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Thank you to all who have shared their experience. It's so helpful to have some insight into how people came off this medication and to have an idea of how long the withdrawal symptoms will last.
I have to admit I had read various things about coming off gradually but my sleeping was terrible, I'd wake up at 3, 4, or 5am and be unable to sleep again so I came off it too fast.
I was on the slow release XL stuff. 2x75mg a day for 25 days. I know this isn't long (I was on them for 8 years from 2001-2009). I reduced to 37.5mg once a day for a week, then two days of 25mg/day (by removing one of the pills inside the capsule.
It seems I had WRONGLY assumed than since I wasn't having much of the symptoms I would be ok to come off. Big, big mistake.
I need to say I had also been on beta blockers (10 days of Propanolol, Atenolol, Propanolol) which I also had to come off as the side effects were horrendous. I believe I tapered off these too quickly too.
I tapered to 37.5mg of Venlafaxine on the 15th day of being clear of beta blockers. Again, I think this was a mistake too. I probably should have tapered off the beta blockers more gradually and left more time before the Venlafaxine tapering.
Today is 31 days off beta blockers and 10 days off Venlafaxine. Coming off the Venlafaxine I had the fuzzy head, electrical shocks down my left arm, weird electrical thing when I turn too quickly, lack of coordination (fumbling things and many many typos), chest pains, temporary isolated pains elsewhere (thankfully these have gone), crying, anxiety.
What has really concerned me is that the heavy thumping pulse has returned along with an elevated heart rate. I have also started having nightmares but only 20 or so minutes after falling asleep - then waking up in a panic. These I can deal with but the heart stuff is a real worry.
When I came off the BBs my pulse rocketed up to 120 at rest. Unbeleiveable. I have lost my level of fitness over the past couple of months but by resting rate is under 60. It took 23 days off the BBs for my pulse to get to normal at 58.
Five days after that (four days ago) the heart rate and heavy pulse has returned. Now 120 when I woke up this morning. I was able to get it down to 67 through focussed left-nostril breathing but as soon as I 'unfocus' it went back to anywhere between 75 and 90.
I had my blood pressure checked tonight after a really bad turn in the late afternoon where I felt terrible in every way. I can't really decribe it, I think my body was trying to go to sleep but I was at work so couldn't do that. The BP was 140/100 which I'm told is high but not blue light high.
I read that Ven withdrawal can cause spasms around the heart muscles which limits oxygen intake. That, to me, explains the high blood pressure and high heart rate - it's having to work harder. The trouble is I am completely terrified that there is some sort of permanent damage and ultimately that my life is threatened by this.
I appreciate that coming off these pills can spike anxiety so I can see the relevance in that. I've tried keeping a "thought diary" to balance out fears against evidence for and against. It helps a bit but ultimately I know I have an underlying fear of death. I know my body and I know that all of these things over the past two months are out of the ordinary for me and I'm scared, terrified.
Sorry for the long post - it's actually quite short for me! What I wanted to share with people is that:
(a). The mix of coming off beta blockers and then coming off venlafaxine is not a good one.
(b). If you are in a similar position I would not be on both to begin with and if you are, ensure that you give enough time to taper of each of them despite how stubborn you are or how bad you feel now versus how you imaging you will feel in two weeks.
What I wanted to ask was:
1. Whether anyone has had the chest pain/spasms and how long these lasted?
2. Whether anyone has had the elevated heart rate and blood pressure and how long these lasted?
Bets wishes and stay strong.
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