Posted , 6 users are following.

This is not a question - it's a warning,

Anyone who is prescribed this drug should challenge the treatment and do their own research before taking it. I'm not saying it's a bad drug or not suitable in any case - I'm sure there are plenty of cases where it is essential. It's just that I believe people should be fully informed about it beforehand.

I had previously been prescribed Fluoxetine and Citalopram for mild depression ( a diagnosis I now challenge anyway). When I was prescribed this drug, the reasoning I was given was that it was 'better'. End of explanation. Mushroom management in its most ugly form.

Like the two previous drugs, I don't believe its helped, mainly because of the tendency to disrupt sleep. I decided to quit completely. I was on 75mg once a day.

I tried to taper it off but the 'Brain Zaps' and listlessness (Google Venlafaxine withdrawal) were horrendous. I changed GP who prescribed 37.5mg (non-controlled release) to help me taper (they can be split in two) - still the same. She then prescribed a liquid version so I could gradually reduce the dose. I am now down to 10mg once or twice a day (depending on how bad the WS's are) and still struggling. I started trying to quit the drug 2 months ago. My pharmacist tells me this is very common.

That does mean I am making progress but I am staggered that, even at such a low dose, I still experience withdrawal symptoms.

The really sad part of the story is that, before I understood what was happening, I had these symptoms at my son's wedding and it ruined the day for me. IMHO it should be compulsory for anyone prescribing this drug to explain to the patient how difficult it is to come off it.

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  • Posted

    Yes I get what your saying

    I too was withdrawing from fluoxetine 40mg fro

    The 15/12/13 and on the 20/12/13 was told to start taking venlafaxine 75mg a day and after 2 weeks take 150mg a day.

    My Christmas was a blur.. I've cut down to one 37.5mg tablet a day now. Am still suffering with headaches and brain saps and eating to much. I have a knee injury to top it all off. I have meniscus surgery on the 10/09/13 and it's not getting better. I try to walk and it swells up. I've been back to the consultant and he has given me the seriod injection to reduce the cyst that developed after the surgery. Am so feed up.. Trying to excersise with an injuried knee to reduce my weight these antidepressants put on me over the last 18 months after the loss of my son. It's just a big fat snow ball and I can't see it getting better. 😩😩

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  • Posted

    Hi Wendy197321

    I'm so, so sorry about your son. I cannot even begin to imagine how that must feel.You're obviously having a really tough time right now, but you know the good news? There is a way out!

    I'm no medical expert but I can relate my own experiences. The biggest lesson I learned was that depression unjustifiably carries a stigma in society, like it's something to be ashamed of. If you read references, you will find out it mostly happens to strong people who refuse to give up, irrespective of the adversity they have to deal with. Until, one day, their whole being goes on extended holiday without permission or a contact number! In this way, a depression can be worn as a badge of honour for services above and beyond the call of duty! Except we would all give that badge back right now if only we could!

    First and most important, I strongly advise you do not alter any anti-depressant (AD) dosage dosage without talking it through with your GP. You have taken a bit of a roller--coaster ride with your doses and, knowing what this drug is like, suggest maybe you should be more patient. It will take time.

    Second - and this one held the key for me - be prepared to challenge your GP. For them, dealing with depression is very common and, being human just like us, they get into a routine and are sometimes unable to see the wood for the trees. I eventually took the bold step of changing GP (bit of trial and error but I dropped lucky) and now feel I have someone who is prepared to think outside the box and I have made good progress.

    Next, be aware this drug disappears out of your system quickly, which is why the 75mg is 'controlled release' - i.e. slow to dissolve. The 37.5mg is not, meaning you get a 'hit' shortly after taking it and withdrawal a few hours afterwards. Your body gets a roller coaster ride! When I was on 37.5mg per day, I cut the pills in half (they have the score line for this) and took one half at breakfast and another lunchtime. That worked much better.

    After a bit of time on 37.5mg and still struggling to get off it, my new GP took the bold step of prescribing the liquid form of the drug so I could taper it off even more. I say bold because it is not licensed in this country for some obscure reason, so she had to trust me a lot! I measure this out with an oral syringe and mix it with glass of water. After 3 weeks on it, I am down to about 10mg a time, once or twice a day depending on how it's going. That means I have reduced my dose by 50-75% in 3 weeks. I am looking forward to not being on it at all but I'm still having to be patient.

    Thinking about AD's in general, I have been on 3 different lots and am very sceptical whether they have been any use at all. I say this because all 3 had disrupted sleep patterns as a known side-effect and that was the last thing I needed. I always have a good day if I get a good night's sleep. However, I do recognise they work very well for some people.

    Thinking more about depression itself, another trick I found very useful was to give myself a score out of 10 each day when I went to bed. It was not scientific, but loosely based on: How have I felt today? How have I performed at work today? How has my memory been today? How much have I laughed today? I keep a simple chart of the scores and, every Sunday evening, tot up the week's total score. I then plot the weekly scores on a graph and, hey presto, I have a picture of how I'm doing! It is truly uplifting to see that graph slowly rising. It is also a very useful tool to watch the effect of changes in drugs / lifestyle (I mark such changes on the graph) or flag up problems if it starts to drop.

    Another very useful thing I did was to read up on the condition to try to understand it more. I discovered that AD's, while being a necessary part of treatment, are not the whole answer. I learned I needed to change my life and the way I think - difficult when you're approaching 60! The best references I found were by Dr David Burns, a pioneer in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Like all references, some of the advice worked for me, some of it didn't, but I am a stronger person for it:

    I hope some of this helps and can tell you it won't go away overnight. But stick with it and work on it and you will suddenly realise one day you are feeling yourself again. Your being has come back from that holiday and you'll be back firing on all cylinders. Lay down a nice bottle of wine for that day and celebrate with loved ones!

    Emis Moderator comment: I have had to remove the links as we do not publish links to selling sites. Please use the message service to exchange links such as these.

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  • Posted

    UPDATE TO MY POST 14/1/14 (links removed by moderator)

    Suggested reading is:

    Dr David Burns: 10 Days to Great Self Esteem

    Dr David Burns: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

    Dina Glouberman: The Joy of Burnout: How the End of the World Can Be a New Beginning

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  • Posted

    Hi, I am new to this forum.  I have been cutting down from venlafaxine 225mg.  Went to 150mg, then 111,2mg then 75mg and now 37.5mg.  It has taken me at least a year but with such big jumps it has taken me so long to stabilise in between.  The last drop I took to 37.5mg was in October last year and have been at 37.5mg since.  I am still feeling awful, not stabilising much at all.  I was interested in your method of going onto 37.5mg tablets cutting them in half twice a day and then onto liquid.  I am on 37.5mg extended release tablets at the moment and want to take this last bit as slow as needed.  I am worried about changing from extended release to the normal release tablets.
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    • Posted

      You sound a bit like me, Emilylou. What do you mean by "feeling awful"?

      Tired, depressed, anxious? Don't really want to do much? An effort to do everything? That's me.

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    • Posted

      Hi Cathy,

      I feel anxious, depressed, crying a lot again and look and feel like a junkie.  I had picked up but started to feel like this about 6 weeks ago again.  I woke up this morning and cried, was going out shopping so decided that it wasn't going to beat me and went.  I am so pleased I didn't let it win but walked round in a kind of stupor.  Better than having to stay in bed though.

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    • Posted

      I am sorry you are also feeling this way.  It all makes me so angry because I don't know what else to do.  I try not giving in and if working at it was the only answer I am sure I would have been well a long time ago.  Keep on Keeping on that's all we can do.  Kindest regards to you.
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    • Posted

      Hi, Emilylou. Just wondering how you are doing. I stopped taking the last bit of this drug 12 days ago. At first I felt pretty good except for feeling the dizzies. For the past four days the fatigue has slowly returned. Today I feel the worst. I had been slowly weaning like you. I had gotten down to 10 beads taking them out of the capsules. Now I am wondering how long this is all going to last. Or maybe there is something else wrong. Ugh!
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