Withdrawal length of time

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I have been reading through a lot of posts and I apologize because I know it's all been discussed but I am really having trouble focusing enough to find info.

I am 34, 5' tall and about 130lbs. I've been taking effexor xr 300mg for about 5 years. For the past two months I have been in the process of weaning off. At first it was 75mg at a time then for the last 75mg I was given two separate step downs, 37.5 for two weeks and then down to 0. I started having trouble going from 150 to 75. That is the reason for slowing it down to zero. I was okay with taking 37.5 but it has been 10 days taking 0 mg and I feel like withdrawals are getting worse. It is flu season and I am type 1 diabetic. About five days ago I started feeling like I was getting the stomach flu; not eating, vomiting, chills, etc. Sunday I went to the hospital because of dehydration and ketoacidosis symptoms. I told them it is either the flu or I have been weaning off of Effexor. They treated me with fluids and sent me on my way.

In the past week I have missed work, been unable to stay awake, brain zaps are the worst they have ever been, now I can't stop crying, everything bothers me and I feel really helpless. How do I try to explain the feeling, explain that it could still be withdrawal symptoms when doctors and family don't agree, and how long is this going to last?

I have been taking Bupropion 150xl for about a month now as well along with Lamactril 50mg at night for about two weeks.

I'm sorry for rambling and I appreciate any advice or help that can be offered. Thank you!

0 likes, 6 replies


6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi. Sorry for your bad experience. You have been brought down way too agressively. Way too fast. Is there a medical reason for all that rush? Are you being followed by a psychiatrist or a GP?


    • Posted

      The coming off is being followed by a psychiatrist. The Effexor was the choice of a GP many years ago. I'm not sure why the choice to move quickly except for the fact that she felt like Effexor was not the drug I should be on in light of being diagnosed with bipolar II. I was ignorant to the fact that it is a quick drop because the first part was quite easy but the last part has been horrible. I was weened off maybe 10 years ago when I was on a smaller dose with no problem. Perhaps it is a reaction with the other medications I have started?

      Thank you for your response. I'm new to actually seeing a psychiatrist rather than just trusting that a GP would know what is best. I appreciate your help.

    • Posted

      The fact that you are followed by a psychiatrist is a great thing.

      The only problem I see (other than moving too fast biggrin Is that they are expecting your new drugs to take over and neutralize venlafaxine withdrawal. Ven is very potent and can be unforgiving. If their theory is right and you do have bipolar II and your new drugs actually work for you, this may just happen but that will become apparent only over the next few weeks. Meanwhile you need to keep in close touch with the psychiatrist and report any further worsening so they can try address it by adjusting dosage of your new medication. When do you next see your doctor?

      In light of the additional info you shared, I would expect your current issues to take another 2 weeks minimum to start resolving gradually.

      If it does not get worse than it is now, you should be ok and slowly regroup. If you get any worse they must reconsider their approach.

      Having said that, do not be too afraid of the process. It feels terrible but sometimes it has to in order to get it right and get you on a path to proper therapy and recovery. If venlafaxine was found to not address your issues sufficiently, it was time for a change anyway. The only thing for you to look out for is a massive worsening in depressive episodes and any new abnormal urges. If you are ever in doubt - call your doctor or visit ER immediately. Early therapy with a new drug can sometimes be rather rough, especially also given your venlafaxine withdrawal.

      Please keep in touch and let us know how you get on.

  • Posted

    Sarah I'd be inclined to find new psych and doctor, bupropion was withdrawn from the market at one stage because of seizures in people taking it. Lamactril is an anti epilepsy drug. Go online and look at its side effects. Flu symptoms explained plus!!

    I am a medication nurse working in aged care. Efexor is in fact a very good antidepressant medication BUT it's only supposed to be used for 6 months or so to help with an acute depressive episode not forgotten about and scripts plus just being ordered. None of the medication you are currently on is for Bipolar. My daughter is Bipolar so I know those medications backwards and took years to get one that didn't just make her a zombie. She is non compliant with the meds so the scatty way of her is her fault really.

    • Posted

      Thank you Linda. I am so new to everything. I was given Effexor when I was in my early 20s and it worked well. It was a low dose and used for a year. I was given Lexapro but I had horrible side effects. After a major depressive bought my GP went back to Effexor and just kept raising the dose. In December I had a really hard time and finally realized I should have been seeing a mental health professional. After just trying bupropion and lowering the Effexor, it became more apparent that there was more going on and Effexor had run its course. The doctor has been getting me off that (what fun). She wanted to use Lamactril/lamotragine to treat bipolar. I need to do more research rather than going with the flow. I am more miserable now than I have ever been.

      I have an appointment early next week. Thank you very much for your replies. It's eased my mind and that has been much needed.

    • Posted

      Hi Sarah, it may take a long time to figure out the best tablet for your Bipolar. Just make sure you're compliant with the treatment.

      I'd ask for referral to psychiatrist for the medication. I will warn you the psych meds are not overly pleasant and do have side effects. However if they get you stable and able to work life is ok. Get rid of anyone in your life who gives you angst, doctor shop to an extent to find one you trust explicitly. Lots of what had been going on with me is now being dealt with. New town, new doctor. Hang in there girl. I suffer from very deep depressions only but you know when I look at my life I reckon I understand why. Understand too your doctor may stop medication clean your body of them and then start working out the essential ones. But you can ask why and if they refuse to answer in language you understand FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR. If you live on Mornington Peninsula there is a psychiatrist in Mt Eliza who only deals with BiPolar. Remember always that someone loves you. They might annoy the heck out of you but they love you and your a worthwhile person. I liken myself to Heehaw the donkey, which are you??


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