Withdrawal nightmare

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Hi,

I've been reducing venlafaxine for probably nearly 2 years now off and on and i've got down from 225mg to 9.6mg (approx, I use a pill splitter). I am obviously very sensitive to the medication changes having been on venlafaxine for about 6 years and other antidepressants for 6 year prior to that. Every time I make a reduction I feel awful; nausea, anxiety, retching, headaches, irritable etc but I could deal with that if it weren't for the heart problems.

Every night for the past 9mths I've been jolted awake by the feeling that I've stopped breathing as I cross over into sleep (and sometimes before). Drs have given me a referral to a sleep clinic but they are sceptical that it's sleep apnea and just chalk it up to their favourite thing: anxiety. However, I can live with this happening although it is incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but for the fact that every month to six weeks I'll get a few nights where it's so bad that it will happen over and over again for several hours and it will be intolerable as I am exhausted and unable to sleep at all. Drs cannot find any reason for this happening and as it happens a few weeks after reducing my dose and i've had palpitations previously when I tried to stop the meds completely, I'm pretty sure it's due to the withdrawal. (I also sometimes get convulsive shakes like I'm a junkie or something)

The thing is it's pretty hard to reduce by such small amounts and I don't know how I can cut the pills any smaller. Websites about tapering ADs often say to use a liquid form, has anyone managed to get liquid venlafaxine in the UK?

I can't keep having time off work for withdrawal symptoms and I need to get off these drugs somehow so that I can try and get pregnant in the near future.

Awful drug sad

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    IV also split in half to 18.75mg. My last tablet will be tomorrow. The symptoms seem to be what most people are experiencing. Mine are mainly brain zaps. I'd say your on the lowest dose really. Never heard of anyone getting liquid formula and I'm a nurse. I'd just finish it completely now if I was you. I was collapsing and the cardiologist suspects the Ven. Iv been on 150mg for 15 years. Reduced in 8 weeks but I know after my last dose tomorrow that I'll still get effects for a while. I think you have to bare it if you want to come of this medication. I'm taking lemon balm capsules from Holland and Barrett which seem to help. Best of luck 😊👍😊
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  • Posted

    I've had three babies whilst on very large doses of venlafaxine (up to 375mg per day) and they are all perfectly healthy children aged 12, 9 and 5. I recently came off the drug (tapered down for years; took it for 20) and was ill with the original illness 12 weeks later so am back on it. Turns out I made the right decision (for me) not to come off the drug before becoming pregnant. There are mothers who drink and smoke and take illegal drugs for far less good reasons than being on a life-saving drug for life, so if you need it please don't beat yourself up about it. Children need a healthy, contented mother at as much as a drug-free pregnancy - this was the advice I was given when asking the professionals.
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  • Posted

    I'm in the US and we are able to order a jeweler's scale that weighs milligrams, plus we can get empty gel capsules that you can fill yourself.  On a WD forum I am on, they advocate a very slow taper schedule of 10% per month.  Since the tablets have fillers, they weigh more than the active ingredient, so I weigh the initial tablet and then break off the percentage that I need for that month and put it in the capsules. Sometimes there is powder.  I've read of people making their own liquid suspension by dissolving the tablet in a volume of water and then taking the desired percentage of that mixture, but you'd need appropriate measuring devices to do it that way, and you'd throw away the remainder.

    This drug is so hard to get off of, it really is worth all the hassle to measure out the smaller 10% cuts.  Really reduces the level of suffering!  

    Also, faster tapers lead to bigger WD symptoms, anxiety and depression included in the list of WD symptoms.  Many think they are relapsing when in fact that are suffering withdrawal.  We end up thinking that we need this medication like a diabetic needs insulin because we have an "imbalance," but if you do your research, there is no scientific evidence that neurotransmitter imbalances are the cause of anxiety and depression.  In reality, the scientists still don't know what the true mechanism of these disorders is.

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your comment. I have actually just purchased some jewellers scales and I'm waiting for them to come from amazon.

      One of the hardest things about withdrawal is that people (doctors especially) do not understand that it can be so difficult even to come off a small amount of the drug if you've been on it for years. Yes some people can come off and just feel a bit sick but I have learnt the hard way that that's not me!

      I will try again to reduce, only more gradually with the scales once my heart problems have reduced. Maybe one day I'll be free of this drug!

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    • Posted

      I wish you luck, and I'm this journey with you.  I will warn you about that little scale:  it can vary widely!  What I do is use the little weights it comes with to calibrate each time I am going to weigh out a couple of weeks' worth of doses.  I then weigh a full size tablet, several of them actually.  My 30 mg tablets weigh 300 mg on average, so I find one that weighs 300 mg and then use it over and over again to make sure the scale gets that same weight before weighing out my doses.  I had an episode where I had some severe symptoms and went back to recheck the doses I had weighed out, and they ended up weighing dramatically different than what they were supposed to!  
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    • Posted

      thanks for the tip smile Hopefully it can't be any worse than my current 'chop wildly with pill splitter and hope for the best' method!
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    • Posted

      My Venlafaxine is in capsules with tiny white beads...

      I could never take a high dose as I am over sensitive to medication and get terrible side effects.

      I was on 75 mgs, cut down to 37.50mgs for a month and then to 18,75mgs. I've been on this dose for 5 weeks and intend to stay on it for longer ???

      I open the capsules and count out 75 beads... I do this because the capsules vary from 142 to 164 beads per capsule. I don't know if I'm doing this right as have no one (except Internet) to ask...my psyc. doc says "take them every other day for a couple of weeks then stop"". That doesn't seem a good idea to me my brain wouldn't know if it was coming or going.... and my poor brain has suffered enough with this dreadful medication....

      I still never have a good day. I am nervous wreck and have no reason to be.

      I get bad palpitations, sweating and have a terrible numb feeling in my face/jaw and neck all day long.

      does anyone know if these are still withdrawal symptoms? If I knew for sure then maybe they would be easier to cope with...

      take care

      Sxx

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    • Posted

      hi, i'm no expert but I agree that taking every other day is a bad idea and lots of people say so online. I get palpitations and anxiety too and i'm pretty sure it's linked to withdrawal. Unfortunately doctors are not exactly up to speed on withdrawal so I have to rely on the internet for all my meds advice. There is a site called surviving antidrepressants that has advice about reducing very gradually, the mental health charity Mind also advises to reduce by 10% at a time. In my experience there can be a whole host of withdrawal symptoms that go on for longer than you would think so it's important to take it slow.
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    • Posted

      Yes, this is withdrawal!  I had all of that last year when I came off too fast.  I thought the sweats were menopause, but I was soaked, and at night, my sheets, top and bottom, were so wet that I couldn't stay in that spot because I was then freezing!  If I'd known I was going through WD, I don't think I would have freaked out and ended up back on meds again, thinking I had relapsed and desperate to feel better!  I was feeling like I didn't want to die per se but that I couldn't live...like that.
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  • Posted

    I wish you all the best, I have been on ven for 8-9 months and it's helped me, but it does worry me that at the dosage of 225 mg I have a horrid journey to come of them. Some say moving to Prozac is one option as it has a longer half life
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