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☼ Designerguru: Effexor nightmare


Designerguru

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Hi, all--

 

I am 14 weeks into weaning off Effexor XR that was prescribed for me for hot flashes after my breast cancer diagnosis in December 2011. My surgeon prescribed Effexor 37.5 for the hot flashes; because they were so intense , I ended up on 75 & then 150 before it helped. I hated to be on an AD-- but finally the 150's worked so that I was able to work without standing in front of a client absolutely drenched in sweat. I started to see a nutritionist/naturopath in September 2012 to deal with digestive issues & weight gain. When I gave her my medical history ( which also includes thyroid cancer in June 2010); she couldn't believe my surgeon had put me on Effexor for hot flashes. She started me on some supplements and listed some foods I should stay away from. Things have improved greatly--even lost most of the thyroid weight. One of the supplements she gave me helped with the hot flashes so much that I decided to come off the Effexor. I wanted to cold turkey it; but after discussions with 3 of my nurse friends & a ton of research-- decided not to go down that road. My nutritionist came up with a tapering plan that we started in the middle of November of 2013: 150 mg every other day for 3 weeks; then every third day for 2 weeks. Then we dropped to 75 & did the same thing. The next drop was to 37.5 every other day for 3 weeks. I just started the every third day rotation this past weekend. I am able to cut the 75's all the way down into quarters; so I am planning to drop to 18.2 after this. If I am able to cut into eighths, I plan to. I am having less intense SE's than I did when I started. They do seem worse during the 2 week period when I am taking it every third day. All the usual suspects--brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, strange dreams, a little paranoia, shakiness, etc... I have been able to continue working and exercising . I know this method may not be the way everyone else is doing it (the bead method); but I find it's working ok for me. If I have it calculated right, it will take me 11 more weeks to come completely off--so 6 months. It seems like a long time--but I know it will be worth it in the end to be free of this awful drug. And is it true that you will still feel side effects for a long time afterward??? That's my main question here.

 

I wish you all well in your fight to get off the AD's.

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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If you are experiencing all of those withdrawal symptoms then you're probably tapering too fast. The best way to go is not based on a scedual but according to how you feel. After a drop in dosage you should just wait until you feel stable at that dosage before making another drop. This can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months or longer, but it's a lot easier on the nervous system. With antidepressant tapering faster is not better. You should stay where you are until things even out. 

 

Another thing you should know is that the skipping days strategy of tapering tends to lead to trouble. What's need in tapering antidepressants is as smooth and gentle a reduction as possible-skipping days seems to confuse the nervous system and can cause worse withdrawal down the line-bad enough to make many people have to reinstate the original dose to find relief. I don't know why drs and others still hang on to the skipping days idea. I wish they'd get wise and dump it.

 

I'm at the end of my own Effexor tapering from 75mgs. I switched to generic effexor and have been slowly reducing (10-25%) and waiting after each drop until I felt good and stable before making the next drop. I'm 3 years and 3 months into my taper. I didn't really have any trouble until maybe the last 3 or 4 mgs. Unfortunately, rather than easier, it usually gets harder at the lower dosages. Maybe harder isn't the right word-it just takes longer in between drops in dosage.  

 

How long were you taking the Effexor before you started your taper?

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Anne,

Thank you for posting an introduction and sharing your story.  I also can't believe that you were put on Effexor for hot flashes, it seems like doctors are prescribing these drugs for everything now, even if there are better and safer ways to feel better.

 

Hudgens is right, if you are experiencing the symptoms you mentioned, you are probably tapering too fast and it will most likely get worse.  The safest way to taper is slowly and smoothly so that your nervous system is supported as it slowly adjusts itself to functioning without a drug which it has become dependent on.  Its like a balancing act.

 

We recommend starting with a 10% reduction of the current dose every 4 - 6 weeks and see how you feel.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.

We believe this conservative tapering method will cause harm to the fewest number of people. Those finding that this method too slow can always speed up by making 10% reductions more often.  Please read through this topic about why we recommend this method before you continue:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

Here are tips for tapering via the 10% method for Effexor if you do decide to slow down:

 

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

 

 

 And is it true that you will still feel side effects for a long time afterward??? That's my main question here.
 

 Some people who go cold turkey or taper too fast can experience withdrawal symptoms for a long time after finishing the drug, many of us here are in that situation, having found this site when it was too late.  If you are having symptoms now, its a sign that you are putting your nervous system under too much stress and you could be one of the people who needs to taper much slower.

 

From my experience here on the site, I have found that people who taper properly, generally have minor or no problems when they completely discontinue the medication, its the fast tapers and cold turkeys who have the worst problems, sometimes lasting for years.

 

I hope you give this information some consideration, we can support you through a slow, safe taper.

 

I'm curious, what supplement did your nutritionist/naturopath give you for the hot flashes?  I just bought some Black Cohosh, but haven't tried it yet.

 

I'm sure others will be along soon to welcome you, this is a very friendly, supportive site.

 

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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Thank you, Hudgens & Petu for replying.

 

I started the Effexor madness in January 2012 after I had to get off the HRT that I had taken for 26 years as a result of an emergency hysterectomy at age 28. Yes, this is what led to the breast cancer--but that's what the docs did in 1985. Tapered up from 37.5 to 75 to 150 by April or May--dates are a little fuzzy. So I was on 150 from April/May 2012 until November 2013; when I started the taper.

 

My nutritionist (who also happens to be an MD--just does the nutritionist/naturopath thing now) put me on 2 supplements for the hot flashes: some liquid drops called Meno Formula ; and a cream called Pro Femme Support.

 

So according to this 10% method, where should I be at week 15 of a taper? I really don't want to taper back up.

 

Thanks again for replying & for the advice. You guys have great site here-- wish I had found it earlier!

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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Just stay stead at each 10% dose for at least a month..trust me. Stable means you cab fully function :)

2007-2012started Effexor xr 225mg -150mg- Varied2months of Taper,(March 22/2012 Off Med/in W/D)Currently No medicationMarch 22/2012- August 16/2012 - Totally Off Effexor( Rough Rough time) Reinstatement for a week(didn't work)****** New Doctor******* Very nice/helpful and in touch.Tried Zoloft- No successAUGUST 17/2012- STARTED 37.5 EFFEXOR FOR ONE WEEK - NOT GOOD < STOPPED.Started Buspar Oct 11th 2012----10 mg for the first 7 days and then 15mg a day---- Taking a new route----Racing thoughts - Gone.Oct 9th ( Done Zoloft,wellbutrin week project trial to feel better) - OFFICIALLY OFF ANTI DEPRESSANT !Oct 26 - Raised Buspar to 20mg a day- Tolerating wellJan 2nd 2013-

Reduce Buspar until full off march 20th 2015 Off all medication !

Tried natural supplements to no avail

Gluten/sugar free since december 2013

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Designerguru, I agree with the others, a slow taper is much safer than tapering fast.

Most peole who taper so fast end up in withdrawal and either back on the full dose or in serious withdrawal!

Very few are able to go so fast and if  you are having symptoms now that is a sure sign that you will be 

one who suffers withdrawal when you finally quit after going so fast. 

 

I would stick with the 37.5 for now and take it every day so that your  nervous system can stabilise.

Hold there for several weeks before starting a slow taper.

 

I've been tapering effexor for almost 2 years now and know the agony of going too fast! 

**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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  • Administrator

Welcome, DesignerG.

 

I agree with mammaP, please take 37.5mg at the same time every day for month or so and let your nervous system settle down.

 

I would greatly appreciate it if you could let your naturopath, who has done so much good for you, know that skipping doses is NOT the way to taper people off psychiatric drugs!! This often causes terrible withdrawal 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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Ok-- so after a pretty rough morning of brain zaps, I decided to drop to 29 +/- mcg this morning & stay there for a month. I hated to go back up to 37.5. Within about 45 minutes, things were better. 29 mcg is a quarter of a 75 mcg plus an eighth of a 75 mcg. I'll take it very day for a month and hopefully the withdrawal symptoms will ease up. And yes, I do know that dropping to 29 is more than a 10% reduction, but I don't think I can cut the tabs any smaller.

 

Thanks to all for advise. I will let you know how it turns out.

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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  • Administrator

Hi Designerguru

 

After a morning of brain zaps you decided to drop your dose!?!?!?  Brain zaps are a serious sign that you are in withdrawals.  In my experience those withdrawals do not improve - they worsen.  Effexor has the nasty ability to deliver worse and worse withdrawal symptoms the longer you continue to remove the medication too rapidly.  You should increase your dose, not reduce it.

 

If you continue on your plan, it is highly likely you will suffer prolonged withdrawals.  On the other hand if you stabilize and do a steady taper at a rate your system can handle you can work your way off of this drug relatively symptom free.  But you have to let go of preconceived notions about just wanting off the drug.  Based on your original post, you don't have it figured out.

 

Having rushed what I thought was a slow taper and having had awful withdrawal symptoms that included insomnia, hyper-anxiety, sweats, paranoia, and irrational thoughts I will tell you that there is no reward in "I hated to go back to 37.5."  Your nervous system may not thank you for being stubborn about up-dosing back to a level where you nervous system can stabilize.

 

I cannot tell you how many people this forum supports who have rushed off the meds in an ill-advised bid to just get off the drugs.  Many of these people end up unable to work or function due to the disabling impact of prolonged withdrawals.  These drugs aren't like aspirin.  When an aspirin is out of your system it no longer has an effect.  These drugs are different.  The brain changes to wrap around these drugs and it takes time for the brain to adjust when the drug is removed.  Thus the reason for a slow taper - to allow your brain to adjust as the drug is removed.

 

It sounds like you've already destabilized your system by alternating dosages.  You will do what you want to do and I apologize if this post is harsh.  But I really hate to see you think you can power through the withdrawals caused by this drug and then end up with prolonged withdrawal symptoms that nobody can really help you with.

 

Karma

 

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I agree with Karma, this is a nasty drug that will fight you and win!  I tapered for a year

from 37.5 and thought I'd done it, quit the evil effexor without a problem but I was so wrong!

I wish I had joined this forum when I started to taper but thought I had done enough research

to go it alone.  Brain zaps are a withdrawal symptom, you need to hold or updose slightly

until they stop, then wait a few weeks before another cut. 

 

I found out the hard way! 

**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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Reading posts like yours really makes the hair of anyone who has read at least a few stories of people on the forum raise... That's why we can't emphasise enough every word Karma used her energy to write to you.

 

I also think you have to educate yourself a lot more on how to go about this properly so that you don't end up in awful situations we see people here.

 

I don't personally have experience with Effexor but read how many difficulties people have trying to find the right way to reduce only 10 % (by counting beads usually)

 

Please read more here

 

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

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Thank you all for your words of warning & advice. Karma, don't worry about the harshness--I'm a big girl & I can take it. LOL!! I know this will be a painful, difficult process. I have 10 37.5 capsules with the beads in them that I am hanging onto until the end when I will count the beads to continue the taper. I was hoping to have this done in 6 months, but I am realizing that you can't put a timeline on this. I will follow all your advice to slow it down & make smaller reductions, I promise!!

 

I wish you all well.

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

relief ;)

 

realizing that you can't put a timeline on this is a big learning step.

 

best of luck!

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Anne,

I'm one of those people suffering protracted withdrawal from a too fast taper, I would do anything to be able to go back to the place you are now and be able to taper properly, so I'm happy to read that you have decided to slow down.  :)

 

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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Thanks, Petu!! I appreciate it. This week has been a little calmer for me. The anxiety has calmed down a little-- just have some mild muscle & joint aches-- THAT I can handle!! As a long-time runner, I 've had my share of those. I also have the almost constant nausea & dull headaches. Again-- I can handle those. Some days I can keep going with running my business, life, etc. Some days I have to say "ok, I'm going to 'hide out' today." I have spent a lot of time on this board & have learned a lot since I signed on. My heart goes out to all who are suffering from the WD.

 

To all of you who advise us here-- you rock!!

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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  • Administrator

Ok-- so after a pretty rough morning of brain zaps, I decided to drop to 29 +/- mcg this morning & stay there for a month. I hated to go back up to 37.5. Within about 45 minutes, things were better. 29 mcg is a quarter of a 75 mcg plus an eighth of a 75 mcg. I'll take it very day for a month and hopefully the withdrawal symptoms will ease up. And yes, I do know that dropping to 29 is more than a 10% reduction, but I don't think I can cut the tabs any smaller.

 

Thanks to all for advise. I will let you know how it turns out.

 

Anne

Given that you've been skipping doses, you might have to find the "right" dose for reinstatement by trial and error.

 

I am glad you listened to your body and found a lower dose that seems to work better. Please be consistent in your dosing.

 

See this topic, earlier posted by bubble, about ways to taper Effexor http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/

 

Let us know how you do.

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...

Hi, all--

 

Thought I would check in & let you know that things are better. I dropped to about 23 mcg a week ago after 4 weeks at 29. I know this more than a 10% taper; but since I am cutting some 75 mcg tablets, this is as close as I can get it.

 

On Wednesday & Thursday, I had a couple of mini-zaps & just general yuckiness; but all in all--very manageable. Yesterday & today have been good. I even managed to add my signature!! Now this may not be a big deal to you guys--but huge for me!! I'm technically challenged--even before Effexor--so the fact that I did it correctly, well .....I did a "happy dance".

 

A big thanks to Alto, et al, for the advice. I wish I had found you earlier & saved myself some really bad days. I don't post much, but I check in on you all every day.

 

Here's hoping for better days for all of us.

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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  • Administrator

Good to hear, DG.

 

I think you mean mg (milligrams) rather than mcg (micrograms).

 

Are you cutting up an Effexor XR tablet or regular Effexor?

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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Alto--

 

Yes, I did mean mg!! Maybe I'm not doing as well as I thought! The label says venlafaxine HCL 75 mg. I took them twice a day when I was up dosing. Then my doc put me on the 150 XR. That's what I was on when I started the taper in November.

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

Link to comment
  • 6 months later...

OK--I know I don't say much here. I check on you guys every day just to see how everyone is doing & to pick up suggestions. The reason I don't say much is that I 'm doing really well. I have managed to run my business, travel, take care of my parents with Alzheimer's, my husband's sister (metastatic pancreatic cancer); & just deal with every day life crap.

 

My basic med history: Effexor for hot flashes after a breast cancer diagnosis & C/T off hormone replacement therapy that I had been on for 26 years. Started at 37.5 mg--worked up to 150 mg. Nothing else--other than a short script of Xanax from my Mom's OB/Gyn after having my daughter in 1985. Six weeks, I think. (I had forgotten about that until I had been weaning for a while.)

 

Before I found you guys, I was doing the every other day thing--which, as we all know--doesn't work. So in February I settled out at about 28 mg. I followed the every 4 week rule for a while; then every 3 weeks for a while; am now on every 2 weeks. I have had VERY FEW symptoms. A mild headache here & there; fatigue; achy joints. A little dizziness every now & then when I have gone too long without eating. I am now at 3.125 mg--by bead counting.

 

My question is this: would it be ok to make my next drop after a week just to see how I do? I realize if I have symptoms, I will need to go back to the previous dose.

 

Would love to hear your opinions. As, always--thanks to Alto & the Mods. I don't know what we would do without you all.

 

Anne

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's completely up to you, really. As you say, if you get hit you can adjust your taper.

 

I do want to say that we have seen a LOT of people coming off Effexor who manage to come off fairly quickly and then get hit with delayed symptoms down the road, like three to six months out. If it were me and I didn't have some strong medical reason (like wanting to get pregnant) I would probably spread that last little bit of tapering out over many months just to make sure that delayed hit wasn't going to kick in. I'd go slower at the end rather than faster.

 

But you were only on the drug for a couple of years, it sounds like, and according to the Harm Reduction Guide by Will Hall, the factor that most predicts success getting off is the length of time on. And you've been taking the taper since February at a more moderate pace. So you may do just fine.

 

I would recommend though that you take a look at the paper in the Tapering section, which shows why the end of a taper is the trickiest part and needs to go more slowly, not faster, than the rest of the taper.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6036-why-taper-paper-demonstrates-importance-of-gradual-change-in-plasma-concentration/

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Administrator

DG, I merged your 2 Intro topics. Please bookmark this topic or click on Follow this topic in the upper right so you can find it again.

 

If you're down to just a few beads, if I were you, I'd SLOW DOWN rather than speed up, and don't reduce by more than 1 bead at a time. The last little bit is often the hardest to quit.

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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Thanks, Rhi & Alto for the advice. No, there is no medical reason--I don't want to get pregnant--I am a grandmother!! I just wanted to be done with it. I'll stick to my schedule.

 

Sorry I put my last post in the wrong place. I'll do it right next time.

Oncologist prescribed Effexor 37.5 for hot flashes after my dx of breast cancer in December 2011. Up dosed to 75 then 150 XR before it worked. Decided to come off after my naturopath/nutritionist gave me a couple of supplements that worked on the hot flashes. Started weaning November 2013 from 150. Got down to 37.5 by mid-February 2014--WAY TOO FAST!! Found this site and am now going much slower. WD side effects are much better--still there-- but manageable. Lesson learned the hard way!!

 

Short RX for Xanax prescribed for PPD/anxiety after childbirth in 1985--about 3 months--can't remember dosage.

Effexor 150 XR March 2012dates are fuzzy)

Started taper November 2013

Mid February 2014--28 mg; 3/22/14--24 mg; 4/19/14--18.75 mg; 5/14/14--14.1 mg; 6/11/14--11.7 mg; 7/2/14--9.4 mg; 7/23/14--7.8 mg; 8/18/14--6.25 mg; 9/7/14--4.7 mg; 9/21/14--3.75 mg; 10/5/14--3.125 mg; 10/12/14 --2.56 mg; 10/19/14-2.34 mg; 10/26/14--1.56 mg; 11/2/14--1 mg; 11/9/14--.5 mg; 11/16/14--0 mg.

 

Current Rx:

 

Synthoid 100 mg daily

Cytomel 5 mg

Both due to thyroid cancer & subsequent removal of thyroid in June, 2010.

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  • 9 months later...
  • Administrator

Hello, DesignerG!

 

How are you doing these days?

 

I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol



to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

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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