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Anyone taken venlafaxine (or another SNRI/SSRI) during pregnancy?

(22 Posts)
MeadowHay Wed 18-Oct-17 19:34:52

Hi, I'm 5 weeks pregnant and currently take 75mg of venlafaxine daily. This was initially prescribed for depression but I have been doing very well with that and would no longer describe myself as depressed, I just have had a lot going on in my life over the last few months (final uni exams, job & house-hunting, relocating, starting new job...) so did not feel like it was the right time to start coming off it yet. However now I am pregnant my GP has advised I try and come off it as there are some possible risks to the baby. He has prescribed me a month of 37.5mg tablets and I am going to start reducing my dosage very gradually and aiming to come off it completely within the next 2 months to avoid withdrawal side-effects. This is something I want to do, but obviously by that point I will still have been on it for my first trimester and I can't help but worry about how that could affect my baby.

So I was just hoping some of you may have been on it during pregnancy, or alternatively another SSRI/SNRI and could share some happy stories about healthy babies to allay my nerves a bit? Thank you smile

lampshade21 Wed 18-Oct-17 19:47:41

I was prescribed sertraline during my 2nd pregnancy from week 32 onwards because I had crippling antenatal depression.

Before trying to conceive I had been on Seroxat for years -anxiety & depression-but had stopped taking the Seroxat.

Anyway, all was fine -DS was a tiny bit jittery for first couple of days after his birth---I think this was to do with SSRI withdrawal.

Hotpinkangel19 Wed 18-Oct-17 20:45:29

I was on Venlafaxine, came off it straight away when I found out, they don’t recommend it in pregnancy but will put you on another med if needed

StepAwayFromGoogle Wed 18-Oct-17 21:13:49

Meadowhay, I was on fluoxetine when pregnant with DD and weaned off it while I was pregnant. DD (now 2 1/2) was and is absolutely fine.

Just a word of caution: I suffered horrendous post natal depression after I had DD. I have never felt that mentally ill in my life. In hindsight, my doctor said she wouldn't have weaned me off them but would have managed my condition (anxiety) with drugs that were safe in pregnancy. That's not to say don't do it, but just be on the lookout for any symptoms when baby arrives and get yourself straight back to the doctor if need be.

MeadowHay Wed 18-Oct-17 21:54:31

Thanks all.

Step I am not too worried as I've suffered with chronic mental health problems since childhood and I am at my healthiest right now. I know how to recognise when things are going downhill so as to catch them early and my DH is an absolute star who monitors me closely. I am not ashamed of having mental health problems and I will not hesitate to go back on medication either during pregnancy or afterwards if my health depends on it as without being well I will struggle to look after a baby anyway. My GP was clear with me that if I come off it and start to feel unwell again I should go straight back to see him and he would either arrange for me to go back on it or some other medication as my health is a priority. I am sorry to hear you had such horrible post-natal depression and I hope that you are feeling much better now flowers.

moregingerbreadplease Thu 19-Oct-17 09:07:25

I was on Venlafaxine 150mg when I found out I was pregnant. I weaned off within 3 weeks but with some side effects like dizziness and dissociation, however was on a much higher dose than you.
My GP told me not to come straight off them but I couldn't have the baby in me and still be pumping myself with ADs, this was a personal decision.
I still struggle now (5 months) but I just try to remind myself that I can always have them back when the baby is born if I need.

There are different drugs they can give you during pregnancy instead, Venlafaxine is not recommended.

lookingforthecorkscrew Thu 19-Oct-17 09:14:24

I’m on 75mg Venlafaxine daily and will continue to take it (‘pump myself with it’?!) throughout my pregnancy. This is in agreement with my GP, as the effect of the withdrawal could be worse for my baby than the effect of the meds themselves.

I have a very healthy, happy 3yo DS that I carried and gave birth to while on this dose.

Of course it’s not ideal, but it is what it is.

lookingforthecorkscrew Thu 19-Oct-17 09:15:25

OP have you ever tried to come off Venlafaxine before? Strap yourself in...

peaceloveandbiscuits Thu 19-Oct-17 09:19:10

I was on 300mg venlafaxine for nearly ten years and weaned onto sertraline when I decided I wanted to try to conceive. It is a lot easier when you're cross-tapering because the withdrawal with venlafaxine is horrific.

Congrats on your pregnancy! I took 100mg and 200mg sertraline through both my pregnancies respectively and have two happy, healthy boys, both breastfed. It's not worth risking your mental health when there are perfectly safe ADs to take in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Your wellbeing is just as important to your growing baby. Ignore people who think "pumping yourself full of ADs" is incompatible with being a good mother.

WhoWants2Know Thu 19-Oct-17 09:20:12

I was on fluoxetine during my first pregnancy and sertraline during the second with no issues. They keep a close eye for the first 24 hours after birth for any effects.

MeadowHay Thu 19-Oct-17 18:52:13

Thanks ladies. Really didn't like that 'pumping myself with ADs' comment, felt it was particularly ironic that they would make such a grim/judgemental comment and follow it with the disclaimer that 'it was a personal choice' as if to negate what they were inferring from that turn of phrase!

I have never come off venlafaxine, but I did used to be on 150mg and tapered down to 75mg over about 6 weeks with no withdrawal effects whatsoever so I'm hoping for a similar experience this time if I do it over about 8 weeks. I'm on the modified release tablets by the way so that helps too. When I came off citalopram 40mg over 4 weeks I was horrendously ill for the entire time, it was awful.

My GP has said that if I start to feel unwell mentally I should go back and see him and discuss whether to continue on my medication or switch to a different one. I have my 37.5mg tablets in now so will probably start my very slow taper from today...wish me luck.

lampshade21 Thu 19-Oct-17 22:22:43

Good luck OP 💐

StepAwayFromGoogle Thu 19-Oct-17 22:29:41

Best of luck, OP. I've suffered with mental health problems my whole life too but very well at the moment. I'm sure you will be too.

Ktown Thu 19-Oct-17 22:32:29

Good luck coming off this. Sounds tricky.
Can you reduce the dose right down?

peaceloveandbiscuits Fri 20-Oct-17 09:32:46

Good luck OP. Are you on tablets or capsules? You can always open the caps and release some of the innards to cut the dosage more slowly.

out4thecount Fri 20-Oct-17 11:01:19

Good luck with the tapering and the pregnancy.

I was on a "pre conception" taper of duloxetine (SNRI) when I got pregnant and took until about 8 weeks gestation to come off altogether. Unfortunately sertraline and fluoxetine haven't suited me before and I'm reluctant to try another SSRI so have just kept going with psychotherapy. I don't feel great, but it's manageable.

I've come off venlafaxine in the past and found it hard going with head shocks and dizziness, but if you've already gone down a dose without side effects that's really positive.

MeadowHay Sat 21-Oct-17 14:23:37

out Ugh the head zaps are probably the worst medication side-effects I've encountered and it's so weird because when I first read about them I was like 'what the hell is that?' because you just can't understand what it is until you have it! I've had them before when I've accidentally missed a tablet on the odd occasion and had awful withdrawal the day after.

Got DH to help me write down a big long plan on what to take each day to come off and we have done it suuuper slow so plan is to be completely off them by about the 10th of December. Would much rather do it really slow to try and prevent withdrawal as it may sound selfish or stupid but I really don't want to have to take time off work for being really sick with withdrawal, it's a new job and I'm already going to have to drop the P-bomb in a few months time grin.

Thanks everyone for your well wishes flowers.

Ktown Yes, I'm going to do it super slow and cut tablets in half etc to make it very gradual. My GP said this was fine and better to try and come off it nice and slow than fail at coming off it and go back on or whatever although he did say that I could stay on it if I really needed to like depending on my mental health.

peace they are tablets but will cut some of then in half.

Step Glad you to hear you are doing well. I am doing well too with my mood although I still have moderate anxiety that nothing except the occasional diazepam has really helped with unfortunately. I can see very slow gradual improvements in that too and I guess I will always be an anxious person as I am autistic too.

LittleWingSoul Sat 21-Oct-17 15:48:13

Nothing to add really except good luck OP. You sound really sensible and in control and are lucky to have a supportive husband too.

I have been prescribed Sertraline for antenatal depression and feel so much better than I did in the depths of it (obviously!) and I have to keep reminding myself that my mental health is important too, important to my unborn baby and my other children I have a duty to, as well.

cds186 Sun 14-Jan-18 19:39:06

Good look with your journey, I'm sure everything will work out for you!! I just want to add for anyone else who comes searching this topic. I approached my GP prior to conceiving about this and he approved my plan to stay on venlafaxine and I've just given birth to my beautiful daughter on 1st December. I went full term on 150mg. Baby has absolutely zero effects from it - my GP had experienced other women going through pregnancy on and off venlafaxine and felt that the effects of coming off the medication were worse for baby (in my case) than continuing on it which I agreed with. Venlafaxine can increase risk of miscarriage, however, so does stress/anxiety and depression. Everyone is different but I very much doubt I would have coped during pregnancy whilst not on my antidepressant.

lookingforthecorkscrew Sun 14-Jan-18 19:56:24

This is great to hear cds186. I’m 18 weeks now and still taking 37.5mg twice a day. Like your GP, mine felt that withdrawal would be potentially more traumatic for me and the baby than staying on them.

RosieCotton Mon 15-Jan-18 07:45:13

I had been on 200mg of sertraline for a long time. I tried to come off them twice but the withdrawal was unreal. I couldn't see straight, I was dizzy all of the time and I felt like rubbish, my doctor has put me back on them now and after the withdrawal attempt I don't think I can handle it again.

Good luck coming off your meds hun but please do it safely I wouldn't wish anyone to suffer the withdrawals like I did. X

user1483387154 Mon 15-Jan-18 07:49:59

I was on the same dose as you and went down to 37.5mg I continued with this throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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