Thinking of switching from Effexor to Prozac?

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I'm thinking about switching from Effexor to Prozac for anxiety, I've been on Effexor for 5 months and don't feel it has completely diminished my anxiety. I didn't tolerate a higher dose very well at all - lots of side effects. I don't want to stay on it if it's not working 100% due to the terrible withdrawals you can have coming off of it. Does anyone know how long it will take to wean off of the Effexor without suffering withdrawals? I see my doc next week but wanted input from others who have done it. Thanks so much!

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  • Posted

    I hope you get to read all the posts regarding Effexor.  They call it Venlafaxine, but it is the same thing.  It is the generic form of Effexor.  I had no problem at all with Effexor.  I am now on 225 mg. and have been on it for 12 years.  The only bad side effect I have is constant sweating..I hate it.  But...my anxiety was completely gone with Effexor.  I had to work up to 225 mgs. because lower doses were not working.. But...I want to get off of it now because of the sweating.  But I am so afraid to get off because I hear the withdrawal symptoms are horrible.  Anxiety, depression, headache, vomiting, brain zaps, constant crying and even thoughts of suicide.  That is why I guess I will have to put up with the constant sweating and the weight gain..I am so scared of the withdrawal. Most people on this forum said it takes a good year to wean off....Go to Venflaxine and you will see many posts...Remember Venaflaxine is just a generic of Effexor..,
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  • Posted

    Depends on your dosage really. I was on it for a total of 12 years. To wean properly from 150mg I needed 2 years. But i had to take that long to ensure no zaps send me straight into a relapse. When you are moving to Prozac specifically, you can pretty much drop to a lowest dose and start Prozac in parallel actually. See with your doctor. I think it should not take you more than 2-3 months in this scenario, again depending on the dosage. You will experience transient side-effects no matter what. My withdrawal symptoms were nothing compared to my start-up symptoms so i really wouldn't worry about it as much as some would have you believe.

    Generally, to have bearable withdrawal the trick is to wean a quarter dose max every 3 months if not more. Which essentially means readjusting to each new dose, establishing and settling and only then moving further down. This applies to those not moving to another medication. If a switch is required sooner, you can move faster and alleviate the effects by using a bridge of Prozac or a benzo.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for the explanation you gave to vanilla27.  I want to get off Venlafaxine as I mentioned before because of the constant sweating.

      I was afraid of the withdrawal...But you made me feel better by saying that if I switch meds it will be easier than going off all together.  I want to switch only because of the sweating..It is horrible.  Day and night, even when it is cold, I sweat. I am talking about my whole body.. I had no start-up symptoms at all.  None.  It is the withdrawal that scares the crap out of me.  But thanks to your post, I can switch meds without suffering the withdrawal symptoms...I was thinking of Wellbutrin...I shall ask my GP. Do you think Prozac will be better??

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    • Posted

      Your doctor will be in the best position to suggest as he knows your history. To be clear, I think you will certainly suffer some withdrawals and some start-up effects of the new drug but these are not necessarily horrible or unbearable. I certainly didn't suffer much at all in comparison to how hard it was for me to adjust to the medicine to begin with. What is important is a doctor willing to work with you through the rough patches. Mine helped my adjustment by easing me onto effexor with alprazolam. It took two months. When reducing dosage in the end of therapy he was on standby in case i required a crutch again, but i was fine. A week or two and any disturbances would start to slowly evaporate. I did not miss a day of work and was able to care for my child and maintain a healthy pregnancy (i was preg with my second). At one point during therapy, when I got pregnant with my first child, it was suggested i rapidly taper off Ven by going onto Prozac as those two interact well enough. I did not do it as I wanted off all meds so insisted we just taper off Ven rapidly and we did (and I regretted that decision dearly once I gave birth and went into full blown post-partum psychosis). And yes, it doesn't mean that other meds can't be used instead of Prozac. Let us know what your doctor says and how it all goes. x

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  • Posted

    At what dose are you for the last 3 out of 5 months you have been on it?

     

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    • Posted

      If you go onto Prozac towards the end of weaning or in the middle of it, you should be able to wean down enough in a month or less. If the doctor chooses to wait until you are weaned to start Prozac you may need about 3 months. If you are weaning for completion and not going to another med then at least 3 months need to elapse between each change. The last bit is for those finishing successful therapy. Let us know how it goes vanilla27! Good luck.

       

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    • Posted

      Do you happen to know how long it takes for Ven to stabilize in your system each time you reduce your dose? I've reduced from 225 to 150 about 7 days ago and I don't feel too bad, just a little more anxious than usual. The first three days I felt worse and then it seemed to get better. Thanks!

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    • Posted

      Hi! Yes, it normally happens progressively over 7-10 days. I tended to feel better after 3-5 days, like you, and then no issues except at the first drop which took a bit longer, but i was on a steady dose of 150mg for 6 years prior to that cut. Then it is important to not make the next cut immediately but maintain it for a period of 2-3 weeks minimum. In my case we waited for anything between 3 and 9 months but I was terminating therapy not switching to another medication so for you it will be different depending on your doctor's experience and beliefs. And for you it will feel different because your therapy is not complete so you still have illness symptoms and not only withdrawal. This is normal.

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much. I'm super nervous about coming off the ven. I'm sure that will only make matters worse but I had terrible start up symptoms and I can only pray it's not as bad as that was!

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    • Posted

      I had no start up symptoms at all...except to feel better and less anxious and wonderful. But I am so afraid of stopping because of the horrible withdrawal symptoms I am reading about on this forum.
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    • Posted

      I'm right there with you. I just know the longer I'm on this drug the harder it will be to discontinue it. For me, it just wasn't getting rid of my anxiety so I'm moving on. Not worth taking it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. smile

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    • Posted

      Just wanted to let you know what I'm doing. My dr started me on 20mgs of Prozac as I'm weaning off of the Effexor. I went down from 150mgs to 75mgs of the Effexor two days ago and added the 20mgs of Prozac. So far I haven't had any withdrawals. I feel exaclty the same as I did on the 150mgs - still the same amount of anxiety. I don't feel sick either. My dr told me to go down to 37.5mgs of the Effexor next week and after a week of that to stop. Seems abrupt but  I'm hoping the Prozac will keep me from having withdrawals.

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    • Posted

      Yup...sounds pretty regular and steady. Great! Prozac should do the trick but you are likely to have some protracted symptoms that should be bearable enough. If Prozac works well with you you should not notice them much. And always remember you are also adjusting to a new agent. So everything is fair game LOL smile

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    • Posted

      Do you happen to know how long Effexor XR stays in your system after stopping it? I took my last dose three days ago. I want to be able to gauge how I'm feeling on the Prozac but want to be sure the Effexor is completely gone first. Thanks so much!

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