Effexor Withdrawal Doper doctors, priests, or others, please help save my mortal soul

Holy Mary, mother of all that is chocolate and delicious. I don’t know if this belongs in MPSIMS or GQ, since I really do have a few questions about what’s going on and how long it’s going to last. But I also have a lot of rambling complaints and screaming to do, so I posted this here.

I started taking Effexor about a year ago.
A couple of weeks ago, my doc told me I’d probably had enough effexor and started me on the downslide to breaking the Effexor habit.

Oh my freaking god, I’ve died and gone to an unholy, place filled with dizziness, puke, and crying. I’ve felt like hell for the last few weeks and now that I’ve cut down to nothing (from 37.5 mg a day) I’m barfing my guts out every hour or so, dizzy, nauseous, unable to do ANYTHING. No driving, no working, no reading, no tv. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I have a permanent migraine. My head is THROBBING and I’m outrageously sensitive to light and noise. I can’t eat or sleep. I have this weird “cold” feeling. Not like my skin is cold, but like I’m shivering on the inside.

Was I taking anti-depressants, or HEROIN? Crack maybe? I dont’ REMEMBER buying drugs on a street corner and shooting up, but maybe I’m mistaken.

What the hell am I going to do now? I don’t know what kind of meds (if any) I can take to help with the symptoms. I can’t perform even the simplest daily tasks. I can’t find anyone to do an exorcism, since it’s Halloween and they’re all busy.

Does anyone know how long this is going to last? Of course, I’ve done some internet research, but there’s so much CRAP out there and it’s so difficult for me to wade through it right now.

No one told me when I started taking these meds that this could happen, which makes me NO END of angry. I’m now looking back at the last year and realizing that there were times when I thought I had food poisoning or some other odd illness that I had probably simply forgotten to take my meds for a day. My internet search turns up all these people with my EXACT symptoms give or take a few odd things, but I can’t get good sound advice on when this will END.

I’m going to go get in bed now and wait for the Lord of Darkness to appear. I plan to sell him my soul in return for the absence of this migraine/puking/crying nonsense. If anyone sees him, could you please send him my way?



hes got a busy schedule tonight

im sorry its not right for me to make right of your unfortunate situation

Well, what else am I going to do but laugh at it, really? I think laughing and waiting it out are my only options.

Hang in there **SexyWriter. There have been quite a few threads on the seriousness of the situation when you’re coming off anti-depressants and a lot of knowledgable dopers will be along shortly to offer some help and advice. ATB!

Any SOB that wants you to cold turkey off anti-depressants should be shot.

Ditto any other psychotropic.

Call the stupid doctor, or go to the emergency room. There are things they can do to help, if they will. DO NOT let them give you Xanax, however. NO Benzodiazepines.

An at-home remedy…bomb yourself out with Benedryl and sleep. When you wake up, eat, bathe and do it again. You’ll probably have some sweats and the shakes, but you’ll survive.

They actually did slowly lower my dose, but I think all it did was drag out the misery. No benzos? The doc gave me klonopin (which I haven’t taken) and said it might help. You guys don’t think so?

I’d LOVE to just take benedryl or something and sleep for 10 hours at a time. Unfortunately, i have a dog, a little sister who I promised I’d take swimming tomorrow (!) and other things I need to do. Ack!

How can I puke more than I eat!!!

I have been on just about every anti depressant known to man. I am currently on Effexor to start with that is not normal. If you miss a dose you should not get any symptoms resembling food poisoning. Obviously it does not leave your system that d=fast or you would be over this by now.

If you are titrating the drug at a rate that is making you sick you are titrating too fast. call you psych doctor and tell him you need to go off more slowly. 37.5 is a relatively low dose to begin with. Ask what the smallest decrease possible is and go slowly there is no reason a med change should make you sick at all. You are the consumer and docs need to be aware of that. If you were stable on the Effexor why was he deciding to take you off anyway (you didn’t mention that but this is YOUR choice you know!! for Pete’s sake!!) A normal titration period is two weeks. But if that is too quickly for you, stretch it out ot a month. There is no reason you can’t make it comfortable for you.

Ps - feel free to email me. I have a lot of experience with all sorts of stuff like this…

I’m sorry you are having such a bad experience. My boyfriend quit taking Effexor about a year ago. He had some terrible symptoms, but none that made him throw up.

He had insomnia, “jimmy legs” (twitching legs that made it hard for him to sleep), dry mouth and something he described as a “helicopter noise” in his ears.

The withdrawal feelings lasted over a month :frowning:

Also on Effexor, and scared as hell to quit, for exactly the reasons listed above. I work and go to school and could not deal with the incapacitation that withdrawal will cause. Currently at 37.5 mgs b.i.d., used to be on a major dose, like 75 mgs t.i.d. Been on this crap for 9 years. That’s right, 9 years. I may never be able to get off the stuff. It really fucks me up, causes amotivational syndrome, some sexual side-effects. But I’m not as anxious or depressed! It’s not a win-win situation, but you make compromises in life.

I’ve heard it is possible to get Paxil, which has similar withdrawal issues, in liquid form, and then you can go down one mg at a time, with a few days or a week between each decrease. You could try to contact someone at Wyeth-Ayerst regarding the possibility of getting the same thing. Or talk to your pharmacist, maybe he/she can do something about it.

No use trading the small monkey on your back for a HUGE Gorilla.

Benzos are HORRIFICALLY addicting, no matter what the literature says. I’ve spent 2 and a half years and thousands of dollars trying to un-addict a Xanax junke. Yeah, they’re ‘no problem’ for the doctor. It’s YOUR head that the drugs are changing the neural pathways in…all the doc has to do is say you’re non-compliant and refuse to treat you.

Do not let “obligations” stop you from doing what you need to do to be healthy. If sleeping it off with Benadryl is what it takes to be sane and not cross-medicating, do it. The world WILL continue to revolve, i’m sure. You need to be your first priority, not others or other stuff.

Call the doc for some phenergan to stop the pukes. It’s also mildly soporific.

Paxil and Effexor aren’t going to be the same though. Paxil (which I have my own HORROR stories about) is an SSRI, Effexor is an atypical anti depressant. you would still have to titrate the Effexor to go on the Paxil and then titrate the Paxil. Seems like double the trouble to me.

I have never gone off of an atypical and I wonder why it is so much harder thatn any others. I have gone on and off SSRIs and sevgeral other anti depressants. Quit taking meds altogether, changed meds done all sorts of stuff and never had withdrawel like you describe. The key for me has always been going very very slowly and letting my system adjust. (Drinking lots of water, and I tend to crave carbs during these times too so that seems to help) but the biggest problem I have was never withdrawal it was always some radical mood symptom.

Perhaps it is the differnce in diagnosis. I am bipolar. Do you think it could have a difference in the withdrawal process? I don’t get sick, I get manic when I go off anti-depressants. (odd - you’d think it would be opposite)

Yikes. Just…yikes.

I can second (or third?) the above suggestions to:

  1. see a doctor immediately to treat your symptoms, and
  2. not take Klonopin or any other benzodiazepines; physical addiction is a real possibility with them.

Third, you need to take it easy on yourself. (I’m assuming that your doctor is a good one and waited for a relatively non-stressful time in your life for you to stop taking the Effexor.) Do you have someone who can take care of you for awhile?

Fourth–is there any way to wean more gradually from Effexor? Can the 37.5 capsules be split into a smaller dose? This might be easier than going from 37.5 to nothing. Ask the doctor (but I think the answer is probably no–sorry).

Withdrawal from antidepressants is a huge health issue in this country, considering the number of people on them and the lack of information about the withdrawal process. I’m sorry you have to be one of the guinea pigs.

(I say this as a person who has experience using both antidepressants–including Effexor–and benzodiazepines.)

Get back to a doctor who will help you reduce the dose more gently. I am currently coming off Effexor and have had no problem dropping from 300mg to 150 in just over a week, so it isn’t bad for everyone. When I came off Paxil though I had the sort of symptoms you discribe.

I believe Effexor exists in two forms XR which is extended release capsules that cannot be divided into smaller doses, and an older form that I believe was just a plain tablet that could be subdivided into smaller doses.

Question for any Doctor here. Would it be safe and effective to reduce a dosage gradually by increasing the time between doses. Eg

100mg 1/day = 100mg/day
100mg 1/30 hours = 80mg/day
100mg 1/36 hours = 66.7mg/day
50mg 1/day = 50 mg/day
50mg 1/30 hours = 40 mg/day
50mg 1/36 hours = 33.3 mg/day

Or is this counterproductive due to the difference in drug concentration level between just before and just after taking a dose?

Miplace, the difference in withdrawal symptoms does not break down so nicely as SSRIs=easy and atypicals=hard. Particularly since atypicals are as dissimilar from one another as they are from SSRIs.

The current hypothesis correlates the seriousness of withdrawal symptoms with the relative length of action of the medication. For example: Paxil is an SSRI which has generated a lot of complaints re: withdrawal symptoms. It’s relatively short-acting.

Another problem can be the weaning off of the medication. Some antidepressants are tablets that can be split into smaller and smaller doses (like Lexapro and, apparently, the liquid version of Paxil). Effexor’s smallest dose is 37.5; the capsules can’t be split (looked it up at www.effexor.com). Going from 75 to 37.5 to nothing isn’t as easy as going from 20 to 15 to 10 to 5 of Lexapro, for example.

Finally, withdrawal symptoms can vary wildly from person to person. You, being bipolar, are likely to have a very different reaction from someone with unipolar depression.

Hope this has been somewhat informative. I don’t mean to slam anyone; I just don’t want people to get the idea that all atypical antidepressants are going to make them as miserable as poor SexyWriter is right now.

QN JONES If y ou are referring to this:

I was responding to Ivor who said he was going to go off of his Effexor adn go on to Paxil so that he could use the liquid form to titrate (understandibly because it is easier to reduce a liquid than a capsule)

If y ou are slamming me for saying that SSRIS are easy and Atypicals aren’t - then don’t because I never said that. I haven’t had difficulties like these with any of them. And I did suggest in my previous post that my bipolar diagnosis probably affected my reaction (or lack of horrible withdrawal symptoms) So I am glad you agree with me.

But in your defense even though you sounded so prickly - it was somewhat educational, having titrated from everything BUT Effexor I was starting to worry what it would be like…you have reassured me that all people and atypicals are different. Thanks.

Oh and another note…I would defintely do a little pharmacology of my own in your polace and create my very own 18.75mg (or as close as I could get to that) capsule…the rest? could go down the drain. Then next week we could see how many grains go in a 9 mg.

If I ever have those kinds of problems…That is what I would do…can’t see taking one drug to alleviate withdrawel from another…

Oh man :(, that sounds awful! My son is coming off effexor this week and I was dreading it. He had a headache on day one and that’s been the sum total of his withdrawal horrors. I’m feeling like we dodged a bullet.

I’d be back in touch with the doctor ASAP to talk about what’s going on. The method we used was to go from a full 37.5 dose to a half dose and then a day off and so on.

I went through a very nasty paxil withdrawal and found some very good suggestions at : http://www.quitpaxil.org/ .

Googling brought up some other effexor specific withdrawal sites:

Oddly enough, many of the google results that looked like information led to an online pharmacy…

Hang in there-it takes awhile, but it does go away in time. :slight_smile:

Oh good…you guys have some good advice. And I’ve stopped puking. Hurrah! Now…

I occasionally take a (prescribed) Klonopin for panicky feelings…I also have a bipolar diagnosis. And I’ve never had trouble with addiction issues, though, I am aware of them and have been careful, so maybe that’s why.

I’m pretty much with you guys though…I don’t see the sense in taking one psych drug to cover up the mess caused by another. Though, I don’t have the same qualms about taking a little Benedryl. I tend to think of Klonopin as an “emergency only” type of medication.

I have also taken other anti-depressants (Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, etc.) and NEVER had a reaction like this. Had a little moodiness maybe, but never real heavy duty physical symptoms like I was SICK.

Of course the world will go on while I lie in a benedryl coma. The only thing I’m really concerned about is that I told my Little Sister (9 years old) that I would take her swimming this weekend. And it makes me completely angry that I should have to disappoint HER because no one told me this was coming.

No, the did NOT ask if it was a good time for me to go through this. Just told me it would be no problem and sent me on my not-so-merry way.

Sigh…looking back I can’t find the name of the anti-nausea med someone told me to get from my doc. Does anyone know what it is? Is there anything over the counter that might help?

Anyone have any other estimates about how long this might last?