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Not Doing Well With Effexor Reduction..... I Am Sick, Need Some Input Plz

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Pain Medications
Hello all. Last week at my New Patient appointment with my now new PCP he discovered that I had been prescribed 2 x's the maximum adult dosage of Effexor XR by my previous doctor. He was quite concerned (and me too) that I had been taking this dose for over a year. As some of you may know it is one of the nastiest of it's class of drugs to taper down or off of. I have been taking 3 - 150mg pills every morning.... so we decided to shave one of them off and just take 300mg. I did ok for the first few days, but in the past 48 hours have been experiencing an increasing severity of withdrawl symptoms: Severe nausea/upset stomach, pounding head ache, crying alot when I try to talk to people about it, increase in my pain (depression makes the pain worse, which makes the depression worse.....), my anxiety level is THRU THE ROOF, and I just over all feel like hammered hell.

I called and spoke with his nurse and explained the situation to her and am waiting for her to call me back after she talks with the doctor. I was planning on seeing him monthly while this process is going on as it is a slow one that needs to be closely monitored.... but feeling this badly I simply couldn't wait until my appointment in 3 weeks.

I remember in another topic I posted, there were some spineys out there who had gone thru this before with the Effexor XR.... I NEED YOU GUYS!!! Can you just let me know if this is similar to what you went thru?? I think that since I started up the ladder with the Effexor XR at 75mg increments that maybe 150mg's is a bit too much too fast. I have a feeling that I need to go down by 75mg steps rather than such a big leap as 150mg all at one time.

I'm just looking for anyone who may have gone thru this at sometime. I feel like a snowglobe that has been shaken up... all those things flying around inside.... that's how MY insides feel.... mind, body and spirit at the moment.




  • Hang in there. I will be praying for you and hoping you get a call back really soon from your doctors office. I have never taken that med so I don't have any ideas for you but I just wanted you to know I will be thinking of you.
    Take care,
  • Thank you so much. As always, I appreciate it very, very much.... especially on days like today!

    I mean, Mike and I actually had a fight last night and I know it was because I was overreacting to something that normally would run off my back. We NEVER fight!! It just made me feel that much sicker. But when he came home from work for lunch we sat down and talked. I asked him to remember that I am working on decreasing my dosage and that the next couple of months might be alittle rough for me. He had COMPLETELY forgotten about the Effexor issue and thanked me for reminding him. He said that atleast now last night makes sense to him. I apologized for the way I reaccted and he said it's ok.

    The whole reason we fought? Because we live all of 5 minutes from the radiostation where he works.... maybe 7 minutes if you get caught at the light. He gets off of work at 5pm, unless something has exploded or doesn't work. Well, 545pm was rolling around and I tried to reach his cell phone.... went straight to VM. I tried the station number but they were closed as it was after 5pm. So, my anxiety is kicking up.... in my mind I am picturing something happening to him.... losing him.... going thru the familiar steps of burying my 1st husband but replacing the face with Mike's. I couldn't help it... I CAN'T help it sometimes, to run STRAIGHT to worse case scenerio. Well, he rolled in alittle after 6pm as someone grabbed him for something as he was walking out the door and he had no idea it was so late. I was just upset that he didn't take the 30 seconds it would have taken to say "yo, I might be a few". But dealing with all of these issues with the Effexor dosage being decreased, it felt much worse to me than it was.

    I feel like SUCh a head case today.

    Thanks again for taking time to post. I appreciate it greatly.

  • Hello. I'm Sorry your feeling so Bad. I can't imagine your pain. Our Minds are very Powerful so try to Stay Calm through all of this. Keeping Busy is always good. Enjoying some Fresh Air, Looking at the Beautiful Scenery and Focusing on the Good in our Life helps when were feeling Bad. Reading a good Book or Reading the Bible strengthens and comforts many people. Hope you feel better soon.
  • Unless the doc has another idea I think your idea about 75mg at a time is likely the answer. I have heard a lot of nasty stuff about Effexor. Lucky me I never got it pushed on me for pain! I did get the wonderful Cymbalta suggested twice. I am so very glad I could not tolerate it either time for more than a few days the first time and 10 days the second time.
    I know we want this over quick when we get stuck in these places. It almost always takes longer then we want to reduce these meds.
    Take care, and take it one step at a time. Remember as you go it may indeed be helping you and at some point it may be OK to stop at a dose and accept that it is working at that level!

  • I haven't taken Effexor but I have taken Zoloft and I have a friend who just got off of Effexor. I think you need to go way more slowly. Maybe even less than 75 mgs. If you look on the internet, you could find some suggestions. Effexor, you know, is also used to treat nerve pain so slow and steady wins the race. I'm happy for you that you found a new, good doc. Susan
  • About 15 or so years ago, I went on Effexor for depression - it was immediately after the very first formulation came on the market, just as an idea of how long ago it was. It worked great for my depression and eventually I got myself straightened out, so I no longer needed the medication.

    I have NEVER had that tough of a battle to withdrawal from a drug, including all these opiates I've been on since I was cursed with this pain. It took nearly forever for me to get off of it, because we had to reduce it by 1/2 or 1/4 of a tablet at a time - but like I said, that was the original formulation, not the XR that's currently available.

    I vaguely recall some years later reading something about doctors switching people from Effexor to an equivalent dose of Prozac in order to stop the med or even just to accomplish dose reductions. Apparently the premise is that Prozac prevents the withdrawal symptoms associated specifically with Effexor and doesn't have its own.

    It might be worth looking up to see if that's true, and if so, if it would be an option for you. It's not something I gave much thought to at the time, because 1) I was off the drug and 2) I'm horribly allergic to Prozac - although I might have considered anaphylactic shock in place of those withdrawal symptoms!

  • I remember how crummy I felt getting off the Zoloft. Again, I think you should go back up to a higher dose and withdraw more gradually but also be careful of your "self-talk". Try to tell yourself, "this isn't so bad or "I can deal with this" Just try to let the feeling wash over you and not assign a value to it. Don't tell yourself, "this is so horrible, I can't stand it. I also used this technique when i quit smoking. Hang in there and let up knoe how you're doing. Susan
  • Good day all. Today I feel alot less like a rabbit running from a predator! I still haven't heard back from my doc's office ( I did call them and ask the status of my message and the receptionist heard the nurse discussing my issues, so I'm sure they should call after they get back from lunch I hope.

    I doubled my dose of Seroquel last night (from 200mg to 400mg) as it is written that I can take one or two at bed time. I opted for 2, I figured it sure couldn't hurt! I slept like a HUGE rock and am feeling a bit hung over to say the least. Got my Klonipin picked up from the pharmacy last night (it is the only one not covered by my insurance and I just didn't have the fundage to pick it up until yesterday.)

    SO, even tho I haven't heard back from the doc's office I am feeling quite a bit better today. I think the Seroquel may help me with this decreasing of my Effexor. I don't feel the nausea today that plagued me for the past 2 days and that is a blessing in itself..... don't know about anyone esle, but I would rather barf than walk around feeling like I want to, you know? Usually after shouting at the porceline god you feel better.

    Anyway, just wanted to check in and say that today is better than the past 2 or 3, and I am hopeful that these changes that were made might help me get thru this. Oh, and doc upped my dosage of Klonipin from .50mgs to 1mg tabs that I can take 1 -2 up to 3 time per day. The klonipin is just a wonder drug for me when the anxiety gets out of control.

    SO, I feel slightly medicated today, but it is a great trade off to how I was feeling just yesterday.

    God bless you all for your info, input and words of support and understanding. It's just the bomb knowing that you are all here whenever anyone needs something. Muah muah muah to you all (those were blown kisses).


    Amy ( the mayor of funny farm town.... come join me!! lol)
  • Well, I sure appreciate the info you gave about your own personal experience with this stuff. It sure helps me to not feel like I am going crazy.... it's just my body trying to readjust. I can handle the readjustments aslong as it isn't killing me with withdrawl symptoms. Today is better, so that is my focus. Small accomplishments. If I look to closely at the big picture it is too much. I will take my personal victories, as small as they may be, closer to heart than the "what if's" and being scared of the future. I am working on taking baby steps, celebrating those accomplishments, and move on the the next "baby step" on my list.

    That's kinda where I am right now.

    Thank you again for posting. I appreciate it when you do!! i value your opinions and your insight into your own experiences.... and I appreciate you sharing them with me. very much.

    I hope this finds you doing well and getting ready for the WEEKEND!!! YEA!!!

    Peace and hugs,

  • I'm glad your new doc seems to care and want to help. I tried Klonopin and just couldn't do it. I gave it a week and gave up. I am SUPER happy to hear that it's working for you. I've gone through withdrawals and I know how that feels. Every muscle in my body hurt and I had a fever, nausea, pain coming from everywhere. But it sounds like the worst is over for you. Good. You deserve a break. And I'm glad that you and your husband were able to work things out. Communating your pain I know can be hard to explain and hard for him to understnad but it sounds like the two of you are quite the pair and will work it all out. Good for you guys!
  • I wrote a long post to you last night in response to this and for some reason it didn't go through ~X( so hopefully, I can remember everything I wrote and have better luck submitting this one.

    I just weaned off effexor to go on cymbalta. I was told that I was taking max dose at 75mgs 3x per day so I was concerned about you when I seen how much you were on. My doc would wean me off by reducing the dose by 75mg per week. I was also slowly introducing the cymbalta at the same time so it may not be the same for you. I do know that when I was on effexor and if I did not take my dose within 12 hours of each other I would start to get "brain shivers". I googled the feeling I was experiencing and surprised it is something that the effexor can cause. It's like someone is shocking you with electric and you feel the jolt but it doesn't hurt. It's really hard to explain but you may know what I am talking about if you've been on it for awhile and you may be experiencing this now. Klonopin really helped me through this as well. I only am prescribed .5mg once per day but while I was going through the withdrawals, I had to take 2 some days.

    Good luck with weaning off. Effexor is some pretty potent stuff. The reason I went off effexor and on cymbalta is because cymbalta is also prescribed for nerve pain as well as depression and I was on it before and it seems to help better with depression. I really hated the withdrawals from effexor and the dependency that you have it you are only 30-60 mins late taking your next dose.

    Good luck with everything and feel free to PM me with any questions, comments or concerns.

    I'm so glad you finaly found a doc that will listen and take you serious! <:P
  • brain shivers... oh how that statement makes me cringe. In an attempt to rid myself of my panic/anxiety I tried nearly every GAD/SSRI med such as effexor, lexapro, prozac, zoloft, and the list goes on and on. Effexor, I hate to say it, was one of the worst drugs I've ever come off of. It is metabolized extremely fast in our bodies, and excreted fast too, which is why they had to make the XR formulation. I know exactly what it means when it's been said that 30 or 60 minutes late on taking your pill, and you feel WRONG. For some people, it just works. For me, it was one of those things where once I took it, I felt like I had to for the rest of my life, like it was a trap. It didn't help me at all, but to show good faith to my internist I would try each med for 2-3 months. I never experienced the brain shivers prior to taking effexor, but I have had them since on many occasions, sometimes when just tired, sometimes when I really need to eat.. I'm not saying much with a positive vibe here but I will say this: taper off SLOWLY. As slow as possible, and at least one month between reductions. You WILL get through it, and you WILL be ok in the end. It may be unpleasant, but it sounds like you have a doctor who is willing to help ease the transition (klonopin).

    This is the only med I ever took, where I felt like it was specifically designed to keep you hooked for life, benefits or not. Aside from caffeine that is.

    You WILL be ok; keep your chin up.

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