Starting venoflaxine....confused !!!!

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Hi all

I am new to the venoflaxine forum as I have been on the citalopram forum for 6 months.

I am due to start venoflaxine tomorrow at 37. 5mg and over a few weeks move up to 150mg. Having read posts on here I am left feeling very confused. Most of the posts are negative.....not all.....or are about withdrawal. I have done a lot of research and am aware this drug has a very bad withdrawal but if it works then that is a small price to pay. I am concerned about possible side effects and if they will outweigh the benefits.

I have severe post natal depression and anxiety. I am on mirtazapine 45mg and diazepam and am coming off citalopram to go on ven as it made me worse.

On the cit forum there are a lot of posts about starting up not so much here. Is that because there are less start up problems or less people on ven ?

Some have mentioned through therapy they have realised the meds are part of the problem. I ask them if they needed the meds to get to a place to see that.

I have been very I'll and am really hoping ven will help as I know other woman it has helped and they have reduced with no problems.

This forum seems very negative towards ven. Any ideas why this is ?

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29 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi I have been on ven over a month now and I am doing good ..I had terrible side effects on cit but haven't on ven.i feel full of life when I've took one so just stick to a morning dose of 37.5mg which seems to be keeping me steady (doc prescribed 75) I'm finding I don't need any more ..good luck on your journey xxx

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    • Posted

      I'm new to it too. So far at 75mg. People aren't likely to post success on the forums. They're all smiling and have moved on. I'm doing's been an OK journey. I started with sertraline and that didn't agree with me. There is positive feedback out there. Some great people even post on you tube...sharing their diaries. You need anything..message many great folks here waiting to help you. Good luck. Xx

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  • Posted

    My thoughts are similar to kerrym, I've struggled withdrawal from 225mg down to 37.5mg. I wanted to come off Ven due to side effects mostly profuse sweating. I wanted to try something else. I had 2 or 3 occasions of intense withdrawal that nearly broke me however I'm now to down to half a 37.5mg tablet daily. My anxiety is terrible so I'm sticking with this dose for now until I see my Pysch, we were going to try trazadone but I think I'll stick with Ven. It's diffic isn't it. It's hard to make descicions when we're poorly. I perhaps need to put it up a bit again. I spent all day yesterday terrified of everything and having a major meltdown. It's hard to know what is withdrawal and what is the Depression and anxiety Hopefully someone else here may have some thoughts to share. Good luck all. Xx

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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah,  I'm on 150mg Venlaflaxine and am doing fine with no side effects. But to be honest I have only just changed to slow release - about three weeks ago. Before that I was on instant release for eight months and it was awful. It didn't work on depression, made my anxiety worse and I felt horrible. I had great trouble getting a doctor to prescribe sloe release because they are expensive. but they work. I'm getting my life back. Previously I was on Venlaflaxine for 12 years and did fine on it. Give it a go and good luck. I hope you have slow release


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  • Posted

    Ven can have some notable start-up side effects. If it does it usually means it is working. Usual ones are nausea, headaches and sleep disturbances. All fleeting (5-14 days). It is a good medication. I have taken it for GAD escalated to psychosis post-partum. It took about 6 weeks for the worst of my issues to ease up. Then I was steadily but gradually improving over the next 2 years. 2 more years until all my initial symptoms totally withdrew. 2 years maintenance (150mg xr) and 2 years tapering off. Best of luck. Let us know how it goes!
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    • Posted

      Thanks to everyone for replying.

      Yes it is so hard to make decisions when you are I'll. What is even harder is that I feel ok some today but yesterday I could not stop crying or be around my baby.

      I have been prescribed slow release.

      I would like to recover on as small a dose as possible. On cit they put me right up to 40mg over 6 months and I have never felt so I'll.

      I don t expect miracles but to be able to sleep through and not be scarex to go out and to stop isolating would be nice.

      I am really worried about sexual distinction as my relationship has taken a battering and our sex life is not great anyway.....having previously been very good. I would really like to improve that as it means a lot to my partner....and me. How common is it?

      In the long run.....if this works I would like to come off mirtazapine and diazepam whilst on ven and then when I am ready taper off the ven.

      I am hoping that the lack of start up posts is due to the success rate. On cit forum it was co stant start up posts. I have tapered down fast on the cit with little problems....actually feel better.

      Is increased anxiety a start up side effect of ven as it is with cit ?

      Thanks again

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    • Posted

      Increased anxiety is a common start-up issue. Ven start-up can actually be quite unpleasant. But as you have already been on notable doses of cit it will be difficult to know which is ven adjustment and which is cit withdrawal. Just as well. Either way, if ven works you will get steadily better after the initial 2 week adjustment disturbances and in 4-6 weeks you should be in a better position to judge.

      Ven dampens libido in a notable number of individuals, however it may be worth noting that once it starts to actually balance out and you start regaining composure/control of your responses (anxiety and depression begin to be managed) your capacity/desire should improve.

      The most notable initial sexual issue is inability or difficulty to orgasm. If that's where it goes, you may be able to compensate by engaging in intimate pleasures without focusing on climax, for a while. Keep the pressure off yourself for a while.

      I have been on 75mg for 4 years but it only helped 'manage' my symptoms until a certain point. 150 mg is when the 'magic' started. smile

      Everyone is different.

      Do not read too much into it all and give it a chance. Trust your doctor and trust you ar eon good medication.

      Do not forget that it takes a while to get to a point where you are well. It is worth the time, effort and patience.

      Are you in any other therapy in parallel? CBT etc?

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply.

      I have recently had 6 mths of therapy but am not in any currently but hope to get some cbt soon.

      I have not told my partner about the sexual distinction side effect as he is quite anti meds and that would really upset him.

      Do you know how many woman lose their ability to it the majority ? I don t mind decreased libido so much as I don t have one now so if my mood improves it may end up equal. Does list orgasm come back after initial start up ?

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    • Posted

      Normal orgasm comes back. Libido tends to be a bit dulled especially at first. Not sure how many women are affected but i am sure that when it does happen it all gets better as your condition improves.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply.

      Day 2 on 37.5 mg. No obvious side effects yet. Still getting usual anxiety symptoms.

      I hope the cit withdrawal is not too bad when it hits. I am getting headaches but that predates the ven. Now I am getting paranoid that as I am not getting side effects it is not going to work. When I went on cit I was fine till 7 weeks in then is was like it was toxic to me.

      Making the decision to go on ven was so hard for me after my experience with cit.

      My psychiatrist wants me to go to 75 after a week. Does this seem like a good idea to you or should I stay on 37. 5 for longer ?

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    • Posted

      75mg is fine after a week in your case, with your background and your previous cit experience and dosage. You will begin to adjust this week, then once on 75 you will begin to slowly see some activity. The most notable start-up issues usually start after the first 3-5 days of initiating ven and then take 5-14 days to ease up. I have known plenty of people who never had notable start-up issues until they hit a higher dosage (until the brain is provoked to stop exaggerating its responses to stress).

      If it is not too much too ask, can you describe the steps taken to get you to 40mg of cit? How were the increases spaced? At which point was mitraz. introduced? What about diazepam? How long were you on 40mg before the doctor decided to pull you off? You say that 7 weeks in it was like it was toxcic to you. This was teh final dosage of 40mg? can you please elaborate?

      I am trying to understand how much of your bad experience was dosage/speed of increase related and how much time was offered to the brain to quit overreacting.

      I do think ven is superior to cit from what i have seen in others with similar issues. But i am a little biased because ven was really good for me and many people i have met in therapy and after therapy. Ultimately, everyone is different and your own psychology and body chemistry will determine your response. Having said that, these medicines really need to be given time. Further, upping dosage after a certain level has to be done carefully. And if a certain dose causes reactions then the idea is to go down to the last comfortable dose and give it a month or so.

      And how long ago have you given birth? I am assuming you had no prior history of depressive or anxiety disorders?


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    • Posted

      as for your anxiety symptoms - those will be somewhat persistant for a while until your chemistry balances out a little. Hang in there and try not to read too much into them. What will happen soon enough is that medication will only let it reach a certain level and make it impossible to escalate to full-blown crises. From that point you will be gaining some confidence and your mind will start dealing with it. This is what the drug is there for: to provide balance so that you can unwind and regroup and then work it all out yourself. The drug doesn't fix you - it gives you the conditions favourable to you fixing yourself. I hope this helps you understand that you are not at the drug's mercy smile it is there to help you, not scare you more or make things more difficult smile x

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    • Posted


      I did not have a good day yesterday and have woken up feeling very anxious today.

      I do have a history of anxiety prior to birth.....not so much depression. I was on diazapam until I started to try to concieve and med free when I feel pregnant. I became more anxious than normal immediately I feel pregnant. At 7 weeks they trued serequel.....I got worse. After the 1st trimester they put me on diazepam then at 22 weeks 15mg of mirt. After I had my son I was better than expected but still very anxious. 5 weeks after having him I went to 30mg of mirt then about 3 months later to 45mg of mirt. I am not sure how much it helps.

      As I was still getting severe bouts of anxiety I had cit added by my psychiatrist. I started on 17th july on 10mg for a week. Then is went like this

      20mg for 1 week

      30mg for 6 was 5 weeks I to this I started to feel very unwell. I had been doing well up until then. Doctor said to up it.

      40mg for 4 this time I was very anxious tingling all over. Having to take more diazepam. Psych said to drop.

      30mg for 4 weeks......still felt unwell.....dizzy headaches nausea and anxious. With the odd ok day.

      20mg for 4 weeks.....felt even worse. Suicidal at times.....had to go to a and e and was put under the crisis team

      Saw psychiatrist was it was decided I would move to ven. So went to 10mg for 2 weeks then started ven at 37.5mg 3 days ago.

      I think I am withdrawing from the cit. Don t think I am having startup effects from the ven. Feel very panicky this morning and my mood is low.

      Really scared this won t work.

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    • Posted

      You were upped properly so there is no issue there.

      In your case I would say you need to brave it until you get to the first therapeutic dose cushion which is 75mg next week from what i gather.

      Trust your doctor - I was sure you were improperly brought up to 40mg and then rapidly brought down but, no...the method was regular as you have described. They are working to find the winning combo. Unfortunately this sometimes necessitates trial and error.

      There is one more is your diazepam being administered. You have been on it for a while. Are we talking steady daily doses? How much and how are they spaced?

      Unfortunately the only way you will know is if you manage to keep this up until you reach a better concentration of venlafaxine at therapeutic doses. Minimum is 75mg. Your psychiatrist will likely speed this part up (you are due to start 75 next week) whatever your reaction s/he likely will quickly proceed to 150mg (to test your response to SNRI effect that comes to force at 150mg - at 75mg it acts as a SSRI like cit). The only way to know is if they try. Just keep an eye on any upheavals and in case of any major concerns call the doctor or go to A&E.

      Have they run blood tests to check your iron and thyroid function? Is your digestion ok generally? Apetite? Anything you may consider noteworthy? Brainstorming to make sure all bases are covered.

      Oh and have you breastfed at all? Have you got any residual milk? 

      I am sure you are feeling very apprehensive to say the least. And it is easy to feel like you will never see the end of it. But anxiety disorder is not only manageable but also fully treatable. It just requires a lot of patience most of the time. I do wish you to feel much better very soon.

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    • Posted

      I take 10mg of diazepam daily in the evening but it does little to help.

      My digestion is fine.

      I am currently very tearful and struggling to cope with anything. Thankfully my husband is taking care of our son.

      Do you think the cit withdrawal is contributing to me feeling so crap ?

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    • Posted

      What i think probably won't change how apprehensive you feel right now.

      I think it is a combo of your chemistry being a little haywire (recent changes and yes cit withdrawal as well as ven startup) and terrible experience that keeps your brain in a state of panic that medication will make you sicker.

      No, diazepam won't be doing much the way you are advised to take it and after so long of taking it the way you have. But keep at it as it is now to not mess with chemistry more.

      They did everything else more or less by the book.

      Whatever the case, the only way to get to the bottom of it is to brave it until they get you to at least 75. Your background is now a little sensitive and it is important that you cooperate with the doctor. They are in a difficult position as well, because ideally they would want you on one or two agents only, but you are on mirt and diazepam, overreacted to cit and they had to drop it to attempt ven... and it complicates things a little to get a clear picture.

      I think you are probably more affected by the anxiety over taking medication right now than you are actually suffering from withdrawal. Remember that you are safe, because you know that if anything feels off you need to reach out immediately.

      It is great that your husband is helping with the baby. I think you mentioned he is against medication as it is. I hope this is not making it harder for you in terms of feeling insecure abbout your therapy though. You are right to try therapy. I am just sorry about your bad experience so far.


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    • Posted

      hi sarah i have just  gone cold turkey after being on velafaxin 150mg for about 5 yrs, i was on cita before that. I found a cycle occured of 1 take meds, this would take the edge off the feelings, then plateau, get the bad feelings then see doc increase meds go back to point 1, i was on instant release then changed to modified release (UK based dont know where you are) Libido took a big hit, weight gain, sweating, tiredness was all part of it but while you wont have this problem the old boy didnt stand up for action at all, 

      what i also found was that the problems of the depression still cycled, zoning out, deep thoughts including harm, zombie feeling not interested etc etc until i started private counselling the NHS counselling is ridiculously over stressed two phone consulations and that was it waiting for referral to CBT never happened despite being in tears over phone. So the point for me is that the meds alone masks problems but they still there and still high. so i decided to stop the meds after discussing with counsellor, DR said it was a small dose so rather reduce he said just stop ( This is prior to reading ANY ADVICE from this forum do not do it !!! My GP no help)

      talk to GP about an end plan, yes they are a start, but i got the feeling treat, medicate, forget abt, is the plan on these.

      Discuss a plan in total, 1 meds short term, 2counselling is an equal partner then discuss removal of meds (After adequate 2)

      Withdrawal cold turkey has took 10 days and still got some effects but they have been hard, nearly gave up twice but i didnt want to prolong the effects or was in too deep.

      good luck just dont let them become a single answer they are not !! 

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