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Berty345: Hello Venlafaxine newbie here


Berty345

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Hello,

I'm new on here, I'm trying to sort out my meds (& eventually come off them).

I'm currently on 300mg of Venlafaxine but am totally hopeless at taking them and am therefore often experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It's only when I start experiencing withdrawal symptoms that I remember that I've forgotten to take them!

I want to get off the roller coaster and get rid of Venlafaxine forever!

Long term user of Venlafaxine XL

Was on 300mg Venlafaxine XL (when I remembered to take them!)

Now cut down to 150mg daily 20/3/15

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Hi Berty,

 

Welcome to the forum. You're in the right place. It's great that you found this site.

 

Sorry to hear that Venlafaxine ("Effexor") is giving you problems.

 

A moderator will be along soon to advise you on how to do a long, slow taper off this drug.

 

So many others on here who have been on Effexor can provide you with information on what you can expect to experience during WD.

 

WD symptoms for all SSRIs/SNRIs share many things in common, so you can benefit from the experience of all members on here.

 

I wish you the best of luck in your recovery. 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Berty! Welcome to the forum.

 

We can definitely help you taper down your venlafaxine and get off it if you'd like. 

 

In order to give us an idea of your situation, we need to know a few things about your history, particularly your history with psych drugs. Are you taking other meds besides venlafaxine right now? What other psych meds have you taken? Have you come on and off psych drugs in the past, or is this your first experience with them?

 

Also, how old are you?

 

It looks like you've done some reading around the forum already (you've filled in your sig line--thank you!) There's a ton of good information in the Tapering section, both in the threads pinned at the top and the links in those threads, and in the venlafaxine tapering thread. I'm sure you're exploring that stuff now. That's the best thing to do at first, there's so much to absorb; just read and think and read and think some more.

 

It's really important to be stable when you begin a taper, so you need to be taking the same dose of med at the same time (more or less) every day. So see if you can find some way to give yourself a reminder, maybe a wristwatch with an alarm? or some other kind of alarm or alert that will remind you to take the pill. 

 

If the reason you're not taking the pill is because it makes you feel bad, well, I can certainly relate. I did that with Wellbutrin for years, both consciously sometimes and just unconsciously "forgetting" other times. Unfortunately dosing that way made me really sick, suicidal, in and out of withdrawal all the time, and I think the many years of erratic dosing and the brain-chemistry chaos that caused is part of why I now have to taper so very slowly. (Plus I got so sick after years of that, that I pretty much lost everything. I was even homeless for a while.)

 

Rest assured that once you start tapering, those drug effects will begin to lessen. But erratic dosing seems to make people sicker and more unstable and really makes it harder or even impossible to taper.

 

So that's where I'd start if I were you: reading about tapering, learning as much as you can, and meanwhile getting yourself stable by finding a way to make it possible to remember to take your med at the same time every day.

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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Thank you Rhi

 

I'm 30 and not taking any other drugs, I've been on 300mg dose for 4 years. I hate it because it makes me lethargic, fuzzy headed & forgetful.

I've taken many different antidepressants before, starting with Prozac for a few months when I was 16. I don't remember the majority of other ones that I've taken (fuzzy head & memory loss) but they all didn't help me much at all.

 

I used to be bright, off meds I was intelligent, I completed a degree and always had energy but now I seem to be a totally different person & I've also put on a mountain of weight.

 

My GP and psych won't even think about reducing my meds as they want me well first, they don't seem to realise that I won't get better while I'm dosed up to my eyeballs in venlafaxine!

Long term user of Venlafaxine XL

Was on 300mg Venlafaxine XL (when I remembered to take them!)

Now cut down to 150mg daily 20/3/15

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My GP and psych won't even think about reducing my meds as they want me well first, they don't seem to realise that I won't get better while I'm dosed up to my eyeballs in venlafaxine!

 

Why were you put on Effexor in the first place? 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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My GP and psych won't even think about reducing my meds as they want me well first, they don't seem to realise that I won't get better while I'm dosed up to my eyeballs in venlafaxine!

 

 

Why were you put on Effexor in the first place?

I had a couple of bouts of depression brought on by situations I was in at the time.

Long term user of Venlafaxine XL

Was on 300mg Venlafaxine XL (when I remembered to take them!)

Now cut down to 150mg daily 20/3/15

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Why were you put on Effexor in the first place?

I had a couple of bouts of depression brought on by situations I was in at the time.

 

 

Depression happens to normal people when they are confronted with great stress such as loss of a loved one, major job changes, etc. 

Those types of depression usually resolve in six months to a year for normal people.

 

My friend went through TWO of those and I watched him recover without any drugs. Same for a relative.

 

So if you decide to do a long slow taper to a lower dose, or to get off Effexor completely, perhaps you will feel better than you do now -

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Berty, welcome from me too. I have been on venlafaxine for about 13 years now and was really ill for a long time before I realised it was the drug that was making me ill. I started to taper and as the dose got lower started to feel better.  Venlafaxine can be tapered by weighing the beads or counting them, I use the bead counting method but was only taking 75mg to start with then reduced to 37.5 for a few years before tarting to taper. 

 

Here is the topic on tapering venlafaxine. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/

 

This is important, the 3 KIS http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6632-the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/

 

We recommend tapering no more than 10% of the current dose with at least 4 weeks between cuts, and holding longer if there are any withdrawal symptoms. I agree with Rhi, it is very important to be consistent with dosing to avoid destabilising your nervous system. Once unstable it can take a while to settle down again!  Glad that you found us, this is the best place for tapering anti depressants. :)

**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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  • 1 month later...

Bit of an update:

I'vé reduced my dose to 150 mg Venlafaxine daily and am trying really hard to remember to take them.

I've realised that I've got a lot more energy and am more proactive in housework than before, however if I miss a dose I'm horrible -snappy, no patience & just slightly out of it. So my focus now is to keep taking the meds regularly & at the same time each day!

Long term user of Venlafaxine XL

Was on 300mg Venlafaxine XL (when I remembered to take them!)

Now cut down to 150mg daily 20/3/15

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  • 2 weeks later...

Two weeks later I am still doing well, still got fuzz head and terrible memory, but I'm positive that there's a way out now.

Next step - try to loose some of the mountains of weight I've put on in the past 3 years!

Long term user of Venlafaxine XL

Was on 300mg Venlafaxine XL (when I remembered to take them!)

Now cut down to 150mg daily 20/3/15

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Glad you are feeling ok Berty, Cutting to 250 from 300 is a very big drop so I would stay at that dose for a while before considering another cut. It sounds like you are having some mild withdrawal symptoms which should settle down.   I was overweight but my weight dropped with the dose and I didn't even try, I just lost the carb cravings and stopped bingeing on carbs in the evenings. There seems to be something about these drugs that cause carb cravings,it never occurred to me that it was the drug! 

**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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