Effexor Withdrawal Problems

Lori Says:

I was perscribed Effexor XR 75MG for one year after suffering from depression after the death of a family member. 10 days ago I stopped using this medication and I have had strange side effects I contribute to withdrawal. I get waves of tingling throughout my body. Like an electric shock feeling. I wanted to know if anyone else has had this feeling after discontinuing Effexor XR.

38 Replies (2 Pages)

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William Australia Says:

i was on effexor for nearly 4 years, a dose of 150mg i had somewhat intense withdraw that lasted for a couple of weeks. i had to comae of them slowly.

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Andrea Says:

I know EXACTLY what you're going through, Lori. I'm not exactly drug-compliant, I forget easily depending on my stress levels and I take 150mg 2x daily. If I miss a dose I feel the same as you which I've called twitchy.

However, recently I realized I wouldn't be able to see my Dr. in time to refill my scrips so I gradually cut back. Say, instead of taking my first dose at 9.00 a.m., I'd take it at noon. I just kept lengthening the dosage times until I was on only one per day, and it only took me a week to do so. I suffered no twitchiness -- but it's not all good news. Eventually, I was reduced to even deeper depression so it was decided I'd go back to the 2x daily dosage. I don't believe it's EVER recommended that you should quit any medication cold turkey. I do know the twitchiness lasts a very long time.

I hope this helps you. Good luck!

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Ashley Says:

a comment for Lori Aston

I have been taking Effexor for about 4 years. I get my meds for free from the state program I'm on. The reps that bring the meds have been irrisponsisble in getting the meds there on a regular basis. So there isn't ever a constant supply. Therefore I had to go over a week at a time without my meds, and I take 300mg once daily. The withdrawl symptoms were something I could never explain. It was just that bizarre of a feeling. Not only was i suffering from nightmares that kept me up for hours at a time but I was experiencing the same thing you were too. The electric shocks were strong. They were constant throughout the day and I couldn't function or even think straight! The worst part was, and I don't know if it affects you this way but, they would disrupt my path of vision! When a wave would come over me my eyes would get fuzzy and then go black, I couldn't see anything. Also my hearing would go out and a great buzzing or ringing would be the only thing to hear! Granted this didn't go on for hours or even minutes at a time but the few seconds it did happen were always scary. Especially when driving in traffic and needing all the clarity I could get. These withdrawl symptoms are serious and no one should ever stop taking meds abruptly. Unfortunately, I didn't have a choice. This was a result of the representatives that were supplying the doctors office. You were on effexor for one year at 75 mg per day, and you experienced those shock waves I was on them for 4 years at 300mg per day, so you can imagine the intensity of these shock waves

Sometimes the worst part about taking medicines is when you don't need them anymore.

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Paul Says:

I have just experienced these bizzare nightmares due to quitting Effexor XR 150 mg once a day, COLD TURKEY. My doctor never told me to reduce gradually?? What a bone-head! Wow??? What a grandioso experience. I feel as if I have been on a Alcoholic binge for about two weeks. I feel like throwing up, my vision is messed up and my head feels like I'm hung over. I figured out for myself that this has to be Abrupt Withdrawl Symptoms, obviously, so I took a 1/2 dose and we'll see if this helps. I sure hope so as this was not a fun experience at all. I was taking 150 mgs. once a day. Never experienced any twitching or shock waves things but the nightmares were very vivid and realistic as hell. Don't ever try to quit Effexor XR COLD TURKEY - Bad idea!! Hope this helps somebody out there who's going through this experience like I am!! Remember they are only Nightmares so don't let them Scare you! God bless, Paul.

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Melissa Says:

I've been on effexor xr 75 mg for awhile. I've had the same tingling feeling when i've forgotten to take it for a few days. the print out you usually get when you fill a script says you're suppose to taper off the effexor. going off it can make you depressed again becuase your cutting something cold turkey out of your system. i've gotten dizzy light headed feelings, anxiety attacks, etc...when i stopped taking mine. even last year when i became pregnant the dr. tapered me off. you should call your doc & say you want to go off, they'll give you a script for 37.5 mg & after taking that for a bit then you can stop from there. :) good luck! :)

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Ashleigh Says:

Wow. And I thought I had it bad! I've never had vision problems or nightmares just the incesstant TWITCHING!

And, to Ashey re: Sometimes the worst part about taking medicines is when you don't need them anymore. I have often wondered about that myself! But my problem seems to be growing accustomed to these meds, so much that I've topped out the dosage, they aren't working anymore and they find something ELSE to put me on. Oh Lord, I wish I didn't have to take them anymore but that's not too likely as long as the pharmaceutical companies in this country are alive and well.

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Aimee Says:

Wow! I thought I was the only one going through this withdraw thing.I was taking 150mg and slowly went down to nouthing. Thats when it all started. dizziness, vomiting,chills.I truly felt like I was going to die. I felt as if i was on a mery go round, and someone kept spinning it around and around. Hang in there whoever is out there going trough the same stuff. It will go away.....I hope.

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Ashleigh Says:

They SAY it goes away ... eventually. I get weepy if I miss a dose but I don't know if that's withdrawal or the need to stay on the medicine. How do we get caught up in these situations?? By trusting our doctors??

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lucy Says:

I've been on venlafaxine since i was roughly 18, i'm now 24!! Though i did when i was 18 suddenly withdraw,i advice any one who reads these comments don't cold trurkey from this drug!!!After a year of stopping use without my realising so my mental health problems came back 10 fold!!After much refusal of taking the drug again i recently within the last year resumed use and ashleigh i must agree are our doctors doing whats best 4 us or easiest 4 them????

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Ashleigh Says:

Lucy, you've given me food for thought: Prescribing Effexor XR certainly does keep my mouth shut while they just write me another scrip for refills. Hmmm. I won't have that problem after 25 July, though. My insurance (state aid) is changing and they will no longer pay for brand name scrips, only 5 generics per month. I presently take 12 meds per month -- Premarin, Synthroid, etc. a combination of brand name/generic meds. I can hardly wait till the end of this month to become a basket case once again. Bastards!! I despise this state.

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lisa richardson Says:

i'm on venafaxine325mg once aday i havent had any 4 3days now and im sleeping alot lossing the control of my hands and having cold sweats is this to do with the meds

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Ashleigh Says:

LISA! Talk to your doctor! NOW! I'm no physician but considering the many possible withdrawal symptoms there are I'd say YES! It'll be my turn on the 25th of this month -- or after my last scrip for Effexor runs out. If I even MISS a dosage (150 mg. 2x daily) I get sick as ten pups. It's going to be ugly.

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Keith Says:

I'm on 600 mg of Effexor a day/night, with Wellbutrin in the morning. A another Dr.(with about 20 years less experience that my original doctor), told me my amounts of Effexor were too high and cut them back by half. Fortunately I had some more at home as began and even though things got a little squirrelly for a while, now I don’t care. I can’t tell any difference. I think I just slowly count the pills down to titrate of them, so I experience any withdrawal symptoms, (like this would be the first time), and if I have an issue I’ll go back, but right now I doubt it.

I take Lamictal 1200 mg for Idiopathic Neuropathy that runs down my leg into my feet, and it has worked well for two years., nor have I had a stroke. However, when I get off the Lamictal for just a day, the sensations start back again beginning with the toes. The place it started in the beginning.

I also take Adderal 30 mg tabs x 2 ½’s a day, and Adderal 30 mg caps three to four times a day for my ADD. I slowly weaned myself off the 30 mg caps of Adderal and take less of the Adderal tabs as well. Frankly, with as much “speed” in my system I began to feel like Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream..

I'm at the point of not caring anymore. I’m just so tired of taking pills. And that doesn’t include my acute pain meds. My main issue I think will always be the opiates. I have been off and on them for most of my life due to various injuries, and I’ve about had it with those as well.

OK, now here’s the question. Would it be better for me to go over to the Lyrica for the leg pain, and just get off the Lamictal then slowly forget I thought I was depressed, and then just slowly get off the Wellbutrin, and the Effexor afterward, and then finish up with the Adderal disappearance.

While these are serious subject, I feel that life without levity isn’t worth a whole lot. How this whole pinwheel got started I’ll never know,.

Any one got any thoughts on my ramble , I believe the question was how good is the Lyrica for leg pain and would it be better then the Lamictal?

The other stuff has got to go as well. It’s time

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Ashley Says:


Whatever you do, taper off effexor and continue on wellbutrin. I have an entry above from 6/20 and the only thing i am still on is wellbutrin. I was overmedicated before now and I am so much happier. Now I take one pill a day for depression and it helps with my ADD. Which I think was a side effect of all the drugs I was on. Certain drugs you are going to need regardless, like pain pills, but the more pills you're on the more you will need to combat other symptoms that become present. One thing that has helped me is a man named Mike Brescia. google his name, his info will be like the bible to you. it has been for me anyway. check out www.thinkrightnow.com and let me know what you think. The best thing to do is to think positive thoughts, even of you son't belive them. eventually you will trick your brain into thinking that is how you really feel and you will feel that way. Also whenever you feel down or like giving up just smile. Smiling makes the brain produce endorphens which are natural anti-depressants. Since we are all on so many anti-d's our body doen't need to produce them since we take meds. But if we smile alot our body will produce them and we wont need to take as any meds anymore. like i said check out the website Mike Brescia is awesome. It will really help you in every aspect of your life.

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My daughter was on a low dosage of Effexor two years ago (13yrs) for depresion. She stayed on it for one year. When she was better and wanted off of it, her doctor weaned her off of it slowly over the course of one month. She did not have any problems and is still doing well two years later. Hope this information is helpful.

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Diana Says:

I accidently missed two days on my effexor, it was awful. I was ill, tingling, electic feelings in my head. And recently A coworker of mine, trying to wean off effoxor, because insurance wouldnt pay any longer, and under her Dr.'s care, was the worst thing I've ever had to watch. She was miserable, crying uncontrollably, ill, coulnt preform her job funtion. I wish I had never started this med.

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Verwon Says:

Wow, awesome how so many of you are providing advice and similar experiences for each other.

I would just like to add some more information for you, that may help you all to understand why you are suffering from these problems.

First off, there are two things that can result from regular drug usage of any type, even legal prescription drugs. They are addiction and dependence.

Now, addiction, of course, occurs when someone is abusing a drug, they are using it for the high effects, they like the way it makes them feel. Now, since this is just a side effect of the drug, this eventually wears off as your body builds tolerance to the current dosage or usage amount. So to get the enjoyable effects, they have to keep using more and more of the substance in question.

Now, for those of us, like myself and you who have been posting in this thread, who use the drugs exactly as prescribed and do not abuse them, we do develop a dependence.

Dependence can occur with any substance that you put into your body regularly for a long period of time, it doesn't matter if it is your morning cup of coffee, that lunch time Diet Coke, or your prescription medications.

Your body gets used to having this substance and basically forgets how to regulate the chemicals that these substances effect on its own.

So any time you stop these substances abruptly you will experience some, milder, withdrawal effects. It will not be as severe as the person who was an abuser, but the effects are real and bothersome, nonetheless.

So yes, you can experience these problems if you suddenly stop taking something, without tapering off, or if you miss enough days worth of pills so the substance has been processed out of your body.

To minimize the effects, weaning slowly off of something is often your best option. While you still may suffer some effects, a gradual tapering will help to minimize them as much as possible.

I do understand that for some people, this tapering is not possible, either because your doctor will not help, or your insurance will no longer cover your medication.

In these types of instances, it is best to try to relax as much as possible, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and use medications such as Immodium, Tylenol or Advil to try and alleviate the worst of the problems.

Over the counter items such as Benadryl or Dramamine (or their generic/store brand equivelents) can help with any dizziness, nausea, and etc. that may occur.

Some doctors and patients have also found that the prescription blood pressure medication Clonidine does a lot to negate the withdrawal effects.

So remember, this is a big difference between being addicted and being dependent on something.

And please, if you are experiencing symptoms that are out of control, and you have no treatment to help you, please see your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room, the doctors and nurses there will know how to help you.

Don't be shy or embarassed, this happens to more than 99% of people who take a prescription drug regularly for a long period of time. So medical professionals do understand, at least the ones who are human and not suffering from the GOD COMPLEX and they will be able to help you.

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taterbug Says:

Whatever you do talk to your DR. and tell him you wantto quit taking the effexor ,so he can give you samples of lower doses to taper off of,that will take care of the withdrawl, which caused me extreme dizziness

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nelle Says:

I have taken Effexor XR for over 6 years. It has really helped with obsessive thinking. I have gone off of it twice, both times with the guidance of a doctor and tapering slowly with the dose. Withdrawal syptoms subside, but for me, the obsessive thinking and near-constant weeping that resulted when I wasn't on it weren't worth the misery. I am back on it for good, I hope. I was on 225mg for 5 years and have recently gone to 300mg (the therapeutic dose) because of breakthrough depression. I have also been on 300mg Wellbutrin SR for the entire time I have been on the Effexor XR. I have split the doses of both meds (150mg each) morning and again at night. My new Dr. (I moved to another state) says that splitting the doses of either medicine is unusual, but told me to keep it that way because that's how I've been doing it. I don't know, maybe splitting it has been part of my success with this combination of anti-depressants. I am dependent on antidepressants and that's okay with me. Addiction implies deterioration. Dependence doesn't fit that category, as far as I'm concerned.

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meg Says:

Lori, as others have noted, this is another dirty little secret Big Pharm tried to cover up about some SSRIs. I was on Cymbalta for just One month! & quit. The withdrawal was just like your's. If you Google brain zaps you will find soooo many people w/ horrible effects that there are now class-action suits pending. Finally the company admitted there might be a wee bit of trouble, so now they are making it seem like something minor, and calling it occasional discontinuation syndrome. But it took Years of patient complaints before the 'professionals' would admit it was a fact. Good news is, it doesn't last too long, Good luck! The more complaints, in more places, the better.

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