venlafaxine withdrawal - panic

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Last year, I made three unsuccessful attempts at getting completely off of Effexor. The longest I lasted was two months and they were two of the worst months of my life. With the help of Prozac, I was able to decrease from 225 mg of Effexor to 75 mg and had no withdrawal symptoms. However, going from 75 mg to 0 mg of Effexor gave me terrible withdrawal. The Prozac virtually eliminated the physical symptoms but,  the problem I have with the withdrawal is the panic. It’s a kind of panic that I never experienced before I took Effexor. It feels almost like there are evil forces at play and there is something terribly wrong with my soul. I know that doesn’t sound rational but I can’t get rid of the terror that comes with it. It’s agony. I’m wondering if anyone else has felt this way.

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  • Posted

    I recently tried coming off Venlafaxine, did it very slowly over a period of several months. I used Diazepam 2mg as a safety net. Got down to 15mg a day, brain zaps and anxiety were the most dreadful I'd ever experienced, suicidal thoughts, harming thoughts something I couldn't cope with, even driving my car was impossible due to these thoughts. I asked my GP for help which he admitted was something more of a specialized field ie seeing a psychiatrist which I'm currently doing. I've reintroduced Venlafaxine 150mg and now take them first thing in the morning. Surprisingly, I tolerate this medication better than I ever have in the past. Might not consider coming off them now.

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  • Posted

    I am on day 6 of going cold Turkey from 75mg. I was given been to help with hot flashes caused my anti estrogen meds after Breast cancer

    I was also on gabapentin for nerve damage from shingles. My first clue should have been how long it took to get used to it. Since I wasn't satisfied with the results, gave up gabapentin first (2 weeks of withdrawal symptoms). When I asked my oncologist for a lower dose to wean off, he told me I wouldn't have problems going off it. Boy was he wrong! I've had all the classic withdrawal symptoms. I'm having fewer brain zaps. But, I still don't feel well. Nausea and sweats still horrible. After reading several blogs I realize I should not have gone Cold Turkey. But never ever will I go back on it to wean off. I will let you Know how I do.

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  • Posted

    Were you able to successfully stop effexor? I’m on my first day off the 37.5mg and struggling with panic. How can this be normal? Im also taking a very low dose and f Prozac, 10 mg to help with discontinuation symptoms but this is difficult. 
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    • Posted

      I've gotten down to 37.5. I noticed that, if I took one, went into withdrawal, then reinstated at a lower dose, I would end up okay. That's how I gradually worked down from 226 to 75 then 75 to 37.5. I'm not sure that will work for everyone. I'm also taking 3 other psych meds. One of them is Prozac because my psychiatrist tried to bridge me off Effexor and now I'm stuck on both. Luckily, I didn't get serotonin syndrome. The Prozac helped with the zaps and some other physical symptoms but the panic was still too much.

      Also, people report that the lower you get in dose, the harder it is and the smaller steps you have to take. A lot of people recommend a 10% drop from each current dose every 3-4 weeks. I haven't tried this because it seems like people still suffer withdrawal although they say it's more tolerable. For me, I don't think I could stand even to suffer mild withdrawal with the way it makes me feel. Can't imagine feeling that way for months or years.

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    • Posted

      Hi m1969, 

      i have been on Effexsor for 5 months but hasn’t really worked well for me. I went down to 37.5 from 75 on Thursday, it’s day 2 and having bad headache and feeling exhausted then terrible anxiety. Trying to cross taper to get on Lexapro. I have been on Lexapro for 9 days now. How long do the reduction symptoms last? Will not go lower till I stablize. This is horrible. Have Klonipin might need to take it.

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    • Posted

      I find it interesting that doctors don’t mention any of this when they first prescribe it. The discontinuation symptoms are life disrupting to say the least. My husband and daughter saw the panic attack and didn’t know what to do. I can’t stand to be on this drug but now I’m stuck with it again. 

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It helps to know what others go through. 

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    • Posted

      Hi 

      I have gone down from 75 to 37.5 3 days now also taking 10 of Lexapro for 9 days. Did you take Klonopin when the panic came in waves or go back up to 75. 

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    • Posted

      I have gone from 1/4 of 37.5mg to nothing and it has been a week. I am still suffering from the symptoms.

      I would recommend staying on 37.5mg for a month until you start splitting it. The symptoms get more and more intense as you go below 37.5mg, just stay strong.

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    • Posted

      Been on Lexapro 10mgs for 15 days the anxiety is better easing off the Klonopin. Don’t need it everyday. Now I will very slowly reduce the venlafaxine. I am super sensitive to this drug. I tried to go from 75 straight down to 37.5 and had horrible withdrawals. Will have to go to a compound pharmacy and take an intermediate step down. How are you doing with recovery?
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    • Posted

      Try taking one 37.5mg and halving the 2nd in the evening. Take advantage of sleep, as you cannot feel the symptoms then. Remember that you are not alone, many of us are sensitive to the withdrawals of this drug. Let this provide some comfort to you. Do things that you enjoy, take time to yourself. You will feel emotionally distressed but don't let this affect your life. It is all in the head, there is no real physical pain or damage.

      I have been off venlafaxine for a month now. It was a challenge to reduce the dose but now it feels great to know that I have overcome this. The symptoms gradually faded away and this was consistent. I still feel some symptoms although it may just be anxiety. Either way, I feel a lot better now. Listening to relaxing music in the evening, having a warm bath, a can or 2 of beer. These things really provided some relief for me. Although I'm not sure I should recommend the last one, but if it helps you, why not? You will know what provides you with comfort during this difficult time better than anyone else. So listen to your body and your mind, it is your best teacher.

      Just remember that you are not alone. We are with you, we are here for you. We are overcoming this emotional distress together.

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