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Venlafaxine national shortage

(18 Posts)
YouLookRadiantCousin Mon 13-Nov-17 12:58:57

Has anybody else heard about this? I'm on 300mg a day, and have been for months and months (150mg AM & PM). I just picked up my repeat prescription, and instead they've given me 150mg a day of Vensir XL (the extended release version of Venlafaxine). The label says "take one daily - change in preparation due to national shortage of venlafaxine". Fair enough if I have to have the extended release tablets, but they've halved my dose!

I queried this with the pharmacist, who said that everyone who was on my dose was being given this instead. I am really worried about this - I have heard horror stories about cutting down/stopping, plus Venlafaxine is the only antidepressant which has ever had a positive effect on me, and I have tried many, over a period of many years. It has literally been a lifesaver for me. It also took months to get to the dose where I felt it was making a difference. 150mg a day is not a therapeutic dose for me. And when I last saw a psychiatrist (a couple of months ago) she advised me to stay on this dose for a year. I was under the care of CMHT for about a year, but was discharged after this appointment. I phoned them to ask if they could do anything, but they just said I needed to contact my GP. (Who I have contacted - the receptionist said all they can do is refer it to another GP within the practice, who I will hopefully hear from tomorrow).

FFSOMG Mon 13-Nov-17 15:15:36

I've had this, you're not cutting down or stopping. You're still taking the same dose, just released slower through the day rather than all at once.

FFSOMG Mon 13-Nov-17 15:16:49

Oh just seen the dose change- that's odd :/ I would chase GP. 300mg is a high dose, though.

dangermouseisace Mon 13-Nov-17 19:29:28

I've not heard it but the pharmacist at my GP wanted to change my extended release venlafaxine to the usual twice a day, because it's a lot cheaper. Maybe lots of GP practices have been doing that (could be an increase in price of extended release?) There is absolutely NO WAY they should be reducing your dose just because it's extended release- that isn't how it works. When my psychiatrist changed from twice a day to once a day, it was exactly the same amount total per day, and when the GP wanted to change me to the cheaper drug it was the same. E.g. I am on XR 225mg, the pharmacist wanted to change it to 150mg in the morning, 75 at night.

I'd take 2 extended release tablets in the morning so you get your 300mg, and phone demanding to speak to a GP as this is completely wrong!

Kelsoooo Mon 13-Nov-17 19:31:52

Chase the GP tomorrow, please.

This drug was the single worse drug I've ever come off in my life. I was nearly hospitalised as a result of a shitty GP thinking he knew better than my psychiatrist. So please please chase the GP tomorrow.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Mon 13-Nov-17 19:36:58

It sounds like an error in changing the medication over. I doubt your GP wants to abruptly halve your medication without speaking to you first! I'd just speak to a GP to query it.

WildRosesGrow Mon 13-Nov-17 19:39:55

I would definitely try to make a phone appointment with your GP to check before changing.

I've been switched from Ventonin to Vensir recently, my GP said that it came up on his screen as cheaper than the other brand. I've always been on 1 tablet a day but not sure if they've all been extended release. I've not had my dose changed as a consequence of the brand change.

A while a go I reduced my dose, as I was getting a very dry mouth and having dental problems, which the dentist thought could be related. I felt pretty rotten mentally and physically, so wouldn't risk going through a reduction 'by accident', if the pharmacist has got it wrong. I went back on the higher dose again in the end and feel much better again.

YouLookRadiantCousin Tue 14-Nov-17 20:02:05

Thanks for the replies everyone. I spoke to the GP today (a few times!). They were adamant that the dose was right. Eventually I went in with the leaflets from both medications, and pointed out the bits which suggest that the dose for both should be the same (e.g. the starting dose being 75mg a day for both of them).

They still weren't sure what my dose should be - I think it was the pharmacist who told them what alternative to prescribe. But the doctor agreed it was confusing, and said that he could see why I thought it should be 300mg, but he just wasn't sure.

He then said that he'd checked and the Venlafaxine shortage was supposed to end today, so he's just done me another prescription for my normal dose of Venlafaxine. Chemist was closed by this time so I will attempt to pick them up tomorrow. Luckily I have a bit of an overlap so I haven't finished my old box of Venlafaxine yet anyway.

It's all a bit worrying though isn't it? I can't be the only person that this has happened to - it could be really dangerous.

dangermouseisace Tue 14-Nov-17 20:27:25

I'm glad you have got it sorted OP, but that is worrying. The fact that a GP can't see what is wrong is concerning, as venlafaxine is a commonly prescribed drug. By their logic, someone who is on 225mg XR would be on 225mg in the morning, 225mg in the evening if changed to the normal drug...which would be overdosing every day.

MummySparkle Tue 14-Nov-17 23:18:53

Oh jeez, venlafaxine is the only medication that has ever made a difference to me. I am on the modified release version already so hopefully that won't be affected. I'm going to order mine tomorrow even though I've got a week left.

I would say if you're on 150 twice a day at the moment then if you did change to the XR you would need to be on 300 once a day

Oddish Tue 14-Nov-17 23:24:56

Just wanted to say, I read a lot of horror stories of coming off it so was terrified of coming of my 325 per day dose but I did and I haven’t taken it in nearly a year. I did I’d very very slowly over 6 months, so slow that I was opening capsules and counting the individual tiny little balls! It is possible to come off it, I used to feel like I’d be on it for life and there were supply issues when I was taking it too and I’d panic at the thought of running out as missed doses made me feel and act horribly.

NotAJammyDodger Thu 23-Nov-17 12:54:58

Yes there was a problem about a month back. I pay privately for my prescription in the U.K. and it went up from £30 to £250 for immediate release. I switched over to extended release because I was on a low dose. The max dose for XL is usually 225mg but on the IR you can be prescribed (as I have) 300mg plus by a psychiatrist. So there is clearly come difference between the two in my view.

NotAJammyDodger Thu 23-Nov-17 13:01:00

Also I would add that I came off venlafaxine over a period of a year without too many problems previously. Although I did use the immediate release tablets (you don't fuss about with breaking up the X-R capsules and messing about with guessing dosages). Also, as soon as you open up a XL capsule and pull out the beads you are then taking immeidate release because you have broken up the capsule.)

Hotpinkangel19 Thu 23-Nov-17 13:54:57

I stopped Venlafaxine in April after finding out I was pregnant. Just stopped - no gradual reduction. It is a nasty drug to come off.

BoobleMcB Fri 24-Nov-17 22:46:08

Everyone saying how ridiculous it is that they've halved the dose, have you actually checked the half life of the standard vs MR variant? It may well be the case that the on going blood content is actually the same and therefore the therapeutic dose is the same (as suggested by the professionals). They wouldn't just pick a random dose and number, it will have came on advice following rigorous investigation and checks

BoobleMcB Fri 24-Nov-17 22:47:06

Obviously it IS possible they're wrong but at least research and check. Or ask them where that advice came from

MoseShrute Fri 24-Nov-17 22:54:42

OP
I am a psychiatrist. The doses of both types of venlafaxine are equivalent. So if you were on 150mg am and pm, you should have been put on 300mg modified release

callmehannahbaker Fri 24-Nov-17 23:00:43

Just seen this and so glad I didn't sooner-think I'd crumble without venlafaxine! I used to be on 300mg a day and am now steady on 75mg (plus a lot of other meds) it is awful weaning off it-really is the best antidepressant I've had though.

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