Day 5 off venlafaxin cold turkey

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have done 5 days off 150 mg of venlafaxin been on it for 3 yrs now so after having a yr of counselling realising depression treatment by drug not the answer have decided to go cold turkey , been 5 days timed with a bout of family Moro virus can't decide if symptoms are this or Ct had a panic attack, headaches flu symptoms of all the breathlessness of a panic attack worst to handle , insomnia the worst can't sleep which from falling asleep at the drop of a hat is weird , sticking with it feel still not right but then again feeling right is something I've not feltt for yrs been on an anti d for 10 yrs now and in those have ballooned weight by 7 stone in this time , need to get off had paid counselling not cheap but has addressed many issues pills didn't, all pills did was work, plateau, increase dose, work plateau increase etc etc until I gave up going to Drs meant well but nhs does nothing , first step is pills then cbt by phone get you off their books next patient ! 

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  • Posted

    Warren look up Venlafaxine withdrawal, you'll see the risks you are taking, it's not just about toughing it out an you'll get off it quicker. You could make yourself really ill. Like you I've been on Venlafaxine for many years, it was put up to 225mg and still I was suffering depressive symptoms, I was also on Mirtazapine 45mg. Like you I've discovered through counselling that meds are not the answer. I've managed to get the Mirtazapine to a minute dose. I'm reducing my Venlafaxine by 12.5mg every 2 weeks. I'm now down to 200mg. Luckily I have the capsules that contain small even sized pellets, so I can be fairly accurate in my reductions.

    I agree that we don't get much help from the NHS. Sadly mental health is the poor relation to other conditions and is poorly funded. I was lucky enough to get counselling services on the NHS and through this I realised that my symptoms were not helped by the meds, and definitely the meds made me eat too much and the weight has piled on.

    You are not alone. Think carefully about your withdrawal, in the long run it is better to do it slowly.

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    • Posted

      Hi Catherine thanks for this and as the time suggests another restless night , I know what you mean but I read up a lot and different views were that slow withdrawal has same prolonged side effects, the drug has a small half life so its effectiveness is quick to reduce, also I tried reducing down this yr and failed , went to see go who said and I am quoting verbatim , it is such a small dose you might as well just stop as reduce the  dose , so here I am Xmas blues , not helping but rethinking counselling is helping, as stated my self hatred is my thinking not imbalance, I have the pills if the symptoms get bad ! As I read they go away pretty quick. 

      Worst to date are bloated, headache, dry mouth and panic attack so with all the mix of things am gonna try to keep going not trying to tough it just want rid reliance on it , hope things work for you your so desperate at the time of prescription to accept it as a way forward the negative side is not explained , the feeling is your out on repeat prescription reviewed annually that , that's it problem solved ! 

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    • Posted

      As long as you are making an informed choice. My GP and pharmacist were no help and told me that dropping by large amounts shouldn't matter. But all the accounts here, from people who've been through it suggest different. When I discussed withdrawal issues my GP just said that some people need the drug lifelong, as if to say it wasn't the withdrawal rate being too great but that I couldn't live well without them. Through bitter experience I have learned that antidepressants can actually cause or exacerbate the symptoms I am trying to suppress, that is : anxiety, paranoia and suicidal ideation being the worst. GPs are happy to prescribe but don't have a clue if after a few years things go wrong. Upping the dose is not the answer. I resigned myself to being an anxious, paranoid depressive. I isolated myself from family and friends thinking I would feel safer, but it just got worse. It's only since I started to reduce my Mirtazapine that I realised I haven't got to live with anxiety. Now I'm on a mission with the Venlafaxine. I'm doing it slowly in the hope that I don't crash and burn. I also need to work so cold turkey is not an option.

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    • Posted

      thanks for your help catherine i was surprised and so was counsellor re: Dr. and he was a snr partner as well, that was ny problem, feel bad, take meds, time, plateau then increase dose etc, even on dose had bad days which has been tackled by counselling better than any meds
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  • Posted

    Hey Warren. If you want to go cold turkey then do it. I did it 5 months ago. I was on 225mg for 6 years and tried to reduce gradually 1 year ago and failed miserably. It was too tough and prolonged. 5 months ago I felt I was in the best place mentally to give it another go, and decided to do it myself. Against all medical advice, from my GP and psychiatrist. Venlafaxine saved my life when I needed it, 6 years ago, but not any more. I was "sick" of feeling numb, sick of the constipation (2 weeks for a poo is not normal!),, sick of weight gain, bloating and coasting along with life.

    so I decided to just go for it. On my own. And I did it.

    the first 4 weeks were awful. Zapping in my brain was by far the worst side effect. Also insomnia, crying, raging, anger, irritability, it was hell. But I got there, eventually. 

    The zapping only stopped 4 weeks ago, but it lessened every day. And I now feel "normal". Whatever that is.

    please don't think I advocate going cold turkey. It may not be the best course of action for everyone, especially if you are on a cocktail of meds. But for me, it didn't address the underlying issue. Only counselling, or forgiving yourself, can ever do that and enable you to move on. Otherwise you (we) are living in a bubble of acceptance. And that is not right. Drugs may be the answer in the short term (6 years in my case) but should not be a lifetime choice.

    sorry to rant, but I hope I offer some kind of hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, if you choose to go that route.

    stay safe, and ask for help if you need it.

    liz x

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    • Posted

      Liz I eead your post on cutting Venlafaxine cold turkey rather than gradually that you had attempted before.

      I am trying to eean myself off kind off gradually. I have got down to about 137mg from originally 375mg 3 months ago. I must admit I have not had many physical withdrawal symptoms buty mod has dropped. .

      Why did the weaning off not work for you?

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    • Posted

      hi Liz day 13 mostly through it , took advice on omega 3 worked, vitamins worked, only thing now are re-calibration of emotions crying at tv !!! had bad stomach pain for last 5 days like a sucker punch in gut but alka seltzer and gaviscon seemed to help during the last few days
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    • Posted

      Hi Warren,

      the emotional roller coaster is normal. I was exactly like that. Crying at the news on TV and other programmes that wouldn't

      normally affect me. I even cried at The Chase when an elderly man got all his questions wrong! Ha ha ha.

      i was up and down and all over the place for a few weeks at least, which once you realise is expected is easier to cope with. 

      That was followed by extreme anger, hyper sensitivity and irritability. But it does pass and get better.

      i think it's hard when you've been on medication for so long. In my case it was 6 years, so I'd forgotten what normal emotion feels like. It's normal to have good days and bad days, and it takes a while for the mind to accept that and rebalance. If you know what I mean. It does get better.


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    • Posted


      when I tried to wean myself off venlafaxine I got down to 37.5mg from 225mg with no side effects at all. I did that over a period of about 2 months. But then, because 37.5mg is the smallest dose, every time I tried to go to zero mg it hit me badly. As soon as 24 hours had passed since the last 37.5mg I had brain zaps, headaches and uncontrollable crying. The only thing that stopped it was taking another 37.5mg. So it was a vicious cycle. I tried taking a tablet every other day for a couple of weeks but it didn't get any better at all. So in the end I gave up, though "s*d it" and went back up to 225mg. 

      That was about a year ago. 

      Then 6 months ago I wanted to try again and this time I thought I may as well go cold turkey. I knew I could get to 37.5mg again without side effects so I went straight to zero. I thought I'd stick it out for as long as possible and only take it again if I was desperate. I read up on all the remedies I could try to alleviate symptoms, took a week off work and stuck it out. 

      It was awful. I'm not going to try and say it was easier than it was because it wasn't. And you have to be in the right place mentally to stick it out. 

      Its now 5 months since I took it and I'm still up and down, emotionally, and I sometimes wonder if I need medication. But I think that's normal. 

      It will take a long time to "get there". I'm under no illusions, but I think personally that I need to address my issues rather than smother my emotions with medication.

      i hope that helps?


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  • Posted

    To help the withdrawal take 6 omega 3 tabs a day, a multi vitamin, vitamin b6, and Benadryl. It helps with the symptoms. I've also been prescribed sleeping tablets, Zolpidem, it's non addictive but knocks you out for 8 hours straight but no after effects. I don't wake up feeling "zonked" or "hungover" at all. It's probably the one thing that has enabled me to stay off venlafaxine. I don't know about you, but a lack of sleep is a terrible thing for a depressed person. At least I know that whatever the day brings to me, good or bad, a good nights sleep is my life saver.


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