Venlafaxine withdrawal

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hi. New to this so, hi! Back in 2007 I was prescribed 75mg of venlafaxine for anxiety and stress. Those episodes of stress have been removed vastly and in some cases so has the anxiety so in February 2014 I took the plunge to come off this drug. First of all I came down from 75mg to 37.5mg + 1 half of 37.5mg. Then 37.5mg then to 3/4 of 37.5mg to half of 37.5 then a quarter and finally half of 1 quarter. My last tablet was last Friday and now, writing this I am 1 week in to full withdrawal. Irrespectable of the low end dose I am still getting hideous side effects. I feel drunk all of the time, loss of memory, disattached from reality, anxiety, fear, panic, restlessness to name but a few. My question to anyone who's withdrawn, is how long did the side effects last? The doc said I was probably over the worst but said I wouldn't feel right for another 3-4 weeks. There seems to be a pattern of 1 good day, 1 bad at the moment. I'm scared that I am going to go through a difficult month only to find out that I can't survive without medication and relapse. Has anyone ever come off the same dose and what was your experiences. Any feedback would be hugely appreciated. Thanks.

0 likes, 18 replies

18 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Chris, I was on 75mg for 1 year, I was taking it for anxiety. I stopped cold turkey. The first week I felt so bad I stayed off work, felt like I had flu and when I moved my head my eyes didn't seem to follow until a few seconds later! I started to feel a bit better after a week and all symptoms had gone after 3 weeks. Hope this helps you.


    • Posted

      Hi Pam. Thank you for your reply. I understand everybody's brain chemistry is different but just a little optimistic response like that makes a difference so thanks for that. I do understand where you are coming from re your eyes not being connected to your head. I get exactly the same sensation. Did you experience any of the other side effects I listed? I'm through a week now and I'm really hoping I'm over the worst. I'm kinda paranoid that I could feel this way for absolutely months. If the worst is over, I'm sure I can deal with it. Thanks again, Chris.
  • Posted

    Hi chris, Ive been on venaflaxin since 2009 & 5 weeks ago my gp suggested I come off them. I've been slowly weaning myself off. I've had the same experiences that you have had, I thought I was cracking up at one point as I could hear creaking and breathing noises in my head, my face felt twitchy, had nightmares but not realising if the nightmares were reality, I've been so argumentative and horrible. Headache, Vomiting and heaving, insomnia just to name a few withdrawal symptoms.

    I've now been without taking the tablets completely for 1week and I'm still vomiting and my head is still hurting, my gp said they stay in your system for a long time.

    They helped me with my depression and anxiety at the time but I still feel as though I need the help again. But I'm hoping I have the willpower to stay off these tablets

    I've been off work for 4 weeks now. Got to go back soon. I hope you manage to stay off these awful tablets

    Take care x

    • Posted

      Hi Julie. What dose was you on? I think if you wean yourself off over a period of time that suits you and not your doctor. As I said, I was only on 75mg to start with and the end dose was probably in the region of 10mg. It's taken me a year though to get to this point. The withdrawal along the way has been virtually non existent. It's now when I'm feeling the ill effects. I'm hoping another 3 weeks and I'll be ok. Try therapy along the way. This helps in combatting the anxieties that are thrown at you. My first therapy session was last night. There are also apps you can download. Try one of those. Hope you feel better soon. Chris.x
    • Posted

      Hi Chris, I was on 75mg, I took 37.5 in the morning then 37.5 in the evening and about a year ago I successfully weaned myself off the night time one. I've been to 'outlook' counselling service but it just seemed a box ticking exercise and after about 5 sessions she said that's all she could give me. How did you get on last night? X
    • Posted

      Hi Julie. So you are still on them? Do you intend staying on them for time being or wean yourself off the remaining 37.5mg?

      If you do come off that last tab, come off it slowly and do what I did and do some surgery on the tab itself. My withdrawals from reduction were fine. It's that final dose that's the hardest. When it leaves the body for good. Compared to some people, I'm getting off lightly to be honest but I think that's because of the withdrawal technique I used. It took me one whole year to come off just 1 75mg tab. Let me know how you get on with that.

      As for the therapy, it was the first one. If you read my thread to Pam it explains a little but I reckon the therapist will do good. It's all about training the mind. I can explain a little bit more if you've got any questions??


  • Posted

    It takes time. Hold fast! You will feel better week by week! Omega 3 and b12 he's. For horrible brain zips try benadryl. I didn't use it. But a lot of peeps I k own did. My Dr gave me a prescription for xanax. I only took it when I needed it. Be it 1/4, 1/2 or a whole tablet. A whole one put me to sleep. Hang in there!! October 17 was my last dose. Working out helps too. But I had difficulty being around crowds. I have a couple bad days a Month. Did you say you got off a year ago?

    It is wonderful to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Posted

      Also I have been going to counseling! That really helps.
    • Posted

      Hi. No, I started my withdrawal programme a year ago. My last dose was last Friday. Sounds like you have a social phobia. I get like that. If you can find my long thread to Pam, read it. I found those techniques have worked for me.

      Light at the end of the tunnel is all I'm after. Like you say it's day by day, week by week. It's a pain but if I know it will get better, I'll deal with it. I seem to have a pattern at the minute where it's one day good, the next not so. It'll get easier I'm sure but like most of us, we're all out our comfort zones and into the unknown! One thing I do know though, I shall never take another antidepressant ever again!!!


    • Posted

      Don't have social phobia . Was having the symptoms when withdrawling.

      Now I love getting out and about.


  • Posted

    Hi again Chris. I didn't have any of the other symptoms you mentioned but as you say "everyone is different", and I only took them for a year. About 4 months after I stopped I started to feel a bit anxious again, felt like I was coming down with something and felt a bit detached from things. I didn't know at the time what anxiety physically made you feel like and was scared I had something wrong with me. After going to see my doctor she made me an appointment to see a therapist. To be honest I found it no help whatsoever. What did help was my doctor explaining the physical symptoms of anxiety to me. Now when I start to feel a bit off I recognise what it is and it doesn't scare me as much and usually the symptoms go away. I know it's not that easy for everybody and some people suffer much more than I do but this way of thinking is definitely working for me. I am sleeping much better than I was and don't feel like I need tablets. Good luck x
    • Posted

      Hi Pam. Yes everyone is different. I learnt to cope with the effects of anxiety and panic attacks a long while ago. It was a turbulent relationship that made me go on them in the first place but that's a whole different story lol!!

      The effects of anxiety, if you're having a bad one, can be horrid. Everyone with anxiety usually has a story to tell. Mine was of a youngster. I lived a normal loved life as a kid but I lost my father at 7. They seem to think that this is where this stems from. Not so sure myself but if it is then ok. It's a start. The best way I deal with anxiety is 1, hit it head on. Don't cop out of any situations that create anxiety. At a start, don't push yourself through every event, but certainly don't avoid everything. 2, if the anxiety kicks in, draw it in to you. Ask it to do its worst. May all sound weird but anxiety is only thoughts. If you have read and understand the 'fight or flight' then some of the physical symptoms are your body's natural reaction to fear and escape. It goes back to cave man times. Read it if you haven't.

      After you draw it in and ask anxiety to do its stuff, remembering that they are only thoughts, ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen to you at that given time. Most people have a fear of being watched and evaluated, being I'll, falling over but to name a few, but if your anxiety trigger is there and you will know what it is, ask what's the thing that you fear most of all if anything 'were' to happen. If you evaluate that trigger into reality and not anxiety, most people will see it as just paranoia and there is no real risk of your trigger taking place. It's all about bringing the mind into reality and dis attaching from anxiety. Don't get me wrong, I still get beaten by it but that's just the tough side of anxiety. It will always be there in some form but the key is to eliminate the smaller episodes from becoming big ones. Bring on anxiety and you'll beat it. Don't be afraid if it. It will never ever go, but you'll accept it and deal with it perfectly. I feel anxious most days, but now ignore it. All the once frightening physical symptoms I get, I just say hello to. "Oh not you again is it" to feeling sweaty or dizzy when it comes on. It won't happen over night but you will learn to accept it as part of you. It may go forever but we all get anxiety. Even the strongest of minds so you'll be able to learn to live with it rather than let it control you. Hope this helps you. Let me know how you get on.


  • Posted

    I withdrew exactly as you did, reducing a little at a time, and cutting the pills into smaller and smaller doses.  It took me 10 months, but I did not get any withdrawals at all.  I think perhaps you did not stay at each lower dose long enough.  I asked for generic pills, andf bought a pill cutter, so in the end my dose was really, really low.  Just a minute percentage of a 10mg pill.  You were doing the right thing, but perhaps just a little too fast, and not lowering the dose enough. 

    It is such a same you are getting the withdrawals.  I know what they are like as I stopped Venlafaxine (Effexor) cold turkey once, and the side effects you are getting is just as if you too stopped cold turkey, which you didn't. 

    Because I did not get any withdrawals I have been 17 months without any anti depressant.  Some people get over withdrawals quickly, say in days, but I have read here and other forums where they are still experiencing them many months later.  Your body just has to get rid of the medication in its own good time.  Venlafaxine is one of the worst anti depressants to withdraw from, but at least you did it more or less properly and took some time over withdrawing. 

    It is said if you feel bad after a few weeks then it is the depression returning.  When I stopped cold turkey the depression did not return until 6 months later.  If, like me, you have managed over a year without anti depressants, then should be OK.  Trouble is you don't know whether what you are feeling is due to the depression returning or the withdrawal symptoms. 

    I was on 150mg for 5 years, stopped cold turkey, and after 6 months went back on for 4 years.  I was on a lot of different anti depressants over nearly 30 years.

    Give it time and see how you go.  If you think your depression has returned after a few months, then best to thinbk you may need to go back on medication.  I would suggest you give it a bit longer. 

    Let us know you you get on

    • Posted

      Hi Anne. Thanks for your message. The lowest dose I'd taken was for quite a few months if I remember. I kept delaying the end of it all because I was scared of the withdrawals with nothing in me. The night before I stopped them I was really really poorly. In all honesty, that night was the worst night I've had in 10 yrs. that's what made me stop completely. I couldn't understand why I was so poorly as I was still on the meds. Two things maybe, 1, my body was trying to tell me something or 2, because I was cutting the pills down with a knife, I reckon I'd messed up my brains imbalance as I couldn't gaurentee that all of the pills cut were of the same size. I can only put it down to that.

      Fortunately, I never suffered with depression. It was stress and anxiety. If coming off the meds hasn't worked then my anxieties will return on a more permanent basis. The doctor told me last night that if this was the case then I would go back on meds but certainly not Effexor modified release. I should never have been put on them according to him. Anyway, another decent day. Let's see what tomorrow brings. If it goes with trend, then it'll be an off day lol.


    • Posted

      I found the Effexor did get rid of my anxiety as well as the depression.  I am sure there are pills that are for anxiety only, and hopefully you will be described those.  I just take herbal over the counter pills now for my anxiety. 

      No don't go back on Effexor.  I certainly never would after the time it took to withdraw, and you certainly don't need to feel like you do now ever again. 

      Take care, and I hope things do improve for you Chris.


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