My Truth about Effexor

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dalli17
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/11/2006 2:46 AM (GMT -7)   
I am a 36 yr old nurse. I have had really hard time over the past couple of years. It started Nov. 04 with my grandpa, who suffered 30yrs. with sever chronic back and leg pain. He took his own life the day before Thanksgiving. In June 05, my 27yr old cousin was diagnosis with stage 4 colon cancer. She was a mother of 2 little boys( 3yr old and 1 yr old) . My mother was diagnosis in Nov. 05 (5 days before Thanksgiving) with metastatic melanoma to the brain. No treatment was offered due to the rapid progression. Needless to say, I was feeling sad, angry, anxious, overwhelmed and scared. At this point, I started not sleeping well. But, I am the strong one (with nursing knowledge) that knew the truth about there situation. I could hold it together when I needed to. In January 06, I found a lump in my breast. After a ultra sound and needle biopsy, my doctor recommended I have removed ASAP because of it's size and family history of cancer. I felt I was doing well emotionally but other people around me did not agree. My family doctor had been treating our family for the past 25 yrs. I had previously asked for ambien to help me sleep. Between work and helping my mom I had to rest sometime. After the results of biopsy came back suspicious, I broke down asked about starting on an antidepressant. My doctor is type to refuse to prescribe unnecessary medications or order the smallest dose and increase as needed. I trusted his judgment completely. He started me on a low dose of Effexor XR 75mg QD. It started to work rather well. that is also about the time my mother and my cousin both lost their battles with cancer. This happened in February of this year. My cousin died on a Friday and my mother died on that Sunday. I went to see my Dr. shortly after they passed away and my biopsy results were clear. No cancer... I was relieved but it was then I realized I didn't have my mom here to share this good news with. I could not hold back the tears any longer. I began to cry uncontrollably. My doctor asked how the medication was working and I said up till now it had to be helping because I had not killed anyone or myself. I continued to cry at least daily for the next few months. Then it moved to maybe mornings and one other time that day. Then I started crying all day even at work. My friends started voicing concerns because I was not acting right and I did not seem to be taking my meds.. These continued to get worse until Mothers Day. I hit the deepest and darkest part of this journey. I would have to go minute by minute to "Just Breath" and get out of bed. I called my doctor at the constant pressure of my wonderful caring friends. They just were worried about me. I didn't care about them, my family or anything else. I did not want to go on. He increased my dose to 150mg QD. I am still on that dose according to his records. By the end of the summer, it was not unusual for a suicidal thought to creep in my head daily if not more. I was also at that time I began to experience this strange feeling every time I turned my head. Especially when I backed out of a parking space. It was if my head had to catch up with my brain. I thought it might be an inner ear infection. I thought maybe my blood sugar was low because I did not eat much. I did not feel hungry and still don't. Food is something I practically have to choke down. I have never been a big eater but Ive always enjoyed good food. I will be bent over to pick up something from the floor and have to grab the rail in the hall to get my balance. I shake and sway sometimes. This type of behavior as a nurse is unsafe and could be misunderstood as being an impaired. Honestly, I felt Im not safe to practice unless I go home and take my pill. These symptoms only occur if I am late or miss a dose. I could not imagine at first what could be causing these strange symptoms. Since fall began, I have gone even deeper into myself and more isolated. My personality has changed and not for the better. I am paranoid and jealous about friends, family and co workers leaving me out on purpose. Even though I did not want to go anywhere. My mind plays tricks on me. I don't trust anyone or anything right now. My friends have started to back off or I've push them away. Until today, I had never heard of "brain shivers." But thaat is what I have been experiencing for months. I had planned on calling my doctor in the morning about my medication side effects and trying to decide about quiting it altogether. Even before I found all this information I knew this could not be normal. I have been hearing and reading about Effexor and the side effects. As a nurse, I think I should have been better informed of the side effects before I started taking it or giving it to my patients. I don't expect anyone to understand my feelings because I don't get it either. It is nice to know someone might. It also comforting to know I am not alone or crazy. A name for the weird thing my head had been doing.

I have come my own personal conclusion about this medication..... It has not helped at all.... I think maybe if I would not asked for the med. The grieving process may have been easier. He told me No pill removes sadness. Remember That.... I also never got a handbook from the funeral home mapping out this grief thing and how it works....... If anyone has one PLEASE SHARE. I have managed all these years without medication. I want to try to live life without it.

I will call him in the morning. I wonder if he knows about all these problems lately about Effexor.
If not I will be happy to enlighten him with info I have found.
I do know one thing for sure.... HIND SIGHT IS 20/20. I cant not justify wasting my time or money on an investment with no return. So why continue with the plan if, I have gone through this nightmare year and endured the side effects only to be worse instead of better. I want to try life without being medicated. Right now I don't feel anything except anger and frustration. My biggest fear is the unknown. What if brain shivers, sleep and appetite are permenant problems. I am going to try the benadryl. and follow the Dr.s orders. I hope this finds you well, Please pray I survive this withdrawal time. My friend and family will be excited to see me again. . or at least that what they tell me. Thanks for whoever reads this and has advice. sad

Post Edited (dalli17) : 12/11/2006 12:12:35 PM (GMT-7)


Sad & Angry
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 211
   Posted 12/11/2006 8:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I just started taking Effexor, (only 5 days) and after reading your thread, I am worried that I might have the same effects? I was asked to take Paxil, but that gave me headaches and also didn't agree with me. So now I am on Effexor. There seems to be some changes and I hope it will work.
 
Please keep us posted about what you find out about your condition.... Frankly I don't know anything about Effexor or the side effects it can have?

slowlygoingcrazy
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 12/11/2006 10:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been on Effexor for about three years now. It helps me stay sane. Some days are definitely better than others. But I'm now up to 225mg/day. The one thing I find is it's tough to miss a dose. I get nautious in the car. I am unstable. I get headaches, which have a good chance of turning into a TMJ headache if I don't get my medicine. Some days it takes a little longer for the effects to set in, some days it's within hours. It depends on how much I'm doing. But I've heard that Effexor is one of the more difficult ones to wean yourself off of. So if you choose to go off it, take it slowly. And give yourself the time to heal physically and emotionally. It sounds like you've been through a rollercoaster ride the last few years. I've been through periods like that as well where it seems things are only getting worse not better. I hope you have a lot of support and even a therapist to help you through this. It's a lot to deal with alone.

Take care of yourself.
slowlygoingcrazy
 It would be easier to tell people I have cancer than it is to tell them I am severely depressed.....


dalli17
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/11/2006 12:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the replies. I have an appointment this afternoon with my family Dr. I want him to help with a plan to get off this medication as quickly and safely as possible. I feel relief that I have a name for this weird feeling. I have been very concerned about how this is effecting my job. My boss' are very understanding and supportive. I left work early to relax before my appointment. I have lots of friends, family and co worker on my side. I am just really frustrated with the pharmaceutical company for not being forth right with information about this drugs serious side effects. I think it is their RESPONSIBILITY....... I might not have taken this had I known. But I was denied that opportunity to make an informed decision. I spoke with the nurse (wife) of my Dr. She said she had not ever heard of brain shivering. That is just wrong. I also found where the FDA is investigating this drug for this and other reasons. As for you, Sad and Angry, I would make sure you are well informed and so is your provider before you are at the place I am where something has to happen now..... I would have probably went a different route had I known. Just because you know and trust your Dr. does not mean he is more informed then anyone else. Medications work differently on everyone. My case sounds more the on extreme end than most from what I have read. Besides all the feelings of loss, I also feel deceived by the company who makes this. There is petition circlating to have the company take responsibility. I will keep in touch. Thanks again

ozfm
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 12/12/2006 5:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Dalli17
 
I have been on Effexor XR for a over 12 months, it was the 4th anti-depressant I've tried due to side effects from the others I'd tried.  I started off at 37.5mg, gradually increased to 300mg daily and now back to 225mg daily.  It did help me for a while, but over the last few months, my mood swings have been horrendous, spending days on end crying, which is soooo not me.  Just feeling absolutely miserable, and while I would never do anything about it, suicide, to a minor degree, has crept into my thoughts, only in the sense of seeing no light to the end of the tunnel of misery.  Once I swing up again, I can't undertand how or why I was so low.  I'm starting to think that the Effexor is now not working, and would really like to get off it.  I'm terrified of the withdrawal symptoms, but also concerned about what I believe are the side effects of Effexor.  Once again off to the doc and want to consider changing or withdrawing from Effexor.  The only time I've had anything like the brain shivers is if I've been late with taking my meds, my main concern at the moment is the wide mood swings.
Good luck with coming off the Effexor, and best wishes for a happier future.
 
Deb
They say life is a bowl of cherries........... we just have to learn how to spit out the pips!


els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 12/12/2006 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Dalli17, I wanted to take a moment to welcome you to Healing Well forum, we are glad to have you join us here.  I am also so very sorry for all you have been through it sounds as if it has been a tough and emotionally trying year for you.

I have had major depression for many yrs and also been on many different antidepressants over the course of 15 years.  Every antidepressant I have ever been on has had some negative side effect and also has been very difficult to stop taking or wean off of.  These medications are regulating the serotonin, dopamine & norepinephrine in our brains so; this is why we would get "brain shivers" or the feelings of "motion sickness" if we decrease our dosage stop taking it.  I think it is good that you trust your family physician however; antidepressants and related medications really need to be dispensed by a psychiatrist and especially managed by one.  These are not medications that a physician should just write an order for then not follow up on at least every 4-6 weeks to see how you’re responding to the medication or if adjustments need to be met.

I too have been on Effexor Xr for over a year now at a dosage of 225 mg.  For me Effexor has been a life saver which pulled me out of a deep depression when I was extremely physically ill.  I have worked in the mental health field for many years and had prior knowledge of Effexor and was leery of taking it at first but it has worked well for me.  I would know it is frustrating when you’re faced with medications that don’t work or stop working however, I also think it is important to stress that everyone is different and reacts differently to these meds.

In my opinion Effexor is an effective form of treatment and I wouldn’t want to scare someone who has just started to take it or may be considering taking it.

 

Elisha
Co~Mod: Depression
Moderator: Heart & Cardiovascular Disease
http://www.healingwell.com/donate


faith35
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/14/2006 5:33 PM (GMT -7)   
hello there, this is my first time posting a message. After reading Dalli's post about Effexor, I just had to put my two cents in...

I first took Efexor xr 4 years ago. I have been dealing with depression since the age of 12, but never thought to get help until age 31. I was up to 300mg a day. I think my Dr thought I was imagining all of the weird and scary things that were happening to me shortly after starting this drug. He said that physical ailments are a common symptom of depression. So each time I complained about something new or different, he would just increase my dosage. Not once in the year and a half that I saw this Dr did he warn me of ANY side effects from this drug. Perhaps he didn't know either? It has been since doing my own investigation online that I finally realized that I wasn't going crazy, the "brain shivers" were a very real thing. When I would try to explain it to someone, I would say that it felt like electric shocks in my brain, or like those exploding rocket candies I had as a kid. I also had such severe vertigo that I would pass out, once crashing through a glass table, and once into a bath tub full of water. Other times I would be able to catch myself before hitting the ground. I ended up seeing a neurologist and an ENT, and when they couldn't figure out what was causing it they called it Meniere's Disease. Again, no one twigged on to it maybe being related to the Effexor. I had these problems for about a year and a half after going off Effexor, and finally they seemed to be lessening. Now I have recently started taking it again, the depression has reared it's ugly head again. My vertigo is also back, so I have to make sure I have people near by in case I do damage to myself when falling. My mood swings up and down like crazy, and yes, even suicide pops into my head. I keep breaking out into hives and my hands shake. My new Dr won't try me on anything else yet, he says since I already know how this drug works I should stick with it for a few months, and if I find that I just can't tolerate it any more then we will try something new. This is month 2 of taking this again, and I am finding it a lot different than last time, especially the mood swings. It did help me before, even with the awful side effects, so I am going to give it another few weeks. I just wanted to mention this because it was such a HUGE relief to hear others saying the same thing, that I am not the only one, and I am not a drama queen. I feel like a small piece of the weight on my shoulders has now been lifted. So thank you!

ozfm
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 12/15/2006 12:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi faith35 and all

I saw the doctor yesterday and she has increased my Effexor back to 300mg daily for a couple of months until I can get back in to see the psychiatrist again and be assessed. Faith your comments about hives was interesting, as I have recently spent a small fortune seeing an allergist about my hives. Hives have only been a major issue since I've been on Effexor, and it's interesting to know that others have the same problem. Effexor has also increased my blood pressure to a point that I have to take medication for that too. Another problem I have is severe pain in one ear, like an ear infection. My doctor checks it everytime I go in for a visit, but it is always clear. I have had limited relief using ear candles, but it isn't long term, or cheap.
I will be asking the psychiatrist to take me off the Effexor and replace it with something else - these side effects are a pain in the neck.
Good luck to you all
Deb
They say life is a bowl of cherries........... we just have to learn how to spit out the pips!


dalli17
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/15/2006 11:52 AM (GMT -7)   
I saw my doctor on Monday. We talked for a good while. He is supportive and listens well. He asked if I would like to try tapering off the meds. I was more than willing. His wife is a RN and works in his office. After meeting with him, she was very interested in the info I had found on the internet. Neither one had here of brain shivers. Dr. said that electric sensation is listed on rare withdrawal symptoms. But the great part was they both listened and were supportive. She wanted to keep the papers I brought about the side effects.
I have been taking 75mg since Monday. The side effects/ withdrawal have been bearable. Nothing like what I expected. I am already feeling more clear. I am able to concentrate at work. The girls I work with were watching me walk down the hall to a patients room. One of them noticed my pony tail swinging. My best friend said that she called everyones attention to this. Because it had been so long since I "bopped" down the hall. I can't thank my friends (co-workers) enough for their support.
I actually feel HOPE and PEACE for the first time in nearly 2 years. I received a card from my aunt (she lost her dad, sister and daughter) for Christmas. The card had a beautiful picture of my mom and cousin on the front. Inside the card read- To my family and friends please be thankful today. We are still close behind you in a new special way. We love you all dearly now don't shed a tear cause we are spending our Christmas with Jesus this year. Last week, I would have cried then shut down angry. When I read it last night with my sister on the phone, I cried and then I smiled. I felt peace about it. I am not sure if this is all because of the meds. But what ever has made me feel again I am truly glad. I just want to update my progress. Thanks for the replies. Those have also helped.
Take care and keep checkin in. :-)

ozfm
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 12/15/2006 4:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Dalli
I'm really pleased for you that you are feeling so much better and feeling "hope and peace" again.  It's great that your doctor actualy listened to you and has been responsive to your needs.
My doc has increased my Effexor again, but I look on it as a temporary measure until I can get back to the psychiatrist and review my side effects and either change or reduce my meds.  I have a lot going on at the moment and with Christmas as well..... agreed with my doc to increase my meds to try and manage my symptoms for a couple of months and then look at withdrawal.
Best wishes to you for continued improvement and successful withdrawal.
Deb
They say life is a bowl of cherries........... we just have to learn how to spit out the pips!

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