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It's very difficult to concentrate right now, but I thought I would try to post an intro anyway. I'm not a man of many words, so this is going to be somewhat brief.



I really don't have great memory capacity at this time, and can't tell you a detailed history of myself, but I was on Effexor XR from some time in 1993 when it first came to market, until 2013, when I switched to Prozac to try to get off of it completely. A few times over the years I had tried to wean off of Effexor, but after a few months of not getting any better I always ended up going back on it. I actually never felt as bad off of the Effexor as I do now after switching to Prozac and tapering to zero. I only recently (in February) went completely off of Prozac with a very slow taper down to as little as 1mg per day. That was a few months ago, and now I completely regret that I went off.



I tried to reinstate Prozac a month or so later with 10mg, which felt good the day that I took it, but then I had a bad reaction in the middle of the night and have been worse since. I tried to take a little bit less (5mg) for two days, but I couldn’t stand it and stopped. I had noticed that my sleep was getting worse even while I was still on the low dose of Prozac, but now my sleep is so bad that I can hardly function, and I have constant impaired concentration and memory issues. I also now have a type of akathisia every day and night that makes me not able to stay laying in my bed and makes it difficult to sit at work or in social situations. I am in constant agony and feel like I’m 100 years old. My nervous system is so dysfunctional and hyper-sensitized that I can hardly take any supplement or drug without having some kind of paradoxical effect.



I can’t believe that I did this to myself when I was doing well just a few months back. I had all my energy then and was still sleeping well. I had the energy to pack a moving truck mostly by myself and move 2000 miles. I can hardly imagine doing that now.



I recently gave in to friends telling me to go to a psychiatrist, who I tried to explain everything to. He did the usual mis-diagnosis of telling me that withdrawal doesn’t last that long, etc. and that there’s a possibility that I am bi-polar. I cringed at the drugs he suggested to me, so he finally ended up just giving me a prescription for Propranolol to supposedly help with the akathisia so I could sleep. I have not taken any of it yet and really don’t want to, although I am considering trying it. I can’t believe that’s the best he could do is give me a prescription for a drug that messes with my heart! Like messing my brain up isn’t enough, now we’re going to screw around with my heart. I am afraid that it is going to probably mess me up even more than I already am.

I was on Effexor beginning in 1993. I believe the highest dose I was ever on was 150 mg. I'm not sure exactly when, but I was put on Trazodone 50 mg to help me sleep due to Effexor side effects. Tried to quit Effexor several times but failed and always got back on. I stayed on 75 mg it until the end of 2012, when I switched to Prozac 20 mg to try to taper off of meds. Tapered off of Prozac over a couple of months, then ended up going to the ER in June of 2013 and getting back on Effexor XR at 37.5 mg.


Started having horrible tolerance withdrawal after about 5 months but didn't know what was going on and ended up switching back to Prozac 20 mg some time around October of 2013. Then I tapered off of that again over a few months and went completely off in February of 2013. I felt okay for a month or so, then started having horrible insomnia and panic attacks like never before. I tried to reinstate Prozac at 10 mg, but I ended up having a bad reaction and it made things even worse. I stopped trying to get back on Prozac after taking a low dose for 3 days and never took it again. I continued to take Trazodone 50 mg throughout this time, although it did not help me get more than 4 hours of sleep per night.


I finally weaned off of Trazodone a few months ago. I have been experiencing complete nervous system instability since March of 2014, with brain fog 24 hours a day, pain all over at times, agorophobia, akathisia-like symptoms of inner restlessness, complete anhedonia, pronounced cognitive impairment and memory issues. In addition to the protracted withdrawal syndrome symptoms, on January 21, 2015 I was rear-ended by an inattentive driver and am now in constant, chronic pain due to spinal injuries.

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I am so sorry you are going through this.

I too am on effexor trying to taper. I was considering Prozac to bridge,. There will be others who will try to help you with more experience. Hang in there.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Quazzi, I'm so sorry that you are going through this nightmare. 


Can you tell us the dose of effexor that you were taking, when you started the prozac,

what dose you started on and how long you tapered for?   

Did you cross taper by reducing the effexor while increasing the prozac or was it a direct switch,

just stopping effexor and starting prozac? 


I know it is a lot to think about when your brain feels so messed up but it is quite important to have

those details to give you the best advice. It is obvious that 10mg of prozac was too high a dose and

had an  adverse effect on you.  If you could put those details in your signature it will be a great help.

Here is how to do that.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/


I think you are right to avoid other drugs at the moment, most people here find that fish oil and

magnesium helps with symptoms but many other drugs and supplements can make matter worse. 

Doctors rarely know the effects of withdrawal and bi-polar is a common label given to people who

have had problems with discontinuing psychiatric drugs. Many of us here have been given that label! 

**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

Hi Quazzi--


It's not unusual for people to have a bad reaction when they try to reinstate a full dose of a drug they have been off for a little while.  We would have recommended a much smaller reinstatement, probably about 1/2 mg to 1 mg since that is what you jumped off at. 


I'm not surprised you're having withdrawal symptoms after 20 years on Effexor. I don't know how quickly you crossed over to the Prozac and I don't know how fast you tapered off of it, but I would expect to need to taper for at least a year, probably a couple of years, after 20 years on ADs.


And 1 mg may sound like a low dose to quit at, but it's actually not. How these drugs affect us is a curve, not a straight line, and the last part of the taper has to go much much more slowly than the higher doses.


Take a look at the charts in these papers, starting on page 4. There's one for fluoxetine, which is Prozac. You can see that at 1 mg you still have fairly high receptor occupancy. People generally have to taper off the last 1 mg in smaller increments and slowly. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6036-why-taper-paper-demonstrates-importance-of-gradual-change-in-plasma-concentration/


A lot of people find that reinstating on a very low dose (as suggested above) and then holding there and stabilizing for a while takes the edge off the worst of the withdrawal symptoms and helps them feel better and more functional. Then once stable they can taper much more slowly off that last bit. Reinstatement has its pluses and minuses; here's our topic about that. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/


I'm so sorry for your suffering. I know it's hell. I'm glad you're here. 

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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