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NSXtech: Another Effexor Withdrawal Attempt


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NSXtech

I'm new around here, kind of. I've dropped in over the years and made a couple GP assisted withdrawal attempts.

Back story: During a marital separation in 2000 I had a deep depressive episode, I'm fortunate to be here. I sought counseling which led to psychiatry and being started on Paxil and Ativan. Paxil worked very well, however when my wife and I got back together Paxil's sexual debilitations became apparent prompting a switch to Wellbutrin. I spent a few years on Wellbutrin as the marriage continued to devolve, but had terrible sweating episodes; which led to a switch to Effexor and minor sexual issues.

Fast forward I am 14 years into a second marriage, doing well and my trusted General Practitioner is handling my Effexor in a maintenance manner.

With his help (but limited experience) I have tried backing off using starter packs a couple times but quickly found coming off from 150mg in 37.5mg increments a week at a time was not going to work. Brain zaps, irritability, anxiety, returning depressive state.

As I've aged, 55, ED has become an issue that the usual treatments don't adequately treat. So I taken renewed interest in tapering off and maybe getting off Effexor.

I purchased gelatin caps, a pill stomper and tiny funnels from Amazon. I already had a beam scale as I am a shooter/reloader. Inexpensive digital scales are notoriously unreliable from a repeatability standpoint especially at the lower end.

I've read of folks using a folded sheet of paper with a ruler printed on it to measure the length of the beads lined end to end and gradually tapering, but I already had scales.

The contents of a generic 150mg Effexor is @ 470mg of beads, my scale measures in grains, 7.3gr to be exact. A 10% reduction equals 6.6gr.

I started at 6.6gr for a week then eased to 6.3gr, 13% taper. At about a week minor brain zaps occurred and some mild irritability, I pushed through and after 3 weeks at 6.3gr these have subsided. BUT I find I have more expressive feelings. Not that I was ever uncaring, it was just muted/subdued in there, and Cialis has a more pronounced effectiveness for me.

I was hoping to go in 10% steps of a month each; maybe I need to reevaluate and go in 5% steps of a month to 6 weeks. I'll probably try 6.1gr for a few weeks before attempting 5.8gr or 20% reduction.

 

 

 

20210705_154100-COLLAGE.jpg

Spring of 2000 - Paxil 20mg

Spring 2000 - Wellbutrin 150mg.

Ativan 1 mg twice daily.

2001-2005- Wellbutrin 300mg

2005 - Transitioned from Wellbutrin to 150mg Effexor

Ativan 1 mg in AM, 1mg PM as needed.

2009 - Failed attempt to taper.

2012 - Failed attempt to taper.

May/June 2021 - Self tapering using scale method.

Late August 2021 had to stop taper due to job change and increased anxiety.

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  • Moderator
getofflex

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs. 

 

First of all, can you please give us specific information about your drug history for all drugs you are on and have been on, especially for the past 18-24 months?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your drugs in a concise list (no symptoms), only drug names, specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease or increase.  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

 Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

1 hour ago, NSXtech said:

With his help (but limited experience) I have tried backing off using starter packs a couple times but quickly found coming off from 150mg in 37.5mg increments a week at a time was not going to work. Brain zaps, irritability, anxiety, returning depressive state.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of doctors don't know how to help their patients properly taper off these drugs.  This rate is way too fast.  

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

1 hour ago, NSXtech said:

I was hoping to go in 10% steps of a month each; maybe I need to reevaluate and go in 5% steps of a month to 6 weeks. I'll probably try 6.1gr for a few weeks before attempting 5.8gr or 20% reduction.

Being as how you did a very fast taper when you decreased by 37.5 mg per week recently, it may be a good idea for you to stop tapering for a while, and hold at your current dose for a few months, until you stabilize. You may not be feeling too bad now, but these things have a way of catching up with us.  Oftentimes there is a delayed response to fast tapering, even by 2 or 3 months in some people.  And once our nervous systems go into withdrawal symptoms it can take a very long time to resolve.  Better to avoid this in the first place.  Also, we at SA do not suggest a 20% or a 13% taper.  We suggest no more than the 10% taper of our current dose, as explained in the link.  Are you on immediate release or extended release? 

 

Here is the thread that talks about how to dose and taper Effexor: 

 

Tips for Tapering Effexor

 

Also, as we are recovering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. This is extremely important. 

 

Considerations About Stability Stop Jumping Around

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called windows and waves.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

 

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here.  Please read through it, and take some time to digest it all.  Let us know how things are going.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone nightly, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • getofflex changed the title to NSXtech: Another Effexor Withdrawal Attempt
NSXtech

Thank you! I hope to finally get off this beast.

 

Spring of 2000 - Paxil 20mg

Spring 2000 - Wellbutrin 150mg.

Ativan 1 mg twice daily.

2001-2005- Wellbutrin 300mg

2005 - Transitioned from Wellbutrin to 150mg Effexor

Ativan 1 mg in AM, 1mg PM as needed.

2009 - Failed attempt to taper.

2012 - Failed attempt to taper.

May/June 2021 - Self tapering using scale method.

Late August 2021 had to stop taper due to job change and increased anxiety.

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Welcome, @NSXtech

 

Thanks for sharing your excellent photos. Would you add your method to this topic Using a scale to measure doses

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.

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  • 1 month later...
92sharks

@NSXtechI am also tapering off Effexor. I have just counted beads for the last 3 years. I began at 188mg and I am down to 10 beads that I imagine as 10 mg. I see that you taper by weight. Would you be willing to share with me how many beads are in each capsule that you are taking right now? I will watch the latest video you have shared recently. It may give me the information I am looking for. Best of luck to you and thank you for the information you have shared!

1999 began Wellbutrin, and Zoloft, then off both, tried Lexapro, then eventually Effexor XR

2009 slowly weaned self off Effexor XR  experienced 7 months of withdrawal syndrome, became suicidal

2010 went on Prozac (dose ?), then off Prozac (agitation/anxiety), resumed Effexor XR

2010-2014 titrated up to Effexor XR 150mg and Effexor 37.5mg

2014-2018 have been on this dose for 4 years~Effexor EX 150mg and Effexor 37.5mg (Total 188mg)

January 22, 2018, began decreasing dose of Effexor 37.5mg (Continuing 150mg dose unchanged)

February 19, 2018 Effexor XR 150mg + 29 balls of Effexor 37.5mg capsule (29mg?????) x 2 days

August 15, 2020 Effexor ER 60mg x 5 months

August 10, 2021 Effexor ER 10mg Experiencing vertigo since last taper (from 11mg to 10mg) 4 days ago.

August 21, 2021 Vertigo gone 🥳(lasted 8 days) Will stay at 10mg. 


 

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I'm not sure of the bead count, however I'm sure 10 beads is very little.

I've had a setback, I was down 10% (135mg dose) from 150mg for 2 months, down 20% (115mg dose) for 2 months with little withdrawal symptoms, the emotional bluntness lifting.

But.... I changed jobs June 2nd and was doing well, but as my training progressed and workload increased, anxiety was hitting me hard, I had to go back up to 150mg for the present time.

Long term the job is a good move, I'm just being fed training like drinking from a fire hose.

Spring of 2000 - Paxil 20mg

Spring 2000 - Wellbutrin 150mg.

Ativan 1 mg twice daily.

2001-2005- Wellbutrin 300mg

2005 - Transitioned from Wellbutrin to 150mg Effexor

Ativan 1 mg in AM, 1mg PM as needed.

2009 - Failed attempt to taper.

2012 - Failed attempt to taper.

May/June 2021 - Self tapering using scale method.

Late August 2021 had to stop taper due to job change and increased anxiety.

Link to post
92sharks

@NSXtechThank you for your response. Congratulations on your new job. I hope you're enjoying it. I do NOT claim to know how to do this (getting off ads). I only know what I've done and where I am now and how things have worked for me. I will say I hate that you had to go up on your dosage. But we have to do the things that are best for us and that protect us from wd. We also have to function in our lives. What worked for me when I started (188mg) was removing one bead every three days. There were times that was too rapid. I have had weeks to months holds along the way. Then I resumed removing 1 bead/1mg a week a year ago. For a number of months there were emotional signs I wasn't doing real well, but several family issues that were happening explained away those symptoms. It wasn't until I was hit with physical symptoms a couple of weeks ago that I realized I had been going too rapidly and ignoring emotional and psychological symptoms that I shouldn't. This tapering process is very tricky and humbling. That said, I think if the increase has helped you feel better and less anxious, you did the right thing. In the future, now that you are on this site, I would ask one of the moderators for their advice before adjusting your dose up or down. WD is so nutty. Stay where you are. Think of the taper in the background of your life. Make it SLOW, simple, and hold for weeks at a time when needed. Learn how your body feels and heals. DON'T hurry the tapering. It is very, very hard, but try to depend on yourself to get through the anxiety, not depend on the Effexor. If you can afford the time, learn simple tools that don't take a lot of time, effort, or energy to try to incorporate into your life to help combat the horrible anxiety. I now have the time to do those, but I can only manage a few minutes at a time on each. Try to prioritize and incorporate the things you need to feel better. Sending encouragement and support to you. 

1999 began Wellbutrin, and Zoloft, then off both, tried Lexapro, then eventually Effexor XR

2009 slowly weaned self off Effexor XR  experienced 7 months of withdrawal syndrome, became suicidal

2010 went on Prozac (dose ?), then off Prozac (agitation/anxiety), resumed Effexor XR

2010-2014 titrated up to Effexor XR 150mg and Effexor 37.5mg

2014-2018 have been on this dose for 4 years~Effexor EX 150mg and Effexor 37.5mg (Total 188mg)

January 22, 2018, began decreasing dose of Effexor 37.5mg (Continuing 150mg dose unchanged)

February 19, 2018 Effexor XR 150mg + 29 balls of Effexor 37.5mg capsule (29mg?????) x 2 days

August 15, 2020 Effexor ER 60mg x 5 months

August 10, 2021 Effexor ER 10mg Experiencing vertigo since last taper (from 11mg to 10mg) 4 days ago.

August 21, 2021 Vertigo gone 🥳(lasted 8 days) Will stay at 10mg. 


 

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Thank you.

 

Spring of 2000 - Paxil 20mg

Spring 2000 - Wellbutrin 150mg.

Ativan 1 mg twice daily.

2001-2005- Wellbutrin 300mg

2005 - Transitioned from Wellbutrin to 150mg Effexor

Ativan 1 mg in AM, 1mg PM as needed.

2009 - Failed attempt to taper.

2012 - Failed attempt to taper.

May/June 2021 - Self tapering using scale method.

Late August 2021 had to stop taper due to job change and increased anxiety.

Link to post
92sharks

@NSXtechIn reading your signature, you may have been tapering too rapidly in May/June and began experiencing wd symptoms~anxiety. I'm glad you're here now so you can learn some strategies, and get some support for your taper. The moderators can guide you on your taper and dosage adjustments so maybe you never need to add medication for support. This may be a "duh!" post. 

1999 began Wellbutrin, and Zoloft, then off both, tried Lexapro, then eventually Effexor XR

2009 slowly weaned self off Effexor XR  experienced 7 months of withdrawal syndrome, became suicidal

2010 went on Prozac (dose ?), then off Prozac (agitation/anxiety), resumed Effexor XR

2010-2014 titrated up to Effexor XR 150mg and Effexor 37.5mg

2014-2018 have been on this dose for 4 years~Effexor EX 150mg and Effexor 37.5mg (Total 188mg)

January 22, 2018, began decreasing dose of Effexor 37.5mg (Continuing 150mg dose unchanged)

February 19, 2018 Effexor XR 150mg + 29 balls of Effexor 37.5mg capsule (29mg?????) x 2 days

August 15, 2020 Effexor ER 60mg x 5 months

August 10, 2021 Effexor ER 10mg Experiencing vertigo since last taper (from 11mg to 10mg) 4 days ago.

August 21, 2021 Vertigo gone 🥳(lasted 8 days) Will stay at 10mg. 


 

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  • Moderator
getofflex
22 hours ago, NSXtech said:

I had to go back up to 150mg for the present time.

This is fine, and I hope it is helping.  I just want to warn you not to jump around on your dose.  If I were you, I would stay at this a good long time, until the job training settled down, and I was stabilized before I tried tapering again.  I would suggest staying on this dose for at least 6 months or more.  Your nervous system needs some stability, and changing the drug dose will tend to destabilize you.  Please read 

 

Considerations About Stability Stop Jumping Around

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone nightly, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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Hey man, I have a very similar background.  It took me a good long time to get off the Effexor after 20 years of being on it.  Been off it for 2 or 3 years now, and reading your story reminds me of the ups and downs it took me to get here.  I made lots of mistakes, tapered too fast and had to bump my dose back up to stabilize, you name it I did it.  All we gotta do is get it right a little more than we get it wrong and we're going to win.   Hang in there!

2000-2018 225mg Effexor

2000-2021 450mg Wellbutrin XR

2016-2018 slow taper off Effexor

2021 Wellbutrin May 450mg/June 400mg/July 375mg/Aug 10th 360mg/

2021 August 10th I was taking 200mg SR Wellbutrin morning, 150mg SR evening+ 1/8th of an 150mg SR pill(not a good taper method)=approx 365mg

2021 Aug 14th 10mg solution and 200mg Wellbutrin SR in morning,  2x 75mg Wellbutrin IR tabs in the evening=total 360mg

2021 Aug 26th 5mg solution and 200mg Wellbutrin SR morning, 2x75mg Wellbutrin IR evening=total 355mg

2021 Aug 29th 10mg solution and 150 mg IR morning, 1 x 200mg SR evening=total 360mg 

Suppliments:

300mg zinc

3000 mg fishoil

 

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