Jump to content

spongebob123: Effexor XR withdrawal


spongebob123

Recommended Posts

spongebob123

Hi!

 

I've been on Effexor XR for about 12 years and have been trying to get off of it for the past couple months. My doctor is not helpful at all and doesn't seem to know what she's doing. I started at 187.5mg and she had me alternating each day with the lower dose. So I would alternate 187.5mg, 150mg, 187.5mg, 150mg....until I felt comfortable enough to go down another step. I read on here that you're not supposed to do that, but that's what she's telling me. So I had really bad withdrawal symptoms this whole time. Now I'm on 37.5mg and I tried alternating with taking nothing every other day. But as you can imagine my body didn't like that. I happened to make it 5 days without the pill and felt like I was dying before a nice girl on a Facebook support group led me to this site. I'm so thankful she did because my symptoms are almost gone and I feel great. I've been breaking open my capsules and counting out the beads everyday and slowly going down from there. The problem is my doctor told me I'm not supposed to be breaking open the pills, so she called in the Effexor tablets so I can break them in half. I told her my symptoms are really bad and she said maybe I should just go back on the pill.... needless to say I have to figure this out myself. So I like the counting method with the beads but I'm running out of capsules and only have the tablets left. I'm not sure how to make a liquid out of them or what to do to get to 0. I just want this medicine out of my system!

Edited by Shep
updated title with new username

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA,

 

Alternating/skipoing doses is a terrible idea much beloved by psychiatrists.  It causes the amount of drug in your bloodstream to go up and down, battering your central nervous system and making withdrawal worse.

 

Any M.D. can prescribe Effexor if you want to stay with the beads and can find a cooperative doctor.  If possible, that would be better than switching to the tablet.  The fewer changes the better.  If you can't, you can work tapering the tablet.  I'll give you a link in a moment that will explain how to do this by cutting and weighing.

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.  Some have to go more slowly.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

This link is specifically about tapering Effexor and contains information about cutting and weighing tablets.  Many members use the AWS Gemini-20 scale for their tapers.  You can't make an extended release liquid.

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

Are you taking 37.5mg now or less?

 

What is your daily symptom pattern now? Do you feel better or worse in the hours after you take Effexor? Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.  Then post your symptom pattern daily here in your Introductory topic.  This will enable us to better help you.
 
This is an example:

 

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

 

This is your Introductory topic, where you can post your symptom notes, ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed member name

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin Brassmonkey Slide taper.  Current dose: 17.8mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

Link to post
puthappinessfirst

Hey, I think that was me!

From the FB group that starts with a K, right?

So glad to see you're feeling better! 

Is there anyway for you to find a new doc? 

Celexa 10mg: 2007 to June 2018, stopped CT

No meds: June 2018 to December 2018

PROTRACTED WD-- major depressive episode for 2+ weeks

Lexapro 10mg: December 12, 2018 to January 19, 2019, severe adverse reaction

Celexa 10mg: January 20, 2019

June 24, 2019: 9mg

July 22, 2019: 8.5mg

Jan 8, 2020: 8mg

Aug 25, 2020: 7.2mg

 

Supplements: Magnesium, Fish Oil

Link to post
spongebob123

Yes, thank you puthappinessfirst!!! 

 

Im taking a little less than 37.5 now. I’m counting out 70 beads out of the 108 that are in my capsules. The bead counting is kinda annoying so I got the scale that I’m gonna use from now on. 

 

I have little to no symptoms since starting to taper the way you have recommended. Before I would have really intense dizziness and brain zaps, nausea. I was incredibly irritable and mean to people for no reason, my anxiety came back full force and I was crying randomly. All that went away when I started this new method. 

 

I have to make a sandwich symptom pattern although I don’t have many. Should I post 1 day or a couple days?

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • 1 month later...

merged to Intro

 

Hi! 

 

Emergency: 3 day panic/anxiety attack

 

Im currently withdrawing from Effexor xr. I’m down to about 17.5 mg. I just move houses and that sparked a panic attack that I’ve had for 3 days now. It won’t go away. I’m trembling nonstop, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I’m nauseous. I don’t know what to do because I don’t want to see a doctor who’s gonna put me on more medication. I’m freaking out. I have an appointment with a therapist on Saturday but I can’t wait that long. Someone help please. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post

Dear Spongebob,

 

I'm so sorry to hear of all the pain you are going through.  It looks like you've tapered over 50% of the dose you were taking in August.  That may be part of your problem.  All the moderators here recommend tapering by only 10% of one's previous dose.  I hope one of the moderators will be by soon to recommend what your next step should be.  Wishing you relief from all your withdrawal symptoms!!

2007 - 2008          Paxil and Klonopin

2008 - 2012           Mirtazapine following abrupt withdrawal from Klonopin/Paxil.  

2012                       Unsuccessful taper of mirtazapine; reinstated.     

7/2013 - 1/2014   Successfully tapered from 7.5 mg

 

7/19/17 ALPRAZOLAM 0.25 mg. - current  

                SERTRALINE  - 25 mg

Began taper Aug 4, 2017 - 25 mg;  Jan 1, 2018 - 12.5 mg;  Jan 16, 2019 - 2.6 mg;  Jan 5, 2020 - 1.0 mg;   

                Current dose:   Feb 18 - 0.22 mg

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Bob

 

How are you feeling today?

On 9/18/2019 at 1:43 PM, spongebob123 said:

I don’t want to see a doctor who’s gonna put me on more medication.

Doctors cannot put you on medication, they can only recommend.

Unless you go into hospital and some form of court order is used.

I am british so do not know exactly how your system works.

We do know that the standard answer for most doctors and psychs is to simply increase drugs and doses, which does not work.

When did you start the taper from 187.5mgs Effexor, this information we need to assess the situation.

Is the therapist you are seeing on Saturday a psychiatrist?

 

Sassenach

Escitalopram 10mgs from mid 2007 ( can't remember exact date) to 11th Dec 2018

Fentanyl patches ( don't remember dose ) from Nov 2014 to 11 Dec 2018

Quit both cold turkey Dec 2018

Reinstated 3rd March 2019 2.5 mgs.

Updosed  8March to 5mgs and holding

25/11/19 Started taper 4.5mgs and holding

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

If you are going through Hell, keep going. NCIS series 15, David MaCallum:rolleyes:

Link to post

Hi, I’m doing much better today then yesterday. 

 

So I was previously alternating doses by the guidance of my doctor. I got down to 37.5mg by August. Then I started taking out beads. So I started with the 108 beads I counted in a capsule and took out 10 for a week and then another 10 for a week and so on. I realize now that that was too fast of a taper. Now I have about 50 beads which equals about 17.3mg. Last week I jumped down to 40 beads but after this panic/attack I went back up to 50. I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I was like “I can go faster I feel fine; I just want this medicine out of me.” Haha completely regret that now. So I’m going to stay at this dose now for at least a month until I feel stable. And then I’ll do the 10% method. I don’t care if it takes years, I don’t want to feel like this ever again. 

 

I just need help with the 10% method. I wanted to weigh the beads to be exact but I can’t figure out the scales. I tried 2 different ones. I feel like it would be so much easier to get a compounding pharmacy to do it for me if that’s something they do. I have no idea. The idea of measuring forever sounds scary to me. I’m afraid I’ll mess it up again. 

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

So that we can see your drug history at a glance and not have to read back through your posts, please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you.

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

 

On 9/20/2019 at 9:00 AM, spongebob123 said:

So I was previously alternating doses by the guidance of my doctor.

 

Q:  Have you changed to taking a dose every day?

 

 

On 9/20/2019 at 9:00 AM, spongebob123 said:

I wanted to weigh the beads to be exact but I can’t figure out the scales. I tried 2 different ones.

 

Many SA members are using the Gemini 20 scale.

 

using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses

 

 

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

Yes, so now I'm taking the pills every day just tapering the amount down. I was going down every week but that was obviously too fast. Now I'm running into another problem because my pharmacy gave me a totally different manufacturer who has different size beads that is throwing off my method. I bought a scale but I can't figure it out. 

 

I counted 108/9 beads in each of my 37.5mg capsules. So I was going down 10 beads every week. I did cross multiplication to figure out that 50 beads out of the 108 equals about 17.5mg. I didn't major in math so I have no idea what I'm doing! Anyway that method was working and the exact milligrams didn't matter until they switched the manufacturer on me. Now there's 60something beads in each capsule. I mean I can call the pharmacy and see if they can go back to the other one but I thought the scale would be easier. Now when I measure 50 of my beads from the last bottle that I had left over, the scale says 53mg, which can't be right because the whole capsule is 37.5mg. I guess I'll just call my pharmacy 😩

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
3 hours ago, spongebob123 said:

the scale says 53mg, which can't be right because the whole capsule is 37.5mg

 

37.5mg dose of the drug?

 

We abbreviate as mgpw = milligram pill weight and mgai = milligram active ingredient.

 

If you are having difficulties please post in using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses and others can help you.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post
  • 1 year later...
spongebob123

Hi, 

 

I haven't been on this site in a while so I apologize if I don't post in the correct format. I'll just give you a quick history of my taper as a background and then tell you what's been going on currently. I was originally tapering Effexor according to my doctor's orders in July 2019 starting at 187.5mg. By August, I was down to 0mg for 5 days but got sick, so I went back up to 37.5mg and have been tapering from there every since. I was going too fast in the beginning (because I thought I could handle it 😂) I was doing 10 beads every 2 weeks and then I had a major panic attack episode where I had continuous panic attacks all day in conjunction with dissociation for 4 days straight. I couldn't eat during this time as well. After 4 days, it slowly went away. I stayed at this dose for a couple months before tapering 10% every 4-6 weeks depending on how I felt. I last tapered down 1 bead in September 2020 bringing me to 8.25mg and had to stay there since I had a panic attack in October, and just haven't been feeling well the whole time (racing thoughts, increased anxiety, etc.) Which brings us to today...Last Monday, I woke up with a panic attack in the middle of the night. I completely lost my appetite and have been having panic attacks every morning and every night for the past week. The middle of the day seems okay. But, I haven't had a full meal since last Sunday. I lost 5 pounds. I had to call out of work 3 days last week. I need to eat because my body is suffering at this point. I'm weak because I'm not eating. When I try to eat I get too nauseous and can only eat a couple bites. And on top of all that, I can't sleep for longer than 2 hours because I wake up shaking because I'm starving and have to eat a snack 2-3 times a night. I need to go back to work this week. I just don't know what to do anymore, I just want to eat and stop panicking. Should I reinstate?

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Hello, @spongebob123, I added your new post to your existing topic.

 

You might increase by a bead and see if that helps, it could be you need to increase by more than that.

 

With drugs that are difficult to taper, such as Effexor, people often have more difficulty in the last leg. Increasing slightly and holding for several months to let your nervous system consolidate changes may make it easier to taper further.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to post
spongebob123
21 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Hello, @spongebob123, I added your new post to your existing topic.

 

You might increase by a bead and see if that helps, it could be you need to increase by more than that.

 

With drugs that are difficult to taper, such as Effexor, people often have more difficulty in the last leg. Increasing slightly and holding for several months to let your nervous system consolidate changes may make it easier to taper further.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.


Thank you so much! I’ll go up a bead and see how I do. I just wasn’t sure if it was too late to reinstate, but I’ll try it. 

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
spongebob123

Hi,

 

I’m not sure if anyone can help me at this point. I just went up a bead today so I know it’ll take a while to see if it works. I haven’t eaten anything substantial for over a week. Just small snacks every couple hours. When I think about food I feel nauseated. After I eat I get very tired and anxious and need to take a nap. I’m going to try to go to work tomorrow and just keep snacking through the day. But I honestly think I’ll have trouble since I can’t think straight and get very weak since by body has no fuel in it. I can’t sleep through the night without waking up shaking. Probably having a hypoglycemic episode. And then the mornings are the absolute worst because I wake up shaking and anxious and starving but can only eat a small amount. I wanted to go see a doctor but I’m afraid they’ll just recommend anxiety meds. I just feel like my body is suffering at this point. Everyone I talk to keeps telling me it’s in my head and I just have to keep eating but I feel like I need medical help at this point. Idk what they’re gonna do for me. Any advice is appreciated. 

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

So I went to my doctor and she told me to trust her and she would take care of me. She told me to go up to half of the 37.5 so we can stabilize myself. At this point I don’t care if I need more meds I just want to function again. I know it’s sacrilegious in this community but I can’t take it anymore. My life is being taken away from me. I’ve been on about 18.5mg for 3 weeks now. It was great in the beginning. I felt 90% better for a week and a half and then last week it came flooding back. I’ve been vomiting almost every morning, I can’t eat. Last night I only slept for an hour because I kept waking up with anxiety every few minutes. It’s not me at this point. There’s something wrong. Is this from reinstating too much? I just trusted my doctor. I know bridging isn’t recommended either but maybe I have to do that. I’m honestly scared to do anything at this point because it can either make me worse or better and I’ll never know unless I make a move. I called out of work again because I didn’t sleep at all last night and kept waking up anxious. Idk what people mean when they say it feels chemical but I think this is that. Something feels wrong with me and idk what it is but I’m terrified. I tapered as slowly as I could and this still happened. Idk what I did wrong. 

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • Administrator

We don't condemn people for reinstatement, we advise to do it cautiously.

 

14 hours ago, spongebob123 said:

I’ve been on about 18.5mg for 3 weeks now. It was great in the beginning. I felt 90% better for a week and a half and then last week it came flooding back. I’ve been vomiting almost every morning, I can’t eat. Last night I only slept for an hour because I kept waking up with anxiety every few minutes.

 

It appears 18.5mg is a bit too much for you. You started to react to it after it ramped up to full strength over some days.

 

You'd probably do better somewhere between 18.5mg and 8.25mg. Can you reduce to 15mg? Give it a week and see if you're comfortable on it. Let us know how you're doing.

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to post

@AltostrataDo you think I’ll have withdrawals from going back down to 15?

Effexor XR since 2007

Started tapering at 187.5mg

August 2019: 37.5mg

September 2019: 17.5mg

November 2019: 16mg

December 2019: 15mg

Dropped 10% of previous dose every 4-6 weeks

July 2020: 8.625mg (23 beads)

August 2020: 8.25mg (22 beads)

September 2020: 8.25mg (21 beads) 

February 2021: 8.25mg (22 beads)

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
12 hours ago, spongebob123 said:

@AltostrataDo you think I’ll have withdrawals from going back down to 15?

 

Unlikely, since you've only just increased it.

 

You may wish to keep daily notes of times of day you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms throughout the day. Post 24 hours of notes at a time in this topic, in a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom or drug and dosage) on the right. This can show if you are getting withdrawal or an adverse effect from a drug dose.

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy