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Kajo Coming off Effexor (venlafaxine) help needed!


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I'm new to this forum, but I found a post on another website (I can't remember which one as it was a few weeks ago) that came from someone from this site.


I was put on 75mg of Venlafaxine in 1999. I was going through a hard time - lost my job, my flat, was living with parents and my father was going downhill with Parkinsons disease. Now I am very angry that I was ever put on this drug as I think had I been offered talking therapies I could have been helped without ever resorting to drugs, But this is the UK and very little psychotherapy or talking therapies are offered due to budgets on the NHS.


I attempted to come off the drug a year later but within no time felt awful - worse than I had ever felt when first put on this drug and went back to my GP who told me to start taking it again and said I could well be a lifer when it comes to anti-depressants.


At some point I went down to 37.5mg and found that to be a very effective dose for me.


In 2006 I weaned myself off the drug slowly over a couple of months and in that way was able to avoid all the well documented physical side-effects (brain shivers, disorientation etc), but within a month or two the low mood and depression returned and I quickly went back on the drug feeling it was the lesser of the two evils.


In 2009 I again weaned myself off it because I am convinced it makes loosing weight absolutely impossible and I find that a totally unacceptable side effect. I worked with a homeopath but the depression returned worse than anything I've ever, ever felt. I was totally unable to do anything. I stayed with my mother and could barely do a thing. I fantasized about dying daily. I went back on the drug at 37.5mg and was functioning again within about six weeks.


What I have found so frustrating is that people only ever talk about the awful physical side-effects of coming of Effexor - no-one ever mentions the depression which I found to be far more painful than any physical symptom - it's just never mentioned.


Then a couple of months ago I found a mention of tapering and this site and the poster said that coming off these drugs left your brain without the serotonin. It made perfect sense.


So is the low feeling a part of the withdrawal? 


I've decided to try a slow taper but the pills I am given are very crumbly so I guess I've been taking about two-thirds to three-quarters a day.


I didn't buy jewellers scales as I thought they'd be expensive but they're not and I've just ordered some today.


Should I go back up to 37.5mg minus 10% or stay on what I am on, once I can measure the correct amount?


Will I start to feel better at some point once my brain adjusts to this new dose? Or am I really a lifer when it comes to these awful drugs.


I'm depressed about my weight. When I went on this drug in 1999 my BMI was 20 - it's now bordering on 25 and defies any attempt I do to lower it. I joined Slimming World recently and after four weeks I'd lost half a pound and they said they couldn't help me. Getting fatter and fatter just makes me feel worse than ever.


Sorry for the long post.

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I am of the belief -right now- that these drugs (esp. the ssri s) are designed to cause worse symptoms when we are weaning off of them. it is financially beneficial for the drug companies for us to be hooked on them. how dare any one tell you that you are a 'lifer'. there are so many different supports & resources. medication is not only just ONE of these; they are quite poisonous!! i am on effexor to and i was very slowly tapering off it..... found horrific symptoms of depression etc arose & had to go back on my "normal" dose. i later found out online that this is one of the hardest to wean off of! i am weaning off of another med FIRST & will move on to effexor after. i heard about shifting onto another "anti-depressant" (either zoloft ..... ? ) as a way to come off of this one more easily.

I've taken SSRIs & SNRIs for approx 20 years.

Have taken CLONAZEPAM for about 15 years.

Since the end of January 2014 I began weaning off of TRAZODONE.

I no longer take TRAZODONE.

In the fall of 2013 I began slowly, slowly tapering from 350 mg of effexor (about 50 mg over the period of 3 months). At this point I began feeling suicidal, highly anxious & unable to cope / function & went BACK on the full 350 mg dose.

In the beg. of April 2014 I took my last dose of 350mg EFFEXOR before going cold turkey.

I crashed about a month later (highly suicidal & excruciating anxiety) & slowly re-instated so I am back up to 150 mg since the beg. of May 2014.

I now take 2x.5mg or Clonazepam ev. day.

I take an Herbal Sleep Tincture, a Digestive Herbal Tincture, Magnesium Citrate, Omega Oils, Acidopholis, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Colloidal Silver, Diatomaceous Earth, Zinc, Rhodiola, Ferritin...this fluxes slightly from month to month.

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thanks Awake for your reply. Yes, Effexor is one of the worst when to come off.  I only ever really knew how horrific depression was when I came off Effexor - I was only mildly depressed when put on it (naturally due to life events) so I feel this drug has actually caused my depression. Unfortunately the treatment I've had at the hands of the NHS has been nothing short of appalling - told there is no budgets for pyshotherapy, not offered other drugs to help with weaning etc. I think because my dose is so low they see me as only having 'mild' depression but it was full blown when I last came off it. Didn't call in the doctor as I just don't trust the 'jack-of-all-trades' GPs not to put me on another life-destroying drug that I can't ever get off.

I'm due to see my GP soon so might suggest zoloft - though don't want another drug that piles on the weight.

Just don't know whether to up my dose a few grams or should I stick it out and the low feelings will subside in a few weeks which is what I gather from some of the tapering posts on here.

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I am having the same problems trying to get off of Effexor.  I am trying to decrease my dose with the bead method, but I feel it is an uphill struggle..The last few days I feel like the top of my brain is not connected to the bottom half of my brain, can't concentrate, hold much of a conversation, always tired, etc..


I tried to go down to the 37.5mg tablet, but got real nauseous, anxiety, so couldn't stick that out.   I am sure I don't take the exact same beads every day...Does anyone know how many beads are in a 75mg tablet??  I don't know if I can ride out this rollercoaster.....

Venlafaxine 75mg/once a day.

Starting to taper with bead counting on 10-13-13

working on 5 beads less each day.

11-10-13 minus 10 beads



Have been on Effexor XR since (probably) 1998. 


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  • Moderator Emeritus

I think there's a thread in the Tapering section on tapering Effexor. The questions about how many beads, etc might be answered there.


The "relapse" effect is a very common effect of withdrawal from ADs and is the reason that depression has gone from being the easiest psychiatric illness to treat (that's how they talked about it 30-40 years ago) because it's self-resolving and the majority of the time never comes back, 


to being a "chronic lifelong condition" most of the time (when people are treated with ADs).


This is very common. It usually doesn't kick in immediately, but some months out (usually three to six, but I've seen anything from one month to ten months). Usually the people are told they have a chemical imbalance and have to be on the drugs for life. As you have noted, most of the time people feel like the depression they get after coming off an AD is harsher and different in quality than anything they ever experienced before taking an AD, but we tend to listen to our doctors and believe them that we have some kind of disease.


So far, it looks like a slow taper does help prevent that from happening, although I don't have any hard data.


At this point I would go back to your 37.5 and not start tapering yet, just hold there and stabilize while you educate yourself about your options and learn how to do a controlled taper. You need to learn how to control and measure your doses before you start cutting them. Read through the forum information on tapering and withdrawal--there's a lot to learn and it's best to learn it soon so you don't have to learn it the hard way!


Once you've figured out how to get controlled, predictable, measured dosage cuts, then I would start with no more than a 10% cut off the 37.5 and hold that for four weeks before making another cut.

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

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 


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

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  • Administrator

Welcome, kajo.


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


How much Effexor are you taking now? When did you last reduce your dosage?


maryjo, those are good questions. Please post in your topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5082-maryjo-starting-withdrawal-from-venlafaxine-75mg-day/

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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Welcome Kajo


YOur will find plenty of info and support here.


I am also on Effexor and trying to figure out how to go about it.  I have not felt well on this drug since the first day i started taking it.

Please be patient and go slowly.  I suffered by cutting my dose in half from the start and I was only on it for 8 weeks.  Its been a year and a half trying to get off it with much difficulties.

Hang on

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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Hi Kajo, I am tapering venlafaxine too and it is a horrible drug!

 How many beads in a capsule depends on the make, I have had some which contained 2 tablets,

some which contained chips rather than beads so all different sizes, and the ones I have now have

roughly 400 beads to a capsule!  Tablets are easier in my opinion because they can be made into

a liquid which is much more precise than counting beads. The beads are not uniform and vary in size,

although they are more uniform than the chips.  Crushing the tablets to make a liquid when at the lower

doses  is much more accurate I think.. 

**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

Welcome to the forum, Kajo.  Yes, deep depression is very definitely a big part of the pain when an antidepressant is stopped abruptly or tapered too quickly. Effexor in particular seems to do this on a delay, such as three to four months after stopping the drug too fast. It looks to me from your history that all of your depressive episodes after the first one were caused by getting off the drug too fast.


Assuming you still feel terrible on your present dosage, if I were you, I would do as Rhi said and go back to your 37.5 mg. dose or at least no less than (precisely) 33.75 mg. (a 10% reduction in dose). I'm glad you're getting a jeweler's scale because inexact dosages can cause all sorts of withdrawal problems.  Stabilize on that for at least a month while you learn all you can about antidepressant withdrawal--there's lots of very good information on this forum and plenty of how-to  and how-NOT-to advice from members.  Then once you feel emotionally steady and well-informed, proceed with a very slow, gradual taper as described in the link Altostrata provided above.


And speaking of history, when you have a chance, please add your psychiatric drug history to your signature. Then it will show up in all of your posts so that people who want to help can understand your background and present situation.  Here's how:  How To Add Your Drug History To Your Signature


I'm glad you found us!

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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Thank you all so much for your advice. 


Yes, I think I will go back up to 37.5mg and stabilise there. I'm glad to know that the depression returning worse than before is normal - the doctors just make out it's all me.

I'm lucky that I feel very good on 37.5mg, but I know it has weight implications and that it the problem. It makes me so angry that I was told that these drugs weren't addictive in any way - the doctors really have no understanding of this drug whatsoever. I heard someone describe themselves as "an NHS sponsored junkie" - and that it what I am , and then they won't even accept responsibility and try and sort out the mess they've made!


Altostrata - I think I saw a post you wrote on another website and frankly it was the BEST THING I'VE EVER READ ON THE INTERNET. It was about tapering and how the depression returns worse than before if the brain is suddenly denied this drug. After years of searching for some answers it was the best thing ever so a massive thank you to you. I only wish someone would come up with an answer as to how to lose weight on this drug........!


I'm given the drugs in the form of a tablet and not a capsule so I can't count out beads. I will read the bit about making a liquid but I didn't understand it first time.


Unfortunately the scales I bought - very cheap ones are not very good so I might have to invest in some better ones.


I will put in my signature when I can work out that one too.

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  • Administrator

Thank you, Kajo. High praise indeed!

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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Kajo, welcome! Glad you came here.


And I totally agree with what you wrote: Alto and many other guys here write the best things on the Internet :))) a great way of putting it :)


Rhi is one of them too ;) and I like the advice she gave you a lot. While you are stabilizing, you will have enough time to read many things here which will answer many of your questions.


I (luckily) never had experience with this particular type of poison but my boyfriend is tapering so I was helping. We simply counted the bead (they are of different size, true but at higher doses I think it's not so much of a problem). he is so scared of the possibility of the depression returning so he is reducing only 5 beads every month (which is quite different to every day as I saw somebody say here).


I sympathize with weight gain: just had to buy a new size clothes but have no idea what I can do about it :( I just feel sooooo hungry. I actually eat healthy but a lot. But when I see how badly other members here are suffering and how I felt in early withdrawal, weight gain is not such a big issue. I made peace with it: will try to control my appetite, exercise more and patiently taper so that my metabolism can regulate itself...





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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How are you doing Kajo?

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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