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This post is an extension of the
Effexor XR withdrawal thread.

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I have been taking Effexor for a long time...and I decided to get myself off of it. I was on 150 mil. once a day. I started having to take medicine for Chronic anxity back in the late 80's. I have lived through many things without a pout of Chronic Anxity, but I guess the straw that broke the camels back hit me and I found out that the physical symptoms I had were do to Anxity...I had to be tried on a number of different medications before they found the right one...then your doctor retires and you get a new one that says the previous medicine that worked is outdated...(if something works why don't they just leave it alone) so we go through trying to find the right new pill to take. Then I get off of it thinking I can handle things and find myself having anxity at a new job and I have to see a new Doctor since medical coverage does not cover my existing doctor...to be taken off of Lorazpam cold turkey and put on something else right when your learning a new job was totally not cool. So goes life in the jungle of medicine. I have cut myself off Effexor by lowering my doesage every 2 weeks. I've now been off of it totally for 5 days and was experiencing some symptoms that cause me to go on the search for withdrawal symptoms of this drug...I'm so thankful to find this resource of peoples experiences...Now I understand why I would have a headache at the front of my forhead and why I felt so emotionally touchy for no reason...and now I'm trying to figure out if these hot flashes I get are one of my symptoms or just my memopause symptoms increasing...I felt sickish lightly but nothing that caused me to throw-up. We will see what the days have instore for me. I', still on a low dosage of another medicine at night so I'm only taking myself off of one medicne at a time...I'm smart enough not to take on two things at once. Thanks to all of you that have shared your experiences.
Tootiepunkin
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Hello Everyone.
I am now on day 4 being Effexor free.
I was on 150, then 75 for 2 months, then 37.5 for a month.
I went out of town last weekend and forgot the 37.5 after 2 weeks of taking them.
I decided then that now is as good as any to stop.
Day 1 was fine.
Day 2 was HORRIBLE. Sickness, Brain Zaps, dizziness, lightheaded verdigo. Thank goodness for Emetrol.
Day 3 was a little better. Didn't go to work and tried to stay laying down most of the day. Only symptons were brain zaps, and a little dizziness. And also if I saw something sad on the news my eyes would tear up and that never happens.
I bought some Omega 3 Fish Oil, St. John's Wort, Vitamin B complex, and a multi vitamin.
Today (Day4) is a little better. The Omega 3 seems to be helping the brain zaps a little.
I will update everyone on Day 5.
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I found this thread, thank you God, and have gotten up my nerve to get off this medicine. I have been on it for 10 years for depression and anxiety disorder. I simply cant afford it any longer and I really want to FEEL again. I have been "insulated from normal feelings too long. I actually want to be able to cry! It's been a flat line exsistence with Effexor. Please all of you say a prayer for me as I join you in this fight. Thanks Will let you know how its going
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I have to say that I feel like a complete id**t for no figuring out this sooner but, I have been on Effexor for about 6 months and have gained about 30 lbs. I honestly thought it was me, just not being as active as before. The thing is, I was asked to be given an antidepressant because for 3 years prior, I was having a horrible time dealing with an eating disorder. I asked my Dr. if I would gain weight and he said absolutely not... I have never been so despressed in my life. My fiance was convinced it was the drug (since he knows my fear of weight) and it looks like that's the only answer. I have gotten into old habits out of desperation to loose the weight and nothing is working. I tried to go off of it but as everyone says, the withdrawals are awful. I don't even like to go out anymore because I feel embarrassed to see anyone I know. Reading these posts makes me feel better but also makes me hysterical knowing there are so many people going through this.
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First of all, let me thank each and every one of you who has had the guts to try and quit and to document your feelings through this board.
I am not new to Effexor....and am not new to trying to quit. I was prescribed Effexor XR 8 years ago when dealing with a life altering illness, and I have to say Effexor DID get me through the fear and anxiety.
HOWEVER...
I am physically healthy now, and for all intents and purposes, have no need to take this medication, but the sides have kept me on it YEARS longer than I really needed an antidepressant. But the withdrawal and easy access to the medication (RX benefits) kept me taking it like a good patient....
Well, things in my life changed, and one of the biggest was losing my RX benefits. Do you all know what an RX of Effexor XR 225 mg daily costs to the consumer??? Well, I will tell you----About $400!!!!!!
I decided to quit....quite frankly because I HAD to as I couldn't afford it, and all the docs who gave out samples have been depleted.
I am in week 3 of going cold turkey...yes, I did say cold turkey.
All I can say now is that I am still alive, still breathing, and every day is a new adventure in sides! But....please.....there is hope...I am feeling better every day! And I know that the bad days are only due to this toxin leaving my body. And I am bound and determined NOT to give one more penny to the Wyeth Corporation for manufacturing this legalized poison.
To anyone who is going through withdrawal, I suggest taking something to sleep at night, and make yourself as comfortable as possible while you are going through this. Alcohol is like adding kersosene to a fire, so please don't do that (been there, done that). Benadryl at night helps to sleep and also helps with the itching...(I have clawed myself raw at times)....Xanax helps. Don't be afraid to ask for it....Sleep as much as you can through the bad nights....just don't take another pill!!!!!
Today I woke up with brain zaps and tingling lips.....and I thought I was over that part! But...I do know, these will go away and tomorrow will be better.
Bless you all in our fight to win our battle with Effexor......
Again....just make yourself as comfortable as possible while your body detoxifies. I, myself, will never, ever, ever, ever take another AD.
I will check back into this site in about 2 weeks.....
I will get through this and so will you all...just please don't give in and take another capsule, or even granules! You can't win if you do.
peace
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me again.
I have been reading ALL the posts from the beginning to now about Effexor XR withdrawal, and some, well, they were so brutally honest, it made me laugh....(a good thing)
There was one post who claimed the brain zaps were like the "Ah Ah Ah, Ch Ch Ch" sound from the Friday the 13th movies! I laughed so hard....I TOTALLY agree! I told my friends that brain zaps are like a broom inside the back of my eyeballs, swishing back and forth!
I really think this medication should be prescribed ONLY for short term use, NOT as a crutch to lug around your neck the rest of your life. If doctors knew the long term c**p, maybe they would take you off it when your life (anxiety, panic disorders) go away......But DON'T keep prescribing them after that passes! I blame my doc for that.
Anyway,
another day has gone by and today I feel "normal"?.....See, I really don't even know what normal is any more! But at least I don't have the major sides.....
Hang in there everyone and take a moment and read all the posts....very informative and in one case that I know for sure, can give you a little laugh!
Peace and good luck
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I hope this will bring some hope, not many people post past a few days free.

I was on Effexor for over 5 years to treat symptoms of postpartum nd anxiety. I tried to quit for years but without succes; like all of you, the side effect were horrible and cost me a few jobs.

I recently had a Pneumonia, I was soooo sick out of my mind with the chill and the fever that I couldn't even my self to take the effexor. I was gobbling Ibuprofen and thylenol like no tomorrow so I couldn't get myself to take them. I also thought to myself, I'm already sick out of my mind, my head, my body and everything else can't possibly hurt anymore than it already is. I'm home in bed so now is the time. I was on 75mg one day and 37.5 the other for the past year or so; I had tried to go down to 37.5mg in the past but always ended up sick, depresse, and like someone was pushing a popsicle in one of my eye socket! :-(

Well although I find myself ready to cry at the drop of a hat while watching Bambi or Nancy Grace, I've been free since December 7th,2008!!! Almost 5 weeks. I never never thought it could be done.


I read someone mentioning Benydryl and I can see it being effective.
I was given some strong caugh medication for the Pneumonia, it made me very spleepy. Probably help me live through..... or sleep through the nasty night terror, the popsicle like feelig in my eye sockets, etc.......


I'm trying to talk myself out of the occassional uncontrollable need to cry over little things. I'm happy I got to this stage but I'm praying I'm over the worst part. It can be a bit embarrasing to start tearing up each time someone tells you about something on the news etc....

I have been a bit emotional and over sensitive with Hubby but hopefully it is one of the symptoms and will balance it self out.

If I can manage to lose half of the weight I put on taking this nasty bill, maybe I will start feeling better about myself too.

Hope this helps some and if you have been off of it for more then a month and have some insite on the emotional symptoms please let us know.

It can be done;)


Anna
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I was prescribed Effexor 75mg. in 1998. I have always had digestive problems and stress seemed to make it much worse, so my doctor had a "great" idea and decided that I should have Effexor. Initially, I thought it was a good idea. I certainly didn't respond to stress in the same manner. Even after my mother died and I got a divorce, the anxiety of it all seemed better controlled by the medicine.

I have NEVER been depressed or diagnosed with any form of anxiety disorder, but I trusted (blindly) that my doctor knew best. It never occurred to me that there would be long term problems with this medication.

Okay, so after 6 years, I had was ready to seriously date again. The pain of the divorce was severe, so I wasn't in a hurry to add that type of drama back in to my now "calm" life. Anyway, I was overwhelmed with emotions! I felt anxiety that I had never experienced before and didn't feel in control of my emotions at all! I went to discuss it with the doctor and he increased my Effexor dosage to 150 mg. Of course, the anxiety subsided a LOT; however it was really only caused by my not having ever dealt with the emotions of my divorce. Mind you, the divorce was at the exact same time of my mother's death, so I guess I blocked it all out.

Anyway, I felt a rush of emotions, which I NOW know was perfectly normal and should have been dealt with versus medicated away! This is yet another example of blindly following a doctor without demanding ALL of the pros and cons!

For several years, I have tried to escape the clutches of this horrible drug. Before reading about the withdrawal symptoms, I would just stop cold turkey. That was NEVER a good idea and the side effects caused me to get right back on it. I even had a doctor lower my dosage previously from 150 back down to 75, but the side effects were too much to bear and I ended up going back up to the 150 mg. Isn't it amazing how you can become depressed just trying to STOP taking a medication for depression EVEN when you weren't depressed to begin with? Geeze.... how have they gotten away with still making this medication?

Long story short, I want to get pregnant and do NOT want this medication in my life or body! I got my ob/gyn to help me begin lowering the dosage. I did 75 mg for 2 months and then last month went to the 37.5 mg. I have now been totally off of the pills for 2-1/2 days and am experiencing uncomfortable side effects. Here is what I have been experiencing...

Fuzzy headed, clouded thinking, which makes it difficult to type. My fingers won't do what my brain is telling them to do. It's very frustrating! Slight dizziness, but not full-fledged vertigo yet; although I feel like it is getting worse not better, appetite increase, which started immediately after dropping from 150 to 75mg and has been getting progressively worse. The brain shocks aren't bad anymore; however the body ones are. I get shooting needle like pains in my arms, hands, legs and feet. For about 2 weeks, I stayed in the bathroom with horrible diarrhea and abdominal cramps. I still have severe stomach bloating, which caused me to take numerous pregnancy tests, but all are negative. You'd swear that I was pregnant though. I also have bouts of nausea nearly every day. I am exhausted, no matter how much I sleep. I have chest pains sporadically, which make me VERY nervous! I also have a weird symptom and I hope that someone can tell me if they have experienced it. I feel that I have to struggle to breathe. I have slight nasal congestion, but I feel almost like I just "forget" to breathe and then have to take a deep breath to feel normal again. I don't know if it is just very shallow breathing or if I literally don't breathe at times. It's making me crazy. Also, my sense of smell is making me truly think that I am nuts! It is so acute that I can smell things that nobody else can smell. This causes not only nauses, but I literally can't be in some places due to it. I actually had to get rid of my couch, which is only 1 year old, due to smell that was causing me to not even be able to stay in the same room with it. I SWORE it was the couch, so my husband spend $2300 on a new sectional and guess what...I still smell it! Talk about feeling nuts! God love him, he is so understanding and patient with me!

Lastly, my vision has been impaired ever since I got on this medication. It's getting fuzzier since coming off of it though. I really hope this isn't long term damage! My memory has been extremely adversely effected since beginning this medication and it appears that may be permanent, so I am concerned about the vision changes too!

I also have gained a lot of weight. I gained a lot when I first got on this c**p and then when the dosage went up to 150 mg, I initially lost 40 pounds, but that was with exercise and diet also, so I don't know if the meds effected it or not. Since then, I gained back the 40 and a bit extra. Since lowering my dosages, I have gained like 15 more pounds and am miserable. I had HIGH hopes of losing weight with coming off of the meds, since I gained so much being on them. I guess that just won't be the case. That's depressing all by itself!


Overall, I just want to feel normal again, if I can ever determine what "normal" actually is. I also think someone should be held accountable for this horrible medication and what it does to you! In the nearly 11 years that I have taken this stuff, NO doctor has ever told me about the horrible effects of it. What worse is that they all continue to prescribe it without any attempt to help you get off of it. I had to TELL my doctor that I wanted off or nothing would have been done. Even now, I could call ANY of my doctors and they would quickly re-prescribe whatever dosage I asked for and THAT is frightening! Wyeth should be VERY accountable for this and the long term damage that it has caused its users.

There are 2 reasons that I posted here today. One is to find out if anyone can help me to figure out how long the side effects last and if the memory and vision issues will be permanent, as well as if the weight issue is permanent too.

Secondly, I wanted to use this as a WARNING to anyone who is even thinking about taking this drug. You may think it solves all of your problems, but that is short term. The long term is damage and misery that you can't even imagine! Don't start it! Educate yourself and find another medication or resource to help you! This is basically addictive stuff!!!

Oh a lighter note, the symptoms aren't as bad as I expected, since coming completely off of it. They are bad, don't get me wrong, but they are getting a bit better with each passing day! My commitment is to having a child and a NORMAL life; therefore no matter how bad it gets, I will NOT take one more granule of this medication!!
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I was prescribed effexor xl 7 years ago after breast cancer to help with the hot flashes. I sure wish I knew then what I know now, I would NEVER have taken the drug. I have been on 75 mg and just went to 37.5 mgs 2 days ago. This board is so helpful, I will continue to post. Wish me luck and send a prayer my way to get off this stuff. One missed does on the 75 has put me to bed with severe flu symptoms. I am determined to get thru this. funny I wasn't depressed in the first place. what are these drs thinking?
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I am contemplating going off of Effexor XR, but want to "plan my attack" beforehand, based on these posts and some preliminary symptoms. Has anyone used any other resources to help with their anxiety or panic attacks to help them? For example, "Panic Away" by Joe Barry or other similar programs? I've suffered for anxiety/panic attacks for a long time (30 years), but I just can't stand the side effects to the effexor xr any longer and want to get off!! However, I know I'll need additional help to make it through. Any helpful advice would be very much appreciated!! Prayers go out to everyone suffering similar experiences ... it's debilitating!!
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I went from 75 down to 37.5 before the summer in an attempt to get off, but stopping the 37.5 made me sick within a couple of days. I've been stuck on 37.5 since then.

Just Before New Years I decided to start weaning off using the granule method, I emptied 30 unused 75mg capsules into a container and started sprinkling some into yogurt or some other food every day (swallow the granules, do not chew them if possible as they are very bitter). For me this was not an exact science, I was eyeballing it and able to reduce the granules gradually this way.

Now I'm down to about 12 granules and it is a lot more exact. I went from 15 granules down to 10 thinking I was almost done, but it was too sharp a drop and I didn't feel well. I'll probably reduce by 3 every 3-4 days, or depending how i feel.

I have 1 question, for the past couple of weeks I have had extremely very dry nasal congestion, resistant to claritin-d and any of those types of decongestants. It just occured to me that perhaps the congestion is a part of the effexor reduction/withdrawal. Does anyone else think that may be the case?
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Thank you all for your input to this forum-it is helpful to me and I do appreciate it. Sadly, I am not new to Effexor XR-I have been on both that as well as Neurontin for many years (Effexor was brand new at the time.) After seeing many psychiatrists (no one wanted to 'help' me taper off of the meds and would not give me prescriptions for the lower dose capsules,) I finally found one who has been helping me to come off of the Effexor very gradually. Most of the many years I was on this med, I was taking either 225 or 150mg, but there was a short period that I was even at 300mg daily. Now, thank God, I am finally at alternating 37.5mg one day, none the next. I am also working "The Road Back" program using their supplements. In some of your posts, I saw mention of vision problems. I am quite concerned about this for myself as my vision has changed quiet a bit in the last mo or two-I was just to the ophthalmologist thinking I just needed a change in glasses (maybe to bifocals although I'm only 47.) I had just been to see him for my annual eye exam and prescription change just 6 mos prior. He did many tests and told me that although he could correct my vision to 20/30 (whereas he was always able to get it to 20/20), that my vision problem is 'medically' related. I did tell him that I was weaning off of Effexor but he didn't think their was a connection.
PLEASE, if any of you has experienced vision related problems taking and/or withdrawing from Effexor, would you kindly let me know how you have fared. I sure do appreciate it.
Mary
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Well...the nightmare is continuing. It has been 32 days since my last Effexor. I am fortunate to have Xanax, which I have been taking at the same dose .25mg for the last 12 years, which helps take the edge off and I only take this if I really need it. My vision has changed considerably and for the better. I am able to sew without having to use a lighted magnifying glass...yippee!! I also have started wearing my old glasses as I had to get a new prescription cuz my vision had deteriorated considerably within the last year.

The past week has been terrible for me. I don't want to be around anyone as I say mean things...and it breaks my heart as this is not me. My parents tell me that I am no longer in Zombie state which is good. Please pray for me as I continue to struggle with the withdrawal. Tonight my husband suggested I check myself into a christian mental hospital which absolutely terrifies me cuz they will just give me other drugs and I don't want that.

Can anyone shed some light at the end of my tunnel and tell me what the average withdrawal time period is? I am so tired of the hot and cold flashes, brain shivers, hearing loss and just plain being miserable. Thanks for your advice and support. My heart has gone out to all who posted here when this site first began. Wyeth really needs to take this medication off the market.
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My understanding for virtually any addictive substance--this one included--is 90 days, so it sounds like you've gotten through the first month okay. That was the hardest part. The rest of it you should finish up without much more trouble. Hang in there, okay?? Keep us posted.
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