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Stopping Effexor Is a Nightmare

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Q. I have had great trouble stopping the antidepressant Effexor. I tapered off this medicine as instructed, but I still have a feeling like electrical shocks going through my brain.

Getting off this drug has been a nightmare. If for some reason a person had to stop suddenly, he might go crazy with the withdrawal. Before stopping, I forgot to take my medicine with me on a short trip and the symptoms were excruciating!

A. Many readers report difficulty stopping antidepressants like Effexor or Paxil suddenly. The electric shock sensation is a common symptom. Discontinuing such drugs requires medical supervision.

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I, too, had a terrible experience coming off Paxil. My situation was similar in that I also forgot to pack my medication prior to a trip. I was so put off by the experience that I asked to be switched back to Zoloft, but only if I could do it without the crazy withdrawal I had experienced.

My doctor assured me that by replacing Paxil with Zoloft (which I had used in the past), I would not experience the withdrawal. Fortunately, he was right. I now take Zoloft at a moderate dose and will never use Paxil again.

I hope that others are as fortunate as I in their attempt to safely wean themselves from Paxil.

I would like to speak with this person or any others you know if possible. I have had a terrible time getting off of it. And the electrical shocks in the brain, I thought I was just going crazy. I am so glad to hear others going thru the same experiences that I am. (not that anyone should go thru this) I have been off for a few months and it hasnt gotten much better. Does anyone know if it will go away?

I also discontinued using Effexor about 2 1/2 years ago. My doctor was not happy about my doing this so was not helpful in the method I needed to use. I tapered off over a period of a couple months and then eventually just quit. It was not a fun experience to say the least. I felt that I was in a downward spiral with no bottom in sight. I had a lot of support from my family and friends and my chiropractor. I have been free of all SSRI's since and feel great. It frustrates me that our good physicians are so bent to have us take these drugs and then do not educate us on the withdrawal symptoms. I did not know what these drugs were doing to me until I tried to get off them. It would take an act of God to put me back on anything like that again. Good luck to any who withdraw from these drugs. Stick with it, be persistent. It can be done. Sue

I worry that someone reading about these problems might resist taking these drugs. I know I resisted SSRIs at first because I was afraid of messing with my brain chemistry. I had to try several different SSRIs before I found one that worked without bothersome side effects, but the medication gave me my life back. I have a friend with lifelong depression who had tried SSRIs and given up on them quickly. I encouraged her to keep trying until she found one that worked for her...and she did. She tells me one of her biggest fears in life now is that she would have to go off the meds for some reason. This withdrawal side effect sounds nasty (I was on Effexor briefly, but it made me tired so I switched to another drug after a couple months...with no withdrawal problems), but it may be worth the risk if you are experiencing some of the debilitating symptoms of depression.

I originally was on Celexa but after 5 years, it didn't seem to work anymore so my doctor switched me to Effexor. It worked for my depression but also caused me 3 trips to the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. The hospital thought so too. I had every heart test possible both invasive and non-evasive. My wife spoke to my doctor stating she thought the Effexor was causing the heart issues. My doctor disagreed. After 6 months of misery, 3 hospital stays, and numerous procedures, we were still convinced that Effexor was causing my problems and I stopped taking it cold turkey. After 3 days of withdrawals, my heart issues stopped. I went 4 months without an antidepresant until my doctor gave in and prescribed Cymbalta. Thank God my wife is a faithful reader of your column - you all saved my life !

A couple of years ago I had to go off of Effexor because it made my blood pressure sky high. At first the doctor put me on a 3 to 4 week tapering schedule, and when I went completely off I was so miserable that I went back on the 37.5 mg dosage. I took that for a month and then stopped taking it altogether.

I was sick for about 4 months, and several months after the worst of the withdrawal I started having stomach problems again. The doctors ran tests and could find nothing that would be causing the pain I was having. So, I believe it was some delayed effect of having gone off the Effexor. I will NEVER take this medication again and I would STRONGLY suggest people not take this medicine unless nothing else works.

I have just stopped taking 75 mgs of Effexor daily and the motion sickness is awful. I get queasy and dizzy anytime I walk around. I am worried, because I have no idea how long the withdrawal from this medicine will last. If I had know what it would feel like to be on it, I would have never taken it.

I too am on Effexor and have had horrible withdrawal when I tried to stop. On one occasion I stopped the medication for 4 days and swore I was dying. I had electrical impulses all over my body, aches and was in a head fog. I just threw the bottle away a few days ago and am trying to not think about what is about to happen. I have been on them for about 5 months and they have caused me to have horrible memory problems. I want off them mainly because of that.

I am currently on Effexor RX and have been on and off of them while having children. For me the withdrawal the first time going off after about 6 months on them was not bad. A few days of tingling sensations in my hands, feeling a little out of balance or like I was in a bubble... but I was working out and training for a marathon so the symptoms literally only lasted a few days. I'm currently taking Effexor, and they make me feel great. I am more afraid of what my life would be without them than the scare of life going off of them.

My husband has been trying to taper off of effexor for almost 2 years now with no luck; whenever he gets to the lowest dose he suffers the very painful electrical shocks discussed above and has to be movd back up. He is currently in Iraq on his 3rd tour and back to a max dose because of this. Will he ever be free of this evil drug?

I ran out of Effexor last week and took 4 days to refill it. What a nightmare. I thought I had the flu with terrible stomache pains and nausea. I was extremely irritable and even irrational. I went back on and within the same day felt better. Am I hooked for life? It really does help with my depression more than anything else, but don't like the thought of being a life-long user.

Hello All--thanks for sharing I have been trying to go off Effexor for about the last 3-4 months--I get to a point that my emotions seem to be overwhelming and I am feeling out of control and then I start back on the med--but after reading comments from people I am going to continue to get off effexor--I thought it was just me. Thanks.

Zoloft did same intermittent electric shock feelings to me when I ran out several yrs. ago. I switched to several different SSRI (LexaPro, Paxil, Cymbalta) in the interim, but later returned to Zoloft (generic: seratiline) at 1/2 the dose I was on previously. Dr. told me that some folks need to stay on it forever, which I would say I agree with for now.

In 2003 I took Effexor. In November 07 I began taking it again after tapering off Welbutrin. I also take another medication that is very strong. I started out just as every medication does, at the lowest level. I eventually began taking 150mg. On Thursday I decided that I in fact did not like the way the medication was making me feel in many different forms of my life emotionally, etc. I have taken several other mood stablizers throughout life.

Anyhow, I could have tapered off the medication as I have smaller capsules available, however I believed cold turkey was the best bet for me. I began feeling the very same electric shock throughout my body. The 'powerful' medication I take is a neurological mood stablizer so I started thinking it may just be that, then I remembered coming off effexor before... Now I know Effexor cold turkey --- may not have been such a great idea; however, mood medications do get out of your system in a matter of a week to two.

If your body is still having the effects, I would strongly recommend visiting a physician. Long term effects can stay with you depending on your body. Effexor is a strong medication... I know if I am feeling misserable here in a couple days (today is my fourth day), I will be contacting my doctor. And she will not be happy with me for the cold turkey. But one thing we all have to keep in mind, we do know what does make us happy... or we should.

Good luck to everyone.

I haveen on almost all of the SSRIs and Effexor has been the most effective for me. I asked my shrink if I should take this in the morning or at bedtime, and he said morning because it was a bit of an upper. I take it when I get up and 2 hours later I can hardly keep my eyes open. Was I given some bad advice?

I was taking Effexor for three + years at 225 mg /per day for "off label" migraine prevention. It took 3 years for my migraines to become less frequent. (I was also on Topomax, but it didn't help me, and caused suicidal thoughts.) I didn't like the lack of energy I had plus I felt way too apathetic on Effexor.

A year ago my neurologist started the weaning off process with me. I finally got down to 37.5 mg every other day after weaning down for one year.When I ran out of the 37.5 mg pills the other day I had terrible vertigo and shock sensations and nausea within the 2nd day of not taking any.

Now I'm back to taking 37.5 mg every other day. I wonder how long I have to take this dose. I will try this dose every 3 days. Should I break open the capsules and take a tiny bit until I'm off? This is ridiculous!

Once when I had to come off cold turkey from the 225 mg dose (in order to have a myleogram)I was in very bad shape with extremely low blood pressure. An ER doc prescribed Valium to help me with the vertigo. This did help. I wonder if this would help me wean off now? Are there any herbs I could take to stave off the vertigo...St. John's Wort?

I was prescribed effexor for hot flashes. It did not work so I decided to stop taking it. This is not the first time for that....the side effects are so horrible that it always caused me to just start taking it again. Today I am on day 4 and wondering if it will ever stop. The zapping, fogginess, or depression.

I was really never depressed until now. This medication is the worst and it is funny how many different reasons it is prescribed.(almost scary) If anyone knows when it will stop pleasse let me know... I really would love to look forward to that day. I really would not like to go back on it!

Two years ago I was put on Effexor for hot flashes only. It did help. After about l l/2 years, I decided to see if I could do without it. Went on line and found all these people with horrific problems weaning. So decided to wean myself. No doubt I started too quickly.

I ended up in hospital with severe cramps, bouts of nausea etc. and they finally told me I had a bacterial form of colitis!! They gave me 2 very strong antibiotics and it went away within a few days.

Then about 1 year later, I suddenly developed the same horrible pains again. I have been tested for pretty well everything and they can't find anything wrong. I am convinced this all stems back to going off the Effexor. I am still trying to find out what it is that I have.

So far, I've been off effexor for three days. I feel nauseaus and I'm craving weird food (like jalapenos). I feel pretty dizzy, but I did not consult with my doctor because I would have to wait a month for an appointment.

I just didn't feel like I needed the medication anymore, but now I feel sick. I'm wondering if working out would help. Either way, if I would have known the side effects I wouldn't have went on it. I've only been on it for three months and I feel like without it I can't function right.

I am currently de-toxing from 125 mg of Effexor. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that so many other people have had similar problems kicking the drug.
I have been feeling all of the symptoms you have all described and it has only been three days! I was wondering if anyone knows of any natural remedies to help with the vertigo and the `shocks`´. Any advice would really help!

I'm glad i ran across this and heard some of the things being described because I couldn't put it into words. I ran out of effexor (150mg daily for over five years) and couldn't get in to see my doctor because of severe gout. That was three weeks ago and this is misery and after going through this I wasn't sure I wanted to go back on effexor but after reading what has been happening to people I know I'm not going to take it. Hopefully I can get through this with as little pain mentally and physically.

I have been on Effexor XR (150 mg/day) for almost three years. Over this period, I've had some serious and unprecedented health problems. Most notably: severe stomach cramps that sent me to the emergency room on four different occasions, resulting in EKG's, blood/urine/stool analyses, ultrasounds, an endoscopy, treadmill tests, and all sorts of other tests that found NOTHING. Also, I've had bouts of lightheadedness, fainting, tightness in the chest, clamminess, elevated blood pressure, etc. etc. etc.

After browsing through the postings on this page, I've become convinced that the Effexor has played a major role in these problems. I am now weaning myself off the stuff, and even though I'm tapering off of Effexor very slowly, MAN are the withdrawal symptoms HORRIBLE!! (I've had just about every withdrawal symptom described on these pages -- electric shocks, feeling like I'm in a bubble, nausea, ringing in the ears, vertigo, weird food cravings, etc.) It's been over a month now of steadily decreasing dosages, and about half of those days I seriously felt like dying might be a welcome relief.

Anyway, I'm down to somewhere around 20 mg/day (opening up capsules and pouring some out), and I do feel better but not great. I am hopeful that, as I titrate down further and further, I will feel better and better. I'm not necessarily CONFIDENT of this, but hopeful.

Given how badly I felt being ON this stuff (it did help my anxiety and depression, admittedly, but not enough to justify the pain), and how badly I feel getting off of it, I think it's safe to say that (a) I will never take it again, and (b) this is some serious stuff.

I empathize with, and wish the best of luck to, those of you having similar problems. I don't have much advice to offer. I have noticed that moderate exercise DOES, sometimes, reduce the symptoms. Unfortunately, it also sometimes brings me almost to the point of passing out.

I greatly appreciate your postings. They have helped me a lot.


I'm now on my 5th day off, and I still feel like I'm drunk all the time, and I don't even drink. I have taken Effexor 150mg for 1 1/2 years and I decided I didn't need to take any more, so I went down to the 75mg to see if I could take myself off slowly. After taking the 75mg every other day for about 2 weeks, I felt like I could just stop taking all together. At first my side effects where crying, tingling in my face mostly around my mouth, dizziness almost like vertigo. I'm just wondering how long do the side effect last. I don't want to go back on the medicine so I will be sticking it out no matter how long it takes. I think I will try the exercising to see if that works....

Thanks for listening.

Wow, this is amazing. I've been on Effexor XR 75mg for 3 weeks. My doctor took me off Zoloft that I was on for 5 mo. He put me on that along with hormone therapy for menopause. I never asked for an anti-depressant, I just wanted the hot flashes and hair loss to stop! He said part of my problem was depression.

After 5 months on both Zoloft and Prempro my hair loss and hot flashes began again, so that is when my doctor switched me to Effexor. I wish I had read these postings before that. I started gaining a lot of weight and felt foggy in the morning, so decided that I would try to get off both.

I'm going to try some natural hormone replacement (from another doctor that I'm seeing tomorrow) and 2 days ago decided to try to go off the Effexor.

I was up half the night with horrible nightmares and sort of electric shocks going through my brain. This morning I can hardly walk because I'm so dizzy. My fingers are tingly and my memory loss is crazy. I'm going to take a half dose of Effexor now after reading this and call me doctor. I'll try not to scream at him for doing this to me....

I started weaning off Effexor 150 last October. My doctor told me to cut the dosage to 75 mg, but my withdrawal symptoms were so bad (brain zaps, dizziness, etc.) that I took the method into my own hands. Every day I take the capsule apart and count the beads so that I withdraw VERY gradually. In 150s, there are 400 beads per capsule. It is now May, and I am down to 160 beads daily. I save the extras, so now I have enough to stop paying for more perscriptions. I never reduce the dosage by more that 10 beads, so that is why it is taking so long. I don't care, because the symptoms are HORRIBLE and this process makes it much easier. I want off this drug, and I think this process will be close to a year by the time I am done. I wish I had read sites like this one before going on this drug.

Well, like others have stated, I am glad to hear that I am not the only on with these crazy symptoms. I started using 75mg of Effexor two years ago after having my first child. I hate the Brain Zaps, or how I describe it is little neurons firing in my head. I hate it because it makes driving a car scary. Any sudden movements (like looking to make a swift turn), makes me very dizzy. I have been late several times filling my prescription throughout my use of effexor and experienced these brain zaps and headaches. It drives me nuts.

Now, I have decided to quit cold turkey. I have been off the drug 5 days and have been experiencing stomach cramps, nausea, indegestion, gas, bloat, emotional dives, and brain zaps. I have never experienced problems with my stomach before (while being late to fill a prescription). I was beginning to think I was pregnant until I read these posts. (I am not late, nowhere near it, I take B.C.s regularly). I don't care, I am sticking it out. I am going to get off Effexor. I will say the Effexor did help me out a lot. I think it works wonderfully as long as you are taking it. The side effects of stopping it are what is the turn off!

I have been taking effexor for about six monthes now, and I found out that I am pregnant and must quit taking it. These are the worst side effects I could imagine. if anyone knows when they stop, please let me know.

Have been on Effexor 37.5 for 1 year. I have tried to increase dosage to 75mg but could not--bad tremors, sleepless nights, & anxiety. Lately having extreme bouts of unbearable anxiety, interfereing with life in a bad way. I had to leave work one day. Doctor told me to stop the Effexor. So it's been 3 days without. He has put me on Apo-Lorazepam which is temporary. Where do I go from here to help with this awful anxiety I am experiencing? When it happens, I feel like I am going crazy. Any suggestions?

I have been taking Effexor for two years. I am currently take 150 mg of Effexor XR once a day. I was perscribed Effexor by my psychiatrist for depression.

Initial side effects included loss of libido, delayed orgasms, and other sexual side effects. When I would forget to take Effexor, I noticed flu-like symptoms, irritability, and a mental fuzziness.

In the past year, I have noted additional side effects and withdrawal symptoms, which I thought were unique to me and unrelated to Effexor, but now seem consistent with the reports of other users.

Side effects include: vivid, emotionally unsettling, dreams; night sweats, progressively worsening sexual dysfunction, excessive yawning, intense apathy and lethargy, intense sleepiness. The sleepiness is deeply frustrating, for I might sleep for twelve hours, wake up with no sense of being refreshed, and then immediately wish to go to bed again.

You might be asking--why am I still taking this drug? There are three reasons. First, the side effects mount slowly. Second, as the side effects increased, I thought they were my fault, e.g. I was being lazy, or I was allowing my mental and physical discipline to slip. Until I very recently turned to the web and found other Effexor users reporting the same side effects, I thought I was unique. The third reason has to do with the withdrawal symptoms, which make it impossible for me to function at work.

Withdrawal symptoms include: crying spells, social anxiety, destructive mood swings, problems with memory and focus.

My depression was brought on by my spouse's decision to end our marriage--something I did not want to see happen. I believe my depression was a natural reaction to a very stressful time in my life. Had I to do it over again, I would have treated my depression with talk therapy rather than with medication.

I have found Effexor to be more destructive to my well-being than the depression it was inteded to treat. While I am sure Effexor is an appropriate choice for some people, it was not for me. I consider the side effects to be incredibly harmful. Additionally, the intense withdrawal symptoms--Effexor is physically addictive to a distressing degree--make it very difficult to get off the drug.

I am a college professor, and this summer I will not be teaching or doing research. My plan is to slowly reduce my use of Effexor and carefully monitor my mental health. By August, I hope to be Effexor free--and that will be one of the happiest days of my life.

I am just like all the rest of you. I was put on Effexor from Lexapro to treat my postpartum depression. Although they both helped, they never completely got rid of my emotional distress. In fact I think being on the meds created other symptoms.

After 6 months on the med and jumping my dosage around because we moved, I wanted to go off the drug. I didn't have a new physician, new insurance hadn't kicked in and found I could get it over the internet. When I first tried to wean myself down, I felt great. After about 4 weeks on the low dose (37.5mg) I spiraled into several days of horrible sadness and crying. So I went back up.

It has bothered me to NO END that I was STUCK on this med. I decided recently since my script is running out that I am going cold turkey - hell or not. I mean - I am still a mess on it so why bother.

I am on day 4 and bearing through it all. I see my Dr today to talk about it. I also have a job interview to go back to work. Oh yeah - like the next few weeks will be fun.

I hate the stuff and really blame the manufacturer for this nightmare - ruining people's lives. Very sad!!

I am a breast cancer survivor. I had the breast cancer in 1993. Took Tamoxifen for five years, followed by 3 years of Letrozole (Clinical Trials). I suffered really bad hot flashes.

Also, I had a TAH & BSO in 1987. I was on Bellergal from 1994 to 2003. I went to see my oncologist for a F/U visit. My oncologist was out, so I had to see another oncologist. She had just read some literature about Effexor being very effective for relieving hot flashes, and she talked me into signing up for this clinical trial. I was to taper off the Bellergal for 1 week and then start low-dose Effexor (it was not a blind study).

I was off the Bellergal, and three days on the Effexor when my life changed. I was awakened at 3 AM with chest discomfort, nausea, dizziness and the urge to have a BM. While in the bathroom, I had a seizure like-episode on the bathroom floor. When I got up my legs felt cold and wobbly, my hands were tingling and I had a small headache in the right temple area.

My husband took me to he ER. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. The heart monitor showed that with the slightest exertion, my heart rate went up to the 130s-40s. My ears were ringing, I was seeing white floaters in my right eye. They ran every conceivable test and could find nothing. In the meantime I was continuing to have these episodes of dizziness, sensation that I would fall over when I turned my head to the right, excessive belching, heartburn, stools either gray or bright lime green, chest discomfort, headache, heart palpitations, sinus tachycardia, chills, shocklike sensation in my head, crying spells, anxiety, left hand turning blue, floaters in my right eye, ringing in my ears.

A cardiologist did a stress test and a tilt table test, they also did a cardiac cath. He concluded that I have inappropriate sinus tachycardia, dysautonomia, frequent PACs and palpitations. They said you also have Reynaud's. That was in 2003. Prior to that I was HEALTHY: no allergies (Now I have multiple allergies), no heart problems, no GI problems, nothing. Now I continue to have palpitations, sinus tachycardia, excessive belching, right sided headaches, ringing in my ears, anxiety, multiple allergies, brain fog, shock-like sensations in my head, left shoulder and right thigh. I am attributing all of this to going off Bellergal, starting Effexor and going off Effexor. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

I have found that many doctors do not listen to their patients, and if they do listen, they're too quick to conclude that it all is in the patient's head when they can't find any conclusive answers from all of the tests that they have in their arsenals. They prescribe many of these drugs without knowing themselves what the possible consequences could be. I pray for the day when most doctors will consider that their patient's experiences can provide valuable information. Thank you.

I was on Effexor XR for six years. At a very bad time in my life I was on a very high mg. For that reason, the thought of ever going off this medication never entered my mind. However, recently I took a long look at my mental as well as my physical health. Since going on effexor, I had gained 60 pounds, was extremely tired to the point of exhaustion and sleeping was my favorite way to pass the time. Forget about a sex life because that was not going to happen. Food had pretty much lost any taste to me, which explains the weight gain. I went from being a woman that was very concerned about my looks to not caring as long as my plus-size clothes still fit. Exercise was a thing of the past. For someone that had always had some type of exercise regimen going on, I simply had gotten too exhausted to try and really did not care.

As the additional medications began to collect in my kitchen cabinet (high blood pressure, diabetes, low thyroid, high cholestrol and hormone replacement), I began to question if this was the way it was going to be for the rest of my life. Well, I did not like the way things were looking, and I went in to see my doctor. I asked him his opinion of the safest way to stop the effexor.

After only two weeks of lowering mgs. I have been off for one week today. Wait... don't applaud yet. The past four days have been horrendous. The BRAIN ZAPS, NAUSEA, HEADACHE, DIZZINESS and FLU-LIKE SYMPTONS are wearing very thin on my body and nerves. And the DREAMS, my gosh the dreams. Some I would not even discuss with my husband of 36 years.

Looking on the bright side, I was able to write this in about an hour, which should have taken what, three minutes. Anyway, the reason I was compelled to post this was to let everyone know that there is a rainbow out there and I really feel like my pot of gold will come by flushing my mind and body of Effexor. WATCH OUT HORMONE REPLACEMENT, YOU'RE NEXT.

I have been on Effexor XR 150mg for, if you can believe it, 20 years! And that, in addition to Wellbutrin 150mg. My depression recently began again, and I asked my psychiatrist to change my medication (he was not the one who originally prescribed), and he told me he needed to "wean" me off the Effexor since it was the most addicting.

I took a week of 75mg, then a week of 37.5mg. I remain on the Wellbutrin and he added Luvox as well. He cautioned me that I would suffer withdrawals, and he was right. The very first week sans the Effexor, I have been a wreck! Crying jags, depression, apathy, and severe muscle cramps in my thighs! I called him yesterday during one of my crying spells and he assured me that in about a week or week and a half the withdrawal symtoms would subside. I certainly hope so. I can't take much more of this!!

I stopped taking Effexor after weaning off for 2 weeks, and what a nightmare. I am an emotional wreck. The brain shocks are the worst, and I call it white noise that goes along with it. My appetite is off the charts, and I am always tired, I just can't get it together. I will never take Effexor again. I will deal with my issues with counseling.

I was put on Lorazepam for anxiety. I took .5mm almost daily, for anxiety attacks. After 2 and 1/2 months I decided to quit taking it, and I developed sleep tremors and insomnia. It has been 6 weeks, and I have barely slept. As soon as I lay down and start to relax my body tremors internally / like electrical shocks all through my body. I was basically not falling asleep until right before it was time to wake up. Even with the short 1 hour of sleep I was aware of the tremoring while I was sleeping. It was horrible!!!!

I heard about the sleepy time herbal tea with valerian root, drank a cup 2 hours before bed, and fell asleep. I have been doing this at night, and it helps me to sleep. I still feel the tremors when I wake up. I have had every test you can imagine, cat scans, MRI's blood test, etc. Doctors ruled out any medical problems. I was also put on citalopram, but it caused more anxiety in me, so I did not continue.

They want to try another drug, but I am scared to death to take this very strong, mind-altering medication. I have never had anything make me feel so out of control in my life. I wish my doctor would have shared the reality of side effects with me. My experience with anti-anxiety medications have been an absolute nightmare.

I have just completed reading all the posts related to Effexor, and I have to admit that without this drug my life would be unmanagable. I too experienced the shocks and vertigo but this was BEFORE I was placed on anti-anxiety medication.

For many, many years (15), I was on Lorazepam (tranquilizer) for stress related palpitations that put me at the ER. While taking on a new career the stress of the new job started to manifest itself in me by experiencing vertigo while driving my car. Man, that was one of the scariest moments of my life, driving in the fast lane on a 4 lane highway, squeezing the steering wheel until my knuckles turned white, all along feeling like I was losing control. I finally made it home, barely. I told my wife about it and she could tell I was concerned. The next morning I tried to drive into work, I only got about 2 miles and I had to turn around because of spinning and shock-like sensations.

I went to my ENT doctor and explained my predicament; he ordered tests (balance testing for inner ear malfunction). Nothing wrong. He then sent me on to a Neurologist who again oredred an mri that came back negative. Remember now, I couldn't drive to work, or anywhere for that matter, so I worked at home until I had a diagnosis (had a super employer).

When I went to follow-up with my Neurologist, he wanted me to try anti-anxiety medication. I was extremely reluctant and I asked him if the stuff would make me feel crazy? He looked at me and said "You are crazy, this will make you feel normal". He said I could continue with the Lorazepam while taking this drug (Paxil). He said it should take 2 to 3 weeks before I see the change take place, in the meantime you might feel tired. Lo and behold, he was right! I did get tired, but by the end of the second week the electric shocks went away, and I actually drove myself to the doctor's to thank him for bringing me back to life. I also was able to stop taking the Lorazepam.

It's been many years since then. I found Paxil to be too numbing and tried a variety of meds and finally landed on Effexor XR 150 per day. I started at 75, but a couple of years later I had to bump it up to the 150. There's beem a couple of times that I forgot my script at home while traveling, and it was pure hell, the shocks and vertigo set in, but remember I had these BEFORE taking this drug. So I'm not so sure that these are side effects of withdrawals or part of the anxiety that I have been able to treat. I had been diagnosed with depression manifesting istelf in anxiety by my Neurologist.

Overall, it's been very helpful for me, and I couldn't think of not having it in my system. I'll be on this for the rest of my life, no doubt, but it's better than being debilitated to the point of insanity.

Good luck to all of you and I wish you the very best in your quest to feel better.

I took Effexor XR for a couple of years for major depression. It really helped (I had tried a lot of natural, alternative approaches as well as therapy). However, my cholesterol went up to 380. So in 2004 I decided to stop. After reading about withdrawal problems online and consulting with the psychiatric nurse who prescribed Effexor, I started tapering off very slowly. When I got vertigo and dizziness, I would slow down the process even more. It took about 4-5 months. All of the side effects went away eventually (and I have a sensitive body). So stay optimistic, everyone!

Also, I am wondering if a far infrared sauna would help. I bought one from High Tech Health recently (recommended by Dr. Sherry Rogers) to detox from heavy metals and other toxins. Perhaps it would help with Effexor withdrawal symptoms? It is expensive, unfortunately.

Phew, what a relief that I am not going mad. Finding this site has restored my self belief. I have been on Effexor for about 12 months now with an initial dosage of 150mg. I was prescribed these for severe depression along with therapy. Unfortunately the side effects of the dose (headaches, excessive yawning, sleeplessness) caused the doc to lower the dose to 75mg. This however didn't relieve any of the symptoms. It did slightly relieve my depression and for this reason I continued with it. Now I'm just fed up of feeling so awful all the time that I've decided to go cold turkey.

It's now 2.30am and 4 days into my cold turkey and the side effects are horrible. My head hurts, the dizziness is unbearable (especially during working hours), my sleeping patterns are destroyed, I feel sick one minute then craving for food the next, stomach cramps, bloatedness and the crying fits and bouts of severe depression just spring from nowhere. But this is something I'm willing to endure in the hope that when I'm rid of these things and the side effects have subsided I can find a more suitable path to rise out of my depressive state. I just have no idea how long they will take to subside. I wish everyone luck with weaning off this drug and thank you all for not making me feel that I am alone.

I am down to 9 mg due to pregnancy, and am having horrible dizziness and vertigo. I too can't believe the medical industry does not recognize that these symptoms are real and destructive, despite the fact that the internet is full of people experiencing them.

I have tried to talk to doctors, who equipped only with the results of a short term clinical trial, dismiss my concerns. I am sick of it, and have joined a petition aimed at the FDA to make doctors provide more information to the recipients of the drug. I would never have gone on this drug if I had the correct information about what would happen. At least its a place to start.

I went four days without taking my Effexor XR 150mg prescription. I woke up this morning and thought I was dying, and drove straight to the pharmacy (irrationally). I have no idea how I made it their safely considering the fact that I was having a total out of body experience with HORRIBLE brain shocks. Not to mention my head had been throbbing horribly. I was shaking uncontrollably, and completely psychotic. (I told my mother if I had a gun I would have used it to get me there faster.)
I can't even describe the way I felt to give anyone a better explanation.

I recently stopped taking my effexor cold turkey. After being on it for 3 years with my peek dose at 250/mg i had slowly weened myself down to 75/mg. I was on the outside looking in is the best way to describe it.

I had impulses that would never be considered me. I had a craving to drink and be self destructive... I wanted to walk away from my family with a totally care free attitude... it was a nightmare... now that i have stopped i am on day 6 of withdrawl... all the same symptoms pretty much as posted...

the mood swings and brain zaps being the worst... i had stomach cramps so bad i thought i had kidney stones again.... i don't recommend it to anyone, and am also in a situation where my doc didn't share the "bad" info with me. i wish all the best to those coming off and hopefully this time next week i will still be able to say i am effexor free and still somewhat sane!

I suffered from a major depressive disorder and Effexor was the only drug which was effective for me. I have been on Effexor XR 150 for several years and quite frankly, I believe it saved my life. I am beginning the process of weaning off the drug. I fully expect the experience to be awful.

I have begun experiencing some of the withdrawal effects others have described. However, I am exercising as much as I can and that does seem to be helping somewhat.

Was I told about the withdrawal symptoms when I first went on the drug? I cannot say with any certainty, as I was so depressed my cognitive ability was impaired. Would I have taken the drug had I known of its effects? Absolutely-in my personal circumstances it was the appropriate and only choice.

I must say however that I am extremely concerned to hear that strong anti depressent medication is being prescribed for hot flashes and mild to moderate depression. In those circumstances, the risk of this drug does not warrant the potential benefit.

Hi,
I have been taking Effexor for almost ten years. Originally taking 300 mg. per day, now at 225 mg. I was also taking 300 mg. Wellbutrin daily. After my job was eliminated 4 years ago I was forced to pay out of pocket. I tried to get insurance and no insurance would touch me because if the meds.

I bought them from Canada which was slightly cheaper but I had to buy a 3 month supply at a time; very expensive. I rang up thousands in dollars which I put on my credit card. I became buried in debt and had great anxiety was I was running low.

In May, 2008 I filed personal bankruptcy due to a business failure. I lost everything including my house. I now live in a small RV in Florida. I am off the Wellbutrin and will be going off the Effexor over the next 30 days. I have no more resources to get meds; I am just trying to stay alive and take care of myself and my 13 year old dog. I made the decision to get off the meds merry-go-round.

I am going through hell now and I know it will get worse. I just can't do this any more. I read others blogs and believe Effexor is bad medicine; tough to get off. I do believe it has clouded my decision making over the years. For everyone who reads this I only ask for your prayers during this time.

Hi Everyone,

I took effexor as an anti anxiety medication for most of my senior year of college. In June of 2007 I decided to get off of the medication and had horrible side effects! But I got through these and am still off the medication, but I have developed something worse.

After getting off of the medication I began to have heart problems constantly! It is extremely painful and it almost feels like my heart triple beats really hard and fast, and then the beats goes back to normal. It has been over a year since I kicked the effexor addiction, and although my heart issues have decreased in frequency it still happens a couple times a month.

So I was wondering if anyone else has had any problems like this after getting off effexor, or have I just developed heart problems at age 22 out of the blue?

I started on Effexor in 2006 when I thought I couldn't control my anxiety. One month after I started the meds, I started gaining weight like crazy. Tried getting it off with excerise but to no avail. I stopped my meds in May 2007 because I kept falling asleep and it happened before a final exam I had (this exam started at 3pm). I also found there were times I had difficulty walking.

It's hard getting the pounds off after this med. I still have 10 pounds left to take off. this med also made me lose some hair, caused weight gain, high cholesterol. I can no longer drink more than a glass of wine without feeling drunk. this med has made me so paranoid about taking other drugs that I check every side effect before taking it.

I started effexor 3 months ago. I have tried paxil, with success and the w/d was awful. Zoloft killed my appetite.

Since going on effexor I have lost 12 pounds, unlike others I can go along time without eating large meals. I try to snack so I don't drop more weight. I was a size 2/4 before, and now I am a size 1.

Today I forgot to take my dose today, I am taking 3 does of 36.5mg a day - two in the morning and one in the evening. my last dose was around 11pm last night. I have a headache and light nausea, feel kind of wonky.

When I normally take my meds on the right interval, I feel great, productive, and I can sleep relatively normal. Vivid dreams!!!!! I am an empathic medium, and it has opened some channels that I think were "out of balance" before effexor. I can channel much better now, and my dreams have been more vivid and reflective of my personal issues. I do tend to have active nightmares more often and have to practice lucid dreaming when I am able to.

I know that I will be on this for quite a while, and dread the day I have to go off of it. I just kicked xanax, I used it as a sleep aid for too long while adjusting to effexor. I am finally able to sleep pretty normally, except if I don't put myself to bed I won't go to sleep at a decent hour and be torn up for work the next day.

Its like speed, in a weird way. If there was another anti-depressant with no sexual side effects, I would surely take that one, but the list is short. Paxil/Zoloft absolutly killed my sex drive and a former relationship. My sex drive is still kicking (and when I took welbutrin it was over-active) and my relationship has improved since starting effexor.

I went into this knowing that I would be on it for a while, and I will have to store up some vacation time at work to help with the w/d when that time comes. After all the attempts at kicking my recurring major depression/panic disorder, effexor is the only one to help this much, especially with the social anxiety stuff.

Still, I hate that we need these pills to be "normal". Whatever happened to working through our issues organically? Why do we always reach for a pill to answer our problems? Why are we teased with this chemical happiness, knowing full well that when we stop feeding the system we will revert to our normal state of "crazy"????

It is such a relief to see that these symptoms are so common. I quit taking Effexor after about maybe a year. I quit cold turkey because I just finished college and am not covered under my parents insurance until grad school starts. Initially when I went off of them I felt nauseous and was extremely moody.

The sick feeling went away in about two days, however I strongly identify with the 'brain shivers' as I have seen them refereed to. My brain is slow to catch up when I turn my head, my hearing is messed up: almost like my hearing is suddenly every sensitive and it curbs out loud sounds except it can happen when I just am listening to a conversation.

The roller coaster emotions are absolutely not an exaggeration. One minute I am fine and the next I am in tears. This week absolutely EVERYTHING makes me cry! A sad moment in a TV show (which is not normal for me) or if I become frustrated those feelings of frustration are followed momentarily by sobbing. I have also experienced something I did not see mentioned: itching! I have no allergies and suddenly everything makes my legs itch, my arms itch, my head.

I think this has subsided for the most part, but just after I stopped taking the medication that was MISERABLE! I have had sleeping problems for a long time: while taking my effexor regularly I would still take Lunesta when needed. Right now it is almost impossible for me to go to sleep when I first lay down. Last night I got in bed at 11, took half a lunesta, was unable to sleep, and again past 1:00 I took the other half of my pill, and finally just past 2:00 I fell asleep. My sleep patterns are destroyed. I wake completely exhausted. All I want to do is rest: I call this side effect lethargy X10.

I briefly mentioned the crying spells earlier, they are everyday almost. Typically at night. I don't think I have social anxiety, but I definitely have lost the drive to go out and do anything with my friends. I do live with my family now but outside activities with them, I suddenly have zero desire to socialize. (keep in mind I am an attractive 22 year old). NOT NORMAL!

My doctor prescribed this drug to me as my first treatment, I was silly enough to trust him and never looked into the side effects. I wish not only that I had chosen a different doctor, but that I had NEVER come into contact with Effexor at all.

Im 17 and I was put on effexor for severe depression. I gained 30 lbs while on it, and lost any motivation to exercise or do work. I decided to go cold turkey a few weeks ago because my mom and psychiatrist didn't want me to stop but I needed to take control of my life again.

I'm so glad I found this site and I know that I'm not simply going crazy. I've had many of the withdrawal symptoms including feel drunk, dizzy, weird cravings, mood swings and more. However, at the same time I'm happier than I have been for a long time, and I can't wait until it's out of my system forever. I hate my doctor for putting me on this drug, and I wouldn't recommend it. It did help control the signs of depression, but the toll on the rest of my life was not worth it.

I have been on the max dose of Effexor for the past 5 years (diagnosed clinical depression) While I am better than before, I want off because I want to try something else and I am afraid of Effexor now. The thought of the withdrawal symptoms almost make me panic. Even if I miss one day I start to feel nauseous and irritable, racing thoughts. Why is this drug still on the market?

I have been off Effexor for about 1 month and have gone through a lot of the same symptoms as everyone else. I needed to go off of it because the cost was killing me and so I weaned down and was put on the generic for solexa much cheaper 12.00 for a 90 day supply. The only thing I still have are the brain zaps which tonight I found out that if you take Ultimate Omega 3 in high dosages will virtually eliminate them. I am going to try this and just wanted to pass the info on to you all as well! Lets keep our fingers crossed :)
Malick

Well my fiance is taking Effexor. She's been on it for 4 years now.

I asked her to stop taking this stuff as I believe its causing her other problems; weight gain, confusion, no vision short or long.

She lives day to day not remembering things we talked about weeks or even days before and how we were going to handle it.

I did push her only because I knew her before she started taking the pills and now with the pills her character was basically the same, but because of the pills she had no long term thoughts, goals, dreams...I hate to say it, a walking zombie. She just lived day to day.

She agreed to see her doctor about it.

As she started reducing the amount of Effexor, she became more alive, more conscious and yes, more opinionated. I wasn't able to get away with stuff I was before. She was alive. That made me more happy then you can believe as our relationship was prospering. She laughed more and talked about issues and plans...

What was great was the doctor was changing her dosage gradually over a 3 to 4 month process with her consent.

At the start of every reductions/change, she experienced some or all the symptoms of withdrawal, but because she started waking up and seeing the world as it was, the new fondness for life outweighed the symptoms. And Yes, she had to keep herself busy. The busier she was, the less she thought or had time to think of the symptoms.

And by the 3rd or 4rth month,it was like nothing had happen and she was more alive then ever.

I was so happy even though it meant I had to be more on my toes.

Then when she hit 37.5 mg, after only a month, the doctor decided to make her quit cold turkey. I was so very surprised and after very sad.

It was like the doctor wanted her to fail or he just didn't know what to do.

However, shortly after going cold turkey, she changed and the symptoms described in this forum started showing up. They were worse when she just sat there and did nothing. It's like she had to keep her brain going or her brain would take over and the symptoms would get worse.

Eventually, she begged the doctor to put her back on the pills and the reasoning he gave her was that a lot of people have to take these pills all their life and you should not be ashamed.

I just did not understand why the doctor did not try smaller doses to get her off.

MY girl explained to me the doctor advise there was no smaller dose available. (BS!)

Why would they not make smaller doses so people can slowly withdraw from it?

In Canada, we have coverage through our health insurance so doctors prescribe way to much pills. The only thing I can think of in my pain and anger is these doctors are getting kick backs or something....

I've read drug addicts have less side effects than on this drug

Now that she went through HELL trying to get off 37.5, she's back to 75 MG and she does not want to even try. She is content on taking these little pills all her life

However, I am happy her dosage is lower, I think she was at 225 MG. But I am very disappointed the doctor advised her that she will need to keep taking this stuff all her life.

The reason she originally started taking medication is long gone and she has dealt with it.

Its just she suffered so much the last time, I don't have the heart to ask her to try again but I hate the though of her putting these pills in her all the time.

You never really know what the real long term problem might be or by the time you find out, it's to late....

Anyone trying to quit or reduce doses should try 4 to 6 month intervals, my girl was shaky every time she switched but by the 4th month, the effect were gone and she felt a lot better

this stuff is poison. My doc put me on effexor as part of treatment for fibromyalgia.

A year or so later, she dropped me from 75mg to 37.5., planning to stop completely. Taper-down schedule took 3wks.

Although I felt tons better initially, in 6wks I was crying constantly and holed up in my house (that was after I lost my job).

I can actually track diminishing job performance, which started then worsened after stopping effexor. I am back on it now, and cannot risk another episode like that one. Too dangerous.

Besides the cold turkey approach, is there any way to safely quit?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: TAPERING OFF GRADUALLY IS THE RECOMMENDATION. ASK YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU NEED TO GO EVEN SLOWER.

Hi everyone,
I am 27 and went on effexor 75mg for depression. After 7 months of getting hot flashes day and night, weird electric zaps in my brain, not being able to concentrate and constant weight gain, I decided to go off it. It was a nightmare. I felt like I was going out of my mind. I had those horrible brain zaps three weeks after I quit. I wouldn't recommend going off cold turkey, but it was a decision I made and really don't regret getting off this horrid stuff. I gained 35 lbs while taking the drug and another 10 lbs after stopping it (I am 5'5 and used to be a muscular 150 lbs.) Now no matter now much I exercise and restrict my diet, I still can't lose the weight and I've been off effexor for the last 5 months. It is so frustrating!

Thank you, thank you. I have been sooo sick, nauseous, dizzy, brain zaps (thanks - I didn't know how to explain them); the white noise is terrible. I basically thought I was going crazy. Now, after reading all the side effects and effects of trying to get off this awful drug, I know why my hands are tingly, my depression is worse, and all the other symptoms.

Could this be the reason that my EEG showed my 't''s spiking down instead of up?? No one at the hospital knew what was wrong. How long will I be feeling so awful? I told my doctor that I want to go back on Citalopram - is that a good idea?? Please help.

I take effexor and have done so for a couple of years now. I was on Paxil initially but couldn't handle the side effects. I've done well on Effexor but now am having brain zaps that I don't know why they started. I have a doctor appt tomorrow and will definitely talk to my Doc about this.

After 17 years of using anti-depressants, I am currently on my fourth day of no medication. It has taken four years to withdraw from 225mg of Effexor daily to 37.5mg which I stopped on Friday. I feel awful but am hopeful that every awful hour will be followed by one that shows slight improvement. I am determined to find out if my depression is still in existence and whether medication is necessary. The only way to really find out is to stop everything and wait. All side effects expressed are present yet I am hanging on to the hope that this will get better. Won't it?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IF YOU CAN HANG IN THERE, IT WILL GET BETTER.

I am only on day 2 of ridding my body of Effexor. This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. The withdrawal is almost unbearable and I'm scared how long it may last. I decided I needed to come off the stuff because of the horrible side effects, decreased (none) sex drive, emotional outbursts, and the most concerning for me, the 25lbs. I've gained since starting the drug 6 months ago.

I wish I would have been given some warning of all this, before I started taking this DRUG! I will stick to weaning myself, no matter how long withdrawal will be. I sent my husband to get my some St. Johns Wart tea, reading that this might help relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: TAMMY, PLEASE DON'T TAKE ST. JOHN'S WORT WHILE YOU ARE STILL TAKING EFFEXOR. THERE'S A POSSIBILITY OF A SEROTONIN SYNDROME REACTION, WHICH CAN BE DANGEROUS.

I started out taking 75mg of effexor about 3 months ago due to PMDD. It was prescribed to me by my OB/Gyn. I am going thru a bitter divorce after being married for 8 yrs., have lost my business and am raising a child on my own with no family around and all of my friends are always busy. I went back for a check up 1 month after being prescribed effexor, and felt that the 75 mg just wasn't helping.

He in turn bumped me to 150 mg. Boy do I wish I would have read the comments on this page first. I am on high blood pressure medicine along with thyroid medicine and Nexium. (I'm 32). I am the kind of person that forgets to get pres. refilled so this month it happened again. I went without effexor for 2 days.

I felt nausea, stomach cramps, severe sweating, bad nightmares, I can't sleep, and SEVERE dizziness! I had no idea why. I again feel this way today and realized maybe it is my medicine. So by reading the comments now I know why I am feeling like I have a Virus, it's the effexor!! If I would have known that this medicine would have this affect on me, I would never have started taking it. Thanks for listening, I have to lay down now b/c I have to drive (dangerous), to pick up my daughter from school!?!

I have been on Effexor XR for the past 7 years. I decided to wean myself off it, since it wasn't mixing with another drug I started taking. Thee 3rd day I was completely off the effexor, my head started spinning and I felt as if I was on a tilt-a-whirl nonstop! After the second day of this, I ended up in the ER getting CT spans and MRI's of the brain. They finally decided all this was from the effexor withdrawal. They gave me ONE 37.5 mg again and all the spinning stop within an hour! This medication is NOT easy to get off. I will never try again.

I too have had extreme problems with effexor. I began the medication due to mild depression and anxiety. I don't think effexor should have been prescribed to me at all. After 8 mo of taking it, my sex drive totally disappeared, I was an emotional zombie, and I had gained over 30lbs.

I'm young and have never had a weight problem till after beginning this medication. I began to taper off of Effexor about 2 months ago and I experienced the feeling of electric shock impulses in my brain, vertigo, migraines, mental fogginess, loss of concentration and loss of visual focus.

I'm almost at 1 month of absolutely no Effexor and I still have the dizziness, migraines, and vision problems. I hope no one has to suffer like this; You'll feel like you're losing it or afraid that the symptoms will never go away. But I am so happy I am off medication; I feel alive again and I have energy, and a libido! And most of all I am managing my mild depression without medication.

People, please be aware of how strong this medication is and insist on alternatives with your doctor unless you know your condition is severe and in need of lifelong medication.

I was just wondering if there is a substitute for effexor xr because I don't have insurance and the price is about $250.00 for my script per month. I take 150 mgs per day and I thought about stopping, but after reading these stories it's scary. So if something is cheaper and works the same I would appreciate some advice.

I have been on 150 mg of Effexor for about 10 years now. I am planning on weaning of this medication over the next several months.

I too, like so many others, have had situations where I have run out or forgotten it and the side effects are horrible. Severly light-headed,dizzy, upset stomach, crying, etc... I've known for quite some time that I want "out from under" this drug but it is scary because I know what happens. I don't know how people are able to work or take care of their family when having these withdrawls.

Depression runs in my family and I know that I will have issues dealing with the sadness but really want to try all natural ways to help with depression. I have recently read in several different articles that people that suffer from depression should get 30 min of exercise everyday. Right now I do not exercise at all.

Bannanas are extremely good for depressed people and high protein foods. Good quality vitamins, deep breathing, yoga, etc..So, as of this posting I am still on the Effexor but am planning on starting the weaning process soon.

Once I can get past the withdrawls it's got to be better than the point I am at presently. Right now I'm barely lucky if I can get out of bed. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get it's never enough. I'm always yawning and exhausted. I can't concdentrate very well, my memory is horrible. I'm overweight, only have sex with my husband 3 or 4 times a month.

If anyone has any other advice on all natural ways of dealing with depression I would love to know. Also, my advice to anyone not taking Effexor yet - DONT!! If you are taking a small amount - DO NOT INCREASE IT! Try to find out what your body is lacking to cause these feelings of depression and study all natural ways to deal with it.

P.S. Danny - I would get off the Effexor, I have no insurance either, it's expensive and not worth it. It will not be easy but finding natural ways to deal with your problems have got to be better. I say we go for it!!! Wish me luck - keep in touch

I had to stop taking Effexor 4 days ago because we lost our Health Insurance and I could not afford the cost of the medication. I can't stop crying and I feel dizzy all the time. My husband is not being sympathetic at all and tells me to quit crying. I am sending him this page and I hope it helps him understand what I am going through. I am typing this at work with tears streaming down my face and I can't stop them. HELP!

Then you have people like me: 69 now, fit and healthy who never had a moment's problem over 8 years going on and off Effexor, forgetting to take it, halving the dose to save money, and so on. I'm on Pristiq right now, from my doctor's hope that I might develop a tad more energy--but I never had much all my life before starting Effexor. And I don't see much difference now.

I STARTED TAKING EFFEXOR ABOUT 20 YRS AGO AND HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO STOP. THE SIDE EFFECTS WERE SOOOOOO BAD WHEN I TRIED TO GET OFF SO I JUST GOT USED TO THE FACT I WOULD BE A LIFE LONG USER AND TO THIS DAY CAN'T GO A DAY WITHOUT, WITHOUT THE BRAIN FREEZE FEELING. AND NOW THEY WANT TO STOP MAKING THE BRAND NAME EFFEXOR AND THATS ALL I KNOW NOW I DON;T KNOW WHAT IM GOING TO DO. HAVE NEVER TRIED THE GENERIC AND AM SOOOO SCARED TO TRY.

I have been taking efexor 75 for 3 yrs now after breast cancer and a mastectomy. As I live in Greece nothing was explained and I never understood the 'electric shock' feelings and nausea after missing a dose. I have vivid dreams, but do not worry as much as I used to and will go back to bed, something I never did before. I do feel a bit out of control but not sure if that outweighs the 'relaxed' feeling I have. The withdrawal symptoms worry me as missing one dose really makes me feel ill.

You are all so funny (or not) about the Effexor. I have been off this medication for about one week and I am scared to go to sleep. The dreams are unbelievable. Entertaining yes, but every time I close my eyes? Let's get real! How many monsters can there be in one dream? Then, there is the weird electrical shots in the brain that I oh so treasure (not really).

I have went from insurance to COBRA so have about a week where it is showing I have no insurance hence no Effexor to refill for one week. When it gets activated, after going through all this stuff, I do not know if I want to go back on.

Good luck everyone but remember, or in my case, I really need to take some type of antidepressent because I remember all the crying spells I did before I took antidepressants. So it is important to take something if it is not Effexor. I do not want to go back to my life being like a soap opera again either.

I'm just now trying to go off Effexor after taking it successfully for 10+ years. I've had really good luck with the medication. I'm just not sure I need it anymore. I don't feel depressed these days. I've been taking 150mg, and my doctor decreased it 4 days ago to 75mg. I've been sleepy, groggy, and more irritable than usual, but today seems better.

I don't like the woozy-head feeling, but all-in-all, I wouldn't hesitate to take this drug again. It really has helped me a lot.

I went off Effexor after taking it for 5 years for migraines. I decided to go off the medication to see if the headaches were gone. I weaned off the medication slowly. Within a week I had horrible vertigo which lasted a month. Horrible headaches, nausea, vomiting, bad sleep patterns,weird blasts through the head with sounds like someone was shaking maracas.

It has been 3 months now and no relief in sight. Very short fuse - react to everything! I actually asked the pharmacist if this was normal for going off Effexor and he said he had never heard of this. Looks like all the rest of us here have!!!! I was so much better off ON this med, but now that I see what it can do to you, it scares me to go back on!

I have been taking EFFEXOR since May 2009. I have a recurrence of Breast cancer and one of my cancer treatments is inducing menopause as I cannot be producing estrogen. The hot flashes are horrible! My oncologist suggested I take Effexor for my hot flashes. It sure helps the hot flashes but I seem to be gaining weight each time I step on the scale and have joint pain.

I have now stopped cold turkey taking the Effexor as I cannot deal with the weight gain and I want to see if my joint pain subsides. It has been 5 days and my withdrawal symptoms have been mild. The dizziness is finally passing, but the joint pain is still there. I just want to know has anyone else had the terrible weight gain and joint pain??

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WEIGHT GAIN HAS BEEN REPORTED AS A FREQUENT SIDE EFFECT OF EFFEXOR.

I have been on 75mg Effexor XR for 2 yrs now. While I was thrilled w/ it initially (I was having anxiety, depression, excessive worrying), I've come to really dislike the drug for a variety of reasons, and mostly b/c I knew I'd have such trouble tapering from it. While on the drug, I have excessive night sweats, usually during REM sleep, and frequent insomnia. With the tapering, I've cut my dose to 37.5mg and have been taking this dose for about 5 days, I have the usual brain zaps (yup, impossible to explain to anyone!) and I've started having pressure in my ears. I don't know how to explain this, but my brain feels "funny", with or without the zaps. I don't have nausea, but have no real interest in food.

I know everyone's withdrawal symptoms vary, but you are not alone! It is truly a hellish experience. I may have more anxiety w/o Effexor, but the severity of the withdrawal seems to create a type of dependence, because so many people do not want to experience the ill effects of stopping the drug.

I feel that most drs do NOT have enough information on the withdrawal symptoms.

After 5 years of effexor and more than 50 lbs I have finally decided to go cold turkey. My plus size clothing was getting to be too many pluses and I just knew this medication had something to do with it even though my doctor said to just watch what I eat and get some exercise.

How could I exercise when all I could do was veg out? I have been off effexor for 4 days now and have had many periods of going back so I could feel good. After reading all of the comments there is no way I would go back on that horrid stuff. I wouldn't wish this drug on my worst enemy.

Why don't the doctors tell you how hard this drug is to get off of before you start taking them? There should be more counseling required. I will check back with you all in a few days and let you know how things are going.

I'm only on day two of withdrawal but have experienced the same things you described. It's really more of a fuzzy feeling in my head than the "vertigo" described by others. If all medicines affect people differently, the withdrawal symptoms will be different, too. I've gained 50 lbs since being on Effexor 75mg for less than two years. I have not changed anything about my diet or exercise. I also feel as though Effexor messes with my memory. Not to downplay its effectiveness, it has done wonders for my anxiety and my depression. This drug is much harder to get off than other anti-depressants, though.

I was on Effexor XR 37.5 for two months. It was supposed to help me with my menopause symptoms. I have gained a bunch of weight (20 pounds!) and I felt like sleeping all of the time. I just couldn't take it anymore so I stopped 3 days ago. I had no idea how awful stopping like this would be! I'm having the dizzy spells, nausea and these brain zaps (absolutely no one has been able to understand these when I describe them!)- I thought it was just me! I'm very glad I've found this forum. I just had to get off this drug, but I really had no clue how difficult it would be.

I just started Effexor XR 37.5, and it's making my stomach hurt. Years ago, I took Paxil and when I went off it, I had the exact symptoms you describe -- electrical jolts up and down my body, primarily in my eyes.

Paxil also made me sleepwalk, which is why I went off it. Maybe I should just stick to SAMe.

My Doctor prescribed me with 300mgs of effexor...I was very depressed. It made me feel amazing, and got me through very difficult times.

After 1.5 yrs I wanted to change to 150 as is I felt it wasn't making me feel that great anymore plus the side effects were mounting up - major withdrawals - nightmares, night sweats, vertigo, brain zaps, mood swings, sexual dysfunction and the worst of all has been major memory loss... Also limited concentration, have not finished reading one book whilst on this med.

Cut down to 75 for about 4 months then 3 days ago ran out of meds and couldn't afford the doc and new script - I'm day 3 going through the motions, just trying to tread lightly and keep telling myself it's not me it's the meds.

It seems like most of the people that comment do so on about 3 days and there doesn't seem to be anyone after that so here hoping I don't throw too many wobblies ;p I think this drug like all drugs has it's side effects but if you need em you need em!

Wow, effexor is horrible to go off of. I was on effexor 75 mg once a day. reduced to 37.5mg for one week and then switched to wellbutrin. Well on day two of wellbutrin, (day 3 with out effexor) hell broke lose. Dizziness, major brain zaps every 4 mins. it feels like you are losing your mind.

My doctor and the pharmacist just looked at me like I'm an idiot. Yesterday was day 5 with out effexor, day 4 of wellbutrin. Feel like a complete addict. Wild eyes, dizzy, zaps, anxiety. called my Dr AGAIN and she said stop the wellbutrin and take the effexor 37.5 for 7 days again. we will see how it goes. took the 37.5 mg and four hours later, brain zaps are getting less intense. I will post more.

Yes, I just landed in the ER yesterday due to heart arythimas and tachycardia. Bp was high ( never had an issue before and then suddenly it was too low; dystolic of 49 and heart rate in 120's. Will never take effexor again and think it should be pulled off the market! Good luck and may God bless.

Effexor has ruined my life. I have horrible dreams, crying spells, constant brain zaps, blood pressure changes, rapid heart rate, profuse sweating ( was cold natured before starting this med 2 yrs ago ), weight gain, fatigue and I could go on forever but I know people who take this horrible med and have gone off it like me already know what a horror it is.

If I had known about all this before (pharmacy details don't tell it all because as a nurse I do read the printed information on all meds I take) I would have never taken the first capsule for my depression related to fybromyalgia. By the way it never helped with the pain. I can't blame my doctor as she is wonderful and would never prescribe something that she felt was unsafe.

Just yesterday I landed in an ER with tachycardia and atrial fib. BP was high and then went too low..go figure. The ER doc was not professional and never even came in to check on me until I had been in a sick bay for 3 hrs and 45 min's! He never asked my family history (all my mother's family including her have died at early ages due to heart disease; brother had 3 heart attacks before age 50 and a sister had a stroke at age 40).

I was so scared. I will turn in their 24 hr heart monitor today and wait until it's read 3 days from now according to the person that connected it. The doctor asked me if I was on some crazy diet... I've gained weight!! He walked out and I honestly saw him make the "crazy sign," circling around his ear and looking at me while he was in the nurses' station.

Yes this may be in our heads but it's also killing us mentally and physically. I pray for each of us to survive this horrible journey and ask God's blessings on each of you. By the way, today is day 15 of being off and I hope I can return to work next week..This has ruined my life.

I have been on Effexor for about 3 years now and anytime I miss more than 2 nights, I get all the withdrawal symptoms. I get really nauseous, light headed, irritable, hot, dizzy.. it's horrible! I don't know if I will ever be able to get off this medicine.

OMG, I can't believe I have stumbled on this page. I finally have proof that what I am experiencing IS real. My story starts only 3 months ago, I was taking Lexapro for mild depression , my hot flashes were getting bad so my MD switched me to Effexor 150 mg...about a week and a half after I started on the drug, I had a sudden hearing loss in my L ear, joined with severe tinnitus.

I went through doses of prednisone, two injections of steroids through my ear drum (ouch) and an MRI that showed nothing wrong, the ENT's pretty much said I'm out of luck and I probably won't get my hearing back and they don't' know how it started, probably viral...not satisfied with that I started my own research, I found a list of ototoxic drugs and Effexor was on one of them!

I never put two and two together and saw the coincidence that my hearing loss soon happened after I switched to Effxor, I tried to go off cold turkey and whoa, the "brain zaps" were unreal, I never heard of anything like it and my MD pretty much looked at me like I was crazy, I went back on the drug, the brain zaps went away.. so I tried to go off slower, my MD suggested 4 weeks, but I did it in 1 1/2.

I did not want to be on this drug if it was the cause of my hearing loss. I am doing better, the zaps are still there but lessened. I am starting to see a chiropractor and acupunturist, taking St Johns Wart for my depression. I am hoping once this drug gets out of my system (Chiropractor thinks 4 weeks) things will improve more, I cant believe that the drug companies and doctors don't warn people about these severe side effects.

Thank goodness for the internet, I never felt so strongly that we need to be an advocate for our own health. And research and question everything. Has anyone else ever experience a hearing loss or tinnitus with Effexor? I'd be interested. Good luck to everyone!

ANYONE ELSE HAVE DELAYED ITCHING WEEKS AFTER QUITTING??? I took Effexor a couple of years. Ok on it (except for totally numb below the waist) as is with most anti-depressants. I tapered off over a bout a 3 month period. Found out quickly and hard way, you do not cold turkey this RX! I got to the point where I would take a half tab of lowest dose every 3-5 days until I didn't have a symptom of withdrawal anymore.

I thought I was ok after about 3 weeks, maybe even a month or more, of no meds and no symptoms. But now, I HAVE ITCHING AND CREEPY CRAWLIES ALL OVER MY BODY. Sometimes just like a hair tickling me, and sometimes more urgent, like a prick or bite. No bugs, got that checked. IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY. It won't go away. Anyone else experience this? Not sure if delayed side affect or something else is going on.

I have been taking effexor for about two years. I am 26 years old and I felt that I was stable enough in my life to get off of it. I also decided to get off effexor because I was sleeping fourteen or more hours and was fatigued all the time. I felt that I was never happy nor sad, I was just going through the days. I stopped effexor, but not before starting paxil, which I currently stopped about a week ago. So now I am off everything.

This week I feel horrible. I feel currents or motions of movement going through my body. This is the best way I can describe it. I feel like I am going to vomit every couple of hours. I am really worried and I don't know how long these symptoms are going to last? Am I going to have this feeling forever?

I really wish I never got on this medication. Doctors just throw you any kind of pills without really diagnosing the problem. If I had known how hard it was to get off of this drug, I would have never began it. Hopefully my symptoms get better each day. I dont know how much I can take of this.

Hang in there, I have been told that it takes a drug like this about 30 days to get out of you system. Its been about a month for me and I get the 'brain zaps" only about once or twice a day..So I'm confident things will be back to "normal" soon.

thanks so very much! This is my third week. I am so ready to feel "normal" again. I have been just very emotional, the current or flow.. that feeling is going away a little each day. I still feel nauseous though and have no appetite. I can't wait to feel normal again. I am really glad I am not alone. It makes me feel a lot better to know this.

This is a wonderful thread...I'm very glad to find it!

Quoting:
"Thank goodness for the internet, I never felt so strongly that we need to be an advocate for our own health. And research and question everything."

Well said!

I've been planning to go off Effexor. I don't know what else to do any more, except maybe electric-shock therapy. I've decided that before I do that, I'll get the Effexor out of my system and see what I'm like then. I've been on 300mg for 5 years and it's not working any more. I'm feeling the apathy and lethargy...the 'zombification'. I've gained about 40 lbs (and I'm only 5'3"!). And I keep thinking about suicide...
It's not a good thing.

I'm glad to find this site. At least now I know that the 'why bother?' feelings are Effexor...NOT me! Makes me want to stop the Effexor even more. So thanks to all of you for posting your stories. Much appreciated, eh!

All the best to everyone. Be well...

I have tried numerous times to come off of Effexor and the withdrawals are so horrible that I end up right back on it. Not only do I have the brain zaps, but I also experience extremely bad mood swings. I can go from being happy and a split second later I am angry over nothing. I have tried to decrease the Effexor as slow as I can but I can only go so far before the withdrawal is so bad that I feel like I could blow out my brains just to get relief. It is really sad but I can sympathize with people who are addicted to meth or crack and can't get off the stuff.

I feel like my body is addicted and that I will never be able to get off of effexor. If I would have known the danger of this drug I would never have taken it and now I can't stop taking it.

I developed mild depression, related to an unhappy relationship with a verbally abusive man. After a short spell on 37.5mg of Effexor XR I went up to 75mg, only got to around the eighth week on this dose and decided to stop. I seemed to be having a build up of tension that I wouldn't normally have, and was very mindful that I had been crying very little; which I thought would have diminished this tension.

I realised that although the tablets lessened the intensity of my emotional lows, they also stopped my body's natural means of emotional healing - a good cry. Thought I'd be clever and come off cold turkey to save some money, this was just two days ago, and up until a couple of hours ago simply thought I had a cold/flu (do have a cold). Wondered why I had such strong flu like symptoms with this cold and discovered this site. Yes have most of the other symptoms after such a short time off; including the insomnia, and vivid bad dreams.

It seems to me that we are all sharing such similar side effects, and I do strongly question why smaller doses are not being made to enable easier weaning off! It is in the company's best interest not to do this, to keep us on these tablets and maximize profits. That nothing has been done is an outrage! Already I know how much of a hellish journey I have ahead of me... and I am very concerned.

I have resorted to taking a tablet a couple of hours ago, and plan to visit my doctor tomorrow. Why is nothing being done? There needs to be an investigation, even if just to address the issue of complacency by the manufacturer. Has research been conducted to establish the incidence of nasty withdrawal symptoms? What is considered an acceptable incidence? So many questions. I would like answers.

I have run out of Effexor a couple of times before and had horrible anger issues. I have also tried to wean myself off by taking the meds every other day... that didn't work well either. On every one of those occasions I became agitated, depressed or both.

Well, it is now 2010 and I decided that when I ran out this time I would just stop. That has been a week. Emotionally and mentally I am doing fine (thankfully), but physically, I am having issues. I have dizziness mostly in the afternoons. I have gone home after work and gone straight to bed cause I felt so tired. I am hoping that these things pass quickly. I do have clorazepate for anxiety but I have only taken in twice in the last week (which is fairly normal).

I do not like the dizziness, but I am hoping that it will go away in a few more days. I am determined to get off of all anti depressants and stay off of them. I feel my coping skills are better now and I want a chance to use them drug free.

My doctor doesn't know yet that I have stopped the Effexor cold turkey and I am sure he won't be happy. But, he will just have to deal with it. It is my body and my decision.

So, if any one has any info to give me on how long the dizziness usually lasts, I would love to hear it.
Thanks.

Going off of Effexor or even the new generic Venlafaxine was the worst experience I ever had in my life. I ran out of medication for a few days because we had a bad snow storm and the doctors offices were closed and I need to have the script approved by insurance company and order by mail for insurance company.

This is a total of 4 days off the meds. I thought I was going to die. I was suicidal and homicidal for the first time in my life. I did not know what was happening to me so I took a 1/2 of Ativan to control a huge anxiety attack I was about to have. I think this saved my life. I went directly to the emergency room where they could do very little.

I never want these drugs in my system again if they can do this. It will have to be alternative drugs for a mild depression. I need to sue somebody because these drugs are dangerous and almost took my life. I never ever want to go through this again. So far after 8 days I feel better but electrical impulses happen when I try to sleep. I hope I do not experience a neurotic or psychotic episode. Does that happen? I pray not.

T

I came off 150mg Effexor after nearly 10 years, about a year ago. I had 2 spells of nine months without the drug twice during the ten years. I pushed through the initial withdrawal process, with the same symptoms which most subscribers describe. For several months I felt better, but lately have been suffering from bouts of extreme anxiety, usually early in the morning from 0300hrs onwards.

I have been using Inositol and 5-HTP for about a month with slight improvement. These substances may help the body to produce more serotonin. Effexor simply keeps it in circulation longer by blocking the receptors which bind it and remove it from circulation Use natural methods of increasing serotonin such as exercise, relaxation, meditation, prayer, healthy food and good company as much as possible

I believe that it takes time for the neuro-receptors to which Effexor binds to recover. These are serotonin, norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine , both in the brain and in the intestines. See http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=gut-second-brain (which is why some people experience pain and discomfort when withdrawing from SSRI drugs. So three sets of receptors are affected. When you consider that dopamine receptors are badly affected when people who are addicted to benzodiazepines withdraw, creating multiple problems with head neck and mood symptoms, it is no wonder that a drug which affects so many neuro-receptors is so difficult to come off.

Read the long list of reported side effects and warnings and other information supplied to doctors and wonder why this drug is permitted for use at all: http://www.rxlist.com/effexor-xr-drug.htm. My advice is:avoid it totally, and if you are on it do all in your power to come off it completely. It is dangerous, and its continued use by the medical profession is immoral in the extreme, given the growing body of evidence that it causes so much suffering.

I recently went off of Effexor after over 10 years on it. At one point I was on 500+mg/day and gradually weaned myself down to 12.5mg and stayed at that level for years. I encountered a hugely stressful time the last year and asked a psychiatrist whether 37.5XR Effexor might be a good idea to help me cope. He said yes - I tried the 37.5XR for 3 weeks and felt terrible - so anxious and tense.

So I went off of it cold turkey - no 37.5, no 12.5, no nothing. Went through hellacious first week of fever, chills, nausea, muscle aches, headaches, leg cramps, fatigue, etc. I am now at 6 weeks off of it. I am so glad to be off of it and won't go back. I do notice "lower low's" and "higher high's" in my mood swings - understandably. I feel like I am reclaiming parts of myself that have been numbed down for years, for better or worse.

Last July I had to go off of Effexor because I became allergic to it. I broke out in hives. I tried to wean myself off but the hives continued. I was only on 75 mg per day. I was first prescribed the drug after my daughter's accident in which she sustained a brain injury. Then I remained on it for menopause symptoms. The drug worked great until I developed the allergy to it.

I always heard how hard it was to go off of this drug. I never imagined it would be so much of a nightmare. My anxiety level increased incredibly. I always felt like I was going to jump out of my own skin. Then, the depression came along and I cried and cried for no reason. Anything could trigger a crying attack. The mood swings were awful. Also, I was ITCHY all over. I never associated the itching with the withdrawal symptoms until I read the articles on this site. I thought I had flea bites. I had my house exterminated but I continued to itch. Now, I am convinced the itching and burning sensation was part of the withdrawal.

To alleviate my withdrawal symptoms, my gynecologist put me on the estrogen patch. I felt great for about 2 weeks. Then, I started bleeding. The bleeding wouldn't stop with medication and I ended up with anemia and needed a D and C.

Going off this drug was a nightmare. My anxiety, mood swings, and depression resulted in losing my relationship with someone very special. I think that doctors should inform their patients about how difficult it is to go off this drug before prescribing it. This was one of the worst periods of my entire life.

42 days ago I took a phenomenal risk and the results were phenomenal. On May 18, 2010 I discontinued Effexor XR 300 mg., Trileptal 600 mg. bid., Klonipin 8 mg. daily, Vyvanse 40 mg. daily, and Trazodone 200 mg. pm. I am a young woman in my late twenties who has been medicated since age 4. My first diagnosis was ADHD. I was forcefed Ritalin and Adderall as a child. I do believe that the diagnosis was accurate; however, I don't think that ADHD should be viewed as a disorder that requires medication, but rather as a human variation that can be modified without the use of chemicals.

I was prescribed Effexor at age 17 for depression. Knowing what I know today about Venlafaxine, I am convinced beyond any doubt that taking this dangerous drug kickstarted me on a steep downward spiral that terminated 42 days ago. I mourn the years that I lost.

What led to this radical decision to discontinue substances that I believed at the time were sustaining me? A petition signed by 22,271 Americans begging Wyeth-Ayerst the pharmaceutical company that ran the clinical trials on Effexor to disclose the truth about this substance hit me like a ton of bricks. I discovered that patients were administered high doses of benzodiazepines during the clinical trial to disguise the devastating iatrogenic effects of Effexor, among them weight gain, hypomania, hypertension, insomnia, and acute anxiety. This information stopped me dead in my tracks. Over the years I had developed type II diabetes, hypertension, acute anxiety, and insomnia! I was taking Diovan to combat hypertension, Trazodone to cope with insomnia, and Klonipin for anxiety, not to mention Metformin for diabetes. What insanity.

42 days ago, I had had enough.I stood on the corner of Grand Ave. and Mission Blvd. in San Diego and searched for a large fast car to throw myself in front of. My short life flashed in front of me. The 15 months preceding this day had been a nightmare. 3 suicide attempts without a previous history of actualizing suicidal ideation. Something had to give. I looked at the vehicles whizzing by me, and I changed my mind. I opened my cell phone and dialed 911. I said, "I am suicidal. Please help me." A few minutes later the SDPD arrived, handcuffed me and took me to the County Mental Health unit. I was then transferred to a horrendous facility called Bayview Hospital just north of the Mexican border.

From that fateful hour forward I adamantly refused any medication, with the exception of Ativan, which I took for 5 days, decreasing daily in order to prevent mortality from benzo withdrawal. And an incredible and unprecedented result followed- I began to stabilize. I have not had any thoughts of hurting myself for over a month. My blood pressure stabilized. My blood glucose since discontinuation is 129, 120 points lower than before. I don't require medication for insomnia and anxiety. I have finally come full circle. Who'd have thought?

While the emotional stability has been a blessing, I wake up each morning violently ill from Effexor withdrawal. Like I was telling a friend the other day, I wake up with a smile on my face, but vomit in my mouth. This withdrawal is daunting. Reading about others who are going through the same thing is both reassuring and disheartening.I read about people who are 4 months into the withdrawal who were taking half of my dosage, who remain very ill. Nobody deserves this. I know that I will wake up ill tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. Be that as it may, I will NEVER put another psychotropic substance in my mouth.

I am truly disturbed by all of these postings, as I sit here at midnight, shocked out of sleep again. How depressing that I'm going to take an Effexor pill now in the hopes that I'll be able to sleep and/or make the brain jolts dissipate. How ironic that I was so relieved thinking that I may not need it anymore for anxiety. I did not expect this at all. Good luck to everyone.

dearest Julie,

Your decision to stop killing yourself has made me the proudest Mom in the world..
I can't tell you how enraged I am at the dozens of doctors who pushed medications on you. I am enraged at the pharmaceutical companies who are there to make big bucks not only by advertising but by giving millions of samples to doctors.. I am outraged at the government for not allocating more money to the field of Psychiatry.. but I am elated that you have made this your cause..your voice will be heard everywhere, and I truthfully hope you will be able to cause big changes in this field. Keep fighting Make more people aware of this huge problem..and what I wish mostly is for you to wake up in the near future without feeling like you want to die from these awful withdrawal symptoms.

I love you. Mom

I appreciate all of you who took the time to share your problems with Effexor withdrawal. The one unanswered question I saw repeated was, 'How long does this take?' A few gave diverse opinions on that, but I think that those of us who are having the 'electric shock' (What I call a "Foof - foof!" sound inside my head), nausea and other feelings, are understandably wanting a 'light at the end of the tunnel' perspective, because of the seemingly unending and troubling nature of our symptoms.

Because I am still experiencing those, I can't speak directly to the 'when' the torture stops. Your pain is also my pain. However, although I weaned myself as instructed by my doctor, at the end of that process it is still sickening and difficult. I'm glad to see the comments of others who know my experience. Also, I hesitate to give my advice, because I don't offer an immediate solution. My best advice is to take care of yourself physically and mentally, get plenty of rest and be patient. For now, that might be our best hope.

Hello,

It has been almost 6 years since I stopped taking Effexor cold turkey (which I wouldn't recommend now, but that's me, all or nothing!). I felt compelled to post on this site to let those of you who are going through this terrible withdrawal that it gets better. That you do start to heal and feel normal again.

I remember the withdrawal symptoms like it was yesterday. The brain zaps are one of the worst parts. They do go away. Mine lasted for about 3 weeks to a month. After those stopped I had the next weird thing of being able to hear my eyes move. It would just make a little click click click every time I moved my eyes. That went away too.

My best advice is to take care of yourself. Allow for the time you need to heal. That means sleeping when you need to, keeping your life as quiet and calm as possible. Telling yourself always that it's the Effexor doing this to you and you're not crazy and you will make it through this!

All in all it took about 9 months for me to completely feel back to my old self. The really bad withdrawal effects stopped after about 3 months. The rest was leveling out my emotions and having my brain chemistry get back to "normal". I have continued to be very sensitive to medication with no longer being able to take pain meds or benedryl.

Good luck to everyone and hang in there.

Is the “cure” worse than the condition?
With an increasing horror I have read your posts here.
Over the last two years our lives have fallen apart, due to things that where well out of our control.
In the beginning of the year my wife had a total breakdown, partly because of the stress we where under.
The first antidepressant she was prescribed did nothing, and even when her doctor doubled her dose there was little, if any improvement.
She was then given this one, and in the beginning there did seem to be some slight improvement in her stability, and state of mind, which peaked, then evened out within the first month to six weeks.
After that, conditions slowly degraded back to the “usual” or how she was after the breakdown.
She has been on them for about 5 months now.
She stopped taking the drug about 4 days ago.
Not happy with taking them, unable to focus or sleep she went cold turkey.
Mentally I think she is better, but there are lasting problems.
She has almost all, if not all of the side effects.
I’m deeply concerned about her, and have no idea what to do, or how to help.
I work long hours, and our daughter is keeping watch over her when I’m not home.
After this is over, I hope I will have my quick witted, fun, alert and loving wife back.
I have missed her terribly.

I have been off Effexor for 1 week now, the dizziness has almost stopped, but now I am having mood swings. The slightest thing can set me off. I hate this drug, I will never ever go back on it. I am having a hard time keeping my emotions in check. I can see a commercial on tv and just start bawling.

I hope that this ends soon. I'm sure my husband is beside himself right now. You have to treat me with kid gloves right now. This is the only reason why I think I should go back on. I don't want to I know I don't need it, but I want to be my happy normal self again. I have been on this stupid drug for 7+ years now. I am glad I have my Mom, but no one understands how this feels. Just needed to vent.

I have been weaning myself off of Effexor for a month. Second day without any and I feel awful. I knew there would be side effects but nothing like this. I was convinced that I had the "flu" until I stumbled across this web site. I can't deal with the dizziness/car sick feeling that I have!!!!

Any suggestions of what may alleviate this preferably something that does not require a prescription??? I believe that antidepressants have helped and will continue to help many people, but more education (risk/benefit) is needed.

I was on Effexor for approximately 12 months for major depression. At first I thought it was wonderful. I have been involuntarily stopped taking this drug only because my medical coverage has ceased to be. I never have been on to take too kindly to drugs. I am find with the notion of not taking medications again for my mental disorder.

I am experiencing just about all the systems that I have been able to find in my research. I have only been off this drug and on this nightmare for 7 days now. I have not been able to hold any food except for 1 orange, one tortilla and approx 2 liters of fluids. Brushing my teeth, bending over at the waist activates regurgitation and loose bowels that are no more, as I am not containing anything. Day 6 the head aches are just a discomfort now instead of the splitting pain. I have gotten through one day of concentrated college classes in a very uncomfortable state, strong hot and cold flashes, extreme sensitivity to all sounds; I've had to disengage every clock in the house for some relief. But worry if I will have to throw up just about every minute.

The brain zapping is very scary. I have had a few nights/days of morbid thoughts but feel I can handle them. Just how long is this to go on, is what I want to know. Is there anyway to speed the purging of this drug from the system without additional drugs? like maybe, consuming larger amounts of water to flush it out. I think I will never take another drug again! How long? What a nightmare!!!!!!

I have been reading many of the comments from people coming off Effexor. I too had problems. I was on Effexor XR at first until insurance wouldn't pay anymore and then went to regular Effexor. Was on it for approximately 6 years total. Recently I decided it wasn't really helping my depressive symptoms, ie. sleeping 12-15 hours a day, plus hot flashes waking me up every night drenched in sweat, no sex drive, concerns over my blood pressure rise because I was told by my eye doctor the last year or so that there is a pressure spot behind one of my eyes that was never there before. Also had heart palpatations off and on.

I was also on Cymbalta while taking Effexor and I have had 2 of the pharmacists at the store I always go to saying "you're not taking both of these at the same time are you?". It scared me badly when both of them said this to me. But when I asked the psychiatrist about it, he said it was fine and that he knows what he can prescribe for me. Have lost total faith in most doctors. They did not tell me how REALLY BAD the symptoms are from coming off these meds.

Of course they do not want to admit that something they prescribe for you could mess up your life... physically as well as mentally. They made it sound like they were more concerned about my depression getting worse from going off the meds. Well I feel like the symptoms of taking the meds as well as coming off of them are almost more HORRIBLE than the depression itself. I know I should never say never but I feel that I will NEVER take any of these anti-dep again.

Did you ever get over it?

It is march 4th 2011, most of the symptoms have ceased except for loose bowels and the brain zapping is still occurring. The zaps are less frequent perhaps once every hour and are not as pronounced. I have lost considerable weight due to my ?over active digestive tract? the effexor has caused. Most of February was bad but not as scary as the first few weeks. My doctor at the time (in January) thought the side effects would be "mild flu like symptoms" just like the med's company states, hah! no way. I'm not too sure if this medicine is worth the effort, I will never take it again and will do my research on any other med considerations that may come my way!

Yes it just takes time.

Wow, I love this site. I took effexor at 150 mil. for five years. I decided it was time to come off of this, I got tired of forgetting things. Weight gain. The feeling of being in cloud nine at all times. I slowly weened myself off them. It is so rough, my emotions are up and down so much. I call the brain surges electric currents, it sound funny that way. Although I do suffer from depression and going through the change of life. I don't recommend this drug to anyone. It is hell trying to live with out, all I say is keep trying there is more help out there besides this.

Thank you all so much for sharing your experiences. My doctor suggested Effexor RX and because of depression but because I had a hysterectomy several years ago and didn't want to start HRT because of the potential side effects. She said that one of the side effects of Effexor was diminished hot flashes and night sweats.

I read on another site that some women experienced weight loss, great, toss the hot flashes, night sweats and weight loss. Well, I've gained 25 lbs and the hot flashes and night sweats are less but still there. I'm taking withdrawal slowly, 1 every other day but on the morning I take it I'm having wa-wa sensations in my head and feel like the floor turns just a second before I take a step.

Since you all are weathering withdrawal with similar experiences I'm relieved that it will pass and I need to be patient. Had I know this prior I would have just worn my summer clothes and taken more cool showers. Honestly does exercise help? How do you get passed the dizziness?

OMG... I am so glad I found this site. I have been on Effexor 150mg for almost 10 years and basically I loved this drug! It helped with my severe depression and actually stopped my hot flashes. There were quirky things but most of my experience was positive. After I lost my job, and my insurance coverage, two years ago, it became harder and harder to afford the meds. So I went cold turkey about a month ago.

Thanks to everyone that reported the "electric shocks in the head"... those concerned me more than the nausea, vomiting, and rotten mood! It is a shame that those of us that did benefit from using this drug, cannot continue to take it since it is unaffordable even in the generic form of Venlafaxine. I wish everyone trying to get off this drug the very best!

Wow! I wish I'd have found this site sooner. I have been on Effexor 150mg for approximately 6 months after experiencing depressive mood episodes and social phobia. Approximately 12 months prior to these episodes I was advised by my MD to start taking Lipitor for high cholesterol, in-spite of have NO heart problems.

As I have never been a depressive personality I did some research into Lipitor, and discovered that some of the side effects of this medication are depressive episodes, mood swings, etc. I took myself off the cholesterol medication, but unfortunately in the mean time, I am now caught in the trap of the effects of Effexor. I recently decided to stop taking this medication also and have experienced many of the symptoms outlined in these posts (brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea etc). I have discussed with my MD re/ stopping the medication, alas he wants me to continue taking it, so I guess it's now up to me.

Has anyone found a definitive method of coming off this medication? The reduction of beads over a period of time appeals to me, but what period is the most efficacious in reducing the unpleasant side-effects? Should I reduce per day, per week? What have other people found to be the best methods of reduction in avoiding the side-effects?

I was on 75mg. 4 times a day. I was one of the stubborn ones and have quit cold turkey. The only real problems I am having is I am all day getting the sweats. All of a sudden I start dripping sweat. Any Idea how long before all of this is out of your
system?

OMG, all these comments and no solution? Are we supposed to suffer forever because of that medication?

I'm about to lose my mind because of that electricity, nausea, sleeplessness.

Ok, I am in the middle of finding answers to my depression. I have convinced myself that anti-depressants weren't working, as I've tried many. I am presently on effexor, but with the side-effects of being on it, I've made the decision to quit cold turkey. I've come down gradually on my own. I was on 187.50 MG dosage, and worked my way down to 37.5, but now, the electric shocks going through my brain are too much. I can't blink, stare at anything, or move my head without feeling these body shaking shocks... It's scaring the hell out of me, and my question is, when do they stop?

This is horrible! These posts are four years old and this drug is still out there?! Glad that I know I am not the only one going through these horrible withdrawals. My Dr prescribed visceral to ease the shakes I feel throughout my limbs, lips and face but after two days it is still not working and was supposed to take these feelings away after 20 min of taking the pill!

I do not want to keep living like this. The reasons for initially taking effexor was no where near as bad as these "aftershocks" I feel every minute of my day now! I want to sue them! This drug has made my life hell! I pray you all feel better...somehow?...from the withdrawal.

I can "feel" my eyes moving in my head! It is the freakiest thing I've ever felt in my life!! I am also feeling like I'm all hyped up, can't sit still, and am moving a million miles an hour! Hopefully it won't take TOO long to go away!!!

Dear readers, I have been on Effexor on and off for about 5 years. During my first bout of depression I was on 75mg a day and managed quite well and weaned off after 18 months. I had another severe episode of depression and anxiety in November 2009 and my GP (for some reason) decided to place me onto 150mg a day. Yes, sure this helped me manage my condition, but now has come the time for me to come off the medication as I feel ready to do so.

I spoke to my GP about this and he suggested to wean off completely rather than reduce back the dosage back to 75mg and then wean off completely. I found this advice to be incorrect. A psychiatrist that I know recommended to change to 75mg and then slowly wean off.

I wish to share a recent experience that I had. I recently had no medication left and stupidly relied on my partner to fill the script for me. He failed to do so for 2 days and let me tell you the consequences are horrible. The second night - every time I closed my eyes I was hallucinating. It was just a nightmare. I could feel myself being dragged in and out of darkness and feeling suffocated. I was scared to close my eyes and tried to call out for help, but no one could hear me. So please, I stress to you all do not cease medication abruptly as the side effects are incredibly scary.

Since this experience, (as I am currently very well) I am determined more than ever to get off this medication - tapering off in the correct manner. Effexor has been a great tool to get well again, but for me, it must not stop me from being free of it.

I am so glad that I, too, found this web page! I was on effexor XR for about 15 years or more. I reduced my dosage from 225 mgs to 75 mgs slowly and then decided to quit cold turkey. The last few days have been hell! I have been trying to work and drive while having the brain shocks and that is exactly what they are and I referred to them like that as well as other readers. The flu like symptoms really bother me. The dreams I can handle. Has anyone successfully gotten over the withdrawal and how long does it really take?

My husband as been taking effexor 150mg for about 6yrs and decided to stop taking cold turkey! He hasn't been the same he is so grumpy he complains of dizzy spells and I have seen him throw up several times he stays to his self and is just not himself I am worried about him but he tells me its not the med causing this. HELP I need some information on the side effects........ thanks

I stopped taking Effexor only three days ago, and I can't explain how sick I've been feeling today. Even though I've only been on these pills for three months, the side effects while trying to come off the pills are absolutely terrible.

I constantly have brain shocks, I've had nausea all day, and I've been extremely depressed. I don't want to keep taking these pills, but I hate how I feel right now.

Does it ever get better? Someone please help. And for anyone who is reading these comments that is thinking about starting using Effexor, I highly recommend to try a different anti-depressant.

I am so grateful I found this site. I wanted to go off of Effexor for a long time because of the dependance I had on it. Mostly in regards to how sick I felt if I missed a dose. I went on vacation at one point and forgot my effexor and had to spend the better part of the day getting in touch with a doctor and finding a drug store etc. I finally went to a new psychiatrist who diagnosed me as bi-polar. He changed my medication and agreed that I should go off of the effexor.

It has been 5 days off of it now and I feel awful. I tapered off of it slowly, but still feel pretty bad. Along with the nausea and headaches I have developed an eye twitch that has been non-stop for 36 hours. The nausea starts in the afternoon and is really exacerbated by any motion at all. Luckily because of the med change I feel good emotionally, although it doesn't take anything to make me cry, but the physical symptoms are pretty debilitating. I am hoping this all stops soon. I am NOT going to go back to taking Effexor to alleviate the discomfort... I am just going to get through this. I will post again in a few days , hopefully with good news.

Hi Erika,
I have been on Effexor for about 2 years 150mg daily. I was getting better and began to taper off to go onto 75mg. I too experienced shocking brain zaps if I missed a dose or two by not remembering to take my medication with me when going away and the eye twitching. It is no horrible. Unfortunately, my personal life has taken a turn for the worst and I have been told by my GP to go back to 150mg to help deal with my issues.

I am commencing to see a psychologist to help me, but perhaps I might need a psychiatrist as I have not really been diagnosed with a condition as yet other than suffering from anxiety and depression by my GP.

I'm sure you can taper off if you are careful with success, but be sure before you do so. You do need to ascertain your condition with a professional. Take care.

I have been on effexor ( 150 ) for about 4 or more years. I had terrible withdrawal symptoms w/in 24 hours of missing a dose. I decided the middle of Sept. 2011 to get off this drug. I took a daily pill box (any drug store) and began pouring bits of the contents from the capsule. I "guesstamated" the amount for Mon, matched it on Tues, etc. Did that for a week, then began the next week of pouring out bits (a tiny bit more this week). Slowly but surely I took my last Effexor 4 days ago, hardly anything in the capsule at this point.

I am still experiencing all the side effects mentioned on this forum, but oddly, during the time I tapered off the drug I did not. I don't know why.

I have searched the net to find any answers to how long it will take before I begin to feel normal, to have left these horrible side effects in my past?

If you want off this drug, do it slowly, still there are no guarantees that you won't suffer some.

I was originally prescribed to relieve my menopausal side effects (the effexorRx worked fine to relieve my hot flashes). After ~5 yrs years of taking 75mg I was ready to stop taking medication. I first tried to get off of this almost a year ago with the help of my GP who gave me step down directions, however because of the horrible side-effects that started immediately after I would go a day or two without the lowest dose of 37.5 - it caused me such misery, mostly the electric current feeling and headaches that I opted to continue to take the medicine.

Throughout the months of Sept and Oct I have been cracking pills into halves and quarters just to keep some level of medication in my system and I find this to be ridiculous, but if I don't do this I will get physically sick and have that electrical current feeling-brain-shivers, and a stunning headache. ...

I am currently at day 6 without taking any portion of a pill and am feeling sick to my stomach, distracted and have a terrible headache. I honestly couldn't understand why I was feeling like this (I assumed that I would follow a reduction plan and would never experience severe withdrawal side effects). It is these feelings of distress that prompted me to searched the internet to see if others had concluded that the effexor was the cause... Here you are! I am relieved.

There is comfort knowing that I am not alone and going crazy. I am determined to push through the withdrawal with the hopes that I will soon be on the other side of these effects.

I recently stopped Effexor after 8 years on it. I was on the lowest dose. First month was horrible, nightmares, withdraws and insomnia. It has been 4 months now, and my long term memory has been horrible. I read something then the next day can't remember what I read. I gained about 60lbs on this medication. Brought me even more depressed. Now that I am off, in 4 months I have lost almost 10lbs. This drug was not worth taking for me. I strongly suggest that if there is a issue where Effexor is the only solution to treat your symptoms, don't stay on it long. And really follow up with a Dr.....

I had been on effexor for about 12 years. Three months ago with the help of my psychiatrist I started a 3 month process of slowly ridding myself of the drug. I was on 150 mg twice a day. I went to 150mg once a day for a month. Then I went to 75mg a day for a month down to 37.5 once a day for a month.

The second day of not having any effexor in my system was hell. Just as many of you have said. I followed everything. I was advised to empty the contents of the capsule and take half of the 37.5 dose for a week. I'm healed~~ no I am not. I have cried I can't tell you how many times today. Gotten angry at people and lashed out and am trying to hold down my job.

In times like these I am petrified of losing my job. I know how it is to go a day without medication don't try going without it because the second day the flu like symptoms come on quickly and violently. I can't take back what I accepted as the solution to my issue, adult A.D.D.

I took myself off the dexedrin but I cannot kick this effexor. Thanksgiving is Thursday. I have much to be thankful for. I pray to God that all of us are relieved of terrible aftermath of what effexor has done to each and everyone of us trying to get healthy without being dependent.

Hi Sonya I was on Effexor for years and had to switch to the generic brand due to insurance they work just as good I did notice some slight side effects for a very short time.

I have something to say about the drug effexor (aka) venlafaxine. I didn't stop taking effexor. My medication ran out, so I had to be forced to do without because my insurance would not pay for it until a certain date. bBt,anyhow let me tell you what happened to me. I had death like withdrawal symptoms.

I probably had all the symptoms that effexor causes, which included: nausea and vomiting, deep headaches, feelings of electric shock, nightmares ,loss of appetite, increased anxiety, restlessness, confusion, lack of coordination, increased blood pressure, paranoia, and list goes on.

But,don't get me wrong, I am not saying that effexor doesn't work for depression, which it really does, but what I am saying that effexor has serious withdrawal symptoms, maybe even death- like symptoms. People! you don't have just take my word alone because there are probably millions of other people out that have experienced the same effects from effexor's withdrawal symptoms. I thankful to god that he has shown what is going to happen to me when I really try to quit this drug!!!

EVERYONE!!! PLEASE LISTEN!!! I seriously fell ALL OF YOUR PAIN!! I was put on Effexor by my doctor for anxiety depression and post partum depression in 2008. I had tried over and over to get off of it and worked with my (low income public service) doctor to wean properly, with no success. I felt every single AWFUL side effect and then withdrawal effect you all are experiencing. Now in March 2011, I was determined to just end this awful experience with this drug. I was determined to just wait the withdrawal out, and it had to get better right?

Months later, I was still sicker then I've ever felt. Felt like I was withdrawing from heroin or something. Body aches from hell, even months later, felt like I had the worst flu in the world. Couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't think, form words into sentences. Couldn't even lift my head up without getting dizzy, falling, throwing up.

I have a great life, wonderful family, feeling good about myself... but these physical withdrawals were enough to make me just give up completely. My husband was scared for me, wanted to just take me to the hospital. I was scared because of the electric brain shocks the most. I even timed them, and about every 15 seconds my brain felt like it had a swooshing sound, and electric shock. It made me want to seriously die. I couldn't be alone with my toddler, because I was so sick and out of it, she needed someone to watch her, take care of her. I couldn't drive anywhere... physically I was so messed up I didn't trust myself to drive.

I searched and searched on the internet for answers. Somewhere, I came upon someone's comment and it SAVED MY LIFE. They said to take FISH OIL PILLS. I hate fish, hate the smell, hate the taste. But I was willing to try ANYTHING. I went to WalMart, got a $6.00 bottle of Fish Oil pills, and took 2 of them right when I was going to sleep.

I woke up the next morning and felt SOOOO MUCH BETTER. (Didn't even taste the fish, or notice I'd taken them because I'd taken them right before I went to sleep) I felt like myself again-for the first time in years since I'd started these stupid pills. I wasn't perfect, not totally back to normal. But it was enough that I got up, made coffee, cooked breakfast for my family, drove myself around town, played with my daughter. I still had lingering affects for months still, but NOTHING like before. The brain shock waves were GONE!!!

I still take the fish oil at night now, just because I like how it makes me feel clearer & sharper and healthier. But it's been 9months for me now since I'd weaned off the last dose, and I feel GREAT. 98% back to my old self. Please, try it, it saved my life. I started crying just reading all the comments on this site :( I am heartbroken how many people had to feel the SAME AWFUL things I had to, I wish the drug companies could ANSWER to this stuff that they are dispensing. It's bullcrap. But please try this, and I hope even one person reads this, tries this,and I hope it works. God Bless and good luck. You are not alone.

I too am so happy to find this site. I was put on Effexor about 6 mos ago to control chronic pain and Fibromyalgia. I migraines (which I get anyways but have had increased occurrences in the last 6 mos) am still on it but have no energy, insomnia, and most of all just am not myself. I had no idea what was causing this and even had to take a leave from work. I was supposed to go back to work at the end of Nov. but still have been missing a lot of work.

I finally feel like maybe I have found the culprit of my problems. If I miss a dose I feel awful but until now didn't know what was causing that blah feeling. Physically I feel unable to FL to work often or to do anything for that matter. My anxiety is way worse too since being on this medicine. I am going to make an appt with my Dr and discuss stopping the use of Effexor. I am scared though now of the withdrawals I will face and certainly will miss even more work because of them. Any tips on minimizing those symptoms?

Thanks all for your comments because I don't feel alone anymore. My Dr told me nothing about any of these side effects or about the horrible withdrawals. Had I known I too would never have used this medicine. Good luck to all of us.

I have been on Effexor for over 2 years. I had started taking Paxil initially for panic attacks and was switched to Effexor due to the side-effects of the Paxil. I have had experiences on several occasions where I was out of medication and unable to fill them within a day of them running out. I am telling you, the side-effects of even missing a dose are HORRIBLE!

The brain shocks, nausea, body aches and pains, dizziness, crying spells are unbearable! This is the worst drug EVER! I have become more aggressive and abrupt since taking them.

I have been weaning myself of this medication for a couple of months now and I took my last tablet on Saturday. I have been going through hell!

I am praying for the side-effects to subside. I am just hoping and praying that I will return to normal soon :(

I have been on Effexor XR 75 milligrams for several years. It was prescribed to me for severe depression, and it worked. I remember the symptoms of starting Effexor XR, which included insomnia and constipation--as well as a "tingly" sensation all over my skin, but especially my legs. At the time, I was suicidal and took them deciding that I could try that before committing suicide. I didn't feel as if I had anything to lose since I was going to kill myself anyway. It was a last ditch effort so as just not to upset people who cared about me--because I would have rather just exited this plane of existence to escape the agonizing pain of depression. So, I can honestly say that Effexor saved my life because the next step was going to be self-termination. No bones about it.

That was 10 years ago. My dose was upped to 150mg for a little while when I was working on a PhD and getting a divorce. But this left me feeling lethargic, so I went back to 75mg. After being divorced for a couple of years, my mood improved greatly. I tried to wean myself off of the medicine by going to 37.5, but my mood swings were too difficult to bear, and I went back to 75mg. I resigned to be on Effexor XR for the rest of my life because I feel like too much of a screw up without it. I assumed that I could just stay on 75mg and live as close to a normal life as I could muster.

*****HOWEVER******

I noticed a change in my response to Effexor XR when my insurance refused to cover name brand and I had to go with the generic. It was awful. I felt nauseated, dizzy, and simply sick all the time. I paid for the name brand out of my pocket, and the bad symptoms dissipated, but I never felt "normal" again.

Over the next few months, I became increasingly forgetful, disorganized, and unable to prioritize. As a child and young adult, I was always a healthy Type-A, organized, energized, competent, capable. I no longer felt like I was any of these things... So I decided that maybe the drug that saved my life 10 years ago wasn't helping me anymore. This presumption was strengthened on days that I forgot to take a dose. Out of nowhere, I would become very productive simply because I was able to make decisions. However, the withdrawal symptoms of nausea, dizziness, and irritability would overwhelm me by the evening, and I would take a dose the following morning. (if I took it before bed, I would never be able to sleep).

I decided that since the human body is a such resilient thing, if I could get past the first few days of withdrawal, I could quit cold turkey just to see what life was like without Effexor. I quit smoking over a year ago, and the pangs of nicotine cravings have finally left me. I feel like if I can quit smoking, if I can quit the cycle of abusive men, if I can quit Double-Stuff Oreo cookies, I can quit this too. It's been almost 2 weeks, and here's where I am....

I experienced motion sickness, headaches and moodiness that everyone is describing here. It was definitely at it's peak on day three. It's impossible to isolate all of the variables, but I am eating fish 5 nights a week (completely coincidence) and I notice a difference on the days when I have had fish for dinner the night before. There might be something to the post about taking fish oil. Our brains are largely made up of fat (60%), so it makes sense to me that there would be a link between fatty acids in fish and the experience of withdrawal from a drug that alters the behavior of our neurons/nervous system. I'm going to eat fish again and read a little more on the fish oil strategy.

I've also been considering "light therapy"--which is a non-traditional (probably wacky) sort of therapy that uses colored flashing lights to refocus, retrain, and "calm" neural activity. It sounds a bit cracked, but considering how cracked Effexor is, I don't really care. I'm all for looking for new and innovative approaches that don't involve taking a pill.

I'm dealing with the motion sickness with the belief that it will pass eventually. The agitation and moodiness come and go, and I find that I need to make sure that I EAT regularly in order to keep my mood up. If anyone has suggestions about how to move through the feelings of agitation gracefully without using other drug therapies, I would be very happy to hear your suggestions.

I am convinced that I will make it through this and be better for it.

Thank you, am trying the fish oil. Stopped Effexor 3 days ago. Stayed home from work, have flu-like symptoms.

I just stopped taking the 75mg Effexor about two days ago after being dropped down from 150mg and I two must say that the feelings are very strange. I am hoping that they only last for a few days, but everyone is different. Sort of have a tingling feeling all over and have a massive headache. I too have had many issues that I thought were heart related since I have been on this drug, but as others have mentioned above all the tests have come back normal. I also gained about 30lbs in the year or so that I have been on the drug. All I have to say is good riddance.

I really can not remember how long I have been on Effexor. When I went to fill my pill boxes for the week I realized I was out of Effexor. If I remember correctly, I ran out sometime last week. I have gone on Medicare and I got a drug plan, but I did not sign up for the drug plan until Jan. 1. I had Effexor from my previous drug plan enough tjrpigj the third week of Jan. Since my mind has been slipping more than usual I did not order an effexor refill until yesterday. I noticed several days ago the feeling of shocks in my face.

I am going to try the fish oil. I hope it works. In some ways I am feeling better since I have not taken Effexor.

I too have been on varying dosages (from a high of 350mg a day down to 37.5mg) of Effexor for years. I have tried multiple times to get off, with all of the side effects listed. Right now, I'm weaning myself off of the 37.5 mg dose just because of a new insurance plan and not wanting to have to spend $150/month for drugs. I'm glad someone put a name to the "swooshing" I get when I turn my head or move my eyes from one spot to another; white noise is a very appropriate term for that.

The nightmares are vivid and very realistic. The food cravings are insane - I brought a little bit of everything to work with me today just to cover it all - salty, sweet, liquid, solid - because I have no idea what I'm going to want from one hour to the next. (Yes, the rambling nature of this post is also a side effect.) I'm weepy all the time. You'd have thought I was Whitney Houston's best friend, the way I carried on this weekend. I bought some St Johns Wort and it isn't doing a thing. Fish oil is my next solution to try. I just hope the people who said the symptoms were gone after a couple of weeks are more on target than the ones who said they're still suffering after months. I refuse to get back on this stuff!!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you !!!

Wow .... Ok I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel because I thought this is the way I have to live my life from here-on out!!
I am currently feeling so nauseous and out of balance trying so hard to take care of my Boyfriends little girl.

He thinks I have gone crazy, due to my constant crying and emotions!!! I have been on 75 mg now for 1 year and thought that my tiredness and mood swings as well as weight gain had to come from me going through pre-mentopause. I am sick of being sick and tired and emotionally unstable.

I tried not to take it cold turkey for the last two days and I am plagued with dizziness, nausea and night sweats as well ass constant crying. I decided to empty the capsule and take half of the dosage and see how I feel.

I have always been an extremely fit girl, even in my 40's after one year on Effexor I have gained 10 pounds and I am hating life. Please think long and hard before agreeing to this anti depressant !! There is others out there to help with Anxiety and depression, which is why I was put on it in the first place.

Due to self-employment I am currently without insurance, which makes it difficult to switch and or find a doctor that does not charge hundreds of dollars to see me and give me sound advice. Again I am tired of being tired and hopeless.

If I was not suicidal before, this medications side effects is certainly bringing up thoughts !!! I drink red wine and thought the depression and tiredness came from having a glass or two in the evenings. So I stopped for ten days and nothing changed at all. Still could not get up at a normal time to perform every day functions such as working.

My friends are concerned!! They want Ellen back!! My boyfriend of 10 months never knew me before and just thinks he is dating a crazy middle age woman.

Again after reading all of these posts I realized that as a former Nurse, I should have conducted this research prior to being put on this medicine!! I am still super nauseous and tired but fighting through it!!

I am getting off this stuff!!
love
Ell

I stopped Effexor COLD TURKEY. And I am not having any side effects. At all.

Have been on Effexor xr for at least five years for depression and fybromyalgia. A couple of years ago when on 150mg I ran out over the holidays and because of insurance issues was unable to refill my script for nearly 2 weeks. I experienced the excruciating effects as described by everyone and spent hours crying on the phone with insurance and doctor.

I realized then that I needed to get off this drug but have been waiting for the right time. Meanwhile about a 6 months ago I dropped my dose to 75mg with no side effects. For the past week I have been breaking the capsules and only taking approx. 37.5mg, still with virtually no side effect. I have a few very hectic and stressful months coming up so I'm afraid to quit now so I will continue with the 37.5mg dose unless life settles down a bit.

I am absolutely terrified of quitting completely as based on all the comments this last step seems to be the worst. I think the fish oil may be very effective. I've been taking it for almost a year and wonder if this is why I haven't had any side effects when dropping my dose.

I just wanted to add, that it has been almost a year since I went off the last dose of tapering off completely, and went thru all those HORRIBLE withdrawal symptoms. Thank God I found that fish oil, and it worked miracles. I'm not saying it will work for everyone, but I hope & pray it will, and give everyone some relief.

Even now, a year later... I had stopped taking the fish oil (more out of laziness-forgetting to take it & thinking I'm fine now, why do I need it anymore??) And I do notice a lot, I will get those awful brain zaps (not quite as severe as last year, but nonetheless it's enough to be very uncomfortable & annoying) and a lot of the brain fogginess, like being under a thick cloud. So, I started taking the fish oil regularly again this last month, and it's gotten rid of all the negative symptoms again. I urge everyone to at least TRY it, I don't know for a fact that it will cure everyone, but it TREMENDOUSLY helped me get my life back and I pray that everyone will be relieved of this awful ordeal.

Can you tell me how you're feeling now? I've reduced from 300mg/day, slowly stepping down to 75. I've been off completely for 3 days, and i don't know if I can hold out much longer. The physical affects are miserable, but it's the crying, the depression that are scaring me. How long did/have yours lasted? are you feeling better?

I first commented about my experience above, around December. You might scroll up, and read it all. Once I completely tapered off the last dose, I was suffering BADLY for almost 2months, before I read somewhere that fish oil might help. I went out THAT day and bought a $6.00 bottle at WalMart and took it that night, and literally THE NEXT day I felt TREMENDOUSLY better.

I was able to get up, and take care of my daughter, and actually get out of the house for the first time in 2months almost. It took maybe a month after that for ALL the effects to completely go away, but most of it was gone after that first dose. I HATE fish too, but I just took 2pills right before bed and went to sleep, and didn't even taste the pills. I am not promising it will work for everyone, but I HOPE & PRAY that it works as well for someone else, like it did for me. I totally feel your pain :( I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

I was taking Zoloft for several years when it seemed like it was slowly not working anymore...the dr switched me to Effexor xr for two weeks and I felt like I wasn't taking anything so she has now switched me to Wellbutrin XL...she said to take 150mg for one week and then if I don't have side effects to increase to 300 mg for another week then come back to see her...

I have been feeling LOTS worse and very lightheaded...I don't know if this is from the Wellbutrin or from coming off Zoloft or coming off Effexor...I want the Wellbutrin to work so badly but don't know if I should continue taking it... I had a crying jag today for about an hour for no reason...I haven't done that since before I took Zoloft...PLEASE help before I lose what is left of my mind!!

This has to be the worst med to get off of. I would notice dizziness while I was on the med, as well as poor memory and difficulty with word recall. I finally decided to get off of it because of the problems I was having with my memory. Going off has been crazy. I am off it completely this week, and it has been hell. I have been in a fog, I can't move my head to fast or I might fall ... last night I was sleep walking which I haven't done since I was a child. My co-workers worry when they look at my pale face and my husband and kids keep a close watch on me so I don't fall .

What really ticks me off is that when I told the pharmacist that I was being weaned off of the stuff, he made the comment that that medicine really messes with people's minds. Really! Then why is it still being used? I will be trying the fish oil ASAP. It is Day 5 of being totally off this drug and I need help.

I have been on effexor rr 150 mg. For 2 yrs I have major serious side effects my Dr up does to 300 is so sick I went back to 150 , I now 75 n can't take no more, I am worse then I started how can I stop this feeling plz help me.

Wow! So, the side effects from my withdrawal. Lemme share with you all my worst one.

I was mindlessly channel surfing, and stopped on Dr.Phil, *one of those gotta stop and watch the car accident, kinda moment* . Lawd only knows why because I really don't like that show. Anywaaaaay, some woman was on, *blah blah blah* was on marriage number 11,*more blah blah blah* and I was sitting here crying for her! Ya know, got the whole tear works thing going on, even had to use the corner of my tank top to wipe away the boogies. Bawling my eyes out because I felt sorry for this woman, when will she ever find true love??
It occurred to me then, that I was having SEVERE withdrawal symptoms.
Seriously???

Oh yeah, crying over EVERYthing now.

Ahhhhhh.....shoot me now!

Aside from that, yeah, pretty much what ever one else has stated, nausea, electricity going through my arms and my poor messed up bean. Yay me.

Thank the Goddesses that I have an extremely patient and loving wife and daughter. I too shall get through this.

btw, Effexor 150 mg for the last 4 or 5 years, stopped cold turkey when I didn't feel like dishing out the cash anymore.


**soft sigh**

I took Effexor XR 150mg for 12 years for PMS and anxiety. It did help, I would still have panic attacks every once in a while but I could talk myself through it and be ok. I have been off for 1 year now. I went through everything you all did. My physical symptoms are gone but my anxiety is worse than it was when I first started taking it. Another thing I deal with now is depression. I was never depressed before. I hate the way I feel now, I never felt like this before, I feel like a different person. I am just here, no personality, no drive, no zest, just blah. As you can imagine I have no desire to take another AD... But what do ya do? Has anyone gone through this after getting off Effexor?

once I stop taking tablets how much longer do I put up up with symptoms? ok head bit funny I think what I'm trying to say is how many days roughly do they last for after not taking tablets?

It's been 8 years since I quit Effexor XR cold turkey. I was prescribed 150mg/day for about a year and a half. I am still experiencing side effects. I have periodic insomnia that will last for months, the "brain zaps" will come and go (maybe about 3 to 5 instances a year, as well as the blurred vision (kinda what you would be seeing if you were looking crossed eyed) and the roller coaster of emotions is still terrible. I broke down in tears talking to my boss a week ago regarding time off.

Due to my overwhelming emotions, mostly pessimistic or anger, I haven't been able hold down a full time job since quitting the Effexor XR. For the most part, I'm apathetic about everything, I only care about today and how I'm going to get through it. I have no libido, haven't been on a date in over 4 years now I usually don't care, but I'm angry about it now. The worse part of it is that it only feels like a few months ago that I've been on a date. This drug's continuing side affect of apathy would be the worse part. I just don't care about anything like I used to 9 years ago, and those 9 years went by in a blink of an eye. I wish I never went on that drug, my anxiety and depression should have been treated differently.

I was forced to discontinue use when my employer did not pay the premiums that were due, and at that time 150mg of Effexor for a 30 day supply was $580/month. In my last session with my psychiatrist, I was told to "keep my chin up" when I told him that my insurance is expired, and I can no longer afford the prescription.

If you do not need to start Effexor XR, DON'T. You will need to take it for the rest of your life. If you are taking it, and are forced to quit cold turkey, just remember what I wrote here. The side effects never completely went away for me, you will be apathetic about mostly everything, days will feel like hours, months like days, and years will go by like weeks. My sense of time has been seriously affected by Effexor XR.

When I say I live an apathetic life, I mean it... I wish I can feel real joy, not just sparks of euphoria mixed with sparks of severe depression. I blame Effexor XR, I blame my therapist, I blame my psychiatrist, I blame the drug rep who pushed my psychiatrist into prescribing the new best drug on the market, I blame myself for believing all of them. We all screwed my life up, and it will not improve because my mind will not let it.

I feel for all of you who are hoping for an end of the side effects.

Almost a week ago, I stopped taking Venlafaxine XR cold turkey, due to a sudden loss of medical and prescription benefits through employment. Due to my financial situation, even the quasi-generic Effexor XR was too cost prohibitive to continue taking it. Some nausea, considerable insomnia, the "swooshing" electric shock feeling (especially noticeable when shifting the eyes from side to side), and a skin "crawling" feeling with periodic itching have occurred.

This, in addition to the return of some feelings of depression, has made this a very unpleasant experience. My biggest concern is how long it will take for the medication to leave my system. I am resigned to the effort of dealing with symptoms of depression, but wish the withdrawal from the medication would be over.

My fiancé and I decided that we wanted to try and get pregnant. My doctor told me that I couldn't take Effexor. I was taking 75 mg XR. For 2 months I slowly tapered off because I have read that coming off Effexor is horrible. I haven't had it now for 11days. I am so depressed, with uncontrollable crying and sleep problems. I am very tired, but yet can't sleep much. I had a buzzing brain for one day, but in comparison to everything else, that wasn't bad. I am very lucky because I haven't had any nausea or vomiting, but I have no appetite. But the absolute worst, hellish thing that I am going through is extremely itchy skin!!!! It is all over my body.

I am trying not to scratch but the bottoms of my feet and my hands are the worst. At first I thought it was laundry detergent that I was allergic to, but after changing the sheets on the bed to different ones, the itchiness didn't go away. I read that this could be a side effect. I have literally scratched a few places until they bleed. I don't have a rash, but I have red splotches where I scratch. I have tried Benadryl because I thought it was an allergy, I have taken an oatmeal bath and used oatmeal lotion, and I have used cortisone. The cortisone helps a little with my feet, but it is temporary.

I am slightly tempted to go back on Effexor, but I would rather commit suicide thatn go through this again. I do have an appointment with my doctor in the morning, and I hope she can help. I feel so bad because my fiance has seen this transformation in me, and it has scared him and I don't know if our relationship can be the same..... but right now I don't know that I am a good judge of anything.

If anyone has suggestions or ideas, I am very open. I don't know how long I need to wait before starting a new medication. I guess I will find out in about 14 hours. Thank you for letting me type it out. It kinda helps. :)

I am very relieved and yet saddened to hear that I am not alone in this! I was on Effexor XR for about 3 1/2 months and decided to get off, because of the daily negative physical symptoms I was having. I was a little hesitant to get off of them, because they have helped tremendously with my depression and anxiety. Seeing as yesterday was my first complete day without them and now I am on day 2.....OH MY GOSH.

My psych. (gov. doc mind you) never told me it would be so bad. I am literally lying in bed right now typing this, because I had to come home from work! I have a temperature of 100.0 and I am having the most SEVERE CHILLS. I am sweating profusely and yet shivering from feeling cold. My brain doesn't keep up with my physical movement and the "electric shock" symptoms are really kicking in now way more than when I was on it. I am extremely emotional and have on and off suicidal thoughts (don't worry I am not actually suicidal), which I have not struggled with in a long time. I have disorientation and consistently fall over into things or lose my balance and feel like my brain is shaking uncontrollably and feel as if I must hold onto something. Trembling hands and VERY sore throat with a cough.

Unfortunately for me I just started my period yesterday so I am positive that does not help anything! Despite all of this pain I won't go back onto Effexor even though I'm only 2 days off. I would rather just continue down the road to quitting, because if not now then when? Scary to think this drug that causes such reactions to our minds and body are readily available to millions. I understand that anti-depressants are a trial and error so to say, but I didn't understand the risks until withdrawing from this one (I have been on Welbutrin, Zoloft, Prozac, xanax and clonazepam, but none have ever had horrible withdraw symptoms until now!!!).

Thanks for sharing and I am hoping this won't last too much longer though I see here that some people experienced symptoms up to 4 months later from withdrawal! Keep the faith :]

THANK YOU ALL.

I'm not going mad, dying from a brain tumour, having a heart attack etc.. I was prescribed Efexor for hot flashes and mild depression. Similar story to many but failed to fill my script when due and went three days without by 75mcg dose. Geez! They're all very disturbing symptoms but probably the light globe that went on for me was the weight gain. I am menopausal and assumed this was just another part of all these wonderful things that happen to women. LOL I have been thin to average weight all my life. Since taking Efexor I have gained 12 kilos (30 lbs) for our American friends.

I felt so ill and off kilter yesterday that I relented and re-filled my script. I cannot wait to get off this drug FOREVER!

P.s. intend trying the fish oil. It' good for you anyway.

I am a doctor, so I should have known better, but due to very difficult family circumstances I started Effexor 1 year ago. On my psychiatrist's advice, I went up to 300 mg, along with 90 mg mirtazapine; I think this is what they call "california jungle juice" or something similar - for major, major depression.

Depression and anxiety are now gone and I am trying to get off Effexor while keeping Mirtazapine for the moment. For me, it is a near death experience, despite slow tapering. If I had known this, I would NEVER have gone on this drug. I am in the worst agony I have ever been in in my entire life. 2nd day without any Effexor at all and I don't know if I can do this, I seriously don't.

Psychologically, I am actually OK except some sadness, but physiologically it is hell. I cannot stand up without falling; the brain zaps are crazy, the nightmares, the vertigo. I would never, ever prescribe this drug to anyone. It will never happen and people need to know this before they start this treatment.

I am trying to cope with my work and looking after my children and it is hell. I just hope that it will not last for too long because then I have to start again for the sake of my children.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Dear A.J.,

We are so sorry to hear about what you are going through. We would encourage you to rethink the sudden withdrawal. This really requires a very slow taper (that might take several weeks or months). You need a physician who can help you accomplish this gradually so you do not need to go through such a terrible experience.

The best way is to buy a weekly pill box. Start by pouring a bit of your Effexor in the Sunday spot. Take your pill. Next day... pour some in the Monday box, eyeball it to be about the same amount as the day before. Do this for a week... then next week pour out a little more, keep doing this until there is nothing in the pill! Dropping off to a lesser dose such as 37.5 or 75 will not work... trust me I tried it.

Slowly weaning yourself is the best way and believe it or not I did it in less than a month without many side effects. It's been over a year now since getting off Effexor, I had some bad days afterwards, but each month I got better. Hang in there, you can do this!

I have suffered from depression for many years and have been treated with many different meds, most recently effexor and trazodone, the trazodone at a dosage for insomnia, they seemed to make a big difference at first, but as any manic as myself can tell u,the "thought" of finally getting help, makes u feel much better.

My Doc left to go home to practice, I was "dumped" to another doctor, and quite frankly he is a jerk and has no business treating people with mental disorders, so to get to my point, I am off the effexor, for 1 week now, and the vertigo, and the noise is unreal, I call the noise rabid crickets in my head, that is the best way to describe it, and the stomach issues have almost made me get adult diapers.

So far I feel ok mentally, not great but it's livable, I just want it to be over, I would have never thought it does that much to ur body and ur brain, God help us all is all I can say.

I was put on effexor about 5 months ago, I remember talking with someone whom told me at the time that this drug is hard to get off. What led me to first experience the hell of not taking effexor happened when I was looking for a new job, also at the time I was taking depakote & my hands shake really bad. I was scared the people that where interviewing me were gonna think I was on CRACK so I decided to stop taking it. WOW, I remember walking down the street after day 2 with a buddy of mine telling him that I felt is if I was messed up in head, almost like trippen on LSD, then came the HEADACHES & the NAUSEA.

I then started taking these medication every other day to minimize that hand trembling. I had just moved to a new city & new I needed to find a Doctor to get the HELL of this stuff. If I would've know these side effects in advance which the doctor seemed to not tell me about then I would have never taken them. You know coming off this stuff & the hellish withdrawals could be almost compared to someone coming off of HEROIN. When you first try to stop, the withdrawals make you sick so you go back on them as if your mind is dependent on them.

I stopped taking them cold turkey on Dec, 22, was in bed for about 4 days, finally worked up the courage to go outside on the 5th day. I can say that I do feel better but still feel there vertigo, dizziness & having really bad HEADACHES. I'm starting my new job on the 7th of Jan & hope that I feel much better then. You know I could go on forever on how horrible of a medication this crap is, I've tried numerous meds & have come to the conclusion that they are all a joke. I think these doctors need to prescribe their own drugs before giving to people.

I am so thankful to have come upon this site. I was feeling like I was alone with the withdrawal symptoms of stopping effexor. Its a scarey and unusual feeling. Like I'm not myself. I have bad dreams nausea dizziness crying spells, it's like some things feel unreal. Then sometimes I want to eat eventhough I shouldn't be hungry. I can't wait to feel in control again. These brain zaps are so weird too.

It's good to read all these posts,

I feel for you guys, I've been off effexor now for 11 weeks, and i still don't feel like my old self, I have improved a lot , but I still get bouts of anxiety now and then, in the beginning it was lot worse, but my anxiety is making me feel like running away from everything, and that makes me angry --> making anxiety ever worse. I go to CBT therapy, I hope this helps to cope better, I wish I'd never started effexor in the first place, the remedy is worse than the disease, I started this for hyperventilation after concussion in 2008, I just want to be my old self, feel free of anxiety, and crazy thoughts

may god help us..

I have been off of effexor for about 2 months now, slowly taking less and less from 37.5mg. I feel ultimately better but I wake up every morning at 5 am and feel sick and most of the time throw up. I know i am not with child I have checked and I don't know what else to chock it up to but the effexor. anyone else experience this?

Hi everyone,

I am slowly tapering down my dosage of Effexor from 150 mg p/day. I plan to take 75 mg for 7 days, then 37.5 mg for another 7 days then quit. I'd welcome any advice on this strategy.

Thank you

I have been on Effexor for several years. I didn't like the weight gain and loss of sexual appetite so I talked to my doctor about switching to something else. I cut down to 37.5 and got that in tablet form instead of capsules. Tried taking them every other day but didn't like the side effects, mostly brain zaps. I call it sandbag head because it feels like there is a bag of sand in my head and when I turn my head the sand shifts from one side to the other and I can hear it shifting.

Then I started cutting the tablets in half and taking them every day, then eventually every other, then I finally stopped. It was a long process. It's been 3 weeks now and I still have sandbag head. I also have had bad nightmares and some crying jags, which I thought were because of some stuff going on at work but now I wonder if it's from the withdrawal.

I thought the withdrawal symptoms should be gone by now but I see that they may last a while longer. I did switch to Wellbutrin which I think is finally starting to kick in because emotionally I'm feeling more normal. Someone earlier in this post said fish oil pills seemed to help with some of the withdrawal symptoms so I'm going to give that a try.

I am half way off my Effexor and I have the solution for you all. I found a blog written by someone with similar issues you are all having. Here's what to do;

Inside the Effexor XR pill are tiny white balls. Each week get your pills ready for that week. Day 1 remove 1 ball. Day 2 remove 2 balls, day 3 remove 3, etc...

It's not extremely easy but it's not all the difficult to do if you're careful. If you still experience withdrawal you can space it out even more. I personally remove 1 ball for two days and then 2 balls for the next two days and so forth. It's not been a month and I've gotten down to about half the amount of balls than my full dose with no withdrawal or electric shocks. The beauty of tapering off this way is you can control the pace and make it an extremely slow tapar.

Good luck. Hope this helps!

I also have been completely weened off Effexor for a week and I kept thinking the symptoms were due to my retirement coming up this week. I was on the drug for hot flashes - not depression, but I sure feel as though I am depressed now. Eveyone says apprx 1 month until you feel normal. A month seems like a lifetime right not. And my husband is also beside himself with me crying every 5 mins. I hope you are healed soon.

I too have begun the loving road of withdrawal symptoms since stopping effexor. This is absolutely horrid. What do I do????

THE best way to come off Effexor is to add Prozac while you are weaning off the Effexor. I have done this and it works!! I have no idea why it works, but it does. Get off the Effexor s-l-o-w-l-y and add 20 mg of Prozac a day....it takes away the brain zaps. If you are on Prozac, up your dose by 20 a day. Prozac is not hard to come off of....so once you are off the Effexor, wean off the Prozac.

I was only on 50 mg of venlafaxine for just about three weeks when I decided to skip it for a couple of days so I could get some rest (was having unbelievable dreaming/nightmare experiences). Horrible experience! I had something like a surge going on behind my eyes that made me feel a bit like I was in a strobe light world. Started crying uncontrollably, headache, nausea, worse nightmares then when I was taking it, etc. I realized there was no way to come off all at once but one thing I knew.... I WAS coming off. After a MONTH of weaning down from my tiny dose..life was still nearly unbearable when I stopped all together. It is now just under a week since I have taken any and though my doc says it is completely out of my system, I am still "strobing" some, very easily nauseated (like even from walking around at times), having digestive problems, headaches, soreness, sudden weight gain and I am exhausted! She thinks maybe I should see a psychiatrist... I have never had that even come up before..... I truly feel this drug has done something that just lasts far longer than the professionals would care to admit. Any advice out there for me?

Hi All,

This is one of the worst drugs ever.
I have been on effexor at various dosages for around 6 years. Came off them once due to not having a prescription and it was hell. I was busy and quickly got some more after 3 days as you can't function. - The withdrawal symptoms are huge.

As a background, I was put on them due to an amazing amount of stress in my life which I generally handled well. I also don't take anything else and even at 50 I am healthy and need no other drugs.

I went cold turkey about 7 days ago and it is hell. These drugs are not so much addictive but almost impossible to get off. The drug companies must love it as we use them for much longer than we need to.

As a person who is reasonably healthy I have had the worst week of my life. Brain explosions, dizziness, diarrhea, bad nightmares (although that happened since I have been on them) sweats, bad moods, tiredness and the list goes on. Now this comes from someone who gets up and gets on with it. The only difference is Effexor. This is a bad drug that is almost impossible to get off even if you taper.

Anyway, 7 days into it and I will never go back. Starting to feel normal again. I can see the light at the light at the end of the tunnel that I should never have been in....
Good luck to anyone who is doing it or contemplating.
Also, don't listen to the bs about talking to your doctor. They have a snapshot in time and most don't know how bad and hard it is to get off them - even with tapering.

Hi all,
Have been reading the comments and see the all too familiar pattern. I was on Effexor for 2 1/2 years and asked my doctor to take me off it because of the side effects.
I have been weaning off for the last 2 months and am nearly 3 weeks "free"!
I mostly feel ok, I was told by my pharmacist that fish oil would help with the brain zaps, and it absolutely does.... I'm on 6000 mg of this and it has all but eliminated the horrible feelings... would highly suggest it.

What worries me at the moment is my emotions... I feel on the verge of tears all the time.... for no reason at all... and pointers or comments from anyone who has had a similar experience....
I feel that this is a very dangerous drug that is being dispensed too easily!
Thoughts?

I began using Effexor per my psychiatrist recommendation approximately 3.5 months ago. I suffer from chronic pain, Spinal nerve damage and major depression. Previously I had been on Paxil, but after years of use, it's effectiveness was dwindling.

I felt an immediate improvement in my mental well being upon taking my first dose of Effexor, however, after a month of increasing the dosage to 75mg from 35mg, I began having debilitating dizzy spells, nausea, severe eye pressure/pain and my head... I don't know whether to call it headaches, brain pressure, cranial pressure, brain zaps; they all describe the feeling as well as the anger I am experiencing, which is so unlike me and unbecoming. Where did I go and how do I find myself again.

A week ago, I went back to 35mg as to wean myself off the Effexor and now I am totally debilitated. I have suicidal thoughts, the side effects have made my other problems ten-fold. My faith has always been in God first and now I feel SOME physicians are just out for the bucks.

My body feels poisoned and weakened mentally and physically. Is there any end to this? It is not worth losing yourself for, as I am sure there is something out there as effective and less toxic.

It's 7:16 pm, Tuesday evening.
I figured I'd " google" Effexor, just to see if anyone had problems quitting this medicine. I started taking it over 3 years ago, and I've been off of it for a month, and I feel like I'm going crazy! I have electric shocks going through my body daily, and I feel like my skin is getting poked by needles.
I feel a thousand times worse now, vs the very reason I was prescribed this medicine in the first place!
I'm praying daily that I can pull through this, and it hasn't changed since I've quit- I don't feel I'm getting better:)
I do however feel better knowing others felt this way:( sorry to say, but it makes me feel better.
If you are someone reading this because you also have the same issues, I wish you luck seriously!

I have been off Effexor for 2 years, have no residual side effects. I can't remember how long I had some effects after stopping but here's how you do it. You TAPER every pill every day. Take a weekly pill box, dump some out of the capsule... do this every day for a week... try to keep the amount the same. The next week... dump a little more... keep doing this for as long as you need to. As you pour out more you can tell how you are doing... if good, then the next week keep it up, if not stay on that amount for another week... slowly, very slowly get to the point of almost no drug in the capsule... then you are done. It could take a month, or more... but slowly your body adjusts to less and less of this difficult drug.
Good luck, you'll be glad you stuck with it!

hi. I forgot to take my efexor 150mg pills with me on a houseboat and had no way of getting them. I've had 2 pills since 8th October and don't want to take anymore. The nightmares I've been having are getting worse, especially last night, I operate a garbage truck and have done ok the last couple days but not confident to do that today. I feel like I'm getting worse, I feel off in the tummy, trembles in my stomach, bad headaches, I'm taking magnesium and have some rescue remedy. I really don't want to take them anymore. I feel happier and the world is a brighter place for me but damn its hard. Any help or comments would be great. My boss won't be happy when I ring him but then it will be better than running someone over.

I am just past a week of stopping the Effexor XR (150 mg dose) after being on it for eight years with my highest dosage being 225. Even though most of these posts are very old--withdrawing from this medication remains a hellish proposition.

Nightmares, headaches, dizziness, noises in my head, nausea along with extreme hunger, anger (but this is with my ex-doctor and totally reasonable).

Through these eight years I have consistently gained weight and decreased physical activity due to fatigue and now have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, am obese with a severe vitamin D deficiency, and am flirting with Diabetes.

Looking back, my problems began when I was offered a simple prescription to help with hot flashes and "take the edge off" as I began menopause. I didn't even request help, it was generously offered (hah!).

Not once was Effexor offered up as a possible contributor to my fatigue and overall lethargy--in fact the dosage was increased due to my depression (signified by my abnormal need to sleep and my tearful pleas in the doctor's office regarding my lack of motivation, energy, etc.).

Wish me luck as I attempt to crawl my way out of the abyss, and know that you are not the only idiot out there who blindly followed a doctor's recommendation.

I also am going thru withdrawals from Effexor XR 150mg after being on it for 3 years, I just stopped taking it Feb 1st, I had to leave work today cause I actually thought I was sick with the flu but once home started looking at withdrawal symptoms of it and realized that is what I'm going thru. Wow. The dizziness, nauseated feeling so bad and the brain shocks, I just hope and pray this ends soon as I have to work and I'm definitely not going back on them. Can you tell me are you still experiencing withdraw symptoms or are you thru them, also did you find anything helpful to get thru. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Hi. Shame these drugs aren't studied better. Paxil turned me into one big mess, total different person. Didn't help the panic attacks, anxiety. Dr kept adding odd combos. Not good. Brutal coming off, tried effexor, it controlled panic, but raised blood pressure, which I never had, caused hair loss. Also went off in two years to cymbalta, in one day and was great, but hair loss, jumpiness, these are all awful. Over ten years on cymbalta, started getting nervous and blurred vision. Went on Zoloft 50mg. Hair loss ended. Excellent. For panic and anxiety only been over a week. The worst was the sudden stop of effecor. I couldn't drive I was so dizzy and sick.

After a year and a hell of hell with my adolescent daughter, we are working with a naturopath to wean her off the prescriptions for anxiety and depression. We are off three of the four meds, and the last to go is Effexor - which we are down to 37.5mg, from a high of 150mg. We have tried all sorts of things, klonopin, clonazapam, abilify, trazodone, plus others that I don't even recall anymore, etc....

One med made her gain 10 lbs on less than a month, and she was only 78 lbs before!!! It caused her to literally crave sugared foods, and she would ask for seconds and thirds, it was creepy how it affected her.

We have seen a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, been to the emergency room a few times (felt like we were earning our frequent flyer miles), taken anxiety classes, neurofeedback, etc... We put her into a small school instead of the big middle school of 1200 kids, where her anxiety evolved into being treated like a behavior problem.
Of all the professionals we worked with, and the thousands of dollars spent trying to help her, guess what? The naturopath was the FIRST person to look at my daughters' chemistry and hormonal balance. So, instead of the buckshot approach we were taking with the meds, this doctor looked at what was happening with our kid and targeted the treatment specifically to get her back in balance.

To help wean her off the medications, the doctor supported her with a LOT of supplements to help with the anxiety. These were chosen specifically to address her unique needs, not a one-size-fits-all treatment.

I am seeing a happy kid emerge from this nightmare. As we cut the dose of effexor, we up some other supplements, like the fish oil mentioned earlier, 5-htp, l-theanine, plus some others. The cost for the supplements is way less than we were paying for abilify. The insured cost of effexor is dirt cheap, like less than a dollar for a months' supply. Shameful, really.

So, we are slowly tapering off the last of the effexor. We had a blip a few weeks ago, when the kid was just DONE with the meds! That was at about the 75mg level. Oops. Back we went to the slooooooow taper after that mistake. Every time I lower the dose, and she doesn't know when it happens, because I mix it with a different capsule, I see a happier more lighthearted child reemerge. As an added bonus, her anxiety is better managed and (this very picky kid) is now open to things like eating salad - something I could even bribe her to do before.

I have not seen this approach of supplemental support mentioned much on this thread, so I wanted to offer you a bit of our experience in hopes it might give added support out there. The test we took to check the kids chemistry cost about $450 (ouch) with no coverage from insurance (our insurance doesn't pay for naturopaths!). But it looks like it was some of the best dollars we could have spent. And I am angry that it is not "normal" to look at these simple, simple things.

If you break a bone, there is a protocol to fix it, right? If you break your emotions, here is no clear path - and so many of us are desperate to find help with no clear guidance. It was very scary to trust yet another medical professional, especially one who was encouraging us to "jump off the cliff", after the fears and tears of the last few years. Scary.

I am optimistic we will taper off safely and with few effects, knowing we have support. Even of we have some bumps, think of this, my kid is already off a lot of junk that didn't serve her!!!!

So, think about it. And know that it's your body, not anyone else's, and it's okay to ask different people to help. I felt guilty, like I was cheating on the psych doc by seeing the naturopath. No I feel a lot more empowered, and that there is hope.

I ran out of Effexor (150 mg) daily a week ago. I have never felt so out of control. I was started on this med due to hot flashes caused by one of the chemo drugs given. No one ever told me about the side effects of ceasing Effexor. I have had night sweats, chills, ringing in my ears, brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, anxious and irrational behavior. I haven't been sleeping, partly due to my fear of having a seizure. I am afraid to drive.

My family thought I've been drinking, but not so. I have a Dr. Appt in two days but I'm afraid to go back on Effexor. I've been on this drug four over 2 years. I have to believe that individuals have suffered near fatal or fatal ramifications through stopping Effexor. Do any regulatory agencies track or relate deaths due to ceasing the drug? At this point, I am convinced that I would rather suffer through the withdrawals than go back on it. How sad for so many unsuspecting patients to prescribed Effexor not knowing the ramifications of ceasing it.

I have been completely off of Effexor for 5 weeks now. Some withdraw has subsided but not all. I'm still having the brain zaps, some days are worse than others. Still having stomach issues. Having dizziness. Memory problems. I'm starting to wonder if these will ever go away or if this is something permanent I will have to live with the rest of my life. I noticed the days my brain zaps are really bad is when I have the most stomach issues, and dizziness. I was on Effexor for 9 years. Has anyone else taken effexor this long and stopped. Please tell me this will go away!

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