Really struggling with life & Venlafaxine not helping anymore

Posted , 5 users are following.

I've just found this forum and am posting because I am possibly on the verge of tapering off Venlafaxine so that I can be prescribed another anti-depressant. I have suffered with bouts of depression for over 30 years and have been on Venlafaxine for 16 years, current dosage is 262.5mg. It seems that it is not helping my moods & depression much anymore and my GP has suggested trying another SSRI. But having done a lot of googling about withdrawing from Venlafaxine I am rather scared of all the things I have read about the horrible symptoms. I live alone and don't really have anybody who would be there to support me whilst I am withdrawing. My supposed best friend doesn't understand depression and all it entails and recently she has abandoned me because she can't understand (or even try to) the suffering I have been going through this year with a particular crisis in my personal life. So as well as being scared of the way I may feel if I begin withdrawing, I also am scared because there will be nobody to be there for me if I need help, support or even just a friendly voice and shoulder to lean on.

i saw my GP last week and agreed that Venlafaxine is a nasty drug to come off and she wants to involve the Community Mental Health team as she feels they have more experience of dealing with drug withdrawals. Vicious circle - I want to start feeling better and a new medication 'may' help, but am I strong and well enough to go through withdrawal?

I am struggling to cope from day to day; one day I am ok and the next I can get tearful for no apparent reason and sink back into the blak hole of depression. I am seeing a counsellor once a week but other than that I have nobody to talk to and support me during these difficult times and sometimes I do feel that I would be better off dead.


0 likes, 16 replies

16 Replies

  • Posted

    Oh dear. I really feel for you. I have also been on Ven for 15 years. I am currently withdrawing from 150mg. On 75 at the moment. Next week it'll be 37.5. The withdrawal process has been fine. Like you I was dreading it. Had the odd headache and brain zaps but nothing uncomfortable. I would give it a go. Just go slowly. At least then you can consider another antidepressant that may work better for you. I really hope you succeed. It's a hard decision but I feel you would be better coming off this medication. Best of luck. X
  • Posted

    Hi I was on it for 20 years at 225mg and was severely depressed my doctor at the time wouldn't consider changing medication, finally she retired and I got a new doctor who I can say has been great because he was very open to trying other meds. I am now down to 75mg and will b on 37.5 tomorrow, I two was very worried about the withdrawals, I will say it was worse at the beginning mainly just feeling unwell flu symptoms headaches and brain zaps which are a bit weird but tbh I wish I did it years ago I no longer feel hungover in the morning and I'm not sure yet if il stay off or try another because I do have major depressive disorder anxiety and BPD but I'm also not so sure If medication is the answer. I am lucky as not working so the days I was v unwell I could just sleep, I don't hav support and if I cam do it anyone can. Getting down I've felt a massive difference. Like I said in the beginning I found the first couple of times I dropped doses that I felt it more and that was dropping 37.5 every month, I've actually dropped quicker towards the end and feel my head clearing. I have read and truly believe that in the beginning they worked great but should have been changed and actually made me so much worse I thought it was the depression but I believe the tablets were doing the opposite to wot they should be and I've read that that happens. Anyway sorry to go on but good luck u can do it it is the best decision I made I feel like I'm coming out of a coma! Let me no how it goes u can message me as I totally understand
  • Posted

    Hi there I have been on venlafaxine for six years and last year I decieded to try to come off them as I was feeling very distant from everything and I felt they were not helping me anymore I came down from 150 to 75 within a month with no side effects and my thought was to reduce them altogether but at Christmas I lost my lovely mum at first I felt completely numb and couldn't seen to accept she was gone and that continued until I had a knee replacement in April and after being indoors for a few weeks the depression came back in full force and I couldn't cope with anything I asked my doctor to increase back to 150 for a short time but that made no difference and last month I went back and he referred me for counselling which I am having now and upped the dose another 37.5 these I have been taking for one month and have made no difference whatsoever I am tearful unfeeling and indifferent to everything I'm a nightmare to live with and goodness knows how my husband copes with me, but it does not feel like they are working at all has anyone else had these problems with venlafaxine and is there any other medication that might be better I just feel what's the point in going on I seem to have no motivation at all. Thanks for listening and any advice would be gratefully accepted


    • Posted

      I think you need your medication changing. Maybe a different anti dep all together. The Ven is obviously not working for you, however your current dose can still be increased as your not on the max dose.

      I wish you all the best. Please see your GP ASAP. Don't hold out. You need it sorting xxx

    • Posted

      Hi Elaine thanks for your advice I am seeing my doctor tomorrow and will speak to him about changing the medication I have been on the extra dose for one month and I don't feel any better do you think we may become used to some medication and they no longer work for us, I did ask my doctor this question and he said this never happens, but I'm not sure.


    • Posted

      Yes I think everyone reacts differently. I also feel our bodies become used. It's like pain relief. If you take a certain dosage regular, your body becomes immune in time. You would need to increase for the same effectiveness or add another analgesic. Good luck at the docs x
  • Posted

    I reduced very slowly over a period of years from 375mg, but I did find that I didn't have any real withdrawal effects until I removed the final 37.5mg tablet. From these forums some people talk about taking something like prozac for a week or two to help at the very end because that has a very long half life. If you are changing to something else you might not have to go completely without an anti-depressant which may prevent the worst of the symptoms.

    For me after coming off venlafaxine the depression came back and I am back on the same drug, but for me it is the only thing that I've tried that works. It worked so well for so long (19.5 years) that we all wondered if I still needed it. Turns out I do, but I don't have a problem with that.

    Will be thinking about you - can your gp refer you to a consultant to help?


  • Posted

    Thank you everyone for your replies, I will take comfort from your words. I would also like to wish you all good luck with your current struggles - and Sue34151 I am sorry for the loss of your mum, I lost mine eight and a half years ago and struggled for a long time to accept and come to terms with it. 

    My GP said there was about a 12 week wait to see somebody at the Community Mental Health Team but she would make an urgent referral. So I don't really know how much of a wait I will have to see somebody to start the Venlafaxine tapering. I'll keep in touch to let you know how things are going.

    Good luck to you all 


  • Posted

    Been on venlafaxine for 3 days and having night sweats, insomnia, shivering and anxiety through the roof. Please tell me these are side effects from starting and will wear off. I'm scared.
    • Posted

      Yes they are side effects from starting. You might start to feel the benefits of the drug about a week after starting if you are lucky.
    • Posted

      I really hope so taking with mirtazapine that been on for nearly 3 mths with no effect but together supposed to work wonders. Have taken diazepam this morning to help me. 3 mths ago I was a happy non medicated fully functioning person and now I am a wreck!!
    • Posted

      Hi. Yes it can take up to 3 weeks for the meds to kick in. The side effects will ware off. They are all the typical ones that you are describing. Hang on in there. It does and will get better 👍😊👍😊
    • Posted

      Thank you so much for the reassurance Elaine. 3 weeks is doable as already done 3 mths!! Just knowing that there's light at end of tunnel helps xx
    • Posted

      I hope your side effects don't last too long & also hope you do find that taking Venlafaxine will be effective for you.

      The strange thing for me is that although I've been on Venlafaxine for 16 years, I don't remember having any side effects when I started. I was previously on Seroxat but suffered bad night sweats.

  • Posted

    I really feel for you because I am feeling very much the same as I feel venlafaxine is not working for me anymore either and I'm not sure if I will be strong enough to wait until another medication starts to work, when I first started taking antidepressants I thought it would only be for a short time but after so many years I'm still struggling with depression and anxiety I feel I am shutting everyone out I know the loss of my mum has effected me because I miss her so much and the last two years of her life she was so unhappy she suffered with COPD for fifteen years but became so unwell she lost her mobility and became a different person and I can't seem to remember her in happy times only in sadness I'm sorry to hear you have lost your mum also life seems so hard at the moment but I send my best wishes to you and hope the the mental health team get in touch with you soon and support you coming off  Venlafaxine. When I dropped my dosage last year my doctor prescribed me 75mg and I started replacing the 150mg every few days I didn't notice the reduction at all no nasty side effects but everyone is different good luck.


    • Posted

      I feel for you too Sue, both for how you're feeling with the constant depression and also regarding the loss of your mum. My mum was also very unhappy in the last year or so of her life but she never sought help for her depression, until the psychiatric team got involved a couple of weeks before she died - they sectioned her because she wouldn't voluntarily take anti-depressants (she was recovering from a blood clot in her leg, but poor treatment in hospital caused the leg to get infected and physically & mentally she never recovered. I felt both grief and anger when she died, it shouldn't have happened, but eventually I tried to console myself with the thought that she was at peace & free of the pain & suffering she had been going through. Maybe you should try to think of your mum in the same way, as she had been ill for a long time and was suffering.

      Like you I also didn't think that I would be on anti-depressants for so long - I started taking Prozac in 1992 when I had my first really bad depressive episode. Eventually, with the help of a friend (who walked out of my life in 1993 once I had started to recover & I've never seen or heard from him since), my mum and a good GP I began to slowly get better. But although I went for years without relapsing, I have had a lot of very bad depressions & mood swings over the last 12 or so years & feel that I will never be totally free of the sadness, anxiety & suffering that is depression & will always need to be on medication.

      I wish you well in your fight against this horrible illness, and hope that you do find some light at the end of your tunnel. Good luck Sue


Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the community to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the community are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the community is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.