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Thread: Effexor XR Withdrawal

  1. #1

    Effexor XR Withdrawal

    I'm sorry if this post is confusing -- my thoughts are all over the place right now.

    I have recently stopped taking effexor xr. I was on 150mg (I don't remember how long I was on it because my memory has been terrible ever since I started taking the medication).

    About a month ago I decided to stop taking effexor xr cold turkey. I knew it was actually making my depression worse rather than making me feel better. It caused me to gain 20 pounds within a single year (even though my doctor disagrees, he says effexor doesn't cause weight gain, but I know that's bulls**t). And I got hives shortly after I started taking it, so I believe it's what caused me to develop CHRONIC HIVES. I have them EVERY DAY now. Also, it made me feel like a robot. I had no emotions other than annoyance and anger.

    I developed severe social anxiety, so I don't even go out with friends anymore. I don't even really have any friends any more. It also caused me to have no sex drive, which really aggrivated my boyfriend.

    I was put on effexor for my depression. But the thing is, I don't think I've ever had depression. I've just always had anxiety -- and if I've ever been depressed about anything it would be because I have bad anxiety.

    I wish I would have researched this medication before I started taking it.

    Every time I went to visit my doctor after he put me on this medication, I would tell him that I didn't think the effexor was working, but instead of taking me off of it he would either increase my dosage or change up one of my other medications (I'm also on medication for ADD).

    Anyway, when I quit taking effexor cold turkey.. things were GREAT for about a week. I was motivated, I was more active, I wasn't as nervous and I actually made an attempt to get in touch with some of my old friends because suddenly it bothered me that I didn't have a social life. Then the second week I began experiencing the withdrawal symptoms. I vomited about every thirty minutes for two days straight, I had extreme vertigo, I got TERRIBLE headaches, I was paranoid that I was going to die (I would sit around thinking of all the ways I could possibly die at that moment and I would scare the hell out of myself). Then, one day, I got the mother of all panic attacks. I literally thought I was dying. I thought I had had panic attacks before but they were nothing like this. I couldn't breathe. The air that I was sucking in was not going to my lungs. I was with my mom and I asked her to call 911. Once they got there they told me it was just a panic attack and after telling them I had quit taking the effexor, they told me I needed to get right back on it. That quit taking it cold turkey is extremely dangerous.

    Anyway, Monday morning I called my doctor and told him I wanted off the effexor. He tried to convince me to stay on it, but I told him I refused to stay on it. He tapered me off of it by decreasing my dosage to 75mg, then the next week to 37.5, then the next week I no longer had to take it. I took my last dose of effexor on Thursday.

    Now my withdrawal symptoms are really starting to freak me out. I have a headache at least once a day. I'm always so tired but I can rarely sleep. I'm irritable. I'm INCREDIBLY paranoid (mainly about death). For example, everytime I have to drive on the interstate I'm convinced that either my tire is going to blow out or the tire of a vehicle near me is going to blow out and it's going to cause me to get in a wreck and die. I'm scared to go to a mall because I'm scared I'll be there on the day that some homicidal maniac shows up with a gun and starts shooting people. I'm scared to go to sleep because I think my heart will stop. I realize that these fears are ridiculous, but I can't control the power they have over me. I'm completely missing out on the best years of my life. I've wasted an entire year because of this stupid medication.
    Other withdrawal side effects I've had are vertigo, nausea (I have it constantly), electrical shocks throughout my body, constipation, restlessness, loss of appetite, and the list goes on and on. But just tonight its started to feel like every few seconds my heart beats a little harder than normal.. and when it does I get a ringing in my ears for like a split second. Has anyone ever had this?

    I'm mostly worried about this extreme paranoia I've developed. I've always been extremely cautious -- but NEVER to the point that it caused me to actually stop getting out and having fun. I've looked up typical effexor withdrawal symptoms and this one isn't listed, but has anyone ever experienced anything like this while trying to come off of depression medicine?

    I feel like I'm losing my mind.
    I feel like I have more problems now then I did before I started taking effexor.

    I want to live a normal life so bad, but all of these side effects are holding me back. I have no control over anything anymore. I just don't know what to do.


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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    I do feel for you as I also had major problems coming off Effexor. After 18 months (!) of trying, my doctor finally replaced it with Prozac which is easier to get off. The last attempt which was successful took about 3 months. It is really not a good idea to rush the tapering. I'm now Effexor free since April.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    NEVER NEVER just stop any anti depressant, it will drive you mad like this. It will make you really ill.

    I will tell you the best way to do it.

    Every day when you take your pill do this:
    If it is a tablet get a sharp pair of scissors and cut a tiny piece of pill off of the pill before you take it, each week cut off a little more so you are gradually taking less and less of the pill tapering it off.
    If it is one of those plastic capsules with small beads in, open the capsule take a tiny amount of beads out and then put the capsule back together before taking it.

    This reduces the amount you are taking SLOWLY. Each week take off more pill and more beads so you are taking less and less.

    This slowly reduces the amount without the body noticing. It will not stop the effects but you dont get the violent ones.

    In the end you end up with no pill left. It does work.

    But dont ever stop cold turkey.

  4. #4

    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    I tried stopping in cold turkey once, but ended up having to go back on it and taper myself off of it.

    This time around my doctor had me take the normal 150mg for one week, then the next week take 112.5 mg, then the next week take 75mg, then the next week take 37.5mg. Then the next week he said I no longer have to take it.

    I did taper off of it.

    My last dose was a week ago.

    I feel sick. Sometimes my heart feels like it's about to stop.

    Quitting cold turkey made the withdrawal symptoms more painful, but the withdrawal symptoms from tapering off the medication seem to last much longer and occur more frequently (at least that's how it is for me).
    It's a lose/lose situation.
    I hope the withdrawal symptoms don't last too long, but once I no longer have them this agony will all be worth it because I'll no longer have anything to do with this medicine ever again.

    I f**king hate effexor.
    It didn't even work for me.
    It actually made things much, much worse.. both while I was on it and now that I'm off of it.


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    57

    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    Hang in there, sounds like your having a normal effexor reaction. The withdraw from this drug is the most dangerous part about it. There is good news however... I have before gotten off it and seen people and talked to people who have gotten off it. It will be the worst two weeks of your life... But you will live and do much better afterwords. I am unfortunatly back on it trying to get off again but i did stop it for a year once. It sounds like you may want to consider a new Dr., someone who may have a bit more experiance withthe drug. Best of luck to you and please read up on this forum about this drug and peoples experiances you will find that they mimic yours. Dont worry too much and keep us posted.

  6. #6

    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    Quote Originally Posted by katicotrophic View Post
    I'm sorry if this post is confusing -- my thoughts are all over the place right now.

    I have recently stopped taking effexor xr. I was on 150mg (I don't remember how long I was on it because my memory has been terrible ever since I started taking the medication).

    About a month ago I decided to stop taking effexor xr cold turkey. I knew it was actually making my depression worse rather than making me feel better. It caused me to gain 20 pounds within a single year (even though my doctor disagrees, he says effexor doesn't cause weight gain, but I know that's bulls**t). And I got hives shortly after I started taking it, so I believe it's what caused me to develop CHRONIC HIVES. I have them EVERY DAY now. Also, it made me feel like a robot. I had no emotions other than annoyance and anger.

    I developed severe social anxiety, so I don't even go out with friends anymore. I don't even really have any friends any more. It also caused me to have no sex drive, which really aggrivated my boyfriend.

    I was put on effexor for my depression. But the thing is, I don't think I've ever had depression. I've just always had anxiety -- and if I've ever been depressed about anything it would be because I have bad anxiety.

    I wish I would have researched this medication before I started taking it.

    Every time I went to visit my doctor after he put me on this medication, I would tell him that I didn't think the effexor was working, but instead of taking me off of it he would either increase my dosage or change up one of my other medications (I'm also on medication for ADD).

    Anyway, when I quit taking effexor cold turkey.. things were GREAT for about a week. I was motivated, I was more active, I wasn't as nervous and I actually made an attempt to get in touch with some of my old friends because suddenly it bothered me that I didn't have a social life. Then the second week I began experiencing the withdrawal symptoms. I vomited about every thirty minutes for two days straight, I had extreme vertigo, I got TERRIBLE headaches, I was paranoid that I was going to die (I would sit around thinking of all the ways I could possibly die at that moment and I would scare the hell out of myself). Then, one day, I got the mother of all panic attacks. I literally thought I was dying. I thought I had had panic attacks before but they were nothing like this. I couldn't breathe. The air that I was sucking in was not going to my lungs. I was with my mom and I asked her to call 911. Once they got there they told me it was just a panic attack and after telling them I had quit taking the effexor, they told me I needed to get right back on it. That quit taking it cold turkey is extremely dangerous.

    Anyway, Monday morning I called my doctor and told him I wanted off the effexor. He tried to convince me to stay on it, but I told him I refused to stay on it. He tapered me off of it by decreasing my dosage to 75mg, then the next week to 37.5, then the next week I no longer had to take it. I took my last dose of effexor on Thursday.

    Now my withdrawal symptoms are really starting to freak me out. I have a headache at least once a day. I'm always so tired but I can rarely sleep. I'm irritable. I'm INCREDIBLY paranoid (mainly about death). For example, everytime I have to drive on the interstate I'm convinced that either my tire is going to blow out or the tire of a vehicle near me is going to blow out and it's going to cause me to get in a wreck and die. I'm scared to go to a mall because I'm scared I'll be there on the day that some homicidal maniac shows up with a gun and starts shooting people. I'm scared to go to sleep because I think my heart will stop. I realize that these fears are ridiculous, but I can't control the power they have over me. I'm completely missing out on the best years of my life. I've wasted an entire year because of this stupid medication.
    Other withdrawal side effects I've had are vertigo, nausea (I have it constantly), electrical shocks throughout my body, constipation, restlessness, loss of appetite, and the list goes on and on. But just tonight its started to feel like every few seconds my heart beats a little harder than normal.. and when it does I get a ringing in my ears for like a split second. Has anyone ever had this?

    I'm mostly worried about this extreme paranoia I've developed. I've always been extremely cautious -- but NEVER to the point that it caused me to actually stop getting out and having fun. I've looked up typical effexor withdrawal symptoms and this one isn't listed, but has anyone ever experienced anything like this while trying to come off of depression medicine?

    I feel like I'm losing my mind.
    I feel like I have more problems now then I did before I started taking effexor.

    I want to live a normal life so bad, but all of these side effects are holding me back. I have no control over anything anymore. I just don't know what to do.



    This post has been automatically edited by the NMP post filter
    hi, im not sure if i writing in the correct spot or whats the go.. its my first time here and i read this and its exaxtly what im going through .. YES my heart beats harder sometimes like i can realy feel it beat.. i know its been ages since u wrote this but how long did it take for it to stop?? ive been 6 days now without effexor and im feeling a little better but i just want to be back to feeling myself please can someone reply

  7. #7

    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    I have also just stopped taking effexor, I took the last few grains about 6 weeks ago and still feel ill. I thought I was over the brain zaps, but they came back this evening. Yes, the withdrawal is awful, it's making me feel very ill both physically and mentally (brain fog, confusion), but I know that I want to come off and will just go with it until I feel well again.

    Hardly words of encouragement, but if you really want to stop then you must be strong.

    Hang in there!

  8. #8

    Re: Effexor XR Withdrawal

    How you guys doing with withdrawal?
    I know how bad it is trying to come off it,it took me 6 months however I did have to go back on it.I hate the stuff but have to take it ( 225mg's a day ) its the only thing that works for me but my sex drive has gone and put on 4 stones.
    Hope you guys are hanging in there.

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