Want to come off Venlafaxine

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Hi all,

I am new to this forum and just looking for some advice for those that have been there, done it and got the T-shirt so to speak.

Bit of history....I started taking Venlafaxine about 6 years ago after I had some Anxiety and Stress related issues. It has been a god send. However I do not think I need it anymore. I am well aware of the hideous withdrawal effects as have missed a dose a few times over the past 6 years.

I reduced my does down from 150mg a day to 75mg a day about a year ago. When doing this I was jittery for about a week or 10 days but not too bad. 75mg a day now seem totally normal and I have no issues what so ever. My aim to is be medication free eventually but want to do this in a controlled manner so as to not affect either myself or family, work etc.

I have seen my GP and they have provided me with 37.5mg a day does. I suppose my 1st question is: Will the drop from 75 to 37.5mg a day be worse that it was from 150 - 75? I am going to start this over the Xmas period when I am off with family etc so support is about.

This leads me to my second question: What period would be advisabe to then try to come off it completely...6 months???

And, finally. Has anyone has any issues with Stomach Ulcers whilst taking Venlafaxine. I have had issues for the last 6 weeks and am taking omeprazole 40mg a day until I have an investigation to confirm but they believe this is because of a Stomach Ulcer?

thanks in advance for any comments / advice etc.

Ron

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  • Posted

    Hi Ron,

    All the best to you on your journey!   I took 75mg XR formula for 16 years and also reduced by half (to 37.5) without too many side effects. Like you, I stayed on the reduced doseage quite a while to allow my body to stabilize.   To decrease  from 37.5 to 0 mg, I opened the capsules and reduced by two beads per week.

    So week one, removed two beads and took capsule with 35 mg beads for entire week. Next week, on same day, reduced by two more beads to 33 mg, took that dose for a week, next week, same routine.  I managed okay in this manner until I got down to about 12 remaining beads, at which time I had to start removing only one bead per week. in all, I think it took about 7-8 months.  There were a couple of weeks I maintained the same dosage and didn't reduce the beads if I felt I had a lot going on.

    The side effects I felt were stomach upset (but not nausea), difficulty focusing,

    memory issues, anger and irritation, nightmares, but none were totally unmanageable. By going so slowly, I avoided the dreaded brain zaps.    I just told myself that this was something I had to get through.  

       I reduced my bead dosage on Saturdays so I felt the bulk of the initial effect of the decrease over the weekend, since I work M-F weekdays.  Also important to take beads at same time each day, and with food.  Omega 3 fish oil and avoiding sugary foods seemed to help.

     I have been off this drug for 6 months now, and do not take any other medication.  I wish I could say it has become much better but I still have side effects/withdrawl symtoms, memory loss and agitation/anxiety being the worst of them.  However, I took ven for a long period of time and expect that it could take a year or more to feel what passes for normal.  On the plus side, I feel like I have more energy, am less fatigued and lost 22 lbs.  

    Hope this helps.  Take it very slow in order not to get derailed and be very kind to yourself as you travel this path.

    All the best!

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    • Posted

      Hi m89928, thanks so much for the advice. I am too familiar with the vile brain zapps!!!! What the hell are they about!

      I will continue my journey to being drug free and will update this blog so as to help anyone else who has to go through this challenge.

      Just one thing, now that you are drug free apart from the occassional issues do you feel like a different person. The reason I ask is that I do not remember how I felt before  as being on 75mg for 6+ years is normal to me?

      thanks again,

      Ron

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    • Posted

      H ronald, I have a similar background to m89928, having been on ven for 12 years before a failed attemtp to come off, having gone much too quickly.  I am now doing a very slow taper, similar to m's, in hopes of my nervous system stepping up to the plate as the drug is reduced very slowly.  

      I think that sense of not knowing who you were is common to ven and these drugs in general.  My memory in general is really horrible and I don't feel like I was at all present for all the time I've been on these meds, like it was someone else living my life.  All very etherial, unable to remember details the way a lot of people can about their lives.  Makes for being a horrible story-teller LOL!  

      I was also largely numbed out and unable to feel joy and excitement about much, not to mention having my sexual self dashed to bits.  Just didn't care about much.  Also realize that I wasn't "happy," either, that I still had depression but was apathetic, didn't have the motivation to act on it.

      Yesterday I was realizing that what had really happened was that my vibrancy and creativity was taken away.  I am hoping to recover them once fully off.

      As I've reduced down to 27.5 mg, I am gradually having reflections about who I was before drugs, and that person wasn't as bad as I thought :-)

      Just know that there's lots of support for you here.  You are lucky in that you are going into this with eyes wide open, learning about what to expect and being able to do things in a sane fashion, learning from others' mistakes :-)  That is very empowering!

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