Really bad venlafaxine withdrawal, 150MG, please help?!

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I've been on venlafaxine 150MG for a few months. I've found it isn't really helping with my mood, and I want to switch medications, but I don't have an appointment until the end of January. My psychiatrist told me to stop taking my medicine, but I knew that I would get really awful withdrawal symptoms, so I continued use. My prescription ran out two days ago, but my mom said that she didn't want to pay for a refill if I was just going to switch medications. Today I've felt really sick. I've been nauseous, light headed, and I have an awful headache. What can I do to stop this? 

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  • Posted

    Hi elizav, your psychiatrist was wrong in telling you to just stop taking like that, even though you may have been on only a few months, it is still essential to slowly bring the dose down especially with the reputation venlafaxine has with withdrawl.  You should talk to your mum and indicate to her that venlafaxine cannot just instantly be stopped and that a steady step down routine will help to minimize the symptoms you are having now, I am no expert on this but I know that it is advised not to go cold turkey on venlafaxine and more physicians agree about this and many here including myself will testify to that fact, there are some who have done it cold turkey but the sucess rate is very low, plus the fact that even weaning off venlafaxine can still have its problems.  To your mum I politely suggest that weaning you off is the only way and this could take some months before you are finally off and that some doctors are still ignoring what their patients are telling them, e.g. I was told there was no such thing as withdrawl from venlafaxine by a professional.  They are the experts maybe but there is no experience like first hand experience and the manufacturers of venlafaxine have a lot to answer for.  Please help your daughter by allowing her to gradually stepping down  the dose, the doctors too happily prescribe medication for depression and do not look at the long term, we as patients have a say too.  I put myself to you as an example of the many who have finally stopped venlafaxine myself after 17 yrs, and that even if it has only been three months taking it that is long enough for venlafaxine to alter the brain chemistry creating a dependance and fear of never coming off.  All my best to you and a Happy New year to all.
  • Posted

    Explain about the withdrawal to you mum or someone else who will understand and get the prescription refilled...then come off it really slowly if you still want to. Good luck, i know how aweful it can be! x
  • Posted

    You are getting the withdrawals which happens when you stop Venlafaxine suddenly.  It is an anti depressant that has to be withdrawn from slowly.  The withdrawals you are getting will go on for a while.  I know a lot of people advocate taking supplements like Omega3.  I took it, and still take it, but I am not sure it will stop the withdrawals.

    I cannot believe a psychiatrist would tell you to stop taking it abruptly.  My doctor helped me all through my withdrawals.  It was her suggestion.  Sometimes I think doctors and psychiatrists do not know how bad withdrawals can be.  Come on sites like this and you will read how people struggle with withdrawal symptoms.

    I was on 150mg for years, and it helped me, but it is obviously not helping you.  Can you bring your appointment forward?  If not, perhaps yoiu will find you begin to feel less sick and nauseous soon, I do hope so.  I really don't think there is anything you can do.  Your body is now adjusting to being without the medication.  It will take some time.

    Sorry I cannot be more positive.  Things like St Johns Wort and 5HTP and Kalms, may help you until you see doctor again. 

  • Posted

    Hello Elizav

    I agree with Simon's very constructive letter, below, and particularly agree with his advice concerning a slow and steady reduction in the dose that you are taking.


    Stopping taking an SSRI such a Venlafaxine precipitously is associated with withdrawal effects, and also with the potential for a rebound effect on depression, in that the underlying illness may tend to get worse, at least in the short term.

    If you are planning to change to another SSRI, then I understand that it is recommended that one should stop taking the first med. completely for about two weeks before starting the next one, otherwise there is a risk of developing serotonin syndrome.  This may be what your psychiatrist was trying to suggest when he/ she told you to stop taking the Venlafaxine, but perhaps he/ she didn't put it across to you very well. 

    That doesn't mean that you have to go from 150 mg to zero overnight.  Bearing in mind that you have no med.s at all at the moment, which to my mind places you somewhere between a rock and a hard place, I would have a gentle talk with your mom and try to explain to her that you need to reduce the dose over time, and that going without the med.s completely, at this stage, is very painful

    I use the word painful advisedly. If you (as someone suffering from clinical depression) are trying to communicate with a person who has never experienced depression, and which they may find very difficult to understand, they may be able to identify with the concept of pain, as most people do have personal experience of pain, physical or otherwise.  

    It may be a way of giving them a handle, so that they can at least try to empathise with you.  I am assuming here that you mom doesn't suffer from depression, but the theory applies to anyone that you might need to talk to about it.

    Both depression, and the withdrawal symptoms when stopping the med.s are painful - it is just not a word that we (as in 'people with depression') often tend to use to describe what we are suffering. 

    In the meantime, perhaps try taking paracetamol for the headaches (paracetamol is called acetaminophen in the USA, where I guess you live - I live in the UK), and make sure that you are drinking plenty of clear fluids, as it is so easy to forget when preoccupied with other things, particularly when depressed.  Some of your symptoms may well be due to mild dehydration, and that is easy to prevent.

    I hope that you feel heaps better soon - and that in a few weeks you are settled on your new med.s., if that is what you have decided to do, and feel able to get on with life and to enjoy yourself again.

    Very best wishes

    M xxx


  • Posted

    Hello Elizav

    Sorry about the smiley face in the wrong place - it was meant to be a closed bracket, but somehow my computer made it an emoticon!

    Best wishes

    M x


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