Venlafaxine withdrawal - how long?

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Hello,

I've been slowly weaning myself off Venlafaxine for the past two years and it's been going ok until recently. I reused by slightly more than I normally do about six weeks ago. I was fine until a few days ago and then I became really depressed, angry and have a massive headache which won't go away with painkillers. I'm taking fish oil and vitamins Inc b vits but it doesn't seem to be working. Has anyone else had such bad withdrawals such a long time after reducing their dose? If so, any advice?! I'm finding it had to work and just feel so angry all the time!

Thanks

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16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Lucy. Can you please describe your taper over these last 2 years?

    How long between each drop? And How much per drop?

    What dosage was the final dosage you were on (peak dose) and for how long please?

    Also, what is the exact condition it was prescribed for and finally is the taper being followed by a doctor - and by doctor i mean a licensed psychiatrist and not a GP?

    No, you are not supposed to be experiencing major discomfort considering the long duration of your taper that you mention, and certainly not 6 weeks after the last drop, however please share more details about the rate of taper if possible. Also, have you maybe changed brands during this time e.g. from original to generic or the other way around?

    Has anything else been happenning these last few weeks that may be causing these symptoms? Any major life changes, illness of any kind, hormonal shifts, any new medication you started or anything you can think of that may be pertinent?

    Are you also having any digestive tract problems? And is your blood pressure stable? Finally, if you have not recently had any blood tests it may be a good idea to do so - FBC with thyroid function, liver and iron.Just in case something else is up.

    Hope you feel better soon.

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks purple, I have been decreasing by approx 5mg each time from a peak of 150mg. I am now on about 40mg and my last reduction was about 20mg. I reduced slowly over two years, dropping the dose when I wasn't too busy at work. I dropped it more last time as me and my partner want to have a baby. I'm not being monitored by a gp or psych as reducing in accordance with gp advice has not worked in the past. I have recently changed brands from efexor to a generic make. I was prescribed ven for anxiety and depression about ten years ago.

      I think one thing has altered in the last week or so. I visited my family and it made me feel that I wasn't doing as well in life as I want to be. Perhaps this is the issue. Nothing else has changed but I think the blood tests sound like a good idea. My BP is normal.

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    • Posted

      Hi lucy

      Headaches for me have been part and parcel of reducing venlafaxine.

      I still get angry but there's always a trigger and funny enough it's family members that get me there.

      I've slowly reduced from 150mg to 50mg. I have a much clearer mind. I'm soon to reduce again to 37.5mg.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sara, thanks for your reply. How long have you been reducing for? Yeah, I think I need to examine the trigger more closely and get to the bottom of why I'm feeling like this.

      Lucy

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    • Posted

      Ive been reducing since last August so 8 months.

      No help whatsoever. GP has no clue. I've done this alone and it's been very difficult at times.

      I am cutting negative influences out of my life or at least limiting the amount of time I give to others.

      A day at a time .. It's not a race. X

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    • Posted

      That sounds like a good idea smile it's definitely important to try and surround yourself with the right people. Good luck with your next reduction.

      Lucy

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    • Posted

      I'm sure you'll get to hear good or otherwise how the next reduction goes. It seems at each reduction I experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. Brain zapping and sheer exhaustion that sort of thing. 🤕😴 But I'm determined to find myself again. As you will.

      The very best of luck to you too Lucy. X

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    • Posted

      Ah, how long ago did you switch products? To generic I mean? This is never a good thing, especially while weaning. There are subtle differences in composition and quality that can have massive effect on us. Normally you have to stick to whatever make worked for you and one that you most used. Hope you did not also switch xr to it or the other way around?
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    • Posted

      Other than that your taper is good. If possible go back to the make you used to begin with or, if you need to dilute, do the smaller part of the dose with generic in your case. Hold this dose for at least a month after your symptoms subside, .Preferably longer. Then continue. If symptoms start to worsen reinstate the last comfortable dose and hold for about 3 months after stabilising on it. If any rebound of symptoms occurs reinstate 75 and start again once stable and in this case also contact a psychiatrist for assistance. Not a gp. I do however think you are just suffering from a temporary worsening, caused by product switch. Also, at doses below 75 brain starts to recoil and readjust notably with a return of more autonomy and various issues surface that just require some adjustment on your part. That is, some work to readjust yourself, sort out emotional issues that have been brewing and that you were perhaps not addressing. Like you mention with regards to how your family affects you. It is just your mind calling you to rise to the occasion and a normal part of recovery. Again, all sounds regular but if you start to find yourself struggling or notably worsening, do take a step back and consult a competent psychiatrist. Hang in there and keep us posted pls. X
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    • Posted

      Hi purple,

      I switched about two months ago. Initially to a one tablet extended release version (had had efexor before in capsules with little balls inside) but i asked for efexor instead. they said they no longer prescribed that as too expensive...so i asked for something similar and they gave me a capsule with lots (around 15) little disks inside, kind of smaller versions of the xr tablet.

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    • Posted

      Thanks purple,

      You are definitely right about my mind asking me to address issues that I need to address about my past/present - mainly to do with self esteem i think. I'm feeling much better though detatched from my boyfriend, which i hate!! Will keep working on the underlying issues. Thanks again for your advice - are you a psychiatrist?!

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    • Posted

      Can you get hold of any effexor in that case? The generic could be messing with you. By rule it is whatever works - stick to that one.

      Detachment is just a sign that you are subconsciously overwhelmed. Your energy is directed inward. This is normal. It is however important to find a way to maintain normal life as much as possible if your relationship with your boyfriend is one that is important to you and right for you. If you are having doubts about the relationship itself this is a different story.

      Have you had any counselling in the time you were medicated? Are you able to seek out some counselling now to help you balance out this shift. You are obviously going or planning on some changes as well as coming off medication, it may be a good idea to back it all up with some psychotherapy. Bouncing this stuff off a trained therapist can be helpfyul.

      I am not a psychiatrist. I have studied psychology and have some pharmacology background however was not interested in pursuing psychiatry itself. I know ven inside out because i teamed up with a wonderful neuropsychiatrist who treated my own GAD in the final stretch (final 8 of total 12 years of therapy). Because he did not mind explaining i saw the drug in action and learned more about it than from studies! . Much better learning curve than books, lectures and journals now that i think about it. I understand other drugs but none like i do the one i actually had to take smile

      Again, your issues may be transient and now i am pretty sure the current situation is mainly attributed to change of brand WHILE being at lighter dosage. IF you notice worsening please please do consult a psychiatrist if at all possible. GPs are really crap at understanding the subtleties of these drugs and pull dosages too roughly. 

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  • Posted

    Do you mean you REDUCED by more than you usually do?  By what percentage?  How big have your drops been normally and what dosage are you at now?

    The lower you go the harder it gets, especially with bigger drops.  I myself am down to 13 mg and have triggered some WD with just 10% over the last month.  A bit of insomnia, hot flashes, buring skin sensation, and extreme emotionality/crying spells of late.  The best things we can do is hold where we are longer.  Be gentle with yourself and know that it is withdrawal and that eventually your nervous system will get caught up.  You exceeded your system's ability to adapt to the cuts.  Let me know the numbers if you could.

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    • Posted

      Hi Betsy,

      I reduced from 63mg to 50.4mg....not sure what that is % wise, but quite a lot rolleyes  I am feeling a bit better - less angry etc...but feel very detatched, especially from my boyfriend which is worrying me - i don't want to ruin my relationship. I'm considering going back up to my previous dose to avoid this!!

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