Did nobody respond to this? I can't tell if that's the case or my computer is just on the fritz. Oh dear. Well, I feel I should respond even though you and your girl may have come to different conclusions and decisions that what you have expressed here.
I have been on Effexor XR once before and stayed on it for a period of 2 years. I just started taking it again today, ironically. I suffer from IBS and generalized anxiety disorder.
My experience with Effexor XR has been that of the four or five anti-ds the doctors have prescribed me for my IBS and/or anxiety over the years is that Effexor has had the least negative side effects for me. The first few days are the worst. I have some mild to moderate nausea, stomach upset, dizziness and a sense of jitteryness. The first time around, I didn't sleep for three days. Based on that experience, I now know this med makes me alert so I take it in the morning.
The medicine did wonders for my anxiety and my IBS. I went off of it eventually because it really had helped stablize my moods and get me back to a place where I felt confident without it. I've since gotten into a bit of a rut, so I"m back on it for a little while.
As for weight gain issues, I too am very sensitive to this. I am very fit and abhorred the idea of taking something that would make me gain weight. I actually lost a few pounds when I started Effexor the first time. By the time I went off it, I was about 10 pounds heavier. However, in retrospect I have to attribute this to my diet and hectic work schedule. I was adapting to my career and not working out and eating as well I should. I blamed the med, but I really think I have only myself to blame.
I never noticed any sexual side effects with it.
Withdrawal was hell for me. I'll be frank. But with a doctor's guidance, it's manageable.
Everyone reacts differently and I think it's worth your girlfriend trying it if she needs it. It really sounds like she does. I'd do it in conjunction with some talk therapy, too!
You're an awesome boyfriend for trying to learn about this and help her. She will love you and thank you for such selfless support. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions about my experience, then and now, with Effexor.
27 year old female
Dx: IBS-D - 2004
GAD - 2008
Meds: .5- 1mg Klonopin
Supplements: Doctor's Choice Enzyme Therapy Multivitamin for Sensitive Stomachs, Provex CV Flavonoid, Digestive Enzymes