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Coming off Venlafaxine/Effexor(8 Posts)
After being on 37.5mg for years (apparently the lowest dose prescribed). I have been reducing with a view to complete withdrawal for 4-5 weeks. Am finding it very slow and hard. I know I haven't needed to be on it for years too but knowing what withdrawal is like I've put it off and off.
Every time I drop a bit I find either I feel sick and brain zappy, so I end up upping it a bit. Or my mood goes a bit dark and angsty for a week until I adjust. I'm experiencing the latter at the moment. I 100% know that this is due to withdrawal than any actual real depression and that it will go but it's really hard work.
I'm not really asking anything with this post. It's just that no one in real life knows I am on them, my husband does but I actually think he has forgotten. He doesn't know I am withdrawing. I just don't particularly want to discuss it with him or anyone.
I suppose I just want to share it and maybe get a bit of cheerleading from people who have done it, found it hard but got through it.
For what it's worth the gp said it is one of the hardest ones to get off, due to short half life. A quick google confirms this with lots of anecdotes of horrible experiences.
I was on the same dose a few years ago and it was a very long, slow and zappy withdrawal. I ended up cutting the tablets into halves, quarters and even 8ths (yes that was difficult!) and take an equal dose, morning and night. Each drop in dose took me at least 4 weeks to get used to, then I'd give myself a couple of weeks more at that dose (for a rest) before I dropped any further.
I made the decision to come off them in early summer (May-ish), was off them completely by November and 'zap' free by Christmas.
Its hard work, but its possible.
I'm now on a low dose of Citalopram as a maintenance dose, Venlafaxine did its job at the time though.
Omigod! That long?!!!
Your reply has made me feel a whole lot better. It's actually given me a sense of relief that this is a normal response!
I have been given slow release capsules that contain 3,small tablets. I cut down to 2 am now trying to do 1.5 per day but it's impossible to cut them evenly and that can really make a difference. I found going from 3 to 2 worked better, by alternating days, so 3 one day and 2 the next and then eventually just having 2 every day. I forgot I did that (even though it was only 4 weeks ago). I think I should have done that instead of going straight for 1.5.
Thanks so much for your reply. It's made me feel so much better. Although I've never been on a high dose of it, I've always found venlafaxine really effective for me, whereas other drugs have done nothing or made symptoms worse. I agree, it definitely has it's place!
The main thing is to listen to your own body, and let yourself have a rest between doses. Some people can do it quicker, I'm not one of them. I couldn't do the alternate days thing, I had to chop them.
You'll get there though!
Oh goodness, I feel for you. The withdrawals were the most horrendous thing.
I was on a combination of venlafaxine and fluoxetine, and it took me so long to come off the venlafaxine. I remember lying on the sofa one day and feeling like I was constantly falling off the edge. You know like that dream where you feel like you're falling off something high?
I can't offer much practical support as I can't remember much about that time, other than how bloody miserable it was, but I'm so glad it's done. It almost makes me keep myself well now so I never have to hit the point of needing them again!
It took me about 6 months to come down from 225mg to nothing and it was horrible. I got brain zaps occasionally 10 years later (sorry!) Some people find benefit from changing to fluoxetine which has a longer half life and then coming off this but I don't think many GPs are comfortable doing this (I'm a GP), another option is to dismantle the extended release capsules and take an amount of the "balls" out before re-assembling but of course any change in what you're doing should be done in consultation with your doctor. I hope it goes well for you.
Venlafaxine is a total bugger to come off - I did it over about two months, but was only ever on a fairly low dose. I've been on other ssris and heard about brain zaps, but never experienced them until coming off venlafaxine. You have my immense sympathies - but you will get there - its very much not fun, but you can do it!
I came off it to go onto fluoxetine earlier this year, it was horrible, every reduction in dose made me feel horrible and foggy. I'm impressed they're doing gradual reduction from 37.5mg, but I guess it was easier for me going onto something else then stopping altogether. I used to get withdrawal if I missed a days dose, headaches and dizziness and irritability
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