Weaning off Venaflaxine

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can anyone tell me something positive about Tapering iff Venaflaxine 225 mg after 21 years?

if you taper real slow can yiu avoid the bad withdrawal

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  • Posted

    I was on antidepressants for about 19 years, the most recent 12 years on Effexor. I tried to come off too fast and went through a protracted withdrawal for about 10 months before reinstating. I was also put on mirtazapine before going back on Effexor. I began tapering both meds four years ago and have done the very slow 10% taper. I am now on the last crumb of Effexor and about to jump off in a couple of weeks. Still have a little bit of mirtazapine to go as well.

    The tapering forums recommend 10% per month and when doing two drugs at once, 10% combined, which is generally what I did.

    It helps to understand what happens when we take these meds for long periods. The body likes homeostasis, so when you artificially boost serotonin with these drugs, the body will make modifications to the neurons to bring about homeostasis. It is those changes that cause us problems when we try to come off the drugs too fast; pull the drug away too quickly and you are left with those changes UNOPPOSED by the drug. This means destabilization and withdrawal symptoms! When you take into consideration that tweaking one neurotransmitter causes a cascade of changes across all other neurotranmitter systems (because they are all interdependent), it is not such a simple affair to reduce and change back. This is why it must be done very slowly. Those who do cold turkeys or faster tapers (like the doctors try to have you do) end up with huge swings, what they call windows and waves, because it is like a pendulum swinging back and forth until the waves subside, which can take many months to years.

    So, when your system has been used to having the drugs built into the system for 20 years, it simply will not be a short term proposition to come off. Believe me, I struggled to accept that, as does most everyone finding themselves having to taper so slowly. But if your goal is to succeed, you must go slowly: The turtle wins the race.

    Keep in mind, I was tapering off two drugs, so if you are doing just one, it won't take four years.

    The general rule is to not cut more often than every three to four weeks, to give your system time to adapt to the change. Do NOT cut if you are having withdrawal symptoms, since that means you are already destabilized and to cut again would REALLY throw you off further. The trick is to find a way to make such small cuts with your particular version of the med. If you have Effexor with tiny beads inside capsules, people count beads. Count how many beads are inside of each of three capsules and total those counts and then divide by 3. That gives you the average number of beads. Then remove 10%. Take that dose for 3-4 weeks, and then remove 10% of that number.

    There's a research paper showing the receptor binding of several different SSRIs and Effexor to the serotonin receptor at varying dosages. At the minimum dose of 37.5 mg, your receptors are occupied by over 80%. As you reduce, small cuts lead to ever increasingly large drops in receptor occupancy, which is why you take 10% off of the previous month's dosage.

    If you are serious about getting off the meds, not "relapsing" and reinstating (when it is really withdrawal causing the problem), then you must go slow and accept that this is how it must be.

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    • Posted

      trust me I am in no hurry. I just finished a 3 year taper off Benzodiazepines that was the worse.

      everyone tells me if I did that this is a walk in the park I am on Disability because I couldn't work it was a nightmare.

      My Pharmacist told me he has little success tapering someone off Benzodiazepines but effexor yes.

      he mentioned that sometimes it is easier to switch out the Effexor for a longer acting Antidepressant and then cut out the Effexor XR then stablize for awhile and taper that one.

      my sister in law brother did it with Wellbutrin

      He had success doing ut that way.

      I am so afraid because all I hear are horrible stories .

      I need to hear positive feedback

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    • Posted

      I would not do a bridge with another drug, Prozac being the ones they usually do that with. Wellbutrin is a relatively easier drug to come off of compared to Effexor so the bridge probably wasn't necessary, and then there are many who still end up with withdrawal coming off Prozac, too, just another one you will then have to taper off of. Slow and steady bead removal will do the trick, but you really need to listen to your body. As I said, if you do feel withdrawal from a cut, hold until you stabilize and the withdrawal passes before commencing cutting. You've been there with your benzo taper so you know you can do it!

      In protracted withdrawal, I had horrid burning skin, hot flashes day and night, drenching the sheets, anxiety, insomnia....while tapering slowly, burning skin/hot flashes was the most obvious symptom. I remember having a numb tongue feeling but not sure if that was Effexor or Remeron. By and large there was very little in the way of uncomfortale withdrawal. Whatever I did experience was at a manageable level, which is the point of tapering. You may not escape wd symptoms but they should be at a level that is tolerable.

      I wish you well with coming off! You've done a benzo so you can do this, too!

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