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Lilacclouds: venlafaxine to sertraline


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Hi there

i am 31 and have ocd ! Successfully on venlafaxine for 5 years but it started to poop out and I would like to conceive in the coming year. 
I was in 225mg venlafaxine and started to reduce under dr supervision to 150mg and then introduce 25mg sertraline for two weeks then up to 50mg ( remaining on 150mg Effexor ) and then see my dr again .

I am 2 weeks into 25mg added into tv Effexor and the first week was good. The second has been awful and very heightened anxiety and dissociation. 
I didn’t expect this as I was already on Effexor I didn’t know I would get start up side effects , do you think this is normal ? 
has anyone cross tapered on this before ? Anyone to chat to would be great, I live with my husband but he has never taken any medication and I would love to chat 

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  • Moderator

Dear @Lilacclouds

Welcome to SA. We are a site that assists people when they come off of their psychiatric drugs so that they do it with the least amount of withdrawal symptoms. We do not provide advice on drug cocktails to take, which drug to switch to etc. You may find better luck at other sites for that.


You are having withdrawal symptoms. Venlafaxine is notorious for being very hard to come off of. Sertraline is highly unlikely to actually resolve the problem, they are different drugs. In fact it will likely make things worse as your nervous system seems to be sensitized from the withdrawal. The best way we know how to deal with this situation is to stop sertraline over a few days (since you've only been taking it for less than a month), and reinstate venlafaxine. 


Preparing to have a child is a very stressful process so it is no wonder that your OCD has been getting bad. Antidepressants are not very effective drugs to begin with - they are not much better than placebo.  https://www.newsweek.com/2022/09/30/antidepressants-work-better-sugar-pills-only-15-percent-time-1744656.html



If you are trying to conceive, pls be aware that all drugs have the potential to harm the baby. SSRIs (yes, even Zoloft) increase risks of birth defects and autism in babies (double). They also can cause a rare life threatening condition in the newborn called pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) and of course they cause withdrawal in newborn babies as well.  There is this belief that sertraline is safe because a smaller amount of it crosses the placenta but there is no evidence that it is indeed safer. I can post relevant studies if you'd like. Some of these studies, you need to delve into the statistics because the 'conclusions' are sometimes whitewashed but I have done the research when i thought I wanted to conceive. 


If you'd like more information in terms of scientific studies happy to supply. The decision is always yours on how to go forward. 


Hope you find the support you need. If you'd like more information to come off of your drugs safely or to manage withdrawal, pls let us know. If you do want to go forward with the switch I hope it goes as smoothly as possible for you.


I'm really sorry that you're struggling with this. I got into this pickle while preparing to get pregnant as well. Until then had no idea ADs could cause withdrawal, harm to babies or that they weren't really much better than placebo.





"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 


I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 


If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.


Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48


Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Lilacclouds: venlafaxine to sertraline
  • Moderator Emeritus

Effexor / venlafaxine is an SNRI


Zoloft / sertraline is an SSRI


Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

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

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

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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