Venlafaxine withdrawal serious problem

Posted , 11 users are following.

Hello!

I've been on venlafaxine for about 2 years, taking a dose of 150mg per day. I used to take the generic pills which are cheaper. To be honest I didn't even know there was an 'original' one, named Effexor, until last friday.

When I changed town I continued the treatment with another doctor, and he suggested i came off the drug. I thought I'd try, and for the first month I reduced from 150mg to 75mg. Nothing wrong there. Then I took another step and reduced from 75 to 37,5mg and in the fourth day I collapsed.

I had this breakdown, feeling all kind of weird symptoms: dizzyness, dry mouth, excess sleepness, confusion, mental oblivions (memory lapses), total apathy, total loss of libido. 

I got really scared and tried to go back on my own since I was off town and couldnt talk to the doctor.

I took for 3 days the 150 mg pills but that didnt help. I consulted another doctor and he suggested to take a 107,5 mg dose (75+37,5) for 20 days and then restore the original 150 mg dose afterwards.

It's been 6 days since I started taking this dose and I still feel awful! I feel like I'm not the same anymore!!! It's the strangest thing ever. I had to ask for a job-absent license cause I can't work in these conditions.

One other thing is that a moved from the generic pills to the Effexor (from Pfizer - Wyeth) - the doc suggested that - and I don't know if that is making things worse...

I feel really akward, useless, like my brain is in slow motion. I've been thinking about goin' cold turkey since taking back venlafaxine didnt help.

I appreciate any messages. Sorry for the english, I'm Brazilian and the head also feels awful.

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  • Posted

    Hallo Ricardo, sorry to hear you are feeling so ill. I have had very similar experience ~ particularly with the dizziness. One time my pharmacist prescribed a different version of Venlafaxine (it was most probably a cheaper one as we get free prescriptions here in Scotland) and I had terrible reaction. My GP was supportive & stipulated I should always have original version. I was on 150 mg & have reduced myself down to 75mg but decided to go cold turkey few weeks ago & it was a disaster....so am back on 75mg.

    I think the important thing to tell yourself is that you are not alone on here. Lots of people can understand exactly how you are feeling. I've found the supportive messages so encouraging.

    I really hope you can get through this. Stay strong & take care.

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    • Posted

      Hi Lisa, 

      USA here.  I have only been on venlafaxine for 3 months.  I told the doctor I thought I was having bad side effects.  She dismissed my feelings and told me that it was not the drug.  I discussed getting off it and she was still adamant that it was not the drug.  I called her two days later and had to almost demand that I wanted off.  She finally gave me a tapering off schedule.  I tried cold turkey, second day to day and finally had to take a 75 mg.  It is horrible so glad I have found others that verify my feelings.

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    • Posted

      I found generic Venlafaxine was completely different to brand Effexor.  My doctor, like yours, prescribed Effexor after I complained.  I was on 150mg. I went coldturkey once but depression returned.  This time I withdrew over 10 months and did not get withdrawals.  But I had to go onto generic as capsules dont come after 37.5mg.  But I managed, and it has been 16 months since I stopped.  I had been on anti depressants for over 20 years. 

      Thing with withdrawing is that you have to do it really, really slowly so you don't get the awful withdrawals.  I am in my 70s and don't consider myself a strong person, but once I made up my mind to stop Effexor I managed.  Difficult though.  I don't blame you for starting again as withdrawals are awful. 

      I live in southern England.  Glad you are getting brand Effexor now.

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    • Posted

      Hallo Axlemax, it is so difficult for others ~ including doctors ~ to understand if they have not been through it personally. Withdrawal is awful but I feel so reassured with support from everyone on here.

      Take care.

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    • Posted

      I finally convinced my doctor that I did not want to be on Effexor and she is working with me.  It only took a trip to the ER to get her attention.  I was given Xanax that night to help with the anxiety I was feeling with the brain zaps....they were bad.  I started at 150 mg, reduced to 75 mg missed (1) day and the ER visit was the result.  I reduced to the 37.5 mg  along with Xanax for about 3 weeks.  I tried to not take anything but the Xanax to get off of Effexor before starting anything else but after having two miserable nights of zaps and nightmares decided to go on the Lexapro 10mg that she suggested.  Today I am feeling more like a human being....but I have to tell you that I cried out to the Lord in my pain and he heard me...I thank God that I am finally on the road to being Effexor free.  Although I did not want to start another anti-depressant, anti-anxiety drug right away it cleared up my zaps within the hour.
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  • Posted

    when i cameoff it from 325mg/day i reduced by 75mg per fortnight, till down to 75mg, then halfed that pill and took along with prozac for a week and then just stopped both and worked well for me, and that was after being on it for 8 years
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  • Posted

    Hi, I have been trying now for the past few weeks to get off 37 mg and still cant.  I had to get more pills and now doing every other day and then will do every 3rd day.  I too was  light headed and sick and was useless until I went back on.  We just have to keep trying until we can finally be off. 
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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I switched between the generic and effexor depending on what the pharmacist had in stock and not noticed any difference - that may just be me, i know different people react differently to these things.

    I was on 150mg and decided i wanted to come off as i feel well and settled etc.. I have tried a couple of times before and reduced too fast and had all the horrible side effects you describe - horrible!!!!

    I am now reducing very slowly (i'm weighing the beads out and so far have reduced from a total weight (i.e. all the beads) of 500mg, to 460mg. That has taken me about two months. I've still had withdrawal symptoms but much less debilitating that when i've reduced faster.

    Do you actually want to reduce your dose? Having followed the advice of my GP before and failed to come off i've learned that I actually know myself better than they do - both in terms of how i feel in myself, and in how my body handles dose reductions. It's hard but stick toyour guns - if you feel you need the venlafaxine they should be supportive of this.

    Best wishes,

    Lucy

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  • Posted

    Thanks everyone who replied! It`s now 10h50 pm and for some miraculous reason Im feeling a little better. The dizzyness appeared to have gone. Lets see if I wake up better tomorrow. 
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  • Posted

    Your English is perfect.  I was on 150mg Effexor.  When I was given the generic it did not work as well as the brand name, even if doctor and pharmacist told me it did.  I asked for brand Effexor only.

    Having said that I withdrew last year on advice of my doctor as I had taken anti depressants for 20 years.  Venlafaxine is very, very difficult to withdraw from without getting withdrawal symptoms, as you have found.

    It took me 10 months to withdraw so I would not get withdrawals, and it worked.  I had gone cold turkey once before on Venlafaxine so know what it is like.  You have to withdraw really slowly.  Eventually I had to go on the generic tablets after 37.5mg dose as they come in piils.  I got a pill cutter and then cut the pills into smaller and smaller doses over months.  I went from 150mg to 75mg to 37.5mg, alternating them as doctor directed, then I worked out for myself how to cut the pills.  It did work, but a long slow progress.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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  • Posted

    Hello Ricardo

    I took Venlafaxine for nine years, and it was a godsend to me at the time.

    I am now back on antidepressants, but this time Sertraline.

    I don't really understand how the generic form can be different from the Effexor version, as the drug is the same chemical - but it may be that the fillers and preservatives and so on that go with the drug itself may be different, and alter your absorption of it, or whatever.

    Either way - it is really important that if you try to stop taking it, that you do so in very small increments, over a long period of time.  I completely agree with Anne (below).  Cold turkey is not the answer!

    I also think Lucy has given you great advice.  If you feel well when you take the drug at an adequate dose, then why stop?

    During the time (about two years) between my stopping Venlafaxine, and starting on Sertraline, I had a series of stressful experiences including having breast cancer and the loss of my Dad.  One thing and another caused me to have a complete breakdown last Christmas.  How I wish that I had stayed on the Venlafaxine long term!  I recovered remarkably quickly, however, and my GP feels that I should stay on an SSRI forever.  I don't feel there is anything wrong with this, really, as any side effects or other problems are far outweighed, for me anyway, by the onset of severe depression. 

    Depression is a dreadful illness that is difficult for people who have not experienced it to understand, and that includes doctors.  Only you know where you are along the scale of it, and it is important to have a supportive and empathetic doctor.

    I wish you happiness and health, and send positive feelings to you through the ether. 

    Take care & best wishes

    Manda

    PS - You English is fantastic!

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    • Posted

      Thank you Amanda for your message.

      I`m back on the meds, as I said, but haven’t got much better and that`s really scary for me. It feels like I`m gonna be in this dull-zombie state forever.

      Today I woke up feeling really strange. There`s no dizziness or any other painful symptom, but I feel disorientated, like I`m a totally different person.

      Sometimes I feel like a child, staring at things I wouldn’t normally stare at. I couldn`t read the newspaper because a flush of thoughts invade my head and can`t make me concentrate. I`m kinda drunk 24-7, the reflexes are a bit slower.

      I feel like taking this drug is now blocking my thoughts, the opposite of what has done for so long. I was really productive, dynamic and ongoing for the two years that I`ve taken it.

      I find it strange that I didn`t have any of these symptoms when I started taking the Venlafaxine. All the problems started after I tried to discontinue it.

      Thank you again

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    • Posted

      The pharmacist and doctor told me the generic Effexor was the same as the brand,m but my body knew different.  I have read on this and other forums how people have found them different.  My daughter is a pharmceutical rep and I asked her about this, and yes the composition can vary she said.  I made sure my doctor prescribed the brand.  One doctor told me there is no real reason to prescribe the generic as there is little difference in the priuce, and that is what doctors worry about these days.  They need to prescribe cheaper drugs.  Unfortunately our bodies can detect the difference, I know mine did. 

      I thought I would be on anti depressants for the rest of my life. Had been on them for over 20 years.  Last year a doctor suggested I try without when I went for a review.  Scary, oh yes, but I thought give it a try. 

      Well it took 10 months to withdraw as IU did not want any withdrawal symptoms.  I had gone cold turkey before and the depression returned within 6 months.  Well it has now been 17 months since I stopped.  The longest ever!!  I am doing OK.  Taking lots of supplements, which I think helps. 

      I am so glad you are feeling better as you have had a traumatic time, bless you. 

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    • Posted

      Withdrawals can be wide and varied and go on a long time.  I do hope you will begin to feel better once the medication has got into your system.  I think what you are experiencing now is your body adjusting to the medication.  You may feel worse before you feel better.  Hopefully in a few weeks you will feel so much better. 
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    • Posted

      Yesterday was day 3 for me being off the 37 mg and it was terrible!!! I was sick and stayed in bed all day.  I tried a couple of times to eat a few crackers but they didn't stay down either.  I just got up and took a shower and said no matter what I wont give in and go back on or else the whole going off is defeated. 
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    • Posted

      It took me a long long time to withdrawby doing it in small increments.  Going down from 37.5mg is the hardest.  the only way I could do it was to go on generic, which I did not want to do, but they come in piull form which you can cut.  Stopping suddenly from 37.5mg capsules will, as you are experiencing, give you bad withdrawals.

      Perhaps you could do what I did, and get a pill cutter and cut the pills into smaller and smaller doses.  In the end, after months, I was taking a tiny amount on a finger tip.  Takes a long time, but that way you don't feel defeated and feel you have no alternative but to go back on the medication.  I worked out how to do this myself, and  it does work.

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    • Posted

      I think I have it licked now as I was down and out for 2 full days and then yesterday started to feel human again. Now today I am feeling even better and plan on going to town which is something I've put off.  Such a terrible feeling and just so glad to be rid of this horrible drug now.  I do have a ful bottle of 90 75 mg and if anyone needs them coming off, I would be more than glad to send them and they could pay just the shipping. I hadn't cancelled my automatic insurance sender in time and recieved them.
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    • Posted

      Leanne I am glad you are feeling a lot better.  Well done.  Hopefully, like me, you will manage without medication.  It is 17 months since I stopped.  Longest I have gone without depression returning.  I have ups and downs, but cope as best I can.  Hopefully you will now be the person you want to be without feeling the medication was blunting you.  I had no emotions when I was on Effexor, but they all came flooding back.  I can cry at the silliest little thing now as my emotions are back.  Not cry with depression, just any little thing,

      Take care and I hope you continue to improve.

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