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rmce72a: Effexor withdrawal with Prozac bridge


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My symptoms are getting worse despite holding at Effexor XR 73 mg that I have been tapering from 75 since May 28. Tinnitus, anxiety, sadness are worse than they have ever been. I have not changed anything in my routine. I don't know what to do. I cannot take magnesium as it worsened my symptoms when I tried it, and I'm afraid that fish oil will do the same. So discouraged.

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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If you are still of menstruating age, what stage of your cycle are you at?

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full 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.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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I am well past that. I am 74. I am also tapering from poop out.

 

 

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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  • Administrator

Please describe the anxiety more. Is it worse at any particular times of day? What thoughts precede it?

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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I always have morning anxiety which is probably cortisol, but I can usually accept and work through as normal. Yesterday, however, the shakiness and overall anxiety increased throughout the day. In an effort to distract, I did a quick grocery store stop and was nervous but ok. No particular thoughts that should have caused anxiety. I know that anticipating any change in my routine and engaging in any task always increase anxiety, but nothing like yesterday's level. I keep thinking that if I could just get my dose lower and I could somehow feel better, but I am reluctant to reduce for fear of only making things worse.

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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  • Administrator

Can you try a slight updose to 75mg?

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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75 mg is my starting dose. Doesn't that mean that I am starting all over? Hasn't some healing occurred after 12 weeks, or is that not possible? In addition, I was having depression, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, palpitations, etc. even before I began the taper. I have taken Effexor 75 for over 20 years, and these symptoms began nearly 3 years ago. After reading here, I am convinced that the drug pooped out back then and I have been in a form of withdrawal without even realizing what it was. I have all kinds of tests over the last couple of years, and I am otherwise healthy for my age (74) according to my doc. It has to be the Effexor. 

 

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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  • Administrator

I meant 74mg, sorry.

 

32 minutes ago, rmce72a said:

I was having depression, anxiety, dizziness, tinnitus, palpitations, etc. even before I began the taper. I have taken Effexor 75 for over 20 years, and these symptoms began nearly 3 years ago.

 

Were these symptoms constant over 3 years?

 

Were there any times you accidentally skipped a dose of Effexor, or took it off-schedule? In the last 3 years, did you add any other drugs, such as an antibiotic? Do you ever drink alcohol?

 

 

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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No, they were not constant. I rarely take antibiotics because I am very sensitive to them, and I have never skipped a dose of my Effexor. The only meds I take are Effexor XR 75 and Clarinex 5mg for allergies. 

 

In 2019, I began having heart palpitations and sadness/crying spells, dizziness, diarrhea, worsening sleep even though nothing in my life warranted it.  They worsened into 2020 when the doc suggested I increase by 37.5 which I did not do. I felt that there had to be a physical reason. Later I saw a cardiologist who did treadmill, echocardiogram, etc and found no problems. He prescribed a beta blocker (metoprolol) which I took for a short time but stopped when the tinnitus started. I also had begun having shortness of breath and panic attacks.

 

In 2021 I began seeing a therapist and a different PCP who also suggested I up the Effexor dose. The new PCP also did lung function tests for shortness of breath and had me wear a heart monitor for a month. No problems found. Concluded it was anxiety. I also developed tinnitus. I explained that I had absolutely nothing in my life that would cause anxiety/depression, panic attacks, and the physical symptoms I was having. He said it was probably from some unresolved life trauma blah, blah, blah. He also had me do a Genesight test that shows I am an ultrarapid metabolizer. He suggested a Prozac bridge, adding another AD (can't remember what, but I didn't take it.) He also said I probably had IBS and prescribed something I did not take. Instead, I cut out gluten, dairy, caffeine, and nearly all sugar. I don't drink, so alcohol isn't a factor.

 

I have continued with therapist who has taught me some coping skills that I still use, and they have helped. I have been able to control sinking into panic attacks, but I still have all the physical symptoms of sadness, poor sleep, itching, tinnitus (worse when I am even slightly stressed by simple everyday things), poor appetite, dizziness, occasional heart palpitations, anxiety and nervousness.) Stomach issues are much better on my very limited diet with only occasional diarrhea. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel like I am hanging by a thread.

 

I struggle with supplements. I occasionally take one half of a chewable vitamin, but magnesium caused my anxiety to worsen. Haven't tried fish oil because I don't want to make things worse. I am at a loss as to what to do. I believe (and I may be totally wrong) that the Effexor stopped worked and my body began having a kind of withdrawal. I don't know how else to explain any of this, and neither does my doctor. He wanted me to cut dose in half, then 2 weeks later stop. (the usual line) Fortunately, I had found this site by then, and knew that I could not do that. I explained that I was going to start bead counting and taper slowly down. Although he does not endorse nor agree with this (says it is contrary to his training), he has agreed to go along with me in my taper journey and monitor me. I have a check-up next week. 

 

I am feeling better tonight, but it has not been a good day. Lots of tears, tinnitus, dizziness, and general hopelessness and frustration. I am nearly 75 years old, and I don't have a lot of years left, but I would like to spend them in some sort of peace. I am so angry that I was put on AD for mild fibromyalgia 25 years ago. I was a fool to simply continue to take the med without questioning what it was. Now here I am in the sunset of my life in misery. BUT I am a tough old broad and willing to do the work. I just need the correct pathway forward. By the way, just writing this has ramped up my tinnitus something awful. Anyway, thank you for all you do and for your kind attention to my situation.

 

 

 

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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I’m sorry you are going through all of this. I am not a mod, but had some thoughts to share with you. I’m wondering if 3-4 years ago you ever stopped a medication you had been taking for awhile? Many, if not all, of your symptoms sound like some kind of protracted withdrawal. Personally, I have never heard of Effexor poop out causing all of the symptoms you are going through, nor a decrease from 75 to 73mg. 


Many of us who were suddenly taken off Effexor or other drugs were left with a sensitized central nervous system (CNS). This causes most all of the symptoms you describe. Your sensitivity to other medications and supplements makes me wonder if your CNS was traumatized in the past, before all of this started.

 

Since you said you had all of these symptoms for years prior to reducing to 73mg, I don’t think it’s the reduction. And, like I’ve said, I don’t think it’s poop out.

 

Do you recall stopping any other medication 3-4 or so years ago? Did you have some other health crisis back then? Did the manufacturer of your Effexor change (including the place it is manufactured) prior to that? What manufacturer are your current pills/capsules?  These are just some things to think about. You don’t need to answer my questions, I just wanted to give you some food for thought.

 

There just seems to be something else at play here to me. I hope you can figure it out and get some relief soon.

1988-1996  Various AD’s, all classifications.  

1996-2019  Effexor XR 37.5mg to 150mg. Jan 2017 onward, 37.5 mg.

2019  Apr 11: Latuda 20mg added to Effexor.  Apr 22: L to 40mg.  May 14: L to 20mg.  May 27: L to 10 mg for 3 days then ct (dr’s orders). Continue Effexor 37.5.  Jun 10: Rexulti .5 mg added. Incr to 1mg.  Jun 15: Rex to .5mg.  Jul 1-24: taper Rex to .25mg over couple of weeks then off.  Jul 24: CT Effexor (per dr’s orders)  Sep 9-19: Viibryd (low dose, not sure mg), CT (dr’s orders).  Sep 23-27: Trintellix (low dose). CT (dr’s orders).  Sep 28:  Prozac 10mg.  Oct 24:  Began rapid taper off Prozac (every other day for wk) began Pristiq 25mg for 10 days, then 50mg after that.  Dec 31-Jan 31, 2020:  Pristiq 25mg. 

2020  Feb 1: CT Pristiq due to serious side effects incl high BP w pre-existing heart condition.   Feb 1: Effexor XR (10 large beads from 37.5 capsule).  Feb 3: 14 L beads.  Feb 15: 14 L beads+2 med beads.  Feb 17: 15L + 5M beads (25mgbw or 7.56mgai).

Current: Mar 1, 2020: Effexor XR (15 large beads + 7 medium beads, 30mgbw or 9.072mgai)

 

Other current meds: Ambien 10mg nightly (2012), clonazepam .125mg nightly (May, 2019), omeprazole 20mg (alt w famotidine 20mg, since Oct 2019), Synthroid 125 mcg (1985), Premarin .625mg (2002), Miralax capful/day (2014), fluticasone nasal once/day (mid-2018), cetirizine 10mg nightly (late-2018) .  Supplements: D3 25mcg, probiotic

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This does make sense. In 2017 I had minor surgery for  meniscus repair on my knee that required general anesthesia and I vomited for 3 days after because I didn't tolerate the anesthesia well. I probably didn't take Effexor for 3 maybe 4 days then, but I have never missed my dose unless I am vomiting and can't keep it down.  As I recall, I didn't have any kind of what I now know are withdrawals at the time.

 

When my palpitations began, a cardiologist did all the heart tests (echo, treadmill, etc.) and says my heart is fine. He did have me taking metoprolol for a while, but I stopped taking it 4 months ago because I read it can contribute to tinnitus and anxiety. He says that since my blood pressure is ok, I should be fine without it.

 

Also, I have always taken the name brand Pfizer Effexor, so no manufacturer change. I am just stumped. I can't remember when the tinnitus started. I have had it for at least a year and a half. I know I have some hearing loss and tinnitus can accompany that, but my tinnitus gets worse when my anxiety worsens, so I don't think I can blame it all on hearing loss.

 

Today has been a decent day with symptoms, except for the tinnitus, of course. If I could just get rid of that, I know I would be less stressed and certainly more comfortable.

 

How are you doing with your taper? I see that you are approaching the end of your journey. Congratulations and hope things continue to go well for you. Many thanks for your comments. I truly appreciate your input. Take care and keep in touch.

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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On 8/4/2022 at 6:47 PM, rmce72a said:

In 2019, I began having heart palpitations and sadness/crying spells, dizziness, diarrhea, worsening sleep even though nothing in my life warranted it. ... [2020] He prescribed a beta blocker (metoprolol) which I took for a short time but stopped when the tinnitus started. I also had begun having shortness of breath and panic attacks.

 

Please explain more about this period. It was in 2019? About what month? The tinnitus started after you too metoprolol? How long did you take it?

 

59 minutes ago, rmce72a said:

This does make sense. In 2017 I had minor surgery for  meniscus repair on my knee that required general anesthesia and I vomited for 3 days after because I didn't tolerate the anesthesia well. I probably didn't take Effexor for 3 maybe 4 days then, but I have never missed my dose unless I am vomiting and can't keep it down. 

 

What month was this in 2017? Could it have been late 2018? How long did it take you to recover, what were your symptoms?

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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Knee surgery was in June, 2017.

 

I took metoprolol for about 3 years as I recall. Started at 25 mg per day in 2018 or 2019?, but I started taking just a half dose (12.5 per day) in 2020 until I stopped it altogether in May of this year.

 

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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Were you on any antibiotics after your surgery or anytime directly prior to your symptoms starting? Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are notorious for causing terrible CNS problems in some people. Most of them have the letters “flox” in them, ie: levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin (Cipro), etc..

 

I was put on metoprolol after my open-heart surgery. I could only tolerate it for a couple of weeks. I’d consider 3 years being a long time. It too must be tapered very slowly. There are some forums on metoprolol withdrawal on other sites. It looks like severe tinnitus is a very common withdrawal symptom from metoprolol. Could this have been when your tinnitus started? Withdrawing it too quickly can also cause many of the symptoms you are going through. 
 

Thanks for asking about me. I am down to 5.1mg (I need to update my signature!) It’s been a very slow process, with multiple health hurdles related to COVID. But, I’m getting there!

 

1988-1996  Various AD’s, all classifications.  

1996-2019  Effexor XR 37.5mg to 150mg. Jan 2017 onward, 37.5 mg.

2019  Apr 11: Latuda 20mg added to Effexor.  Apr 22: L to 40mg.  May 14: L to 20mg.  May 27: L to 10 mg for 3 days then ct (dr’s orders). Continue Effexor 37.5.  Jun 10: Rexulti .5 mg added. Incr to 1mg.  Jun 15: Rex to .5mg.  Jul 1-24: taper Rex to .25mg over couple of weeks then off.  Jul 24: CT Effexor (per dr’s orders)  Sep 9-19: Viibryd (low dose, not sure mg), CT (dr’s orders).  Sep 23-27: Trintellix (low dose). CT (dr’s orders).  Sep 28:  Prozac 10mg.  Oct 24:  Began rapid taper off Prozac (every other day for wk) began Pristiq 25mg for 10 days, then 50mg after that.  Dec 31-Jan 31, 2020:  Pristiq 25mg. 

2020  Feb 1: CT Pristiq due to serious side effects incl high BP w pre-existing heart condition.   Feb 1: Effexor XR (10 large beads from 37.5 capsule).  Feb 3: 14 L beads.  Feb 15: 14 L beads+2 med beads.  Feb 17: 15L + 5M beads (25mgbw or 7.56mgai).

Current: Mar 1, 2020: Effexor XR (15 large beads + 7 medium beads, 30mgbw or 9.072mgai)

 

Other current meds: Ambien 10mg nightly (2012), clonazepam .125mg nightly (May, 2019), omeprazole 20mg (alt w famotidine 20mg, since Oct 2019), Synthroid 125 mcg (1985), Premarin .625mg (2002), Miralax capful/day (2014), fluticasone nasal once/day (mid-2018), cetirizine 10mg nightly (late-2018) .  Supplements: D3 25mcg, probiotic

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Thank you for your response. I think I had tinnitus while on metoprolol which was one of the reasons I decided to stop it to see if that would help. I didn't actually taper. I just took half doses for a while then stopped it completely.  I will read about abrupt stopping to see if that may be contributing to how I fell. Thank you so much for the info. Take care and be well.

Prozac 10mg 1990-1999

Effexor XR 75 mg capsules 1999-present

Began slow taper removing beads - 

6/7 - 6/10 Effexor 73.2mg           6/11-6/14  Effexor 72.9mg   had nightmares, tinnitus, anxiety;

6/15- Effexor XR 72.6mg             6/16 - 6/20 Effexor XR 72.8  had nausea, heart palpitations, anxiety, tinnitus

6/22-7/4 hold Effexor XR 72.9-73.1          7/5-7-11  Effexor XR 72.62

7/11-present After experiencing symptoms, I am holding at 72.9-73.0 but still have symptoms

 

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  • Administrator

Metoprolol is known to trigger tinnitus. This may be a long-term adverse effect of the drug.

 

On 8/4/2022 at 6:47 PM, rmce72a said:

In 2019, I began having heart palpitations and sadness/crying spells, dizziness, diarrhea, worsening sleep even though nothing in my life warranted it.

 

Please explain more about this period. Did anything happen that might have caused these symptoms? A virus? Urinary tract infection? A course of antibiotics?

 

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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