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Is Effexor Withdrawal Truly That Horrible?

depression Effexor XR

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33 replies to this topic

#1 BrianG

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:03 AM

I have been on effexor 300mg XR for approx 15 months now. It has been a lifesaver and has been the best medication I have ever done to deal with my specific problems.

However it seems everywhere I turn someone is shouting and screaming about the withdrawals.

I am a bit worried about this now. If for some reason I have to switch medications or decide to come off of it am I going to be in trouble? I do not plan on coming off it anytime soon, but i am somewhat nervous about all these issues people are having.

Is there anyone out there who's taken high dosages of effexor, 300mgs + and come off of the drug? If so what is your experience and how fast/slow did you do it?

Has a lower dosage of a drug ever been better for anyone? My therapist mentioned that there's a "therapeutic range" for ADs and sometimes it is about find that. I've wondered if I am taking too much, I do not want to be overdrugged if it is not required.

Also, are the withdrawals a problem because of the drug itself, or is it because of symptoms returning? (I know most will say both, but if you had to lean one way or the other)

Also, if Effexor stopped working for you, (people with 6 month experience) what medication did you get on that DID work?
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#2 Sweetest1

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:50 AM

If the Effexor is working for you now, and you don't see discontinuing it in the near future, why are you worrying about it??

You can get a hundred different answers to your questions, because it's different for everyone. You need to just deal with it when and if the time comes.
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#3 arieswmn

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:19 PM

I actually had no Effexor withdrawal. I don't remember the dose cause it was quite awhile ago. But it was a fairly high dose, bc we'd raised it a few times. But yeah, no withdrawal.
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Lexapro, Buspar, Celexa, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Keppra, Trileptal, Prozac.

 


#4 jangev

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:30 PM

effexor was good to me for about three years. when it stopped working i started prozac. no withdrawal symptoms whatsoever- i think that had to do with prozac's long half life.

Edited by SirAmen, 09 February 2012 - 09:33 PM.

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past rx: effexor xr, every AAP (including all the new ones: fanapt, abilify, saphris, latuda, invega..) except for Clozaril, Geodon and Zyprexa, cymbalta (for two days), ambien, Inderal, concerta (subsequent psychotic ep), buspar, xanax, klonopin, trazodone, neurontin

also had unilateral and bilateral ECT series in '11

inaddition to rx: Vitamin B-complex 50, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Co-Q10, DHA (fish oil)


#5 BrianG

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 07:09 PM

Interesting you guys got lucky with no withdrawals. Hopefully when the time comes for me it will work out like this.

I've actually had a harder time going on meds than coming off them, but it's good to know that the effexor withdrawal isnt guaranteed like it's made out to be.

I ask now because my depression has started resurfacing and I'm going to have to decide eventually whether to up the dosage, or try another drug. Me and my psych doc are i mean.

Edited by BrianG, 10 February 2012 - 07:11 PM.

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#6 gabberflak

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 08:18 AM

i was on effexor for around a year or so, when i stopped taking it i got a lot of dizziness, especially when out walking and looking left and right before crossing the street. My whole field of vision kind of shifted in an uncomfortable way. I also got shock sensations from the top of my head to the tip of my spine, it was bad and disorienting but it mostly went away after a month, i was put on remeron after a month or so and havent felt these sensations since and havent really had a deep depression since.
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#7 Kame

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 01:18 AM

I know if I miss a dose, I physcially feel it by the end of the day. I start having twitches and jerks and trouble staying put and with fine motor skills. Due to uncontrollable circumstances (flood) I once went without for three days - I was pretty miserable. I've always had issues with withdrawl symptoms though, no matter the med. But personally, I'd take my chances of going through temporary hell to switch to something new. Fearing a reaction that might not even happen to you is no reason to postpone feeling better with a new drug!
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Current cocktail: lamotrigine, 200mg; venlafaxine hcl er, 150mg; levothyroxine, 0.50mg
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#8 notfred

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:18 AM

I never had any problems with Effexor, even the withdrawals were no problem.I took it for year. No weight gain, in fact some loss. Do NOT mess with what is working !
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I am in full remission (296.36) from Depression. Insomnia, ADHD-PI, Epilepsy, and the Pseudoparkinsonian tremor are well controlled.

 

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#9 In_Remission_mommabear

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:06 PM

Withdrawl has been absolutly HORRIBLE for me....

I have been on effexor xr for 18 months. Due to weight gain and some other issues I have decided to stop along with my doctors help. slowly weening off and the withdrawl is so bad. I have horrible chest pains, nausea, sweats, panic attacks (which is one of the reasons I was put on it) and a host of other not so pleasant things. I am trying to push through them....my first reduction, the syptoms last about 4 weeks...i just jumped down again 5 days ago and this is the worst I have ever felt in my life. I am also on wellbutrin and we increased before coming down on this to try to help with some f the symptoms, so if this is help i cannot imagine what it would truely be like.

Has anyone found ways to deal with the withdrawl other than more meds??

#10 BrianG

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:06 PM

Thank you for responses.

I'm sorry to hear mommabear is having an issue, at least you know you can go back on it, that's one comforting thing. Maybe withdraw even slower than you are now. sounds like you might be going to fast. If i made the decision to get off the drug, I would probably go super slow.

The only thing I find myself fearful of is the drug pooping out rather quickly and then going through that reaction, if that makes sense to anyone. Cause I'm pretty comfortable with taking a drug that works permanently.

I have noticed that my metabolism has slowed to a bit of a crawl, but nothing extreme enough to make me stop taking the medication.

I do have the dizziness spells even on the medication, but I havent noticed any other troublesome side effects, and that's pretty good for a drug that fixes my disorders in one swoop.

Overall, this drug feels like it was made for me.

Anxiety and depression are a lot more controllable. I probably will stay on it, hope it continues working well.

Edited by BrianG, 26 February 2012 - 05:07 PM.

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#11 jenga21

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 06:51 PM

Glad to hear Effexor is working for you. I tried it for a few months and it hasn't done much to help my anger/anxiety/panic. Getting up to 150mg was easy for me...coming off not so much. Went to 75mg for a week which was no prob. Then I was told to take 75mg every other day... My advice to you is taper exactly how they tell you! I accidentally went 2 days today and I feel terrible - painfully tired, dizzy when I turn my head, nauseous and shaking. I've never experienced w/draw with any ssri or snri any maybe I wouldn't have this time had I not messed up the taper. Wont be making that mistake again! Best of luck to you.

Oh and the only thing I really noticed when coming down to 75mg was some mild fatigue and clumsiness, but really that could be the result of just being me:-)
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#12 lea15

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 04:19 AM

if you have a good pdoc, you will taper down slowly and minimize the withdrawal effects. seems like those of us that had effexor work are the ones who go through the withdrawal. also depends on how high the dose and how long you have been on it.

i had horrible withdrawal coming off effexor (not the XR form). all i could do was sleep and throw up. the few times i was awake, i was dizzy, shaky, got electric jolts like i had grabbed a live wire-but i didn't have a good pdoc so went from 375 to 0 overnight.

when i went on effexor i had bad side effects going on it (couldn't urinate so had to straight cath for almost a month), however it worked fast and well so i put up with the side effects. the XR form hasn't been as bad.
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#13 dct

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:25 AM

I started Effexor at 37.5 about 6 weeks ago. Eleven days ago my dosage was increased to 75. After 2 days I woke up with severe side effect. Called ambulance. Tests done to see if I had had a stroke. My eyes were going crazy; vision sliding all over the place. The next day my vision was back to normal. Doctors agreed problem was Effexor. Told to continue 37.5 until seeing my doctor. Saw her 3 days later and was told to stop taking it. I was so angry I told her I was no longer going to continue seeing her. All this on such a tiny amount of Effexor. Today I have been off Effexor completely for 4 days and I feel like hell. Spacey and out of sorts. My head and eyes hurt constantly. I hope to God I feel better soon. Run as fast as you can away from any doctor who prescribes this awful medication. I have read a lot of pros and cons but feel the cons truly outweigh the pros.
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#14 forgetmenot

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 12:37 PM

I had a bad time getting off of it...I was up to 150 mg of the XR version. Took about 2 weeks to finally feel normal again. I spent those 2 weeks crying randomly, sick to my stomach, shaky, dizzy, just an overall feeling of shit. I never want to take it again, and won't. I believe it knocked me manic (and then mixed) and I spent some time in the hospital because of it. Followed by missing work completely or leaving early because I couldn't handle it.

ETA: I tapered off of it in the hospital and for the first 4 days I was home

Edited by JBB220, 06 August 2012 - 12:38 PM.

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#15 monrakilory

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 12:48 PM

At my highest dose, I was at 112.5 mg (3 37.5 mg XR). I worked up to that over 8 weeks. After we figured out that my depression was a side effect of an anti-seizure med and I decreased it, I realized that I didn't need the Venlafaxine. 2 1/2 weeks after discontinuing it, I am finally starting to feel normal.
During the withdrawals, I have had the following symptoms:
Visual Disturbances at random times during the day (double vision for anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour, inability to read small print)
stomach pain and nausea (and thus, loss of appetite) Seriously, I didn't even want to eat Ghiradelli brownies.
long time to calm down from arguments ~4 hours instead of usual 1 hour
greater irritability to sounds and light
insomnia
I felt terrible overall, kind of like when I had the flu and had NO ENERGY.

I agree with one of the other posters that said that you should not worry about stopping it unless you have to stop. From my experience in epilepsy support groups, one person's "Savior" med is another's "Satan" drug. Even when they have the same diagnoses.

If you do have to stop taking it, you may talk to your doc about how slowly you can taper off of it. I don't know if that would have been less of a problem for me.

I would also say to those considering Effexor or Venlafaxine that they should find out if there are any other options before taking it. But there's no knowing whether these meds will work without taking them. That's what sucks.
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#16 spanishlynx67401

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:48 PM

Yes it is. its VERY dangerous.! i was on 300mg for about 3yrs and decided to see if i would be able to do good with out it. i have actually been off it 2weeks and its bad much more I'm aggressive and violent I'm way more hateful. so yes withdrawals are bad even if weened off slowly its still dangerous


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#17 Spookshow_baby

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:22 AM

I recently came off 37.5 mg effexor xr 8 days ago. I had some dizziness, and a few brain zaps, but not as horrible as I expected. I feel much better not taking it now, and I'm not sure if 10 years of it just stopped working for me and made me worse. I also had alot of dizziness in the years taking it, nothing crippling until the end of November when I just couldn't handle it anymore.

 

Another weird thing on day 1 and 2 of stopping the med, I had serious bouts of the giggles, everything was funny as hell....that stopped after 3 days. Felt good to be laughing and not crying all the time, I'll give it that!


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#18 Luna-

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:44 AM

I didn't have any problems coming off Effexor (recently) despite being on it for at least a decade. My pdoc felt it was destabilising my bipolar. I was on 150mg, I went down 37.5mg per month and for the last month was on 37.5mg every other day. So it was nice and slow without problems


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#19 fitfrenzy

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:54 PM

I took it for 5 years or so. Even missing just one dose, I would be so sick the next morning when I woke up. Would have to sleep for 4-6 hours the next day after taking the pill.

 

I weaned off of it slowly - per Dr.'s instructions. I think it was done over 8 weeks.  Even coming off of the last dose of 37.5 was not easy for me.  I had a big performance that weekend and should have waited until Monday to taper off of it.  But I didn't , and felt absolutely ill and dizzy etc. I blew the performance I was in... sad day.


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#20 notfred

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 10:27 AM

Yes it is. its VERY dangerous.! i was on 300mg for about 3yrs and decided to see if i would be able to do good with out it. i have actually been off it 2weeks and its bad much more I'm aggressive and violent I'm way more hateful. so yes withdrawals are bad even if weened off slowly its still dangerous

 

It may be dangerous for you but it has been very helpful for many. Just because you had a bad experience does not mean everybody will. It is important here to separate your experiences from general all encompassing statements.


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I am in full remission (296.36) from Depression. Insomnia, ADHD-PI, Epilepsy, and the Pseudoparkinsonian tremor are well controlled.

 

Psyc Meds: Forfivo XL 450 mg (Wellbutrin XL), Abilify 15 mg, (Aripiprazole), Eszopiclone 6 mg (Lunesta), Vyvance 70 mg, (Dextroamphetamine) Levetiracetam 2,000 mg (Keppra), Propranolol ER 60 mg (Inderal)
PRN: Lorazepam 1-4 mg (Ativan), Alprazolam 1-2 mg (Xanax), Dextroamphetamine 10-40 mg (Dexedrine), Propranolol 20-40 mg (Inderal), Ondansetron 8 mg (Zofran)

Supps: Multi-vitamin/mineral, Vitamin D-3 2,000 IU, Omega-3-acid ethyl esters 4 g (Lovaza), Fish oil 1-4 g.

Dx: Depression, Insomnia, ADHD-PI, Epilepsy, Dyspraxia, Tremor

I also take allergy and diabetes + it's complications meds.

All doses are a daily total.


#21 mermaidsongs

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:11 AM

I have GAD also and I'm on 300 mg of Effexor too. The few times I have run out-due to pharamacies messing up/insurance problems, etc- it has been a living hell. Even a few hours of not taking Effexor at the normal time that you take it means headaches, fatigue, and irritability, at least for me. 

Effexor gives you a small energy boost. Not in a caffiene form or stimulant form, but some chemical in it gives me energy I haven't gotten from other pills (I've tried Strattera (normally an ADHD/ADD med but I was given it for anxiety. bad idea on doctors part), Celexa (anxiety), Lamatical (depression), Risperdal (depression/mood), Zoloft (depression and anxiety), and Wellbutrin (depression and anxiety). None of these have given the energy I somehow get from Effexor.

I love the energy it gives me and the fact that I have practically gotten completely rid of my social anxiety, but the lack of Effexor is awful. After two days without it I had no idea what I was doing. I felt like I was in a cloud and it was dangerous for me to drive. I had no energy and felt like I was having an out of body experience. I have no previous experience with that feeling, on meds or not, so it was scary.

 

If you take Effexor you NEED to make sure you take it at about the same time every day. Always take it in the morning, don't listen to a doctor who tells you otherwise (I tried that and it was like having restless legs syndrome). 

 

Also, Effexor gives you crazy dreams, but besides that it has been great. If you are ever changing medications you need to SLOWLY and gradually decrease your dose. Otherwise you may even get to the point where you need hospitalization. 


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#22 Pazzo

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 10:23 AM

I was on 300mg of Effexor XR for a long time (5+ years).  Since it wasn't really working any longer, I weaned off Effexor and started Viibryd with disasterous results.  I was put back on 225mg of Effexor.  So I went from 225 to 150 to 75 to 37.5.  I'm now taking 20mg of Protriptyline (which I was taking while decreasing the Effexor).  This is my first week without any Effexor.  I feel the dizziness, headache, and head buzzing.  How long will it take for this feeling to go away?  Should I push through it or break open capsules and further decrease the dose of Effexor?  Oh, and the crying is ridiculous.  It doesn't take much for me to burst into tears.


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#23 crzeepilz

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:10 AM

Hi BrianG

I have been on Effexor for about 7 years...it worked super well for me up until a year ago...no longer worked.  I have been on doses as high as 300mg and as low as 75mg.

 

I have started taking Wellbutrin and stopped taking Effexor completely. OH MY GOD!!!!!!  THE WITHDRAWALS WERE HORRIBLE!!  However, my Dr was a moron and should have told me to wean myself off rather than go cold turkey.  

 

When I started taking the Wellbutrin I was on 150mg of Effexor, after my 3 day cold turkey stint I went back to 75mg every day for a week...still felt pretty bad - buzzing in the front of my head, nausea, sweats and crazy hallucinatory nightmares.  It was minor compared to the cold turkey.  After about 1.5 weeks on 75mg I went to 37.5mg every day...then tried 37.5mg every other day - that doesnt work as the life of effexor is apparently only 12 hours so i was constantly putting myself in and out of withdrawal.

 

I have been on Wellbutrin XL 300mg for about 6week and still taking 37.5mg of Effexor - Im scared to stop as the withdrawal completely is pretty horrible.  I cant work, I cant exercise, all i can do is take gravol and sleep.  I have to find a time where i have two weeks that i can suffer through it.  It is the worst feeling ever andhas been compared to Heroin withdrawals.

 

Sorry to be so dark but I have tried to get off it many times over the years but i just cant handle it.

RC :(


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#24 crzeepilz

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:28 AM

I was on 300mg of Effexor XR for a long time (5+ years).  Since it wasn't really working any longer, I weaned off Effexor and started Viibryd with disasterous results.  I was put back on 225mg of Effexor.  So I went from 225 to 150 to 75 to 37.5.  I'm now taking 20mg of Protriptyline (which I was taking while decreasing the Effexor).  This is my first week without any Effexor.  I feel the dizziness, headache, and head buzzing.  How long will it take for this feeling to go away?  Should I push through it or break open capsules and further decrease the dose of Effexor?  Oh, and the crying is ridiculous.  It doesn't take much for me to burst into tears.

Can you tell me if you are completely off the Effexor now?  I am still on 37.5mg with my 300mg of Wellbutrin.  the withdrawal for me is just horrid and Im so scared to stop now....


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#25 fitfrenzy

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:52 PM

Yes, I thought they were THAT bad. Bleh.  My pdoc didn't seem to think it was a big deal, but coming off of Effexor was not fun... it was down right awful.  The last 37.5 sucked as much as the 250mg.  But it was gone in a handful of days - maybe a week tops.


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Current Med Cocktail:

 

 

Depakote 2000 mg,

Seroquel 300 mg, 

Alprazolam .5 ER and IR 

 

Levothyroxine 137 mcg.

 

 


#26 Classically_James

Classically_James

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Posted 26 October 2013 - 01:50 PM

I was on 300 mg a day for seven years.  If I even missed one dose by a few hours, I would go into horrible withdrawal.  However, after toughing it out through the withdrawal and going back on Effexor XR again several times, I got so used to antidepressant withdrawal that no withdrawal to any AD or AP bothers me much anymore.  Now I don't see coming off an SSRI or SNRI cold-turkey as a big deal (for me ;)).

 

Oh yes....I wanted to add this:  I was put on Effexor XR the first year it was out in 1996.  I was only 14 years old and I really, really don't agree with that.  I was still probably technically in puberty, and I have permanent sexual problems because of going on Effexor so young (my informed opinion).  I also think the Effexor was somewhat responsible for me having drug/alcohol addiction problems, as some of my research has shown a high correlation between the two.  I know this:  I became addicted to opioids while on Effexor and no matter what I couldn't stay clean.  Then I stopped the Effexor when I was 22 and within a week my cravings lowered by about 75%.  They have never returned to the level they were at while taking Effexor.  I also smoked three packs a day then, and when I quit Effexor I immediately dropped down to less than a pack a day.  This is probably not true of everyone who takes Effexor, but that was my experience.

  

James


Edited by egodystonic_james, 26 October 2013 - 02:01 PM.

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Diagnoses:

1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD - atypical type)

2. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

3. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)(in partial remission)

4. Cotard's Delusion (removed prior to DSM IV in 1994(in partial remission)  

 

Medications:

1  Luvox (fluvoxamine) 100 mg BID 

2. Abilify (aripiprazole) 10 mg QAM 

3. Forfivo XL (bupropion) 450 QAM

4. Seroquel (quetiapine) 100 mg QHS

5. Xanax (alprazolam) 2 mg TID

6. Desyrel  (trazodone) 150 mg QHS 

7. Lunesta (eszopiclone) 3 mg QHS

8. Soma (carisoprodol) 350 mg TID


#27 alliejay

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 08:06 PM

I wanna get off this shiiiii*** so bad. I was on 225mg for about a month and I went down to 150mg for a day. Now in the past, I didn't have to taper down but for only maybe two days because it was being REPLACED with another AD. OMYFREAKing. I was off the med for 4 days because I was out. I started having..... Ok hold your breath and then yawn but keep the yawn in. That wispy airy feeling that seems to come out of the ears started happening. So strange, and it'd happen just randomly. Started getting dizzy oh yeah and at night, it seemed like I was looking through a dark tint like I was wearing sunglasses at night. And headaches ugh. After some days of that I finally got it refilled because I told my dad there is no way I can do that cold turkey. So I'm back on the stuff but at 150. No more withdrawal symptoms. How bout that. Damn drug

Edited by alliejay, 29 October 2013 - 08:13 PM.

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currently on Amoxapine (splat) and Abilify Maintena


#28 RachelAnn

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:35 AM

On another thread, I've been keeping track of what it feels like to withdraw from Effexor. Today is my 11th day Effexor-free, and the symptoms continue. Now I understand why the discontinuation syndrome attained such notoriety. It is truly a horrid thing to go through — you would think by now my system would be mostly clear of it. 

 

The weepiness and brain zaps at this stage might be bad enough to land me back in the hospital (seriously considering it, as I'm crying too much and feeling suicidal again).


Edited by RachelAnn, 04 November 2013 - 05:36 AM.

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#29 alliejay

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 01:28 AM

I fibbed to my doctor and told him I'd taken Pristiq before just for the simple fact that the two are related somehow! Never going back to Effexxx
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currently on Amoxapine (splat) and Abilify Maintena


#30 RachelAnn

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:55 AM

It's been over THREE WEEKS since I quit Effexor — Still getting brain zaps and weeping spells...


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