Confused about withdrawal because of Facebook

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Hello everyone

Sorry for another post. I'm trying to come off Venlafaxine and start vortioxetine. I joined a group on fb that is meant to support people coming off Venlafaxine. But they don't allow discussions about adding in or switching to other meds. The only support they really offer is to use their tapering method. Eg, I asked what people do to help with the anxiety from coming off and all I got was "you're not tapering correctly".

They recommend dropping your dose by 10 percent - so if you're on 100mg you drop to 90mg - by opening the capsule and counting the beads. Then after 4 weeks you drop 10 percent of the new dose - so down to 81 percent - for 4 weeks etc.

Good in theory, but I need to come off this med to bridge/switch to vortioxetine.

Thank you if you've read this far...

  1. What do you guys do to help with the anxiety effects from decreasing a dose? I am at 150mg - dropped from 225mg 3 weeks ago and now feel ready to drop to 75mg, but my anxiety and crying are paralysing me.

  2. How long does it take for withdrawal symptoms to ease and tolerate your new dose? Again, all I got on the fb group was that if I'm having withdrawal symptoms then I'm not tapering properly.

I'd like some advice from real humans that don't count hundreds of tiny beads every day!

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  • Posted

    What did your doctor tell you to do? Is this new med still in the same family as Venlafaxine?

    I switched but it was to pristique which is in same family. I was only on 50 mg ven and went to 50 desvenlafaxine (pristique) It took about a week to stop having the withdrawal symptoms and even out with the new. I would talk to your doctor again about it.

    Sorry I am not much help

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying. My psychiatrist wanted me to drop by 75mg a week and add in the vortioxetine when I got to 75mg but after a week on 150mg I wasn't coping with the withdrawal so couldn't drop any further. She's not got back to me so I don't know what to do but I'm planning on dropping again next week. Vortioxetine is an SSRI whereas venlafaxine is an SNRI. Not exactly the same family but I don't see why there should be massive effect from bridging. Hope you're doing okay x

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    • Posted

      theres no right or wrong way bridging anti deps. some pyscs do it quickly, immediately, even and some longer. mine did a longish one, over 6 weeks. looking back it was too long, and i got worse because of it. a quick one gives more extreme symptoms, but overall you dont deteriorate as much. my long taper meant my overall anti depressant dose was too low during the period. you should follow your pyscs advice, as far as you can. ask your pysc about taking benzos for the bridging period only. it makes the change much easier. changing similar anti deps causes withdrawal, snri to ssri is probably worse, and ven is one of the most difficult to come off. you want to start the new one as soon as you can, to start working, and alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, and start your recovery. the idea of taking benzos while bridging, is that it makes it much easier, and when the new anti dep starts working, you can come off the benzo.

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  • Posted

    hello, you probably came across a group of zealots, who are purely interested in coming off anti depressants completely. good for them genuinely. however, many people need medications, and lots try to come off completely, and get in a worse state. you appreciate you need a med. withdrawal will be difficult, but hopefully the pain and symptoms will be manageable, and not last more than 6 weeks or so, once the new medication is working. withdrawal from one anti dep to another is nit as bad or as difficult, as withdrawing from meds, when really the person needs them. ask your dr, he will suggest a relatively quick reduction of ven, and the introduction of the new med. some drs do it more quickly than others. it may mean taking smaller amounts of both for a short period. some do it quickly, gets it over and done with, but is more difficult, others do it more slowly, which can be easier, but relief takes longer. coming of one med and goung onto another, and withdrawing from meds altogether are quite different, and the methods of reduction are over completely different time periods.

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    • Posted

      Thank you. Totally agree this group is made by people who want to be off medication completely so I guess in a sense their way is sensible, even if it does take years lol. But I want to stay well and need medication. What you've said made a lot of sense thank you. I will try to reduce at my own pace x

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  • Posted

    Hi Gem, the 10% method is recommended by some Facebook groups as a 'harm reduction' method as some of us are very sensitive to drops in dosage, medical Folks -CPN, GP etc tell you to move down in minimum doses of 37.5 and that it's safe but having tried this personally it kicked off some major anxiety and depression which resulted in the medical Folks wanting me to increase the dose as I was becoming ill again, I wasn't becoming ill it was my body trying to adjust to a lower dose. Similarly adding in another drug made my symptoms worse as the side effects for both drugs were in full effect. As for how long it takes that depends on the individual, I've been reducing for 2 years and am now at 75mg, sometimes I've reduced my dose again at 4 weeks others have taken 7 months before my body was stable enough for another drop. Best of luck with your change over. x

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. I agree, some people are more sensitive to dose changes. And my Dr's have said to reduce by 75mg at a time or 37.5mg if I can't cope. I'm sorry you've had a hard time with it. I'm too having major anxiety and depression and you're right it is withdrawal rather than becoming unwell, hopefully. I am really hoping I don't have to go back up a dose I want to tolerate the symptoms as long as I can. I asked my Dr about side effects from the new drug, as I'm concerned that having that on top of withdrawal effects will be awful, like you have experienced. But she didn't know. Some people think adding the new drug - if it also affects seretonin - can calm the side effects but I'm not sure. I hope your reduction continues to work out for you. Thank you for your considerate reply x

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  • Posted

    just follow your drs advice. the reduction will be relatively quick, as will the introduction of the new med. this is correct for a med change. dont mix up gradual tapering for coming off meds altogether, which is completely different.

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  • Posted

    Hiya,

    I replying out of some degree of sympathy - not necessarily experience. I am on 150mg of Venlafaxin and i know, when I miss a tablet, the anxiety is acute, irrational, and the whole situation is absolutely horrible within an unreasonably short period of time actually (it has such a short half life). Combined with the physical symptoms - particularly those effecting bowel movements - and the zapping sensations you get in your head - it really is quite debilitating.

    I have to say that getting through that is tough - even when you've taken another dose and you're just waiting for the symptoms to subside.

    A slow period of reduction sounds sensible - but counting beads is pretty over zealous and borderline obsessional.

    You need proper advice from a consultant psychiatrist or at least a GP with experience of other patients using this particular SNRI.

    Aside from that I ease my personal symptoms by trying not to forget a dose, and when I do forget, I find chamomile tea helpful, rescue remedy, cuddling my dog, taking a warm bath, talking to my wife, distracting myself with a favourite film and generally just trying to be patient with myself.

    If I wanted to come off completely I think I'd book two solid weeks off work so that I could try to do it on my own terms - without having to worry about keeping up to speed with life in general, and during that period I wouldn't be afraid to indulge in comfort food and whatever else could keep my spirits up.

    The silver lining I would offer is that Venlafaxin supposedly has a short half life (hence the reason why the withdrawal effects kick in quite quickly) and as such one would imagine that the side effects ought to subside more quickly than with other drugs.

    I really wish you well and a speed transition to a drug you're more happy with.

    God bless x

    Phil

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    • Posted

      Phil bless you thank you for your kind reply. You're so right about the effects from missing a dose or even taking a bit late. It's awful. Luckily as I started reducing the brain zaps went after 3 days. The rest is a struggle but I'm hoping my body and brain start to come to terms with the new chemical amount. Its hard knowing that if you take it properly the withdrawal effects go away so I'm often tempted to go back up.

      I agree the counting beads thing is a little obsessional! But I'd not heard of it and in theory is a great idea.

      I'm concerned my psychiatrist doesn't really understand about coming off this drug, she suggested I'd be off it in 3 weeks. But my team are aware I am reducing.

      Thank you for your helpful advice about anxiety reduction. It helps hearing it from someone with experience, rather than a friend who just says Oh just read a nice book.

      I agree that coming off completely would need 'me time'. Sadly apart from 1 friend and my medical team NOBODY knows I am on this med let alone trying to come off so it's hell trying to hide the symptoms.

      Thank you very much, keep strong x

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  • Posted

    Hi , Gem, oh this withdrawal of Venlafaxine is a total mine field I'm sorry to say.. Very confusing and upsetting for everyone trying to reduce or stop.. I can only tell you about my experience which seems a bit like yours..just a bit.. Please don't feel you are bothering anyone most of us on here are here to help .. I am on Instant Venlafaxine . yours are Slow Release capsules? The tablets I'm on are easier to reduce as you can break them into smaller pieces.. unlike capsules. Yes a lot of FB sites aren't always what you hope for so need to be careful. I still have anxiety and depression .Started reducing November last year 300mg to 150 now over a few months as I was scared of the withdrawal.. I'm not wanting to go back to taking any other anti depressants but I don't want to attempt reducing further at the moment for the same reasons Anxiety etc. as for counting beads ! how you meant to Do that ! Everyone is different I was told to reduce over 2 months by a certain amount then see how I was.. Ive not kept the records I had so can't remember now. try to keep strong and tell yourself it will get better.. I've had to do that because I tell myself "it's the Medication withdrawal. not you" It's difficult but you can do it.. You seem very articulate in your written words you're not rambling on at all so you must be doing something right ? I can say that Venlafaxine is definitely not for me wish I'd never been prescribed it and from what I've read from lots of people on here it's not a good drug if you are trying to reduce or forget to take it like I've done in the past.. Take it slowly that's the best advice I can give and keep checking with your doctor about how you are feeling.. No problem if you want to get back to me as I know how difficult and how bad it can be best wishes from me

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    • Posted

      hello, withdrawing from an anti depressant looks confusing, but its not really. if you are changing anti depressants, you do it relatively quickly, as directed by your dr. the relatively quicker withdrawal does not last as long, as the new medicatiion starts working after a period of time, which hopefully ends the withdrawal much sooner. you dont do a long taper changing meds. if you want to come off anti depressants completely, thats when you need a long, slow and gradual taper, because you dont have anything to replace it with med wise. for coming off anti depressants completely, the longer and more gradual the taper, the better chance of success you have. bead counting, shaving and cutting tablets, and drops, are very good for coming off completely. if you want to come off completely, do it by very small amounts, over a long period. after each small reduction, you stay on the dose, until you feel settled, then reduce again.

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    • Posted

      Oh bless you, thank you. It's really helped hearing your experience.

      Yes I am slow release capsules. I was on the instant ones for a couple of years, I can't even remember why I was changed to these ones, I've been on the well over 10 years. I never ever knew coming off would be an issue.

      You say you still have anxiety and depression - why did you decide to start reducing the venlafaxine? I am having very bad depression and I decided with my Dr's that Ven was having no affect anymore and that a change was worth a try. My anxiety has massively increased since I began reducing 3 weeks ago - 225mg to 150mg currently. Well done for reducing your dose! No matter how long it's taken I'm proud of you. I guess I'm not as concerned about the mh side of things as I will be adding another med but I totally get the fear of coming off an antidepressant or withdrawing when you need the help from it.

      Thank you for your encouragement. I struggle to say nice things to myself but I'm lucky in that my 1 friend is supporting me as best she can.

      I too wish I'd never been prescribed it. But I hope the Dr's are learning now about what a nasty drug it is.

      Thank you for your advice I really appreciate it. Take care x

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    • Posted

      hi Nigel, yes it's been a bit of a rollercoaster with Venlafaxine. I discovered that if I had a change in my life such as a funeral for example it caused me to forget to take it . Zaps in head didn't even alert me as so much was going on. Got to a point after a couple of weeks that I didn't understand why I was so depressed if I was on Anti depressants..Then it clicked into place.. I'm definitely taking it slowly as I really want off them.. but being really careful not to go too fast.. Thanks

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    • Posted

      i wish you all the best. im happy on ven and mirt, so will not be stopping them. most people coming off anti depressants are very determined, and i admire their strength to do so. the only issue that seems to crop up, is they get fixated by continually reducing as fast as they can. what they need to do is reduce by a small anount, forget about dropping further. then after a month or two, or however long it takes, drop again, by a very small amount, and carry on like that. if they drop my a small amount, and manage to get settled, then its progress. doesnt matter how long it takes, youve still reduced, and avoided relapsing. if i wanted to come off, id plan a withdrawal over say a year. if you do it so slowly and gradually, you will get there, because the changes are so small, you get over them. if you relapse doing it so slowly, you go back up slightly, stay there, and try again. i would recommend speaking with your dr about possibly switching to prozac, then wean off that slowly. its half life is shorter then ven, which makes coming off easier. all the best.

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    • Posted

      i forgot to mention something. 5 months ago, i was on 337.5mg of ven. i had a small dose of mirtazapine added. the improvement was quick, and i reduced ven from 337.5mg to 225mg at the same time, in one go. i didnt experience any symptoms from the ven teduction. down to the mirt working well. once you start taking your new med, you might experience the same.

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