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Thread: Venlafaxine and head shocks

  1. #1
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    Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Hello everyone

    Just thought I'd post this as a couple of us have found we have the same thing.
    I used to be on citalopram and if I was very late taking it, I'd get this strange dizziness. It was much worse when I came off it over a few days, and disappeared within an hour of starting venlafaxine.

    Then I'd get it between doses of venlafaxine. I was on the once daily, extended release form. Long story short, for me it was resolved by switching to twice daily immediate release. I still get it if I'm a few hours late taking a dose.

    It's a strange feeling, like a buzzing in your head and like an electric shock when you move your eyes, that can go right down your arms.

    From what I can tell it's quite unusual to get it and it was quite difficult to get it taken seriously. I don't think it is serious as such, but it's a nuisance and an unpleasant feeling. It also puts me off even thinking of coming off it.

    Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of links I've found (admin, I hope it's ok to share these? Please delete if not) just in case they help others.

    The first talks about a case of a patient who, like me, couldn't last 24 hours between XR doses without the head shocks:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3267502/

    And this one is more general but it's reassuring to me to find it's not that uncommon after all:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-or-brain-zaps

    Hope this might help someone and I'd be interested to hear other people's experiences.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Well Dying Swan, you already know my thoughts on this as we've discussed extensively, but I'll add them here anyway for anyone else reading. I would like to make clear that for me venlafaxine literally saved me at a terrible mental time in life, this is NOT to put anyone off taking it or using it at all. I don't regret taking it AT ALL.

    I was astounded to hear you mention this on another thread. I started ven 20 years ago at a very high dose 37.5x6 daily. (it was still effexor in those days) I reduced and reduced over the years, but never managed to finally get off the regime of - one day 37.5 mg and on the other day 37.5mgx2. So, this is how I've been now the last 5 years. The reason I didn't manage to finally come off it wasn't due to my mental health, but this really odd sensation when I missed or was late with a dose. It was very uncomfortable and disconcerting.

    My GP at the time had never heard of it, and said it was 'probably me reacting in an anxious/psychosomatic way'. Nope. I knew it wasn't. Sometimes I would forget to take a tablet, and had no knowledge I had forgotten and then a few hours after I should have taken it this odd sensation started up. Ahhhhh, a tablet reminder ok, so I take the ven. and 30 to 45 minutes later it goes.

    What does it feel like? It feels like an electrical rush or 'swoosh' in your head when you move your eyes from left to right. Its almost like your eyes connect to your brain (well yeah I know they are ...lol) directly and send a sort of charge of some sort. I also hear it as a 'swoosh' as it happens. The longer you are late taking the tab the stronger it gets. As time goes on, it starts to also zap/rush/whoosh (sorry its really hard to explain as its not something that anything else is like) down the left of my face, left arm and shoulder. I'm sure its nothing serious, at all, goodness I've had it for so many years I'd know by now

    I too am interested to know any experiences about this, and how people have managed to reduce with this symptom. It definitely helped me, by chance, finding out from dying swan that she'd felt the same thing - as I researched it some 17 years ago and came up with no case studies or evidence of others mentioning it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    I will read those later so thanks for posting.

    It's interesting because the whole point of the XR is to avoid this and a split standard version has an extremely short half life. But for some time I've been wondering about my Duloxetine being once a day (that's the standard, it's the only version) and it has a shorter half life than even the Ven XR.

    It's hard to pinpoint because I'm a morning anxiety person at worst although my symptoms have always been persistent throughout the day but get easier later on.

    I understand that a once a day dose with a <24 hour half life means dipping under 50%. My med is more like 16 hours so it's well under by the time I take the next.
    Something interesting in this is that half life issue along with the dosage you take because taking say 150mg Ven XR provides a different blood plasma level to a split dose of 2x75mg Ven standard. The XR will get you up to 150mg and reduce from there but the split dose won't overlap enough to reach 150mg but if the half life of the XR isn't long enough it could end up dipping further below 75mg than the split dose dependant on timing.

    Very interesting.

    The head zaps are a well known withdrawal issue too and that's consistent with your point about it not keeping your med levels up enough. That electric shock down the arm is a well known one cited in Paroxetine withdrawals too.
    Last edited by MyNameIsTerry; 28-01-18 at 16:08.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Oh Terry, you understand this dose, half dose thing so well, I can't get my head around it...its numbers and my head just goes 'Duuuhhhhhh'. My dose is only 37.5 mg though, and not the 75mg, but I guess the same applies in your theory. I can't compare to any other form of XR version, as have never taken it.

    OK, I've read it three times, and I get it now.....

    So, the arm/head whatsit thing...I mean WHAT is it...what causes it in other meds where it is documented ( know why but don't get the physicological mechanism)?

  5. #5
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    I'm logging off now but I'll draw up an example of how these meds decline over 24 hours. It's a model that all meds work by, each med can differ it's elimination times though and also it's individual to the body (certain renal disorders effect it, hydration levels, even gender in some meds) so without actual clinical studies there is a standard calculation to use as a guide.

    It will probably make more sense illustrated.

    As for these shocks, I mostly know about them because I've read it im various medical literature I'm sure for Paroxetine. In the case of Paroxetine it's cited as going down the spine and one of the reasons people find it hard to come off. I've read it in Ven literature too I think.

    I would have to dig that stuff up but it's probably in that psychology today link above. I can't remember what causes it without checking but I do know it's documented as a withdrawal effect. Both Paroxetine & Ven are considered the hardest to come off so often get cited together for various reasons e.g. GP's to explain this potential harder withdrawal compared to other SSRI/SNRI meds prior to prescribing in NICE guidelines.

    That doesn't mean to say everyone struggles though, just that it's been found to be an issue of more note in these two than others.
    Last edited by MyNameIsTerry; 28-01-18 at 16:35.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Thank you Carys and Terry for sharing your thoughts and experiences with this. Honestly it's refreshing to know that we aren't alone!

    The way you describe it Carys is spot on. I feel as though it's some electrical impulse or something, definitely related to moving my eyes and head, and yes it gets worse as time goes on. It's not a huge problem, more of an inconvenience which I can avoid so long as I take the ven within a reasonable time frame.

    Also agree, and should have said in my first post, that it is not a reason not to try this medication. It's just an annoying side effect which seems to be quite unusual.

    I would love to know the actual physiological mechanism that causes this. Something for me to try to look into, out of curiosity more than anything else. If I come across anything interesting I'll post it here
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  7. #7
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Just us then Dying Swan, with the venlafaxine issue. You said we were special !

  8. #8
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    I’m on ven, been on it about 5 years. I’m on 150mg xr

    I don’t know if this is similar to what your going on about
    I get electric shock feeling on the ear lobe! It’s wuite intense sometimes and I have to hold it.
    Haven’t tied it up to anything, as I mainly take at the same time each morning .

  9. #9
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Carys View Post
    Just us then Dying Swan, with the venlafaxine issue. You said we were special !
    Well I hope that means others don't get this nuisance issue, but I'm betting there are some more out there!

    Clio, welcome to our exclusive club! That's interesting, and thank you for replying. Do you think it started since you started venlafaxine? Do you notice it at any particular time of day?
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  10. #10
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    Re: Venlafaxine and head shocks

    Hi

    Defo started after taking Ven, Iíve not put a pattern to it yet! But will be from now on.

    Also what I get from starting Ven is

    A dry sore tongue, maybe bit more intense if anxiety is higher, never had this in 35 yrs of anxiety or any other meds.

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