Venlafaxine Not Working - Please, Please Help

Posted , 8 users are following.

Hi, I have been on venlafaxine for 5 weeks, quickly moved up to 225mg over two weeks ago.  My mood has not improved at all, and yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I felt very suicidal.  I have suffered with severe depression for the last 8 months, my mood is terrible in the mornings but does improve slightly as the day goes on.  I have tried Sertraline but had a terrible reaction.  

i was then put on mirtazapine, which I'm still on, which helped the insomnia and anxiety but not depression.  I'm still on mirtazapine, now with the added venlafaxine.  

I'm petrified that I now have the type of depression which is resistent to treatment.  I know for complete certain that I can't carry on living like this.

Any advice anyone? Please x


1 like, 30 replies

30 Replies

  • Posted

    that sounds awful for you. All i can advise is keep pestering the doctors to try something new......there will be some drug out there that will help you. I had tried 2 before i found one that worked although my depression is not as severe as yours. please please go and get some more advice one should have to suffer so badly X
  • Posted

    Hi ya.

    firstly let me say how I sympathise with your situation. 

    I cannot believe your Dr or psych has not left you with a crisis team number to call. Do you have one? If not phone 111 and they can direct you or go to A&E. Do not allow the thoughts to manifest themselves .

    do you have CBT? Depression cannot be committed by drugging yourself up and medical professionals know this and have a duty of care to provide this support.

    I too was given the martazipine and venlaflaxine regime but wouldn't tolerate being drugged up by martazipine to the point where I had no control over getting myself out the hole I was in. Consider discussing this with your psych. I am  firm believer in being proactive in fighting depression. Yes it's hard and yes it wears you out day after day dragging your mood up but it's worth it. I took venlaflaxine really successfully at 225mg at night to sedate me and it did my depression and anxiety good. Try it at night and get extended release so you wake up with medication in your system.

    I decided to come off it after 3 years but.......only 9 months on I know I need medication to help me my mood. I went on duloxetine which I don't think is as good as venlaflaxine. Yes, I am a venlaflaxine advocate! Rare on these forums I know.

    Get the immediate help you need now and get some CBT. Doping yourself up n putting a fuzzy blanket around you won't solve the depression. You need the support to be proactive in dragging yourself out a the hole........enlist the help of friends and family as they'll be invaluable. 

    Good luck. 

    • Posted

      Hi Helen, thank you very much for your reply and concern.  My husband is at home with me for the weekend so I feel a little better and we're seeing my psychiatrist on Monday evening for a review.

      Can I ask how long you were on mirtazapine and venłafaxine combined for?

      Was it only after stopping the mirt that you found the venłafaxine worked for you?

      I really don't care what I'm on and if I have to be on it for life, I just want to find a drug that'll work. If it takes much longer I think I'll be with this horrible illness forever.


    • Posted

      Hi ya. Glad you have your hubby's support....keep talking to him and keep him in the loop! 

      I did the combo for 1week. I had a 10 month old and was physically unable to get out of bed I was that drugged up and it was on that basis I made my decision. I couldn't function and therefore how was I ever going to shake my depression? 

      I still spiral into lows but recognise my signs. 

      It's greAt you have your appointment. Be honest n ask for venlaflacine extended release. Take at night as it has a sedative effect. I used to have mine about 7pm with my tea and get up the next morning fine, not dopey. As you can tell, I have a big issue with being drugged up n not being able to function! I found normal venlaflaxine washed out my system too fast and I got daily withdrawal. 

      5 weeks is early days. 

      Be kind to a daily pamper as someone said and don't expect too much of yourself in the early days. 

      If you broke your leg you'd have to rest......your brain is fuzzy n broke at the mo and needs time to rest and heal. 

      Best of luck. 

  • Posted

    Don't think that you might not recover.  Lots do.  I have battled depression for over 20 years, but there are others who have one episode and never experience another.

    I was on Effexor for years, and it helped me a lot, but other anti depressants did not help.  It is a matter of finding the one that suits you. 

    After all those years I am trying to cope without anti depressants.  Up and down, but managing. 

    Venlafaxine is difficult to withdraw from without getting bad withdrawals, so if you stop, do it slowly.  Perhaps it is not the right drug for you, and your doctor could prescribe something different.  Have you told them it is not helping?  Is that why he added another drug? 

    There are a lot of anti depressants out there, so there could be one that helps you.  I am resigned to living with depression and anxiety.

    I am sure you are overthinking that your depression is drug resistant. 

    Take care.

    • Posted

      I agree Anne. 

      Finding the medication which suits you is trial and error.

      I had Prozac which did nothing and sertraline which I reacted badly to. 

      Best not to think about comin' off Ven. I won't lie, it's a pig but I'd take it again.

      As you say there are lots of antidepressants around and there is better understanding now on the way they work. 

      5 weeks is early days. 

    • Posted

      Hi Anne, thanks once again for replying.

      Can I ask why you stopped the venłafaxine if it was helping you? It seems so sad for you to be resigned to living with this awful illness.  Although it hasn't helped my depression, Mirtazapine has been great for improving my anxiety and sleep, have you tried it?

      I am sure you are correct in that I'm overthinking the drug resistent thing.  My rationale head in the evening tells me so, however the horrible, miserable feelings I feel as soon as I wake, tell me otherwise.

      I hope you were able to enjoy your birthday Anne?

      Take good care.  Gen xxx

    • Posted

      Yes Venlafaxine is the one I would choose if I had to go back onto anti depressants as it really helped me a lot.  Sertraline was OK, but Prozac the worst drug I ever took.  Just shows we all react differently to different anti depressants. 

      Gen needs to give the Venlafaxine longer, as 5 weeks may not be anough to feel the benefit yet.


  • Posted

    Hello there

    How really horrible for you. 

    You have my sympathy, as I have suffered from unipolar depression for forty years or more, since childhood. 

    It sounds as if you presently have a severe episode of a major depressive disorder.

    Suicidal ideations are a very real and very frightening part of the disease, and it very important that you seek help as a matter of some urgency.

    Assuming that you are writing from the UK, and that your GP's surgery is closed over the weekend, I would suggest that you ring 111.

    The people that man the 111 lines seem trained for, and able to cope with most things that come their way.  If they can't find a suitable doctor to help you over the weekend, then at least they will be able to listen to your fears, and they are available 24 hours a day. 

    Once Monday arives, I think it is important that you make an appointment to see your GP asap.  When you phone the receptionist or triage nurse, say that it is urgent.  Don't be afraid to do this, as it IS urgent.  Your present issues are no less so than anyone else that phones the surgery on Monday, and probably far more so - stay focussed on that, and don't take no for an answer.

    In the short term, there are things that you can do to help yourself.

    The first you have already undertaken - by contacting this forum, you have opened contact with so many other past and present depressive people, who will be able to empathise with your condition far more easily than most people from the population who have never experienced the illness.

    It also implies that you have insight into what is happening to you, and that you still have the inner strength to fight back!

    Other approaches that may help you are for you to tackle the very basic things of life, which can sometimes seem insurmountably difficult when you are ill in this way.

    Try to eat properly, even if yu have no interest in food.

    Try to make sure thay you are drinking enough water or clear fluids - it is easy to forget to do this when preoccupied with depression, and even mild dehydration makes you feel a whole lot worse.  Perhaps put some water in hte fridge, and then try to remind yourself to drink a cup of water for each hour of the day.

    And, if you can bear to do this, if you can get a little gentle exercise each day, such as going out in the fresh air for a short walk, then you will release natural endorphins that at least in the short term will make you feel better.

    You might even find that you are able to appreciate a little bit of nature, which will help to cheer you a little, even though it is so difficult to appreciate anything like that when you are so low.

    Set yourself one small target a day to do.  Try to achieve it, but don't beat yourself up if your find that you retired under the covers instead.  Tell yourself how well you have done  if you manage to achieve it, even though you might not believe yourself.  If you can gain some control over your environment, it will make you feel far better, and more able to cope than if you just roll over, and let it take over. 

    Wash your hair, have a bath with some smellies in it, do your nails, brush your teeth, change your bed ... if you can do just one of these today, you will feel better, and tomorrow, if you decide to take on another task, it will seem easier. 

    I know that it can be almost impossible to generate the energy and enthusiasm to do these things, but they are important for your sense of well being.

    In other words - don't give in to it, don't give up, keep fighting it.

    Did you know that Winston Churchill sufered from sever depression?  He coined the expression 'the Black Dog is back', and used to say of his illness 'when the going gets tough, keep going'.  There were no anti-depressants in his day, so he must have been going through hell, but he still managed to run the country well enough to win WW2.

    If you have family, a partner, friends or anyone else that maybe a support to you - now is the time to draw on their love and ability to help you.

    Please, please speak to someone asap about your suicidal thoughts.

    I shall be thinking of you, and I shall keep an eye on this site to see how you are getting on.

    Take very good care,

    Best wishs

    Manda x

    I can understand that you would feel that you 'can't carry on living like this', but I think that you have to tell yourself that you will get better.  And you will, although it may take a while.


    • Posted

      Dear Manda, thank you so much for your considered and thoughtful reply.

      I am so sorry that you've suffered with this awful, debilitating illness for such a long time, I do hope you've been able to find some relief along the way?

      Today has been slightly better as my husband is at home with me and is very supportive.  I have an appointment with my psychiatrist on Monday evening so am hoping that he will be able to give me some valuable guidance.

      On most days, when it isn't raining like today, I do try and go for a walk. Eating can be problematic but I do have something every day and I drink 1.5 litres of water a day also.  I really do try to do things to help myself if I can.

      When explaining my depression to the psychiatrist, worsening mood in the morning, loss of appetite etc he thought that medication would definately help and because it hasn't, I think that's why I'm feeling so desperate.  There is definately something 'chemical' going on, or not as the case may be, because the sudden, albeit short lived, improvement that I got (literally feeling completely back to normal), after doubling the dose of venłafaxine.

      I was hoping to avoid the merry go round of drug taking but I will wait the psychiatrists advice.

      Thank you for thinking of me, I'm terribly grateful.  Take care too xxx


    • Posted

      I thinkj you will find that most people with depression always feel worse in the morning.  I know I do, and have read on this forum how many others feel awful ain the mornings and feel better as the day wears on.  So that is not at all un usual. 

      I had a huge appetite when on Venlafaxine, but when I stopped it, my appetite diminished and I lost a lot of weight in a short time.  Some people put on weight, and others, like you, lose their appetite and lose weight.  We all react differently to different drugs. 

      I have had depression for over 20 years.  The longest I went before without anti depressant was 6 months, but this time it is about 16 months since I stopped.  I have my ups and downs, but coping.  I would not hesitate to go back onto Venlafaxine if I felt I needed to.

      I am now taking lots of supplements, and hoping I can manage my depression/anxiety without drugs.  I have been very, very low in the past, and never thought I would be where I am today.

      Let us know what the psychiatrist says.

  • Posted

    Best get to doctors, or call the crisis team (if your uk based ). I ou dont have crisis team number call 111 or goto out of hours doc / A&E
  • Posted

    I'd recommend the Crisis Team if it's available, or the Samaritans, if you feel desperate. Or 111 could help. I've been on combination venlafaxine and mirtazapine for about 6 years and it's been effective for me, without sedating me. I also had CBT which helped me to find my own "coping mechanisms" for when depression or anxiety  threaten. 
    • Posted

      Thank you.  My husband has been home with me today so it's been a slightly better day.  I'm back to the psychiatrist on Monday.

      I'm so disappointed that the venłafaxine/mirtazapine hasn't worked for me yet.  

    • Posted

      5 weeks is early doors to be fair. How much Mirtazapine are you on ? Around 5 weeks ago I had to come off Mirtazapine ( 45mg ) due to some dark thoughts
    • Posted

      XL venlaflaxine suited me really well too.......the normal stuff washed out my system too quick and I got withdrawal symptoms daily! 

      Pursevere and i'm sure it'll get on top of both the anxiety and depression. 

      I did find though I had some really psychodelic dreams with Venlaflaxine..........! 

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