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What Are the Symptoms of Effexor® Withdrawal?

Headache is a common symptom of Effexor withdrawal.
Insomnia may be a side effect of Effexor® withdrawals.
Blurred vision is among the side effects of Effexor withdrawal.
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2014
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Effexor® (venlafexine) can be a tremendously helpful medication for treating conditions like depression and anxiety. However, it also known for fairly severe and troubling side effects occurring when the drug is discontinued. In fact, some medical literature contends that a missed dose has been enough to cause Effexor® withdrawal symptoms, which include troubling things like nausea, diarrhea and “brain-zapping,” an electric shock type sensation that appears to originate in the head.

There continues to be complaints about the fact that patients may not be adequately informed regarding what will occur when Effexor® is discontinued, when they are first offered it as a treatment for depression. Websites exist that are devoted to complaints or comments regarding a host of symptoms that occurred when people stopped Effexor®. Some former users allege that the term “discontinuation syndrome,” which was the initial and/or continued label for Effexor® withdrawal, may have been a mistake when referring to the drug. By not using the term withdrawal, a false picture was or may still be painted that minimizes the severe reactions some people encounter when going off this medication.

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Some of the common Effexor® withdrawal symptoms are insomnia or sleepiness, ringing in the ears, and a sense of agitation or increased anxiety. Mood may become very unstable, and there is a high incidence of headaches. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur in some people, while others may feel nauseous. Both confusion and hallucinations can result. Appetite may be completely diminished, which when paired with vomiting or diarrhea, might result in inadequate fluid intake and dehydration.

The “brain-zapping” effect was not initially believed to be one of the true Effexor® withdrawal symptoms, but it is now widely regarded as a fairly common one. People may feel a buzz or snap in the brain that occurs around the eyes. Some people have vision problems in the first few days or complain of blurred vision too. Other Effexor® withdrawal symptoms include terrible nightmares, sweats, trembling, or tremors.

Not everyone experiences all Effexor® withdrawal symptoms, though some people can start to feel them if they skip a dose. Usually the worst symptoms result when the medication is withdrawn immediately in “cold-turkey” fashion. Especially if a person has been using the drug for a while, they may have created some form of dependency, though the medication is not considered addictive per se. It’s hard to know exactly how long it takes for the body to become dependent on Effexor® and the length of time needed to produce severe and noticeable Effexor® withdrawal symptoms. Some people experience them after being on the drug for a very short time, and other people who’ve been on the medication longer don’t experience them to huge and disturbing extent.

The current thinking on this medication is that it should be withdrawn slowly when possible, and tapered over a period of time. Anecdotal accounts report challenges getting off very low levels of the medication and some scientific literature supports these claims and recommends remaining on a very low maintenance dose.

Most people who do experience Effexor® withdrawal symptoms do find that the symptoms are worse in the first few days, and tend to get better within a week to ten days. Others will continue to experience some withdrawal symptoms longer. Tapering can help reduce total symptoms and some medications may be given to reduce the effects of withdrawal.

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anon958213
Post 252

I just posted. I wanted to add that with each step down off of Effexor I had rapid cycling - something I never had before. What helped me with that was taking 750mg of GABA at night.

anon958211
Post 251

I've been off Effexor for six weeks now. I still have the brain zapping, insomnia, headaches and anxiety. Have not had actual depression for over a year now and I'm on 750mg of GABA a night, so must be the side effects. Lots of loud ringing in the ears, too. Man, I hate this stuff. It never did stop my suicidal thoughts anyway.

anon947808
Post 250

I spent a lot of time reading the comments left here and felt compelled to leave my own story in regards to my experiences with antidepressants. I am a 29 year old female who was on 20-40mg Celexa for about 15 years (to treat generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, BPD, major depressive disorder, and anorexia/bulimia). I had tried about four times over the years to come off of Celexa simply because I hated the idea of taking pills, but I never had any luck, as I would end up in bed for weeks crying until I couldn't take it anymore and went back on the pills.

Celexa helped me live a somewhat normal life until about a year ago, when it stopped working for me. That drug was very helpful and had no side effects, so it was upsetting to find my body wasn't reacting to it anymore. I was then placed on Cymbalta immediately without weaning, and I felt OK, but the side effects weren't ideal (unable to orgasm and kind of emotionally numb). It was also very expensive, so after three months I quit cold turkey. I suffered through about three weeks of insomnia, body zaps and manic episodes. After that was over with, I went drug free for five months before ending up in a hospital emergency for a 'nervous breakdown' (the hospital did nothing for me except prescribe 10 1mg Ativan pills and gave me a doctor's note for two days off work – ridiculous.) At this point, I realized I would probably be on anti-depressants for life.

I didn't have a family doc at this point so I went to a walk in clinic many times in pursuit of a new treatment. A doctor there put me on Zoloft. I can't remember my dosage, but I do remember it made everything worse. I had suicidal thoughts, I was trembling severely, I had trouble speaking, intense anxiety and in general felt completely insane/out of control. Before the walk in clinic doctors took me off of this, they placed me on Wellbutrin as well. The feelings stayed the same, so thank god I finally got a new family doc after about two months of that hell and he took me off Zoloft.

I was then placed on Effexor, as I was told Wellbutrin and Effexor together make a successful treatment for depression and anxiety. I began taking 300mg of Wellbutrin and 75mgs of Effexor. This combo did help bring me back to feeling "normal" again, however I had such a dry mouth that I couldn't sleep at night and I completely lost my sex drive. So I was left to wonder which is the lesser of the two evils: I either deal with these side effects or risk changing meds and starting back at square one with my disorders. Well, when my dentist told me a couple months ago that my teeth were beginning to decay rapidly from having such a dry mouth, that was it. I went to my doctor and we began playing around with my dosages.

This is where my Effexor withdrawal comes into play. About 10 days ago, I weaned off 150mg of Effexor over seven days with 37.5mg pills as recommended by my doc (note, at this time I am still on 300mgs of Wellbutrin). Now, from the day I went completely off Effexor, I felt like a million bucks. This lasted about four days. On the fourth night, I couldn't sleep for some reason and that was when the withdrawal symptoms began. I went from an OK mood the next morning, to extremely irritable with dizzy spells, to having a complete emotional breakdown and losing it with my boyfriend both in extreme anger and intense sadness. I was upset about things that made no sense, I flailed around screaming and crying, I felt out of control, I had no ability to restrain myself, and hadn't slept for around 30 hours at that point.

When I finally managed to pass out, I slept for about three hours. Since that three hour sleep, I have not slept for longer than an hour at a time. I wake up every hour or half hour all night in bed, I have little balance, I am extremely nauseated and have to take gravol regularly. I have diarrhea, body zaps, sore leg muscles, am irritable and am having grandiose episodes of mania. I am unable to drive, everything is annoying, I have lots of anxiety and rage, terrible nightmares, my stomach hurts off and on and my mood changes from good to bad in a split second. That has been my experience for the past five days or so.

I just woke up on the sixth day feeling a tad more rested, but still have diarrhea and not looking forward to what the rest of the day will hold. I am hoping this will only last a couple weeks as it did with my Cymbalta withdrawal; that is my motivation. However, my Cymbalta withdrawal wasn't half as bad as this; I was able to continue going to work during that time. Right now, I can't drive or stand without wobbling from dizziness.

I really feel for anyone who has suffered through medication withdrawal and I wish you all the best of luck. Hopefully this hell will end for me soon. I feel horrible about how I've been treating my boyfriend and I don't feel myself at all.

anon938073
Post 249

I was on 300mg of Effexor for about four years. About a year ago I started titrating down, to the point where I was opening up capsules and taking a few grains, maybe 10mg or so. I've tried quitting before and it's been hell, and even coming off this small a dose is just as bad as coming off 75 or 37.5mg. The mood crashes, suicidal feelings, anger over the stupidest things, brain zaps -- they're all there. I'm going to alienate the few people I still have in my life if I can’t get this withdrawal under control, but I feel I'm never going to be able to get my life back while I'm on Effexor, with the low energy, difficulty in concentrating, night sweats and resulting poor sleep, etc., etc. I tried the transition to Prozac to help and it was a disaster.

I managed to quit smoking thirteen years ago and it wasn’t too bad. I've been taking Ativan for six years but at times when my anxiety hasn’t been too bad, I've been able to go without it for weeks with no withdrawal symptoms, and people say that's a bad one to quit. Before I started Effexor I quit Cipralex, and though I had all the physical symptoms I have now for about two months after, it did not hit my mood the way stopping Effexor does.

This stuff is in a whole different class of addictive; it really needs to be taken off the market. Sure, it numbed me enough to get me through the worst part of the crisis I went through, but there are tons of other drugs that can do that and not be nearly as hard to get off.

Oh and here's another problem with Effexor that's pretty well suppressed: I was in group therapy at one point, and one day the six guys in the group ended up talked during the break and five out of six of us had been diagnosed as pre-diabetic within weeks of starting Effexor, and about a year ago I became the sixth out of six.

anon933034
Post 248

Here so one to add to the list of shocking withdrawal effects.

On day two of zero effexor, I was certain there were a bunch of tribal people in my back yard with bows and arrows! I couldn't see them, but I was certain they were there.

People mention diarrhea. Well mine is like someone is kicking me in the stomach for ten minutes. So I start crying and screaming into a pillow so I don't freak out the neighbours.

I took 1mg of valium to try and reduce the withdrawal feelings and all I got was hallucinations all night of Mr. Skull Face turning into a balloon.

This is day five.

Herbal remedies and vitamins to alleviate the symptoms? What a load of crap. Placebo at best. It is a complete joke. Nothing helps. You just have to ride it out and lie in bed. Try to watch movies when you can to pass the time.

All I can say is eat what you crave and try to drink a lot of liquids. I will still say effexor helped me with depression, but it is nothing short of a nightmare to get to ground zero.

anon926784
Post 247

Holy crap, this is the worst feeling ever. I had to go cold turkey from 150 mg four days ago and its getting worse. The bad thing is I'm trying to hide the withdrawals from my family and thank goodness they are not around when I burst out laughing randomly to only turn to tears right after.

And to think I was put on this for panic attacks, and now I feel like I'm having a week long panic attack from hell. I'm just going to ride this out and never take meds for any emotional issues. I would rather deal with them myself with just living a more active/healthy life.

The withdrawal isn't life threatening or harmful in the long run? Right?

anon926583
Post 246

I wrote about my doc changing me to Wellbutrin from Effexor. After reading here about fish oil, I did some research and I ran to Walgreens and got some triple strength fish oil (twi pills dose), a multi-vitamin with a good amount of B vitamins with a 50mg Benadryl close to bedtime and I don't know how or why it works, but it did! The next morning, I was like 30 to 50 percent better. This is my second day and I took them with dinner, and I want to see how I feel on the second day on it.

I was desperate and this sounds safe to me, but this is me. If in doubt, ask the pharmacist or your doctor.

I'm not a doctor. I'm just a patient who was feeling horrible after stopping Effexor. Use your best judgment.

anon926416
Post 245

I just quit 75mg of Effexor because my doc changed me to Wellbutrin from one day to another, and people, this is a never ending hangover.

I can sleep but little, but it is the only time I don't feel like I'm on an endless merry-go-round. This is awful. I can't believe doctors prescribe this unless they don't know how bad the withdrawal from this bad medicine is, and I doubt they don't know.

anon356844
Post 230

I can't believe in reading these posts, how much better I feel! I was on Effexor 150mg for about 2 1/2 years, starting weaning off four months ago taking 75mg, then went down to 37.5mg a month ago.

Going from 75 to 37.5, I felt a little out of it, now 6 days into being Effexor free...I feel awful! I had knee pain, headache and nausea! I'm crossing my fingers multi vitamin, b 12, and omega 3 will be my cure. In many posts I read, these were mentioned. I'm staying positive, and hopefully will be back on this blog in no time saying I feel like a million bucks!

rdoug16
Post 229

I totally agree with those here that said Pfizer should be sued for allowing this drug to be prescribed without clearly warning of the effects (and intensity of such) upon discontinuation. It seems they could care less about the hell they potentially put people through!

I'm in my second week of not taking any (cheated twice) after weaning down from 150 mg over two months and had to take a half dose to avoid totally losing it. I'm getting very concerned that these feelings I'm experiencing might be permanent. I can't believe they allow this drug on the market.

anon347411
Post 228

Wow. Good article and I’m loving the comments. I can't believe Effexor is costing that much (above in comments) -- $500/month though?

I took myself off 700mg per day Effexor cold turkey in February 13. Brain freeze, yes, and I lost my equilibrium. I felt like I was going to fall off the Earth. I only was affected about a week though. The thing is, the big boss never saw me as normal again. She started belittling me when I made mistakes, saying I always make them, etc. Finally, she got rid of me -- made me "redundant" August. Yet, someone else is in my job already.

I did a video about it, about losing my job, and I really do believe it's Effexor, the side effects, plus my boss spied my blog and she got rid of me. So now I'm unemployed. But Effexor free. Really good post. Very valid. --Noeleen

anon345470
Post 227

I've been on 25mg for about 18 months due to marital stress (resolved) and panic attacks. I tapered down over 12 weeks taking down my tablets by one-fourth. I stopped four days ago when I was at about 6mg. I am experiencing nausea, brain zaps, and cloudy head. I'm sleeping O.K. My doctor recommended a glass of wine and caffeine to combat the zaps/sleepy feeling. I guess it's getting better? I'm not 100 percent sure yet. I'm tired of this stupid pill and wish I'd never taken it. I have Nn idea how all of you on such large doses are coping!

anon345441
Post 226

I use Effexor every day, but if I forget, I pay the next morning. It's almost like a really bad hangover. Honestly, I think actual hangovers I've had in the past were better than how I feel the next day after forgetting. I feel nauseated enough to puke, have bad headaches, feel dizzy and light-headed like I'm going to pass out. I don't feel safe driving my car in that state.

It does eventually wear off by lunchtime, since I take one as soon as wake up and realize I forgot.

I definitely think Effexor has been most beneficial to my mental health compared to other medications I've had in the past, but I really try not to forget to take it! At first I didn't know why I felt so bad, until I read online that missing it for even day can give you withdrawal symptoms.

I can't imagine how bad it will be when I'm getting off the stuff.

anon343112
Post 225

I have read every last one of these posts, and I have to say, that yes I too am a victim of effexor, but with a twist. All the withdrawals that we are experiencing coming off of this drug, I experienced while on the drug! I was put on effexor for fibromyalgia and clinical depression with anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. When I would complain to my doctor about the side effects, I was just told it was one of my mental afflictions, and nothing to do with the effexor.

I was on 175 mg for the first five years and 150 for the next five. Talk about feeling crappy for the last 10 years, and all the time thinking it's me and my mental disorders. Duh! How stupid am I? Somewhere in my pea brain I just couldn't believe that all these things like brain fog, dizziness, out of body experiences, loss of memory, loss of vocabulary, irritability, heavy legs, restless legs, insomnia, blurred vision, feeling like there are bugs underneath your skin -- you know the rest -- could be all related to my mental issues?.

But what do I know? I am no doctor, right? Now I am going cold turkey to get off them just to see what's going on and guess what? all the symptoms that I experienced while on the drug, I am experiencing coming off of the drug, except a little more intensified. I have felt like crap for all these years and like most of you are trying to work, trying to raise a family and trying to make a husband understand?

I am totally frustrated with the whole medical system. How could these doctors whom we trust betray us like that? We should have been warned. I am determined to get off of these. I feel for every last one of you effexor victims and even if I feel like I have been dragged through a key hole backward I am determined to beat this beast. Thanks for sharing your stories. They have really helped me in my fight to be effexor free. Take care, everyone.

anon342879
Post 224

I'm on fay 5 of Effexor withdrawal. I think I am fortunate I was only on for three months. I was on 187.5 mg. My strategy is a little different than I have seen posted. I stopped taking until I got the brain zaps, which were day two, then I took a 37.5 quick release (non XL) within 45 minutes all gone. That got me to day three. Other than freaking weird dreams, my sleeping is not interrupted by zaps.

I got them on day three first thing upon waking. I tried to hold off taking one, but it only lasted an hour, it was so bad. I took another 37.5 QR and in 45 minutes, all was good. You see the strategy.

My thought is cold turkey could damage neurons, but if I wait until zaps, my hope is brain chemistry will kick in to compensate. I am down to 18.75 which lasted eight hours. This is definitely not fun.

anon339745
Post 223

I've slowly been taking myself off Effexor 37.5 mg extended release and it has been the worst experience. Since there is no pill, I had to try and separate the capsules and balls which was super hard. The vision/brain zaps are the worst thing and at first I thought I was going crazy. I've had horrible shakes and terrible migraines, very blurred vision, and it all hits at random times. I'm on week three and still experiencing them. It seems that if I get overly excited or tired it gets worse.

My anti anxiety medicine, Klonzapam, has helped and also really just identifying that the withdrawal is what is making this stuff happened has helped tremendously. I love my doctor, but I feel like she should have warned me about the side effects, especially since I wasn't planning on being on them long term and am extremely sensitive to medications.

anon333341
Post 222

I was on Effexor for nine years. I halved my dose from 150 to 75 with absolutely no problems whatsoever. However, a year later, even cutting a couple of beads out of a 75mg cap nearly killed me. It was hell. But then I found an amazing GP who knew how bad this stuff was, and had done her research to help people. The answer? Prozac. I couldn't believe it would work, but Prozac (fluoxetine) got me off this drug in two weeks with no side effects. And I mean no side effects. I was maybe a bit tired, but I was so beat up from the effects of the first withdrawals that that was understandable. And Prozac is easy to come off.

My story is a long one. I have been on seroxat, effexor for nine years, and Citalopram for five, and Mirtazapine. It took me a year to wean off citalopram, which destroyed me to the point that I couldn't work for six months. I had to move in with my parents and lost my job. I vomited when I ate, I stopped sleeping, I couldn't walk and they kept throwing prescriptions and more drugs at me. But by this point, (of so much suffering) I had decided that I was going to make myself better, and I was going to face it head on.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and told to go back on the meds for life, and was also told to expect years of debilitation. Nine months later, I am still on absolutely nothing, I am working full time again, the doctors can't believe it, and I am happy. I wake up every morning glad to be alive. I look forward to waking up. I feel closer to my friends and family than I ever have. One day I might write a book, but the short answer is: cut out sugar, eat your greens, be relentlessly optimistic and positive, meditate (I am not spiritual really, but the relaxation allows your body to heal itself) and believe in yourself. Do not indulge in self pity, just unwavering self belief.

I was sicker than ever, and I pulled myself out with no medication. I am a real human being, sitting in a little house in the UK writing this. I am no stronger than you, and I am no different than you. I have stared into the abyss. Even my parents, GP and friends told me to stop blaming the drugs and "accept" that I need them. However bad you feel, I have felt it. However bad your withdrawals, I have suffered them. However down, desperate, tired or broken you are, I have been, also. I cannot speak for bipolar, schizophrenia or other major disorders, but for anxiety, general depression, breakdown, stress and the rest, I am utterly convinced (I am living proof) that you can cure yourself.

“Self Help for Your Nerves” by Claire Weekes and “Adrenal Fatigue” by James Wilson are the two books that made me realise that I had a chance of going it alone, and being O.K. Read them. You can ignore this post if you want, but if you are already suffering withdrawals, then that tells me that you want to come off the drugs, which means that you are not prepared to accept this crap.

If I could personally help every single one of you I would, but I just wanted to put it out there, that you, yes you, are stronger, more powerful and have more spirit than you could ever imagine. And trust me, there is no feeling like the pride that you get from realising that, despite all the experts saying otherwise, you have stuck to your guns, put two fingers up at the man, ridden out and met your demons head on, and won. Good luck. I completely, utterly, and totally believe in you all.

anon324417
Post 221

I have been on Effexor XR for over 10 years and it was originally prescribed for depression but it turned out my depression was because I had MS. Long story short, I have tried numerous times to get off of this. The plan was to go from 75mg/day to 37.5/mg a day over a 30 day period. Then to go 37.5m every other day for another 30 days and then one every three days for a month, and so on. However, I never made it past the first week! The electrical zapping, the flu symptoms, insomnia and all the other symptoms just kept getting worse. I was never told by my doctor or pharmacist when I went off these that the withdrawal would be so brutal.

When I asked Pfizer about it, they said it wasn't withdrawal symptoms I was suffering from, but rather "cessation syndrome". What? Sounds like the same thing to me. What I am considering and trying to find is if there has been a class action lawsuit against Pfizer for not advising doctors or pharmacists of the serious withdrawal symptoms.

I applaud anyone who managed to get off this, but the pain and symptoms were so bad after four days that I had to go back on the meds and then it took another two or three days before the withdrawal symptoms stopped.

If anybody has any information, let me know. I think we have to put a stop to this medication being prescribed to patients.

anon322894
Post 220

I am 51 with two teenage children and have a generalised anxiety disorder with some depression coming and going. My life has been very stressful and six months ago my doctor put me on Effexor. I felt fabulous for a while but then had my meds increased to 20mg with no effect. Around this time, I also began having suicidal thoughts and even had a bit of a trial run with six or so tablets. I would never, ever, ever, traumatise my kids by taking my own life, however, the thoughts came and went and my stress levels remained pretty high.

I have been cold turkey for two weeks after being admitted to hospital for a suicide attempt. My blood alcohol was .25 and I had taken numerous pills. They made me stay in the mental health ward for two more days as they didn't trust me to go home. I was devastated that I had done this to myself and my kids, but when I got out of hospital they wouldn't give me anything, and I had to go cold turkey.

For the last week or more, I have been edgy, irritable, manic, hungry, can't sleep, crazy dreams and the vertigo and brain zaps are horrible. I feel very angry -- a lot. I feel like I lived in a bubble since I began the medication and now realise how many things I have let slide. Anxiety is a natural response to difficult circumstances, so now I am working on changing the circumstances and will begin therapy shortly.

If you or someone you know is on this drug and having suicidal thoughts please take it seriously. I truly feel it was like someone else had taken over my body. I was behaving in ways that in hindsight were often irrational and my sensitivity to pain and stress were over the top. I seriously hate this drug. The biggest help you can ever have going through these periods is the support of a loved one or very dear friend. Do not attempt to go through this yourself.

I send my love and thoughts to everyone who is struggling with these withdrawals. Seek help and support and be very kind to yourself. Be honest about what you are going through with loved ones and take good care of yourself.

anon316789
Post 218

Wow, withdrawal from Effexor is horrible! I had to go cold turkey. I had no insurance and no money and of course the doctor's office did not have samples. I started with the foggy head, nausea, diarrhea, crying, stomach pain, sweats, vertigo and now am having tremors. It's been almost three weeks and am wondering when will this stop.

I feel like I am on a merry go round and I want off. I can't believe that "they" don't think this drug is addictive. If it's not addictive, then am I and others having "withdrawal" symptoms?

anon316600
Post 217

Thank you for the posts. I have been on Effexor for several years and stopped taking it a few days ago. Oh, my God! I feel like I'm loopy and the nightmares are scaring the crap out of me! I couldn't begin to describe the weird thing I get when I move my head -- only that it feels like a staple gun repeating? The "electric snap" described is a good way, I suppose.

I am not sure now what the next step is since I tried tapering off by cutting 175s in half. Now I'm out of them!

anon310451
Post 216

I was put on Effexor while admitted to the hospital for severe depression. I was on it for two weeks at 225mg and decided to quit cold turkey after they discharged me. Last night and today were hell! I had one of the worst nightmares I can ever recall along with the night sweats I already complained about.

Today started OK but as evening progressed I started getting dizzy and nauseated. I am willing to consider taking 75mg doses to taper off tomorrow! I just want a chemical-free life.

anon295614
Post 215

I haven't been feeling good past few days. I thought it was something I ate when it first started, then I woke up the next day feeling the same way. My belly hurt, I had no energy and was very unbalanced feeling, like just out of it. I swear I didn't even look like myself. On top of that, I was hearing the "swooshing" sound when I moved my eyes or turned my head which freaks me out!

But I have come to notice this happens to me "when I don't feel good." Ha. I googled the swoosh sound when I move my eyes and this website came up much like this one, except it focused on the noise. However, every single person who suffered from this was on Effexor or paxil, etc. It's an obvious side effect!

So I realized I hadn't taken my meds in a while – a week at least! My dreams have been strange as hell. I find myself thinking about sex and being hungry even though I don't feel good, which I thought was odd in the first place. The crying spells have started today and the everything is annoying and overwhelming and has gotten worse. I took my effexor a little bit ago but really think I want to stop taking it! I am calling my doc tomorrow.

I have anxiety and was on Paxil for four years then it felt like it wasn't working so he put me on this. I don't blame Effexor only. I blame myself. I have never been good at remembering to take it every day and it does help for anxiety, but the side effects are awful and I really thought I was getting sick because the same thing happened a month ago and I felt the same exact way and I never really got sick.

Yesterday, after I could barely get myself motivated to get up and get things done, I finally got myself ready and went to run errands. I can't even count how many times I ran over a curb and I even backed into a truck in a parking lot! I never ever do stuff like that! I just felt so out of it! My kids were like “Mom, are you O.K.?” I feel so fat and so tired and so not like me and I can't take it anymore. I feel sick at my stomach but can't stop eating or thinking about what I want to eat. When I'm trying to sleep, the weirdest thoughts come to my mind – just negative and sad things that I normally never worry about. Yuck. I can't get off this train wreck fast enough.

anon292777
Post 214

I have been on Paxil for three years and then Venlafaxine for seven years. I desperately want to be chemical free and am wondering if anyone has used Rhodiola or Prozac to taper off the Venlafaxine?

emzed
Post 213

With my doctor's help, I went from 75g to 37.5g to wean myself off Effexor. I took the last capsule three months ago and I'm still experiencing constant migraines, loss of balance and nausea. Psychologically, I feel I can't cope with life. When will this end? My doctor says I can't still be withdrawing. It must be something else. Huh? After my blood tests returned normal, he couldn't tell me why I'm feeling so ill all the time.

I wonder if it's time for a class action against those deadly SSRIs and SNRIs!?

anon278293
Post 212

It's disappointing that I've read so many people say that their doctors told them nothing about the withdrawal side effects. Effexor is known for having some severe side effects once you start titrating the dose. I don't know what doctor who regularly prescribes anti-depressants wouldn't know that. My advice is to always see a psychiatrist (a good one) when you believe that your meds need to be adjusted.

I'm in the process of titrating my effexor and trying to replace it with Prozac. Apparently anti-depressants lose their effectiveness after some period of time. Today is day six of my being down to 75 mg. I have been on 225 mg for about three or four years. Reducing to 150 mg was really no big deal. But the last three days have been very bad. I've had headaches daily and severe ones too. My body hurts- it really feels like I have the flu, with chills and nausea. I'm not looking forward to this continuing.

If I had to do it over, I would not have started on this anti-depressant. I'm hoping it starts to get better soon.

anon277064
Post 211

Day 11 was a very good day. I had a little bit of a feeling of being outside of myself. I didn't have to take any benedryl today. Yay! Hopefully, tomorrow will be a good day.

anon276762
Post 210

I am now on day 10 being off of effexor after a very gradual tapering from 37.5 mg over a three week period. I went from 37.5, 32, 19, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 then off. I am still experiencing some side effects, but for me the worst one is the dizziness. It is getting really irritating. I have been taking benedryl, and have recently tried tapering off of that. It seems like when I do, I start getting dizzy again, so I guess I will take it for another week, then see what happens.

I have really had it pretty easy in comparison to a lot of people out there. I haven't had too much in terms of moodiness, or feeling out of control emotionally. I have been slightly snippy at times, but not bad.

I have been on a great multivitamin, extra B-complex, Omega 3's and have been eating quite a bit of protein and drinking bunches of water to get rid of the toxins. Hopefully soon, I will be done with this.

anon276275
Post 209

I am now on day 6 of no effexor. Had a really good day. I am still taking benadryl, Omega3, b complex, and a very good multi vitamin. I hope my progress keeps on going. I will update daily. By the way I was on 37.5 mg for 3 months. I tapered over a 3 week time frame.

I hope these posts help someone. I know When I started my taper. I was looking for something positive.

anon276271
Post 208

I have been tapering for the last three weeks and have been off for four days with very minor, in comparison to many stories, side effects.

This is what I did. I am not saying this will work for you, but this is my story.

I opened one of my capsules (generic) and there were 37 – 40 pellets in each one. So for the first cut, I just took out five pellets. I did that for three days. Everything was fine (just a little tired). Then after that I decided to take more pellets out. I cut the full dose in half (19 pellets). I did this for four days. The first day was fine, the second day I felt emotional and some anxiety, but then my evening went fine. On the third day I felt better, but had a headache. The fourth day was much better.

For my next step, I cut the dosage down to nine pellets for four more days. For these four days I have had some slight dizziness, and some tiredness, but have been able to function fine. This is when I decided to slow down the process a little bit, just because I had a lot of things going on in my life. I was teaching VBS and had play practices, etc. So my next step down was eight pellets for two days, seven pellets for one day then six pellets for three days, then five pellets for five days. All of these days were pretty manageable. I was able to teach Vacation Bible School, and get my daughter to all of her activities, as well as get all of my home stuff done as well. I have felt a little outside of myself, a little bit of a headache, and my head just feels a little bit full, like when you have a cold.

After those five days, I decided to make the big jump to zero effexor. I have currently been officially off effexor for four days. So far, so good. Same as all of my other drops and the symptoms have been the same as above.

I have been using the following supplements, etc.: I take advil every six or so hours for the headaches. I base that on how bad the headache is. If it is dull, I hold off. I take benadryl every four or so hours for the dizzy and head zaps. Once again, I base how often on how I feel.

I take one or two omega-3 supplements at each meal. This is suppose to help brain function. I am also taking a very good multi-vitamin supplement (RELIV Classic, Fibrestore, Provantage). It's rather expensive, but for me, I feel like it is worth it). I take this three times a day.

I also found some amazing little homeopathic drops. They are made by BACH and the one I use all the time is the Rescue Remedy. It has really helped me with the anxiety that I feel. Whenever I feel anxious, I just take a few drops and the anxiety level drops considerably. These are the things that I have been using since day one.

Once I dropped to zero, I added another RELIV product, Reversage. This contains several herbs (acetyl L-Carnitine, Alpha lipoic Acid, etc.) that are good for brain function.

Also, I am taking salt baths almost every night. One, it is relaxing, and two it is suppose to draw out toxins. I have also been keeping my mind really busy, which seems to be helping. It seems like when I let myself sit and do nothing, is when my mind starts racing and then I start having anxiety. That is when I use my Bach drops.

Sorry for the long post, but when I started this journey, I was looking for some success stories, and really didn't find too many. I am hoping this helps not only you, but many, many people. It hasn't been an easy journey for me either. Lots of talking myself down, talking to friends and family about what is going on, which really helps to. It's been prayer (asking for help), prayer (thanking God for his help) and more prayer (for others going through this). With God's help, we are getting through this pretty well.

I will continue with this journey, and I will slay this dragon called Effexor.

Quotes from my daughter, who is 7: “When the sun rises, god heals;” “Don’t follow your dreams: chase them!”

I am really trying to follow her very sound advice. Have a great journey! I am looking forward to an effexor-free life.

anon273631
Post 207

I have been on Effexor 37.5 mg for three months. About two weeks ago, I decided to go off with a gradual taper. First I went down to 32.5 mg -- not many side effects. I was a little dizzy and a little emotional. I was on that for three days and then dropped to a 19 mg dose. I was on that for four days, with very few side effects other than being a little fuzzy and emotional. Then I dropped to 9 mg for four days. Same side effects as the previous drops.

I have been on omega 3, B12 and a great multi vitamin. I have also bumped up my protein quite a bit. I will be dropping by 1 bead for the next couple of days, then off over the weekend. I know I can do this.

anon272075
Post 206

I have gone off 75 mg cold turkey purely by accident. I missed my appointment for a refill with my doctor because I was at the emergency room with my dad. I have experienced all these rotten symptoms but was wondering if anyone has experience the sensation of vibrating lips and tongue? I have wanted to get weaned off for some time and learn to cope with life stressors another way. I have been going to the gym and generating some serious endorphin highs! Hopefully this will lead to some serious weight loss as I have packed on nearly 30 pounds since being on this medication while being active at the gym. I must have been really desperate, like many of you, when I started this medication but now question if the benefits of this are worth the cost of getting off it.

I am very glad I came across these posts and will try the fish oil as suggested by several readers. I hope it helps me too! God bless your efforts in getting off this crap and stay strong!

anon272033
Post 205

I had run out of clonazepam 0.5mg, and have been at 150mg a day of venlafaxine for about four months now. The clonazepam is a sedative I take with the venlafaxine. It equally balances my system to a point of normalcy I've never felt before. I began taking it to treat severe general, social and panic anxiety disorders. It was horrible having all three. Honestly, I think they branched out from panic, to general, to social. I was fenced in and looking for something that could help me back to normal.

My psychiatrist prescribed me venlafaxine and with the first dose, I felt like a new person -- better than I had ever felt. I am not looking to come off of this medication, but I had missed three days' worth of doses and experienced most of the side effects from the other posts: poor coordination, insomnia, diarrhea, shallow breathing, brain zaps, crying fits out of nowhere, irritability, feeling of depression such as uselessness. It was the lowest low I had ever felt, just from missing three days' worth.

I just got refilled and am reduced to 75mg a day, and all of my symptoms are gone except for the brain zaps. How long will it be until my body returns to normal? The zaps are scary.

Don't take this medication unless you are anticipating to take it for a very long time, in my opinion. It's a dream to feel normal and effexor provides me with that.

I would just like to know how long the symptoms last after you begin taking it again. By the way, I am a 20 year old female.

suegun
Post 204

I took Effexor XR 350 for about 9 years. Five of those years, I didn’t need it anymore but was terrified of the withdrawal symptoms. Don’t you love the way the Pfizer calls withdrawal symptoms discontinuation symptoms? As if that would make it less horrible.

A few months ago, I met with my doctor to discuss weaning myself off this horrible drug. I followed her instructions of reducing my dosage by 37.5 mg each week (or two if I was having a hard time.) By the time I was at 37.5 mg per day, I decided to give myself a rest and stayed on that dosage for a month.

Yesterday I stopped the drug. It doesn’t seem to matter how low the dosage, the side effects are the same. For me it is extreme headache, fatigue, fever, muscle and joint pain. Last night my fever was a bit over 101, which is very high for a 58-year-old woman.

Right now, my temperature is around 99, my headache is very much muted and my muscles don’t ache until I try to use them. I attribute this in part to 800mg of Ibuprofen.

Had I known this when I started the drug, I never would have taken it.

anon264586
Post 202

I was on effexor for two years. I weaned off from 150> 75> 37.5 to zero. It has been three weeks or so and my brain feels numb, I get a funny metal taste and now I wonder how long these controlled withdrawal symptoms will last. What is the longest someone has felt so bad -- especially the numb or hurting brain?

anon264569
Post 201

I have been on effexor xr for 12 years and decided it was time to stop, so I asked the doctor and she cut me down from 150mg to 97 then to 37. Well, I did this in two weeks and this is my first week without anything. You know, it's easier than I thought. I have been a little dizzy but eventually I think it'll be worth it, so everyone just hang in there.

anxious1
Post 200

Has anyone been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia during or after being on Effexor?

MikeFL
Post 199

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, when I started the drug, I felt like crap, and it made me feel depressed. I got through that part and the drug started working. I felt like a million bucks. For the last four years, I relapsed and felt like crap about four times. It would usually happen after having a solid 12 months of no issues, then all of a sudden I would feel depressed.

I only got on this medicine because of panic attacks, so the reason I am getting off is because I do not have panic attacks anymore, and I felt depressed whenever I would relapse, and I do not have anything to be depressed about! Anyway, I am glad I am getting off.

MikeFL
Post 198

I have been taking venlafaxine, a.k.a. effexor since November 2008 for panic attacks. I had a panic attack in November of 2008 and I hyperventilated myself, went to the emergency room and did not sleep for three days. Anyways, after that, I felt scared since I could not sleep and got on Venlafaxine. I started off with 75 mg and then went up to 150mg, and went back down to 75mg.

For about the last 1 year and half, I have been on 37.5 mg. I only take it once a day which is at 2 p.m.

Starting today, I am going to take it once every other day. I know I will get through this! I wish you all luck!

anon258815
Post 197

I'm a 29 year old female. I took Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg. capsules once a day for four months for seasonal depression. My doctor told me I could go off of them whenever so I stopped a week ago in anticipation of the nicer weather. She told me I may experience headaches or dizziness but nothing that would keep me in bed.

I was okay for two days, but then the withdrawals hit me: headache, sweating profusely, chills, something along the lines of nausea and anxiety but I can't quite explain it, etc. I ended up buying dramamine and taking that and Advil so that I could function. I'm extremely emotional and feel unstable and not like myself. I can't wait until I'm back to myself again. I will never take this pill again!

anon258584
Post 196

I have been on Effexor XR or Effexor for the past 10 years, I have been trying to come off of this medication for months now and it has been awful. I don't regret being on the medication because it worked well for me, however, I wish coming off of it was simpler.

I feel like I have the world's worst hangover and a raging case of PMS on top of that. I have experienced the vertigo/dizziness, nausea, irritability, mood swings and crying spells for no reason.

I am this close to getting off of this medication, but I am having a difficult time completely stopping, though. The nausea has diminished, but the dizzy spells and crying fits are almost too much to handle. I will try the vitamin tip and see if that will help with getting off this last small dose.

anon253702
Post 195

I will never take Effexor again. I have warned others against it as well. The withdrawal symptoms are almost unbearable. I suffered through extreme mood swings (punched my foot through the drywall), profuse sweat flashes that lasted up to an hour at a time (I would sit naked in my bedroom until they were over to not have to change my clothes again), brain rushes and dizziness.

Even though I was "weaned" off of it, the side effects were horrendous and my doctor did not believe me about how bad they were. I suffered through withdrawal for about two weeks. Never again!

wonkywilly
Post 194

@xtrodinare: I don't recall having any joint pains during my seven or so years of taking Effexor XR. However, since I weaned myself off of it a few months back, I have had severe joint pains. It is very much the same as your have experienced. I am only 47.

While I was still on Effexor, I had joined a gym and I never had any joint pain to speak of. After I quit Effexor, I developed severe joint pain in my knees, shoulder, and both elbows. I had assumed until reading some of the posts today that the pain was from working out. I quit working out two months ago. I had decreased the amount of weight I was using to a third of what I had been lifting, but it was still too painful.

Has anyone been to a physician and discussed this with them? I would love to hear from others who are experiencing this.

anon250057
Post 193

This drug is a nightmare. These withdrawal effects are horrendous. My doctor said nothing to me about the withdrawal. Gotta love the pharmaceutical companies.

I want to keep taking the damn pills just to make the withdrawals go away. It's been five days since my last 75 mg pill. I have dizziness, brain zaps etc., everything mentioned by everyone above, and I can barely walk. The pain in my hips and down my legs is making me cry. Plus, I hate every person I come in contact with because it seems like they're all idiots.

There should be mandatory full disclosure about all the effects of this horrible pill!

anon248401
Post 192

I have been off some different tablets that help me stay calm, but don't keep me from getting angry. I have had symptoms like sleepy arms and feelings like I have to breathe heavy.

Now I know why my body is getting used to me not being on them, I have stopped taking them and I now know these symptoms will occur for a while as my body gets used to me going off them or on them. This is helpful and has stopped me worrying.

P.S. I also had feelings like I was dying but I know that's because I'm not used to these feelings and I have stopped working.

anon238074
Post 191

I have recently weaned myself off of 150mg. It has taken a month and a half but I went down from 150 to 75 every day for two weeks, then 32mg for two weeks, then 32 every other day for two weeks, and then I was able to stop. I did get dizzy and had headaches.

However, I have been off of work for the holidays so it has not been so hard to cope with. I can see how these symptoms could be very hard when you are trying to work. I slept a lot and did have some mood swings, but other than that it was not so bad toward the end. The beginning was the worst though.

anon234603
Post 190

Everyone, please listen! I seriously feel all of your pain! I was put on effexor by my doctor for anxiety, depression and postpartum depression in 2008. I had tried over and over to get off of it and worked with my (low income public service) doctor to wean properly, with no success. I felt every single awful side effect and then withdrawal effect you all are experiencing.

Now in March 2011, I was determined to just end this awful experience with this drug. I was determined to just wait the withdrawal out, and it had to get better right? Months later, I was still sicker then I've ever felt. Felt like I was withdrawing from heroin or something. Body aches from hell, and even months later, felt like I had the worst flu in the world. Couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't think, form words into sentences. Couldn't even lift my head up without getting dizzy, falling, throwing up. I have a great life, wonderful family, feeling good about myself, but these physical withdrawals were enough to make me just give up completely.

My husband was scared for me, and wanted to just take me to the hospital. I was scared because of the electric brain shocks the most. I even timed them, and about every 15 seconds my brain felt like it had a swooshing sound, and an electric shock. It made me want to seriously die. I couldn't be alone with my toddler, because I was so sick and out of it, she needed someone to watch her and take care of her. I couldn't drive anywhere. Physically, I was so messed up I didn't trust myself to drive.

I searched and searched on the internet for answers. Somewhere, I came upon someone's comment and it saved my life. They said to take fish oil pills. I hate fish, hate the smell, hate the taste. But I was willing to try anything. I went to WalMart, got a $6 bottle of fish oil pills, and took two of them right when I was going to sleep. I woke up the next morning and felt so much better. (I didn't even taste the fish, or notice I'd taken them because I'd taken them right before I went to sleep). I felt like myself again for the first time in years since I'd started these stupid pills.

I wasn't perfect, not totally back to normal. But it was enough that I got up, made coffee, cooked breakfast for my family, drove myself around town, played with my daughter. I still had lingering affects for months still, but nothing like before. The brain shock waves were gone! I still take the fish oil at night now, just because I like how it makes me feel clearer and sharper and healthier. But it's been nine months for me now since I'd weaned off the last dose, and I feel great. I'm 98 percent back to my old self.

Please, try it; it saved my life. I started crying just reading all the comments on this site. I am heartbroken how many people had to feel the same awful things I had to, I wish the drug companies could answer to this poison that they are dispensing. It's bullcrap. But please try this, and I hope even one person reads this, tries this, and I hope it works. God bless and good luck. You are not alone.

anon234046
Post 188

Anyone with a strange tongue/taste sensation? My awesome doctor didn't prescribe any refills and would not return the pharmacy's calls. I will be switching. I have suffered many of the other listed symptoms as well. I had some Cymbalta left over. That helped me get through.

anon233967
Post 187

Can I ask how long symptoms have lasted? I've lowered my dose, and it's now eight days later and I'm only feeling slightly better. The dizziness and head spinning is a real problem.

anon229781
Post 186

I am no doctor, nor am i trained in medicine, OK?

Here is some hope.

I came off venlafaxine / effexor by cross tapering with sertaline and buspropion in just over three weeks. It was my own request/demand based on research, and the gp agreed to it.

The zaps were quiet, and faded from two days after the final 37.5. It was unbelievably effective, but bear in mind I was for a short period of time taking three anti depressants. Not all doctors would agree to this full hardy method i think

I was on the drug for eight and a half years at 300mg.

xtrodinare
Post 185

Is there anyone out there still having joint and muscle pain after getting off of Effexor XR/Effexor? I have been off Effexor XR for almost a year now and I am still having stiffness of muscles and body aches in my body to the point that I can barely walk.

I am still having side effects such as deep depression, headaches, panic attacks, mood swing, memory lost, agitation, inability to sleep, shortness of breath, but they seen to be getting a little better. It's the body aches and pain in my joints that I am really concerned about because I am now walking with a walker. It's not getting better. Is there anyone else experiencing this?

anon194299
Post 184

This is my second week off Effexor. I was on it for seven years, and weaned myself down to 37.5mg over the last year. Then, I wanted off this ride. I was actually more anxious and nervous than before.

So, about a month ago, I slowed it down by taking it less and less. Yes, the side effects after coming off are really awful! The "brain zaps" are the worst of it. But here it is two weeks later and things are getting back to normal. Still have a bit of the 'runs', but it's nothing I can't handle.

If you want off this drug, come off it slowly. Expect some side effects like the 'zaps', blurred vision, constipation and diarrhea for a couple of weeks after. Also you will feel 'crazy'. But you're not. It's just your body adjusting to coming off these pills. Keep your mind and yourself busy.

However, if you do find yourself going insane, i.e., cutting your arms and jumping off buildings because you think it's fun, then perhaps you are crazy and should seek help? But seriously folks, quitting this is tough, but you can do it! Stay positive!

anon187533
Post 183

I stopped taking mine by accident, I was meant to get my refill but we had another major earthquake. I had flu symptoms the next day, along with hearing problems, dizziness, puking. I walked into a door frame a few times. Horrible stuff, I didn't meant to stop taking them, so i just thought i was getting sick until i googled it. Luckily, I have my pills again. The last five days were murder.

anon181739
Post 182

I've been on Effexor for a solid seven years with my max dose at 300 mg at the height of my depression and anxiety attacks.

For the last two years, I've been trying to wean down (with the help of a doc) and have tapered down to 75 mg to date. Regardless of dosage though, it's so true what this article says about the withdrawal symptoms - for me the tapering-down process and/or taking the meds even three hours late triggers the 'brain zaps', cold sweats, nausea, inability to concentrate, and irritability.

I don't regret taking Effexor, because I am in a much better emotional space now, but I wish the withdrawal symptoms weren't so severe.

anon180883
Post 181

yup. yup. yup. yup. check.

Took me six days to make the connection that wanting to hurl my guts out and staying awake nearly all week like some strange zombie zappafreak might be related to the fact that i stopped taking this crap.

Thanks for making me feel sane again, people.

For the record - 150mg for a year or two now. I don't really remember when i started - also took 75 during PMS. had been going every other day for a couple weeks, then every two days, then just stopped on sunday. Big mistake. Big!

Just popped a 75 and am going to call the doctor first thing monday to get some help. don't try this alone. dumbest thing i ever did.

anon179603
Post 180

I wish that I had never been prescribed this drug. Have been on effexor xr for almost four years (150mg to 300mg).

Just went from 150 to 75 to 37.5 over the past two weeks. Five days ago was my last dose. I feel like crap.

I had a fever with chills and an upset stomach last night. I really think it was from the withdrawal. It scares me to think that withdrawal from a drug can produce a fever? If you are considering taking this drug, don't!

anon179559
Post 179

I have recently come off of Effexor and experienced the same withdrawal side effects many of you have described. I would like to offer my personal tips on curbing some of these side effects. I took a trip to Vitamin World and had two knowledgeable persons help me with the right selections.

Flax oil - 1000 MG (Omega 3,6 & 9); Vitamin D3 - 1000 IU;

B12 Sublingual- 5000 MCG; Rhodiola Root (instead of ST John's Wort and Dramamine for nausea and upset stomach)

I also recommend Ginger Chews. They too, curb the nausea and upset stomach. I keep them in my purse in case I feel queasy and are cheaper than Dramamine and do the same job. You can also purchase them at Vitamin World.

For sleep - Melatonin 5/10 MG.

By the second day my symptoms were decreasing drastically. This was my own personal experience and by no means should you expect the same results so soon. But I do hope this helps anyone who is going through this awful experience. You are not alone.

anon179306
Post 178

I was put on 37.5 mg dose two years ago. My depression and fibromyalgia has gotten progressively worse. Doctor upped it to 75mg about 8 months ago. I have been a zombie, barely functioning for the past six months. Found a non profit company called Point of Return online. It literally has saved my life.

I want the whole world warned about side-Effexor. It is awful! The plan for withdrawal is so easy and doable. Not overwhelming in the least.

anon177575
Post 177

I've been off my effexor for five days now and it's horrible. my psychiatrist warned me that it had bad withdrawal symptoms, but this is worse than i ever imagined. i was taking 150mg for about nine months. now that I'm off it, I've spent the last five days with intense migraines like I've never experienced. my vision randomly gets blurry and i barely go a couple of hours without feeling nauseous. the first couple of days i was vomiting but at least that's stopped.

the vivid dreams are driving me crazy, which is horrible because I'm sleeping constantly. i can barely operate. i really wish i knew the extent of the withdrawal symptoms before i ever agreed to go on this medication.

anon177478
Post 176

I am now on my ninth day coming off this disgusting drug. I have done it cold turkey this time after many attempts. I am 30 weeks pregnant and after reading some horrific things about what this drug can do to your baby in the last trimester, i decided to get off. I was also told that the baby will also be receiving the drug when you breast feed.

Can you imagine the hell we go through to get off it and we don't even know if it would affect our babies in the same way when they too come off it?

So anyway, I was terrified. I didn't want any stress to hurt the baby, and i am also working so i was scared of the dizzy spells and brain zaps that i would get every time I previously weaned off my meds. But this time I think with my willpower not to hurt my baby with this disgusting drug i feel fine. Cold turkey! The dizziness lasted about the first four days but it was bearable, and I am already drinking plenty of water, and eating fruits and vegetables for the baby, not to mention all my vitamins so i believe that may have also contributed to my success. I have cried a few times over nothing the last few days, not a big deal but I am pretty sure that's just pregnancy rather than withdrawal symptoms because I'm not depressed; I'm just a cry baby over tv ads etc.

The weird thing is I was trying to wean off effexor xr for two years and i couldn't manage it, when i found out i was pregnant i was taking my meds every second day. Towards the six months of pregnancy every time i took the tablet on the second day i would feel sick, like my poor baby was saying gross mum get it out!

I am so proud of myself which also makes me think that yes, the withdrawal symptoms are for sure "real" and bad, but if you have a strong reason for why you are coming off it, your mind will not allow you to soak up all the bad withdrawals. I have had not one brain zap, whereas previously after not having my meds for two days i wouldn't be able to drive i was that bad.

I hope this gives you all some hope that getting off this drug yes, may be hard but with some extra push, you will, God willing, not struggle too much.

anon174519
Post 175

I have been on Effexor for nine years. Have been trying to get off this drug for a month now. I thought i was going crazy until i found these posts. i don't know how much longer i can take this hell. my head feels like it is spinning like a top all the time, brain zaps, short fuse, upset stomach. i just feel like i am in a different world. if the doctor had told me the withdrawal symptoms i would have never started taking this evil drug. People need to know this before they start taking this. I have to go to work to support my family but i drive a lot for work and it is getting very difficult.

anon174364
Post 174

I had the most awful experiences with this drug - I'm angry that I was not warned beforehand how badly some people react to it, and also that I was not warned how brutal withdrawal is.

My GP switched me from Mirtazapine to Venlafaxine, following a relapse of clinical depression. Incidentally, I never had any side effects from the Mirtazapine, and I was on it for three years. Almost from the start I was ill on Venlafaxine. But they kept saying, it’ll get better when you’re on the right dose, and increasing it and increasing it, and the higher it got the worse I got. By the time I was on 225mg, I was so ill, physically and mentally, that they had to have the crisis team coming out to my house every day (the only alternative to being hospitalised), because I was really agitated and suicidal.

One night was especially bad. I couldn't walk properly, or talk, and I was hearing things. After a few weeks of that, which are a bit of a blur, they decided that the medication was probably not helping. Duh. I was then informed that this kind of reaction is quite common with Venlafaxine and that my GP should have warned me.

Because of the nature of my side effects, they had get me off it fast. I went from 225mg to nothing in three weeks. The first two weeks I just felt dizzy and like I had flu, but once we got down to 37.5mg, things got rough. The last week has been the worst, I took the last dose a week ago, and the few days after that were beyond brutal. I felt really unstable, and every withdrawal symptom that has been mentioned on these pages happened.

I took Benadryl (Nytol here in the UK) every two hours, and co codamol too. After day five, things started to get better. I was only on the Venlafaxine for 12 weeks total, so I guess my withdrawal period was proportionally shorter. The only symptoms left now are some lingering dizziness, and really bad nightmares that are compounding my existing insomnia (which I always get with a depressive episode). Hopefully they will clear up within the next week, and my body can start to recover.

I am back on the Mirtazapine now, and hoping that that kicks in soon. I have made an official complaint about the Venlafaxine (a yellow card with the MHRA). Good luck to anyone else trying to come off it - it can be done.

anon171974
Post 173

I'm so glad I was able to read all your comments and hear about your experiences and suggestions. It made my withdrawal a *little* easier. It took me two months to get to a point where I only have one or two brain zap/vertigo instances each day.

I went from 150 mg of generic effexor and gradually stepped down. It was not easy. I found the Omega 3-6-9 vitamins to help, also took Dramamine when I felt nauseous and drank lots of ginger tea.

One thing I've noticed since I've reached a more even keel is that I have lost my taste for wine (!) and coffee (!) - previously my two vices. (Not that I've stopped drinking them, but they just don't taste as good. Very strange).

I've also picked up a shellfish allergy. Easter brunch ended when my throat closed after having five shrimp. Anyway, good luck to all of those still trying to get off. You can do this. It will suck. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not a train.

anon170628
Post 172

Just like everyone else, I am so glad I'm not alone with these withdrawal symptoms. For lack of a better term, I've been a neurotic b-word. My fuse is terribly short, I'm paranoid as hell, i have been starving myself and loving the pain of hunger, i have those "zapping" sensations not only in my head, but in my hands, too. Simultaneously, my heart will skip a beat and my chest will tighten, like I'm about to panic, but I don't. I've been suicidal at times, as well. sometimes i swear i can feel the neurons misfiring in my brain.

I was on effexor, 150mg throughout the day for over a year. i cut my dose a little over a month ago, in half and started 100mg of zoloft plus two 25mg doses of doxepin per day. for a little over a week, i have been effexor free and it has been hell. I also have chronic pain, so it's never easy to sleep, so I'm sure the withdrawals aren't helping that situation much.

I have a condition called neurodermatitis. It is coupled with night bruxism (teeth grinding) and causes me to scratch and claw myself in my sleep, cry in my sleep, etc. For months I've been having different sets of recurring nightmares, and depending on which nightmare i have, depends on where i scratch myself.

Another thing: I'm sure these effexor withdrawals are also not helping with the nightmares and night terrors, either. And then, there's my previous substance abuse history.

When i was 16 until i was 18, i was on lsd almost every day, did a handful of other hallucinogens, along with marijuana, opium, lots of mdma and ecstasy. i would take pain pills, lots of xanax bars, and i have done my fair share of cocaine, opiates, barbiturates. you name it, i did it. (except for meth. never touched that). i only had heroin cut with mdma once and i only smoked crack once, never again.

could i also be psychologically screwed up from all of that? I've been clean for almost three years, but i can't help but wonder if my recreational drug use history has also shaped my psychological disorders. All in all, i was diagnosed three years ago with: chronic, late-onset PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, acute stress reaction disorder, neurodermatitis and substance abuse disorder.

may i say, that yes, when i was on effexor and took it like clockwork, i had some relief from my issues. But heaven forbid, i miss one 75mg dose, because that was brutal too, but now that I'm off it, i know this will pass, but i am a train wreck, a disaster right now.

i feel like i am ruining myself and my relationships. i don't even want to say or do the things I've done this past week, but somehow, I'm doing these things i feel like i have no control over. i apparently have had people calling me crazy, even. This is a roller coaster that's going to end up crashing and burning. i just hope this lunacy is almost over.

anon170314
Post 171

Oh my gosh all I have to say is I'm so glad I found this page! Good to know I'm not alone in this crazy journey of getting off this medicine! It won't let go of me, and I can't believe how many people are going through this. Maybe the FDA ought to re-examine this medication altogether!

It worked well for my depression, but I completely lost my appetite and so far have lost about 20 pounds. I was only 130 lbs to begin with, and I am 5'6. I was at 300mg, and down to 75mg. It's been about a month and a half so far of tapering off, and I just don't feel good, can't sleep, shaky, super irritable, and overall just feel like I'm losing it!

God bless everyone who is going through this. Hope this goes away soon!

anon170239
Post 170

Well, I know I wanted to hear some good news at all, so I will post where I am and hopefully it will provide some hope to others.

I have been on 150 mg for 2-plus years now due to seasonal affective disorder and stayed on them because they did completely wipe out my migraines. I am hoping to get pregnant later this year, so am working to get this stuff completely out of my system before trying to conceive.

I am currently in week two of the step-down from 150 mg to 75 mg. Because I had a lot of extra pills, my MD suggested I count beads, which I have been doing. I plan to try and cut it down again starting this Friday night, but I'm thinking I might cut down slower than to 37.5 mg like my MD suggested.

My symptoms so far: mild headaches that lasted about five days, dizziness but it was only really bad the first few days. The one symptom that I am noticing has continued since my first step down is a really, really short fuse. I get very angry very quickly at small things, and have to really work not to lose my temper in any situation. I'm not sleeping terribly well, but it isn't bad enough to affect my life, other than waking up at odd hours, sometimes. So far, I would say that although unpleasant, nothing I am experiencing has been unmanageable, although I do worry about the quick temper.

What I am doing: Other than counting the beads (I put them in applesauce to take), I am taking a multivitamin and an Omega 3 supplement daily, both of which I heard helps with this. I'm also taking a folic acid supplement for other reasons, but that may be helping as well. I am trying to exercise on a regular basis as well.

On the whole, I feel that it has been okay so far. I can only hope that my symptoms will continue to be this mild as I taper this down to nothing.

Although this drug did help me at a terrible time in my life and helped me be migraine-free for two wonderful years, I was hesitant about taking it and if it wasn't for the fact that I was suicidal when I finally went to the doctor, I wouldn't have. However, we all should bear in mind that we are not frequently in a state of mind to understand the risks of this drug when we go to our doctors for help. I can only hope our doctors are acting in our best interests and not the interests of the drug companies!

anon169799
Post 169

I am withdrawing right now from Effexor and it's been heck. I keep thinking I am seeing things and every day it's guaranteed I will have a pounding headache. The sleeplessness is horrific and when I do the dreams are even worse. Effexor worked wonderful for me but the withdrawal is so insane. Yikes. Is there anything I can do to help?

anon169664
Post 168

I just came across this website again and want to share it with everyone suffering from withdrawals from effexor and dealing with serious symptoms like depression, bipolar, suicidal thoughts, etc. There is a company called True Hope which has helped many many people do life drug free by using nutritional supplements. They have been featured on The Discovery Channel, etc.

I recently have come off effexor, Post #148 and find my diet changes has been my answer but for those that need more help and are looking to do life pharmaceutical free check it out and listen to the testimonials.

My friend used to be on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals and was still non functioning. The true hope counselors helped her wean herself off her drug cocktail and onto the true hope supplements and now she is a normal functioning member of society. She found new love got re-married and has a successful self employed personal training business. Just saying.

anon167483
Post 167

I had no idea the torture this drug was putting people through, along with me. I've been on 300mg for about a year now and am starting to wean off it. I just started down on 150mg today.

I've missed doses for the past few days and was wondering why I was feeling so horrible. I've had insanely severe migraines, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches, and this weird 'detached' sensation, like I'm not connected to my body -- and weird, scary dreams and weird sleep patterns not to mention an increase in appetite. That doesn't help my bulimia when I'm trying to stop binging. This is the main reason I want to get off it.

If I had any idea that the withdrawal symptoms and side effects were going to be this horrible I never would have started effexor in the first place. I think I'll just go back on the lithium. The worst I got with that was shaky hands.

I'm so sorry to hear of everyone's horrific experiences with this drug and I hope it alerts some GPs or health professionals to look into it and definitely give people warning before taking it.

anon166728
Post 166

I had to stop taking estrogen hormones eight weeks before being a kidney donor for my husband. I have awful hot flashes 14-17 times a day. My gynecologist prescribed Effexor XR 75mg once a day and it sure did help stop the hot flashes.

My insurance wouldn't cover costs because it was prescribed for hot flashes which is not a recognized indication for use. It cost $119 for a 30 day supply.

I was going to refill but decided not to. The transplant surgery will be 4/19/11. I have been off the Effexor for about nine days.

My primary care physician said people often feel sick after going off this medication. I sure thought that would not be me. I couldn't imagine getting sick from not taking it.

Yesterday was the worst so far. I was shaky, sad, agitated, tearful and moody. That is so unlike me. I attributed it all to the accumulated stress of the upcoming surgeries for my husband and me. Then I remembered what my primary doctor said and looked this medication up on the Internet. Here I am having hot flashes and feeling worse.

I do feel better knowing there is another reason for these symptoms, I thought maybe I was having a break down. I do not intend to take this medication ever again. I don't have time or money to gradually withdraw from this so will have to tough it out.

I'm sorry for everyone who is going through this. I know it will pass in time.

anon166641
Post 165

I have been taking Effexor seven years straight not including about a year before then (I was able to get off it during my pregnancy due to the hormonal balance). For the last several years, whenever I have been off of it due to needing doctor's authorization (because you know the pharmacy needs a new doctor's auth every few months), I have had severe migraines and depression.

I have a disc degeneration in my back and so far this is the only medicine that has worked for me to keep me walking. It has substantially improved my quality of life over that condition, but, whenever I have been off of it due to waiting for the pharmacy or the doctors office, I get the severe headache and as my husband says get overly reactive to the smallest of things.

I guess I should just continue taking it it for the rest of my life (I'm 44). to avoid the mental illness that comes whenever I am off of it?

anon164588
Post 164

I've been on Effexor for 15 years. I originally started taking in after trying several other antidepressants and Effexor was the only one that worked and allowed me to feel semi normal. I've been up as high as 150mg to get me through my husband's cancer battle and as low as 37.5.

Two years ago after six months of weaning, I finally got off of it. It was a long struggle and I was counting beads in the end but I did it. I found I couldn't withstand the depression and ended up back on it. What a mistake.

So here I am going through the same bloody thing again. I've weaned from 75mg to 37.5 over one month, again with counting beads. I'm feeling nauseated all of the time and have diarrhea. I'm dizzy but don't have the brain zaps due to slow weaning.

I don't feel depressed this time though so I'm hoping and praying I can get off and stay off this time. I can't believe I was so dumb as to start taking it again when I had spent six months getting off! Never again.

I pray that we all get off of it successfully with minimal side effects!

anon164202
Post 163

I am currently taking 112.5 mg a day for about a year now and my life seems so complete that I am going to try to go off them, but gradually.

After reading many posts, I am curious as what the symptoms were before starting medication, like suicide, crying, moodiness. For some people antidepressants are not temporary, they're for a lifetime. Having a history of off and on depression and bulimia, if I can't get off, them then I will come to terms that it is not a temporary fix for me and I will continue taking them.

anon163953
Post 162

Glad I started to get off my 275 dose (for past five years) before I found this website. I would have been too scared to try. That said, I'm on day ten of withdrawal. Mood is fine, even upbeat. Only taking drug when brain zaps get out of hand.

I've found that doing heavy exercise helps mitigate the symptoms. The worst part is falling asleep at work from disrupted sleep patterns. I'm being very haphazard about this, not recommended, but works for me so far. This drug helped me out through a very rough time, so no hard feelings. There is a price to pay for everything I guess. Already libido is returning, which is very exciting. Been tough on the wife. Hang in there, friends, it's worth the pain.

anon163312
Post 161

I have been on 150 MG of Effexor for several years to treat depression. Anytime I miss a dose, the first thing I notice is the brain zapping. I didn't know what to call this until reading this page.

I recently missed a dose and couldn't sleep well. When I got up from bed, I ate breakfast and took my pill. Within 30 minutes I had a high fever, excruciating headache, chills and tremors. The chills and tremors lasted about six hours. On the second day I still have a fever and a headache I can't get rid of.

I have tried to quit before and couldn't. I was given a couple of weeks of 75 MG and that didn't work. I have to get off this crap, I can't go thru this again. The only problem is that Effexor is the only thing that has helped my depression.

anon162528
Post 160

I was on Effexor for 16 months following the death of my boyfriend. I had gradually increased from 37.5 to 150mg daily. I stopped taking them about 3.5 weeks ago--cold turkey. I have been very emotional. Some days I feel great (emotionally) and others I'm crying and very very irritable. I notice that my patience level has dramatically decreased. I haven't experienced any 'brain zaps', but I do notice that my whole body is achy. Top to bottom. Sleeping even makes me ache. But the most concerning thing I have noticed is that my feet swell at night, and sometimes my knees. This has never happened before. It hurts. But I still have no desire to go back on it. Emotionally I am beginning to stabilize and feel like I can handle it, but the swelling scares me. I don't know if its from the medication...I'm not taking anything else regularly, but was given lorazepam for the anxiety, and clonazepam to help me sleep. Both of those really help take the edge off.

anon162509
Post 159

I started taking 75mg Effexor XR since November 2009 and I just stopped taking it last week because my liver enzymes triple and now I have to go for an ultrasound, I went to a herbal store and the lady gave me something call Power to sleep PM, it help with my sleep last night, I still have the hot flashes but it is not that bad.

anon162385
Post 158

I was put on Effexor (the generic Venlafaxine) for postpartum depression and have been on it for six months now. I can't afford it; the refill for the generic is $113 a month! Honestly, I don't know if it ever truly helped with the postpartum.

I'm on day two of quitting cold turkey (again I can't afford it!) and it has been pure hell. I tapered down from 150mg to 75mg and then quit cold turkey. I'm nauseated, I have ringing in my ears, but the worst is the mental feelings. I'm suicidal again like I was the first week or two after the baby was born. It comes and goes in spurts.

Just today I was scrubbing the kitchen floor and out of nowhere, I just wanted to end it, kill myself. My 5 year old was in the other room watching tv and the baby was upstairs sleeping. I went upstairs to hide from my 5 year old so she didn't have to see me like this and I swear I'd lost it. I was shaking, sweating, sobbing, pleading for God to help me.

Up until the postpartum I had never in my life been suicidal. I live with an alcoholic (my mother) and my dad died when I was 17 but even through all that I never wanted to kill myself. I swear this drug has done this to me. I was on Effexor before and after my dad died and I don't remember having these sorts of side effects from it when I quit then. Right now I feel as though life isn't worth living, even though I have a very loving husband and two precious children. I hate my life even though it's wonderful (aside from the alcoholic).

I never in my life thought it could be like this, all over a pill? I can't believe how dependent I have become on this medication. I feel like I can't truly 'live' without it.

I completely relate with some of the posts I've read already and I just pray this all passes soon.

anon161406
Post 157

I am a licensed clinical psychotherapist (not a psychiatrist or MD) and have been on Effexor 150 mg. for around 3 years for a low level depression: dysthymia. My libido was non-existent and I gained 25 lbs. over the three year period, despite daily exercise and healthy eating habits.

About two months ago I decided that this medication was not helping me at all anymore (it did initially provide respite for my dysthymia) and decreased to 75 mg. I was on this dose for a month. I then titrated to 37.5 and have had horrible insomnia and dizziness on getting out of bed. Generally a bit more tearful.

Here's the good news: despite these side effects I feel like I'm me again. Libido back, appetite down. I am thinking that I should go back to 75 mg. for a couple more weeks as the insomnia is ridiculous (three to four hours sleep). I think that I went down from 75 to 37.5 too soon. My MD suggests taking it really slow. I do have hope that I will get off of it completely. My brain is fired up and I'm feeling better despite these side effects.

I just ordered a book that this audience may find helpful re: this med and others called "Medication Madness" by Peter Breggin, MD-psychiatrist and author in NY. I encourage everyone to be checking in with their MD and seeing a therapist as they go through this transition to be safe.

anon160021
Post 156

Good Lord! i am so sorry. my daughter is going through this right now, she has been tapering for a year or so and went cold turkey for the last 1/4 of a 37.5.

She thought she was home free and then oh my gosh! yesterday she cried practically the entire day. she says she feels like she has the flu and she's been trying to "sleep it off". She, too, thinks this stuff is poison.

I'm wondering what today will bring. Good luck and good wishes to all.

anon157361
Post 155

I'm so glad I've found this website. Believe me, I thought I was going crazy. But it's the withdrawals of Effexor that have made my life exhausting during the last days. I still believe that I turn back to normal life in a few days. It's now a few days ago since I have stopped taking the capsule of Effexor. From day to day my neck, upper part of my back and my head got stiffer and stiffer. I still cannot relax my body. Every second day I have a massage or go for a swim or a spa. It's absolutely horrible!

I could cry as it almost drives me crazy having all ached in the back, neck and head. As I've had a tinnitus on both ears for a few years now, I thought the buzzy vision and the brain strokes are related to my tinnitus. And my tinnitus has been louder then ever, since I have no Effexor anymore. But now I know, it's not me. I'm not alone with all this horror!

Thank you guys so much for your typing. At least I don't feel all alone with my problems anymore. I don't want to go back to this dangerous pills anymore. It's hard, but I'll get over it. I'd say: Yes, we can!

anon156514
Post 154

I have been on Effexor for about three years now, having started on 75mg initially and slowly over this period ended up on 450mg! At which point I told my doctor that I can't keep doing this any more, as amongst other things, my weight has also gradually climbed (while exercising). My weight climbed from 75kg/165lb to almost 90kg/200lb!

I have gradually, over the last five weeks, been withdrawing from Effexor at 75mg increments, and the symptoms haven't been too bad - irritable, snappy, some headaches, my husband has said that he is seeing the 'old real me' that has been missing for a very long time.

That is, until the last few days (maybe a week), the dizziness, the fuzzy brain, no appetite, the diarrhoea, consistently tired even after 8-10 hours sleep. My doctor has given me Avanzato help me sleep at night while going through withdraw, I'm only taking 7.5mg (1/4 of a 30mg tablet), but from doing some research - it will have its own set of symptoms when I come off them.

I currently feel like I'm in no-man's land, not being able to describe to my husband or my kids (six and eight years old) why I'm feeling the way I do, and from reading these posts it looks like I have a potentially long road ahead to be free of this stuff.

Thank goodness for all your insights (thank you for sharing), I will be forwarding this link to my husband, so that he might have a little more understanding of what I'm going through.

anon151147
Post 153

Everyone struggling with Effexor withdrawals - take heart! It can be done. I was withdrawing from 75 gradually and copping the brain zaps, headaches, massive mood swings, insomnia, nausea etc

I followed some advice on here regarding vitamin D, fish oil, exercise, and St Johns Wort (#31), and eventually got through what really felt like hell at the time.

My heart goes out to all sufferers, but please don't despair. Hang in there!

anon151061
Post 152

I was taking 150mg of effexor and then "weaned" down to 75mg and then eventually stopped cold turkey. All I have to say was that was a mistake.

The first day or two was fine but then the withdrawal symptoms hit me like a brick. I didn't just have dizziness; I had vertigo. I'm normally a sleepy guy but I couldn't sleep for the life of me. When I did sleep it was for short periods of time and every single time I did I would have insane dreams. I thought I was going crazy.

It is now day seven from stopping and I am feeling a bit better. I still have the "brain zaps" I read on here and some light headiness and still a bit of an issue with sleeping but doing better.

Had I known more about this I would have either tapered off differently or never taken the drug at all. I'll never go on an antidepressant again.

anon149734
Post 151

I have been taking Effextor, two 75mg daily, spaced 12 hours apart since August 2011.

I didn't have any relief and told the Doctor who in turn told me to stop taking one pill at 75 mg Effexor. after a few days, I proceeded with the cold turkey method being my previously reaction to the Effexor was doing me no good.

With the exceptions of the clanging pots and pans in my head, I don't feel too bad, but in the past few days, my body is lifeless, muscular aches, bone stiffness, hard to straighten out after sitting for awhile. It's driving me crazy. Is there any relief or must I bite the bullet and let it wear itself out? My doctor has since prescribed Klonopin 0.5 mg twice daily. --Ron K

anon149054
Post 150

My doctor slowly got me off of Effexor over several months, and we added 10 mg of Lexapro to it at the end to help with the withdrawal symptoms. I felt fine at first. But about a month out, I began to have withdrawal symptoms similar to the ones I'd have it I missed a dose (nausea, dizziness, "brain shivers" or "zaps"). It has been almost three months and I am still suffering from these symptoms.

My doctor (psychiatrist) doesn't believe my symptoms are still from the Effexor. I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist and had an inner ear tests done and it turned out fine. I've also had my eyes checked, and they were fine.

It is hard to describe this dizziness as it is not a traditional dizziness. I am experiencing it right now. It is a mild dizziness with a dulled, continuous brain shiver or zap accompanied by blurry vision and nausea. I have been spending more time in bed than up lately. This is so close to the withdrawals I would have it I missed a dose of Effexor that I believe it is the culprit.

I plan on having some blood work done to be sure there isn't something else going on.

anon148804
Post 149

A few days ago, I started taking 37.5 mg of the generic form of this drug for one week. A week later, I then switched up to the 75 mg. as instructed by my doctor. I took the 75 mg. for four days, at which point I began to feel completely hopeless, cried frequently (couldn't talk to someone without crying for no apparent reason), and even began to feel life was no longer worth living.

I spoke directly with my doctor who said to stop taking it, and that since I had been on it a short time it would be ok to stop immediately. That was two days ago. I'm feeling just a bit better, yet still extremely sad, anxious, and immensely depressed. I'm so glad I looked at the forum. At least I now know how hard it has been for others. I was beginning to think it was just me. Thanks, guys!

anon147652
Post 148

In the past I weaned myself off effexor by 37.5 mg increments with all the nasty side effects. I went back on them because I thought I couldn't hack life without them. Then I read a book about "choosing to depress" and decided I would adopt a positive attitude towards life instead. I also decided to approach the weaning process differently this time.

I have weaned myself off 150mg of effexor by literally opening the capsules and shaking out a small amount (approx 5 grains) into an old prescription vial. I eyeballed the amount and would gradually reduce every third or fourth day a little more of the evil white granules. Then when I got to a point where I was on approx 30 grains I reduced the amount by one or two grains per day. I found this method really reduces the withdrawal symptoms to almost nothing.

I'm not sure if each grain is created equal as this is a time release medication but I would reduce as long as I was feeling OK. I have to admit that I rushed the last bit as I was down to about six grains and decided enough so I am experiencing the wonderful dizziness and the freaky brain zaps but nowhere near as strong as if I had been reducing by increments of 37.5 mg. It has taken me about seven weeks to do this. I also changed to a vegan diet and that has helped to stabilize my moods naturally. We can cure ourselves through proper nutrition. Nature has all the answers.

Look up the benefits of going on a vegan diet (super low fat, no cholesterol). I have already lost 15lbs and have never felt better. I also fasted to detox and am planning another one for longer soon to try to detox any effexor residue garbage still lurking about inside me. Since this drug is relatively new, I don't believe the corporate drug companies are being straight with us about the effects of long term usage. They don't even know; it's too new. How scary is that? I'm so glad I'm off effexor and I'm on life instead!

anon147521
Post 147

i was taking 150mg doctor cut me down to 75mg and now I'm cutting my pill in half and have symptoms of nausea and bad headaches, but I've been a week feeling better now and I'm going to stay like that for another 1-2 weeks more and see how i feel on 37mg.

If i feel pretty good on that, I'm going to cut the 37 mg in half and continue what i was doing until I'm completely off so i won't have to suffer so much.

I think my doctor cut me off it too fast and that's why i don't feel strong enough to get off it but doing it very slowly will help big time. take your time getting off slowly everyone.

anon145139
Post 146

I was on 50mg for 3 months and then moved up to 75mg for another 3 months. I have now been taking 225mg for 7 months and I feel kind of trapped.

Due the busiest week of my life since being on these meds, I forgot to take two days (not consecutive though) and am having the worst withdrawals I have felt from any drug (and I gave up smoking one year ago).

I am having terrible dizziness. So bad, in fact, that I have nearly fallen a few times. I am even feeling it while sitting and typing this right now! I have been fighting back the urge to vomit each morning until about lunch time. These are the two worst symptoms of the withdrawal.

I must say, my life has been better since taking these little pills, but I am afraid to come off them, even if I am weaned off over time. Sad, but true! --RC

anon141775
Post 145

You can do it! I did get off Effexor!

There is hope for getting off this stuff!

This is a compilation of what I found in several forums and this is what helped me.

I had tried before to get off Effexor and could not until I found this forum and other forums and read what everyone had done to get through each of its bizarre stages.

I was on Effexor 150mg per day. Let me just say that this is one awful drug to try to get off of. I think the best thing a person can do is look at the posts here and other forums and see what people have done for each of the symptoms. Read what others have done and prepare in advance. That is what I have done. I have tried to get off Effexor before and could not. After reading the posts here and other forums I was able to. I have had no effexor for four days now. Woo-hoo! And the only thing I am suffering through now is a mild and controllable headache, which I hope goes away in a few days.

The symptoms I had the other times I tried to get off Effexor are listed here. By listening to the people in the forum, this time I was able to actually quit and with a lot fewer symptoms and milder symptom. The symptoms I had the first few times trying to quit were: headaches, dizziness, joint pain, neck pain, balance issues, brain zaps, itching, anxiety, tension, bizarre and vivid dreams, sleepiness at times and insomnia at times, getting my words that I speak to come out in the right order, blurred vision, confusion, nausea, intestinal/bowel upset, dazed feeling, ringing ears, elevated blood pressure a bit, twitches, sweating and cold at the same time, a little snippy with others, dry mouth, as well as just about any symptom you can imagine.

This time, getting off was milder and the symptoms seemed to come at different stages so I could deal with each as it came around. The first few times, I tried over many weeks to quit. This time I was able to do it in days instead. Quite a number of days, but at least I am off now, and did not fail and suffer for months and fail.

The below things I did only as needed when a bad symptom started. I was afraid of doing all of these things constantly and without moderation along with effexor and mixing too many things. So I did them on an as needed only basis. So, you are wondering, how did I did I get off of this evil drug?

The tips in this and other forums is how. Before I started, I read a lot of posts and went to the store and bought up a lot supplies and started the journey.

I am not a medical professional -- just a victim of this drug and trying to quit taking it. This is just what I did. I am not offering you medical advice.

This is just from my personal journal I kept. Keeping a journal helped me cope with withdrawals.

My cabinet had these in it (which I read about in many forums) to get me through: Fish Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Dramamine, Multi-Vitamins, Benadryl, Alka-Seltzer, Advil and Tylenol (you never know which will help more - Advil helped me more), Emetrol for nausea.

I took my larger Effexor dose in the morning so I could have its effect all day. The dose I missed was at night, as I hoped to sleep through some of the withdrawal symptoms. This seems to work best for me.

I went from 75mg 2x a day to 75mg morning/half that at night (removed half the amount from the capsule -- counted the pellets). Then when I felt I could (reached a plateau) I eliminated the does at night. Then, as I felt I could, I took a half-dose in the morning and a half dose at night. Then when I felt I could, I took a half-dose in the morning and none at night. Then I took only a half dose when I felt I absolutely had to. Then, when I felt I could, I stopped taking any. I really think that to get off this stuff you have to work out a personalized system.

I got my doctor’s e-mail address and e-mailed her updates as I felt best to work with medical advice and it just helped to keep in touch with someone. Kind of like a journal friend. If you have a decent doctor, he or she should not object to this.

This is what I did, but do not go beyond what the labels on these say you should take. Causing a problem by taking over the counter medicine to try to get off a prescription medicine is not going to help either, and may be just as bad. And check with your doctor to make sure all of these are mixed and ok for you and let them know your plan.

I took Advil for the headaches and other pains three times a day. I took fish oil gel caps at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Flax seed oil upon waking and before bed. This is another type of Omega3 like fish oil. Benadryl (children’s liquid -- could not find an adult liquid): A sip now and then for itching.

I also drank lots of water to flush it from my system and keep me hydrated, and to help with the constant dry mouth. I took the daily multi-vitamin at breakfast, to just try to throw in something to keep my body well maintained during the withdrawals. And some forums said this would help. Emetrol as needed for any really bad nausea. I also took Alka-Seltzer as needed for upset stomach, and I think the aspirin in it also helped with aches and also with my blood pressure and weird awareness of my heart beating. Dramamine as needed for dizziness and nausea.

Getting off Effexor can be a tough journey, but it was milder when I did all this, compared to the hell I went through the couple times I tried to quit before I found all this in online forums.

Keep up hope! It can be done. The first few days are the worst. I pray for everyone dealing with this!

anon140268
Post 144

I have been on effexor for three years, and for about a year, thought it was working very well. Boy, was I wrong! My breasts started being tender, then I started having a discharge, and they got absolutely huge. I thought it was just because I had gained about 20 pounds.

I talked to my GNC (he's who prescribed it), and he didn't seem to be interested. So, after another year, I had gained even more weight, and was tired all of the time, thinking it was because I have two very active teenage daughters, with band, softball, volleyball, and I am one of the parents who's always there, not to mention I have a stressful job, a husband, and a farm. I thought I had plenty of reasons to feel tired all of the time. Who wouldn't?

So, I went to our family doctor, and he did bloodwork. My thyroid was out of this world, along with my blood pressure and sugar, and he gave me more meds! The thyroid meds have helped, my blood pressure is better, still on the sugar meds. Then my gnc just kind of disappeared (yeah, the one who put me on this crap), so I found another one.

When I told her about my breasts (which are now larger than when I was breastfeeding my daughters) she was very concerned, and said for me to wean myself off of them. Okay, I got someone who actually listens to me this time! But then my 16 year old decides to go berserk, running away, quitting school, and my 17 year old was constantly having something negative to fuss about.

All of this was going on while I lost five members of my family, so my new gnc and I decided maybe this wasn't the best time in my life to be messing with it! It's been almost a month now, and we have had no deaths, my 16 year old has decided that life here is nowhere near as bad as she thought, and she's back in school, and at home.

All's good, until about three days ago. I ran out of my meds, called my pharmacy (which is a joke) to get a refill. My 17 year old picks my meds up for me, and when I open the bag, they sent the wrong one. Instead of the effexor, it's the Wellbutrin that the new gnc prescribed for me, so of course this happens during the weekend, and when I call the doctor, she tells me to just try the wellbutrin without weaning off of the effexor, just try it, see how it goes.

I've already had the sleeplessness, headaches, coughing like crazy, and today I was dizzy as all get out, like I was drunk, but had only drank water all day, then the nauseousness and the good old diarrhea hit, oh my goodness!

Well, needless to say, after being up all night researching, and reading your post, I went ahead and took a Wellbutrin, thought maybe it'll help a little. I know there is no "miracle pill", and these things can not be good for me.

I'm going to try this with the Wellbutrin, and slowly just try to get off of all meds. This is horrible! I am so outraged right now, knowing someone that I trusted, my gyn, gave me this. Did he not know the side affects, or did he just not care?

Everything I mentioned above: the breasts, thyroid, sugar and weight gain -- could this one little pill a day cause all of this stuff to be going on with me? Yes!

This is the worst thing I have experienced, and I just watched my Grandmother die from colon cancer, but this happened from a pill that my doctor prescribed me, and like a dumb butt, I took it, without thinking about it. Guess I should have just prayed harder, and more!

anon140025
Post 143

Mood swings! I feel bipolar! I was taking this medication for post partum depression.

anon138597
Post 142

I have been increasing my protein intake and exercise more often when trying to reduce and finally be off effexor. It has helped a lot. I have been reducing the amount of pellets daily by five, then the next week reduce another five and so on. I am now taking just five pellets a day.

I do notice that I am dizzy, especially when moving around a lot (side to side head movements are the worse), but staying on course with five pellets daily until all symptoms are gone. Please remember to relax a few minutes at a time throughout the day if you can. Get lots of rest, eat well and exercise.

anon138415
Post 141

I have previously posted on this forum, no. 113. I have now been off effexor for four months. And despite all of the side effects, I do not regret it. My head is clear, there are no more brain zaps or nausea. I made use of anti nausea meds from the doctor to get me through it.

This is a terrible drug and should be withdrawn from sale. And any doctor who continues to prescribe it, should be made to become addicted to it, then suffer the withdrawal as we have. Keep your chin up and keep going, it does get better.

anon138393
Post 140

I have weaned myself from 225mg down to 37.5 over the past six weeks. Three days ago, I stopped completely. I feel depressed because of how sick I feel. I'm in this constant dizzy state, which I believe are what the brain zaps are. I feel like I have to walk very carefully. About four weeks ago, I was having really bad headaches, and now think they were due to the weaning process. I have also had diarrhea for the past two days and now think that is from stopping as well.

I have been very irritable with my husband and kids. My husband called my Sybil. I was thinking that not being on Effexor, that maybe I really am Sybil, but am hoping like hell that my split personality is only another side effect.

I ended up here because I was trying to find out how long I will feel like this and as I read on, I find I just can't control my tears. This really stinks, but I am not going back. My main reason for quitting, is that I feel it has caused me a lot of memory loss and was glad to find I wasn't alone as I researched. I saw that one person said their doctor prescribed xanax to take the edge off, and I think I will give that a try.

anon138096
Post 139

i have been on 75 mg for one year. for the last month, i have slowly removed five pellets from the casing every week. I am at about one quarter of what i started with and the only issue so far is lots of dreams. This is the best way to go, i think. I will let you know when I'm completely off for a month. --BJB

anon138047
Post 138

I was only on Effexor for six months when I quit cold turkey after finding out that I was pregnant. I wanted to do everything that I could to have a healthy baby. It was horrible. I suffered all the symptoms previously discussed by everyone.

I hate others have experienced it, but am glad to not be alone. You can't begin to understand it unless you've gone through it. I couldn't think straight. I had to call in to work three days and go home early a few times. I'm a nurse and I didn't feel safe working. Still, I felt that it was worth it because I was doing it for the safety of my child.

Little did I know, by the time I had found out that I was pregnant and quit, the heart was already formed. My son was born with a severe congenital heart defect. I'm not saying being on Effexor caused this, but it could have.

When my son was 4 1/2 months old, it became clear that I needed to be on something. Despite having negative feelings related to the withdrawal symptoms and not knowing if it's use contributed to my son's heart defect, I went back on Effexor. I hated to admit it but when I was on it, I could handle life. I was level headed and optimistic, and I had to be that way especially through my son's heart surgeries and heart transplant. As my son got worse I increased my dose.

When he died, I went up to 225 mg and that's where I've been for the last 5 1/2 years. There have been a few times I've gone without my meds for up to five days. Once I thought that I was pregnant and a few times I waited too long to get a new script from the doctor. I was coming back from florida and had been a day without my effexor when I was at the airport and missed my flight. I went to the ticket counter and I was bawling. I told the lady that I just had to get home. "Please get me on the next flight." I felt like I was going crazy. I quit my medicine because I thought that I was pregnant and I felt horrible, I had to get home. That poor lady, she got me on the next flight and didn't even charge me the $100.00 that she was supposed to.

I spent the next three hours sitting in the airport crying, people looking at me like I was crazy. As soon as I got home I started my period. Damn false pregnancy test! I immediately popped some pills and within four hours was feeling "normal" again. It was such a relief. That's what I hate about this drug.

At some point the effexor wasn't as effective, and I became very depressed. I didn't work, shut myself off from friends, didn't want to leave the house or be around people. I would lie to the doctor and tell her that things were great to get my refills because I was afraid of getting off of it or switching meds because I knew that I'd still have to go through some form of withdrawal.

Four years after my son died, I finally sought professional counseling. I want to say that with my newfound coping techniques that I'm ready to quit for good. I've finally gone back to work and started living life after my son. I'm going to plan quitting this time. I've decided to use PTO combined with scheduled days off to get through the first week of decreasing my dose. That's really sad. I remember the symptoms lasting two weeks when I quit cold turkey. Of course I was only on it six months then and now it's been over seven years. I hate how scared I am of this drug.

anon137445
Post 137

Unfortunately, I am a victim of this drug and am trying to wean myself off. Have been on it for 10 years because I would fly into a rage when trying to quit it. I figured that's who I was without it, so I stayed on it.

I'm starting to realize that this is just one of the many withdrawal symptoms. I've come slowly down from 225 to nothing over a span of months. The challenge to all around me has been great. I've been moody (read angry, sad, suicidal, anxious), nauseous, dizzy, sick, etc. I feel it is worth it, though.

I'm sick of being a slave to this stuff. It seems as bad as one of the illegal drugs to rid oneself of. It is terrible. As far as those who say it is effective at relieving depression, that may be true in the short run. The depression and pain it causes later makes it a poor option. Docs who prescribe this stuff don't deserve their license. The company, Wyeth, should go out of business.

anon137014
Post 136

I just want to say to any woman who wants to stop effexor because you're pregnant, in my experience it is better to stay on it.

I have three children and i went on it after my second. i got pregnant for the third time and decided to wean off. i miscarried that time and once more after. i luckily got pregnant again and stayed on it through my pregnancy and breast feeding and my daughter is now four and nothing was ever wrong with her.

i really think the stress that stopping puts on your body is not ok for a growing fetus. i am not trying to come off now but because of being so busy over holidays. i ran out three days ago and i feel horrible. Glad i found this site because this brain zapping thing was really scaring me. so I'm glad to know it's not just me! But good luck to you all who are quitting. Keep smiling!

anon135940
Post 135

After reading these posts I feel much better about how I am feeling as I taper off of this drug. I was on 75 for several years. To taper I alternated 75 and 37.5 for one week, then 37.5 for a week, then alternated 37.5 and nothing for a week. I'm now in my first week of nothing. At times my vision is a little blurry and my head feels heavy.

anon135656
Post 134

I just started taking effexor about a week ago and I've already decided to stop taking it. I noticed many side effects from it right away! I figure the sooner I stop taking it the better right? I was only taking 37.5mg 2x/day. So today, I took only one dose and skipped my second dose this evening. Anyone have thoughts or advise on this?

anon132549
Post 133

I am post #128. Week one plus days of cold turkey. Although my dosage was 225 mg per day, not 75 as I posted. It has been hell on earth. But I will not go back. My therapist is one of those that will not prescribe this; it was another one. Therapist is not happy I cold-turkeyed, but she understands. Gave xanax to take edge off. Haven't taken yet.

Still having intermittent intense night terrors. Brain zaps. Memory loss. From minute to minute. Bouts of uncontrollable rage, seemingly unable to stop the verbal garbage. But I am taking double doses of D3, B12 sublingual, and lots and lots of water!

To all of you, Please hang on. The journey is worth the pain. If you want yourself back, find her/him. He/she wants and need you to help find their way back. with love.

anon131809
Post 132

all of these comments are making me really really nervous. i have no choice but to go off cold turkey as I found out tonight when i went to pick up my prescription that my insurance ran out three days ago -- about the same day I had my last dose of 150mg of effexor.

i know that anytime i missed one day i had severe headaches. i had that yesterday and today also. I'm really scared because i have college semester finals next week and i cannot afford to buy my meds without my insurance. the last time I missed about three or four days of meds, i came extremely close to a mental breakdown.

i lost my husband at 28 years old three months ago and his birthday is monday -- the same day i have finals and day five of no meds. i already have had consistently high pulse rate over the last several months and this will make it worse. I'm scared to death. please someone tell me this will end fairly quickly and what i can do to help it when i have no money for anything.

anon130971
Post 131

I'm currently at loggerheads with my GP in U.K. who thinks I'm sort of freak for questioning this drug.

I have no respect now for GPs who dish these drugs out like Smarties. I've got all the symptoms listed here and have gone from 225mg and am now at 18mg. Next week I plan to quit completely, but it's taken me three years to do this.

He who suffers much knows much! And I think that applies to all of us! Good luck to everybody, and hold tight.

anon130929
Post 130

I am so glad to hear about the "brain zapping." I thought it was just me. My doctor and I are weaning me off of effexor very slow. I'm down to 37.5 and I definitely do feel the mood swings, I go from being happy to wanting to hit something or someone. Everything aggravates me and it's hard when you work with the public, I hope I get through this ok. Thanks.

anon130869
Post 129

I took Effexor for two months as part of a medical trial. I found it didn't help much, and i just got the side effects. now the trial is finished, i've been weaning myself off. Three weeks ago i tried to wean myself up, took a dose after three days after i experienced withdrawal symptoms. i had three days in between each dose after that, until one week ago, it's been seven days since my last dose.

I've been getting distracting brain zaps and these terrible short intense paralysing nightmares, and that's about it.

anon130548
Post 128

Day two of missing dose 75mg over 18 months. Holiday weekend and pharmacy closed. Nightmares, severe twitching, cold-like symptoms for three days. Migraine-like headaches. I found this forum and I am scared to death! I pick up my scrip tomorrow, or not?

I'm 40 pounds heavier, have blurred vision, verbally abusive to family! I know I am not crazy. I'm going to just get through to the other side. I have to.

And I thought my husband's pot habit was a bad thing?

anon130536
Post 127

I have been weaning myself off effexor for about four months now. I was on 75mg a day and gradually cut it down to every 30 hours then two days, 2 1/2 days, etc.

I am down to every four days now and i sure know when i am almost due to take it again. The brain zaps are just the worst thing for me and i can't handle the feeling, which is why i have cut down so slowly.

If i was late taking a dose i sure knew about it when i was taking it daily. I was on this all through my pregnancy and also breastfed my son and am still feeding him once a day. Hopefully this has not affected him as i was not advised not to take it. I might just have to bite the bullet and go cold turkey from here, but i dread those zaps. How long do they last?

Good luck everyone and stay strong! We will get off this drug.

anon130361
Post 126

Wow, such suffering. I am in my fifth week of withdrawal and have had a lot of your symptoms. I have been using Zoloft for the transition and think that has lessened the withdrawal for me. I am hopeful I will once again feel like myself. Thanks for your comments

anon129445
Post 125

I was on Effexor XR for five years following the birth of my son. I have had anxiety issues for most of my life, but they became pretty unbearable after having a baby. Anyway, I was on 150 for a while, weaned down to 75 mg (not bad) and then down to 37.5 (with success!).

I stayed on 37.5 for over a year, just because I was to nervous to come off completely, because I had missed one a couple of times and it was hell in itself. So finally, I decided enough is enough and I went off of them and wow! It was horrible!! Brain zaps, nausea, headache, my eyes wouldn't stay straight, it was absolutely the worse thing I have ever done. The side effects did eventually subside, and I now feel fine 6 months later!

The brain zaps (or slams) lasted a while, of course they got better over time, and I only noticed them if I was really tired or something. I have also lost 30lbs!! Anyway, I know how horrible it is, but it does get better and you will feel normal again!

anon128183
Post 124

First of all I am on day six of stopping the Effexor XR, capsules, cold turkey. I really don't feel any better than I did on day one. The funny thing is on day one, I didn't really feel anything.

I wish on this forum we would hear more success stories of being off the Effexor. I want to hear that there's light at the end of the tunnel.

My worst symptom right now is the "brain zapping."I can handle the nausea, moodiness, but the dizziness and brain zaps are almost intolerable. Granted I was only on 37.5 mg of the Effexor, but still I really though I would be better by now.

I will tell you that the Benadryl at night has saved me from the twitching and sudden itching. I do take 400 mg of Ibuprofen daily for headaches. I am trying really hard not to drink very much caffeine as well.

I will be trying the Omega 3's tonight. I'm hoping for more improvement with the dizziness and brain zapping.

Please write more stories about success! I think that is what keeps me going. I really want to start my Effexor up again to stop the withdrawal symptoms, but I don't want to start over again.!

I host Thanksgiving and I'm hoping to be "normal" by then.

Unfortunately my doctor does not know that I quit 37.5mg cold turkey. I do wish, looking back on it now, that I had done much more of a gradual taper (opening the capsule and separating the beads) instead of quitting cold turkey. Obviously this medication is messing with your brain chemicals and when you go from taking any amount to stopping abruptly, your chemicals are bound to be out of whack.

I do agree with hydration. Your body is made up of 80 percent water, therefore I would believe that you need to hydrate yourself, especially your brain, as you're going through withdrawal from any neurological drug!

Good luck, but remember, if thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself are one of the symptoms you're experiencing, you should definitely call a doctor and be seen immediately! Go to a hospital ER that will treat regardless of insurance! Some Jesuit hospitals are not allowed to turn anyone away!

anon127907
Post 123

Anyone who has stopped taking Effexor because of losing insurance, Wyeth has a patient assistance plan so that you can get it for free.

I am weaning off of 75mg, did 37.5 mg for 2 weeks and now on every other day. the side effects stink, but it'll get better.

anon127829
Post 122

I am coming off the 75mg and I am suffering so badly right now. My head hurts. I feel like I'm not there. It's really scary. I also have been having bad dreams, dizziness, headaches, over sleeping, nausea. this stuff it horrible.

anon127611
Post 121

My understanding is that going cold turkey off Effexor is downright dangerous. I'm currently weaning myself off of a 75 mg dose. The generic version I have happens to have 75 tiny pellets in each capsule.

I have been reducing my dose by 5 pellets each week, so 70mg/day week one, 65mg/day week two, etc. I'm on 60mg now and except for increased hot flashes I feel pretty good.

I'm hoping that once I get down to 40mg I can ask my doc for 37.5's and then stay on that for a while. I'll reassess when I get there.

I've been one one med or another for the last 10 years and I know that when things are going smoothly, I tend to start thinking about going off my meds. The side effects from all of these drugs are annoying at best.

I'm not sure I will be able to go off my meds completely, but at the very least I want to get down to the smallest dose I can.

I've heard that switching to Prozac can also be a help. The half-life of Prozac is weeks long, so weaning from it should be easier. For anyone out there trying to go off Effexor, my advice is to go extremely slowly. If you have any side effects, go back to your previous dose and reduce the dosage by a smaller amount.

It's not just a matter of withdrawal effects, but your body needs time to ramp up on serotonin production. This will take months, not days or weeks. Good luck everyone!

anon127383
Post 120

I have been without my effexor for two days, and I am experiencing the zapping,disorientation,insomnia,and definite mood changes. I have one more day of this then I am able to receive my medication, this teaches me not to wait to the last minute to see my doctor. It's not a good feeling, kind of scary.

anon125383
Post 119

I am about three days cold turkey from 75mg, and feel like I am in a brain cloud. I don't get these "zaps" that a lot of you mention, but I walk around like a zombie. I am not clear-headed at all.

I can't concentrate and am totally aggravated as a result. My poor kids are getting it the worst. And now I understand why I am having issues sleeping and some very wacky dreams. Thanks for all your posts.

anon124302
Post 118

This is the second (and last ) time I have quit taking Effexor XR. The first time I quit was due to pregnancy, but I lost the baby at two months. I stayed off of Effexor, experienced a second miscarriage six months later, and still stayed off the pill until my fiance left me in the dead of winter nearly a year after my second miscarriage. It was all too much and my depression was terrible, so despite suffering withdrawal once before, I started taking the drug again. (150 mg a day)

I’ve had to quit this second time due to my third pregnancy, which I am hoping and praying I carry full term. The withdrawal is just as awful, if not worse, this time around. I’m at day seven after quitting cold turkey, and can take nothing to alleviate the horrible withdrawal symptoms due to being pregnant. Crazy nightmares, nausea and vomiting, heavy sadness and mood swings, dizziness, shakes, diarrhea, and the brain-zapping, which for me is like a “zzt zzt zzt” sound that is felt and heard, most often when I move my eyes around. I feel hot and then cold, and I have to wonder how safe this is for my developing fetus when I’m suffering so much myself.

The Effexor withdrawal should be discussed heavily with patients before putting them on this anti-depressant. I will never take Effexor again, and now I’m leery about trying other depression medications in the future. For those of you suffering, hang in there and stay strong.

The worst should pass within 7-10 days; it did for me the first time. I was off Effexor for one year and five months before I started back up, and I wish to God I never had. But after quitting cold turkey the first time, I felt pretty normal and healthy again after two weeks had passed.

My sympathy is 100 percent with anyone who took this medication to try to feel better and get their emotional and psychological health back on track, only to suffer terribly when it is needed or desired to stop taking the drug. Be strong and fight through it! I did it once, and I’ll do it this time, but I assure anyone reading this post, I will never do it again. Warn your friends and loved ones whose doctors are recommending Effexor. Try something else -- anything else. It is simply not worth the hell you go through later.

anon123564
Post 117

Good God, there is so much suffering going on with this drug! Much of what all of you are describing I too am enduring.

I was on 300 mg of Effexor XR for more than 8 years, all the while withdrawing off of methadone (which was easier than this!) after a two-year heroin habit. Drug abuse was clearly my way of self-medicating the underlying depression/anxiety. I also thought nothing of taking yet another script that my doctor gave me, because I could not feel much worse than I did at the time.

Now completely off methadone, I was bumped to a 450 mg dose for nearly a year. I recently found out I was pregnant, and so had to decrease the 450 mg/day in 12 days. I am in day three of no Effexor and am concerned on many levels! The disorientation, night-terrors, over-sleeping, uncontrollable crying, ear-ringing, hyperventilating and nausea/diarrhea are one thing. This electrical sensation running through my chest (what is that), and the complete connection to reality set me way off the deep end, because I feel like I am having heart issues.

As much as these symptoms are wreaking their havoc on me, I am more concerned about what they could be doing to the fetus! Any reassurance from the masses?

anon118157
Post 116

i had been on effexor xr 75mg off and on for the past five years. I have five children, and after the third one, i was diagnosed with postpartum depression, so my doctor gave me a prescription. i didn't do any research, just took them, and they worked. i felt great, better, able to get out of bed and take care of my kids.

Now in between, i got pregnant twice and stopped taking them cold turkey. i literally thought i was going insane. i would have these horrible withdrawals while i was pregnant, mostly this drumming in my ears when trying to sleep, body shakes, horrible nightmares. After going through all that, i decided to stop taking them ever again. Well during my last pregnancy, i was so depressed, my doctor knew and we both decided to go on effexor again after my baby was born. i opted to take the antidepressant rather than breast feed.

that was two years ago, and things were going fine until my baby was about four months old, and i basically developed insomnia. i couldn't eat, sleep, and sex was out of the question.

I stopped taking the pills for five days and ended up in a psychotic state where i was hallucinating someone was going to kill me, or i was already dead. i was convinced some evil presence was in my home.

Anyway, i scared the bejesus out of everyone, and yes i ended up in mental health for one week. the psychiatrist didn't believe i was just on effexor, and from the lack of sleep, and the way i was behaving, he kept asking if i was doing hard drugs for me to be so detached from reality. he put me on lithium, some mood stabilizer. At first i was schizo, but then he thought i might be bipolar.

I fought with him, even after i got out that i wasn't going to take anything he gave me. my first nights home were the worst anxiety in my life. I didn't even know until then what it was. It was complete fear, an out of body experience, that I was going to die, take me to the hospital experience.

He met me in the emergency room and prescribed clonazepam for the anxiety. That is all that i take when needed now. I went from three clonazepam a day to one every three months because he wanted me to be taking it with a new antidepressant he prescribed, paxil. i of course, did not take it.

it has been one year and 10 months since i have been off the effexor, and for at least a year it was hell. i had all the withdrawal, brain pain as I'd call it, body jolts, paralyzing nightmares and the anxiety, that still plagues every now and then.

all i can say is it's an evil drug that i knew nothing about, and I refused all anti depressant medication. my psychiatrist did not like me because i told him i wasn't going to be another one of his guinea pigs that he could just throw pills at. So i no longer get three month letters to go in and see him to see how the latest antidepressant is working, because he knows i am not taking them and never will again.

It does get better with time. Those of you suffering through it, just remember the pain doesn't last, and better days where you feel you are the one in control of your body, feelings, emotions do come back.

anon112395
Post 115

This is my second time going off an anti-depressant. I went off Paxil 2, almost 3 years ago and went directly onto Effexor. Now I'm tired of being on yet another "happy" pill when I know that I can deal with my depression and anxiety with natural herbal supplements like St. John's Wart.

So far I'm on day two and I'm hating the dizziness, and the feeling like I'm drunk. We're all in this together, so stay strong, and take care all!

anon111475
Post 114

I gradually lowered my dose of Effexor XR from 150mg (which I had been on for five years) over about a month. My last dose of 37.5mg was about two weeks ago. I didn't have many withdrawal symptoms while I was lowering the doses, or I would have done it even more slowly.

Since my last dose though, I've had headaches, joint pain and lots of crying for little or no reason. I hope this doesn't last too long. It's pretty awful. I'm on high dose liquid vitamins already and put hemp hearts on my cereal as a supplement anyway. Hemp hearts are high in Omega 3's.

I wonder if these supplements mitigated the nausea, etc. that some people report. I'll also try the Benadryl as some others suggest. Hang in there you guys. Thanks for your posts. It helped me to read them.

mjf1959
Post 113

I have been taking Effexor XR now for about two years. The first time I went off it I literally went crazy. I had a complete breakdown and had to be put back on the meds. I am now in the process of weaning off it again.

The headaches are almost unbearable. I liken them to a migraine. The dizziness and nausea, what do I say about them? They are constant. It is like suffering from a perpetual case of motion sickness. I can't sleep, and I am exhausted.

My appetite has halved. My mouth is constantly dry. I am angry all the time; the slightest little thing can set me off into a full blown rage. My partner is understanding and knows that when I say I need to lie down, I mean it.

I am practically useless in my normal capacity. But I am assured it will pass, and with the help from understanding family and friends, and counsellors I can call on, I will get through this.

anon109847
Post 112

I was put on 75 mg of Effexor at a point where I was having a lot of stress at work and having a hard time dealing with everything. After a short while on the medication, I started feeling that everything was OK and that I no longer needed to take the medicine. Not knowing what would happen, I stopped taking it.

It was on my birthday that I walked in my house from taking my car to get it serviced. For a couple of days I was having the withdrawals from the medication but didn't know exactly what was going on. That was the last thing I remembered until waking up in a hospital room. It seemed that I, for some reason, blacked out of knowing what I was doing and decided that I would take an Ambien to try and sleep it off because I did not like what was going on within in my body.

The brain-zapping was causing me to be irritated and I just couldn't stand it. With the side effects of the Ambien along with the side effects of not taking the Effexor caused me to forget the moments that occurred.

When I woke up, I remember my friend being beside me in the emergency room. He told me that I had completely destroyed my house by turning everything upside down and throwing things across the room. I had three knives lined up on the counter using each one to cut my wrist.

Every few seconds I kept going into the kitchen and taking another Ambien as if trying to OD. And all of this I never remembered. Now I have a sheriff standing outside of my emergency room door because I was known as a high risk because I tried to commit suicide.

When the doctor came to see me in the hospital, that was when I was diagnosed as having Bi-polar disease but because of the incident with the effexor he raised my dosage from 75 mg to 150 mg.

None of this hit home until I went and tried to apply for my concealed weapons permit. I did everything I needed to do. I took the course and applied for my permit. But it was that very afternoon that I do not remember that caused me to stand before a judge and be denied a concealed weapons permit.

It was that point that people thought I was "crazy" and that people like me should not even be permitted to carry a handgun. I am going to try and do what is necessary to get my permit because I feel that I am stable enough to carry a handgun.

I have my ups and downs just like everyone else but my nature is that I would not hurt anyone. I've never have. Never have been in a fight over the 30+ years.

I can't believe that something as small as a pill could ruin my life. I use the word ruin because that is how I feel. I have been off of the medication now for four days and the brain zapping is very strong. I have had mood swings and even cried, and I'm not a crier.

I appreciate everyone sharing their story here. I was to the point that I didn't know how to handle this but I have to give it some time to have these effects wear off. I wish they would take this drug off of the market.

It is very lethal and that night I could have lost my life because of the withdrawal symptoms.

I am going to hold strong with my faith in God and I believe that prayer will see me through. I pray that if you are like me and just coming off of this medication that you will be strong. Don't do anything drastic. Try to think it through! God bless!

anon108292
Post 111

I'm the effexor kid.

I was prescribed up to 600 mg effexor xr/day for extreme depression and know how to get off it, without side effects, in one day (or for those who prefer to go the pharmaceutical route, switch over to prozac and get off it in a week or so, depending on the person/dosage). You're welcome.

Day 0 - 600 mg/day effexor xr taken in the morning

day 1 - max 900 mg/day 5-htp taken in 100 mg doses, as needed, to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay (0 effexor xr)!

Day 2 - max 600 mg/day 5-htp taken in 100 mg doses, as needed, to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay (0 effexor xr)!

Day 3 - max 300 mg/day 5-htp taken in 100 mg doses, as needed, to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay (0 effexor xr)!

Day 4 - max 200 mg/day 5-htp taken in 100 mg doses, as needed, to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay (0 effexor xr)!

Day 5 - max 50 mg/day 5-htp taken in 25 mg doses, as needed, 100 mg st. John's wort to keep depression symptoms at bay!

Day 6 and onward-- maintenance dose (taken in morning): 25mg 5-htp, 100mg st. John's wort.

For people who suffered a bout of mild depression, you may not need maintenance doses--you're free!

For the rest of us who one way or another escaped effexor hell, you know you need something to take its place. You have a chemical imbalance in your brain that no one knows how to permanently correct (yet).

Stay depression-free, my friends.

anon108246
Post 110

I feel awful for everyone going through such a difficult time in their lives, on top of dealing with a drug that has questionable side effects being on it and trying to go off of it.

Some of you may have issues with your doctors prescribing this in the first place. Please believe me that they were doing what they thought was best for you at the time you presented in their office.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a bleeding heart for doctors. I have been an RN for 14 years and I have worked with many physicians, all with different cultural backgrounds and training. Every one will and does respond to medication so differently. They will never know how a patient will respond unless the medication is given time to work.

Yeah, I myself am going through the withdrawal: brain-zapping (it's cool to finally have a name for this weird dizzy sensation), insomnia (it's 2 a.m. right now as I am writing this), irritability (unfortunately, it's aimed at my kids. When the hell does school start? Summer vacation is so over!).

I went on Effexor after my second child was born, approximately 18 months (six months after I returned to work). I do believe that I was an undiagnosed postpartum depression and I feel depression runs in my family (double whammy)!

I trusted a physician that I worked with at the time, with my feelings of despair and ever increasing anxiety. He truly had my best interests at heart.

The drug worked! My mood lifted and my anxiety diminished - as did my sex drive (yikes!). Not easy. Doesn't matter how wonderful your husband is, he cannot understand the idea of not wanting sex. The drug did create issues around this aspect of my life. Somehow, though, we got through it.

I have been on the drug for five years. I have spent the last three months tapering off Effexor. I finally bit the bullet and threw away the pills. I figured the brain-zapping will dissipate sooner or later. I am hoping the insomnia will dissipate also.

I plan on going to the pharmacy tomorrow and I am going to try Melatonin for the short term. I have tried it before - no side effects and no drowsiness when I tried it years ago. Luckily for me, I am off work for another week so I don't have to deal with it while keeping up appearances at work.

Hang in there everyone. I would recommend that anyone who wants to go off of Effexor taper off over months, not days or weeks, especially if you are on the max dose of 300 mg. And consider keeping your physician in the loop when making this decision - it could save your life.

anon107145
Post 109

I was really trying to get off but if I don't take it for a few days I get all these symptoms: crazy nightmares, yelling out and cursing in my sleep, night sweets, head ringing, crying for no reason in my sleep. This is real scary! The thing is the doc said nothing about this crap!

anon106086
Post 108

Why do doctor keep prescribing this awful drug? Why do the manufacturers keep making it?

I was down to a very small dose and went off of it completely a week ago. It has been awful. I thought I would be feeling better now.

I am okay when I wake up but as the day progresses the ringing in my ears gets louder, I have more brain sparks and then I cannot sleep at night. I hope this goes away soon.

I also have developed a slight eye infection, close to my tear duct. It is a little swollen and feels similar to a bruise. Has anyone experienced this?

anon105997
Post 107

I have been on this medication for six years and I wish I never would have started taking it! I have become absolutely dependent on Effexor. Within just two hours of not taking my regular dose of 300 mg I begin to experience this dizzy feeling which is then promptly followed by nausea and a feeling that I'm not in control of my own body. It's hard to explain but horrible to experience.

I'm a mother of two young children and am trying to get off this medication. I have been prescribed a different antidepressant that I have just begun to take but the withdrawals from Effexor are more than I can bear. It's only been three days and I'm an emotional wreck! I feel that these withdrawal symptoms should be considered much more before prescribing this medication to anyone!

I hate the way I feel because of this medication. I have constant headaches and suffer daily with constant "brain shivers", I am completely dependent on it and I hate it! For me, this drug is very habit forming and has horrible side effects that last for weeks! It should not be given to anyone!

anon105634
Post 106

Wow!! After reading a lot of these comments, I realize that I am pretty lucky. My withdrawal is the wost thing I have ever done or felt, but I think that mine is a lot less sever than a lot of other people. I'm sorry for everything other people are feeling.

I'm recently married and I am finding that I have zero sex drive, so I told my doctor and he said it was one of the side effects of Effexor. So he started me on Wellbutrin. I was taking an additional 150 of wellbutrin on top of my 75 Effexor. It was not helping at all.

I went again to see my doctor but he was on holidays and his replacement told me to stop taking the Effexor and just let the Wellbutrin do its thing.

I have been an emotional basket case. Crying over everything. I've been wearing my sunglasses everywhere I go (including work) so people can't see that I've been crying. So not only am I going through this crap, but the Wellbutrin isn't doing anything for me at all.

Last night I almost woke up my brother (who lives with me) and asked him to come to the hospital with me. I've never in my life felt that I had to go to the hospital and that scared me. I finally fell asleep and felt tons better when I woke up, only to be fooled.

I am now at work and all I want to do is go home, but I'm in such a financial rut that I can't even afford to take time off to deal with this.

I know it will get better, but I'm not a very patient person.

anon104435
Post 105

I had been on effexor for over three years. I thought it would be best for me to start taking it when my dad passed away. I am glad i went on them. It did help me out a lot when i was in dark places.

So it's three years later and i am feeling a lot better then i have in a long time. I decided to slowly wean myself off from 150 mg to 100 mg to 75 mg-- I'm finally off of them for almost a week and a half. it's been hell. i feel like crap.

the worst thing is that zapping in my head; they leave me confused and dizzy. I realize it will take some time to get back to normal, I'm just trying to keep my cool and not lash out.

I think it will get better for me, and from reading some of your stories, i hope it gets better for you too. just don't think negative, even if you do feel like it is all going to hell. it will start to feel normal again.

anon103975
Post 104

I weaned myself off of effexor gradually - starting at 150 mg, and reducing that by 37.5 mg every two to three weeks (when I felt ready). I took my last 37.5 mg dose more than two weeks ago. I went through headaches, dizziness, and a bizarre ringing in my head. That has stopped, for the most part. It wasn't fun, but those physical symptoms, I could handle.

Now, more than two weeks since my last dose, I can't stop crying. I cry about everything. I'm sure my kids think I've gone off the deep end. I feel like I've gone off the deep end.

I have an extremely short fuse, and bite peoples' heads off with little or no provocation. My symptoms now are far more severe than what I initially started taking this drug for.

I'm a teacher, and school will be starting in three weeks. I cannot go back into the classroom like this. I'm not happy with the doctor who initially prescribed this medication, but the bottom line is that if I really needed this, and it really worked, I would be grateful to have it despite the potential for a nearly impossible withdrawal. But I need to know how long this will last? For how long will I be a complete emotional wreck?

Does anybody know if it is normal, two weeks off of this med, to still be feeling this way?

anon103072
Post 103

I am on day two. I went cold turkey off 150mg after being on it for about six months. I feel so far like my anxiety is out of this world. I started the crying today. i am also on trileptal 600 mg daily and thinking about getting off all meds.

i got on these meds because i am so angry and pissed off all the time. Now I'm worse!

I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder/anxiety/bipolar/disassociation tendencies. I hope I get better and feel better soon.

anon102599
Post 102

Take this and you will feel better! Trusting the phds "who got their degrees and want to help us," I did take Effexor as I was seeking relief from depression!

To all us pathetic trusting souls who just want to feel relief! Ditto! Most of these symptoms I had and I could not get anyone to understand. Yes, I quit cold turkey!

Right or wrong, I just wanted it out of my system as fast as possible and it was quite a journey to hell and back. My doctor thought I should stay on it! Whose side is she on anyway? Duh?

Thank God for this site or I would have committed myself by now! I am a 50 year old lady, alone with a couple of good friends. My kids are raised and gone and thankfully I am unemployed. I can't believe I just said that, but at this point in time it's true.

I never remember feeling like a train wreck that repeats itself before I started effexor. That is the only way to describe my experience. Today is my 12th day off and for the most part I think I made it! "hey-Me!"

I too, think all doctors should go through the withdrawals of effexor before prescribing it! And it's legal -- isn't that a knee slapper? I'm sure you all can agree it's the drug from hell. Just hold on and don't give up and this too shall pass.

Be of good cheer. Others have gone before us and made it and now are healthy and definitely more educated on how much to trust professionals than to trust ourselves.

Much Love and Compassion to "all who just want to feel better!"

anon101568
Post 101

I'm on day three of withdrawal from Effexor CR. I was on 75 to treat situational anxiety and depression. I told my doctor I wanted off and he gave me free samples of 37.5 to help me taper off. I took 37.5 for seven days and intended to take one 37.5 every other day for two weeks. But, as soon as I missed an entire day, I experienced withdrawal symptoms that are driving me crazy.

The brain zaps, upset stomach and body aches makes me feel like I was addicted to this medicine. I should have never taken this medicine and I want it out of my body. I will never suggests Effexor to friends -- or enemies.

anon101434
Post 100

I am going through withdrawal after being on 75 mg for 10 years. Reduced from 75mg to 37.5 mg straight away. This went well for me but since reducing to 1/2 a 37.5 mg tablet by mood has become awful! My body aches are getting worse in all my left joints, stomach upset, loss of appetite, blurred vision and head feeling so strange. Doctor's seem to think you can just taper off this medication, no probs but they need to wake up.

anon101419
Post 99

Day 4 cold turkey for me. I was on 150mg for three years. I'm a pretty tough, 27 year old girl who didn't think any drug or chemical could hurt. I've done my share of Ecstasy, cocaine, Mdma and all kinds of other drugs in huge amounts. I didn't think Effexor could harm me, but boy was i wrong!

I tried to get off last year. I spent four days in bed, sweating, throwing up, diarrhea and crazy dreams and thoughts. On day five I was hospitalized for extreme dehydration!! Anyway, this time around I did some researched and am doing it for sure on my own. I went to the health food store, got a bottle of Ignatia to feel well, a bottle of Coffee cruda to sleep well. Lots of Gatorade and white bread makes me less dizzy and nauseous, i'm at work and generally feel ok!

I will never go on any anti depressant again. nothing that hurts this much could ever be good for you!

anon100859
Post 97

I take 250mg XR Effexor, and I've noticed the bad side effects, if you run out for a few days. By the third day, i had to go get more. I had dizziness, nausea, pains, tingling, numb feeling in arms, and felt like fainting at times.

anon100833
Post 96

I was on Effexor for three years. The first six days of withdraws I couldn't get out of bed! Massive headaches. My brain spinning. Sour stomach. I am so tempted to just keep taking it to make it stop. But I kept thinking Do I really want to do this all over again?

My friend suggested to take Dramamine. It's for the same kind of symptoms. And it really works! Makes it go away. A much needed relief. Not sure how long I will have to take them. But if it gets rid of the side effects I'll take them till it goes away. They are cheap and worth it!

I hope you all try it. You will be surprised. I was. Good luck!! Let me know if it helps you. And if it does please pass on the info. I was scared going through the withdraws. And if I can help anyone my withdraws was worth it. So many people could use the help.

anon99768
Post 95

I was 'diagnosed' with depression and i told my doctor i wanted to see a counselor instead of being put on meds. well, i walked out of the office with a prescription anyway. i was on it for eight months, starting off the low doses then up to 75 mg daily. i hated being on a drug when i knew there were other options but my doctor felt this was the easiest way out.

i found myself dependent on the drug and i would freak out if i forgot to take one. i weaned myself off, that was 2 1/2 months ago. I'm still going through withdraw, i still have about 20 pills left. I'm glad to say that i can easily look at the pills and not feel any need to take them.

The main symptom was the body jolts. I'm still having them 24/7 they have been getting worse and worse to this day and it's been too long for the drug to even be traced in my system. I'm just glad I'm not the only one who has these body jolts. i thought i was alone.

anon99301
Post 94

I'm a 20 year old Canadian girl, and I was put on Effexor six months ago for depression/anxiety. I started out on 37.5 went up to 75 and am/was on 150. I really did not want to be put on this medication but it was either this or talk to a counsellor once or twice a week, which I really couldn't do, because I was still in high school at the time and would have never graduated if I took one or two days off a week, so it seemed my only hope was this awful medication.

Well two months ago, I asked if I could be weaned off of this medication because I felt I was becoming too dependent on it and I felt I really didn't need it anymore. The counselor said she felt I needed to be on longer and to come see her in a month. I've called many times to make an appointment and she's never gotten back, so I decided three days ago I was quitting cold turkey and now these withdrawals are horrible. I almost want to go get my refill but now I know that I'm not the only one who's going through this.

It's really scary. I have horrible thoughts that I'm dying. The dizziness is horrible, I feel nauseated, I seem to being crying at every little thing, my sleeping pattern is all messed up and I have a cough! I really hope that this withdrawal will pass soon!

anon99227
Post 93

I took Effexor XR 300 MG for 17 years. I lost my insurance so I had to stop cold turkey. It has been the worst week in my entire life, with worries and suicidal thoughts. I even heard voices telling me to kill myself.

anon97150
Post 92

I have been on 75mg effexor for nine months. Didn't want to miss a dosage because I would feel light headed. The medicine worked for the most part but it is not worth taking because you have side effects that bring back you to the place you were before you were on it and with increased severity.

I have had to withdraw from other depression meds before and never had these symptoms. I am doing some research and find out about a class action lawsuit to this company or provider of this drug. It's not warning you enough about the severity of these withdrawal effects. I am going to be off and never use it again and suggest people to use other meds.

anon96896
Post 91

I am on the second week of taking 37.5 mg every other day. The worst thing is the terrible headaches. I feel better knowing that headaches are a frequent symptom because I was afraid they were a new problem. Hopefully when I stop the med completely the withdrawal symptoms won't last too long.

anon95046
Post 90

I'm so glad that more people are trying marijuana and finding that it is the best way to relieve the pain of withdrawals. I went off of 250mgs of Effexor and experienced all the terrible withdrawal symptoms. However, when i smoke marijuana, it takes the nausea, pain, and even the depression away!

anon93857
Post 89

anon93792 no 88. You're not alone. I've been hallucinating and been woken up hearing voices shouting at me. That's a first. I'm not schizo either.

Last night I became very frightened. I nearly called 000 or 911 maybe in your country. The pain in my bones, joints, etc. and head was that bad. I was in excruciating agony and crying uncontrollably.

I started focusing on anything but and breathed, told myself everything is going to be ok and it will pass. It was damn hard but I settled down. I fell asleep. Feel better today. That may change tomorrow but because i now know that i am not going crazy and it's all part of the withdrawal i know it's not going to last forever.

Hang in there, mate. It's hard right now but try to relax. Have a bath. Try to put your mind onto something you like doing. Never again will I take this wicked drug. Take good care.

anon93792
Post 88

I do not wish this hell upon anyone. I wish I had never started. I do not remember how to live and am learning all over again. I have been nauseous, almost messing my pants for three weeks now, having no sleep or when I sleep the worst hellish nightmares. I have hallucinations that feel real, and am terrified. I cannot wait for this to stop.

anon93498
Post 87

I just want to thank everyone here who has posted. It's been 10 days of cold turkey from this drug and it is a drug because what non-addictive medication do you have such horrific withdrawals from?

I have been on 150mg for six years. I tried twice before to wean myself off to only go back on it because of the hellish withdrawals, like a heroin addict.

On it I had night sweats, nightmares and swearing, screaming in my sleep. I agree with no. 82. Since being off it my dreams have been a lot more interesting.

I have everything everyone is saying here.The headaches are huge too and the uncontrollable crying for no reason is a shocker. Brain zaps. Got it all! I am determined to get off this drug once and for all and am isolating myself to keep safe.

I have read thousands of people on the net with the same complaint. How could we all be so wrong and the doctors right! Never again! At least i know now that i am not going insane and that this is the withdrawal. I am angry to think this drug is still on the market.

Once again, thanks to all you people. This too shall pass. Take good care.

anon92561
Post 86

Went cold turkey, on Day 12 or 13 effexor free and I'm still having the zaps occasionally but the vertigo and nausea has finally passed.

The zaps come from rapid eye movements, I would get four or five in a row every five minutes or so at the height of my withdrawal.

I felt like I was going to go insane, I couldn't escape the feeling at all.

Avoid this drug at all costs. It is not good for you.

anon92312
Post 85

I am on one week (Yay! go me) without taking this drug and I call it a drug, not a medication. Between yesterday and today, i have been having awful side effects, which I had experienced as I tapered off of the drug until now.

anon92308
Post 84

When does this hell end? Please, I just want to know when it ends!

I've been on a 150mg dose for six years now and my doctor feels that it may be the primary cause of my liver disease. So he has taken me off of this drug at a very rapid pace, due to the fact that it may be killing me!

I have experienced brain tremors, night sweats, vivid dreams, headaches, suicidal thoughts, upset stomach and rage so bad i feel like i could pull my own hair out!

I want this to end and i don't see a finish line in sight. I was told a couple weeks, and I'm already a couple in and i feel like this will never end!

I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy. I feel this drug should be banned!

anon92021
Post 83

Day five of cold turkey and if I didn't have medical marijuana, I know I'd be in as much hell as many here. Not that it's easy with the vivid, strange dreams. I am exhausted, plus my kids are driving me nuts with stuff they normally wouldn't be. Really short-tempered. Thank goodness for the pot; it's really helping to calm down some of the symptoms.

anon91373
Post 82

I'm on day four of going cold turkey. For over a decade, I was on a dosage that ranged from 150-300mg. A year or so ago, my psych added wellbutrin to the mix and reduced the effexor to 75mg. A couple of weeks ago, he changed me to pristiq, a different ssri. I read up on that and said no expletive way I was taking that.

I got the brain zaps when the dosage was reduced from 300mg to 75. And I started sleeping a little less - naps weren't as long or as frequent. Now on day four and the brain zaps got a lot worse and today a lot of nausea. And dream! Wow! The only positive effect is that my dreams, while a lot more intense, are a lot less depression related and have become very -- interesting. Like reading slightly off the wall suspense novels. An improvement, so far.

I'll get up to go to the bathroom and wonder how I've become so creative. I can't think like that when I'm awake.

I can't say it's a lot of fun, though. After reading some of these posts I've thought, "Oh my God, what have I left myself in for?" I'm not going back, though. I've been reading about studies that report that anti-depressants are little better than placebos. A few years ago I took a course (four days a week for 16 weeks) that combined group therapy with learning how to manage your emotions, and that's helped me a hell of a lot more than these damn pills ever did. And no side effects.

Books like "Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy" and the Dummies Books on Depression and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy also help a lot more than the pills.

To all of you going through this expletive, good luck to you. And me. I just hope these damn physical withdrawal effects don't get much worse or last that long.

anon91371
Post 81

I was on 150 mg for almost a year for panic attacks. I'm actually not depressed, but I have dealt with panic on a regular basis that I have to be on some sort of SSRI.

I will admit that Effexor XR worked for me when I took it. It worked well. However, I definitely had side effects. Night sweats were a big one, I had never sweated before that much in my life. I had insomnia for about a month when I was tapering up from 37.5 to 75 to 150.

I'm actually so glad I found this forum because when i told my doctor that, she made it seem like I was the only one who ever had a side effect. I was sent into get blood work and everything came back normal. It's definitely the drug. Also, I put on almost 20 pounds in a year and I'm a thin person by nature. It was a lot of weight for me to put on. At first, when it was five lbs or so I didn't mind and thought it was even worth it to feel better.

The reason I switched medications though, is because 1. I found forums on withdrawal symptoms and I was scared to death and didn't want to be on the drug for an extended period of time. 2. I wanted to get back to my weight.

I wasn't eating differently or working out differently, so the weight gain is very weird to me. Also upon getting my second set of blood work, my cholesterol was elevated. I am only 28 and take care of myself so I thought that was strange. It also made me a bit more conscious.

About three weeks ago, I went down to 75 mg effexor for a week. The following week I took 37.5 a day. The week after that I took 37.5 mg a day along with 150 mg Wellbutrin (have to be on something for panic attacks, and wellbutrin is supposed to be more tame and cause less weight gain, thank god). I tapered totally off of Effexor about one week ago.

There was one night (I was on vacation) that I got completely sick. I have never had a sensitive stomach and never thrown up without having the flu in my life. I was up every half hour, no joke, throwing up. I thought I had food poisoning before I realized that it may be the medication.

Now it's a week later and two days ago I was so queasy and sick that I couldn't even do anything but lie down. I was dizzy and lightheaded with no appetite whatsoever. In fact, I forced myself to eat bland foods like bread and sprite to try to feel good (I was at a family party).

I lay down for awhile and later I was fine. Also, yesterday (which was the next day) I was totally fine. I had a normal appetite and felt great. This morning on the way to work I felt my stomach drop almost like a roller coaster? That was followed of course, due to my condition by anxiety (I am a total hypochondriac because of the anxiety so I always think things are worse than they are).

Anyway it's been about 10 hours since the onset of nausea, and I can honestly say I am still nauseous. I haven't actually gotten sick since that one time on vacation, but I feel queasy and lightheaded and break out in a sweat. It is terrible.

Also, I'm abnormally sensitive to smells. I smelled them paving a road this morning and it made me super sick.

I can only assume these are withdrawal symptoms. They all happened at once and have a lot in common with what you guys are saying. I have a doctor appointment next week, and plan to go to CVS minute clinic tonight just to feel better and make sure I am okay. I'm very scared, and this is a nightmare, and I honestly can't believe this drug is so widely prescribed considering the amount of forums there are out there. It is awful.

Feeling good for nine months or however long I was on it was not worth it for this past week of feeling like I am not myself and always feeling sick. I've been uninterested in food, I've been mean to my boyfriend (who is nothing but supportive), I've been queasy, sick to my stomach, irritable, unable to relax and rest, and most importantly, very scared that it may be something worse.

This drug is a nightmare. Seriously. I am so glad I switched.

anon90147
Post 80

Wow. I am currently on 150mg daily and have all of these strange sensations when I miss a dose or take it late. I wanted to just quit taking it but now I am afraid to if it gets worse than this.

I have been off on stress leave for two years and have tried cipralex, wellbutrin, remeron, pot pills, and a bunch of others before switching to effexor about six months ago.

I went as high as 225mg but dropped back to 150 after two weeks because I couldn't function. I still have problems sleeping or staying asleep, which was my problem originally and caused the depression and anxiety. Now after reading this, I am making a doctors appointment and telling him to get me the hell off of it. Has anyone tried to switch to cipralex with any success?

anon89934
Post 79

Oh my gosh, I could just cry! I originally was put on effexor to help with the death of my mom. Started off at 37.5 and the doctor put me up to 150mg I have been on the drug for about six or seven months and I started dealing with the death of my mom and realized I did not need to be on effexor. Plus, not to mention, I gained 20 pounds in one month.

I missed one day to start weaning myself off and all of a sudden, I started feeling these weird electric shock feelings -- oh not to mention every night my husband says while I sleep my body jumps or does like a quick shake.

Day two of being off the drug and I felt so horrible and sick to my stomach to the point to throwing up, I was constantly constipated. Well, not anymore and I was so tired on day two. The shocks are like I am touching something electric.

I felt so bad and my attitude is like I could choke someone. I had to take a pill since I missed work because I was not able to function. I thought I was going to have to go to the ER. Now I am missing one day taking a pill then two and then one and so forth. I am getting off these things.

anon89443
Post 78

I was prescribed effexor for pms symptoms at 75 mg and took it for just over a year. i decided that i was ready to come off them and try more natural methods. for the weaning off process, i was prescribed two weeks at 37.5 mg and then to take 37.5 mg every other day. i reached the point where i was meant to take my pills every other day but decided that i would just dive into it head on and stopped cold turkey.

In the past i had experienced the brain zaps from missing a single day's dose, however on stopping this time around i didn't experience them. i had a cold and was taking dristan sinus cold medication and they seemed to have stopped the brain shivers! i'm not sure why they helped, but maybe they will help someone else through the early stages which are the hardest.

i've since stopped taking dristan (i only took them for about four days) and i experience the zaps now but they are not nearly as unsettling or powerful as i experienced in the past.

I've just started taking fish oil, evening primrose oil and dong quai and hope that they'll counteract some of the symptoms and help my brain heal.

I'm finding the emotional symptoms are the worst. i feel like I'm going insane and reverting to how i was before i started taking effexor. I'm emotionally unstable and can't stop crying. right now i can't sleep and have been up for almost 24 hours and I've always been lucky when it comes to getting a good night's rest so i know that something is wrong.

It's frustrating and i feel overwhelmed and like i can't handle it all and that maybe i don't even want to.

But, after reading all your comments, i admit i feel better knowing that these are all likely just side effects and that I'm not crazy and that, in time, i won't feel so out of control.

Effexor helped while i was on it, and i had some idea of the side effects before i went on them because of what i read on the internet, although, i guess i didn't really believe it.

now that I'm experiencing it, i wish i hadn't been so wary of what i was reading on the internet. anything that screws with your body so much can't be healthy. there must be alternatives! i suggest looking for them before using effexor, especially if your doctor is like mine was and prescribed it straight away and not as the absolutely final option.

anon89347
Post 77

I am also going cold-turkey (really the best way - I've been trying to 'wean' for years and it's crap).

If anyone needs help, advice, or just someone to talk to (was on 150 MG for six years), do not be shy, OK? I know that it's hard and what it's like.

anon89291
Post 76

It took me three months to lower my dosage of 35.7 mg. From the last pill I took it was 10 days until my head stopped spinning and I could go back to work. Although it's been two weeks and my stomach is still hurting. I took Omega 3 oil, milk thistle, and ginseng. Hang in there. It will get better!

anon89137
Post 75

i am going off this drug and scared of the withdrawal period. I'm on 75mg and the zaps and dizziness are going to drive me crazy.

Going cold turkey tomorrow. Wish me luck.

anon89111
Post 74

I wanted to add my bit here! Having been on 225mg of effexor, I've managed to get down to 75mg, but it's been a bloody nightmare!

Lately I've read on some forums that a significant dose of the amino acids L tyrosine, and L lysine will significantly help with withdrawal pain. I've certainly found that, along with this 1000mg Vit C.

All the very best in getting off this crap! Wyeth really isn't out to invent a cure. Why? Because they make so much more from hooking people on this filth!

Hopefully sometime soon, the masses will turn on them and put an end to this mass misery!

anon88961
Post 73

This is day four for me. I am under the care of a psychiatrist and I was on a dosage of 450mg for the last eight months.

I have always had concentration issues while on Effexor but over the last month I started having instances of complete memory loss and manic episodes. Friends would tell me that I was acting in a way that is totally out of character for me and I have no recollection of it happening.

My psychiatrist thinks that although it did work for me for a while, that it is now a toxic effect and detrimental, so we're doing an accelerated program to get me off it.

I sympathize with you all. The nausea, dizziness, loss of coordination, agitation and muscle twitches just to name a few. And I'm so tired all the time, I feel like I have chronic fatigue syndrome.

Luckily I am off work and don't have a family to care for but if I did I don't think I would be able to cope. My doctor has approved my application for medical marijuana and I have to tell you it's a life saver.

I have never done any "illegal" drugs in the past but it is the first thing that has made me feel normal since withdrawal began. The same benefit it has for cancer patients going through chemotherapy it has for those going through withdrawal and it's from nature.

Effexor should be illegal, not pot. Sorry if I sound cranky but I am. I sleep when I shouldn't and can't when I need to. I wish you all the best.

anon87862
Post 72

I was on Effexor 75 mg. for 18 months. Gradually weaned myself off for two weeks and now cold turkey. Have brain zaps, insomnia, some nausea, neck pain.

Tomorrow is my fifth day of cold turkey. I will never take this drug again. A couple of years ago, I took Paxil and the withdrawal wasn't as bad. I feel a little better reading everyone else's withdrawal symptoms and know that if I stick to it, I can get rid of this horrible drug forever. Hang in there with me and we can do it. Good luck everyone and feel better as each day goes by.

anon86913
Post 71

I was prescribed effexor RX to help with menopausal symptoms. I was only on 37.5 mg, and weaned myself off this dosage by taking the capsule apart and taking out 25 granules each week. I was down to very few granules, so I stopped taking the drug totally.

I was okay for the first two days, but then was hit with the dizziness, nausea and tiredness. I agree that going on this drug was the worst thing that I could have done!

But, I'm determined to see this thing out, no matter how long it takes. Luckily I don't work, my kids are grown and I have a supportive husband, so I can lie down as much as I need to. It's day six and I'm still feeling very dizzy and nauseous. Hopefully things will look up on day seven and longer. I feel so bad for those who are suffering from the withdrawal symptoms, who experience more effects than I currently am. Just hang in there and don't give up!

anon86629
Post 70

Here I am on week four of the weaning process. It's four in the morning insomnia again. Coordination is out the window. Little bit of confusion, my hands feel like they are on fire and I am ready to chop them off. This starts around 1 in the afternoon till 4 p.m. The best way i found to combat this is to sleep during this time. The next day is manageable with the brain shivers and nausea.

Night sweats have finally stopped I was having trouble with this for the two years I was on this stuff. Paxil was its predecessor.

Hang in there, everybody. The road is hellish but I am feeling a difference each week I drop my dose. I don't feel as comatose anymore and not as quick to fly off the handle.

anon86381
Post 69

What ever doctor thought that effexor was a good idea needs to be taken out back and shot and pissed on and not necessarily in that order.

I was started on the dose of 150 mg two years ago - I wasn't liking it and finally sought out a new doctor who was ok with me stopping it. He tells me to talk to the pharmacy and just cancel it, so I did and know I feel like I am going to die.

The worst symptom getting to me is the involuntary movements that start at my head and work their way through my body - even my fingers are moving on their own.

Then, feeling like crap, I finally research it for myself and find out that even though I was on a starting dose I could be withdrawing for a while. I knew there was a reason I didn't like doctors. Pills like this should not be allowed!

anon86261
Post 68

I was put on this nine years ago and tried unsuccessfully four years ago to wean off. The withdrawal symptoms made me suicidal!

I am trying again but the withdrawal effects have been horrific for weeks now. Nausea, diarrhea, twitching, agitation, muscle spasms, chest tightness, sweating, shaking chills, irritability, wicked dizziness. Just awful. I wish I never would have taken it.

anon85728
Post 67

I found this website and sit here crying my eyes out. I was quickly weaned off of 225mg/day just last week. I feel like I am losing my mind. I never cry, yet these last two weeks I cry about everything, and sometimes even nothing.

I also have that zapping going on. It is enough to take my breath away, and make it so I feel I cannot drive or even work. The nausea is awful. I spent all of yesterday with my head in a bucket.

Today isn't going too much better. I was prescribed the Effexor XR for fibromyalgia. I had no idea going off of it would be so difficult. I never felt depressed before, but now have found myself thinking terrible thoughts much of the day -- just wanting to get out of this hell I am living through right now.

My daughter is graduating high school next week, and we have family coming to town to stay with us for it. I fear how I may handle this. Right now I am having to isolate myself just so I don't emotionally hurt someone else with the harsh words that seem to be coming out of my mouth.

I can't take this much longer. I just don't know what to do to fix it.

anon85639
Post 66

I've only been taking Effexor for three months. I lost my insurance and can't afford the ridiculous 180 bottle of pills so I had to quit cold turkey.

I got the cold so I initially thought all of my problems were from that. But I was so very very wrong.

After three days I started vomiting. I had the common cold, not the flu. So that was weird. My night sweats that I had when I started taking the medication came back with a fury. I would wake up nine or 11 times a night. And what would start as a night with all my windows closed would end up with every window in my house wide open and no blankets. I was freezing and still waking up covered in sweat.

I got over my cold and now I feel dizzy and weak. All my muscles hurt. At night I feel jittery. The list goes on and on.

I got desperate to take another pill to help with how bad and intense these withdrawal effects are. I gave up.

I started taking pure THC capsules to help with the nausea. I don't smoke pot, ever. But I would much rather take a plant than put more pharmaceuticals in my body to get rid of what the last ones did to me.

The THC pills work great. I sleep through the night and I can eat something without throwing it back up. If you're against pot as something helpful, then it's obviously not the right thing for you. But it's helping me.

Pretty much, if your doctor prescribes this to you, kindly tell him he can shove it up his butt. And ask for something that doesn't make you feel like you're dying when you need to stop taking it.

There are far, far safer drugs out there to be taking for any of the things Effexor helps. And though it helps, a lot, it's not worth the aftereffects.

anon85537
Post 65

I have been taking effexor XR 150mg for nearly a year. i don't have insurance anymore to get meds so i have been dealing with shocks that are going from my head to my feet. I am annoyed feeling, but at the same time, i am happy to be getting off of this drug.

Had i have known what this does to people, i never would have taken it in the first place. i have gained 40 pounds in the 10 months i have been on it. i just hope all this passes soon.

i would never recommend this drug to anyone, ever. this is horrible.

anon81301
Post 64

Thank you, each and every one of you for helping me through my hell that i am going through right now. The 'head zapping' to the shivers to the nausea the the 'flu like symptoms' to tight chest to everything you all mentioned. I have it all and am living through it right now.

I was on this crap for years, trying to tell my deadbeat doctor they were not working -- until i found my new doctor. Do you know what my new doctor said to me? "What doctor would prescribe such a horrible drug that has the worst withdrawal symptoms!"

I am as all of you in tears right now. I hope it goes away soon. I know it will, as I keep telling myself, and also, i did gain a lot of weight and from what I read, some of you did too!

All I can say is thank you for the time that all of you took to write your stories and as you read this, I hope you are doing all better as I am going through hell right now.

If you are feeling better, then please let us know so we know what to look forward to after this hell is over. Thank you.

anon80511
Post 63

So glad to find this site. I tried weaning myself beginning going from 100 to 75mg and then still had the dizziness!

I just ran out of my Rx and my doc won't refill since I'm transitioning to a new doc. Although since I've only seen the new doc 1x for an eval I doubt he'll write the rx.

I just want to wean off. Every time I told my doc I wanted to get off it, she'd increase my Rx. Now she won't write an Rx unless I make an appt. I'd do that but will be out of town tomorrow thru the weekend.

I guess I'll just hope the withdrawals won't be too horrible. The drug works, but trying to wean off is brutal. good luck to all of us.

anon80038
Post 62

This Drug is the "Devil"! I'm on 525 mg a day for the last 10 years. I've tried having my doctor wean me off but the side effects are hell. I feel hopeless considering the dose and my dependency. Any suggestions or comments are greatly appreciated.

anon79376
Post 61

I took 150 mg for a month and a half, just stopped abruptly after reading that I shouldn't be taking while breastfeeding (Doctor assured me it was no big deal).

Anyway, my eyes feel so heavy, I feel like a record that is skipping, mood swings are awful, I treat everyone like crap and when they answer me, I start crying. This is awful.

Also, vivid dreams, nightmares, anxiety, overwhelming fear of death, etc. I hope this passes!

anon78387
Post 60

I have been taking effexor 225 mg for about two years for menopause and depression and have gone cold turkey off of it for two days now and the withdrawals are hell.

I tried the slow way reducing the doses but that didn't work for me. I am so nauseated and cry at the drop at a hat. I have the brain zaps but the nausea is what i can't stand. I wish luck to all with withdrawal and I know we will make it and i will never take this again.

anon78342
Post 59

I was on Effexor XR 150 mg for the past 18 months. I decided to change to the generic brand about three months ago, which only came in tablet form. I believe that made all the difference in my ability to control the amount I was taking and make the eventual step to total discontinuation. So over the past three months, I cut them in half at first and then in half again, and have been weaning myself.

I am on day five of no drug at all. While it wasn't what I would call "fun"--it hasn't been unbearable--definitely have felt zaps, sick to my stomach, emotional instability--but if this is what I have to go through to get to the other side. I am going all the way.

I do not blame my doctor, nor the pharmaceutical companies--it was dispensed and I took the pills. I read the information on the internet--albeit after I started taking the drug--but I continued taking it regardless--because at the time, I needed help.

I am not sure I would ever take this particular medication again, but if I hit a really bad low--and natural paths aren't working, I will be at my doctor's office inquiring about new medications to help me.

I do believe doctors should be required to be more forthright about what they prescribing--especially as it relates to the discontinuation of Effexor--but those of us that have taken it--needed something to help, and it was there to potentially fill that need.

A doctor can give you the prescription--but it is our body after all. Isn't our own responsibility to research what we are putting into it?

I will keep up the fight--I want off. Well wishes to those of you that are trying too. We just have to keep the focus and get to the drug-free side!

anon75954
Post 58

I too have been experiencing all of these symptoms. Similar to many of you, I lost my health insurance and couldn't afford the Rx myself. I was on the 75mg and quit cold turkey. It's only been five days. Five days of hell. I'm so glad I found this site because I was having difficulty defining these symptoms to myself let alone try to explain them to anyone else.

I have wondered though if I'm the only one that has experienced this: along with the brain zaps, brain tremors, brain chills, whatever each person has decided to call them, I haven't read anywhere here where that sensation has been brought on simply by taking in a deep breath.

There are so many times that I take a deeper than usual breath and I feel that brain zap - even feel that pulse go through my teeth!

Like many of you here, if I had known then what I know now, I would have never started on this medication. It is, however, encouraging to read here that I am not alone or imagining what I'm going through.

I've recently had a back surgery and it's been really hard to identify exactly what has been going on with me physically. I'm amazed at how many of my questions have been answered simply by reading everyone's posts here.

It's encouraging to read too that it will pass. I just hope that anyone who is looking for answers and understanding will also benefit from my post as I have also benefited from the posts here.

anon75745
Post 57

I recently stopped taking effexor "cold turkey". I have been on 225mg dose for a couple of years. It's been five weeks now since stopping my medication.

I have experienced several side effects of withdrawal which include numbness in my fingertips, electric shock in my gums and teeth. Also have severe bouts of lightheadedness, and dizziness to the point of feeling like I am going to pass out.

Nausea and body fatigue has started this week, I'm in week six now and hopefully the worse has passed.

The reason I quit my meds is that when I told my doctor of my problems and he gave me effexor, I neglected to tell him I was a full blown alcoholic. Now that I am sober and working a 12-step program I felt it necessary to quit the insanity of self medical diagnosis!

anon75719
Post 56

Effexor can just stop working. it did for me. after seven years on it my body became tolerant and I experienced withdrawal. I was so sick. Seems most doctors are not understanding this as none could tell me what was wrong.

I quit effexor cold turkey and am suffering protracted withdrawal. It can last for years. Good luck.

Being on this drug has completely destroyed my life and I am so pissed. I have not been able to work, have been sick as a dog. I just sit and suffer and watch everything I worked my entire life for slip away.

anon75552
Post 55

It's been five days since I look my last effexor 37.5mg, after tapering the dosage down over a 3 week period from 75mg.

Compared to most I think I am doing quite well, and suffering only from occasional 'brain zaps, dizziness, ringing in my ears, slightly altered sleep and night sweats.

I'm hopeful after reading some of the posts that things start to improve from here on in and I can look forward to a life free of anxiety and effexor!

anon74977
Post 54

Thanks to everyone who has posted. I am on day four of withdrawal (quitting cold turkey), and I am in hell. I would rather think about killing myself every day then get back on this medication- knowing that I would have to go through this again. Even missing one dose would mess me up big time.

I had to stop because I think I might be pregnant. But God help me, this is hell. I am so angry at not being warned about these withdrawal symptoms. It wasn't mentioned by my psychiatrist, it isn't put in any literature that I got with the prescription, and that is just damn wrong! I don't wish this on anyone, but I'm glad I'm not alone.

anon73171
Post 53

Hearing from all of you is so encouraging! Just to know that how I'm feeling during the weaning process is normal and what everyone else is experiencing is very reassuring.

anon72639
Post 52

Let me suggest something regarding all of the nausea and brain zap withdrawals.

I know the feelings of going from a usual dose of 225mgs, to nothing at all.

Marijuana provides considerable relief from nauseousness, and also imparts a measure of joy and excitement, which (being effexor-medicated) is pretty hard to come by most times.

Please tell me someone else has found this freedom?

anon71533
Post 51

Day three being off the 150 and I'm laughing and crying at the posts. The brain zaps are intense and moving my eyes from side to side brings them on. I spent the day practicing looking forward only turning my whole body stance to look at things. So hard dealing with rude ignorant people. wow, I had to teach myself not to talk to people today just to hold myself together.

I'm nauseous, achy, dizzy and an emotional disaster, and I can't wait to get my refill. I find I am a better person on them, but it's too hard being off for even a couple days. I hope it doesn't get worse than it already is.

anon69518
Post 50

I have been taking 300 milligrams of effexor xr

and i have to say it has been a real trip.

Once i got off the drug i have the brain zaps and am very nauseated. I feel like crying at everything and right now as i am typing this i feel like crying.

this drug is the worst drug to get off of. the only good thing about this withdrawal is that my appetite has completely diminished. i weigh 283 and feel that the effexor has done this to me. thank god i am off this drug. i feel like hell at times and very jittery and sad but i am hanging in there because my health is at risk with my weight problem and the withdrawal is worth the temporary pain instead of having a heart attack and cooking.

anon69176
Post 49

I am the wife of a person who was prescribed this horrible drug for what I would describe as circumstantial depression.

He was on 75 for 18 months, then when we went through some financial problems and couldn't afford the prescription, he realised the nature of the drug when the withdrawal symptoms started. He refuses to take other medication, for fear that he will become tethered and dependent on that drug too, and is having horrible side effects that mean he sleeps most of the time to relieve them, as there is nothing that helps.

I am so angry with the pharmaceutical companies that push this medication for profit. I am so angry with the doctors that believe the crap marketing they are fed by these companies. They are trying to sell drugs, they don't care if it ruins your life.

And it has. Not just my husband, but our whole family has been dragged into it. I am exhausted with worry and being so angry for so long.

I feel so much for those of you trying to work and look after a family in this condition. I'm not even on the drug, and it has totally drained me.

Good luck everyone, please post the successes you have, as it gives others hope.

anon68103
Post 48

I have been on Effexor for 10 years, following chemo treatment for breast cancer. The drug was used to ease the hot flashes and such. I got the flu last month and with not being able to take my effexor, i got the zooming head feelings and I became scared because i felt that this was a true addition symptom.

My doctor disagreed with me and told me it was not an addiction but i know it is. I have been off effexor for four days completely now. I have all the above symptoms mentioned by people but i also have neck pain like it is a "carotid spasm" and it goes in to my chest and sometimes in between my shoulder blades. I worry as i do not see this symptom mentioned and i began to think perhaps i may have a peptic ulcer now too.

Does anyone else have these strange pains in their neck and chest? I was on 225mgs and now none so i am going to stick it out.

I don't know how anyone could go to work like this as i can't even think clearly at all and i am manic one minute and flat the next. Thanks for the benadryl suggestion and vitamin D. i took both about one hour ago and the neck pain has gone! Baby steps, baby steps is all we can do and i firmly believe in the exercise part and even walking for 20 mins a day will help.

Good luck to all and continue to leave advice for people.

anon67042
Post 47

I was prescribed effexor to counteract chemo induced menopause problems. As I dislike taking any medications I made my oncologist reduce me from 75 to 37.5 two years ago.

Recently the oncologist's assistant gleefully informed me I was not getting a prescription renewal as I hadn't seen the oncologist for over a year.

I decided I should stop taking it. I was aware there were withdrawal symptoms, especially the brain shivers which I described as audible flashes, so I reduced by stretching the time between taking it. This does not work as the drug leaves your system quickly.

I will try the granule counting method. Unless there are extremely serious reasons for taking this drug, I would advise against it and if you`re a physician reading this, watch and educate yourself on what it is you are prescribing.

North America is way, way too much in love with pill popping, and for the general population, if you donate to any cause, insist the money you donate is spend on finding cures-- not better medications or treatments.

anon66892
Post 46

I forgot to call in for my refill and then my pharmacy insisted my doctor hadn't sent it in on Friday. So now it's Monday and I took my last one on Wednesday, 75mg.

I've had the brain shivers before from missing a dose or forgetting to refill but I've never been in withdrawal for this long. I'm having trouble sleeping, feel short of breath at times and now feel nauseous just from reading these posts online. The nausea feels like when I get motion sick.

My pharmacy just called my doctor and then called to say they have my prescription in but now I'm afraid to go back on it! But I so desperately want to feel better. I also have RA and started biologics to suppress my immune system a week ago so I have to monitor my reactions to it which is hard when I don't know if everything I'm feeling is just from the withdrawal!

My doctor wanted to switch me to paxil a while back when I told her I wanted to have another baby but I flat out refused. I know about paxil from other people and my sister as a teenager. But now, I'm finding out that Effexor is almost as bad! I want my life back -- Effexor-free!

anon66834
Post 45

It's been horrible for me too. Three weeks after I stopped my pills and the brain fuzz just keeps on coming. But effexor changed my life. I have never felt so mentally well. I was on it for two years and coming off it is horrible. But hang in there guys, you are not alone.

anon66783
Post 44

I am having the worst ever weekend and never used to feel that way. The reason I am convinced is I am now entering the first week of no effexor. After tapering off I now have the brain tremors - shakiness, feeling disappointment about the whole process - feeling like I am worse that the initial reason I began effexor. It did balance things out for me while I took it. From what I have read here from many of you, it does get better (hope so).

anon65531
Post 43

I can't imagine how you all feel. Especially all of you that have been on a high dose for a long period. I took my first (and last) dose of effexor last night. One 37.5 mg pills caused the worse night of my life. Sweats, tremors, dizzy, nightmares during the two hours that i could sleep.

The side effects of the pills are far worse than my symptoms of anxiety ever were. If anything i think my anxiety is worse. I can't believe my doctor would do this to me. I'm a stay at home mom of four whose husband is away and now i have to take care of my kids and deal with the pain this drug had caused all alone.

Will the withdrawal last long after just one dose? This is hell.

anon64927
Post 42

I have taken Effexor for 7 years now and came to a standstill with it. It seemed as though my body had gotten so used to the drug that it stopped working. That is when my doctor decided it was time for something else.

I am in day two of no effexor at all and I feel like hell. Every time i move my head or eyes i get the "brain zaps", i feel nauseated, and the only thing that I have found that can relive all these symptoms is to go back to bed and go to sleep.

I have been tapering off my doses for a while now and this is the last step. My effexor has been replaced with wellbutrin, which i was hoping would counteract these side effects, but they do not.

If i had to know that effexor would be this hard to come off of, i would never have agreed to go on it. I was not told anything about this drug at all.

anon62134
Post 41

I've taken 225 mg every day for the past year. Due to insurance, i can no longer afford the pills. The brain shivers i am getting are incredibly disorienting, as it has been my 12th straight day off.

Smoking marijuana provides plenty of relief from the nausea and dizziness. It even makes me happy and allows me to enjoy everything in life again to the fullest.

anon62031
Post 40

i am 28 and was on effexor for 1 1/2 years. I decided to go off so i went from 150 xr to a week of 75xr to week of 37.5 xr. this whole thing really sucks. I haven't had it now for three days and it sucks.

The dizziness has been really bad and i have found myself crying. i almost feel like taking it again not to go through this but realize i shouldn't. it's one hell of a drug to come off of and I'm hoping that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

It's nice knowing I'm not the only person experiencing all this. Good luck to everyone.

anon61310
Post 39

I have been off effexor rx for 14 days. I did taper slowly over a three week period. I was on 37.5 for four months. I have done OK but still have bouts of feeling disjointed or out of it.

I thought by now it would be gone. I am on fish oil with omega 3 and 6. Some days are good, then this spacey feeling comes back for a while. Anyone else feel this way? Thanks.

anon60745
Post 38

i have been taking effexor for about 10 years. I started with 37.5 and eventually made it up to 225 with 200 wellbutrin thrown in.

I had to stop taking wellbutrin recently due to seizure episodes and started to reduce my effexor because I am so tired and my circumstances since starting it have changed so dramatically (I tried many times over the years to get off of this but the doctors kept putting me off and renewing my prescription). I have gone down to 75 mg in the last six weeks and I am exhausted.

I cannot think, I cannot sleep enough (16 hours a day) I have a two year old and I am short tempered. I cannot get motivated and I cannot get excited about anything. oh and when I am tired I get suicidal. I am hoping to reduce to 37.5 so I can get off of this finally.

I am frustrated it's taking me so long to do it but I have to remember that was on it for a long time so I shouldn't rush. Thank you for your comments it makes me feel a little less alone.

anon59077
Post 37

I have been on effexor for about two years and recently began to understand that I have been peri-menopausal for a number of years and the symptoms have been mistaken for depression.

I decided to come of the effexor as it saps my energy and have found myself victim to the horrible withdrawal symptoms others have described.

I feel better mentally and have more energy but the brain tremors have been dreadful. I tried the recommendation of using Benadryl and found it fantastic. Would like to recommend to others suffering with brain tremors to give it a try.

anon57921
Post 36

I have been taking effexor for months now and I decided that I should try to wean myself off of it. I couldn't understand why I was so tired and depressed until I read all these comments.

This is horrible. I know the drug is strong because I've had times when I forgot to take it or forgot to pick it up from the pharmacy and I would have those brain zaps. They are horrible! Every time I just give up because I figured I feel better on the drug then off of it. Depression and anxiety runs in my family but if I knew the withdrawal would be this bad I would have never taken it! I just hate feeling like I'm a horrible person. I don't know what I should do.

anon57587
Post 35

People, people, I completely understand how you all feel and have a bit of advice. Effexor is one of the hardest anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication on the market; worse than the Zoloft family and their withdrawal effects.

Therefore, I just did this myself the past eight days. I went from the 75mg to the 37.5 mg for about four days and then got off of it after three days of being on the lower dosage.

Advice: I would have extended the 37.5 mg a bit longer and cut that size in 1/2 for a week so it would not been as terrible of an experience. So no. 1, taper yourself.

No. 2) I took 1 Benadryl every three hours for the brain shocks/tremors, dizziness, and it helped with lesson the upset stomach. I thought it was the flu. No, it's just the combination of the Effexor that is throughout your body and in your nerve endings throughout your body causing you to feel sick, flu-like, aches, crying for no reason, fever, hot flashes, the headaches.

Also, I talked to the pharmacist and he said to drink lots and lots of fluids to flush the Effexor out of your system. He also said it would take probably up to 10-14 days being off of it completely to feel better.

Hang in there. Do not go back on the drug to end the tough road you are on; it's only the first week (5-7 days) that's the worst! Don't push yourself to do things, you will need to take naps especially with the Benadryl but that is what saved me!

I still have the tiredness and crying a bit, but nothing like this past weekend. I was fortunate not to have to work, but Effexor is one of the most addictive drugs I have ever been on. I was only on the Effexor XR 75 mg since October and they wanted to continue increasing my dosage from the initial 37.5 mg to the 75 mg up to the 300 mg! I am not in that much need for my anxiety. Hey, I have been functioning just fine all my life and have accomplished more than I could have ever dreamed of so it's not that bad! These doctors just want to medicate us and/or our children but in actuality, it is worse.

I am seeing my doctor after Christmas and they are not going to be happy with me. I decided to do this with my paramedic husband and after talking to my pharmacist after I was diagnosed with a sinus and upper respiratory infection.

The ER doctor didn't look at the medicine that I take and I am allergic to after i told him and the RN's three times and my file had it in there too.

Anyway, long story short, the antibiotic interferes with my migraine medicine which can cause death and i was allergic to the family of antibiotics that I was on. Thank God for pharmacists who care about their customers because I would have been dead if I took that antibiotic!

Please be careful with the interactions of the medicine you take and hang in there with the withdrawals because it does get better!

anon57243
Post 34

I'm coming off 75mg and this is the worst feeling ever. I felt like I was pregnant again with my kids.

I would never recommend this drug to anyone. I want to sleep half the time and vomit the other half. Makes it really hard to raise two kids and work full time and go to school full time.

I would rather have the mood swings instead of dealing with these withdrawals.

The headaches are horrible and my vision comes and goes. Some days I can't think straight and my poor kids think their mom is losing it completely.

anon56533
Post 33

I am a mother of a 3-year-old. I had a miscarriage in March 2008. I began taking Effexor after the loss of our stillborn child in March 2009. I now have insurance which will not pay for Effexor. It will cost me $500 per month, so I can't do that. This is so stupid.

These are the side effects I experienced while on Effexor: decreased sex drive, inability to have orgasm, significant weight gain, constipation.

I haven't taken Effexor for about one week.

I am experiencing these common withdrawal symptoms: dizziness (often referred to as "brain shivers"), sense of slow motion when moving around, like the inside of my brain is dragging behind my head, nausea, diarrhea (occasionally), insomnia, sense of agitation and/or increased anxiety, blurry vision at times, body aches, increased sense of being overwhelmed.

How long will this last? Am I damaging my body by stopping all at once?

anon56270
Post 31

I am currently weaning off of 75mg effexor, and I have done a lot of research lately to help. I am finishing my doctorate degree in microbiology and have always had an interest in herbal remedies.

I am on my second week of weaning, and I have had hardly any symptoms - and I am extremely sensitive to these things! As a scientist, I was able to use a scale to weigh out a 5mg dose decrease per day on the weekdays and take the same dose Fri, Sat, and Sun.

I read somewhere that someone counted out the number of white balls. Ideally you put the rest back into the capsule to take, but it can be absorbed into water and drunk. So, I decreased the meds by 5 mg/day on weekdays and started taking fish oil capsules (lots of research shows it can be as effective as prozac!) and vitamin D3. FDA dose of D3 says ~400mg/day, but recent studies show it should be much, much higher.

I have been taking 4,000 IUs of D3/day for a few weeks, and noticed a huge increase in my happiness within the first day. Your body uses D3 to make serotonin (most antidepressants work by keeping what little serotonin you have circulating in your blood, which acts to "increase" your serotonin.)

D3 gives your body the building blocks it needs to make more serotonin to naturally increase your levels. D3 is what your body makes when you are in the sun, incidentally, and it would be really difficult to overdose on.

Take a B-complex vitamin with D3 to help your body make the most of it. By the way, serotonin is converted to melatonin in the dark, so this actually helps you sleep better too! Try to increase these vitamins slowly as you decrease your effexor for the smoothest transition.

Also (and here's the hard part for most of us!) try to back off of the coffee and sweets, as they screw with your serotonin levels by jacking them up and increasing your needed levels of serotonin, then letting them plummet.

Enough of this. I got a four- week pill dispenser and put my decreasing effexor in each day for the first 3 weeks of the month. Then I put in 1000 IU D3 and 1 fish oil capsule for the first week. The second week I put in 2000 IU D3 and 1 fish oil.

The third week I put in 3000 IU D3, a B-complex, and 1 fish oil (this is the last week on effexor) and for the fourth week (no effexor) I put in 4000 IU D3, a B-complex, and 2 fish oils.

I am also decreasing my sugar and caffeine slowly and increasing my exercise. I hate to read about all of you guys suffering like this :(. One last thing, St. John's Wort is an effective herbal antidepressant, however it will interfere with your birth control pills.

anon55632
Post 30

I am happy to have found this information. I have been on Effexor for about 6-7 months, i think. Recently i ran out and i could not afford to refill my prescription as i do not have coverage and with Christmas coming and five kids to buy for and only one real income, i figured waiting a week or so would be no big deal.

The past few days have been hell. i am exhausted. i have been getting upset at my kids for nothing and then it is just going away. i can never organize my thoughts right and i feel as though i am going blind. I know i am not but everything is very blurry and i feel like i am going to vomit if i turn my head or even my eyes.

I am a photographer and it is how i was making my money for Christmas and i did a shoot today and half my shots were blurry. I need this money but i don't know how i will do my shoots this week like this. It will truly ruin Christmas.

I never new of any of these side effects. i am very sore and i just don't know how i am going to get through till i can get more pills, although now i do not really want them but they have made a big difference for me.

I feel for everyone else who is going through this. Also wondering how doctors can neglect to inform us about this before we agree to use it.

anon55262
Post 29

I can't stop crying just from reading the posts. Little did I know how awful this would be. I have three little girls and am at home mom trying to quit taking this.

My daily withdrawal is the brain tremor, dizziness and stupid crying episodes. I went from 150XR to 75XR to four days now of nothing and the eye movement dizziness is constant.

I asked my daughter (11) to help me drive because if I move my head to look for cars I get too dizzy. I have found that if I close my eyes before I move my head the zap isn't near as bad. It even occurs when I move my eyes from side to side.

I have had one episode of severe unexplained headache with throwing up even water for about 24 hours, of course on Turkey day. I also fly off the handle at almost nothing: yelling, crying. I hate what I am doing to my kids.

I don't want them to think I am weak or an angry person, because I am not. I only began this med because the man I was with when I was eight months pregnant with my last, now two, kicked me and my two girls out so he could be with someone else (decided he didn't want to have kids or the responsibility) without a penny to our name.

Now I feel like all of that is coming back to haunt me. I know I am dealing with this as a result of those circumstances and it's is one vicious cycle. Somehow we all need to hang on. I have kids who depend on me.

anon55173
Post 28

I have been taking Effexor XR 75 for 10 months, to help with the coping process of a divorce. I wish my doctor had told me about the withdrawal symptoms of this drug and the side effects.

I have gained 20 pounds since being on Effexor. I decided to stop it cold turkey six days ago. Since then I have had the brain zaps, severe joint pain, headaches, irritability, a horrible feeling of being overwhelmed all the time, zero ambition and at least three crying spells daily.

I am a mess. I had no idea that this medication was so addicting. If I had known I would have never taken it. I am heading to the store to buy some vitamins to alleviate some of these symptoms. If anyone is thinking about taking this drug, don't.

anon54787
Post 27

I am a 21 year old Canadian woman and have been on Effexor for 11 months. I recently switched jobs and lost my benefits for a while as a result. I recently ran out of pills and have had to go without them cold-turkey. I cannot afford a refill on my prescription until my benefits kick in mid-December.

It has been five days since I last had a pill and I am trembling so hard right now that I can barely type. I've been nauseous for days, cannot stand without support, have to close my eyes when I move my head for fear of further dizziness, and can barely even keep water down. When I move my eyes from side to side, I can hear them. It's this weird buzzing sound inside my skull.

I cried yesterday when I dropped a sock on the ground. I just woke up from a 16-hour "nap", and all I can say is thank God I already have today off work.

I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Please do not take this drug. I suffer from severe depression in addition to borderline personality disorder, and while this pill has helped ease the pain in some horrible times, I wish my doctor and I had gone with something - anything else.

All I want for Christmas is to feel less like I'm dying.

anon54697
Post 26

i was on this God forsaken drug for two and a half years at 150mg, went down to 75mg, then 37.5mg. i am now on day 9 without it. i feel the pain of each and every person out here who has spoken of their hellish experience.

i am a 38 year old male, i work at a job that i love and even though it is a very physical job it had always kept me in good shape.

i have gained a significant amount of weight whilst on this medication. now the withdrawals -- it's awful, the headaches, dizziness, nausea, extremely agitated, and on and on.

i am a devoted husband and a very loving and grateful father of two children ages five and four, but these withdrawal symptoms have made life very difficult!

my heart goes out to everyone going through this. for whatever it is worth, i had read a posting somewhere and a person recommended smoking pot. i apologize if this is offensive to anyone, but i was desperate, and it gave me tremendous relief! benadryl also helps. God bless.

anon54001
Post 25

I have been on effexor for seven years with a dosage of 275mg a day.

I started coming off of effexor three months ago and am still not able to stop. I have the "brain tremors", feeling as if my arms/legs react slower than what my brain tells them. I'm nauseated and have vomited -- it's almost a motion sick feeling.

My doctor and I have planned that hopefully by spring (it's Thanksgiving now) I will be off of Effexor completely.

If I would have known all this beforehand, I would never have started taking them.

Good luck to all who are trying to come off of Effexor.

anon53620
Post 24

I am on 450mg of effexor. I have started menopause and none of my clothes fit me as I have put on so much weight.

The doctor's advice was to watch what I eat, go walking daily and that I will have to go off effexor but I am absolutely terrified. Just thinking about it makes me cry.

She suggested hospitalisation for two weeks during the beginning of this transition but she has no idea - how can I leave my family voluntarily for two weeks?

I now know that going on effexor was the biggest mistake of my life.

anon52288
Post 23

I have been off this drug for 200 days and now I can barely see. I had to get my son to type this and to read everything for me and I can not sleep past 3 a.m. This drug sucks and to anyone who is thinking of taking this, don't. Can anyone help? Never try this drug!

anon51639
Post 22

I've been taking generic effexor 150mg/day for about sixc weeks or so, but lost my insurance right as I was due to get a refill, so I've had to stop taking it, as I cannot afford the $150 cost. This entire last week, I've felt just generally horrible. Then today, I woke up with the worst headache and stomachache that I've ever had, worse than any hangover ever. Felt like I was being punched in the stomach, and like I desperately needed to throw up. It's lasted all day. And then tonight, I suddenly started a crying jag that made me feel like I could no longer go on, and wanted to commit suicide. Dear God, I just want it to stop!

anon51333
Post 21

After reading these comments, I can relate 100 percent. This has got to be the worst medication in the history of antidepressants and I wish that doctors never prescribed such a powerful drug to all of us.

I'm a 20 year old (Canadian) woman who has been suffering from depression and anxiety since I was about 17 and started going on Effexor when I was 18 so I've been on Effexor for 2 years now at the 75mg dose. The first year I was on it then after a while I felt I didn't need it anymore, then I went off of it cold turkey, because my doctor had no information really about it in the first place to tell me not to and why, just that it would help with my depression and anxiety disorder. well let me tell you that was a nightmare. then I was fine for a few months until I relapsed (having multiple breakdowns etc.) and had to go back on it again, since April I've been taking it, and it helped like usual, and then it stopped working, I noticed. I felt that I didn't need it anymore because it's not helping me and that maybe there is a different and natural way to help me instead, so at the moment I'm weaning myself off, talked with my new doctor, and I planned it out on my calendar, which is a smart idea to do. One day I take Effexor and the next day I don't. I do this for about a week so I can build some tolerance and be getting used to coming off of the drug. It's starting to get difficult even missing one day. I'm scared for week 2 to come around where I'll have to skip the 37.5mg dose for two days and then finally the third week I'll skip it for three days and by January 1st will be my last day of Effexor and I can hopefully be free of these terrible symptoms! My withdrawal symptoms include: nausea (extreme), headache, dizziness (extreme), night sweats (I had them during taking the medication in the first place and still have them while trying to get off of it too), and of course the infamous terrible "brain zaps" where it literally feels like an electrocution to the brain. it shocks my whole brain, especially to the right side of me. my whole right side is completely numb and tingly during these "zaps" and this is from a small dose. I can't even imagine how it is for others who take higher doses. This feels like an illegal drug's side effect, not from something that is prescribed to help us by our doctors. I really wish I had listened to my mom on this one regardless of being 18 and an "adult" or not. Well that's my story. I wish you all luck and hope for a better stress free future. :) xoxo.

anon50703
Post 19

I was only on effexor for five days, but the side effects were too much. 100 mg and five minutes later i was throwing up uncontrollably. can't stay awake more than an hour after i take one. Three days after i stopped taking them, and I still feel really nauseous, antisocial, anxious and tired. this stuff is pure poison.

anon49054
Post 18

I am currently taking 225mg of Effexor per day and have been on it for about 5 years. Prior to that, I had crippling anxiety that prevented me from having any kind of a life. I have never had any problems with this drug and it has virtually eliminated the anxiety. I sympathize with anyone who has had a bad experience with Effexor, but I highly recommend it with regard to anxiety. I'm afraid I can't comment on its effectiveness with regard to depression as that is not why I take it.

anon48733
Post 17

i am currently on effexor an have only been for about three months. I swapped over from aropax and thought i still had room for improvement. i am currently on stress leave from work. i have become a virtual basket case. my psychcologist has said i have acute stress disorder because of the abnormal environment that i work in. i have to go to workcover psych next week. i believe they will try and link this stress up with the depression. i would definitely not recomend this drug to anyone. try aropax. i was so much better on it. wishing everyone full recoveries.

anon48030
Post 16

I am currently weaning off effexor - started on 75, now on 37.5 which I now take every other day. I feel like a bus has hit me, ache all over, excessively tired, hallucinations, nightmares, heavy head. When I was initially prescribed this medication,I was told 'you will feel a little off for a few days'. I was given no information about withdraw except don't stop taking them suddenly - if I had known the truth I would have never gone on them in the first place. Why don't doctors talk to you about other options first like counselling, support groups etc. If doctors were truly concerned about our well-being they would look at other pathways before prescribing such medication. I find burning lavender oil or listening to soothing music helps me to sleep better.

anon47934
Post 15

I sympathise with everyone. I was prescribed a high dose of Effexor extended relief capsules (150mg) about 6 months ago so that it would "kick in" quickly. The side effects were hellish and have more than outweighed the benefits of the drug. I am now hugely overweight which depresses me as well as being an insomniac. I have not been the most organised person in the world about taking the tablets and after a two week holiday abroad with sporadic tablet taking I attempted to go cold turkey. If you are thinking of trying this - *don't*. I have never felt so ill in my life and functioning has been nearly impossible. In floods of tears I consulted another GP (one who would understand that I am intelligent with two degrees and just don't have a brain that works at the moment as opposed to the one who says "take this it'll make you feel better"!). I have now had a much more tapered discontinuation programme - after the initial fortnight without anything I took 37.5mg daily for 2 weeks, then alternated tablets day on, day off for two weeks. Today is my first third day without the pills and whilst I feel a little spaced out it isn't as bad as I expected. My worst symptoms seem to be much worse IBS. I do have the added complication of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which may affect things. I would urge anyone trying to come off effexor to do it as gradually as possible and would wish each and every one of you the best of luck in all of your individual battles with depression. Love to all, Jaye x

anon47482
Post 14

I am weaning myself off effexor. I have been on effexor for at least five years. I wonder why we are not told the side effects of coming off it? I have had trouble sleeping for years. Now I think it is from the effexor! Coming off it is not easy. I am getting those terrible brain tremors, vomiting, still not sleeping, coughing and over all malaise. I'm taking it every other day and started every two days after a week but had to go back to every other. Couldn't deal well with the brain thing. I think it takes a long time to rid oneself of these awful symptoms.

anon47269
Post 13

I've been off Effexor for 5 days after working dosage down to 37.5. I can't afford the meds, and have always been afraid of the withdrawal symptoms (I'm one who gets them just by being a bit late.) I'm still getting brain stutters, nausea, and very bad mood crashes. I'm more suicidal now than ever before. I'm trying to hold on, but am scared to read symptoms may last a long time. I'm angry that the reported affects were so long ignored by the medical and drug communities. Am trying to hold on but am very suicidal. More so than any other time in my life.

anon46726
Post 12

I have recently come off my Effexor XR 150 mg because I have no insurance. I feel horrible. I have been crying, I start to drive somewhere familiar and get lost, I am having brain shivers and I am terrified of everything. I don't know what to do I am scared and sad. I have a 22 month old son and I am terrified to be around him because I am breaking down. My husband doesn't know how to help me and frankly I don't know how to help myself. Please can someone help me please? Thank you.

anon45417
Post 11

My husband is on one 75 mg & one 150 mg daily of Effexor. The doctor is tapering him off by dropping the 75mg for a month, then another 75 mg drop to finally none and a possible change over to Lexapro. Since dropping the first 75mg five days ago, he has slept almost 22 hours each day and when he is up, he says he's having very bad joint aches and pains. He hasn't showered and he seems very disconnected. Is there anything that will help with the joint pain? Is the sleeping all day common? Thanks, H

anon45284
Post 10

I have been reading these posts and other ones on websites about withdrawal. Now at least I know it is not just me being "crazy". I was only on 37.5 and quit cold turkey because I did not know you could open the capsule and take half. It's been two weeks and although I feel fine during the day, at night I turn into a monster! Nightmares are severe, insomnia, extreme agitation like I want to crawl out of my own skin. Someone on a post said taking Omega 3 capsules, Vitamin B complex, and a multi vitamin helps with these symptoms. I am going to try it today! Thanks

anon44443
Post 9

I went off Effexor cold turkey and have very few side effects apart from not sleeping as well as usual. Moods are fine -- even a little more upbeat than when I was on the treatment. I keep waiting for the mood to go downhill but this hasn't been the case. I have been off it now for around three weeks after taking it for around 12 months constantly. I think that I must be one of the very lucky ones.

anon42414
Post 8

well it's been the third week off of 37.5 and my insomnia is getting worse. I can't fall asleep, even though i'm extremely tired. I can only get at least 4 hours of rest if i'm lucky to fall asleep after 3 a.m. how do I deal with this?

anon41630
Post 7

i have been on 150 mg per day of effexor for three years now. for the past three weeks my depression has been very intense due to stress related problems. since i have started taking this medication it helps balance my stress level. but now feels like it just stopped working. i am on day 4 of not taking this med and feel worse everyday, impaired vision, upset stomach, diarrhea, brain tremors, tingling of the tongue and fingertips, can't stop thinking of all the negative stress related problems, constantly crying, tired and i can't fall asleep. i am 24 and have a 3 year old to take care of and i just wish these symptoms would go away. how long does it take for the symptoms to pass?

anon40581
Post 6

Why after being on 300 Effexor a day and going down to 150 am I so totally miserable?

anon40578
Post 5

Have just gone from 300 Effexor to 150 per day and the doctor added lowest dosage of Chlonazepam: 2 per day. In the last few days I have been very down. I have not felt this way for a long long time. What to do? I only went down on the Effexor because it seemed quite a high dosage.

anon39857
Post 4

I am in the process of titrating off of effexor. After reading many online complaints and warnings I was terrified!

Under my doctor's care, I have titrated from Effexor to Zoloft over the last 3 weeks and am relieved to report I have had no transition problems. I recommend this solution to everyone thinking of getting off of Effexor.

anon39736
Post 3

Been off tablets 15 days now did gradually come off, was advised 37.5 was the lowest dose. Obviously not. Having terrible insomnia awake at 2 a.m. every day. This has been going on for the same time that I stopped taking tablets. What can I do?

anon38183
Post 2

I am on day 5 of stopping cold turkey because I was having suicidal thoughts. I am 54 and never, as bad as things have gotten, have I ever been suicidal. I wish all doctors had to try every drug they prescribe before they prescribe it. My suicidal thoughts have ended, but I am vomiting, feel like I have a bag of sand in my head, having hallucinations (my bathroom rug turned into a scene from little house on the prairie), i have no balance, my eyes hurt, my head hurts, I can't even consider going to work. This is awful, I just pray its over soon.

anon33654
Post 1

i have been gradually weaning myself off effexor. is it possible that 8 days after my last dose of 18mg i am still suffering from withdrawal symptoms?

i stayed in all day thinking i may have the flu. my chest hurts when i inhale i'm coughing and have an awful headache. i do not have a fever i realized it's not the flu, perhaps it's from the effexor withdrawal?

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