Reducing Venlafaxine

Posted , 3 users are following.

Hi im on my 12th day of having reduced my venlafaxine (immediate release) from 112.5mg to 75mg due to not feeling anything/numb all the time.

I am experiencing quite low mood coupled with no motivation to do anything (apart from what needs done at home-washing, ironing, cleaning etc) and looking after 2 small girls, also lots of hot flushes.

Is this normal when reducing venlafaxine at this level or is it depression returning within me?

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks, Angela

0 likes, 9 replies

Report / Delete

9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Angela i am feeling the same with all the symtoms its two weeks for me . And i am due to go down again this week . Think we just have to go throu this to come off them . I know its not a good feeling . But try to carry on sweet and hopefully we will get there . Take care x
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi kaz thanks for replying. Are you on 75mg at the minute and going to drop again? Im going to complete a month at 75mg and if my mood hasnt lifted by then i dont think im going to drop any further. Im so scared of my mood staying like this or getting worse! Take care, x

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Kaz and Angela, 

      Having gone off ven and suffered the consequences of protracted withdrawal, I've can't resist doing a little educating here!

      Yes, those are withdrawal effects, not the original reason you went on treatment.  You are suffering these effects, Angela, because you are dropping the dose too quickly. Most of the time this is because the doctor told you to do it this way, but the doctors have no clue about how to get people off these drugs!  Their tapers are way too fast.

      Secondly, NO, you do not go ahead with a scheduled taper when you are having withdrawal symptoms!  No no no!!!

      First, this drug causes your nervous system to change; it adapts to the action of the drug to regain balance (there is no imbalance that these drugs are treating, a myth).  These physical changes are still there when you reduce the drug, causing imbalance again which causes the withdrawal symptoms.  If you add another dosage cut on top of this imbalance, you are setting yourself up for even worse withdrawal, with your nervous system in total upheaval.  It takes time for the nervous system to remodel in response to the dosage cuts.

      Going faster does not mean getting withdrawal over with faster, because it is not about getting the drug out the system; the changes remain even when there is no trace of the drug left. 

      When coming off with the method you are using, withdrawal symptoms occur in windows (of feeling better) and waves (of feeling worse), repeating over and over.  Most are hit with a bad wave about 6 to 8 months out, and that is when the doctor says you have relapsed and need to be on the meds.  

      The more sane and successful approach to coming off these drugs is to use a 10% withdrawal method.  There is a link for it in this thread:

      It may be too slow in your mind, and slower than your doctor recommends, but it is a harm reduction method that keeps you comfortable and functioning as you come off and lessens the severity of withdrawal syndrome when you come off.  The alternative is to go too fast and fail, going back on the drug when the syndrome gets too difficult to handle.

      These drugs are incredibly powerful and change the brain, and it is difficult to come off of them because of the dependency, not because you need them because of your "illness."  There is no disease process identified that these drugs treat, and believe me, Big Pharma has spend many dollars trying to find it!  But that doesn't seem to stop doctors and the advertisements from perpetuating the myth, because it makes patients compliant about taking the drugs.

      Unfortunately for me, I went through10 months of protracted withdrawal that wasn't recognized as such by any of my doctors, and I ended up back on Effexor.  It was afterwards that I began to learn the truth, and I am now tapering off of Ven.  I am at 73% of the minimum effective dose 37.5 mg and feeling better than I have in the 12 years I took it!  It will be a slow process coming off, but that beats the alternative of staying on for life!

      So, I wish you both success in coming off ven.  It is a true challenge.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I forgot to ask, Angela, are you on the extended release capsule with the little beads inside, or a tablet?  You may need to updose and go slower.  10% of 112.5 is removing 11.2 mg.  Read the thread I mentioned.  The website it came from has detailed information about how to taper Ven, from making your own liquid version if you have tablets, removing beads if you have the extended release version, etc.  You can tell your doctor that you are obviously quite sensitive to the bigger cuts and would like to use the 10% method.  No doctor should argue against going more conservatively.  Again, this is a harm reduction approach.

    And I know you are likely feeling impatient because of the side effects you mentioned, but believe you are sensitive and making the bigger cuts is NOT adviseable.  You will likely start to feel benefits from the cuts as you go.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Betsy, thanks for your reply. I am on the tablets, i have read the thread you mentioned and it totally makes sense to reduce in this manner though raises a couple of questions. They say to hold at a cut dose for 4 wks then if stable to cut again, BUT also say it can take several weeks for withdrawal symptoms to show, so you could do a cut thinking you are fine when the symptoms havent actually manifested themselves yet??? I havent found the part yet about making ur tablets soluble to enable 10% cuts, as far as i know it doesnt come in liquid form.

      Also my other concern is this process would take a very very long time to complete which is fine apart from the fact that during the whole process you could remain feeling low, hot flushes etc... which i think would be extremely hard to bear!!

      With cutting by 10% yourself how have you found the withdrawal effects?

      Hope to hear from you again with any thoughts on this.


      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      HI Angela, you have very good questions . Generally speaking, withdrawal from cuts should emerge within that four week period.  Wtih ven, I have found that if I am going to feel anything it usually happens within the first week after the cut.  Your first month should give you an idea of what to expect.  You should journal everything you do and feel, dates the cuts were made by how much, what you are feeling each day, etc. so that you can identify any patterns. 

      Next, the 10% cuts should not cause such big symptoms as to make you uncomfortable and dysfunctional.  If you find that 10% was too much, you can updose (either go back to the last dose or go back by half), wait until you feel stable and then try a smaller cut. 

      I'm tapering Remeron more than Ven right now, and my pattern is that symptoms would come up from day 5-10 when I did 10% cuts, and they were a little strong for me (anxiety), so I went to 5% every two weeks, and that produced virtually no WD.

      I was tapering ven by 10% earlier on but then learned that you shouldn't taper two meds by 10% at the same time, so focused on mirt since it caused me to gain weight and I hadn't been on it very long.  I wasn't really having any trouble at all, other than a numb sensation in my lips and tongues for awhile but I wasn't sure which drug was causing it.  I think the symptoms I have felt from ven are very mild pings of anxiety that go as quick as they come, and a mild burning skin sensation on my abdomen and upper arms that also is very tolerable and transient.

      This method is very much about keeping you comfortable and functional, so it is very conservative.  And you are encouraged to listen to your body, and hold at a dosage if you feel you need to.  People have had very good results doing holds rather than constantly reducing, because it gives your CNS a chance to get caught up and settle out; otherwise, continuous cuts may catch up to you. 

      I'll also caution you that while tapering, your nervous system is vulnerable, and stress can trigger wd symptoms. I have had that happen.  But usually, the wave passes very quickly and I'm on my way again.  

      I have been very comfortable during my taper.  I am now at about 27.5 mg ven (down 27% from starting at 37.5 mg) and 14.3 mg mirtazapine(down 62%).

      I'll send you the links for making a liquid

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Betsy, yeah i am keeping a daily diary of how im feeling physically and mentally, i wont be making any further cuts until i have evened out at 75mg (dear knows when that will happen?!!). When i saw my doctor about coming off ven she didnt seem at all concerned about it, i told her what i had learnt from the internet and she said dont believe what you are reading, she wouldnt take on board at all what i was saying!!

      Its the low mood/mood swings and hot flushes that are getting to me. Unfortunately for me i had bloods done recently that came back 'suggests menopause' so it very much muddies the waters for me-withdrawal or menopause?, i honestly dont know!!

      You are doing very well with your tapers on both meds you must be really pleased, are you hoping to stay anti depressant free? I read an article last night by Dr Peter Breggin were he's explaining

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Oops didnt mean to send yet!! I watched a video were he is explaining that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain (as you had mentioned), its the drugs we take that cause an imbalance, i was quite taken aback as id always believed that, very interesting!

      Im rambling on now, thanks for reading and responding.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I have read Breggin, too.  You are getting educated, and that's the main thing, that you can make informed decisions in the future, and if that includes meds that is fine.

      I do want to be free of antidepressants.  I've finally done work and feel I have skills I didn't have to deal with dysfunctional thinking before meds.  I never had therapy that even identified thoughts as the source of it all.  I want to know who I am, all these years later, drug free.

      I had been on the pill all my adult life, and my mom went through menopause around 42 and my sister was done by 50, so that was another thing that confused the issue for me; I went off the pill thinking I had to be in menopause.  So, when I got hit with the severe sweats and mental fog in the early months of WD, I thought it must be menopause.  Perhaps it just added to the Perfect Storm!  I did go through hormonal testing an was definitely zero'd out on the hormones, so started bio-identical hormone replacement therapy at about 6 months out, but it did nothing to lift my mood or stop the severe sweats.  By then my resting heart rate was 99 and my blood pressure had also increased, and I had heart palps.  Hormones did nothing for all of that.  it was only after reinstating the Effexor that all the physical symptoms resolved and the mood came up. 

      I may have mentioned it took about an hour after that first dose back to have a reversal of my low mood!  

      No surprise on your doctor's attitude. Very common.  They hate that we have the internet to bring question to their decisions for us.  At least you are learning.  Most of us are going it alone as far as our docs are concerned, just use them to get the scripts filled.  If you present a complaint about mood, they automatically want to prescribe.  That's what they do.

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums 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 forums 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.

newnav-down newnav-up