Jump to content
primekittycat

Primekittycat: Hi! Was this protracted withdrawal? Will be tapering slowly soon..

Recommended Posts

primekittycat

Hi all,[/size]
 
My name is Lisa, I am a 30 year old female and I believe I've experienced protracted withdrawal. I plan on starting to taper off Effexor XR in July. Here is some of my history: [/size]
 
Starting in 2005, I began taking Lexapro after my father got cancer and passed away 4 months later as I started having panic attacks. I am not sure when I went off Lexapro, but I know I was put on Celexa for a while as Lexapro stopped working and I have now been on Effexor XR for 6 years. In the past, when I go off an SSRI/SNRI, I end up going back on after some time because my panic attacks come back. After 6 months of therapy, I went off Effexor XR in March 2014 with a week of a half dose (37.5 mg) and then completely off, by the advice of a psychiatrist. Actually, the book she referred to recommended 2 days of a half dose and then completely off, but she extended it.[/size]
 
Withdrawal was horrendous. Insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, dizzy, not able to concentrate, felt just SO out of it. Finally it was over in a week or so. But in late May 2015 (3 months later, thinking it was all out of my system and I was good), I had just gotten home from vacation and was about to get into the shower when BAM, I was suddenly so dizzy that I couldn't tell which way was up or down. This remained for 3 months day in and out and after a ton of tests (took meclizine (anti-dizziness pill) which did nothing, ENT looked at my sinuses/ears which were clear, inner ear tests which were normal, brain MRI which was normal), until I went back on Effexor XR in August 2014 by recommendation of a neurologist who said it was my anxiety coming back.
 
During what I'm thinking was protracted withdrawal, I was dizzy constantly. I'd wake up from a deep sleep completely dizzy, it did not go away. I also had excruciating headaches at night and could barely sleep 2-3 hours a night because of this (I NEVER get headaches). I was also severely exhausted because of the dizziness - everything was harder, and the low amounts of sleep due to headaches. I did not understand because other than being upset of my state of being constantly dizzy, I really was not anxious. I was meditating, exercising (as much as I could - it was a feat with being dizzy), nothing significant going on in my life. I had also been going to therapy and made huge strides.. I still continue to go to therapy weekly and it's been about a year and a half now. I was so confused as to how this could be anxiety. Now I'm reading this site and I'm learning this was probably protracted withdrawal. After I started taking the Effexor XR again, within 2 weeks I felt totally better.
 
Now that I have been back on Effexor XR since August 2014, and after learning what I've read on this site, I want to start a slow taper in July after my next vacation. My therapist believes I am ready and now I know I am after having a great suspicion that those symptoms were not due to my anxiety. I have read the advice boards and will be doing the 10% per month taper. I also will be going to the recommended doctor in Farmington, MI and have an appt with him at the end of this month.[/size]
 
Has anyone else experienced the protracted withdrawal symptoms that I had? Any other advice or tips that you can share? I will be coming here often and hoping to make friends :)[/size]
 
 Thanks![/size]

Edited by scallywag
add tags

Share this post


Link to post
clearday

Welcome -

 

You experienced tardive (delayed) onset withdrawal from Effexor when you were hit with severe symptoms 3 months after stopping the drug.

 

We see this over and over again on here. I went through it twice.

 

Your doctor instructed you to basically go off Effexor cold turkey, cutting your dose in half and then stopping within a week or so is shockingly irresponsible - we also see this over and over on here.

 

Your doctor has shown a typical lack of understanding of how powerful SSRI/SNRIs are and how delayed protracted withdrawal occurs.

 

It's good that you were able to reinstate on Effexor and stabilize your nervous system, and that you are now aware of the 10% taper recommended here.

 

A moderator should be along to give you additional suggestions on how to proceed.

 

You will find many people on here in the same boat as you are. You found the right place, and welcome aboard -

Share this post


Link to post
Fresh

Hi Lisa ,  welcome to the site.

 

What you describe sounds just like protracted withdrawal to me - you stop the ad's , are okay initially , then get hit with symptoms

months later.   The advice your doctor gave you on tapering has been given to many of us , and it usually hasn't worked out well.

 

Try looking in the Symptoms and Self Care section and you'll get a good idea of the range of symptoms withdrawal can bring.

 

Good to have you on board - this taper will be far smoother than your previous ones.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, PrimeKC.

 

That certainly sounds like withdrawal syndrome to me. How long have you been feeling better? Do you still have occasional symptoms?

 

Please see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

Share this post


Link to post
bluebalu86

Hi Lisa

 

I think you experienced withdrawal. It's good that you found this site. There's lot of information and support here. Good luck with your taper.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Welcome, PrimeKC.

 

That certainly sounds like withdrawal syndrome to me. How long have you been feeling better? Do you still have occasional symptoms?

 

Please see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

Thank you so much. I have felt better since about 2 weeks after reinstating the Effexor XR in August 2014. Weird that you ask if I still have occasional symptoms, because I still do feel a tiny wave of dizziness once in a while, but thought it might just be in my head.

 

Thanks to everyone for your support and responses! You guys don't understand how much better I feel knowing that I can avoid this from happening again.

Share this post


Link to post
bluebalu86

When you feel stable enough you can start tapering. There is a lot of information on how to do it properly in the 'tapering' section of the forum. And if you fill out your signature with your drug history people would be able to advise you more easily once they know what you've taken, when and how you got off.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

When you feel stable enough you can start tapering. There is a lot of information on how to do it properly in the 'tapering' section of the forum. And if you fill out your signature with your drug history people would be able to advise you more easily once they know what you've taken, when and how you got off.

 

Will do, thank you. One big thing I'm dealing with right now is that I could sleep for 12 hours a night. Been getting 9 hours and can barely get out of bed, and am so tired during the day. It's on these days that I feel slightly dizzy (or is it because I'm so tired.. not sure). Now questioning if I'm stable enough to start tapering..

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Update for everyone -

 

I had my appointment today with Dr. Hazan in Farmington, MI (he was in the list of recommended physicians as being knowledgeable about withdrawal symptoms and tapering). He listened to my whole story and doesn't think my symptoms above were protracted withdrawal, but he didn't seem to know about it anyway. He thinks it was anxiety even though I described not having those anxiety symptoms ever before, and having no history of headaches/dizziness (including in my family).

 

He recommended coming off Effexor using the Prozac bridge. He wants me to continue taking 75mg/day of Effexor XR and add in 20mg/day of Prozac for one week. Then, totally stop taking Effexor and remain on Prozac alone for 4 weeks. Then, come off Prozac completely. I asked if I'd have any side effects coming off Prozac, and he said no because it has such a long half life so it's kind of 'self-weaning'. He said the only thing I might notice for the week of being on both at the same time for that week is extra tiredness.

 

I have read the Prozac bridging topic here on this site, and do agree with 'dealing with the devil you have instead of adding another one'. I can't imagine putting another drug into my system for this. I am willing to put in the time to come off this drug if it means little to no withdrawal effects, especially the horrible protracted ones that I believe I experienced. 

 

What are everyone's thoughts on this after reading my history?

 

Thanks so much for any input!!

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Sorry to hear Dr. Hazen was not that knowledgeable.

 

We recommend giving a direct taper from Effexor XR a try, using the bead-counting method, and switching to Prozac only if that proves to be very difficult.

 

See Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

Share this post


Link to post
naturegirl

Hi Lisa,

 

I too have protracted withdrawal from Effexor. It is hell on earth. I've had pretty much every symptom possible. I am slowly getting better, so there's definitely hope to be had. I'm 15 months off effexor now. Let me know if I can help you in any way. I got off by removing beads from the capsule gradually, I still had withdrawal effects, but they were not so bad that I couldn't maintain a full-time, stressful job. Good luck to you!

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Hi again everyone,

 

I'm back from vacation and started my journey of tapering today. The weight of the beads in each Effexor XR capsule vary so widely, I'm not sure that taking an average from 7 pills is a good idea. What I'm doing is weighing the contents of the pill I plan on taking that day, taking off 10% of that and then labeling the pill with what the full contents weighed. It will be a small pain each day but I'm willing to put in the effort.  The weight of the pills vary from .19 to .207 g.  Today's pill weighed .207g and it ended up being 8 beads removed to get to the .186g I needed.

 

Here we go, I'll keep this updated as to how I'm doing.

 

Thanks! 

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Hi Lisa,

 

I too have protracted withdrawal from Effexor. It is hell on earth. I've had pretty much every symptom possible. I am slowly getting better, so there's definitely hope to be had. I'm 15 months off effexor now. Let me know if I can help you in any way. I got off by removing beads from the capsule gradually, I still had withdrawal effects, but they were not so bad that I couldn't maintain a full-time, stressful job. Good luck to you!

 

Thanks, naturegirl! I just saw your response. So happy that you are off the Effexor. Looks like you're close to being 100% drug-free, great job :)

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Good for you, PrimeKC. Most people would not have the patience for such precision.

 

It will be crucial when you get down to lower dosages.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Thanks, Alto. My husband brought up a great question. How do I know what to step down to when it's time to cut another 10% since I'm taking a different weight every day? He doesn't think that taking 10% of weight out of each pill everyday is a good idea and thinks I should do a 7 pill average weight and take out the same weight each day. He thinks I will be varying the amount of medicine I'm taking each day if I do it the way I described above. My argument is that the manufacturer says that each pill has 75 mg of medicine in it, so if the pill weighs more or less, I need to take that into account to make sure I am getting my new dosage of 67.5mg. Does that make sense?

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Your method is the more consistent dosage. Your reasoning is correct. Score one for you!

Share this post


Link to post
apace41

Your method is the more consistent dosage. Your reasoning is correct. Score one for you!

 

Proving once again that even in withdrawal women are more logical than men (I am male so noone should get upset :D ).

 

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Where's the "like" button?

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Haha, nice :)

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

OK so I'm already starting to feel funny. Slightly dizzy on and off, but tolerable. At what point do I decide to do a 5% cut instead of 10% - wait it out a few days and see how I feel? Obviously I can tolerate some discomfort and I know it's about listening to my body, just want to know what is or isn't "normal" and when to make any changes.

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

See if those symptoms go away after a few days.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

I wanted to wait this out a couple more days but I'm still dizzy, had a 'buzzed head' feeling last night before bed and haven't made it to work the last 2 days due to extreme fatigue. When I tried to nap yesterday, my buzzed head was making me not sleep and I kept jolting awake even though I felt tired. I also just got back from a 5 day vacation full of hiking and waking up super early so the fatigue could be from that as well. I'm even more convinced now that what I went through last summer was delayed withdrawal, as I'm having the same symptoms, just less pronounced.

 

I'm just thinking that I don't want to go through this each month when I make a cut, so I think I'll be doing 5% monthly cuts from here on out instead of 10%. How do I move back - just add the 5% back to my dose now?

 

Thank you for all of your help so far!!

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Yes, you might updose by adding the 5%.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

I slept great last night and woke up more clear-headed this morning so I didn't reduce my dose. Throughout the day I did get extremely fatigued and slightly dizzy though. Not too much for me to handle. I took an epsom salt bath tonight and plan on buying some fish oil tomorrow so I can try a pill and see how it goes. I may hold longer than a month at this cut just because it's my first and the first few days kind of sucked.

Share this post


Link to post
buggedout

PKC, hope you are doing well :)

 

I too use the scale method instead of counting out the beads. And I too was confused about whether to weigh each pill individually or use an average of 7 pills. I ended up using the average weight from 7 pills and that has worked well for me so far.

 

I can also relate with you about being jolted awake upon falling asleep. That's stopped for me since I started exercising, eating proper food, and quitting drinking. My bf and I also started walking about a mile or two every evening before bed. I explained a bit about that in a new post in my own welcome thread.

 

You mentioned taking fish oil. Highly recommended, I've been taking it since I started my taper and I believe it to be helping. Either way it's incredibly healthy and will do your body good. Not sure if you have purchased it yet, but I would strongly recommend a quality organic oil with no harmful additives and especially no mercury.

 

The one I use is Barleans Organic Salmon Oil , it is a little more expensive than most but worth it for the quality. I order it from Amazon as they have the best price:

http://www.amazon.com/Barleans-Organic-Oils-Alaskan-Salmon/dp/B0084YAXEC/ref=sr_1_1?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1437928206&sr=8-1&keywords=barleans+salmon+oil

 

Yesterday I also ordered some multivitamins and a greens supplement, both are great quality.

 

I like these greens because they contain digestive enzymes, probiotics and antioxidants:

http://www.amazon.com/Barleans-Organic-Oils-Greens-16-93-Ounce/dp/B002VLZ894/ref=sr_1_2?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1437928685&sr=8-2&keywords=barleans+greens

 

The multi vitamin should be manufactured from whole foods. Cheap commercial vitamins like Centrum are full of junk. This is the one I ordered:

http://www.amazon.com/MegaFood-Womens-Tablets-Premium-Packaging/dp/B00H2BBV6M/ref=sr_1_18?rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1437929117&sr=8-18&keywords=whole+food+multivitamin

 

 

It gets pricey I know, but believe me it is money well spent. When it comes to vitamins and supplements you really do get what you pay for.

 

Sounds like you are already active which is great. I'd also recommend stop eating processed foods and stop drinking altogether (if you do). All of this together has helped me immensely (and saved me $$$). But that's your choice of course.

 

I'd be curious to here how you are doing since you started. I assume well, since you haven't posted in a while. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Sounds like you're stabilizing. For your next decrease, you may wish to make it a smaller cut.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Hi, buggedout and Alto! Yes, it took about 10 days after my 10% taper for me to feel totally 'normal' again. The first 4 days sucked, and after that it was tolerable. My therapist said 'It's going to be uncomfortable, even with small tapers, but you're headed in the right direction and taking the right steps for what you want'. That helped a lot.

 

My husband suggested me doing a 10% cut again in August to see if it sucks just as bad, and then go back up to 7.5% if I need to, but I'd rather try 7.5 or 5% and see if it helps instead of vice versa. 

 

Thanks so much for the suggestions for the supplements, exercise, and food. I work out a few times a week, and usually eat organic, unprocessed foods anyway and didn't even think of organic for fish oil... duh. I will look into it once what I have runs out next month. I bought liquid online (I think the brand is 'See Yourself Well' - I made sure to get IFOS certified and molecularly distilled) and have been taking 2500mg DHA+EPA per day along with 400IU Vitamin E. Also doing magnesium oil sprays at night before bed. Got my hubby into both too just for the health benefits!

 

Hope you are doing well too, buggedout! :) 

Share this post


Link to post
buggedout

Awesome, keep up the good work! :)

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Something odd.. I've been doing fine, but moved my Effexor XR dose from the morning to night because around 1-2pm I noticed I was getting extremely tired and blamed it on the Effexor kicking in. Moved my dose slowly, about a half hour later every day. Well, now I take it at night and am realizing it doesn't matter when I take it, it just makes me tired. Doesn't matter how much sleep I get! (Well, maybe 12 hours would work, lol).

 

BUT, I am noticing that around 4pm at work, I start having slight withdrawal symptoms being about 5 hours away from my next dose. Maybe I never noticed it before because when taking it in the morning, those symptoms would've been happening while I was already asleep. It goes without saying that I'm moving my dose back to the morning. 

 

My next taper would be coming up a week from today (8/12), but I think I'm going to wait until 8/19 just to stabilize more.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Interesting. Or, you could take a small dose of Effexor in the afternoon and the rest at night.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Yes, I was thinking of that. It's been better the last couple of days so I've kept it at night, finding I'm waking up easier in the morning. And a fun new challenge. My new refill is from a different manufacturer this month (Wyeth (Greenstone)), of course this is the first time this has ever happened since I've been on the drug... and WOW, these beads are tiny compared to the old one I was getting (Pfizer). I am back to weighing beads now and can no longer just easily count them out, there must be hundreds of beads in this 75mg caplet.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Good for you, you figured out you had to weigh them to get the equivalency.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Thanks alto :) These caplets also break way easier, tried opening one today and it burst everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

Next 10% cut happening tomorrow night, to 60.75mg. We'll see how this one goes since I know mostly know what to expect now - I think I will be able to decide whether or not to do smaller cuts after this one. Thanks for all of the support so far!!

Share this post


Link to post
primekittycat

I was reading another post where Alto suggested possibly doing 5% cuts every 2 weeks instead of 10% all at once. I am considering doing that since cutting by 10% last month took me out for a few days and I don't want to feel like that again. Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
peggy

i think that is a great idea; just keep careful notes - you may need to have a hold after a few cuts, sometimes just every one or two weeks have a cumulative effect. Maybe do 5% wait 2 weeks, 5% wait 2 weeks 5% wait 4 weeks..

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy