Brain zaps

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i have slowly withdrawn from venlafaxine over 2 months and haven't taken any for two weeks but still getting brain zaps on a regular basis. Has anyone been through this and if so how long do they go on for? Thanks

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Kaye,

    I get these too. It's such an odd sensation which I could describe to my GP. I used to get them if I'd forgotten to take my tablets. Now though I get them frequently regardless. I don't know what happens or if it matters.

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    • Posted

      are you taking extended release or immediate release variety? What dosage are you taking and for how long? It could also be that your dosage needs tweaking. Do you get headaches too or any other symptoms?
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  • Posted

    Hi

    I've been off it for a month now and am still getting them on and off. It's worse when I'm tired. They aren't as strong as they were and have no idea how long they will last for but some people say weeks, months or even years so I suppose everyone is different.

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    • Posted

      Hi Liz hopefully it won't be years, at the moment they are fairly frequent so fingers and toes crossed they will get less. Awful drug can't believe it's prescribed 😱

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    • Posted

      smile by saying it is an awful drug i will assume one of the following possibilities: either you took it properly and for long enough and it didn't help or you had to withdraw for medical reasons (hence you discontinued it "slowly" even though your therapy is incomplete and you really should be taking it or another medication if this one simply didn't work for you). OR you didn't take it properly or long enough. Otherwise, if you took it for long enough and properly and have been fully treated you would not say it is an awful drug. I would like to point out that regardless of the dosage you have been on (how long and what dosage by the way?) you did NOT withdraw slowly enough which is why you are getting zaps. If the initial symptoms you took it for have not been in full remission for at least 6 months before stopping the drug you have also withdrawn too soon in addition to too fast. Hence, there is no telling how long your zaps will continue and whether or not you will have a relapse of your initial symptoms. This awful drug has helped many people. None of whom had prolonged withdrawal disturbances when properly treated and properly weaned. I took it for 12 years at various doses including last 6 yrs at 150 xr. I withdrew properly and slowly over a 2 year period. minimum 3 months between quarter worth decreases, sometimes even 6 month gaps. Never a zap nor any other disturbance that was noteworthy and i am not alone. Just that most people don't take the time to share their good experiences. Your zaps can be minimized by reinstating the lowest therapeutic dose, waiting for any symptoms to subside and then weaning properly. I would discuss with the psychiatrist. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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    • Posted

      my psychiastrist prescribed this drug nearly two years ago to replace Citalapram which I had been taking for 15 years. I started on 75mg and then increased to 150mg. The side effects from venlafaxine were awful and didn't help my depression at all hence after talking with my doctor I decided to come off them and go down the CBT route. This has changed my life completely I feel so much more alive and happy, I've taken up new hobbies and although in my early 60s I've gone back to horse riding too.  I personally believe this drug was not suitable for me and the side effects from taking it and subsequent withdrawal made my life hell. So enough said I'm a different person now, goodbye meds hello to my future. 😃

      PS I can manage the brain zaps just wondered how long they may last.

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    • Posted

      Perhaps you did not need drugs for as long as you have been taking them. Great that you have a new lease on life and are enjoying it more fully. However you were cheated by dropping from 150 so quickly. It really should have taken longer than this. Your zaps could persist for about 3 months in some cases 6. It takes a while for brain chemistry to even out off the drug if the discontinuation is too rapid. But as long as you keep feeling good otherwise, zaps are nothing to worry about. All the best.
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    • Posted

      Many thanks. Yes went from 150mg to zero in two and a half months but didn't receive any help from medics other than take it slowly so sorted myself out.

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    • Posted

      The drug is awful I spoken to many people who been on this drug for 2 months to 15 years, myself 6 months. I've taken hundreds of different types of ad's and trust me this is the worst drug!.

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I suffered with brain zaps when coming off Ven, someone told me to take Benadryl and Omega 3, after a couple of days they were gone.

    Thanks

    Neil

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    • Posted

      Thanks Neil I have been taking Omega 3 and multi vits whilst coming off but they didn't make much of a difference to me. Does Benadryl make you drowsy? Kaye

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  • Posted

    I took Effexor XR/Venlafaxine 75 mg for over two years and I can definitely confirm that this drug is absolutely horrible. While it did help with my panic disorder, it caused me to gain 40+ lbs (without changing my eating/exercise habits), and while I was on the drug my eyesight went from 20/20 to terrible, I developed a skin disease, and my blood pressure, although still in a healthy range, had risen. I can't attribute these (except for the weight gain) to the drug, yet it is odd that I began to have health problems when taking the medication so I definitely wonder. I decided to taper because of the weight gain. If I would have continued taking Effexor XR, I would probably weigh over 300 pounds in the next 5 years and for a 5'6" female who weighed a healthy 140 before ever taking Effexor, this is devastating. The withdrawal symptoms are quite worse than the symptoms I had while tapering from Lexapro. The "brain zaps" are annoying, although I'm taking Omega 3 fish oil and it seems to help a bit. I also have frequent dizziness, diarrhea, and a bit of brain fog like I'm not all there. I'm praying that these subside as the weeks go on without Effexor. I don't even know why this drug is allowed to be manufactured. Sure, it helps anxiety/depression but the physical health issues that arise are definitely worse. Not to mention that Venlafaxine is seemingly much more potent than other SNRI/SSRI options, and this is evidenced in the strong withdrawal symptoms. As a psychologist myself, I would never recommend this medication to anybody. From my experience/research, one would be better taking Prozac than other like-drugs and, to be honest, benzos like Xanax (in moderation, of course) seem to be a much better option than SNRIs if one absolutely needs medication. I'd rather suffer with anxiety attacks than ever take even the smallest dose of Effexor XR ever again.

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