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Austen: tapering off Effexor


Austen

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I found my way here from the New Yorker article published online last week. Very thought-provoking and not exactly encouraging about this process. I started taking Effexor probably 18 or so years ago; it was my first antidepressant and worked well from the get-go. After 8 or so years I was feeling well enough that I wanted to quit taking it, so my medical person (nurse practitioner) advised me to taper VERY slowly. I was only taking 75 mg XR at the time, and she had me taper over 4 months. I was very impatient with the process but followed instructions exactly and never had a single withdrawal symptom. It went perfectly.

 

A few years later, I was struggling with depression again and once more started Effexor. It worked as well, but I required a higher dosage (150 mg). Last year, my husband died and my depression deepened considerably. I gradually increased the dosage to 300 mg, which seemed to be working more or less.

 

Recently, my therapist and I decided that it would be a good idea to get off Effexor and try Wellbutrin, as Effexor no longer seemed to be helping. My most recent attempt to taper off was a miserable failure; I had several nasty withdrawal problems and stopped almost immediately.

 

One problem I have is that the dose I take now consists of a solid pill, not a capsule filled with tiny pills that I can divide into several doses. The directions say not to cut, chew, or otherwise damage the pill before taking it, so really gradual tapering is not possible. I have to use various sizes of pills to try and work around this problem, and it doesn't seem to be gradual enough. I'm hoping to get some practical help from others who have been through this themselves. Thanks for listening.

Edited by Carmie
Added paragraphs

ca. 1998-2008 - Effexor XR 75 mg.

2008 - Took three months to taper off completely (no side effects)

ca. 2011 - Effexor XR 150 mg

ca. 2014 - Effexor XR 225 mg

ca. 2017 - Effexor XR 300 mg

2/2019 - Tried to taper off and went too fast (unpleasant side effects). Was able to get down to 150 but had to almost immediately go back up to 225. Have stayed at 225 since then. Looking to get off Effexor completely; Wellbutrin has been recommended as a replacement.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Austen: tapering off Effexor
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Hi Austen, 

 

Welcome to SA. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. 

 

I’m glad your first antidepressant withdrawal went well, even though you only tapered over only four months. You may find though that your brain becomes sensitised the more you go on and off medications, thus making coming off medications later a lot harder. I’ve been on and off so many, it all started with chronic pain, and now I can only taper by tiny amounts. 

 

If you want to get off the Effexor, the recommendation is to taper by no more than 10% a month. I’m tapering by just under 4% a month at the moment, as I can’t taper anymore than that now. 

 

There is a thread in the Tapering forum entitled: “ Tips For Tapering Off Effexor And Effexor XR.” I’ll get someone to send you the link. Also, if you press on the Effexor tag above you will come across the threads of all the other people who are also tapering Effexor, or have tapered it. 

 

Which dosage are you on now? Did you go back up to 300mg.

 

How long ago did you try to taper it? How much did you taper it by? How long ago did you taper? Could you please put down the dates, and the amounts you tapered. Thank you.

 

You can get off the Effexor, but it’s a long process. It took me many years to get down from 300mg of Seroquel to 7.25mg, and I’ve got many more to go. I won’t be jumping off until I’m down to 0.0something as my body is so sensitised now. 

 

It’s up to you, but going on another medication after eventually coming off Effexor can cause more problems, as side effects to psychiatric drugs are numerous, and when you eventually come off them it might be even harder. 

 

Have you tried any non drug techniques to help with your depression? A lot of people find EFT or FasterEFT good for dealing with depression.  I’ve done quite a bit of FasterEFT to deal with certain emotions, and events in my life. It has worked wonderfully.

 

Take care, sending hugs🤗

 

Been on antipsychotics, benzos, antidepressants and painkillers for chronic pain. 

Been cold turkeyed and put on and off all sorts of things. Was suicidal n ended up in a psych ward because I had akathisia from withdrawals. Can’t remember what I was put on but when I was released was in the same predicament with severe akathisia n was suicidal again.

Back to the ward and was given different meds. Tapered off one and have been trying to taper off Seroquel since. It’s been many, many years of tapering so far.

I’ve  tapered from 300mg of Seroquel to 7.5mg./ March 10 2019=7.25mg / 17th of April=7 mg / June 5th=6.75mg/ July 14th=6.50mg/ August 28=6.25mg/ 10th of Oct= 6.20mg/ October 21=6mg/ December 16=5.80mg/.   January 21 2020=5.60mg/April 2=5.40g/ May 29=5.20mg/ August 14= 5mg/ September 29=4.80mg/ Jan 31, 2021=4.60 mg/

 

I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. These are my own views based on what I’ve experienced myself.

 

 

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Hi Austen and welcome from me too,

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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How are you doing Austen?💚

Been on antipsychotics, benzos, antidepressants and painkillers for chronic pain. 

Been cold turkeyed and put on and off all sorts of things. Was suicidal n ended up in a psych ward because I had akathisia from withdrawals. Can’t remember what I was put on but when I was released was in the same predicament with severe akathisia n was suicidal again.

Back to the ward and was given different meds. Tapered off one and have been trying to taper off Seroquel since. It’s been many, many years of tapering so far.

I’ve  tapered from 300mg of Seroquel to 7.5mg./ March 10 2019=7.25mg / 17th of April=7 mg / June 5th=6.75mg/ July 14th=6.50mg/ August 28=6.25mg/ 10th of Oct= 6.20mg/ October 21=6mg/ December 16=5.80mg/.   January 21 2020=5.60mg/April 2=5.40g/ May 29=5.20mg/ August 14= 5mg/ September 29=4.80mg/ Jan 31, 2021=4.60 mg/

 

I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. These are my own views based on what I’ve experienced myself.

 

 

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Carmie, thanks for your helpful comments and suggestions. I'm now taking 225 (down from 300) mg, and it seems to be okay (no withdrawal effects). I decided to wait a few weeks to try again, as I have some stressful and important life stuff coming up and don't want to be stressing over this, as well. As long as I feel okay (and I do), I think it's probably safe to wait. 

 

When I quit the first time, I was only taking 75 mg, and my medical person had me taper over four months, so the reductions were really small each time and it worked very well. This most recent time, I was taking 300 mg and I was told at first to just go to taking a pill every other day. That's what sent me spinning. Not a good plan, and I didn't know it at the time. I started doing some serious research, which brought me here. This site is a goldmine of information and encouragement!

ca. 1998-2008 - Effexor XR 75 mg.

2008 - Took three months to taper off completely (no side effects)

ca. 2011 - Effexor XR 150 mg

ca. 2014 - Effexor XR 225 mg

ca. 2017 - Effexor XR 300 mg

2/2019 - Tried to taper off and went too fast (unpleasant side effects). Was able to get down to 150 but had to almost immediately go back up to 225. Have stayed at 225 since then. Looking to get off Effexor completely; Wellbutrin has been recommended as a replacement.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Austen, 

 

You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re doing okay. How long have you been on 225mg now? Since February?

 

Please go down by no more than 10% a month when you start to taper again. I’m all for having long holds, I’ve done many of those, it was the only way I could get to some special events. Also, it’s nice to have a break from tapering every now and again. 

 

And yes, taking the meds every other day is definitely not a good plan. You’re constantly cold turkeying the meds every second day. 

 

Wishing you all all the best in your healing journey.💚

Been on antipsychotics, benzos, antidepressants and painkillers for chronic pain. 

Been cold turkeyed and put on and off all sorts of things. Was suicidal n ended up in a psych ward because I had akathisia from withdrawals. Can’t remember what I was put on but when I was released was in the same predicament with severe akathisia n was suicidal again.

Back to the ward and was given different meds. Tapered off one and have been trying to taper off Seroquel since. It’s been many, many years of tapering so far.

I’ve  tapered from 300mg of Seroquel to 7.5mg./ March 10 2019=7.25mg / 17th of April=7 mg / June 5th=6.75mg/ July 14th=6.50mg/ August 28=6.25mg/ 10th of Oct= 6.20mg/ October 21=6mg/ December 16=5.80mg/.   January 21 2020=5.60mg/April 2=5.40g/ May 29=5.20mg/ August 14= 5mg/ September 29=4.80mg/ Jan 31, 2021=4.60 mg/

 

I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. These are my own views based on what I’ve experienced myself.

 

 

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Carmie, I have been on 225 mg. since February, and seem to be holding steady. If anything, my mood has improved a bit with additional physical activity and getting back into some of my interests that I enjoy but haven't been able to manage until recently.

 

The problem that I will face when I start tapering again is that I'm taking the XR version that is a solid oval pill and not a capsule. I'm not sure how to attain a 25 mg drop in dosage when I can't break up the pill (instructions say not to do this). I've done some reading in other topics here and getting a liquid formulation is suggested. I don't even know where to begin to find this. Luckily I have time to do more research, but if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks for all your help.

 

ca. 1998-2008 - Effexor XR 75 mg.

2008 - Took three months to taper off completely (no side effects)

ca. 2011 - Effexor XR 150 mg

ca. 2014 - Effexor XR 225 mg

ca. 2017 - Effexor XR 300 mg

2/2019 - Tried to taper off and went too fast (unpleasant side effects). Was able to get down to 150 but had to almost immediately go back up to 225. Have stayed at 225 since then. Looking to get off Effexor completely; Wellbutrin has been recommended as a replacement.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Austen.

 

Here are our Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

To taper gradually, your choices are 1) change to a venlafaxine XR brand where capsules contain tiny beads; 2) get immediate-release venlafaxine, make a liquid from it, and take part of your dose in liquid and part in venlafaxine XR tablets or capsules.

 

What brand of venlafaxine XR are you taking now?

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

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