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    Includes Expert Content
    Terrible withdrawal symptoms of Effexor XR--Went through a Dr. care weining off
    wtg4calm posted:
    Today is my 2nd day of NOT ingesting anymore Effexor XR and I am feeling like I just want to die. Getting thru all the lower doses through my doc's directions, it was terrible, now, it's back to just plain demonic! The brain zaps, fatigue, nausea,vomiting, I can't deal with this anymore! Lost 4 lbs. in the last couple days. Don't want to eat and the hot and cold bouts are too much for me. Also with a husband who doesn't understand any of this, I just suffer in silence. He does not have a compassionate bone in his body, but, being a dry drunk, he wouldn't. I did these antidepressants for approx. 6 yrs., and I will never do this again. It was to help fix me and maybe our marriage. Well, I know now, I am NOT the one who needs fixing. I just want to get rid of this bad experience, and get on with my life, if I can. I would never recommend these antidepressants to anyone! I attend alanon and they have helped me more than these stupid drugs. Any natural remedies out there to get rid of the fatigue and nausea feeling? Just to combat that would be a blessing, the brain zaps, well, I don't know. I think a visit to my doc is in order. NO DRUGS PLEEZ... is what I will tell my doctor...Thanks for all the support on this community.
    Betty Ford Center
    Sean Barlow, MD responded:
    It is known that Effexor XR can be difficult to stop. In psychiatry we call this a discontinuation syndrome.

    The best way to stop Effexor XR is very slowly. I would let your physician know the difficult time you are having, and work together from there. If your MD is not a psychiatrist, it may be worthwhile for your MD to collaborate with one or refer you to one if he is not familiar with this phenomenon.

    I do not know of any natural remedies to treat this difficult process. The best way is a slow titration off. Stay connected to your peers in Al-Anon — including your sponsor and others who provide support around you — to not feel so alone. People do have this resolve, but it may take weeks to occasionally months for it to completely improve. Sorry I don't have a better/easier answer.
    kathycornflakes responded:
    I took Effexor for several years and decided to stop- MISTAKE! It took at least 6-8 weeks to be "ok." I was CRAZY- I could not make a decision, made impulsive choices, was mean, etc. But now, I substitute with alcohol. It's not an easy anti-depressant to get off of, but plz tell your dr what you are experiencing. He/she can help you ease off more slowly or with something to help with the side effects of withdrawl. All I can say is I wish I did the same. I wasted months feeling like an insane person and now I have a bad alchohol problem. ;(
    wtg4calm replied to kathycornflakes's response:
    I did finally go back to my dr. I tried to be as caln as possible. Explained all that I had mentioned here, and at first, she was going to suggest we re-start on the Effexor and try again to weine off. I said, "NO!" I told her, no more drugs! She understood. We have a good relationship. I asked for some "natural" ways to get through this. Couldn't sleep, eat, think, or even move! Anyhow, the suggestions were of Soy, Black Cohosh, B complex, peppermint for the awful nausea, and melatonin for sleeplessness. So far, these things have helped. I just can't get over the overwhelming lethargy I have through out the day. I am hoping that, too will go away. Otherwise, am happy to report, I am getting there. I went back to my Zumba, and worked out like there was no tomorrow. that can also help mentally. Just waiting to feel somewhat normal like I should. I warn people to not just 'stop' this medication. It's so much safer to follow your dr's orders. It will be very tough, but that, I think is the only way to do this.
    kathycornflakes replied to wtg4calm's response:
    yes- I am glad you have a goo Dr. to work with!
    wtg4calm responded:
    I just want to say, it has now been about 2 weeks now, that I am finally starting to feel somewhat human. NO MORE DRUGS!!! I am able to function as normal, and will never forget this horrible experience as long as I live. I have been back to my Zumba dance classes to sweat out all these impurities and having fun which is what I need. The natural "high" I get from these dance classes is way beyond any drug induced feelings. I hope people out there will be careful when stopping any drug. Make sure a dr. helps you through it. All in all, it's been quite an experience from Effexor XR. There are other natural ways to get through anxiety.
    Jessilm responded:
    I need the support of this forum. I've been on Effexor for over 5 years now. I've recently stopped taking my 150 mg dose. It's been 4 or 5 days. My toung is tingly, I'm dizzy, I'm crying all the time, shaky. I didn't realize until today that my change in appetite was a symtom of withdrawal. SO I called my dr & told her my stupid I'm going to take my last 12 pills every other day & see how I feel. My relationship with my fianc? is suffering bc of this....,things are okay, but I know I'm going to get worse before I get better. You have my support. I'm here if u need to vent. I'm sure ill be needing to vent as well.
    Fred1521 responded:
    You are doing the right thing - hang in there! this stuff is nothing short of poison!!!!
    Fred1521 replied to Sean Barlow, MD's response:
    Dr. Barlow, how is it possible that this kind of drug ever gets passed the approval process - withdrawal is so severe that at a minimum why not a consumer warning??? Just wondering what you think.
    wtg4calm replied to Fred1521's response:
    Oh yes, I so totally agree! This should not be meant to give to people and should be taken off the market! It has been 2 months and 3 weeks since I have been off of this poison, and I am glad to say, I feel sooo much better! I am thinking clearly, making decisions, and standing by them! I refuse any kind of pill. I hesitate to take ibuprofen! Only, and only when I really need to. Anyone trying to get off of Effexor XR,PLEASE do it with a dr.'s help!Even though it will be hell, you cannot do it alone. I am a survivor, and will never touch another antidepressant ever again! There are other ways to deal with problems than with drugs.
    Betty Ford Center
    Sean Barlow, MD replied to Fred1521's response:
    There are probably multiple reasons for its approval, although it can have significant adverse effects when stopped. When Effexor XR first came out, I do not think as much was known or appreciated about the 'discontinuation syndrome' as is known at present. Also, not every person who takes the medication has this reaction. I have seen people on large doses of Effexor XR stop it suddenly and have no adverse events. The medication has helped many people treat their depressive or anxiety disorder and significantly changed their lives.

    The prescribing information, a.k.a. package insert, does warn doctors to discontinue slowly; unfortunately, not every doctor is aware of this information and/or has not experienced the discontinuation phenomenon.

    Also, if patients receive a prescription from a pharmacy, they are supposed to also receive a medication guide, as ordered by the FDA. It mentions to patients to not stop the medication suddenly or they may experience "other symptoms." This is clearly not as strong of a warning as people could receive.

    This is a complex issue. Given the experience doctors are now having with Effexor XR, it is likely changing prescribing practices and shunting doctors away from antidepressants that have more 'discontinuation symptoms.' Although probably all antidepressants can cause this syndrome, some medications are not as likely to cause this as others.

    SuziNeedsAClue responded:
    Last month I was hospitalized for a "cardiac" issue.(all that was really determined was I have high cholesterol. My psychiatrist was weaning me off slowly from effexor xr since january and the second day in the hospital either my primary doctor or the cardiac doctor took the effexor xr away (I had success with
    Prozac in the past but was happily married and why kill an awesome life). I suffer from migraines and have been walking around with an ice pack is permanently attached to my head.....thr weight loss is fine as I had been eating healthier and excercising more hot and cold.....numbness in fingers...I feel like I have Vertigo (off balance).....clumsy....falling down alot...stopped the prozac sleeping too much!!!!!!!!! Clearly I need a new primary since she told me to (take Bufferin....looked up why I csn't find it at Walmart...I just picked the box it was recalled I could have been taking tainted aspirin tainted with opiates....shouldn"t my physician be aware of the fact Bufferinn & Excedrin were recalled in JANUARY??? What other side effects should might I have.....something else is very wrong with me. My son I have recently grown the point where he wants to move to Memphis leave all his friends and relatives behind since the new year started. Clearly, I need to find a new Doctor! My Name is Suzi and I had not a Clue and neither did my doctor!!!
    nellieg915 replied to Jessilm's response:
    I just posted on this site my experience with Effexor. I am compassionate because I am going through same. My boyfriend can't sleep with me because of my insane screaming from nightmares. [every night>. My brain zaps are killers. I can't hold my head upright and think clearly. Started weaning off, after upteen years of this poison. Don't confuse new depression with the effects of withdrawal.
    I am going to hang in there and clean my body and brain of this insane drug. I am suffering from what I thought would help me, something major should be done about this drug. Here's hoping we and all suffering will get through and one day have clear heads and be poison free. If things don't change soon for me I don't know how I will deal, but I am going to see it through. My heart goes out to all involved, the world today says you are not able to buy certain high calorie drinks, eat certain foods, etc. but allows this drug to be peddled like lifesavers. Here's to all involved getting healthy, and drug free, as this is a poison from Hell! While your Dr. might be a very good one, unless they are on this drug, they can't possibly know the effects and the sorrow of feeling inhuman.
    brandy749 replied to nellieg915's response:
    Try Hylands Nerve tonic and Hylands calms forte. its all natural... Walmart and cvs has it... says take 2-4 but you can take upto 7.. All natural and works. For nausea Walmart has dramamine or your dr can give you phenergan which helps nausea, sleeplessness and stress. it is also non addictive.
    KDPerry responded:
    So glad that I found this site. I have been slowly coming off my Effexor along with going on Welbutrin. I went from 225mg, with Welbutrin for a month, to 150mg with Wellbutrin for a month, to 75mg with Wellbutrin for a mont. Each month was not too bad. Brain zaps that I was able to deal with and it was only for a day or two. But, my last pill of 75mg was Monday. Tuesday was't too bad, but then I could not even get out of my sleep on Wednesday. Literally could not wake up, never called work, people were calling me and I could not get out of the sleep. Thursday was bad as well, but I could get up. Late, but I got up, however the brain zaps and being nauseous were bad. By Friday everything got even worse and I had all symptoms along with crying constantly. Today (Saturday) I woke up and thought it might have been a little better, but nope. I could not stop crying or throwing up. The brain zaps were out of control and the exhaustion was nuts. The screaming in the middle of the night because of the nightmares. I had to have my husband go fill the prescription and go back on it at least for now. I definitely cannot go from 75mg, to 0. I couldn't handle it. I have to work and I have to live. I will work to continue to come off it, but not going 75mg to 0. I will have to take another couple of months to come off slowly!! I was so glad to see that I was not nuts and it is not only me that had these issues. I knew there were side effects of coming off it, but wow is about all I can say!! Will NOT be doing that again.

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