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The effexor withdrawals and weight gain are my main concern thread.

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A couple years ago I became very ill. I have never been a very healthy person, so it didn't really surprise me...But after being hospitalized, it was discovered that I had a mild chiari malformation of the brain.

I was sent to the city to a neurologist who basically dismissed me entirely, but said he wanted me on Effexor for at least two years...that was just over two years ago.

And for a while I didn't experience much from the drug. I've always had clinical depression/anxiety and I've taken just about every antidepressant there is. I'm a medical guinea pig.

But in the last year to 18 months I have gained over 60 pounds. Let's get something straight here, I was never a skinny girl. When I began the pill I weight maybe 170 pounds and I thought THAT was a lot...Now I weigh closer to 240, and I hate myself. I'm not less depressed, because every time I look in the mirror, I can't stand the sight of me. I have lost all self esteem, and I have trouble dating or going out in public. Friends that I used to consider 'fat' now weigh less than I do and I feel humiliated around them.

I'm twenty-two years old now, and I'm stuck in a rut in my life.

On top of that, I have tried to ween off this pills a total of three times now...I've tried taking less and less followed by every other day followed by every third day...and guess what? I'm so ill I can't even function. I shake, I get terrible hot flashes, I have migraines which lead to nausea and dizziness. Sometimes my hearing gets all muffled, like there is water in my ears...I haven't eaten more than a bowl of cereal and a few saltine crackers in three days now, and I can't sleep more than about an hour at a time without waking up in a cold sweat.

I envy those of you who don't have the withdrawal so bad...

I'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one. My doctors have lectured me about my weight gain and told me that I'm "obese" and "unhealthy". Like I can control it. When I said I was sure it was the pill, they told me that wasn't possible...I'm copy/pasting some of your posts into a word file to show them when I go in this morning. Thanks for all your help. <3
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I have been on effexor for almost five years now. and I am sitting here at the point of tears with relief that it is not just me...... I am active duty military and have gained over 70 pounds since being on this drug. I workout every day watch what I eat and have become more depressed since I have gained all of this wait. I was actually about to make an appointment for gastic bypass in the morning. What else could I do. But now I know... I will start tapering off the drugs in the morning. If anyone is involved in the lawsuit PLEASE let me know.... I will be right there with it as well. I have an appointment with my doctor in the morning at 930 for us to talk about all of this....

thank God for all of the replies!!!!
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I was on effexor for appx. 5yrs. I am a 35 yr old male. I came off 250mg cold turkey. I had a hard week and a half, but after that things got better. I am 22 days into "no effexor". I am feeling pretty good in general, but I am not loosing weight and feel very bloated all the time. I have been eating very healthy and working out daily. Has anyone else experienced the "bloating" issue? How long does it last?
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I am a 34 year old female who has also stopped taking my Effexor and am experiencing the "bloating issue." I was on put on Wellbutrin for a few years, then Celexa, Prozac, and after complaining of sexual side effects and weight gain, my brilliant doctor put me on Effexor.



A few weeks of being on Effexor and I noticed the "brain zaps".. :cry: I also noticed I had no sex drive and my weight was creeping up. I went to the doctor with concern of my weight gain and other physical issues and she blamed it on my quitting smoking in May. I had gained a few pounds when I quit, but had been maintaining my weight until the last month and a half. After her dis-concern, I decided that I had enough of anti-depressants and I was going to try the natural way. I bought some Vitamin B Complex and St Johns Wart and quit taking my medication. I did experience some brain zaps, but it was not that terrible. I have had the "bloating" issue along with some other issues. I have been experiencing extreme sleepiness. I have issues with staying awake while driving, although I always get a very good nights rest. I have gained 10 pounds since I have stopped taking Effexor, although I barely eat anything at all. I am wondering if anyone other female who has quit taking Effexor has been experiencing lower back pain and menstrual issues.
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Hi efree, I suspect that the menstrual issues that you're suffering are related to Effexor but not in the way that you might be thinking. I think that what you're going through is stress related which is why it is so difficult for you to handle right now. I don't think it's the drug, just the stress of quitting that's been put on your body. Does that make sense?
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Yes, it does make sense. Thanks
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I was put on Effexor 150mg XR 2 years ago when Prozac stopped working for me. I have put on nearly 60lbs in those 2 years. My Doctor and most other health professionals refuse to admit that there is a serious problem for some people taking this drug.

I changed my Doctor recently and he has been brilliant. He refuses to even prescribe effexor and was really helpful in getting me to wean off this drug. For the last 3 months of tapering he wrote me a special prescription for liquid effexor which helped tremendously with the withdrawal symptoms.

I have to say that without this drug, it is very likely I wouldn't be here to tell my story today. It does work for me as a very effective anti depressant. I could have coped with the weight gain, but it started to affect my joints, my memory, and a whole host of other things which made me determined to stop taking it.

I tried cold turkey, but nearly ended up being sectioned to the psych ward. The worst of the side effects was the anger that would just hit me from out of nowhere. I developed tremors in my hands, twitching in my muscles and the brain zapping was horrific.

It's been found I suffer from bi-polar, but due to my hellish experience with Effexor I'm refusing to be medicated for it.

This drug should only be available to those people who have seen a specialist in mental health care, and then should only be prescribed if the patient is regularly seen and assessed by said proffesional.

Far too many doctors are happy to prescribe this drug to anyone who turns up with any depressive symptoms.

It breaks my heart everytime I read a new post or story online of someone else who is suffering.

Stay strong and keep safe

Mixxie
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efree wrote:

Yes, it does make sense. Thanks



I'm glad to hear it! Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns, okay? I'm more than glad to help and if I can't do it, someone else can. :)
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I just wanted to tell people who want to get off of this drug not to be discouraged. I went off it slowly, lowering the dose twice before stopping it entirely. My worst side effects were weird dreams and anger, which I understand other people have had as well. In fact, I think some of the anger was legitimate feelings that had been suppressed while on the drug.

I recently took a thyroid test and my thyroid appears to be fine. I don't expect my metabolism to change overnight, but I have lost a little weight so far after three weeks off of the Effexor. It makes me so angry to think of how doctors and even family members have told me I am eating too much, when in fact I eat in a very healthy way. If the weight doesn't come off, I might consult an endocrinologist.
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Hi,
I'm a 30-year-old female who was on Effexor for 2 years. Initially, my psychiatrist prescribed it during a major life crisis, after I'd been taking Prozac for 11 years and Wellbutrin for 6 but both had seemed to "lose their efficacy." I think Effexor was an important element in helping me recover from that initial crisis period, but if I'd had even an inkling of the side effects & withdrawal complications, I'd have insisted on another treatment.
Anyway, I have two reasons/questions to post:
1) Has anyone who was concerned about their Effexor-induced weight gain managed to get off the drug, and if so, have you lost the weight you gained while taking the drug? (Sorry, I didn't read through the entire 3 years of posting history, so hopefully someone will see my post and reply to it even if this has been discussed in the past.)
2) I decided I wanted to stop taking the drug last fall, when I'd been exercising more than ever before in my life, and was in a very stable point in my personal life. I suspected by that time that Effexor might be the cause of my 15-lb weight gain from about Dec. '07-June '08. In April '09 I'd begun an intensive exercise regimen, running 15-20 miles per week and religiously monitoring my calorie intake, and when 5 months of that had yielded many cardiovascular and strength benefits but NOT AN OUNCE of weight or size loss, I began to think Effexor might be to blame.
My first try to get off the drug was a failure, though I did make it down to 1/4 dose and stabilized there. This was my weaning regimen at that time:

Jan '08-Sept '09: was established at 150 mg/day Effexor XR
End Sept '09: Began taper. Skipped dose every 3rd day for 3 weeks, then got an altered prescription for the 75 mg regular tablets and took one daily for 3 more weeks.
--Symptoms: 1.Major dizziness--even affecting walking/driving.
2.Nausea--bad enough to prevent eating.
3.Tired: not exactly fatigued, but wanted to sleep--perhaps just to rest my brain?
4.Alas, brain rest was NOT achieved by sleep, because of: UNBELIEVABLY vivid dreams. Not frightening or disturbing in content, but so realistic that being awake afterwards felt more like a "dream" than the dreams. THAT was what was scary!
5.Almost uncontrollable sex drive--like, almost had to stay home from school/work because I was afraid I'd just jump one of my guy friends or coworkers. (Maybe they wouldn't have minded, but I'm not about to do something major like that just based on crazy, withdrawal-induced urges that don't reflect my lucid romantic interests!) This symptom varied in intensity, however, unlike the other constant problems.
6.Extreme mood swings covering about 1-2 hours each mood: listlessness, anger, sadness, excitement.
7.Digestive/water balance problems: bloating, gas, stomach cramps, constipation.

End of Oct '09: Started cutting 75-mg tablets in half and taking 37.5 mg/day for next 10 days.
--Symptoms: Stabilized reasonably well.

Nov '09: This is where I couldn't go on. I tried skipping days of 37.5 mg, and felt all the same symptoms described above, to the point where I couldn't function in normal life. Realized I'd have to plateau at 37.5 mg/day for a while. Felt like admitting defeat, especially because I knew that once my body adjusted to this 1/4 dose, going off it in a few months would just mean withdrawal all over again.

March '10: Skipped every 3rd day for 2 weeks, then skipped every other day for 2 weeks.
--Symptoms: Dizziness again
Nausea
Bloating and major stomach cramps
Mood swings--a lot of aggression/anger, this time
Not really the same sex drive problems with this taper attempt
A few vivid dreams, but nothing as bad as in November

April '10: When I went to skipping 2 days and only taking the 37.5 mg Effexor every 3rd day, I had one pretty bad week with the second of each pair of skipped days being very difficult (with symptoms listed above), rendering me unable to function in my daily life. But by the time 8 days had gone by, I was able to NOT take the dose I'd planned for the 9th day! I was SO excited when I felt pretty good, definitely not withdrawal sick like I'd expected!

One week since last dose: Its been a week since I took my last 37.5, and I was feeling ok for the last few days, until today. I hadn't been quite back to "normal," but today was definitely a step backwards. Dizzy, sick to my stomach, ready to fly off the handle or burst into tears at the slightest provocations...it was a bad day. Which is very discouraging, considering that I've been thinking I was past all this. But I'm just going to slog through it and hope that my brain & body readjust themselves to life without Effexor, so I don't have to be a slave anymore to a chemical that hurts me when I do OR do not take it!!
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Hi, I was on effexor for 10yrs for mild depression. The effexor did make me gain weight but since being effexor free for the past 6 weeks, i have become so bloated and look like i am 6 months pregnant. Does anyone know if the weight will eventually drop off again? I have only just finished experiencing the brain zaps from withdrawals but the bloating is unbelievable and not to mention scarey. I am afraid to leave the house because i look so huge! I will NEVER take this drug ever again....
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Hi there I am would like to just say I completely understand what you are saying I have been on Effexor for four years and I have put on 30 pounds and I have swelling and bloting, I look like I am pregnant at 39, I would tell my doctor I though the Effexor was making me put on the weight because I was in the gym six days a week burning 1000 whill I was there and eating right and I still weigh 180pounds, that is a long way from 150. He would tell me I was my age or my metabloisum was slow, so I started taking weight lose pills to help, well I would lose five pounds and then gain it right back with swelling, then he told me to change my salt so I did and I still have swelling, along with my joints hurting, then he would tell me I was over working them to give my body time in between my work outs well that did not help ether. So now I am trying to wing myself off the Effexor and pray for no side effects, just the weight lose. Wanda
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Hi. I know it's been a while since this was posted but i am looking into suing the makers of Effexor for the side effects and weight gain we have all experienced, which are NOT disclosed to the consumer. If anyone is interested please email me: ***this post is edited by moderator *** *** private e-mails not allowed **
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Hi,I'm new to this site.I'm Irishand we're not great at talking about depression,let alone meddication side affects so it's brilliant to hear from other people with similar problems.I've been on effexor for 3 and a half years and for the past 6 mths been on 300mg.I leveled off at 225 for a couple of yrears,went down to 75mg,but unfortunately because of a relapse am back up to 300mg.I do everything you're supposed to do!I excercise vigourously 6 days a week,eat very healthily and change my routine often.I had ignored my weight gain for@ 2 years but 8 weeks ago I took the plunge and weighed myself.I have never been this heavy,even at 9 months pregnant.I am only 5'2" and now weigh 158lbs.I have always weighed @ 126lbs.I am working out and eating much as before,but look terrible.I have really made a huge effort the last few weeks and have been up and down between 163lbs and 155lbs.However I have tried coming down offthe meds and it has made no difference to my weight but a significant difference to my mood.My husband and friends love me anyway and I think if I have to be 30lbs heavier to feel generally ok then I just have to suck it up and realise that this is the price to feeling mentally ok.Unfortunately everything comes with a price.I hate being heavy but I love feeling mentally ok.This week I went back on 300mg and ganined 2lbs despite eating very well and excercising!I think lawsuits andsuing is a waste of time.The pamphlet with the meds tell you the risks and winning a case is not going to make any weight or symptoms vanish!We should accept who we are because to be honest,most of the time the only people judging us are ourselves!!!

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