Coming off Venlafaxine. FAIL

Posted , 4 users are following.

hi everyone,

i'm back on venlafaxine now but had a complete disaster stopping this drug about 9 months ago. the reason i wanted to stop is because it hasn't helped my anxiety much and i get a number of side effects which i hate which just come out of the blue. 

i reduced what i was taking over about 8 months. i was at 375mg and brought it down to 37.5mg over that period. the worst i had from making the reductions were a couple days of higher than normal anxiety around 2 weeks after i made a reduction, i can't remember how much each reduction was. i stopped completely sooner than i would have liked as i went on holiday and forgot my medication.

i thought i was ok but 2 months later while living in a stressful environment my stress was getting on top of me which is a trigger for my panic disorder. it worried me a bit as i recognised the signs, a couple weeks later my friend fell ill it was quite serious and i felt an over exaggerated fear for their safety and welling being. i had also started a new job a few days before stopping my medication and i found it im possible to focus as i was worring for my self and my friend. it got to a point that a lot of the sensations i used to get from my panic disorder came back and i had to stop this trial job i had started.

it's a lot to explain in detail but the stress my mind was under was huge and i was very frightened. the next few months are too scary and painful to describe in words, i'll make it as basic as i can. first i tried to get through it without meds, i started getting more agitated and started diazepam, stomach pains started after going back on citalopram, in desperation i tried other medications similar to diazepam, terrible feeling of about to be sick but was more of a suffering feelings, a few times i had to pace through out the house for 2 hours non stop because of stomach pains, i got myself admitted to a local mental health ward out of desperation for help, was put on highest dose of diazepam for a month didnt work i couldnt believe it aswell well as taking anti sickness and beta blockers and also ompeprazol which maybe gave minor relief to my constant stomach pain, decided to bite the bullet and go back on venlafaxine and stick with it. maybe took 2 months to start feeling better.

sorry if that was a lot to take in.

so looking back now after feeling better for atleast 2 months it is still scary thinking back on what i went through for 5 months. it has come to my attention that a big factor in the whole was stress and feeling helpless. i hated the fact that nothing the doctors gave me work at all, the diazepam was ineffective for the pain i had. i forgot to mention i used alcohol for quite a while as it was the only thing that would help the pain, the pain was too much to bare, i couple of weeks i could have bared but day after day and then month after month the added stress of it all is something thats unbareable but i had to bare it.. i slowly but down on everything and now all i take is 225mg venlafaxine, no alcohol. forgot to mention i was on mirtazipine for a while but stopped that myself.

sorry i couldnt make this shorter but a lot happened. so now im back to where i started and a little wiser. a few key points i have in my mind.

* im i dependant on antidepressants.

* i underestimated how hard it would be to stop.

* i underestimated how stress plays a part.

* i definitely have to get to a better place before thinking of coming off venlafaxine completely.

* i need to come off venlafaxine more slowly give the chemicals in my brain more time to adjust.

thats all i'll put for now. if anyone can share their experiences of coming off please post here. i keep hearing this drug is one of 2 that is really hard to come off.


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25 Replies

  • Posted

    my previous coming off venlafaxine threat for reference.

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    • Posted

      Hi Damian

      That made good reading. Thank you for putting the reference up.

      So whatever you do stay on this dose until stabilised. I'm doing ok on 50mg. Still suffer with anxiety but have clarity of mi d now to work out my triggers.

      Sara x

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  • Posted

    hi, how is everyone doing.

    i'm making another reduction of 18.75mgs(half of a 37.5 tablet). i last made a reduction from 187.5mgs to 150mgs about 3 months ago, i had a few bad spells during the 3 months but have felt pretty good for the last couple weeks. thats a drop of 12.5%.


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    • Posted

      Hi Damian

      Glad to hear things are going okay for you. You've done amazing.

      I reduced from 150mg to 75mg (not advisable as too big a jump) to 50mg to 37.5mg.

      It took a solid month for me to see a glimmer of hope (I experienced complete and utter exhaustion and required some care whilst trying to acclimatise) and have been on 37.5mg for 2 months now. I have settled on this and plan to stay a while before any more reduction. I don't think I could put my family through any more just yet.

      I've started to feel like my old self again after almost 17years!

      I get a bit impatient at times but I'm learning to take a step back and look at the situations I find myself in. Then deal with life accordingly.

      Always good to read back in peoples experiences on this brilliant forum.

      Wish you love and luck

      Sara x

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    • Posted

      hi sara,

      thanks, yes those are quite big jumps but i think the main thing is staying on 37.5mg until you feel good for atleast a couple months before dropping again. are you planning to half the 37.5 tablet next time.

      i too am feeling more normal. it's funny to think its nice to feel normal, maybe its a feeling of calmness. i found a brilliant person centred counsellor, i never thought just talking could fix things but i have noticed a couple big changes and it seems like a miracle cure. the years i spent going back and forth to the nhs got me nowhere and actually made me worse.

      my mind is definitely calmer and i don't constantly worry about my future like i used to.

      look forward to hearing about your progress over the next 6 months. x

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    • Posted

      Hi ya

      I plan to stay on 37.5mg for a while longer. Maybe even for the rest of this year. I'll be honest Damian I'm so worried I'll go into a decline that I can't even think about reducing.

      When I do, it won't be half either. It will be 3 quarters.

      What I've learnt is the more I take away the harder it is for my brain to cope. As for my body. It simply stops working. I have to try so hard to fight through the simplest of tasks.

      Are you holding down a job during your tapering? X

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    • Posted

      i had to quit my job a couple years back, it was part of the reason i got so ill. i have to be very careful with stress.

      last night i was quite ill but it only lasted a little over an hour. it happens rarely, it starts off with a over sensitivity to the cold then i get fever like symptoms, aches and pains. the worst part is i feel like a junkie withdrawing from heroine. i was rolling back and forth just like you would see on tv. i was extremely restless having to stretch and tense my muscles constantly. it was a terrible feeling. i've had it happen in the past in varying degrees. if i hadn't had it before i would have called an ambulance as you feel like you're dying. 

      that lasted an hour, it's really strange but from talking to people and looking things up it looks like the symptom of low serotonin which makes sense as i've had similar moments shortly after changing a medication and also the last time i tried ruducing my medication when i missed a couple doses. x

      i too worry a lot about symptoms coming back especially after the last time i tried to stop. what reason did you start taking venlafaxine for. i've been seeing a person centred counsellor for the past 6 months and it has made a massage difference. it's amazing how just talking has fixed things. 

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    • Posted


      I know exactly how you felt last night. The flexing of your body to relive the muscle pain. It's relentless. In fact I remember crying and rolling around with it not knowing how to relieve the aching especially in my legs.

      I've been taking multivitamins with essential oils since reducing the ven but I ran out recently. Within a few days the muscle

      Pain has started along with brain zaps. So it's proven the vitamins work well during this period.

      I spoke with an amazing psychologist many months ago but it was only for a period of 8 weeks. She did wonders for me like you say through talking alone.

      Sometimes I put into practice the lessons she taught me.

      I was first prescribed ADs almost 17years ago. I had experiences of disassociation. My life was turned upside down from having my first born to moving house and giving up my job. It was a difficult period of my life that I was unable to keep in control of and nobody understood. I was completely at a loss of normality.

      im rambling.

      Anyhow I live to tell the tale and continue to have blank parts of the day. But muddle through like most.

      Put the biggest smile on my face and pretend it's all okay. 😉 X

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