Venlafaxine withdraw advice

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Hi all. I'm new on here, just thought I'd see if anyone has any support to help me out smile

I suffered severe panic attacks and anxiety since I was a kid, I was on citalophram for 5 years and recently changed to venlfaxine- on 225mg for the last year. I decided I wanted to come off it as I didn't feel it was doing anything to help, and I was getting so many head zaps all the time.

I've been given a withdraw plan from my doctor to taper off over the next 10 weeks and to gradually start a new medication- Duloxetine (my doc thinks this would be better suited to me). I'm one week in now, down 37.5 to 187.5mg. I've got another week before two weeks of 150 then 150 WITH Duloxetine etc until they are switched over.

I'm currently not feeling a huge amount different as I've only reduced the first small amount, still just getting the head zaps, often low mood and ALWAYS tired. I just wondered as I'm sure this will be a tough journey, if anyone could tell me what the withdraw process is really like at this rate of decrease (37.5)

and also does anyone know anything about Duloxetine? I really hope this will be a smooth transaction and that the Duloxetine will be all worth it!

Thanks in advance everyone, and blessings to all. X

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Harriet,

    I hope your withdraw/reduction plan goes well.  I don't know anything about Duloxetine.  In respect of your reduction, a user called Betsy would be the lady who has information to help.  I've not personally spoken with her (I don't often comment on threads) but she really seems to know all about withdrawing safely and is very kind and helpful by all accounts.  I've followed what she has written and have successfully reduced to 75mg without too many obstacles.  

    I hope this helps and wish you all the best x

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    • Posted

      Hi emmalou

      Thanks so much that's very kind of you. Yes I'd never even heard of Duloxetine myself- better do some research! I'm really happy to hear you managed to withdraw down alright, that's very encouraging to hear. Was that from 225 also? And how long a period did you taper down? I will scout Betsy and see if she has any advice.

      Thank you again xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Harriet, 

      Yes sorry that was from 225mg.  I done my first drop in late June 2015, this was 75mg this was pre reading Betsy's information, so it was a little bit bumpy BUT it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.  I then took a bead out of my 37.5mgs (I'm on extended release) every month to six weeks following, dependant on how I felt.  There was only once I felt a bit overwhelmed and very very anxious, however I put my rationale head on my mum was getting chemo & radio therapy so I would say most people would be feeling the same. 

      Like I say I've never spoke to Betsy but she seems lovely and knowledgeable.  The information I've read that she has posted has really helped me understand what Venlafaxine does/doesn't do, side effects etc.  Venlafaxine has been amazing for me, I think I have been really lucky but I was in a very kind of 'crisis' situation when I was put on it.  The only time I felt it wasn't too great was when they put the dose up to 225mg I didn't feel with it so to speak.  I'm glad I'm a stage in my recovery (I think that's the best term!) where I can reduce my medication.  I have to say though, without this forum I would have let my CPN/Dr reduce me a whole lot quicker.  I've never taken medication like this previously so I don't have any other experience.  Also, I'm not sure my CPN/GP have ever taken these medications so I found it so useful reading other people's experiences and what they recommend.

      Whatever you do, be kind to yourself smile I found that taking walks with my dog helped my mood and fatigue.  I hope this helps, if you want to know anything else let me know.

      Take care xx

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Emmalou

      Thank you again so much. Ive had my struggles and been on so many different medications over the years (im 25 now) but This is the first time ive registered to a forum like this and now i wish i had sooner! I completley agree.. its clearly a great idea to discuss with other like minded people who can relate and share personal experiences. I think ive always been a little reserved and naive thinking i could just get on with it all, but ive read so many of the venlafaxine horror stories so i thought best join here for some support incase its awful! Your messages already have brought so much comfort and reassurance, as I was very scared about this withdraw.

      I too never really felt with-it on the 225, ive always been tired and down, my family say ive been quite withdrawn, so im very pleased to hear the decrease is do able and there is light at the end of the tunnel! I was on Citalophram for 5years, i also got put on the venlafaxine after i was having a big struggle out of the blue... i kind of wish now that i didnt start the venlafaxine at all really!

      Im not sure what you mean by taking a bead out the 37.5's?? Im on the XL slow release too.... is this the same? Are you withdrawing this way from 75 now?... i hope it goes ok for you. Im so sorry to hear about your mum, I wish all the luck and best wishes to you both. That of course i can only imagine is a huge added struggle, i think thats really great you can recognise the situational stresses may not be linked to the medication, i know its so easy to place blame always on meds.. i know i have done! Be strong and im also happy to talk at any time. 

      Ive messaged Betsy too! smile and yesss. ive got a dog also, i think more excercise is a wise idea. 

      Thank you so much again and wishing you and your mum both all the best. If i have any wobbles i may drop you a line smile and likewise, more than happy to talk! xx

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    • Posted

      Hey!

      I'm glad I decided to put a wee comment now smile  it's good to know my experience can bring a bit comfort to you, I'll take this as positive wink

      I don't think it's being naive or reserved to thinking you can get on with it all, I now think in a way we are primed to do that (I definitely relate there!) but the internet and using these resources is great, I don't feel so alone.  I also feel like I can speak a bit more honestly than if I was talking to family or some friends.  I guess it all comes down to understanding and us all being in the one boat.  

      In respect of taking beds out, my Venlafaxine is capsule form.  The 37.5mgs has 3 beds in it, I took one out and disposed of it and put the capsule back together.  

      Thanks for your good wishes smile I appreciate it.  Take care and definitely keep in touch xx

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    • Posted

      Hey smile Absolutley yes thank you for getting in touch, ive never spoken with anyone other than family and doctors so yeah its a real comfort! Youre very right.. its so good to remember were all in this together and it can be done. Youre never alone. 

      Ah i see about the beads now. Oh thats handy! Mine is just in tablet form but its very strict not to break or crush them so i cant do much.. but anyhoo ill see how i get on! Thanks again for your warm words and always best wishes to you with everything.. speak to you soon smile xx

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    • Posted

      Just seen this as I'm running out the door, you can ask your doctor to change you to capsules.  I asked for the capsules as the tablets kept getting stuck in my throat, I didn't realise then it would help me with WD.

      xx

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  • Posted

    Hi there - good luck  with the tapering of the V - am doing this  at this time. I would not recommend Duloxeteine as i never past the hot sweat stage even though I was on it for several months. It was nowhere as useful as V whose usefulness seems to wear off for some people. Sure other people have had different responses thogh.. take care J
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    • Posted

      Hi Jenny. Thank you so much. How are you getting on so far with the withdraw? Its nice to know theres many people doing it symultaneously smile 

      Thanks for the heads up on Duloxetine. Very strange, but yeah im sure all people have different reactions. Personally i never found Venlafaxine helpful at all so Im just hoping that i will react well to the duloxetine. best wishes with your withdraw! x

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  • Posted

    Hi yes good luck with th D - i was going to do a slow taper off as i had also had some really good advice from Besy who seems to know her stuff. However I tend to take in lots of different information from loads of sources and then make up my mind which route to take. I ended up doing the proac bridge which means that I came off 1115mg of V in three weeks but introduced the 10mg of Prozac on the first day of the reduction. I then reduced to a 18.5mg for two weeks whiich is where I am right now. I am am aware that the difficult bit is yet to come but we shall see. I am quuite happy to go back up to the 37.5 for a while. The prozac has meant not withdrawals as yet but I am not naive- it was just important for me to start off bigger..In fact the prozac has in the meantime raised my mood considerably. I am trying not to predict major problems but will day it day by day. ta Jen
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    • Posted

      Hi Jen. Ah i see, ive not heard of doing that before. I agree, best to get many different approaches and see what suits you best. I do hope your withdraw continues to go well, and like you say, take it day by day and try to assume there wont be any problems. I try to forget that im on it all together as im sure most of the time i just create my own worries smile 

      Ive sent Betsy a message so hopefully she too will be able to give me further advice. Thank you again Jen and best of luck with it all smile x

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  • Posted

    Hi Harriett, Tapering off medication is a challenge for some people. My experience has been not to bad. I was taking Cymbalta for 10 plus years and tapered off easily. My experience with Cymbalta was excellent until I had a series of life events that I dealt with but unfortunately Cymbalta did hold back mt anxiety and depression. I switched to Venalafaxine which definitely had more side effects than Cymbalta. That is for me. I tapered off Venlafaxine from 225 mgs in four weeks without much problem. Some nausea and fatigue. Venlafaxine helped with the depression but caused me to itch. I am currently taking Pristiq which has a similar chemical structure to Venlafaxine. 

    I think it is important to listen to your body when tapering. Some people follow a very slow taper where they drop down in smaller increments and stay at that level until the withdrawal effects disapate then drop again. There  is a lot of information on how to do this if you google tapering off antidepressants. Also, a support system such as this site is great to connect with other people that share your experience. I wish you best and hope that Cymbalta works well for you. Keep your chin up!

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    • Posted

      Hi Jeannine

      Thanks so much for your helpful message! That's incredible you managed to taper off the venlfaxine in 4 weeks- I am doing this over a ten week period which is rather frustrating as I wish we were able to get it over quickly, but like you say everyone is different! I am hoping with the Duloxetine being a similar snri that it will counteract any withdrawal symptoms as I switch them over. It's encouraging to hear Duloxetine did help you somewhat, I've been on venlfaxine for a year but i think it's been actually unhelpful as opposed to doing me any good. Did you find any side effects with the Duloxetine at all? I hope the Pristiq is treating you well. Thank you again for your advice and support it is very encouraging. X

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    • Posted

      Hi Harriett, 

       Duloxetine was a great medicine for me for over ten years. I really did not have any side effects that were unbearable. I knew that when I took my duloxetine(at night) I would be sleepy within an hour or hour and a half. I had no additional weight gain or nausea. I lived a good life while in this med. Also, I has very little discontinuation effects when I went from this med to Venlafaxine.

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    • Posted

      Sorry my iPad was acting weird. Anyway, I am sensitive to medications but the transitions were not to difficult. Venlafaxine to Pristiq was the hardest. I am not adjusting to Pristiq well. I am having nausea and some anxiety in the morning. I will be talking with my doctor tomorrow. Hope it settles out as my family will be going to Maui in a couple of weeks. Never hesitate to ask all the questions that you need to take of you. I have learned that information is empowering. Depression and anxiety can zap our lives so we need to advocate for what we need. Take good care.
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