Reducing Venlafaxine dose from 225mg to 75mg

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Hi, I have slowly been reducing my dose down after advice from the GP. I've taken Venlafaxine for about 7 years and felt that I was in a really good place. I was happy in myself, at work and home, increased my exercise and had complete control. Since Christmas I have managed to gradually get my dose down from 225mg to 75mg but in the last few weeks I have found it really hard to be motivated. I am always tired, struggle to leave the house unless absolutely necessary and haven't done any housework in this time. I don't really feel like I have any emotions just numb. I even had thoughts of harming myself again sad So question is; Do I keep going at 75mg and see if I can get through the negativity or do I increase my dose again to 112.75mg which was safer for me?

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    So, if you were doing well on your previous dose why did you decrease it? Was it medical advice? 

    I had to start decreasing my dose because after almost 10 years wasn’t working at all. But I also experience discontinuation symptoms. Severe enough for my doctor to put me back on it and decrease it at an even slower pace and added Prozac on a low 10mg dose to cushion the symptoms. Prozac is easier to stop as doesn’t cause those side effects at all. 

    From my experience, this is a very difficult drug to get of because of the discontinuation syndrome which is very unpleasant. 

    If you have the opportunity please see a psychiatrist. They do know much better than just a family doctor.

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    • Posted

      My GP gave me a regime to follow over a 2 month timeframe in order to come off it completely which I wasn't expecting as I just wanted to slowly come off. I spoke to a pharmacist and he agreed that it was doable with willpower. Ive got to the point where I am down to 75 and just feel shocking. Admittedly I have taken it upon myself to up my dose to 112.5mg to see if it takes the edge off but really I have no idea what I'm doing and whether it's the right thing.

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    • Posted

      I suggest you see a psychiatrist. Pharmacist or general practitioners do know some things but the biggest difference I’ve felt has been following directions from a psychiatrist. I didn’t think I needed it but it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’ve also learned so much more about the medications I was taken and how they were affecting me. 
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  • Posted

    Hi

    Just one question: what do you mean by 'discontinuation symptoms' and which ones did you notice? Are they similar to the symptoms of depression themselves - like lack of motivation?

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    • Posted

      My doctor explained that discontinuation syndrome are the symptoms experienced when leaving some of the SSRI drugs such as effexor/Venlafaxine or lexapro for example. These include feeling disoriented, light headed, dizzy, agitated, possible exacerbated anxiety, panic attacks, nerve pain, or return of symptoms of depression. It has taken me almost 8 months to very slowly lower my dose from 150mg to 37.5 mg. My doctor said next step would be stopping it but he wanted the Prozac to be in my system first as last time I tried to stop it I had a severe panic attack.

      Some of the SSRI that don’t carry the risk of discontinuation symptoms are Wellbutrin and Prozac. I didn’t know this before. And the reason he gave me for this is that Venlafaxine leaves your system very quickly so when you stop your brain “feels” it. On the othe hand drugs like Prozac or Wellbutrin leave your system at a lower rate therefore not causing that shock. He also explained it was not an addiction to the medication but just the speed at which it leaves your system. 

      If you google Venlafaxine discontinuation symptoms you’ll find a more extensive list of possible symptoms. The ones I mentioned are the ones I experienced. I wish I had known this when I first started taking it about 10 years ago. 

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  • Posted

    Im reducing too from ven. Down 2 37.5. How long are you on a dose before you cut it again?? In my experience you should be symptom free for few months and then reduce. If you feel. Bad i personally would go back up. Its not worth suffering or speK asap to your doc.
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    • Posted

      That’s what my doctor said but we both agreed also this is not the right medication for me. I think there is a lower dose which is NOT extended release and you would transition into that one for a few more weeks before stopping completely as the lowest extended release dose is the 37.5mg

      I felt the symptoms very strongly and they were very unpleasant sad

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  • Posted

    I have been reducing from 112mg’s to 75 for the past 10 days and it hasnt been too bad. I have been trying to stay busy and getting lots of exercise as well. I have also been eating a proper diet. My doctor and pharmacist both say that you should feel a little unpleasant for 2 weeks. I also do accupuncture and meditate which is a real big help. Next week, early April, I plan on going down to 37.5 mg’s. I will stay there for an extended period of time if I have to. I plan on being totally off this by the time June hits!!!!  Good luck to all!!!! 
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  • Posted

    Hi. My experience with discontinuing Effexor is different.  I have only been on it for four months.  Today was the last day of my reduction from 150 to 112.5.  Tomorrow I am down to 75 once a day.  I have felt really good.  I took others advice and I am drinking a lot of water, exercising and keeping myself busy with work, chores, etc.  

    I would highly recommend going to a psychopharmacologist in your area. A psychiatrist who specializes in meds.

    Sending good thoughts your way...Heather

     

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    • Posted

      Hey Hebbl. Keep up the good work. I’m on day 10(i think). Lol of reducing from 112 to 75. I also exercise a lot and drink plenty of water. I also go to an accupuncturist and I meditate. Helps me a lot. I may try going down to 37.5 next week on my doctor’s advice. We’ll see. If I feel crappy I’ll stay on 75 for a few more weeks. Hopefully i’ll be off by June. 
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    • Posted

      I live in New Zealand and work with people with mental health issues (and colleagues as well, he,he). The experience I had myself and what I saw happening to others when asking psychiatrists is rather discouraging. That does not mean there are some  good ones around but I did not meet them yet. I don't think anybody knows what they are doing - it's rather try and error and try again... while I have a lot of admiration for the achievments in psychiatry, I do also believe that the total knowledge of how the brain functions is minimal. It's still mostly a mystery - I always wonder what is really going on and how is it all connected up there to create all sorts of side-effects. It's a bit like playing with fire. I worked with two people who have been medicated so much and so long, they are actually beyond any recovery... I rather read here and see how it is going...with lots of water, exercise and 'emotional suppor' I believe I will get fully off venlafaxine. My goal is to be and live a good live free from medication before 2020.

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your response!

    Yes, I have been very 'ignorant' or naive when I started taking venlafaxine. Just heard from two people how good it worked for them and spontaneously (I should rather say 'impulsively'wink thought I should give it a try after three or four other medications I had tried out over 10 years did not work out as the effect lasted only for a couple of weeks. If I had known what I read in this forum now, I would not have started it!

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  • Posted

    Hi nic1305 yes it is very normal to feel tired on Venlafaxine. I was the same on 150mg and then I I repeated down to 75mg still tired, then I asked if I could go onto the lowest dose 37.5mg still tired and oversleep in the morning till 1:30pm' ish. I to have had enough of it despite how much I like my sleep, but there's sleep & then there's sleep. 

    I think that the only way the tiredness will ever go is when we are of off this dreadful tablet. 

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