Venlafaxine XR increased to 300mg, experiencing dizziness, fainting spells, weird shaking fits

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I have been on Venlafaxine XR 150mg for many years. The past year or so my depression has gotten much worse..excessive sleeping, feeling like I am in a haze, unable to think really, as if I can no longer figure out how to process even the simplest information, or finish a task. My dr increased the Venlafaxine to 300mg/day, 150am and 150 mg before bed in mid Feb. About 2 1/2 weeks later I began having frequent dizzy spells. Then I began having these odd seizure type events where I start to uncontrollably shake, I get a fuzzy feeling and I black out. The black outs have happened 5 times since then, the dizzy spells happen between 3 to 4 times a day. I told my dr, she checked my blood pressure sitting/standing/laying down, it stayed consistent at 116/74. I think these dizzy spells etc are caused by the increase in Venlafaxine, however my dr disagrees. My question is has anyone else experienced or heard of similar side effects when taking Venlafaxine at a higher dose? 

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  • Posted

    It is entirely possible that you are becoming sensitive to Ven and are having an adverse reaction to the high dose.  Your best bet is to reduce down before your system gets hooked on that higher dose.  Sounds like you've been on that dose for a few weeks now?  That was quite an increase, doubling it.  Not sure this doctor really knows enough about this.  

    When one of these drugs poops out, you have the option of increasing, to try to get a therapeutic response again, or to taper off of it and try another one.  All of these drugs will poop out eventually, and long term AD use has been found to cause MORE depression, even treatment resistant depression.  There are a lot of patients on this forum that have been through many ADs and have ended up intolerant of any SSRI/SNRIs.  You might find that tapering down makes you feel better, in fact, because part of the feeling bad is due to becoming sensitized to Ven, and less of the drug will alleviate some of that.

    The problem with the increasing dose route, if you don't develop an intolerance, is that it will poop out again and then you have even farther to come down.  300 is at the top of the range.  Ven has horrific withdrawal if you come down too quickly, so if that is the path you take, come back for more info about proper tapering.  Most doctors know how to get patents on these meds but don't know how to get them off, and recommend much too fast tapers.  

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    • Posted

      I think you are right Betsy.

      I find Dr's perplexing.

      I think the way forward is to check with your surgery as to which GP specialises in depression. And be sure to see him/her.

      After reading about ven on this forum I am slightly anxious about coming off 150mgs in 12 weeks, though the plan my GP put together looks ok.

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    • Posted

      Hi Betsy,

      I wonder if I could get some information about safely tapering off the venlafaxine? I have begun, and while the creepy shaking/dizzy spells continue, the anxiety attacks have lessened and my mood has improved a bit. I have started the process to see a psychiatrist, hut it will be a month before I can make the appointment, and I most likely wont be able to be seen for another 4 months or so. I am very anxious to continue tapering off of this drug.

      I just cant seem to organize my thoughts or my life...its as if I am looking at this mess thru a wimdow, a mess of a house, boxes that havent been unpacked from a move from a year ago, clothes that need washing piled up, chaos everywhere...I am completely detached. I literally dont know how to sort this all out..its beyond me. I have been crumbling like this for the past 6 or7 years, getting more and more scared, embarassed, worried. I really want to be something like me again.

      Jennifer

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  • Posted

    Go back to your surgery and ask to see a depression specialist doctor. If they don't have one then ask for an urgent referral.

    This is not a drug to mess about with.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer

    A couple of years ago my GP increased my Ven to 225 mg.  It was horrific. I would start to talk to someone and I would lose my voice!!  I quickly went back to my GP and she took me off them.  I asked if I could see a Psychiatrist at the hospital.  Anyway the Psychiatrist put me on 15 mg Mirtazapine and 150 mg Venlafaxine.  She said sometimes the combination work better than separately.  It was fantastice but only worked for a year.  I am going to see her on Thursday so I don't know what she willl subscribe as I have had depression for 14 years off an on and have tried most ADs.

    I'm no expert but I certainly wouldn't take 300 mg of Venlafaxine.  One good thing is your BP is nice  and low.  I would certainly go back to my GP if I were you.  See if you can see a Psychiatrist.  I did hear that GPs are not allowed to prescribe a combination of drugs only Psychiatrists can do that.

    Hope you manage to feel better soon.

    Patt

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    • Posted

      Good luck Patt,

      My Pdoc perscribed 15mg mirt and 150mg Ven as I was already on mirt at 15mg. I'm wary about taking both and I would have thought starting with the ven and dropping the mirt was the way to go but what do i know.

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    • Posted

      Hi Staz

      The 15/150 was great for me but as I said they only worked for a year.

      I have spent most of today in bed which I haven't done for years.  I just hope I have better look when I go on Thursday.

      Venlafaxine at 75 mg worked for me for 11 years but since then it's been trial and error and mostly error.

      Cheers.

      Pat

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    • Posted

      Hi Patt

      Just wondering how you are doing after your appt on Thursday? I too have been on most ADs and am not sure what would work for me any more. I hope your visit was helpful!

      Jennifer

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    • Posted

      Hi Jennifer

      I saw the Psychiatrist last Thursday and at first he considered prescribing Lithium (which I wasn't too keen on) but when I told him I had broken my thumb and was having an operation he said you can't take Lithium if you are having anaesthetic.

      He has increased my Venlafaxine by 75 mg though I can't say it has made much difference.  The funny thing was that yesterday I had to get up at 6.00 am to go to the hospital and I didn't have that awful feeling when I got up and I felt great all day.  I thought it was the Ven kicking in but it was back again today.  Perhaps I should get up at  6 every morning.

      he has also referred me to a clinical psychologist so I will see what happens.

      Pat xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Pat,

      Maybe it takes longer for the Ven to work? How did the thumb operation go? Hope all went well. I often think that I should try to get up at 6am, that maybe I would then be able to better sort out my day, but 6am is just so darn...yawn...earlylol 

      Take care. Jen

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  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer, I am on 300mg of venlafaxine, like you I take 150g am and 150g pm.

    I don't know how quickly your dose was increased or how long you have been at that dose. It took me a long time to get used to it, I had achey arms and jerky movements especially at night. I also had some dizziness when bending down and getting up again and I still sometimes feel a bit queasy on it. However, if the Dr says your problems are not caused by the venlafaxine she should definitely check you out for any other possible causes, black outs are very worrying and could happen at a dangerous time or be a symptom of a serious illness. Personally I feel it could be related to the venlafaxine, I don't like being on it but it makes it a bit easier for me to hold down a job and to be more talkative. You should certainly ask your Dr again and I agree with other people who have replied that you may need to see someone who specialises in depression.

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  • Posted

    All I can say is that if I was experiencing black outs I would be asking to see a neurologist and i'd be demanding an MRI. Get that ruled out? Hope things are improving for you x
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  • Posted

    Thanks all for your kind responses. I continue to have dizzy spells, fortunately no more black outs. I did notify my psychiatrist about these problems however she doesnt seem at all concerned (?!!) so I am looking for another doctor at this time. I live in the US so this process can be a lengthy one. In the meantime I have begun to cut back the Venlafaxine XR dose. I am taking it slow, and plan on reducing my dose by 1/4 for the next 2 months, and then see how I am before the next reduction. It has been a week and I have already noticed that I am feeling slightly better, although that might be because I finally understand why I have been feeling so horribly awful! I am very thankful that I found this site..for the first time I understand why I have been feeling and acting the way I have. Honestly, I have thought I was loosing my mind! After reading so many of your posts it was like I was reading portions of my own life. Anyway, I have hope that the future will be better. I have felt that way for many years!
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