Effexor Withdrawal

Effexor is an antidepressant medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of major depression and anxiety.  The generic drug name of effexor is venlafaxine.   It works in the brain by inhibiting the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine from the fluid in the space around the nerve endings.  Of all of the antidepressants Effexor is among the most well known to cause a withdrawal syndrome that can vary from mild to quite severe.  This is why effexor withdrawal is so important to learn about.  The most common Effexor side effects or symptoms of abrupt discontinuation of Effexor include a very odd sensation that could be described at dizziness, electric shock like feelings, and brain freeze.  Some patients simply feel a mild annoying dizziness.  Others describe a feeling like their brain does not move as quickly as their head moves when they turn their head.  Yet others describe shock like symptoms in the head shoulders and arms most often.  Terms like brain freeze, zaps, shocks, and zombie-like have been used to describe the Effexor withdrawal symptom complex.  The severity of these symptoms may depend on several variables like the dose of Effexor a patient has been using, how quickly they stop the medication, what other medications they have been or continue to use, and the individual variation from person to person as to how their body responds to stopping Effexor.

Fortunately most patients on stopping Effexor have mild or no withdrawal symptoms.  Effexor withdrawal symptoms can be minimized by slowly tapering and discontinuing the medication.  Unless there is a pressing reason to discontinue Effexor quickly most experts recommend a slow taper down in Effexor dosage to reduce the severity and likelihood of Effexor withdrawal.  If you get Effexor withdrawal symptoms during a taper of Effexor going back up to the last dose without symptoms and resuming the taper more slowly is usually helpful.  Another technique used by some physicians is to use Prozac, usually as generic fluoxetine, to avoid the SSRI discontinuation syndrome.  Switching from moderate dose Effexor onto fluoxetine seldom leads to Effexor withdrawal symptoms.  Then a person can taper off fluoxetine usually without discontinuation symptoms more easily.  This seems to be  because of the very long serum half-life of fluoxetine, estimated at up to 50 hours in some patients.

It is felt that the likelihood of SSRI discontinuation syndrome from stopping the meds is more likely in the shorter half-life medications.  Effexor half-life is only about 5 hours, making it predictable that it is a medication with a higher risk of withdrawal symptoms.  The serum half life of a medication is the amount of time it takes for the body to rid itself of 50% of the drug in the bloodstream.  Venlafaxine is cleared from the bloodstream moderately quickly, with a serum half-life of about 5 hours. This means that about 87% of a single oral dose is recovered from the urine within 48 hours, mostly as metabolites changed by liver metabolism.  This is much shorter than the serum half-life of many of the SSRIs.  Fluoxetine, brand name Prozac, is a very long half-life SSRI and withdrawal symptoms are unusual. Paroxetine, brand name Paxil, is a very short half-life SSRI and withdrawal symptoms are very common.

Effexor for some reason seems to have an incidence of withdrawal symptoms, and severity of withdrawal symptoms, that is more severe than would be expected from its moderate serum half-life. The reason for this is unclear, but it is postulated to be related to the reuptake inhibition of both serotonin and norepinephrine as opposed to the primarily serotonin reuptake inhibition of most of the other SSRIs.  This dual receptor inhibition seems to allow Effexor to be effective as an antidepressant for many patients who fail to respond to single reuptake inhibition drugs, but the dual reuptake inhibition may be also in part to blame for the higher incidence and severity of Effexor withdrawal symptoms.

The reasons for stopping Effexor can be multiple. They can include lack of efficacy, when the Effexor is just not effective in treatment of the depression of a patient, and Effexor side effects.  Some of the more common Effexor side effects that may prompt a patient to want to get off Effexor or lead a physician to recommend stopping Effexor include weight gain, sexual dysfunction including ejaculatory dysfunction in men and anorgasmia in women, sweating, insomnia, nausea, somnolence, dizziness, dry mouth, worsening anxiety and vomiting. Strange but well documented Effexor side effects include yawning, urinary retention and parasthesias.  Other patients simply have had a good therapeutic response to Effexor and it is time to stop the use of the antidepressant. Whatever the reason for stopping Effexor, tapering off the medication and recognizing the Effexor withdrawal symptoms for what they are, an annoying but self-limited issue can be helpful in getting  through the Effexor withdrawal period of time.

Probably the most important thing to know about effexor withdrawal symptoms is that they are self-limiting.  This means that they will resolve on their own in time.  Unfortunately this time may be more than a few days in a modest percentage of patients, and some patients have complained of very long duration of withdrawal symptoms. If you experience Effexor withdrawal symptoms consult your prescribing physician for help in managing this disconcerting and sometimes difficult syndrome. Know that you are not alone, and that this is not something strange about you.  It is a common and well known and described condition.

Effexor Withdrawal

Effexor Withdrawal

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  1. it hasnt even been 72 hrs since ive stopped he effexor .i am definatly feeling it.i have shakes sweats,nausia,dizziness,crazy tired,anxiety..plz tell me this is normal

    • Pia from Canada

      Tonya:Unfortunatly that is very normal. Hang in there. It will be worth it in the long run

      • How long will it last? I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Tearful, dizziness, plus I think I have a cold!
        Thanks for any input, I am almost out of tears….

    • My heart goes out to you, went to hell and back when i went off prozac cold turkey 10yrs ago,all these SSRI antidepressants are like toxic poisons to people who are not mentally ill, they are being over prescribed to women for menopause and women are being seduced with these medications to feel it is a magic bullet when all it is is a pandora’s box.

      Try a homeopathic remedy call Kali Phos 6X, it is very, very safe, for acute cases of withdrawal you can take 4 pellets ever hour and modify if according to your withdrawal symptoms. To this day I will never be without Kali Phos. It saved me from feeling like I was losing my mind, brain fog and the feeling like I had things crawling all over me. Also try GABA to keep you calm and reduce any anxiety.

      Good luck, and know that there are solutions out there in the health food store that is not detrimental to your health and well being. True Hope products offers good solutions to mood disorders etc.

    • I am going through the same thing. One thing you can do is get a prescription for the IR (immediate release) and put one whole pill into a glass of juice and drink it. Each week, dump a certain amount of the juice/pill mix out before drinking… decreasing the amount you drink weekly until you are off of it. Right now I just switched to the IR and “chew” off a small portion of a pill once I start having BAD withdrawal just to ease it. Good luck and I hope you and I are both able to get off this horrible drug. I wish I had never started taking it.

  2. I had been on Effexor since around March 2008 and recently stopped taking the pill. I thought about it once before but after the second day, the withdrawal symptoms were too much for me to bear.
    This time I came at it with a different mind set and that was to stick with it till the end. I am glad that I did. I actually read the posted emails around my 5th day and it gave me encouragement! today is 1/23/2012 and my symptoms are few and far between. my headache was terrible by the third day. Around day 6 , the nausea kicked in along with a fever, chills, sweats and brain zaps. I felt like I wanted to just grab a pill and just put myself out of the misery. The vomiting lasted a day which felt like forever. The moment it finished, the brain zaps were more intense and the depression was terrible. I felt my moods swinging from hour to hour with tears for no reason and just downright sadness. That same night, I developed a fever. My body seemed to be going from one thing to the next. Oh, lets not forget the worst of them next to the brain zaps was the tingling in my face…. actual numbness on and off. A friend told me to try Bayer aspirin which I did along with plenty of liquids and hardly any food. Remember that you can survive without your normal way of eating so eat as light as you can and I do mean “Light” b/c it may come right back up b/c of the nausea (which it did on 2 occasions). on the second week, i could barely walk to my bathroom b/c of the dizziness…it was beyond horrible. I read on here that someone recommened Dramamine for the vertigo. I quickly took the Dramamine and WOW what a life saver. I could actually go back to work taking only one pill at a time of the dramamine to keep me balanced. I ate very light, took Dramamine, had plenty of rest, drank plenty liquids such as Water, Apple Cider (in the place of my coffee), and Powerade. As you can see, it has not been as long as it feels b/c I am back at work and not feeling the horrible side effects. What I am feeling though would be the way my metabolism seems to be very slow. It shows thru my actions thruout the day and no matter how hard i try to speed things up, my body won’t listen. I am just glad I found this forum which helped me not to give up. I agree that I wish someone had told me about the withdrawal symptoms of Ef fexor “before” and I can assure you that I would have tried something different b/c i have little tolerance for pain. I urge all of you to stick with it. Don’t give up. Some people calls this the “little evil pill”. I dont b/c it was “what I needed” at the time. I simply no longer need it and my body needs to understand that and catchup. Effexor truly helped me with my Anxiety although it feels like it is trying to kill me for leaving. I can now understand why a person on drugs (crack or something else), I can understand why they dont want to “dry out” in jail b/c it feels horrible. Going cold turkey may or may not be the best thing for you. I was on 225 mg since 2008 and for one week I began taking half of the pill which wld be about 115 mgs. I took the 115 mg for about 4-5 days before I chose to go cold turkey at the begining of this month. I am glad that I did. I am still alive, almost totally free of any lingering symtoms and on my way to recovery which as truly been a long time coming. I wish you all the best.

    • I have been on Effexor XR for 6 years and was on Cymbalta before that. Effexor helped me tremendously with my depression and anxiety and I have no complaints about that. The side effects of going off are as many of you have described, especially the brain zaps which drive me mad. I agree with you Linda about understanding how a person on crack etc has trouble coping with “drying out”. When you think about it, going off a prescription drug is just the same. We all get withdrawals when we try to go off them. The main thing to remember is to try and be strong because these problems will sooner or later diminish and go. It does take time though. And NO your doctors never tell you about the nasty bits, like withdrawals!

    • Hi Linda! It seems as if you are doing well now. I was on this med for almost 4 yrs; Cymbalta and then this Effexor/Val -whatever it is….I began around the 25th of jan going from 150mg to 75mg for about 5 days, then half of 75mg for about a week. I have been off this pill completely now for 4 days and I’m miserable; flu like symptoms, nightmares, tired, nausea just to name a few. Today/tonight however, the tears started flowing and I am impatient with my 3 maltese whom I love more than life itself. Please, when is this going to end? I feel clear headed for the first time in a long time since reducing/ending this pill but zammmm….how much longer should I expect to go through these withdrawls? The headaches come n’ go. The rining in the ears has just begun but the belly stuff; ugh….please, if you can, offer me some advice, encouragement, or whatever else you can offer. People who have not been in our situation don’t understand….please help….anyone….I hate these withdrawl symptoms….ugh…. Natalee

    • OMG – i am soooooo glad i am not alone in my thoughts and symptoms – i have tried to come off this drug several times, without success – due to thoughts of suicide and terrible mood swings. i have been tapering off gradually – but the withdrawal brings something new everyday – the dizziness is just dibilitating – the waves of nausea, headache and tiredness is just overwhelming. i feel like i have been by a truck then it backed up to see what it hit. the only good thing i can see so far with the withdrawal is that have been dropping weight – gradually too – due to not eating – eating causes nausea and diarrhea, no vomiting for me, but horrible explosive diarrhea. i actually thought about calling my doctor and having him admit me to the hospital so i could detox all at one time, this lingering shit is horrible. i am right there with everyone and can empathize with anyone who tries to come off this wonderful mood stablizing drug – it is great for the purpose it is designed for – the withdrawal is absolutely nothing i would wish on anyone. thanks for the support here! ! !

      • I just about checked myself into the hospital as well today cus I forgot to take my wonderful effexor for 2 days I believe. It has been helping me though so I’m not sure if I should keep takinng it or really go and detox? How can they give something so horrible yet so effective to people?

  3. I just got off it I feel miserable it’s been going on for 4 days how much longer do I have to feel like this?!?!? I can’t stand it!!!!!

    • I tapered off. I didn’t quit cold turkey. But I’m sorry to tell you, I’m on day seven without Effexor and I feel like shit. Luckily no brain zaps but the nausea and headache are killing me. I HATE THROWING UP! Don’t want to give in and lose all my efforts thus far. Made an appointment with my doctor for Thursday. Considering a low dose of Prozac. That would fulfill my body’s desire for serotonin while i recover from the need for norepinephrine. Then i can deal with the serotonin withdrawal on its own.

  4. No one has mentioned blood pressure before but I have been having the same problem. I’ve been taking effexor (275 mg) for years and because of an insurance mix up have been off it for 2 weeks. My blood pressure went to 230/130 and I ended up in the hospital for 3 days. I told them I had not taken my effexor for a week but no one considered it a problem. The day after they gave me my effoxor I was released and felt great. I have had all the syptoms listed (nausea, burping, dizziness, etc) and never want to feel this way again.

  5. Thanks god for this website. I thought I was crazy with all these symtoms and couldn’t stand the thought of living every day feeling this way. I haven’t been able to live a normal life since being without effexor for 2 weeks. Now I know the cause. Like many people on this site – my doctor NEVER mentioned the withdrawal problems.

    • Laurie: I see you are two weeks without the demon drug. What types of withdrawal are you experiencing right now?
      Also I am now on day 20 demon drug free. I am still having some serious issues with withdrawal. I would like to know if anyone out there has experienced these withdrawal effects. Some advice would be great. I have awful vision where I used to have 20/10. My focusing is horrible. The biggest problem is with sleep. I go to bed at night and lay my head on the pillow but it is like my brain doesn’t register that I have fallen to sleep or that I have slept in the night. I dream so I know I have slept. I don’t wake rested and refreshed. It is an awful feeling. Then of a day I periodically get this weird sensation in my head (probably a brain zap) and this sensation hits me as sleep (and I am not tired). I quite frequently get awful sensations in my brain and they will sometimes cause me to sweat. My thoughts have me thinking that my carcadian clock is messed up because of effexor withdrawal. I am taking melatonin along with Omega 3 and lithium. Can anyone relate to what I am talking about here. I have searched high and low on the net, but I am not coming up with much information. Thanks for your help.

      • Tammy,
        I have gone through this same thing in the past when I got off of Cymbalta so I was prepared for the dizziness and such what I wasnt prepared for the mood swings to be this intense…Man I go from anger, to extreme sadness and crying to just plain irritated with everything. I have been off the Effexor now for 9 days today and am still having all the symptoms they actually seem worse the last couple days then they were the first few. However I know I will get through this my husband and my family are here for me and helping every step of the way as well as my friends. I shared with them before getting off what I knew would happen and I have a couple I call when I feel all is lost. For the sleep problems you might try the dramamine at night I take 2 the spinning stops but I get extrememly sleepy so I turn in early today I am going to try half of one so I can still function and not be so sleepy but hopefully the spins will be held at bay thats what I did when I got off Cymbalta in 2009 I expressed my concern with side effects from withdrawl and dr said they shouldnt be as bad as the Cymbalta…ya right they are worse however I eliminated one 37.5 a month and a half ago and those spins only lasted a week and a half so I am hoping that since we went down to a 25 for 4 weeks and now off all together maybe it wont last much longer… Hang in there everyone and I swear by dramamine…its your friend lol…

      • I have been on Effexor XR @ 150 mg for 10 years. Took my last pill on February 9th; not by choice. My MD wanted me in for a long overdue visit and refused to refill my prescription (too long of a story)—anyhow I still haven’t received my prescription, so it is now day 7 without this little capsule. I have had all of the above , but thought the crying was because there are so many sad things happening this week. I digress. The white noise in my brain is the worst symptom. It has been non-stop buzzing or like the snow on the black and white television. It does not let you sleep. Every time you turn over you get buzz, buzz. But I still go to work, but stay away from my boss (temper). I did notice today though the noise is a little less. I think it may be starting to ease off. I hope because I will not be going back on this drug again.

    • What do I do…I am miserable and my family cant stand me…Effexor is wicked…Do i go back on it or stay off…its been a couple weeks…I am SICK….

      • I know how you feel Monica, I can suggest to take an emotional step back, this drug makes you feel like everything is fine there is no need to worry, “don’t think about it, it’s not a problem”, I have been taking it(112.5mg/day) for a year and a half, this is my second day without it completely after tapering for two months and 3 weeks. I have had fevers, night sweats, nausea, horrible anxiety, brain shivers and the velcro sound when there is silence in the room. I know it will go away and one day very soon I will feel normal and have perspective in my life again, just keep believing in yourself, feel the strength anywhere you can find it, friends, family, forums, I know you can do it, you just have to know you can do it too. You will feel sick, but it won’t be the end of the world, it will be the new beginning, you will feel fresh and happy and consistent very soon, please believe me, sometimes I just take a deep breath and although I hate the feeling, I force myself to move my eyes from left to right until the shivers go away for a little while and they do. It’s a horrible drug, and you can beat it. breathe it out, meditation has helped me keep my emotions in check most of the time.

  6. I have been on Effexor for a little over 3 years. And I feel all of your pain. I wish there was a place for all of us to go to and as soon as we step foot there, our minds would be clear and normal.
    I had pretty bad anxiety when my doctor put me on Effexor. He even asked me if I was feeling depressed or ever felt like hurting myself and I said no way. I just get anxiety becuase I have seperation issues. At that time I was already taking a very high does of Concerta, for my ADHD. That is already a mind jolting medication as is. As the time went by, the medication did calm me down, but not entirly. Alot of stuff happend in my life during these moments that I was on Effexor that my doctor didn’t think “hm maybe well take you off of it, since these side effects are common in Effexor users” NO!! he instead increased my dosage of Effexor. Again it helped for the moment but started going downhill again. I actually looked up the symptoms of Effexor and wondered why I was losing my memory so much and felt like a zombie and almost confused. They failed to tell me that the number 1 side effect was AMNESIA!!! (Severe memory loss) I told him I wanted off of this stuff. Again, without telling me the side effect of getting of of Effexor other than “you might feel a little funny”. I beleive I was on 75 and got weaned down to 35 (The lowest). He told me to take the 35 once everyday for 2 weeks, then once every other day for a week, then once every 3rd day for a week, then off completley. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO EMOTIONALLY AND MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY MESSED UP IN MY LIFE!!!! AND I HAVE ADHD!!!! Taking this medication was the worst thing I have ever done and even worse coming off of it. I get the dizzy spells, vertigo, electric zaps in the head, throat and chest if I breath wrong or move wrong. I have body twitches like I have turettes every now and then especially at night and I have never cried so hard just for the sake of it. I cry like my mom dad and brother all died at the same time right infront of me. I get flashes of suicidal thoughts cuz so I can end this because I feel like an even bigger lunatic. It isa day 4 with no medication and I have to admit it seems to have been getting slightly and mean SLIGHTLY better. But still the brain zaps and vertigo and nausia every now and then. I would like to think this will get better soon, or I will have a panic attack and make it worse. But Every time I feel like Im having a “bad day” or a bad episode, I get whoever is around me as I cry to the them and to god, and get them to hug me and hold me and tell me its going to be ok. just hang in there. You have no idea how much that actually does help. My work has not been very supportive over this since they think I just have a little head ache and I’m over reacting, but I can not afford to lose my job so I unfortunatly go to the bathroom, bawl my eyes out, turn my friend coworker and tell her I need a hug now! This is the best advice I can personally give. I have read all the comments and web sites and all it is really are people agreeing to the bad sides of this. I hate it just as bad as you do and probably have much smaller patcients since I again have ADHD. But just think how great and “FREE” you will feel once it is done. Thats all I can think right now as I feel like I’m in a never ending nightmare, one day it will feel like I have woken up and the badness will be gone!!

    • Pia from Canada

      Today is day 5 and mentally I feel okay, but physically not so much. The brain zaps are worse today along with my vision. Its like it takes a couple seconds for my eyes to catch up with the direction Im looking even if I dont move much. Appitite seems slightly better but usually gets iffy in the middle of the day. Well see how this goes.

      • Pia from Canada

        Today is day 6. Yesterday ended up being not so good. I had to go home early because my dizzyness, vertigo, and brain zaps were at its peak. Today I am so far so good. I notice in the morning and evening its ok, its more the middle of the day I feel like I’m stuck in one of those carnival tunnels where the walls are moveing sideways and you feel like you are too but looking at the end of that tunnel, you can kind of get your balance. I hope this will all pass soon.

        • Pia from Canada

          Today is day 7. Yesterday was not too bad. feeling the same today, maybe slightly better. Still getting those dreaded brain zaps and minro vertigo. It more or less come in waves, and closer to the afternoon it gets a little worse but by the end of the day and once I sit at home after Iv had dinner, I feel good. Well see how the weekend goes. Not sure if anyone reads these updates or not, but I find it comferting for me to get it all out. I’ll post on Monday and see how things were.

          • Hi Pia,
            I have spent my whole adult life struggling with depression and anxiety, I have spent days reading about mental illness and various treatments. I took 225mg of effexor for eight years, I started taking it when I was eighteen. Over the last couple of years my depression and anxiety worsened. That was when I started researching more and like you wanted to rid myself of this drug addiction. I tried to cut back taking the medication on several occasions but my attempts were unsuccessful. I would become extremely confused and not able to function, I also had extreme memory loss a total loss of personality as well as other symptoms. I struggled off then on for 2 years against the advice of my family doctor who wanted to double or triple the 225mg that I was on.

            Have you ever heard of “True Hope” if you haven’t write it down now! It is a company that has a different outlook on mental illness. They have a program specifically designed to reduce side effects of getting off your medication. Google it and I hope you contact them.

            After following their program I have now been off effexor for about a year and I had Years of failed attempts before this. I can’t say that I’m a success story because when I did start cutting back my medication I started having extreme emotional outbursts, I would start crying at work because of extreme confusion and unable to control myself. My memory loss seems to have effected me severly I also have extreme anxiety, the morning is always the worst. I was unable to continue working so I quit and moved back in with my parents. I am 26 years old and I have been off work for about a year. My thought process, memory, and foggyness has improved but it has taken almost a year to notice improvements but it can be done.

            I know this doesn’t sound like success but without “True Hope” I am sure I would still be taking effexor. Before I would cry uncontrollably for hours every day, severly depressed and now that I have been off for a year my mood is stabilizing and I haven’t cried for weeks. I hope to return to work soon and never take effexor again. I also herniated a disc in my back around the same time which added to my stress level. I still don’t have the answer for anxiety or depression but I think effexor was making me worse not better.

          • Pia from Canada

            Day 12. Going very well actually. Symptoms have subsided hugley. The only thing I still have, but not as major, is the dreaded Brain zaps. They are annoying and still get me off balance everynow and then but I have noticed a have a burst of energy that I felt was being chained down for MONTHS. I am happy all the time and I notice I dont worry about alot of things as much as I use to. There was a few times I wanted to give up, but all I can think of were drug addicts sobering up cold turcky and making it. The pain and agony and psycosis they went through. If they could do it, why can’t I. There are children that fight through amputation and cancer. If they can do that, I can do this. It did suck, but I reminded everyone around me constatntly what I was going through and it made life just that much easier. Well see how things turn out.
            P.S.-Thanks Matt for your story. I will check out “True Hope” and see how it is. I hope everyone the best of luck.

  7. Why did you go off effexor? Since you were o it for 12 years was it by your request or your doctor’s. How are you now mentally?

    • Not at the request of my doctor. I just feel gross. Not the way I should. I was in a bad marriage for 20 years. I have now had 4 years on my own and wish to make the best of the balance of my second chance in life. Being on drugs (prescription) is not what I want. I am in great mental health and no longer need chemical assistance.

  8. I’m both happy and sad to read what everyone has had to say. Happy that I am not alone, nor psychosomatic, and sad that so many people go through this. This drug DID help me when others did not. On the other hand, I’ve never felt so sick trying to stop another drug. As a Registered Nurse, I’ve treated and watched many people go through withdrawal from various street drugs. This feels how that looks.

    Diarrhea, hand and feet numbness and tingling, the dreaded brain zaps (which are hard to describe to others), dizziness, nausea, muscles and joints aching so bad I move like I’m 90, running nose, sneezing, skin hypersensitivity, easily startled, crying over nothing… and these are just the worst ones. They say that detoxing from heroin feels like every illness you’ve ever had all at once. Detoxing from Effexor feels the same.

    Over time I have cut back from 150 mg. I’ve gone so far as to counting out granules. I’m down to 30. Over time, people stay on opiates like heroin to keep from feeling dope sick (same as I describe above). I totally get it.

    I want to applaud any of you who can go off and live with the withdrawal symptoms. I am no baby, I’ve given birth drug free three times, I’ve raised three kids pretty much on my own… but this is something I cannot deal with on a daily basis and still function. I’m in awe of those of you who can!!

    I want to wish everyone luck! Give yourself credit for your hard work. You are kicking an addiction after all :)

    • I am on day 18 without Effexor. I have had all the symptoms you mention, but they are lessening now. Did you wean yourself off the drug before quitting? I’ve heard the withdrawals can be more severe and longer lasting if you do not lower your dose. I lasted until about day 11 and fell apart. I had the zaps,the upset stomach, dreams, anxiety, and then came the hysterical crying and hopelessness. Since then I have taken 20mg of Prozac each day, and have had very few symptoms, just some underlying withdrawal I can feel in my body. I’m not advocating Prozac, or any other drug to anyone, but maybe my experience can help. I feel like a different person already, and hope you can sort out your terrible discomfort and get free of this nightmare drug.
      It seems that no two people are exactly the same when it comes to withdrawal from Effexor. There seem to be great similarities, but the exact combination of effects and the longevity of these effects appears to me to be as individual as the people who take them. The one thing I do believe is universal, however, is that it will pass and we have to stay strong.
      Hope this helps a wee bit.

      • Sharon:

        I am going through hell right now and I have been off of the demon drug for three weeks and 1 day. I have heard a lot about the prozac as a bridge to releive symptoms of withdrawal. I am only scared about going through another withdrawl when I need to come off of prozac. However, I am in awful misery with these symptoms of withdrawal and I spoke with my doc today and he said they could last up to 12 weeks. He has seen this in extreme cases of withdrawl and I have the extreme case. He said that I should begin to notice some relief in 1-3 weeks more. so around 4-6 weeks of being off the drug. I pray to God that I start to get some relief very soon because right now my misery is around the clock. I do not get any relief. AT night my brain can’t tell if I have slept or not and I toss and turn. I get the chills and then the sweats and naseated at night. During the day I live with this sickening pulling sensation on the back of my brain and the back of my eyes that is related to sleep (except I am not sleepy) and this pulling sensation makes me extremely nauseated. My focusing is weird because when I try to look at something i get that pulling sensation and it stimulates that sickening sleep sensation. My vision is not good. I used to have 20/10 vision and now it is awful. Lord help me. I am sincerely debating the prozac bridge. Has it really helped your withdrawal effects? I need some help and advice. I am so tired of living in 24/7 misery and hell.

        • Yes, the Prozac bridge has made a huge difference to me. We will still have to move on from this, but I was unable to function and found this provided me with some breathing space to move on to the next part of the withdrawals we are experiencing.
          I have had two weeks of relief and am now able to move on to getting more of my brain and body functions back. I have been taking 20mg, which isn’t too high, but I’m still working through the withdrawals. I have been taking Omega 3, which seems to help a lot with anxiety. Krill Oil is the latest version of this (although can be expensive).
          I am on day 25, and can honestly say that I am feeling a million times better.
          Yesterday, I had some anxiety and was a bit awash with it, but realised that this is just my feelings coming back. It is the same with the brain zaps. They are uncomfortable, but it is your brain kicking back in to life.
          I hope this helps, but feel free to chat again and please know you are not alone.

    • Its not an addiction, your body is just used to more serotonine and need to re-adjust to a lower level thats all

  9. Yes it is. Don’t rush the process. I have been reducing by alternating days taking 150mg and 112,5 mg for 2 weeks, then 112,5 mg for tow weeks, then alternating 112,5 and 75, etc… I am now taking half a 37,5 every 36 hours and soon lowering to evey 48 hours. If I was weaning too fast I had brain zaps and could get off the couch all day.

  10. Why would you stop if it helps you??? Just dont miss doses! Ive been on it for 9 years before being ready to stop,and the withdrawal is not worse because you were on it longer, its just the same, once your systeme is adjusted to it, it doesn’t get worse with time. Take your time,allow yourself to heal and get your life in order!

  11. Don’t endure that! Stay on it or wean slower! If you need it just stay on it! Why inflict that on yourself?!

  12. Yes its possible. I took effexor for 9 years and it helped me SO much! Now I’m almost off of it with not much difficulty. Dont get me wrong, when I was taking it, missing a dose made me MISERABLE. But the way I weaned off is I started by alernating days at 150mg and 112.5 mg for 2 weeks, then taking 112.5 mg every day for 2 weeks, then altrnating 112.5 and 75, etc.. Now I am dowm to half of a 37.5 mg every 36 hours. You just need not to rush it. And also don’t rush getting off of it. Take it as long as you need it.

  13. This is not the way to do it. If you still need the xanax it is too soon to stop effexor. Effexor has helped me tremendously and although the withdrawal is not a peice of cake, I never regretted taking it.

  14. Before making the decision to use the “healing powers” of the green, even though legal, you truly need to talk to a psych physician first. I have been told that “smoking” , even though making you feel better while you are high, actually increases depression over all and prohibits antidepressants from being effective. So rather than basically putting a double whammy on your depression, you may want to consider an alternate solution such as a med change, counselling, natural products, or maybe all the above! Best of luck to you!

  15. Can anyone going through this hell give me some feedback? I am exactly three weeks off of effexor (demon drug) and I am having some freaky withdrawal going on and it is really starting to drag me down. When I go to bed I do not have that comfy snuggly feeling of bedtime. It is like my brain does not register sleep. I don’t actually know if I go to sleep or not; my brain can’t tell. In the night I get the chills and then this heated rush to my head which results in a big sweat. I toss from one side to the other and get nauseated. When I get up in the morning I get this strange sensation in the back of my eyes and in the back of my head (brain zap?) and it is related to sleep, but I am not sleepy and it makes me sick to my stomach. I walk around all day getting this sickening pull on my eyes and the back of my head and I don’t know if I have had any sleep or not. Help. does anyone know anything about this freaky stuff? it is driving me mad. I thought at three weeks I would start to notice some improvements, but it is hell.

    • Keep your head up. Curious to hear how you’re feeling this week.

    • Tammy, I began the quiting process (gradual decrease) not too much before you. See my first post. I know your hell. Adviil sort of helps. Eating a meal sometimes makes it better–for a while. I’m still learning this, too. I”ll post should I come across anything that helps.

      • Rolling or moving your eyes from side to side until the feeling goes away helps me deal with the zapping and velcro type sound when I moove my eyes, robaxecet helps me with the body aches, stretching helps me feel like I am still in my body, lots of fluids and positive mental attitude are helping me with the all around sick feeling. I just tell myself “i can only do what I can do” to keep the anxiety and depression at bay. Everyone tells me not to be too hard on myself and I try to leave my self esteem in the hands of my loved ones. i have faith that one day soon, I will never have to feel this way again.

    • How are you feeling today Tamara?

    • Yes, I have all of your symptoms. Hang in there.

  16. Thanks for the encouragement Lisa. This site is such a wonderful support, as there are clearly so many people going through this, even though we all feel so alone. That is a good idea to see if I can get a few samples, or the other idea, from reading here, is to maybe try one of the “bridging” antidepressants that will be easier to quit while I try to get off this stuff. These symptoms are brutal: racing heartbeat, nausea, unbearable itching (I’m now covered in bruises, too), crying like I’ve never cried before. Scary too because I have had multliple DVTs and pulmonary embolism previously, and the symptoms can be scarily similar. Because of the lack of insurance and lack of income, I have been afraid to go see a doctor because I know I can’t afford it. I don’t know how such a seemingly suuportive society as ours can yet permit so many personal tragedies in these rough times. All the more reason that I thank everyone posting here for sharing and offering support.

    • How’s it going Shirley? I am on day 9 but this isnt my first rodeo with withdrawls from these kinds of things I got off of everything in 2009 should have stayed that way but my pain was so intense from the Fibromyalgia along with anxiety depression that this is what the doctor tried after trying Cymbalta for a year and it quiting working again…I wish I hadnt let them talk me into trying another SSRI…. never again…no matter how much pain I am in will figure something else out… Hang in there everyone we can do this!

    • Oh my goodness. And the racing pulse. THAT is this drug as well? One thing I have noticed about this board is that lots of you seem to live in the states given your comments about insurance and having to worry about the cost of drugs. That is just awful considering you are already dealing with so much. I am in the uk and our government is trying to sneakily privatise our national health service at the moment and there is uproar and mutiny in the medical professionals as well as the general public. The politicians should have to read boards like these to see the consequences of their ideologies. Take care. Linda from London

  17. if I knew the withdrawal process was like this I would’ve stayed on it.i was taking 300 mg the highest dose along with Wellbutrin and decided I wanted to not have to rely on pills anymore.my dr said I will go down little by little and ever since then I’ve been nothing but sick. yesterday was my last pill and I thought it would be all ok. today was one of the worst days I have ever had. I was numb,dizzy,had ear pain tothe extreme!light headed,moody etc. and I’ve been committing on and off from all this nausea.i don’t know how long this will last but it is unbearable. I would’ve rather stayed on them then be miserable and lay in bed like a potatoe. I’m now just taking the wellbrutrin bc on no meds my mom said I’m crazy lol. that you can just stop taking it isn’t a problem. I just wish I was told how shitty I would feel and I wouldve just sucked it up and kept taking them.

  18. Yes, have the appetite thing and the ringing in my ears is driving me crazy too

  19. Does anyone have alot of ringing in the ears??

    • I’m convinced this drug has so many bizarre side effects on it or coming off that it’s unsafe. Two weeks into taking the drug I was getting ready for work and felt very dizzy and collapsed. My speech was slurred and I felt numb all over. It lasted about 10 min. Long enough for my family to call an ambulance. I had an array of tests done. They ruled out stroke, seizure, MS. I’m fairly convinced it was related to the Effexor as no doctor could tell me it was anything else.

      • Yes, I totally agree with you. People that are planing on getting off Effexor should perhaps have their calendar marked “AT HOME IN BED” the next 4 weeks or longer to be safe. Based on what everyone is saying on this forum, there is no way one can avoid this because all the symptoms hinder from having a normal life. I would certainly avoid driving at all costs because the dizziness and brain zaps could seriously affect one’s driving abilities.

        I am seriously thinking that the maker of Effexor should compensate us, or at least, have a hot line for people that are going through withdrawal symptoms, for the hell we are going through. I am certain that studies have been done before this drug was put on the market. Then WHY weren’t we told as patients that this drug could/may SERIOUSLY cost you your life or part of it anyway? Or why aren’t doctors more aware of the serious side effects of this drug? Are they just all prescription-happy professionals? Mmmmhhh. If I were warned about the effects of this drug — or, to put it another way — if my doctor who prescribed this medication for me knew more about this drug and side effects and then discussing it with me before taking it, I wouldn’t have taken it. I have personally downgraded my trust in them.

    • Bonnie, I only get it when I am in a quiet room, I try to keep lotsa of motivational music on my ipod

  20. My recommendation to anyone who has not started Effexor would be to refuse Effexor and ask your doctor to prescribe a different medication for you. I took Effexor/Venlafaxine for more than 15 years, 300 mg. per day for quite a few years. It worked beautifully in the early years, but the past few it simply stopped working. I lost my job in March 2010 and for about a year I took only 150 mg a day because I couldn’t afford the full dosage, but I was becoming more and more suicidal and self-sabatoging without a proper antidepressant.
    For the past few years, if I missed even one dose of Effexor I could not sleep (really… for as much as 36 hours), I had bouts when I couldn’t stop crying, and I also cut myself for the first time in my life, among other withdrawal symptoms. I now have a job (thank the Lord) and five days ago saw a NP who has switched me to Pristiq. I am on day four and am having the same vicious headaches everyone else describes, can’t sleep at night, and have had over-the-top crying jags and feelings of pure hopelessness. Last night all I could think about was that I just don’t want to live anymore. And this is switching from Effexor to another antidepressant without missing a single dose in between.
    I believe that Effexor saved my life in the mid-1990s. However, I also believe that getting off of it could cost me my life, and I can’t help but feel 100 percent certain that there are people no longer with us who left this Earth because of the ill effects of coming off of this drug. It is very dangerous. There are far better alternatives. Don’t get caught up with this drug.

  21. Joe, I do think that taking vitamin D and also 1400 mg of fish oil twice a day, along with 50 mg Pristiq (which my NP said simply does not have these withdrawal issues) has relieved some of the symptoms I previously had when weaning down. That said, I still can’t sleep, sob uncontrollably and think about suicide… but I don’t believe I would actually do it at this point.

    • Christi, this is a horrible drug to come off. I was also feeling worthless and hopeless around day 11. I chose to take 20mg of Prozac a day, and that has really made things easier for me. There are other solutions out there if you don’t want to touch western medicine tho’. 5htp, st johns wort, etc ( I recommend you do your research and/or consult a naturopath) Your brain and body is being deluged by feelings that you are not used to dealing with, seek some help where you can because this drug is worth withdrawing from.
      There are so many of us going through this, remember you are not alone.

  22. Hi Everyone! Another victim of Effexor withdrawal here! It’s amazing to me how many people are suffering from this…makes me sad, frustrated, anxious and angry at the same time! I’m a 32 year old woman who’s had anxiety as long as I can remember and have been on many medications for it, but like I’m seeing all over this site, I’ve never had such a hard time getting off of any of them asI have with this one.

    It definitely helped me through a very rough time in the summer of 2010 but now that I’m ready to come off it, it’s not being so nice to me anymore! After reading numerous comments on this site, I feel like I’m almost lucky that all I seem to be experiencing from withdrawal is the severe dizziness and disorientation. Have had slight bouts of nausea from time to time, but for me the dizziness is the main thing. I feel so sorry for all of you who are experiencing the numerous symptoms mentioned here.

    I have to say I thought I was a bit crazy when I decided to open the capsules and take the beads out to help myself wean off, so it’s actually reassuring to read that others have done it as well. I had a 3-month followup appt this past Thurs with my Dr., who I’m working with on weaning off, and told him I had done this. He didn’t see anything wrong with it and actually seemed to think it was a good idea. He threw out the possibility of temporarily going on Prozac to help rid my system of Effexor and its withdrawal symptoms. Although I’m not crazy about the idea of going on another medication since my ultimate goal is to be off meds altogether, I’m not totally discouraged since I’ve been on Prozac before and have even been able to stop taking it cold turkey. He gave me a prescription that I’ll use as a last resort.

    I’m truly happy to have found this site and realize that I’m not crazy and alone in feeling this way, not to say that I’m happy any of us are going through this. It feels like I’ve found a support system and although it’s admittedly stirred some anxiety in me just reading others’ stories, I’m still happy to be here! I’ve already bookmarked this site and will definitely be popping in for visits! I wish all of us here and everyone else out there the best in our journeys to rid our systems of this drug.

    Well, time to go count beads now, fun fun!

    Good night!
    ~Carolyn

  23. I stumbled upon this website not knowing I am part of a group of people suffering the same issues. My doctor had told me not to abruptly get off this med when she perscribed it. I was able to retire last fall and the stress factors of the job are gone so why stay on this med? She and I discussed a weaning process but I had no idea the side effects would be so severe. Add me to the list! Mine are similar to many of yours. I am down to 1/8th of a 37.5 mg
    Tablet and still I am sick. I had to take one last Thurs cus I couldn’t take it anymore. So far no meds since then but have vertigo like crazy. I worry about falling down the stairs.
    I am not a baby. I can handle pain and discomfort. I am wondering if my doc has the whole idea of the withdrawal
    problems.
    This med did help me. I was able to sleep which I didn’t before. Basically it numbed me. I am regaining my “touch” sensations. That may sound weird…. I don’t know how else to describe it.
    I can’t wait to be done with this.
    Many of you have far worse then I. Hang in there.

  24. YES! I never read anything else about other people reporting having an insatiable appetite, so I’m so glad it’s not just me! My boss even asked me to plan my meals better so I wouldn’t have to stop working to eat, but I can’t help being so hungry and it always seems like it will make me feel better. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get fired, since I will need some time off. It’s also as if other people think you’re faking or over-exaggerating, but I was certain I should have been committed to a psych ward earlier today. Seem to be feeling slightly better now…

    • I too have felt like I can’t stop eating, then I get stomach pains like i ate way too much, I eat when I’m hungry and drink lotsa fluids

  25. Hi Victoria! Thanks for the encouraging words. I am coming off of 37.5mg of effexor xr and have slowly weaned off. it took me a month but have had the head zaps and non-stop dizziness for about a month now. It is day 4 of being pill free (WOOHOO!) and my head zaps have lessened a little and the dizziness is always there. I want it to go away and keep trying to trudge on. I am so close to being done with this drug and feel blessed to not have experienced any of the other side effects. so for those who are still weaning off, I’M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU! we can do this. I was afraid before but not now. If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT. I’m with you victoria that it will go away one day and I hope and pray that it will go away sooner than later. I wish you all the best and will pray for all of you suffering from withdrawals like me. WE CAN DO THIS! DO NOT GIVE UP!

    • I too have had brain zaps, along with a cough. Sinus are really acting up. Im down to two little beads. I took 2 beads today, and nothing yesterday. Will continue doing this until hopefully no brain zaps. Its been a slow process too. I started a taper by breaking open the capsules and counting out the beads. I started the taper at 37.5mg. Now as of today, I am down to two little beads. I also went to my natropath and she put me on the following so that I can have some natural seritoin (sp). 5thp and L-Theanine (at night); also include Rhodiola force 100, Vit D-3, Omega Fish Oil, Vit B-12 Liquid (daytime) . I feel the difference. So, I will do every other day, 2 beads of the Effexor. Unbelievealbe process to get off this drug. Thank god I am not working right now. I am an Executive Assistant and would have great difficulty working comming off this drug. Does anyone have a cough and bad sinus draininage due to this drug?

  26. Thanks to bloggers, I am up to day 6 and am now determined to get the real me back

  27. I have been on effexor since March of 2011; 37.5 mg. Started a very slow taper begining in November. Broke open the capsule, and started counting out the beads. Today, January 31, 2012 I am down to two little beads. Yesterday I took nothing. Brain Zaps. Today took 2 little beads. I am also taking natural stuff. I met with my doc, and she prescribed 5htp, Fish Oil, Vit d-3, Rhodiola force 100, L-Theanine. These natural supplements have helped me considerably. I have developed a cough, with lots of clear fluid that I cough up during the night. Like my sinusus are not draiining properly. I have read on line that coughing is one of the side effects of withdrawal, and in taking effexor. Has anyone experienced a cough from this drug?

  28. However low the dose, I took this drug for a year and found it very helpful for hot flashes. Getting off the drug has not been particularly easy, I did have some heavy fatigue and brain zapping for about a week or two, but feel fine now. While many may have terrible side effects from withdrawal, I wonder how many do fine but don’t come here to write about it. Wanted to offer some hope in the way of a mostly positive experience, weight gain aside. Just hated that.

  29. i am so glad i found this site – so many questions are being answered for me! i have been on Venalafaxine for about 2 years, and just didn’t want to be on meds if i didn’t need them anymore. but i have been trying to come off for about 4 months by decreasing my dose. i have always described the withdrawal as waiting for my eyes to catch up with the turning of my head, and dizziness and disorientation – i’m amazed to see to exact same description here! i have also lost so much memory that i can’t even follow a conversation or read a book and remember what i read a few minutes later – does anyone know if that goes away after cessation of taking the medication? i hope so! if i’d read about this drug before starting i would have stayed off it for sure,, because i was only on a 37.5 mg dose/day as well. my friend who suggested it said she came off of it in about 2 weeks, just feeling like she had a cold and that was it! but now i’m afraid to go any faster than just increasing the number of hours between pills by twelve every month, like i’ve been doing – i’m now 60 hours between pills and it’s not so bad – just the loopy, eye/brain disconnect if i’m vertial or trying to drive. more power to you all – God be with us as we escape!

  30. by the way – i was told opening the capsules isn’t the best thing to do. a guy who works in pharmaceuticals told me that if a tablet has lines on it, then it’s okay to be divided, because the active ingredient is evenly distributed in the pill. but a capsule or a tablet with no cut lines on it shouldn’t be divided, because the active ingredient could be in one little portion of the pill and not the other parts, and thus you may be getting no medication at all one day, and a full dose the next.

  31. Hi guys.

    First of all I want to say that at the beginning Effexor was very helpful for me. Although I feel like I only suffered from moderate anxiety it really affected me positively for the first few months. Over time though, and I don’t know if I am the only one or if it is just perceived, I felt like I just reverted to the way I was before. That I built up a tolerance. I came to the conclusion a couple days ago that I don’t want to be a slave to something that isn’t doing much for me anymore only to stave off the withdrawal and I do not want to keep upping my dosage.

    So as of right now I’m finishing up day 2. Hoping to god my symptoms won’t be as horrible as some of you have reported but I’m not exactly sure that will be the case. I have to laugh at myself because I’m a fairly manly man who doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve but I just have this bizarre urge to discuss how I’m feeling which is totally unlike me. So far I just have the weird vertigo issue, which I’ve had before if I missed a dose. It’s annoying and distracting. I have twitches. And feel emotional. But so far I’ve been able to keep a good perspective on it. Just keeping in mind that my emotions right now aren’t genuine, only a result of a chemical reaction. I hope I’ll be able to be as positive about it as the days go by. Though I feel I could cry at the drop of a hat, it seems almost silly and also kind of cathartic in a weird way.

    I’m just looking forward to being clear of this.

    I guess I’m more than anything curious if anyone can relate to my post. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to level myself out so I don’t sink too far into a depression. But for me, so far not horrible (yet).

    • I cracked. This is the worst. I thought I could handle it cold turkey but that is just not going to happen for me. This must be what dopesick feels like.

      • look under effexor w/d. Im on 225 mgs and if u go cold turkey there are a list of 85 SERIOUS w/d symptoms! Just to let u kno!

  32. Been on 150mg for several years. Have tried a couple times to get off effexor. Am going to try again. Thanks for all the feedbacks, thought all these symptoms were just me.

  33. I’m in the ER now with my wife. She was only on Effexor for 6 weeks. It was for anxiety and headaches. It didn’t help her headaches and had side effects. So she stopped. Cold turkey. Now we are in the hospital. Sigh. This is some nasty stuff.

  34. I have been off of Effexor for 2 1/2 years. I remember the withdrawals, and my heart goes out to all of you. I tapered off slowly over a period of 4 or 5 months before being able to stop without the horrible side effects: Brain zaps, nausea, and flu like symptoms. Never again.

    I have read of people going off of it in a couple of weeks. I am not that tough. My dosage was
    150 mg. With my doctor’s help, we decreased that to 75 mg. for a few weeks, then decreased that to 37.5 mg. I will never take another SSRI.

    Good luck.

  35. Linda reading yr blog on the 23.1.12 Was like my story exactly. 2 weeks ago I asked for my morphine shot as I suffered migraines every month for 20 years my BP was 225/120 and I was admitted to hospital to my shock. Since being on 225 mg of Effexor since Jan 2008 I developed high cholesterol, daily sweats at work, weight gain , occasional heart pulps, some brain zaps (thank-u now I know what that was). In hospital I was told that I need to have to make some life changes as I nearly had a stroke. Ok so for the last 2 weeks I have been eating very healthy been on the walker, more water and not one change in my weight I decided I am now ready to come off it. I have started dropping one capsule so this is my second day, I am already on Mersondyl Forte and Zomig for my migraines and I use Aladorm for sleeping as I couldnt sleep on the Effexor anyway plus the blood pressure and cholesterol tablets (yes I jiggle when I walk).
    Thank u to everyone for sharing their stories it has helped with my preparing to take on the battle. I have told my boss what I am planning to do and my husband and mum so they can keep an eye on me. I am hoping that the medication I am on is going to help but I am not naive as last year I forgot to take my Effexor for one day and by night time I suffered all what everyone said.
    So please bring me under yr wing as I think in the next couple of weeks I am going to need to vent to people who truly understand!!!! It seems it my case I already had a few of the side effects whilst being on it. Here we go on the Roller coaster.

  36. Hi, I am on my first full week of stopping Effexor 75mg. Feel really good however it took quite awhile. I asked my Dr. how to do it and she advised taking one tab every other day for two weeks, then one every two days for a week, then one every three…then four…etc. If I woke and didn’t feel well I would take a pill and start over from where I left off. I had tried prior to this going cold turkey and suffered from all the symptoms noted. Its a horrible feeling. At this point I don’t think I’m going to need to take any more. Hope this helps.

  37. I’m on day 4 of what I call Hell. I was on Effexor for 1 yr and weened off slowly over 6 weeks. I felt like crap the day I began weening off. Now that I’m down to none, I feel worse. Dizziness, brain zaps, emotional roller coaster. So as I sit and type this I get zaps, weeee. I was never warned of the side effects of this drug, but I blame myself for not researching it. This will never happen again. Hopefully the withdraw symptoms go away soon, they make day to day life unpleasant!

  38. I was very relieved to see that my withdrawal symptoms were not just my imagination. Thanks folks, for posting.

    This sucks. Besides the irritability, impatience, and vulnerability to extreme high and low emotions, my worst symptoms are: 1) the ‘brain zaps’(I experience this as being able to hear and feel my eyeballs rotate in their sockets); 2) huge bursts of energy, fidgety, followed by extreme, crash-like episodes; and, 3) havoc on my appetite and weird sleep patterns. I’ve been on Effexor (150m once/day) for about 3 years. My doc first cut the dosage to 1/2/day for a week, for which I really didn’t experience too many symptoms; then, about a 1/3 every other day for a week. The ‘every other day’ was indeed problematic. The no-pill days were unbearable. So I continued to take the same amount equal to 1/3 every other day, but spread out in daily doses. This helped immensely. Finally, I have been off of this 1 week now, and am experiencing many the same symptoms every day, with little improvement. I’ve read these posts and I am somewhat concerned about the duration of these withdrawal symptoms, while some posts indicate weeks and others, months. Does this drug permanently change your physiology and/or alter the nervous system after prolonged usage?

    I’ve also read where people are considering or have quit Effexor cold-turkey. I do not consider this to be a safe option, especially if there is any regular, ongoing people contact/interaction and/or worse, a need to regularly drive a vehicle.

    What’s this ‘Omega 3′ for the ‘brain zaps’? I’d like to know more. I believe most of the other symptoms would be more manageable and/or tolerable if it weren’t for these ‘zaps’.
    Thanks for any advice or info.

  39. I have tapered my Effexor dose over 4 weeks, and after finally being off totally, the effects started immediately. I experience dizziness, vertigo, nausea, freezing cold hands (even though the rest of me feels normal temp), bowel disturbances, irritability, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite combined with weird cravings, crying spells for no reason, and even–gasp–suicidal thoughts.
    This is some SCARY stuff!! Everyone is telling me to just go back on it, but I dont need it anymore and dont want to be tied to a pill for the rest of my life. I WILL MAKE IT!! BUT, its still going to be a little while before this all goes away. Im on day 4 of ‘nothing’, so lets just dig in, hang on and dont let go. Ever…..

  40. I both love and hate Effexor. Have been on it since 2004 to treat anxiety and secondary depression. I’ve had some amazing results with it, especially over the past two years. Have come off it twice before because I didn’t like ‘being on tablets’.

    When my psychiatrist put me back on two years ago, I was apprehensive because I know how bad the withdrawal can be, even though we taper me off really slowly – take about six months to come off completely. But she is really positive about a new drug on the market that has apparently been getting great results treating anxiety (it’s also way cheaper than effexor!) called Valdoxane.

    So far, have been on Valdoxane for two weeks. First week was a lovely haze of mania. Then in the second week, I started feeling extremely anxious and nauseas and some dizziness. That’s settled although I’m still more moody than a pregnant woman! The other night I burst into tears during a tv ad for Jeep.

    Today, I started tapering off the Effexor. Have gone from 225mg to 187.5 (one 150mg tablet and one 35.7mg tablet). You may think that going down such a small dose wouldn’t have an effect but already feeling the brain zaps and hasn’t even been 12 hours. On this dosage for next two weeks as well as the Valdoxane and then going fown another 37.5mg of Effexor.

    Nervous about all of this because the new drug may not even work for me. It’s a big risk but I really trust my psychiatrist and she works with my psychologist and GP so always feel in good hands. Hoping this works and never have to go back onto Effexor. Will keep you posted!

    X

    • hi nicola, my experience is identical to yours. Now on valdoxane and anxiety is fine, but withdrawal symptoms from effexor is kiling me. Not sure if valdoxane is having side effects as my withdrawal is severe and its hard to tell which is which. Its all just a bit too muvh right now! My BIG question is “HOW LONG????” before normality?

      How are you doing? Would love to hear from you.

      Thanks
      Tanya
      Xx

  41. I am very heartened to discover I am not alone. I was prescribed effexor, along with sleeping tablets and Xanax for occasional use, about seven weeks ago as I was suffering from bad anxiety, depression, exhaustion and sleep problems. Effexor actually made me feel much worse so I decided to discontinue last week. I hoped that I had been on the drug for such a short period of time that side effects would be negligible. Not so. The dizziness, balance and disconnected head problem is so awful today that I am having to sit as still as possible in one place. I had no idea this was a potential side effect so at least I know, thanks to this board, what is causing it.

    When I told the doctor last week that the drugs weren’t helping, he asked if he could refer me to a psychiatrist. I said ok but could we give hrt a whirl.

    And hurray! Six days on hrt and I already feel ten years younger. Bouncing with energy. No depression, no anxiety, no sleep problems, no sleeping tablets, no tranquillisers, no psychiatrist. Now if I can just get rid of this dizziness I will be a happy bunny. I understand that effexor is often prescribed for the menopause. Hrt has had a bad press recently but the cure for oestrogen deficiency related health issues could just be…..oestrogen. Not for everyone but I would rather eat my own toenail cuttings than go anywhere near effexor again. Good luck everyone.

  42. Several years ago I ran out of Effexor and, before I could get my reorder by mail, I was experiencing such terrible head pain and nausea I had to go to my Doctor’s office for a short term prescription. The only time I have felt worse was when I had food poisoning or other serious health issues.
    I am weening myself off now by opening the capsules and dividing up the dosage manually. It seems to be working. I have more than half of a 90day prescription left so I should be okay but I noticed that empty gel capsules can be purchased if needed. I realize that some folks can quit cold turkey – but based on my experience, I don’t recommend it.

  43. I feel as if I’m going to black out every now and then. Second week on 75 mg?? Usually at the end of the day or first thing in the morning. Surely withdrawal wouldnt be as soon as this?

    • Hi mike. Worth checking out your tablets. Doctors can be a bit careless with the old prescriptions. Effexor is delivered in slow release and standard release versions. If you have not just switched to a lower dose but from slow release to standard release this could make things worse. Effexor is notorious as it is for clearing the system much faster than other anti depressants and causing a problem if you miss a dose. That’s why I am really surprised they suggest weaning strategies like ‘every other day’. Check out your packs. Slow release has an R on it. Standard doesnt

  44. Since finding this board yesterday whilst surfing to find out what on earth was going on with my body, I have spent many hours on the net. Here is what I have found and it may help somebody. Replacing effexor with Prozac as an interim strategy seems to be common practice as Prozac is easy to get off (I personally never had a problem with Prozac).

    Some doctors use tramadol as a temporary strategy to relieve symptoms. This is a prescription painkiller such as you might be given for moderate to severe pain. It can also become addictive but it takes a while for this to happen, seemingly longer than it takes to get rid of effexor withdrawal problems. Tramadol MUST NOT be taken by people still taking effexor. However I stopped last week and had a spare tramadol in the cupboard which I took and it definitely stopped my symptoms of zaps, disorientation and dizziness, so this could be worth wiki ing and discussing with your doctor.

    I was interested in the posts about Dramamine so I did some more digging about antihistamines. This was also because I visited a pharmacist yesterday, before I found out that my symptom were effexor withdrawal, to complain about the balance issue, assuming I must have a problem with my ear and he suggested anti histamine.

    As consequence of my surfing, I found two anti histamines that have similar chemistry and actions upon seratonin and noradrenaline as SSRI and SNRI antidepressants. In fact the discovery of these effects in the sixties of these unexpected actions of these particular antihistamines directly led to research on the drugs we now love so much :-( .

    The active ingredients are those present in Nytol (a Uk over the counter sleep aid) and Piriton (a uk over the counter drug mostly used for allergies and bites. Both are known to have sedative effects and I certainly wouldn’t

    want to drive after a nytol tablet. On the other hand these are both off prescription and we give kids piriton for insect bites so they are pretty innocuous compared to effexor. Not a doctor so don’t know if they can be used by people still taking effexor but the pharmacist would. If you google these brands you can find the main active ingredients and find out what they would be in in other countries. They seem so innocuous and low dose they may not have enough impact on effexor withdrawal side effects. However, if mine return tomorrow it is safe for me to take them now and I will report back if so

    Linda in london

  45. I ran out of my effexor while on vacation and by the time I got home I was so sick and had basically no will – or strength – to go to my doctor and renew my prescription.
    I felt like I had a terrible case of vertigo or like I was on some kind of hallucinogen. I felt very detached from reality, had the shakes and cold sweats, was VERY sleepy and – of course – in a deep depression.
    I slept on and off for three days straight. I felt so sorry for my children. Thankfully I had people to help me with them, including my husband who was very supportive.
    It has been 2 weeks now and my symptoms are almost all gone. Including the depression which had actually started while I was still on the medication.
    I feel fantastic now and will not ever go back on effexor.
    I have been on Cipralex a few years ago and had no withdrawal symptoms when I went off.
    It feels good to know that I wasn’t going crazy and that my symptoms are common.

  46. Hello All,
    I have just read through many of these posts. I just happened to find this site today.
    I have been on Effexor for 12 years. 150mg most of the time, 225mg on and off.
    I have had two failed attempts trying to stop taking this medication. Recently I have been to a chemist/nutrionist. She has put me a diet of clean eating, including foods that help detox. Along with herbal medication and supplements. I have just kicked 4 other drugs completely since Jan. 31. Now I want to rid myself of Effexor and Trazadone. I want the old me back. Your support is needed. It is so true, no one knows what this is we are going through. Unless you have already done it. Why is Effexor even on the market? Regards from Canada.

  47. Hello

    All I can say is this is pure hell, been on effexor for 5 years now, always struggled with anxiety and depression in my adult life, have been withdrawing for 2 weeks now it is awful !!! Sickness, dizziness, spasms in hands, confusion, feeling drunk constantly !! Whilst trying to care for my son and work, the doctors make me so mad, they have no idea how hard this is !!! I feel for all of you, hang in there, I will never go back on this tablet again, just need to get through this hell first.

    Emma, london

  48. I have been tapering off effexor for three months and they have been the worst three months of my life!

    I was prescribed 75mg of effexor 4 years ago by my family doctor to see if it was anxiety causing my night-time teeth grinding (and subsequent intense jaw problems). I was uncomfortable with the drug and questioned it thoroughly at the time, she assured me we would just try it for a couple of months and see how it worked and that it was better than the pain medication I was taking each day. I certainly noticed that it took the edge off any mild anxiety I ever experienced so I liked the result. After a couple of months there was no difference in my grinding so I figured I would stop… it was TERRIBLE. I didn’t know about any of the withdrawal symptoms at the time so the brain shocks on the first day made me think I was having a stroke or seizure. When I discovered what it was I went back on the drug and have not had any luck getting off it since – I couldn’t even go hours without it and I could almost tell the time by the withdrawal symptoms kicking in!

    Three months ago when I started to think more about having kids, I did more research and decided it is the time to rid myself of this terrible drug.

    The thing that bugs me the most is that I wasn’t event presenting with anxiety (with the exception of the grinding)… Now it is ruining my life! No doctor should be allowed to prescribe it until they have experienced the terrible withdrawal themselves!!!!

    I had a constant migraine for 67 days until I started to see an acupuncturist. I count all the little balls and removing a few each day – even dropping by 10 a day was too much! I am now down to 13 balls but the last week has been so terrible with the brain shocks, dry mouth, nausea, headache, etc.

    How can a drug (meant for anxiety and depression) that is this treacherous to get off of, be legal?
    I WISH I had found these boards 4 years ago when this whole ordeal started… I hope that we can at least deter those that really don’t need this particular drug from listening to a doctor that has no idea how terrible it is!!!

    Good luck everyone!

  49. Because I looked at this website before discontinuing Effexor, I want to share my experience. After 3 years of being on Effexor (150 mg) my new doctor suggested tapering off because I was already on two other kinds of medicine. I kept a daily journal of my symptoms and how I was feeling which I believe helped me to understand what kinds of changes I was seeing and feeling. 

    Week 1 – Tapered down from 150 mg to 112.5 mg. Felt waves of nausea the first couple of days and woke up from deep sleep sweating. Also experienced eye twitching on a couple of the days but nothing serious. 

    Week 2 – Tapered down from 112.5 mg to 75 mg. Felt more emotional and more anxious day by day throughout this week. Had a hard time getting to sleep at night.

    Week 3 – Tapered down from 75 mg to 37.5 mg. More emotional and anxious than normal, but nothing extreme. Still not able to fall asleep at night but other then that no other symptoms. 

    Week 4 – Tapered down 37.5 mg  to 0 mg. Completely off the drug. This was probably the worst week. I was extremely emotional this entire week. The first couple of days off of the medicine I experienced what I learned from looking at this site and others, what’s called “brain shivers.” I have experienced these before but could not think of what to call it until I heard this perfect description. Note: this is not the electroshock symptoms people describe. The shakes came every couple of minutes the first two days off the medicine but less frequently the next few days. 

    Presently at Week 6, have been completely off of Effexor for a little over 3 weeks. Except for maybe a slight spike in emotions, I have not experienced any other symptoms the past couple of weeks.  

    I truly cannot imagine going off of this medicine (or any anti-depressant) cold turkey. You should NEVER do this if it can be avoided. It makes me sad to read about those of you who no longer have health insurance or it is not covered and you have had to stop taking the drug suddenly. My withdrawal symptoms were what I would consider mild and I’m positive it’s because I tapered off the medicine week by week. 

    Hopes this helps. 

    • Emily, your advice is very good…I tapered from 150 to 0 in a month , decreasing each week as you did. I also read that B-complex and Omega-3 fish oil helps so I started taking those. I have taken this drug for about 11 years…many years at 225 mg. My doctor let me drop from 150 to 75mg then I started taking beads out of the capsules. When he prescribed the tablet for the 37.5 dose, I scraped some off then I just stopped it. My symptoms have been weird, but are lessening. Here’s my list: brain zaps, nausea, headache…peppermint Altoid breath mints help with the nausea because of the oil of peppermint. More symptoms…colorful kaleidescope images that move across my field of vision when I awake in the morning…but I can only see them with my eyes closed. sometimes they fade in and out…has anyone else had this happen? Sometimes when I move I feel like I’m losing my balance. does anyone have the feeling in their brain like you have a fever and aren’t quite there? My tremendous energy I use in physical activity…painting my house…anything to try to lessen the fluttery energy inside. PLEASE have your thyroid checked. Go to an endocrinologist and get fully tested not just the TSH which does not tell the whole story. For years I was told I was tired and unmotivated because I was depressed. Ha!!! Now that my thyroid levels are controlled, I am not depressed….just a fifty-five year old gramma.

  50. Helloooo All :) I am 31 years old and have been on various antidepressants since the age of 17. I was put on effexor 15o mg last June to help with the depression and anorexia. At first the demon drug seemed to help but it was very short lived, only about 2months. I also have fibromalygia, spondilothesis and raynauds disease and went cold turkey off of valium and soma. I went through abosolute hell getting off those BUT I felt so much better and clear headed that I also took a hard look at this medication that no longer was needed and wasn’t working. I began to cut down to 75 mg and have just begun to half that as well. Today I am at 37.5 mg and already feel the withdrawals coming on. Yesterday I didn’t take my dose, which was a mistake, and had nightmares and horrific sweating plus just an displaced feeling. I have gone off of Paxil and know what I am in for. With me, my withdrawals lasted months! MONTHS!!! I was younger then and didn’t realize how this drug affects so many physical, and emotional aspects in your life. My advice to those getting off this drug is to taper down gradually. The higher the dose and the longer you have taken this drug will affect your withdrawal. As many have stated dramamine will be your friend. I used it to help with the withdrawals from the other drugs and it really does help with nausea and vertigo. I wish there was something for the brain zaps which for me lasts for months however knowing what I am up against and having the support of my family will help me conquer this beast. And it really is just that a beast. I recently found an article about antidepressants. In it was the claim that these drugs can destroy the good parts of your brain and can cause pancreatic cancer. Awesome, thanks Doc. If you can, go to counseling. I have and I have found what I feel has been causing me such grief all my life. I feel ready to rid myself and my body of all chemicals so naturally this must go. I promise you, you can do this. Yes, it will be hard but remember to taper down, get a support system, and tell yourself you can do it. Be your biggest cheerleader, breathe, feed your body good foods like fish which can help depression, pray, and know that everyday you rid your body of this drug. Good luck to you all, we can do this!!!

    • Your words of encouragment are beautiful.
      tommorrow i am starting to reduce from 75mgs by taking out 5 beads per day. This will take approx 8 weeks to I am at zero.
      Today I am excited to be beginning the journey. I hope I keep feeling this way through the process. I am so looking forward to having a decent pee again.

      Thanks to every one for the motivation on getting off this drug.

  51. starting my 3rd week without it and am finally feeling somewhat normal the crying spells are getting better and farther between and the vertigo dizzy spells are getting way better… Hang in there everyone tryin to get off…it will all be better soon…

  52. help please…I have been off the Venflaxine for 1 week 150 mg I was taking for last 3 months before that 75 for 1 year befoe that Cymbalta from 2003 to 2010. I have had the numbness and when turning my head hear 3 click click click…The most disturbing though is the emotional roller coaster…Tears but more frightening is RAGE from nowhere and it gets extreme…Throwing things, screaming and yelling horrible things and can’t stop…I am SCARED…I get very scared when I go into these rages…is this part of the withdraw or is something else going on??

  53. I am so amazed by all these people having some of the same things that I have. I was put on effexor in the early 90′s. I was in such bad shape I did not care or ask about the meds that they were addicting me to. The good thing is that it worked and I did recover my life. Bad thing, here I am all those years later and still taking it.
    I have tried the cold turkey thing several times in my past but I could not stand the headaches. Nine years ago I had a child, born pre-mature at only 27 1/2 weeks. (She is just fine by the way- my very own miracle child). The doctor spoke about taking me off of it at that time but decided that there was no real research that it would harm my child. They felt that getting off of it was worse then staying on it.
    The last time I had a rough patchwith headaches and stuff the doctor decreased the med from 75 to 1 and a half pills of the 37.5 or 56.25. Just that little bit did me a world of good. It was about 4 years ago. Now I have been having the same sort of things and reduced it again myself to just the one pill of 37.5. I feel much better. I will continue to do the slow version of withdrawl.
    Thanks so much to those who took the time to write these things. I am very thankful. Without sounding to wierd, I have a very strong belief in prayers and in God. I don’t know why this medicine and its horrible side affets are in my life, but I know that there is a reason and it will be O.K.

  54. I just finished day 2 off Effexor! I noticed several saying the drug seems to lose it effectiveness over time. I felt the same way!!!! I went from 37mg to 300mg to be we’re I felt I wanted to be, then really thought long and hard about it and I can honestly say, the drug helped me when I needed it too and now it’s time to come off.

    Day 2 – anxious and writing this since I don’t or can’t sleep!!! I toss and turn all night, blah! Eyes do feel like turning slower than my brain wants and have pulses of brain surges is only way to explain it. I itch like crazy!!!! I don’t know if that’s related or not. No nausea or lack of desire to eat.

    Good luck all

    • Day 3- Benadryl helped with the itching and NyQuil allowed me to get to sleep. No nightmares.

      Day 4- still getting brain flashes, but they’re not painful anyways. Slight nausea at times but went away. I can easily handle any of these so far. Lack of sleep was really the worst all others have been manageable and have not impacted ability to work.

  55. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all your comments. I started taking effexor in 2005 and have been on it ever since. Life was stable but it was just that. There were no feelings of happiness or empathy. I looked like a dead fish. I woke up wanting more out of life – to feel joy at my kids accomplishments, feel the love between my husband and I and understand my parents difficulties without glossing over things. I decided to cut my dosage in half. I was on 300mg at the time. It was rough and I had all the brain zaps, nausea and other withdrawal effects.

    That was over a year and a half ago and I finally thought I had the courage to do it cold turkey – go down to 0mg. I am graduating soon and looking for a new job and I desperately want to make this change. I stopped two days ago and I’m so unstable. I’m in pain. Every joint in my body hurts. I feel the blood rushing in my ears and my head. I am dizzy and slow and I cannot concentrate. I have put on so much weight because of this drug. I went from a size 8 to a 14 and how I wish I had known what it would have led to. As I write this, I am a basket case..tears streaming down my face. I so badly want to start my life afresh without it.

    Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I know I am not alone and that helps. I wish you all the best – health and happiness.

  56. I have been on Effexor on and off for the last 3 years and have had withdrawal symptoms described in this forum. I just didn’t realize that they were withdrawal symptoms from this drug as I am on other medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, menopause, and stomach problems. No one, not my doctors, not my husband, who is a physician, told me the evil side of Effexor. What scares me after reading some of the comments here is that I have been slowly but surely losing my memory. I would forget words and names of family members. I thought it was just that I was getting old, but after reading the comments above, I am convinced that I need to get off this drug. What made me decide this was the fact that two days ago I had inadvertently not taken my medication for the day and started feeling the brain zapping, headaches, sweats, nauseated, thoughts of vomitting — I was going to die last night, I thought. I also had NIGHTMARES which completely unnerved me. I kept telling and asking my husband what was happening to me, but he couldn’t give me an answer. Over the years, I have been on and off this medication and have had similar symptoms, but really didn’t put two and two together. Then upon realizing that I hadn’t taken my Effexor yesterday, it finally dawned on me that Effexor is, as well, putting me in an irrational emotional state because I couldn’t stop thinking about just ending it all. I cried irrationally like my 3-year old and feelings of insecurity crept in my head, then it went downwill from there. Today, I realize that my life had been a see-saw because of Effexor. This morning, I found out about Effexor’s side effects, on and off of it, and found similar blogs like this one, which horrifies me into continuing to be on this medication. What is ironic about this is that I had seen a psychiatrist last week, who nodded and asked simple questions for two minutes, and then decided that he should increase my dosage of Effexor. I was not happy about this and couldn’t believe that he could prescribe and know all about me in under five minutes. So I asked him specifically if this medication was habit-forming and he said that it was not. I also asked him how long I should be on this increased dosage of Effexor and he said for six months, never mentioning at all that there are serious withdrawal side-effects. I have decided that I can’t be on this medication: it is like cutting your hand to fix your foot — it’s around and around we go and these medical professionals continuing to prescribe Effexor without bothering to find out about the medical side-effects and traumas that patients have to go through while on and off Effexor. I just hope that I get through this tomorrow and the next day. I will take it one day at a time.

  57. Wow, so glad I am not the only one. My husband sent me this site, and I am so glad he did. I began effexor after having my hysterectomy and both ovaries removed at age 37. The doctor said it would help with my menopause symptoms. Now it is almost 2 yers later and I decided I no longer needed this medication, it has been a challenge to taper this medication. I knew it would be hard, because I am a nurse but I had no idea it was this bad! I keep getting dizzy which makes me very tired. Today I have cried most of the day with profound sadness, so not like me. I have so much to be thankful for. I have been very impatient with my husband and 7 yo son. I feel so terrible about my irritability. Thankfully I have an understanding husband, I could not do this without him. The other symptom that I am feeling it heart palpatations. Hopefully this will go away soon. I am so glad that there are others out there who feel the same.

  58. hi all, just want to say that until i discovered this website, i honestly thought i was going crazy.as i am writing this i just want to put my head down and sob…….i feel so sorry for myself and want someone to just tell me they will take over my life for the next two weeks or so, then i could easily just go and bury myself under my duvet and stay there. i have been on this horrible tablet for 8 years, in the beginning it was my life saver and it did its job and kept me going, however, as time has gone on it has clouded my brain and i have started to lose the joys of everyday life so i knew it had to go…..i tried once before and the combination of the withdrawl symptoms and the actual depression that i hadnt dealt with made it too hard, i am now at a different stage in my life and i know i will be ok, i just dont know how much longer i can cope with this feeling. i have 5 children and also look after a friends baby so taking time out to ‘go with’ these feelings is not an option…….i have just left the downstairs of my house to come up to my room because i am behaving like a lunatic, i am sleepy,jittery,crying at the disney channel,shouting at one of my sons because he was asking me a question and i had no idea how to answer him, my hubby is having a footie team meeting in the kitchen (its our turn this week to host) and i am behaving like i am deranged, after just being the perfect soccer mum host and doing the teas,coffees etc……….i know this will eventually pass,i am just so down because i am doing the whole weaning off them thing and yet all the symptoms are sooooo strong this evening, everytime someone talks to me or makes a sound it is as if electric shocks are jolting through me, rattling my ears and my brain!!!! i dont know how much longer i can carry on like this, its ridiculous to think that before effexor I never felt suicidal and yet now trying to stop them, i feel that way……please someone tell me that this will get better

  59. Getting of this medication has been HELL.

    My temper has been savage with my family, yet I cannot bear to take this out on my students and as a consequence feel like they are becoming ungrateful little savages bent on walking all over me. I am usually very calm but between the dizziness, nausea, nightsweats, and intense self-loathing, I have urges to shatter every glass I own against the floor. My skin is just crawling, my feet and hands are swollen, and my eyelids are on fire. There is a taser gun lodged somewhere in the meninges of my brain. Food is gross and yet there isn’t enough sweet tea in the world to satiate my burning thirst. Night time is a bitter torment of it’s own; at least during the day I can stay busy and occasionally forget the self-hatred bubbling under my skin. And I will digress on the scatological misery that my bathroom has become familiar with.

    This is day 6 after a year taking 225 mgs for a year after suffering from post-partum depression shortly after the birth of my third child.

    In the last year, I have developed severe symptoms of and consequentially been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Worse yet, my spouse and I were separated for three months largely in part to the cocktail of prescription drugs given to me to help with the hormonal shifts after pregnancy.

    Additionally, I began my graduate studies part-time, because my job and family demand and deserve the majority of my attention. Focusing on any one task for very long is already a difficulty, so my performance has been lackluster. I honestly thought taking medicine would enable me to handle all of these tasks. But no drug has been developed that can give us extra time and energy.

    There is no better living through chemistry. We are damaging our bodies in ways we cannot even imagine to deal with the torment in our minds. I have made the decision to learn to live with that suffering because I cannot live with the uncertainty of how these chemicals are going to hurt me (and my family) in the future.

    I cannot claim that this drug did not help me; surely there was a time that it has kept me from slipping off the edge. And I feel unworthy to even vent considering there are people who have experienced acutely more suffering than I for longer periods of time. Yet, there is comfort knowing I am not alone in this misery.

  60. THOUGHTS:
    This is day 6 for me — cold turkey. I know that a lot of people in this forum advocate for the weaning off, but I am really pissed off about this medication and I just want to be off of it — pronto, now, yesterday, two years ago already! I am coming from a background of not knowing what was going on with me (withdrawal side-effects)when I would inadvertently miss a dose, or not take the medication the same time the next day. I had most of the symptoms that I am having now, except that I didn’t know what was going on then. I asked my doctor and the other doctors who she sent me to, but they didn’t have a clue that Effexor was the culprit in my misery for the last 2 years. I can’t honestly say whether it worked for me as I felt like I was emotinally flat and would have bouts of unknown withdrawal symptoms. so my life was just one big emotinal see-saw. Apparently, Effexor is one of best medication for depression, but it is also one of the worst for withdrawals. I would have to say that doctors should try this medication first-hand and then go off of it to decide whether they could honestly prescribe this medication to anyone. The fact that they don’t know how bad the side effects are even if they are staring right them in the face, tell me that there should be more discussion between patients and doctors as to what type of drugs they are given in the face of emotional upheavals. Patients should have the right to know, if they are prescribed Effexor, that the withdrawal effects are traumatic and may be life threatening to some us. I would be the first one to put up my hand to say that I have had suicidal thoughts while unknowingly being off of this medication in the last two years. The last 6 days of cold turkey have been no different, but I am more aware now, especially when I am become irrational in my thoughts and emotions. I do not prescribe “cold-turkey” for anyone, but this is what I have chosen to do for myself.

    WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS:
    This is actually the first time since Tuesday that I am able to look at my computer without having brain zaps, as it is too painful for me to look at my bright computer. Bright lights give me brain zaps to no end, and any type of noise give me headaches and the usual brain zaps. I feel like there’s ninjas in my head doing “chop, chop, chop,” when I close my eyes. I was hoping that I wouldn’t get the “cravings,” like some people on this forum, but I did the 3rd day. The food cravings were off the wall. I wanted to eat everything that I could think of, but then if I think of eating those things, they make me want to vomit. I would eat until I am full, but then right after eating I would have stomach pains. After doing this for 4 days now, I only hope that I won’t gain so much weight. I am sure this is the least of my worries for now, so I go where it takes me. I compensate by drinking lots of water because I feel so thirsty, which compounds my stomach pains and the feeling of being over-bloated. The endless day-and-night-mares never end however. The nightmares are sometimes so horrifyingly real for me that I would stay up as I don’t want to continue my night/day mares. I guess I would have to assume that since I am drinking so much liquid that I would perspire the same amount.

    I would have to say that I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am able to turn some lights on and able to move around my place by dissipating the brain zaps and headaches by using my sunglasses and sound reduction headphones. These are life savers when my 3 1/2 wakes up in the morning. She, unfortunately, has been unable to go to school because I am unable to drive her to school. I hope that I may be able to drive her to school tomorrow…

    I wish everyone good luck tonight. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully it will be an easier day. We are indeed warriors and brave people to take our lives into our own hands once again. We are here to read (listen) and learn and we are not alone in this fight for our life.

    • This is day 7: Last night and today’s symptoms: I am still having brain zaps, sensitivity to bright lights, day/night sweats, uncontrollable eating, emotional lows with uncontrollable crying, extreme thirst, sometimes ringing in my ears, woke up? (I really don’t know whether I sleep these days) from another nightmare and was concerned that I was having a stroke. I took my blood pressure and it was 146/105 — not bad since I am not having a stroke, uncontrolled anger triggered by my husband’s Martian qualities (worked it out this morning but still went through the crying bouts. I am still not comfortable driving by myself so my daughter did not go to school again today, but I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. The only thing wrong with this picture is that I have to take care of her, which I am really finding difficult when I go through my irrational thoughts in thinking that if I say to her, “Please don’t jump up and down,” or “Please don’t rustle the paper you are holding continuously because it hurts Mommy’s brain,” that she would somehow get it — obviously, she does not. I just have to say to myself over and over that she is 3 1/2 years old. Maybe the lining on this cloud is that if I am forced to move around, i.e. to feed her and help her go to the bathroom. etc., it would make my healing faster. Plus if I don’t concentrate on my withdrawal symptoms and concentrate on her instead, it wouldn’t be so bad until my husband gets home tonight.

      One day at a time.

      PLAN FOR TOMORROW:
      I will force myself to go out for a walk tomorrow with my husband when we take my daughter to school. This is, I believe, an important step to my recovery: Moving my body.

      I really wonder if anybody has recovered from this journey yet. I really would like to read your thoughts…

      • This is Day 16 of going cold turkey for me.

        Some days I think: “Yeah, I am getting better,” and some days I feel like this is never going to end and this is going to kill me. I have developed excruciating painful migraine in the last four days. The ongoing second-by-second painful throbbing in my temple, sometimes L-side, sometimes R-side, and sometimes both sides, then around (like a band) around my head, really makes me have thoughts of pounding my head on the wall or sometihng just to end the pain. This pain is accompanied by nausea and thoughts of vomiting. I generally avoid food odour and other bad odour that trigger my headache. I have also noticed decreased in appetite (thoughts of vomiting and nausea decrease my appetite) as opposed to constantly craving and eating bad (junk) food — which is a blessing in disguise, I suppose.

        I was in excruciating pain last night and got really scared that I could actually burst a vein, which could lead to a stroke, per my husband, (I have high blood pressure and diabetes), and got up at 2 a.m. to look up remedies for migraine headaches. The pain didn’t go away, but I learned some ways to battle and prevent my migraine before they occur, i.e. home remedies, aromatherapy, massage, etc.

        Here’s to winning today’s battle. and tomorrow is a step closer to a life without this drug!

        • AJ
          I can relate with you on the extreme headaches. On day 19, I woke up with a horrible headache in the back of my head on the right side. I thought maybe it was a crick in my neck from sleeping wrong?? After 5 days of this excruciating pain, I went to the emergency room thinking I had a brain tumor?? They did a scan and nothing showed up. Gave me pain meds by IV and sent me home. I do believe it is withdrawals from Effexor XR. I just didn’t put 2 and 2 together until now after reading these blogs. Has anyone else had these horrible migraines after being off for 3 weeks?

  61. I tapered off. I didn’t quit cold turkey. But I’m sorry to tell you, I’m on day seven without Effexor and I feel like crap. Luckily no brain zaps but the nausea and headache are killing me. I HATE THROWING UP! Don’t want to give in and lose all my efforts thus far. Made an appointment with my doctor for Thursday. Considering a low dose of Prozac. That would fulfill my body’s desire for serotonin while i recover from the need for norepinephrine. Then i can deal with the serotonin withdrawal on its own.

  62. I am on day 2 of being off of Effexor XR. I had been taking it for 7 years at various doses and anytime i missed more than 1 dose, i felt like my brain was trailing, was disoriented, etc. When I would travel to other countries, I seriously protected my Effexor more than my money or passport because I knew it would be horrendous to lose it or have it stolen. I recently was referred to a very respected psychiatrist and he said that I really shouldn’t have been kept on Effexor for as long as I have been. He had me start to taper off of effexor and start taking prozac to lessen the withdrawal symptoms. He says its an antidote. The plan is to then get off of prozac with less pain. Has anyone else gone this route? I am nervous b/c im a lawyer so being disoriented and having the brain shivers, etc is really not an option if i want to go to work!!! ugh – hate the effects and prolonged pain everyone is going through

  63. I was on Effexor for 13 years too long, I say! Having wicked withdrawal, but I know the positives outweigh the negatives. I feel for everyone coming off of this drug, but I say hang in there and know that it won’t last forever! And also know that your not alone. Coming off of Effexor is not easy, but you will become stronger and better when it is all said and done. Give yourself a pat on the back and good luck to all of you!

  64. Rose, this is my second attempt getting off effexor. The first time was with prozac and yes it does help. I’m going cold turkey this time. This is my fourth day. I am having the usual head zaps, sensitivity to light, sweating, dizziness, some mood problems. Unfortuneately I understand about the work. Its very difficult getting off this stuff if you have a high stress job. If you can take some time off, that would be ideal. I couldn’t the first time around and I ended back on the medication because it was diffucult to work. I don’t know how long the withdrawl symptoms will last, from reading posts on this site everyone is different. Just hang in there and remember its only temporary and it will pass.

  65. I had a week of hell going off this medicine. I went off because it was no longer working for me the way it had for 15 years. My dr. told me to go from 300mg. down to 150mg for 1 month, then stop it and replace with Wellbutrin. OMG, all hell broke loose in 1 day! I began having a very odd, personal side effect and could not function in any way so I went to see a different dr. He could not believe this other dr. would even THINK of doing this to me! He had me go back on the 150 mg. I am to take it for a week, then drop down to 75 mg for 2 weeks then drop down to 37.5 for a month, with the last 2 weeks alternating each day. I keep taking the Wellbutrin all the while. Wellbutrin can take up to 2 weeks to completely get into the system. I have yet to see what will happen after my last 37.5mg dose. I pray I never have to go through this mental/physical torment again and my heart goes out to you who are going through it. My 2nd dr. said Paxil and Effexor are the 2 meds that do this so beware.

  66. searchingforpeace

    This evil pill has brought me to my knees. I am afraid of life at this moment and wonder if I’m going to lose my job because I can’t drag myself out in public because of head zaping when I look left or right, copious amounts of sweat, walking into walls and door jams, crying, and this is just a few of the symptoms. So I found this site and everyone has explained in perfect detail, how I feel. I just want to know how long does this last? I also would like to say thank you for the posts, I truly thought I was jumping off the deep end into a pool with no water. This drug stole years of my life and made people see me in awful, different and false way; it was not me. I will be sure to do research before blindly following what some quack prescribes me. Doctor? I thought about it, any idiot can go to school to be a doctor; is there anything that ensures doctors are using their best judgement and that they actually care and are concerned for their patients? No. Doctors want a paycheck just as much as the teenager working at McDonald’s. I will take a Happy Meal over Effexor anyday after this experience!

    Why is there not a class action lawsuit against the maker of this drug. This can’t be safe? Does anyone agree?

    • Yes, I 100o% agree. I am feeling the same way you are at this time. This drug has robbed me of my life since I started taking it, and it is continuing to do so (I quit cold turkey 15 days ago) and I am still in hell. I can see some of my symptoms abating, but other symptoms seem to be more enhanced. For example, I have had a migraine headache for 3 days now. Childbirth pain is 100% less painful than this! Surely, there are other drugs in the market that doesn’t have this effect! Yes, there should be a class-action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical of this drug. They should really educate doctors of the SERIOUS side effects, as well was withdrawal effects, of this drug. We, as patients, need to be given the choice to either take it or not. I say, especially when we are deep in depression and sorrow. Let’s face it, when we are dealing with seriious life situations and we become depressed, we trust the doctors that prescribe us drugs, etc. I just didn’t realize that these doctors are so ignorant of the serious withdrawal effects of the drugs. I say that these professionals who prescribe life-threatening drugs should be educated properly by the pharmaceutical companies how make these types of drugs. I find that these professionals are downright ignorant and finger-friendly in prescribing this drug for two reasons: 1) Effexor is one of the top medications in the market for depression, and 2) professionals just want you out of their office instead of spending time with you to really find what is going on, and to weigh the pros and cons of the medications they describe. Surely, there are other medications out there that do not have serious withdrawal effects, but because doctors just want you to be better as quickly as possible, (and out of their office as fast as possible), they prescribe medications, in this instance, Effexor, because the word on the “medical” street is Effexor is one of the top medications in the market. This dawned on me around 20 days ago when I went to a psychiatrist, who spent 10 minutes with me (5 minutes of which were spent in the waiting room), and after asking me very superficial questions, increased my dosage of Effexor. I was really upset and bowed to never go back to that quack. And they say that chiropractors are quacks. I would rather go to a chiropractor than to a psychiatrist any day!

      In retrospect (from 12 days ago), this drug has stolen and changed my life in an awful way. I am glad I have taken the steps to get this drug off my system. I have been englightened and feel empathy to everyone in this forum (I feel your pain) and to people who are silently suffering with/without this medication.

      So, yes, I agree that this drug should be put on “red alert.”

      Hang in there!

    • How are you feeling. Have you stayed off the medication, and have the withdrawals symptoms begun to improve?

  67. I have been taking Effexor for seven years and have been weening myself off for about two years, but unable to stop completely. I am currently down to 37.5 mg/day. I have taken zoloft, paxil and trofranil over the last 20 years and never experienced this type of withdraw. I would rather deal with anxiety, panic attacks and depression than take Effexor.

    • i hear ya mike – for all the good it does its a shame we have to go thru all this withdrawal crap just to be “normal” again.

  68. Hi,
    it’s been almost 2 days since i stopped taking effexor and the withdrawal symptoms i have experienced so far, are not really bad… The worst one are the brain zaps. They come and go every 2 minutes. Last about 2 seconds but they make me really dizzy. Another thing is that my head feels heavy. As if someone put on it 2 bricks… I went for a walk today and it felt as if i was in slow motion. But it wasnt that bad. It surely wasnt comfortable but this is something i can handle. I would describe the whole thing as a BAD HANGOVER. We all had those nights, when we drank a lot and the next day we felt like sh*t! The withdrawal symptoms are 99% the same. The bad thing is that they last longer. It’s been almost 50 hours since i haven’t taken a pill and i still feel i’m in an everlasting hangover. So far, it’s been ”brain zaps, heavy head and life in slow motion” for me! Another thing is that today i was really angry, NOT DEPRESSED, i was angry. I had a fight with my parents for no reason, with a neighbor and 2 friends. There was no specific reason, i just couldn’t be patient with anything. And this ”slow motion feeling” also made me stop taking seriously everything that was going on around me. As if i was fighting with those people, but it wasnt really me the one who was fighting. It’s really difficult to explain it… I only hope the withdrawal symptoms will stop ASAP! I can face the day like that, but i want to be back to normal as i used to be. I started on 75 mg/day, continued with 150mg/day and then 225mg/day! Then reduced to 150mg/day after 3 months and to 75mg/day after 2 months! I would say that effexor helped with my depression. In a way, it saved my life at a point when everything was meaningless to me… I’m thankful to this drug. If the withdrawal symptoms also dissapear sometime soon, then i will definatelly recommend this drug to anybody. I’m hanging in there at the moment, till the withdrawal goes away. I am not depressed anymore and i can’t wait till the 2nd of april (my birthday) to be 100% normal again as i used to be! Good luck to everyone!!!

  69. no problems so far. have been decreasing so so slowly…must be the way to go.

  70. Rochelle Scoggins

    I have been on a dosage of 2 capsules effexor xr 150 mg for four years. I have been out of meds for four days. how much longer before my body will feel like it is conected to my brain? withdrawing stinks.
    rochelle

  71. i am soooo glad i found this site – had i known the withdrawal effects of this demon drug were going to outweigh the positive effects of this drug i would probably have never started taking it. every day brings something new to the table. i have read where people actually have to take apart the capsules and decrease the amount taken by counting the amount of little granules inside the capsule and that each capsule is different in the amount – so that means you would have to count each capsule – i’m learning that dramamine is my best friend, but the nausea is horrible – no vomiting yet – but i refuse to vomit – the brain drains are just miserable, chest pain, i loose weight, i gain weight, i’m dizzy – i’m not dizzy – it just totally sucks! ! ! i read somewhere that this is worse then heroin – i totally agree! ! !

  72. I had taken Effexor XR for about 5 years. Dose was 150 mg. I saw my GP doctor because of frequent & severe headaches. We thought that the Effexor might be causing or contributing to my headaches, so I decided to taper off the Effexor. I did a 75% dose for 2 weeks, a 50% dose for 2 weeks, and a 25% dose for two weeks. My last pill (37.5 mg) was about 3 weeks ago, and I must say, this has been more difficult than I had ever imagined. I’m still experiencing headaches all the time, but in addition to the headaches, I’m experiencing all the other odd sensations of Effexor withdrawal – dizziness, vertigo, brain “freeze”, etc. So it’s very difficult for me to differentiate between the Effexor withdrawal symptoms and whatever else might be going on. Last week (2 weeks after my last pill), I came home from work because of extreme dizziness & vertigo. It didn’t let up after 3 hours, so my wife talked me into going to an emergency room. They did a whole battery of tests – blood, urine, EKG, brain CAT-scan. Everything came back just fine & dandy. I had just about talked myself into a brain tumor but nothing showed up on the CAT scan. I’m going to see a neurologist in about 3 weeks and maybe get a brain MRI, to see if they can detect anything odd that might be causing brain-pain.
    I guess that I’m a little scared that I’m feeling so many odd sensations, which I suspect are caused by the Effexor-withdrawal, 3 weeks after my last pill (remembering that I did a slow taper on the dose to boot!). I’m worried that 5 years worth of Effexor has changed the landscape of my brain in some fundamental way, caused some damage or change that cannot be undone. My question to the community is: Has anyone experienced continued withdrawal symptoms for such a long time? I would’ve thought that I’d be done with this by now, but it doesn’t seem to be letting up much. Anybody got any comments?

    • Comments/Thoughts/Alternative Healing

      It has been 20 days for me going cold turkey and I am still having symptoms. I, too, felt like I have a tumor in my head because my migraine headaches haven’t let up. My head pain is so severe that I am now totally unable to function. All of my symptoms have lessened somewhat only to be replaced by this really debilitating migraine headaches. I have developed extreme sensitivity to sound, light, and odor. My headphones and sunglasses are my best friends now. There was a time last week that my husband said that he was going to take me to the ER, but even through all that pain, I said I didn’t want to go because all they are going to do are the same standard care that they do in the ER: battery of tests, give me drugs to relieve my migraine, and then a prescription t take home. I vowed to never make the mistake of taking any drug without my full knowledge of how it will affect me. So fo rnow I suffer and wait for the pain to end.

      You are right in that it is difficult to differentiate whether Effexor is the culprit for all of the symptoms we are having right now. I would have to say that 99% of it are caused by Effexor withdrawal. I, too, am scared that Effexor has changed or damaged the landscape of my brain, but as I understand it, our brain is capable of forming and/or repairing new connections even as we grow older. They say that it takes 30 days to form a habit — maybe it will take 30 days for us to get over these symptoms — here’s to hoping.

      I had watched a show on PBS about Yoga and meditation to relieve pain, and there may be something to this. I plan to join a Yoga class to see whether this would help. It has been almost 3 weeks of almost zero physical activity for me, and I believe that this is not helping me. The more sedentary I become, I think the worst and prolonged my withdrawal symptoms become. I am also committing myself to have acupuncture sesssions, twice a week, for 6 months to see if this helps. I had also signed up for a one-month session to a Rehab/Pain Clinic for detoxification, and have resorted to naturotherapy to relieve my migraine, i.e. aromatherapy, vitamins C, magnesium, alfalfa, etc. Knowledge is power they say, so I will try to find out as much as I can about alternative healing for my body and mind. I am sure it can’t hurt.

      Today is another day without Effexor — Hurray for all of us!

      • I did the same thing yesterday after 5 days of a constant headache in the back part of my head. I thought I had a brain tumor. I’ve been off the effexor for 3 weeks now and all of a sudden the last 5 days have had a horrible headache. I could not function and I panicked last night and went to er. Brain scan showed nothing. Gave me pain killers that helped a little but woke up this morning with same migraine.

        Hoping that it goes away in the next few days. Please keep me updated on your progress.

        • Well, here it is April 1st. It has been 6 weeks since my last effexor, and I did a 6 week taper prior to that. The shockwave / dizziness episodes have pretty much gone away. I still experience them, but the frequency and severity is much diminished. HOWEVER – My head aches almost constantly. I have a headache right now that I’ve had for four days; no exaggeration! Is this because of the effexor or something else? I don’t know. I’m finally going to see a neurologist on Monday. This chronic pain has greatly affected my life. I never feel like doing anything, which is a very different M.O. for me. I must also admit that I am very emotional. I never knew what a “crying jag” was, but I certainly do now. I feel completely ridiculous. I cried watching Harry Potter!! No kidding! LOL

    • I’ve been off Effexor now for 3 months and STILL am having problems. The horrible withdrawal effects I had in the beginning (vertigo, nausea, brain zaps, sweats, tremors) have gone away, BUT NOW I have pain and weakness in my calves, pain below my rib cage on both sides, and weakness in my arms. I’ve read on other forums about many others experiencing these similar MS type symptoms. I just hope and pray this isn’t permanent. I haven’t found any posts yet where there has been COMPLETE healing.

  73. I am going on day 8 of being Effexor Free! I am crossing my fingers and praying that I don’t end up with a massive migrane that most people are talking about! I did find something that help tremendously with the dizziness and brain zaps…..benadryl! I cannot say it will work for all, and I don’t know why it helps, but I took 1 pill and for 8 hours I was free of the spinning head and brain zapping. I did have the side effects of benadryl, a little loopy and tired but once the tiredness wore off I was just a little loopy. However I would rather be loopy and tired, then deal with dizziness, and brain zapping. Today I have not had to take a benadryl, but I feel like there is a connection problem between my brain and my mouth, which makes me look stupid! I think anyone going off this medication and has not cracked should feel extremely proud of themselves. I had tried before going off this drug and within 2 days I was begging for more! I felt like a drug addict who needed another hit. This time I started decreasing the dose in November, and 8 days ago I had to take my last pill. There were terrible side effects, but I was determined this time to do it. Just remember to stay positive even when it is really bad otherwise you might break down. I will be spending the remainging 3 weeks praying the symptoms do not get any worse. Good luck you all.

  74. i’m now on every third day of 37.5 mgs – and still everyday is different. today was a good day – until later now it’s like my eyes are traveling but they are pulling from the back of my head – so i’m not sure if i’m good or not. dramamine must be wearing off. i’m pretty sure i don’t have a tumor, but i am sure that this withdrawal isn’t good. i will continue to post until i am completely free of symptoms and drugs. walking has helped me – seems like i need to “air out my head” – i’m going to go back to yoga and massage therapy. i want to be free of the this demon drug ASAP. i’m all for any suggestions/helpful hints/etc.

  75. First of all . . . . .THANK ALL OF YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORIES!!!! There is no greater relief than to find out you are NOT crazy and have people out there that can relate!

    I was on 150mg of Effexor for almost 6yrs. The first 4yrs I felt it was a “miricle drug” as it almost took away my depression and anxiety. The first time I went without, I actually ran out and didn’t really realize it until I ended up in an on call Dr.s office sobbing, dizzy, begging her to find out what the hell was wrong! She took one look at my med list, saw I was on Effexor and knew why I was suffering. Since then I tried probably 10-15 different times to withdraw unsuccessfully. I had a hysterectomy at age 27 (now 34) and take hormone replacement drugs, my doc said he thought that combination was making my symptoms even worse . . . . .ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!?????

    So this is my what . . . 16th try??? Am proud to say I am going on week 4 now without. Furthest I’ve ever made it BY FAR but honestly thought after 2-3wks something would have to give. I was wrong!! I feel worse on wk 4 than 3. The spontanious crying is out of control, sweating like a pig and hot flashes, insomnia, nausea, bowel issues, fogginess, inability to focus, memory crap . . . etc all seem to be increasing again. The rage i feel one second is replaced by sobbing the next, it scares me to feel absolutely helpless to my emotions. The one sypmtom I am having this wk that I’ve never experienced before is this tightening stiff pain feeling in my neck. Starts right at the base of my skull and goes down into my shoulders. Feels likes its pulling constantly and feels like my eyes and face are swollen and tender. Weird I know . . . feel like hypochondriac, so frustrating!

    If this continues much longer I don’t think I can do it. Thought I was “over the hump” and very discouraged and SO SICK!!!

    HELP!!!! I have lost too much already to bear because of this drug!

  76. Getting off of effexor isnt hard at all. If you do it PROPERLY and you FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S ADVICE, everything will be FINE! But you can’t simply go from 300mg/day to zero mg/day just because you decided that you dont wanna take this medicine anymore. The first time i went from 300mg/day to zero mg/day, acting like a real stupid person and it was hell! I had to start with the pills again. The second time i did it exactly as i was supposed to do it and the withdrawal was a piece of cake! The small problems i had lasted 7 days and within the first 10 days without venlafaxine i was 100% back to normal! So don’t freak people out with your nasty stories. According to my experience, getting off the right way, won’t cause you any trouble! Last but not least, our brain got used to venlafaxine. It will take some time for the brain to realize that no more venlafaxine will be out in it. After that, it will continue working normal! The thing is out of our system, none can put it back in and our system will be back to normal! Simple natural rules! Have fun while getting off! The withdrawal symptoms (if any) will be over soon!

    • Thanks, Mike!!
      I am starting to wean off of effexorRX. I have been on 225mgs for a few year now and I feel the efficacy isn’t there anymore especially since peri-menapausal symptoms are now kicking in and insurance has forced me to take generics. I also want to help myself more with some natural therapies available. I have been on a good multiple daily vitamin as well as Omega3′s. I also decided to kick up the B6 and B12. This past weekend I went from 225 to 150. Probably a little more of a drop than I should have, but it has been tolerable. I do have some tingling and burning in my left arm and a feeling of clogged left ear. Some joint aches as well. But, I also have decided to walk after a long period of being sedentary so that could be playing a role with the aches. I appreciate you being the voice of reason. I am determined to not freak out. To be honest, I decided to go off this because I was having the brain zaps prior….so far, I’ve not had any. I do want to note that I am thankful for everyone’s contributions on this sight. I would not have known what to expect. I hope this will keep me from freaking out if I experience any weird sensations, sicknesses or emotions.

  77. I am a 76 year old male and have been on Effexor xl for six years, my Psych. wants to change me to a drug called Mirtazapine and his instructions were to come off Effexor from 150 mg to 75 mg to Zero in seven days !!!!! I feel terrible to put it mildly, it’s the ‘shocks’ in the head are to worst to deal with.
    Reading all the posts have been a great help to me in that there are many other people out there who are experiencing the same symptons, I am determined to rid myself of Effexor but my question is why is it prescribed it the first place ? and why was I not warned of the withdrawal effects ?

    • Wow, Bill, I really feel for you!

      I’ve run out of medicine before and tried to stretch it out or gone cold turkey and it is pure hell! 7 days is completely unreasonable in my opinion.

      I had a doctor that quite simply didn’t understand the withdrawal symptoms, and made me take blood pressure tests and whatnot when she saw how sketched out I was.

      Now I realize how lucky I am she didn’t try to have me committed or something as doctors seem to believe they’re all powerful.

      I sure hope you got some more pills!

  78. I have to say that this is a forum that has helped me a lot in understanding how Effexor has affected me and how it is still affecting me. There is no right or wrong way of wtihdrawing from this drug based on the posts that I have read thus far. So, for anybody to say that a person is “real stupid” for choosing one way or another and not according to what worked for him, says that this person is very controlling and still very, very angry. There is no room for this type of posts in this forum. We are all suffering and we are here trying to support each other in this very difficult time. If any person sets this type (nasty comments) of tone in this forum, this site will not be very helpful to anybody. If you are a sales rep for Effexor (you know who you are) and trying to sabotage this site, please go away. I really don’t need to read your feedback. It is difficult enough as it is. Just get off this forum. You are not helping anybody. We need helpful comments, not nasty comments. Thank you.

  79. Thank you AJ for the encouraging words. If there is one thing that infuriates me more than anything, it’s when people assume things and make judgements upon those assumptions. So, to address the post that was left after mine last wk . . . .I FOLLOWED DR.S INSTRUCTIONS EACH AND EVERYTIME I ATTEMPTED TO STOP TAKING EFFEXOR. I ALSO UNDERSTAND AS A NURSE HOW DANGEROUS SOME OF THESE WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMS ARE EVEN WHEN FOLLOWING THE MOST GRADUAL TAPER. THIS DRUG IS BEING PRESCRIBED TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE EACH YEAR WITH MOST OF THEM NEVER BEING WARNED OF ANY POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OR WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMS!!! THE SYMPTOMS ARE REAL AND VERY SERIOUS!!

    That post was cruel and ridiculous. It took a great deal of emotional strength for me, and each person suffering in this forum to post their struggles. I found great comfort when reading other stories being relieved that FINALLY . . . . a safe place to go where people would believe me and formost NOT JUDGE ME!! So please, take your false sense of medical based knowledge and self righteousness elsewhere!

    • Hey Erin,

      You are going on 5 weeks this week! Congrats! You can do it. You are the first person in this blog that I have read that have been off of it for this long. This really helps encourage me and other people to stay off of it for at least that long — maybe by that time, some people will be feeling a little bit better — and then maybe some people may need a little bit more time. It is too bad that you didn’t find this site sooner, then you could have had support from other bloggers, plus you could have shared your pain with us — we are all here for each other. I find that when you are in emotional and physical pain, in reality, most people will listen to you once, twice, or even three times, but they don’t really understand, so you feel like you are bothering them with your woes. There may be even shame on our part for unburdening our woes, or there may be lack of empathy from the listener, so we stop ourselves from sharing. This blog encourages us to share and talk about our feelings, physical pain, and, most importantly, it actually becomes a life saver for someone like me to read them: I am not alone.

      I am going on 4 weels now and I, too, feel the rage and anger and the uncontrollable crying. My other symptoms have abated, but they are still there minimally, i.e. brain zaps, nausea, and even the migraines have lessened to a degree. I just try to avoid the stressful stuff, i.e. avoiding talking and being with people that stress me out. I opted to get massages instead. With all the physical withdrawal symptoms that we all have (pain), which decrease our physical mobility or ability, can make our muscles stiff/tight and they form knots/balls which lead to more pain. I also found, like some people on this blog, that being on my feet and moving/walking helps alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms, especially the migraines. The problem is the “getting up” part. Having a toddler helps — it forces you to move when you don’t want to move.

      Baby Steps… One Day At A Time… This, too, Shall Pass… We all heard these sayings before, but they are true to me in this very difficult situation. Let’s just hang in there. Thank you for sharing and good luck to everyone today!

  80. Wow! After reading these posts I am pretty scared to start this arduous process! I have been on 150mg for just about 8 months or so for severe migraines roughly 15 days a month.

    Since starting the med I have only had mild relief from the headaches but have had nearly 10lbs weight gain( even while on Weight Watchers), difficulty sleeping and zero sex drive. I realized at 2am this past Saturday that enough was enough and I shouldn’t keep “upping” dosage… I should stop taking this horrible drug!!

    So there I was, looking like a cross between a mad scientist and a drug dealer separating and counting the little beads out and putting them in a Ziploc bag feeling like a crazy woman. It is now day 3 on 112.5mg down from 150mg. I did have a pretty bad headache last night for a few hours, but it’s nothing a migraine sufferer can’t handle with Maxalt mlt tabs. My original plan was to back off 37.5mg at a time every 7 days until I got down to 37.5mg and then slowly try to wean myself off… but after reading this I am very worried about these horrible side effects and if I can handle them.

    I travel for a living and I drive to get there in a corporate car. I am just worried that this process is going to rule my life for the next few months. Is it worth it?! I just want my life back!

    I don’t know how all of you have done this. Just the waves of tingling I get in my face when I forget my dose drives me crazy… where do you get the strength and courage to do this? Is worth it all when the side effects finally go away? I just want to be out of this fog and be me again…

  81. I’ve been on Effexor for about a year and today is day 1 of coming off. Whenever I miss even one dose I’m completely miserable. I’m super, super nervous for the next couple of weeks. My doctor wants me to go down from 150mg to 0 in 2 weeks. I don’t know how that would ever be possible. Mostly I’m just scared I won’t be able to work. I work with Kindergarteners every morning and I go to college. I can’t really afford to be stuck in bed. Plus, how do I explain why I’m sick? I’m kind of freaking out for whats to come. Also, does Prozac really help? Would I have had to let it build in my system before I got off the Effexor? I’m only asking because I actually have a bottle of Prozac. Any advice would be great.
    Thanks

  82. Melissa from Texas

    This Is my 5th day off Effexor! I feel like I’m dying.. I actually almost went to the er.. I am throwing up , dizzy, severely agitated and brain feels as if I have been on a spinning ride. I don’t know what to do. I have two small children at home that need their mommy!!! Why didn’t the dr tell me that this would happen I have been on a various amount of anti anxiety/ anti depression meds this is by far the most ruthless to break free from. All I want to do is sleep hoping to feel better!! Anyone know if taking a tramadol vicodin or half a 1 mg Xanax will relieve any of these symptoms! I’m sorry that this is happening to us ! Hang in there!

  83. I have been on Effexor for over 9 years and for the last 4 years at 375mg per day.
    I metabolize the meds too fast so I have had to divide my meds, taking 150mg in the morning, 150mg in the afternoon and 75mg at bedtime.
    Before I started dividing them up I would start going through withdrawal symptoms by the early evening. So I am used to the electric shock sensations (brain zaps) and the confusion, nausea, blurred vision etc. I had it every day for many, many months before dividing the meds up over the whole day.

    I was a mess BEFORE I went on Effexsor, completely unable to function…I was unable to do anything, let alone work – looking back I should have been hospitalized.
    I will be forever grateful for the help Effexsor has provided me, it literally gave me my life back.

    Being at 375mg and not feeling mentally well for a while, my doctor suggested I go on a different med instead. I was more concerned that I would be unable to function, like I was before Effexsor, and less worried about the withdrawals (if you can believe it, tells you how bad I was before), as I had dealt with the withdrawals already too often…

    But this is day 5 and I am so tired of the zaps, the nausea and the dizzy feeling in my head, let alone the rest of the symptoms.
    I did not taper down (by doctors advice) by instead stopped ALL 375mg on Sunday night and started 20mg of Cipralex on Monday morning…
    I have found that IB Profin helps a lot with the brain zaps, I have taken it for years for my many old sports injuries, so I take 4oomg before bed and it has helped a lot with settling me so I can go to sleep. I have also found that laying down for an hour helps when the zaps and everything get too much. I have found this to almost reset me a bit so I can keep going.

    After work, I rescue dogs (and some cats too! all volunteer work) and cannot just stop because I do not feel well, so I am lucky to have this driving me to push through the symptoms. I have to drive a lot to help them, usually at least 1 hour a day, up to 4 or 5 hours. Plus all the email coordinating, phone calls and additional care for each dog. Laying down before I have to ‘head out’ has helped.

    For everyone here, keep up the good fight!
    If you are able to live “drug free” I am so very happy for you!
    For those that, like me, need chemical help, stick with it!
    Don’t forget that there are many others that were born a little lacking in the happy chemicals in the brain! Just makes us better at understanding others pains and struggles…at least that’s what I keep telling myself :)

  84. I am on 75mg of Effexor, and I have a very difficult time if I miss such a relatively low dose–uncontrollable crying, sweats, and horrible, horrible nightmares. My heart goes out to those of you who are trying to come off much larger doses. As much as I want to get OFF this medication, I am one of those people who truly needs chemical help. I have talked with my psychiatrist, and he does NOT recommend going cold turkey, but he does say that there are ways to come off it by substituting other medications and working downward from there. Trying to get my nerve up to start the process, but I forgot my pill on Friday, had nightmares Friday night, and after that had to start all over again with getting the nerve up!

    Curious as to how many of you are working with a psychiatrist or a psychiatric nurse practitioner in this process?

  85. Day 2 of 75mg! Yesterday I had a bit of nauseua and felt short of breath at the market. I felt much better after I layed down and forced my self to eat a little bit.

    Today, however I have a headache that is consistantly getting worse and it’s only noon. I am going to take a Tramadol in the hopes of catching it before it turns into a full blown migraine.

    I will continue to keep you guys in my prayers, especially y’all that are completly off of this horrible drug! Keep up the awesome work and remember it will geet better!!

  86. just a quick update-I’m the guy that has tapered from 2 capsules XR a day to 10 pellets(too suddenly!)

    I had been none too careful dropping down to 10 balls a day. I don’t even know why I thought that was a good idea, I just figured after spending 4 months tapering off the last little bit wouldn’t be hard. Wrong!!!!!

    I added it up, I think I was at around 40 balls a day roughly when I went to 10. Uhh, nothing doing, bozo! I just bumped it back up to 40 and took a nap and I feel soooooo much better! My head is still swimming a little but even that’s not bad. The last week or so was very, very dark.

    I thought I could just ride things out, but after a week or so things were no better.

    I couldn’t do anything today, and now I’m about to head out the door to get some seasickness medication for the head swim and a few other things.

    It’s just amazing how fast this stuff metabolizes, and what a difference it makes.

    • Hang in there, John! You are so close!!!
      I’m adapting a new slogan for myself….and for anyone else that wants to use it as I journey through this withdrawl.
      I don’t want this drug…..it wants me and I’m the one in control!

      • Thank you Joan, for your kind words!

        I’m taking 1/4 dramamine and some fish oil. I don’t know if either makes a difference, but I figure it can’t hurt.

        How are you coming along on your withdrawl?

        Although I’m feeling much much better, and no horrible nightmares/thoughts this mornign when I woke up, I didn’t realize how irritable I am until I had to call my cell phone customer service! I’ll be sticking around the casa today. Safer for me and other drivers!!!! :)

        • Hey John, you are very welcome!

          I hope you are feeling better today and continue to feel better. Keep in mind, those customer service people can bring out anger in even the most sedate of people.

          I’ve gone from 225 to 150 with some symptoms, but manageable. The crazy thing is I was having withdrawl not realizing what it was before I decided to discontinue taking this. Even when taking the med on time, as prescribed I started getting brain zaps. My dr said it is most likely because of the inconsistency of generics. But, none the less, it fueled my decision to quit and try something holistic. If I can’t cope down the road, I can try something a little milder.

          I’m going to cut back to 75 over the weekend and see how that goes. I do have an appointment at a great facility that uses integrated methods on Monday. I’m going to try some cranial sacral therapy. That is a method that lightly massages your head, neck and spinal areas to “calm” the central nervous system and stimulate the endocrine system. If nothing else, I read it is very relaxing and I think that’s key. I figure I would schedule an appointment when I decide do a stepdown. If it helps, I will let you know as there are videos on YouTube on how to do it without spending money on a therapist. Although I struggle to make ends meet, this is something I’m going to do for myself while I withdrawl.

          Believe it or not, I’m sleeping more sound than I have in a long time and that alone makes me feel better. I do have lots of itchiness and tingly/numbness. I can deal, though. I’m going to power through that. Benadryl makes me really b****y! So, not a good time to go there.

          Just writing about how I feel has been therapeutic. SO, you are now a victim of my long rant! I’ve been walking almost everyday and that helps me too!!

          You take care and keep me posted. I think it’s good to have a buddy in all of this.

          • Hi Joan!

            I got so caught up in my own drama I lost track of this page. I’m making some changes that require a lot of work, but will make things less stressful on me, I hope! :)

            I *love* reading about your recovery! I don’t care if its anything earth shattering or not, it’s just nice to read some words about what you’re going through because I can relate! :-) It makes me feel less alone in this, which I think I said before, who the heck can I tell about this that would understand what a brain zap is ?!?! hahahaha

            Just reading your last post reminded me to take my Omega 3s and I’d forgotten about Benedryl, I’ll keep that in the back of my head. I don’t know if the seasickness pills helped me or not, to tell you the truth. When I feel lousy like I did I’ll try anything, that makes me feel better just cuz :)

            I ended up bumping my bead count up to 60, I think I’m at 56 now. My head’s not swimming, I’m not irritable, and I’m not having those vivid dreams/dark thoughts when I wake up.

            I don’t feel like a ray of sunshine or anything heh but I don’t feel the effects I definitely know are from withdrawal.

            I’m reading up on paxilprogress to see what they have to say. I think there’s merit to the dropping 5 or 10% every 4 to 6 weeks…I wish I’d known that 4 or 5 months ago! heh

            Dropping a bead a day, puts me at 2 more months, which seems pretty safe to me, but what do I know. Here goes nothin’!

            Please keep up the great reports! I’ll be back more often!

  87. I cut back from 150 to 75 on Friday. Saturday was OK…Saturday night I had 2 brain zaps in bed. I’m tingling/burning like crazy today. Going to load up on Omega 3′s today…..I have to go to work tomorrow. My true frustration in all of this is that I never abused any substance, yet I’m a junkie. I keep telling myself there are many people that have led clean lives that end up with illnesses as well.
    I’m going to relax for a bit and go walk and do some outside activities no matter how much I feel like laying around. It does seem to help me. I am stronger than this drug!

    • I totally know what you mean about being frustrated about being hooked on this stuff!!!!

      I don’t do drugs or anything of the sort, yet I’m physically addicted to this. I read one of the other posters that had been on heroin saying this withdrawal was worse. I can imagine! Being violently ill for a few days would be a walk in the park compared to the continuing side effects of withdrawing from this!!!!

      I’m heartened by the fact a lot of people don’t post on here more than a few times, which means to me they got off of it and went on with their lives.

  88. I went to the Integrated medical center and had a therapeutic massage and learned about aromatherapy and nutrional ways to deal with anxiety/depression. The massage was relaxing and stimulating at the same time. It is supposed to help my central nervous system as well as stimulate the lymphatic system. I feel good today! Not perfect, but good. It is a ROAD to healing, not a shortcut. I feel pretty good about my health today. I’ve been walking and making sure to get plenty of sunlight. The tingling is subsiding and the headache is not as bad. I’m hoping to be off this crap totally by the end of the month.

  89. Just some encouragement for everyone . . . . I am now 7 wks Effexor free!!!! I NEVER thought I could make it this far, but SO GLAD I stuck it out this time for good! After having horrible wk 3 and 4 thinking withdrawls would never end, suddenly wk 5 came with almost no symptoms. This was I think my 9th attempt to wean off before being successfull so please be patient with yourselves. I began taking Prozac 20mg last week, feel really good so far! I know I will most likely always need to remain on some sort of anti-depressant/anxiety med . . . finding one that will HELP the chemical imbalance vs. one that adds side effects that are worse than the depression is the hard part! Effexor created a physical and emotional dependence greater than I knew possible.

    My mind feels so clear! I feel more like myself than I have in probably 5 yrs! One friend of mine looked at me who I haven’t seen since starting the taper and said, “Erin, your eyes look alive!” “It’s like they are shining and reacitve!” “You look great, like a new person.”

    Hot flashes and sweating are almost gone completely, no dizziness, no brain zaps or dreams. Emotional outburst were last to fade however can’t remember last one I’ve had now :)

    I wish you all the best of luck! Not sure I could have got this far without the support of this site.

    Eternally greatful,
    Erin

    • Thanks for posting this Erin!

      It’s unconscionable how fast doctors seem to think you can get off Effexor! I wouldn’t wish 7 weeks of withdrawal on anybody!

      I’ve been tapering for 4 or 5 months, partially because I ran out of medicine and had to ration out my last few capsules(anything to prevent the zaps!) back then and I just decided to continue.

      I’m tired of living in fear of missing a dose of this.

      I think I’ve taken just about all the anti depressants, and currently have cut down on my welbutrin also. That was nothing compared to The Big E!

      glad to hear the Prosac is working for you!

      I’ve been on these things forever, they told me I’d probably have to take it the rest of my life, also. Maybe I will, but it’s been ages since I’ve been anti depressant free, so I’m going to give it a try and if I crash and burn, well, I’ll go back to the doc! heh :)

      Please check back in with us, will you?!?

    • Erin…
      It’s so awesome you feel great!! When I started weaning off, I looked at myself in the mirror and believed to see a paraodox. I looked younger and older at the same time. Older, because I was/am sick….younger because there was a new light in my eyes that hasn’t been there for a long time! SO….the comment your friend made to you makes me realize I wasn’t crazy!! :)

  90. I’ve only taken this medication since December, one month on 37.5 and the remainder on 75. I stopped taking it because I was getting most of the side effects including the rare ones and it was determined I am too sensitive to the drug but would switch to a new one to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. Before picking up the new med I accidentally missed a dose of the Effexor and woke up in the middle of the night and had two seizure – like episodes (I say seizure like because the doctor says I wouldn’t know if I had a seizure and wouldn’t remember after- I work with children who have seizures and there are many different kinds some of which you can be aware of during and some you can’t….) Since then I’ve been too scared to take anything and have been in HELL from withdrawals. I feel high and out of it! Very emotional and angry. Not hungry but feel like I crave things like I have the munchies. My brain is not functioning properly and I have to double check if I’ve done things like feed my dog or turn the burner off on the stove. I am exhausted and can’t get up in the morning and I HATE sleeping in so this annoys me. I’m a runner and haven’t been able to run or go to the gym. The list could go on, ultimately I am just not myself and wasnt nearly as bad off before I took this.. How long can this possibly last?! Doctors are not much help- just try to give me anti anxiety meds that will make me sleep or tell me to “hang in there”. :(

    • I hate to sound like a doctor…but DO hang in there!! Load up on some Omega3′s and B complex for the brain and energy. They aren’t miracle pills, but they do help make the withdrawl affects bearable. It has also been reccommended to me to drink Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea, available at the grocery store. Also, I am putting a couple drops of chamomile oil on my pillow at night to promote sleep. That is available at a good natural store…or Wholesale foods. I ordered it from the Amazon.com and it was pretty inexpensive even with shipping. Even if you can “force” yourself to take a walk or a short run, do it! Nothing is better than getting those endorphines pumping in a natural way. Good luck and keep posting! I feel like we need partners through this!

  91. FWIW after reading the stories at that paxil site, I’m rethinking my beading situation.

    For the next week or two I’m going to continue with my current dosage to get stabilized, then I’ll decide if I want to drop 10% every 3 to 4 weeks.

    Reading the stories on there, especially of people that are suffering side effects months after being 100% off E, makes me realize how much I need to respect the power of this chemical.

  92. Thanks for the updates John, Erin and L!
    I know this isn’t where we want to be, but it sure does help to not be alone. I am going to stick with the 75mg’s 1 more week and then taper from there. I guess being totally done with this crap is over ambitious. I had been feeling really good…so much so, that I was becoming concerned that perhaps I was manic or bi-polar vs depressed and anxiety ridden. But, then came some unexpected “weepies” and I know I’m OK…LOL!! Then I stepped back and thought GEEEZZZ, now I’m having anxiety because I feel good??? I really, truly believe some of the stuff going on in my head…zapping, dizziness, etc is because some sleeping part in my brain is coming back to life. I also noticed some kind of “internal conflict” with my energy levels….I feel more energy and desire to do things, then that old familiar lethargic feeling creeps back in. The walks help, LOTS!! I also read somewhere about someone taking tuna in their lunch. Seems like common sense, but SO GLAD someone posted it somewhere since mine failed to kick in! I’ve been making myself a tuna salad or peanut butter with flaxseed (also a good Omega3 source) sandwich for lunch. It does help with the mid-afternoon dizzies! Plus, it helps me stay focused enough to get through th work day.
    I think the most important thing is to stay positive through this ordeal. A real paradox for those of us that were prescribed this drug to ward off our depression and anxieties. This is why I’m working with the holistic sector as well. I would prefer to be chemical free Effexor has taken a big toll on me….more so than I knew! But, everyone has to find what works for them. We also need to share! If I just get 1 or 2 “tricks” in the bag to overcome this, it is worth it. Again, it also helps me mentally to know I’m not “crazy”…..because as you stated, John…..how can you describe a brain zap to someone?? I’ve tried…..there is NO WAY you can! Nor would I wish it upon someone to make my point.

  93. It is scary and comforting to read this forum. I am on day 2 of being Effexor “free”. I have been taking 150mg for 5 years. Reduced to 75mg for several months, then 37.5mg x 2 weeks, all under my doctor’s supervision. Thsi drug helped me during the darkest time of my life, after my son was stillborn. I am now hoping to get pregnant again, and need to be rid of this medication prior to trying. I took Effexor prior to my son’s stillbirth also, and had to wean off of it and have morning sickness at the same time…not going thru that again. AND the fact that I was so sick with the withdrawl, and ended up losing my son at 35 weeks, just makes me wonder if the Effexor withdrawl had anything to do with that. The dizziness and stomach problems are the worst so far. Yesterday was horrible, today slightly better? I think? Seems to get worse after lunch so we will see. I need to be alert to do my job and take care of my son, but these withdrawls are really awful. I tried to call my doctor today to see about adding Prozac, to help with the withdrawl…the half life is much longer and Prozac withdrawl is very rare. But my doc was not in today, so I will take that as a sign to stick it out another day. I am praying, praying, praying that this does not linger on for weeks. I feel awful. :(

  94. Day 3, and I’m doing a bit better. Dramamine helps with the dizziness and I’m loading up on Fish Oil and Bvitamins. My coordination is much improved, nausea a bit better also. Still light headed, but nothing like it was….feeling hopeful! Now if I could just find my patience…I’m quite irritable, but considering the way I have felt the last few days, I guess I should expect that. Praying, praying, praying my brain gets back to whatever normal is for me. I know I will have to work harder at controlling any anxious thoughts and I will have to work harder with patience…but it sure seems that would be easier to do when I’m not physically feeling ill.

  95. Hey everyone! this is day 2 no effexor for me, and im feeling like hell. So dizzy, face and finger numbness, brain zaps, general foggyness. I feel the worst is yet to come :/. I’m 19 and have been on multiple medications for what i think is fibromyalgia (not officially diagnosed) for a good 4 years….at least. I was taking 375 mg every night, then weaned all the way down too 34.5 mg a night over a period of like 3 months i believe. That process was fine, now im feeling it. I’ve been reading this forum for a while and i am now taking some of your advice! I just picked up some Kali Phos 6x and organic, all natural, straight from the dirt, ginger root tea :) ill keep everyone updated on how they’re working for me! Good luck to you all! <3

  96. Hi everyone,
    Did any of you experience weight loss going off Effexor? Was it right away or in the long run? What bothers me is the amount of weight I’ve gained since I’ve been on it. Also, I feel so tired all the time. I’m on 75 mg. thanks for any input!

    • Yes I’ve experiennced weight loss. I’ve been on it for 9ish weeks. But I’m not sure if its because of the effexor. I have severe back problems and have been taking different kinds of pain killers which cause profuse sweating.

      Reason I’m commenting is because I’ve been off of the last type of painkillers for 3 weeks and have gained weight. My eating habits haven’t changed so I’m wondering if the Effexor is to blame? It does state that it is an appetite suppresant in my list of side effects I got from the doc. Perhaps a trip to the doc for further info is in order for the both of us?

    • Hi Nadia!
      I always had a weight problem. But, when I started effexor I noticed I had been gaining a lot! I asked the doctor, but mostly I had been concerned about a sluggish thryroid as I had not been associating this with effexor. I was told that it was because I had hit the 40+ mark and it wasn’t unusual for a woman my age to gain up to 10lbs a year. I noted that I seemed to be a bit above the high scale on that. I then later pressed the issue because I had tried faithfully and unsuccessfully to lose. My thyroid was tested and showed to be sluggish. SO, I accepted that as my answer. As I wean off of this stuff and my energy returns, I will keep you posted on my weight progress. Good luck!!

  97. Been off it for 3 weeks. Have tremors, head ache, crying, sick feeling, all the sudden feel sad, sweating, leg shakes, my Mom thought it was early change of life till I did research. This should not be on the market. Feel like I need to go to betty ford because I’m tempted to keep taking it. I have anxiety. There is a recovery pill that doesn’t do this to you. Take this off the market before someone kills them self from withdrawals. The ears ringing at night is bad.

  98. I accidently forgot to take my effexor until I was in bed last night….I thought I’m not getting up to do this and decided to power through. Yes, powering though alright…tingling on my extremities, headache and the usual ear ringing. The only thing missing are the head zaps! But, I shouldn’t speak too soon. I am resolved to get through the next hours and then take my dose every other day. I’m still standing…..I am in charge, not Effexor!

  99. I’ve been on 300 mg of Effexor for a really long time and I’ve missed doses in the past, but this current lapse has really got me thinking. I order mine through a Canadian online pharmacy because it’s unbelievably cheaper. I get the generic that comes from India by way of Germany. shipping can take 15 to 20 days, and I didn’t send my prescription in soon enough this time. I’ve been suffering quite a bit the last 4 or 5 days. It will be at least 2 more days before it gets here since tomorrow is Sunday, but who knows? Anyway, I got curious about what withdrawal symptoms others have experienced and found this site. Now I’m thinking since I’ve already got a headstart on going cold turkey, maybe I should just keep it up and see how I eventually feel without it, or start taking a half dose and begin tapering off once my 100 day supply arrives. I’m a little reluctant because I remember the kind of anxiety I used to suffer before taking meds and I don’t want that. Then again, if I get off the Effexor and find out I still need something I can always go back or try something else. Has anyone had real success with natural products for anxiety relief? I’ve been diagnosed with SAD, which I don’t find to be that debilitating…the problems I had were usually incessent, unreasonable worry, mainly about my kids, and things like thunder storms (I live in north central Texas, the bottom portion of Tornado Alley)

  100. Oops, I wasn’t ready to post that yet…anyway, I’m curious to know what others have experienced as far as a difference in anxiety levels post Effexor, opinions on whether or not I should keep going cold turkey or start tapering when my refill gets here, and what success people have seen with natural remedies. Thanks in advance.

  101. I found this forum because I wasn`t sure if what I was feeling due to my prior physical health issues or the medication …

    I’ve been taking effexor for 9 weeks. Sometimes I forget to take it … Holy hell I’d rather kill myself than try come off of these pills … At this moment I forgot when the last time I took them and I just took one. I’m having nausea, brain cramps, sweating, pain across my stomach, shakes, my head is moving but my brain feels stagnant. I just took a pill cus I don’t plan on coming off of them cus they’re somewhat of a help right now, I have to give those of you coming off some kudos for your bravery and perserverence … I use to be a crack smoker … please no shitty comments about that, cus I didn”t know what else to do to make myself feel better mentally or physically, but that was when I was much younger an simply shared that tid bit of info because crack withdrawl is by far way easier than dealing with effexor withdrawls. I hope you all safe journeys whether your coming off of effexor or like me have found it to be a small helpful tool in dealing with your menntal health issues ….

  102. Rhonda,
    I understand your feelings! I too had unreasonable anxieties and that was what I was seeking help for. Plus the fact that depression runs very deep in my family history. I feel I’m wired differently than most. I am trying some holistic methods while weaning off of this stuff…my max dose being 225mg/daily. I’ve done a therapeutic massage,which I will now schedule monthly, some aroma therapy..chamomile on my pillow to induce sleep, geranium for happiness and grapefruit for energy. Plus I’ve been drinking Celestial Seasonings tension tamer tea. Some people swear by St John’s wort….I had little success with it. BUT, everyone is different. I’ve also been taking daily walks, a daily multiple vitamin and Omega3′s. Omega3′s are supposed to be soothing for the central nervous system. This is why they are beneficial during withdrawl. Omega3′s are found in fishoils and flaxseed…..I’m sure there is more. I’m really starting to buy into the holistic methods. Let’s keep each other posted!

  103. I’m curious if anyone is having some crazy….maybe even disturbing dreams during withdrawl? It seems everytime I do a stepdown, I have a night or two of them,

    • Yes, I had very disturbing dreams when I was experiencing withdrawal from Effexor. They do eventually go away. Hang in there!

    • Hang in there Joan. I went on it 2 years ago for raging PTSD that followed me home from a tour in Iraq. The nightmares and all came raging back when I kicked a few days ago, but hey we gotta go through the gauntlet to make it better and kick this little addiction that we all got. Personaly if the damed cobwebs would clear I would feel a lot better about my decesion. And how about those little electric jolts?? Gotta love modern meds. Hang tough sister!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  104. This is Day 8 for me without Effexor. The withdrawal was horrible until my psychiatrist prescribed Prozac while I’m withdrawing from Effexor. Prozac has a longer half life and has taken away the nausea and vomitting. I’m taking 20 mg for 10 days, then 10 mg for 10 days, then off. This is Day 1 for that. Good luck to everyone trying to get off Effexor. This is my second attempt and I’m bound and determined to get off of it. The first time I ended up in the hospital. Thanks for the support!

  105. This is the worst feeling I have EVER had! I stoped taking this drug around 6 days ago the first three days felt like torture I was crying for no reason (and I am not a cryer) and feeling really down and lost. Each day starts off ok but by mid morining I feel sick to my guts and have to make myself eat, I feel like I will pass out at my desk and I can’t have time off work. I just want the constant dizziness to go away and no one gets it they all ask “why u so down ,whats the matter” and cause i don’t wanna go into with peoople i have to say i am just not feeling well and the response is well you look ok just tired. I wish i had known what was instore when i got off this drug or some kind of program to help but nothing my doctor lowered my dosage and we slowly did it but it has’nt seemed to help at all. I am trying really hard to remain posivtive and to get through this, praying there will be a light at the end of the tunnell!!

  106. I quit cold-turkey over two months ago. No support. Never been so sick. I believe I still have some symptoms of withdrawl. I ended up calling a hotline; unfortunately, they were no help. Told me to take my meds or go to the emergency room. So please, anyone who is thinking of stopping Effexor, make sure you have support (friends or family); you will need it. Second, withdrawl can cause flu-like symptoms. Be prepared. Mental illness is not easy, side effects from meds not much better. And I have made the decision to not rely on drugs with side effects to “make me better”. Doctors do not know much, don’t trust anything. If it doesn’t work for you, say so and stop taking it. Force your doctor to prescribe something that works for you (and not his pension plan).

  107. Hello, I am now 18 days effexor free :) hasn’t been easy but I’m getting there, still feel very tired, sad, cold and goosebumps for some reason !! I will never take another pill, been on it for 5 years 150mg just want to feel again as this medication took away all my feelings, my anxiety and stress is quite bad at the mo but I’m taking, 5htp, omega 3, and multi vitamins, hoping to start feeling better soon. It has been 10 weeks since I started this very hard journey, good luck to everyone who is also struggling with this horrible medication.

  108. 4th day of “effexor free” after beginning my step down journey about 6+ weeks ago. My withdrawl symptoms have been manageable for the most part. The worst is the burning/itching and general “creepy crawly” feelings on my skin. I do have headaches and tinitus, dizziness and some light head zapping. But NOTHING is making me as crazy as these weird skin sensations. Once in awhile, I’ve been overwhelmed with emotion and become weepy. But, nothing over the top. I’ve loading up on Omega3′s, B-complex and a good multivitamin. Plus….trying to get outside for a little bit everyday. I didn’t realize what a “junky” I had become. I’m just happy to have a seemingly clear head…..it’s been a LONG time!

  109. Hello again…I am now 21 days Effexor free and down to 10 mg of Prozac for only 4 more days! The Prozac has definitely helped the horrible withdrawal from Effexor. I’m still having headaches, sadness and feeling cold or having hot flashes quite a bit. I’m wondering if the withdrawal will ever end. Thanks for posts by others going through this. It really helps! Keep posting!

  110. Am two weeks into weaning off. Was at 75 for a few years but am now taking 37.5 for another two weeks then will take 37.5 every other day for 2 weeks then see if I need to take it anymore. So far only dizziness which is greatly helped by caffeine. Also take generic benadryl as a sleep aid. Effexor helped me but I want to see how I am without it again. Good luck everyone.

  111. I have been off of Effexor XR for almost 3 months now after having been on it for 7 years. I was super nervous about getting off of it because in the past, if I missed even one dose I would have brain shivers, feel like my brain was trailing, feel disoriented, etc. Awful. I have transitioned onto Prozac and it has counter-indicated the withdrawal symptoms from effexor. For those of you wanting to avoid the hell of “cold turkey” withdrawal, I think this is a good way to go. I am now starting to get off of the Prozac with a 3 week decrease process – though if symptoms of anxiety/depression return, then I will just go back on prozac and figure out what to do from there. The good thing about prozac is that it stays in your system much longer – I have to take a lot of little trips for work, so it is nice having a grace period if I forget to pack the meds…. Best of luck to all of you battling the withdrawal!!!

  112. Wow….I am so glad that I found this website. I started taking Effexor after my friend was murdered and died right in my lap in nov. 2009. The past few months I just kinda felt like the effexor just wasn’t working. I switched doctor’s because everytime i tried to talk to mine and tell her how I was feeling she would just up my dose of all my meds. The new doctor decided to take me off my meds, including my effexor, and today is day 4 without the meds and i am having horrible withdrawal symptoms. This is so shitty…..i feel like im always tired but can’t really get some good sleep, i feel so disoriented and am having bad headaches, chills and then sweats, really sick to my stomach all the time, kind of hungry but can’t really eat. She changed me to wellbutrin amd I can’t even tell if the new meds are working because of this awful withdrawal period. I took 150mg for 3 years and my new doctor had me quit cold turkey and I was just wondering how long this would last. It is interferring with my work and making me have no patience for my 2 year old daughter and my husband. I’m only 22 years old and I don’t want to be going through this awful withdrawal bullshit…I can’t afford to take time off work right now. I have been thinking about asking my doctor if I can have some prozac to help with these withdrawal symptoms….has anyone taken the prozac to help with the withdrawal symptoms from the effexor??? please help!!!

  113. Hi, I am in the irritability mood swing of the withdrawl and thus am posting a message out of anger/frustration (I rarely post comments). I was on regular Effexor for years, then for some unknown reason, placed on 450mg of Effexor XR, which I found out later is above the recommended FDA dose. And like others have said, no one mentioned any withdrawl effects until I found out for myself! The first time I discovered possible withdrawls was when I was also sick from a chronic case of some kind of severe tonsilitis/pharyngitis so felt like the symptoms I was experiencing should be expected. After the tiredness and other symptoms (I cannot remember all of what they werer now-2 years ago) lasted for longer than I anticipated my friend suggested perhaps it was because I was out of my Effexor XR/was not able to swallow the medication and found web-sites similar to this which consisted of people’s tramatic experiences with discontinuing Effexor. Thus I immediately sought to refill my supply.

    The next time (since the generic was not available and this high of a dose was not covered by my insurance and costed $450/month) I was waiting for my first free supply of Effexor to arrive in the mail from a government assistance program and thought I could go one dose without it while I was out of town to avoid paying for another refill. I thought I could take the equivilent dose in the regular Effexor instead…BAD IDEA! I am in recovery from EVERYTHING and I can say from personal experience this was the worst withdrawl I have ever experienced, heroine, crack, alcohol, you name it! The bed was saturated in sweat when I woke up and I had horrible chills, started to projectile vommit, awoke with shooting/sharp and shock like pains running through my head, was seeing flashing lights much worst than I would in any type of migraine, and was further in a psychotic-like state. I certainly could not drive home that day but fortunately had a friend available to pick up a refill I was able to transfer to the same pharmacy in this town and pay the money for it. The ER would not take me in because they said that the only thing that would sove the problem was getting the medication back into my system as soon as possible. I had wanted to get off Effexor XR since then, but found all of my providers were too fearful to touch that medication because of its large dosage.

    My most former psychiatrist managed to titrate me down to 150mg while switching me to another SNRI, Cymbalta, at the same time, which does not have as serious of withdrawls, and further, I experienced no adverse reactions in the process! Now, I am going through another nightmare as again I have had to find another psychiatrist (insurance issues) and he tried to do an abrupt discontinuation of the 150mg I was on without replacing it with anything else in the process, all while I am being treated for recent medical issues and dealing with recent losses (my Grandmother on Mother’s Day). Despite my calls of the side effects I started to notice, the discontinuation was mandated to proceed with one week of 75mg then stop. This time I notice more milder physical symptoms, but unmanageable emotional/mental/other hollistic symptoms, such as old thoughts and urges arising, new and worsening depression and anxiety with panic attacks, insomnia, crying spells, irritability and sudden mood swings, migraines and other pain, fevers, and even other urgent bad thoughts…Still, nothing was done. I think I have realized that maybe, after having tried most every other none antidepressant, Effexor XR is needed for now, as if I act out on any of these thoughts that is worse than simply having the undesirable fact that I am dependent on this medication. Thus I persisted and finally was given the option to stay on the Effexor XR, but now abruptly stop all of my Cymbalta at once, not to mention three other changes n my medications occured at the same time! I say, for me, if something is working and is not broken, don’t try to fix it, simply because my doctor wants to (I am also a RN and know medications pretty well, and this is the first that a doctor has done this type a thing-an abrupt decrease or cessation vs. and increase…).

    I agree with another person that unfortunatley, many doctors make mistakes, and as nurses who work in continuing care settings, we catch many of them as we are required to review all patients’ medication regimens and report discrepancies. I have also caught MANY errors of my doctors, though have learned to keep my mouth shut, as even as a RN, I am the patient, and cannot look like I am trying to control things, even if my health is at risk (i.e. medication related near-cirrosis levels??).

  114. I have been taking my “happy pills” for many many years now and I have experienced withdrawal on two occasions. The first time was bearable but unpleasant with the usual zapping and spaced out moments. The second time was a nightmare. Not only was my body out of control but my thinking was very strange and at times quite frightening. I was terrified by what I might do because I had moments when I felt compelled to do things which popped into my mind whether I wanted to or not. These things were just harmless actions but it culminated in a moment when I was petting my dog and I wanted to hurt him and I even had my hands around his neck with an powerful urge to just crush his wind-pipe. I wanted to strangle my dog – who I loved very much and would never hurt. That urge scared me so much I have since never allowed myself to run out of Effexor again. I become very nervous if I get down to only a few days supply. Luckily I can always get my fix so it’s no problem…. BUT should I ever run out again and I start to go off the handle I am calling for professional help even if that means calling an ambulance. I am now thoroughly hooked and I am probably their best customer. It reminds me of an addiction to cocaine or any other drug used by recreational drug users. This is legal drug dealing. I am in the wrong business. I am resolved to stay on these things indefinitely. I do not want to face the demons of withdrawal. But if I were to smoke a joint I’d be arrested and my dealer would be in real deep trouble. Does anyone see the irony here??? I sure do.

  115. I am now almost 4 weeks effexor free! Doing better everyday, although I still get some weird sensations physically and emotionally. I figure this will work itself out. My main goal is to get and keep my mind and body healthy!

  116. I quit Effexor in January (it’s now nearly June). Since that night, I have been unable to sleep without aide. I started with diphenhydramine at 25 then 50 mg until that no longer worked, then moved to Ambien. I am now at the point where Ambien is ineffective without an additional aide. I have had several stretches of 6-10 days with zero sleep a night. I had not tried the Effexor-to-Prozac method, but that may be an option. I have finally caved in today and took an Effexor (37.5 XR dose) in the hopes that it will allow me to sleep. If it doesn’t then I will have to move to stronger sleep aides such as propofol or lorazepam. If this fails, I intend to find a lawyer to take a lawsuit against the company. A BIG lawsuit…as lack of sleep will eventually cost me my sanity and my life.

  117. I am on day 4 of stopping this med. I feel horrible. I am the only employee at my office so I can’t really miss work, but I feel very ill right now. I was trying to decided if I should go back to taking my 150mg pill or fight it out. I know the doctor said it would make me feel sick if I missed a dose, but I had no idea I would feel this bad. I ended up going off because I forgot to pick up my refill and with the holiday I was forced to be off this pill. I would not have started this med if I knew that it would effect me in this way if I was without it for a few days. I can hardly move and my function is not worth a darn. I hope I can’t drive home. I will see if my husband can get me the dramanine to help stop feeling so sick.

  118. I have been dealing with withdraws for about a week. I just dove into work head first.
    Getting your mind off your own problems can help. Worst part for me has been
    The constant feeling of dizzy when moving too fast.

  119. OMG- what a nightmarish journey I have been on. I’m so glad I am not alone – although I would not wish this on anyone! I have been tapering off my Effexor for almost 6 months now and I never had any problems, until now. I was put on 150mg Effexor 4 years ago, not by choice, but when I was in a rehab facility. If I refused to take the Meds I was deemed unmanageable. So I had no choice but to take this nasty drug.
    I slowly weened down to 37.5 (xr caps) by rotating 150/75 for a month, then down to 75 for 2 then 75/37.5 for a moth then down to 37.5. No problems here….. But my doctor told me to start missing doses every other day…. What he’ll I have been in. After 2 weeks off work and on a horrific roller coaster road I am back up to 37.5 every day. I went back to my doctor cause I thought I was having some sort of seizure (brain zaps) and insomnia, flu like symptom,head aches and jot flushes and she then tells me these are common side effects! WT? Thanks for the warning.
    So i have decided to do my own research as she again told me to keep skipping doses. I’m not happy. And after reading all these posts, I want to cry cause I can’t see myself getting off this drug – with out losing my job and my mind!
    Can any advise if counting beads actually works? I have read a few people have tried this. Also what suppliments would be good to start taking. I have read that omega 3 may help?
    I would really appreciate any help, assistance I can get. I need to come off this drug. It’s ruining my life and I hate the way I feel on it. But coming off has been killing me.
    Thanks everyone who has shared. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this. I wish everyone a withdrawal free cessation and hope you all live a happy healthy Effexor free life!
    :)

    • Hi -

      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.

  120. I WAS on effexor for less than a month. Because of your post-I asked my Dr. To Take me off of it. I had taken 75mg. For 10 days. DR TOLD ME to taper down to 35.7 Mg for 3 days… While taking Welbutron. I took it for5 days because I had a lot going on and didn’t want to deal with withdrawal. But even after 5 days… I am still having withdrawal sysmtoms. Brain saps and headaches. Mostly …
    so I took another pill…. and took pellets out of the pills slowly. Took out 6 … then next day took out 7…. 2 days later took out 10.. its. Been 3 days without a pill…. but I carry my emergency pill with me…. 15 pellets shy. I thank you for the warning. I thank you for posting your experiance to help others. I cant beleive the symptoms held true for someone on it for less than a month and such a small dose. I forgot to take a pill for One day. And I was misrible. My heart goes out to you all who are suffering withdrawl.

  121. I stopped taking Effexor on 6/9/2012. Because of a mix-up with my doctor and pharmacy, I ended up going without it for 5 days cold from 300mg a day. After the terrible symptoms began within 2-3 days, I started researching and decided this medication was not something I wished to continue. I should also note that I had been prescribed Fentanyl for pain relief. Both medications are serotonin-increasing medications. Combined that can produce (and with me DID produce) something called Serotonin Syndrome. Be very careful if taking this medication in combination with others. Do your research!

    I am now going into day 10, and it is still difficult to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. However, they have improved greatly from the severe nightmares, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, and what people refer to as “brain zaps”. Now I have been sleeping more each night, and during the day my wild mood swings and sadness have begun to level out.

    Speaking of the “brain zaps”, after speaking with an opthamic (eye) surgeon, it would appear that symptom is caused by a vaso-vagal response in the ocular cavity. When you move your eye, it pulls on certain muscles. Some of these, when pulled or stimulated, cause a sharp dizziness, pulse drop, and can in severe cases cause fainting or the heart to stop completely. The “zap” feeling we get when looking from side to side on Effexor withdrawal appears to be linked to changes in ocular pressure that subside over time.

    This is a miserable thing to go through, particularly if you have stopped “cold turkey” as they say. It can be hard to grasp what is going on, how much of it is you or your own actions, and how much is responding to the crazy things your body and brain are going through. It seems that the longer I go without this medication, the more normal I am feeling. Did it help when I took it initially? Possibly. Was I simply feeling the “placebo effect” because I was taking something that should help me? Also possible. SHould this medication be prescribed so readily and widely? Definitely not!

    If I had my way, this medication would be illegal and considered to do more harm that good. There are countless horror stories of patients using and/or stopping this medication. There are significantly fewer stories where it actually provided a significant help to anyone.

    Good luck to everyone else out there going through this horrible time. I am relatively confident that within another week or so my symptoms will be gone or at least very manageable. That means, if you are looking for how long the duration of Effexor withdrawal effects are, in my case having come down HARD from 300mg a day it will probably be about 2 weeks start to finish before I am able to be “functional” again. With the physical and severe emotional effects of withdrawal, it can be hard for anyone to “be themselves” for some time.

  122. This is HELL!!!!! I am on day 3 and have been on 75mg for two years to treat major PTSD after Iraq. At least I know what is going on is normal and that soon I get my life back. BUT WHEN????? Someone please let me know how long this lasts. I have to quit or turn in my pilots lisence…… No brainer there. Please someone let me know I am really bottoming out and the nightmares are raging once again. I really don’t need another divorce.

  123. Someone please tell me how long this hell goes on. Coming to the end of day 4 and was seriously contemplating going back on the juice just to feel normalish. Please someone tell me how much longer until I get my life returned to me.

  124. i have been totally off this drug since may 11th – and it has been the best 6 weeks of my life – although i have had some adjusting to do in my life with emotions. to feel again can prove to be really challenging especially when you haven’t had to “feel” while on this drug. i took it for 10 years – and i will NEVER take it again. the process of learning you are really OK is most definately worth the work to get off this horrifying drug. today – i can honestly say i feel good. an occasional headache – but no more dizziness, diarrhea, nausea – and most of all no more brain zaps or floating. good luck to all who are going thru the withdrawal – it is worth it in the long run. hang in there! ! !

  125. Hi -

    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.

    Reply

  126. What happened to my post that I put out here this morning. It seems as though they dont want to hear about any success stories.

    I am going to post this again and see if it stays out here this time.

    Hi -

    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 got permission from my doctor to open the capsules and take out a few at a time. 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.

    Reply

  127. I wish I had known all these things could happen when coming off this evil drug. EVERY one of these responses resonates with me. My doctor didn’t warn me at all. She was putting me on wellbrutrin as she was taking me off effexor and we (her, me, my husband AND my other doctors) thought it was from the wellbrutrin, as it was a new drug to me. The mood swings have been horrible (I should of been hospitalized). I’ve had all the afore mentioned moods plus I am very, very afraid. I was sent to emergency to get a head MRI to make sure nothing else was wrong, and needed more drugs just to get the test. (Nothing, of course, showed up. No brain disease, no stroke, no heart attack.|) Then and only then did my doctor put me back on a 12.5 mg of effexor. After reading all of these notes, I will be asking her to put me on a larger dose as the mood swings, headaches, nausea, dizzyness, no appetite, paranoia, the brain buzz, are not much better. Yesterday was my worse day ever in my life. I was never so afraid and knowing I had nothing to be afraid of, made it worse. I seriously thought I HAD lost it. My doc said if I didn’t feel a little better today, I should admit myself to a psychiatric hospital. Duh…just give me a little more effexor and take me off more slowly. Who needs another hospital visit, expecially one I’ve never been in and would leave me with a trail of pyschotic history when it’s just about an evil, evil drug withdrawal. I can’t wait to get rid of this doctor…she should of known more, informed me more and gone the extra step to stay with me through this nightmare. My husband and I were really on our own. We had to keep repeating my dilemna to the hospital, the new doctors, the nurses and anyone else who asked. It was even more horrible because we were guessing at what was wrong and my doctor NEVER sent a note or something ahead of us so we didn’t have to repeat, repeat, repeat. I should never of had a head MRI. Today is a teeny bit better, but still bad. I am very glad I looked this up on my computer…knowing you all went through this really helps. We’ll see what happens today. I’m still holding on by my fingernails.

  128. Third day of 12.5 mg. A little better, but now my stomache hurts all the time. I hope all of us can hang in there until we are effexor free. What a bad trip this has been. Arghhhhhh.

  129. Oops…I wasn’t finished. Does anyone think that all the ups and downs with family and others was caused by going on this evil drug in the first place? How do we get the FDA to put huge warnings on this drug? Because we’re certainly not hearing about this from our doctors.

  130. I was taking 250mg of effexor xr for over 10 years. All of the sudden my Dr. wouldn’t refill my prescriptions any more. I have been off of them for 10 days now. I can’t even function. My hands and feet are numb and my head feels like starwars is having major battle in there. Two days ago I thought if I could just get a razor and cut myself, I could let all of these terrible feelings out, and I would be o.k. Thankfully I couldn’t find a razor blade. I really do wish I would die right now. My hands won’t hardly work. Please tell me how long this will last. I don’t think I can take much more. I’m afraid I’m going to lose my job because I couldn’t go in the last two days. Can any one give me some advice to get through this please? HELP!!!

    • I can’t promise it will work but, make sure you get plenty of rest get some omega 3 fatty acid, it helps with the brain shacks and Dramamine helps with the dizziness. Take a nice hot bath it helps me, Only problem is I never want to get out lol. Call your doc and tell them if they were going not refill your prescription then they need to tapper you off. Sounds like a horrible doctor if they do this to their patients your so far in already def don’t start taking it again. But I would recomend getting a new doctor for sure. I hope your doing much better now good luck

  131. It’s amazing to think of the thousands of us going through this withdrawal and even more being prescribed the medication w/o knowing any of this. My doctor and my pharmacist are both very aware of my horrible withdrawal symptoms – hot flashes and extreme sweating, unrelenting dizziness, insatiable appetite for carbs, continual crying and teariness, aggitation, fatigue, muscle soreness, insomnia, etc. – but the key is to go a slowly as YOU need to wean off of this drug. DO NOT go cold turkey and DO NOT go faster than your body tells you. Listen to what your body needs. Go slowly – there is no reason to hurry, but plenty of reasons to take your time. Drinking plenty of water, rest when you need, eat when you need, communicate with your doctor regularly, vent to someone who will listen (or vent on this fabulous blog), tell friends, family and co-workers what is going on so that they know and can help accomodate. If co-workers or a boss make it difficult for you, talk to HR or have your doctor provide a letter. This is real. What we are feeling is real. What keeps us fighting is knowing it will end and we will be okay and we WILL feel better. Do not compare your timeframe for coming off Effexor w/ anyone’s. It’s a personal journey. Do not self-medicate with drugs, vitamins or herbal supplements before first talking to a medical professional that you trust. You could be adding to your nightmare by increasing the risk of further damage to your health. I’m not saying there aren’t other medications or supplements that could help; just don’t assume it’s safe w/o talking to a trusted professional. I am always leerly about assuming what works for me would work for another. We need to be responsible when we are explaining our own journey and encouraging others through theirs. I know what it’s like to feel desperate to the point of taking something else that may cause serious consequences.

    I am really impressed with, and so proud of the efforts everyone is making to take back their lives. We will appreciate our health to a much deeper degree and will have knowledge and sensitivity that will benefit others. I pray for everyone of you. Thank you for sharing your eperiences! God bless!

  132. Upon deciding to have some elective surgery, the surgon recommended I get off of the Effexor to ensure there were no negative interactions with the numbing medications he uses. I thought I was being ‘smart’ by halfing my 75mg dose every week and then would be off of it completely in about a month or so. Yesterday was my first day without it at all and I ended up missing work as a result. The withdrawals are so horrific consisting of mood swings (from crying to anger), stomach pains, increased ‘brain zaps” where the world spins and I just want to sleep and nightmares. It looks like the tapering off of the meds needs to be a lot longer than I had planned. Any Dr that would deny a patient enough meds to at leaset slowly tapper off of them is a sadist! I’m so sorry Nancy, I truly feel you pain and hope you can get your Dr to give you something to ease your withdrawals.

  133. Day 3: I have been taking Effexor sense January and just recently learnd that I was pregnant and deside I don’t want this in my system while I’m pregnant, my doc did tell me the effects of it and I don’t want my baby dealing with the withdraws when he/she is born. I went from 150 to 75mg for 4 dys then to 37.5 for 4 days then off. Let me tell you it’s hell. I feel miserable at first I started thinking maybe it was just mor ing sickness then I realized it was the withdraws. I’ve been off for 3 dys now. Day 1 I was throwing up so hard my entire face was swollen day two I couldn’t get out of bed with out feeling sick and today I realized that it I lay in a nice warm bath that it take all the side effects away for the duration im in the bath. I also took some omega-3 and it seems to help with the brane shakes and white noise feeling a little bit. I’m going to get some Sea Bands today to help with the dizziness and nausea. My husband is on 225mg when I’m completely better were gunna find something that will help him other then this “devil pill” and def ween him down much slower and the currect way not the way my doc did it with me. I’ll keep updating. For anyone who might need the encouragement.

    You CAN do it just be strong you’ll make it through.

  134. This has been the WORST experience I have ever dealt with!!! I agree, the FDA needs to be told how horrible the withdrawal symptoms are. I am on day 3 of no pills AFTER my dose decrease and weening period, I don’t know what to do…the effects are getting worse, not better. Does anyone have any advice? PLEASE?!!!

  135. I’m having withdrawl after my RX lapsed due to a family emergency. I was taking every other day (75MG ER) but have been totally out for about 5 days now. Mood wize, I am not ANGRY like I was the first few days- easily overwhelmed, yes, and tired, but my big issue is this eye thing… best I can describe it, its as if my EYES are dizzy- its not so much the usual room spinning, but like my eyes are moving on thier own accord. In fact, when i try to sleep, I can feel them twitch (almost like REM) and HEAR what someone else described as ‘velcro’, which is MOST disconcerting.

    I havent seen anyone else describe THIS symptom, so i just wondered if anyone can relate? Once I AM able to get back into my Dr (and yes, i did request a refil, and unsurprisingly, havent heard back) i think i may talk about weaning completely and/or finding something else, as I am just NOT comfortable with a drug that has these type of effects.

  136. Most people experience mild or no withdrawal symptoms??? I’m sorry, but that cannot possibly be true. I know of no one who has taken this drug longer than 6 weeks that did not experience severe withdrawal symptoms. I am tapering off this medication after being on the drug for 10 years. This is my third attempt to get off this stuff, and I am absolutely determined to do it this time. Previously, the severity of the symptoms caused me to return to taking the drug. This time I am going to get off of it and never take this drug again! I have not had an Effexor in 96 hours. I am totally miserable. I am vomiting; I am having brain zaps every few seconds. I also have the effect of my brain not turning as quickly as my head. I am angry, weepy, and my ears are ringing. I think that this a horrible drug, and I had no idea that I would go through this much pain, discomfort and emotional turmoil trying to get off this stuff. I would be horrified to find out that a doctor had prescribed this drug to anyone I know. I begged the doctor who is helping me withdraw from this drug to be very, very careful in prescribing it in the future. (She is not the same doctor who originally prescribed the drug for me. She had never heard of all the side effects for people trying to get off.) Once I get off this stuff, I will never, never take it again, and warn everyone I know not to allow a doctor to prescribe this junk for them.

  137. Day four of Effexor withdrawl and this is BAD! I cannot believe how incapacitating these withdrawl symptoms are. I have had to go through withdrawl from Norco 10/325 before and that was a pleasant walk in the park compared to this! Norco withdrawl was about 2 days, but this was body symptoms (sweating, shakes, etc), as where the Effexor is altering my brain! I blink and feel my brain get a shocking pulse causing vertigo. I cannot imagine having to function in a task requireing a clear head. Will not drive because I feel like I am gonna get the spins or blackout. I took Zofran to see i I could ge some relief, but no luck. The worst part of all of this would be that i had NO IDEA withdrawl would occur from Effexor. No heads up from Doc or anything. After feeling like something MAJOR was wrong, I was informed that I was having withdrawl from Effexor. I pray that this will cease soon.

  138. I took Effexor for 2.5 years for migrane headaches. It was a miracle drug! When its efficacy started to wane, my doc suggested I cycle off. I did withdrawal over 12 weeks. My doc gave me a very, very slow withdrawal schedule to follow and as a result I had few symptoms to deal with. I didn’t feel “with it” and had a lot of hot flashes…. If you are going to cycle off, get help from your doc and reduce the dossage s l o w l y .

  139. I’ve been taking 450mg of Effexor XR for 15+ years. What severity of withdrawal symptoms am I facing? Also I’ve heard about liver damage from Effexor, is that true?

  140. This has got to be one of the worse things I have ever done. Effexor withdrawal is horrible. After having the headaches, bad sweats, nausea, etc. etc. it now feels like 7 years of depression is being thrown on me. It helps to know this is ‘normal’ but at the same time it doesn’t help… know what I mean? Just keep telling myself this too shall pass but it can’t come fast enough

  141. I have been taking Effexor XR for about 5 years…decided to try and go off the drug due to the fact that I will soon have no health insurance…drugs are expensive when you have no insurance. I was taking 225 mg a day in the form of 3 -75 mg capsules…I cut down to 2 capsules a day for about three weeks, then down to 1 a day for about 3 weeks…last Monday was my last dose. I had no idea that the withdrawal symptoms from this drug would be so horrible. The first day without it I was fine…it has progressively gone downhill every day since. When I move my head, it feels like it takes my brain a few seconds to catch up…the noise…zzz…or shhhhhshhhhhhshhhhhh…hard to describe. I’ve had a terrible headache…that seems to have let up somewhat…to be replaced by nausea and the inability to eat…can’t sleep…if I do doze off, I wake up minutes later with my heart pounding…wierd dreams…and it’s like I’m shivering inside. I cry uncontrollably, and get angry just as uncontrollably…don’t know how much longer I can take this. I got up to try and get ready to go to work this morning and had a complete meltdown…finally called my doctor…have an appointment at 11:15 this morning…hoping and praying that she can help me with this…I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have for the past week, but it sounds as if I have lots of company here…

  142. STAY OFF THIS SHIT! ITS THE DEVIL’S PISS IN CONCENTRATED FORM!

  143. Has anyone found taking 5HTP or St. John Wort or them both together has helped while withdrawing?

  144. Hi everyone! Has anyone ever tried a “LONG” taper??? I am on 150 mg, and plan on weaning off after the first of the year. (don’t won’t to screw chrismas up) January 1st, I am going to go from 4 of the 37.5 mg pills per day to 31/2 for a month. February 1st, I am going to go to 3 of the 37.5 mg pills per day, then March 1st down to 2 1/2, then April 1st down to 2, then May 1st 1 1/2 and so on………this is going to take 7 months, but I am willing to do it this long and this slow to see if I can avoid all of the horrible things yall are describing. Has any one ever weaned slowly and had no withdrawl symptons???

  145. Sharon D Murray

    I’d like to share this helpful website with all of you….Along with my doctor, this website has been a great aid to weaning off of effexor…Please check it out…
    http://www.theroadback.org

    Sharon

  146. I have recently been off of Effexor for one week. I was prescribed this medication originally for panic attacks and menopausal symptoms following a partial hysterectomy. I have been on it for over ten years now. I decided that I wanted to stop taking it because of the withdrawal symptoms I would develop if I was late taking a dose even by an hour. Once I went out of town and forgot my bottle and was deathly afraid of how i was going to feel; fortunately I was able to get a presscription filled. As I now am being treated for menopausal symptoms with hormome creams,
    I decided to wean myself off. This was the third time, the first two beig unsuccessful. I was taking 150 mg ext release.
    I went down to 75 mg. for several weeks; then cut those in half for several more weeks. Finally I was cutting the pill into fourths; and now off totally. I did have symptoms each time I decreased my dose; headache, nausea, listlessness, cold sweats and dizziness. After a day or two these did improve. IBprofen helped some of those symptoms. Now each morning I wake up I do not feel hungover or headachy or generally ‘yucky’ anymore. Unfortunately however, my new problem is increasing anxiety. I have trouble sleeping-wake up having bad dreams and feel a panic attack is imminent.
    I am becoming afraid to sleep. I do have some Xanax that my doctor prescribed for this problem but it only makes me feel drugged and tired-the anxiety is still strong. I also still have severe mood swings; teary eyed and sad one morning, today not that way at all. A bit irritable from not having restfull sleep. I do see my physician again this
    week and will try to find another medicatio to combat the anxiety. I would like to try to stay off of anything for awhile
    so I can determine how much of this is withdrawal and how much may just be me. I certainly do not want to be on
    an anti-depressant if I do not need one; but I wonder if I have ruined myself by taking one for so many years?

  147. I will be checking out the Bach rescue remedy for sure!

  148. I have been off the “Effexor Crack” for about 5 days now. The “zapping” or electric shocking sensation is HORRID…I can’t stand it!!! I’m also having abdominal pain and crazy mood swings, not to mention that it is almost time for my period so let’s throw in a healthy dose of PMS!! I have been nauseated, dizzy, and just plain PISSED OFF at everything and everybody! I decided to stop the “E-Crack” on my own because I felt like it wasn’t helping me anymore. I was on Sertraline(?) generic for Zoloft; before E-Crack and that didn’t help much either. I decided the chemical anti-depressants are just not for me. My sex drive was missing in action no matter what I tried, and I still only felt “happy” a few hours a day. I quit the E-Crack cold turkey and had no idea about ALL the side effects until I found this forum. I’m going back to St. John’s Wart which worked for me a few years ago and I don’t have to worry about all the damn chemicals wreaking havoc in my body. To everyone here, stick it out, we can conquer this Hellish Nightmare of a drug! I’m going to try some Dramamine for this electric shock thing and treat the other symptoms as best I can.

  149. Hi, I had been on Zoloft for 13 years, and it was a “great” drug untill it petered out. I had an anxiety attack, my doctor doubled my dose, and then trippeled it. I was a nervous wreck and freaking out, so I relly didn’t give the increased zoloft a chance to kick in. I was feeling so crazy, I just demanded that he swap me to something else. So I started Effexor, 150 mg. Everyone kept telling me that I needed some Xanax…..This was for a quick, fast fix. So I told my doctor that I wanted some Xanax. I took it for about a week or two while I was starting the Effexor. The Effexor was o.k. I never felt great or back to normal on it, but atleast i wasn’t freaking out. I stayed on it for a few months when I read this website!!! OMG it freaked me out, I felt like I was taking a time bomb. One day I did forget to take a pill, and by the that night I was sick stomach feeling. So I started freaking about the day that I would have to get off of this drug, and what I was going to have to go through. Just that thought gave me more anxiety. It is comparable to getting off of Heroine. I started feeling like I did not want to take this anymore. So I called my doc and said, “I want to try going back to the Zolot” This is what he told me to do. I had been on 150mg of Effexor for five months. I tool the Effexor every other day for a week, then I started the zoloft at 50 mg every day for a week. During this week I took a Xanax every day. Then I moved up to 100 mg of Zoloft. I had a sour, sour stomach, I took tums for it. It helped a little. I had headaches, so I took advil, tylenol. I was a little shakey, and a little dizzy, but not too bad. I did have night sweats, but I took Benadryl to help me sleep. I am on the 100 mg of zoloft and I hope it kicks back in and does the trick. I still have my Xanax for a quick fix, but I don’t won’t to get hooked on those, so I use them only in an emergency, but they are good little pills. We will see how the 100mg if Zoloft will do????

  150. Hello, I have successfully come off of Effexor xr. I started the beading process a year ago in July. It took me a year and 3 months to completely stop taking the 75 mg capsule daily. The biggest problem was the dizziness and nausea. If I took out too many beads from the capsule that would happen. the best bet is to remove 1 bead and then go three days and see how you feel and then go down another bead. If you feel dizzy or nauseaus, stay at that bead count for a week and then try to remove one more bead from the capsule. I purchased empty capsules from the health food store and would remove the beads as I went using the empty gelatin capsules. At this point, about 6 weeks since I weaned down from my last few beads the bigges thing I notice believe it or not is a disorientation and clumsiness. I also have lost 15% of my hearing in my right ear. I am scheduled for an MRI but I have read that Effexor can cause hearing loss. I am hopeful that it will return. Good luck to all. I know that this is possible. Just a slow steady process and keep the faith. I experienced the death of my father over this weaning period. It was a tough time but I experienced real emotion and have been able to heal in a normal healthy way. God Bless!

  151. I am so thankful and shocked at the same time to have found this site. I have been taking effexor for the last 12yrs. It was the only med that worked for my postpartum depression. I have been trying to get my doctor to take me off this and all meds for several years now. I had all the negative side effects and was told by my doctor that none of them were caused by the effexor. I also attempted to get off this med by myself and after all the withdrawals asked my doctor for help. He claimed that there were no withdrawals or addictions to effexor. I finally had my husband come with me to my appointment because of my mounting concerns about the side effects. I have been experiencing more anxiety from what this drug is doing to me then what benefits it was supposed to be giving me. At this visit the doctor finally conceded that I might be one of “very few people” that have a bad reaction to decreasing/stopping the effexor. He refused to call it an addiction to the drug! He just told me to open up each pill and just dump a few of the pellets out. He told me it might take years before I can stop completely. I have been withdrawing from this hellish drug for the past 3mos. Everyday has been an increasing hell for me and my family. I have been feeling like crap thinking that all of this is just in my head! I have berated myself over and over for being weak because this doctor made me believe this drug is not addictive! I pray that more is done to help get the word out about these horrible drugs that are placed in doctors’ hands. Just like they get patients hooked on pain meds, they are doing the same with anti depressant meds.

  152. For those of you contemplating getting off this drug, the website “The Road Back” is extremely helpful in understanding what is actually happening during the process of withdrawal and what to do to counter the side effects. I am on week two of being off the drug entirely. I was on 150 mg for four years. At one time was taking 225 mg but given that the weight gain was horrendous went back to the therapeutic 150 mg dosage. I knew through research before I got on this drug that getting off was going to be brutal and spoke to my doctor as I didn’t want to take it. Wish I had followed my gut. She said let’s see if it works before we worry about getting you off of it. I have spent the last four years basically watching life from the sidelines – with absolutely no desire to get into the game. I lost my memory, my focus, my energy, and my interest in anything. I stopped reading newspapers, stopped watching TV, let bills stack up, stopped calling friends or following up with them – you get the picture. At first the drug appeared to work for me, I felt happier, gained weight and felt good. It was a long time before I realized that many of the problems I was experiencing was from the drug shutting down my window to the world. I was just existing – nothing more – and I was depressed. Why was I taking this drug?!!! I knew I was going to have problems getting off as if I missed my nightly dosage in error, by 11:00 a.m. the next day I was experiencing terrible side effects. The drug is that strong. What I did was the only thing I knew would work for me knowing how bad just one missed dose affected my body. I had a six month supply of 150 mgs. Each pill had 12 beads in each. I reduced by one bead at a time over the period of 7 months. Each time I decreased by one bead – I had side effects for a week. For whatever reason I don’t understand, it seemed that when I was on an even number of beads, the side effects were less noticeable. (i.e. going from 11 beads to 10, 7 beads to 6 etc). I did not put a timing on when I would reduce – I let my body tell me when it could handle the reduction. Sometimes my mind would keep me stuck for weeks at one dosage as I would get scared to reduce – but eventually would know that I could make the next cut. Each time I did this I would have emotional side effects along with the physical for around three to five days (unexplained crying, sadness etc) but it would pass. The brain freezes, heavy head, shocks, nausea, blurred vision, the runs were all part of it – but sometimes the side effects were not nearly as bad as other times. I took Vitamin E & D as I was decreasing. I finally took my last bead a week and a half ago. This time I just forgot to take my bead and decided the next day that that if I was already half a day into this – it was the sign for me to just make the final cut and end the year without this wicked drug in my system. I had a very rough week, cried every day, felt awful, did not go out of the house and still feel that I am recovering. But it is over – and I know in my heart I am going to reclaim my life again. I can’t get back what is lost now – but proud of myself that I have kicked this addictive drug. I should have listened to my gut – and had I had the psychic ability to see what this drug ended up costing me over the four years – would have run so fast the other way. My head is so much clearer, can actually think again and I can feel again. I have to work on gaining weight as I lost my appetite and am underweight – but I know that in time my body will adjust. For all of you out there trying to get off the drug – please know – that you can do this. You will reclaim your life without Effexor in your system. Check out the effects of what a lack of Vitamin D can do to your mind and body – as it is huge – and supplement right away through your withdrawal. I had days when I honestly just wanted it all to be over – and knew it was the drug doing this to me – and really had to fight those feelings of desperation. It will get better – you will feel better – just please hang in there and fight. It is worth it. I will never – ever – put another anti-depressant in my system again. I have apologized to myself for taking this drug in the first place, against my better judgement, and have promised that I will find natural ways to keep myself feeling good. I am now going to make up for those lost years – by making it up to my family and friends who supported me during this ordeal. God Bless to anyone reading this – and hope it helps to know someone out there understands exactly what you are going through.

  153. Starting on the 31 dec I am reducing down from 75mg at the rate of 5 beads per day. This will take approximately 8weeks to get down to zero. Wish me luck, the roller coaster ride is about to begin.

    God Bless you all out there who have suffered with this and anything else that comes with depression or the difficult times in life that make us reach out for something to help us through.
    Lots of Love from me.

  154. I’m writing this for my wife who unfortunatly trusted her GP too much. She is normally a very happy upbeat person but because of a sad situation dealing with her father and mothers health problems she fell into depression. I didnt help because I didnt see it happening and Ive been pretty absent from her life. Her depression is situational, not biological.

    So she visits her GP for 10 minutes and she perscribes 75mg of Effexor. Does not tell her anything about side effects except that it may cause upset stomache and to not stop taking it without talking to her.

    On it for 2 weeks and she goes completely anorgasmic which was a total shock to me after 25 years of history with her. We dont know what’s going on so she is in a panic. I do some research and find that this drug is for people with severe clinical depression only and that GP’s are supposed to warn of the common (50% to 70% per the Mayo Clinic) sexual side effects.

    I realize how I’m contributing to her depression and make a huge effort to be a better husband. She goes and sees her doctor after being on it for 4 weeks and her Dr. tells her she does not have time to warn of all the side effects (!) and that she has never heard of sexual disfunction caused by Effexor (!). Unfortunatly my wife really likes this Dr. and trusts her completely. I would have fired her. Dr. reccomends weaning her off over 2 weeks. Withdrawl is horrible. Headaches, sick to her stomach, etc. Classic. We extend the taperdown an extra 2 weeks to make the crash more gentle but it’s still bad. 4 week later she is off. Depression is gone now due to positive life changes despite the horrible time she had getting off this drug.

    Dont let a GP give you this medication without a lot of thought and discussion. My reccomendation would be to talk to a qualified Psych. for a few sessions before even considering it. If you turn out to be someone who is truely severely clinically depressed then the side effects may not be worse than the disease but if your suffering from situational depression and have a normal healthy sex life stay away from this stuff. It’s funny, if this drug had a 50-50 chance of causing say color blindness, or loss of sense of smell, or taste or some other sense except sex it would be off the market – people would be freaking out. The sexual side effects are treated like it’s not a big deal – I get the sense my wife’s doctor thinks the sexual disfunction is just in my wife’s head. Its not. As she has tapered off the drug it has improved but it is not the same as before. Prior she never needed a vibrator and she could have 3 or 4 orgasms a night. Now even off the drug she needs a heavy duty vibrator to just get one. She and I are kind of in tears about it. I’m praying as time goes on it will return to normal but there are documented cases of permenant sexual disfunction caused by this medication. Rare but its worrysome.

    So if you really need it take it. But if your sex life is important be very careful. Oh yeah, her other two major sources of depression were weight gain and insomnia (something she has dealt with since menopause). Effexor has a track record of making these two things WORSE. Not quite sure why her doctor would perscribe something that had a likely chance of makeing her depression worse on those two accounts and then in addition destroy her sex life.

  155. I am in the transition from Effexor to viibryd. I weaned down for 6 days and have been completely off the Effexor for 4 days now and I feel absolutely HORRIBLE!!! I’m having “brain zaps”, diarrhea, nausea, EXTREME DEPRESSION/suicidal thoughts (no intention to act on them), irritability, sleeping lots. If I had known what this would be like I never would have taken Effexor in the first place. It has put me out of commission completely to the point that my husband had to stay home today and take care of our two daughters. I know this will pass but this is crippling!! :(

  156. I had to stop taking Effexor 150mg cold turkey because of insurance spikes and lack of money. I am currently 36 hours into withdrawl and miserable. I have been on the meds for 1.5 years. I have cold sweats, brain zaps, shaking, uncontrollable crying, chills, fever, body aches, auditory and visual hullisionations. I have to go back to work in 12 hours and I’m terrified. What should I do? I can’t miss work.

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