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Unplanned pregnancy and Venlafaxine...(17 Posts)
Help. I have just discovered I am pregnant. I am on 300mg of Venlafaxine which to be honest has saved my life. I really don't want to contemplate having to come off it as other antidepressants didn't really work. But I know venlafaxine is one not recommended in pregnancy. As anyone managed to stay on it without any adverse side effects? I have suffered 5 miscarriages in the past. I have two dc but my last 3 pregnancies ended in miscarriage, and so while this pregnancy was unplanned, I am terrified of suffering another miscarriage. And I know venlafaxine has horrible withdrawal effects. What if I am allowed to stay on it but my baby has withdrawal? That makes me feel like some kind of crack mother.
You could have a look at the Nice guidelines which give detailed info on what is recommended / not recommended during pregnancy in terms of psychiatric medication. It's a pretty heavy document though so you have to trawl through a bit.
But you really need to see your GP asap and discuss it with them. Are you under a psychiatrist or CPN? They will be better able to advise.
Whatever you do, don't just suddenly stop your medication as this will likely make you crash. If you do need to come off it the best thing is to have a plan in place to come off it in a controlled way without causing risks to you. It's important to look after yourself, as much as the developing baby. A lot of professionals say it's better to keep the mother well, even if it means staying on ADs.
Many of the ADs are classified as not recommended in pregnancy, but it's because they just don't know if they are safe or not because no one can ethically experiment on pregnant women with drugs. Where there are risks, they are usually pretty low. I understand your worries re. miscarriage though.
Best to see your GP or other care provider asap.
I have just read the Nice guidelines. Thank you so much for linking them. Then I googled pregnant/venlafaxine. Big mistake. Thankfully I am seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow.
Uh oh, we've all done it, but googling medication is always a mistake! I terrified myself silly with endless googling. You can always find a horror story online, and they are usually very misrepresentative.
So glad you are seeing the psychiatrist tomorrow. Don't panic.
I was on a dose of venlafaxine similar to yours when I got pregnant with my daughter (combined with other medication) following a stay in a psychiatric unit for anxiety & severe depression.
We reduced the drugs (stopped some completely) until I was on 150mg of venlafaxine. Took these throughout my pregnancy & my daughter ( who is now 20 months ) is just perfect. No problems whatsoever.
My psychiatrist felt it was more important for me to stay on meds whilst pregnant & that he had several patients that had successful pregnancies..... Felt was a lesser risk to stay on than take me off.
You won't be able to breastfeed on these though. You can on sertraline and some other ad's but the transfer with venlafaxine into breast milk is too high. Small price to pay for a sane & calm mummy.
If you have any questions I'll do my best to answer......
Good luck with doc xx
Devonbee that is really helpful, thank you. I also suffered/suffer from severe depression and was suicidal until my psychiatrist put me on venlafaxine. I saw him yesterday and we talked about the pros and cons. I was terrified he was going to tell me I had to stop taking it immediately. I couldn't bear the idea of going back to that dark place. We agreed we are going to meet every 2 weeks, which makes me feel a lot better. He also said similar to your psych, that it was more important to stay on the meds as I was not yet in remission, barely in recovery. It is really good to hear that your daughter is well. Can I ask you one question. Did she suffer any 'withdrawal' symptoms when she was born?
It is sad that I won't be able to breastfeed. But I totally agree with you, I need my medication to survive. I am in no position to stop it.
That sounds like a very supportive psych. All the best.
I'm so relieved to read this thread - I'm in the same boat (275 of the slow-release venlafaxine) and only 6 weeks pregnant. I'm in the process of cutting down to 150, but have tried twice before without success. I'm fuzzy-headed and nauseous, overthinking, restless and already not enjoying the few small pleasures I did a week ago.
I'm hoping to cut down to 75mg even if I can't come off it completely, but with the pregnancy symptoms getting worse I was hoping someone out there has successfully cut down the meds and can tell me there's light at the end of the tunnel!
I'm not too worried about coming off completely as my Dr echoed an earlier post saying he knew of a number of women with successful pregnancies and healthy babies who had stayed on Venlafaxine throughout.
Pheebs, as I type this, my beautiful dd, the outcome of my unplanned pregnancy, is snuggling in my arms after a 3am feed . She was born a little early (3 weeks), and was incredibly sleepy but the doctors said nothing to do with meds, and I stayed on my 300mg dose the whole pregnancy. There was no way I could have lessened the dose.
Feel free to post/pm me if you want to ask more. And whatever you do, do not google.
Wow luckywinner congratulations on your new arrival! 3 weeks early too. Hope you, dd and rest of brood (sorry can't remember what other dc are) are doing good xx
Thanks chocattack. Do you remember my panic 6 months ago?! Those days seem so long ago. I can't believe I am saying that she is honestly the best thing ever.
Just to update, I'm down to 75mg and doing ok. Had a very bad week or two recently and really worried my dh, but thankfully that passed. The difficult thing is that the pregnancy symptoms don't help - I'm constantly nauseous, tired and occasionally tearful. I start seeing a counsellor next week which I'm dreading as I feel I'm on a knife-edge. Just reassuring to know that if I get desperate the doctor will let me increase my dose again.
For anyone else in the same boat, I've done better coming off venlafaxine this time than other attempts and I think its because I've been taking the slow-release version Venlalic. Might be worth speaking to the doctor about if you're struggling.
Only two weeks til scan 1!
It's so good to read these posts - I'm on 225 mg of venlafaxine and trying to reduce as thinking of trying to conceive through IVF and our frozen embryos. Have been on venlafaxine since DD was 2 months old, got severe postnatal psychosis and then severe depression. DD is now 3.5 yrs old, breastfed her on venlafaxine for over a year. I had to pump the first part of every feed and then discard but able to breast feed my DD. Venlafaxine saved my life. Such a hard decision to try and reduce the meds so I can try to conceive through IVF and may not work. Not sure i can face the thought of the frozen embryos not working, miscarriages or failure.
I wondered if anyone is still on here - I think I've been talked into staying on my 225mg of Effexor whilst trying to conceive. I'm just worried about breastfeeding as it seems that many are saying it's ok for pregnancy but not breastfeeding - would love some advice?
I wondered @luckywinner did you switch antidepressants before breastfeeding?
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