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Okay, here's my story. I have been on Effexor XR 225mg for 6 years. I just found out I am pregnant and I stopped taking my Effexor completely. I have two daughters already (ages four and 1 1/2) and stopped taking the Effexor immediately while pregnant with them as well. I am on Effexor for severe depression and high anxiety. With the past pregnancies, quitting has been very difficult as I cannot function very well without the medication. The whole pregnancy is very difficult on me as well as my family as they have to go through it with me. The longer I go w/o the Effexor, the worse I get and usually in the last tri-mester I become very emotional and start having bad thoughts that become increasingly harder for me to control. Then, somehow I make it through til' the end and have a beautiful baby and begin taking my medication as soon as possible after delivery.

When I found out I was pregnant last week, I again discontinued the Effexor immediately. I went through the whole withdrawal thing with all the symptoms everyone else has had only three days ago, once the headaches were finally starting to subside a little, I began shaking. It feels like when you go outside in the freezing cold and you just can't get warm and you begin shaking so much you cannot stop. I was wondering if anyone else has felt this?

At first it was only at night, but now it goes on for most of the day. My stomach is all knotted and I just can't stop shaking. Both my family doctor and my OB/GYN says to go back on the Effexor, but I don't want to risk my baby's health. Effexor is a class "C" drug which means they don't know if there are any risks to the baby. Which to mean translates to "we're not sure if it will harm your baby or not". I just can't see how I can take that risk. Sure, I may stop shaking and have a more "normal" pregnancy, but what do I do when my baby comes out with all kinds of deformities.

My OB/GYN wants to see me right away to assess the risks (he wants to try to talk me into taking the meds). What should I do? :cry:

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I have only been on Effexor xr for six months now and three days ago I ran out and decided not to continue taking them. Let me just say that if you are thinking about taking them, don't. Granted they helped while I was on them, the withdrawal from being off is the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life. I have been nausiated and feeling in a constant disillusioned state of mind. Also, I have been recieving these shock like sensations in my lips and sometimes throughout my whole body. I am consulting the doctor tomorrow and am extremely angry that no mention of these withdrawal symptoms was made at the start of this medication. I am in college and work full time. How am I supposed to do it all when I feel this way?

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I don't know that I have anything useful to add to this thread, however, if anything I have been through can help someone in any way, it would be worth the few minutes typing. I also want to make note that I am male, and, I may be wrong, but the majority if not all of the posts I have seen seem to be from women - I don't know if there are any differences, but I do know for certain the side-affects are the same (at least the main ones).

I took effexor (75 + 37.5 mg) for 2.5 years, and then weaned myself of in - to my recollection - just over 2 months. Not sure the particulars of how I managed that back then but i don't remember the severity of the symptoms of the withdrawals.

I started taking them again at the beginning of last year - initially just 75 but then the 75 and 37.5. I have had enough of this effexor, the results for its effects while on it did not reduce my anxiety noticeably at all, and to have side-effects while paying the exorbitant price for the drugs to me was absurd. I am done with effexor, will not go back on them no matter what.

In January I reduced my dosage from the 75+37.5 to just the 75. Then about 4 weeks ago, reduced it to just the 37.5. All this with minimal bad feelings. Of course there are the brain zapps -the most aweful side effect. In the past few weeks I have felt myself becoming more tense though, and getting angry easy...no patience. And the strange and terrible dreams and uncomfortable sleep have started since I switched to 37.5 every other day.

With the every other day system - on the day I take the pill....zapps ease and fell somewhat okay...still irritable though, but by day two the zapps steadily increase and so does the mood swings.

That is where I am at now. I just decided to start looking online to see if there was any info out there to help me. Thankfully I found this site and this thread. I feel that we all have experiences not just to build our own character and spirit, but to help others who go through similar things.

Over the nest few weeks I will post an update on my withdrawal from this awful drug.

My intention, after reading the posts here, is to start removing 5 balls from the capsule for 1 week, then another 5(total of 10) for 4 days, then remove 20 for 4 days, then 30 for 3 days, then 40 for 3 more days...I will see where I am at this time to further evaluate at what point I will discontinue them altogether.

I will also look to add some omega 3 or 4 (I will see which one it is for sure) because I have heard it also helps, and it is a natural supplement that should be beneficial anyway.

If there are other men out there, as well as the women who i have read of, you are not alone either. I know how it feels to feel useless. I have a wife and 2 children who are depending on me...I run my own business (which is struggling as I am)...and I feel a great burden to be the MAN that they all need and it is incredibly difficult. I constantly feel like a failure. It is only through my faith in God that I am able to keep going, and I know who will get me through this.

I cherish your prayer and will pray for all whoare going through these withdrawals.

~Tim

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Hello

I am a 29 Year old male who took Effexor XR (75mg) for about 6 months. My doctor prescribed it for anxiety. I too tried to quit several times and went right back to it once I realized that I couldn't function at work. I finally quit cold turkey on February 17 2008. I went through hell for about 5 days but then noticed the symptoms had started settling down. It is now 3-4-2008 and I'm still feeling those brain zaps as others have mentioned. If I roll my eyes in a circle something in my brain just goes boom. My concentration has improved but these brain zaps are really hard to ignore. I also have noticed that my anger and stress levels have elevated.

Does anyone know how long these symptoms last??? I want to forget that I even made the decision to take this drug.

Thanks
Ben

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coming off effexor doesnt have to be painful. I was on 75mg for 2 years my doctor told me to just stop taking it so I did cold turkey and got the brain zaps. So I went back on it. I went down to 37.5 mg for a couple months then took one every other day for a while then every 2 days then every 3 days eventually you dont need it. It wasnt painful at all. No side effects that way. I learned that from the pharmacist and I'm so thankful.

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I am glad your experience was relatively painless. My first experience with effexor and tapering off it was very much the same, however, after this second time being on effexor and trying to quit its a much different story.



Update: 1



I have changed my quantities, but the method is the same. After counting, I found that the 37.5 mg has approximately 120 beads inside it. So My first phase has been change from removing 5 to removing 10 beads. After three days of -10 it has gone well...no noticeable affects. I will go one more day at -10 then I will go -20 for four days.



The reason I have chosen this method is that it seems to take roughly 48 hours to get an honest response from your body's reaction to a lesser dose. I will continue to do this in four day step downs until I either feel the 'zaps' or I come completely off effexor. If I feel 'zaps' after a step down I will hold at that level until it stops then continue to the next step (probably with the expectation that the steps may take longer...possibly)



I hope that my experience can prove useful to someone else.



Take care all and any prayers offered for me will be much appreciated.



~Tim

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Wow... I never once considered Effexor withdrawals. I thought it was just me, something wrong with ME that was causing the zaps, night sweats, headaches, overeating.

I would never have come across this thread if I hadn't had a conversation with someone who was jokingly talking about being addicted to Ambien- and they had then gone online and found threads such as this one.

I decided to type in the search engine "effexor xr addiction" and this was the google lucky page. I have not been this shocked in a while. Ironically, I realized I hadn't taken my Effexor150mg dose yet today, seeing it is Saturday & I slept late- so I ran to get my pill, with the shocking stories here hitting so close to home.

I would not recommend anyone to begin taking Effexor. DO NOT TAKE EFFEXOR. Try any other option. At the very least, Doctors should be required to inform patients the almost guarantee that they will never be able to discontinue use of the drug. The patient should be okay with the fact they will be a slave to a VERY EXPENSIVE drug.

Speaking of that, I was surprised to not read any posts about the price of the prescription. I guess money is just a major personal stressor for me, but the most stressful, tear inducing time of the month is when I have to worry about getting my prescription filled. Where am I going to come up with $125 dollars?? Even with insurance, I have to pay almost full price for almost 3 months to cover my deductable. I think it may not be a coincidence that such a pricey, addictive drug is being so freely administered to people across the world- at least not in the US, home of government conspiracies to completely SCREW the lower-middle class.

Anyways, wow that is my rant for the day---err WEEK. I think I feel my Effexor a.k.a. COMA kicking in. Off for a nap! Hopeless in Arkansas

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I have been taking Effexor 100mg/daily for well over 10 years. I have tried to wean off of this drug even with doctors for years, and the withdrawal symptoms are excruciating. I have suffered, my children suffered, family has suffered worried about me, I have lost jobs [not from depression] but from trying to withdrawal from this drug with no success.



The drug specifics (the paper that comes with the drug that specifies the side affects, etc.) does NOT mention how difficult it would be to withdrawal from this medication.



I am madder than h***! My doctor never told me how difficult it would be to get off this drug ---- even being weened off for months!! I asked my doctor how do I get off this drug!?! Her response was, "you have to see a psychologist", baloney! The problem is not my depression, it's the withdrawal symptoms!! A psychologist isn't going to cure the feeling like I'm being "electrocuted" that last for months - to only give up and go back on this drug!



I have contacted an attorney and he thinks we possibly have a case here. I am forming a class action lawsuit, against the mfg. of Effexor - Wyeth Pharmaceutical.



I need as many people as possible to jump on this train with me. Please email me your name, address, telephone number and your withdrawal experiences. Please write to: effexor_class_action_lawsuit @ yahoo.com.



I feel it is almost impossible to get off this drug. I need your help to fight back, because I feel it is all about money to get the public addicted to this drug.



Thank you, I appreciate your help.

Anna

effexor_class_action_lawsuit @ yahoo.com

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I have been on Effexor for about 5 years.
I found out I was pregnant and planned to stop taking it before my third trimester. i never realised how difficult it would be.
I am on day 2 or 3, and feel awful. The constant brain zaps are just too much to bear. i cant concentrate at work, and am snappy or over emotional all the time. the nightimes are awful with night sweats and terrible dreams. WHY are they still prescribing this drug??????

I am going to try the Omega 3 pills....god i hope they help even the least bit.

It was great reading your stories and knowing that I am not alone, But reading that Tim stil has the brain zaps after 3 weeks made me cry. :-(

I'll keep in touch, hopefully things get better!!

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Hi to Everyone,

I just wanted to let you know It can be done. This is how I did it. I've been taking 75mg Effexor for 3 years. For the first two weeks I took 37.5 mg (until my body started to adjust) After the first day, of not taking the Effexor my Dr. prescribed me Prozac 20mg for 30 days. All the side effect mentioned are much easier to deal with. The brain zaps are just your nerves coming back to life. The worst I had was jaw pain, I thought I had a sinus infection and a tooth infection, that kept me up one night and then slowly started to go away over the next week. I talk to my dentist and he explained that the nerves were waking up. The prozac helped with the emotions and the brain zaps and all else. I hope this helps. Effexor is the worst to come off of, prozac is number 7 alot easier. Good luck to all of you, you will be in my prayers.

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Hi all,

I hope anybody thinking of Effexor, or similar drugs, learns what the possible withdrawal symptoms are first. Like many, I've had:
1) Brain zaps (zzzzt like feeling behind my eyes) when I shift my eyes left or right. At their worst, the feeling extended down to my shoulders once or twice. I think others call this Brain Shivers. Regardless, you don't want to tell your employer, "Hey, I've got to work from home because I've got brain zaps!" :-)
2) Auditory hallucinations (a cash register like beep when I shift my eyes to the left or right).
3) Instant dizziness/nausea when I move my eyes
4) Flu like symptoms
5) Irritability - causing family discord. Actually episodes of rage.
6) Night sweats
7) Hot flashes

I had dropped down to 37.5 mg, and then took half of that ( approx 18mg ) for a week, then tried cold turkey. I lost a week of work because I couldn't drive, or barely function period. After a week of these symptoms, I gave up and took about a 9 mg does. Amazingly, within 6 hours, I was feeling somewhat better....no more brain zaps, beeping, or nausea. Since then, I reduced the dose by 5 of those little white "caplets"? each week. I just finished, but I still get some auditory beeping when I move my eyes and occassional angry outbursts. I expect these will taper off.

One aspect of all this is that it is very difficult to discuss this with others as these symptoms make me sound crazy, thoough I know I'm not. I think it should be the responsibility of prescribing doctors to let people know the reality behind the potential withdrawal consequences. I had similar symptoms when getting off Cymbalta a couple of years back, but not nearly so bad.

For those getting withdrawal symptoms, you aren't alone.

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i started on effexor almost a year ago after being on paxil for a year, which was horrible. i thought the effexor was helping at first but after awhile i noticed i was just as sleepy as with the paxil(which is why i went off it) and ironically i felt more depressed then before i was on any pill. also, ive noticed that i have difficulty having conversations, i cant get the words out right and i often forget words (i once couldnt think of the word "pilot" and could only come up with "airplane driver") also, ive noticed i have really crazy dreams, and if i drink i get so sick for the next 24 hours. i think the only good thing that came about with this drug is the weight loss. ive tried comming off this a few times, but the symptoms are so bad i go back on. right now i am tapering off, ive been opening the capsules and dumping out the little white beads. it was fine when i was down to about half the beads, but now that im taking out even more, im experienceing the whithdrawl symptoms: the brain zaps(im so glad to hear im not just crazy), nausea, paranoia, seeing things out of the corner of my eye, jitteryness, and anger. i am really going to try and stick it out this time because this pill is no good!! if your not already on it, dont take it!

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how long does it take for this med to take effect just started 2 doses

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Thank you so much for your posts about Effexor withdrawl. I have been on Effexor 150 mg since December of 2006. I had been feeling better and wanted to get off the medication. I started about 3 weeks ago, going form 150 to 75 to 37.5 then off. I have been off completely for 6 days. The past 3 weeks have been a living hell. I have had vertigo, nausea, fatigue, night sweats and night terrors. I have not slept soundly for 3 weeks. I am terrified about going to sleep. Even scarier is that for the last 6 days I have had uncontrollable anger and agitation. I am worse than when I started the effexor. I have considered going back on it or getting something to hold me over. I have been so angry with my husband he is ready to leave. I am begging him to read these messages to see that I really am experiencing withdrawl not just overall mean and meaner. I thank you for giving me hope. Oh and I started crying 2 days ago, for nothing, for everything. I will never go on this medication again! I will warn my friends, hope you will too!

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Take Prozac!!
I had ALL the withdrawl symptoms and thought I was going to die.
It was horrible.

But then I read on one of these posts to take Prozac.
Desperate, I tried it.
And it worked!

I swear to you I took 1 20 mg Prozac and the withdrawl symptoms were gone.

And Prozac can easily be weened off of.

Effexor is the Devil! But Prozac will save you from the horrid withdrawls!

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