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rbrum: Withdrawing from Effexor /venlafaxine for third time

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rbrum

Hi

I'll share a little of my story.

 

In 2004 I took Effexor for less than a year having been depressed, tapered off slowly over a few months with no withdrawal issues. This time the Effexor definitely lifted my mood significantly. I took the slow release version 75mg.

 

In Summer 2010 I took Effexor for 3 weeks, for what in hindsight was PTSD and stopped with no withdrawal issues.

 

In Sept 2011 I started taking 75mg Effexor XR for depression. There was no big improvement, I wasn't sure if the medication even made a difference but didn't want to stop in case things got worse. Interestingly I got a big improvement once I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and started taking levothyroxine.

 

Around Spring 2013 my symptoms of depression had significantly reduced, enough to declare myself 'better'. I decided to give myself 6 months of feeling good before withdrawing. In Sept 2013 switched to 37.5mg Effexor or a generic venlafaxine twice a day and after 10 days tapered to half a tablet (18mg) in morning, 37.5 mg in evening, just by using a pill cutter. At this point I went through a relationship breakup so decided to postpone withdrawal and went back to the full dose, just in case the medication was providing me with some support.

 

I started to withdraw again this year. I again started by tapering to half a tablet in the morning and a whole one in the evening. I then continued on this dose for a few weeks before reducing to half for both morning and evening in August 2014. The next stage was to reduce to a quarter tablet in the morning and a half in the evening. It's impossible to be very scientific about these reduced sizes - my inexpert pill cutting meant the quarters varied hugely in size.

 

I decided not to be in any hurry over this, which my doctor agreed was sensible. If I felt bad or low then I paused and just continued on the current dose. 

 

I am now, November 2014, on a quarter tablet both morning and evening and occasionally forget one or both. I plan another week or two at this dose and then I will stop the morning dose.

 

It will be good to come off this medication. I do wonder if I will become depressed again. Statistically I know it is likely.

 

I wanted to add my voice to the mix partly to reassure that not everyone has difficulty withdrawing - although I did take it much slower than the standard advice. 

 

 


2004 took Effexor for less than a year, tapered off with no withdrawal issues

Summer 2010 took Effexor for 3 weeks, stopped with no withdrawal issues

Sept 2011 started taking 75mg Effexor XR

Spring 2013 Symptoms of depression ceased

Sept 2013 switched to 37.5mg Effexor or a generic venlafaxine twice a day

Withdrew over 2014 by cutting pill in half one at a time.

Now on quarter tablets twice a day

 

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Improving

Glad to hear you aren't going through the nightmare than many of us have experienced coming off of Effexor. Not rushing it this last time has probably been a huge help! I really hope that you don't fall into depression again, statistics aren't always right, there can be outliers....here's hoping you are one of them and manage to stay depression (and Effexor) free. :)


Plethora of pain killers, muscle relaxants and other scary stuff for neck injury, featuring medications such as Diclofenac, Celebrex, L-Dopa (BAD experiment by the doc), cyclobenzaprine, Baclofen, and several others. Those ended, then Effeor XR, 150mg, started 3 years ago....started tapering 1.5 years ago, 150 (maybe 112.5, can't remember) 75 to 37.5, a month or more stabilizing at each dose..... to 37.5 every second day (for ~2 weeks), then off. Celexa 20mg (lasted 3 days), Celexa 10mg ~1month, Celexa 5mg ~1month. Currently med free as of September 28, 2014 except occasional Advil, Benadryl or Cyclobenzaprine and Nuva Ring birth control (perhaps irrelevant). 
Current supplements: 1000mg fish oil, Magnesium +D, B50 complex, Multi vitamin

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Petunia

Hi,

Welcome to SA, thank you for posting an introduction and for filling out your signature. 

 

If you have used your real name as your user name, you may want to consider changing it for reasons of privacy.  Posts here show up on google searches if someone were to search using your name.  If you wish to change it to a pseudonym, please contact an administrator or ask here in your thread, please let us know what you want it changed to.

 

I'm glad that the medication for hypothyroidism has helped with depression.  If you taper slowly and carefully off the effexor, there is a good chance the depression wont come back

 

Even though you have been tapering slower than the standard advice, you have still been tapering too fast.  We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising.  Please read through this post which will explain why:

 

http://survivinganti...0-of-my-dosage/

 

This article shows why its important to taper slowly at low doses.

 

Here are our tips for tapering off effexor:

 

http://survivinganti...or-venlafaxine/

 

I hope you will consider slowing down, now that you are at a low dose, this way there will be less risk of withdrawal symptoms arising after you stop completely.

 

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

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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rbrum

Thanks Petu, My real name is not rbrum!

 

I've read those articles - and others. I have a little spreadsheet comparing my tapering to the 10% recommended here

 

I think what has worked for me is the gaps between each reduction. It has often been more than 4 weeks and I am then very certain that my mind and my body have stabilised on the new dose. Then the only question is whether they will cope with the next reduction, which is 25% or 33%. 

 

I might add in some eighth doses to my schedule!

 

I think everyone is different and there is no one solution. For some the very quick tapering recommended by the drug company will work fine.

 

The trouble with internet forums is that people who experience no problems will not take the time to read and to post their stories. it is generally those who are going through a tough time who reach out for support. It is wonderful for those who are having a tough time to be supported. Unfortunately to the casual reader googling for information it will look as if everyone has a tough time. I experienced this with the treatment I received for my previous hyperthyroidism (over active). The reactions I read on the web were so negative I refused the standard treatment for 8 years or so. When I eventually had it my reactions were nothing like as bad as I had read and I regretted having refused it so long. Effectively I had believed the web forum over the advice of my consultants, one of whom was an international thyroid expert with clinical trials to her name. 

 

Anyway I'll let you know how I get on.


2004 took Effexor for less than a year, tapered off with no withdrawal issues

Summer 2010 took Effexor for 3 weeks, stopped with no withdrawal issues

Sept 2011 started taking 75mg Effexor XR

Spring 2013 Symptoms of depression ceased

Sept 2013 switched to 37.5mg Effexor or a generic venlafaxine twice a day

Withdrew over 2014 by cutting pill in half one at a time.

Now on quarter tablets twice a day

 

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Rhiannon

Agreed--by the very nature of this forum we mostly only see the people who have trouble.

 

Sounds like you're doing okay. We do see rather commonly that people who come off ADs rather faster than we recommend, can get hit with a delayed withdrawal reaction three to six months out. If that happens you will probably think (and be told) that your "depression" has returned, but it's actually delayed withdrawal.

 

I'd highly recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic for an understanding of how ADs have changed depression from what used to be a one time and self limiting condition to something chronic. I consider that "must" reading for anyone who has taken or is taking ADs.

 

Hopefully you will continue well and do fine.


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 

 

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

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Altostrata

Welcome, rbrum.

 

Your logic about the selection factor in Web support forums is correct.

 

However, it's also true people often have the most trouble in the last leg of the taper. What is there to lose by reducing by a smaller percentage to allow your nervous system to better accommodate to the changes?

 

The expectation that "relapse" is common after going off antidepressants is based on misdiagnosis of withdrawal syndrome as "depression." Very gradually going off the drug lessens this possibility.


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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rbrum

people often have the most trouble in the last leg of the taper. What is there to lose by reducing by a smaller percentage to allow your nervous system to better accommodate to the changes?

 

 

Absolutely nothing to lose apart from minor inconvenience of pill cutting :-)

 

I will attempt to cut to 1/8 pill doses, it'll be imprecise but I don't think I'll react to that. Anything smaller would require crushing to dust and then using jeweller scales, my tablets are already tiny.


2004 took Effexor for less than a year, tapered off with no withdrawal issues

Summer 2010 took Effexor for 3 weeks, stopped with no withdrawal issues

Sept 2011 started taking 75mg Effexor XR

Spring 2013 Symptoms of depression ceased

Sept 2013 switched to 37.5mg Effexor or a generic venlafaxine twice a day

Withdrew over 2014 by cutting pill in half one at a time.

Now on quarter tablets twice a day

 

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Hudgens

It's well known that some lucky people have no problem starting and stopping antidepressants, but we don't get

their stories on the site for obvious reasons. Thanks for posting. And I really hope your depression doesn't come back.


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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