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nomoread

Nomoread: Been off Effexor XR for the last 4 months

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nomoread

Glad to have found this forum.  I found it by looking for articles on long-term symptoms of quitting Effexor.

 

Started taking Effexor XR around 10 years ago.  Only 75 mg, went to 150mg for probably a year or so, then back down to 75mg for the last several years.

 

I found lots of research pointing to the fact that andrenergic receptors are targets of  norepinephrine. These receptors are in your sweat glands (activating the micromuscles that make you sweat) and digestive tract (sphincter constriction, etc).  They affect your fight or flight response.  I had a lot of symptoms that didn't make sense, then I started to research long-term effects of effexor/venlaflaxine.  A lot the side effects that were listed as 'rare' or 'uncommon' were appearing in my day to day life.  Granted I was taking only 75mg, but over a long time.  This is a NON-SCIENTIFIC observation, but I believe that I was being affected by the norepinephrine. I considered EffexorXR a wonder drug, as in the beginning I was more confident, smarter, energetic.  Of course, there's tolerance... afterwards I had to keep taking it just to be normal and avoid the side effects.

 

After my norepinephrine discovery, and observing all the rare side effects.. I decided that this was not a good drug.

 

So I started taking my 75mg once every other day.  Once I got used to that, I started stretching the next dose by 12 hour or more increments.  If I couldn't handle it I'd take my pill and try to stretch it next time.  The half life of venlaflaxine is under 24 hours, so 48 hours later, presumably 25% is still in your system.  Once I got to the 4 day mark, I got a prescription for 37.5 mg and followed the same process.  I've tried doing it by granules as others have, but this was proving to be difficult, which is why I decided to vary TIME rather than DOSE.  I took my last 37.5 mg Effexor XR in mid-July of this year.

 

A couple of weeks after, I was on fire!  Waking up early without an alarm, extremely organized, productive, and everything seemed extremely positive.

 

Two months later, it wasn't the same.  Some depressive or anxious days, mostly good days though.

 

CURRENT SITUATION

 

I'm feeling anxious and depressed more often.  Judging myself and my life, making comparisons to where I was, comparisons to other people, etc.  I originally took Effexor XR because I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder--but didn't want to do expensive therapy sessions (mistake, I'll admit).  Depression wasn't really there before.  Now it is -- although I felt depression at times when I was on Effexor.

 

(Withdrawal?) Symptoms:

- anxiety

- depression

- weight loss

- some fatigue

- IBS (supposedly effexor is sometimes used for IBS)

- less social

 

Attempts at Solving:

- 200mg L-Theanine daily

- 500mg DL-Phenylaline (don't think it does anything)

- 1200mg of DHA/EPA fish oil daily

- exercise every other day

- 2 cups kefir probiotic fermented milk - 12 strains of probiotics (this has been very good lately)

- mindfulness based cognitive techniques

 

Where do I go from here?  Are these really withdrawal symptoms?  I really don't want to get back on Effexor, but if it makes me happier.. I have to consider it.

Edited by Petu
Added member name to title

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Petunia

Hi Nomoread,

 

Welcome to SA and thank you for posting an introduction.

 

I read through your post and I'm sorry you are still having symptoms 4 months after stopping Effexor, but that's not all that unusual, especially after a too fast taper and going CT off 37.5mg as you did.  We recommend cuts of no more than 10% of your last dose, every 4 - 6 weeks. 

 

Its also not unusual for someone to feel ok for a few days, weeks or even several months, and then have withdrawal symptoms kick in.  This is what happened to me when I tapered too fast off Lexapro, I thought I was ok for about 3 months, then I started getting symptoms, but had no idea it was withdrawal.

 

So its good you have found this forum where you can get some help.

 

There is a possibility that reinstating a low dose of Effexor may eliminate your symptoms.  If it works, once stable, you could then begin a slower taper from there and minimize withdrawal effects.  Because its been 4 months since your last dose, there is no guarantee that this will work, but please have a look at our information about reinstatement and decide if you would like to try this, link is here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

If you decide to try this, and it works, here is some information about how to safely taper off Effexor:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/

 

One more thing :) ..... if you put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature, it makes it easier for members to see your situation and be able to offer suggestions and advice, instructions for doing that are here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Please let us know if you decide to try reinstating, someone with more experience than me will be able to suggest what dose to start with.

 

Have a look around at the various forums here, there is a lot of helpful information related to withdrawal issues, including a topic on supplements which have proved to be helpful.  You will find a lot of friendly help and support here.

 

Petu.


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Altostrata

Welcome, nomoread.

 

Reinstating a very low dose, a fraction of 37.5mg might help, as Petu said.

 

You might wish to add magnesium glycinate to your supplements, seehttp://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/


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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nomoread

Thanks for the replies, Petu and Alto.  I'll try adding magnesium to my daily supplements.

 

Some clarification: I didn't quit 37.5mg cold turkey.

 

I took 19 distinct 37.5mg capsules varying the time between the doses:

 

- 1 a day

- 36 hours then 1

- 40 hours then 1

- 48 hours then 1

- 60 hours then 1

- 72 hours then 1

 

Something along those lines.  I was basically trying to extend by a few hours the time between doses, until I got to a 37.5 mg capsule every 4 days.  When I felt that I could go on without taking it I got to 6 days and then just stopped.

 

Does this change the recommendation to get back on 37.5mg?

 

I've been feeling quite hopeless for most of the day.  Digestion problems where I get the sensation that food is stuck in my throat.  Possibly acid reflux.  I was wondering if this is a potential withdrawal symptom.

 

I've considered getting back on 37.5mg if it would make me happier.

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mammaP

Hi nomoread, the tapering method you used will have confused your nervous system

somewhat before stopping. It's always best to keep to a steady dose. You should still

only introduce a fraction of 37.5 to start with as you could have become sensitised to 

it, in that case 37.5 would be too activating and make you feel worse. Try the tiny dose

and if  there is no difference in around 4 days increase it a little more. Then stop

increasing when you feel better, or at least as well as you did before tapering. Then hold

for a couple of months before starting to taper. You might not need to go all the way to

37.5, and be stable on much less. Listen to your body, it is better than any calender. 

There are no guarantees though that reinstating will work but you wont know unless you try! 

 

I hope it works for you and you feel better very soon. 

 

Hypomania is a withdrawal symtom, I had this also after stopping too soon, felt AMAZING

for a month then withdrawal kicked in! 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Altostrata

A very low dose might do the trick, such as 5mg.


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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nomoread

Taking only 5mg is tough to partition out. There are tiny granules in each capsule that are hard to manipulate. Any tips?

 

This sucks. I thought I was done, and the more I think about it, things seem like I should just get on the 37.5 mg. I'm going through career decisions and I don't have the motivation. Things have been so hopeless lately.

 

Once stable, I think I need to see a mental health professional on getting off effexor and resolving anxiety/depression without drugs.

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mammaP

I have been counting those beads for my taper. 

. It takes some maths to work it out but can be done. You need to count the beads in a capsule,

say, 200, then divide by 37.5 to get the number per milligram. Then multiply that by 5 to get the

number needed for 5 mg dose. One capsule would last several days, which may be long enough

to be able to switch to liquid. 

Could you get tablets from your doctor? They can be crushed to make a liquid  which is much

more accurate as those beads can be various sizes.and not uniform leading to inaccuracies.  

 

A liquid is available from compounding pharmacies. 

 

Take a look here for counting beads http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1461-counting-beads-in-a-capsule-versus-weighing/

 

37.5 might be too activating for you because you have been off for a while. It could make things worse, Alto 

is very, very good at this and I would do as she suggests and start low. 

Be aware that a mental health professional will probably know very little or anything at all about withdrawal

and would possibly advise a dodgy taper schedule, most of us have been there and done that to find out the hard way

that Alto knows best! 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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nomoread

Thanks for your reply mammaP.

 

What do you mean by switching to liquid?

 

Also, when you say too activating.. that's exactly what I'm needing. I'm really lethargic. Difficult to find joy in anything.

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mammaP

If you can get the liquid venlafaxine it will be easy to measure out doses with a syringe for tapering,

rather than having to weigh or count out beads from a capsule. If you are going to try reinstatement 

it should be done ASAP because the longer you leave it the less likely it is to work. 

My doctor gave me a prescription for the liquid and it is so much easier to titrate.

Sadly I had an allergic reaction to something in it and had to go back to counting beads

but it was much easier to measure a dose. 

 

I tapered too fast at just 5 beadsand after a month off was hit by withdrawal.

I reinstated and felt very very agitated, couldn't sleep and couldn't keep still.

Plus other weird sensations that were different to the withdrawal. It wasn't very pleasant,

and almost had me heading for the hospital! The dose was too activating.

 I followed Alto's advice and dropped just 1 bead, that was enough to settle the agitation.

 

If you start low you can increase gently until you feel better. If you had side effects before you

stopped, they will be back when you reinstate. It's finding the right dose to keep comfortable. 

Of course it is your decision, you might be fine going straight back on 37.5!


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Altostrata

Please read this link, earlier supplied by Petu, about methods to titrate Effexor:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/


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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nomoread

I didn't have intense side effects before I stopped. Occasional sweating, vivid dreams, fatigue that may or may not have been linked to effexor, some gi problems--may have actually gotten worse after quitting.

 

I'm feeling better mentally right now, but this hopeless depression comes and goes. Right now that is worse than the side effects I had experienced

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Lexy

Have you tried taking 5mg as Alto recommended?


Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

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