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Superwoman: Effexor taper

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Superwoman

Hello,  Thank you so much for this site.  It is really a lifesaver.  I am trying to taper off of Effexor XR (Venlafaxine) after 17 years of use.  In the past I unsuccessfully tried to get off of Effexor XR.  My doctor attempted to taper me off in only one month.  The withdrawal symptoms were so horrible that I went I back on the drug and the symptoms immediately stopped.  I finally got up the courage to try to taper again.  This time I tapered 4 times as slow as before, but clearly not slow enough.  I was desperate to find relief from the severe anxiety attacks and insomnia side effect that I got when my Effexor was increased above 150 mg.  The anxiety and insomnia immediately improved after each reduction.  However, I still experience some anxiety attacks from the drug withdrawal.  I am currently holding steady at 112.5 mg. of Effexor XR.  I tapered from 187.5 mg. Effexor XR plus 10 mg. Viibryd, 300 Gabapentin and 25 mg. Amitriptyline (Elavil) down to 112.5 mg. Effexor XR. over the course of approximately 7 months.  Gabapentin and Elavil were relatively easy for me to get off of.  Probably because I was only on them for a year or two.  The withdrawal only lasted 1 week after each dose reduction.  The antidepressants however, were a different story.  They have been hell to get of!  Especially the Effexor.  I reduced the antidepressant every 3 to 5 weeks by reducing by the lowest dosage pill.  In June I had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).  This treatment helped me immensely.  In fact I believe that it saved me.  Before the treatment my depression was severe.  The TMS decreased it to mild.  It also helped with the anxiety a lot.   It also helped some with sleep, fatigue and sexual dysfunction.  If it was not for the drug withdrawal I really think that the depression would be in remission.  I am happy that I am making forward progress, but I am frustrated that I continue to suffer withdrawal symptoms and it has been 6 months since I last reduced the Effexor.  I am positive that I have PAWS.  I am not sure but I suspect that I may have Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction.  The withdrawal symptoms are no longer severe like they were but they are still significant.  I read your post on up-dosing and reinstating.  Thank you! for the advice!  I would have not known better and tried to up dose way too much had I not read this.  Based on the recommendation I decided to be cautious and up-dose at the lowest dose possible (1 beadlet or 0.4 mg.)  It has been 1 week since up-dosing.  The first night that I up-dosed I noticed that my heart raced when I drank a glass of wine and I had insomnia.  I don't really know if these things had anything to do with the up-dose or if it was an effect from the alcohol.  Other then this I did not notice any difference at all until today.  Today I had more intense head zaps.  It might be too soon to jump to any conclusions just yet.  I am thinking at holding steady for 1 more week and then assessing.  What do you think?  Also, how would you recommend storing the beadlets?  Do you think they need to be kept out of light?  P.S. I hope my signature is not too confusing.  Did I put it in the right place?  I am very glad that I found this site and I hope that I can help others as well.         

 

 

 

 

Signature:

2002-2005- Effexor XR. 150 mg.

2006- (Jan.- June) increased to 225 mg. Effexor XR, July 2006? decreased to 150 mg.

2007- 2018- Effexor XR.- 150 mg.

2018- increased to 225 mg. Effexor XR, added Gabapentin 900 mg., added Amitriptyline (Elavil25 mg.

2018- (Sept.) Decreased Effexor XR to 187.5mg, added Zoloft 10 mg., (Nov.) tapered off Elavil, (Dec.) tapered off Gabapentin

2019- (Jan.) switched Zoloft to 10 mg. Viibryd., (Feb.) decreased Effexor to 150 mg., (March) tapered off Viibryd, (April) switched 37.5 mg. Effexor to 10 mg. Prozac then tapered off of Prozac.

 

 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Superwoman.

 

Are your symptoms continuing to worsen since updosing?     


Please read:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the

 

The important thing is to continue to monitor your symptoms.  Keep notes on paper and post them here every day.

 

Here 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

 

You can keep the beads in a bottle away from light.

 

This is your Introduction topic where you should post your symptom pattern, answer my questions and ask questions of your own.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

Edited by Gridley

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Superwoman

Gridley,

 

Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate your help.  I will check out your post and also take some notes and post my symptoms.  My symptoms are improving as of yesterday(Sunday)and today.  I still had brain zaps the last 2 days but they were not as intense as Saturday. I did have some fatigue. I am hoping that my brain continues to adjust to the higher dose and the symptoms continue to improve. 

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Superwoman

Symptom Pattern: Tuesday Sept. 25, 2019

 

Morning- anxiety starting during breakfast while drinking coffee and taking Effexor XR. Anxiety nearly continuously all morning, frequent brain zaps

 

afternoon- numerous brain zaps, anxiety all afternoon 

 

evening-

5:30 pm started to feel better, less anxious 

6:30 pm took California Poppy 2 dropperfulls. Anxiety subsided, much better rest of evening.  Brain zaps better rest of evening. 

11:30 pm. Brain zaps worsened

 

So far I have not noticed any overall positive improvement since the updose.  I did not not notice anything much one way or another until after 1 week.  Overall I feel worse since the updose as of Saturday although things have improved some since then.  The negative reaction has been noticeable but not huge.  I am thankful that I found this site first because I would have updosed much more and likely had much worse of a reaction.  I re-read the post on reinstating and updosing.  0.1 mg is recommended for someone in my situation.  I updosed at 0.4 mg.  I would have started at 0.1 mg. but the smallest dose that my medicine comes in is 0.4 mg or 1 beadlet.  To get a smaller dosage I would have to crush the beadlet which I think I read somewhere on here will make it an immediate release.  Do you think that I should try that?  Or do you think that adding the immediate release to the extended release that I am currently taking will just be more stressful to my body and cause a bad reaction?  Or would you recommend that I stop taking the extra beadlet?  I could also just keep holding where I am and see if my brain starts to adjust and I start improving. Let me know your thoughts. 

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Altostrata

Welcome, SW.

 

Please add times of day to your symptom notes.

 

Were you anxious before you drank coffee in the morning? Did you have brain zaps before reinstating the Effexor? Do you get brain zaps after taking Effexor in the morning?

 

Why were you taking all those other drugs?

 

 

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Superwoman

I forgot to write down the times and then I couldn’t remember.

 

No, I was not anxious before I drank coffee.  Coffee definitely aggravates my anxiety, but with the fatigue I don’t feel like I can do without it. I limit it to 2 cups per day when I wake up. I would like to cut back to 1 cup per day, but I am likely dependent on the coffee as well.  So I don’t know if this is a good idea or not.  I may have some withdrawal from reducing the caffeine which could stress my body.  On the other hand I do think that reducing the caffeine would help with the anxiety.  What do you think?  

 

Yes, I did have brain zaps before updosing the Effexor. They just got worse and more intense 1 week after the updose.  I have not noticed more brain zaps after I take the Effexor, but I will pay attention to this.  

 

I was was taking Gabapentin and Elavil for chronic pelvic pain and fibromyalgia. The doctor told me it does not cause dependency and withdrawal and I would only need to take it temporarily.  

 

I took the Zoloft because I wanted to switch from an SNRI to an SSRI because I thought that the Effexor may have caused my Norephinephrine to get too high, causing anxiety and insomnia.  I thought this because my anxiety went through the roof when the doctor raised the Effexor above 150 mg.  Effexor only effects Norepinephrine at does 150 mg of higher.  The Zoloft did lower my anxiety and help with the insomnia. However it also worsened the sexual problems. So then I told my doctor that I was sick of all of the side effects and I wanted to taper off of the antidepressants and try natural medicine instead. I asked my doctor for the taper plan to give to my naturopathic doctor.  The doctor refused to take me off of the medicine, or give me the taper plan.  He said that I needed to be on it for life.  Instead the idiot doctor just switched the Zoloft for Viibryd.  I knew better than to cold turkey the meds.  Fortunately my family doctor agreed to prescribe the meds and taper me off.  I later used the Prozac because I had such a hard time getting off of the Effexor and I had read about the Prozac bridge. After reading the posts on this site I realized that I did not do it right. I think it did not work because I was already in a severe drug withdrawal when I tried it. I should have done it when I was stable.  

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Superwoman

Supplements/Natural 

California Poppy 3 to 4 dropperfulls/day

Epsom Salt bath 2Cups 2X week

various essential oils (EO)

Daytime Supplements

B Complex- 2 capsules per day

Omega 3- 2 Softgels per day

PB Assist- probiotic 1/day

Nighttime

DDR Prime 2 per day (EO blend)

Serenity softgel- 2/day (EO blend)

Armour Thyroid 120 mg.

 

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Superwoman

Saturday Sept, 28, 2019

12 am: Nighttime meds

2 am bed

8:30 am: Woke up 6.5 hrs sleep, groggy

9 am: Breakfast, coffee, Effexor XR 112.5 mg+ 1 bead

9:30 am: Mild anxiety lasted 10 min

10 am: ok

11 am: daytime supplements (see above post) Vit.B, probiotic, Omega 3

12 pm: period started

12:30 pm: Mild bout of anxiety lasting 10 min

1 pm. Tired

1:30 pm: Brain zaps off and on mild to mod. all afternoon 

5 pm. Brain zaps on and off all evening mild to mod. no anxiety 

9:30 pm. Nighttime Supplements (see above post) Armour Thyroid, DDR Prime, Serenity softgel, California Poppy

10 pm. Bed

 

Notes Saturday: Vacation, little anxiety, brain zaps on and Off all day, tired not enough sleep.  No real brain zaps until after taking daytime supplements 

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Superwoman

Sunday Sept. 29, 2019

 

8:30 am. Woke up with few brain zaps mild, groggy, otherwise ok

9 am Breakfast, coffee

9:30 am. Still little tired, irritable, few brain zaps mild

10 am. Still little groggy and irritable otherwise ok

10:30 am Effexor XR 112.5 mg+ 1 bead

11:30 am. Feeling better, more awake, no brain zaps

1:30 pm. No brain zaps or anxiety (9:30 am- 2 pm.)

2 pm. Lunch, daytime supplements (B Complex 2 capsules, Probiotic, Omega 3 2 softgels

2:30 pm. Slight brain zaps and slight anxiety 

3 pm Occasional brain zap (3-5:30pm)fatigue 

5:30 pm. Coffee 1 cup

6:30 pm. Few slight brain zaps

7 pm. Mild brain zaps,anxiety, irritability, C. poppy 2 droppers 

7:30 pm Anxiety improved still slight, few brain zaps 

8 pm.  No brain zaps, anxiety same

9 pm  Brain zaps mild

9:30 pm. Ok

10:30 pm. 1 Angry Orchard- few brain zaps

11 pm. Ok, nighttime supplements (Armour Thyroid, DDR Prime (EO blend), Serenity (EO Blend), Vit. D 2000 IU

12:30 am. Bed

NOTES: SUN felt OK until after taking morning Supplements then brain zaps and anxiety worsened after coffee and supplements.  separated coffee, Effexor, and supplements.  Symptoms started/ worsened 4 hrs. After taking Effexor, 30 min. after Supplements 

 

 

 

 

 

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Superwoman

Peak plasma concentration of Venlafaxine 4.5 to 7.5 hrs.,  ODV metabolite peak concentration 7 to 11 hrs.  

Half life 3-7 hrs.

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Superwoman

Monday Sept. 30, 2019

Vacation

 

9am. Woke up 8.5hrs sleep, more rested but still groggy, slight brain zaps

9:30 am:  Coffee 2.5 Cups

10 am:  Breakfast 

11 am:  OK

11:30 am:  Effexor XR (112.5 mg)+ 1 bead

12:30 pm:  Ok

1 pm:  Very slight anxiety 

3:30 pm:  Supplements (B Complex 2 capsules, probiotic 1 cap, Omega 3 2 softgels)

4 pm: nap 

4:30 pm:  More rested, increasing anxiety moderate 

6 pm:  California Poppy 2 droppers

7 pm:  anxiety less

7:30 am:  Slight headache

9 pm:  2 Alcoholic beverages

9:30 pm:  Few brain zaps, calmer

10:30 pm:  Nighttime supplements (Armour Thyroid 120 mg, DDR Prime 2 softgels, Serenity 2 softgels , Vit. D 2000 IU, C. Poppy 2 droppers 

11 pm: OK

12 am: bed

 

Notes: Mon. On vacation.  Anxiety increased again after taking afternoon supplement for 2nd day in row. Separated Effexor, Supplements and coffee again.

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Superwoman

Tuesday Oct. 1, 2019

Vacation

 

 

9 am:  woke up

10 am: breakfast, coffee 

10:30 am: slight headache 

11 am: Effexor XR 112.5 + 1 bead (0.4 mg)

11:30 am: Tired, otherwise ok

2 pm: Small coffee 

2:30pm: Slight headache and brain zaps

4pm: supplements (B Complex 2 capsules, probiotic 1 capsule, Omega 3 2 capsules)

4:30pm: Slight anxiety, irritability

5:30pm: Mod. Headache, irritability few hrs.

6:30pm: C. poppy 

7pm: anxiety less

7pm-8pm: Slight headache

8:30pm: better 

9pm: 1 alcohol beverage

9:30 pm: Ok

10:30 pm: Supplements (only Armour Thyroid & Epsom Salt bat)

11:30 pm: Bed 

 

Notes Tuesday: Noticed increase in Symptoms anxiety, brain zaps, irritability after taking supplements and coffee, Separated coffee, supplements & Effexor No nighttime supplements other than Armour Thyroid, E Salt

 

 

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Frenchgirl

Hi Superwoman 

I've seen you're tapering this nasty drug of effexor,I'm at the same dosage as yours and too fast tapered (even if my situation is different from some points).I'm wondering,do you notice any difference with more bead?That seems very little.Do you still have WD symptoms?To add this bead do you remove it from one caps of 75mg or 37.5mg XR?Did you count all the beads from several caps in  order to know one bead equals to 0.4mg?It's the Pfizer/Wyeth 

you have?

Thanks for your reply.

Take Care.

French Girl.

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Superwoman

Wednesday Oct. 2, 2019

trial stopped all supplements 

 

9am: Woke up before alarm 9 hrs sleep achy but ok

9:30 am: Breakfast, coffee 

10 am: Little tired and achy, otherwise ok

10:30 am: Slight anxiety, brain zaps, depression 

11 am: Fatigue 

11:30 am: Effexor XR 112.5 + 1 bead

12pm: Fatigue 

1:30pm: Anxiety mild, driving to work 

2:30pm: Start work, Mild Headache, brain zaps, anxiety

3 pm: Peace Essential oil (EO) topical

3:30 pm: Anxiety lessened but brain zaps worsening 

4pm: Brain zaps ( 1:30 pm-6:30 pm)

6:30pm: Dinner

7 pm- 11:30 pm: felt better all evening 

11:30pm: Armour Thyroid 120 mg

12 am: bed

 

Notes Wednesday: Stopped all supplements to see If supplements are causing or Worsening symptoms.  Overall feeling better since stopping supplements so far.   Symptoms clustered in afternoon. 2 hrs. after Effexor.  Peaked (2:30pm-6:30pm) 3 hrs-7 hrs. after Effexor.  5 hrs to 9 hrs. after coffee.  Stomach much better.

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Superwoman

Hi Frenchgirl,

The generic brand of Effexor that I am on is Aurobindo.  I added 1 bead, which I removed from the 37.5mg. Capsule.  To get the approximate dose I counted the beads from 2 different 37.5mg. Capsules.  One capsule contained 92 beads and another capsule contained 99 beads.  37.5 divided by 92= 0.4. 37.5 divided by 99= 0.378, rounded up to 0.4. This is how I calculated the dosage of 0.4mg.  If you were to divide it the other way, 92 divided by 37.5 you get 2.45.  Therefore, 2.5 beads of the 37.5 capsule = 1 mg.  Does that make sense?  Note: the beads from the 75 mg. and the 37.5 mg are not the same.  i.e.  The 37.5 mg capsule does not contain half the amount of beads of the 75 mg capsule.  My calculation is approximate because I did not count the beads real carefully.  The beads in my capsules are different sizes.  Yes, 1 bead is very little increase in dose.  I followed the advice of the post here on updosing and reinstating which recommend an extremely small dose increase if it has been months since the last dose decrease.  Gridley posted the link.  It is the 2nd post on my page.  You may want to check out the post if you have not done so already.  It had been 6 months for me since I last reduced the Effexor in March when I tried the updose.  After this long an updose is less likely to work.  According to the article someone in my situation (alerting symptoms, and last reduced months ago) should reinstate/updose at only 0.1 mg. because you may be too sensitive for updosing.  Unfortunately, the lowest that I could do was 0.4 mg. because 1 bead is the smallest unit.  I can say that I did not really notice any difference one way or another for the first week.  Then after 1 week I noticed a definite negative reaction (more severe, increased symptoms brain zaps, anxiety etc.).  It takes 1 week for the brain to register the increase in dose.  I think I must be very sensitive.  I was surprised to notice any difference at all at such a small increase.  The symptoms then progressively improved but I still felt worse then before the updose.  3 days ago I stopped all supplements as a trial to see if the supplements are worsening my symptoms.  I definitely noticed a big improvement in symptoms.  So either the supplements were worsening symptoms or I am in a window.   So to summarize, I initially had a negative reaction to updosing after 1 week.  Then symptoms progressively improved, but I was still worse off then before the updose.  After eliminating supplements 3 days ago I am feeling a lot better.  I still have withdrawal symptoms every day but not as bad.  I am attributing the improvement to eliminating the supplements, not the updosing.  But I don’t know, the updose could have played a role also?  I am unsure at this point what role the updose is playing because there is more than 1 variable at play (i.e. eliminating supplements).  Sorry, I wish I could give you a more definite answer.  I am still trying to figure this out myself.  I am unsure if I should keep the extra bead or stop it.  I hope that this helps.  It is kind of confusing trying to sort this all out.  Let me know if I answered all of your questions and if you have any more.

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Superwoman

Bonjour Frenchgirl,

It is cool to meet someone from France.  I hope to take a trip to Europe one day.  I would suggest starting at a very low dosage like I did if you decide to reinstate. Are you having alerting symptoms (anxiety and insomnia)?  The advantage of a small low dose updose is that if you do have a bad reaction then it will be a small bad reaction and not real bad.  The negative reaction that I initially had was noticeable but not too bad.  It did not set me back too far because I was cautious and updosed only a very small amount.  You can always add more if needed later. I believe I have also read of people who initially had a bad reaction to an updose but then later pulled through and ended up better in the end.  It is a gamble though.  I don’t know if you would want to try to figure out what is currently causing your problems before doing an updose?  Otherwise if there are multiple variables it is hard to figure out what is causing what.  This is the problem I am having.  I found keeping a symptom record has really helped me.  Do you think any supplements could be causing a bad reaction?  Do you drink coffee or beverages with caffeine?  We should keep in touch. We might be able to help each other. We have a similar treatment history in some regards. We have both been on Effexor many years and reduced to 112.5 mg. in March.  I hope you start feeling better.

take care,

Superwoman

 

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Superwoman

Thursday October 3, 2019

trial no supplements 

 

9:30 am: Woke up 9.5 hrs sleep, little sleepy, few brain zaps slight

10 am: Breakfast, coffee, Effexor XR 112.5 mg + 1 bead

10:30 am: Ok

11 am: Anxiety slight, few brain zaps (11am-1 pm)

1:30 am: Anxiety mild

2 pm: Ok

2:30 pm: Ok, start work

3 pm: Brain zaps and anxiety peak (3pm-7 pm).

3:30pm: Mod - intensity, moderate frequency 

7pm: Ok, all evening 

7:30pm: (7:30pm-11:30 pm) symptoms progressively lessened throughout the evening.  

8:30pm: No anxiety.  Brain zaps mild, Infrequent and sporadic.  

12:30 am: Armour Thyroid 120 mg., bed 

 

Notes Thursday: symptoms peaked in the afternoon again around same time.  (3pm-7pm)  5-9 hrs after coffee and Effexor.  Noticed Improvement in symptoms Since eliminating supplements last 2 days.

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Superwoman

Venlafaxine is metabolized to its active metabolite, O-desmethylvenlafaxine (ODV). After administration of extended-release capsules, the peak plasma concentrations of venlafaxine and ODV are attained within 5.5 and 9 hours, respectively.[1] The absorption rate of capsule venlafaxine is slower than its rate of elimination. Thus, the elimination half-life of venlafaxine after administration of the extended-release capsule (15 ± 6 hours) is the absorption half-life instead of the true disposition half-life (5 ± 2) hours observed after administration of an immediate-release tablet.

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Superwoman

Friday October 4, 2019

 

9 am: Woke up, 8.5 hrs sleep 

9:30 am: Breakfast, coffee, Effexor XR + 1 bead

10 am: Ok

11 am: Yoga

11:30 am: Bloating mild+

12 pm: Ok 12pm to 1 pm

1:30pm: Driving to work, anxiety slight

2pm: Ok

2:30pm: Start work, anxiety mild (peak)

3pm: Start work, anxiety mild (peak)

3:30 pm: ok-3:30-5pm

5 pm: anxiety lasting few minutes 

5:30pm: Few brain zaps, anxiety lasting few minutes 

6pm: Fatigue 

7pm: few brain zaps mild

7:30pm: Brain zaps mild, average frequency (peak)

8pm: Few brain zaps slight 

8:30pm: Feeling better (8:30-10:30pm)

10pm: Few brain zaps slight 

12 am: Ok

12:30pm: 1 alcoholic beverage 

1 am: Ok

1:30pm: Armour Thyroid, bed

 

Friday Notes: No Supplements.  Anxiety peaked at 2:30 pm. 5 hrs. after Effexor & coffee. 3:30-5pm. Felt ok. 7:30 pm brain zaps peak. 10 hrs after Effexor 

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Superwoman

Saturday October 5, 2019

No Supplements 

 

11:30 am Woke up 10 hrs sleep, mild headache, achy back 

12pm  Breakfast, coffee, symptoms same 

12:30pm. Effexor XR 112.5 mg + 1 bead

1pm. Feeling better, more alert

2:30pm. Mild anxiety, no brain zaps

3:30pm. increasing anxiety mild + (peak 3:30-5pm)

4pm. Hike, anxiety mild 4pm-5 pm

4:30pm. Same 4:30-5:30pm

5:30 pm. Hike, feeling better 5:30-8:30pm

8 pm. Dinner 

8:30pm. Feeling heart beat in chest, heart beating little fast, heartburn

9pm. Tums, sore throat 

9:30pm. Still bloated otherwise ok rest of evening 

10 pm. Epsom cup bath 2 cups

1pm. Bed. 

 

Saturday Notes: no supplements. Woke up with slight brain zaps felt little better after Effexor and coffee, then worse again in afternoon peak 3:30-5pm., 3 to 5 hrs after coffee and Effexor.  felt better again in evening until after dinner got heartburn. 

 

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Superwoman

Note:  I noticed a pattern that occurred over 4 days.  Anxiety started a couple of hrs. after Effexor and coffee.  My symptoms peaked in the afternoon around the same time every day between 2:30pm and 7:30 pm, 3 to 10 hours after taking Effexor.  Symptoms  then improved in the evening and night.  I think that some natural supplements may have been worsening the symptoms. Either that or I was in a window. For the first four days that I stopped the supplements I definitely felt better.  Symptoms were less spread out over the day and more predictable.  The last few days I have felt worse again.  Bad allergies seem to have triggered a wave.  Any thoughts on what could be causing the remaining symptoms?  Side effect to Effexor? Withdrawal? Side effect to Armour Thyroid?

 

My Symptom pattern rating scale

 

Mild - /Slight= barley perceived

Mild= noticeable but not bad, manageable 

Mild + = manageable, but symptoms worsening 

Moderate - = symptoms starting to interfere.  

Moderate= average level of severity, struggling

Mod += in higher than Moderate but not quite severe, harder to manage 

Severe = having a very hard time

managing, functioning but just getting by

Debilitating = can’t function, not working

 

Frequency of Symptoms

 

Infrequent= few symptoms ie. 1 to 3 brain zaps in 1/2 hr. Period

Average=  4 to 6 brain zaps in 1/2 hr. Period.

Frequent= 7 or more brain zaps in 1/2 hr period.  

 

 

 

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Superwoman
12 hours ago, Altostrata said:

 

Some people find Effexor to be stimulating. Reducing the dosage should reduce the adverse effect.

 

Altostrata,

I have been tracking my symptoms like you and Gridley suggested. I have noticed a pattern. Will you mind taking a look at my symptom tracker and notes on my page when you get a chance?  I know you are busy and I appreciate your help and this site. I could not fit the supplements in my signature so I just listed them on my page in a post.  I have been trying to narrow down what is causing and aggravating my symptoms.  It sounds like you think that the symptoms may be a side effect of the Effexor.  I was initially thinking that the symptoms were from withdrawal.  Now I am wondering if maybe it is not withdrawal anymore and now it is just a side effect?  What do you think?  Could it be both side effects and withdrawal?  Symptoms peak during the time frame when the Effexor would be at or near peak levels in my bloodstream.  I take the Effexor in the morning so I would think that if the problem was withdrawal then the symptoms would get worse and worse throughout the day.  I am confused by the half life number in your one quote so I don’t know when the levels of drug would be dropping off to tell if there is inter-dose withdrawal.  I did not have anxiety, racing heart, brain zaps or sexual problems before when I was at this dose. But as I understand it after going through withdrawal your body can become hypersensitive to meds and you may not be able to tolerate a dose that you previously could tolerate. However, the brain zaps are not a symptom that I had until tapering Effexor.  Other variables are coffee and my thyroid med.  I have noticed that coffee aggregates my anxiety. I am considering cutting back on the coffee or eliminating it and seeing if that helps. I am a little concerned though about having a withdrawal from stopping coffee on top of this all.  I don’t drink massive amounts. Just 2 cups per day, which I think would not be too hard to quit. 

 

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Altostrata

Hello, Superwoman.

 

It makes sense to take the supplements out of the schedule, B vitamins in particular may aggravate anxiety.

 

Yes, something you're taking in the morning is causing symptoms some hours later. Effexor peak plasma is a reasonable guess; the coffee could be involved as well. 

 

It would be best if you did not add alcohol into the mix at all, it can also upset your system.

 

Why are you taking one additional bead of Effexor? Why did you reinstate the amount of 112.5mg Effexor in March (?)? Did you try a lower amount?

 

How's your sleep?

 

Question about your history: Were you taking Effexor in combination with Zoloft, Prozac, etc. all along?

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Sassenach
21 hours ago, Altostrata said:

 

Some people find Effexor to be stimulating. Reducing the dosage should reduce the adverse effect.

 

@Altostrata

I have been tracking my symptoms like you and Gridley suggested. I have noticed a pattern. Will you mind taking a look at my symptom tracker and notes on my page when you get a chance?  I know you are busy and I appreciate your help and this site. I could not fit the supplements in my signature so I just listed them on my page in a post.  I have been trying to narrow down what is causing and aggravating my symptoms.  It sounds like you think that the symptoms may be a side effect of the Effexor.  I was initially thinking that the symptoms were from withdrawal.  Now I am wondering if maybe it is not withdrawal anymore and now it is just a side effect?  What do you think?  Could it be both side effects and withdrawal?  Symptoms peak during the time frame when the Effexor would be at or near peak levels in my bloodstream.  I take the Effexor in the morning so I would think that if the problem was withdrawal then the symptoms would get worse and worse throughout the day.  I am confused by the half life number in your one quote so I don’t know when the levels of drug would be dropping off to tell if there is inter-dose withdrawal.  I did not have anxiety, racing heart, brain zaps or sexual problems before when I was at this dose. But as I understand it after going through withdrawal your body can become hypersensitive to meds and you may not be able to tolerate a dose that you previously could tolerate. However, the brain zaps are not a symptom that I had until tapering Effexor.  Other variables are coffee and my thyroid med.  I have noticed that coffee aggregates my anxiety. I am considering cutting back on the coffee or eliminating it and seeing if that helps. I am a little concerned though about having a withdrawal from stopping coffee on top of this all.  I don’t drink massive amounts. Just 2 cups per day, which I think would not be too hard to quit. 

 

Superwoman please do not post content about yourself on another members thread.

 

This post was copied from Frenchgirl's thread.

 

Sassenach

 

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Superwoman

Altostrata,

 

Thanks for your reply.  Sorry, I wasn’t sure where to post. I was replying to your post to me on Frenchgirl’s thread and I didn’t know if I should post there or my page.

 

Do you think that I should leave the extra bead in for now or remove it?  I am wondering if it might be best to leave the extra bead in for the time being until I can determine for sure that too much Effexor is in fact the problem?  Like you said, it is a “reasonable guess”, but there could be other factors as well, such as coffee.  I could first remove the other variables (the coffee and Thyroid pills) and track my symptoms.  Then I think I would know what is causing what.  At this point I would have more data to help me decide what to do about the other bead.  What do you think about this course of action?  I am thinking of taking a month to taper off the coffee.

 

Do do you think that I am still having protracted withdrawal symptoms currently?  This is all very hard to sort out. 

 

(Did I try a lower amount?)  No, I have not tried lowering the dose below 112.5 mg yet.  My plan is too lower the dose much more gradually once I am well enough and more stabilized.  

 

I am sleeping through the the night most nights now. The last couple of nights have been the exception. I have had trouble sleeping due to congestion from allergies. I also eliminated herbal medicine that helps me sleep. Many nights I have slight trouble falling asleep. I diffuse essential oils aromatically to help me sleep.  I have not eliminated those because I do not injest them. 

12 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Question about your history: Were you taking Effexor in combination with Zoloft, Prozac, etc. all along?

No, I was not talking them together all along and I never took all three at the same time.  For majority of 17 years I was only on Effexor.  In September my doctor decreased Effexor 225 mg to 185 mg. and added in 10 mg. Zoloft.  Then on January 5 I decided to decrease the Effexor by 37.5 mg in order to try to lessen anxiety farther.  So I was then on Effexor XR 150 mg. plus 10 mg. Zoloft for a couple of weeks (Jan. 5- Jan 3.). My psychiatrist then refused to taper the antidepressants and instead switched the Zoloft to 10 mg. Viibryd. So I was then on Viibryd 10 mg plus Effexor 150 mg. from Jan. 24- Mar. 3, for five weeks.  On Mar 3 I stopped the Viibryd. 

In early March (Mar. 4) I was at 150 mg. Effexor only.  Three weeks later on March 22 I did the Prozac bridge. I swapped 37.5mg of the 150 mg. Effexor with 10 mg. of Prozac.  So, I was at 112.5 mg. Effexor plus 10 mg. Prozac for 1 week.  After one week of overlapping the two drugs I dropped the 10 mg. Prozac. I ended at 112.5 mg. Effexor April 5.  I stayed at this dose for 5 months.   

 

To answer your question, (Why did I reinstate 112.5 mg Effexor in March?)  If I understand reinstatement correctly then I don’t believe that I did reinstate.  I reduced the medication.  Before the Prozac bridge I was at 150 mg. I reduced this to 112.5 mg (see explanation above).

 

On September 5 I added in 1 additional bead (approximately 0.4 mg).  I added the extra bead because while the withdrawal symptoms were improving, they were still significant even after 5 months holding steady. I was hoping that maybe a small updose might help but I knew it was less likely to work after so long.  

 

Does this make more sense?  I hope that my drug signature is not too confusing.  I can revise it to clarify it if you want?  There were a lot of drug switches and I don’t know the exact dates for Zoloft, Gabapentin and Elavil so I had to estimate for some.

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Altostrata

If I were you, I'd drop the additional bead. 

 

Please continue to post daily notes. It is possible some of your symptoms are not withdrawal but too much Effexor.

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Superwoman

Altostrata,

Thanks for your advice.  I will drop the additional bead.  I hope that I won’t have any withdrawal from dropping the bead?  It is such a small amount.  I would like to try reducing coffee to 1 cup. I want to do one thing at a time though. How long should I wait after dropping the bead before I try reducing coffee?  I want to give my body time to adjust. 

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Superwoman

Wednesday October 16, 2019

Dropped extra bead Fri. Oct. 11 five days ago.  Added zinc 10 mg. 2 X day( chiropractor recommended and harmonized me to it).


10 am: Woke up 8 hrs sleep. Well rested

10:30 am: Breakfast coffee 2 C, Effexor XR 112.5 mg, Zinc 10 mg.

11 am: Heart beating hard, fast,(mod.) loose stools.

11:30 am: fast heart beat & anxiety (slight) (11:30-1pm)

1pm: Lunch

1:30pm: Anxiety mod-, 1 brain zap mild, Peace EO

2pm: Arrive at work, anxiety mod.-, fast heartbeat mild+
2:30-3:30pm- Ok

3:30pm: Anxiety mild 30 min

4pm: Ok 4pm-7pm

6:30 pm: Dinner, Zinc

7pm: 2 brain zaps mild

7:30pm: Few brain zaps slight 

8 pm: same

8:30pm: Emotional numbing till 10pm

10:30 am: Ok 10:30pm-11:30pm

12am: Snack

12:30 am: Armour Thyroid 120 mg

1am: Bed, EO’s (Lavender, Serenity diffused)(Deep Blue, Aroma Touch, Frankincense topical) 

1:30am:Amplified heart rate

 

Notes Wednesday: Added Zinc 10 mg. 2Xday (recommended by chiropractor for allergies) Chiropractor harmonized me to it. brain zaps a lot less since dropping extra bead!  Anxiety about same.  Discovered reaction to Epsom salt bath and essentialos (amplified heart rate).  Depression mild Thyroid levels low. Not sure yet if reacting to zinc. Will monitor.

 

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Superwoman

Thursday Oct. 17, 2019

 

trial zinc 10 mg. 2Xday, reduced coffee from 2 mugs to 1& 3/4 mugs. 

 

8am: Woke up 7 hrs sleep, little tired

8:30am: Breakfast, coffee 1&3/4 C, Effexor XR 112.5 mg

9 am: Fast heart rate mild

10 am: Counselor 

10:30am: Anxiety, amplified heart rate 2 hrs. Mild

12:30 pm: Zinc 10 mg, ginger cookies 

1pm: Amplified heart rate mild

1:30pm: Same

2pm: amplified HR, anxiety mild -

2:30pm: Same

3pm: Feeling better (3pm-5:30pm)

6pm: 1 brain zap slight

6:30pm: Dinner

7pm: Depression mild 1 hr. fatigue lasting all evening 

9pm: headache slight 10 minutes 

11 pm: Zinc 10 mg tablet

12am: snack

12:30 am: Amplified fast heartbeat mild

1am: Armour Thyroid 120 mg., bed


Thursday Notes: good day. Only few slight brain zaps. Reduced coffee to 1&3/4 cups down from 2 cups.  Anxiety maybe slightly better. Possibly reacting to zinc.  reaction to sugar (fast heartbeat). Definitely feeling better since dropping extra bead.  

 

 

 

 

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Superwoman

Friday October 18, 2019

 

Reduced coffee from 2 C to 1.5 C (3 scoops). trial zinc 10mg 2Xday. Trial AromaTouch essential oil, stopped all other nighttime EO’s

 

11am: Woke up w/ brain zaps mild, slept in 10 hrs sleep

11:30am: Still tired, brain fog, breakfast, reduced coffee 1 1/2 C, Effexor XR 112.5mg

12pm: heart rate fast, nausea, still feeling bad, anxiety mild

12:30pm: acid reflux, peppermint EO internal 2 drops, 4 tums, took shower

1pm: Feeling better but belly still little upset, headache slight

1:30pm: Feeling better

2pm: Anxiety slight, arrive at work

2:30pm: Anxiety slight, headache mild

3pm-4:30pm: ok 

4:30pm: Zinc 10 mg., snack, few mild brain zaps

5pm-6pm: Alright

6pm: Dinner, zinc 10 mg

6:30pm: Brain zaps slight to mild all evening.

7pm: Depression slight till 9 pm, fatigue all evening 

8:30pm: 2 pieces candy, brain zaps mild

12:30am: Armour Thyroid 120 mg

1am: Bed, Aroma Touch EO topical-no reaction. No other nighttime essential oils


Friday Notes: I felt bad when I woke up, then felt better after shower. I think I am reacting to zinc. Going to stop zinc until chiropractor can harmonize me more.  reaction to sugar Reduced coffee from 2 C to 1.5 C (3 scoops). anxiety not as bad slight. Stopped all nighttime essential oils except Aromatouch. trying one at a time to identify reactions.  Seemed ok with Aromatouch. 

 

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Frenchgirl

Hi Superwoman

How are you doing today?I hope you are doing Well.I answered to you on my thread,i hope you've seen my answer.

Thanks for your kind words.

All the best.

Frenchie.

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Superwoman

Saturday October 19, 2019

 

Armour Thyroid increased to 3 Gr. (180mg.)
 

10 am: Woke up 10 hrs. Sleep well rested, few brain zaps mild

10:30am: breakfast, coffee 1.5cups (3 scoops), Effexor XR 112.5 mg

11am: fast heart rate mild

11:30am-12:30am: ok

1pm: anxiety mild

1:30pm: Lunch, same symptoms 

2pm: Same

2:30-3:30pm: Shopping, dissociated, difficulty w/ focus

4pm: fatigue till 9:00pm

6:30pm: Dinner w/ parents, mild depression 

7:30pm: Playing cards, anxiety mild 1 hr.

12:30am: Took Armour Thyroid increased to 180 mg (3GR), bed

1am:1 or 2 mild brain zaps after taking Armour Thyroid then okay.

 

Saturday Notes: Armour Thyroid increased to 3 Gr. (180mg.). Few mild brain zaps after taking Armour Thyroid. anxiety in afternoon usual time.  Dissociation and brain fog while shopping.  I have always spaced out while shopping. Don’t know why. Mild bout of depression.  Some fatigue. 

 

 

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Superwoman

Sunday October 20, 2019

 

10:30am: Woke up. 10 hrs sleep, well rested, slept well, Effexor XR 112.5 mg. Coffee 3 scoops 1.5 C

11am: Brain fog

2:30pm: Anxiety slight, 1 brain zap

3pm: Anxiety mild

3:30pm: Dog park, ok 4pm-8pm

4pm:Neck, shoulder and jaw muscle knots, pain

7:30pm: Dinner

8:30pm: Few brain zaps mild

9pm: Trial Epsom salt bath different brand 1 C, heartbeat amplified slight

9:30pm: Heartbeat amplified slight 2 hrs

12-1 am: Ok 

1 am: Bed, Armour Thyroid 3 GR, few brain zaps mild then ok


Notes Sunday: mild anxiety in afternoon usual time 2:30pm nothing anxiety triggering at time.  At first I thought maybe anxiety is being triggered by work b/c it occurs every day around time I arrive at work. But it also occurs this same time on weekends. Brain zaps infrequent since dropping extra bead. Anxiety little bit better.  Mood more upbeat today. few hour period Where genitals felt extra numb, couldn’t even feel underwear. Muscle knots neck and shoulders. 

 

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Superwoman

Monday October 21, 2019

 

10 am: Alarm went off, still tired, pressed snooze

10:30 am: Woke up 9.5hrs sleep, slept ok, slight headache 

11am: Breakfast, coffee 3 scoops, Effexor XR 112.5

11:30am: Headache mild

1:30 pm: Kayaking, good

4:30pm: Achy 

6pm: Dinner, heartbeat amplified slight

6:30pm: Movie

7:30pm: Heart rate amplified, fast mild

8pm: Heartburn 

8:30pm: Little down

9pm: 4 tums

9:30pm: Brain zaps mild

12am: Bed, Armour Thyroid 3 GR, few brain zaps mild


Monday Notes: More brain zaps today. About 3 brainzaps in 1 hr. period, here and there all day. Some heartburn. Otherwise alright.  Took off work b/c it was nice out, went kayaking My husband paddled so my neck didn’t knot up, but somehow it still did. 

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Superwoman

Notes Tuesday Oct. 22, 2019
 

Saw Chiropractor. He did muscle testing to  check for supplement and medication reactions.  Tested ok to probiotic, and Omega 3. Total Body Modification therapy.  harmonized to Effexor XR 112.5, Zinc, Epsom Salt, coffee 2 scoops Worked on anxiety. Mildly depressed all day Chiropractor also worked on seasonal allergies 

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Altostrata

I am skeptical about muscle testing.

 

Do you always have "3 scoops" of coffee in the morning?

 

Why was your Armour Thyroid increased? Have you felt any different since the increase?

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