Anyone ever come off venlafaxine (effexor)

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1629
   Posted 6/17/2009 6:10 AM (GMT -7)   
I am currently tapering off this drug and have come down from 75mg to 37.5mg and feel physically ill ... nausea, diahorrea and dizziness. Anyone else had this? And more to the point, has anyone got any tips or positive experience of coming off this drug as all the research I have found on the internet is that it is a terrible drug to wean off.

Victoria x


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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/17/2009 8:10 AM (GMT -7)   


Hi there, I addressed this same post in the Depression Forum.  You might try our Search Feature above and type in Effexor Withdrawal to see any older threads that may have information for you.  :)

Take care

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 6/17/2009 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Victoria,

I was on Effexor XR for two years and weaned off it about two years ago. I was only on 75mg. I weaned down to 37.5, then 37.5 every other day, and then finally just stopped taking it. I had a really hard time weaning off it. My doc said some people are more sensitive to the effects than others and I seemed to be one of the unlucky ones.

I was dizzy, experienced "brain zaps" which felt like electrical buzzes in my head, when I would turn my head quickly it felt like my brain was slowly trying to catch up, I had vertigo, nausea, diarrhea, horrid headaches, fatigue followed by insomnia, and overall just a feeling of malaise. It was the pits. It took me a good 2 months to taper off to the point where I could just stop. I mostly just stopped because I was sick of the withdrawal effects.

Unfortunately, my doc didn't give me anything to help with the withdrawal. Now I know that certain things like benzos can be given to you to help you sleep, relax your body, etc. Even low doses of Prozac I've heard can lessen the impact of the withdrawal. Something about it's half life helps...sorry I'm clueless on that one, you can google it as that is where I read about it.

I took lots of benadryl to help me sleep, immodium for the diarrhea, tylenol for the headaches and drank tons of water. I slept a lot and exercised a lot to keep myself feeling even keel.

Best advice is stay in constant contact with your doc. If you are dissatisfied with how he/she handles it, tell them so and emphasize how bad your symptoms are. I wish I had done so.

Most of all, hang in there! It will get better and once you get the meds out of your system you'll be fine.

* I should add just because I had a rotten time of it, doesn't mean you will! There are many people who have no issues with weaning off of it. I think your symptoms are very common for weaning off of many drugs, not just SSRIs. You may only have symptoms for a week or so. Wean at a pace that works for you, too. My doc tried to get me off the Effexor within 2 weeks and it just wouldn't work for me as I got too sick. Like I said, I finally just bit the bullet and said sick as I will be, I am going to stop. The worst of it was over in about 48 hours after completely stopping.*

27 year old female
Meds: 20 mg Celexa, .5- 1mg Klonopin

Post Edited (belablue) : 6/17/2009 1:31:19 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/13/2009 8:42 AM (GMT -7)   
shakehead  hi, I am new to this site but I am trying my hardest to come off venlafaxine too. I was only on them for three months when I requested to my doctor that i come off them - being a single parent with two children is hard enough but the venlafaxine have been making me very, very irritable. my doc had no problems with me coming off them and first I cut down to 75mg with no side effects apart from sometimes feeling human. I then cut down to 37.5 and that is when the problems started. I get pins and needles in my face, feel light headed and have now started to get electric shock like feelings as well as nausea. My doc has also put me on matazipine???. I reported these symptoms to my doc who said stay on the 37.5 for now then cut down to one every other day which I am struggling to do. I went to the psychiatrist last week who has, in her wisdom, prescribed me an anti-psychotic (I dont know its name as I havn't picked it up yet) but who decided I MUST come off the venlafaxine immediately and wasnt interested when I told her about the side effects. I am trying my hardest but as I write (40 hrs without venlafaxine), the electric shocks are getting worse and I am struggling to focus to write this (thank goodness for delete buttons),  I feel seriously sick, my hands, arms and face have pins and needles and I dont know what to do.
Why, if the medical people are aware of this drugs side effects do they bother to perscribe it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 41
   Posted 7/13/2009 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
I was on effexor for just over a year - 37.5 mg per day.  On January 1st on started a very slow wean off the drug.  I wanted to have minimal withdrawal effects so I took it really slow.  I started off taking the beads apart and taking out 1 bead per day.  At one bead per day I had absolutely no side effects.  To speed things up I started taking out two beads per day and still had minimal side effects.  Some days I felt really sleepy but for the most part managed to get off the drug with no brain zaps or dizziness.
Anyway, my suggestion is take it very slow.  open up the capsule and take 1 or 2 beads per day.  It took me just over 3 months to get off the drug but I could function.  My suggestion if you are going to use the bead counting method is use toothpicks and a bowl and remove two beads per day (each capsule has different # of beads).  Pay attention to how your body is adjusting.  If you decide to increase the amount of beads you take out -- be careful and pay attention to your body. 
Again I had no problems taking out 2 beads or 1 bead per took longer but I had barely any side effects.
Good luck.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/8/2012 2:37 PM (GMT -7)   
I am so incredibly frustrated about the lack of information out there about how difficult it is to geet off of venlafaxine/effexor.  My doctor has be down to 37.5 mg once a day this week and I feel really odd about halfway through the day.  I telephoned the pharmacist to find out if I could open the capsules to make the taper slower (I'm supposed to take 37.5 mg per day for a week and then nothing), and she said "you shouldn't be having that much trouble."
Hello!!!  Anyway, preaching to the choir, I know.  I feel like writing a book about it or something, why don't pharmacists or psychiatrist know anything about this?  or are they just turning a blind eye?
Please share your thoughts.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27277
   Posted 8/8/2012 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome!

I am sorry that you are having such a tough time with frustrating when a professional says how you shouldn't be feeling!

Anyway, this thread is about 3 yrs I am not sure that you will be hearing from any of the contributors...but you are always free to start your own topic post, which may help you to get more responses.

In the meantime, here is a website that you might find helpful.
Good luck, and post with us anytime!

Scaredy Cat

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 8/8/2012 10:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I didn't have any trouble coming of of it but I basically went straight to taking wellbutron. I don't know if that made a difference or not.
I have been dx with fibromyalgia, depression, barrettes disease, fatty liver, inflammatory arthritis, insomnia, osteoarthritis in my knees, hypothyroidism, I just want some energy back!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 7113
   Posted 8/9/2012 9:31 AM (GMT -7)   

I was on Venlafaxine for a period of time. As other have said it is hard to come of bur must be done very slowly and under supervision of your doctor

I try not to worry about the future -- so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time.


Diagnosed with:- Asperger's Syndrome, dyslexia, gad, sad, ocd, depression, reactive arthritis and Scheuermann's Disease (Adult)
Medication:- 400mg Lyrica, 15mg Escitalopram, Serequel 25-50mg, 5mg Diazepam Naproxen 500mg, Co codamol 30/500 x 6.
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