I have taken Effexor XR on and off for several years. Both time I stopped taking it, I suffered MAJOR withdrawal problems... I had the same list of side effects that many of you have described here... mine even included Out of Body experiences and general madness that made me question my own sanity. While on Effexor XR, I was taking 225mg-300mg and I will say that it is the only medication I have taken that did greatly help my anxiety issues... but what was I supposed to do, just stay on this chemical for the rest of my life? I don't think I'd live long shoveling toxic chemicals in my system every day. Rather than rant on about how much damage taking medication like this everyday is to your physical health, I wanted to share how I beat the withdrawal. I also want to REALLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO TRY THIS TOO. As many of you have figured out by now, your doctor likely only knows what they are told by the drug company about what they are giving you. As a result, when you tell your doctor you are having withdrawal problems after taking Effexor, you'll likely be told that it isn't possible, or it will only last a few days or weeks. Like others have written here on this site, it can last a long time, believe me. So if you are having immense trouble with Effexor XR withdrawal, you may not get support from your doctor... the truth is, they don't take the medications themselves so they truly cannot understand some of the effects that the drugs they prescribe have on people. So here is what I did, and I STRONGLY SUGGEST some of you try to combat your withdrawal symptoms. It's time to break out the gold old herbs and supplements... now I know some of you might be laughing at the idea but that's what THE DRUG COMPANIES WANT YOU TO DO. They want you to not take natural medicine seriously... and why? So that they can make money by giving you drugs that cost pennies to make and they can sell for hundreds of dollars. So give this a try...
FOR A GREAT INEXPENSIVE NATURAL REMEDY: take strong Omega 3 capules, Vitamin B Complex, and a good quality general multi-vitamin. If you like, you can throw in some St. John's Wart too but DO NOT TAKE ST JOHN'S WART if you are taking any SSRI still as it may weaken the effects of the SSRI.
IF YOU ARE OK WITH STILL TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION: In addition to the above, get your doctor to give you some Prozac. Just for a short time like 1 month. Your doctor will likely think it is not necessary but I've read many people's posts stating that it got rid of their Effexor withdrawal all together in a very short time. Some even claimed it worked as fast as one dose. Personally, I can say that it took me a few weeks before I was over the withdrawal. Don't worry about getting hooked on Prozac and it has VERY LITTLE DISCONTINUATION symptoms. I believe this is to do with the fact it has a short half life in your body.
I encourage you to try my suggestions but also continue your own research. Most of all, DONT FEEL ALONE... those of us who have taken these powerful drugs UNDERSTAND YOU WHOLE HEARTEDLY!
I will include my email in the event any of you wish to write.
Hang in there, Time (and a few vitamins) Will Heal Everything! :-)
I'm going in the morning and getting you're suggestions.
Thanks and wish me well...
My symptoms, just like those listed from the last post, my eyes seemed to not be caught up with the rest of me. Any walking, visually the world seemed to move as if I were drunk, very scary on the stairs especially.
Popping sounds in my head.
Felt like electric shocks in my body at any given time, out of the blue. Shooting through my body.
Fear and anxiety, I was scared to be alone.
Eyes dialated large, even in the light.
Nausea, anxiety and my eyes not making sense...obviously I wasn't working during this time, barely functioning. And needing to not be alone and trying to not freak out in front of friends/family when what was going on in my head was just nuts. Both scary and embarassing.
But here is a question for you once you were completely off of the medication. Did you realise that while you were ON the Effexor that you did things and make decisions in your life, that you would never have made? Did you come out of the other side of this and think, Oh My Goodness, I Can't Believe I.....fill in the blank.
This was the case with me. On Effexor, I put up with anything and everything, I was always happy and on an even keel, no matter what....and that is NOT GOOD.
I was on 150 mg XR
I have been tapering for the last 3 weeks and have been off for 4 days with very minor, in comparison to many stories, side effects.
This is what I did. I am not saying this will work for you, but this is my story.
I opened one of my capsules (generic) and there were 37 – 40 pellets in each one. So the first cut, I just took out 5 pellets. I did that for 3 days. Everything was fine (just a little tired). Then after that I decided to take more pellets out. I cut the full dose in half (19 pellets). I did this for 4 days. The first day was fine, the second day I felt emotional and some anxiety, but then my evening went fine. The third day I felt better, but had a headache. The 4th day was much better. My next step, I cut dosage down to 9 pellets for 4 more days. For these four days I have had some slight dizziness, and some tiredness, but have been able to function fine. This is when I decided to slow down the process a little bit, just because I had alot of things going on in my life. Teaching VBS, Play practices, etc. So my next step down was 8 pellets for 2 days, 7 pellets for one day then 6 pellets for 3 days, then 5 pellets for 5 days. All of these days were pretty manageable. I was able to teach Vacation Bible School, and get my daughter to all of her activities, as well as get all of my home stuff done as well. I have felt a little outside of myself, a little bit of a headache, and my head just feels a little bit full, like when you have a cold. After those 5 days, I decided to make the BIG JUMP to zero effexor. I have currently been officially off effexor for 4 days. So far so good. Same as all of my other drops. Symptoms have been the same as above.
I have been using the following supplements, etc.
I take advil every 6 or so hours for the headaches. I base that on how bad the headache is. If it is dull, I hold off.
I take benedryl every 4 or so hours for the dizzy and head zaps. Once again I base how often on how I feel.
I take 1-2 omega-3 supplements at each meal. This is suppose to help brain function.
I am taking a very good multi-vitamin supplement (RELIV Classic, Fibrestore, Provantage), rather expensive, but for me, I feel like it is worth it). I take this 3 times a day.
I also found some amazing little homeopathic drops. They are made by BACH and the one I use all the time is the Rescue Remedy. It has really helped me with the anxiety that I feel. Whenever I feel anxious, I just take a few drops and the anxiety level drops considerablly.
These are the things that I have been using since day 1.
Once I dropped to ZERO, I added another RELIV product, Reversage.
This contains several herbs (acetyl L-Carnitine, Alpha liponic Acid, etc.) that are good for brain function.
Also I am taking salt baths. Almost every night. One, it is relaxing, and two it is suppose to draw out toxins. I have been keeping my mind really busy which seems to be helping. I seems like when I let myself sit and do nothing, is when my mind starts racing and then I start having anxiety. That is when I use my Bach drops.
Sorry for the long post, but when I started this journey, I was looking for some success stories, and really didn’t find much. I am hoping this helps not only you, but many, many people. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me either. Lots of talking myself down, talking to friends and family about what is going on, which really helps to. Prayer (asking for help), Prayer(thaning GOD for his help),and more Prayer (for others going through this). With GODS help, we are getting through this pretty well.
I WILL CONTINUE with this journey, and I WILL conquer this Dragon called Effexor.
Quotes by my daughter who is 7 : When the Sun Rises: God Heals
Don’t follow your dreams: Chase Them !!
I am really trying to follow her very sound advice. Have a great journey !! I am looking forward to an effexor free life.
has anyone lost the weight coming off Effexor XR?
It is so great to read this post. After being on Lexapro for 3.5 years my doctor suggested I try effexor as my depression didn't seem to be responding to the lexapro any more and he thought I needed something with more 'oomph'. I took 75mg for 20 days only before I realised it was making me aggressive, manic, dizzy and nauseous. I dropped down to 37.5mg for 3 days before my doctor told me it would be fine to discontinue immediately as I had been on it such a short time there wouldn't be any side effects from complete cessation. Like Hell! Since discontinuing I have had the worst insomnia of my life, feel like I can't breathe when I lie down, almost constant anxiety (which I had not suffered from before) unbelievable brain zaps, dizziness, nausea and a swirling feeling in my head if I move it too fast. The worst was day 3 when that night I was not even able to get to sleep let alone stay asleep and I have had to take a sleeping tablet since then to have any chance of sleep ( which is still pretty restless and interrupted even with the sleeping tab). It is now 8 days since my last 37.5mg dose and I am still experiencing anxiety so badly that I'm up writing this instead of getting the sleep I so badly need. This is the most poisonous and awful drug.
MsBioni, Can you PLEASE give me an update??? I am on approxamately day 6/7 of being off effexor and my doctor "tapered" me off, within a matter of days. unfortunately I believe that was way too quick! How long will this last??? Is this permanent brain damage?
Hi Sunshine, Sorry I have only just seen your post. I hope you are doing a bit better now. I have now been off effexor for 5 weeks and am feeling much better but still experiencing occasional brain snaps and sleep problems. About a week after I had stopped effexor I went to a naturopath who gave me some supplements that did seem to help almost immediately. First one was P2-Detox, MH Enhance, made by MediHerb; Femme Essentials Multi Vit and Mineral by Metagenics; OmegaSure Liquid Fish Oil by BioCeuticals and St John's Wort by MediHerb. While it didn't take all the withdrawal symptoms away I did feel calmer within about 20 hours of starting these supplements. I am still having problems with sleep in a way I have never had before and feel sure it is the effexor still working it's magic on my body. I was actually up all last night until 5am before I finally relented and took a sleeping tab (zoplicone) which thankfully knocked me out. Thank god I'm on holidays at the moment! My psych says that anti-deps corrupt the architecture of sleep so it must be related to my whole effexor/lexapro experience because I have never before had anything like this insomnia in my life. I hope you are feeling better Sunshine; it will get better. If you are having trouble sleeping get yourself some sleeping tabs; I hate to take anything after this whole sorry experience but no sleep will be sure to send anyone crazy!!
Thank you so much for getting back to me!!! Yes! The horror died down after a total of 9 DAYS!!! after that, I have been med free, although I still get the occassional brain zaps also :-/ And i get the feeling as if my brain is shaking lol. Wow things are better now, but in fact I am having sleeping problems. But, that can also do with either the DEVIL DRUG Effexor, or the fact that I have been diagnosed with Bipolar1. meh who knows, but I have an appt with a homeopathic doc, so all natural for me from now on gahhhhhhh