'venlafaxine' How long do the side effects last

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Please help me..

I have suffering with depression most of my life, but after my 16 year old son hung himself August 18th 2012 I have grief combined with anxiety and depression.

I was put on 40mg fluoxetine but my head was 100 mph and my therapist can't keep me in the room to do CBT and REMD with me. So my GP has put me on venlafaxine 37.5mg twice a day and after 2 weeks bumped me up to 75mg twice a day.

I started on the 19th dec 13 and after a week I felt okay but was worried that bumping up to 150mg after 2 weeks was going to be a lot.

So after the first week I started taking 3 of the 37.5mg one in the morning two at night.

I feel crap!! I am 2 weeks into taking this drug and I am so tired, I have nightmares, I wake wet through from sweating in the night. I have terrible headache at the front of my head.

I feel house bound! Have no interest in shopping cleaning etc.

at least on Prozac I would have been on the January sales now lol

But I can't bare it, people!! Noise! I just want to stay in. My husband says I'm not concentrating. For instant when we went out shopping Xmas eve I was driving and he was saying, you paying attention? Did you see that etc etc

I feel like I've just passed my test and it feels awful.

I have been to therapy today and told her. She has spoke to my GP and she has rang me telling me not to take the 3 pills a day, go back to the two and if I can stick with it because they are a really good drug and really do work!!

My question is has anyone found this drug to work for them? Are my side effects normal ? How long will they last?

I feel like stopping and seeing what I would be like with nothing.

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19 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Wendy,

    All I can do is tell you what I have experienced. I had been on Prozac, for maybe two months and came off it, as I believe all drugs cannot be good for you. I was expecting a divorce settlement in Dec 2012, and my wife decided to dig her heels in, and so continue the process. This was a total disappointment for me, and I went back to my GP who put me on two 37.5 mg tablets a day. I didn't notice any side effects, because my sleep pattern was already bad, and I do not recall any of your symptoms. After our final court hearing in Oct, I decided to wean myself off venlafaxine, in December. I have done this without GP consultation, but using the same system as coming off Prozac. I reduced the intake by half for a few weeks, then one tablet every other day, then I stopped at Xmas.

    I have been experiencing, dizziness, tinnitus, sleeplessness, vivid dreams, but as I am now 12 days into cold turkey, no other side effects yet.

    From this forum, it would appear that the stronger the dose the more chance of side effects when you do come off. Having said that it also appears that the drug and the coming off it, affects people in different ways.

    Try not to go above the two tabs a day, and talking about your feelings, to people of similar experiences, should help. I found, being such an open person, that when someone asked me, in passing, how are you ? I ewould tell them the grief I was experiencing, and then, they would tell me their story, which paled mine into insignificance.

    For example. I was doing this process to a bank clerk, and she came back with her story, and this made me realise that things could be far worse for me. How the hell did she cope, and continue to cope. Be strong, and best wishes.


    • Posted

      Hi Adrian 

      thank you so much for sharing your story. I am on cold turkey phase and it is awful, seriously very tough for me. I have been on Venlafaxine for last seven years and on very high dosage 378mg/day. 

      I am wondering if you or someone else has/had a specific feeling on brain, a Orit of waving, a frequency of waving , something like this? 

      truly appreciate your response.

      now, its the day 5 I am free of venlafaxine and Ritalin and try my best to cope . 


  • Posted

    Thank you Adrian for you experience.

    As you said it's better to talk about it, that's why I decided to come on here. GPs are good at dishing out but not all know what symptoms side effects etc are.

    I am only taking 37.5mg in the morning and one 37.5mg at bed. But I am so tired, don't feel like doing anything, had a weird Xmas! In fact when was it? That how it feels..

    I just hope that after the 4 weeks which my doctor has said I should feel better I do!

    I am into my 3rd week now and still feel weird! Haven't been out the house in a week, don't want to get dressed and dreading my 10 year old going back to school tomorrow because he has been my company.

    I've never experienced this with an antidepressant before. And I have tried most of the SSRIs so maybe because I didn't feel this is why they didn't work?

    I kinda hope so. I am hoping I will be less depressed and anxious BUT still be able to function. Because right now I can't.

  • Posted

    Hi Wendy I have been on medication for depression for many years and after a particularly bad period four years ago I was referred to the mental health team who prescribed venlafaxine 75mg it didn't make any difference after 4 weeks so the gp upped the dose to 150mg and within another 4 weeks I felt a difference it was very slow but I started to able to function again so you may have to give it a little more time to get into your system I agree talking does make all the difference do you have any support in that respect, unfortunately for me I felt I had worn out all my friends and family for many years so I found a help group in my area and went there for a while until I was able to function again. I think this drug did help me get through that bad time and gave me the strength to get up each morning, which was something I hadn't been doing for a while as I felt. I had nothing to get up for. I am still taking this medication and I am considering trying to wean myself off after reading this forum it has worried me about the awful side affects but I think the four years of taking venlafaxine have helped me in many ways so maybe it will be worth it, but I must be honest my gp has never said that there would be side effects, but if they had I probably would have still taken it because when you are that low you will try anything, and if this works eventually for you and allows you to get on with your life that's all you can ask for. Take care your not alone take one day at a time. Sue
  • Posted


    The symptoms that you describe, surely these were there before you started Venlafaxine, and not caused by the drug. Yes it takes a month to get into your system. You are on the same dosage as I was.

  • Posted

    Thank you sue.

    That's what am hoping for to be able to function. Losing my son back in 2012 has really hit me hard. My son Cameron had AS Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. He was diagnosed in 2007 with this condition and I became his main carer. I gave my job up in 2011 because Cameron was getting quite difficult to manage. School exams, relationships and puberty were becoming very stressful and in a meeting with social services he had disclosed information of finding a technic to relive his stress levels and this was putting a belt around his neck whilst lay on his bed and a tightening it to allow a butterfly sensation in his belly which went to his head and made him feel good.

    This was shocking enough to hear from you child at age 14 but then to find this method lead to his death I feel I didn't keep a closer eye on him. I feel that the services involved could have supported him more! It's all a mess. And my inquest was adjourned last year, which meant I had to give statements to safe guarding and that was tough.

    Still haven't got a new inquest date.

    In the mean time this last 12 months I have raise money in his memory and because Cameron always wanted to be a pilot (which wouldn't have happened) I arranged to have his ashes scattered by plane over his favourite place. I also had a bench placed in the park he liked to go with his friends. And the school have built a memorial garden and I've donated money to that.

    So I've been busy. But after his 1st anniversary 18/08/13 I started to fall. I went back to the GP and she said maybe getting a part time job. So I got a full time one because that's all I could find! And left after 7 days.. Crying panic missing my youngest son George.

    I'm now in therapy with my practice doing CBT and REMD only she is struggling with me because I am to emotional.

    So 4 weeks ago I was taken of 40mg Prozac! Dead! Just stopped that's what my doctor told me. I went cold turkey for 4 days then started taking these 37.5mg twice a day and after 2 weeks 4 a day.

    I thought I would just introduce one extra one after one week of being on 75mg but that sent me over the edge.

    So Friday 3rd jan when I went for therapy I told her I can't do this am sweating, headaches, tried, no interest in anything.

    And she's told me to go back to the 75mg a day one in the morning and one at night. As I sad before am literally counting the days. It's been 17 days.. And wish something good would happen soon.

    If this is how hard and horrible it is to get on this drug! What will it be like getting of it?

    • Posted

      Wow Wendy! Do you have any idea how amazing and strong you are to give that kind of unconditional love to your so. and that amount of self sacrifice to your family? This is a year old post but you still were seeking ways to not share your grief and be strong for your loved ones still? That takes so much strength and so much resilience.

      For what you are describing regarding medications, maybe understanding what grief is might help.

      Grief includes: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. It isn't necessarily in that order and more feelings can come at once.

      Feeling disconnected and extremely sad? That is a part of healing and is a part of grief. I am going to repeat this several times if anything remember this. It is okay for you to not be okay. It is okay to not feel okay.

      The fact you raised funds to have his ashes scattered in a plane because he wanted to be a pilot? That is so powerful.

      If your getting anxiety from being around people have you thought that maybe it has more to do with you having a different kind of normal? You have a "new normal" but your day to day thoughts aren't going to be so readily shared with coworkers.

      Your supposed to feel depression, that is a part of grief. You could feel angry at God (anger a part of grief) and beg why he didn't take someone else or you in his place or help you be there and catch him (bargaining also a part of grief) and feel absolutely lost and hopeless that this sorrow will always be present (depression as a part of grief) but then submerge yourself into an activity to get your mind off of everything (denial which is grief) and for maybe a split second you breath and feel some sense of relief (acceptance, such as scattering his ashes and fulfilling his dreams).

      Like everything your writing? Forgetting things, that's grief you have a lot in your plate, deep sorrow? This is normal responses to trauma, it's not everyone's normal it's a new normal and again. It is okay for you not to feel okay, look at the beauty you created amidst sorrow! That is powerful.

      If medications help than go for it but never discredit the wonder of your tears and sorrow, nobody wants grief to last as long as it does and anniversaries are so so hard. There are peer support groups where you can speak to another mama whose lost a child. You just might find most these feelings you have are common under the circumstances. And he blessed, your story brought water to my eyes, truly inspired! I only added myself to this post to write to you, I was googling adverse effects to a medication your taking. again, it's okay not to feel okay and you are truly a strong heart

  • Posted

    Wendy it seems to me that these symptoms are withdrawal from the Prozac medication they should never have just changed it just like that, you need to be weaned of one while starting the new medication Prozac is a hard drug to come off I took those for a few years a while back and even my doctor was shocked at the dreadful side affects I suffered, he said at the time of putting me on them the side affects were unknown to him, I don't think he ever prescribed them again to anyone, unfortunately for me he retired after that and my new doctor has no idea of the side affects from venlafaxine so I will be on my own when I decide to come off, but I can say they did work for me and I have been successful in getting me through the difficult times so if you are offered a higher dose (175 mg) it might just make the difference to you but everyone is different you have had an horrendous few years I couldn't have coped and you have come this far life is so hard sometimes all we can do is just take it a day at a time and put one foot in front of the other, as mums we are expected to take everything that comes and be strong to hold everyone together, but sometimes we need to shut down and take care of our selves eventually the emotion will calm down again and things will get manageable I'm here if you need to to talk kind regards sue x
  • Posted

    Hi Wendy

    After reading some of the comments on here I did think it was time to try to come off medication but I have decided I would know when the time is right and I would do it very gradually. I think there is a stigma about medication for depression people don't like to let on that they are on antidepressants because it does not seem like a real illness but it is as real as any other when you are in the depth of despair so I will continue for a while until I'm ready to face life without them.


  • Posted

    It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it's not our fault! We never asked for it and sure as hell would rather not have it.

    My son was depressed as well as stressed and he's not here anymore. The Brain is a very power thing and sometimes can not be controlled. If taking meds helps me stay in control of my Brain I don't care what people think sue and neither should you.

    Thank you for taking the time to talk to me xx Wendy

  • Posted

    Hi Wendy. I don't feel at all qualified to give any opinion on this forum, except in that I began taking a low dose (37.5) of venlafaxine on 19th December 2013, almost the same time that you did. I did not take it for depression, and so my situation and choices are necessarily different ...

    However over the three weeks that I took this low dosage of the drug I have felt debilitating tiredness - I can drop off literally in the middle of typing a sentence - and I have had little motivation and find it difficult to begin a task. At the same time I've been wakeful & squirming at night, and have not had restful sleep. I was worrying about this, and so googled lots of different patient forums to see what other people around the world were experiencing.

    I was concerned to find that the most negative posts I saw regarded coming off venlafaxine, many patients seemed to claim it was the most difficult anti-depressant - and even the most difficult drug - they've ever come off.

    So I went to my most trusted pharmacist who advised me that, after only three weeks at that lowest dose, I could come off. Much later than that and I would possibly be looking at a much longer & slower tapering process (typically recommended at 5-10% per month!). Yesterday was the last day I will be taking the drug.

    As I said, my situation is very different from yours. The burden you carry is heart-breaking, and I really hope you find whatever will help you through your sadness xo. Perhaps venlafaxine will be useful for you, but if it is not then you may be best to decide that sooner rather than later. You may be interested in the forums dealing with people's experiences weaning off this drug - just google it, they're everywhere. All the very best Wendy and I truly hope you find your answers. Lorraine

  • Posted

    Hi Wendy, I sympathize. There are lots of different types of SNRI's and SSRI's In my experience, if they give you headache, either the dose is too much, or you will not tolerate that particular drug. I hope you find some peace.
  • Posted

    Thank you guys

    I am to after last night struggling to sleep it's was 2am and I've had to be up this morning at 7:30 for the first day back at school. I'm knackered to say the least. I've took my 37.5 and I might be taking the other before dinner to see if by 9pm I'm feel tired and not during the day. The headache has gone the tingling in my head is still there from time to time. But it must be kicking in now. Reading last night about Prozac and this drug I should have been weand off Prozac and not just stopped. I wonder if the side effects were one drug leaving and another entering!! I'll never know.

    One other thing I gain 2 stone on Prozac and wondered is there more to come with venlafaxine ? Thanks Wendy

  • Posted

    Hi Wendy,

    I weaned myself off venlefaxine a few months ago, haven't had venlefaxine in over a month, I think it has been two months now.  I have been taking it for over 20 years on 150 mg's but started out on 37.5.  I am having the worst withdrawals.  Can't stop sweating and if I'm not sweating, I am shivering and trembling.  I haven't had a good night sleep since getting off that crap.  Insomnia, cold sweats, shakes, nausea, sleepiness and the worst sweating and dizziness.  When does this go away, any help out there?  I haven't read anywhere that anyone has been off as long as I have and still have horrible withdrawal that is not getting any better? 


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