15 PM Sleep

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LarryS

Nov. 13, 2019 Wednesday Day 8 at 37.5 mg Venlafaxine

6:30 AM Awaken after 8:20 hrs sleep

6:35 AM Headache (H) = 8, insomnia (I) = 6, Neck Pain (NP) = 8

7:30 AM Breakfast: Venlafaxine 37.5 mg, amlodipine 5 mg, tamsulosin 0.4 mg, Vit. C 1,000 mg, Vit. D3 50 mcg, Probiotic 218 mg, Fish Oil 1,600 mg, Magnesium Glycinate 120 mg

8:15 AM  H= 6

9:00 AM  Home Physical Therapy Back Pain (BP) = 7  NP = 7

9:00 AM  Lethargy (L) = 4, Fatigue (F) = 4, Anhedonia (A) = 6

12:00 PM  A = 5

12:30 PM  2 hr gym workout, after H =5

5:15 PM  F = 5  H = 6  No Alchohol

8:30 PM  Red Yeast Rice 600 mg, CoQ10 100 mg, Magnesium Glycinate 120 mg

9:00 PM  Go to sleep

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